MAYOR CHARLIE HALES' office has begun seeking new digs for the former judge responsible for monitoring Portland's police reform, amid outcry from advocates following news he's been working out of a partial police station. As first reported by the Mercury ["An Office Among Officers," News, March 18], former Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul De Muniz had demanded an office independent of city staff for his role as a "community liaison" tasked with reaching out to the public about concerns over cops. But when his planned office in an East Portland community center didn't work out, De Muniz moved into the building that houses traffic cops, inspiring criticism. Deanna Wesson-Mitchell, a policy director to Hales, says the search for a new, more appropriate office has begun in earnest. "We have visited a couple of spaces that won't work," she says. "We continue to look." DIRK VANDERHART
ANOTHER THING HALES' staff is up to? Throwing shade at Indiana. On March 30, the mayor announced he'd follow in the footsteps of elected officials around the country by prohibiting city-funded travel to the Hoosier State. That's a reaction to Indiana's passage of a "religious freedom" law many believe will allow bigoted business owners to refuse to serve LGBTQ customers. The mayor planned to formalize the city's disapproval with a resolution before city council, though he made the changes without that vote. But it was unclear, as of press time, whether any actual travel plans would be affected. Mayoral spokesman Dana Haynes says the travel ban will be in force until Indiana rewords or rethinks its law. DVH
THE OREGON LIQUOR CONTROL COMMISSION (OLCC) has abruptly fired Tom Burns—the director of the agency's nascent recreational marijuana program—for leaking internal documents to a Portland pot attorney, then denying he had done so.
Records show Burns on March 23 sent attorney Amy Margolis a draft letter proposing changes to the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program once legal recreational pot kicks in. Those proposed changes appeared to come from OLCC Chair Rob Patridge and a handful of pot advocates (one advocate has since disavowed knowledge of the document), and include giving the OLCC power to test medical pot, and allowing medical marijuana growers to sell their goods to recreational users.
Margolis, who represents marijuana growers, has been pushing for changes to the medical pot program in Salem. An OLCC spokesman says Burns was fired when, confronted about the leak, he denied sending it. The agency's looking for a new pot chief, but Burns—who built the state's medical dispensary system—could be difficult to replace. DVH
PORTLAND'S AS WELCOMING to taxis as it's been in decades, after the city's Private For-Hire Transportation Board of Review approved almost 250 new cabs earlier this year ["Flooded Streets," News, Feb 18]. But so far those cabs have been slow to emerge. One reason? Apparently no one can get their hands on wheelchair-accessible cabs. At a recent meeting, taxi board member Kirk Foster informed the group that a nationwide shortage of those vans is holding cab companies back from expanding their fleets.
Cab companies must bring their number of ADA-accessible vehicles up to 20 percent before adding other cabs. "Ford is backed up for months," Foster said. But help may be on the way. The board's considering issuing permits to cab companies that can prove they've applied for, and are waiting on, delivery of wheelchair-accessible vans. SHELBY R. KING