Though their scheduled big release meeting on December 17 was iced out, city planners finally wrapped up a final draft of the East Portland Action Plan last week. City council assigned the planning bureau $500,000 to figure out how to improve livability in the swath of neighborhoods historically neglected by the city—areas east of 82nd. After nine months of meetings with neighborhood groups and residents, the team proposed seven major actions the city should fund. Topping the list are earmarking funds for storefront improvement grants, building bike routes and safer routes to schools, expanding green space, and exploring the idea of rezoning areas for higher density. SM
The district attorney's office is pushing to re-try Steven Lee Johnson for allegedly assaulting a rent-a-cop in Waterfront Park, after a jury failed to reach a verdict in Johnson's trial earlier in December on four charges following an altercation with Portland Patrol, Inc. Officer Ron Cash in May 2007. Cash broke Johnson's finger and pepper sprayed him in the face during the altercation, in violation of PPI's stated "hands-off" policy for rent-a-cops ["Hands Off," News, Dec 4].
Johnson was found guilty only of failure to obey a parks officer, but Deputy District Attorney Arusi Loprinzi is reported to have told Johnson's attorney, Matthew Donohue, that the state wants a retrial on the other charges, last Friday, December 19, at the time set for a continuation hearing in the case. Donohue and Loprinzi are now in negotiations over a possible settlement. Loprinzi did not return a call seeking comment. MD
It is with heavy heart that we announce the departure of Mercury news editor Amy J. Ruiz from our news team. While we're sure she'll regret this decision for the rest of her life, she's moving on to a pretty cool job: Amy will be joining the new Mayor Sam Adams administration as a "Strategic Planning and Sustainability Policy Advisor." We have no idea what it means either—but apparently it's a wonkalicious position where Amy will geek out over green building and neighborhood plans, and make Portland a far better place to live. So congratulations to Amy! We'll miss you terribly! And if you're a hot-poop city politics reporter, a position just opened up at the Mercury.