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Hall Monitor

Our New Angel

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Just five months ago, Dr. Robert Pamplin Jr. (owner of the Portland Tribune, KPAM, Ross Island Sand & Gravel, etc., etc.) announced he was done screwing around with the city—and was no longer going to consider giving a portion of Ross Island over to public ownership, because the process had dragged on for so long.

From a business trip to Italy, Mayor Tom Potter begged Pamplin to reconsider, dragging in Vera Katz to help negotiate a new compromise. Lo and behold, in one of those increasingly rare instances in which a political deal is struck that pleases everyone, Pamplin agreed to once again change his mind—he's giving a piece of the island to the city, which Portland is, as of this Wednesday, October 31, accepting with open arms.

But this is the City of Portland, where a simple "thank you" is never enough. Every council vote is accompanied by a litany of gracious remarks, with speeches that make Oscar winners look like models of brevity. The Ross Island deal is no exception.

This Wednesday's resolution accepting the donation is titled "Accept the generous donation of a portion of Ross Island to the City of Portland." Fair enough. An island is a pretty big—and generous—gift. But as the actual resolution rambles on, it becomes clear that the mayor's office is attempting to get back in the good graces of Dr. Pamplin:

"[T]he City of Portland acknowledges that Dr. Pamplin was true to his word and commends him for his perseverance in fulfilling his promise to donate the Gift Property.

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City of Portland salutes the generosity of Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr., and the Ross Island Sand & Gravel Co. and thanks them for their gift of the Gift Property."

Somehow, they managed to leave out his courage in the face of adversity, his sensitivity in matters of the heart, and his chiseled physique, which makes all men in his presence tremble in fear, and all women swoon. That he allows us less worthy beings to occupy the Portland metro area with him is a testament to his eternal mercy and grace.

Also, I think Robert Pamplin invented a time machine. How else can you explain how the mayor has put an emergency ordinance on this week's agenda authorizing the Oregon National Guard to land a helicopter at Portland International Raceway for the TOPOFF disaster drill, which happened two weeks ago? According to my sources, Pamplin has discovered or created a portal in the space-time continuum—possibly under the Ross Island lagoon—that will allow the mayor to travel back in time to deliver the authorization on schedule. Is there anything Pamplin can't do?

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