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

Murmurs: In Scappoose, No One Can Hear You Scream.

murmurs_4007JOHNSON - IMAGE: Leah Nash
  • Howard Dean may have inadvertently kick-started the re-election campaign of state Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose). Johnson is often a swing vote in a Senate that Democrats control by a 16-14 margin. In July, Johnson’s vote killed a Democratic bill to dramatically expand voter registration. That got the attention of Dean—the former Vermont governor, Democratic National Committee chairman and presidential campaign screamer—who tweeted July 9, “We need a new senator.” To ward off a 2014 challenger, Johnson has already raised $265,000. That’s more than the Legislature’s two most powerful members—Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) and House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland)—have raised this year combined.
  • Last month, Multnomah County parole officers cleared out three convicted felons living in a foreclosed North Vancouver Avenue house (“Haunted House,” WW, Nov. 13, 2013). Neighbors say they still can’t get the lending company or the city to secure the property. “Can you all work with Champion Mortgage to get the locks replaced and the property boarded up?” neighbor Justin Dollard wrote city officials Dec. 12. Apparently not. Emails between Dollard and local officials say one of the three original squatters, convicted identity thief Ronny Scott Medinger, has broken into the house since his Oct. 29 arrest.
  • Many  politicians who lose re-election races turn lobbyist. Not former Clackamas County Chairwoman Charlotte Lehan. Lehan, who lost her seat to John Ludlow in 2012, last month opened a consulting firm called Graves Matter, which provides mapping services, records research and artifact conservation. Lehan says small, private cemeteries are at risk from encroaching development and farming. “Most of these historic cemeteries are not under the control of government or other institutions,” Lehan says. “That leaves them vulnerable to people who may be well-meaning but don’t know what they are doing.”
  • Local lawyers in solo practice without employees will soon be scrambling for health insurance. Multnomah Bar Association president Richard Vangelisti tells WW the company that provides coverage to sole practitioners through the bar association says the Affordable Care Act won’t allow those lawyers to be part of existing insurance pools. The association is searching for alternatives for hundreds of affected lawyers. “This is a shocker to us,” Vangelisti says. “We are very disappointed.”
  • Give!Guide Update: WW’s 2013 G!G passed the $1 million mark last weekend, $260,000 ahead of last year’s pace. You have two weeks left to visit giveguide.org and GIVE!
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