Thomason: Football next?

Auto magnate Scott Thomason says his resignation from the Thomason Auto Group could lead him to more diligently pursue a professional football team for Portland.

At a news conference Wednesday, Thomason also said his recent hit-and-run driving conviction didn't contribute to his decision to leave the group, of which he has served as president and chief executive officer since 1983.

Nor, he said, did Asbury Automotive Group, which owns the majority of Thomason Auto Group, ask him to leave.

Thomason has a five-year contract with the company that is about to enter its final year. He said he'll become a consultant for the group.

Upon leaving, Thomason said he'll pursue unspecified other career opportunities. He's been part of an informal group of business leaders who have discussed luring a National Football League team to Portland.

'I'd love to bring it here: Maybe that's something I can do now,' he said.

Thomason said he also may try to help Portland Family Entertainment, which runs PGE Park and the Portland Beavers baseball team, emerge from financial problems that have plagued the group.

Thomason acknowledged that the timing of his announcement seems odd, given his October conviction for a hit-and-run incident in Portland's South Park Blocks.

'But the reason we did the (ballyhooed) 'Greatest Auto Dealer Commercial of All Time' was because I knew I was leaving, and I wanted to go out with something big,' he said.

David Wegner, the auto group's executive vice president and chief operating officer, will assume Thomason's duties Jan. 1.

New eatery announced

Pacific Coast Restaurants Inc. has announced that it will open a new restaurant at the coveted corner of West Burnside Street and 12th Avenue in the historic brew-house building, a part of the Brewery Blocks project.

The Portland-based restaurateur executed a lease with Gerding/Edlen Development Co. LLC on 9,810 square feet in the brew house plus 1,500 square feet of outdoor space for patio seating. This will be the first restaurant in the Brewery Blocks development.

Less than three weeks ago, Pacific Coast opened Manzana Rotisserie Grill, the biggest restaurant in the Pearl District, several blocks away at Northwest 12th and Glisan.

The new restaurant 'will be both an anchor for an exceptional development and a gateway to a very exciting part of the city,' said Robert MacLellan, Pacific Coast's chairman. A concept and name for the new eatery are being developed.

Pacific Coast also operates 24 full-service restaurants in four Western states, including Newport Bay and Stanford's.


Blazers enter pleas

Portland Trail Blazers Damon Stoudamire and Rasheed Wallace on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to marijuana possession charges.

The pleas were faxed to the Lewis County District Court by Seattle attorney Paul Cullen, on behalf of Stoudamire, and Seattle attorney David Buckey, on behalf of Wallace.

The Blazer co-captains were arrested on the drug charges after their vehicle was stopped for speeding by the Washington State Patrol just before midnight Nov. 21 north of Centralia.


Would-be abductor sought

Portland police are asking for help in finding a man who tried to abduct a 15-year-old girl as she waited for a bus in Southeast Portland.

The suspect was described as a white man in his 30s, 6-foot-2 with a medium build, a possible goatee, wearing a black T-shirt and jeans. The man was driving a black two-door car with possible Washington state license plates.

The teenager said the incident occurred at 1 p.m. Monday, when the man grabbed her and tried to pull her into a car while she stood at a bus stop at the intersection of Southeast 52nd Avenue and Woodstock Boulevard. She freed herself by kicking him in the shin.

She was not injured.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police school division at 503-823-2166.

Chief to appear on TV

Portland Police Chief Mark Kroeker will appear on a Spanish-language show on Saturday to speak about the recent awards he handed to two officers involved in the controversial shooting of Mexican immigrant Jose Santos Victor Mejia Poot last year.

The interview is scheduled to air in English with Spanish subtitles at 10 a.m. on Univision (Channel 31 on AT&T Cable). The program, called Cita Con Nelly, began airing last month. It covers health and education issues, news, art, music and entertainment.

Kroeker explained that he presented the awards because the officers followed procedure, but the issue caused a stir in the Latino community, and several leaders have called for Kroeker's resignation. He said he will not resign and aims to repair his relationship with the community.


Open house scheduled

The Housing Authority of Portland is having an open house Saturday on its plans to rebuild the low-income Columbia Villa housing complex in North Portland.

The project is being primarily paid for with a combination of federal and local funds. The open house will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Portsmouth Middle School, 5103 N. Willis Blvd.

For more information, visit the authority's Web site at or call Leslie Esinga at 503-802-8365 or John Keating at 503-802-8522.


Filtration plant debated

A group of industrial water users in Portland is calling for a cheaper solution to the city's water treatment needs, warning that a $200 million filtration plant could increase water rates by 30 percent.

The Portland Water Users Coalition warned Mayor Vera Katz in a letter Thursday that building a filtration plant, the most expensive of the city's four water treatment options, 'will hurt the already struggling economy.'

A citizens panel recommended in September that the city build a membrane filtration plant at Powell Butte Park to protect Portland's water supply. Construction cost is estimated at $202 million, with $8 million in annual operating costs.

Some business owners question whether options such as ultraviolet or ozone treatment could ensure safe water at roughly one-third the cost. 'It seems like this is going to cost much more than it has to. That's our concern,' said Charlie Porcelli, owner of Koldkist Beverage Ice Co.


Board members named

Three new members have been elected to the board of Portland Streetcar Inc., the not-for-profit agency formed in 1995 to manage the development, construction and operation of local streetcar projects.

A future streetcar line is planned for the North Macadam urban renewal area.

The new members are: Henry Ashforth III, chairman of the board of Ashforth Pacific Inc.; J.E. Isaac, senior vice president of business affairs for the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oregon Arena Corp.; and Richard Parker Jr., president of United Finance Co.

Ñ Tribune staff

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