The Associated Press
Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice Saturday night after the bitterly polarized U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed him. The Senate vote delivered an election-season triumph to President Donald Trump that could swing the court rightward for a generation after a battle that rubbed raw the country’s cultural, gender and political divides. Kavanaugh was quickly sworn in at the court building, across the street from the Capitol, even as protesters chanted outside.
The Associated Press
Questions about Kavanaugh’s ability to remain impartial and give a fair hearing to such cases escalated after his defiant statement Sept. 27 to the Senate Judiciary Committee. He railed against the sexual assault accusations as being orchestrated by Democrats, saying: “This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.” Since then, he wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that “an independent and impartial judiciary is essential” and that he will “keep an open mind in every case.” Lawsuits between the states and the Trump administration could test that.
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
Hood River News
Johnson will carry out the Port’s active lobbying program during the 2019 Oregon legislative session, according to a press release from the Port. Johnson formerly served as a state representative and member of Hood River County School District Board. As Government Affairs Manager, Johnson will lead Port efforts to influence legislation to benefit the Port and the community of Cascade Locks. “He will also provide valuable input on the creation of a communications strategy to assist the Port in accomplishing its goals and objectives,” stated Port manager Paul Koch. “The Port Commission is pleased to have acquired the services of Mark Johnson’s and to be able to take full advantage of his background and experience in Salem,” said Koch.
The Association of Oregon Counties misappropriated as much as $900,000 meant for county road programs to cover mounting losses in its general operations, an investigative audit has found. Under state law, the money the association misused over five years should have been spent on road programs, the accounting firm Moss Adams said in an August report. The transfers amounted to unauthorized loans, and the firm concluded that money needed to be paid back with interest. Now the association is pitching a payment plan to its 35-member counties — some of them cash-strapped in their own right — that could involve a special assessment to the counties and, ultimately, taxpayers. It is not clear how that sum would be divided among counties. But the total bill is likely to be about $1 million, association managers said.
On August 19, 2012, Benjamin McCormick walked onto a dock at Lake Billy Chinook, leaped into the air, and dove head-first into the water. Two feet below the surface, McCormick’s head slammed into a boulder, fracturing his skull, rupturing his spine and forever changing his life. A healthy 23-year-old from Redmond at the time of the accident, he’s been confined to a wheelchair ever since. McCormick sued the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, which manages a state park at the lake, for more than $43 million. He claimed the agency created conditions leading to the accident and failed to provide adequate warning of rocks below the water’s surface. Initially, the case was dismissed based on the principle of recreational immunity — that you can’t sue the state for most injuries sustained while recreating outdoors. But a series of decisions from the Oregon Court of Appeals, most recently in August, has thrown this concept into doubt, dealing a sweeping blow to the state’s concept of recreational immunity, say officials.
If you want to scoop a dead animal off the highway and bring it home for dinner, you’ll be allowed to do that in Oregon beginning January 1, 2019. But there are some rules to follow when removing a road-killed deer or elk from the pavement to pass legal muster under a 2017 law that legalized salvage. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will be asked to adopt the rules during a meeting Oct. 12 in Klamath Falls. “It’s important to note that people are eating this at their own risk,” ODFW spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy said. “It’s up to each person to decide whether the meat is appropriate to eat.”
CAMPAIGNS & INITIATIVES
An analysis of campaign finance reports shows typical spending, with the bulk of money going to advertising and marketing firms, political consultants, television and radio buys, data analytics and software. Buehler’s campaign has spent big on advertising — which can include anything from materials for campaign signs or branded gadgets to television ads. And a lot of the larger expenditures went out East. So far in 2018, Buehler has spent $4,266,909 on broadcast advertising through Strategic Media Services of Arlington, Va. FP1 Digital, a public affairs firm in Alexandria, Va., has received $627,315. The campaign spent $623,371 on Red Maverick Media, a Harrisburg, Pa., political consulting firm. Brown has spread money around more evenly, and as of Oct. 4 still had $3.5 million on hand, compared to Buehler’s $2 million. Her largest payments have gone to Washington, D.C., with $2,396,188 going to buy airtime through Buying Time LLC and $416,880 going to digital marketing firm Rising Tide Interactive LLC.
Money continues to pour into what is already the most expensive governor’s race in Oregon history, with a month still to go before the Nov. 6 election day. In the past week alone, incumbent Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, reported raising $1.2 million. Among the big checks: $250,000 from the Democratic Governors’ Association and $100,000 each from the Oregon Education Association, the statewide teachers’ union, and from Working for a Working America, a Washington, D.C. labor organization. Brown also got checks from a couple of big names in Silicon Valley: $20,000 from Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs (she’s now given Brown a total $65,000) and $5,000 from Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.
As a state representative, Buehler has earned a lifetime failing grade from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. Though he says climate change is real, he opposes the state’s cap-and-trade legislation to address it. On his campaign website, Buehler says it’s not true that he has “sided with big corporations and received $100,000s from anti-environment groups and voted against clean energy and instead for dirty coal.” He doesn’t cite the source of the claim. Part of Buehler’s assertion is correct. It is not true that he voted for coal. He broke with his Republican colleagues and supported a 2016 bill to end Oregon’s reliance on coal-fired electricity. But another part of Buehler’s claim – that he has not taken major donations from anti-environment groups — is false, an analysis of campaign finance disclosures by The Oregonian/OregonLive shows.
The Bend Bulletin
So far, the measure seems to be receiving bipartisan and widespread support. Both major-party governor candidates, Democrat Kate Brown and Republican Knute Buehler, said they were in favor of Measure 102.On the state voter’s pamphlet, the arguments in favor for Measure 102 were written by groups as varied as union groups (Oregon Education Association, Oregon AFL-CIO, IBEW Local 48), business organizations (Oregon State Chamber of Commerce, Oregon Home Builders Association, Portland Business Alliance), The League of Women Voters of Oregon, AARP Oregon, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, Kaiser Permanente, and even the Portland Timbers and Thorns soccer teams. State Sen. Alan Olsen (R-Canby) filed the sole argument against Measure 102 in the voter’s pamphlet. He warns that those who vote for a housing bond won’t know at that time the financial details of the bond and that “affordable housing” isn’t defined in the measure. “That definition is left up to the borrowing agency, hence, each different jurisdiction can have their own definition of ‘affordable,’” he wrote.
Portland Business Journal
Nationwide, sales and building permits are down. Several once soaring markets, including New York City, the San Francisco area, and Denver, have been softening. Construction activity has been slowing, too, which is a concern given the disproportionate role that home building plays in US economic growth. The problem is, ironically, the growth of the housing market itself, which has been bifurcated and has outpaced the ability of most consumers to pay for shelter. The top cities rise because they are where the jobs are (job creation is also incredibly bifurcated). Yet house prices in those cities have risen much faster than wages themselves. That has, in turn, made it harder and harder for middle-class people to live in such places. “If I were Denver, I would be hoping that Amazon didn’t set up shop in my town,” says one investor.
Portland Business Journal
Pension officials managing the retirement benefits of government workers have long shunned investments that their constituents find unpalatable, often broad categories like guns and fossil fuels. But lately, some pensions have been aggressively confronting Wall Street firms and companies over specific social concerns. In June, Minnesota’s state pension fund halted further investments in KKR over concerns about how the Toys R Us workers had been treated. The fund lifted the suspension last month after KKR agreed to contribute millions to a hardship fund for the workers. So far, the fund is said to have raised $20 million.
Online and otherwise, there’s a lot of information out there, and sometimes it’s difficult to tell what sources are credible. With millions of people relying on Social Security, scammers target audiences who are looking for program and benefit information. People are often misled by advertisers who use the terms “Medicare” or “Social Security.” Often, these companies offer Social Security services for a fee, even though the same services are available directly from Social Security free of charge.
Imagine stepping on a train in Portland at noon and stepping off about two hours later in Vancouver, British Columbia. Passengers would whiz past Seattle in less than an hour. Oregon, Washington and British Columbia governments are hoping to take that far-flung vision and turn it into a reality by 2035. High-level transportation officials from each will meet Tuesday for a second discussion this year about what a so-called ultra-high-speed rail line connecting the three cities would look like. The rail discussion is in its infancy, but the governments hope to work with private companies to set the groundwork for bullet trains in what they are calling the “Cascadia megaregion.”
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Some of the world’s top climate scientists have concluded that global warming is likely to reach dangerous levels unless new technologies are developed to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says pledges from the world’s governments to reduce greenhouse gases, made in Paris in 2015, aren’t enough to keep global warming from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees F) above pre-industrial temperatures. But even with a 1.5-degree C increase, the world can expect serious changes to weather, sea levels, agriculture and natural ecosystems, according to a report issued Monday following an IPCC meeting in South Korea. “Limiting warming to 1.5 C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics,” says Jim Skea of Imperial College London, one of the authors of the report, “but doing so would require unprecedented changes.”
Oregonian Editorial Board
Unlike the other statewide measures on the November ballot, Measure 102 is well-constructed, targeted, noncontroversial and aims to solve a pressing problem: how to stretch tax dollars earmarked for affordable housing to serve as many Oregonians as possible. Voters should endorse this common-sense fix to the constitution and vote “yes” on Measure 102.
Oregonian Editorial Board
Ballots for the general election will be soon be mailed to voters starting Oct. 17. Over the next few weeks, The Oregonian/OregonLive Editorial Board will publish its endorsements in more than a dozen local, regional and state races to help voters make their decisions.
The latest Portland State University population study concludes that Oregon is adding the population of a Salem-sized city every 2 years. Have you driven on Interstate 5 recently? Tried to find affordable housing? Seen the crowding in Oregon’s classrooms? Farmland being gobbled up by development? The “tent towns” in Portland that have turned parts of that city into what has been described as a “cesspool?” Nationwide, 55 percent of population growth between 1965 and 2015 was due to immigration. That number is projected to be as high as 88 percent by 2065. In Oregon, in-migrants (both domestic and foreign) currently account for 86 percent of population growth. Should Oregon, through its sanctuary policy, be putting out the welcome mat for people who shouldn’t even be here and providing them with public services when we can’t afford adequate services for some of our own citizens?
We strongly support Gov. Kate Brown because she is steadfast in her commitment to reproductive freedom. Under her leadership, she signed the nation’s most progressive reproductive health policy, and helped make Oregon the easiest place in the nation to get birth control. Oregonians must do everything in our power to reject efforts to turn the clock back on women’s rights by voting no on Rep. Knute Buehler and no on Ballot Measure 106, the backdoor ban on abortion. This is our time to act and say “no.” We will not stand to see our children and grandchildren have fewer rights than we do today.
Coos Bay World Link
Caddy now had enough experience and seniority to be chose to head important committees, and to influence decisions important to all of us on the south coast. Improvements on Highway 38, and speeding up replacement of the Scottsburg Bridge are examples of this. Caddy is doing her best to bring back jobs to the hard workers of our area who have been put out of work due to economic changes. Please join me in voting for Caddy McKeown, our “Good Gal” in the House of Representatives!
Nearman won’t hold Town Halls in the Dallas area, won’t talk to the press, and depends on social media to get his message out. What can we conclude about his representation? In contrast, candidate Danny Jaffer pledges to hold monthly Town Halls at locations around District 23 every month except when he is in session.
By any reasonable definition, Central Oregon is suffering from an affordable housing crisis. Even with plenty of jobs and rising wages locally, housing is eating up a large and growing share of Central Oregonians’ income. Many families, even those with good job prospects, are being priced out of the region. Prices have gone up because there is more demand for housing than supply. What government can do, and morally should do, is to avoid adding to the challenges caused by real estate market swings. Unfortunately, Oregon has chosen to do exactly the opposite with its land use policies. Those policies, which have the net effect of restricting development of new housing, cause the supply side of Oregon’s real estate market to act as though it’s mired in quicksand — slow to respond to increases in demand, with higher prices the result. Amid a torrent of concerns from cities and citizens about the upward pressure the cumbersome UGB expansion process applies to housing prices, the Legislature recently and reluctantly approved a pilot program that allows for a quick UGB expansion to add affordable housing. The Legislature should expand the pilot program to let any number of cities who present a good plan for adding affordable housing to do so with a quick and easy UGB expansion. Legislation to do just that will be the first bill I introduce in the 2019 legislative session.
In more than 40 years as a defense lawyer and trial court judge — including two years as Multnomah County’s Chief Criminal Judge — I’ve seen firsthand how easy it is for someone in a mental health crisis to end up in jail. I’ve also seen how hard it is for them, once in custody, to get the services they need. Our failure to provide meaningful help to people experiencing mental illness remains one of the justice system’s most pressing challenges. We have made progress in recent years by establishing and supporting important services such as mental health court and diversion programs. But there is no simple solution. As Mental Illness Awareness Week arrives again, it’s a reminder we still have more work to do.
The Bulletin Editorial Board
Put your canoe in a lake up in the Cascades, and the staff of Oregon Marine Board wants to charge you a new fee. It’s just one of many proposals for new fees and rules the Oregon Marine Board is scheduled to discuss at an open house at Eagle Crest on Oct. 16. The fee is so inadequately explained and justified in the documents provided for the public, it should be rejected. What is clear is Marine Board staff want more money. The proposal is to charge a fee on all nonmotorized boats 10-feet long and over except motorboats and sailboats with valid registration. The proposed fee is $5 for a week, $17 annually or $30 biennially. With that money, Marine Board staff want to create a “waterway access account.” Some of the money raised by the new fee would go to create and improve access to waterways, to safety education courses and to buy boats for underserved communities. Some of the money raised will also continue an existing program to fight invasive species. Those are all good causes. But the public needs details. In the public documents for the meeting, there are no details about the need. Zero. There are no financial projections. Zip. There are no estimates of any increased costs that the Marine Board faces. Zilch. There is no explanation of how much of money in the “waterway access account” will go to each purpose and how much will go to fight invasive species. The Marine Board also doesn’t make it clear what money for motorized boat or sailboat registrations will go into this account.