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August 28th, 2013 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Murmurs: Forget it, Fritz—it’s Chinatown.

murmurs_3943FRITZ - IMAGE: leahnash.com
  • The long-running battle whether Portland Mayor Charlie Hales was a legally registered Oregon voter when he filed for office in 2011 took an odd turn this week. On Aug. 26, a Marion County judge dismissed Portland activist Seth Woolley’s case against Secretary of State Kate Brown and Multnomah County Elections Director Tim Scott. Woolley claims Brown and Scott failed to properly investigate Hales’ qualifications, but he didn’t appear at an Aug. 12 court hearing. Woolley says he had jury duty that day and plans to refile his lawsuit. “I’m not just going to let it go away,” Woolley says.
  • City Commissioner Amanda Fritz is working out a deal to dislodge Old Town homeless camp Right 2 Dream Too. Property owner Michael Wright says Fritz has offered to lease the camp a city-owned property under the west end of the Broadway Bridge and waive nearly $25,000 in fines, in exchange for Wright and the camp dropping a lawsuit against the city. “I told [the city] if I could establish some kind of cash flow and pay my property taxes, and if I could find a place for the homeless, then I would consider it,” Wright says. Right 2 Dream Too has been operating next to the iconic Chinatown gate since 2011, sheltering 80 to 100 homeless people in tents each night. Fritz and Mayor Charlie Hales have declined to comment until a deal is finalized, but sources including Wright say the city has been eager to move the camp because the Portland Lee Family Association—a property owner in Old Town/Chinatown—is hosting the National Lee Family Convention this weekend.
  • Gov. John Kitzhaber says he hasn’t decided whether to seek an unprecedented fourth term, but he’s already gathering big checks. Kitzhaber has picked up $25,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; $5,000 each from teriyaki-sauce king Junki Yoshida, Schnitzer Steel chairman John Carter, energy entrepreneur Brett Wilcox and trial lawyer Bill Barton; and $2,500 each from developers John Carroll and John Russell and New Seasons Market co-founder Stan Amy. Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point) has declared he’s running for governor, and Oregon GOP Chairman Allen Alley is considering a run.
  • When environmental groups sued the state of Oregon under the federal Endangered Species Act in January 2012, they wanted the state to harvest less timber from a federally protected habitat for  marbled murrelets. Those agencies got a nasty surprise this month when they learned the State Land Board is instead exploring selling off 2,714 acres of the Elliott State Forest to private owners. The state says the land isn’t financially sustainable without the timber sales it was conducting before a court-ordered injunction. “This comes across as a temper tantrum kind of response,” says Bob Sallinger, spokesman for the Audubon Society of Portland, one of the groups that filed the lawsuit.
 
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