Multnomah County released the year-end numbers on domestic violence incidents and the numbers are jaw dropping. Deaths from domestic violence doubled to 12 in 2010, up from six deaths in 2009. The county doesn't have a definitive explanation for the unprecedented spike, pointing to unemployment, poverty, and stress as factors known to increase domestic violence rates. Victims advocates held a tearful vigil this past November in Holladay Park, lighting a candle for each of the 49 people killed in Oregon by domestic violence during the year ["Violent Truth," News, Nov 4, 2010]. At that vigil, advocates pointed to a lack of affordable housing and overflowing shelters as a cause of the continuing deaths. The Portland Women's Crisis Line calls eight local shelters five times a day, but still has to tell 60 percent of women in crisis that there are no openings. SARAH MIRK

The Portland Police Association is mailing out ballots to its nearly 1,000 members, hoping they'll bless a new labor agreement struck with city officials. Under the terms of the three-year deal, the union will give its nod to new oversight protocols approved by the city council last summer, and cops for the first time would be subjected to random drug and alcohol testing (the city couldn't budge the union on drug testing after use-of-force incidents, including for steroids). The city, in return, is giving the union a two percent pay hike starting this July and other perks—costs it hopes to offset by placing more controls on how and when members cash in comp time. The contract will be the last one for the union's longtime attorney, Will Aitchison. DENIS C. THERIAULT

South Waterfront broke ground this week on a new 700-foot bike-and-pedestrian bridge over I-5 that will link the neighborhood to Lair Hill. Unlike the numerous North Portland pedestrian bridges over I-5, the new Gibbs Street Bridge will be good looking—and it'll also carry a hefty price tag. The feds will cover $10 million of the project's $12.6 million budget, with urban renewal and city transportation dollars making up the rest. The steel box girder bridge will run under the aerial tram, connecting Lair Hill to the water and making it easier for South Waterfront residents to walk or bike downtown and to Portland State. SM