The carpenters' union strike may have ended, but the battle between the union and contractors continues—this time in court.

On June 11, the Hoffman Construction Company filed a lawsuit against the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters over allegedly illegal activity that occurred during strikes at sites in downtown and the South Waterfront. The lawsuit claims strikers were performing illegal "secondary" boycott activities, trespassing, and being a nuisance, as well as getting in the way of other parties' business with Hoffman.

The suit is based on a provision in the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, which limits the power of unions in labor disputes and allows companies to curb the potential force of a boycott, says Bob Bussel, director of the University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center. THOMAS LUNDBY


After weeks of speculation, Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley (D-Portland) has announced that he's officially maybe kinda possibly considering running for US Senate against Republican Gordon Smith.

Technically, what he admitted was that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had talked to him about running, the unconfirmed-but-never-denied rumor of which was reported in these pages ["Senate, Anyone?" News, May 24]. He reportedly hasn't ruled it out, but was incommunicado for much of the week after the 2007 session ended.

As for who is officially running for the seat, Steve Novick announced on Monday, July 2, that he had raised more than $190,000 for his race—with 16 months left until the 2008 general election. He's also employed Jake Weigler, one of Governor Kulongoski's communications staffers, to work on his campaign. SCOTT MOORE


One of the weirdest chapters in local political history came to a close on Monday, July 2, when Vladimir Golovan—accused of falsely collecting signatures for two city council candidates—was convicted on 10 counts related to forging signatures for the campaign of Lucinda Tate.

He was acquitted on two counts related to Emilie Boyles, who ran against Erik Sten in 2006.

"Unlike what happens in every other campaign system, in this case the fraud was prosecuted," says Sten, one of the architects of the program. "I think the recent improvements to the system will make fraud like this less likely—and so will Golovan's conviction." SM