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In Other News



Portland City Council on Wednesday, December 12, approved a long-awaited deal with Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share to run Portland's proposed a slick 75-station bike share system, slated to launch next fall. Under the deal, approved with a 4-0 vote and in effect immediately, the city will spend up to $1.8 million in federal funds and $20,000 in local money to roll out 750 bikes around the central city that anyone with a credit card can check out for short trips. Under a late amendment added by Commissioner Amanda Fritz, kiosks with helmets also would be made available. The aim of the project—similar to systems in 26 other American cities—is to immediately boost the number of people biking for trips under three miles. Alta may fight to unveil the system on time: they're far behind schedule on New York City's planned bike share system due to a contractor's dispute with the company that makes the bike share's high tech software.  SARAH MIRK


Say goodbye to the cars vs. bros war that strike Old Town every weekend. City council on Wednesday, December 12, took up a pilot project for a pedestrian-only "entertainment zone" that would close the blocks between NW 2nd and 4th Avenues from West Burnside to NW Everett to all vehicle traffic from 10pm to 3am every Friday and Saturday. Police are tired of constantly responding to the area—home to clubs like Dirty, Tube, and the Dixie Lounge—and think closing off the blocks will decrease tensions, allowing the drunken crowds spill into the streets, instead of squeezing onto crowded sidewalks and dodging cars. Taxis and pedicabs will still be allowed onto two of the blocks. The program, which is expected to be approved next Wednesday, December 19, will take effect in January and last for 90 days. SM


A man punched, Tasered, pepper-sprayed, and tackled by a group of Portland police officers outside Old Town nightclub Aura in November 2010 was awarded $306,000 in damages by a Multnomah County jury on Monday, December 10. Gallagher Smith, now 27, was taken to Providence Hospital after he was beaten up—the aftermath of an incident sparked when security guards called police and complained Smith wouldn't leave the public sidewalk in front of the club. The Mercury first reported on Smith in a story about Taser policy. ["Shocking Questions," News, Nov 25, 2010]. The Oregonian reported, after the verdict, that the police bureau's internal affairs investigators found no wrongdoing in the officers' handling of Smith. DENIS C. THERIAULT


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