March 20, 2019 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Offshore Drilling Ban Heads To Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s Desk

Oregon Public Broadcasting

A bill to ban drilling off Oregon’s coast is headed to the desk of Gov. Kate Brown, after passing the state House of Representatives on Tuesday. Senate Bill 256 makes permanent an existing moratorium on oil and gas exploration on state-controlled waters within 3 miles of Oregon’s shore. It also ensures state agencies don’t approve projects that could assist drilling in the federally controlled waters farther out.

Oregon offshore oil drilling ban passes state Legislature

Portland Tribune

Deepwater drillers will likely find no port of call on Oregon shores after a new ban passed the State Legislature on Tuesday, March 19. Senate Bill 256 now heads to the desk of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who is expected by environmentalists to sign into law a prohibition on building offshore infrastructure that supports drilling for oil, gas or sulfur in the deep blue sea.

Oregon lawmakers want to license county-run youth residential programs

Oregonlive

A proposal moving through the Oregon Legislature would give state regulators the authority to license county-run residential programs for children in foster care and the custody of the Oregon Youth Authority. Currently, only privately operated youth treatment and care institutions are required to meet state licensing standards. The Senate Committee on Human Services unanimously approved Senate Bill 181, which would add county-run programs to the list of child caring agencies that require licensure, last month. It is now at the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. It has not yet received a floor vote in either chamber.

Oregon Republicans Are Rallying Around the “Vaccine Choice” Movement

Childhood vaccines have become a highly partisan issue in Oregon. The “vaccine choice” movement is now all but a plank of the Oregon Republican Party. House Bill 3063 advanced from committee on a party-line vote, with seven Democrats in support and four Republicans opposed. On the floor of the Legislature, a similar pattern is expected—with a few dissenters, including two Republican sponsors. Former state Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend), an orthopedic surgeon, opposed requiring vaccines in his failed run for governor last year. Jonathan Lockwood, a spokesman for Senate Republicans, stood watching and lending support at a Capitol protest last week where anti-vaxx parents sang the national anthem.

Has Tennessee Solved Oregon’s Foster Care Crisis?

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Oregon child welfare system is in crisis — and has been for years. A scathing audit in 2018 detailed how the state is failing its most vulnerable children. The agency has paid millions of dollars in settlements over the years after children were harmed while in its care. Meanwhile, children are being placed in hotels, sent to out-of-state facilities, staying in retrofitted jails or languishing in emergency room departments because there is no place for them in Oregon.

Cylvia Hayes settles with Oregonian over legal fees

Oregonlive

The parent company for The Oregonian/OregonLive has reached a settlement with former first lady Cylvia Hayes that slashes the $128,000 in legal fees a judge ordered her to pay the news organization after her unsuccessful lawsuit to stop the release of her emails.

LOCAL

Oregon wildfire jumps Santiam River, prompts evacuation orders, authorities say

Oregonlive

A wildfire southeast of Salem has jumped the Santiam River and prompted evacuation orders, state authorities said Tuesday night. The wildfire was reported Tuesday afternoon near the North Santiam State Recreation Area, which sits off Oregon 22 near Lyons, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry. It grew to an estimated 60 acres by that evening and was threatening about 35 homes and 30 outbuildings.

Level 3 ‘Go Now’ Evacuations In Linn, Marion Counties Due To Grass Fire

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Level 3 “go now” evacuation orders are in place for residents in Lyons, Oregon, because of a grass fire first reported Tuesday afternoon. The fire is burning near the North Santiam State Recreational Area off Highway 22 and had grown to an estimated 60 acres as of late Tuesday evening. What’s being called the Santiam Park Fire threatened 65 homes and outbuildings.

Local colleges lobby legislators for state funding

East Oregonian

Although there were no games scheduled for Pioneer Hall Friday night, Blue Mountain Community College put in an effort to create a home court advantage for the Joint Committee on Ways and Means Committee hearing. The college lined up blue-clad staff members in the hall leading up to the Bob Clapp Theater entrance to cheer on legislators as they entered, and even brought out Timber, the BMCC mascot.

Portland homeless camps clean-up program needs improving, auditors say

Oregonlive

Managers of Portland’s program for finding and cleaning up homeless camps need to do a better job, city auditors concluded in a report published Wednesday. They need to better communicate with people who report camps and with those who live in them, the audit found. Camps need to be strategically prioritized for clean up, it said. And tents, ID cards, credit cards and other property confiscated from illegal camp sites needs to be better catalogued and stored and more readily returned to its owners, the audit said.

Audit Calls For More Organization Of Portland Homeless Camp Clean-Up Program

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Portland’s auditor released a review Wednesday of the Homelessness/Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program — the city program that cleans up homeless camps. The audit calls for more organization, clarification and communication to prevent people who are homeless from losing personal property. It also calls for more follow-up when people file complaints.

Amy Kohnstamm files for re-election to Portland school board, the only incumbent so far

Oregonlive

The Portland school board may see at least one incumbent return for a second term in July. Amy Kohnstamm, whose Zone 3 encompasses Northwest Portland north of Broadway and schools feeding into Lincoln High, announced Tuesday that she’s seeking a second term. She won the seat in 2015, ousting incumbent Bobbie Regan in the most expensive race in board history.

Astoria may curb panhandling in the roadway

The Daily Astorian

The Astoria City Council is considering a new ordinance aimed at reducing panhandling in the roadway. The ordinance, which passed its first reading unanimously Monday night, would make it a $75 traffic violation to give or take something from a car window while a vehicle is on the roadway.

Eugene pegs cost of downtown riverfront park at $14 million

The Register-Guard

Eugene city officials expect to spend $14 million on the planned three-acre riverfront park, the showpiece of the community’s years-long effort to connect downtown with the Willamette River. And they anticipate spending another $4 million on the neighboring one-acre plaza, which will be constructed in a future phase.

March 19, 2019 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Oregon Democrats ask business group to take a stand on tax hike

Oregonlive

Democratic lawmakers leading the Oregon Legislature’s quest for new business taxes are pressing the state’s largest business association to take a final position on which type of tax it prefers. In a letter sent on Thursday to Oregon Business & Industry President Sandra McDonough, Sen. Mark Hass of Beaverton and Rep. Nancy Nathanson of Eugene laid out three options to raise an additional $1 billion a year in new business taxes.

Oregon Legislature considers tweaks to legal system to help immigrants

Statesman Journal

Oregon legislators heard testimony Monday on a bill that would prohibit courts from asking defendants about their immigration status, a move advocates said would help encourage immigrants afraid of deportation to participate in the judicial system. It’s one of a pair of bills advocates said would help apply Oregon’s laws equally to immigrants of various statuses who are experiencing unintended consequences in state courts. House Bill 2932 would also require a defendant be informed on how a plea might impact their immigration status and give them more time for a plea decision afterward.

Proposal To Regulate Uber, Lyft Spurs Debate In Oregon Capitol

Oregon Public Broadcasting

As ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft push to expand their influence throughout Oregon, state lawmakers face a debate: what rules should the companies comply with when doing so? Two bills before lawmakers this session would sketch very different paths for how the popular companies could move beyond major population centers like Portland, Salem and Eugene to less dense parts of the state.

Oregon Governor Wants Next Secretary Of State To Keep Eye On Election

Oregonlive

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown wants to select a new secretary of state who does not plan to seek re-election in 2020, saying that person should be focused on running elections and not running for office. Brown told reporters Thursday that when she was elevated from secretary of state to governor in 2015 with the resignation of Gov. John Kitzhaber over an ethics scandal, she named a secretary of state to replace her who would not run for re-election the following year.

Lawmakers try to squeeze big money out of campaigns

Portland Tribune

Many political observers around Oregon were surprised late last October when the most prominent third-party candidate for governor dropped out of the race and endorsed Gov. Kate Brown for re-election. Patrick Starnes, nominee of the Independent Party of Oregon, said he decided to back Brown because he believed they shared common cause on perhaps the biggest policy issue of his campaign: campaign finance reform. “We’re going to get this done,” Brown vowed at the time. “No question in my mind.”

Oregon House approves 10-year ban on ‘fracking’ for oil, natural gas exploration

Statesman Journal

The Oregon House approved a 10-year ban on fracking to explore for oil and natural gas. Lawmakers voted 42-12 on Monday to prohibit the process, which injects high-pressure liquids into underground rock to extract oil and gas. The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration. There are currently no fracking operations in Oregon. But developers say there’s potential for coalbed methane extraction in the Willamette Valley, which this bill would also block.

Oregon Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Nullify Warm Springs Treaty Of 1865

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Fraud. Sham. A tremendous wrong. These are choice words from Oregon’s Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, and Republican Rep. Greg Walden about the Huntington Treaty of 1865. This week the delegation introduced a bill to nullify the contract, which has long been considered illegal by federal judges and elected officials. “This legislation is a monumental opportunity to reverse a villainous fraud committed long ago against the Warm Springs people,” said Warm Springs Tribal council chairman E. Austin Greene Jr. in a press release.

Undercover investigation tracks protected African timber to Roseburg Forest Products

Oregonlive

Four years of investigation into the illegal timber trade in West Africa led an environmental group to the doorstep of Roseburg Forest Products, one of the Oregon’s largest and oldest timber companies. In a study to be released soon, the Environmental Investigation Agency claims tens of millions of Americans have been exposed to illegally-sourced timber “because of the negligent role of the manufacturer and the complicity of the American importer.”

LOCAL

Oregon State Police calls on Legislature for backup

East Oregonian

The long roads of Eastern Oregon have gotten lonelier for Oregon State Police over the past four decades, and troopers are now lobbying to reverse the trend. At a Joint Committee for Ways and Means hearing in Pendleton on Friday, several troopers used their off-duty hours to tell state legislators that they needed to commit to bolstering OSP’s dwindling ranks. The issue isn’t limited to Eastern Oregon.

Walden questioned on border wall vote at Hermiston town hall

East Oregonian

Hours after President Donald Trump signed his first veto, Rep. Greg Walden’s vote in favor of the vetoed bill was on a lot of minds in Hermiston. During a town hall at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center on Friday afternoon, Walden fielded several questions about his decision to vote for a resolution blocking Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to get more funding for a border wall. Trump vetoed the resolution Friday, and Congress is not expected to be able to rally the needed two-thirds majority to overturn the veto.

In one year, Portland police SROs arrest 17 at schools

Portland Tribune

A new report lifts the veil on the arrests made in Portland Public Schools — but numbers alone are unlikely to quell the fractious debate over armed officers inside local classrooms. The seven-page document from Portland Police Bureau’s strategic services division outlines a deluge of calls for service from schools that quickly narrows to just a trickle of arrests.

PAC formed for Lane County Courthouse bond

The Register-Guard

Supporters of the proposed county courthouse have formed a political action committee to campaign for the $154 million bond measure that Lane County voters will decide in the May 21 special election. The committee, Equal Justice for All, has raised $8,125 in contributions to support the bond, Measure 20-299, according to the state’s online campaign finance database.

Housing woes put strain on health

Corvallis Gazette-Times

Housing issues are among the most pressing problems facing Oregonians and are having an impact on their health, according to the 2019 County Health Rankings Report being released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Fully one-fifth, or 20 percent, of Oregon households are facing severe housing problems, defined as overcrowding, high housing costs or lack of kitchen and plumbing facilities.

Corvallis chamber’s leader to step down, search for new CEO begins

Albany Democrat-Herald

Cooper Whitman, the president and CEO of the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce, will step down in mid-April to take the position of economic development specialist with Marion County. Whitman has led the Corvallis chamber since August 2015. He said he had mixed emotions about his departure.

OPINION

Our View: New ideas needed to fund higher ed

Portland Tribune

A state’s financial commitment to higher education says something about its aspirations — and right now Oregon appears to be striving for mediocrity. Gov. Kate Brown’s blueprint for the 2019-21 biennial budget had called for state funding for operations at public universities to stay stagnant, at $736 million. At that level, Oregon may not even be able to hang onto its current ranking — a dismal 46th — in state taxpayer support for higher education. And with employee retirement and health care costs rising fast, a flat-funded budget actually would mean a decrease in money available for instructors, counselors and student services. It also would mean higher tuition, which puts a greater onus on students and parents to pay for a college education.

My View: Pass a bold Clean Energy Jobs bill

Portland Tribune

As I begin my term as a Metro councilor, I frequently ask myself: What kind of region are we going to leave for future Oregonians? What communities will benefit from our decisions? I believe the issues we work on are interconnected. As we develop strategies to support a healthy climate, affordable homes, options for getting around and access to nature, we need to ensure the outcomes benefit everyone — particularly the people who have borne the brunt of injustice for so long.

Loss of mortgage interest deduction undermines home ownership

OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

Loss of mortgage interest deduction undermines home ownership

Young families depend on mortgage interest tax deduction to achieve American Dream

SALEM, Oregon – Democrats are brazenly targeting the heart and soul of the American Dream – home ownership. For generations, home ownership has been made more affordable because of the mortgage interest tax deduction. Young families scrimp and save to buy their first home, knowing they could then deduct the interest on their taxes and build equity. Older workers and retirees have long depended on their ability to deduct the interest on their mortgages on their tax forms.

The majority party’s HB 3349 flies directly in the face of the American Dream, phasing out mortgage interest deductions for many Oregonians. The loss of the tax deduction will impair a family’s ability to buy a home. Coupled with rising property taxes, ownership is getting more difficult under Democrat leadership, not easier.

“Oregonians have long appreciated the benefits of deducting the mortgage interest from their taxable income. The loss of this deduction will be a painful blow for many families. While the super-majority is relentlessly pressing forward on new taxes, this bill is detrimental to home ownership,” said House Republican Leader Carl Wilson (R-Grants Pass).

March 18, 2019 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Rent-law backlash

Mail Tribune

Oregon’s first-in-the-nation rent-control bill may have had the unfortunate side effect of hurting some of the very renters it was supposed to protect. Some tenants say they saw hikes of up to $300 in their monthly rent, while some received no-cause eviction notices prior to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signing Senate Bill 608 on Feb. 28. The law went into effect immediately and was designed to prevent rent gouging that has hit many Oregon tenants. Ashland resident Joe Tomlin received a notice to move out about two weeks after he began to actively campaign for the rent-control bill, which caps annual rent hikes at about 10 percent and prevents no-cause evictions.

State cop alleges ‘caustic’ culture: Use of n-word, nepotism, intimidation, retaliation

Oregonlive

A senior Oregon State Police trooper is suing the head of the agency’s Office of Professional Standards and two supervisors, contending they failed to hold officers accountable for alleged misconduct, including one sergeant investigated for extensively using a racial slur on the job. Thomas Harrison’s federal and state whistleblower lawsuits paint a picture of a “caustic” culture in the state police Central Point patrol office in southern Oregon.

Cannabis legislation burns slowly through process

Portland Tribune

State lawmakers are considering more than two dozen bills that could affect Oregonians who consume recreational and medical marijuana. Oregon voters approved legalizing recreational use of cannabis for adults 21 and older in 2014. Since then, legislators have been shoring up the state’s system to regulate the newly legal product.

Sports gambling not a sure bet for lawmakers

Associated Press

For states looking to profit off the new world of legal sports betting, there’s an app for that. The question for state lawmakers: Should they allow it? As state legislatures across the U.S. decide whether to authorize sports gambling, lawmakers are debating whether the bets — like almost everything else in daily life — should be allowed to happen online or made only in-person. Among their concerns is that the accessibility of online betting, especially on mobile devices, could be a pathway for minors to start gambling and make sports betting more addictive.

State Rep. Diego Hernandez may consider run for Portland elected office

Oregonlive

State Rep. Diego Hernandez, D-Portland, said Friday that he would consider a run for elected office in Portland if community groups called him to the task. “If there’s a need for leadership and they ask me to step up I would consider it,” Hernandez told The Oregonian/OregonLive. “But I haven’t had that happen.” That remark follows a Nov. 2018 tweet by Hernandez, which set off speculation that he would seek city office. In that tweet, the second-term legislator commented on Mayor Ted Wheeler’s off-the-cuff statement that he “cannot wait” for his term to end.

Feds Investigate Oregon Company’s African Rainforest Hardwood Products

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Roseburg Forest Products, one of the country’s leading manufacturers of particleboard and plywood, has ended production and sales of certain lumber products in the midst of a federal investigation into whether the wood came from the illegal logging of African rainforests.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed to OPB that its Homeland Security Investigations division has an ongoing investigation into illegal imports of okoumé, a wood used for plywood and veneer siding. The Lacey Act prohibits the trade of plants and wildlife taken, stored or transported illegally.

LOCAL

Teen sues West Linn City Council president for hiding public records

Oregonlive

A West Linn college student has taken the president of the West Linn City Council to court over her refusal to provide him with her hand-written notes taken during council sessions and other official meetings. Rory Bialostosky, a 2018 graduate of West Linn High who tangled with the city council over parking restrictions near the high school his senior year, said he has attended city council meetings or watched them online and also met with council President Teri Cummings. He has made it clear that he is not a fan of her leadership.

Hillsboro politico helping Gov. Inslee run for president

Portland Tribune

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is running for president, and he’s doing it with the help of a former Hillsboro state legislator. Inslee, 68, announced Friday that he will seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, joining a crowded field of contenders for the Democratic nomination, including New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, California Senator Kamala Harris, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley has also been publicly mulling over a presidential run, as has former Vice President Joe Biden.

Hundreds of Portland students stage school walk-out, join international climate protests

Oregonlive

Kiran Weasel vividly remembers her latest trip to the Arctic Circle and the moment she started to worry about the climate. Like, really worry. The Franklin High School junior was one of hundreds of students from across Portland who rallied Friday in front of City Hall against what they say is inaction against the harmful effects of climate change. The event was part of a worldwide student strike across dozens of countries by millions of kids. In Portland, students walked out of class to attend the 11 a.m. rally and march downtown.

Columbia River Treaty: What’s at stake during negotiation

Statesman Journal

The way dams and storage reservoirs on the Columbia River and its tributaries are managed could change dramatically in a short five years if negotiators from the United States and Canada don’t strike a deal.

OPINION

Guest Opinion: The science on climate change is real, the crisis is here, and we need to act

Statesman Journal

When  Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, and Sen. Ed Markey, D-MA, introduced the Green New Deal just weeks ago, Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden signed on right away. While their support for this proposal to address climate change within a decade is exactly what we need, a discouraging number of Oregonians are still in denial of the crisis that we’re in.

Readers respond: Remember history before raiding SAIF

Oregonlive

Policy makers considering raiding the state’s workers compensation insurance corporation to backstop the Public Employees Retirement System would do well to recall the last time a governor and legislature took money from SAIF (“Governor considers taking $1.4 billion from SAIF workers comp surplus to reduce pension costs,” Feb 20).

Rep. Boles stands for individual medical choice and freedoms

Representative Denyc Boles

House District 19

Rep. Boles stands for individual medical choice and freedoms

SALEM, Oregon — Today Representative Denyc Boles stood for individual medical freedoms and to uphold constitutional rights and religious liberty in her committee vote on HB 3063. The bill’s passage will force all children to receive vaccinations decided by the Oregon Health Authority before they can enroll in Oregon’s public and private schools.  Oregon has high vaccination rates, exceeding herd immunity thresholds, and this legislation goes too far into the rights of families and individuals to make sound medical decisions.

“We cannot run over the rights on which this country was founded in an effort to correct failed public health education and outreach efforts,” said Boles. “Our office received thousands of emails and hundreds of calls opposing HB 3063. Testimony presented by the medical community requiring mandatory vaccines for all families during hearings was mixed, with agency public health experts supporting it, and individual family practitioners, pediatricians, and parents pushing back on this sweeping legislation.”

Rep. Boles’ children are fully vaccinated. She believes in medical science’s ability to heal and eliminate disease. However, she has significant concern about this “one-size-fits all” mandate for both the vaccine itself and the vaccine schedule.  Vaccines have been employed for decades, yet they still carry inherent risk to the individual, even though the population risk for contagious disease may decrease. While science has made strides in areas like oncology, where treatment is individualized to the patient’s genetic makeup, vaccines have not kept pace.

“This legislation sets a dangerous precedent. One where parents are coerced into medical procedures or risk losing the right for their child to receive an education. By passing this policy, government is choosing to follow fear over freedom, and it is an alarming precedent to set,” said Boles.

There appears to be an alarming trend in this legislative session. When goals aren’t achieved through reason and persuasion, the majority party reverts to coercion.  Oregonians should be respected. Families should retain the right to make personal medical decisions and religious freedoms should be upheld. 

——————————————————————————

Rep Denyc Boles represents over 67, 000 residents who reside in House District 19, which includes South Salem, Aumsville, and Turner communities within the Mid-Willamette Valley. She serves on the Rules, Health care, Business and Labor, and Capitol Culture Committees.

Questionable Democrat maneuver strips $108 million from kicker

OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

Questionable Democrat maneuver strips $108 million from kicker

Political shell game will short Oregon taxpayers 

SALEM, Oregon – All House Republicans today voted against HB 2975’s so-called budget program rebalancing bill. HB 2975, which passed over bipartisan opposition, is a direct attack on the constitutionally protected kicker, returning dollars to Oregon taxpayers.

It is another example of the lack of transparency that has plagued the current session. By shifting funds into the next biennium, it removes $108 million from the kicker, money that would have been returned to Oregonians. Fully $28 million came from income tax revenue. The delay in transferring funds past May 31, is neither honest nor truthful and represents a political shell game.

“The constitution has a process for us to go through to reduce the kicker requiring 40 member votes,” said Rep. Mike McLane (R- Powell Butte). “We haven’t followed the process.”

Silence about infant’s death necessitates an independent investigation

OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

Silence about infant’s death necessitates an independent investigation

House GOP urges Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney to examine possible cover-up

SALEM, Oregon – The safety of Oregon’s children is in peril. The inability of the Department of Human Services’ Child Welfare Program to protect our children is once again underscored by the tragic death of an infant in a day care center.

Promises of improved oversight in our child care and foster care systems have once more fallen short.  House Republicans demand to know why the child’s death went unreported, and why an agency answerable to Governor Brown hid the incident from the public eye. We are requesting that the Oregon Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon open formal investigations into the death of this child. This is at best negligence, and at worst a political cover up and cries out for an independent investigation.

Republicans are concerned by the disturbing pattern of failures and questionable practices within DHS and the implications for the families and children of our state. Contrary to federal rules to report such a death in a timely fashion it went unreported and kept from the public until disclosed by the media.

“Thousands of young parents entrust the care of their children to day care providers, expecting their infants, toddlers and preschoolers to be in good hands at state-regulated centers,” said House Republican Leader Rep. Carl Wilson (R-Grants Pass). “Withholding this kind of information is completely unacceptable. At the Governor’s first inauguration she touted the need for transparency. Yet at a time when we needed transparency, there was none. It makes me wonder how the Governor defines transparency.”

March 14, 2019 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

School superintendents to Gov. Kate Brown: No thanks on a 180-day school year

Oregonlive

Gov. Kate Brown is working to make good on her campaign pledge to extend Oregon’s notoriously short school year to the national benchmark of 180 days, the single most expensive item on her list of school upgrades she’d bankroll with a promised $2 billion corporate tax hike. But a panel composed largely of school district superintendents, assembled at Brown’s request to guide the state in making the switch to a longer school year, came back with a different take: Think long and hard before you force districts to lengthen the school year and, whatever you do, do not mandate 180 days.

Rep. Peter DeFazio Speaks On Boeing Groundings

Oregon Public Broadcasting

After an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed Sunday, many countries ordered the planes grounded. The United States joined that call Wednesday and are ordering the aircrafts, and similar ones, not to fly. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, has a powerful position role over the airline industry, as the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Proposed bill aims to incentivize Native American students in Oregon to study health care

Statesman Journal

Oregon Senator Bill Hansell wants to make health care professions in rural, tribal areas more accessible to aspiring Native American students. If passed, Senate Bill 293 would establish an Indian Health Scholarship Program that provides free tuition and fees for qualifying students through Oregon Health and Science University. In exchange, students would commit to working at tribal service sites after graduation for at least the same number of years they used the scholarships.

Cap-and-trade bill divides businesses

The Daily Astorian

In the northeastern corner of Clatsop County, Georgia-Pacific’s Wauna Mill rolls out many of the paper products sold on the West Coast and employs more than 700 people. The mill also emitted more than 250,000 metric tons of anthropogenic — or human-influenced — carbon dioxide equivalents, the 10th-most of any facility in the state in 2017, according to the Department of Environmental Quality.

State probe clears staff in wrongful arrest at crisis respite center

The Daily Astorian

A state investigation found that a staffer at the crisis respite center in Warrenton did not neglect a patient who was wrongfully arrested after a fight in December. An Oregon Health Authority review of the respite center in January determined that staff provided false information to Warrenton police that led to the arrest. The finding was referred to the state Office of Training, Investigations and Safety, known as OTIS, which investigates abuse allegations.

LOCAL

Southern Oregon Residents Are Wary About An Energy-Storing Lake

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The energy storage project is comprised of two interconnected 60-acre reservoirs, a powerhouse and 32 miles of new high-voltage power lines that will connect it to the grid. If an energy project with power lines is approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and a financial settlement between the project and affected landowner is not reached, then the company can force the landowner (with compensation) to allow the use of the necessary land through eminent domain.

Pendleton City Council interested in accepting proposals for fire station property

East Oregonian

With the move date for the Pendleton Fire Department quickly approaching, the city council is beginning to consider what the market looks like for the department’s current facility at 911 S.W. Court Ave. At a council workshop Tuesday, City Manager Robb Corbett said he’s had a “half-dozen” people approach him about acquiring the property once the department moves to its new headquarters this summer.

Woman testifies: Two respected community leaders flicked off the lights and sexually assaulted her

Oregonlive

Dramatic testimony marked the opening day as two influential members of Portland’s African American community went on trial on allegations that they sexually assaulted a woman from one of the city’s most prominent families. Charles McGee, 33, and Aubre Lamont Dickson, 44, were indicted last year on sex crime charges after Erica Naito-Campbell accused them in a Willamette Week story of attacking her at McGee’s home nearly six years earlier.

Freeway sound wall option causing concern

Portland Tribune

As longtime residents of West Linn and homeowners on Chestnut Street above I-205, Steve and Sharla Alexander considered themselves well-informed about the Oregon Department of Transportation’s plans to widen the freeway, but when they recently received notice about a possible sound wall along sections of the newly expanded freeway, they were dismayed.

Council calls for more 5G research, but extends AT&T franchise

Portland Tribune

The City Council took two contradictory votes the 5G wireless technology that is being rolled out in Portland and other cities across the country. First, the council unanimously approved a resolution calling for the Federal Communications Commission to study the health hazards of 5G technology. The resolution introduced by Commissioner Amanda Fritz said the FCC has not studied such risks, even though studies compiled and released by the European Union found cancer and other risks.

Are you allowed to fish and swim on Oregon rivers that cross private land?

Statesman Journal

In Oregon, there is no question that the public owns the ocean beach. It’s a point of statewide pride that we can travel anywhere and everywhere on our sandy shores, thanks to a century’s worth of state laws. On Oregon’s waterways, however, it’s a different story.

OPINION

Readers respond: Legislators, not taxpayers should pay settlement

Oregonlive

We, the Oregon taxpayers, are footing the $1.1 million bill for some lawmakers’ wrongdoings (“Oregon Legislature reaches $1.3M settlement over sexual harassment,” March 5). This is simply wrong. Taxpayers should not pay for the transgressions of our elected officials. There is no accountability for lawmakers in this action, and the lawmakers involved are not being held to the same standards we ask of our citizenry. The individuals involved are not paying their legal fees nor fines — we taxpayers are.

A government takeover of your health care

ABOUT GREG ISSUES CONTACT NEWS LEGISLATION  

How do you pay for a one-size-fits-all, government-run health care system? Through the largest tax increase in American history. But that’s not the only consequence of the single-payer health care proposal backed by Democrats in Congress. Here are additional costs of a federal government takeover of your health care:

     Elimination of private health insurance for more than 158 million      Americans, forcing them into a government-run system.
     The end of Medicare as we know it.
     Delays in access to care and increased wait times.
     Path to the elimination of the VA.
We need to know exactly how this Democrat proposal would impact American family budgets, which is why I have called for a hearing to examine the implications of Medicare for All.

Even left-leaning think tanks like the Urban Institute have stated that a Medicare for All proposal could cost taxpayers as much as $32 trillion over ten years, and one Democratic presidential candidate acknowledged that the proposal would end private and employer sponsored health care.

Unfortunately, Democrats have chosen “Medicare for All” to lead their health care agenda rather than what the American people would like Congress to focus on: out-of-control health care costs.

The fact of the matter is that, for too many Americans, health insurance coverage exists solely on paper because health care costs and high deductibles are putting family budgets in peril.

In the last Congress, I led the effort on several proposals to reduce health care costs for consumers, particularly costs related to prescription drugs and treatments. We passed into law legislation that modernized the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which helped streamline the approval process for lower-cost generic alternatives. Last year the FDA approved the most generic drugs in history, including a generic EpiPen that gives patients living with severe allergies a much-needed lower-cost option.

I also fought hard to ban the use of so-called “gag clauses,” which restrict a pharmacist’s ability to inform a patient that their drug would be cheaper if they paid out of pocket than if they paid through their insurance. This will help ensure that pharmacists can fully communicate pricing options to patients in need. 

We also opened up the hearing aid market to competition, bring innovation and lower costs to consumers.

Tackling the high cost of health care is a priority for families in Oregon and across the country, and it is a priority for me in Congress.  This is what we should be working across the aisle toward in Congress, not a partisan, single-payer health care proposal that puts patient choice in the back seat, the federal government in the driver seat, and a historic tax increase on the backs of middle-class American families.

It is an honor to represent you in the U.S. Congress.

Best regards, Greg Walden

U.S. Representative
Oregon’s Second District

March 10, 2019 Weekend Clips

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

The Gap Between Rich and Poor Oregonians Has Never Been Wider

Willamette Week

Oregon may be one of the bluest states in the union, but the long-term Democratic control of nearly all levels of government in this state has done little to combat what a new study from the Oregon Center for Public Policy calls “arguably the greatest challenge facing Oregon today.” Using Oregon income tax data from 2016, the most recent year available, the left-leaning think tank examined the gap between the state’s highest income earners—the top one percent and the top one-tenth of one percent—and average Oregonians.

Disputed sex-ed plan OK’d after four hours of debate

Portland Tribune

After four-and-a-half hours of discussion and testimony from parents, community members and students, the West Linn-Wilsonville School Board voted unanimously Feb. 25 to adopt the Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education Plan. The commons area at Meridian Creek Middle School was full of emotion as students and parents shared stories of bullying, harassment and sexual assault to demonstrate their support or opposition of the plan. The effort has been in the works for the past two years, since the state adopted new health and wellness curriculum standards in 2016.

When Douglas fir burns, SPARKS FLY

Mail Tribune

New research shows Douglas fir trees produce more flying embers that can spark new fires compared to Ponderosa pines — bad news for Southern Oregon forests that are losing their pines. Airborne embers can travel more than a mile, jumping wildfire containment lines, highways and rivers to start new spot fires among trees and homes. Most past research has focused on how those embers travel and ignite various types of flammable material, according to Oregon State University scientists. In the new study, OSU scientists looked at the trees that are producing embers.

OPINION

Editorial: Turning the page on a turbulent chapter

Oregonlive

Last week’s settlement of sexual harassment complaints against the Oregon Legislature won’t magically fix the culture in the Capitol. Some of the same people named in a state Bureau of Labor and Industries investigation as acting inappropriately remain in the building. And even the pain of a $1.1 million payout to nine women won’t necessarily bring the pressure needed for wholesale culture change. After all, it’s taxpayers’ money, not legislators’, at stake.

Opinion: Celebrating women leaders and those who blazed the trail

Oregonlive

For the first time in Oregon’s history, women have been voted into a majority of our statewide elected offices. Let’s take a moment to pause and celebrate this historic milestone. We celebrate because women holding more leadership positions across our state means fresh voices and experiences are being brought to the table. Now more than ever, leadership in our state is reflective of Oregon’s people — and that’s a really good thing.

Opinion: Richardson exemplified fair, nonpartisan elections oversight

Oregonlive

In today’s polarized political climate, the actions and motives of our elected leaders are too often challenged solely on the basis of their partisan label. Charges of partisan bias can be especially problematic for secretaries of state, who are directly elected in a partisan contest in Oregon (and 34 other states) to serve as the chief elections officer.

Don’t tax business without PERS reform

Bend Bulletin

Gov. Kate Brown wants to give schools an additional $2 billion, but, as things now stand, she and lawmakers must find a new pot of money to fund her dream. Now an alliance of businesses (Nike, a real estate developer and the Oregon Health Care Association) and public employee unions have joined forces to push for a tax. The one they like best is a gross receipts tax on business. It differs in some respects from the similar proposal in Measure 97, which Oregonians defeated by nearly 20 percentage points in November 2016. There are still big problems with the idea.