12.30.11 The Afternoon Delight



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In the Headlines

Land conservation benefits from economic downturn

Tough economic times have been a bonanza for land trusts and nonprofit conservation groups, which have recently been buying rights to California redwood groves, beaches, oak savannahs and timberland at a feverish pace.

 A City Slips as Downgrade Hits Home

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash.—Long a model American community with high-performing schools, beautiful parks and rising real estate values, this city of 31,000 on the Puget Sound has lately turned into a reluctant showcase for the downgrading of America. It was in the midst of building a new downtown virtually from scratch when the financial crisis set in three years ago, leaving the city with a big debt and little of the new tax revenue it expected by now.

 37 million reasons why lobbyists matter: Portland City Hall roundup

Portland will spend about $1.3 million on lobbying efforts this fiscal year, about 10 percent more than in 2010-11. What’s that money buy? Eight full-time positions in the Office of Government Relations, for starters, and lobbying power that city leaders hope translates into votes and dollar signs for their top priorities.

Clackamas County threatens to reroute broadband network and bypass Oregon City in franchise fee dispute

After months of fruitless and frustrating negotiations over a publicly funded high-speed broadband network, Clackamas County threatened last week to bypass Oregon City rather than pay a franchise fee to use the city’s right of way.

 Civilis issues report on revitalization

Downtown Hillsboro already has a lot going for it. And with stakeholders working together to help define the downtown core, the future is looking bright. That’s according to a report by Michele Reeves of Civilis Consultants. Reeves was paid $10,000 by Metro to lead stakeholders in a revitalization curriculum to determine what direction the downtown area wants to take — what “story” it wants to tell.

 Gresham is … updating its image; but first, what is it?

The city of Gresham has been working on a marketing campaign it calls “Gresham is …” The plan was to solicit ideas, photos and videos from the public — as well as advice from movers and shakers — about how to define the city in a way that gets to some fundamental truths about the place and makes it more attractive to potential residents, visitors and businesses.

 City has 30 days to give Weldon info, or say why not

A Linn County judge has ordered the city of Lebanon to hand over records on its investigation of former police sergeant Michael Fiala to city councilor Ray Weldon. Judge James Egan signed an alternative writ of mandamus on Dec. 23, said Paul Meadowbrook, attorney for city councilor Ray Weldon.

 Auditor: Sandy’s books in excellent shape

The city of Sandy is likely the envy of lenders, other governments and auditors. For the past 19 years, the city’s financial books have been in such good shape that the city has received an award each year for excellent financial reporting.

 City leaders sound off on goals, hopes for New Year

City Manager John Hitt said his No. 1 resolution for the next year is “to communicate more frequently with the city staff, the city council and the public at large.”  He plans to implement these strategies by having weekly meetings with departments that he has not met with regularly in the past.