“Nearman’s refund represents the first of what should ultimately be hundreds of millions of dollars or even more returned to public employees for union fees seized from them in violation of the First Amendment,” Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, said in a news release.
The Bend Bulletin
Debora Nearman, an employee of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, said in her lawsuit filed in April in federal court that the state’s practice of forcing her to pay fees to fund union activity violated her First Amendment freedoms. She said the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, opposes her political and religious views and even led a campaign against her husband when he ran as a Republican candidate for the state Legislature. Melissa Unger, executive director of SEIU Local 503 in Oregon, said the union chose to settle Nearman’s lawsuit rather than go through a costly and time-consuming legal battle. “The settlement we entered into last week was about being the best stewards of our members’ dues money as possible, period,” Unger said in a statement.
Portland Business Journal
Manufacturers have a new voice in the state capitol. On Monday, the trade group Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce launched. The group will lobby on behalf of Oregon’s manufacturers on issues including business climate, tax policy and workforce development. “We look forward to working with industry leaders from across the state to advance the economic opportunities created by a diverse and strong manufacturing industry,” Jillions said, in the news release. “We will build coalitions that influence and advance the future of commerce with innovative approaches to advocacy.”
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
Oregon is joining a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State to prevent a Texas company from posting designs for guns that can be made on 3-D printers. Assembling your own gun is legal, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, provided you don’t sell it. Nonetheless, the growing phenomenon of “ghost guns” — so called because they do not have serial numbers that can be traced by the government — presents public safety concerns, detractors say. “What kind of world are we living in where a criminal, terrorist or anybody with access to the internet and a 3-D printer can build a gun?” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in a written statement Monday. “Once these tutorials to build 3-D guns are unblocked, there is no turning back.”
Portland Business Journal
“As we’ve been developing the program, it really turned out to be more complex than the Legislature envisioned and hard to find a way to do this that makes it more efficient for everybody,” said Jeremy Vandehey, OHA’s health and policy analytics director. “We can alleviate the burden for some organizations, but it causes work flow changes for others that adds to the burden. We haven’t been able to find a way to design the program that appeases everybody.”
Plaintiffs in the case include 21 youths ages 11 to 22. Six of the plaintiffs are Eugene residents. Also listed as a plaintiff is climate scientist James Hanson, who represents “future generations” in the case. The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights are being violated by a government that has known about the dangers of climate change for decades but nonetheless promotes fossil fuel production while failing to protect the nation’s natural resources. The suit seeks a court order that requires the government to make a plan that works to drastically and quickly reduce carbon dioxide emissions that climate scientists say cause global warming.
CAMPAIGNS & INITIATIVES
The Bend Bulletin
Gov. Kate Brown and Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, the Republican nominee for governor, together have reported more than $11 million in fundraising. The rate of fundraising in past governor elections puts them on course to eclipse the record $17.7 million raised during the 2010 governor campaign narrowly won by John Kitzhaber over Republican Chris Dudley. Adjusted for inflation, Brown and Buehler would have to spend $20.4 million to match the 2010 spending levels.
State Rep. Julie Parrish, the architect of Oregon Measure 101 in January, has joined as a chief sponsor of a 2020 initiative to require voter approval for tolls on existing roadways, bridges or freeways. Parrish, R-West Linn, said she wanted to be involved in the initiative because the proposed toll lanes would impact her constituents in House District 37. I-5 runs through the part of her district located in Tualatin, and I-205 leads to communities she represents in West Linn and Lake Oswego.
If adopted, the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Initiative, officially called PDX 04, would levy a 1 percent tax on all Portland sales by businesses with at least $1 billion in annual revenue and $500,000 in sales within city limits. Groceries and medicine would be exempt from the tax. Public opinion about PDX 04 is unclear because no polling data has been released, but Portland voters are typically a tax-friendly electorate. Multnomah County was one of only two counties to vote yes on Measure 97, the statewide retailer tax that appeared on 2016 ballots.
As documented on a video posted to McLeod-Skinner’s campaign Facebook page, the Terrebonne Democrat strode up to the cream-colored convertible Walden was riding in during the Chief Joseph Days Parade in Joseph Saturday and shook his hand. “I would like to challenge you to at least three debates within the district,” she said. “I will debate you in every single county if you like.” Walden seemed to answer to affirmatively. “I look forward to debating you,” he said. “We’ll figure out a schedule that works.”
Attorney Sean Riddell, legal representative for the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, sent a letter to the mayor’s office Monday requesting a meeting with Wheeler to discuss the hands-off approach Portland police took to the OccupyICEPDX protest. Riddell wrote in the letter that Wheeler’s decision created “a zone of terror and lawlessness” and resulted in threats of physical violence and harassment toward ICE employees.
OSU’s Benton Hall will become Community Hall, honoring local residents who raised funds to start the college in 1860s and 1870s; Benton Annex, the university’s women center, will become the Hattie Redmond Women and Gender Center, after an African-American suffragette who lived in Portland in the early 20th century; and Avery Lodge will be renamed Champinefu Lodge, borrowing a word signifying “at the place of the blue elderberry” from the dialect of the local native Kalapuya Tribe.
The Bend Bulletin
The U.S. housing market — particularly in cutthroat areas like Seattle, Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas — appears to be headed for the broadest slowdown in years. Buyers are getting squeezed by rising mortgage rates and by prices climbing about twice as fast as incomes, and there’s only so far they can stretch. “This could be the very beginning of a turning point,” said Robert Shiller, a Nobel Prize-winning economist who is famed for warning of the dot-com and housing bubbles, in an interview. He stressed that he isn’t ready to make that call yet.
The Bureau of Development Services is on track to issue a record level of permits this year. But as construction activity has accelerated in recent years, BDS has been hampered by a shortage of employees. Despite having more employees than ever, dozens of critical positions are currently vacant, including permit processors, plan reviewers, and residential and commercial building inspectors. The same is true in other construction-related city bureaus that must also review and approve permit applications, including the Portland Bureau of Transportation and the Portland Water Bureau.
Portland Business Journal
An increasingly popular culprit in the debate over high drug prices is the pharmaceutical rebate, the after-the-fact discounts that form the heart of the nation’s arcane — many would say broken — market for prescription drugs. Now, a growing chorus wants to get rid of them, or at least change the way they are applied after drug companies have already set their prices. Rebates, critics say, have pushed up the list price of brand-name drugs, which consumers are increasingly responsible for paying. Insurers generally get to keep the rebates without passing them along to their members.
Two of the biggest fires in history to strike Southern Oregon — the Biscuit and Chetco Bar — are both hindering and helping efforts to snuff out the Klondike fire in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. “They are using some of the old lines from the Chetco as well as the Biscuit fire,” said Katy O’Hara, public information officer for the Klondike and Natchez fires. In the years since the Biscuit fire, light vegetation that is extremely flammable has sprouted, providing abundant fuel for the Klondike, which doubled in size last week to its current 15,915 acres.
The Taylor Creek fire burning near Grants Pass grew to almost 25,000 acres Monday, prompting more evacuation orders and the closure of federal lands and recreation areas along the Rogue River north of the fire. Shortly before 2:30 p.m. Monday, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office ordered more Level 3 “Go” evacuations, due to planned firefighting operations, including backburns, for the Taylor Creek fire.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
As EarthFix reported, the Forest Service still suppresses nearly all fires, decades after recognizing the danger in that practice. Wildland fire agencies currently spend millions fighting relatively low-risk fires that could actually help protect communities if allowed to burn a bigger footprint. Researchers within the Forest Service are trying to push wildland fire management toward more data-driven decisions that consider the long-term tradeoffs of fire suppression. Asked what she’s doing to implement that throughout the agency, Christiansen said she was trying to build more acumen for risk management and reset the agency’s thinking.
The Bend Bulletin
“There exists sufficient evidence to assert that the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and Deschutes County has a history of discriminating against veterans and disabled veterans,” wrote Portland attorney Sean Riddell. According to a lawsuit he filed in Deschutes County Circuit Court, Dozier needed approval from his two immediate supervisors, who refused to give it to him and later refused to give him an explanation of how his veterans preference was applied to their decision.
A controversial proposal to ban camping or storing personal items on Salem sidewalks during daytime hours is back on the table. A city task force studying homeless issues also is considering recommending that groups providing free meals to the homeless get a permit, stamp their organization’s name on all to-go packaging, and be responsible for cleaning up that packaging if it’s left around town.
Independent Party Secretary Sal Peralta
The editorial made statements intended to trivialize both Starnes and our party to justify his exclusion from this year’s governor debates. IPO has 120,000 members — 100,000 more than the next largest party. We have more than 100 members who are elected local officeholders, and our membership is still growing faster than either the Democratic or Republican parties.
Coos Bay World Link
Rep. McKeown’s work on HB 2017 brought to our District 9 over $40 million to replace the Scottsburg bridge, plus funds to build and maintain roads and bridges ($15.3 per year for 10 years) and to improve public transit ($11.3 per year for 10 years). Caddy McKeown has proven leadership qualities that make her a powerful and compelling advocate for all of us. Please join me to reelect Caddy McKeown as Representative for House District 9.