Second tram idea set aside

One aerial tram is enough for the city to deal with, apparently.

A proposal for a shorter, second tram to be part of the proposed tram system between Marquam Hill and the North Macadam development area appears to be dead Ñ at least for now.

Commissioner Jim Francesconi said Monday he has told city transportation officials that their idea for a second tram to connect Barbur Boulevard to the main proposed tram system should be put aside for now.

'From a transportation standpoint, a second tram probably makes sense,' Francesconi said. 'But I think we should take this a step at a time.'

Francesconi said the second tram idea would require more public discussion. And he wants the main tram system Ñ being pushed by officials with Oregon Health & Science University and which the city council approved in July Ñ to continue moving forward without delaying for debate on a possible second tram.

Katz takes up permit issue

Mayor Vera Katz says the city needs to change its policies to deal with political protesters who do not take out parade permits. After controversy erupted about the police response to the 2000 May Day parade, the City Council revised the rules to authorize police commanders to allow political marches without permits.

But police say that system broke down during the Aug. 22 visit by President Bush. After the large demonstration degenerated into a series of violent confrontations, police said they underestimated the size of the crowd because no one had applied for a permit that would have included such an estimate.

Katz said she is not willing to ban all marches that do not have permits, but she is considering issuing warnings to Portlanders when marches are planned by people who have not taken out permits.

'I think I have an obligation to tell people when organizers have not talked to the police about their plans,' she said.

Kroeker says he'll stay

After discovering late last week that he did not make the short list of three finalists for the top Los Angeles police job, Mark Kroeker, Portland's police chief since December 1999, says he intends to remain here.

The Los Angeles Police Commission said they selected candidates whom they thought had the ability to reform the scandal-ridden Los Angeles Police Department.

The finalists are former New York Police Commissioner William Bratton, Oxnard (Calif.) Police Chief Art Lopez and former Philadelphia Police Commissioner John Timoney. The Los Angeles mayor will appoint the chief in upcoming weeks.

City Council looks at zones

The Portland City Council on Thursday will consider the biennial renewal of the city's drug-free and prostitution-free zone ordinances.

The Multnomah County District Attorney's office has proposed boundary changes to each ordinance as well as changes to the way exclusions are granted.

Many residents and police support the measures, saying they help clean up problem neighborhoods by keeping offenders out for 30 or 90 days. Critics charge that the exclusions violate First Amendment rights.

The hearing will take place at 2 p.m. in City Hall, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave.


Driver admits drinking

In a Multnomah County courtroom last week, Linda Abeles, 21, admitted she had been drinking when she struck and injured a Portland police motorcycle officer earlier this year.

Officer Christopher Guzman, 34, had been on patrol on Southeast Sandy Boulevard at 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 6 when Abeles struck his motorcycle, leaving him with critical head injuries. He is receiving care at his home.

Police said that her blood-alcohol content was 0.17 percent and that she had been smoking marijuana. In a plea agreement, Abeles pleaded guilty to charges of third-degree assault and driving under the influence of intoxicants, while other charges were dismissed.

She received five years' probation and 45 days in a work-release center and will have her license suspended for five years. She also is required to testify in a civil lawsuit filed by Guzman's family against the two bars that allegedly served Abeles alcohol that night.


Meadows to open on time

Portland Meadows, coming off a season in which the track opened late and closed early, is set to open on time for the 2002-2003 season.

Steve Barham, executive director of the Oregon Racing Commission, said Toronto-based Magna Entertainment Corp., which owns the track, has resolved the environmental issues that closed the track a few weeks early last spring. The track will open Oct. 19.

The track's season opened nearly two weeks late last year because Magna and the Environmental Protection Agency couldn't agree on necessary improvements to the facility. The track closed early when Magna couldn't complete the improvements in a timely fashion.

Magna spent about $750,000 to fix the faulty drainage systems that led to the EPA-imposed shutdown. For years, the track has faced criticism for allegedly directing contaminated water toward the nearby Columbia Slough.


Ashcroft files appeal

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft on Monday appealed a Portland judge's ruling on Oregon's assisted suicide law, suggesting that doctors could be held criminally liable if they prescribe legal doses of medication.

The nation's only Death With Dignity law, approved by Oregon voters in 1994 and 1997, allows doctors to prescribe legal doses of medication to terminally ill patients with less than six months to live. Last November, Ashcroft said the federal government has authority over the states in this matter.

A Portland judge upheld the state law in April. A spokesman at Oregon attorney general's office said the state would defend the new appeal.

Ñ Tribune staff

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