Contract talks between TriMet and the union that represents its operators, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 757 (ATU), are still mostly stuck in neutral (get it?) but might finally be on the verge of moving along. In an apparent breakthrough, the two sides met for several hours on Saturday, April 27, to settle on some basic "ground rules" before taking up more substantive issues like pay and health care premiums. But then the talks ended abruptly after TriMet officials stormed out in a huff, the ATU claimed in a press release. Later, in another shift, on Monday, April 29, the two sides exchanged letters in hopes of scheduling more meetings. There was agreement on one thing: Bloggers—as in, bloggers who don't work for a media organization—won't be allowed to attend the talks whenever it is they start. DENIS C. THERIAULT


Multnomah County commissioners quietly approved a deal this week to purchase several properties east of the Sellwood Bridge in coming days, only to return the land to its owner in roughly five years. The county intends to improve some of the land as part of the Sellwood Bridge replacement project, and to use a vacant lot as a storage area during construction. One of the plots houses the Riverside Corral strip club—but sadly, it's not a part of the deal. "We're not in any way, shape, or form operating a strip club," Multnomah County spokesman David Austin says. Neither the county nor the property owner would disclose the sale amount until the deal was finished. DIRK VANDERHART