Murmurs: We Could Charge County Officials to Use the Loo.

  1. When voters approved a new taxing district for the Multnomah County Library last fall, they also crunched the City of Portland’s budget. That’s because the new taxing district squeezed out $10 million the city could otherwise collect for its general fund under property-tax limits. Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen and then-Mayor Sam Adams in November struck a deal to shift costs of the Sellwood Bridge rebuild off the city’s back. But a previously undisclosed letter from Cogen to Adams detailing the agreement shows the bargain contains no direct savings to the city’s general fund. Commissioner Nick Fish, for one, wants Cogen to chip in more money. “My hope is we can negotiate with the county to protect programs we both care about,” Fish says. Those could include county programs the city helps fund—such as three Schools Uniting Neighborhoods sites and $500,000 for senior centers—but face cuts in the city’s budget. Cogen says he’ll have further conversations, but not about the library deal. “The agreement we reached,” he says, “was the agreement.”
  1. Oregon has the fewest restrictions on abortion of any state, according to Remapping Debate, a Columbia University Journalism School public-policy project that compiled the rankings. While states such as Oklahoma have 22 laws making abortions difficult to obtain, Oregon has none. (Washington, California and Vermont were among those with the fewest restrictions.) The project also found states “enacted more restrictions on abortion in 2011 and 2012 than in any other years since Roe v. Wade was decided four decades ago.” Now comes news anti-abortion activist and former state lawmaker Marilyn Shannon has filed an initiative petition to ban publicly funded abortions except in life-threatening cases. Shannon wasn’t available for comment.
  1. In related news: Murmurs has been following Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette’s search for a new CEO. We reported one leading candidate was Judy Peppler, former CEO of telecommunications company Qwest Oregon. The board halted that process after reports in WW that Peppler had backed conservative, anti-abortion candidates in 2008 and 2010—news that raised the ire of some Planned Parenthood backers. We also reported former state Rep. Mary Nolan (D-Portland) was a leading candidate for the job. But the new CEO is Stacy James, who held the same job with Planned Parenthood in Montana for 11 years. Cara Jacobsen, the local organization’s chairwoman, said James was picked in part because of her experience in expanding health services, including to transgender patients.

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