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State librarian fired, but specifics remain elusive

Portland Tribune

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown fired state librarian MaryKay Dahlgreen on Tuesday, an apparent surprise to the state’s association of library professionals, the chair of the state library board and Dahlgreen herself.  While the Governor’s Office says Dahlgreen failed to meet lawmakers’ expectations, it did not provide specifics to the EO/Pamplin Capital Bureau. Dahlgreen says the governor did not provide her with specific written feedback on her performance, either.

 

Kate Brown ousts respected Oregon state librarian

The Oregonian

Malkin was surprised to receive a call from the governor’s office that informed her of the decision to remove Dahlgreen. Malkin expected that the board would have input, the chance to advocate for Dahlgreen or at least a heads up on a major decision like that. “People talk a lot about transparency in government, and I think when you make major decisions like this, that it’s good to do this in an open forum where people have a chance to bring forward information and maybe educate people about the role that person has played in the organization and how she has performed her job duties,” Malkin said.

 

Republicans sound the alarm after likely loss in Pennsylvania

POLITICO

Republicans on Wednesday struggled to explain their likely loss in the Pennsylvania special election: GOP leaders warned lawmakers that the outcome in the pro-Trump district could spell disaster in the midterms if they don’t respond forcefully, but many lawmakers dismissed the race as an anomaly and seemed to be in denial. During a closed-door conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club, House Republican leaders said that Tuesday’s special election, where Democrat Conor Lamb is narrowly leading, could portend a monster Democratic year. They told rank-and-file members in no uncertain terms that they needed to get their campaigns in order or that they could be casualties, and they need to raise money now to protect themselves come November.

 

Densmore drops out of House race

Mail Tribune

Former Medford Councilor Al Densmore has ended his bid for the Oregon House seat now held by Sal Esquivel, citing an uphill battle against a number of opponents. “It doesn’t appear that it’s time yet for that kind of an effort to be successful” Densmore said. “It was one thing when there was just one other candidate.” The 71-year-old Medford resident chose a difficult route to win the seat, filing as an Independent write-in candidate. He also said the chance for making his case as an Independent Party candidate would have been particularly difficult in Salem, where politics are divided sharply along party lines.

 

EDUCATION

 

Portland Public Schools ousting of special education program has left families feeling unheard

The Oregonian

Portland mom Danielle Pacifico-Cogan has called school district officials. She’s filed public records requests. She’s gone to school board meetings. She’s done all of this because she is fearful for her fourth grader and his classmates. Her son attends Pioneer, a school for students with significant disabilities. Students who go there don’t get to learn alongside peers without disabilities, but they do get highly customized services from educators with specialized skills, and she’s found it works best for her child. In November, the district decided to oust Pioneer from its building so that a larger program for gifted students can have the space. District leaders have implied Pioneer’s educational offerings are sub-par as justification for the move, but they haven’t stated outright what they feel is wrong.

 

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

 

Idaho boy’s cyanide exposure forever links family, Eugene advocate over wildlife devices

The Oregonian

But by the end of 2017, DeFazio had attracted 15 co-sponsors, with the lone Republican being Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. And on the state level, the family watched as small successes seemed to take hold. The federal wildlife services agency “ceased all use of M-44 devices” on private and public land in Idaho and removed all devices deployed there. M-44s will not be used in Idaho this year,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. Six rural Oregon counties ceased using M-44s after the wolf death and a subsequent effort in the Legislature to strip state funding for the controversial management tool.

 

HOUSING

 

Portland weighs reviving tax breaks for affordable apartments

The Oregonian

Portland housing officials have proposed reviving a property tax break for developers who include affordable housing in their projects. It’s an effort to squeeze units with restricted rents from a landslide of development proposals that came in before the city started requiring such units in all large developments. That inclusionary zoning policy took effect last year, but a pipeline of about 10,000 apartments proposed ahead of the mandate aren’t subject to it. The incentive officials are seeking to bring back provides for a 10-year property tax exemption on all of a development’s residential units in exchange for making 20 percent of the units affordable to households making 60 or 80 percent of the median family income. The developers still pay taxes on the land and any commercial space in the building.

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

TriMet releases ambitious proposed budget

Portland Tribune

Highlights of the $701 million budget include a low-income far program, the purchase of 64 new buses, the first electrified bus line, and safety, service and station improvements.

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

 

Offshore earthquake will devastate Portland area much more than scientists thought

Portland Tribune

State geologists analyze projected impacts of Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, magnitude 9.0, and expect tens of thousands of casualties in the tri-county area, and massive numbers needing emergency shelter after being forced from their homes.

 

GUNS

 

A Portland Church Group Plans to Ask Voters to Ban Assault Weapons in Oregon

Willamette Week

A Portland group of religious organizers is pushing to get an initiative to ban AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles in Oregon on the November ballot. The Interfaith and People of Goodwill Campaign to Ban Assault Weapons will officially launch tomorrow, and hopes to put the question to Oregon voters of whether people should be able to buy some semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines. The campaign will launch tomorrow night at Augustana Lutheran Church, where Rev. W. J. Mark Knutson has been pressing for such a ban for nearly two years.

 

NATIONAL POLITICS

 

President Donald Trump Seeking to Appoint Portland Hotelier Gordon Sondland Ambassador to European Union

Willamette Week

President Donald Trump reportedly wants Portland hotelier Gordon Sondland to be the next ambassador to the European Union. The news, reported by the Wall Street Journal, comes on the heels of an Oregonian report last fall that Sondland was being vetted for a potential ambassadorship. Sondland leads Provenance Hotels which owns or manages 10 hotels, including the Heathman, Sentinel, Lucia and deLuxe in Portland.

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: Community colleges get short shrift

Albany Democrat-Herald

A priority for the community colleges during the short legislative session that wrapped up earlier this month was to figure out a way to get that money back. Anyone familiar with how the state has funded its community colleges over the years probably can guess how the story ended. No money. Sorry. Legislative leaders said, in essence, that nobody was getting any extra money. (That’s not precisely true, but legislators decided, for better or for worse, that the needs facing other programs were more urgent than fixing this budgeting mistake for community colleges.)

 

Editorial: EOU a rural rescue

East Oregonian

The designation through HB 4153 is more than symbolism. It is a recognition that EOU has achieved a remarkable niche in higher education. EOU combines a sense of place — the La Grande-based university operates 11 centers throughout rural Oregon — with a well-regarded distance learning program that enrolls students from throughout Oregon, and beyond.

 

Editorial: Taking responsibility

Register-Guard

It’s hard to see how Kruse could read this report and maintain that he has done nothing wrong. He has done his fellow Oregonians a favor by resigning. He would do them an even bigger favor by facing up to what he has done, realizing that he is in the wrong, and issuing a heartfelt apology.

 

It’s past time to eliminate the annual time changes

Statesman Journal Editorial Board

Did anyone enjoy losing an hour’s sleep over the weekend when Oregon joined most other states and left standardized time behind to observe the start of daylight saving time? We didn’t think so. We’ve heard a great deal of grumbling, which is why we support Sen. Kim Thatcher’s effort to end the time change in Oregon. Thatcher, who introduced a bill in the 2015 session, has announced she’ll renew the effort next session.  If the grousing is any indication, Oregonians would like to quit reverting to standard time the first weekend in November and keep the extra hour of evening daylight that daylight saving time affords.

 

Editorial: Bend schools’ selective love of data

Bend Bulletin

When the Bend-La Pine Schools wanted to figure out if it should change when school begins for high school students, it began by looking at the data. But what’s so great about data? The state — with some cooperation from the Bend school district — has actively undermined efforts to research student performance. So why does research and data matter when it comes to student start times but not when it comes to what they do in school?

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