HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE
STATE GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
Portland Business Journal
From State House Republican Leader Mike McLane, via email, came a personal note. “Holly and I were deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of Vera Katz, former Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives and Mayor of Portland,” McLane wrote.
The Associated Press
“Vera Katz was more than a pioneer. She was a force. She escaped the Nazis. She battled cancer. She ran the House. She ran the city. She was a natural leader. Vera led and people followed,” Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney said. “Oregon has lost a great human being.”
She was a pioneering female politician, a bold and endearing Portland mayor and a trailblazer for progressive causes such as gender equality, gay rights and education reform. “We lost a true pioneer today,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown tweeted Monday.
She led Portland as mayor from 1993 to 2005. Katz was elected to the Oregon House in 1972 and became the first female speaker of the house in 1985, a post she held until 1990. Oregon political leaders praised Katz’s legacy and called her “a trailblazer” for women on many issues.
On Dec. 11, Portland lost its last great mayor: Vera Katz died at 84. Katz, who ran Portland with vision and willpower, was remembered today by a spectrum of state and city luminaries. Jesse Katz, her son, in a statement: “My mom was the embodiment of the American dream: coming with nothing and making a better life not just for herself but for the countless others she touched. While we miss her terribly, I know that her fearlessness, generosity and persistence will continue to shine light on our world.”
Gov. Kate Brown wants Oregon state employees to share their stories of innovation, cost savings and great customer service with her. But one state official had a sharper response. “Thank you for seeking ‘great stories and examples’ of public employees for your campaign,” wrote Kim Sordyl, a non-voting member of the Oregon Board of Education. Sordyl went on to list a handful of news stories about problems in state government, before concluding: “From now on, it’d be great if you didn’t have public employees working on the campaign during work hours.”
The concerns about the Pacific Connector Pipeline and Jordan Cove processing terminal were outlined in a letter by Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries Director and State Geologist Brad Avy.
“DOGAMI finds the information in the Resource Reports submitted by the applicant to be incomplete, has comments about possible deficiencies in the scientific and engineering analyses related to geologic hazards; and at this point is not satisfied that geologic hazards will be adequately addressed to ensure public safety,” Avy wrote.
Columbia Sportswear Chief Executive Tim Boyle said congressional Republicans’ proposed tax overhaul could mean higher taxes for Oregon employees if, under the changes, they can no longer deduct state income taxes from their federal tax bill.
JOBS & THE ECONOMY
Oregon Public Broadcasting
“It is very good news for us,” said Prineville Mayor Betty Roppe. “Our community was very heavily mills and logging industry and that has gone by the wayside. I do expect some of that to come back. But in the meantime, we have to look at every avenue we have to create jobs for the people who live in our community.” Facebook currently employs 200 workers. Under an agreement with the city of Prineville, the company has to promise to provide additional, well-paying jobs for residents, in exchange for tax breaks.
The news means a continued influx of hundreds temporary construction workers into the small, central Oregon community that is still recovering from the loss of timber mills and Les Schwab’s corporate headquarters.
Construction of the first new building, the fourth in the Facebook complex, will start this month, according to an email from Amy Hunter, of Weinstein PR, a Portland firm working with Facebook. Building four will begin serving traffic in 2020, she wrote, while building number five will break ground in 2018 and begin serving traffic in 2022.
The Associated Press
In an internet presentation aimed at luring craft brewers, Madras — which sits between irrigated farmland and high desert within sight of the snow-capped Cascade Range — says it will assist in site selection and costs of architecture, engineering, permits and building renovation. It also offers expedited permitting, technical assistance and an opportunity for a start-up loan.
A shift in approaches to education also can play a role in student behaviors. District officials said resources have been shifted from the “whole child” approach — which focuses more on the social and emotional needs of a child — to prioritizing academic skills.
Some in Oregon believe the government that governs best taxes more. And to carry out their dreams, they aim to change the wording of the Oregon Constitution to make it easier to raise taxes. Voters should tell them no.
In her last State of the City speech, Katz closed her remarks with a George Bernard Shaw quote she heard when she was in a hospital intensive care unit. “My life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatsoever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations” Katz closed by saying she hoped she’d lived up to those words. In our view, she did.
Oregon has one of the lowest rates in the country of students going to college directly from high school, at a bit over 45 percent, according to the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. If that is to change, higher education has to be available in Central Oregon. Lawmakers, we hope, will recognize Brown’s financing request for what it is, a critical piece in the effort to improve that number.
The CTE programs of today prepare students — some of whom will go on to higher education — for the occupations of the future, including in fields such as robotics and biomedicine. This is important to the growth of both the state and national economies. It also is important in helping to rebuild the middle class, which has been eroded as more and more Americans were pushed into poverty by wages that didn’t keep up with living costs and a lack of skills that would open the door to better paid work. Both districts are due congratulations for landing the grants, which came through a competitive program established in 2011. Hopefully, the state will find ways to continue to increase CTE funding.