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September 18th, 2013 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs: No Jokes About the Bridge They Want to Sell You.

murmurs_3946GILLIAM - Image courtesy of Joe Gilliam

The Northwest Grocery Association is pushing hard to privatize liquor sales in Oregon and is seeking political support with the promise of steering $10 million in tax revenues directly to law-enforcement groups that might back the plan. A confidential memo written by NGA president Joe Gilliam specifically seeks support of the Oregon District Attorneys Association—pledging $2.7 million a year to DAs, plus additional grants, if the measure passes. Gilliam says the Washington state Legislature raided public-safety money added when that state privatized liquor sales, and he wants to protect such money in Oregon. The DAs are neutral. See Gilliam’s memo here.

The current bait and switch to sell the Columbia River Crossing would make an 82nd Avenue car dealer blush. Gov. John Kitzhaber and House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) are telling lawmakers to forget claims they made earlier this year when the Legislature  backed the $2.7 billion project: that the participation of Washington state in the interstate project was absolutely, positively necessary. They’re telling a different story since the Washington Legislature rejected the CRC. One new argument: Not having a pesky second state involved makes building the CRC much simpler. Go here to see Kotek’s memo. The state’s authority for its $450 million share of the CRC expires Sept. 30. A Kitzhaber spokesman says the governor hasn’t decided whether to have a CRC special session.


Members of the Multnomah Neighborhood Association want the city to cancel the sale of three-quarters of an acre around a decommissioned water tank in the 8700 block of Southwest 42nd Avenue. The City Council in 2010 voted to sell the land, along with seven other properties, to help reduce ballooning water bills. Renaissance Homes, the city’s top infill developer, agreed to buy the land for $140,000 and pay for demolishing the old tank. Neighbors claim they didn’t get any say in the matter, and that the land is valuable green space. “There’s a big family of pileated woodpeckers,” says neighborhood resident Jeremy Solomon. “The city should cancel this backroom deal.” Commissioner Nick Fish’s office, which oversees the Portland Water Bureau, says the city can’t renege on the contract. “We have to follow the rules,” says Fish staffer Sonia Schmanski.

Argh! It’s over for the Portland Radio Authority, once the city’s most notorious pirate radio station. The Federal Communications Commission chased the PRA’s illegal, 100-watt signal for three years before busting its downtown studio in 2006 (“Shipwrecked,” WW, March 8, 2006). PRA went online and legit but announced this week that it’s ending a decade of anarchic broadcasts Sept. 30 to merge with music station XRAY 91.1 FM.
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