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THE ARTS

Musicians OK contract

Oregon Symphony musicians approved a two-year contract extension Tuesday that includes a 5 percent pay cut and a delay in filling orchestra vacancies.

The agreement with Local 99 of the American Federation of Musicians means that the symphony will have a balanced budget for the next two years, said Tony Woodcock, symphony president.

'This is very big news for our future and speaks to the orchestra's level of understanding about the challenges we are facing,' Woodcock said.

'The optimism that the musicians are feeling this morning derives from an assurance of employment in a very bleak Oregon economic environment,' said Cheri Ann Egbers, second clarinet and head of the orchestra's negotiating team.

The $700,000 savings realized through the new contract will help the symphony offset a projected $2.4 million shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The symphony has reduced staff by 10 percent, and Woodcock and other top officers are taking a 10 percent pay cut.

POLICE

Killing under investigation

Portland police are investigating the city's 12th homicide of 2003. The body of Christine Ione Lawson, 43, was found in an Old Town doorway about 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

According to the medical examiner's office, she was strangled.

Investigators also say that right before her death, Lawson had a black leather purse with a shoulder strap and a black wallet. The items were not found at the crime scene.

According to police, Lawson lived a transient life in downtown Portland.

Anyone with information in this investigation is asked to call Detective Paul Weatheroy at 503-823-0458 or Detective Cheryl Kanzler at 503-823-0865.

Tribune staff