The Oregon Legislature approved a special tax deal with Nike during a rushed one-day meeting called by Governor John Kitzhaber last week ["Nothin' but Net Profits," News, Dec 12]. The deal to lock in the state's current tax structure for companies promising 500 new jobs and $150 million in capital investment passed overwhelmingly after a few tweaks hammered out over a long day of meetings. Representative Lew Frederick, a Northeast Portland Democrat, was one of only five House members to vote no, mostly because he felt the special session subverted the democratic process. "Governing under duress should be a rare exception," he blogged on SARAH MIRK


A public vote to thwart the Portland City Council's unanimous decision in favor of fluoridating Portland water won't wait until the May 2014 primary as expected. Instead, in one of his parting gifts to Portland, Commissioner Randy Leonard will ask his colleagues this Thursday, December 20, to move it up to May 2013—the same time voters will consider renewing Commissioner Dan Saltzman's Portland Children's Levy. Leonard, who leaves council at the end of this year, called for the switch days after the Oregonian reported fluoride backers were in city hall pushing for it. City code had set the 2014 date automatically, after fluoride foes turned in enough signatures this fall to force a vote. But the city council has always had the right to schedule a special election earlier. Fluoride foes have reacted angrily, saying they were counting on the extra time to build their grassroots campaign. (And Leonard, meanwhile, is getting a gift of his own this week: His colleagues want to put his name on the firehouse being built under the Hawthorne Bridge.) DENIS C. THERIAULT


A cease-fire between the cars, cabs, and fancily dressed drunks who all jockey for preciously limited space along Old Town's nightclub cluster on weekend nights is expected to finally take effect late next month. As first reported this spring, Portland planners want to create a special pedestrian-only "entertainment zone" along NW 3rd between Burnside and Everett, and on NW Couch and Davis between 4th and 2nd, every Friday and Saturday from 10 pm to 3 am. The idea, which would be re-evaluated after 90 days, has cautious support from cops and neighbors, who hope turning the streets into a giant pedestrian zone won't actually prove to be more chaotic and noisy. The plan was supposed to be approved last Wednesday, December 12, and take effect immediately as an "emergency" ordinance, but Commissioner Amanda Fritz balked amid concerns about hooliganism. And that means a final vote won't happen until December 19—with the project starting 30 days from then. This falls after New Year's Eve, as Mayor Sam Adams noted with disappointment. "We have a lot of guns around right now," he said. "I don't want to mess around." DCT