April 9, 2019 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Gov. Brown’s plan to protect schools from pension costs likely falls short

Oregonlive

Much of the intrigue in this year’s legislative session centers around lawmakers’ push to raise corporate taxes by $2 billion to better fund Oregon’s struggling K-12 schools. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Gov. Kate Brown is aggressively shaking the sofa cushions of state government in a companion effort to protect that investment from being spent on school districts’ increasing pension costs. It’s a desperate attempt to take action that everyone agrees is needed. But it appears that for all of Brown’s efforts, she’ll come up short — an illustration of the sheer size of the pension problem and the paucity of available revenue streams to address it.

Oregon Considers Cigarette Tax Hike To Match Neighbors — And Fund Health Care

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The display cases at Paul’s Cigars, in the North Portland enclave of Hayden Island, offer an impressive array. Dozens of varieties of stogies sit in ornate boxes, their pungent potential locked away behind glass. Owner John Paul has spent years amassing this inventory. And lately as he’s surveyed his collection, he’s begun doing a quiet math: “This $10 cigar will be going to $13.50,” said Paul, pointing out products on a recent tour around his store. “That one’s gonna go up $3 a stick. This one will go up about $4 and a quarter a stick.”

Oregon Effort To Add Density In Many Neighborhoods Gains Momentum

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek’s plan to increase density in single-family neighborhoods around the state appears to be gaining political momentum. The bill was unanimously approved by a House committee Monday after the Portland Democrat agreed to make several changes. Republicans said their initial worries that the legislation would trample on local control have largely been satisfied. “I was thinking to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, I actually like the speaker’s bill,’” said Rep. Jack Zika, R-Redmond, after Kotek unveiled the changes at a hearing last week.

Bills target pensions

Mail Tribune

Current and future public employees wouldn’t have as generous a retirement under initiative petitions being pushed by business interests in yet another effort to reform the state’s notoriously complex and expensive retirement system. The effort has attracted two big names in Oregon politics — former Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Chris Telfer, a former state senator and currently a member of the Oregon Lottery Commission. Kulongoski and Telfer say the amount that local governments, like cities and school districts, pay to the Public Employees Retirement System each year is poised to grow so much that they will struggle to provide basic services.

Bill to lower Oregon’s drunken driving limit stalls in Salem

Oregonlive

A bill to lower the legal blood alcohol limit in Oregon to .05 percent will not move forward in Salem this year. Sen. President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, confirmed Monday that his Senate Bill 7, which calls for Oregon to lower its drunken driving limit from .08 to .05 percent blood alcohol content, is dead. “We’re not going to do it this session,” Courtney said of his attempt to impose tougher blood alcohol content rules. “I’m not surprised. I do know that we have made progress.”

Oregon looks at regulating kratom, a drug sold at many corner markets

Oregonlive

Oregon lawmakers looking at regulating the drug kratom, currently sold without any rules or oversight at gas stations and corner markets around the state. Kratom is made from the leaves of a tree native to southeast Asia and, when ingested, can have effect similar to both a stimulant and an opioid. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider the proposal to regulate kratom at an 8:15 a.m. Tuesday meeting. The proposal was previously reported by the Portland Mercury.

Adi’s Act: State invests to save students’ lives

Portland Tribune

A handful of bills making their way through the Legislature changes the way Oregon deals with suicide-prevention for young people. Oregonians die by suicide at a rate well above the national average. Gov. Kate Brown and the Oregon Legislature have taken notice. This spring, a number of proposals are before the Legislature to bolster state and local officials’ ability to respond to and prevent suicides — including one that would bring Oregon in line with most states by requiring every public school district to adopt a suicide prevention plan.

LOCAL

Oregon Wolf Population Increases, With Jump In Livestock Attacks

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon’s population of wolves increased by 10% last year. There are now 137 of them in the state, according the state’s annual report on wolf management released Monday. The number of wolf attacks on cattle and sheep, which also increased by 65%, for a total of 28. However, Derek Broman, carnivore and furbearer coordinator for Oregon Fish and Wildlife, said since wolves’ return in 2009, the overall rate of livestock attacks, known as depredations, has not kept pace with the minimum population.

Oregon Bicyclists Could Treat Stop Signs As Yields Under Low-Key Proposal

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Cyclists around Oregon could treat stop signs and blinking red lights as yield signs, under a bill that looks likely to pass a legislative committee. For what appears to be the first time in a decade, the “Idaho stop” is back up for consideration in Salem. The proposal, modeled after a policy passed in Idaho in the ‘80s, would allow bicycles leeway to keep rolling when approaching a stop sign or blinking red light. If there are no other vehicles with the right of way, cyclists could legally proceed without coming to a complete stop.

Budget cuts target beloved community officer in Corbett

Portland Tribune

Facing $4 million shortfall, sheriff proposes unpopular staff reductions. Staff at the Corbett Water District were worried a customer made a threat involving a gun because he was mad about his high water bill.  So a staff member called Deputy Joe “Rocky” Graziano, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office’s (MCSO) Corbett community resource officer. Graziano knew the individual, and he thought it may not have been a threat, but rather a poorly worded joke.

The worst of Lane County flooding has passed, weather service advises

The Register-Guard

As the National Weather Service’s flood warning timed out at 7:45 p.m. Monday, most of the rivers with high water in Lane County had crested and were on their way back below flood stages, said Matthew Cullen, meteorologist Weather Service in Portland. Parks and other riverside land might be inundated for a couple more days, but he said that the worst of the flooding had passed. Rain lingers in the forecast for the rest of the week, but it will likely be light and scattered showers rather than driving, heavy rain. So, he said flooding concerns should lessen throughout the week.

Partnership forms to fight fires from the river

Daily Astorian

In 2014, the Port of Astoria took ownership of the Trident, a federally funded emergency response boat with high-tech equipment and two water cannons, promising to add a new dimension to waterfront firefighting. Since then, the boat has mostly languished on a floating mattress at the West Mooring Basin, its electronics slowly breaking down because of a lack of maintenance. But with several firefighters freshly trained on the Trident and an agreement forming between the Port and the city to operate it, there is hope the vessel will be available to help fight fires.

NATIONAL

Measles Outbreak: New York Declares Health Emergency, Requires Vaccinations in Parts of Brooklyn

The New York Times

New York City on Tuesday declared a public health emergency following a measles outbreak in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn. Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city would require unvaccinated individuals living in select ZIP codes in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to receive the measles vaccine as the city escalated its efforts to stem one of the largest measles outbreaks in decades. The measure follows a spike in measles cases in New York City, where there have been 285 confirmed cases since the outbreak began in the fall; 21 of those cases led to hospitalizations, including five admissions to the intensive care unit. The majority of the cases have been concentrated in Hasidic communities in Williamsburg and Borough Park, Brooklyn. Across the country, there have been 465 measles cases since the start of 2019, with 78 new cases in the last week alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday.

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