Sen. Jeff Merkley and GOP Leader Mike McLane
Oregon’s bountiful agriculture is no secret. As a cornerstone of our economy, Oregon’s farmers and food producers have developed a growing international reputation as an innovative food capital. However, what many people do not know is that Oregon’s agriculture is also a significant contributor to our country’s ability to alleviate humanitarian suffering and lay the foundation for “winning the peace” around the world.
Cook Political report
There have been two polls released that show the race well within the margin of error. The contest may not be tied, but both parties acknowledge that private polling points to a close race and that Brown’s job approval numbers are upside down.
Knute Buehler, a rare GOP moderate, thinks he can knock off Kate Brown, Oregon’s not-so-popular Democratic governor. But the Trump winds could make it a hard year for ticket splitting in a blue state.
Abortion, immigration, taxes and housing are the hot-button issues that will go before voters as ballot measures in the Nov. 6 general election.
A committee of lawmakers is planning to meet Monday morning in Salem, to hire an outside lawyer to respond to Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian’s complaint that legislative leaders covered up a culture of sexual harassment in the Capitol.
ELECTIONS & POLITICS
More than a dozen Oregonians attended a Justice 4 Life rally at the Oregon State Capitol Saturday in support of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The rally in Salem was part of a series of rallies around the country hosted by Students for Life of America, a youth organization dedicated to abolishing abortion in their lifetime. The organization, which considers themselves a “post-Roe organization,” also provides education on abortion and promotes student leadership at a local and national level. Rallies around the nation were either organized by a regional coordinator or student leaders.
Legislative candidate Christy Inskip launched her campaign for Oregon’s 7th District today. KLCC’s Alec Cowan caught up with the Democratic nominee to hear more about her campaign.
Oregon Rep. Carl Wilson (R-Grants Pass) said legislative action has to be taken to reduce excess fuels that dry out and create tinderbox conditions. “I’ve been a member of the fire caucus in the Oregon legislature and we’ve talked about a lot of the things that need to happen, but ultimately almost everything points to the U.S. Congress,” Wilson told the Statesman Journal last week. “The Oregon delegation has to be the adults in the room and get us toward doing something about the excess fuels that cause these fires – that’s where the action is.”
State Representative Gary Leif visited the South Umpqua fires recently and said crews there told him it made a difference on the Snowshoe Fire as well. “That was because in May they did these prescribed burns,” Leif said. “Any time that you can get rid of the fuel and the undergrowth, or cut the fuel out, as in thinning practices, you’re going to basically create fire resiliency.”
Oregon Public Broadcasting
In Josephine County, Rural/Metro is the largest of two for-profit fire departments serving a geographic area more than twice the size of Portland. When wildland fire threatens homes covered by private crews, they’re out there risking their lives right alongside public agencies and the contractors they bring in. But without recognition through state law, Turnbull said this cooperation happens informally, almost “on the sly.”
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Oregon transportation officials confirmed Thursday that they will abide by a committee’s recommendation and not immediately pursue tolling on Interstates 5 and 205 from the Washington border. But they will consider imposing tolls on all Portland-area freeways.
Knute Buehler, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, said in a statement Friday that homelessness has worsened under Brown’s leadership and reiterated his own plan to provide 8,000 more shelter beds statewide, provide $50 million in rental assistance and fast-track construction of 20,000 more housing units.
The math just isn’t adding up. In recently released materials, Portland Public Schools administrators now say they are nearly $200 million short on the projects they proposed to voters just a year ago. The district says it would need closer to $980 million to rebuild Madison, Lincoln and Benson Polytechnic high schools, as well as other upgrades. The district — which has seen massive leadership change in the year since it asked voters for $790 million — still doesn’t have a clear answer on why the projects are coming in so much more expensive than it calculated. Harry Esteve, the district spokesperson, said he couldn’t clarify the current estimates of the Madison and Benson Tech projects before Monday.
The Peavy problem comes after years of efforts by state officials to promote a technology they view as an economic engine for rural Oregon. The state’s timber employment has fallen 62 percent since its 1980s heyday, from about 80,000 to 30,000. In 2015, the state deemed the development of cross-laminated timber buildings “essential” to the state’s economic interests.
Having an entire college campus produce as much energy as it uses may sound like a Herculean task, but engineers and design experts at Oregon State University-Cascades have a detailed plan of how to meet that goal. The university is calling its plan Net Zero, and it will affect every construction project on the OSU-Cascades campus, as well as the school’s current buildings.
JOBS & ECONOMY
Though the tech giant has been firmly planted in the area since 2010, it was a while before anyone said the name “Amazon” out loud. The electronic commerce enterprise operates several data centers at the ports of Umatilla and Morrow under the name Vadata, Inc., and is constructing others in Umatilla County. But it has been mum on most of the details of its operations in the area, even as its footprint continues to expand.
Parents and their children have a keen interest in the conduct of educators in the public school system, but finding out about rule violations or other misconduct by teachers and administrators can be difficult if not impossible given Oregon’s public records laws.
And, truth be told, many of the more complicated matters that used to be presented as ballot measures should be the province of legislators, who have the time and resources to more carefully examine complex issues during their sessions in Salem. But there’s a flip side to that: If the Legislature fails to act on the vital questions facing Oregon, this current ebb tide in statewide ballot measures likely will be short-lived.
So whether you return your cans and bottles yourself, donate them to a charity or give them to a neighbor kid looking to make a few bucks, the daily effect of the bottle bill is what you don’t see — litter and waste in our state.