Oregon’s child welfare agency has agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit brought on behalf of a girl who was allegedly sexually abused by her Gresham foster father in 2014. State workers placed the girl, who was 4 at the time, with Gabriel David Wallis and his wife, even though Wallis self-identified as a sex addict during the state’s screening and caseworkers either knew or should have known that he looked at child pornography online, court documents say.
Jillian Schoene, co-executive director of Emerge Oregon, which prepares women to run for office, says that’s disappointing. “White men have been well-represented in every office since the founding of this country,” Schoene says. “In these races, it’s time for them to step aside and let others lead.”
An initiative petition proposed for the November ballot would ban certain assault-style firearms and high-capacity magazines in Oregon, as a measure to protect people from mass shootings. Legal owners of existing assault-style weapons would be required to pass a background check and register their weapon with Oregon State Police.
The Dalles Chronicle
It was a month-long legislative session that Rep. Daniel Bonham, R-The Dalles, gave a mixed review. On a positive note, one of his two proposed bills received enough bipartisan support to get through the House and Senate. Gov. Kate Brown is expected to sign into law the “Good Neighbor Authority” policy that will restore managed harvests of federal lands. Not only will rural communities be provided with much needed jobs, said Bonham, the new policy will reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires by cleaning up diseased and overstocked stands of trees that provide fuels.
Ferri’s death was unusual. But she shared one thing in common with the vast majority of Coffee Creek inmates: Her medical records show she did not receive a flu shot. In fact, only about 18 percent of inmates at Coffee Creek were inoculated against the flu this season.
After brief remarks from a few individuals, including Brown, the crowd separated to sit at tables with different areas of focus, such as community relationships or foster parent training and resources. Brown spent her time listening at the community relationships table. One suggestion that emerged from the group was sharing more positive stories of foster care to combat a stigma that persists around the system.
Oregon added another 2,700 jobs last month and the state’s jobless rate remained at its lowest point on record, according to state data released Tuesday, extending Oregon’s long economic expansion. February’s unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent. It’s been within a tenth of a percentage point of that number for more 14 months, according to revised figures issued earlier this month by the Oregon Employment Department.
But for now, Oregon’s gun regulations are scattershot. WW explored data collected by the Boston University School of Public Health to show how Oregon fits into the national landscape of gun laws. We found that among 50 U.S. states, Oregon’s restrictions on guns are all over the map.
A proposal to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in Oregon has been submitted as a ballot initiative petition intended to prevent mass shootings. Filed by an interfaith religious group in Portland, Initiative Petition 42 would also require legal gun owners to surrender or register their assault weapons or face felony charges, according to language released Tuesday.
For gun advocates, however, the new bill is a point of contention and confusion. Gunter thinks the “boyfriend loophole” could be seriously abused. “If you get somebody who’s upset with their former partner, they can say anything they want and that person’s going to have to prove their innocence with no due process,” he said. The Oregon Firearms Federation agrees. “What this bill does is give people a mighty tool to destroy the life of an innocent person,” said Kevin Starrett, who heads the organization. By “innocent” Starrett is referring to a boyfriend who could be falsely accused of domestic abuse. “We think it’s a farce that anyone believes a woman is protected from someone who is really dangerous by any piece of paper or the confiscation of guns,” said Starrett.
AGRICULTURE & NATURAL RESOURCES
At ODA, Taylor manages a department with 370 full-time employees and a most recent biennial budget of $114.4 million for 2017-19. The USDA Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service had 14,000 employees across three agencies, with $2 billion in annual salary and expenses. A big part of Taylor’s first year was simply learning the lay of the land, touring more than 40 farms and ranches across all 36 counties.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Northwest Senators had a lot of questions for U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry during a Senate committee hearing Tuesday morning. They grilled him on the safety of steel in a massive treatment plant under construction at the Hanford nuclear site.
The Clatsop Community College Board, facing lackluster enrollment and funding, will consider a $3-per-credit tuition hike next month. “None of us feel like increasing tuition is something that we want to do,” College President Christopher Breitmeyer said Tuesday. “We’d rather not do it. But we think at this time it’s necessary, given where we are in terms of the current funding that we’re experiencing.”
Opponents have 21 days from March 15 vote by the Land Conservation and Development Commission to appeal the decision to the Oregon Court of Appeals.
HEALTH CARE & HUMAN SERVICES
Oregon Public Broadcasting
The Oregon Health Authority is asking the public to say what it likes, dislikes and wants to change about the state’s 15 coordinated care organizations. The CCOs were set up in 2012. But their contracts run out at the end of next year, and the state wants to know how they should change. Should mental and physical health be better coordinated? Is there inequity in the system? The survey is online until April 15.
Someone dies from prescription opioids every 20 minutes in this country. The Oregon Health Authority reports that more Oregonians die from prescription opioids than any other drug — including alcohol, methamphetamines, heroin and cocaine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 42,000 Americans died in opioid-related deaths in 2016. Oregon ranks sixth nationally for non-medical use of prescription pain relievers like Percocet and OxyContin, In short, many of our fellow Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers.
Herald and News
The proposed Klamath Works site for possible Department of Human Services offices in Klamath Falls was ranked sixth out of nine sites visited by local DHS officials, according to state documents. Last month, Oregon’s Department of Administrative Services (DAS) announced it would award a bid to TimberMill Shores as the home of a new DHS multi-service campus in Klamath Falls. The new site would be home to child welfare, aging and people with disabilities and self-sufficiency programs. Vocational rehabilitation would stay at current offices.
When Barron and committee member Carlos Gallo said that Carpenter was making his support of Trump clear, and Trump had been very “blatant” in stirring up racial tensions and criticizing Latinos, Carpenter asked, “What has he said that is very blatant?” drawing laughter from the audience and committee.
Four democrats traded few barbs, but flexed ideological and intellectual muscles and made promises for progress in the hopes they could be the candidate who can turn a Republican state senate seat blue.
COURTS & PUBLIC SAFETY
A backlog of rape kits in Oregon is a year away from being eliminated following the passage of a state law mandating quicker testing, officials say. The kits contain biological material following reported sex crimes. In 2015, the Oregon State Police said it had a backlog of more than 5,600. In 2016, legislators passed a measure to speed up processing, but by 2017 state labs said their backlog had actually increased as old kits poured in from around the state.
It’s been more than a month since the provider FamilyCare Inc. left the Oregon Health Plan over a rate dispute, requiring more than 110,000 low-income members to make other arrangements for their care. But the organization remains mired in litigation with state officials, and the state now has launched a separate investigation into the group and three related organizations.
Courtney said he hopes the joint committee can craft a bill that is both effective and has widespread support not only among Democratic and Republican legislators but also from environmental, business, transportation and other groups. The legislative leaders could start that process by giving full representation to urban and rural Oregon. They should appoint equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans to the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction. As Courtney said in announcing the committee with Kotek: “Urban or rural, Democrat or Republican, we share the same state, same air, same environment and the same planet. It’s time human nature starts taking care of Mother Nature.”
Statesman Journal Editorial Board
The Oregon Supreme Court squandered an opportunity last week and in the process sent a chilling message to Oregonians: judges are above the law. Our state’s high court said a 3-year, without-pay suspension of Marion County Circuit Court Judge Vance Day was necessary to “preserve public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.” But by only suspending the judge found to have committed “willful misconduct” and making “willful misstatements” — in other words lied — doesn’t build trust; it betrays it.
The Oregonian Editorial Board
Educational leaders routinely bemoan the measly length of Oregon’s school year, one of the shortest in the country. They lament that Oregon students receive a year’s less education by the time they graduate from high school than their counterparts in Washington state. All of which makes their stance on an instructional time requirement adopted by the Oregon Board of Education in 2015 puzzling. Instead of supporting a rule ensuring that most students, particularly those in high school, are scheduled for a full day of classes, the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators, Oregon School Boards Association and Oregon Education Association are urging the education board to relax the requirement for the 2018-19 school year.