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TRANSIT

Semi spill closes road

Fire bureau officials were hoping to have Interstate 205 clear by the end of the day Thursday after a tanker truck carrying 4,500 gallons of liquid oxygen spilled in the morning.

The accident closed both directions of traffic on I-205 from Interstate 84 to Airport Way. Commuters sat in traffic for several hours and looked for detours to Portland International Airport, where service was not disrupted, a spokesman said. Public bus and light-rail service continued via alternate routes.

The spill happened about 6 a.m. on the west end of the Columbia Boulevard overpass; the cause is under investigation. Both the truck driver and the driver of a car that caught fire 500 feet from the tanker escaped injuries. The car had gone through an oxygen vapor cloud and ignited because of the heat on the motor.

'Luckily we didn't have several vehicles that did that,' fire spokesman Doug Jones said.

SCHOOLS

Parents get drug alert

Days after the Portland Police Bureau told the media that a new hallucinogenic drug that looks like candy is popping up throughout the city, Portland Public Schools officials are notifying parents.

'They are in fact planning on putting together a note to parents about the nature of these chocolates,' said Lew Frederick, a Portland Public Schools spokesman. 'The real concern is that they look like typical Easter chocolates.'

Frederick said police had advised the schools to alert parents to the dangers of the drug falling into children's hands.

Police about two weeks ago seized a 30-pound box of the chocolate psilocybin mushrooms, which they believe was part of a major distribution ring and headed to the East Coast. An investigation is ongoing.

The molded chocolate candies Ñ containing ground-up mushrooms Ñ have been popping up in large quantities around the city and the West Coast in recent months and may be part of a 'disturbing trend,' said Sgt. Brian Schmautz, a police spokesman.

There have been no reported overdoses or deaths yet attributed to the drug, but child advocates say parents should use the trend as a teaching opportunity.

Anyone who has information is asked to call the Drugs and Vice Division at 503-823-0246.

POLICE

Discipline recommended

Seven members of the Portland Police Bureau will face discipline in the alleged cover-up of an incident in which two off-duty officers beat a man outside a downtown bar last year.

Calling it 'one of the most difficult decisions I have made as chief,' Portland Police Chief Mark Kroeker said Thursday that he has proposed discipline for one commander, two lieutenants, three sergeants and one officer based at Central Precinct.

The proposed discipline ranges from demotions and suspensions to letters of reprimand. Because of union contracts, Kroeker said the officers' names could not be disclosed.

Kroeker launched an internal investigation into the Jan. 24, 2002, incident after someone in the bureau sent an anonymous tip.

The two officers involved in the beating, Grant Bailey and Craig Hampton, were subsequently convicted of assault charges, pleaded guilty and resigned from the bureau. Hampton is serving 21 months in prison, and Bailey is serving 18 months.

Robert King, president of the Portland Police Association, said the remaining officers had good records of service and would present mitigating information to the chief before their final discipline is decided.

Group reverses findings

The volunteer panel that hears complaints against Portland police has reversed several findings stemming from the September 1999 alleged false arrest and injury of a 24-year-old Northeast Portland man.

Portland police were looking for Mitchell Bonneau on a domestic assault charge when they went to his home and instead mistakenly arrested his half-brother, Merrick Bonneau.

The arrest began long legal battles for Merrick Bonneau against the city and his lawyer. The city paid him an $80,000 settlement.

Bonneau, who had bruises after the arrest, had also lodged a complaint with the city's Independent Police Review Division alleging excessive force and unreasonable arrest.

The police bureau's internal affairs unit exonerated the officers. But recently, the citizen review committee that re-examined the complaints sustained three of the nine allegations and moved six of the judgments from 'exonerated' to 'insufficient evidence.'

'I think this is very significant,' said Dan Handelman of the police oversight group Cop Watch. 'I think it shows that even with the limited standard of review the (citizen review committee) is given, they're able to tell when the facts of the case indicate there was misconduct, despite whatever the (police) bureau said.'

COURTS

Hate-crime pleas entered

Three men have pleaded not guilty to hate crime and assault charges for allegedly beating a man they thought was an Arab.

Michael Grant Bonadurer, 23, from Monmouth, Adrece Jovony Mitchell, 23, from Clackamas, and Jonathan Vaefaga Semau, 23, from Clackamas, are accused of attacking and shouting ethnic slurs at Gerard Giolo, 32, in downtown Portland on Jan. 12.

Giolo is a South African of Italian descent who had just moved to Oregon.

A Multnomah County grand jury indicted the three men Feb. 21.

Ñ Tribune staff