The Bend Bulletin
The Working Families Party, a minor party that often backs pro-labor Democrats, announced Monday that it had nominated Bend nonprofit founder Amanda La Bell as its nominee in the 54th House District. La Bell, a registered Democrat, will appear on the November ballot alongside Democrat Boddie and Republican Cheri Helt. In a statement, La Bell said she decided to run with the Working Families Party to provide a “real choice” for voters. She previously volunteered to replace Boddie as the Democratic nominee if he chose to drop out of the race.
Democrats seeking an alternative to their embattled nominee in House District 54 have come up with a work-around: They are lining up behind Amanda La Bell, who filed on Aug. 24 to run for the seat being vacated by state Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend). La Bell, a first-time candidate, boasts the endorsements of U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Gov. Kate Brown and former Gov. Barbara Roberts, along with several Bend officials. Democrats are keen to win Buehler’s seat because they currently hold a 35 to 25 advantage over Republicans in the House. If they can win a 36th seat, they will have the so-called “super-majority” that the Oregon Constitution requires to raise new taxes without a vote of the people.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
– Nearly half of the sheriffs in Oregon have signed onto a letter asking voters to repeal the state’s 30-year-old sanctuary law this fall. The letter released Monday says the state’s “statute undermines respect for law in significant ways.” “(The sanctuary law) tells illegal immigrants that Oregon considers immigration-law violations so inconsequential as to be unworthy of police and sheriffs’ attention,” the letter states. “In doing so, it legitimizes those violations and encourages more.”
The letter encourages Oregonians to vote for Measure 105, which would repeal the law, in November. It also invokes the murder of a 20-year-old Iowa woman who was allegedly killed by an undocumented man, despite her family’s objection to using her death as a political talking point in debates on immigration policy. “Mollie Tibbetts’ recent murder has refocused attention on the violence and heartbreak illegal-immigrant criminals can visit on Americans and their families,” Burgin writes. “Oregon’s sanctuary statute not only compounds that neglect, but issues a de facto invitation to illegal immigrants to settle in our state.”
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
There were 77 reports that required further review into a complaint of waste, inefficiency or abuse. In most of these complaints, the allegations were not substantiated, according to the report. Three additional cases remain open. The majority of reports were concerning state policies or procedures or financial management. Others dealt with fraud, theft, improper behavior at work, scams, or public contracting. The Secretary of State office says it has identified through the hotline about $16 million in questionable costs since it was established in 1995.
CAMPAIGNS & INITIATIVES
Nike has contributed $25,000 to Gov. Kate Brown’s re-election campaign — a twist that shows the sportswear giant isn’t in lockstep with co-founder Phil Knight. The Beaverton-area company typically keeps its donations to key lawmakers of both parties in the $1,000 to $2,000 range, so the large gift to Brown on Wednesday is unusual.
The Associated Press
A complaint alleging that a ballot initiative agreement negotiated by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Nike and a public employees union was illegal was authored by an attorney affiliated with political opponents of both Brown and unions. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports attorney Jill Gibson acknowledged Friday that she had drafted the complaint filed last month with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office by a Portland man named Richard Leonetti.
Gov. Kate Brown released her seven-step education policy agenda Monday, Aug. 27, components of which will be included in her proposed 2019-21 state budget, her spokeswoman said. “The governor strongly believes that in order to effect change for Oregon’s students, a multi-pronged approach is vital,” said Kate Kondayen, a press secretary in Brown’s office. At 77 percent, Oregon has one of the worst on-time graduation rates in the nation and one of the shortest school years, according to federal statistics.
Gov. Kate Brown kicked off the school year Monday by welcoming Madison High School’s freshman class and securing their shouted promise that all 342 of them will graduate from the Northeast Portland school by 2022. Brown used the appearance to plug one of her familiar campaign promises: that she’ll plow $300 million in the next state budget into adding more career-technical courses to the state’s high schools, double the current level. She hasn’t explained where she will come up with the money, given a projected shortfall of more than $1 billion in the next state budget.
“Anytime somebody says they’re going to end homelessness with whatever plan, I get a little skeptical,” he said. “Do I appreciate the effort and focus on the issue? Yes. But they’re not going to end homelessness with that kind of money.” Other advocates say the candidates’ plans bring attention to the issue, but they need to prioritize funds for housing, substance abuse and mental health counseling. Any solution would require a large public investment, they said.
Salem city councilors voted 6-3 to oppose a November ballot measure that would repeal Oregon’s sanctuary state law — but not before heatedly debating whether nonpartisan, city officials should take any stand on statewide ballot measures.
Portland Business Journal
July saw a record haul in Salem, with more than $8.7 million in state cannabis taxes collected, according to Department of Revenue data released Monday. That’s nearly 10 percent more than the previous high of $8 million, set in January, and a 63 percent increase over the $5.1 million collected in July 2017.
The owner of a Texas company that makes untraceable 3D-printed guns says he has begun selling the blueprints through his website to anyone who wants to make one, despite a federal court order barring him from posting the plans online. Cody Wilson says he began selling the plans Tuesday morning and that he’ll sell them for any price. Wilson says he believes that selling them, instead of posting the plans for anyone to view or download for free, will not run afoul of the Seattle federal judge’s Monday order.
“One instance is one too many for these types of offenses, and there’s really no excuse for them,” said Teacher Standards and Practices Commission Deputy Director Trent Danowski, who manages the state-level response to these sorts of claims. But authorities are not ready to make a judgment that these cases have become any more prevalent in the MeToo era, nor that Lincoln has a particularly high number. “What I think we’re seeing now is they are much more in the spotlight, perhaps, than they maybe were in previous times,” Danowski said. “It just feels like it’s happening more when maybe that’s not necessarily the case.” Lincoln High School in inner Southwest Portland has had five cases of teachers accused of sexual misconduct or inappropriate relationships with students in the last 10 years.
PUBLIC HEALTH & HEALTHCARE
The state’s only heart transplant program is now temporarily suspended after at least three cardiologists on the transplant team left or announced plans to leave Oregon Health & Science University. The medical center will no longer evaluate new patients for a transplant, accept donor hearts or perform any transplant surgeries for 14 days. Renee Edwards, chief medical officer for OHSU Healthcare, said the transplant team is adequately staffed to follow up with anyone who’s recently received a new heart. People who need pacemakers or comparable procedures can still be treated at OHSU, she said. But anyone on track for a transplant soon would likely be referred to another hospital.
Suicide rates have been steadily climbing, Rockett said, but their numbers are likely even higher. He said too often opioid-related drug overdoses aren’t classified as suicides, and he thinks they should be. These deaths are often deemed by medical examiners as “accidental injury deaths” unless a suicide note is found. This classification doesn’t take into account that suicide and drug overdoses both arise from “purposeful” behaviors. “By always separating drug deaths from suicide is to underestimate the mental health crisis,” Rockett said. “These are all mental health issues, and they need to be on the front burner.”
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Starting next Tuesday, Sept. 4, the agency will take applications from farmers who produce corn, cotton, dairy, hogs, sorghum, soybeans and wheat – products that were targeted in China’s retaliatory tariffs, after the U.S. imposed a 25 percent levy on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports. Most of the money – more than $3.6 billion – will go to soybean farmers. China has been the No. 1 export market for U.S. soybeans, buying nearly a third of all American-grown soybeans in 2017.
The Bend Bulletin
Jefferson County deserves high quality fire and emergency medical service. A potential consolidation should not turn into a turf war, but an example of how the county’s leaders can work together to improve public safety.