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Plans to promote Portland Police Officer Leo Besner—who shot Raymond Gwerder in the back in 2005, while Gwerder was on the phone with a hostage negotiator—are raising an outcry among community members who complain that his conduct has cost the city nearly $1 million in legal costs. "When will I have to preside over another memorial service for someone killed by a member of the Portland Police Bureau?" asked Reverend Chuck Currie, writing to Mayor Sam Adams on Monday, December 6. He was responding to an Oregonian story in which Chief Mike Reese confirmed that Besner would be made a sergeant this week—never mind his past conduct. Earlier, Dan Handelman of Portland Copwatch submitted a letter that broke down Besner's misconduct over the years, including Tasering and menacing people—along with settlement costs. Last month, when Officer Ron Frashour was fired for killing Aaron Campbell, Reese cited past misconduct in his discipline letter. DENIS C. THERIAULT


The Portland City Council last Wednesday, December 1, unanimously approved Mayor Sam Adams' five-point gun-control plan—setting aside concerns that the new rules would either infringe on gun owners' rights or lead to racial profiling. Adams' plan creates a curfew for juvenile gun criminals, adds three gun-crime "exclusion" zones, adds penalties for carrying loaded guns in public, punishes anyone who allows a minor access to a gun, and requires owners to report lost or stolen guns. DCT


Bruce Warner, head of the powerful Portland Development Commission for the past five and a half years, announced Monday, December 6, that he will be stepping down this April after helping to secure its next budget and lock his replacement. Warner was hailed for his cool guidance of the agency after a period of controversy and criticism—having emerged from a bruising council fight (and sharp internal dissent) three years ago over its future. Since then, he helped refocus the agency around Portland's first economic development plan in years. DCT


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