February 8, 2019 Daily Clips


Oregon State Senator Blames Tobacco Taxes For Eric Garner’s Death

Oregon Public Broadcasting

An Oregon state senator blamed the death of a black man choked by police officers in New York City on high tobacco taxes Thursday in an effort to convince his fellow lawmakers not to increase cigarette taxes. Eric Garner died in July 2014 after a New York City police officer wrestled him to the ground and choked him. Garner was selling individual cigarettes on a Staten Island sidewalk when he was killed. In an emailed press release titled, “I can’t breathe: Tax hikes might be a death sentences,” Sen. Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls, is quoted as saying the “partisan majority is ramming their tobacco tax hikes — and billions in other tax hikes — through the Legislature.” “Eric Garner’s death shows us exactly how disproportionate and abusive state power can become,” the press release reads, saying the root cause of Garner’s death was tobacco taxes. “New York tobacco taxes were so high it created a black market. It created violence that led to a situation that led to Eric Garner being killed,” said Jonathan Lockwood, a spokesman for the senator. When OPB called the House Republican caucus to get their thoughts, they already had a response written. “We are prepared, because it’s horrific,” said Greg Stiles, a spokesman for the House Republican Office. “No purpose is served in relating a cigarette tax request to the tragic death of a man of color,” their official statement reads. “At best, the remarks are unsavory and offensive. Such a comparison is indefensible and has no place in Oregon political discourse.” Lockwood said he stands by his press release, adding “everything in the press release is backed up by studies and reports.” House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, told her fellow lawmakers on the House floor on Thursday that she wanted to publicly register her disgust.

Sexual Harassment Training In Salem Upsetting And Offensive

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Laura Hanson thought the sexual harassment training for legislative staffers at the Oregon Capitol would be a unifying event: a clear signal to everyone that harassment in Salem was not tolerated. Instead, the rape survivor had to leave the training for 20 minutes because she was so upset. And she warned other victims of sexual assault who work in the Capitol to skip the trainings. Sexual harassment, and how to prevent it in the future, has been a hot topic in Salem over the past year and a half. First, the state Legislature was rocked by accounts of a state senator who had repeatedly behaved inappropriately with women, including fellow lawmakers. Then an unprecedented investigation by the state labor department found that the Capitol is a hostile work environment. Top lawmakers have promised to do more to prevent and respond to sexual harassment, including improved training. But on Wednesday night, Hanson told members of the newly created Committee on Culture that the current legislative training program was upsetting and offensive. The Legislature is in the midst of a mediation session with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. Representatives from the Legislature, victims of harassment and those representing the labor commission met for 14 hours on Monday. They did not reach a settlement.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown: Virginia’s Embattled Governor Should Resign

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Add Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to those calling on Virginia’s embattled governor to step down. Asked in a meeting with reporters Thursday about news that a racist photo appeared on fellow Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook page, Brown called the revelations “appalling.” “He should resign,” she said. “We still have more work to do in this country. A lot more work.” Northam has been under fire since the photo — which featured a person in blackface standing next to a person dressed in Ku Klux Klan garb — was first unearthed last week. He has since refused to resign, despite growing calls to do so. Northam has also denied appearing in the photo, but acknowledged donning blackface on a separate occasion. Complicating the matter are scandals now confronting two people in line to take Virginia’s governorship if Northam resigns. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has been accused of sexual assault, which he has denied. And Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring also acknowledged this week that he wore blackface at a college party. Asked generally about the situation Thursday, Brown expounded on the issue of racism in public life. “I think part of it is awareness, honestly, on these issues,” she said. “I think some of it stupidity. I think we need a broader conversation in this country about race and the impacts of racial inequities and racial justice.” Brown added that discrimination issues in Virginia “are much more explicit” than they are in Oregon. “It’s right in front of people’s faces,” she said. “Here in Oregon, it’s much more subtle.”

NW Natural says customers face big rate increases under new climate policy


Natural gas utilities and some of their customers are pushing back on the state’s new climate plan, saying the proposed cap and spend bill would lead to immediate and major rate increases, and only get worse as time goes on. The gas companies’ concerns come amid broader business backlash against the policy, which nevertheless has notably more momentum behind it this year than in previous sessions. Some business groups have called on legislators to hold a statewide roadshow to explain the policy to Oregonians, a move some backers see as a delay tactic. Business lobbies also are sending out polling results they say refute the supposedly widespread voter support for it, particularly when costs are considered. And they’ll be jockeying to see how the legislation can be reshaped in their favor. The policy would require utilities, industrial companies and transportation fuel providers who annually emit more than 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases to acquire emissions allowances to offset each ton, either from a state auction or from a secondary market from other entities. As the number of allowances declines in future years, they would get more expensive, forcing companies to find ways to reduce their emissions or absorb the cost. The gas and electric utilities are expected to testify at Friday’s meeting of the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction, and transportation and industrial companies will be heard from next week. Another item likely to garner attention at Friday’s meeting: a 10-year projection of overall revenues from the program by the Department of Environmental Quality. It estimates that the state allowance auction would raise about $550 million in 2021 and fluctuate close to that level through 2030, as allowance prices rise from $16.77 to $26 per ton but overall emissions decline.

OSU’s Ed Ray: State needs to step up for higher education

Portland Tribune

Oregon State University President Ed Ray made a plea for greater state funding for education during his annual State of the University address Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Oregon Convention Center. Speaking in front of hundreds of university supporters and business people at a noon luncheon, Ray noted that Gov. Kate Brown’s recommended budget for the 2019-21 biennium includes no increase in funding for the state’s university system. Instead, Brown proposes to keep university funding flat, while she seeks $1.9 billion in taxes, which have yet to be identified. If new revenues materialize, Brown has promised a significant portion will be dedicated to higher education. “I appreciate the governor for seeking new funding.” Ray said. “But I must plan the university’s operations on what I know, not what I hope legislators and voters might approve at some future date. Ray noted that student tuition pays more than 65 percent of the cost of operations at OSU’s Corvallis campus, while the state pays about 22 percent. The state’s relative contribution has declined by more than half in the past 15 years, as state budgets have not kept up with the cost of education. Brown’s budget includes $736 million for higher education operations, and university presidents say $120 million more is needed just to stay even due to rising retirement and health care costs for employees. Community college advocates also are concerned about Brown’s budget, which prioritizes K-12 education over colleges and universities. In an interview with the Pamplin Media Group editorial board prior to his speech, Ray said that Oregon ranks about 46th of the 50 states in its support for higher education. If the Legislature doesn’t improve upon the governor’s budget, the resulting OSU budget reduction would hit those services that help students stay in college and succeed.

In state of OSU speech, Ray takes aim at governor’s budget

Albany Democrat-Herald

Oregon State University President Ed Ray used his 2019 State of the University speech as a platform to make a pitch for more state funding for higher education. In a 40-minute address before an estimated 775 people Thursday afternoon at the Oregon Convention Center, Ray took aim at Gov. Kate Brown’s proposed budget, which includes no increase in university support. While Brown has pledged to devote part of a planned $1.9 billion tax increase to higher ed, details of the plan — which has yet to be approved by the Legislature and could find its way to the voters in the form of a ballot measure — remain murky. “I genuinely appreciate the governor for seeking new funding,” Ray said, “but I must plan the university’s operations based on what I know, not what I hope legislators and voters might approve at some future date.” Arguing that even the hoped-for funding from the still-unapproved tax would do nothing to roll back years of steadily rising college costs for students, Ray called on lawmakers to dramatically increase funding for post-secondary education. Ray noted that tuition now provides 65 percent of funding for OSU’s main campus in Corvallis compared to just 22 percent from the state, a 50 percent reduction in the state’s share over the last 15 years. Meanwhile, the educational attainment gap between rich and poor Americans has doubled since 1970.

Toking up off the job? Lawmakers want to keep you employed

Portland Tribune

Oregonians would no longer be compelled by employers to avoid off-duty use of marijuana under a proposal being considered at the Legislature. Legislators also are considering opening the door to exporting the state’s marijuana crop, which far exceeds demand in the state. Senate Bill 379 would make it illegal for employers to tell employees they can’t use marijuana outside of work hours. Senate Bill 582 would allow the governor to make agreements to buy and sell marijuana with other states. The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on both Thursday morning, Feb. 7. Both bills would conflict with federal law, which prohibits marijuana consumption. While the state allows Oregonians to buy and use marijuana, many Oregon employers don’t. Workers can be fired for testing positive for marijuana. The proposed law revision would make it illegal to require employees to refrain from any substance legal in Oregon as a condition of employment. It would continue to be illegal to be impaired at work. More than a dozen witnesses testified against the proposal, most working in the construction industry. “You guys are scaring the bejesus out of all my clients,” said Darrell Fuller, a lobbyist representing several business associations opposed to the policy change. Witnesses said workers in the construction sector operate heavy machinery, drive large trucks and do other jobs that require attention and sobriety. Cristina Reyes, an attorney for construction giant Hoffman Construction Co., said the company has a strict anti-drug policy. Drug testing allows them to catch users of marijuana and other substances. If testing wasn’t allowed, those workers could still be on job sites and causing a safety hazard.

State lawmakers consider pair of marijuana-related bills

Albany Democrat-Herald

Oregonians would no longer be compelled by employers to avoid off-duty use of marijuana under a proposal being considered at the Legislature. Legislators also are considering opening the door to exporting the state’s marijuana crop, which far exceeds demand in the state. Senate Bill 379 would make it illegal for employers to tell employees they can’t use marijuana outside of work hours. Senate Bill 582 would allow the governor to make agreements to buy and sell marijuana with other states. The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on both Thursday morning. Both bills would conflict with federal law, which prohibits marijuana consumption. While the state allows Oregonians to buy and use marijuana, many Oregon employers don’t. Workers can be fired for testing positive for marijuana. The law revision being proposed would make it illegal to require employees to refrain from any substance legal in Oregon as a condition of employment. It would continue to allow prohibitions against being impaired at work. More than a dozen witnesses testified against the proposal, most working in the construction industry.

Organic farmers seek support from Oregon legislators

East Oregonian

Organic farmers gathered Feb. 6 at the Oregon State Capitol to meet with legislators and push for support of an industry that annually generates $350 million in farm gate sales. They are asking the Legislature to formalize a state Organic Advisory Council, and set aside money in the budget for four full-time positions dedicated to helping farmers transition to organic practices and certifying organic farms. Organic Valley, the nation’s largest organic farm cooperative, hosted the event, which included a reception featuring remarks from Gov. Kate Brown. Last August, Brown and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley visited the Organic Valley creamery in McMinnville, which opened in 2017 with $350,000 in support from the state’s Strategic Reserve Fund. Brown said she is committed to maintaining Oregon as a leader in organic agriculture. The state currently ranks ninth overall with 864 organic businesses. Overall, Oregon farmers generate more than $4.5 billion in annual farm gate sales and services. Other event sponsors included the Organic Trade Association, Oregon Organic Coalition, Organic Materials Review Institute, Oregon Tilth, Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences, OSU Extension, Friends of Family Farmers, Mountain Rose Herbs, Organically Grown Company and Hummingbird Wholesale. Organic producers also spent time meeting with lawmakers, highlighting their businesses and advocating for a greater voice in policy decisions. The Organic Advisory Council would be made up of farmers, researchers, retailers and distributors, meeting quarterly and providing input on proposals affecting the industry.

Not just Oregon: Saudi students in at least 8 states, Canada vanish while facing criminal charges


They’re not just in Oregon. University students from Saudi Arabia have vanished while facing criminal charges here and in at least seven other states as well as Canada — evidence that a growing number of defendants from the wealthy Persian Gulf kingdom have fled justice in the United States. There are likely more to be discovered. The Oregonian/OregonLive uncovered five examples in Oregon and began searching other states in late January. We’ve found similar cases in Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. We also found two cases in Nova Scotia: Saudi students in two separate incidents skipped bail and disappeared after being accused of sexual assault. In Oregon, each case involved Saudi nationals who vanished before they faced trial or completed their jail sentence: two accused rapists, a pair of suspected hit-and-run drivers and one man accused of having a trove of child pornography on his computer. All were young men studying at a public college or university in Oregon with assistance from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the time of their arrest. In at least four of those cases, the Saudi government paid the defendant’s bail and legal fees. Three surrendered their passports. Some have been tracked back to Saudi Arabia. The revelations have generated national attention and prompted Oregon U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden to seek answers on Capitol Hill.


6 cities sue: Oregon stormwater rules will hike fees for ratepayers, home buyers

Statesman Journal

Six Oregon cities are suing the state Department of Environmental Quality over new stormwater discharge requirements they say will be outrageously expensive for ratepayers and will drive up home prices. The new stormwater permit, for small municipalities, goes far beyond what is required by the federal government, the cities — Turner, Albany, Millersburg, Corvallis, Bend and Springfield — say in separate lawsuits filed last week. In Corvallis, for example, the new requirements would raise stormwater management costs, currently $1.9 million per year, by about 40 percent, city manager Mark Shepard said in a statement. And the requirements add significant financial burdens for developers, they say. “Increased costs related to on-site stormwater retention, for example, appear to be so strict that some undeveloped properties in Corvallis would be rendered undevelopable,” Shepard said. The permit was issued on Nov. 30, 2018, and takes effect March 1. The state issued it “after releasing multiple drafts and engaging in extensive public involvement,” DEQ spokeswoman Katherine Benenati said. It applies to 20 cities and six counties, many of which had been operating under expired permits while the new rules were being developed. “The new permit contains necessary requirements on these municipalities to control stormwater impacts to water quality,” Benenati said. DEQ is still reviewing the claims, but likely will move to consolidate the lawsuits, she said.

County-run medical clinics slash opioid prescriptions

The Register-Guard

As national overdose crisis continues, Lane County’s initiative has drawn notice and accolades. Health clinics run by Lane County have moved aggressively to reduce opioid prescriptions to patients in response to ongoing national concerns about fatal overdoses from the highly addictive drugs. Over the last 18 months, the clinics have cut the number of opioid-prescribed patients by roughly half. They’ve done this by stopping or reducing doses, offering patients alternatives such as acupuncture, yoga and mindfulness training to help manage any ongoing pain and referring to treatment those who have developed a non-medical dependence on the drugs. The steps have been recognized as a best practice nationally and received a state award for innovation by the Oregon Primary Care Association, a nonprofit member association. In his State of the County address last month, Commissioner Jay Bozievich said other agencies are seeking to replicate the program and hailed the initiative as making the county “a leader in fighting opioid addiction.” Private medical providers locally and around the state also are taking steps to stop overprescribing opioids. More than two-thirds of the more than 170,200 drug overdoses deaths nationwide in 2017 involved an opioid, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rising number of drug overdoses is a primary factor in the ongoing decline in the nation’s life expectancy, according to the agency. The recent rise in overdoses is being driven by synthetic opioids, particularly those involving illegally manufactured fentanyl.

County threatens to exclude thousands of students without required vaccinations

Portland Tribune

About 5,000 Multnomah County children do not have up to date vaccinations, so county health officials sent letters to their families Wednesday, Feb. 6, telling them their children would be kept out of school and day care if they don’t get current on immunizations. The annual school exclusion day takes on new urgency this year as a measles outbreak that originated in Clark County, Wash., has sickened more than 50 people, most of them children. There also are four measles cases reported in Multnomah County. “Unfortunately, this is a reminder of how quickly infections can spread when people are not vaccinated, and that’s especially true in places like classrooms where kids spend a lot of time together,” said Multnomah County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines. “I strongly encourage parents to learn more about measles and the very effective vaccine that can protect their kids.” To protect the population against measles, at least 93 to 95 percent of people need to be vaccinated to create so-called herd immunity. Some schools in Multnomah County dip below that average. About 91 percent of Portland Public Schools students and 94 percent in Gresham-Barlow and Reynolds school district have been vaccinated. Students must get all their vaccinations, or provide an exemption, by Feb. 20 or they could be barred from public and private schools, preschools and H

Deadline for Eugene school vaccines is Feb. 20

The Register-Guard

The deadline for parents to provide proof of their child’s vaccination record or an exemption certificate to their school is Feb. 20. Under state law, all children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start and certified child care facilities must have up-to-date documentation on their immunizations, or have an exemption. If school and child care vaccination records are not up-to-date on Feb. 20, the child will be sent home, according to the Oregon Health Authority. In 2018, local health departments sent 24,725 letters to parents and guardians informing them that their children needed immunizations to stay in school or child care. A total of 4,349 children were kept out of school or child care until the necessary immunization information was received by schools or child care facilities. This year, letters to parents were mailed on or before Feb. 6. Residents can ask their doctor’s office for the vaccine. Several pharmacies also offer the vaccine on a walk-in basis and the vaccine also is available at the Lane County Public Health Office. The federal government offers a website to help residents find a pharmacy that offers vaccines at https://www.vaccines.gov/getting/where/index.html. Officials recommend residents call the pharmacy to make sure they have the vaccine in stock and ask if the pharmacy will take their health insurance.

Hermiston’s Joseph Franell testifies before Congress

East Oregonian

Eastern Oregon Telecom President Joseph Franell jumped into the fray of Congress’ net neutrality debate Thursday. Franell traveled from Hermiston to Washington, D.C., to testify in front of lawmakers from the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee by invitation of Rep. Greg Walden, the committee’s top-ranking Republican. Walden has introduced legislation that would prohibit internet service providers from practices, such as blocking or throttling traffic to lawful websites and requiring sites to pay for prioritization. The idea that all websites, from a small local business’ order page to Amazon.com, should be treated equally is known as net neutrality. Video of Franell’s testimony shows he told lawmakers he believed internet service providers, such as EOT, should be able to prioritize some traffic over others — a 911 call over other calls, for example, or emergency medical information over online gaming. “Students participating in distance education or online standardized testing should get priority over those streaming online movies for entertainment,” he said. Defenders of net neutrality — which Franell accused of “fear-mongering” —have pushed back on the idea of allowing internet providers to pick and choose which traffic they prioritize. They say it would open the door to practices, such as slowing traffic to websites owned by a competitor or promoting a political ideology the provider disagrees with. Franell told committee members Thursday that the Title II era had a “dramatic chilling effect on rural telecommunication in the Pacific Northwest.” Investors were extremely hesitant to invest in rural broadband, he said, and companies had to spend large amounts of time and resources on reporting to the federal government, drawing those resources away from serving customers and expanding service to more rural areas. Franell urged lawmakers to avoid changing the internet back to a Title II utility as they considered rules to prevent bad behavior by service providers — behavior he said EOT and other rural internet providers in Oregon have never engaged in, even when legal.

Warrenton police use overdose kit to revive man

Daily Astorian

When Warrenton police officer Robert Wirt responded to a possible drug overdose outside the Mini Mart in late January, he saw a man laying on the ground, with the only sign of life his slow and shallow breaths. If this had happened a little over a year ago, Wirt would have had to wait for a medic or firefighter to apply Narcan, a nasal spray that can reverse opioid overdoses. But Wirt was able to grab his overdose kit and administer it himself. Two doses later, the 35-year-old man was revived. The intervention marked the first use of Narcan by a Warrenton police officer since the department started carrying the medication. At the time, Wirt wasn’t thinking about being the first of anything. The Warrenton Police Department is one in a growing number choosing to carry naloxone — known by the brand name, Narcan — in the wake of a national opioid epidemic. The idea is to enable officers to act quickly in overdose situations where they are first on the scene. Carrying Narcan also helps protect officers when they are handling drugs like fentanyl — a synthetic opioid that, even in trace amounts, can make someone sick if they are exposed to it, Workman said. Across the country, some police departments have been concerned about taking on a job they perceive is better suited to medics.

Shumate drops hint that he is leaving

Mail Tribune

Medford School District Superintendent Brian Shumate may be on his way out of Southern Oregon entirely. “After much reflection and soul searching, I find it necessary to be closer to my hometown and family,” Shumate said in a staff-wide email sent early Tuesday afternoon obtained by the Mail Tribune. Shumate, who has been Medford’s superintendent since 2014, will have his final interview next week for the superintendent position of Troup County School System in Georgia. He told staff that significant life events in recent years have made him want to relocate back to the region. Those include the birth of their first grandchild, the weddings of both their children and illnesses and death of other close family members. He is one of three finalists for the Troup County superintendent position, according to a media release that officials said would go out Tuesday. It’s not immediately clear when Shumate might leave Medford School District if he is hired, but he told staff in the email he will continue to coordinate with the Medford School Board. If Shumate left his position before June 30 this year, he would get none of the $10,500 “retention incentive bonus” offered in his newest contract. The bonus will be parsed out in thirds, one at the end of each contract year, if he is still employed by the district at that time.

California adds protections for Klamath spring salmon

Herald and News

Wednesday, the California Fish and Game Commission made Klamath-Trinity Spring Chinook salmon a candidate for listing under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The decision was in response to a petition filed last year by the Karuk Tribe and the Salmon River Restoration Council. A final decision to list the species will be made within 12 months; in the meantime Klamath-Trinity Spring Chinook will be afforded all the protections of a listed species. That will include fishing restrictions, according to a press release from the Karuk Tribe and Salmon River Restoration Council. The move by the Fish and Game Commission forces California to restrict fishing to protect the fish, however, the Tribe and council want to work with fishermen and the agency to develop common sense fishing regulations.

Petroleum Terminal Expands to Allow More Oil Trains Into Portland

Oregon Public Broadcasting

A Portland petroleum terminal is significantly expanding its capacity to unload rail cars, a move that sets the stage to more than double the number of oil trains along the Columbia and Willamette rivers into Oregon’s biggest city, OPB has learned. Zenith Energy, sandwiched between the river and Forest Park in the city’s northwest industrial district, began receiving train shipments of crude from Canada’s oil sands last year, records show, which it stored in tanks and later pumped onto ocean-going vessels. Zenith’s outpost in Portland now has visible construction under way on a project to build three new rail platforms that will nearly quadruple the site’s previous capacity for offloading oil from tank cars, according to building plans filed with the City of Portland in 2014, which the city’s Bureau of Development Services confirmed Wednesday. The site’s expansion of crude-by-rail infrastructure comes despite much public resistance in the Northwest for new oil projects. That includes a vote by Portland’s City Council in 2016 to oppose any new fossil fuel infrastructure. That same year the Northwest experienced firsthand one of the oil-train mishaps that have occurred across North America as more and more oil has been moved by what critics have dubbed “rolling pipelines” and “bombs trains.”

Portland City Council Passes Resolution Denouncing White Supremacist Groups

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Portland City Council passed a resolution Thursday that condemns white supremacists and alt-right hate groups. The hearing started with testimony from a senior policy advisor to Mayor Ted Wheeler.  Nicole Grant spoke about how the resolution came to be and her own experiences with prejudice and hate as a black woman in Portland. “This resolution is not about white people. It’s about all people with a dedicated focus on those that are targeted as a result of their skin color,” Grant said during opening remarks. All of the commissioners offices worked together to draft the resolution. Grant said the resolution speaks to the need for a cultural shift in Portland so white supremacists will no longer view the city as their playground and hurl threats at its residents and mayor. Grant’s comments were followed by community leaders and organizations that study hate groups. Joey Gibson, founder of Patriot Prayer, also testified. His Vancouver, Washington-based organization has frequently held rallies in Portland, and at times those rallies have attracted white supremacists to the city. Gibson denounced the claim that Patriot Prayer is a hate group.


Letters: Do not tell students not to fight for gun laws

Portland Tribune

I found Sen. Betsy Johnson’s writing on “We can’t give what we don’t have” (Jan. 31 MyView column) very interesting. Sen. Johnson does have some good points on some topics, but I found her reference in the paragraph on “guns” condescending to some, where she refers to “expect the focus to be on those (gun control) bills pushed by a group of urban high school students inspired by the protests following a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.” Many — no, far too many — of our students in recent years have either been killed, injured or lived through a school shooting. These students have looked horror and death in the face and turned time and again to our leaders to “do something” to make these events end. And little or nothing has been done. To require a permit before obtaining a gun, to secure firearms (which will protect innocent children from accessing a loaded firearm) or require background checks on all, even gun show purchases, is just common sense. To those who tout their Second Amendment rights, no one is trying to take away firearms from anyone or deny gun ownership to anyone passing a background check. What is needed are responsible gun ownership laws. These youngsters are a force for making these changes, they are the voting bloc of the future and should receive our respect and support. They, and millions of others who vote, will continue to support their efforts.

Readers respond: Questionable scientific authority


It’s mind-boggling that Oregonians who recognize the authority of science when it comes to climate change would mistrust the decades of research and immunization of hundreds of millions of people worldwide that attest to the safety of this vaccine” (“Reversing Oregon’s backward slide on immunizations,” Jan. 25). The above quote from The Oregonian/OregonLive Editorial Board actually provides a clue as to the reasons people reject vaccinations. The belief climate change is a settled science is a mindset that encourages a great number of people to accept other scientifically discredited ideas. Science is never settled. Skeptical challenges to prevailing theories should always be welcome. The recent refusal by Chuck Todd of “Meet The Press” to accept any guests that oppose anthropomorphic climate change is more evidence of that closed mindset. Very dogmatic. Shut up and obey.

Intel says huge new Oregon factory will add 1,750 jobs


Intel forecasts its huge new Hillsboro factory will increase the company’s Oregon workforce by about 9 percent, 1,750 more jobs in total, according to permitting documents submitted to city planners. The chipmaker is already the state’s largest corporate employer. The additional jobs would bring its Oregon workforce near 22,000. Intel has declined to discuss details of its project but confirmed its plans last week to its Hillsboro neighbors. The new facility will adjoin two existing factories known collectively as D1X. Intel hasn’t disclosed a price tag for the work. But new chip factories, known in the industry as fabs, run several billions of dollars apiece. The work will surely be among the largest capital projects in Oregon history. This third phase of D1X, called Mod3, will be 1.5 million square feet, according to permitting documents Hillsboro released in response to a public records request. That’s slightly larger than each of the first two phases and will increase D1X by 60 percent altogether, to just under 4 million square feet. The three phases will be interconnected but will have independent mechanical and electrical systems. Additionally, Intel said it plans a six-story, 1 million square foot support structure with utility services and 2,200 parking spaces.

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