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Advocates for domestic violence victims are worried the state will skip out on a chance to pump millions into Oregon's chronically overwhelmed shelter programs. As part of a lawsuit settlement, Philip Morris agreed last week to pay $56 million into the state's crime victims' fund, 16 percent of which is spent on domestic violence programs. But with the windfall arriving at a time when the state is strapped for cash, Attorney General John Kroger wants to keep the fund nearly level and give almost all the cash to other programs. Portland shelter Raphael House says 23,000 requests for shelter from violence could not be met in Oregon in 2010. "Oregon has a responsibility to ensure that every victim who comes forward to seek help has access to life-saving services," wrote Raphael House's staff in an open letter. SARAH MIRK

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A pair of skateboarders who sued a Portland security company and three of its guards over a 2009 scuffle in Pioneer Courthouse Square are close to settling out of court for an undisclosed sum, a source close to the case has confirmed. The Mercury last reported that the case was scheduled for a trial this month, more than two years after video surfaced of then-Pacific Patrol Services guard Nick Jones clubbing skateboarder Brian Baca over the head with a skateboard ["Grinding into Court," News, Jan 5]. Baca and his friend, Clyde King, were seeking $1.35 million in damages. DENIS C. THERIAULT

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Outside In—whose famed 23-year-old needle-exchange program won a reprieve thanks to a one-time $65,000 bailout from Mayor Sam Adams last year—will need more help this spring. Congressional Republicans canceled federal funding for needle programs, blowing a $6,000 hole in Outside In's $190,000 syringe exchange budget. That leaves Portland and Multnomah County to make up the difference. ALEX ZIELINSKI

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