HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE
STATE GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
The Associated Press
The new office will focus on improving access and participation to outdoor recreation and the stewardships and sustainability of resources. “The goal is to see outdoor recreation reach its full potential through a unified strategy,” Havel said.
The Oregon Leadership Summit is held each year to gaze into the communal crystal ball and try to get ahead of what is happening in the state. It’s hard to keep up — the evidence is everywhere in the host city, which, with all of the cranes on the skyline, evokes its older nickname, “Stumptown.” That’s the moniker from the days in the 19th century when Portland was growing so fast that to clear roads, the city would chop down the trees and leave the stumps to be pulled out later. Sort of Victorian-era speed bumps for wagons. Here’s the latest from the big city, Salem and all points of the compass.
The Associated Press
Oregon state Sen. Sarah Gelser, who filed a complaint against a male colleague for sexual harassment, is one of the women and men featured in Time magazine’s person of the year: The silence breakers. Gelser said on Twitter Wednesday it’s an honor to be included. She urged women and men in every profession to speak out if they’re victims, saying there’s no shame in coming forward.
Time magazine named “The Silence Breakers” — women who triggered a #MeToo national outcry over sexual harassment — as the 2017 “Person of the Year.” Among them was Oregon Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, who earlier this year accused Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, of sexual harassment and unwanted touching starting when she was still a member of the House of Representatives. Kruse has denied her allegations.
“Our staff has raised questions regarding this process and therefore we have hired a consulting firm, Cruz & Associates, to conduct information sessions to inform them. We have over 3,300 staff members at New Seasons Market and we are committed to providing our staff with objective information that keeps them informed. We are all learning together and value our speak up culture which ensures all voices are heard.”
Ashland Daily Tidings
Ashland doctor Julian Bell, who ran for governor in 2016, is the third Democrat to file for one of the most highly contested legislative seats in Oregon, Senate District 3. Bell, 46, is running on a progressive platform, supporting universal health care in Oregon and a greater reliance on energy that’s not supplied by the fossil fuel industry as part of his concern about climate change. “These are basically the issues of our times,” Bell said. “To deal with them, we need to go to the place where laws are made. The place is the legislature.”
AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES & WILDFIRES
Ten strike teams from all over the state are on their way to help California firefighters battle several massive blazes north of Los Angeles. The Oregon Fire Marshal said Wednesday it is also sending heavy equipment to help.
On Wednesday morning, the Deschutes County Commission deliberated on a potential amendment to the county’s code that would affect whether churches are allowed in a portion of the county zoned to protect mule deer and other animals. Conservationists and some county residents are concerned that allowing churches could stress Deschutes County’s shrinking deer populations, but other residents believe the provision violates religious freedoms and could lead to a lawsuit stemming from a federal law.
The Associated Press
Ranchers in Idaho and Oregon have begun grazing their cattle again on some of the thousands of acres burned in wildfires in 2015. The Bureau of Land Management has allowed grazing to resume on 48 of the 84 pastures on affected allotments in southwest Idaho and Southeast Oregon.
The data from the Legislative Policy and Research Office was compiled after a request from State Representative Greg Smith’s office, made in hopes of better understanding why Oregon’s graduation rates are suffering. They asked for a side-by-side comparison of Oregon and 10 other states: five high-performing states, and five comparable Western states. Against high-performing states Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont and Minnesota, and western states Colorado, Utah, Washington, Nevada and Arizona, the data showed how Oregon stacked up in eleven categories. Among the findings:
Eugene School Board members unanimously approved Superintendent Gustavo Balderas’ recommendation to provide district managers, administrators, professionals and supervisors and other senior staff with cost-of-living raises at the board’s meeting Wednesday night. Employees in such positions will receive a 2.1 percent raise in the 2017-18 school year, a 1.8 percent raise in the 2018-19 school year and a 2 percent raise for the 2019-20 school year.
ShelterCare will use the money to place 30 to 40 of these vulnerable people in private-market apartments for six months to a year while they apply and wait for federally subsidized permanent housing, said Susan Ban, ShelterCare’s executive director. “It’s a bridge,” she said.
OREGONIANS IN CONGRESS
Oregon Public Broadcasting
What’s not clear is exactly why he exited the committee just a day after he was appointed to the panel Monday by House Speaker Paul Ryan. The official announcement on Tuesday referred only to the “removal of the gentleman from Oregon” and the appointment of Rep. Fred Upton to the committee.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader was one of just six Democrats in the House who voted Wednesday for a bill that would allow concealed handgun licensees to carry their weapons in all 50 states.
Fixing Oregon’s fiscal problems won’t prepare Oregonians for the robotic future by itself. And it’s hard to know how the state will react as businesses adopt new technologies that displace workers. Oregon has a long history of innovation, individualism and entrepreneurialism; at the same time, it’s also a state that can resort to protectionist policies. This is, after all, one of only two states in the nation that bars drivers from pumping their own gas. But until and unless Oregon makes structural changes to its revenue and spending problems, the state won’t have a say in directing how the robotic revolution plays out. That’s a future no one should be ready to accept.
Nate Sandvig is director of U.S. business development for National Grid Ventures
In the end, we’ll need an “all-of-the-above” strategy to remove carbon from the grid, and limited pilot-project investment in batteries will be valuable for some uses. But there are enormous economic and reliability benefits from proven large projects, and we should take advantage of them now. Pumped hydro is the only option big enough to displace new gas plants. It is at least 90 percent cheaper than batteries per megawatt, and it provides electricity for more than twice as long for generations. For customers, utilities, and our future, it should be an easy choice.
Bend Park & Recreation District directors decided Tuesday to hire a lobbyist to represent the district in Salem. They’ll pay $9,000 for six months of Erik Kancler’s service next year, in part while the 2018 Legislature is in session. Park district residents can thank state Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver, for the decision. After all, it was his sneak attack on the district’s proposal to build a southern footbridge across the Deschutes River that no doubt persuaded park board members that having a lobbyist on hand in Salem might be a good thing.
Farmers and orchardists don’t like no-spray buffer zones, because they eat into the area that can be chemically treated to stop or prevent pests and diseases. But the public health effects of pesticide exposure must also be considered. Even if buffer zones are considered in strictly economic terms, the rising cost and decreasing availability of farm labor should induce the agriculture industry and the state to do more to protect the health of farmworkers and their families.
Given the extreme polarization of American politics, it may be too much to expect a civil, constructive campaign, but voters should demand one. Previous contests have featured negative advertising from both sides of the fence — a tactic that doesn’t sit well with Southern Oregon residents. I sincerely hope all the candidates for this pivotal seat will keep that in mind throughout the campaign, but especially after the nominees are selected in the May primary.
Mean-spirited attacks benefit no one, least of all the voters who must make a choice on election day.
Victims fear being labelled troublemakers or liars, being seen as a problem, becoming isolated, losing their jobs or even their careers. They are unsure of who to talk to if they are uncomfortable or even whether they should talk to someone. In some cases, their abusers threaten them with the prospect of making the workplace difficult for them, with derailing their careers or, in extreme cases, with violence. Sexual harassment and abuse crosses all lines — geographic, ethnic, political and economic. Like a disease left untreated, ignoring it will only allow it to become worse. Recognition by Time of the importance of the #metoo movement was nice, but we have only taken the first steps on what may be a long road.
Adam Davis is a founding principal in DHM Research, a nonpartisan public opinion firm
There is considerable attention being given to diversity, equity and inclusion in the hiring process everywhere these days, and justifiably so. The findings suggest, however, that there are many important qualities people want their leaders to have regardless of their skin color, gender or age.