Murmurs: CRC Budget Irregularities and First Responder Bragdon

Today is the first day of the 2016 campaign.

  1. The founder of HemCon Medical Technologies, the bankrupt Portland-based medical bandage company, wasn’t happy to see a blistering letter from one of his investors, divorce lawyer Jody Stahancyk, published in these pages (“The Scarlet Letter,” WW, Aug. 1, 2012). HemCon co-founder Dr. Kenton Gregory filed a complaint with the Oregon State Bar the next day, alleging Stahancyk had violated attorney-client confidentiality; Stahancyk had served as Gregory’s divorce attorney and made reference to Gregory’s children while scorching him for his management of HemCon, in which she and others lost money. Stahancyk wrote: “Had I made the choices you did, your children would be roadkill.” “I recognize that Ms. Stahancyk’s letter is strident in tone,” bar assistant general counsel Paul Neese wrote Gregory in dismissing his complaint. “The bar has no authority to impose professional discipline on a lawyer for making rude or discourteous statements.”
  1. Think the $3.5 billion for the Columbia River Crossing will be spent on the bridge, freeway improvements and light-rail line? Think again. Vancouver-based forensic accountant Tiffany Couch has found $50.6 million is budgeted for TriMet’s Ruby Junction light-rail maintenance facility, 16 miles from the CRC site. The reason? So Ruby Junction can handle 19 additional light-rail cars for a new Vancouver line. Couch notes the Milwaukie MAX expansion will add 20 cars but only includes $8.1 million for Ruby Junction. Couch called the CRC money padded on for TriMet’s facility “significant enough to be classified as an irregularity.” The CRC did not return calls for comment.
  1. Update: Last week, Murmurs reported Jack Ohman, The Oregonian’s award-wining editorial cartoonist, took a buyout after 29 years at the daily. He’s landed at The Sacramento Bee, where he will replace his friend Rex Babin, who died in March. The McClatchy-owned newspaper in California’s state capital will give Ohman, a Pulitzer finalist this year, a bigger stage. Oregonian publisher N. Christian Anderson III says the newspaper has not yet decided whether it will hire a new cartoonist.
  1. After Hurricane Sandy battered New York City last week, one former Portlander was on the scene: David Bragdon reported for duty as a tree inspector. Bragdon, a former Metro Council president, directs New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s planning office. Bragdon spent Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 as an arboreal first responder, inspecting about 150 Brooklyn trees toppled by the superstorm. “We were generally the first city employees people had seen,” Bragdon says. “There’s something really satisfying about it. It might be more satisfying to be on the chainsaw crew. Maybe next time.”

WWeek 2015

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