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Murmurs: Softball Team's Rifle Raffle Divides a Portland-Area Little League

In other news: The Portland Business Alliance really likes Benson High School.

Little League President Resigns After Rifle Raffle

The president of a Portland-area Little League has resigned in the wake of controversy surrounding his girls' softball team raffling off an AR-15 rifle as a fundraiser. WW first reported July 12 that 15 teenage girls from Centennial, Gresham and Milwaukie high schools were raffling the gun to raise $6,000 for a trip to California. Ron Brown, who's coached the team for 10 years, resigned last week as president of Centennial Little League, although he will continue to coach the team. "We sincerely hope that Ron reconsiders his decision and will once again join the Board at a later date," the league's board wrote in a July 14 Facebook post. The board—which objected to the raffle—still donated $2,000 to the team, sending the players this week to the Big League Softball West Regional Tournament in Lancaster, Calif.

Portland Business Alliance Backs Benson for Bond

The Portland Business Alliance wants Benson High School included in the $750 million construction bond that Portland Public Schools expects to send to voters in November. In a July 13 letter to the Portland School Board, PBA president and CEO Sandra McDonough wrote that the group supports the district's "original plan" to renovate three high schools—but is paying particular attention to Benson. "We are especially concerned that renovation may be delayed for Benson Polytechnic High School, which is one of Oregon's top-performing schools and the Portland school with the most robust career and technical education offerings," she wrote. The powerful business group hasn't yet taken a stand on the bond, details of which will be decided as soon as next week's School Board meeting. In addition, McDonough also indicated that the PBA might not support the bond if the board backs a corporate tax hike, known as Measure 97, which business groups fiercely oppose.

Still No Equity in Contracting

Mayor Charlie Hales' brainchild to address racial disparities in city of Portland contracting continues to languish. At an emergency meeting of the so-called Equitable Contracting and Purchasing Commission on July 18, Dante James, director of the city's Office of Equity and Human Rights, proposed disbanding the commission, which last month saw three commissioners quit in protest over the committee's lack of effectiveness. James proposed refashioning the committee as an advisory group to the city's existing fair contracting forum. Maurice Rahming, a remaining commissioner on the ECPC, called the idea "ludicrous," because it would further erode the committee's clout. James dropped the idea under pressure. "They want to move forward as is," says Jeff Selby, a spokesman for James.