by: JIM CLARK, The transfer of part of Ross Island to the city will protect about 60 acres of natural habitat on the Willamette River, marked above.


Ross Island deal struck

After years of talks, Mayor Tom Potter and Robert B. Pamplin Jr. this week struck a tentative deal to transfer a significant portion of Ross Island to city ownership in two phases.

The transfer will protect about 60 acres of natural habitat on the Willamette River island east of the South Waterfront development.

Pamplin, who owns Ross Island Sand and Gravel Co. as well as Community Newspapers Inc. and the Portland Tribune, said he initially will donate a roughly 45-acre parcel on the island's west side that is home to bald eagles and contains a blue heron rookery.

A second, 15-acre strip of adjoining land will be donated after environmental reclamation work is completed. Pamplin's company also will donate $100,000 for ivy removal.

'I believe this offer is as important to Portland, and the future of its riverfront, as the reclamation of Tom McCall Park,' Potter said. 'The generosity of Dr. Pamplin and his family will long be remembered by Portlanders.'


Chief: Facts on the way

Police Chief Rosie Sizer is promising 'an extremely detailed' briefing on the events surrounding the in-custody death of James Chasse Jr. after the Multnomah County grand jury considering the case decides whether any laws were broken in the controversial arrest.

The mentally ill 42-year-old man died of massive internal injuries - including splintered ribs that punctured his lungs - after several officers chased and subdued him Sept. 17. The grand jury, which began reviewing the case Tuesday, will continue hearing from witnesses into next week.

In a written statement released Wednesday, Sizer asked people to not make up their minds about what happened until after the promised briefing.

Sizer said she hopes the briefing will be the beginning of a 'broad-based discussion on not only the specifics of this incident, but also the issues that law enforcement and the community face in dealing with people who suffer from a mental illness.'


Bridge planning goes on

The six-month development moratorium imposed on Hayden Island by the City Council on Wednesday is a break for planners working on the replacement Interstate 5 bridge between Portland and Vancouver, Wash.

The Columbia River Crossing project is scheduled to narrow the possible alignments down to three or four options by December - with a tentative decision expected by February, following a series of public forums.

Because the bridge will include new connections on Hayden Island, any new developments could potentially interfere with the siting process.

The moratorium also will allow the city to prepare a master transportation plan for the island that will tie into the most likely bridge placement.

Shortly before the hearing, Wal-Mart announced that it was no longer considering building a new store on the island.

Rumors about the possible store helped persuade Commissioner Sam Adams to push for the moratorium because of the additional traffic it would generate in the area.

- Tribune staff

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