Murmurs: All The News That's Fit To Drink.

  1. The biggest financial backer of a ballot initiative to take away control of Portland’s water and sewer bureaus from City Hall says it will back off if Mayor Charlie Hales meets its demands for reforms. Portland Bottling Co. president Tom Keenan told Hales and City Commissioner Nick Fish in a Sept. 30 email (obtained by WW with a public records request) his firm wants city leaders to replace the Water Bureau’s top managers, cut water rates next year and seek a deferral from federal requirements to cover the city’s open-air reservoirs. Keenan says he didn’t want to make the conversation public but stands by his offer. “I’m trying to get these unconscionable rates rolled back,” he tells WW. “It doesn’t matter who does it, by referendum or by the city.” Fish says the demands are extreme: “I now have renewed sympathy for the president as he negotiates with House Republicans.”
  1. The financially troubled Oregon Ballet Theatre has put its headquarters building on the market. WW reported earlier this year that OBT is $300,000 in arrears for use of the Portland’s Centers for the Arts. Records also show a $300,000 loan to OBT came due Aug. 15. OBT bought its headquarters at Southeast 6th Avenue and Morrison Street in 2000 for $1.45 million. The ballet’s real-estate broker last week didn’t list a sales price. Spokesman Ben Wood says OBT is just “gauging interest.”
  1. A Portland police detective caught talking to potential jurors outside a Multnomah County courtroom is under internal investigation. Sources confirm that internal affairs investigators are looking into the actions of Detective Jason Lobaugh at a Sept. 4 criminal trial. A judge dressed down Lobaugh for telling jurors in the hallway “the detective in this case is outstanding.” Lobaugh was talking about himself, and jurors reported feeling coerced by his comments (“Tamper Tantrum,” WW, Sept. 18, 2013). Police considered the matter closed before our story about Lobaugh’s actions. “The bureau is looking into this incident,” Lt. Michael Marshman told WW in an Oct. 7 email. “So at this time the bureau is not able to comment.”
  1. Next year’s campaign to legalize marijuana in Oregon will feature big national money active in successful Washington and Colorado efforts last year. The first in: Progressive Insurance founder Peter Lewis, who contributed $32,000 this week to New Approach Oregon, which is looking at a petition drive for 2014. Lewis, whose net worth Forbes magazine pegged at $1.25 billion, and hedge-fund titan George Soros (net worth: $20 billion) typically work in concert on marijuana legalization efforts.

WWeek 2015

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