Murmurs: Lawmakers Close A Public-Health Loophole.

  1. The Oregon Senate voted 29-0 this week to require restaurants run by public entities to undergo routine health inspections. The legislation was prompted by a WW story in December that reported the Oregon Zoo’s restaurants hadn’t been inspected since 2006, and that government-run restaurants are exempt from inspections under a loophole in state law. WW examined the zoo’s record after a norovirus sickened 135 people at a zoo restaurant. Metro, the area’s regional government, runs the zoo. “Customers expect food from diners, cafes and bistros to be prepared in clean and safe kitchens,” says Sen. Chip Shields (D-Portland), the bill’s sponsor. “Restaurants operated by public entities should have to go through the same inspections.” The bill now goes to the Oregon House.
  1. The Portland Police Athletic Association has sold the building and closed the bar where members and retirees could drink without being bothered by common riffraff. The members-only police bar, recently reviewed in these pages (Bar Spotlight, WW, Feb. 20, 2013), closed March 1 when the $945,000 sale was completed. New owner Tom Briggs says his two sons plan to redevelop the space at 706 SE 6th Ave.
  1. The battle over the Columbia River Crossing has moved to outdoor advertising. Last week, a billboard went up at the confluence of Interstate 5 and Highway 217 that cryptically raises questions about the CRC—“Got Corruption?”—and features the Twitter hashtag #stopcrc. The billboard includes photos of two players in the $3.4 billion project: political consultant Patricia McCaig and Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler. WW recently profiled McCaig’s role in pushing the CRC as both adviser to Gov. John Kitzhaber and a paid consultant to the project (“The Woman Behind the Bridge,” WW, Feb. 27, 2013). Wheeler is on the hot seat because he’s required by law to approve the project’s financial plan before the state can sell bonds.
  1. The billboard was purchased by Lindsay Berschauer, a Republican consultant and ex-director of the Oregon Transformation Project, which last year backed Clackamas County candidates opposed to light rail with big contributions from Stimson Lumber (“The King of Clackistan,” WW, Oct. 31, 2012). Berschauer tells WW her firm, Leona Consulting, has been hired to fight the CRC but won’t say by whom. Meanwhile, Stimson Lumber CEO Andrew Miller tells WW neither he nor Stimson was involved in financing the billboard.
  1. Note to readers: The billboard’s photos of McCaig and Wheeler originally appeared in WW, which holds rights to the photos, and were used without WW’s permission or knowledge. Editor Mark Zusman has asked Berschauer to remove the photos. Berschauer has declined to do so.

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