MULTNOMAH COUNTY'S top prosecutor says it's too hard to criminally charge drivers who seriously injure cyclists, and it's time for that to change.
District Attorney Rod Underhill told the Mercury last week he'll work with legislators to alter the definition of third-degree assault, a class C felony, to be applicable to careless drivers who cause serious injuries.
Underhill was moved to act by the case of Alistair Corkett, a 22-year-old avid cyclist who lost his leg to a driver's inattention earlier this year. As first reported by the Mercury, Underhill's office was unable to charge the driver in that instance, because it couldn't prove he'd "recklessly" run into Corkett.
Underhill wants to lessen that standard. He's hoping lawmakers will consider his proposal in next year's short legislative session. DIRK VANDERHART
BAN THE BOX is back.
Earlier this year, Mayor Charlie Hales quietly nixed a proposal aimed at helping people with a criminal past land jobs. The policy Portland was considering prevented employers from inquiring about criminal records until after they'd made a "conditional offer" to an applicant.
It was scheduled for a vote, but then disappeared after state lawmakers passed a weaker proposal. Now, Hales says he'll bring back the stronger provision.
"After we saw how little the state's policy does, I don't believe it's enough," Hales says. His proposal is likely to face opposition from business groups. DVH
PORTLAND OFFICIALS are suing two short-term vacation rental services for flouting city rules.
The city last week filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against HomeAway.com and VRBO.com, demanding the companies immediately stop advertising rentals in Portland and alleging they aren't paying required lodging taxes to the city.
Revenue Division Director Thomas Lannom says the city has repeatedly warned the companies since January, but they've ignored the letters.
Lannom says Airbnb—Portland's best known short-term rental provider—received a warning letter for non-compliance, but that the company has been working to remedy its issues with the city. More than 130 individual hosts also received warning letters. SHELBY R. KING