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September 28th, 2011 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Murmurs: Condoleezza's Speaking Fee and Illegal Wastewater Dumping

News that’s still in the running for the Heisman.

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  • Want to send your angry liberal friends the ultimate ironic gift? It’ll cost you at least $5,000. That’s the minimum donation necessary to get a personal photo op with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She’s scheduled to deliver the keynote speech Oct. 19 at the Simon Benson Awards dinner, which benefits Portland State University. Rice, as you may recall, argued for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and (according to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee) approved the waterboarding of prisoners in U.S. custody. In a letter to faculty, PSU President Wim Wiewel defended the choice of Rice “largely because of her personal story” and rise from humble beginnings. The private PSU Foundation is organizing the event, and even though public entities are sponsoring it—including PSU Athletics, the Port of Portland and Oregon Health & Science University—Wiewel says Rice’s speaking fee is classified.
  • The U.S. Senate on Monday voted to confirm Amanda Marshall as U.S. attorney for Oregon. Marshall, 42, who heads the child advocacy section of the Oregon Department of Justice, replaces Karin Immergut, who resigned in July 2009 and is now a Multnomah County Court judge. Including former U.S. attorney Kristine Olson, Marshall’s appointment means that three of the past four top federal prosecutors in Oregon have been women.
  • NW Natural’s image as an environmental steward has taken a bit of a dent. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality fined the utility $4,500 for illegally discharging wastewater into Eilertsen Creek along U.S. 30, about six miles west of Clatskanie, while replacing a pipeline. DEQ documents say NW Natural failed to get a permit to do the work, which spilled “turbid, sediment-laden” water into the creek. A NW Natural spokeswoman says the company didn’t fight the decision and has paid its fine.
  • The most expensive home ever sold in Southeast Portland is officially in the hands of the bank. The Laurelhurst house, known as the Bitar mansion, was at the center of a recent WW cover story about its controversial owner, Peter Fournier (“Bad Neighbor,” WW, July 20, 2011). ReconTrust Company, an affiliate of Bank of America, purchased the mansion, located at 3316 Southeast Ankeny, earlier this month in a foreclosure auction. The price: $1.605 million, about the same amount owed by the previous owners, Fournier and his wife, Kirstie. The Fourniers bought the house in 2006 for $1.825 million.

 
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