Is the 2012 Multnomah County district attorney's race already over? Many political observers had expected the race to replace Mike Schrunk to be a battle between Deputy District Attorney Rod Underhill and Sean J. Riddell, a former deputy district attorney who was hired as chief prosecutor by Oregon Attorney General John Kroger. But Riddell's spectacular flameout in that job has all but eliminated any chance he could win the race - and even raised questions about his legal future.

Riddell resigned his state job Friday after admitting he has erased e-mails related to the complex and confusing Oregon Department of Justice investigation into a $60,000 Oregon Department of Energy subcontract obtained by Gov. John Kitzhaber's girlfriend, Cylvia Hayes.

Although it appears no one involved with the subcontract will be charged or disciplined for wrongdoing, Riddell has been accused or mishandling the investigation and violating the Oregon Public Records Law. Lawyers for one of the state employees he investigated has filed a complaint against Riddell with the Oregon State Bar Association.

A rumored run by Kellie Johnson, another former deputy district attorney, could shake things up, though.

Win some, lose more

After easily being elected Multnomah County Chair in May 2010, Jeff Cogen has contributed some of his campaign surplus to other candidates and causes. He hasn't always picked the winning side, however. In fact, his record is less than 50-50.

Two winners were Kitzhaber, who received $250, and state Treasurer Ted Wheeler, who got $500.

The losers were his former aide, Karol Collymore, who received $1,000 in her unsuccessful campaign for a county commission seat; Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder, who got $250 for his losing primary election bid for Metro president; former 1000 Friends of Oregon Executive Director Bob Stacey, who received $250 for his losing general election campaign for the same office; Portlanders for Schools, which received $2,500 but split on two school ballot measures; and Clackamas County Citizens for Jobs and Safety, which got $2,500 but lost its bid to approve a $5 annual additional vehicle registration fee in that county to help finance replacement of the aging Sellwood Bridge.

Cogen also gave $1,000 to Oregon House Democrats, $1,000 to Oregon Senate Democrats, $2,500 to the Oregon League of Conservation Voters and $750 to Basic Rights Oregon, all of which also had recent mixed results at the polls.

Portland schools lose again

How bad are Portland schools? Consider this: Not a single one made Newsweek's annual list of the 500 best high schools in America this year.

But hardly any other Oregon schools did, either. In fact, West Linn High School was the only school in the state on the list, even though simple math suggested Oregon should have gotten 10.

Portland schools might have a better shot at the list next year, as the district's redesigned high school system rolls out. The implementation plans are supposed to kick in this summer. But as Portlanders have seen in the past, the devil's in the details.

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