Williamson Polling for Several Jobs: After stepping down as Oregon House majority leader last month, state Rep. Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland) is polling to help determine what office to seek next year. Her choice could determine what a number of other candidates do. The Portland lawyer and four-term incumbent wants to be attorney general, but two-term incumbent Ellen Rosenblum has told allies unofficially she'll seek a third term. (Disclosure: Rosenblum is married to the co-owner of WW's parent company.) Mounting a primary challenge to Rosenblum could be tricky, especially after Williamson angered unions by recently voting for public pension reforms. Williamson, 45, is also reportedly considering an open secretary of state's seat, replacing state Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) should Burdick retire, or running for Multnomah County district attorney (where she'd probably face a close friend, Oregon Criminal Justice Commission director Michael Schmidt). Or she could just run for re-election to her House seat. Williamson says she hasn't made any decisions yet. "I've asked my political team to conduct a thorough analysis of legislative and statewide options," she says, "including a survey of primary voters."
OHSU Employee Trolls Union: Oregon Health & Science University has removed a member from its bargaining team after he created fake social media accounts to troll American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 328. The union local surfaced allegations of the troll account being linked to OHSU employee Patrick Frengle on Aug. 5, writing that it suspected Frengle had created two Twitter accounts under the names Aanus McFadden and Roy Vragina, which tweeted frequently to and about the union and spread false information about union dues. In response, OHSU tweeted to the union this week that Frengle had "been removed from [the] bargaining team, effective immediately, and is prohibited from participating in any future negotiations." Union spokesman Ross Grami says OHSU apologized to the union bargaining team in an email on Tuesday, Aug. 6, confirming Frengle had admitted being responsible for the troll accounts. A spokesperson for OSHU did not respond to WW's request for comment.
Vaccine-Doubting Doctor Loses Medicaid Funding: Dr. Paul Thomas, the Beaverton pediatrician who is a leading figure in the anti-vaccine movement ("Alt-Vaxx," WW, March 20, 2019), has been barred from participating in a federal program that provides poor children with vaccinations. That means he loses funding from the Vaccines for Children Program, which provides free vaccines to children on Medicaid or otherwise in need. The July 12 order issued by the Oregon Health Authority, barring him from participation, states Thomas failed to stock two of the required vaccines (the rotavirus and HPV vaccines), as mandated under the program. "Dr. Thomas…is not exercising medical judgment in accordance with accepted medical practice," it also states. Contacted by WW to explain why he'd been barred, Thomas texted: "I didn't jump through their hoops fast enough." Also last week, Thomas announced he will begin charging patients a $295 annual fee.
Katie Shepherd Goes to Washington: WW reporter Katie Shepherd departs this month for a job at The Washington Post. In two years at WW, Shepherd wrote stories that led to the closure of a loophole in Oregon law that allowed thieves to repeatedly steal cars; spurred the state's prisons to administer more flu shots to inmates; and revealed the cozy relationship between a right-wing organizer and the police lieutenant who was supposed to be monitoring his violent activities. Shepherd will join the Morning Mix team at the Post. On the night shift, she will cover late-breaking news and bring local stories to a national audience. She hopes to continue reporting on political extremism in the U.S.