Featured Stories

Sources Say • 9-1-1 woes heading to court

The attorney representing Lisa Vasquez will file the preliminary paperwork for a whistleblower lawsuit against the city of Portland in a matter of weeks.

Commissioner Randy Leonard fired Vasquez on June 27 as director of the Portland Safety Systems Revitalization Program. The firing came six days after Portland police union President Daryl Turner named Vasquez as a critic of the problematic replacement 9-1-1 dispatch system in a three-page letter to the City Council demanding that it be fixed.

Legally, attorney Mitra Shahri has six months from the date Vasquez was fired to file a tort claim notice with Multnomah County Circuit Court on behalf of her client. But Shahri plans to finish the legal research and file paperwork to put the city on notice well before the deadline.

Cogen's tough choice

Here's more proof that Portland is a small city. Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen was working for Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman when the two came up with the idea of a city levy to help fund services to children.

After Portland voters approved the Children's Levy, Cogen's wife, Lisa Pelligrino, was hired to direct the program, which approves grants to nonprofit agency. Now, as county chair, Cogen must decide whether to potentially cut the funding for his wife's program by placing a measure on the ballot to create a library district.

The decision isn't really all that hard, however. Under Oregon's complex property tax limitation system, Portland could lose $5 million or so a year in property tax revenue if voters approve the district. But the Children's Levy would lose less than $1 million - almost as much as it would lose if the voters simply extended the library's current operating levy.

None of that necessarily comes out of staff salaries, anyway.

And they're off

Election politics are heating up at City Hall. Last week, political activist Steve Novick grabbed the headlines when he announced for Commissioner Randy Leonard's seat mere hours after Leonard revealed he would not seek re-election.

Leonard tipped Novick off to his decision and endorsed him a short time later. The inside deal was similar to City Commissioner Erik Sten resigning early and throwing his political weight behind Jim Middaugh, his chief of staff. Middaugh ultimately lost the election to Nick Fish, however.

Now state Rep. Mary Nolan has announced against City Commissioner Amanda Fritz. Nolan, a Democrat, has represented portions of Northwest and Southwest Portland since 2000. She's raised over $17,000 since the 2011 session ended and has more than $25,000 in the bank.

Fritz has already announced for re-election and loaned her campaign $25,000.