A veritable conclave of current events.


Nike's spin-meisters earned their ducats last week. The Swoosh leaked a report listing all its worldwide contractors to The Oregonian-in exchange for a promise that the newspaper would limit its interviewing to a Nike-picked list of labor-practice critics. Kudos to Oregonian public editor Michael Arrieta-Walden for blowing the whistle on his paper's deal in his Sunday column.

Congratulations to Reed College for hosting embattled University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, securing the school's reputation as a haven for spoken-word poets and left-of-Chomsky lunatics. Organizers endorsed free speech with Stalinistic fervor, banning cameras and recording devices and doing their best to keep the corporate media out of the loop.

Sure, the Trail Blazers' season has been bleak. But think of the positives as the team limps to the end! Damon Stoudamire might be on his way outta town, but he added another franchise record to his résumé by sinking his 180th trey on Sunday night. Also, after beating the even-more-pathetic Utah Jazz, the Blazers are not the worst team in the NBA's Northwest Division. Best of all, owner Paul Allen says he has no plans to sell. And if that doesn't bring a smile to your face, nothing will.

Local shipyard operator Cascade General got a boost last week when the Port of Portland agreed to slash the interest rate and extend the term of the shipyard's $12.5 million in debt. Cascade bought the Swan Island shipyard from the Port in 2000.


After three years of financial losses, the Rose Festival finally realized that "chicks in lime-green tube tops and the sketchy guys who love them" no longer make for the good time they once did. In addition to staff cuts and other moves, the age-old spring festival plans a makeover for its shady Waterfront Village-more "family-oriented" attractions are on the docket.

Downtown's commuter criminals and ticket scofflaws winced at news that TriMet is considering scrubbing Fareless Square, the zone where buses, MAX trains and streetcars are free. Fare-dodgers, mobile drug dealers and post-9/11 security risks have transit bosses worried for the future of the once-innovative free-ride sector.

Not all Hamburglars make off with quarter-pounders. Former Burgerville exec Mike McBride copped a plea last week on charges that he embezzled more than $200,000 from the beloved local fast-food chain. He blew the ill-gotten proceeds from fresh strawberry-shake sales on auto parts and a $12,000 bracelet, among other things.

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