Murmurs: All the News 55% of Taxpayers Deserve.

  1. N. Christian Anderson III arrived as The Oregonian’s publisher in 2009 with a bold idea to change the way the newspaper looked: He wanted a tabloid-style format with stapled pages. The presentation, which The O calls the compact edition, initially sputtered with advertisers. Anderson has finally won the day. The paper announced Jan. 22 that by April 2 it will convert all sections to 11-by-15-inch stapled pages (like its weekly Home and Gardens of the Northwest section). The format change means the newspaper’s Metro section will be folded together with national news while Sports will remain its own section. It’s the paper’s boldest design change in decades, and the biggest strategic move in print since the paper went digital-news first in October after laying off nearly one-fourth of its news staff. “For 163 years, The Oregonian has changed to keep pace with the needs and expectations of our readers and advertisers,” Anderson said. “Our latest redesign is just the next step in the paper’s ongoing evolution.”
  1. Nearly half of the city still hasn’t paid its Portland Arts Tax. The Portland Revenue Bureau tells WW that 55 percent of the city’s population has ponied up. (The number of people actually required to pay is fuzzy, since Mayor Charlie Hales added a slew of exemptions last summer.) Portland officials this month have distributed $3.5 million of the $7.8 million collected to local schools and arts organizations—even though two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the 2012 voter-approved tax are ongoing (“Murmurs,” WW, Jan. 15, 2014). Revenue Bureau director Thomas Lannom says he expects more people to pay once the Arts Tax is added to tax-preparation software such as TurboTax. “No tax-collection program collects all taxes owed,” he says, “and especially new programs.”
  1. As first reported by, the Multnomah County Republican Party promoted a raffle of an AR-15 rifle by linking itself to the values of President Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.—both assassinated by gunmen—at its annual Lincoln Day dinner event Feb. 15. The subsequent outcry caused the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral to tell the party to find another venue for its dinner. The backlash led to a small GOP retreat, but not an apology, as some media reported. “We apologize if people were hurt by the message being marred by insufficient wording and/or cynical misinterpretations by those who disagree with us politically,” read a county GOP statement. It added this: “The great political issue today is whether or not the American people of all creeds and races will live free or live as slaves—slaves to their own overreaching government.”

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