ALL KINDS OF CRIME ARE DOWN IN PORTLAND: The Portland Police Bureau published final crime numbers Monday for the month of December, confirming what top city officials have been telegraphing for months: Crime fell last year, nearly across the board. According to PPB data, 2023 saw around 9,700 “person” crimes—such as assault, rape and murder. That’s nearly a 5% drop from the year before. Property crimes showed an even more substantial improvement, falling 13%. These numbers reflect nationwide trends. Mayor Ted Wheeler held a press conference last week trumpeting the drop in homicides and shootings, joined by top city officials who described the city’s recent efforts to address crime, including community outreach and additional patrols. Still, the numbers aren’t yet a return to Portland’s historically low crime rates. Wheeler was flanked by Police Chief Bob Day and Mike Myers, director of Portland’s Community Safety Division. “We’re not sitting here popping champagne corks,” Wheeler said. “We know we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
GONZALEZ OUTRAISES RUBIO AND MAPPS IN MAYORAL RACE: The three city commissioners vying to become Portland’s next mayor are in the early stages of the race, but money is already flowing in. Well, to one of them, at least. City Commissioner Rene Gonzalez has raised $92,000 for his campaign so far, compared with $44,000 raised by Commissioner Mingus Mapps and $18,000 by Commissioner Carmen Rubio. While Rubio only declared her candidacy earlier this month, and therefore has had less time to campaign, Mapps declared in July—meaning he’s had five more months than Gonzalez to stump, but has raised significantly less money. Some of the gap in funding may be due to the caliber of donors Gonzalez is attracting: He has early backing from some of Portland’s wealthiest families in real estate development, including the Menashes and the Goodmans. And while Gonzalez’s median contribution so far is $100, Mapps’ median donation is $50. Rubio’s is $100.
LAWSUIT SAYS DIRECTORS MORTGAGE CEO GROOMED INTERN: A former top executive at Lake Oswego-based Directors Mortgage is accusing the firm’s CEO, Mark Hanna, of sexually grooming his teenage daughter and then firing him when he reported it. In a lawsuit filed Jan. 29 in Clackamas County Circuit Court, Anthony Levrets, then earning $720,000 a year as Directors’ vice president of strategic development, accuses Hanna of inappropriate behavior while Levrets’ 16-year-old daughter was employed as a summer intern last August. Hanna, the lawsuit says, discussed “his personal sex life” and “his affinity for fellatio” before ultimately offering to take her on a private jet to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Orange County, Calif. When Levrets’ daughter informed him of the offer, he reported it to the firm’s board of directors in October and was fired shortly thereafter, he says. Hanna did not respond to requests for comment from WW. The lawsuit is demanding more than $3.5 million in damages. It comes on the heels of another lawsuit, filed Dec. 22 by Directors Mortgage, accusing Levrets of starting his own business using company funds and trade secrets. Levrets declined to comment.
TRUCKERS SUE STATE: The Oregon Trucking Association and three member trucking companies filed a lawsuit in Douglas County Circuit Court on Jan. 30, alleging that truckers have been overcharged for road use under the state’s weight-mile tax. The truckers brought the lawsuit against Gov. Tina Kotek, Senate President Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) and House Speaker Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) in their official capacities, and against the state of Oregon and the Oregon Department of Transportation. At issue: truckers’ belief (which is clearly supported by state records) that the state has overcharged them for their use of state roads. “For at least the past six years, heavy-weight trucks have paid an ever-increasing and disproportionate share of the State of Oregon’s road revenue, contravening the mandate from the Oregon Constitution,” the lawsuit says. Every two years, the Oregon Department of Administrative Services conducts a cost-allocation study. The agency draws on a team of economists and consultants to determine whether light vehicles—less than 10,000 pounds—and heavy vehicles, which weigh more than 10,000 pounds, are paying their fair share. As the truckers allege in their lawsuit, the study has found for three consecutive two-year budget cycles that truckers have paid disproportionately more. “The extra burden on heavy vehicles is significant, immediate, and ongoing,” the lawsuit says. “This amounts to an overpayment of more than $528,000 every single day.” The Oregon Department of Justice, which represents the state in court, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.