MAYOR CHARLIE HALES might have managed to thread a delicate political needle—announcing a revived push to bring a Trader Joe's to NE MLK and Alberta as part of a peace deal with community leaders that includes some $20 million in new affordable housing.
Hales' office announced the agreement on Monday, March 10, after a city hall meeting with business owners from the area and members of the African American community. Outcry from groups like the Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF)—calling for a broader discussion about gentrification and displacement—helped persuade Trader Joe's to drop its plans earlier this year.
But PAALF was among the groups at the table with Hales—seizing on the mayor's promise of new affordable housing as "a victory for all." The détente may or may not persuade the grocery chain to reconsider its decision to bolt. DENIS C. THERIAULT
PORTLAND OFFICIALS argue they have "very broad discretion," in spending revenue from sewer and water customers. On Monday, March 10, a judge swatted that notion aside.
Multnomah County Circuit Judge Stephen Bushong ruled officials breached the city's charter when they spent ratepayer money on public toilets and political campaigns. The city may need to pay back more than $1 million of that money.
The city's reaction? Claiming victory.
Officials crowed that Bushong approved of two far larger contested expenditures, and said the judge snatched the heart out of a pending lawsuit by disagreeing with the plaintiffs about what standard should be used to constitute improper spending. DIRK VANDERHART