1. A Eugene firm affiliated with Seneca Jones Timber Co. is behind the mysterious billboards sprouting up across Portland (see above). The signs are an opaque attack on Gov. John Kitzhaber that require an Oregon political almanac to decipher. The $200,000 in ads were donated to the campaign of Kitzhaber’s re-election opponent, Republican Dennis Richardson, by Seneca Sustainable Energy. The signs refer to the bungled Columbia River Crossing (“The bridge?”), the Cover Oregon fiasco (“The website?”), Kitzhaber’s failed education chief (“Rudy Crew?”), controversy over the sale of a state forest (“The Elliott?”) and Kitzhaber’s 2013 trip to Asia (“Bhutan?”). Seneca, which generally supports conservative candidates, has benefited from millions in state energy tax credits and local property tax breaks. Seneca Energy co-owner Kathy Jones was unavailable for comment.
  1. We may now know why the University of Oregon kept allegations of rape against three men’s basketball players secret until May: It might have been protecting the team’s already tenuous academic rating with the NCAA while helping UO officials pocket bonuses tied to keeping the rating up. KATU reports it has turned up documents that show UO’s rating would have dropped below an acceptable level and exposed the Ducks to NCAA sanctions if the accused players—Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin—had been expelled when the alleged victim first leveled her accusations in March. The players were kicked off the team in May but have not been charged with a crime. UO officials deny protecting the basketball program or that officials’ bonuses played any role in their treatment of the players.
  1. State Sen. Alan Olsen (R-Canby) probably thought inviting female lobbyists to a $500-per-person fundraiser at his wife’s clothing boutique Sept. 9 would be a great way to rake in campaign contributions for his re-election. As an added incentive, he offered the “ladies of the lobby” (as his invitation put it) a special 10 percent discount on items purchased at Juanita Olsen’s Canby store, Especially for You. Problem is, there are laws against that. Ethics and election laws bar anyone from offering incentives to give or receive campaign contributions, or from profiting from public office—by, say, inducing sales at his wife’s boutique. The event was scheduled to take place after WW went to press. Olsen—who faces a tough re-election challenge from Democrat Jamie Damon—tells WW that he never considered that the fundraiser might run afoul of the law. Asked about the discount on purchases from his wife’s store, Olsen said, “I guess they shouldn’t buy anything then.”