New Gun-Sale Restrictions May Violate State Law: The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries wrote a letter March 6 to Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek, advising them that state law would probably support a complaint that stores raising the minimum age for gun sales to 21 are engaged in age discrimination. The BOLI letter lends weight to two lawsuits filed March 5 by a 20-year-old Gold Hills, Ore., man against Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods, claiming the stores violated state law by refusing to sell him a gun before he turned 21. A former Lane County judge, Jim Hargreaves, first raised concerns on wweek.com that the age restrictions instated by Walmart, Dick's, Bi-Mart and Fred Meyer stores might violate Oregon's anti-discrimination laws. Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian says the policies probably violate those laws, but they were meant to "make public places safer." He told Courtney and Kotek he intends to introduce a bill in 2019 to place guns among the products listed as exceptions to the law—like alcohol and tobacco.
Wyden's Wife Inherits Bookstore: The family of U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is now a good deal wealthier—in books. The New York Post reported March 4 that Nancy Bass Wyden, the senator's wife, has inherited a large part of the $25 million fortune left by her late father, Fred Bass, who owned the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan. Bass, who died in January at age 89, left the Strand to Nancy Wyden in his will, the Post reported. Sen. Wyden's office declined to comment.
TriMet Ends $175 Fare-Hopping Fines: One of the most draconian fines in Portland is history. Last week, TriMet's board of directors voted to change the transit agency's fare evasion policy so that first-time offenders caught without a proof of fare payment are no longer handed a $175 fine. Riders who failed to pay the $2.50 fare will be allowed to pay a reduced fine, serve community service or enroll in a low income/honored citizen program. WW praised the reform last month ("30 Reasons to Love Portland Right Now," WW, Feb. 14, 2017).
Stone Enlists Proud Boys for Oregon Security: Roger Stone—the former political adviser to Richard Nixon and President Donald Trump—appeared without incident at the state's oldest Republican conference last weekend. But an organizer of the Dorchester Conference in Salem says Stone was so worried for his safety that he enlisted a right-wing group as private security. Patrick Sheehan, a Dorchester board member who booked Stone, says Stone reached out to the Proud Boys—a group notorious for its participation in Portland street brawls—after reading about violent political clashes in Oregon. "He was worried about getting killed," Sheehan says. "He gets death threats constantly." Photos of Stone drinking with a handful of Proud Boys circulated across social media over the weekend, outraging Democrats.