DNA doesn't match

DNA testing has cleared one of the original suspects in the 1980 murder of Barbara Tucker at Mt. Hood Community College.

The testing, which was done after a Tribune story on Tucker's unsolved murder appeared in late February, failed to produce a match between DNA from the suspect and the crime scene, according to Norm Frink of the Multnomah County district attorney's office.

The Tribune story noted that the suspect, whose name is being withheld, apparently had not been contacted by police after new DNA technology made it possible to determine with virtual certainty whether DNA obtained from a suspect matched that from a crime scene.

The technology was introduced in 1998, 18 years after Tucker, 19, was bludgeoned to death while apparently on her way to a night class at the college.

Frink said he asked the suspect to provide a specimen for DNA testing, and the man complied.

Overtime bill swells

Portland spent upward of $1 million in police overtime pay during antiwar demonstrations in the first three weeks of the war in Iraq, Mayor Vera Katz said this week.

Final figures aren't in yet, but Katz said that the total will wind up somewhere between $900,000 and $1.1 million, twice as much as the $500,000 the city had expected it would need. The numbers are for demonstrations from March 19, as the war started, through April 9.

Police canceled scheduled days off and put most officers on 12-hour shifts starting March 16. But the schedule eased 10 days later, and officers returned to normal shifts in early April.

Katz said she has asked other city bureaus to further cut spending to make up for the overtime.


McDonald's bows out

Financial considerations have led to McDonald's ending its protracted battle with neighbors over a proposed drive-through restaurant on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

'The problem was their (McDonald's) overall economy,' said Mike Warwick, land-use chairman of the Eliot Neighborhood Association, which opposed the development. 'It makes sense; they just had their first negative revenue in 30 years.'

The company, which reported a loss of $343.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2002, this year will reduce the number of new restaurants built worldwide.

McDonald's had planned to build the restaurant in the vacant Raven Creamery site just south of Northeast Fremont Street. Recently it had started working with the neighborhood and city planners on a mixed-use development.

Reservoir open house set

Despite public opposition to plans for burying the three currently open reservoirs in Mount Tabor Park, the Bureau of Water Works and Portland Parks & Recreation will host an open house on possible replacements for them.

The event, being held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 26 at McGuire Auditorium at Warner Pacific College, 2219 S.E. 68th Ave., will give Portlanders an opportunity to review the work of the Public Advisory Committee appointed to create a redevelopment plan for the 50 acres around the reservoirs.

Current ideas include building shallow reflecting pools or other water features on top of the buried reservoirs.

Opponents, however, said the project is a waste of money. They contend that the City Council overreacted when it voted last May to bury the reservoirs to protect them from possible terrorist attacks.


Hearing set for port plan

Port of Portland officials have nearly finished revising the Marine Terminals Master Plan 2020. They will take comments on the comprehensive plan at the eighth and final open house on Thursday. The Port of Portland commission will consider and vote on the plan at its regular monthly meeting May 14.

The port is taking comments from stakeholders, such as businesses linked to the marine terminals, labor unions, neighbors and environmental groups, and still could make changes. 'This is not just a 'Here it is, thanks for your support'' meeting, port spokesman Aaron Ellis said.

The plan outlines construction needed to allow the port to double the amount of cargo moving through existing terminals during the next 10 years. It includes proposals to deepen the Columbia River's shipping channel and other river-related issues.

The open house is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at the port's downtown headquarters, 121 N.W. Everett St.


Symphony cuts back

The Oregon Symphony's financial projections for next year should be played in a sorrowful minor key.

Anticipating a shortfall of $2.4 million in a $15 million budget, the organization implemented a sustainability plan Monday and laid off five employees 10 percent of its work force.

'The causes were out of our control,' said symphony President Tony Woodcock. 'We're looking at a million-dollar loss on our endowment next year, and we've become far more conservative. We're expecting another hole of $1 million in contributed income, and we've lost all state funding of the arts.'

Woodcock thinks it's unrealistic to expect that the orchestra will find more money, so belt-tightening is in order. The highest paid members of the symphony, including Woodcock, Music Director James DePreist, Music Director Designate Carlos Kalmar and Associate Conductor Norman Leyden, have volunteered to take 10 percent pay cuts. Midrange employees will take 3 to 5 percent cuts, and support staff will have their pay frozen.

The symphony also will defer appointing a new resident conductor, 'which will save $40,000 to $50,000,' according to Woodcock, and guest artists will be asked to play for less.

'We think they'll be sympathetic,' he said. 'We have wonderful relationships.'


Protest suits announced

A KATU (2) news engineer and two antiwar protesters have notified the city that they intend to file federal civil-rights lawsuits alleging they were mistreated by police during last month's peace protests.

All three are represented by local activist attorney Alan Graf, chairman of the Portland chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. He formally notified the city of the pending suits Wednesday as required by law. Graf hopes to introduce videotapes of the incidents as evidence during the trials.

According to the tort claims notices that Graf filed, KATU engineer Randy Lyon says he was assaulted by an officer while covering a demonstration March 20. Miranda May says she was pepper-sprayed while exercising her First Amendment rights during a March 25 protest. And William Ellis claims he was slammed to the ground, pepper-sprayed and hit with a pepper-spray bottle for holding a sign at the same protest.

Tribune staff

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