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February 12th, 2014 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs: No Contract For Mr. Plow.

murmurs_4015IMAGE: Major Clanger
  • Radio startup XRAY.FM is on the air, to a degree. The nonprofit station raised more than $100,000 in donations last month to combine progressive talk hosts Carl Wolfson and Thom Hartmann with indie-rock shows. It began broadcasting online last week (at xray.fm/info/listen-beta) and will officially launch March 15 at 91.1 FM. But you may not be able to hear it: The station’s Rocky Butte transmitter’s strength is less than 10 watts, says XRAY organizer Jefferson Smith, meaning it won’t reach beyond the West Hills. “And the signal won’t punch through thick walls,” Smith says. “The hope and expectation is that when people are inside a downtown office building, they’ll listen to the stream from their phone or computer.”
  • Lawmakers have dramatically amended House Bill 4078, which would have eliminated appeals of Metro’s 2011 urban growth boundary expansion (see “Busting the Boundary,” WW, Jan. 22, 2014). Metro President Tom Hughes testified last week against what he called the “Legislature’s intervention” in local land-use issues. The bill has now been amended twice to focus on time limits for ruling on appeals that would speed up the process. Neither environmentalists nor developers are happy, but Metro lobbyist Randy Tucker says he’s optimistic about the reconfigured bill. “Our feeling is, it creates some predictability going forward,” Tucker adds.
  • The city workers who plowed the streets last weekend are in rebellion. Members of the District Council of Trade Unions voted Feb. 10 to reject a new contract with the city, repudiating the bargain reached by city officials and union leadership after a year of negotiations. The DCTU represents 1,600 city employees—including street-maintenance crews—and many of them are adamantly opposed to the city contracting out part-time work. “No one wants to strike,” says Rob Wheaton, DCTU’s chief negotiator. “They want a decent contract.” That means Mayor Charlie Hales is returning Feb. 12 from a climate-change conference in South Africa to confront a second labor crisis—on top of the impending strike by the Portland Association of Teachers. “Very odd,” says Hales spokesman Dana Haynes. “We, while surprised and disappointed, are waiting to see what the next step is.”
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