Witness Rues Backlash Against Fire-Starter: In a new documentary about the 2017 Columbia River Gorge fire, the eyewitness who watched teenagers start it says she feels responsibility for the social media backlash against the 15-year-old fire-starter. "The way that it was written about," Liz Fitzgerald says, "was like, well wait. You are painting a picture like these kids were malicious. They were just clueless." Forest on Fire was filmed by Portlanders Reed Harkness and Heather Hawksford. Harkness says choosing to report the teens is "a huge weight to carry" for Fitzgerald. "She has felt very alone with that," he says. The teenager now owes $36 million in restitution.
Federal Judges block Pirate Hunters: A new ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could hobble lawyers who pursue copyright lawsuits against illegal downloaders. Judge M. Margaret McKeown ruled last week plaintiffs need more than an IP address to pursue suspected pirates. The appeal involved a suit by Oregon copyright lawyer Carl Crowell, who has brought infringement suits against dozens of "John Does" using just their IP addresses ("The Pirate Hunter," WW, Aug. 25, 2015). McKeown writes that alleging someone was subscribed to an IP address was "insufficient" to prove the IP address owner had illegally downloaded a movie. "It's a really good decision for internet subscribers, especially the ones that haven't done any downloading," says David Madden, the defendant's attorney.
Morale Lousy at Business Oregon: Gov. Kate Brown on Friday released the results of an investigation into complaints of gender and age discrimination at Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency. Investigators found managers at the agency did not appear to have violated any laws but they also found terrible morale. "There is widespread and strongly felt distrust among the staff," the report said. "Gov. Brown has directed [agency head] Chris Harder to accept all recommendations made by the independent investigators and deliver a plan to implement them in 30 days," says Brown's spokeswoman Nikki Fisher.
Terry Bean Donates in Portland Election: Real estate investor and gay rights leader Terry Bean is once again spending money on local politics. Bean, co-founder of the Human Rights Campaign, was a big national fundraiser for Democratic politicians before his 2015 indictment in Lane County on charges of sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy. Bean offered the alleged victim a $225,000 settlement prior to trial, and when the young man refused to testify, the case was dismissed. Records show that over the past month, Bean has given $3,367 to City Council candidate Jo Ann Hardesty. That's the largest Oregon contribution Bean has made since his legal troubles began and among Hardesty's largest contributions. "Terry Bean and I met in the early '90s, when I stood in solidarity with our LGBT community, which was under attack," Hardesty says. "[And] I'm a longtime advocate of 'ban the box' and allowing every community member an opportunity to make amends and re-engage in their communities. For Terry Bean, that means politics."