MULTNOMAH COUNTY has joined a legal battle swirling around the Morrison Bridge, lending credence to claims the structure's newly installed $4.2 million deck may be "defective."

The county's specific claims weren't clear as of press time, but in early September it became a plaintiff in an existing lawsuit against North Carolina-based ZellComp, Inc., which engineered and supplied the deck. The suit was filed last year by the construction company that installed the decking. It claims, among other things, that panels are shifting under the weight of passing vehicles and screws are coming loose ["(Un)Screwed," News, Aug 7].

The material used in the project was not "appropriate nor adequate," the suit says. The county has declined to comment on the situation, but says it's continually monitoring the bridge for safety issues. DIRK VANDERHART


CONCERNS OVER a crematory in Portland's Montavilla neighborhood have extended beyond the incinerator's neighbors ["Death from Above," News, Sept 11].

Portland Public Schools last week announced it had tapped local firm PBS Engineering and Environmental to do soil tests at Vestal School, which sits just east of Gable Funeral Chapel and Cremation Services (formerly Cremation and Burial Care of Oregon). Since the incinerator was installed in February near NE 80th and Everett, neighbors have repeatedly complained to city and state officials. They're concerned the business is spewing harmful pollutants into the air, but the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has said it believes Gable is in compliance with state law.

"If there is some particle in the air or on the ground that could be harmful to our students, we want to take action," says schools spokeswoman Christine Miles. DVH


JOINING A GROWING chorus of voices fighting a federal ban on blood donations by sexually active gay men, the Portland City Council on Wednesday, September 11, unanimously approved a resolution formally asking the US Food and Drug Administration to do away with the 1980s-era AIDS-scare policy. Blood screening has advanced leaps and bounds since the policy was enacted in 1985—something Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who led the push, wanted to make clear. The vote is nonbinding, but Commissioner Steve Novick insisted the feds are still listening: "It's a symbolic gesture that could have a truly substantive effect." DENIS C. THERIAULT