A SPAT HAS BROKEN OUT between representatives for Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and Portland's chapter of In Defense of Animals over alleged links to extremism. OHSU spokesman Jim Newman furnished the Mercury with links to speaking engagements by IDA boss Matt Rossell last week, at which Rossell is alleged to have spoken alongside activists arguing for the murder of vivisectionists.

"OHSU is trying to make me guilty by association," Rossell responds. Newman also provided federal court documents alleging that Rossell and his wife Leslie Hemstreet helped their friend, Kevin Tubbs, remove evidence of a crime from a video documenting a break-in at an animal research laboratory in California—Tubbs was later sentenced to 12 years in prison for arson.

"What was said in court is not true," says Rossell. "It's true that Kevin is my friend, and that it was a shock when he was arrested on those charges. We knew him as a really sweet guy who rescued cats." Read more at blogtown.portlandmercury.com. MD


Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen plans to push forward with his plan to raise the motor vehicle rental tax by 4.5 percent on Thursday, May 7. Cogen has received pushback from Enterprise Rent-a-Car, which cited a Kansas City study showing a motor vehicle tax increase had led some consumers to cross county and jurisdictional boundaries to avoid paying the higher tax.

But a counter study by Cogen's staffer Karol Collymore shows that "from downtown Portland to the nearest Washington County car rental [location] is approximately six miles and would take 59 minutes via public transportation." A 4.5 percent increase is "unlikely to have a significant impact on the local car rental industry," she wrote. Cogen says the average increase of $3.45 a day is "the equivalent of a latte," and will potentially bring in $5 million to protect human services and public safety at a time when the county is seeking to plug a $45 million budget hole. MD