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Murmurs: Novick Flying Anti-Walmart Flag

News hotter than the Thunderbird Hotel.

  1. One Portland politician isn’t softening his stance toward Walmart as the retail giant hires local software talent (“Value Shopping,” 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. “Somebody should have it up,” 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 don’t have a problem with WalmartLabs, the company’s tech wing, building its mobile apps here. Novick disagrees. “If it’s Walmart, I’m against it—whether it’s a lab or a store,” 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.
  1. Freshly back from Tampa, Fla., where he calmly handled a rebellious Ron Paul faction within Oregon’s GOP delegation, Oregon Republican Party Chairman Allen Alley can now turn his thoughts to November—and 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. “I haven’t decided what I’ll do,” Alley says. “I’m open to things in the future.”
  1. 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. “We have a lot of questions,” Sondland’s spokesman, Len Bergstein, says.
  1. 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 Brown’s disqualification of signatures he turned in was “arbitrary and capricious.” Wolfe says the law required Brown to initiate administrative rules for evaluating individual signatures. The conflict has intensified Wolfe’s interest in challenging Brown in November, which he will do as the Progressive Party candidate. “We will be activating social media,” Wolfe says. “We do have the ability to reach out to a large number of marijuana law reform supporters.” No decision was reached by press time.