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Rev. Chuck Currie: Don't Put the Street Fee Burden on the Poor

UPDATE: Low-income housing managers say fee would harm the vulnerable.

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A Portland minister is warning City Hall that passing a residential street fee and delaying a vote on charging businesses threatens to offload the tax burden onto the poor.

The letter from the Rev. Chuck Currie to the City Council hints at how today's 2 pm hearing on Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick's street fee plan could turn into a donnybrook.

Opposition to the proposal—which would charge Portlanders $138 a year to fund transportation projects, and charge businesses and nonprofits much more—has grown deafening in the week since Hales and Novick announced they would try to pass the fee without a public vote.

The backlash caused Hales and Novick to split the proposal in two, delaying the business side of the fee for at least a few weeks but perhaps as long as November.

Currie, a United Church of Christ minister, warns the City Council not to rush ahead with a fee that would charge low-income families up to $97 a year.

"Residents, particularly those who are low-income and on fixed incomes, need to know that they are not going to shoulder the burden alone on this," Currie writes. "The council should only adopt a full package that is well thought out, debated, and that has community buy-in."The full text of Currie's letter is More
 
Thursday, May 29, 2014 by AARON MESH

Six Monkeys Die At Embattled Oregon Zoo

Spokesman cites "unknown causes"

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More bad news for the Oregon Zoo, which recently fired its director and chief veterinarian after "sloppy" medical treatment led to the death of Kutai, a 230-pound orangutan. 

Six
newly-acquired monkeys were found dead in quarantine at the zoo's $8.8 million veterinary medical facility on May 25, three days after arriving at the zoo on loan from Harvard University....   More
 
Thursday, May 29, 2014 by AARON MESH

Churches Worried by Portland Street Fee Plan

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Add another voice to the growing choir of doubt over the proposed Portland street fee: churches.

As first reported in today's    More
 
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 by AARON MESH

Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick Are Hitting the Brakes on Street Fee for Businesses

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With hours left before the first public hearing on the Portland street fee, Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick are preparing major changes to the proposal.

Hales' office confirms the mayor and Novick are considering passing the street fee for households only—and removing for now the side that charges businesses and commercial property, a...   More
 
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 by AARON MESH

12 Mammals That Matter To the Oregon Zoo

It’s a beastly time at the state’s most popular tourist attraction. These political animals will determine its future.


Cover Story
To lose an orangutan was a setback. But to lose the orangutan, a zoo director, the chief veterinarian and the support of keepers—that’s a sign of serious trouble at the Oregon Zoo. Kutai,    More
 
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 AARON MESH

Dave Dahl's Troubles Become a Comic Book

Killer Bread founder's trial scheduled for October

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Milwaukie's famous and troubled baker Dave Dahl now has a court date. His jury trial for crashing his Cadillac Escalade into sheriff's cruisers in November is now scheduled for Oct. 7.

The founder of Dave's Killer Bread also has new attention: An artist has turned the story of his breakdown into a comic book.

"The Story of Dave Dahl" by Lucas Adams...   More
 
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 by AARON MESH

Medical Treatment for Kutai the Orangutan Was "Sloppy," Metro Report Says

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An investigation by the government agency that runs the Oregon Zoo found that zoo leaders didn't report all the human errors around the death of Sumatran orangutan Kutai.

The zoo's deputy director described veterinary actions in Kutai's final hours as "sloppy," the report says—yet zoo leadership didn't ask for an outside investigation or discipline any staff.

A...   More
 
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 by AARON MESH

City Finds E. Coli in Reservoirs, Tells Portlanders to Boil Water

SATURDAY UPDATE: Water safe to drink again, city says.

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UPDATE, SATURDAY, MAY 24: The Water Bureau lifted the boil-water notice at 11 am, saying tap water is again safe to drink."Follow-up testing of drinking water has shown the absence of bacterial contamination," Water Bureau officials write. "The Portland Water Bureau recommends flushing all taps for two minutes or until the water runs cold before consuming for the...   More
 
Saturday, May 24, 2014 by AARON MESH

Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick Debut $138-a-Year Street Fee

They won't refer it to voters.

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Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick will try to charge Portland households $138.72 a year without taking their "street fee" proposal to voters, they announced this morning.

The fee, which City Council will vote on June 4, is expected to raise $40 million in the first year for city transportation projects, with proceeds rising as high as $50 million....   More
 
Thursday, May 22, 2014 by AARON MESH

City Commissioner Nick Fish: I Won't Stand For Using Water, Sewer Bills To Collect the Mayor's Street Fee

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If Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick are going to collect a $138-a-year street fee from Portland households, the most obvious place to charge residents is on their water and sewer bills.

Hales said at today's press conference    More
 
Thursday, May 22, 2014 by AARON MESH
 

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