Murmurs: Suspect Indicted in Budtender Killing

In other news: Health chief faces school board challenge.

Suspect Indicted in Budtender Killing: The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday that a grand jury had indicted 20-year-old Daniel Mugisha for the murder of Michael Arthur, an employee at Cured Green cannabis dispensary in North Portland. After 9 pm on Dec. 14, 2020, the 44-year-old Arthur let a customer into the store after checking his ID. As he entered the store, surveillance footage showed, three more men attempted to force their way inside. As Arthur tried to force the door closed on the intruders, the man who had already entered the store shot Arthur in the back, killing him. As WW reported in March, Arthur’s death occurred amid a spate of cannabis shop armed robberies in Portland. By the time Arthur was killed, Portland cannabis shops had already been robbed, burglarized or looted 95 times in 10 months (“Killer Weed,” WW, March 3, 2021). Mugisha, who prosecutors say was the ringleader of a group of teenagers who stuck up weed shops, allegedly committed another armed robbery less than three weeks after Arthur’s death, at the Collective Awakenings dispensary in Northeast Portland.

Health Chief Faces School Board Challenge: In a sign of the contentious fight around reopening school classrooms, Oregon Health Authority director Patrick Allen faces a challenger for his seat on the Sherwood School Board, which he has held since 2013. Duncan Nyang’oro, an auditor with the workers’ compensation insurer SAIF Corp., is running on a platform to reopen schools. “I’ve had enough,” Nyang’oro writes in the Voters’ Pamphlet. “When they refused to listen to science, they chose politics over our kids.” Nyang’oro has outraised Allen this election cycle: $9,921.36 to Allen’s $5,473, with his two largest contributions, both in kind, from Protect Kids PAC ($1,174.50), which is controlled by John Swanson, chief of staff to state Sen. Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River), and Oregon Right to Life PAC ($750.76). While the seat is nonpartisan, Allen is a Democrat and Nyang’oro a Republican.

Tenants Get Another Extension on Back Rent: Tenants who owe back rent to their landlords can breathe a sigh of relief. On May 11, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 282A, extending the deadline for back rent payments until February 2022. This offers a significant reprieve for current and former renters who owe their landlords money for rent they couldn’t pay. The impending deadline to make those payments was June 30. The bill also prohibits landlords from discriminating against potential tenants who were evicted during COVID. The bill does, however, protect a landlord’s ability to seek references from a potential tenant’s prior landlord. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Kayse Jama (D-Portland) and Rep. Julie Fahey (D-Eugene). It now goes to Gov. Kate Brown for a signature.

TechfestNW Startups Selected: Nine companies have been selected as finalists for Angel Oregon Tech, a competition at TechfestNW to pitch startup ideas to investors. By the end of the month, the winning pitch will go home with an angel investment of $125,000. The nine finalists were winnowed from 90 companies that went through Angel Oregon Tech’s education program and investment event this spring that connects entrepreneurs, investors and founders. The nine finalists will take the stage at TechfestNW, a virtual conference presented May 21 by WW in partnership with Oregon Entrepreneurs Network. OEN director Amanda Oborne says artificial intelligence is driving many of this year’s standout products—which range from productivity-boosting headphones to a robot that picks strawberries. And some competitors don’t even look like tech companies at first blush. “What I’m really seeing,” Oborne says, “is that technology is in everything.”