House Republicans want to see a copy of the carbon reduction bill

OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

Committee set to begin work on bill with far-reaching impact, but it hasn’t been made available

SALEM, Ore. – The majority party has kept a carbon reduction bill with far-reaching consequences for every Oregonian out of sight from Republicans and the public. The bill will get its first reading Thursday with the Joint Legislative Carbon Reduction Committee beginning deliberations Friday. Yet a copy of the bill hasn’t been made available to anyone but Democrats, who are poised to ram it through the process without careful consideration of its impact on Oregon’s families, who will bear the brunt of the bill, or employees whose jobs may be endangered.

In the opening hours of the legislative session, Democrats publicly expressed a desire to work in bipartisan fashion. However, on a signature piece of legislation that will change the way Oregonians live, they’re excluding everyone – the press, workers, employers, seniors, students, and their fellow legislators.

“The Republican Vice Chairs and Democrat Chairs of the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction spent months and countless hours discussing conceptual ideas surrounding legislation during the interim prior to Christmas,” said Co-Vice Chair David Brock Smith, (R-Port Offord).  “However, I have not been privy to any legislative language since.”

Major policy action has usually required careful observation and discussion, not a hurried piece of legislation rushed through the Capitol.”

“When we worked on the transportation package passed in 2017, we traveled the state. The Joint Committee on Student Success, which I was a member of, traveled around the state as well,” said House Republican Leader Rep. Carl Wilson (R-Grants Pass). “They were both instances of huge policy decisions. This bill has the potential to have a far greater cost. Yet carbon has only been discussed in Salem in a back room, and no one has seen any language.”

“From what I have heard from many people is that bipartisan ideas are the best,” said Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany). “This should be a bill that is bipartisan for all Oregonians. Yet, the fact is, the bill has only been seen and written by one party. I think that one might need to simply say we don’t want your help in this bill.”

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January 25, 2019 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Legislators want $3 billion more to fund K-12 wish list

The Democrat-Herald

A small group of legislators spent a year compiling their wish list of improvements to Oregon’s failing education system. Now they have five months to whittle it down to something realistic, find a way to fund it and sell the rest of their colleagues on spending up to $3 billion more on K-12 education. The state currently spends about $8.2 billion. “We only get one chance to educate our children,” said state Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner. “They’re only in first grade once, they’re only in 10th grade once. We need to take advantage of that opportunity.” A report released Thursday details the wish list a legislative committee compiled after a summer of hearings and tours around Oregon. The report echoes much of what the committee already has said publicly is needed to improve schooling for Oregon’s children. That includes a longer school year, more state-paid preschool, diversity among teachers and smaller class sizes. It also shows lawmakers have learned from past mistakes. The legislators want state-subsidized education for teachers, with an emphasis on those going on to instruct career and technical education. A state-organized mentorship system would bump up salaries for teachers who agree to mentor others and create an advancement council inside the state education department to help teachers succeed. Legislative budget analysts say the mentorship program could cost $234 million a year. “We need to prioritize,” Kotek said “I will be the first one to say we are not going to be able to fund everything, so what are those key sets of investments we know will have the most return on investment in terms of the outcomes we want, and focus on that ‘what’ and then get to the ‘how.'”

1 Day Of 2019 Legislative Session Down, 1 Complaint To Oregon Police Filed

Oregon Public Broadcasting

There may be no more fitting sign of the controversial role gun control figures to play in the brand new Oregon legislative session than this: On the first day lawmakers met for hearings, the issue had already led to a complaint to the state police. The office of state Rep. Mark Meek, D-Gladstone, said Tuesday someone has been sending misleading emails that made it look as though Meek was excoriating his fellow Democrats for pushing new firearm regulations. “The anti-gun bills introduced by Oregon Democrats are a disgrace,” read an email that Meek appeared to send to fellow lawmakers on Jan. 17 and which was subsequently circulated on Twitter. “Let’s stop attacking the rights of the law-abiding and work on real problems.” Another email in Meek’s name, sent Tuesday, said in part: “Democrats have ended any pretense and made it clear that their goal is the complete elimination of gun ownership.” In each case, the emails looked as though they were coming from Meek’s official email address. Staff with the Legislature’s Information Services department have since determined they weren’t. “We confirmed the emails were sent from a non-legislative email account, and that Rep. Meek’s account has not been compromised,” said Shane Walker, the department’s deputy chief information officer. “It appears someone set up a non-Legislative email account attempting to make it look like the emails were sent from Rep. Meek’s office. This is known as spoofing.” The Information Services department believes the emails originated using Votility, a platform that helps to organize advocacy campaigns. Walker said the matter had been referred to Oregon State Police. Oregon law makes it a crime to impersonate a public servant.

Audit: Oregon Revenue Department needs a change in workplace culture

Associated  Press

A state audit has recommended changes to workplace culture at the Oregon Department of Revenue after employees reported low morale and unclear direction. The Statesman Journal reports the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office released the audit Wednesday, recommending the agency improve internal communications and create an accountability framework with clear expectations and feedback about employee performance. Auditors surveyed employees, who said they felt undervalued and had frustrations about an “increased emphasis on outcome metrics.” According to the audit, employees also reported episodes of “demeaning comments and yelling” between management and workers. Department deputy director Satish Upadhyay says the agency agrees with the recommendations and will look for the “best ways to communicate with staff and appropriately involve them in decisions.” The department employs about 933 full-time workers.

State Supreme Court will hear county campaign finance case

Portland Tribune

Oregon’s Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments surrounding Multnomah County’s campaign finance reform ordinance approved by voters in 2016. The court accepted the case Wednesday, Jan. 23, bypassing the state Court of Appeals. Oral arguments are expected in September. Justices will be asked to determine if county Ordinance 1243 was constitutional. The 2016 measure, and the ordinance adopted by county commissioners, limits campaign contributions to $500 per individual and political action committees in races for Multnomah County public office, and requires political ads to identify the top five funders of the campaign presenting each ad. Voters overwhelmingly approved the measure. A request to take the case straight to the Supreme Court was filed by eight citizens supporting the ordinance. It was opposed by members of several business groups, who prevailed in their challenge in June 2018, when Multnomah County Circuit Judge Eric Bloch ruled that parts of the ordinance limiting campaign contributions were invalid. Members of the Associated Oregon Industries, the Portland Business Alliance and the Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors challenged the ordinance in Multnomah County Circuit Court in May 2017.

Oregon generated second-worst graduation rate in U.S. in 2017

Oregon Live

Oregon’s graduation rate for the class of 2017 ranks No. 49 in the nation, the federal government announced Thursday. Oregon’s rate — 77 percent — was the lowest of any state except New Mexico, where the rate was a paltry 71 percent. Nevada, which had previously trailed Oregon, leap-frogged ahead and achieved an 81 percent on-time graduation rate, the U.S. Department of Education said. The new federal report does not indicate how Oregon’s most current graduation rate — 79 percent for the class of 2018 — compares to other states’. It was a coincidence that the National Center for Education Statistics announced the state-by-state rates and new U.S. average graduation rate — 84.6 percent — for the class of 2017 on the same day that Oregon officials announced the state’s graduation rate for the class of 2018.

LOCAL

Clark College Copes With Racial Equity Fallout

Oregon Public Broadcasting

An evening gala may seem an unlikely place to address racism, but the bulk of Clark College President Bob Knight’s comments at a recent donor event centered on the school’s struggles with racial equity. The annual Savoring Excellence event is one of the Vancouver-based community college’s biggest fundraisers. The November event was well attended, with guests like the mayor, city council members and local business leaders. Halfway through the event, Knight addressed the crowd on stage. “We’ve had multiple bias-based incidents, Patriot Prayer groups show up for a few appearances, and recently an article came out in a regional media platform that talked about people of color not being retained nor feeling safe at Clark College,” Knight said. In October, OPB published an investigation into the college’s ongoing struggles around diversity and equity. Last year, a string of resignations revealed a campus climate that alienates people of color, even as top school officials say the campus is becoming more inclusive. Former employees discussed a campus climate that felt unsafe and unwelcoming. They complained of microaggressions, supervisors monitoring them more harshly than their white peers, and a culture from the top that minimized their experiences and failed to advance people of color.

Oregon’s teenage mayor takes office in Yoncalla

Oregon Live

The swearing in on Jan. 8 of Yoncalla, Oregon’s new mayor was a small but historic affair. At just 18 years old, Benjamin Simons became the town’s youngest mayor — and though he turned 19 just a few weeks later, he still brings the average age of the Yoncalla City Council down by double digits. Yoncalla, where the population hovers around 1,000, is a tight knit community. “Everyone knows everyone, there’s not a lot of stuff going on all the time, which, that’s fine with me,” Simons said. “I don’t need the big city hustle and bustle.” That doesn’t mean the teen doesn’t keep busy. He’s completing his certification to become a volunteer firefighter with North Douglas County Fire & EMS. He goes to school full-time at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg. And when he’s not fighting fires, conducting city business or studying, you might find Simons looking for gold on his mining claims outside of Cottage Grove — though, he admits, the claims are primarily a great excuse to go camping.

Man Shoved Out Of Douglas County Jail In Mental Health Crisis, Witness Says

Oregon Public Broadcasting

A shirtless man seen shivering next to a lump of belongings in a widely-circulated Facebook video was shoved out of the Douglas County Jail by three jail employees and appeared to be experiencing a mental health crisis, according to the woman who recorded the video. Lynzey Pier said she was waiting for her husband at the Douglas County Courthouse in Roseburg the morning of Jan. 17 when she pulled up in direct sight of the county jail’s release door. “I see this guy, half of his body, flying out of the release door,” Pier told OPB. “They brutally shoved him out the door and that’s why I started recording.” The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said the Winston Municipal Court had ordered the man’s release but that he would not cooperate with sheriff’s deputies. The man has not been publicly identified. The video is the latest evidence of a trend politicians, mental health advocates and police have identified as widespread in Oregon: that law enforcement agencies are not equipped to help people in mental health crises. What’s more, law enforcement inherited that role from a fractured mental health system statewide and even the Portland area, Oregon’s most well-resourced region.The man is seen in the video lying on the ground over a jacket, shirtless. He has a plastic bag over his head and some clothes scattered at his feet. Pier told OPB the man came out of jail in that exact condition, and that some of his clothes were soaking wet. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said it’s reviewing the incident before releasing further comment.

Council candidates make their case

Mail Tribune

Seven candidates for the Ward 4 seat formerly held by Medford Councilor Kim Wallan made their pitch to the City Council and a citizen’s committee Thursday night — offering their views on homeless issues, affordable housing and the local economy. The candidates are Michelle Blum Atkinson, Richard Bradshaw, Michael Campbell, Jessica Gomez, Kevin Keating, Eric Stark and Dylan Moncus. Blum Atkinson lost to Wallan in her bid for the House District 6 election Nov. 6, while Gomez lost to Jeff Golden for the Senate District 3. The Ward 4 seat represents southeast Medford. Initially, the selection process turned contentious when Wallan didn’t immediately offer her letter of resignation after winning the House District 6 race in November. Candidates each spent a half-hour with the five-member citizen’s committee and a half hour with the council, which plans to make its choice of the seven candidates on Feb. 7. The citizen’s committee will recommend the top three candidates to the council. Medford’s homeless issues dominated the questions posed by the council, particularly the impacts to the downtown area and the Bear Creek Greenway.

NATIONAL

Trump associate Roger Stone arrested, charged in Mueller investigation

KGW

Shouting “FBI, open the door,” authorities arrested Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump, before dawn Friday in a criminal case that revealed that senior members of the Trump campaign sought to benefit from the release of hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton. Stone, a self-proclaimed “dirty trickster,” faced a seven-count indictment in the first criminal case in months from special counsel Robert Mueller. After appearing in court, he was released on a $250,000 bond. The indictment provides the most detail to date about how Trump campaign associates in the summer of 2016 were actively seeking the disclosure of emails the U.S. says were hacked by Russia, then provided to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. It alleges that unidentified senior Trump campaign officials contacted Stone to ask when stolen emails relating to Clinton might be disclosed. The indictment does not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks or with the Russian officers Mueller says hacked the emails. Instead, it accuses him of lying to Congress about WikiLeaks, tampering with witnesses and obstructing the probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin to tip the election. Stone is the sixth Trump aide charged in Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign and the 34th person overall. The investigation has laid bare multiple contacts between Trump associates and Russia during the campaign and transition period and efforts by several to conceal those communications.  The case against Stone comes weeks after Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was castigated by a judge in open court and just hours before Paul Manafort, his ex-campaign chairman, was due in court on allegations that he had lied to Mueller’s prosecutors.

FAA delays flights at LaGuardia Airport, citing staffing shortages amid government shutdown

Oregon Live

Federal officials temporarily restricted flights Friday into and out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport, another example of the toll the partial government shutdown – in its 35th day – is having on the nation’s airports. “We have experienced a slight increase in sick leave at two facilities,” a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said in an emailed statement. “We’ve mitigated the impact by augmenting staffing, rerouting traffic and increasing spacing between aircraft when needed. The results have been minimal impacts to efficiency while maintaining consistent levels of safety in the national airspace system.” Travelers were notified of air traffic issues at fly.faa.gov and were advised to check with their airline for more information. The FAA’s Airport Status Information website cited shortages at two facilities, including one near Washington, which manages air traffic. The temporary restrictions affect arriving and departing flights at the airport. Arriving flights were delayed an average of 41 minutes and departures were experiencing delays between 15 and 29 minutes, the FAA said.

OPINION

Wildfire: The time is now, Governor

Mail Tribune Editorial Board

The 2019 session of the Oregon Legislature opens Tuesday, and lawmakers will be crafting a budget for the next two years. That budget ought to include a real commitment to address wildfires and the smoke they generate, but if Gov. Kate Brown’s remarks in her state of the state address last week and Oregon’s track record so far are any indication, we’re not optimistic. In her speech, Brown paid lip service to the problem. “Wildfires have increased in intensity and severity in the past decade, threatening our culture, our communities, and our economy,” she said. Her recommended response? “Oregon must continue to pursue solutions that will reduce harmful emissions while creating good jobs and building a clean energy economy.” Those are laudable goals, and over the long term will address the issue of climate change, a major driver of the wildfire problem. But we need more aggressive, short-term action. Now. We took Brown to task when her proposed budget, rather than strengthening state firefighting capability and forest restoration efforts, merely established a committee to study the problem for a year. Now, we can compare Oregon’s response to the wildfire crisis to that of our West Coast neighbors, Washington and California. The governors of the three states s

Public records bills are a mixed bag

Bend Bulletin

People seeking public records in Oregon get all kinds of abuse. Public agencies ignore them. Agencies overcharge them. Sometimes, agencies even sue requesters to stop from having to fulfill a request. That’s not the way the state’s public records law is supposed to work. But that’s the way some public agencies choose to implement the law — especially when a requester is seeking information that could make the agency look bad. Several bills in the Legislature propose changes in the law to improve it. Not all of them will. Two would make things worse. House Bill 2345 would reduce the public record fees charged by state agencies to members of the news media by 50 percent. If a request is narrowly tailored, the agency would be required to waive any fees. This would be great for members of the news media. But it’s the public records law, not the news media records law. The law is for any member of the public. The news media does not deserve a special discounted rate. The news media should pay or not pay the same amount as any other member of the public. Senate Bill 609 would require that a requester tell a public agency how he or she intends to use the requested records. That’s no business of the government. It’s a public record. That means it’s the public’s information. Agencies could use the information from a requester to deny and delay requests. If a requester wants to disclose the information, that’s one thing. That may help in disputes over the costs of records or in disputes over why a record should be public. But the disclosure should not be required. There are also two proposed changes in the law that could make things better. House Bill 2353 adds some teeth. It would allow the attorney general, district attorney or a court to award a penalty to a requester — and attorney fees — if a public agency fails to respond to a request or responds to undue delay. The bill does not put a dollar figure on the penalty.

January 24, 2019 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Oregon Legislature Kicks Off Work To Curb Campaign Spending

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Gov. Kate Brown, who was part of the state’s most expensive governor’s race ever last year, told lawmakers on Wednesday that it’s time to curb the amount of political money spent in Oregon. A newly-created campaign finance committee in the state Senate is tasked with reining in Oregon’s campaign finance laws, an area that is akin — as the governor likes to say —  to the “wild, Wild West.” The governor said she raised three times more than her three Democratic predecessors in her last race. And she urged lawmakers to increase transparency when it comes to reporting contributions and expenditures. Campaign spending and donations should be posted quickly for the public to see, she said. Currently there is often a 30-day window before transactions become public. The governor also said it’s time for Oregon to tackle what’s known as “dark money,” essentially donations made to nonprofits that do political work but aren’t limited in how much they can collect and aren’t required to disclose their supporters. “As long as dollars flow unfettered in Oregon, the very least we can do is ensure that everyone can follow the money in politics,” Brown said. Brown, who benefited tremendously from union support in the last election cycle, also told lawmakers that it’s time to limit how much candidates can accept. Oregon is only one of a handful of states that doesn’t have any cap on how much money can be given to candidates.

Business group warns: public employee benefits ‘large and growing costs’

Portland Tribune

Oregon’s public employees typically pay less for health insurance than their peers in neighboring states, a new study finds. The study by the actuarial firm Milliman was commissioned by The Oregon Business Council, an association of business leaders as part of the Oregon Business Plan initiative. The study found that the average state employee in Oregon pays a smaller share of his or her health insurance premium than the average state employee in Idaho, California, Nevada and Washington. And the average premium is more expensive for a state employee here than for state employees in those other states. But Oregon’s public school teachers generally pay more out of pocket for less pricey premiums than Oregon state employees. But the amount that teachers contribute to their insurance premiums varies widely across the state. Among the five states, Oregon pays the second-highest percentage of its employees’ total medical costs. The Oregon Business Plan said that health insurance benefits “represent a large and growing share of employee compensation and employer costs.” A December study by Oregon’s Department of Administrative Services found that the average public employee pays far less out of pocket for health insurance premiums than the average worker out on the market. An average state employee with no dependents pays $6.47 per month in insurance premiums, the DAS study found, while a comparable employee out on the market pays $98.13 a month for a medical insurance premium. State workers unions agreed that Oregon’s state employees have a good benefits package, but said looking at health care in a vacuum is misleading.

Refusing to back down

Lake Oswego Review

When state Sen. Rob Wagner and state Rep. Andrea Salinas proposed Senate Bill 501, they expected some resistance. But they did not expect death threats. SB 501 was drafted using input from a group of high schoolers known as Students for Change in an effort to curb gun violence and increase safety across the state. The comprehensive legislation calls for changes to how guns are purchased and stored, magazine size, ammunition limits and more.  Members of Students for Change say the bill is neither unreasonable nor unrealistic. There are currently 14 bills submitted to the Oregon Legislature regarding gun reform, they say; SB 501 simply calls for the widest range of changes. But the bill’s introduction earlier this month has prompted a deluge of angry emails and a rally against its components at the Capitol in Salem. Oregon State Police troopers are also investigating threats made against Wagner and Salinas, although no details about those threats have been released. Regardless, Penelope Spurr — a Lake Oswego High School student and one of the original members of Students for Change — says that despite the opposition to the bill, she and other students are not deterred.

Redemption: Sen. Jackie Winters sees hope in second chances

Portland Tribune

When state Sen. Jackie Winters hears the word “felon,” she often thinks of her late husband, Marc “Ted” Winters. Her husband, who died in 2008, had a prestigious career in the gubernatorial administrations of Tom McCall and Bob Straub. But before that, he was one of thousands of inmates in Oregon’s state prisons. His catapult from a prison cell at the Oregon State Penitentiary to the governor’s staff is a story of redemption. His path has been an overwhelming influence on the Salem senator’s work to reform the criminal justice system and improve inmates’ chances of rehabilitation. “I think we forget about the whole issue of redemption and forgiveness when we are dealing with the criminal justice system,” said Winters in an interview at her Salem legislative office. Her commitment to justice reform prompted her to give up her role as Senate Republican leader at the end of 2018. Winters, a Christian, said she believed in redemption before she met her husband. Early in Winters’ career, her race and gender created obstacles to getting the kinds of jobs she wanted. Former inmates, she noted, have similar obstacles when they try to secure housing or employment. In November 2017, Winters became the first African-American legislator to lead an Oregon legislative caucus. She was elected as Senate Republican leader to succeed Sen. Ted Ferrioli of John Day. Winters’ commitment to justice reform sometimes put her at odds with members of her party, and last month, she decided to move out of leadership. She maintains that Republicans support justice reform, but she was the only Republican to sponsor one of the most controversial justice reforms of the 2017 Legislature. House Bill 3078 reduced prison sentences for property thieves. The majority of Senate Republicans voted against the bill. She is sponsoring several justice reforms in legislation before the 2019 Legislature. Her priorities are creating a domestic violence commission to streamline services between agencies and justice reform for juvenile offenders.

EDUCATION

Oregon’s Graduation Rate Improves, But Achievement Gap Persists

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon high schools bumped up their graduation rates last spring, to an average of 78.7 percent statewide. That’s a two percentage point gain over the state’s 76.7 percent rate from a year ago. The director of the state’s education agency, Colt Gill, sees the report demonstrating steady improvement over nearly a decade when it comes to helping students complete high school. “So this marks yet another increase — so we have year-after-year increases for the last nine years, really,” said Gill. Depending on what time frame you look at, it’s possible to see stronger improvement from students of color and low-income students, than for the state as a whole. “So we are beginning to see a close in those gaps,” noted Gill, the director of the Oregon Department of Education. The gaps may be smaller, but they remain. African-American students graduate at a rate 10 points below Oregon’s average. For Native American students, it’s 13 points lower. Latino students are within four points of the state average. And low-income students, regardless of ethnicity, graduate at a rate six points below the state average. But in a state as large and diverse as Oregon, the story of graduation rates varies wildly from region to region and school to school.  

Well done, grads: rates on the rise

Mail Tribune

Logos Public Charter School had the highest graduation rate among Jackson County schools in 2018, according to new data released this morning from the Oregon Department of Education. The charter school’s class of 2018 showed a four-year graduation rate of 92.94 percent. “I can’t help but just be thrilled with what Logos has accomplished for kids in this region,” said Sheryl Zimmerer, the school’s executive director. All but two Jackson County school districts saw improvement from the previous year, and three districts have increased their graduation rate by 15 percentage points or more over the past five years. Some of the Rogue Valley’s biggest high schools — from Medford to Central Point to Eagle Point — all saw gains from the previous year. North Medford, which topped Jackson County schools in 2017, rose again, to 91.02 percent. South Medford regained ground, rising to 85.05 percent after a 4.85 point loss the previous year. Crater Renaissance Academy increased its graduation rate by more than 7 points to 87.74 percent, while Crater Academy of Health and Public Services and Crater School of Business Innovation and Science slipped by about 3 percentage points each, to 80.41 and 81.65 percent, respectively. Phoenix High School rose to the fourth highest rate among high schools in the county, with a nearly 10-point jump to 87.04 percent. “We obviously feel really good about the data and super proud of our whole staff, especially the kids that persevered through all the challenges,” said Brent Barry, superintendent of Phoenix-Talent School District.

Oregon graduation rate nears 80 percent after 2nd year of solid gains

Oregon Live

Oregon’s high school graduation rate improved by 2 percentage points for a second straight year, marking the most sustained improvement in a decade, the state reported Thursday. Statewide, 79 percent of students in the class of 2018 earned diplomas within four years, the Oregon Department of Education said. The gains were broadly shared, with Latinos, Native Americans, whites, low-income students, girls and boys all matching or exceeding the statewide rate of improvement. The most glaring exception was among black students, whose on-time graduation rate remained mired at 68 percent after showing steady gains the previous four years.

Graduation rates rose across Central Oregon schools in 2017-18 school year

The Bend Bulletin

All of Central Oregon’s largest high schools saw graduation rates rise last school year, and nearly all are above the state average, according to Oregon Department of Education data. At Bend-La Pine Schools, the region’s largest district with 18,000 students, the graduation rate was 81.9 percent, a 3.1 percent bump. While some graduation rates stayed steady, like those at Bend and Summit high schools, which had modest gains of 90.98 percent and 91.63 percent of students graduating, respectively, other schools in the district saw big jumps. La Pine High School’s graduation rate rose 7.7 percent to a 77.14 percent graduation rate, while Marshall jumped 11.3 percent to a 44.6 percent rate. Last year was Marshall’s last year as an alternative high school. It is now a STEM-focused magnet school. A major point of pride for Bend-La Pine is the growing success of its Latino students — the group’s graduation rate was 67.22 percent, a 10.3 percent jump. In an email, Bend-La Pine Superintendent Shay Mikalson credited his district’s staffers and “their commitment to building positive relationships with students” for the rise in graduation rates, particularly for students of under-served races or ethnicities. “This increase in graduation rate did not happen by chance,” he said. “We have put systems and people in place to try to keep all students on a track to graduation. I am proud today to see these efforts paying off in increased graduate rates across the board.”

Preventing sexual violence requires early, appropriate sex ed

The Register-Guard

Carley Weixelman was sexually assaulted as a freshman at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. Following the incident, she received a text from the man who she said raped her in a dorm room. It was clear in the text the man, who was a fellow student and acquaintance she met the day before, “didn’t understand that what he did was wrong,” she said “The next day he texted me and said something along the lines of ‘sorry you weren’t into it but I was,’ and to me it was really obvious that I wasn’t OK with it, but maybe he didn’t have the education or didn’t know it was wrong,” said Weixelman, 21. The sexual violence described by Weixelman, as well as the confusion about who to reach out to and what exactly constituted as rape are some of the reasons education about sex is so important, according to the state of Oregon. It’s also why the state recently released an online sexual violence prevention resource map full of sexual health data and information ranging from teen pregnancy statistics to facts about when children begin to engage in sexual intercourse, details about bullying and sexual violence incidents and more. State officials say that education about sex, healthy relationships, consent, sexual violence and other topics can help to address risk factors that lead to sexual violence perpetration and they hope that the interactive online map can help raise awareness. “Research studies show that this does work, sex (education) does lead to preventing sexual abuse, violence and bullying,” said Sasha Grenier, a Oregon Department of Education sexual education specialist. “It does that by several different key messages, including teaching students how to recognize and maintain healthy relationships, identify and communicate their own boundaries, values and needs and by laying a foundation of social emotional skills that promote empathy and respect for others.” A recent study by Columbia University’s Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation project indicates that students who receive sexuality education before beginning college are at a lower risk of experiencing sexual assault during their higher education years. The study found that “students who received formal education about how to say no to sex before age 18 were less likely to experience penetrative sexual assault in college and that “students who received refusal skills training also received other forms of sexual education, including instruction about methods of birth control and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.”

Portland middle schools find success with coffee, surveys and reflection

Oregon Live

Portland’s newest middle school principals have been on a coffee kick. A hot cup of joe in an informal setting has helped boost community engagement and given parents a platform to talk about more than just academic success, three first-year chief administrators told the Portland school board Tuesday. At Roseway Heights and Ockley Green middle schools and Lent K-8 School, “coffee with the principal” events have helped establish relationships as administrators navigate new waters. Parents “weren’t just concerned about our students becoming students, but how could they affect their community in the future?” Roseway Heights Principal Kathleen Elwood said, relaying to the board conversations she’s had during such meetings. Elwood presides over one of the district’s two new middle schools, both of which opened in August. Roseway Heights was converted from a K-8 while Harriet Tubman reopened six years after it was closed.  At Lent, Principal Richard Smith said his staff set out at the start of the year to reduce the school’s suspension rate by at least 10 percent. Now, school leaders think they can reduce suspensions by 20 to 25 percent. Smith and his staff are bent on reversing negative stereotypes he said are often attributed to the Southeast Portland School.

Portland grad rates improve but Latino success trails state average

Oregon Live

Oregon’s largest school district achieved across-the-board gains in its graduation rates in 2018, marking the district’s fourth straight year of improvement. Portland Public Schools also recorded an uptick in the percentage of black students who earned a diploma for the fourth year in a row, landing nearly 2 percentage points above the state average. But the district still lags behind Oregon in success rates for its Latino students. Statewide, 74 percent of Latino students enrolled in public schools across the state earned a diploma in 2018 versus 72 percent in Portland. Most area districts with at least 50 students of color outperformed Portland when it came to getting kids to earn diplomas in four years. North Clackamas and Hillsboro were overachievers in the group, with 81 percent of Latino, black, Native American and Pacific Islander students graduating on time. In Portland Public Schools, only 71 percent did.

LOCAL

Deschutes County Commissioners to discuss gun rights ordinance

The Bend Bulletin

The Deschutes County Commission has agreed to discuss an ordinance that would prohibit county resources from being used to enforce state gun laws. During a meeting Wednesday, commissioners received a draft ordinance from Jerrad Robison, a Redmond resident. None of the three commissioners returned phone calls Wednesday evening, but Commission Chairman Phil Henderson said during the meeting the three would read Robison’s draft ordinance, look into the process of passing it and discuss it next week. “I think all three of us will take it seriously,” Henderson said. It’s a slightly changed version of a ballot measure proposed by gun rights advocates in several Oregon counties last year that would allow sheriffs to determine whether federal, state and local gun laws violated the U.S. or Oregon constitutions. If sheriffs believed they did, local officials would be barred from enforcing those laws. Robison was the chief petitioner for the Deschutes County ballot measure, which didn’t gather the required 4,144 signatures to make the November ballot. Voters in several other counties, including Union, Umatilla and Baker counties, approved their versions of the measure. The new ordinance he proposed Wednesday lacks the requirement that a sheriff determine which laws are acceptable. Instead, it broadly defines local, state and federal gun control regulations as “extraterritorial acts” that would be considered null and void in Deschutes County. Laws that tax ammunition, require background checks, ban accessories that give semi-automatic weapons the same features as fully automatic weapons and restrict open or concealed carrying of firearms would be among those nullified. “Any gun law is against the Constitution,” Robison said in an interview with The Bulletin. He said efforts to gather signatures for the earlier measure in time for elections in 2020 are ongoing, but the new ordinance he proposed Wednesday might be easier to pass.

Singer Paul Simon gives funds to local schools

Portland Tribune

Some special-education students in Portland soon will learn the finer points of cooking thanks to rock superstar Paul Simon. Simon recently donated $10,000 to Portland Public Schools and the district decided to use most of the funds for culinary programs for special education students. Half of the money went to Lane Middle School and the other half went to the Community Transition Program, which serves 130 students, ages 18 to 21, who have completed high school but have a variety of challenges, such as Down syndrome or severe autism. Simon donated to local organizations at each stop of his 2018 worldwide farewell tour. The Community Transition Program combined Simon’s $5,000 with $5,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation and is building a teaching kitchen on the campus, at 6801 S.E. 60th Ave., to teach the students some basic culinary skills. The Community Transition Program helps adult students gain life and job skills to navigate the world after high school.

New deputy fire chief to go high-tech

Mail Tribune

A longtime ally of Jackson County Fire District No. 3 has been placed in charge of a high-tech initiative meant to make the community safer. Justin Bates started this week as the fire district’s new deputy chief of strategic services, according to the fire district, where he’ll oversee a push to improve rescuer response times through new data-analysis tools. Bates has more than two decades of experience — most recently as deputy chief of operations with Medford Fire-Rescue. District 3 Deputy Chief of Operations Mike Hussey said Bates brings “a good analytical mind” to the role, able to pull data from different sources for a variety of purposes. Hussey said they plan to draw from that data for a pair of initiatives — an internal program focused on improving equipment logistics, and an external program seeking to reduce common calls for service by fostering community partnerships. On the equipment end, Bates will draw from updated systems that tell fire chiefs exactly where their crews are located at a given moment, according to Hussey, along with deeper real-time information about the equipment crews are using, such as how many calls the fire engine they’re driving has responded to that day. Bates will also manage the inventory program to ensure that the consumable equipment involved in rescues, such as oxygen tanks, are ready and in the right place ahead of service calls.

Lane County Public Health keeps eye out for possible measles cases

The Register-Guard

Lane County Public Health is asking local doctors to keep an eye out for measles after more than 20 cases of the disease were reported in Washington state. At least 23 cases of measles have been reported in the Vancouver area since Jan. 1, according to Oregon Public Radio. Clark County in Washington state has declared a public health emergency because of the number of cases of the disease and officials expect the virus to cross the state line into Oregon. The Clark County, Washington Public Health website lists several locations in the Portland area that were visited by people infected with the virus, including Portland International Airport, several stores and the Jan. 11 Trailblazers game at the Moda Center. “Given the proximity of these cases to Lane County, the amount of travel that happens daily between us and the greater Portland metro area, and the particularly contagious nature of measles, we are concerned about the risk of exposure,” said Dr. Patrick Luedtke, Lane County senior public health officer, in a press release. In order to decrease exposure to others, Lane County Public Health is urging anyone who might show symptoms of measles to call for medical advice before going to an emergency department, doctor’s office, urgent care office or the public health department. This allows medical staff to isolate the person properly in order to prevent the spread of the virus in the medical facility. In addition to vaccination, people can help prevent the spread of measles by staying home if they’re sick, covering their cough or sneeze, washing hands frequently and disposing of tissues used for coughing or sneezing. The last time Oregon and Lane County had a case of measles was in 2015. That case was linked to a man who visited Disneyland with his family, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. That year, the CDC reported 125 cases of the virus in seven western states, Mexico and Canada from people who all had visited Disneyland.

Council hears familiar arguments on familiar ADU proposals

The Democrat-Herald

The Albany City Council reopened a public hearing on accessory dwelling units on Wednesday night, but it won’t deliberate on two proposed ordinances until its regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 13. The hearing, which lasted nearly two hours, included familiar arguments on the familiar proposals. ADUs are detached extra living units on property that also contains a primary dwelling. Residents often use them as in-law apartments on room for grown children. The majority of the council had previously voted 4-2 to allow ADUs to expand in size from 750 square feet to 900 square feet, to allow homes with ADUs to have one of their three required parking spaces on site, and to remove a mandate that the owner of the property live in one of the homes on the land. Mayor Sharon Konopa vetoed the vote twice, supporting the current rules in place. Proponents, including a handful of builders, said on Wednesday night that easing restrictions wouldn’t create a deluge of new structures, but would result in more affordable housing in Albany.

OPINION

Liability watch

Ken Ebi

Emily Fitzgerald’s article in the Jan. 11 issue of the News about liability concerns by the Port of Hood River directs needed attention on a critical issue for the Gorge region. The issue of recreational liability is a critical one for public bodies and private sector businesses in our area. Recent court decisions have found the state of Oregon liable for accidents that occurred in the ocean and at a state-owned lake simply because surfers and swimmers weren’t notified that accidents may happen when you choose to surf of dive into lakes. Ski areas have already been successfully sued by patrons who had unfortunate accidents while performing risky maneuvers on the slopes and in terrain parks. Left unchecked, this issue has the potential to drastically curtail outdoor recreation in the Gorge, or at least make the sports much more expensive as businesses boost their liability insurance. By the way, Meadows weekend day pass is now 99 bucks … hardly an affordable activity anymore. The problem is language in Oregon law related to liability and inherent risk is very weak. Other big outdoor recreation states like Washington and Colorado don’t have this problem, as they have stronger language in statute. A few years back, Mark Johnson worked on this issue in Salem along with the Pacific Northwest Ski Association to try to get a bill passed that would remedy the problem. They were stopped cold by the Oregon Trial Lawyers who love the status quo and who have great political strength in Salem. Now we have a new representative, Anna Williams. Her party has super majorities in both chambers of the legislature. They have the power to fix this issue so that public bodies like the Port of Hood River won’t have to worry about frivolous and costly lawsuits. And companies that serve skiers, boarders, bikers and sailors won’t be priced out of business. Will Anna show leadership on this issue? The complication is that she took in over $43,000 in campaign money from the trial lawyers in her campaign to get elected. Will she listen to them or her constituents in the Gorge on this issue? We’ll be watching.

Our view | Environmentalists follow playbook on wolves

East Oregonian Editorial

We live in an era of black-and-white, of lines drawn in the sand, of non-negotiables. The only problem: That’s not the way life is. Anyone who has ever been married — or involved in any other committed relationship — knows compromise is a large part of life. Ironically, decisions are often better because of compromise, not in spite of it. But it takes goodwill and a willingness to say “yes” to reach an agreement. That observation came to mind as we digested the shenanigans perpetrated by four environmental groups that took part in mediation over the revision of the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. In straight talk, they bailed out of the discussions because they wouldn’t budge on their opposition to killing wolves that continue to attack livestock. They believe ranchers are at fault for not keeping the wolves away from cattle and sheep. No doubt they also blame the cattle and sheep for jumping into the mouths of the wolves. The groups — Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity — told Gov. Kate Brown in a letter that the whole exercise was a sham because everyone else in the room didn’t go along with their demand. All sides should recognize that success, such as it is, by acknowledging the resilience of gray wolves. The predators know how to take care of themselves. The idea that an apex predator that dominates the countryside wherever it roams needs protection demonstrates — once again — that the federal Endangered Species Act needs to be rewritten to take reality into account. Only a handful of those wolves have caused problems, and ranchers and wildlife managers are only saying those few need to be removed. That’s not an ultimatum, which the environmentalists like to use as part of their playbook. It’s just plain common sense.

Subject: January 22, 2019 Daily Clips

BREAKING NEWS

Oregon deputies respond to a quadruple homicide just in time to save a young girl’s life

CNN

An Oregon man was killed by deputies responding to a quadruple homicide as he was attempting to kill a young girl, according to authorities. Authorities identified the victims as 9-month-old Olivia Lynn Rose Gago; Shaina E. Sweitzer, 31; Pamela Denise Bremer, 64; and Jerry William Bremer, 66. Gago lived in the same home as the victims, according to the news release. “Incidents of domestic violence are far too common, and this tragedy is a heartbreaking reminder of that fact,” state Rep. Christine Drazan said. “The people who experience domestic violence need protection, and we need to make sure that those in need of help find the necessary resources.” “We’re grateful for the quick and heroic response by law enforcement to save lives, including the life of a child,” state Rep. Carl Wilson said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones, and the first responders who daily risk their lives for us all.”

‘She was traumatized and stunned’: Surviving victim in family killing awoke to ax attack

Oregon Live

Tracy Burbank ran for her life. She was shoeless and dressed in only a T-shirt and pajamas when she arrived at a neighbor’s property late Saturday, screaming, “Call 911” as she approached. The 40-year-old woman bolted from her rural home near Woodburn — where an ax-wielding man attacked her while she slept — to the fenced-in farmhouse about a quarter-mile away. “She was traumatized and stunned,” the neighbor recalled. “She repeatedly said, ‘I can’t believe what happened. It seems like a dream.’” A nightmare, at that. Authorities say Mark Leo Gregory Gago killed his mother, stepfather, girlfriend and 9-month-old daughter in an attack that night. Burbank and an 8-year-old girl survived. The deceased are Jerry William Bremer, 66; Pamela Denise Bremer, 64; Shaina E. Sweitzer, 31; and Olivia Lynn Rose Gago, 9 months.

Also See:

Memorial set up outside house of slain Oregon family

The Register-Guard

Five dead in domestic violence incident in Clackamas County

Portland Tribune

‘We are not wired to see these things’: Deputies receive support in aftermath of quadruple killing

KGW

Woodburn Oregon Four Killed in Clackamas County Suspect Dead

Statesman Journal

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Oregon Legislative Preview: Democrats In Charge With Ambitious Agenda

Oregon Public Broadcasting

In the upcoming months, Oregon lawmakers want to tackle an ambitious slate of policy proposals, from first-in-the nation statewide rent control to injecting billions into the state’s flagging schools to curbing carbon emissions. The 2019 legislative session kicks off on Tuesday. Democrats come into Salem enjoying the most significant advantage they’ve seen in decades: They have newly won supermajorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives and a just re-elected governor who never plans to run another campaign. Republicans hope to find common ground where they can, but in the face of that dominance, House Minority Leader Carl Wilson recently said members of his party also see themselves as “not even legislative speed bumps,” nearly powerless to stop a unified Democratic front.

Unions look to take advantage of Democratic leadership and strong economy in 2019

Salem Reporter

In November, educators and school children got a champion. The homeless got an advocate and environmentalists got a steward. But perhaps the people most happy with Gov. Kate Brown’s re-election reside in Oregon’s union shops. Brown has long been pro union. She has publicly supported them and even had the president of a national teachers union stump for her during her campaign. Unions have backed Brown as well. Her six biggest union donors gave nearly $1 million combined in 2018. Now, with Democrats having a stronger majority in the House and Senate, union leaders say it’s time to push their pro-worker agenda. Greg Stiles, spokesman for House Republicans, said overall his caucus hasn’t paid much attention to the unions’ priorities going into the session except for Holvey’s bill. “Instead of collecting money from employees, the unions will get the money directly from the public agencies or the state,” Stiles said in an emailed statement. “Taxpayers should see this bill for what it is, an attempt to re-funnel money designated for classroom teachers and other to public employees that will inevitably be used to keep government unions dictating what Democrats do in the Capitol.”

Oregon lawmakers discuss need to unite a divided state

The News Tribune

Leaders of the Oregon Legislature spoke Friday about the need to bridge divides that exist in the state, days ahead of the start of the 2019 session. Speaking at The Associated Press Legislative Preview, lawmakers described an Oregon that is divided between urban and rural, Democrat and Republican. The November election gave Democrats a three-fifths supermajority in Oregon’s Legislature with greater power to impose taxes, but Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, said they must wield power carefully. He pointed out that Republicans could jam up legislation by sitting out votes. Quorum rules say 20 senators must be on the Senate floor and 40 representatives on the House floor for votes to take place, Courtney said. Democrats fell short of those numbers in the elections, with 38 seats in the House and 18 in the Senate. House Democrats have pledged to help build a future for all people in the state “and not just people from Portland,” House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson told Capitol correspondents.

Jeanne Atkins Will Not Seek Re-Election as Chair of Democratic Party of Oregon

Willamette Week

Jeanne Atkins, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Oregon, will not seek re-election at the party’s organizational meetings in March. “I have a number of personal reasons for this decision—all of which can be summed up by saying I’ve got to make space, as I cross into my 70s,  to commit to my family and to myself,” Atkins said in a statement. Atkins became Oregon’s secretary of state in 2015, after then-Secretary of State Kate Brown moved up to the governor’s office following the resignation of former Gov. John Kitzhaber. Atkins served in that position through January of 2017, when Republican Dennis Richardson, elected in 2016 took over. Atkins then became chair of the DPO and oversaw the party’s preparations for the 2018 election, in which Gov. Brown retained her position, Democratic legislative candidates made historic gains and Democratic interest groups defeated a slate of conservative ballot measures.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley Still Leads The Charge In The Fight Against ICE, DHS, And Aggressive Immigration Enforcement

Willamette Week

Sen. Jeff Merkley’s campaign to undermine the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, especially its immigration enforcement branches, picked up steam this week as he revealed government documents that suggest federal officials misled the public about official policies. An unnamed government whistleblower gave Merkley (D-Ore.) a draft policy that explains DHS officials’ thinking on the controversial family separation policy that removed thousands of immigrant children from their parents’ custody at the U.S. border. The draft, first reported by NBC News, shows that federal officials implemented the child separations in a calculated effort to deter people from seeking asylum in the U.S. It also shows immigration officials intended to deny those children asylum hearings in order to speed deportations. The draft policy shows federal officials wanted journalists to notice the new enforcement efforts. The authors predicted an “increase in prosecutions would be reported by the media and it would have a substantial deterrent effect.”

Redmond legislator sees housing as battleground issue

The Bend Bulletin

Jack Zika is settling in, but not getting too comfortable in his new job.  The Redmond real estate agent was sworn in Monday as the new representative for House District 53. The doughnut-shaped district encircles Bend, taking in a sliver of the city but also stretching from Redmond to Sunriver. Zika is at least guaranteed of having an official voice at the beginning of the debate over affordable housing. He’s been named to the House Human Services and Housing Committee. He picked up another key assignment Tuesday when Kotek named him as a House member to the Joint Task Force on Addressing Racial Disparities in Home Ownership. Zik’s other committee assignments are on the House Energy and Environment Committee, and the Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee.

Gun permit bill raises local objections

East Oregonian

Jesse Bonifer of Athena is a staunch defender of gun rights and was one of the chief petitioners of the Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance, which Umatilla County voters passed overwhelmingly. He is no fan of the proposal in the state Senate to require Oregonians to have a permit before even buying or receiving a gun. “That’s just ridiculous,” Bonifer said. “We already have our permit.” That permit being the Second Amendment. Bonifer said requiring another would violate constitutional rights. Senate Bill 501 from Sen. Rob Wagner and Rep. Andrea Salinas, both Lake Oswego Democrats, also would limit a person to two permits per month, one for a handgun and another for a rifle or shotgun. The bill also seeks to ban magazines holding more than five rounds, would require a background check to buy or receive ammunition and limit that to a maximum of 20 rounds every 30 days. The bill also would fine and jail people who don’t report gun thefts within 24 hours of discovering the loss.

Oregon lawmakers find Trump at fault for federal shutdown

Portland Tribune
Reps. Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer and Sen. Ron Wyden blast president at Oregon Food Bank. Members of Oregon’s delegation to the U.S. Capitol have parked the blame for the partial government shutdown at the feet of one man: President Donald Trump. “This is absolutely not the fault of the Democrats,” Rep. Suzanne Bonamici said of the federal closure. “It’s infuriating, it’s unacceptable and it must end.” Bonamici was joined by like-minded colleagues Sen. Ron Wyden and Congressman Earl Blumenauer at the distribution bay of the Oregon Food Bank, 7900 N.E. 33rd Dr., on Friday, Jan. 18 — the 27th day since parts of the federal government ran out of funds in late December. “This shutdown isn’t making America great,” quipped Wyden, “it’s making America wait for Donald Trump to finally come to his senses and reopen the government.” As the longest-ever funding gap in this nation’s history approached its fifth week, Oregon lawmakers rallied to support federal workers, some of who need help finding food or paying rent because they are furloughed or working without pay.  

5 ways you can influence Salem

Mail Tribune

When Oregon legislators convene on Tuesday, they could raise or lower your taxes, cut or boost government services and decide how much your landlord can hike the rent.

Interest groups, from the pharmaceutical industry to labor unions, spend millions of dollars lobbying legislators and contributing to their campaigns. We asked former lawmakers and citizen advocates: How can an ordinary constituent, without the same cash or cachet, have an impact? Here’s their advice to help you influence what happens at the Capitol. Get a group. Write your legislator — in your own words. Testify before the Legislature. Do your research. Be mindful of political realities. Frustrated by the power that the majority party holds, Vial wants to make the Legislature nonpartisan. Many lawmakers fill their days with 15-minute “speed dates” with lobbyists, Vial said. Those lobbyists have influence over what lawmakers do because they hold the purse strings for campaign donations, which can be critical to getting re-elected. But, as a citizen, you have one other powerful tool at your disposal if you don’t like what your lawmaker is doing: your ballot.

LOCAL

People Take To The Streets  Around Oregon For Women’s March

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Saturday, cities throughout the country, and the world, organized events around the Women’s March — the annual women’s rights demonstration that began in 2017 following President Trump’s inauguration. Portland, however, did not — at least not officially. The Women’s March on Portland group rescheduled its official Womxn’s March and Rally for Action to March 3, in an effort to coordinate with International Women’s Day and to not overshadow events associated with Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the surrounding weekend. Hundreds of people turned out at other Oregon marches adhering to the Saturday date. Cities including Eugene, The Dalles, Salem, Corvallis, Bend and Astoria each held marches.

Women’s March challenges Right to Life rally in Portland

Portland Tribune

Portland protesters synchronized with those marching for women across the nation on Saturday, echoing their chants against gendered oppression throughout downtown streets and squares. The scaled-down demonstration drew more than 100 supporters — a far cry from the tens of thousands who packed the city’s boulevards in January, 2017 for the original Women’s March, which was spurred by the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Since then, the national organization has been riven by allegations of anti-semitism and marginalization of women of color. The schism spread to Portland, with the Saturday, Jan. 19 #MeToo Speakout competing for support with a “Reclaim MLK March” on Jan. 20, as well as a semi-official Women’s March said to be occurring in the Rose City in March. But the factionalization was no deterrent for Mary Whitmore, who traveled from Forest Grove to advocate for the proposed Equal Rights Amendment whose ratification remains an unsettled question. “While tension between the liberal demonstrators and attendees of the Oregon Right to Life rally was to be expected, members of the conservative Patriot Prayer group twisted the day’s narrative with an unexpected visit to the International Workers of the World house at 2249 E. Burnside St. Joey Gibson and about 20 others reportedly squared off with local anti-fascists outside the house, according to a video and other accounts posted on social media. Portland police did not immediately release news of any arrests or injuries resulting from the clash

Walden catches up with Klamath Falls in town hall

Herald and News

Congressman Greg Walden wasn’t shy about his thoughts on border security and the wall on the border between the United States and Mexico during a town hall in Klamath Falls on Friday, where he discussed recently casting a vote outside Republican Party lines to end the partial shutdown of the federal government. The Hood River Republican specifically took issue, though, with the furlough of employees of the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “I’ve cited the Klamath Basin and the Biological Opinion as one of the things that got delayed (in the) course of these discussions,” Walden said. Walden wants to exempt agencies funded by Department of Interior, Agriculture, and Fish and Wildlife from the shutdown. “Why inflict all this?” he said. “I didn’t sign up for this kind of shutdown,” Walden added. During the town hall, which drew about 150 people to Oregon Tech, he called the vote a bit of a “break” with party lines, a comment met with applause from some in the audience.

California investors pay $12 million for Eugene apartment property

The Register-Guard

California investors have purchased a large west Eugene apartment complex for nearly $12 million. Stone Ridge Apartments, an 84-unit complex near Randy Pape Beltline and Barger Drive, sold for $11.7 million, according to a deed filed in Lane County. A limited liability company tied to Jon Gibson, president of Sacramento-area commercial real estate holdings and investment firm Jon Gibson Group, was one of four LLCs that bought the apartment complex, but his entity acquired a 59-percent ownership stake, according to the deed. Gibson’s company has developed business parks in the Sacramento area, and owns several residential developments in California, Washington and Idaho, according to its website.

‘Believe in yourself’: MLK’s words resound in Ashland

Mail Tribune

The community turned out in force Monday to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., filling the nearly 700 seats of the Historic Ashland Armory. Others watched a live simulcast in the Varsity Theatre. Event coordinators estimated around 1,000 people attended. The 31st annual Ashland celebration featured a melting pot of musical and spoken word performances, including the Ashland High School Jazz Band, the Bishop Mayfield Band and the Walker Elementary choir. Keynote speaker Kamilah Long, director of leadership gifts at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and originally from Montgomery, Alabama, began her address with a poem written by her mother titled “Africa.”  “To all of the black folks in the building, and especially the black youth, Dr. King had this to say to you: Believe in yourself, and believe that you are somebody,” Long said. “You don’t have to be ashamed of your heritage, you don’t have to be ashamed of your color, you don’t have to be ashamed of your hair. Black is as beautiful as any color. “And to all the youths in the building, Dr. King had this to say to you,” Long said. “Don’t you allow anybody to pull you so low to make you hate them and don’t you allow anybody to cause you to lose your self-respect to the point that you do not struggle for justice.”

Intel preparing to spend billions on new Oregon factory

Oregon Live

Intel is preparing for a massive buildup in Oregon, according to multiple people familiar with the conversations, potentially spending billions to build and equip a factory for its next generation of computer chips. People with direct knowledge of the plans say Intel hopes to begin construction by the end of June. It would add an enormous, third section to the cutting-edge Hillsboro research factory known as D1X and add yet another project to Oregon’s already overloaded construction sector. Intel announced expansion plans last month but few specifics. People in Oregon’s construction industry say the company is lining up contractors and labor for the massive project, and some say Intel has told them it is committed to going forward. “Having that big anchor company locally, where they do their highest and most productive (research)…is hugely beneficial for our region,” said Josh Lehner with the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis.

Affordability, rising costs impacting the Portland housing scene

Portland Business Journal

CREW Portland, the local chapter of the national commercial real estate group, moved its annual Forecast Breakfast from the Multnomah Athletic Club to the much larger Sentinel Hotel this year, largely to accommodate growing demand. But while demand may be on the rise for the breakfast’s economic intel, demand for housing in the Portland metro region has actually softened a bit, according to Tom Potiowsky, director of the Northwest Economic Research Center at Portland State University, who gave a keynote forecast at the Jan. 11 breakfast. In his presentation, Potiowsky touched on everything from tariffs and trade deals to Oregon’s population increases and, yes, housing: how construction has slowed, how price increases have dropped off and how efforts to increase housing at the state level may not be aimed quite right. Single-family building permits had been on the rise since the Great Recession, but they slowed way down in 2016 and 2017. According to Potiowsky, the Portland metro region saw 7,397 single-family permits in 2016; that dropped about 10 percent to 6,684 in 2017. While the multifamily boom has led to some of that drop-off, there are other factors at play, too.

OPINION

Editorial: Legislators must work for all Oregon

Albany Democrat Herald Editorial

The Oregon Legislature starts its 2019 session today, so it’s time to dust off that old crack about how “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.” Jennifer Williamson, the Portland Democrat who serves as the majority leader in the House of Representatives, said House Democrats have pledged to help build a future for all people in the state, “and not just people from Portland.” It will be interesting to see how long that pledge — to work on behalf of all Oregonians and not just those in the Portland area — will last in the Capitol. If it manages to last through the entire session, people in Oregon’s rural areas will be astonished, because they’re expecting Portland legislators to shove their agendas down their throats. The talk last week from legislators was encouraging. But it’s early in the session. At this point, it’s just talk — and nobody knows that better than people in rural Oregon. (mm)

Opinion: The Shutdown Trap. Hating government won’t improve it

Washington Post

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”’ Ronald Reagan’s 1986 statement still invokes chuckles on the right and some nostalgia for the general good nature of his gibes. But the sentiment behind it remains one of the most destructive forces in our politics. If you bemoan the shutdown of so many federal agencies and regularly ask yourself why our two parties seem to be at sword’s point on just about everything, you will not find an adequate explanation for our troubles in vague claims that “both sides” have become “extreme.” Our core problem is a dogmatic anti-government attitude, reflected in Reagan’s quip, that arose in the 1970s and ’80s. This makes it impossible for us to have a constructive debate about what government is for, what tasks it should take on, and what good it actually does. In truth, the whole anti-government thing is fundamentally fraudulent. So is the conservative claim to believe passionately in states’ rights and local authority.

January 18, 2019 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Oregon Sees Huge Jump In Federal Workers Seeking Unemployment

Oregon Public Broadcasting

More than 2,700 federal workers living in Oregon have filed for unemployment benefits through the state since the partial government shutdown began. State officials don’t know how many of them are directly impacted by the government shutdown, now the longest in U.S. history, but here’s some perspective: Last year at this time only 561 federal workers in Oregon filed for unemployment. Although these unemployment benefits are administered by the state, money to pay them comes from the federal government.

Democratic fundraiser Terry Bean accused of sexually abusing teen

Oregonian

Prominent Democratic fundraiser Terry Bean is back in the news after he was arraigned Thursday on charges that he had sex with a teenage boy in Lane County in 2013. Court records suggest prosecutors have re-filed a case they dropped in 2015, after the alleged teen victim would not testify. The victim’s initials and the year when the crime is alleged to have taken place are the same in both cases. This time, a Lane County grand jury indicted Bean on two counts of felony sodomy and one count of sex abuse, a misdemeanor, for having sex with a child under the age of 16. Bean pleaded not guilty at his arraignment, which was first reported by KGW-8, and was taken into custody at Lane County jail. In an emailed statement, Bean’s lawyer Derek Ashton said Bean’s accuser only wants money and that this is a continuation “of the 2014 black mail scam” by Bean’s former boyfriend, the accuser and others. “Mr. Bean is the victim and he has paid enough.”

Signs of maturity: Facts and figures for Oregon’s marijuana market, three years in

The Register-Guard

Oregon’s marijuana market is reaching maturity, more than three years into the state’s grand experiment. The once-illegal drug already has brought in more tax money to Oregon than expected. A robust industry has sprouted in Lane County. And marijuana production has led to jobs, hundreds of them in Lane County. These numbers help put pot’s impact, so far, on Oregon and Lane County into perspective: $95 million, amount state collected in pot sales taxes in 2018. In all, Oregon collected $95 million in sales taxes from marijuana sales in fiscal year 2018, said Mazen Malik, the senior economist at the state Legislative Revenue Office, the non-partisan agency that crunches financial data for state lawmakers.

Portland schools plan spending reform, days after state audit lays out shortcomings

Oregonian

A week after the Oregon Secretary of State released a highly critical report of Portland Public Schools, the school board’s audit committee laid out some of the district’s next steps, including plans to swiftly fix what state officials said are bloated expense practices. But committee members didn’t discuss other changes the report called for with more urgency, including the district’s need to retain principals and teachers at schools that serve a concentration of students of color or living in poverty. And board members said they likely can’t make changes to their student discipline policies and procedures until fall 2020. A required 90-day delay to make changes that the teachers union files objections to would prevent them from making changes by the start of next school year, they said. Portland schools are also in the process of hiring two internal auditors, the first of whom district officials interviewed Jan. 9. Hertz said the first auditor should be hired by the next time the audits committee meets.

Wheeler supports Oregon rent control, Portland infill growth plan

Portland Tribune

Mayor Ted Wheeler endorsed the rent control bill to be considered by the 2019 Oregon Legislature and the current Residential Infill Project recommendations at his monthly press conference on Thursday. Although both proposals are controversial, Wheeler said they are necessary to make housing in the city as affordable as possible. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Democratic legislative leaders are currently discussing a bill that would limit future rent increases in Oregon to 7 percent plus inflation in buildings more than 15 years old and prohibit no-cause evictions for tenants who have lived in a house or building for more than a year. Landlord organizations are currently neutral, but individual landlords could oppose it, and some tenant advocates say the allowable increase should be lower.

A Q&A with Rep. Greg Walden before Bend town hall

Bend Bulletin

Greg Walden returns to Bend this Saturday for a town hall in one of the most Democratic-leaning enclaves of his solidly Republican 2nd Congressional District. The GOP lawmaker from Hood River will hold town halls in Madras and Prineville on Sunday. The town halls occur amid a record-breaking federal government shutdown. Walden has been one of a handful of Republicans to vote with Democrats to reopen much of the government. It’s a rare split between Walden and President Donald Trump.During the past two years, Walden supported GOP-led tax cuts, an end to net neutrality, and an attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Now he is in the House minority, which must deal with Democrats in charge of the agenda. Like the April 2017 town hall, Walden’s public appearance Saturday is expected to draw vocal opponents to challenge his record in Congress. The Women’s March in Bend will be Saturday, and some organizers have encouraged marchers to go directly afterward to the town hall. In advance of the town hall, The Bulletin asked Walden about his agenda for the night, his take on his record, and what’s ahead for the next two years. Some of his answers have been edited for the sake of brevity.

LOCAL

Jennifer Brownlee to train for Happy Valley office

Clackamas Review

Jennifer Brownlee of Happy Valley has been accepted into this year’s Emerge Oregon program that trains Democratic women in how to win public office. This year’s Emerge Oregon class is the largest yet at 34, and the seven-month program typically has only taken about 25 women a year since its founding in 2009. “I am honored and excited to join this group of women, and I’m excited to see what the future holds,” Brownlee said. Brownlee, 36, was inspired to enter politics by her mother Sarah (Dunn) Bushore who was on the Beaverton City Council as she was growing up. Brownlee and her husband received a major wakeup call from the 2008 housing crisis, which she says hit her family especially hard. In the past few years, she’s been “terrified by how the political landscape has changed” and says people need to step up and do something about it.

Transportation, housing costs still top Bend concerns

Bend Bulletin

Transportation and housing costs are the top two issues Bend residents want city government to address, according to a statistically valid telephone survey conducted for the city in December. That was borne out Wednesday evening, as representatives from a few dozen city committees, neighborhood associations and community organizations offered advice to the Bend City Council as it prepares to set citywide goals for the next two years. The Neighborhood Leadership Alliance, a new city committee composed of representatives from each neighborhood association, wants to lead a neighborhood traffic safety program. Groups including the Orchard District Neighborhood Association in northeast Bend want to prioritize pedestrian and bicycle access. Bill Caram, chairman of the association, said planned neighborhood greenways are a start, but people want a full system of connected trails and the improved pedestrian facilities promised in plans for the Bend Central District.

Ailing federal Lakeview worker: Government needs to reactivate insurance

The Register-Guard

An ailing U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worker in Oregon said she can’t learn why her federally paid insurance lapsed months ago or get it reinstated because of the partial government shutdown, leaving her scrambling to find a way to pay for nutrients that keep her alive. Jasmine Tool said she only has enough of the formula that she gets through a feeding tube to last through Friday. “If don’t get more, I will begin to starve,” she told The Associated Press on Thursday. The U.S. government has said employees with active insurance will not experience lapses during the shutdown. Tool’s situation is unusual but shows the unexpected ways the shutdown can affect people. Democratic U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon has pointed to Tool’s plight to call for an end to the four-week-long shutdown.

Officials forecast no end to smoky summers

Mail Tribune

With fire seasons growing longer and forests choked with too many trees, fire officials said everyone has to play a role in combating wildfires and smoke. A panel of fire officials briefed the public on issues facing the community during a Thursday night wildfire forum in Medford hosted by state Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland. Oregon Fire Marshal Jim Walker said the fire season used to run from July into September, but is now starting earlier and ending later. Conflagrations that require state resources are bursting out in early June. “If this is the new norm, then we need to come up with new solutions,” Walker said. Greensprings Rural Fire District Chief Gene Davies heads a small volunteer group that tries to protect rural, isolated homes in the forested hills east of Ashland. Volunteers are usually first on the scene. They are seeing more fire starts and more intense wildfires. While many people wonder if Southern Oregon is seeing a new normal, Davies said he actually thinks the fire danger will escalate every year. Oregon Department of Forestry Southern Oregon Area Director Dave Lorenz said five out of the last six fire seasons have been worse than average.

State budget debates affect local purse strings

East Oregonian

In the waning days of spring, school districts across Oregon will likely pass budgets without knowing how much money they’ll receive from their largest source of revenue. In what has become a biennial tradition, districts will pass their annual budgets ahead of the July deadline but before they know how much the Oregon Legislature will allocate toward K-12 education. The Pendleton School District’s director of business services since 2009, Michelle Jones, said it seemed like each legislative session was getting longer. The 2017 session ended on July 7, only three days before the Legislature is constitutionally mandated to conclude business but well after Pendleton passed its budget. After Gov. Kate Brown requested a $2 billion revenue package in her budget proposal, lawmakers could be in for another long session in 2019. Unlike other public agencies that mostly rely on property taxes or service fees for revenue, schools are heavily reliant on the state to pay for staffing and operations. Nearly 68 percent of the Pendleton School District’s general fund, which pays for vital expenditures like teachers, programming, and transportation, comes from state funding in the district’s current budget. For now, school officials are relying on the governor’s budget, which has a $8.97 billion state school fund. Although the final figure the Legislature approves has typically been higher than the governor’s initial proposal, Pendleton Superintendent Chris Fritsch said the district takes a conservative approach when it comes to budgeting.

OPINION

Where there’s no fire, there’s no smoke

Don Skillman

Is a smoke-plagued summer really unavoidable? We cannot prevent summer lightning storms like that of 2018, nor can we be assured that human-caused wildfire ignition, accidental or intentional, will not turn a portion of Southern Oregon’s millions of acres into roaring conflagrations. Increasingly dry and warmer years parch our forests and brush, raising fire susceptibility. What can we do? The loss of hundreds of thousands of acres incurring a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars in our area in 2018 has accelerated schemes, planning, and pilot projects. There is much talk from federal legislators, the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, timber companies, the logging industry, conservationists and local entities. Unfortunately, planning and pilot projects, even if successful, all mature in the distant future. While valuable, these efforts will do little to reduce smoke in 2019, or 2020, or the year and for years after that. What about right now?

January 17, 2019 Daily Clips

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Senators ask FDA to update rules on certain pot products

Associated Press

Oregon’s two senators on Tuesday urged the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to update federal regulations to permit interstate commerce of food products containing a key non-psychoactive ingredient of cannabis. The appeal by Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley came after Congress legalized the production and sale of industrial hemp and hemp derivatives, including cannabidiols, known as CBD. Wyden and Merkley had been behind a hemp provision that Congress passed and was included in the 2018 Farm Bill. But after President Donald Trump signed the bill in December, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb restated his agency’s stance that CBD is a drug ingredient and therefore illegal to add to food or health products without his agency’s approval. The FDA has sent warning letters to some companies making health claims for CBD. CBD oils are increasingly popular in lotions, tinctures and foods. Proponents say CBD offers health benefits, including relieving pain and anxiety. Merkley and Wyden noted that the FDA is operating with limited staff due to the partial federal government shutdown and requested a response within 30 calendar days of the government reopening.

Shutdown puts Lake County woman’s life in jeopardy — Sen. Wyden

Herald and News

Here’s a video of Sen. Ron Wyden’s remarks this afternoon on the Senate floor about the shutdown and its impact on Lake County woman Jasmine Tool, a 30-year-old mother of two, who has an inoperable brain tumor. Wyden relates that Tool, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee, was told her health insurance had lapsed, and only her employer could fix it. With the federal government shutdown, no one is answering the phones, and there is no solution in sight. Tool, who has an impaired digestive system due to her cancer, survives on nutritional supplement infusions, provided through a home health worker. She has been told her home health worker couldn’t help her if she didn’t have insurance, and she therefore won’t be able to get the infusions she needs to stay alive.

Full-court press is on for Umatilla County jail upgrade

East Oregonian

Rep. Greg Smith plans to bring his deal-making magic to fund the Umatilla County Jail’s $1.6 million mental health remodel. “That’s my No. 1 priority,” Smith said on Tuesday. He’s not the only one who has made it a top priority. Umatilla County Commissioner George Murdock said a group comprised of Umatilla County, the city of Pendleton, Blue Mountain Community College and other local organizations is also pushing for jail renovation funding, in addition to BMCC’s Blue Mountain Regional Training Center project, which is already featured in Gov. Kate Brown’s budget proposal. Smith said this session, he is working on lining up money from the right fund for the project. Mental health is a statewide issue, he said, and public safety personnel need the tools to deal with people in a crisis. Smith represents District 57, and the Pendleton jail is in District 58, which Republican Greg Barreto of Cove represents. But Smith said the mental health needs in Umatilla and Morrow counties transcend boundaries and affect his district as well as others. State Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena, and Barreto also support the project. Smith said Rowan has taken the lead for why the renovation matters, and it shows.

Gene Whisnant reflects on 15 years as lawmaker

KTVZ

After 15 years and four months in office, Gene Whisnant has retired as state representative for Oregon House District 53. “I wasn’t able to make peace in the world, and wasn’t able to save a lot of Oregon issues but I am proud of the things I did do. Made small steps toward making Oregon better and the quality of life for Oregonians better. And I’m proud of that,” Whisnant said Wednesday. Whisnant is passing the torch to newly sworn-in Rep. Jack Zika. “I will miss it, but it’s time to give the train over to someone else,” Whisnant said. Whisnant’s achievements include passing the Oregon Transparency Website bill. This created a website with information about state agency revenues, spending and contracting and more. Last year, he co-sponsored a bill with Rep. Mike McLane to give tuition assistance to National Guard members. The piece of advice Whisnant had for everyone looking to make a change is to get involved and speak with your representative face to face.

Sources: PPS audit inspires unusual alliance

Portland Tribune

Plus, Merkley struggles for recognition and I-5 tolling is tied to the controversial Rose Quarter project. Even before the Secretary of State’s Office released its recent audit criticizing Portland Public Schools, some elected officials were suggesting it was “political.” By that they meant the audit, done under the supervision of Republican Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, raises questions about the Democratic plans to increase business taxes for more school spending during the upcoming 2019 Oregon Legislature. But the politics took on a different tone when the audit team released its findings during a Jan. 9 news conference. It emphasized how PPS has historically shortchanged minority students by assigning the best teachers and principals to schools in the richest parts of town. Despite the national media attention Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley has received for his repeated visits to migrant camps near the U.S.-Mexico border, he is not making the current media lists of top Democratic candidates for president. Will most of Interstate 5 through Portland be tolled to pay for improvements in the Rose Quarter area? The federal government says federal law “likely” allows I-5 to be tolled for that project because it is intended to reduce congestion and improve safety where I-5 and Interstate 84 merge in a series of tight and confusing interchanges. But the No More Freeway Expansion Coalition is continuing to fight the project, which is tentatively supported by the Oregon Legislature and the City Council, pending the final design.

Wildfire summit: Officials on the hot seat

Mail Tribune

Officials from local, state and federal fire protection agencies will discuss how to protect communities during a wildfire forum from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17. The free event is at the Smullin Health Education Center, located at E. 2825 Barnett St. on the Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center campus in Medford. Officials will share their insights, experiences and recommendations for community protection. Residents can learn how firefighting agencies are preparing to defend communities as the 2019 fire season approaches, according to state Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland, who called for the forum. Speakers will include Oregon Department of Forestry Southern Oregon Area Director Dave Lorenz, Oregon State Fire Marshal Jim Walker and Ashland Fire & Rescue Division Chief Chris Chambers. Attendance by Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Supervisor Merv George is uncertain due to the federal government shutdown.

LOCAL

Baseball project announces ‘charter’ investors

Portland Tribune

Backers commit to bringing Major League Baseball team to Portland, including building stadium in Northwest Portland. The group working to bring a Major League Baseball team to Portland released a list of its charter investors Wednesday evening. The Portland Diamond Project said that, to date, the group comprises 12 families funding the project. “These individuals’ early involvement and belief in PDP stem from personal passion for both the game of baseball and their community,” PDP founder and CEO Craig Cheek said. “Very early on, they recognized the unique opportunity we have to leave a legacy for the City of Portland that extends far beyond the foul lines.” The organization has acquired the rights to redevelop the underused Terminal 2 from the Port of Portland in Northwest Portland for a stadium. The cost is estimated at $1 billion. Although the 2003 Oregon Legislature approved taxing team salaries to support $150 million in bonds for the stadium, some legislators want to repeal that.

Flawed Estimates Force Beaverton Into School Budget Cuts

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The good news is filling Beaverton’s multi-million dollar hole should avoid teacher layoffs or ending the school year early. The bad news is it’s hard to slash as much as $12 million in the middle of an academic year, without affecting key services for students. And even the list of budget cuts the district is pursuing won’t completely close the projected gap. Beaverton’s budget gap largely stems from flawed estimates district officials made last spring, as they prepared spending plans for the 2018-19 school year. It’s part of an annual forecast that every district in Oregon has to do, which estimates revenue they’ll get based on student enrollment and costs they’ll face based on staffing. Beaverton officials said they were off on both figures for this school year.

Could Zoning Change Shield Bend >From Wildfire?

Oregon Public Broadcasting

As people move into Central Oregon in droves, they’re driving up the odds wildfire will strike populated areas. It’s a problem Deschutes County is trying to address through zoning changes. This week, county commissioners approved a designation to require fire-resistant, low density construction on the west side of Bend. The idea is to put a long, carefully planned buffer between one of Oregon’s fastest growing cities and the pine forest routinely burning around it. The nonprofit advocacy group championed the Westside Transect Zone, which will allow about 10 times fewer homes to be developed along Tumalo Creek than previous code would have permitted. The zone change also requires certain building materials, landscaping in perpetuity and evacuation planning.

Eugene seeks ban on single-use plastic, Styrofoam containers

The Register-Guard

Eugene residents, your days of carrying out restaurant leftovers and takeout in throwaway plastic containers may be numbered. It also may take a bit more work to snag a plastic straw. City councilors took a first step Wednesday toward banning or regulating single-use plastic and Styrofoam items that are a mainstay of convenience at restaurants and grocery stores. But that convenience comes at an environmental cost as many of those throwaway items — also including plastic utensils and stirrers — end up littering parks, beaches and oceans, city officials said. Eugene is poised to follow in the footsteps of other cities like Portland that have restricted the availability of single-use containers. Councilor Emily Semple, who is championing the proposal, said she is seeking an even bolder initiative. The proposal is the third majority initiative that city councilors are seriously considering with the new year barely underway. On Monday, they moved both a proposed construction excise tax and a panhandling limit to public hearings. The proposed ordinance on the table would prohibit caterers, grocery stores, restaurants and nonprofit food servers from providing plastic straws, except upon request, as well as barring them from serving or packaging food or drinks in items made of polystyrene or other single-use plastics.

Albany board backs teachers in asking for state funds

Corvallis Gazette-Times

The Greater Albany Public School District Board of Directors voted unanimously Monday night to support a resolution asking the Oregon Legislature to increase state school funding. The resolution was proposed by the district’s teacher’s union.Sue McGrory, the union’s president, told the board that teachers do the best they can with limited resources, but students are still being left behind. The biggest key to student success, she said, is having more adults in the school, which requires more funding. The resolution includes statements about the state of Oregon schools, which McGrory touched upon in her remarks to the board. Oregon has some of the largest average class sizes in the nation, she said, plus one of the shortest school years and lowest on-time graduation rates in the nation. Russ Allen, the district’s business manager, explained that the district sold all its bond debt at one time, and then it temporarily invested that money until it can be spent on facilities projects. He said the district had initially expected to generate about $3 million this way, which was included in the bond’s budget. However, Woodring told the board the district is now expected to generate about $5.6 million from interest on the invested bond funds.

Portland Socialist Feminists to Hold #MeToo Speak-Out Saturday on Day of National Women’s March

Willamette Week

As protesters around the nation prepare to rally on Saturday for the third annual National Women’s March, a group of socialist feminists will be hosting a #MeToo speak-out in Portland. Individuals with the Democratic Socialists of America, International Socialist Organization and Socialist Alternative say the event is “an opportunity for attendees to take the mic and share their personal experiences with sexual assault, bigotry and gender-based oppression.” In a statement today, organizers credit the #MeToo movement for empowering people to come forward with their stories of sexual abuse, and say “now it’s time to take the next steps.” While the event takes place on the same day as the National Women’s March, it isn’t officially affiliated. The activist movements surrounding that national event—once one of the largest protest movements against President Donald Trump—have frayed significantly over the past two years.   

OPINION

Opinion: Behind-the-scenes of the broken Wolf Plan process

Quinn Read, Amaroq Weiss, Sean Stevens and Nick Cady

When the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission meets in March, the group will consider proposed revisions to our state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. But the proposal before the commission is the outcome of a biased, superficial and unscientific stakeholder process. Last week, conservation organizations withdrew from that flawed undertaking. This was not an easy decision. But when the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife unveiled a proposal that lowered the bar for killing wolves, ignored practical solutions to reduce conflict and maintained a hotly contested provision that invites trophy hunting, we decided that continued participation in these meetings was pointless. Further engagement would go against our conservation missions and make us complicit in an agency-driven agenda to kill more wolves, faster. This isn’t just about wolves. Every Oregonian who cares about good governance and ensuring that our state agencies and commissions are held accountable to the public should pay close attention.

Readers respond: Why should Congress receive pay?

Gary Martin

I would like to see federal legislation placing all elected members of Congress into a work-without-pay status for any period during which they fail to figure out a way to keep the federal government funded. Such legislation should also prohibit their retroactively granting any salary to themselves for this period. They may not be able to similarly impact the president’s salary, due to separation of powers, but they should be able to take this step to impact their own. We might expect fewer or shorter shutdowns.

Greg Walden releases town hall schedule for week of January 21

UPDATED: Greg Walden releases revised town hall schedule for week of January 21

Due to changes in the calendar for the House of Representatives announced yesterday by Democratic leadership, Representative Greg Walden released a revised town hall schedule for the week of January 21, 2019. 

With the House scheduled to be in session beginning Tuesday, January 22, Representative Walden will need to be present in Washington, D.C. for votes in the House. 

The House of Representatives was scheduled to be out of session the week of January 21 when Walden first announced his town hall schedule for January. 

“It is disappointing that the Democratic Leader made last minute scheduling changes in the House that interfere with my town hall schedule as it currently stands,” said Walden. “We will reschedule the town halls impacted by the revised House calendar next week and will announce the details for those town halls as soon as we can.” 

Town halls originally scheduled for Baker, Wallowa, Union, Umatilla, Morrow, Gilliam, Hood River, and Wasco counties the week of January 21 will be rescheduled for later dates and announced accordingly. 

Details for Walden’s revised town hall schedule are included below: 

Friday, January 18, 2019 

What: Josephine County Town Hall Meeting
When: 8:30a.m. PT
Where: Grants Pass High School Auditorium, 830 NE 9th St., Grants Pass, 97526 

What: Jackson County Town Hall Meeting
When: 11:00a.m.  PT
Where: Central Medford High School Auditorium, 815 S Oakdale Ave., Medford, 97501 

What: Klamath County Town Hall Meeting
When: 3:30p.m.  PT
Where: OIT College Union Auditorium, 3201 Campus Dr. Klamath Falls, 97601 

Saturday, January 19, 2019 

What: Deschutes County Town Hall Meeting
When: 2:30pm  PT
Where: Mountain View High School Auditorium, 2755 NE 27th St. Bend, 97701 

Sunday, January 20, 2019 

What: Jefferson County Town Hall Meeting
When: 11:00a.m. PT    
Where: Jefferson County Senior Center, 860 SW Madison, Madras, 97741 

What: Crook County Town Hall Meeting
When: 2:00p.m. PT
Where: Crook County High School, 1100 SE Lynn Blvd. Prineville, 97754 

Monday, January 21, 2019 

What: Harney County Town Hall Meeting
When: 9:00a.m. PT    
Where: Harney County Fairgrounds, Memorial Building 69660 S Egan Ave, Burns, 97720 

What: Malheur County Town Hall Meeting
When: 2:30p.m. MT
Where: TVCC Four Rivers Cultural Center, Owyhee/Snake River Rooms, 676 SW 5th Ave, Ontario, 97914 

Subject: January 16, 2019 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

Federal Shutdown Nixes Anti-Harassment Training For Oregon Lawmakers, Staff

Oregon Public Broadcasting

As the partial federal government shutdown cruised toward a 26th day, add anti-harassment training for Oregon legislators and Capitol staff to the list of casualties. State senators Tuesday morning were scheduled to undergo the training on “Leading For Respect,” as part of a slate of programming aimed at achieving a better workplace culture. Legislative staff were scheduled to attend a talk on preventing and reporting harassment. State representatives and their staffs planned to attend the seminars Wednesday. The problem: The training is run by employees of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which has been closed under the shutdown. “Irony is when the Oregon Legislature’s new and improved workplace harassment training is canceled because of the Trump federal Government shutdown,” state Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, tweeted on Monday.

At a glance: Federal shutdown in Lane County

The Register-Guard

Federal employees working without pay during the shutdown, such as air traffic controllers and Transportation Security Administration workers at airports, are not eligible for unemployment benefits through the state, said David Gerstenfeld, the Oregon Unemployment Insurance Division director. There are 29,189 federal employees in the state of Oregon and about 9,558 of those employees work in federal agencies affected by the shutdown, according to Governing, a magazine for local and state government officials. Gerstenfeld said since the start of the shutdown 1,900 federal employees in Oregon have applied for state unemployment benefits. That compares to just under 450 federal employees who applied for unemployment benefits with the state over the same time period last year. Northwest Community Credit Union is one of thousands of credit unions, banks, credit card and loan companies across the nation working with federal employees to help them pay their bills during the shutdown, according to the Credit Union National Association. Northwest already has helped at least 20 federal employees with small, short-term loans, reduced loan payments or deferred loan payments, said Jan Griffin, NWCU senior director of branches.

Shutdown has mixed impact in mid-valley

Corvallis Gazette-Times

As the partial government shutdown roll into its fourth week, many federal offices and facilities around the mid-valley are closed to the public or operating at reduced levels. Offices of the Willamette National Forest, including the Springfield headquarters and the Sweet Home Ranger Station, are also closed. Technically, Forest Service recreation sites are also closed, although most remain accessible to the public at their own risk and without access to facilities including restrooms, according to a statement from the service’s parent agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Other USDA operations expected to be closed by the shutdown include county Farm Service Agency offices such as the one in Tangent, although the Natural Resources Conservation Service office at the same location was slated to keep operating, the statement said. Likewise, Market Facilitation Program payments will keep coming in for agricultural producers who have already certified production with the Farm Service Agency.

Federal workers take on odd jobs to make ends meet

Associated Press

When her paychecks dried up because of the partial government shutdown, Cheryl Inzunza Blum sought out a side job that has become a popular option in the current economy: She rented out a room on Airbnb. Other government workers are driving for Uber, relying on word-of-mouth and social networks to find handyman work and looking for traditional temp gigs to help pay the bills during the longest shutdown in U.S. history. The hundreds of thousands of out-of-work government employees have more options than in past shutdowns given the rise of the so-called “gig economy” that has made an entire workforce out of people doing home vacation rentals and driving for companies like Uber, Lyft and Postmates.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

As Bend’s new House member, Helt hopes to find middle way

Bend Bulletin

Cheri Helt finds herself in the middle a lot these days. She ran as a middle-­of-the-road Republican, winning House District 54, which is both geographically and politically near the middle of the state. Now she finds herself in the middle of what promises to be one of the most contentious sessions of the Legislature in recent memory. Helt is a moderate in an increasingly conservative Republican caucus, which itself is dwarfed by the Democrats’ 38-22 supermajority in the House. Helt still believes she can get things done, even if politically, she is a minority within a minority. “My hope is we have a very bipartisan session,” Helt said. “I am very excited to work with anybody regardless of party.” Helt spoke Monday in her new Capitol office after being sworn into office for a two-year term. The legislative session formally begins Tuesday. Helt said she is optimistic she will be able to work with Democrats on her goals, which center on education. She’s been named vice-chair of the House Education Committee and a member of the Joint Committee on Student Success. Helt hopes political discussions will move beyond the “D” for Democrat and “R” for Republican partisanship.

A Hearing Aid For Each Ear, Under New Oregon Health Plan Policy

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Oregon Health Authority has changed is policy on hearing aids. Low-income patients can now get two aids, instead of just one. Up to now, the Oregon Health Plan had limited patients to one hearing aid every five years. They can be expensive, costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars. The change came at the urging of Rep. Rick Lewis, R-Silverton, a retired police officer, including a 28-year tenure as Silverton’s police chief. He asked the state to change the rules because people with one hearing aid can feel like sound is only coming from one direction. “When people lose hearing in one ear, they typically lose it in both,” said Lewis. “If they have one hearing aid most sound comes from one direction.” The Oregon Health Authority researched the possible effects of the change Rep. Lewis suggested, and state health officials agreed.

Everything You Need to Know About a Rent Control Bill That Oregon’s Power Brokers in Salem Have Lined Up Behind

Willamette Week

Statewide rent control in Oregon—a concept that terrifies landlords and some economists—appears set to sail through the Legislature. Senate Bill 608, which would limit rent increases and bar no-cause evictions after a tenant’s first year in a building, has powerful sponsorship from House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) and Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick (D-Portland). On Jan. 14, the bill received the endorsement of Gov. Kate Brown. “We also need to help Oregonians who have homes but are struggling with the high cost of rent,” Brown said in her inaugural address. “We can help landlords and tenants navigate this tight housing market. Speaker Kotek and Sen. Burdick have innovative proposals that will give renters some peace of mind.” With super majorities in both chambers, Democrats are confident the legislation—which would make Oregon the first state to enact statewide rent control—will move forward.

Wyden to hold town-hall meetings Friday, Saturday

Corvallis Gazette-Times

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden will hold a pair of town-hall meetings Friday and Saturday in the mid-valley. Wyden will hold his Benton County meeting at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Monroe High School’s new gym, 365 N. Fifth St. in Monroe. On Saturday, Wyden will hold his Linn County meeting at 3 p.m. at the Russell Tripp Performance Center at Linn-Benton Community College, 6500 Pacific Blvd. SW in Albany. (The best access will be off Allen Lane.) They’re the first two stops in a series of 12 Wyden town halls that will wrap up on Jan. 26. Wyden, a Democrat, has promised to hold at least one town hall annually in each of the state’s 36 counties.

SENATE BILL 501

Oregon Legislature Takes Aim At 2nd Amendment

Klamath Falls News

Salem. Ore – Today, Oregon’s legislators return to Salem to prepare for the 2019 session. In their email inboxes, they will find Oregonians have already begun to react to proposed firearms-related bills. House Republican Leader Carl Wilson minced no words after review of SB 501: “It’s clear we Second Amendment supporters have another existential struggle on our hands,” Wilson said. “Folks need to contact the sponsors, because the result of this bill will be to criminalize the average, gun-owning Oregonian.” “No camouflage can mask this unconscionable move to disarm Oregon’s law-abiding citizens. I will not compromise on the Second Amendment. Using our own vulnerable and impressionable, yet immature, children as human shields to mask this lawless effort is immoral and highly disconcerting. The same people who place no value on the lives of the unborn, claim that Republicans, who don’t join in with the gun-grabbers, don’t care about life. This is a complete distortion of reality. Namely, Oregonians need to rise up and put a stop to the Democrats’ attempts to commit violence to the Constitution and endanger their lives. ” — Senator Dennis Linthicum, District 28 Klamath Falls
“The right to bear arms ensures our liberties and our families are protected. However, Portland-area Democrats have written a radical gun-control proposal for 2019 Session that will make it harder for law-abiding Oregonians to purchase firearms and ammunition. Gun control laws by their very nature only work if people are willing to obey, which restricts law-abiding citizens. Gun control helps the lawless. I stand against this bill and I will continue to support the Second Amendment,” — Rep. E. Werner Reschke, House District 56
“I plan to vote NO on the bill.” — Rep. Mike McLane, House District 55

Controversial bill would limit ammunition, require permits to buy guns in Oregon

KPTV

A new gun-safety bill is expected to work its way through the Oregon legislature this session. The possible changes include strengthening the requirements needed to get a get permit, as well as limiting how much ammunition can be purchased in a 30-day window. Senate Bill 501 is already drawing some backlash from run-rights groups, who are calling the measure an attack on the Second Amendment. Legislators who are sponsoring the bill say it will make common-sense changes to keep Oregonians safe. Similar gun-safety measures have been proposed in recent years but have failed to get on a ballot.

If passed, Senate Bill 501 would make Oregon gun laws among strictest in the country Ben Botkin, Salem Statesman Journal

Statesman Journal

A bill that would increase firearm regulations in Oregon is a reminder that states have vastly different gun laws. In Idaho, for example, you can purchase a gun from a private owner without going through a background check. In Oregon, background checks are required for all sales.  The bill proposed to appear in the Legislature this year would require Oregonians to obtain a permit before buying a gun, limit the amount of ammunition a person could buy, outlaw magazines with a capacity of more than five rounds, and create gun locking and storage requirements. If passed, Senate Bill 501 would make Oregon’s firearms regulations among the strictest in the U.S. Compared to most other western states, Oregon already has stricter gun laws.

LOCAL

New faces, old problems in frontier emergency response

East Oregonian

If your car drives off the road, your house catches fire, or your ex is pounding too loudly on your door in Wheeler County, know this: It’s likely to be a long time before help arrives. Currently, a four-person sheriff’s office patrols the rural county in north-central Oregon. Yet a system of volunteer firefighters and EMTs, in place for more than a generation in the county, is in danger of collapse. The number of volunteer firefighters has dropped by more than half since the lumber mill in Fossil closed more than 20 years ago, taking with it most of the local economy and much of the population. The regional emergency dispatch center in nearby Condon is down three positions. To cover, dispatchers have been working 12-hour shifts for nearly a year. There are no city police departments in Wheeler County and no Oregon State Police troopers are based there, though some can respond from neighboring jurisdictions many miles away.

Group discusses wolf kills, deterrent tactics

Herald and News

In a Tuesday morning meeting, the Klamath County Wolf Depredation Advisory Committee discussed the October wolf killing of four calves in the Fort Klamath area. Three of the calves belonged to DeTar Livestock of Dixon, Calif., and were killed on land owned by Bill Nicholson. The other belonged to Roger Nicholson and was killed on his land. Tom Collum, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Klamath Falls District biologist, said ODFW confirmed wolves in the Rogue pack killed the calves. He said more than one wolf was likely involved in the killing. The advisory committee, tasked with distributing state wolf depredation funds to farmers and ranchers, did not make a compensation decision regarding DeTar Livestock’s and Roger Nicholson’s cases. Committee member Lyndon Kerns said they would likely discuss compensation at a meeting within a few months. Kerns estimated each calf, 550- to 650-pounds, had a market value of about $1,000, which would be returned to the livestock owners. The committee also authorized funds from their current grant cycle for extra crackers shells — noise-makers shot from 12-gauge pistols to deter wolf activity. Collum said the cracker-shells would be stockpiled for later use. The committee agreed that funds from their next state grant cycle, which Collum said would begin in April or May, would be used to purchase inflatable dancing tube men as often seen in car dealership parking lots.

Hardesty speaks out against white male City Council protesters

Portland Tribune

Two weeks after becoming the first African-American woman to serve on the City Council, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty is speaking out against a small group of white males who frequently disrupt council hearings. “This behavior limits access to those entering this building for the very first time or for those who are new to the political process. This is not the spirit of speaking up for civic change that is the heart of activism,” Hardesty said in a statement released early Wednesday that she read at the start of the Jan. 16 council meeting. In the statement, Hardesty accused the men of using their “privilege” to disrupt the proceedings without adding anything of value to the issues the council is considering. As a result, Hardesty says, many other Portlanders are afraid to come to council meetings, especially parents with young children.

NATIONAL

Judge bars citizenship question from 2020 census

Associated Press

A federal judge blocked the Trump administration Tuesday from asking about citizenship status on the 2020 census, the first major ruling in cases contending officials ramrodded the question through for Republican political purposes to intentionally undercount immigrants. In a 277-page decision that won’t be the final word on the issue, Judge Jesse M. Furman ruled that while such a question would be constitutional, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner and violated the law. The ruling came in cases in which 18 states, the District of Columbia, 15 big cities or counties, and immigrants’ rights groups argued that the Commerce Department, which designs the census, failed to properly analyze the effect that the question would have on households with immigrants. The constitutionally mandated census is supposed to count all people living in the U.S., including noncitizens and immigrants living in the country illegally. The administration faces an early summer deadline for finalizing questions so questionnaires can be printed.

OPINION

My View: Stand in solidarity with women at Capitol

Kevin Frazier and Pablo Nieves-Valenzuela

The men who work in our state’s halls of power, including administrative staff, lobbyists and elected officials, need to step up. We need to recognize how our actions as well as our failure to take action affect the safety and well-being of the women who work with us every day. You can’t be what you can’t see. For many decades, Oregon public officials have attested to their commitment to protecting victims of sexual harassment. They made promises to stem the sorts of behaviors that demean, belittle and discriminate. The recent report issued by the Bureau of Labor and Industry — under the administration of now former-Commissioner Brad Avakian — makes clear that these words and pledges are not enough to create the cultural change we need to prevent sexual violence in the Capitol. The men who work in our state’s halls of power, including administrative staff, lobbyists and elected officials, need to step up. We need to recognize how our actions as well as our failure to take action affect the safety and well-being of the women who work with us every day. The report surely has its share of skewed information, but the underlying stories demand substantive changes to Salem’s culture.

Readers respond: Build the wall

Larry Moylett

Did we not hear former Vice President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi advocate for border security in the past? What changed? Oh, it was Donald Trump being elected and the block-anything-Trump-or-the-Republicans-propose strategy was placed into action. I suppose the United States should adopt the city of Portland’s position to provide for all, regardless of legal status. The wall/barrier — or whatever you want to call it — is for all U.S. citizens to be safe from illegal intruders. Get in line and apply if you want to live in the United States and be able to sustain yourself and your family. Build the wall, Mr. President.

Readers respond: We deserve better

Erika Giles

It’s outrageous the government shutdown has continued for more than three weeks with no end in sight. President Donald Trump is staking his political future on a $5.7 billion border wall that experts say would not resolve most immigration problems — and one that he repeatedly promised would be paid for by Mexico. Republicans, most of whom seem to travel in lockstep with him regardless of whether his ideas make any sense, are of no help. Democrats have floated ideas for separating the shutdown from the border wall issue and have been rebuffed. So federal workers aren’t receiving paychecks, our national parks are getting trashed and our air traffic control system is threatened, to name just a few of the cascading ill effects. Yet those who are supposedly leading us continue to collect their paychecks while accomplishing absolutely nothing. We, the people, deserve better.

January 7, 2019 Daily Clips

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

Capitol roundup: Tumultuous start of new year in Salem and D.C.

The Bend Bulletin

The Legislature will start meeting the day after the ­Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Usually lawmakers don’t go to business in Salem until February. But a law passed last year moved the start earlier so the odd-numbered-year “long session” can wrap up by June 30. In 2017, the session spilled over into the July 4 holiday, much to the consternation of many lawmakers in both parties.

Majority of Oregon elected executive offices will be held by women, first time in history

KATU

When Oregon’s next labor commissioner is sworn in, the state’s governor and attorney general, both women, will be administering the oath of office. It’s significant, Gov. Kate Brown noted on Friday, because Labor Commissioner-elect Val Hoyle is also a woman. “For the first time in Oregon history, a majority of statewide elected executive offices will be held by women,” Brown’s office said in a statement.

Oregon Rent Increases Will Be Capped at 7 Percent Plus Inflation, Under the Concept for a New Tenant Protections Bill

Willamette Week

Oregon rent increases could be capped at 7 percent, plus inflation, under landmark tenant legislation to be considered this session by the Legislature. A document obtained by WW, which includes concepts for the legislation, also contains what may be a more significant provision: Banning no-cause eviction notices after the first year a tenant lives in a unit. The bill, which will introduced in the Oregon Senate, is sponsored by Majority Leader Ginny Burdick (D-Portland), House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) and Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-Gresham), “[Senate President] Peter Courtney intends to sign on,” says Rick Osborn, a spokesman for the Senate Democrats. “It shows a strong commitment from Senate leadership to this.”

The vast divide between urban and rural in the state may not change any time soon

The Bend Bulletin

In the Eastern Oregon region, 56 percent were registered Democrats. Each region of the state was at least 50 percent Democrat. But, Republican Tom McCall handily won the 1966 gubernatorial election with more than 55 percent of the vote, losing only three counties. More than 50 years later, Oregon’s political landscape has changed dramatically — and the urban-rural divide couldn’t be more apparent. Multnomah County is more liberal than ever with 71 percent of voters registered as Democrats. Eastern Oregon has gone the opposite way, with only 41 percent of voters registered as Democrats. Democrat Kate Brown won re-election by more than 7 percent statewide, but she was chosen by only seven of Oregon’s 36 counties. What once was only a 3 percent political registration gap between Eastern Oregon and Multnomah County has now skyrocketed to more than 30 percent.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Speaker Kotek vows to act following report detailing poor response to sexual abuse, but says report was rushed

Salem Reporter

Kotek said she has always acted swiftly and seriously on allegations in the House. She doesn’t agree with the portrait the BOLI report painted of her and Courtney, but said they will work to protect Capitol workers. “This is a really important issue,” she said. “I don’t want anyone feeling unsafe in the Capitol.” “I frankly wish he did more work,” Kotek said. “His investigation was very limited and based on a few sources. I don’t know why he didn’t take more time. Maybe it had something to do with him leaving.” Going forward, Kotek said time will tell whether she and Courtney can build back any respect lost by their caucuses. But she also saw a silver lining in the airing of the Capitol’s darker side. “If there is any upside to this conversation, it is now front and center in a really public way,” she said. “This is going to help us move forward.”

House Speaker Tina Kotek Apologizes, and Explains Her Reference to Sen. Sara Gelser’s “Likeability”

Willamette Week

In the report, Gelser recounted a conversation she’d had with Kotek, in which she said Kotek told her that Gelser’s allegations against Kruse were complicated by Gelser’s “likeability.” “She’s like, people don’t like you and I was talking to a Republican today and they’re like, you know, this would be a problem but [Gelser]’s just not very likeable,” Gelser told BOLI. The issue of whether female politicians are “likeable” became a major issue in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns, and the word is often code for denigrating behavior for which male politicians are praised or at least not criticized. When U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) announced her candidacy for president earlier this week, Politico drew heavy fire for immediately commenting on her “likeability.” Today, Kotek issued a statement apologizing to Gelser and, as she did yesterday, taking issue with other parts of Avakian’s report.

Oregon Speaker Says Harassment Report ‘Disturbing’ But Incomplete

Oregon Public Broadcasting

“I do think when you see everything listed together, it’s a disturbing picture of things,” Kotek told OPB. “But I also know that we’ve dealt with each one of the cases individually through our existing process.” The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) issued the report on Thursday concluding legislative leaders knew about substantial sexual harassment happening in the state Capitol and didn’t do enough to stop the behavior. Kotek questioned the thoroughness of the investigation. “I was expecting something that was a little bit more comprehensive. I don’t think it was a complete investigation at the end of the day,” she said. “I mean the labor commissioner didn’t even interview me, so I’m not sure it actually covered everything he wanted to cover in terms of providing a balanced perspective on all the viewpoints.”

Hernandez: BOLI report threw East County lawmaker ‘under the bus’

Portland Tribune

When state Rep. Diego Hernandez heard a rumor in May 2017 accusing him of keeping a list ranking women lobbyists at the Oregon Capitol by attractiveness, he asked legislative attorneys to investigate. After interviewing 21 staffers and others, legislative attorneys found no evidence that such a list ever existed, according to a Sept. 15, 2017, letter from Deputy Legislative Counsel Jessica Santiago. Yet the unsubstantiated claim was included in a bombshell report issued Jan. 3 by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries accusing legislative leaders of ignoring prevalent sexual harassment at the Capitol. The report resulted from a complaint that Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian filed with his own agency on behalf of legislative staffers and interns who said they were the victims of sexual harassment. “As a victim of harassment in my freshman year in the Legislature, I feel thrown under the bus by Brad Avakian,” Hernandez said in a phone interview Friday, Jan. 4.

NATION & WORLD

Ginsburg missing Supreme Court arguments for 1st time

The Associated Press

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is missing arguments for the first time in more than 25 years as she recuperates from cancer surgery last month, the Supreme Court said. Ginsburg was not on the bench as the court met Monday to hear arguments. It was not clear when she would return to the court, which will hear more cases on Tuesday and Wednesday, and again next week. Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said the 85-year-old justice is continuing to recuperate and work from home after doctors removed two cancerous growths from her left lung on Dec. 21. Ginsburg was discharged from a New York hospital on Dec. 25. Chief Justice John Roberts said in the courtroom Monday that Ginsburg would participate in deciding the argued cases “on the basis of the briefs and transcripts of oral arguments.”

Syria withdrawal waiting on ‘conditions’

The Associated Press

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, said Sunday the U.S. military withdrawal from northeastern Syria is conditioned on defeating the remnants of the Islamic State group, and on Turkey assuring the safety of Kurdish fighters allied with the United States. Bolton, who traveled to Israel to reassure the U.S. ally of the Trump-ordered withdrawal, said there is no timetable for the pullout of American forces in northeastern Syria, but insisted it’s not an unlimited commitment. “There are objectives that we want to accomplish that condition the withdrawal,” Bolton said. “The timetable flows from the policy decisions that we need to implement.”

White House Adds To List Of Border Demands As Shutdown Continues

Oregon Public Broadcasting

With the partial government shutdown in its third week, White House officials and congressional leaders again failed to make progress toward a resolution during talks on Sunday. In the latest proposal put before the House Appropriations Committee, President Trump remains steadfast in his request for $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall with Mexico. NPR’s John Burnett reports, “The White House is asking for 234 miles of steel barrier, which works out to about $24 million a mile.” However, in what could be read as a gesture to appease Democrats, the Trump administration is now offering $800 million in aid to address humanitarian needs at the border, including better medical care and additional facilities for processing and holding those in temporary custody considered to be the most “vulnerable population.” In a PowerPoint presentation, the White House states that 50 migrants per day are referred to medical providers.

Wyden: Let politicians use campaign funds for cybersecurity

Portland Tribune

Wyden will introduce legislation this year to allow U.S. political candidates and lawmakers to use campaign funds to fund cybersecurity of their personal and political accounts and devices. In mid-December, the Federal Elections Commission gave Wyden the green light to use campaign money for what would otherwise be considered a personal expense. Under old federal election rules, candidates could not use campaign funds for most “personal” expenses. “In 2017, the FEC recognized that elected officials face heightened physical security threats and permitted the use of campaign funds to protect against those threats,” Wyden said. “Given the growing cybersecurity threats posed by foreign governments hacking the personal accounts and devices of elected officials, it is common sense to permit these same funds to be spent on cybersecurity as well.”

HEALTHCARE

Public gets sneak peek at Oregon Health Plan’s future

Portland Tribune

If you are a health advocate, and Oregon Health Plan member, or a contracts lawyer, then you have a chance to help the state get the details right of how it spends billions in coming years. Oregon on Friday kicked off the biggest bout of contracting in state history and at the same time allowed the first detailed public look at how –for years to come– it intends to administer the multibillion-dollar program. The OHP provides health care to one in four Oregonians, the most needy among us, using private-sector firms that operate like insurance companies. Even if you’re not among the low-income people served by the program, you’re probably helping pay for it. In 2017 state coffers provided $2.3 billion of the Oregon Health Plan’s $8.4 billion in overall spending. The state disclosed for public comment the draft solicitation that will offer companies and nonprofits a five-year pact to oversee a portion of the privatized Oregon Health Plan, with the opportunity to comment closing on Jan. 14. The move is about more than a contract. It signals the potential to further Oregon’s quest to improve care while also saving money, the goal of legislative reforms in 2011 and 2012.

WOLVES

Environmentalists Withdraw From ‘Broken’ Oregon Wolf Plan Negotiations

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Environmental groups have withdrawn from an effort to update Oregon’s plan for managing gray wolves days before a final meeting of stakeholders, throwing the future of negotiations over wolf management and protections into question. Ranchers, hunters and wolf conservation advocates have been in talks with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife over an update to the rules governing the protection and management of the state’s wolf population, including when and how wolves can be killed. But Oregon Wild, Defenders of Wildlife, Cascadia Wildlands and the Center for Biological Diversity are now pulling out of the process and plan to oppose the state’s plan, according to a joint letter filed with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s office. “We feel the process is so broken and the plan is so bad that there really isn’t a purpose for us to show up to this next meeting,” said Oregon Wild Executive Director Sean Stevens. “We know the direction they’re trying to go and it’s not trying to find an honest consensus around the plan.”

LOCAL

Portland Mayor’s Chief of Staff Michael Cox Has Resigned

Willamette Week

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s chief of staff Michael Cox has resigned, four sources in and close to City Hall tell WW. Cox led the mayor’s office for six months and been on Wheeler’s staff for more than four years, including during his tenure as Oregon treasurer. It was not immediately clear what triggered Cox’s departure. The mayor faced blistering reviews of his first two years in office. Among other matters, Wheeler has faced criticism for the staffing of his office. Last month, Cox disclosed a relationship with a subordinate in the mayor’s office—but Wheeler changed the organizational arrangement of his office to accommodate that relationship.

OPINION

Editorial: Hoyle’s work cut out for her

The Bulletin Editorial Board

Val Hoyle, the Lane County Democrat and former legislator who takes over leadership of the Bureau of Labor and Industries on Jan. 7, won’t have time to ease into her new job. A report from the bureau, released Jan. 3, demands her immediate attention. The BOLI report finds the Legislature is a hotbed of sexual discrimination and sexual harassment and that legislative leadership and administrators were aware of the problems and sought to hush them up. Oregonians can thank outgoing BOLI Commissioner Brad Avakian for uncovering the mess. He was the complainant in the case and the report largely upholds his charges. Now it’s up to Hoyle to finish what Avakian started. She may ask for a deeper look into some of the charges in the report, or she may decide the information is as complete as it need be for action. Either way, she cannot simply relegate the report to a back shelf somewhere to gather dust. Lawmakers deny many of the findings in it, and that alone calls for further action, as do the finding themselves.

Capitol workplace culture must change

Mail Tribune Editorial Board

Less than a month before the 2019 session convenes, a Bureau of Labor and Industries investigation has concluded the Oregon Legislature is a hostile workplace, and legislative leaders have done far too little to change it. Among the most alarming findings of the five-month investigation are charges that women in the most powerful leadership positions in the Capitol downplayed accusations of sexual harassment. Hoyle, like Avakian, is a former legislator, who should know as well as anyone what the Capitol culture is like. The hostile environment the BOLI investigators describe is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. The Legislature is a unique environment with complicated power dynamics, but it is still a workplace. Hoyle should use the power of her office to make it a safer one.

Val Hoyle: Serving as labor commissioner for the whole state

Val Hoyle

As I take office as Oregon’s Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries, I am truly honored to have the opportunity to serve the people of the state of Oregon. The labor bureau’s mission represents values that Oregonians hold dear: equality, fairness and opportunity. I am excited to lead our dedicated staff in standing up to protect those who are most vulnerable. I will do so unapologetically. As labor commissioner, I will be a staunch defender of the civil rights of all Oregonians. I will safeguard and support the rights of Oregon workers to organize and bargain collectively. I will ensure that employers are following the law, and that workers are paid the wages and benefits they are owed for the work that they do. I am committed to ensuring that all Oregonians, regardless of whether they work at a multinational corporation, a small business or the state Capitol, are able to feel safe and free from harassment of any sort.

Editorial Agenda 2019: Setting the priorities for a new year

The Oregonian Editorial Board

There is nothing like a great public education system to change futures and fortunes for children. The ability to access quality schools with dedicated teachers, challenging curriculum and attention to individuals’ needs is one of the most foundational pieces of an American dream that recognizes the potential of every student, regardless of race, ethnicity, family income or immigration status. That faith in the promise of education is the primary reason our editorial agenda year after year highlights the need to improve Oregon’s struggling schools. But we are more optimistic than in recent years that Oregon leaders will invest big in students in 2019. Our call to make transformational change in education – structured around what students, not adults need – comes at a time when foresight and pressure have created a rare window of opportunity for Oregon to act.

Count prisoners where they come from

The Register-Guard

Oregonians who live in the southeastern part of the state have more voting power in state legislative races than residents of Lane County — about 5 percent more in House races. It’s all thanks to the Snake River Correctional Institution and the way governments count prisoners in the census. The Legislature has considered fixing that discrepancy in the past but has repeatedly fail to end prison-based gerrymandering. It can’t afford to wait another year. When the Legislature draws congressional and state legislative districts every 10 years, it relies on data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The census counts prisoners as living where they are incarcerated, not where they came from. That leads to voting power differentials. When lawmakers get to work in a couple of weeks, ending prison-based gerrymandering should be a priority. The next census and redistricting are right around the corner, and corrections officials will need time to develop and test a system that provides accurate data. If it doesn’t happen this year, Oregon will likely have to wait another decade.

Editorial: Sally Russell should resist push to make Bend ‘Portland Lite’

The Bulletin Editorial Board

Bend’s first elected mayor in nearly a century was sworn in Wednesday night. Sally Russell, who won election in November, will have more duties and a bit more power than her predecessor, who was chosen from among council members. Russell will not only set the tone for council meetings, she’ll set the agenda as well. If she’s wise, she’ll concentrate on the practical and leave the dreaming to others.

Editorial: Get federal workers back on the job

The Bulletin Editorial Board

Federal employees in Central Oregon, at least some of them, have been out of work now for about two weeks. They can apply for unemployment, of course, but doing so will require that they look for jobs. They shouldn’t have been put in that predicament in the first place, and the problem should be solved quickly.

Securing Our Borders

Knowing your interest in our country’s border security, I wanted to update you on legislation that was recently considered in the U.S. House. A bill put forth by House Democrats to fund the Department of Homeland Security failed to make the necessary investments to adequately secure our border through a wall, technology, and other barriers where appropriate. Simply put, a country that does not have control of its borders does not have control of its national security. That’s why I voted against that legislation.  I will continue to work for real security funding that the President will sign into law.  Meanwhile, the partial government shutdown is adversely affecting the work of numerous other agencies of the federal government unrelated to the security of our border, but important to our way of life in rural Oregon. Work by the Forest Service and BLM to plan and implement wildfire reduction plans in our forests, the ability to provide services at America’s national parks, such as Crater Lake, and the work of many other agencies has mostly ground to a halt.  That is why I voted in favor of separate legislation that would have funded those agencies.    Without a doubt, Congress needs to fix America’s broken immigration system and secure our borders. This summer I voted in support of legislation that would have done that, providing $25 billion in funding for border security, while also making needed reforms to the broader immigration system. Unfortunately, this failed to pass the House. Last month I also supported legislation that would have provided $5 billion for border security, but the Senate failed to take up this legislation. As the debate over immigration and border security continues, know that I will continue to fight for sufficient investment in our border and national security.

Greg Walden
U.S. Representative
Oregon’s Second District