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Sources Say: At City Hall, Fish and Novick play Abbott and Costello


Commissioner Steve Novick took the opportunity to crack wise after Commissioner Nick Fish announced the appointment of Michael Jordan to head the Bureau of Environmental Services on Friday.

Deliberately confusing the former State of Oregon and Metro executive with the retired NBA star, Novick’s

office sent out an email urging Fish to appoint retired NBA player Scottie Pippen to replace David Shaff, who is retiring as head of the Water Bureau. Pippen played for the Portland Trail Blazers from 1999 to 2003.

“The utilities should work together as a team, and with Jordan and Pippen you get a championship team,” Novick said. “Mr. Pippen spent four good years in Portland, and I’m sure he’d be happy to return. And, of course, Commissioner Fish and (Chief of Staff) Sonia Schmanski both have extensive experience with the triangle offense. Indeed, Sonia has long been known to insiders as the Tex Winter of City Hall. We have a tremendous opportunity here,” it said.

Uber’s super-duper spending

If money actually does talk, that may help explain why the City Council approved the 120-day pilot program that is allowing Uber and other transportation network companies to operate legally in Portland.

According to the most recently filed disclosure forms, Uber Technologies spent the most money lobbying the city in the first quarter of the year — $12,616.35. The only opponent of the pilot program that reported any lobbying spending was Broadway Cab, which spent just $7,500.

Other big spenders include Pembina Pipeline Corp., the company that wants to build a propane terminal at the Port of Portland, which reported $5,880; the Portland Business Alliance, which lobbies on a variety of issues, at $6,979; and the Port of Portland, which also lobbied on the Pembina project, among other things, at $3,200.

Portland’s chintzy lobbyists

None of that money apparently went for any bribes to the City Council members, according to their filings of gifts received in the first quarter of the year.

In fact, most of the gifts sound more like work than anything else. For example, Commissioner Nick Fish reported $200 worth of tickets for a crisis line fundraiser. Hales reported receiving $120 in tickets for the “Worst Day of the Year” bike ride. He also reported $50 in tickets for a brunch fundraiser for the Blanchet House social service agency. Commissioner Steve Novick received a DVD worth $19.95 about the reported disappearance of bees.

Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Dan Saltzman didn’t report receiving any gifts, which may say something about their personal integrity or lack of clout at City Hall.