Slave for Signatures

After weeks of effort, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) finally tracked down the owner of a petition-gathering company that allegedly violated wage laws while collecting signatures for a number of conservative ballot measures.

On Monday morning, January 23, BOLI served Brian Platt of B&P Campaign Management with a subpoena demanding complete wage records from the company. The move was in response to at least four complaints against B&P leveled by petitioners who alleged that they were paid less than minimum wage.

Oregon law requires that petition-gathering firms pay their employees by the hour—not per signature. B&P, however, allegedly based their employees' wages partially on how many signatures they gathered, sometimes equaling less than $7.50 per hour.

Since December, BOLI has attempted to serve B&P with papers demanding an audit, but no one from the company responded until Platt was tracked down this week.

The company was circulating petitions for four potential ballot measures by anti-tax group FreedomWorks, private property activists Oregonians in Action, and right-winger Bill Sizemore.

It is unclear if the investigations will ultimately lead back to these organizations, but progressive group Our Oregon alleges that the violations are "intentional and systematic" on the part of the chief petitioners. SCOTT MOORE

Mystery Meat

Neighbors on the Mt. Tabor community email list got some strange news last week: On Wednesday, January 18, park employees found a beef tongue "slit down the middle and with needles in it" near the park's playground. Portland Park Rangers and Multnomah County Animal Services were called in to investigate. "This was apparently used as part of a classic Hoodoo (Voodoo/witchcraft) ritual that calls for a beef tongue, prepared as the one we found, to put a spell or curse on specific enemies," wrote Portland Parks and Recreation Public Safety Supervisor Mark M. Warrington, allaying fears that the needled meat was meant to harm dogs. AMY JENNIGES