- One Portland politician isnât softening his stance toward Walmart as the retail giant hires local software talent (âValue Shopping,â WW, Aug. 29, 2012). City Commissioner-elect Steve Novick says he wants the anti-Walmart flag that Mayor Sam Adams formerly displayed in his City Hall window, so he can hang it in his new office. âSomebody should have it up,â Novick says. Adams and mayoral candidates, Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-East Portland) and former City Commissioner Charlie Hales, say they oppose further Walmart retail locations within city limits but donât have a problem with WalmartLabs, the companyâs tech wing, building its mobile apps here. Novick disagrees. âIf itâs Walmart, Iâm against itâwhether itâs a lab or a store,â he says. In related news, the vacant Thunderbird on the River Hotel was destroyed last weekend in a $5 million, five-alarm inferno on Hayden Island. That site, owned by Howard Dietrich Jr., is where Adams blocked a planned Walmart in 2005.
- Freshly back from Tampa, Fla., where he calmly handled a rebellious Ron Paul faction within Oregonâs GOP delegation, Oregon Republican Party Chairman Allen Alley can now turn his thoughts to Novemberâand beyond. Friends say Alley, who lost to Chris Dudley in the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary, will challenge incumbent Gov. John Kitzhaber in 2014. House Co-Speaker Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg) previously told WW he is also considering running. âI havenât decided what Iâll do,â Alley says. âIâm open to things in the future.â
- The headquarters hotel has risen from the ashes. On Sept. 4, the Metro staff recommended the regional government move forward with the proposal for a 600-room hotel adjacent to the Oregon Convention Center from a group led by local developer Barry Schlesinger. The Metro Council will vote Sept. 13 on that recommendation. Although the latest attempt to attract more conventions may be less risky than previous efforts, opposition, led by downtown hotelier Gordon Sondland, will be fierce. âWe have a lot of questions,â Sondlandâs spokesman, Len Bergstein, says.
- Bob Wolfe, the chief petitioner for IP-24, a marijuana legalization measure that failed to make the ballot, was in Marion County Circuit Court on Sept. 4 arguing Secretary of State Kate Brownâs disqualification of signatures he turned in was âarbitrary and capricious.â Wolfe says the law required Brown to initiate administrative rules for evaluating individual signatures. The conflict has intensified Wolfeâs interest in challenging Brown in November, which he will do as the Progressive Party candidate. âWe will be activating social media,â Wolfe says. âWe do have the ability to reach out to a large number of marijuana law reform supporters.â No decision was reached by press time.