Roberta Phillip-Robbins Faces Elections Complaint
Roberta Phillip-Robbins is running into trouble in a hotly contested Democratic primary against Tawna Sanchez for North and Northeast Portland's House District 43. On May 6, WW reported that Phillip-Robbins was ineligible under federal ethics laws to run for partisan office because her job at Multnomah County was funded by a federal grant. Phillip-Robbins resigned her position that night so she could continue to run for office. But on May 9, Sean Cruz, a former legislative staffer who has endorsed Sanchez, filed an elections complaint against Phillip-Robbins, arguing that because she was ineligible to run between her Dec. 17, 2015, candidate filing and her May 6 resignation from the county, she illegally—if inadvertently—collected nearly $100,000 in campaign contributions during that time. "Election laws have been broken and an impartial investigation is called for," Cruz wrote. Phillip-Robbins says the point is moot. "As far as I'm concerned, this issue is over," she tells WW. Read more here.
City Council Rejects Hales' Business-Tax Hike
Three city commissioners have killed Mayor Charlie Hales' proposal to raise Portland's business income tax by 14 percent—scuttling the mayor's 2016-17 proposed budget, which depended on the estimated $8.7 million in new business tax revenue. Commissioner Nick Fish, who was abroad when Hales released his budget, joined Commissioners Dan Saltzman and Steve Novick in rejecting the idea of raising the business tax from 2.2 percent to 2.5 percent. "Three members of council have now said clearly they won't support it, so it's dead," Fish tells WW. Hales spokeswoman Sara Hottman says it's not. "There's more process, including public input, to come," she says. Read more here.
Two Unions Call for Staton to Resign
Two of the three unions that represent Multnomah County Sheriff's Office employees called this week for embattled Sheriff Dan Staton to resign. Both the Deputy Sheriff's Association, which represents law enforcement deputies, and the civilian employees represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 88 have called for Staton's resignation. "Sheriff Staton has abandoned our core values of professionalism and integrity," Matt Ferguson, president of the deputies' union, said May 9. Staton did not respond to a request for comment. Read more here.
Homeless Sweep Along Springwater Corridor Frustrates Lents
Portland's new, more permissive street-camping policy doesn't mean the end of police sweeps. Since January, Portland cops have dispersed 40 homeless camps on city property. On May 5, police cleared out a roughly half-mile section of the Springwater Corridor, which has become a campsite for hundreds. But residents of the East Portland neighborhood of Lents say that sweeping the trail has caused new problems. "In short, the people they moved have spread into the neighborhood," says Lents Active Watch organizer Robert Schultz. It's an effect the mayor's office acknowledges as likely—and says is one reason the city has not swept the entire trail. Sara Hottman, spokeswoman for Mayor Charlie Hales, says several area cities are seeking "a regional solution whose outcome is no camping along the Springwater, but also not a sudden influx of people onto cities' streets."