GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Gov. Kate Brown is working to make good on her campaign pledge to extend Oregon’s notoriously short school year to the national benchmark of 180 days, the single most expensive item on her list of school upgrades she’d bankroll with a promised $2 billion corporate tax hike. But a panel composed largely of school district superintendents, assembled at Brown’s request to guide the state in making the switch to a longer school year, came back with a different take: Think long and hard before you force districts to lengthen the school year and, whatever you do, do not mandate 180 days.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
After an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed Sunday, many countries ordered the planes grounded. The United States joined that call Wednesday and are ordering the aircrafts, and similar ones, not to fly. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, has a powerful position role over the airline industry, as the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Oregon Senator Bill Hansell wants to make health care professions in rural, tribal areas more accessible to aspiring Native American students. If passed, Senate Bill 293 would establish an Indian Health Scholarship Program that provides free tuition and fees for qualifying students through Oregon Health and Science University. In exchange, students would commit to working at tribal service sites after graduation for at least the same number of years they used the scholarships.
The Daily Astorian
In the northeastern corner of Clatsop County, Georgia-Pacific’s Wauna Mill rolls out many of the paper products sold on the West Coast and employs more than 700 people. The mill also emitted more than 250,000 metric tons of anthropogenic — or human-influenced — carbon dioxide equivalents, the 10th-most of any facility in the state in 2017, according to the Department of Environmental Quality.
The Daily Astorian
A state investigation found that a staffer at the crisis respite center in Warrenton did not neglect a patient who was wrongfully arrested after a fight in December. An Oregon Health Authority review of the respite center in January determined that staff provided false information to Warrenton police that led to the arrest. The finding was referred to the state Office of Training, Investigations and Safety, known as OTIS, which investigates abuse allegations.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
The energy storage project is comprised of two interconnected 60-acre reservoirs, a powerhouse and 32 miles of new high-voltage power lines that will connect it to the grid. If an energy project with power lines is approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and a financial settlement between the project and affected landowner is not reached, then the company can force the landowner (with compensation) to allow the use of the necessary land through eminent domain.
With the move date for the Pendleton Fire Department quickly approaching, the city council is beginning to consider what the market looks like for the department’s current facility at 911 S.W. Court Ave. At a council workshop Tuesday, City Manager Robb Corbett said he’s had a “half-dozen” people approach him about acquiring the property once the department moves to its new headquarters this summer.
Dramatic testimony marked the opening day as two influential members of Portland’s African American community went on trial on allegations that they sexually assaulted a woman from one of the city’s most prominent families. Charles McGee, 33, and Aubre Lamont Dickson, 44, were indicted last year on sex crime charges after Erica Naito-Campbell accused them in a Willamette Week story of attacking her at McGee’s home nearly six years earlier.
As longtime residents of West Linn and homeowners on Chestnut Street above I-205, Steve and Sharla Alexander considered themselves well-informed about the Oregon Department of Transportation’s plans to widen the freeway, but when they recently received notice about a possible sound wall along sections of the newly expanded freeway, they were dismayed.
The City Council took two contradictory votes the 5G wireless technology that is being rolled out in Portland and other cities across the country. First, the council unanimously approved a resolution calling for the Federal Communications Commission to study the health hazards of 5G technology. The resolution introduced by Commissioner Amanda Fritz said the FCC has not studied such risks, even though studies compiled and released by the European Union found cancer and other risks.
In Oregon, there is no question that the public owns the ocean beach. It’s a point of statewide pride that we can travel anywhere and everywhere on our sandy shores, thanks to a century’s worth of state laws. On Oregon’s waterways, however, it’s a different story.
We, the Oregon taxpayers, are footing the $1.1 million bill for some lawmakers’ wrongdoings (“Oregon Legislature reaches $1.3M settlement over sexual harassment,” March 5). This is simply wrong. Taxpayers should not pay for the transgressions of our elected officials. There is no accountability for lawmakers in this action, and the lawmakers involved are not being held to the same standards we ask of our citizenry. The individuals involved are not paying their legal fees nor fines — we taxpayers are.