The U.S. Department of Justice is vetting the finalist to fill a plum judicial post being vacated in Oregon by retiring U.S. District Court Judge Garr King. A source close to the process tells Murmurs that U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) and the White House have settled on Washington County Circuit Court Judge Marco Hernandez as the likely nominee. Hernandez, appointed to the bench by former Gov. Barbara Roberts, beat out U.S. Attorney Karin Immergut, an ex-frontrunner whose history included the politically inconvenient truth in a Democratic-controlled Congress that she grilled Monica Lewinsky during the Starr investigation ("Judgment Call," WW, Jan. 16, 2008).
In his final lobbying disclosure report before leaving City Council next week, Commissioner Erik Sten listed a surprising gift from an occasional adversary, Robert Pamplin. Back in October, the Portland Tribune owner and gravel-company heir donated a chunk of Ross Island to the city. While making it official with a bizarrely ceremonious speech, Pamplin handed each commissioner a genuine Ross Island rock, reserving larger stones for "the big cheeses." Unlike his colleagues, Sten listed his rock on the latest lobbying report through the end of 2007, assessing its value as "priceless." "We couldn't figure out a value," Sten explains. "But we figured anybody would pay a lot for it. It's certainly worth more than $25, right?"
What was billed as the world's first vegan strip club is on the market for $995,000 after just about two months in business in Portland (see "Boobs With a Side of Soy," WW, Feb. 6, 2008). Owner Johnny Diablo says Casa Diablo's Gentlemen's Club—the subject of a piece on the Discovery Channel's Planet Green show—is profitable and running with "a lot of happy customers." Diablo made a failed run at a vegan restaurant, Pirate's Tavern (see "Pirates Tavern," Oct. 25, 2006), in the same location. Diablo says he planned all along to get the strip club running and then sell it. Funny, he didn't mention that when we interviewed him for the grand opening.
Mississippi Studios Jim Brunberg has paid up nearly $5,000 in back taxes after the Oregon Employment Department (Rogue of the Week, WW, Oct. 10, 2007) exhausted him in a six-month tug-o'-war. The squabble began when a random audit left the North Portland studio flooded in allegations of unpaid back taxes, because the employment department said even touring musicians are employees of the venues where they perform. The department let Brunberg pay the back taxes without interest. Now, Brunberg is organizing other studio operators to get the law repealed or rewritten.
Zetaman strikes again. Portland's most famous costumed superhero ("The Adventures of Zetaman," WW, March 5, 2008) is ramping up his efforts to help the homeless by auctioning himself off to help fund 24-hour restrooms in downtown's Portland Rescue Mission. The winner gets dinner and a night on patrol with the Z-man. The auction is part of "Tunes for Toilets," a benefit concert April 11 at Old Town's Someday Lounge.