For a Decade, Portland Has Miscounted 911 Hold Times
Last December, the Portland ombudsman, Margie Sollinger, issued a report revealing that the city's 911 system lost track of 18,000 cellphone calls during 2015. But that's not the only problem: For more than a decade, the Bureau of Emergency Communications hasn't accurately counted how long cellphone calls were waiting on the line for an operator to answer. (The city calculated the average cellphone wait as one second last year; this year, after discovering the problem in November, it was 30 seconds.) Roughly 75 percent of calls to emergency communications come from cellphones, so the miscalculation is significant for a bureau already roiled by questions about how it serves Portlanders in crisis. Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who oversaw the bureau this winter, pointed to ways in which the city is already planning improvements to its technology. Mayor Ted Wheeler's spokesman Michael Cox says the mayor is planning to bring further accountability resolutions to the City Council as soon as next week: "911 must be evaluated accurately if the city is to make good decisions."
Portland Writer Brian Doyle Dies at 60
Brian Doyle, novelist, prolific essayist and longtime editor of the University of Portland's magazine, died early Saturday morning. He was 60. Doyle's death, announced by the university, where he worked since 1991, came a year after he revealed he was suffering from a brain tumor. Doyle won a 2016 Oregon Book Award for his young adult novel Martin Marten. In person, Doyle exuded a passion for the written word, speaking in torrents that mirrored his exuberant prose. Longtime Oregonian columnist Steve Duin mourned his friend's passing. "I only knew the gentle side of him," Duin told WW. "I never saw the belligerence he famously brought to the basketball court. He somehow found the good in things I have no patience for. He edited and animated the best college magazine in the history of the world. And no, I have no patience for the unfairness of his death." Doyle is survived by his wife, Mary, and their three children.
WW Honored for Journalistic Excellence
From the Department of Shameless Self-Promotion: WW took home the 2016 first prize for general excellence among medium-sized newspapers in five states, as part of the Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest run by the Society of Professional Journalists. The award was one of 10 prizes WW won in the contest. Nigel Jaquiss won first prize in investigative reporting for "Roofless," his story on the high construction costs of city-subsidized affordable housing projects. Rachel Monahan won first prize in social issues reporting for "Kicked Out of Town," her examination of no-cause evictions.