The Powell's workers' union believes its former treasurer, Britta Duncan, may have embezzled as much as $50,000 from the union coffers. The union leadership released Duncan's name and the bad news to their 400 members in a meeting last week after an internal investigation. A federal investigator from the US Department of Labor will now look into the charges, says union representative Ryan Takas. "It's not a deadly blow, but it's certainly a setback," says Takas. The Powell's union celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2010, but hit rocky times this year when the bookstore laid off 31 workers. Powell's also laid off eight managers last week. SARAH MIRK


After months of political infighting and community outreach, Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioner Amanda Fritz last Wednesday, September 21, finally won unanimous city council support for a new Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights. The new office will receive a $1.1 million budget, tackle issues surrounding race and disability in city government, and oversee the city's Human Rights Commission. While its creation was met with applause, at least one city official was in no mood to party: "I'll be watching very closely," warned Commissioner Dan Saltzman. "If the Office of Equity and Human Rights does nothing more than brown bags and diversity dialogues... then you will not have achieved success.... I will not be supporting $1.1 million in ongoing funds if you fail." DENIS C. THERIAULT