May 21, 2019 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

As Cap And Trade Moves Forward, Oregon Lawmakers Consider Constitutional Tweak

Oregon Public Broadcasting

As a contentious proposal to enact a cap-and-trade program in Oregon moves forward, one criticism of the policy has grown louder: Most of the money generated couldn’t be used to encourage zero-emissions vehicles. In a state where cars and trucks account for a major portion of greenhouse gas output, an expanding chorus of lawmakers sees that as a problem. Now one state senator wants voters to fix it. State Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield, says he’ll introduce a bill this week asking Oregonians to tweak the state’s constitution. If lawmakers pass the bill and voters agree, hundreds of millions of dollars that might currently be restricted under cap and trade could be used on rebates for electric vehicles, helping public transit and freight interests switch to lower-emissions options and more.

As Critics of the New Corporate Tax Increase Ponder Referring It to Voters, Democrats Seek to Hinder Signature Gathering

Willamette Week

The maneuvering in response to last week’s passage of a multi-billion corporate tax increase heated up today in Salem. On May 13, Democrats convinced Senate Republicans to return to work so the full Senate could vote on House Bill 3427, the “Student Success Act” which will levy a gross receipts tax on Oregon businesses and provide a modest reduction in the personal income tax rate paid by most Oregonians. The bill, which Gov. Kate Brown has already signed into law, is expected to raise more than $1 billion in new revenue annually and is supposed to be spent on schools.

Oregon Considers Changing The Way Mentally Ill People Are Committed

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Civil commitment is a delicate issue for families and authorities. The way it works now is that when someone threatens a family member or runs through traffic screaming at cars, police can place a hold on them. A county judge then decides whether they’re “a danger to self or others.” But that legal standard has not been defined by the courts. The process is justifiably difficult. But many think it’s become so difficult that people only end up getting help after they break the law and are criminally committed. So Oregon is thinking about changing the way people with mental illnesses are civilly committed.

School leaders: $2 billion good … and not enough

Portland Tribune

Public school leaders are praising the passage of a $2 billion school funding package, but they cautioned that the extra infusion of funds “isn’t enough.” During a Portland Business Alliance forum Wednesday morning, May 15, superintendents from Portland, Beaverton, Gresham and east Multnomah County gathered for a panel on why Oregon schools face steep cuts to education, despite a prosperous economy. “Just about every school district … is looking at somewhere between a 6% to 7% increase in PERS,” Don Grotting, superintendent of the Beaverton School District, told PBA members and guests over breakfast at the Sentinel Hotel in downtown Portland. The Public Employees Retirement System, more commonly referred to as PERS, has been at the center of nearly every discussion surrounding school funding.

Lawmakers wrestle with plans for kicker ‘windfall’

Portland Tribune

Oregon has come into an unexpected windfall, and now it’s up to lawmakers to figure out what to do with it. Personal and corporate income tax collections during the 2019 tax filing season were dramatically higher than state economists expected, according to a report that was released Wednesday, May 15. While much of that money will go back to taxpayers next year in the form of Oregon’s unique “kicker” rebate, the new forecast gives legislative budget-writers about three-quarters of a billion dollars more to work with as they decide how Oregon will spend its money over the next two years.

Top gun control proposal expected to return after death in 2019 Legislature

Statesman Journal

A multifaceted gun control bill pushed by Oregon Democrats may be dead this session, but advocates and opponents alike are confident it will return. Senate Bill 978 was a casualty of the deal that got Senate Republicans to end their four-day walkout and return to the Capitol, allowing Democrats to pass a multibillion-dollar education revenue bill on May 13. The move to include SB 978 in the trade disappointed gun control advocates inside and outside the Capitol, particularly since it dovetailed with the Moms Demand Action lobbying day two days later.

Portland Office of Community and Civic Life Proposes New Commission to Oversee Cannabis Tax Dollars

Willamette Week

Portland city commissioners disagree about how cannabis tax dollars should be allocated after a recent audit showed that a majority of the revenue from tax passed in 2016 went to the Portland Police Bureau. At the Portland City Council’s 2020 budget work session May 14, the Office of Community and Civic Life presented a possible solution: a new five-person committee to oversee who gets cannabis tax revenue and how it is used. OCCL’s cannabis program supervisor Brandon Goldner said the group would meet four times or more a year, and their meetings would be open to the public, which would increase transparency around how the funds are used.

Bill adding exemption to Oregon’s Death with Dignity law passes Senate

Statesman Journal

People with less than 15 days to live would be exempted from the 15-day waiting period in Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act under a bill that passed the state Senate on Monday. Senate Bill 579 would also allow doctors to prescribe medication faster than the current 48-hour waiting period if the requesting patient has less than two days to live. Proponents described the bill as a way for lawmakers to give people more control over their end-of-life decisions, while opponents saw it as another step toward euthanasia in Oregon.

Bill would shorten ‘Death With Dignity’ waiting period in some cases

Oregonlive

People in the final weeks of their life could obtain deadly prescriptions more quickly under a bill moving forward in the Oregon Legislature. The Oregon Senate voted 16-11 on Monday to approve Senate Bill 579. If it passes the House and is signed into law, it would be one of the only changes to the state’s landmark “Death With Dignity” law since it took effect in 1997.

Unions search for path around dues deduction restrictions

Portland Tribune

Up to 30,000 Oregon workers may no longer automatically support their union as concerted national efforts to trim the political power of unions gain steam. A change in an obscure federal rule may pose a financial threat to one of Oregon’s largest public sector unions while also crimping the ability of home care workers to save for retirement. The federal agency overseeing public health care for elderly and low-income people earlier this month moved to ban certain voluntary deductions from federally funded paychecks for home care workers. The new rule may mean that about 30,000 Oregon workers can’t have union dues and retirement savings automatically taken from their paychecks. But Oregon and four other states are contesting the move.

Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear sign letter opposing tariffs

KGW

More than 170 footwear companies, including the biggest in Portland’s robust athletic and outdoor industry, have signed a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to reconsider a proposed 25 percent tariff on shoes from China. The list includes Nike, Adidas America, Columbia Sportswear and others with Portland roots or operations, including Under Armour, Baggallini and BOGS. “The proposed tariff of 25 percent on footwear would be catastrophic for our consumers, our companies, and the American economy as a whole,” the companies wrote. Last week, the U.S Trade Representative, at the behest of President Donald Trump, published a list of $300 billion in Chinese goods that could be hit with new tariffs as high as 25 percent.

LOCAL

Portland set to approve $5.5 billion annual budget Wednesday

Oregonlive

The Portland City Council is poised to approve a $5.5 billion budget Wednesday afternoon that would fund new programs intended to help mentally ill or homeless people while cutting parks services. The $5.5 billion figure is a nearly 6 percent increase from last year’s $5.1 billion budget. The general fund – a discretionary fund that pays mostly for police, fire and parks services – is set to increase about 2 percent to $577.3 million.

Sales tax measure before Hood River County voters on Tuesday

Oregonlive

Voters in Hood River County will decide on Tuesday whether to add a 5 percent sales tax to prepared food and non-alcoholic beverage sales. Ballot Measure 14-66 proposes taxing food sold by restaurants, caterers, bakeries and coffee shops. The measure also proposes taxing dispensed soft drinks and beverages. If passed, the tax is expected to generate about $1.8 million a year. According to county documents, the tax would fund county tourism services, including maintaining public parks and forest trails, environmental health services and the county History Museum.

Salem-Keizer committee sends $1.2 billion budget plan to school board

Statesman Journal

After nearly a month of meetings and hearings, the Salem-Keizer budget committee has signed off on a $1.2 billion budget plan for Salem-Keizer Public Schools. The proposed 2019-20 budget — approved by the committee Monday — now heads to the Salem-Keizer School Board for consideration. It’s expected to be adopted in June and take effect in July.

Portland student protest against gun violence will fall on anniversary of Thurston High School shooting

Oregonlive

Some Portland high school students plan to walk out of their classes on Tuesday to protest gun violence, demand action against it from city lawmakers and support victims of mass shootings. According to the Portland Mercury, the rally is organized by a grassroots student group called the Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front, and students plan to rally in front of Portland City Hall at 1 p.m. The Mercury said it’s unknown how many students plan to show up, but students from Beaverton and Lincoln high schools have confirmed they will participate.

Candidates Run To Be 1st Latinos On Salem-Keizer School Board

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Raul Marquez grew up in Northeast Salem, where he attended some of the Salem-Keizer district’s most diverse schools. He was surrounded by other people of color — until he left his neighborhood. “By the time I began to get involved in the larger Salem community, it was eye-opening to see that these other spaces — especially decision-making spaces — don’t reflect what I was so accustomed to,” Marquez said. He felt like he didn’t belong, didn’t deserve to be in majority white spaces or even speak to the majority white Salem-Keizer school board.

Hoping For Change, Parents And Community Members Run For Portland School Board Seats

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Last-minute voters turned in their ballots Tuesday. It’s a small election, dominated by school board races across Oregon. In Portland Public Schools, each of the four seats has at least two candidates on the ballot   – though some candidates have dropped out of the race. They range from an incumbent to a father who entered the race because “he didn’t see better people out there.”

Landlords still oppose revised Portland renter rights measures

Portland Tribune

The changes Commissioner Chloe Eudaly made to her most recent renter protection measures did not satisfy the leading landlord organizations. The City Council first heard Eudaly’s measures for easing screening and security deposit requirements on April 3 and 4. Although tenant advocates supported them, landlords complained about their complexity and charged they could require them to rent to serious criminal convicts. Eudaly pushed the next hearing to Thursday, May 23, to work out compromises.

Latino adviser brings business expertise from U.S., Mexico

The Daily Astorian

Hermenegildo Ochoa, a Latino business advisor with Clatsop Community College, remembers managing more than 30 branches of the Bank of Mexico. But he also remembers the cartels, violence, bribes and death threats faced by businesspeople large and small, including himself. Ochoa has since taken to a lower-key role on the North Coast helping the Latino business community follow the rules and succeed in a more law-abiding environment.

Killing ravens to save sage grouse in Eastern Oregon is a flawed plan, advocates say

Oregonlive

A plan by state wildlife officials to kill more than 1,000 ravens in Eastern Oregon to help the beleaguered greater sage grouse is flawed, environmental advocates say, and could end up doing more harm than good. In 2018, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife applied for permits to kill up to 500 ravens per year over a three-year period in Baker County. According to some studies, ravens prey upon the eggs of the greater sage grouse, one of the numerous threats the sage grouse faces.

May 20, 2019 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Lawmakers wrestle with plans for kicker ‘windfall’

Portland Tribune

Oregon has come into an unexpected windfall, and now it’s up to lawmakers to figure out what to do with it. Personal and corporate income tax collections during the 2019 tax filing season were dramatically higher than state economists expected, according to a report that was released Wednesday, May 15. While much of that money will go back to taxpayers next year in the form of Oregon’s unique “kicker” rebate, the new forecast gives legislative budget-writers about three-quarters of a billion dollars more to work with as they decide how Oregon will spend its money over the next two years.

Candidates Run To Be 1st Latinos On Salem-Keizer School Board

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Salem-Keizer school district has 42,237 students. More than 40% are Hispanic/Latino. Yet that population has never been represented on the school board. Marquez isn’t the only Latino candidate running for a school board seat. Parent and electrician David Salinas is running in a different zone. “I thought about it a lot before I ran,” Salinas said. “I always think, ‘Is this something I should even be doing? Am I qualified? Is this something I have a chance at?’ There’s a lot of cultural things that keep us from engaging as much as we should.” Both candidates talk about the district using an equity lens in their work when it comes to programs and resources available to students.

Portland Drafts Ordinance To Crackdown On Airbnb

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Portland’s mayor is planning to introduce an ordinance that would force online short-term rental companies like Airbnb to take down unpermitted rentals. The proposed crackdown in Portland follows a federal court ruling in March that dealt a legal blow to Airbnb’s long-held position that it is not responsible for policing unpermitted listings on its site. Portland’s revenue division has been trying to reach a voluntary agreement with the company for more than a year over unpermitted rentals.

In Trump’s Trade War, Americans Will Be Asked To Show Economic Patriotism

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Trump will have to appeal to Americans’ national pride, and even their patriotism, to succeed in leveling the playing field with China. That’s because virtually every American is likely to feel an impact if Trump’s tariffs go forward on just about everything imported from China. He will have to persuade Americans that what’s at stake transcends their own interests. Americans may not like paying higher prices on imported products, but they are more likely to tolerate them if they perceive that American values are at stake, says Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Revised tenant protection measures scheduled for Thursday

Portland Tribune

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly will try again Thursday to convince a majority of the City Council to support new tenant protection measures. The measures are intended to limit the reasons that landlords can reject a rental application and regulate when security deposits can be withheld, among other things. Eudaly has revised her measures after they were first heard by the council on April 3 and 4. At that time, they were strongly opposed by landlords, who complained the screening requirements could force them to rent to convicted criminals. Landlords also called the new requirements too complicated to understand and follow.

LOCAL

Amid #MeToo, states debate teaching consent to kids

Oregonlive

Inside a Catholic school in Portland, high school sophomores break into groups to discuss some once-taboo topics: abusive relationships and consent. At one desk, a girl with banana-colored fingernails begins jotting down some of the hallmarks of abuse: Physically hurting you, verbally abusive, can be one-sided. She pauses to seek input from her classmates, boys and girls alike, before continuing: “It messes up your mentality and your, like, confidence.” For the first time this year, Central Catholic High School, like public schools in the city, is using educators from a domestic violence shelter to teach kids about what it means to consent. The goal is to reduce sexual violence and harassment among teens and help them understand what behavior is acceptable — and what’s not — before they reach adulthood.

Minor inland earthquake shakes Oregon Coast

Oregonlive

A minor earthquake was reported about eight miles east of the Lincoln City, according to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. The magnitude 3.4 earthquake occurred at 9:23 a.m. A quake of that magnitude is large enough to be felt but typically causes little damage. None was immediately reported. Weak shaking was reported along the Oregon coast from Waldport to Cloverdale with scattered reports further inland.

Portland metro Monday traffic: Beaverton open house looks at OR 217 improvement plans

Oregonlive

The public is invited to an open house to discuss Oregon Department of Transportation plans for auxiliary lanes on OR 217 in the Beaverton and Tigard area. The open house is 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at Beaverton City Library, 12375 S.W. Fifth St., Beaverton. During the event, ODOT will answer questions about the plan to add new auxiliary lanes that connect with on and off ramps along 217. The plan hopes to improve safety and help prevent the current bottlenecks that the highway often experiences. Auxiliary lanes have been shown to reduce merging slow-downs and cut back on crashes.

May 7, 2019 Daily Clips

BREAKING NEWS

Oregon Senate Republicans poised to delay tax vote

Oregonlive

The Senate Republican caucus is threatening to flex its political muscle in advance of a scheduled Tuesday vote on a multibillion dollar business tax package that would fund education. On Monday, all but two Republican lawmakers were missing when Democrats began the floor session just after 11 a.m. A couple Republicans were excused for health reasons, but the remainder were considered absent. Baertschiger said he doesn’t know where his caucus members are, but he implied that some may have left the state. That would allow them to avoid being rounded up by state police if Democrats choose to enforce attendance. “Their jurisdiction is only within the borders of Oregon,” he said.

Oregon Senate Republicans Try To Block Vote On School Tax Package

Oregonlive

One day before the Oregon Senate is scheduled to vote on a controversial tax package for public schools, Senate Republicans have left the Capitol and some appear to be leaving Oregon to prevent a vote on the legislation. With Democrats in control of both legislative chambers, Republicans are looking for any and all strategies to delay the proceedings. Without Republicans on the Senate floor, all legislative business would come to a halt. Crossing state lines would mean Republicans would be outside the Oregon State Police’s jurisdiction and could not be brought back to the statehouse. Senate Minority Leader Herman Baertschiger, R-Grants Pass, implied some of his colleagues had taken such steps.

Republicans to shut down Oregon Senate over vote on school funding package, taxes

Statesman Journal

Senate Republicans in Oregon have fled Salem to avoid a Tuesday vote on a $1 billion per-year funding package for schools. Minority Leader Herman Baertschiger told reporters Monday Republicans have been left out of the school funding conversation and that they are opposed to the proposed half a percent tax on businesses with sales over $1 million. The proposed tax would fund school programs trying to boost student performance and decrease class sizes. “Republicans have taken this dramatic stance because this is the only tool we have being in the super minority to draw attention to the injustices of this type of legislation,” he said.

VACCINATION BILL

Vaccination-boosting bill passes Oregon House

Oregonlive

The highly controversial bill to eliminate loopholes in the state’s vaccination law passed the Oregon House on Monday and is on its way to the Senate. Gov. Kate Brown has already said she plans to sign House Bill 3063. The 35-25 vote fell largely along party lines, with two Republicans — including Bend Rep. Cheri Helt, who introduced the bill — voting in favor of its passage. Four Democratic representatives voted against it. The bill would allow parents to opt out of vaccinating their children only for documented medical reasons. Currently, most parents who refuse to vaccinate their children use religious and philosophical exemptions.

Tougher Vaccine Laws Pass Oregon House, Head To Senate

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon’s House of Representatives has approved a bill to make the state’s vaccine laws among the most stringent in the nation. In a chamber packed with opponents — and with occasional laughter and jeers from the gallery — Democrats muscled through House Bill 3063 on a 35-25 vote. Two Republicans supported the bill, and five Democrats voted against the majority of their party. With House passage, HB 3063 is eligible for a vote in the full Senate in coming days. Until then, state senators can expect to be inundated with calls and emails from a vocal and passionate group of parents who worry that mandatory vaccines could be harmful. That movement has made the bill among the most contentious this session.

Contentious vaccine bill passes House, heads to Senate

Portland Tribune

Oregon would end nonmedical exemptions to vaccinations required for children under legislation that passed the Oregon House 35-25 on Monday, May 6. House Bill 3063 goes to the Senate. Gov. Kate Brown supports the bill, and is expected to sign it into law if it passes both chambers. While it would not require all children to be fully vaccinated, the bill would force parents to homeschool or enroll their children in an online school if they refuse to inoculate their children with required vaccines. The debate on vaccines has become a constant presence at the 2019 Legislature, whether it’s hearings bringing out hundreds to testify, confrontations between lawmakers and the opposition, or women lining the Capitol halls with tape over their mouths to signal they have been silenced.

Oregon House passes bill limiting vaccine exemption despite strong opposition

Statesman Journal

A bill that would remove the non-medical vaccine exemption for schoolchildren passed the Oregon House of Representatives on Monday after more than two hours of debate that showcased the passion this issue has generated. Proponents of House Bill 3063 — which passed 35-25 — contended that requiring vaccinations for school attendance is a responsible step government should take to protect public health. They warned of the possible widespread return of diseases that vaccines have all but eliminated from the country if vaccination rates continue to decline. “We’re moving towards a tipping point where the herd immunity is being lost,” said Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, one of the bill’s chief sponsors. “It’s time now to get that under control and move back to the place where all our children are protected.”

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Oregon DEQ denies Jordan Cove LNG water quality permit

Oregonlive

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality on Monday denied a water quality certification for the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal and its feeder pipeline, the Pacific Connector pipeline, though the agency left the door open for the company to reapply. In a letter Monday to the project backers, the agency said “DEQ does not have a reasonable assurance that the construction and authorization of the project will comply with applicable Oregon water quality standards.” DEQ is in charge of administering the federal Clean Water Act in Oregon and the certification is required for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue permits for the project.

Key State Certification Denied For SW Oregon Natural Gas Export Project

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon environmental regulators delivered a blow Monday to a controversial energy export proposal on Oregon’s south coast, saying the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas pipeline and terminal project falls short of meeting clean water standards. The state Department of Environmental Quality announced in a press release its decision that Jordan Cove doesn’t meet standards required under the 401 Water Quality Certification program, which regulates the extent to which projects like this can pollute or otherwise degrade waterways. For Jordan Cove, this would include impacts to rivers and streams from pipeline crossings, dredging, filling in wetlands and stormwater runoff.

Lawmakers Hear Broad Support For Scrapping Oregon’s Nonunanimous Juries

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Lawmakers in Salem heard broad support Monday from advocates and district attorneys for a bill that would ask voters to scrap Oregon’s unique, nonunanimous jury system. The House Rules Committee heard testimony from the public about House Joint Resolution 10, which proposes changing Oregon’s Constitution to require juries to reach unanimous verdicts in all criminal cases. “It is time for the thoughtful review of this law,” said Polk County District Attorney Aaron Felton, speaking on behalf of the Oregon District Attorneys Association. “Times are changing and the criminal justice system should be a reflection of public’s shared values today.”

Oregon Legislature considering if voters should decide the fate of non-unanimous jury law

Statesman Journal

The Constitution protects the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury. But in Oregon, not all 12 jurors need to find someone guilty in order to convict in criminal trials — a verdict with two jurors voting not guilty can still result in a conviction of manslaughter, attempted murder, sex abuse and rape. Opponents of non-unanimous juries say it leads to racism, wrongful convictions and serious miscarriages of justice.  Ever since voters in Lousiana approved a constitutional amendment in 2018 to non-animous jury verdicts, Oregon is the only state to allow this practice. But lawmakers, attorneys and activists are looking to change Oregon’s status as the “last state standing.” Two actions in the Oregon State Legislature — House Joint Resolution 10 and House Bill 2615 — aim to take this issue of non-animous juries to the voters by having them vote on the issue in the 2020 election. Such a change requires an amendment to the Oregon Constitution.

Access, affordability highlight health care-related bills this session

The Register-Guard

Access and affordability are among the factors motivating several health care-related bills that are being considered in the state House and Senate. The establishment of a state health insurance plan to provide coverage for all residents, a reduction in the out-of-pocket cost for filling prescriptions and plans to help protect health care providers from work-related violence are among the pieces of legislation in committee review and likely to soon return to the floor for a vote in the current session, which has less than two months before concluding.

Controversial nominee to Oregon state wildlife commission rejected by Senate

Oregonlive

James Nash, a retired marine and Eastern Oregon rancher, is no longer being considered for a seat on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife commission after environmental advocates raised concerns over his history as a big game hunter and potential conflicts of interest. The Senate Rules Committee, which is set to vote on the nominees this week, released its agenda Wednesday. The four other nominees are listed, but Nash’s name was not. A spokesman for Sen. Ginny Burdick, who serves as chair of the Rules Committee, said Nash’s nomination would not be moving forward, but did not comment further. A spokeswoman for the Gov. Kate Brown, who put forth the list of nominees, said Brown had nothing to do with the removal of Nash from consideration.

A Leadership Shake-Up In Warm Springs Following A Tumultuous Year

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Warm Springs Tribal Council got new members Monday in a leadership shake-up on Oregon’s largest reservation. In April, most of the previous council was ousted, with six of eight seats changing occupants. The new council took office Monday in a ceremony that opened with drumming and a prayer, followed by an oath to support and defend U.S. constitution. The elected councilors will serve until 2022. Three other positions on the council are lifetime appointments and filled by chiefs from each of the confederated tribes: Warm Springs, Paiute and Wasco.

LOCAL

Portland Public Schools faces $17 million budget shortfall

Portland Tribune

Echoing budget crunches in schools across Oregon, Portland Public Schools rolled out a $1.38 billion proposed spending plan for the 2019-20 school year. The plan, which awaits approval from the PPS School Board, comes in $130 million shy of the last PPS budget. Despite receiving millions more in allocated revenue from the state, the largest school district in Oregon faces a $17 million shortfall, as expenses outpace revenues. PPS says the gap is due to lower enrollment than expected, and rising costs of teacher salaries and retirement. Like neighboring districts, PPS also cited Oregon’s equal pay act, which mandates that men and women are paid equally for the same work. To address that, the district proposes cutting about 45 teaching positions and cutting from its central office budget.

Portland picks sports fields concept for massive post office redevelopment

Oregonlive

Portland’s central post office could be replaced with sports fields and basketball courts flanked by high-rises under a concept recommended by the city’s urban renewal agency after weighing several contenders. The concept for the public space in the long-planned redevelopment project was one of three floated last year by the agency, Prosper Portland, and its partners. Alternatives included a nature-focused “urban forest” and a series of scattered plazas.

U.S. revokes citizenship of Portland mosque’s imam

Oregonlive

The U.S. government has revoked the U.S. citizenship of the former imam of Portland’s largest mosque after he arrived in Somaliland last week. Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye is on the government’s no-fly list, but the government arranged for him to travel back to his homeland after reaching a settlement with Kariye in January. Under the deal, Kariye agreed not to challenge an order revoking his citizenship and acknowledged having provided false information to immigration officials in July 1997 when he had applied for U.S. naturalization.

Lane County residents bring in 7.49 tons of plastics to second recycling roundup

The Register-Guard

The second Lane County recycling roundup this spring yielded more than twice as much plastics as the first roundup this past fall. Lane County residents brought in 7.49 tons of recyclable plastic items to the Glenwood Transfer Station in April, said Angie Marzano, county waste reduction specialist. Waste haulers around Lane County changed their recycling rules last year in response to shifting international markets, causing fewer plastics to be acceptable in curbside recycling bins and at transfer stations. “We more than exceeded our expectations on the success of the event,” she said.

Feds back $9.5 million loan for new Hermiston hotel

East Oregonian

Developers of a hotel in Hermiston received the OK for a federally backed loan of almost $9.5 million. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development on Saturday announced it is guaranteeing the loan to A-1 Hermiston for the construction of a new 85-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott. Old West Federal Credit Union is providing the 29-year loan of $9,472,500 at 5.2 percent interest. The total project is just shy of $11.4 million, according to the USDA. A-1 Hermiston, a subsidiary of the A-1 Hospitality Group, has to come up with $1.9 million for its contribution. Taran Patel with A-1 Hospitality said the company was pleased to receive the USDA approval.

May 6, 2019 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

May 8 teacher walkout: Which districts are closing, what to expect and why educators are protesting

Oregonlive

Teachers and education advocates across the state will flock to several rallies Wednesday in a bid to pressure the Oregon Legislature into passing a $2 billion corporate tax package to buoy K-12 funding and push for more money for universities and community colleges. The protests — portrayed as a walkout by educator unions in the weeks leading up to the event — have forced several school districts across the metro area to shutter for the day. Most, including Portland Public Schools, will add another day at the end of the academic calendar to comply with state classroom hour regulations. The rallies are the latest in a series of protests by teachers and education advocates pushing for what they say is much-needed stability in the state’s K-12 funding mechanisms.

Ahead Of 2020, Microsoft Unveils Tool To Allow Voters To Track Their Ballots

NPR

From checking in at a polling place on a tablet, to registering to vote by smartphone, to using an electronic voting machine to cast a ballot, computers have become an increasingly common part of voting in America. But the underlying technology behind some of those processes is often a black box. Private companies, not state or local governments develop and maintain most of the software and hardware that keeps democracy chugging along. That’s kept journalists, academics, and even lawmakers from speaking with certainty about election security. In an effort to improve confidence in elections, Microsoft announced Monday that it is releasing an open-source software development kit called ElectionGuard that will use encryption techniques to let voters know when their vote is counted. It will also allow election officials and third-parties verify election results to make sure there was no interference with the results.

LOCAL

Jordan Cove LNG slows spending, delays project to wait for permits

Oregonlive

The backers of a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal in Coos Bay say they are slashing their projected spending by half and delaying the facility’s planned startup by a year as they wait for state and federal regulators to decide on key permits. In its first quarter earnings call, Pembina Pipeline Corp. executives said they still feel the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and the 230-mile Pacific Connector pipeline are economically viable. But the company wants to limit its spending on the $10 billion project before receiving permits and making a “final investment decision” — industry parlance for the decision initiating financing and construction. The company plans to spend $50 million on the project this year, half its previous forecast. Tasha Cadotte, a local spokeswoman for Pembina, said the company has made great progress with engineering, land acquisition and commercial negotiations with potential customers.

Report: More People Are Moving To Oregon Than Leaving

Oregon Public Broadcasting

A report from the Oregon Employment Department shows that from 2013 to 2017, more people have moved to Oregon than have left. Although Oregon saw migration flow between every state in the nation, it was mostly between nearby western states. Oregon also saw an influx of people from specific career industries. Oregon gains the most residents from California. On average, 39,320 Californians move to Oregon annually. But an average of 19,523 Oregonians also make the move south, leaving Oregon with a net gain of 19,797 new residents from California every year. The state with the second-highest net “in-migration” number (the difference between people moving from a state and Oregonians leaving for that same state) is Hawaii.

Portland hires finance official who oversaw tax credit fiasco

Oregonlive

City economic development agency Prosper Portland has hired as its chief financial officer Adam Lane, previously the chief financial officer of Ecotrust, a nonprofit under investigation for more than a year by Oregon Department of Justice prosecutors over its handling of state tax credits. At the time Lane was in charge of Ecotrust’s financial activities, the nonprofit inflated a project budget to obtain $4 million in state tax credits, according to a 2018 investigation by Business Oregon, the state economic development agency. Ecotrust representatives have said no wrongdoing occurred. An Oregon Department of Justice spokeswoman said this month that a civil investigation of Ecotrust is ongoing.

Local battle lines being drawn over 5G

The Register-Guard  

In late January, a small group of residents held a protest beneath the object of their collective scorn: a small cell antenna mounted on a utility pole at a busy intersection near Roosevelt Middle School. “We don’t want it here. … This technology is way, way, way stronger than all of our other technologies,” protester Bekki Brucker told a local television reporter. The technology is 5G, short for 5th Generation, the next iteration of cellular communication that promises blazing-fast speed and could, if you believe the prognosticators, redefine our relationship with the internet. There is no 5G service in the local area — it only just launched in a few major cities — and there’s no timeline for when it will be available locally. Telecommunication companies are laying the groundwork for it, however, having installed more than a dozen small-cell antennas and associated equipment in Eugene so far. These locations now help provide 4G LTE service, the current iteration of the technology, to customers but could be part of a local 5G network in the future.

‘Yeas’ and ‘nays’ of two county money measures

Hood River News

Hood River County Residents have already started receiving their ballots for the May 21 Special District Election and have no doubt noticed that it includes two revenue measures: 14-65, a Public Health and Safety Five Year Local Option Levy, and 14-66, a Prepared Food and Beverage Tax. (See sidebars for details on each measure.)

OPINION

Opinion: New $2 billion tax is for PERS, not ‘for the kids’

Oregonlive

Last week the Oregon House approved a new $2 billion tax on Oregon sales, very similar to the one voters rejected in 2016. Don’t be fooled by its “for the kids” campaign. It’s a brilliant ruse: only big terrible corporations will pay this new tax and our schools will magically become fully funded with a bevy of programs and support.This sweet lie hides the bitter truth: Schools will remain underfunded until politicians do the tough work to reform the Public Employees Retirement System. For any Oregonian in the last decade who has listened to politicians in Salem promise the moon if we just open our wallets one more time – it’s the same story, different day. We have more tax money flowing into our state government than ever before, but the money never makes it into the classroom. Where has all this new cash gone? Where will it go? It’s going into pensions, payroll and benefits. As the Oregonian’s Ted Sickinger has detailed for years, Oregon’s behemoth government employee pension debt and employee benefits are sucking the life out of our schools and public services.

GREAT AGAIN!

America is now #1: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1124348449154007043

Even Far-Left CNBC couldn’t hide the good news: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/01/private-payrolls-surge-by-275000-in-april-blowing-past-estimates-and-the-biggest-gain-since-july.html

Blockbuster April jobs report shocks, so called, experts: https://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2019/05/03/jobs-jobs-jobs-blockbuster-april-report-shocks-experts-unemployment-falls-to-36-percent-n2545835

The recovery is benefiting the people most in need (the Democrats are lying –what’s new – when they say it is only benefitting the rich): https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/economy/record-low-unemployment-for-workers-without-bachelors-degrees-in-april

The Hispanic unemployment rate sets a new record low in April (Watch out Democrats- you might lose a big chunk of your voter base): https://www.cnsnews.com/blog/craig-bannister/hispanic-unemployment-rate-sets-new-record-low-april

Even the Liberal Gallup organization poll shows POTUS TRUMP at a new high of 46% approval: https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/gallup-trump-approval-rating-ticks-up-to-new-high-of-46-percent/

The more Conservative Rasmussen poll shows TRUMP approval at 50%: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/political_updates/prez_track_may06

Remember when the experts (on every Fake News outlet) predicted an instant economic disaster When TRUMP was elected: https://townhall.com/columnists/larryelder/2019/05/02/fake-news-the-posttrump-economic-disaster-n2545715

Hey Democrats – You Can’t Hide Crazy – keep talking – you are propelling TRUMP into a landslide victory in 2020: https://townhall.com/columnists/wayneallynroot/2019/02/16/democrats-cant-hide-crazy-n2541597

“You are now more likely to know a prostitute than a primetime CNN [Crappy News Network] viewer”: https://townhall.com/tipsheet/timothymeads/2019/05/04/youre-more-likely-to-know-a-prostitute-than-a-primetime-cnn-viewers-n2545846

CARTOONS

Much to Bernie’s dismay, Biden enters the race: https://www.gocomics.com/michaelramirez/2019/05/04

China is no threat – what? https://www.gocomics.com/michaelramirez/2019/05/06

Some of the 19 dwarfs: https://www.gocomics.com/michaelramirez/2019/04/03

Americans for Liberty PAC

Upholding the Constitution in the Tradition of our Founding Fathers

Executive Director Lanny Hildebrandt

1615 4th Street

La Grande, OR  97850

(541) 963-7930

May 3, 2019 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Gov. Kate Brown’s office, top child care regulators kept in loop as state suppressed notice of day care death

Oregonlive

None of Governor Kate Brown’s advisers or appointees gave written orders to conceal the death of an infant who stopped breathing at a Eugene day care last fall during her contentious race for governor. Yet emails and texts sent to her office in August 2018 make clear that child care regulators told the governor’s spokeswoman what they would say should news of 9-month-old William Cannon’s death become public. The messages, provided at no cost in response to a public records request, also reference conversations about the baby’s death that left no paper trail. Brown’s office and the Office of Child Care provided more than 4,500 pages of communications exchanged by the governor, top staffers, regulators and spokespeople during 10 days in August. The messages started the Wednesday William was found unconscious at Little Big Blessings day care, which had been cited months earlier for unsafe sleeping practices. He died two days later at a Portland hospital.

‘A Really Tough Sell’: Proposed Health Tax On Oregon Employers Likely Dead

Oregon Public Broadcasting

As she hunted ways to fund the state’s health care system for low-income Oregonians last year, Gov. Kate Brown landed on what she billed as a $120 million solution: taxing businesses that don’t spend enough on their employees’ health care. What Brown actually introduced was a far more sweeping proposal — a half-a-billion dollar behemoth that, she acknowledged Thursday, is not likely to live through this year’s legislative session. “It raised substantially more money than we had anticipated,” Brown said. “We didn’t frankly need that much.” The apparently dead bill, House Bill 2269, was designed to address employers with at least 50 employees that don’t offer sufficient health insurance benefits. According to the Oregon Health Authority, in mid-2017 roughly 90,000 people who worked for large employers were forced to seek coverage from the publicly financed Oregon Health Plan, Oregon’s version of Medicaid.

Oregon Legislators Try To Reduce Assaults On Medical Staff

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon lawmakers are looking to begin by tracking assaults more methodically. Senate Bill 823 would require hospitals to document when, where and how assaults occur — so new systems can be developed to prevent them. Senate Bill 823 has the support of health worker unions. Kevin Mealy with the Oregon Nurses Association said it’s unacceptable that one in four nurses report being physically attacked every year.

LOCAL

With climate change, coastal parks face a new norm Severe weather and rising sea level

The Astorian

Trees lining the path to Arcadia Beach slant back against the hillside as if permanently enduring invisible gale-force winds. The path down to the beach buckles and drops. A winter storm first washed away access to Arcadia Beach in 2015 and landslides and erosion continue to warp the path. Caution tape blocks off a spot near a set of stairs where the ground has crumbled away. The state expects to begin rerouting and repairing the path this year. In the past, the storm damage would have been written off as the type of problem you just have to deal with on the coast sometimes.

Turmoil in Washington County Circuit Court: Presiding judge resigns

Oregonlive

Washington County Circuit Judge Charles Bailey, who has long been criticized for his imperious courtroom style, abruptly announced he will step down from his position as the court’s presiding judge. In a resignation letter last week to the state, Bailey acknowledged that other judges had concerns about him and that he’s been dissatisfied with his job in recent months, according to a source who saw the letter. Bailey declined to comment on his reasons Thursday to The Oregonian/OregonLive. “You’ve got your slant and your angle, and I’m clearly on your hit list,” Bailey said. He added that his resignation was “clearly an internal thing.”

Portland Diamond Project nears deadline for proposed baseball stadium site

Oregonlive

The clock is ticking for the Portland Diamond Project to start paying real money to reserve a marine cargo terminal for its billion-dollar baseball park — or give up on building at the site. By the end of the month, the pro baseball boosters could have to start paying the Port of Portland hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for the exclusive negotiating rights to the Northwest Portland terminal where they hope to build a 32,000-seat stadium. The bill for the first three months will come to $375,000.

Polk County asks voters to renew public safety levy, funding for new deputies, other staff

Statesman Journal

In the past four years, Polk County has hired 12 patrol deputies, three prosecutors, five jail staff, restored 24-hour patrol services and restarted the Polk County Inter-Agency Narcotics Team using funds from a public safety levy. To keep the funding in place, county leaders are asking residents to vote “yes” to renew the Polk County Safety Operating Levy for the next five years. Measure 27-129 is set to reappear on the special district election ballot May 21. Ballots were mailed out May 2. The levy, passed in May 2015, put in place a tax of up to 45 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value per year.

Santiam schools ask for $17.9 million bond to solve overcrowding

Albany Democrat-Herald

When Santiam Canyon Superintendent Todd Miller submitted paperwork to Linn County in February to place a $17.9 million bond on the ballot, there were 570 students in the district. Last week, there were 583. “Even at a time of year where things usually stay stagnant in terms of students, we’re continuing to have growth in the region,” he said. Student populations for the schools in Mill City and the surrounding areas in the district are expected to continue increasing, prompting school officials to think about the future.

Salem wildland-firefighting company fined for labor violations

Oregonlive

A Salem wildland-firefighting and roofing company has been hit with a hefty fine after violating overtime and record-keeping laws and hiring underage workers. The Statesman Journal reports West Coast Reforestation Inc. will have to pay over $73,000 to 26 employees for overtime violations and another $7,200 in civil penalties for disobeying child labor requirements. The Department of Labor’s Regional Public Affairs Director Leo Kay says the violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act happened between January 2017 and January 2019.

Rep. Boshart Davis files bill for basic necessities tax exemption

from the office of 

Representative Shelly Boshart Davis

Rep. Boshart Davis files bill for basic necessities tax exemption

Priority bill would exempt diapers, durable medical goods from commercial activities tax

SALEM, Oregon –  In response to the party line passage of a $2.8 billion commercial activities tax, Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany) filed priority legislation for the Basic Necessities Tax Exemption Act, a measure to remove from taxation daily items most working families and seniors use.

“After a marathon floor debate, it was clear to me that too many items were subject to the tax that will drive up the cost of basic necessities for working families, women, and seniors,” Boshart Davis stated. “As a mom of three daughters, I can tell you that there are wants in a family budget, and then there are needs – that are necessary for everyday life. I filed draft legislation today that won’t solve the problems with House Bill 3427 but may ease the cost of living increases by removing items of basic human need that were included in the tax.”

Among the items exempted are:

  • Diapers, wipes, and baby products
  • Tampons, feminine pads, and feminine hygiene cleansing products
  • Over the counter contraceptives
  • Soap
  • Durable medical goods purchased at retail consumer level, including hearing aids
  • Over the counter medications
  • Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and over the counter oral health products
  • Toilet paper

“The fact is, these items of basic human need are things you can’t buy with SNAP or food stamps. If you’re the parent of a newborn, you don’t get to choose if your baby is going to wear diapers. You don’t get to choose if your child spikes a fever and needs baby Tylenol. As a woman, I don’t get to choose if I have a period. A veteran with a PTSI service animal needs to buy dog food. A senior who has lost their hearing is forced to pay cash for hearing aids because they aren’t covered by Medicare. These types of items are necessary to live, and they shouldn’t be subject to taxation,” said Boshart Davis.

Boshart Davis said she hopes that female lawmakers in both parties will join her in supporting an exemption for basic necessities. “We always hear how we need more women legislators and this priority bill will be a chance for us to show, as women, we can disagree about how we’re going to raise money for critical government services, but that we can agree that items of critical, basic human needs should be as affordable as possible for all Oregonians.”

Boshart Davis hopes the priority bill will be returned to her quickly so it might still be considered before the legislature adjourns in June. “We have time to make this better for working families, particularly low-income Oregonians for whom a hidden sales tax will make it more expensive to meet basic daily needs.  I’m excited for the possibility to get these items off the list of goods taxed under HB 3427.”

Republicans offer cost-effective PERS and Education solutions

OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

Republicans offer cost-effective PERS and Education solutions

Democrats refuse to consider legislation that will reduce escalating PERS costs

SALEM, Oregon – House Republicans today submitted bills addressing PERS reform and education priorities that were dismissed without consideration by the Democrat supermajority.

  • House Joint Resolution 19 seeks to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would require the Legislature to approve public education funding before passing any other budget measure.
  • House Bill 2993 would keep tax money going to PERS recipients if they are appointed or elected to statewide offices or judgeships.
  • House Bill 3128 would effectively end new PERS enrollment in 2020.

“Legislative session after session, Democrats refuse to seriously address the bloated PERS debacle. Republicans, however, are committed to taking on PERS and we stand ready to work with the supermajority. Democrats have once again showed they aren’t really putting the education of Oregon’s children first,” said House Republican Leader Rep. Carl Wilson (R-Grants Pass).