When it comes to plopping down more of Portland's patented Loos—the downtown public toilets vigorously championed by Commissioner Randy Leonard—city officials appear ready to pinch things off. An agreement affixed to the city's latest budget will transfer oversight of the Loos, starting this July, from Leonard's water bureau to Commissioner Dan Saltzman's sewer bureau. Leonard will still oversee efforts to sell Loos to other interested cities, ostensibly a way to pay for more, his office says. But Saltzman's office, picking its words carefully, says he's interested in the city paying to maintain and operate only "the Loos it has." Which means it won't matter if Portland manages to raise any of that cash. Portland currently has five Loos accepting deposits, with another in the works. DENIS C. THERIAULT


The city's budget, approved by the city council last Wednesday, May 30, also brought a surprise—a good one—for housing advocates. Starting next summer, the millions the city spends on safety-net needs like winter shelters and rent assistance will no longer be contained in its so-called "shadow budget"—a register of permanent expenses that, somehow, every year, are always funded with "one-time" money. Instead, thanks to a push by Commissioner Nick Fish, those funds will now be allocated as "ongoing" expenses, making them much harder to sacrifice in years when the city's finances are lousy. Fish asked for $4.8 million for safety net needs in this year's budget and got all of it. DCT