Next Tuesday, July 25, one of Portland's most prominent graffiti taggers, Jason Ehlers, will start a 26-month prison sentence for six felony counts of damaging property—a rare and long sentence for a Portland graffiti artist. The last tagger sentenced in Portland went to jail for six months, back in January 2000.
Ehlers, of Vancouver, WA, painted under the "Caveman" moniker. He was arrested in early 2005 on top of a Thai restaurant in SE Portland. Ehlers was working the night shift for a city-contracted towing firm, serving probation for earlier graffiti offences when he first became "Caveman."
"These people are not graffiti artists, they're vandals," says Marcia Dennis, the city's graffiti abatement coordinator. "I'd grant that artistic ability is involved but at the end of the day graffiti is damaging property—it's vandalism."
Ehlers' attorney, Bear Wilner-Nugent, says his client has been clean, sober, and crime-free for the past 14 months, and is now engaged in lawful artistic pursuits. MATT DAVIS
On Monday, July 17, the city auditor's office released the first quarterly report detailing lobbying activities among city officials and staffers. The lobbyist reporting regulations are still in a "trial" phase, so the report is somewhat shorter than what one might imagine.
Still, the report offers plenty of nuggets to those willing to dig through the paperwork. For instance, Rich Rodgers, a longtime aide to Commissioner Erik Sten, had to report a $70 wedding present and $25's worth of horse manure given to him by Peter Finley Fry, the lobbyist for the Ron Tonkin dealership.
The full report can be found at portlandonline.com/auditor. SCOTT MOORE
Good news for all those wannabe cops covered in "fight the power" tattoos—Police Chief Rosie Sizer says she's going to look at changing the code that currently bans all ink below the elbows for those wearing Portland's blue uniforms. "Chief [Mark] Kroeker tightened up on grooming issues and Chief [Derrick] Foxworth liberalized them. They're not something I've prioritized, but if tattoos are a barrier to recruitment then I think we can take a second look," she told the Mercury on Monday, July 17. MD