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August 6th, 2014 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs: The Owls Could Nest In Your Granny Flat.

murmurs_owl_4040Photo by USFS Region 5
  • The northern spotted owl is back. Three conservation groups filed suit in federal court July 31 against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to stop timber sales on land in Southern Oregon they claim is habitat for the protected bird. The Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild allege the wildlife service isn’t doing its job to protect the owl on three swaths of forest land burned last year in the Douglas Complex fires. The groups say the timber sales violate the Endangered Species Act and the government’s own spotted owl recovery plan. “What industry wants to do with these fire areas is, they want to log the hell out of them,” says Oregon Wild executive director Sean Stevens. “That’s about the worst thing you can do ecologically.” The last fight over the threatened owl sparked the timber wars of the 1990s; experts estimate 1,000 northern spotted owls remain in the Northwest. U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials didn’t return a call seeking comment.
  • Running for office is easy. Comedy is hard. But two Republican candidates for Congress, Jason Yates and James Buchal, are trying standup to raise money and attention for their long-shot conservative candidacies. Buchal and Yates are headlining “Standup for the Constitution” on Aug. 12 at Harvey’s Comedy Club in Old Town. Buchal (who’s challenging U.S. Rep Earl Blumenauer) says he and Yates (who’s taking on U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici) have been honing their act. “I came up with the idea,” Buchal tells WW, “of hitting open-microphone nights at local clubs as a way of breaking through the massive indifference and apathy of Portlanders concerning the existential policy threats to their future.” That wasn’t one of their actual jokes. Check out a sample of their material: “What’s the difference between a Democrat and a 4-year-old?” asks Yates. “A 4-year-old eventually stops throwing a tantrum.” Rim shot.
  • Airbnb spent $19,782 from April through June lobbying City Hall to grant the city’s unprecedented seal of approval on the San Francisco startup’s short-term rental operations. Meanwhile, city records show Airbnb’s fiercest opponent, apartment management group Multifamily NW, spent $1,016 in the same span. The code changes approved by the City Council put limits on the online rentals, making legit some of the otherwise no-tell motels of about 1,600 Portlanders already advertising through Airbnb (“City for Rent,” WW, July 9, 2014). Homeowners who want to turn bedrooms in their homes into hotel rooms can do so starting Aug. 29 by purchasing a $180 permit and scheduling a city safety inspection. 
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