New Library Rules Show Struggle to Deal With Homeless Patrons
Effective Nov. 1, the Multnomah County Library, the nation's second-busiest for its size, is updating its rules for the first time in 20 years. The 27 rules now governing behavior suggest the library is struggling to deal with homeless patrons who spend much of the day in library buildings. The most contentious areas: Food is now banned in most cases, drinks are limited to 24 ounces, and personal belongings cannot impede staff or patrons. And the library is cracking down on "lounging" and sleeping, as well as the use of restrooms for "bathing, shaving and washing hair." Library spokesman Shawn Cunningham says the rule revisions were two years in the making, including extensive public input. "We want the library to be a welcoming environment for everyone," Cunningham says. "It's a balancing act."
Wait Continues for Jeremy Christian's Trial
It's been nearly three months since the last court appearance of Jeremy Christian, the man who killed two men and injured a third on a MAX train in May. Christian, charged with two counts of aggravated murder, is being held in a single-occupancy cell at the Multnomah County Jail in downtown Portland. That wait will soon end: Christian is scheduled to appear for a bail hearing Nov. 15. Multnomah County Circuit Judge Cheryl Albrecht will decide whether Christian's bail should be adjusted—he's currently being held without bail. The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office filed notice in June that it intends to seek a sentence that exceeds the maximum set out in the state's sentencing guidelines because Christian's crimes were motivated by racial and religious bias and because he has "demonstrated no remorse for his acts."
County Speeds Forward With Ambulance Reforms
Multnomah County this week dealt with a litany of complaints about one of the single biggest contracts it will administer: the 10-year contract to provide ambulance services, which could be worth upward of $750 million. Portland Fire & Rescue, Gresham Fire and the unions representing both agencies all filed protests to the request for proposals that the county issued in August. The firefighters blasted the county's proposal to shift medical 911 calls to a private operator. The county politely told the objectors they had no standing, since they didn't bid. It further explained that officials expect the new system to provide a more effective response and that the county commission is accountable for its performance.
Thorns Win Second National Championship
The Portland Thorns won their second National Women's Soccer League title with a wild, nerve-racking 1-0 victory over North Carolina Courage in Orlando, Fla., on Oct. 15. Midfielder Lindsey Horan scored the match's only goal. Nearly 200 Portland fans traveled to Florida to cheer on the squad—the latest demonstration of support for a team that draws a following unprecedented in professional women's soccer.