A PORTLAND college student's complaint that state liquor agents chased her down at night in an unmarked car could spur more change at the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).
As first reported by the Mercury, the agency introduced a new rule on May 1 requiring its 41 liquor control inspectors to always wear a polo shirt identifying them as OLCC employees while on the job. Now the agency might go further. Inspectors say they've gotten word the OLCC could require them to slap magnetic decals on the side of their cars while on patrol—a step many bitterly oppose.
The possible move is in part a response to criticisms over OLCC agents' anonymity in the field. Lewis and Clark College junior Phoebe Gresser complained to legislators earlier this year after an incident in September in which she was followed down the street at night by an unmarked car and feared she'd be assaulted ["Drunk on Power?" News, April 15]. It was two OLCC agents.
The OLCC confirms it's talking about car decals, but says it's a "very preliminary conversation." DIRK VANDERHART
MAYOR CHARLIE HALES has a new plan to curb gang violence this summer. And it might be seriously compromised before it begins.
In the budget he unveiled on May 5, Hales proposes spending $2 million a year expanding access to Portland community centers for gang-affected youth. The plan is especially focused on summer months, when teens are out of school and gang-related violence typically rises.
But the staffing of Portland's community centers became an open question just days before Hales released that budget, after an arbitrator ruled Portland Parks and Recreation was unfairly asking low-wage temporary and seasonal recreation workers to perform jobs that are supposed to be done by union members. The city's now facing a legally binding cease and desist order, and figuring out how to respond to the ruling.
Its options include bringing low-wage workers onto the union contract, which would be costly, or trying to get by with parks' limited supply of full- and part-time workers, which might make Hales' call for expanded programs impossible to meet.
Hales and city staff aren't saying much about the ruling. DVH
THE STATE'S ABSENTEE stewardship of SE Powell has come under fresh attack, and commuters are paying the price.
On May 10, 22-year-old cyclist Alistair Corkett was run down at the intersection of SE 26th and Powell, when cops say a pickup truck driver failed to yield. Corkett lost a leg in the crash, which incited dozens of activists to hold a "super-legal slowdown" at the intersection during rush hour on May 11.
That action proved so successful, organizers from the group BikeLoud PDX have scheduled a "die-in" outside of the Oregon Department of Transportation's (ODOT) downtown headquarters on Wednesday, May 13, at 4 pm.
The demonstrators are demanding SE Powell be treated less like a highway (it's technically a segment of US Route 26) and more like a vibrant urban street with safe crosswalks and calmed traffic.
ODOT "is the agency almost completely responsible for the conditions on Powell," reads an invite for the event. "It has consistently refused to prioritize safety, prioritizing motor vehicle capacity instead."
They won't get any argument from Mayor Charlie Hales, who's repeatedly said he wants Portland to take control of SE Powell, but that the city will need more money from the state to do so.
In the meantime, activists are considering regular slowdowns at the intersection where Corkett was hit until changes occur. DVH