Murmurs: Paul Allen’s Death Leaves Void for Blazers

In other news: Portland mayor aims to quash street violence.

Paul Allen, 1953-2018 (Bruce Ely)

Paul Allen's Death Leaves Void for Blazers: For nearly 30 years, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has invested his wealth—estimated at $20 billion—in his beloved Portland Trail Blazers. Allen's death from cancer, on Oct. 15 at age 65, casts a pall over the franchise he bought in 1988 for $70 million. NBA insiders speculate Allen's sister and heiress, Jody Allen, may want to sell the Blazers—and based on recent team sales, the franchise could be worth well over $1 billion. Allen's death may also put into play one of the most desirable undeveloped parcels along the Willamette riverfront. The nearly 4-acre parcel Allen purchased in 1992 could finally come up for sale. Allen demolished a Red Lion Hotel that sat on the site between Moda Center and the river in 2001 and had considered a variety of options for the property, currently a surface parking lot long coveted by real estate developers. Allen's company, Vulcan, says no decisions about his empire will be made for some time.

Mayor Aims to Quash Street Violence: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler proposed an emergency ordinance Oct. 15 to allow Portland police to separate dueling protest groups that have turned the streets of downtown into battlegrounds. The new rules would allow officers to require protesters with a history of violence to gather in designated areas, where police would have an easier time keeping adversaries separated. "I will not allow continued, planned street violence between rival factions to take place in Portland, Oregon," Wheeler said. The change comes on the heels of a Oct. 13 melee outside Kelly's Olympian bar, where the right-wing groups Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys brawled with antifascists. The fracas came after national conservative media outlets accused Wheeler of allowing "mob rule." City commissioners say they did not get advance notice of Wheeler's proposed rules and want to seek community input.

Right-Wing Protesters Found Atop Garage With Guns: Wheeler's move to crack down on protest violence was overshadowed by the revelation that Portland police found Patriot Prayer supporters before an Aug. 4 rally on a parking structure roof with a "cache of firearms." Portland police downplayed the incident Oct. 16, saying the guns were three unloaded rifles, never seized, and the owners were allowed to stay on the top floor of the garage throughout the protest. Officers say they did not make any arrests because the gun owners had valid concealed handgun licenses. A spokeswoman for the mayor says he did not learn of the encounter until Oct. 15, when he read about the incident in a list of examples that showed a "pattern of escalation, injury and property damage" at protests.

Richardson's Health Worsens: Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, who is battling brain cancer, surprised his colleagues on the Oregon State Land Board—Gov. Kate Brown and state Treasurer Tobias Read—when he announced late in the afternoon Oct. 15 he would not attend the Land Board meeting the following morning or any subsequent meetings until his cancer treatment was complete. The Oregon Department of Justice is considering the legal question whether Richardson's aide Leslie Cummings can vote in his absence on Land Board matters. The move raises the issue of whether Richardson, 69, the state's top elections official, is well enough to oversee the November ballot. The secretary's chief of staff, Deb Royal, says Richardson and his aides are more than capable of supervising the election. "Since the treatment the Secretary is undergoing is very fatiguing, at this time, he is delegating personal appearances to his deputy and focusing on agency management, the election, cyber security, and audits," she says.

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