Oregon Lottery Could Expand Online Offerings: After repeated delays, the Oregon Lottery says its first foray into online and app-based gaming will launch as soon as Oct. 16. Scoreboard, which will allow anyone in Oregon to place bets on professional sports, was supposed to be ready in time for the start of the NFL season—and is now debuting. But this may be just the start of the lottery's move online. Records obtained by WW from the lottery's correspondence with Gov. Kate Brown's office show lottery officials hope to add to online gaming—offering Jackpot draws, Scratch-its and Keno online, as well as "second draws" for losing tickets. Lottery spokesman Matt Shelby says the ideas are in the early stages. "Long term, we'd like to [offer other options online], but we don't have any specific road map to offer other products for sale via the digital channel," Shelby says. "We have focused more on what we won't sell: video lottery-type games."
AT&T Sued Over Levying Clean Energy Tax: A Portland professor filed suit against AT&T on Oct. 11, alleging the company improperly charged Portland customers for a city tax it isn't required to pay. Michael Fuller, the attorney representing Lewis & Clark College professor Elliott Young, now says he has 22 clients, as well as several others expressing interest, for a possible class action lawsuit, which would also demand AT&T pay a penalty to customers. "The AT&T customers we are hearing from are furious," Fuller says. As WW first reported last week, cellphone companies are exempt under the rules for the Portland Clean Energy Fund surcharge the city started collecting Sept. 10. The same exemption appeared in draft regulations published in April. "I would note that AT&T alone seems to have made this interpretation," says city Revenue Division director Thomas Lannom. "I'm not aware of any other utilities assessing the tax to customers."
Double-Dipping Placed on Hold: Gov. Kate Brown has paused implementation of a Senate bill provision that lifts restrictions on the number of hours retired public employees may work for their former employers. SB 1049 actually cut retirement benefits for current employees, but the stick came with a carrot: no more limits on the number of hours retirees could work for their old agencies. Critics call the practice—collecting a pension and a paycheck simultaneously—double-dipping. Some public employers like it, especially rural school districts and law enforcement agencies for whom qualified job candidates are hard to find. But the carrot proved too attractive. State agencies faced a mass exodus—13 percent of the state's workforce, or 4,547 employees, are currently eligible to retire—and an equity issue if those employees came back to earn more than their colleagues. So last month, the governor put the provision on hold. "We had significant concerns that this new law would facilitate accelerated retirements," says Brown spokeswoman Kate Kondayen, "if employees thought they could come back and work another five years while receiving both their regular pay and [public pension] benefits at the same time."
Mayor Hits Delete on Cribbed Tweet: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who recently launched a re-election bid, faces intense scrutiny for an Oct. 11 tweet on climate change. The wording of the tweet was cribbed from a climate emergency resolution written by an activist nonprofit. "Front-line communities…have historically borne the brunt of climate change + the extractive economy," read the tweet, which the mayor's office says was drafted by Wheeler spokeswoman Eileen Park using bureau documents while she and the mayor were in Copenhagen attending a climate change conference. Though there's nothing particularly eloquent about the wording of the tweet, it was copied from a proposal by a national nonprofit called Climate Mobilization. The mayor's office swiftly deleted the tweet. "Once it was brought to our attention that a good portion of it was similar to another source and (which should've been cited) the tweet was deleted as soon as possible," says Wheeler spokesman Timothy Becker. The mayor's office says it retained a screenshot of the deleted tweet to comply with public records laws. Becker says Wheeler didn't use the nonprofit's wording at the Copenhagen conference.