Murmurs: A Lobbyist Seeking a Different Pelt

  1. Lobbyist Paul Phillips represents many powerful interests in Salem, including physician groups that have collectively given Gov. John Kitzhaber $450,000 in recent years. Now Phillips, a lifetime member of the Safari Club International, a big-game hunters’ group, wants something from Kitzhaber—an appointment to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. Phillips has also been talking to Oregon’s state senators, who also get his clients’ contributions and must approve any appointment by the governor. Kitzhaber has yet to choose from among three candidates vying for the open spot. Phillips says there’s no quid pro quo involved and nothing wrong with his seeking an appointment. “My wife and I have spent a lot of our resources on conservation, and I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world hunting,” Phillips says. And his clients’ generous donations to Kitzhaber? “Detractors are just trying to spin up a story,” he says. “It matters not.”
  1. The Oregonian’s days at 1320 SW Broadway are winding down. Sources at the paper say newsroom operations (now called Oregonian Media Group) are looking to move to office space in Crown Plaza at 1500 SW 1st Ave., owned by a partnership that includes the Mark and Goodman families.  Crown Plaza’s owners declined to comment. Publisher N. Christian Anderson III tells WW no lease deal is complete and “it is most unlikely that we will be moving anywhere this spring.” The O announced last year it would be leaving its 1948 Pietro Belluschi-designed building. Real-estate sources say the paper’s New Jersey owners are close to selling the building to Urban Renaissance Group, which has rehabbed other downtown properties. None of the principals involved in such a sale would comment.
  1. Lawsuits be darned—Portland has begun distributing the money it raised from the Arts Tax. The city has collected $7.9 million from the $35-a-person tax voters approved in 2012 to fund elementary-school arts teachers and arts nonprofits. This month, Portland has divided $3.3 million among the  six school districts in the city. At the moment, though, arts groups are getting the fuzzy end of the lollypop. The city has given only $200,000 to the Regional Arts & Culture Council, and officials say RACC will have to wait for delinquent taxpayers to pay up before more money comes its way. One of those refusing to pay is Lewis & Clark Law School professor Jack Bogdanski, whose lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Arts Tax is one of two cases under appeal. City Commissioner Nick Fish says Portland decided not to wait for the legal decisions. “The fact is, 62 percent of the voters directed us to give this money to kids,” Fish says. “We have an obligation to fulfill that mandate.”

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