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Points of the Day

May 7, 2010

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Republican leader criticizes AG's record

Oregon House Republican leader Bruce Hanna questioned the transparency of Attorney General John Kroger's office as well as his commitment to a positive business climate.

Hanna wants Kroger to release documents relating to a former special counsel, who resigned last month after admitting to misrepresenting the office during a criminal investigation.

Attorney General John Kroger's former special counsel on environmental issues, Brent Foster, stepped down after admitting to misrepresenting his involvement in a criminal water pollution case against a fruit juice maker in the small northwestern Oregon town of Hood River.

Before joining the AG's staff in December 2008, Foster was executive director of the Columbia Riverkeeper, one of the state's leading water-quality and conservation groups.

Read the whole story at Legal Newsline.

Philippine company to buffer Port

A Philippine company is in the process of signing a 25-year lease to control the Port of Portland's only container terminal.

The $120.5 million deal is expected to protect the port from the volatility of the shipping industry.

The port first considered finding a company to run the terminal three years ago when private interest in running port facilities was high. A request for bids initially attracted 10 interested companies, [Port director Bill Wyatt] said. That list dwindled, and then dried up altogether toward the end of 2008.

But in the meantime, the port had invested time and money in developing the proposal, and didn't want to start over. When  [International Container Terminal Services] contacted the port about six months later, Wyatt said, officials began negotiating exclusively with the company.

Read the whole story at OregonLive.com.

Adams proposes leaner city budget

Portland Mayor Sam Adams will release a 2010-11 budget today, which includes no cost-of-living increases for city workers and protects city reserves.

The mayor has described the budget as basic and lean with targeted invesments for "a more equitable recovery" from the recession.

The mayor doesn't give himself the extra education adviser he wanted, but he will deliver on a State of the City pledge to find $500,000 for community college scholarships. A novel mix of general fund money and sewer and water savings will pay for students to attend school and get on-the-job training in the water and environmental services bureaus...

The current one-year budget totals about $3.5 billion, with $472 million from the general fund, which includes property taxes, business licenses and utility fees. He asked bureaus last year to cut 2 to 4 percent from their budgets for 2010-11. The actual amount of the 2010-11 budget, which takes effect July 1, won't be known for several weeks.

Read the whole story at OregonLive.com.

Eugene beer scene grows

Sixteen Tons is Eugene's newest bottle shop, offering 300 varieties of beer and 100 wines.

The shop is one of several in Eugene serving local beer fans and geeks, boosting the city's profile in beer culture.

Sixteen Tons moves into a neighborhood with several other beer retailers, including Beer Nuts, a smaller bottle shop about a block away, and the Bier Stein, an often-packed bottle shop that also offers beers on tap and food, about two blocks away. And then there’s the Circle K convenience store across the street...

The partners capitalized the business themselves, and left enough money in reserve so they can adapt their business as they understand better what their customers want, [owner Mike Coplin] said. That may include adding beer on tap as well as food at some point, he said.

Read the whole story at The Register-Guard.

Fee waiver could boost Portland development

Portland City Council temporarily waived a fee that has been preventing some people from building, and developers and builders expect an increase in business as a result.

The $7,000 to $15,000 fee on homeowners who build or convert space on their land into a second living unit has been suspended for the next three years.

Joe Robertson, manager of ADU Building Co., has built accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, since 1998, when city zoning changed to allow them. Few people build the units because of the system development charges that go to various city bureaus, Robertson said.

“What kept people from building … without a doubt it’s the budget,” Robertson said. “Of an $80,000 project, $14,000 of that is just fees that goes to the city for parks and stuff that they’re already paying for just by owning a house.”

Read the whole story at the Daily Journal of Commerce.

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