HERNANDEZ LOSES ENDORSEMENT: NARAL Pro Choice Oregon has withdrawn its endorsement of Rep. Diego Hernandez (D-East Portland) after WW reported last month that he was the subject of a restraining order alleging violent behavior while drunk. Hernandez is on the ballot in May, running unopposed for the Democratic Party nomination in his district. (The restraining order has since been dismissed.) Hernandez has taken a leave of absence from the Legislature—he's still being paid, as required by statute. "Over the next several weeks I too am going to stay home and take a leave/step back from my legislative duties to have time to reflect on the past, seek guidance and work on my physical and emotional health," Hernandez wrote in an April 2 letter to colleagues. "Time will allow me to focus on my next steps."
LAUDERDALE BLASTS CRUMPACKER: Thomas Lauderdale, founder of the band Pink Martini, is a politically active progressive, but he joined numerous rock-ribbed Republicans in contributing to the campaign of Jimmy Crumpacker, a Portlander who recently moved to Bend and is running in the GOP primary to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.). But on April 3, Lauderdale sent Crumpacker an email, which he copied to dozens of prominent Portlanders, expressing regret he'd given Crumpacker $250. "The advertising you've mounted for your campaign demonstrates no desire to build bridges, or cross party lines," Lauderdale wrote. "In fact, it is quite the opposite. I would go so far as to say it is racist, xenophobic and anti-American. Therefore, I must ask for my donation back." Crumpacker and Lauderdale could not be reached for comment.
CONSTRUCTION CREW WALKS OFF HAYWARD FIELD: Oregon's construction industry, which employs more than 100,000 workers, is still on the job—it isn't included in Gov. Kate Brown's stay-home order ("Work in Progress," WW, April 1, 2020). The owner of one company working on the renovation of Hayward Field at the University of Oregon told WW this week that his employees felt it was impossible to work safely. When he notified the company that hired his crew, he was told his contract was canceled. Hoffman Construction, general contractor on the project, insists safety is its highest priority. But the subcontractor, who asked to remain anonymous, wonders whether fixing up an athletic facility is worth endangering workers' health: "I don't see how it would cause a problem to shut down for a few weeks."
PORTLAND DRIVERS FLOUT SPEED LIMITS: Portlanders are driving too fast on the city's empty roads, the Portland Police Bureau says. Data shows speeders driving more than 31 miles per hour over the speed limit has spiked from two citations on Feb. 9 to 29 citations on March 29. On that same day, 90 people citywide were cited for driving 21 to 30 miles per hour over the speed limit, as opposed to 44 on Feb. 9. Four people were cited on March 29 for speeding 100 or more miles per hour. Speeders persisted this week, the bureau says.
INDEPENDENTS HOLD INNOVATIVE PRIMARY: Oregon receives due credit for being the first state to conduct its elections entirely by mail, but the state's 125,000-member Independent Party is taking innovation to a new level. The party will open its primary to all non-affiliated and minor-party members, meaning 1 million voters who belong to neither to the Independent Party of Oregon nor the two major parties get to participate in an election to be held online and will use ranked-choice voting, which allows voters to express their relative support for all candidates for a particular office, not just vote for one. "Given the impact of COVID-19 on elections around the country, we believe it's important to continue pushing the envelope of what is possible with technology in elections," says IPO secretary Sal Peralta. "Our primary election is a real-world test of some alternatives."