In the wake of TriMet's proposal to eliminate free busses from Fareless Square, the Transit Riders Union (TRU), a group of TriMet riders and community activists, is petitioning downtown to save the square. TriMet argues Fareless Square is inefficient, but TRU says public transit should be every citizen's right. They're hoping for a big turnout the day of the Trimet board's vote on August 12. "Turnout to save Fareless Square worked the first time [in January]," says TRU's Al Bradbury. RACHAEL MARCUS
Mayor Sam Adams' former spokesman Wade Nkrumah followed through Monday, July 20, on his threat to sue the mayor for telling a TV reporter he had quit over "stress" in late January. Nkrumah quit because of Adams' "lying as a public official," not stress, according to his tort claim. He is now seeking $562,489 in damages, plus attorney's fees and an additional $18,750 for unpaid time he says he worked for Adams before he became mayor.
"It is city policy not to comment on pending litigation," says Roy Kaufmann, Nkrumah's replacement. "We haven't had any exchange of information at all with [the city]," says Michael Hanlon, Nkrumah's attorney. "I don't know what the extent of their investigation has been. I think certainly, if they were amenable to settling, then we would have heard from them by now." MATT DAVIS
Portland police are using their Tasers 26 percent more frequently against people with mental illness than in 2006, according to a new city report. There were 110 Taser uses against people suffering with mental illness between November 2007 to November 2008. In a previous 12-month period between October 2005 and September 2006 there were 87 uses of Tasers against people suffering with mental illness. The report said understanding those fluctuations would be beyond its scope, and the data has mental health advocates concerned.
"Having a Taser pointed at them is a particularly traumatizing experience for someone with a mental illness," says Jason Renaud of the Mental Health Association of Portland. "The person may not be able to respond to a police officer appropriately." MATT DAVIS