Horse patrol gets home

Portland's popular mounted horse patrol can sing 'Happy Trails' now that it has moved into a new home at Centennial Mills, just north of the Broadway Bridge on Northwest Naito Parkway.

The eight-horse patrol's new digs include a 14-stall barn, office space and a 21,000-square-foot covered paddock where the patrol can train comfortably.

'We finally have a covered area to train in that's not in the mud, which is healthier for the horses,' said Sgt. Dave Pool, who has overseen the unit for more than 15 years.

The $2.1 million facility opened its doors Friday after the city spent several years looking for suitable accommodations for the horses. The unit also has used Alpenrose Dairy, West Delta Park and, more recently, Union Station.

The mounted patrol unit was reactivated in 1979 to address crime in the South Park Blocks and enforce the city's community policing strategy. The unit last year received a gift of more than $400,000 from the estate of Anna Silny to create a permanent endowment through the Friends of the Mounted Patrol.

For group tours and other information, call 503-823-2100.


Driver faces charges

A Multnomah County grand jury on Friday indicted the driver suspected of being involved in the Jan. 6 accident that seriously injured Portland police officer Christopher Guzman.

Linda Abeles, 21, was indicted on charges of second-degree assault, driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and second-degree criminal mischief.

Police said Abeles was driving her car through the intersection of Southeast Oak Street and Sandy Boulevard at 1:30 a.m. when her vehicle collided with Guzman's motorcycle during his regular patrol.

Guzman, a 4 1/2-year police veteran, was in critical condition for several days at Legacy Emanuel Hospital and Health Center because of severe head injuries and a broken leg. His condition was upgraded last week to serious.

Abeles was scheduled to be arraigned at 2 p.m. Monday.


Slide shuts Germantown

A landslide has closed much of Northwest Germantown Road for the next two or three weeks.

Heavy rains caused part of a hillside to slip last Thursday, threatening to undermine a section of the road that winds through Forest Park from U.S. Highway 30 to Northwest Skyline Boulevard.

Repairs will cost at least $100,000, said Portland Office of Transportation spokeswoman Mary Volm.

'We've had two or three years of dry winters, but now the rain is back in full force,' Volm said. Germantown Road did not have drains and catch basins to channel water away from its foundations, she said. The temporary closure will mean detours for drivers.

The transportation office is still studying how to stabilize the section of the road above the slip, which is approximately three-quarters of a mile west of Highway 30. Possible fixes include installing pilings with a wall, or creating a rock wall just below the road.

Although the transportation office has enough money for the repair, emergency funds are running low, Volm said. The City Council approved a new road fee last year to pay for street repairs but canceled it after opponents successfully referred it to the ballot.


Housing study begins

The Portland Development Commission is questioning a basic assumption of its urban renewal projects.

Advocates for affordable housing have long argued that urban renewal projects force poor people out of their homes. According to this theory, city-funded improvement projects increase property values, causing rents and home prices to rise. This concept Ñ called 'involuntary displacement' Ñ has been officially accepted by the City Council.

When the council created the Interstate Urban Renewal Area in August 2000, it directed the city's urban renewal agency to make preventing involuntary displacement its top priority.

Now, the PDC has launched a study to determine whether its projects force poor people to move. The study, expected to take about four months, will compare property value increases inside and outside of urban renewal districts. It also will try to identify all reasons, such as the need for larger homes, that poor people might move.

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