Work on drawing up the first of Mayor Sam Adams' "illegal drug impact areas" is expected to begin after Portland City Council tentatively approved spending $250,000 in contingency funds on a police walking beat in Old Town and a new deputy district attorney who would prosecute drug cases. Final approval would come later this year. The drug areas—in which drug criminals would be excluded—are a controversial revamp of the city's unconstitutional "Drug-Free Zones," which sunset in 2007. Unlike the old DFZs, the new exclusion zones would be triggered by convictions, not arrests, and be managed by the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office. DENIS C. THERIAULT

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Commissioner Amanda Fritz took a stand against the heavily criticized plan to construct a $458 million streetcar line to tony Lake Oswego, voting against the project in favor of expanding bus service down congested Highway 43. But while her four colleagues shared her skepticism about the streetcar line, they voted during a meeting last Wednesday, April 20, to continue studying it. Critics have complained the expensive line will benefit developers more than the public, and that the funding scheme for the line—which relies heavily on uncertain federal funding—might not pencil out. The latest vote puts Portland on the hook for $300,000 in preliminary engineering costs, officials said at the meeting. Several more votes by government agencies including Metro, Portland, and Lake Oswego are required over the next two years before the project can be formally approved. DCT

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Oregon and Washington's governors announced on Monday, April 25, that the new Columbia River Crossing (CRC) bridge will be a deck truss design (like the Marquam Bridge). Many people involved in the project were hoping the governors would go with the more expensive, but more graceful cable-stayed option for the bridge that will be a gateway to Oregon and Washington. The design of the bridge had to be rehashed after an expert review committee declared this winter that the design the CRC staff had spent years and $100 million planning was fatally flawed ["Bridge Fail," News, Feb 10]. SARAH MIRK