Roger Stone Gets a Nice Fee to Speak in Oregon
Organizers of the Dorchester Conference, the longest-running political gathering in the state, paid a pretty penny to book an unlikely keynote speaker: Roger Stone, a longtime political adviser to Donald Trump and a prominent Republican "dirty tricks artist." Patrick Sheehan, the Dorchester board member who booked Stone, says his standard speaking fee is $10,000. "Bringing Stone in was an effort to keep the conference going in its original intent," Sheehan says, "which is to spur debate. We haven't had that for a long time; we've been preaching to the choir. Stone will agitate and make people uncomfortable."
Mortgage Industry Seeks to Block Lawsuits
Two years ago, Multnomah County won a landmark legal settlement against the Mortgage Electronic Recording System, a giant bookkeeping operation that allowed banks to swap home mortgages back and forth. One of the lowlights of the Great Recession was the discovery that MERS regularly failed to properly record mortgage transfers—and that negligence contributed to the foreclosure crisis. The system agreed to pay the county $9 million in the January 2016 settlement. Now the financial services industry is pushing state legislation that would block other counties from pursuing such lawsuits. Arthur Towers, a lobbyist for the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, says that would be unfair to the counties and homeowners who suffered at MERS's hands. "It's a stupid idea," he says.
Brewery Wins Trademark War Over White Stag Sign
Portland City Hall has surrendered in its fight with a brewery over who gets to use the iconic image of the leaping stag on the "Portland Oregon" sign. Old Town Brewing, which has owned a trademark for the image since 2012, had blocked several city attempts to trademark the entire sign, deer included. Brewery owner Adam Milne and Mayor Ted Wheeler have now come to an agreement that gives Old Town Brewing the trademark terms it sought. "This was a challenging process," Milne says. "Once the mayor directly engaged on the issue, we felt an immediate difference in the tone and tenor of the negotiations."
Senate Candidate Questions Security Guard's Comment
The most prominent Somali immigrant in Portland says he was left wondering if he had been accused of being a terrorist after a security guard at City Hall searched through his bag Jan. 20. Kayse Jama, director of Unite Oregon and a candidate for the Oregon Senate, posted about the alleged interaction on Facebook. During the bag search, Jama says, the guard asked if he had "any bazookas or bombs." Jama now tells WW he believes the guard was not targeting him but was poorly trained. "I am certain the guard asked this question in jest—and, indeed, many community members have experienced similar comments—[but] for me it was not funny," Jama said in a statement. "I still don't find it funny." A spokesman for the mayor's office pledged reforms.