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POLICE

Kroeker still in running

City officials in Los Angeles will hold closed meetings this week to discuss last week's interviews with the 13 candidates for the city's top police job.

Portland Police Chief Mark Kroeker, a 32-year LAPD veteran, interviewed with the five-member L.A. Police Commission on Friday and was unavailable for comment Monday morning. Kroeker has led Portland's police bureau for 2 1/2 years.

A spokesman at the police commission's office said it wasn't clear when another cut will be made and how many candidates would be cut.

Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn is expected to select the chief by the end of the month.

Help sought in shooting

Portland police are seeking the public's help to solve a homicide that took place in a large crowd early Sunday,.

Anthony Duane Brown, 25, of Northeast Portland, was part of a gathering outside in the 200 block of Northeast Russell Street when he was shot and killed shortly after 3 a.m. Police were in the area at time trying to disperse approximately 500 people who were filling the streets.

Although officers heard the shots, the crowd prevented them from reaching Brown, police spokesman Henry Groepper said. When the police finally pushed their way to the body, the crowd dispersed. An ambulance was called, and Brown was declared dead at the scene.

'We're looking for anyone who can tell us why the people were there and what happened,' Groepper said. 'Anyone who saw Brown prior to his death should call us.'

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Rich Austria at 503-823-0449 or Detective Jon Rhodes at 503-823-0459.

Killing investigated

Police say a 26-year-old man found dead in his Southeast Portland home Thursday night died of a gunshot wound or wounds.

Police said they have no suspects. However, in the past six weeks, police have received six drug-related complaints from neighbors concerned about activity at the home.

The man, Forrest Richard Paul, was found in his home in the 4900 block of Southeast 76th Avenue at 4:30 p.m. His landlord found the body after not seeing Paul for several days.

Police urge anyone with information to call detectives, 503-823-0400.

UTILITIES

Group opposes takeover

Leaders of the Portland Business Alliance say the city's proposed takeover of Portland General Electric has 'alarmed most in the business community' and sends a signal to future investors that the city 'endorses condemnation of private business assets as a matter of policy.'

The City Council last week voted to spend $500,000 to pursue negotiations with PGE's bankrupt parent, Enron Corp., and, if necessary, use its condemnation powers to take over the utility.

The effect of such action creates a 'chilling effect on some of the very businesses we want to attract to Portland' and existing companies' ability to raise capital, PBA Chairman George Passadore and the organization's president, Franklin 'Kim' Kimbrough, wrote to Mayor Vera Katz and city commissioners.

Passadore, chief executive of Wells Fargo Oregon, said last week's move toward public acquisition 'is outside the scope of government and Portland's historic handling of public power.'

The alliance also objected to the spending of public funds for studying PGE's options.

This is not the first time PGE's fate has been caught in its parent company's bankruptcy. When PGE's parent company, Central Public Service Corp., went bankrupt in 1933, three Portland businessmen, including then-PGE President Franklin Griffith, banded together to repurchase the utility and remove it from Central Public's control.

Billing system costs grow

The cost of the city water bureau's problem-plagued computer billing system is continuing to grow.

According to a status report to the Portland City Council, the bureau will spend an additional $1 million to hire 17 more workers for the system. The report also says that the problems will not be fixed by December, as directed by the council, and that repairs are likely to drag on until at least June 2003.

The additional cost and uncertainty about when the system will be repaired might force the bureau to delay future construction projects, including a plan to cover the city's open reservoirs to prevent terrorist attacks on the water system.

The city paid $3.5 million for the billing system in 1997. It has spent millions more trying to fix the problems and manually process bills since then.

Ñ Tribune staff