Some marriages just don't work out. Senate Bill 1000 sought to marry an antidiscrimination bill with a bill legalizing civil unions for gays and lesbians. But last week, the four state senators who sponsored the bill decided to craft a new stand-alone bill that ditches antidiscrimination. The reason: The sponsors believe it will be strategically easier to pass a civil unions bill on its own.
Ironically, the sponsors used the same reasoning a month ago for combining the two bills. So what changed? At press time, it wasn't entirely clear. But an insider said last month's marathon public hearing on SB1000 made the sponsors believe that the two issues should be discussed separately.
Several days before the decision was made, Basic Rights Oregon began calling for supporters to urge the lawmakers to keep SB1000 whole. Notably, their efforts didn't change the mind of even their closest legislative ally, Senator Kate Brown.
The Rules Committee, chaired by Brown, is planning a public hearing for the new bill, SB1073. Keep an eye on www.leg.state.or.us for a hearing date. SCOTT MOORE
Last week, the long, strange trip of the Burnside Bridgehead project seemed to turn its final corner: On Thursday, Portland Development Commission finally announced the timetable for the appeal filed by Brad Malsin. A month ago, PDC awarded the $200 million development contract for the eastern edge of Burnside Bridge to Opus Northwest--an announcement that went against strong public sentiments and even the recommendations from PDC's own Evaluation Committee, which had favored Malsin's group.
Malsin has raised concerns about the chummy nature of PDC's Executive Committee and a PR consultant from the winning developer. In the weeks following Malsin's appeal, it was unclear exactly how the appeals process would unfold. City council had tried to wrestle control of the process into city hall, but ultimately the city attorney determined that PDC's Executive Committee will review its own decision.