Electrical Supplies Tycoon Backs Baseball: The identity of the financial backers of the Portland Diamond Project, the group seeking to bring a Major League Baseball franchise to this city, is a closely guarded secret. The only investors publicly identified so far have been Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, the singer Ciara. But WW has learned that Harvey Platt, the retired CEO of Platt Electric, is also one of the group's backers. Records show that Platt, whose family sold Platt Electric in 2012 for $382 million, formed a company called Home Plate Investments LLC in September 2017, two months after PDP was formed. Platt didn't return a call seeking comment, but PDP spokesman John McIsaac confirmed his involvement, although he would not share details. "Harvey is very excited to support the campaign to bring MLB to Portland," McIsaac says.
Deal to Send Tourist Dollars to Homeless in Jeopardy: On Dec. 18, elected officials at Portland City Hall, Multnomah County and Metro released a joint statement cheering the progress in reaching a deal on using hotel taxes for homeless services. But behind the scenes, city officials say the county is holding up the deal. The three governments use hotel and rental-car taxes to fund the Convention Center and support tourism as well as other venues across the city. For the past year, County Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury has championed the idea of directing $5 million a year to homeless services as part of the agreement ("Checking In, WW, Dec. 12, 2018). On Dec. 14, the city's lobbyist, Elizabeth Edwards, reported in an email obtained by WW that the county had suggested a version of the pact that "was severely inconsistent with terms of our agreement, introduced new concepts, raised issues that had previously been settled, etc." It's unclear at this point whether a deal will be reached, but county and city officials say they plan to continue discussions.
Hotel In Firestorm After Kicking Out Guest: The DoubleTree Hotel in Portland took to Twitter on Dec. 28 to issue a belated apology for its treatment of a black man staying at the hotel Dec. 22. The Lloyd District hotel faced a social-media firestorm after Jermaine Massey, 34, a paid guest, filmed himself being removed from the hotel by a security guard and Portland police. "Jermaine Massey was 'calling his mother while black' from a quiet corner of the lobby of the DoubleTree hotel in Portland," Massey's attorneys, Greg and Jason Kafoury, said in a statement. "Please explain in detail in what manner Mr. Massey was a threat to safety or security." The hotel later apologized and said it had placed two employees on leave. (After press deadlines, the hotel fired the two employees.)
Richardson says He'll Seek Re-Election: Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, Oregon's only Republican statewide officeholder, has been battling brain cancer since May. He's reduced his public schedule to almost nothing and no longer attends meetings of the State Land Board in person. But this week, in a rare interview, Richardson told Jim Pasero, publisher of the conservative Oregon Transformation newsletter, he's optimistic about his future and his ability to hold onto a position Democrats covet. "With God's help, I'll complete this term in office, and with the voters' help, I'll win re-election," Richardson told Pasero. "My 2020 campaign engine is fired up and moving forward. In fact, last week, I sent my first fundraising letter for the 2020 election."