IN JUNE, city officials blessed a questionable arrangement in which the head park ranger's private security company was hired to patrol a public park. Now, it appears those officials are having second thoughts.
The city confirmed on August 24 that Park Ranger Supervisor Hasan Artharee is on paid administrative leave after the city's ombudsman raised serious concerns about the situation, first reported by the Mercury in early August ["Park Bloc," News, Aug 5].
Artharee is the owner of Safeguard Security, Inc., which in June won a contract to patrol Northeast Portland's Holladay Park. The agreement wasn't bankrolled by the city—Safeguard was hired by the owners of the Lloyd Center as part of privately funded activities at the park this summer.
Artharee has sworn he had no idea his company was even pursuing work at the park. He said that all went through his father, a former mayoral aide who now manages Safeguard. Artharee promised to have no oversight of his security guards.
But after sitting down with Portland Ombudsman Margie Sollinger, city officials apparently found new reasons for concern. Artharee was placed on But after sitting down with Portland Ombudsman Margie Sollinger, city officials apparently found new reasons for concern. Artharee was placed on paid administrative leave on Friday, August 21, a parks spokesman says. No one at the city would offer a specific reason, citing personnel privacy.
Artharee's firm continues to patrol Holladay Park. There are no plans to discontinue the arrangement before the end of summer. DIRK VANDERHART
NINE MONTHS after being hired to oversee Portland's police reform efforts, a group of researchers and outreach staff still hasn't found a suitable office space.
The Mercury reported back in March that the so-called Compliance Officer/Community Liaison team (COCL) quietly moved from its digs at an East Portland community center into the same building that houses Portland traffic cops ["An Office Among Officers," News, March 18]. The relocation raised concerns, since the team is supposed to be wholly independent of the city and police force.
The group has since moved again, but not out of city-owned property—it's in the same offices as the city's Office of Equity and Human Rights. That's potentially a violation of the city's settlement with the federal government over past police abuse, according to the city attorney's office.
The city is considering spending $35,000 to retrofit the team's office so it's at least separated from city workers by a locked door. DVH
FIVE DAYS is a long time to go without food and water, but that's what Anna Mae Leonard, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and a resident of Cascade Locks, did last week.
Every day, from sunup to sundown, Leonard sat across from Cascade Locks City Hall in an attempt to urge city administrators to keep Nestlé from siphoning millions of gallons of water out of the Columbia River Gorge.
"I am suffering because this is how it will be for our precious salmon and all of life within the river—all plant life, all animal life," Leonard wrote prior to the strike.
Cascade Locks and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) have proposed a complicated water rights swap that would trade the municipality's ground water for ODFW-controlled water gushing from Oxbow Springs.
If the swap is approved, Cascade Locks administrators plan to enter into a decades-long contract with Nestlé.
Leonard and other members of the tribe, including Tribal Council Chairman E. Austin Greene Jr., say the swap infringes upon native fisheries rights. The tribe has appealed to Governor Kate Brown to stop the process, but she declined, saying it's a local issue that the Oregon Water Resources Department will decide. State regulators are expected to approve or deny the water swap by the end of this summer.