GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
The Bend Bulletin
“We hope Gov. Brown will actually begin accepting debate invitations, so that discussions over format details and participation by other candidates can get underway with event organizers,” said Buehler campaign manager Rebecca Tweed.
The nomination went to Brownsville cabinetmaker Patrick Starnes, the only candidate listed as an IPO gubernatorial candidate in the voters’ pamphlet. Starnes said his primary victory was a rebellion against big money in politics. “They spent a lot of money trying to get write-ins,” Starnes said. “I would get robo-texts from Brown’s campaign, and Buehler had done ads encouraging people to write him in. “A lot of people are not engaged because they don’t think their voices are heard.” Starnes, a party member, took 26 percent of the IPO vote in the party’s primary. Buehler, the GOP nominee for governor, came in second with about 25 percent, while Brown secured just 12.5 percent.
Oregon remains among the most unionized states in the nation, both in terms of the share of workers represented by unions and their willingness to pay for membership. “Oregon consistently outpaces the U.S. in union membership as a share of total employment,” Gail Krumenauer, a senior economic analyst at the state Employment Department, wrote in 2017.
A petition being circulated at Oregon State University could force an election on efforts to organize a faculty union on campus. The petition was supported by authorization cards signed by what union supporters called “a decisive majority” of the university’s 2,400 or so teaching and research faculty. Union certification by the so-called “card check” process requires a simple majority of the bargaining unit. Some faculty members, however, have criticized the card check approach as undemocratic, and an attempt is underway to put the question of union representation to a vote.
HOMELESSNESS & POVERTY
People can store belongings in a PODS container on a county-owned lot on Olive Street between the Public Library and The KIVA grocery store. People can stow backpacks, baggage and other items seven-days-a-week, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., through Sept. 30. St. Vincent de Paul employees are on site to manage the container. Any items left after 4:30 p.m. will be disposed of.
An annual count tallied at least 732 homeless people living in Jackson County, an increase from the 633 found by volunteers who fanned out into the community in 2017. The actual number of homeless people living in the county is likely 2.5 times the number who were found and counted, said Jackson County Continuum of Care Homeless Prevention Coordinator Constance Wilkerson. “Homelessness is definitely on the rise,” she said. “When I talk to other service providers, they are seeing an increase in the client load. The rise in numbers is a true rise, not just because we made a concerted effort to reach more areas.”
When officers encounter homeless people slumped over along concrete walkways or trespassing on private property when shelters are at capacity, they face a dilemma: Do they arrest the person and push them through the revolving door of Oregon’s jails and prisons? Or do they dig into their own pockets, or police donations, to pay for food or a hotel for the night? “We’re not looking to arrest someone and put a Band-Aid on the problem and move on,” Hill said. “There is no resolution, so we have to be creative sometimes.”
A report from Save the Children places Oregon 24th among states in terms of how its rural children are faring economically. About 21.6 percent of children in Oregon’s rural areas live in poverty, while 16.1 percent of children in Oregon’s urban areas were considered impoverished, according to the study. “Growing up in poverty is one of the greatest threats to healthy child development,” the study states. “When young children grow up in poverty, they are at higher risk of experiencing difficulties later in life — having poor physical and mental health, becoming teen parents, dropping out of school and facing limited unemployment opportunities.”
Portland Business Journal
The issue at hand: Whether dropping the individual mandate penalty has made other parts of the law, including a ban on charging higher premiums for pre-existing conditions, unconstitutional. The Department of Justice declined to defend a suit filed by Texas and 19 other states against the ACA, Health Care Dive reports. Instead, it filed a brief claiming that since the mandate penalty was dropped as part of the tax reform law, judges should throw out other parts of the ACA as well.
Heine and Yates were both found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and 12 counts of falsifying bank records following a seven-week trial that concluded in November 2017. Wednesday’s sentencing hearing was originally scheduled for March 5, but was delayed after Heine and Yates each filed motions seeking to overturn the verdict or be granted a new trial, all of which were denied.
The Associated Press
“Poor logging practices by the Oregon Department of Forestry is causing real harm to the Oregon coast coho and commercial fishing families who depend on these magnificent fish for their livelihoods,” Glen Spain said, the northwest regional director for the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and the Institute of Fisheries Resources, both plaintiffs in the case. “Stronger protections for streams to protect the coho … is decades overdue.”
The Oregon Transportation Commission will ask the federal government’s permission by year-end to impose tolls on some or all of I-5 and I-205 in the Portland area. The tolls would be designed to raise money for highway improvements, and encourage some motorists to drive at less-busy times, alleviating congestion.
The Oregon Department of Transportation has announced a series of upcoming public presentations of the freeway tolling options being considered by the Oregon Transportation Commission, which oversees it. The 2017 Oregon Legislature directed the commission to approve and submit a proposal for tolling some or all of I-5 and I-205 in the Portland area to the Federal Highway Administration for approval by the end of the year.
Last year, lottery officials sent Oregon State Police investigators into Portland Meadows, where they documented the poker game’s organizers charging admission and acting as a bank for players, by exchanging chips for money. Those and other actions led the lottery to move toward revoking Portland Meadows’ contract for video lottery terminals. They decided to do so in June because lottery rules require that retailers—Portland Meadows, in this case—comply with all state laws. That’s a big deal: There are 10 terminals at the track, more than any other location in the state. In 2016, the terminals brought in $1.83 million in revenue, of which Portland Meadows kept $350,000 in commissions.
Senator Mark Hass
I attend Oregon Promise orientation meetings with these young students and listen to heartwarming stories of plans to become dental hygienists, paramedics, computer technicians and other careers that offer a path to the middle class. One woman told me she enrolled in general education courses for two years at Clackamas Community College, then will transfer to Portland State and then to medical school to be a doctor. Without the Oregon Promise, she said, she would be cleaning houses.
Senator Rob Wagner
As adults, I feel we must do more to support our students on their journeys into college, careers or military service. This is my challenge in the state Senate — to work with our community on finding a way to support the promise of these young adults. Let’s come together, invest in these kids and boost their chance at success. Heading into the next legislative session, I will be working to prioritize student success at every turn.
The Bulletin Editorial Board
There are always going to be problems in a foster care system. The challenges foster children have are rarely easily solved. But Oregonians should not have a problem finding out what their government is doing about it. And it can be very difficult to get answers from the Oregon Department of Human Services. Despite the strength of Oregon’s public records law, the law is largely toothless.
The Bulletin Editorial Board
Soon after Richardson was elected, he argued the Oregon law had no maximum time and chose to interpret it as 10 years through an administrative rule change. But if 10 years have passed, and a voter is not participating in elections, what is so unreasonable about removing them from voter rolls? Nothing. They may well have died or moved. There is no need for a new law.
Mail Tribune Editorial Board
Wildland firefighters for the Oregon Department of Forestry spend their summers earning money battling blazes on state-protected timber lands, but when fire season ends, they have to figure out how to stretch the summer’s earnings through the winter or find other work until they are called back the next year. A partnership agreement between ODF and the U.S. Forest Service will offer them forest work that not only provides income in the off-season but reduces the risk of catastrophic fire at the same time. The only surprising thing about the arrangement is that it wasn’t implemented long ago.
Herald and News
Politicians like to talk about the jobs that they create, but they don’t create jobs. At best, they move jobs from one place to another by taxing one group of people and spending the revenue on a different group. At worst, they destroy jobs by imposing unnecessary regulations and licensing requirements. Actual job creation comes when entrepreneurs and able-bodied, educated and skilled workers come together in the marketplace. Politicians aren’t involved. But behind the news that unemployment has dropped to 3.8 percent — the lowest since the early 2000s — are some caveats worth noting.