SOMETIMES IT'S LONELY being a reporter in this town.
For the first two hours of the Columbia River Crossing's (CRC) Project Sponsors Council meeting I was the only Portland reporter in the room. A key discussion about our region's largest transportation project and there I was, all alone in back, typing away on my Twitter machine.
Maybe the CRC should take the PETA approach with reporters. I'm sure people would pay more attention to tolling if the politicians involved wore little more than skintight body suits patterned with the colors of endangered snakes. Come on, Sam Adams. Step it up!
Another recent lonesome afternoon was the June 16 city council meeting where the vast city hall chambers were pretty much reduced to just me, four members of city council, and Portland Copwatch's Dan Handelman. He had come (also all alone) to protest a change to the police complaint investigation process. If only he had thought to arrive naked, covered in raspberry jam meant to represent the blood of the innocent, maybe he would've gotten more attention.
Only one percent of citizen complaints against police wind up with real disciplinary action against officers ["Where Do Police Complaints Go?" News, June 24], and part of that is certainly because many complaints are off base. However, critics say it's also due to a system that favors cops over regular citizens, right down to the current change on the table, which would allow supervising officers to vote on whether complaints against lesser-ranking police are valid.
Commissioner Randy Leonard knew about the change in policy but for some reason didn't mention it to the citizen advisory committee on police oversight. Instead, its members found out about the change thanks to an email from Copwatch. And boy, were they pissed.
I was happy to have company, finally, when city council voted on the new policy this last Wednesday, June 23. Several members of the citizen advisory committee and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) turned up to say they felt "frankly insulted" at not being told about the change.
Commissioner Dan Saltzman's no vote on the plan effectively shelved it until the citizen group gets a chance to weigh in this July. Please let it be a town hall format discussion with each stakeholder in their own cage, hurling tomatoes and statistics at one another—otherwise, it's just another tree falling in the forest, with no one to hear.