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In Other News

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VIOLENCE IN PORTLAND has fallen to levels last seen in the late 1960s. But Police Chief Mike Reese argues the city feels as unsafe as ever. In a signal of things to come in warmer, more-touristy months, on Tuesday, February 4, Reese unveiled a new proposal for curbing aggressive panhandling and visible homelessness around downtown Portland and beyond—a longtime dream of the business lobby. Called "Prosper Portland," the initiative is predicated on better cooperation between various law enforcement agencies, business and community groups, and social services providers. But the chief also outlined several tweaks he says will help police in dealing with homeless people. Among them: a revamped sit-lie ordinance, more money for foot patrols, and use of a "clean-up contractor" that would cart away homeless structures that police break up. "Last year we reached a tipping point," Reese said. "It didn't feel safe." DIRK VANDERHART


ALTA BICYCLE SHARE faced a serious conundrum on January 20, the day one of its chief suppliers declared bankruptcy: How would the Portland-based company set up systems in Portland, Seattle, and other cities that have caught the bike-share bug? The company arrived at a solution fairly quickly. On Monday, February 3, Alta announced a new partnership with 8D Technologies—a Montreal-based company that's a former partner of the now-bankrupt Public Bike System Company (PBSC, often called Bixi). And 8D already has well-regarded software to bring to the table. By summer, President and CEO Isabelle Bettez tells the Mercury, it will have a fully fledged docking system ready to ship—potentially for cheaper than PBSC's defect-prone product. DVH


AFTER MONTHS of contract squabbling with Portland Public Schools (PPS), the district's teachers' union plans to take a formal strike-authorization vote on Wednesday, February 5. While union leaders expect the vote to pass, there's no guarantee the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) will actually stage the first walkout in the district's history. PAT President Gwen Sullivan says the union is trying to prepare itself in case the school board imposes working conditions on teachers—an option because the groups have reached an impasse. PPS, meanwhile, says it hopes to avoid such a move. DVH

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