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GROWTH

Metro duo targets sprawl

Two elected Metro officials have formed a political action committee to fight a May 2002 ballot measure that threatens the regional government's growth management powers.

The committee Ñ called No on Sprawl Ñ was created by Metro Executive Officer Mike Burton and Councilor Rex Burkholder. It will raise money to oppose the Neighborhood Preservation Act, which would prohibit Metro from requiring cities and counties to increase their residential housing densities.

The committee is supported by such environmental organizations as the League of Conservation Voters and 1000 Friends of Oregon.

Burkholder says the act would prevent Metro from properly managing population increases, requiring it to expand the urban growth boundary to accommodate more housing.

The act is supported by Oregonians in Action, a property rights group, and the Portland Metropolitan Homebuilders Association. David Hunnicutt, Oregonians in Action legal counsel, says it is necessary to save existing neighborhoods from overcrowding.

'Without this, neighborhoods will get more and more crowded under Metro's policies,' he said.

PATRIOTIC WALK

New York City or bust

At 8 a.m. today, a Portland woman plans to start a trek from Waterfront Park that she hopes will include thousands of people carrying a U.S. flag across the country on foot Ñ bringing it to the Statue of Liberty in New York City by Memorial Day, May 27.

Elle Milner, 31, has been working on her idea since shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, she said.

She said that while she was moved by the patriotism that people displayed after the attacks, she thought a cross-country trek with a U.S flag would do more 'to bring everyone together and do something that everyone from preschoolers to the elderly could participate in,' she said.

So far, dozens of people and groups Ñ from firefighters to Boy Scout troops to members of the U.S. Marine Corps Ñ have agreed to carry the flag through most of its route in Oregon, said Milner, who plans to walk the flag at times and to follow it in a car caravan throughout its entire route. Milner's 2-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son will accompany her, she said.

The planned route will carry the flag to Eugene, then to the Oregon coast, to Los Angeles, to Oklahoma City, to Washington, D.C, then to New York City.

CRIME

Shooting details emerge

The 23-year-old man fatally shot by two reserve officers in a Dec. 9 pursuit may have been responsible for up to nine other armed robberies in east Portland and Gresham, police said.

Additional robbery victims have come forward and identified Daniel Cromb from a photo lineup, authorities said.

On Dec. 9, officers pursued Cromb, who they said matched the description of an armed robber at The Village Inn Pancake House, 10301 S.E Stark St.

Police said they spoke with Cromb as he fled by bicycle, but when they tried to search him, he abandoned the bike and fled on foot.

In a foot pursuit, police said the officers repeatedly ordered Cromb to stop. A news release said that as Cromb was running, 'He removed what was later determined to be a nonfunctioning replica of a semiautomatic pistol from his waistband.'

Police said a citizen saw Cromb point the weapon at officers. The officers shot at him a total of 18 times, hitting him once Ñ in the back. He died at the scene.

A Multnomah County grand jury last week ruled that the officers Ñ eight-year reserve officer Michael Glass, 45, and four-year reserve officer John Wood, 26 Ñ followed police procedure and did not commit any criminal wrongdoing.

Daughter charged in death

A 38-year-old woman is in Portland police custody, charged in the death of her 78-year-old mother.

Karla Crosby, of North Portland, was arraigned Friday on a charge of murder by neglect or mistreatment. Her mother, Sheila Crosby, died Dec. 24 of an infection of the bloodstream.

Crosby, who was taken to a Portland area hospital Dec. 17, was the victim of severe abuse and neglect, police said.

After an investigation, police arrested Karla Crosby.

TERRORISM

Terrorism bill readied

Portland's refusal to help the FBI interview Middle Eastern immigrants may be taken up by the special session of the Oregon Legislature early next year.

Rep. Bill Witt, R-Cedar Mill, is working on a bill requiring all local governments to cooperate with federal antiterrorism investigations.

Gov. John Kitzhaber has said he will call a special session in January or February because the state is facing a $700 million budget shortfall. Witt says it isn't clear whether the session will be limited to the budget or be allowed to consider other issues, such as the antiterrorism legislation.

Witt says House Speaker Mark Simmons, R-Elgin, supports the bill.

'Everyone I've talked to so far is supportive, so I believe it has a good chance to pass if I can introduce it,' Witt said.

The city of Portland declared that helping the FBI conduct the interviews would violate state law.

CITY HALL

Ombudsman readies report

Portland's Office of the Ombudsman is preparing a report summarizing the complaints it received in its first six months and how the city responded to them.

The office was established in July to help resolve complaints from citizens about city bureaus. It is staffed by ombudsman Michael Mills and two investigators.

Mills and his staff have looked into approximately 170 complaints. Most were filed against bureaus that are enforcing existing rules, Mills says, noting that citizens frequently do not understand the rules or know how to appeal decisions.

Mills indicated that when he and his staff investigate complaints, some agencies are receptive while others act defensively and insist that all questions be run through the director's office.

The report will identify the least cooperative agencies by name and will be presented to the City Council by late January.

To file a complaint with the ombudsman, call 503-823-0144, or write: Office of the Ombudsman, Portland City Hall, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave., Room 320, Portland, OR 97204-1987.