THORPE SPLITS BRO
At the end of June, Roey Thorpe will depart her position as executive director of Basic Rights Oregon (BRO), the statewide GBLT-rights advocacy group. She'll be joining an organization called Freedom to Marry, a New York-based national group focused on bringing gay and non-gay groups together to push for marriage equality.
Thorpe came to Oregon from New York in 2000 to work on the No On 9 campaign. A year later, she was named BRO's executive director. In her absence, BRO board member Frank Dixon will take over as interim director while a national search is undertaken to find a new leader for BRO.
Much of the organization's focus over the last few months was spent on the reelection campaign for Multnomah County Chair Diane Linn, with whom Thorpe and BRO worked to briefly legalize same-sex marriages in 2004. According to many, the campaign threw a wedge into the GLBT community, with BRO on one side claiming that a vote for Linn challenger Ted Wheeler was a vote against same-sex marriage, and gay and lesbian Wheeler supporters on the other side resenting BRO's painting of Wheeler as unsupportive of GLBT issues. SCOTT MOORE
A SAFER DOWNTOWN?
Last Wednesday, May 24, city council passed—unanimously—an ordinance proposed by the mayor to create a "Street Access for Everyone" (SAFE) workgroup. For the next six months, the quirkily acronym-ed taskforce will attempt to come up with a list of solutions to make downtown streets "safer."
Curiously, the premise of the mayor's ordinance—that downtown streets are unsafe because they are flooded with "aggressive panhandlers" and public drunkards—is belied by a report released by the police bureau three weeks ago stating that crime in the downtown area has actually dropped by 19 percent.
The other part of the SAFE ordinance: The city's Sit-Lie Ordinance, which was set to expire next month, has been extended until November. SM