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COURTS

Ford may get new lawyer

Nationally known activist attorney Robert Bloom has applied to represent Patrice Lumumba Ford in the Portland Six case. If U.S. District Judge Robert Jones approves, Bloom will replace local court-appointed attorney Whitney Boise.

Bloom has represented Black Panthers and other political dissidents since 1969. He said he was recruited to replace Boise by 'Ford's friends and supporters at his mosque.'

In the meantime, the government claims that Ford knew he and the other alleged al-Qaida terror cell members could be charged with violating the USA Patriot Act a month before they were arrested, according to documents filed by the Oregon U.S. attorney's office.

Ford allegedly made the comment Sept. 4, 2002, while traveling with a government informant from Portland to La Grande.

Ford and five others were indicted Oct. 3 on charges of conspiring to levy war against the United States and offering material aid to al-Qaida. Five of the six are in custody while awaiting trial.

The comment was included in the government's response to defense attorney demands for more evidence in the case. Among other things, the defense attorneys seek all government records on all potential witnesses in the case, which is scheduled for trial later this year.

In its response filed Feb. 7, the government said the demands are overly broad and should be rejected. Jones has scheduled a hearing on the motions for Feb. 25.

Son arraigned in death

Seventeen-year-old David Paul Seven was arraigned Wednesday on charges that he killed his mother in their Happy Valley home. He will be held without bail at the Donald E. Long Juvenile Home while the Clackamas County district attorney presents the case to a grand jury. Formal charges could be filed against Seven as early as next week.

Investigators responding to a 'suspicious circumstances' report found the body of Linda Stevens, 52, in the house she shared with her son Tuesday morning. The state Board of Medical Examiners determined she died of multiple stab wounds.

David Seven is the youngest of four children, according to court documents filed in his parents' 1996 divorce. He was convicted of assaulting his mother in 2000 and served time at a youth authority boot camp.

GOVERNMENT

Board reform looks likely

The City Council appears poised to approve Mayor Vera Katz's plan to reform the Portland Utilities Review Board. The council took testimony on the plan Wednesday morning, then moved to take final action on it next Wednesday.

Three people testified at the Wednesday hearing.

The plan was supported by former board Chairman Jim Abrahamson and Larry Harvey of the Portland Water Users Coalition, which represents large water users. Both Abrahamson and Harvey testified that the board could be an effective watchdog on water, sewer and solid waste rate increases.

Valerie Hunter testified that the reforms will reduce the effectiveness of the board. Hunter is a member of Friends of the Reservoirs, an activist group formed to keep the reservoirs at Mount Tabor Park uncovered.

People interested in serving on the new board are asked to contact the mayor's office, 503-823-4120.

COUNTY

Social services post filled

Multnomah County has hired Patricia Pate, an assistant professor at Portland State University, as the permanent director of the county's Department of Human Services.

Pate, an adjunct assistant professor in PSU's Institute for Non-Profit Management, will take over for John Ball, who has been the department's interim director since its creation in January 2002. The merger of the Department of Aging and Disability Services and Department of Community and Family Services formed the new department.

Previously, Pate worked as corporate relations director for Smith College. She was hired after a national search, said Diane Linn, chairwoman of the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners.

SENIORS

Group offers aid to elderly

Senior citizens losing state-paid medical care, or otherwise affected by state budget cuts, can find help from Elders in Action, a Portland nonprofit group that advocates for senior citizens.

The agency is sending 20 volunteers to canvass neighborhoods in Portland, Milwaukie, Beaverton and Gresham to let senior citizens and their families and friends know that 'services exist for older people to make sure they're linked with some kind of help,' Executive Director Becky Wehrli said.

'We think there are a lot of older adults who don't have family members or friends who can advocate on their behalf,' she said.

'We want to get the word out that there's a place they can call for help.'

Wearing Elders in Action T-shirts, the volunteers will distribute information postcards and materials today in downtown Portland. They will be in Milwaukie on Thursday, Gresham on Feb. 24 and Beaverton on Feb. 28.

People also can call the group's ombudsman line, 503-823-5293.

Ñ Tribune staff