MAYOR CHARLIE HALES isn't the only candidate lining his war chest in advance of next year's primary election. Both Commissioner Steve Novick and one of his challengers, Concordia University professor Nick Caleb, have been busy taking donations that will help them make their case to voters before the May 17 election.
There's a big difference in the scale of that activity, however. Caleb's logged dozens of donations since late March, but they're mostly for relatively small dollar amounts of $15, $25, or $50. Caleb's raised $3,570 to date, according to campaign finance records. His biggest benefactor: Activist Kim Kaminski, who spearheaded the successful campaign against water fluoridation in May 2013. She kicked in $500.
Novick, meanwhile, has no shortage of $500 donations. He's managed to raise $16,673.82 in a similar time frame. His biggest contribution to date? A $1,251 gift from Portland developer John Russell. DIRK VANDERHART
STARTING JULY 1, there's no smoking in any city park. But Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz is having second thoughts about just what the consequences should be if you break the rules.
Fritz has introduced an amendment, scheduled to go before Portland City Council on Wednesday, June 17, that would eliminate the specter of a misdemeanor offense if you're lighting up in one of our city's green spaces. Instead, under Fritz's new proposal, violators won't even necessarily need to leave the park.
The verbiage Fritz is proposing says a person caught smoking "shall be required to leave the Park in which the offense occurred for the remainder of the day," but that's a touch strong. Parks spokesman Mark Ross says the plan is that parks personnel would ask scofflaws to stop. Refuse? They'll be asked to leave. Refuse? Okay, then.
"If you decide to react that way it's going to be your own decision to live with," Ross says. "It's not gonna escalate to anything beyond [a parks employee] walking away." DVH
HOUSE SPEAKER Tina Kotek announced Monday, June 15, that she's trying to get Oregon's minimum wage up to $13 by 2018, and "give cities and counties the flexibility to set a higher minimum wage to reflect the cost of living in their communities."
Kotek's proposing a phase-in approach, bumping the wage to $11 on January 1, 2016, to $12 one year later, and to $13 at the beginning of 2018. After 2018, the state would index the wage to rise with inflation.
Kotek says there's a "strong economic argument" in support of raising the minimum wage, and that increasing family incomes allows for freer spending, leading to more money flowing back into local economies.
Perhaps more interesting for Portland, though, is Kotek's proposal to do away with a state law banning cities from setting their own minimum wage. Portland city officials have repeatedly bemoaned the preemption, and Portland City Council has already voted to pay city contractors at least $15. SHELBY R. KING
CONSERVATION GROUPS and neighbors hoping to stop dumping on West Hayden Island have lost their latest fight in the Oregon Legislature. On June 9, the state's House of Representatives unanimously approved Senate Bill 412, which limits the state's ability to regulate where ports may put contaminated muck they dredge from the bottom of rivers.
The bill applies statewide, but it was pretty clearly aimed at West Hayden Island, the largely untouched 800-acre parcel in the Columbia River where the Port of Portland (which owns the land) has dumped sediment for years. In the past, the port had to prove it was planning to use the lightly polluted material as the basis for a new terminal. But plans for that terminal were abandoned last year, so the case for dumping was harder to make ["To the Island Go the Spoils," News, May 13].
SB 412, now sitting on the governor's desk, gives the port special permission to dump, regardless of the use. DVH