ANOTHER CANDIDATE FOR SECRETARY OF STATE: Sources tell WW state Sen. Shemia Fagan (D-Portland) will soon enter the Democratic primary for Oregon secretary of state. Fagan is midway through a four-year term, which means she can run without giving up her East Portland seat. She will join a crowded field that includes state Sen. Mark Hass (D-Beaverton), Jamie McLeod Skinner, and Cameron Smith. Fagan, 38, will replace her friend, former House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland), who abruptly quit the race earlier this month after WW reported her spending campaign funds on exotic travel and meals. Fagan could be the candidate most likely to win public employee union support (unlike Williamson, she voted against contentious pension cuts in 2019). Fagan was unavailable for comment.
TWO PORTLANDERS UP FOR MEDAL OF HONOR: Ricky Best, who was murdered on a Portland MAX train May 26, 2017, after he intervened in Jeremy Christian's racist screed against two black teenagers, is a finalist for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society's Citizens Honors Award for "demonstrating extraordinary heroism," Rep. Earl Blumenauer tells WW. Former Parkrose High School football coach Keanon Lowe has also been nominated. Lowe, a former University of Oregon wide receiver, averted a possible school shooting last year when he calmed and hugged a student who entered the building with a loaded handgun. "Portland will continue to stand against hate," Blumenauer said, "and I'm proud to represent a city with such strong values."
HOMELESS SERVICES MEASURE MAKES MAY BALLOT: After a week of confusion and delays, regional government Metro voted Feb. 25 to refer a roughly $250 million-a-year measure for homeless services to the May ballot. If approved by voters, it would raise taxes on the wealthiest 10 percent of households in the three-county Portland region, as well as hike taxes on big businesses. Couples would pay 1 percent of their taxable income above $200,000, slightly lower than originally proposed; for single filers, the threshold remains at $125,000.
CITY EMPLOYEE CONFRONTS HARDESTY: The city's Human Resources Bureau is investigating Gregory Isaacson, a Portland Parks & Recreation employee and right-wing activist, after he participated in a protest Feb. 22 during which Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty was verbally harassed. "This weekend, I learned of a disturbing incident that took place on Saturday," Mayor Ted Wheeler said in an email to WW. "My colleague [Hardesty] was subjected to verbal abuse and harassment by a group of demonstrators in Lownsdale Square. We do not tolerate threatening behavior." The Portland Mercury first reported the confrontation in the park. Video shows other protesters hurled obscenities at Hardesty while Isaacson, clad in a purple suit and bowler, watched from his bicycle. At press time, Isaacson had not responded to WW's request for comment. Hardesty's office declined to comment.
ZERO CORONAVIRUS CASES IN OREGON: The Oregon Health Authority said Feb. 24 it was monitoring 76 people for coronavirus. That could inspire fear in even the most level-headed Portlander. But here's the key number: So far, no one in Oregon has actually tested positive. OHA began monitoring 254 people because they had either recently traveled to mainland China or had contact with a confirmed coronavirus case—not because they had shown symptoms of the virus. OHA has cleared 178 of those people, who did not develop any symptoms.