The Daily Astorian
Drilling for oil and gas off of the Oregon Coast has long been seen as a dicey proposition — filled with potential pitfalls, and without certainty that there’s much to find in the first place. That’s not stopping Gov. Kate Brown from making it a campaign issue. In an announcement short on details and long on promises to stand up to President Donald Trump, the governor said Monday that she’s planning to sign an executive order in coming days that will “permanently ban offshore drilling along the Oregon Coast.” “The executive order will make it very clear to the oil and gas industries that Oregon is not for sale,” Brown said during a press conference in downtown Portland.
The Oregon Department of Revenue will be holding a grand opening ceremony for its first standalone call center in the town of less than 500 people on Tuesday. Wheeler County Economic Development Director Greg Smith said it was a “game changer” for Fossil and akin to Nike making a major expansion at its headquarters in Beaverton. Smith said that he and then-Rep. John Huffman, who represented Fossil in the Oregon House of Representatives, began talking about decentralizing state jobs with Wheeler County Judge Lynn Morley and former Rep. Cliff Bentz, who represented neighboring District 60 in the House. “Why can’t we divest some of these jobs from Salem and move them to frontier counties like Wheeler County?” Smith said.
The Bend Bulletin
Republican Knute Buehler has pulled ahead of Democratic Gov. Kate Brown in fundraising and money left to spend. Campaign finance reports lag by a week, so the latest numbers available Monday were as of Oct. 12. Republican Knute Buehler has raised $14.1 million since January 2017, surpassing Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s $13.7 million. Buehler has $3.9 million cash on hand, while Brown has $3.5 million. Two key numbers: the Republican Governors Association has given Buehler just under $2 million, while the Democratic Governors Association has given Brown just over $900,000. Overall, Brown and Buehler have raised $27.8 million, smashing the 2010 record of $17.7 million for most expensive governors race when Democrat John Kitzhaber beat Republican Chris Dudley.
“What we are seeing now is the candidates trying to define who their opponent is,” said Jim Moore, director of the Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation at Pacific University. “It is not so much lying, but the context is completely wrong.” Brown, for instance, released an ad Oct. 16 that ties Buehler to Donald Trump, flashing images of the president and U.S. Supreme Court appointee Brett Kavanaugh. But last year, Buehler disclosed in a Facebook post that he didn’t vote for Trump. Instead, he wrote in the name Ohio Gov. John Kasich for president. Buehler’s campaign, meanwhile, in an ad earlier this month, claimed that revenue from a new payroll tax to fund mass transit services — which Brown supported — forces workers in the rest of the state to pay for Portland service. “Kate Brown has always been a politician who thinks about Portland first and the rest of Oregon last,” Troutdale resident Kelly Fisher says in the ad. “Why else would Brown raise a payroll tax on a working person like me to pay for Portland’s mass transit system?” Christian Gaston, Brown’s campaign spokesman, said the ad on the transit tax is “completely false” and “based on a lie.” In fact, the taxes paid by employees in densely populated areas, such as Portland, help pay for transit services in sparsely populated areas such as Gilliam and Harney counties, said Karyn Criswell, a state transportation project manager.
A conservative political action committee called Capitol Watch, run by former state Rep. Jeff Kropf (R-Sublimity), recently sent mailers to Wagner’s district. The mailers suggest voters add Wagner to the list of longtime elected officials who voters tossed out of office—such as U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), who lost his seat earlier this year after 19 years in Congress, and U.S. Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.), who also lost this year after an identical tenure. Capitol Watch is targeting others, including Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem). Courtney is the state’s longest tenured lawmaker, who first won election to the House in 1980, so he might have something in common with Crowley and Capuano. Wagner? Not so much. He’s a rookie, who was appointed in January to replace former state Sen. Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin), who resigned.
Dark money from an unknown political group has also cast a shadow over the race, with one mailer attacking Golden for being “Wrong on women,” based on what he describes as out-of-context quotes from his book, “Watermelon Summer,” depicting his 1971 summer on a black cooperative farm in Georgia. Southern Oregon Priorities PAC (a political action committee) came out with a mailer over the weekend attacking Gomez’s record on “a woman’s right to choose,” indicating she doesn’t support a pro-choice agenda. Southern Oregon Priorities couldn’t be reached for comment Monday. Both Gomez and Golden have condemned the mailers, which have been distributed without their knowledge or approval. “We don’t need that kind of stuff in this race,” Gomez said. “Those kind of materials don’t belong down here.” She said numerous mailers have been sent out on Golden’s behalf. “They’re essentially running a campaign for him,” she said.
In TV advertisements, the backers of an Oregon constitutional amendment to prohibit grocery taxes argue that Measure 103 would help food banks and pantries by making sure they wouldn’t be taxed. Opponents say that claim is deceptive, and that advocacy groups have asked the campaign backing Measure 103 to take it down. “[Measure] 103 ensures food banks and food pantries will remain tax free,” the ad says. Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and Oregon Coalition of Christian Voices, two advocacy nonprofits, urged the yes campaign to pull the ad, and say that food pantries and food banks as nonprofits would remain tax-free. The groups expressed concern that people needing assistance would not understand that food at pantries is free and will continue to be.
That’s good for Oregon’s well-established beer, wine and spirits makers and the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. But the large discrepancy in pay between tech jobs and the industries where Oregon is booming is not such good news: State figures show high tech workers on average earn more than three times their counterparts who work in booze and weed.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Ten years ago, Portland State University chemistry professor David Peyton was troubled by news that the malaria drug Chloroquine was becoming less effective. So he worked with his students to brainstorm possible fixes and then attended a tropical medicine conference in Miami. “On the way back, on the plane, I sketched out the first design of the molecules that eventually became DM11-57,” he said. That’s the name the lab uses for the drug. DM11-57 works by helping Chloroquine do its job. Chloroquine was becoming less effective because malaria parasites had mutated to expel it. On a very basic level, Peyton added a new molecule to Chloroquine that prevented that. “It worked even better than Chloroquine, so we knew at that point that we were really on to something,” he said.
Researchers have discovered active fault lines on Mount Hood that could potentially trigger a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, devastating communities and infrastructure as far west as Portland. A 7.2 magnitude earthquake is larger than the 1989 earthquake near the San Francisco Bay Area. Streig said the faults on Mount Hood are closer to Portland that the epicenter of the 1989 earthquake was to San Francisco. “This would be a crustal earthquake as opposed to the Cascadia subduction zone earthquake Portland has been bracing for,” Streig said. “Subduction zone quakes are deeper below the surface, they last longer — as long as seven minutes — but they are lower in amplitude. The kind of quake we would get from Mt. Hood would be shorter — 20 seconds to less than a minute — and would be strong enough to knock you off your feet.”
Coos Bay World Link
Clear Ballot is the system used by Coos County to format election ballots and is what Heller says is to blame for the font error on Congressman Peter DeFazio’s name, which appeared smaller than others running for his seat. “We’re working with the other counties that use Clear Ballot, utilizing user groups and putting office notations to always make sure that formatting is correct and the system doesn’t auto-adjust,” said Debbie Heller, county clerk.
The Salem City Council is poised to ban plastic shopping bags citywide and give businesses deadlines in April and September 2019, depending on their size, to fall in line with the rules. The council voted Monday to send the bill to a second reading, where they’ll vote on whether to formally adopt the ban. Deputy City Attorney Natasha Zimmerman said she anticipated the ordinance would go before councilors at a November meeting.
House District 23 is an odd beast of a district, wrapping around rural areas of four counties, Benton, Polk, Marion and Yamhill. Most of its voters are centered around the Independence area, and so the district leans decidedly to the right — as does its current representative, Republican Mike Nearman. Nearman has easily bested challengers in the past, but faces a vigorous challenge this year from Democrat Danny Jaffer. We believe Jaffer has the potential to develop into an outstanding legislator; the Gazette-Times endorses Jaffer.
Herald and News
Recently I attended Jamie McLeod-Skinner’s public forum in Condon, well-attended by local citizens. The meeting was informative, with several subjects discussed with respect from both sides of an issue. I attended a similar meeting last fall at Arlington to hear Republican congressman Greg Walden speak. What a contrast! Local citizens were soon outnumbered by people from as far south as Medford. These activists were not there to hear Congressman Walden speak, but to harass, interrupt and jam a bunch of cameras in his face with their sticks.