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Bike parking politics, pot in jail, spellchecking and Kitzhaber in Bend 

Oregon's growing legions of medical marijuana users (numbering 36,380 souls as of July 1) are no doubt accustomed to having their right to legally toke challenged by employers and society - not to mention the federal government.

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You Can't Toke That Here

Oregon's growing legions of medical marijuana users (numbering 36,380 souls as of July 1) are no doubt accustomed to having their right to legally toke challenged by employers and society - not to mention the federal government. But Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) patients all of whom have been prescribed the drug by physicians should be on alert to steer clear of the Jackson County jail where Sheriff Mike Winters has taken a hard line on inmates blazing up behind bars.

Winters recently decreed that former bus driver and convicted sex offender Dennis Vickoren won't be able use pot to treat his migraine headaches while he remains under the custody and care of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department. Vickeron is serving a three-month sentence for looking at pictures of underage boys at his home in southern Oregon (also, caught in the sting was James Auchincloss who happens to be the half-brother of Jackie-O and was with Vickeron at his Ashland home during the online perv session).

According to the Medford Mail Tribune, Vickeron's attorney Jeni Feinberg petitioned a judge to allow Vickeron to use marijuana while he serves his jail sentence but was denied.

Which leads Upfront to wonder what's next for Vickeron and inmates like him? No porn or pay-per-view fights for pedophiles? The horror. (REJ)

Who Checks the Spell Check?

The Oregon Department of Education announced recently that it was going to allow students seventh grade and above to use spell check software when they take the Oregon Statewide Writing Assessment. Given that most text-loving eighth graders would respond to this by writing: "OMG, this iz 2 coo. LOL!," some folks aren't too pleased with the decision. Granted, the tests are used mostly to gauge composition and fluency, but some say the message it sends to students is that spelling doesn't matter. Others have said that with the influx of spell check software on everything, including web browsers, that precise spelling actually doesn't matter. But just think, if the next generation doesn't know how to spell, who will write the spell checking software? Crazy, right? Or, to use the language that will most likely take over within the next quarter century because of this decision: "Whoz, gna knw howda spel?" (MB)

Where the Hell is Boise?

If one were to drive five hours to the east, he or she would find a place where clocks are one hour ahead, people claim to farm potatoes and everyone is crazy, crazy, crazy about college football. That's because you'd be in Boise, the home to Boise State University, the school that may change college football as we know it this season, partially because of their last-minute, come-from-behind win against sixth-ranked (in the coach's poll) Virginia Tech on Monday night. Could a team like BSU, which hails from a city that presumably no one in Alabama could find on a map and isn't in a "BCS Conference," win a national championship? Yeah, they actually could. Hell hath frozen over. (MB)

If The Jeans Fit

The NFL has Brett Favre as its official blue jeans ambassador and in Oregon we have John Kitzhaber, the well-coiffed and mustachioed former governor, who, like Favre, just can't seem to stand life on the sidelines. The former two-term governor and physician came out of political retirement earlier this year to challenge former secretary of state Bill Bradbury for the democratic nomination for his old post as Oregon's top executive. Kitzhaber won handily, but now faces a closely contested race with another well-known Oregonian, former Trailblazer Center Chris Dudley who has been running an effective, if less than totally engaging, campaign on the republican side. Both candidates were in Bend this past week to press the flesh as the campaign enters its final phase in the run up to the November election. Upfront didn't have a chance to catch up with Dudley over the weekend, but we dropped in on Kitzhaber's meet and greet at the Deschutes Dem headquarters on Wall Street where Kitzhaber shook hands and took questions from around two dozen supporters. Dressed in his trademark blue jeans, navy blazer and leather cowboy boots, Kitzhaber gave a synopsis of his vision for the state and pushed his recently released three-point plan (available on his website, according to the candidate) before taking half a dozen or so audience questions on a range of topics (marine reserves, law enforcement funding, and renewable energy were among the issues covered) before Deschutes County Chair Craig Wilhelm announced that Kitzhaber needed to get moving to his next local event (a house party fundraiser). Kitzhaber, however, stuck around for a few photos with his supporters who continued to shuffle in the door as a post Labor Day drizzle softly soaked the streets outside. Kitzhaber's day was scheduled to wrap up in Sisters where he was attending a $125 a plate fundraiser that included a five-course meal from Jen's Garden.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Dudley's wife, also named Chris, will also be in Bend this week on a "Women for Dudley" tour that's no doubt totally platonic. Chris Love Dudley will be at Deschutes GOP office on Greenwood, Thursday at 6 p.m. (EF)

Park It, Buddy

In a move to solidify the Bend nickname of Bike Town USA, the Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA) and Commute Options have collaborated to bring the city its first downtown bike corral. The red metal structure had a $3,500 price tag, for which two thirds of the cost came from the private sector and 18 individuals in the cycling community. DBBA and Commute Options funded the remainder of the costs, with no costs falling to the City of Bend.

In addition to the corral, which takes up a former street parking spot outside of Thump Coffee, the City of Bend Planning Department has teamed up with DBBA and Commute Options to help find a solution for increased bike traffic downtown. Forty new decorative bike racks will be installed in strategic locations identified by the City of Bend; the first five were installed last week on the corner of Minnesota Avenue and Bond Street. The partnership allows for private businesses and citizens to purchase a custom bike rack for $250 and donate it to DBBA, which will have the rack installed downtown. (AP)


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