Greg Walden: Middle-class tax relief

News from Representative Walden

Click here or on the image above to view my remarks

I want to thank the nearly 2,000 Oregonians who called and wrote to me over the last month with suggestions on how we could improve the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to better fit our needs in Oregon.

The measure Congress will send to the President this week means that a hardworking family of four in eastern Oregon that earns about $50,000 a year — which is the median household income in my district — will receive a tax break of about $1,300 compared to the existing law.  Instead of a bloated federal government taking and spending your money, I want families to keep more of what they earn.  That’s $10,400 in lower federal income taxes over the next eight years for that one family.

Moreover, by nearly doubling the standard deduction, even fewer Oregonians will have to hire an accountant to search the 73,954 pages of the federal tax code only to discover darn few of the special interest loopholes apply to them.  We’re closing the loopholes and making filing your taxes as easy as filling out a postcard.

Nearly 70% of taxpayers in my district already take the standard deduction and don’t itemize.  Now, even more Oregonians can realize greater tax savings by simply taking the standard deduction, rather than itemizing.  These are the hard-working Oregonians that really could use a tax cut.

Wealthier taxpayers will get relief from the punitive alternative minimum tax, receive rate reductions in every tax bracket–like everyone else–and be able to deduct state income and property taxes up to $10,000 a year.

What does that mean across the country? A typical American family of four earning $73,000 a year, will see a 58% reduction in their federal taxes.

I listened to Oregonians who said how important the medical tax deduction is for them.  We changed the measure to actually increase the medical deduction from this year and next year for expenses exceeding 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income, and rising to 10 percent beginning in 2019.  More relief right away; continued medical deductibility going forward.

We preserved the mortgage interest deduction.  There’s NO change for existing mortgages holders, and going forward homeowners can deduct interest on mortgages up to $750,000 on first or second homes.  According to Zillow, the median home value in Oregon this year is $312,500.

When it comes to education and tax policy, I heard from many Oregon students and families about a number of provisions in the original measure. In the final version of the measure we got to a much better place by dropping the repeal of the student-loan interest deduction and dropping the taxation on graduate-school tuition waivers.

As we all know in Oregon, affordable housing is an ever-increasing problem, that’s why I opposed provisions to drop the housing tax credit and end private activity bonds.  Both of these are powerful tools used by communities across our state to help develop homes for families.  In the end, this measure preserves the low income housing tax credit and the tax-preferred status of private activity bonds.  These are big wins for Oregon.

In addition to providing historic and meaningful individual tax relief to Oregon families, this measure is also designed to rekindle job growth.  Few of us in Congress were job creators.  My wife and I spent more than 20 years as small business owners in the Columbia Gorge.  I can tell you from first-hand experience of growing a business and meeting a payroll, passage of this Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will help small businesses, family farms and ranches and those contractors with a truck and backhoe expand and grow.  I don’t need 100 economists to tell me that—even though they agree we’ll see a big economic gain.

Not only will the reduced tax rates help make more money available for wages and hiring, but also being able to fully expense the purchase of new equipment will really make a positive difference.

Globally, we’ll finally see American based companies bring money home and invest it here, rather than look for ways to shelter wealth overseas. America had one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.  That all changes under this legislation.  That’s why companies such as Intel now support passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  I worked closely with Intel and Nike, two of Oregon largest employers, to help get this final measure in a good place.  We got results that make a difference for them and for all of us.

Let me close by noting two other provisions in the bill.  One doubles the amount of the current exemption from the death tax.  Time and again I’ve heard from Oregon farmers and ranchers and small business owners about their fears of what would happen to their life’s work when they die.  A family shouldn’t have to sell off part of the ranch or liquidate a family business just to pay the taxman.  With an exemption of $11.2 million, that problem just went away for most.

Finally, I heard a lot from Oregon’s craft beer and wine makers about their support for a tax reform provision that reduces the federal excise tax for both beer and wine.  Given the growth and importance of both industries in Oregon, I successfully advocated for keeping the Republican Senate provision in the final package.

Like a good wine, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act got better as provisions from both houses were blended together over time.  The long and public process allowed people from across the country, and especially here at home in Oregon, to help shape and improve this historic legislation.

Today, the Washington special interest lobbyists lost, and the hard-working American taxpayers and job creators won.

To read more about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, please click here.

It is an honor to represent you in Congress.

Best regards,

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

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Daily Clips



ODOT requests 153 positions for transportation package

Oregon Department of Transportation

The Oregon Department of Transportation plans to request 153 new positions in February to help deliver $5.3 billion in transportation projects lawmakers agreed to fund earlier this year. The new positions will cost about $15.3 million and equate to nearly 78 full-time employees, said Leah Horner, ODOT government relations manager. The 153 jobs would start in the next two years and would augment 35 new full-time-equivalent positions the state Legislature already approved in July. ODOT is in the midst of hiring for those positions.


Here are new transportation taxes that will take effect in 2018


Three taxes associated with the $5.3 billion transportation package that was signed into law over the summer will be taking effect Jan. 1, with one more targeting wages coming later in the year. The bipartisan transportation plan will help fund projects across the state. In Salem it will provide $85.7 million over nine years for the expansion of Cherriots bus services and additional money for a seismic retrofit of the Center Street Bridge. But the millions in funding outlined in the law require some way to pay for them, which includes a handful of new taxes.


Newberg-Dundee bypass cuts ribbon Monday, won’t open until January

Portland Tribune

ODOT estimates the bypass will reduce traffic on Highway 99W and reduce around 60 to 65 percent of the truck traffic that passes through Newberg and Dundee.


Washington Lawmakers Try To Entice Oregon Back To I-5 Bridge Talks

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Washington state lawmakers are moving ahead with an effort to revive a plan to replace the aging Interstate 5 Bridge. They remain hopeful their counterparts in Oregon will join them.


Pendleton streets continue to deteriorate despite increased funding

East Oregonian

At the end of 2015, Pendleton City Council instituted a fee that increased the city’s budget for repairing streets by 160 percent and dedicated nearly a third of its revenue toward the towns worst roads. Two years later, Pendleton’s street system is in slightly worse shape than it was before the fee was put in place.




Oregon lawmaker says housing is core state responsibility

Portland Tribune

Keny-Guyer stressed the need to build more housing for households earning 60 percent or less of the area median income. But there is also a great need for “workforce housing” affordable to households earning between 60 and 120 percent of area median income, said Jason Lewis-Berry, director of the state’s Regional Solutions program and an economic policy adviser to Gov. Kate Brown.




Regulators bless PGE, PacifiCorp renewable energy plans

The Oregonian

After months of back and forth, Oregon’s Public Utility Commission gave its blessing this week to both Portland General Electric’s and PacifiCorp’s plans to acquire more renewable energy, albeit with a variety of conditions designed to protect ratepayers. The companies approached the commission in 2016 and earlier this year seeking acknowledgment of resource plans that included major additions of generating capacity.


Tide gates flood Tillamook County meeting with problems, suggestions

Tillamook Headlight Herald

Jerome Rosa, the executive director of the Oregon Cattlemans Association, said that one of the members told him about the problems with tide gates along the coast. “It is a big problem. Our idea (setting up the meeting) is to streamline what is a bureaucratic mess,” he said. “We are here to get solutions.”


Bend-based organization battles feds on national monuments

Bend Bulletin

In a year when national monuments in Oregon and across the West have come under fire from the federal government, a Bend-based organization has raised more than $270,000 to fight back.




Measure 101 results could affect fate of health insurance costs

Herald and News

Many Oregonians are unaware of a ballot measure they are expected to vote on come January. Measure 101 is a funding mechanism that would allow the state to impose a tax on health care providers and insurance firms to supplement Medicaid costs for the poor and low-income children. Some worry failure to pass the ballot issue could cost 350,000 residents their medical coverage through the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) or require private insurance holders to pay more. Others fear the additional money will be swept away into the general fund and not be applied to Medicaid at all.


Sen. Steiner Hayward: January vote could nix promise to insure children

Portland Tribune

“If (Measure 101) fails, all bets are off,” Steiner Hayward said, speaking to a legislative committee of the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Dec. 7. In fact, she said a “no” vote on Measure 101 means the entire 2018 legislative session — which starts in February — will be about fixing a new budget crisis. “If it fails,” she said of the January vote, “we’ll have no choice … but to cut 350,000 people from the Oregon Health Plan.”




Oregon’s dependence on newcomers poses economic risk

Bend Bulletin

Oregon could shore up its future as a relocation destination by changing the land-use system to allow more housing, McLane said. “Unless you’re going to pay a wage to somebody to show up to work in Bend, they’re going to go somewhere where they can afford to live,” he said. “That is going to hurt us in the long run.”


Pre-proposal seeks release of $1.3 million for rail facility

Ontario Argus Observer

The Oregon Transportation Commission now has the pre-proposal for what is now being called the Treasure Valley Reload Center, and will be deciding on the release of the first installment of the money appropriated for the intermodal facility.




Former Rep. Denyc Boles announces interest in filling old seat when vacated

Statesman Journal

Former state Rep. Denyc Boles announced Thursday her interest in returning to her former seat representing Salem, soon to be vacated by Republican Rep. Jodi Hack. “I believe I can be an effective leader for District 19 on day one,” Boles, also a Republican, said in her announcement. “I hope I can be an advocate and a catalyst for change here at home and in our state government.” Boles is currently a member of the Marion County Budget Committee and Salem Chamber Government Affairs Committee. Were she to receive the appointment, Boles said she would run for the seat in the 2018 election.


Out-of-state group seeks to oust Peter Courtney, president of Oregon Senate

The Oregonian

A deep-pocketed California group that dislikes the Electoral College system has spent nearly $100,000 this year going after its nemesis: Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney. Since 2007, Courtney has single-handedly killed every attempt to add Oregon to the list of states that have agreed to circumvent the Electoral College system by pledging their delegates to the winner of the national popular vote.


Gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler’s car broken into in Portland


“This is becoming, certainly, a big issue for Portland. So I’ll be speaking about it. It really is a quality of life issue for the people of Portland,” said Buehler. “We have to have safe streets. We have to have a livable city where people feel comfortable coming downtown and going shopping, especially during the holiday season – meeting friends for dinner and not have them worry about crime and your windshield being smashed. Unfortunately, the governor has been silent on this issue.”


Brown’s campaign released a statement to KATU saying in part, “Knute Buehler had an unfortunate experience with vandalism that many Oregonians have been through, but it’s clear from his reaction that he doesn’t understand the experience of everyday Oregonians.” The statement goes on to say, “Next time he’s in Portland, presumably visiting the Arlington Club, we certainly hope he doesn’t experience such a traumatizing inconvenience.”


Governor candidate Knute Buehler’s car broken into in Portland

The Oregonian

Buehler, a surgeon and legislator in his second term in the Oregon House, is vying to face off against incumbent Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, in the November 2018 election. Six people have filed for the Republican primary, though Buehler is the presumptive frontrunner. He has raised a sizable $2.1 million this year. Brown has raised $2.3 million.


Fourth Democrat seeks Senate seat HIDE CAPTION Athena Goldberg

Mail Tribune

“It is time, as a female, to stand up and not wait for other people to lead or to expect other people to have my interests in mind,” Goldberg said. She has a master’s degree in social work from Arizona State University and a bachelor’s from Southern Oregon University. She and her husband, Tim, have three grown sons who live in Medford. Goldberg grew up in Bandon and trained to become a clinical social worker and opened a small business as an independent practitioner before joining AllCare in 2016.




Political battle over guns continues in Oregon five years after Sandy Hook massacre


Kevin Hoar, the spokesman for Oregon’s Republican Party, said the state has more of a crime problem than a gun problem. “More often than not new gun laws seem to affect people who follow laws, law-abiding citizens, and not the criminals who by definition don’t follow laws,” Hoar said.




Fired But Fit for Duty: Impunity for bad policing in Oregon

The Oregonian

The Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training wins national praise for holding police officers accountable for bad behavior. Academics, journalists and regulators in other states describe the department as a model. But an investigation by The Oregonian/OregonLive found that state regulators took no action to sideline dozens of officers fired for chronically inept police work. Or worse.


Police oversight in Oregon: Potential solutions

The Oregonian

Oregon rewrote its rules for ending a police officer’s career over the past two years, amid a national movement seeking tougher consequences for brutality and bad police work. But the new rules largely made official what regulators already were doing in practice, instead of converting the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training into a more aggressive watchdog. For example, the old rules said incompetence could be grounds for revoking a fired officer’s certification, but state officials weren’t using that provision. The new rules simply don’t mention it.


Bureau of Land Management supervisor contradicts whistleblower’s concerns in Bundy case

The Oregonian

A U.S. Bureau of Land Management supervisor assigned in February to examine an agent’s case file from his investigation into how the government handled the 2014 armed standoff with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy found no material deliberately withheld from prosecutors that would help the defense, according to a government memo.




Wreaths honor military veterans at Bend cemetery

Bend Bulletin

Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, the GOP front-runner for governor, gave opening remarks at the ceremony. Buehler described how the most unifying issue he has encountered traveling across the state is the need for better care for veterans. “I’m fortunate today to be surrounded by so many people who sacrifice so much for our country, for our state, for our community,” Buehler said.




Ads push Walden, Herrera Beutler to support public lands


An advocacy group in Montana is calling on republican representatives Greg Walden of Oregon and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington to protect public lands in the Pacific Northwest after President Donald Trump signed proclamations on Dec. 4 to shrink 2 national monuments in Utah.




Editorial: ‘Cap and invest’ proposal short on specifics

Capital Press

Similar programs have been adopted or proposed elsewhere. We have not yet seen proof of how much they are reducing global temperatures, either. In a recent report California determined its “cap and trade” effort had reduced the state’s carbon emissions by 1.5 percent in 2015. The report did not specify how much that will decrease the global temperature. While there are plenty of computer models, there also needs to be hard evidence directly related to these programs. Without such information, we are asking businesses, including agriculture, to pay an unknown price for an unknown outcome.


Editorial: Vote ‘no’ on Measure 101’s inequitable tax

The Oregonian Editorial Board

Oregon – its leaders, residents and taxpayers – believe in the necessity and importance of a health care safety net for the state’s most vulnerable people. Voters should reject Measure 101 and tell legislators and Gov. Brown to come back with a funding plan that reflects that shared value.


Editorial: Don’t believe the health care gloom and doom

Bend Bulletin

But, if you believe Steiner Hayward, lawmakers won’t have any choice. Every single penny the state spends is spent in just the right place, apparently. Thus, it’s impossible to plug at least some of the hole in the Oregon Health Plan’s financing that defeat of 101 would create. Finding money for health care spending is not easy. But it doesn’t help matters if lawmakers conjure up dire scenarios and ordain them as inescapable fate.


Column: Prepare for new push to ban Deschutes River Trail footbridge

Erik Lukens, Bend Bulletin

Here’s a scenario to consider. A bill will emerge in next year’s short session, or perhaps in 2019, that will make some changes to the scenic waterways act and, in doing so, deliver bad news to supporters of Bend’s proposed bridge. Because it will be championed by environmental groups rather than a Sunriver Republican, it will have greater appeal to Democratic lawmakers, who dominate the Legislature. Meanwhile, odds are local Republicans will either remain silent or support it.


Editorial: Oregon and Alabama suffer from one-party rule

Daily Astorian

As much as Democrats like to preach the virtue of diversity, you seldom see that coming out of the statehouse on many urban-rural issues.


Editorial: OHA orchestrates bizarre journey for anti-tobacco grant

Bend Bulletin

OHA is right. It is an example of an important partnership. You would think, though, that state government might also be working hard to find ways to do things more efficiently, instead of making more work for itself and all the hands the money passes through.


DA Foote to Gov. Kate Brown: Letter to the editor

John Foote, Clackamas County District Attorney

Gov. Brown, we have read in The Oregonian that you are “inviting state employees to share our stories of innovation, cost savings and great customer service” with you.  As a state elected official, I would like to share with you the enormous success that our voters, crime victims and elected officials have achieved in the area of public safety.  I invite you to read the publication, “The Oregon Criminal Justice System in 2016: A Continuing Success Story.”


Column: OSU seeking funding for Bend campus

Albany Democrat Herald

OSU President Ed Ray said university officials, understanding that the Legislature faced a tight state budget, trimmed their $69.5 million request to $39 million during the course of this year’s session. But, for whatever reason, Ray said it appears that Gov. Brown never saw the reduced request. “She was never unsupportive,” Ray said. “She never had all the information she needed.”


Guest: Policy reforms would improve state for all

Eric Fruits, Oregon-based economist, adjunct professor at Portland State University, and academic adviser for the Cascade Policy Institute

A recent study of income and cost-of-living data between states concludes: “Cost of living is clearly impacted by state policies [such as those noted above].” Oregon can move from being a poor state to a rich state through straightforward policy reforms. These must address our high cost of living as well as our lower incomes. Reforms to speed up and expand real estate development will relieve housing price pressures and attract employers. Construction to relieve congestion will improve our competitiveness while reducing roadway accidents and alleviating commuter stress. Labor market reforms will increase employment and boost Oregonians’ paychecks.


Guest: Blocking eminent domain for private gain

Stacey McLaughlin, Ron Schaaf and Bob Barker

As landowners threatened by the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline we are elated at Sen. Jeff Merkley’s announcement that he will not support a project dependent on seizing private properties through eminent domain. Merkley’s shift comes as welcome news against this speculative venture already denied twice by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.






Oregon Measure 101 about health care to be on January ballot


“Everybody deserves healthcare. And your health insurance shouldn’t be more than a house payment,” State Senator Alan DeBoer said. Republican State Senator Alan DeBoer and former Democrat State Representative Peter Buckley came together Thursday, to discuss their support for Oregon Measure 101 at the Medford Library. “Measure 101 is a funding package for health care for Oregonians,” Buckley said.


Oregon State Senator Wants Tougher Response From ODE On Harassment

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Gelser said she has asked the department to remove Kruska from two official liaison roles. She wants him removed from his connection to the Employment First Initiative, which focuses on employment opportunities for Oregonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She also objects to Kruska representing ODE on the Statewide Suicide Prevention Alliance. Gelser said she made the requests “given the unique vulnerability of those populations.”


Brown appoints new Oregon DCBS, Veterans Affairs directors

Portland Business Journal

The Department of Consumer and Business Services has a new director: Cameron Smith, who comes to the agency from the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “Cameron is a strong leader who has spent his career focused on protecting the well-being of others,” Brown said in a written statement. “In his service to our state’s veterans, Cameron brings proven experience in building a team to connect Oregonians with available benefits and resources, which will translate well to DCBS’s mission of protecting Oregon consumers and workers and serving as an advocate for Oregon businesses.”


Washington Hopes Oregon Will Join I-5 Bridge Replacement Conversation

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Joint Oregon-Washington Legislative Action Committee met in Olympia for its inaugural meeting Thursday. Even the name of the task force is a nod to the optimism Washington officials have that it will eventually be a bi-state panel. Currently there aren’t any lawmakers from Oregon on the committee. “Oregon, in the past, has been very clear with us in that they need to see a firm commitment from this side of the river to renew effort to replace the I-5 bridge,” Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, said at the meeting.


Oregon plans to challenge repeal of net neutrality

Portland Tribune

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-to-2 Thursday to scrap a rule that prohibited Internet service providers from blocking or charging more for access to one website over another.


Report: 80 homeless people died in Multnomah County in 2016

Portland Tribune

“We are again seeing people die decades ahead of their time, of preventable deaths, all around us,” says Israel Bayer, executive director of Street Roots, a homeless advocacy organization, who worked with the county to develop the report. “This is not normal and it is not acceptable.”


Oregon: New taxes in 2018


The 2017 Legislature created four tax programs to help fund a statewide transportation package: the bicycle excise tax, the vehicle privilege tax, the vehicle use tax, and the statewide transit tax.


Legislature looking at Eternal Hills permits

Herald and News

State legislators plan to extend a law allowing day-use permits for burials at Eternal Hills Cemetery, though not before the current law expires at the end of December. On Thursday, Rep. E. Werner Reschke, (R-Klamath Falls) said he is working with Rep. Sherrie Sprenger (R-Scio) on a bill extending the permits, which Sprenger will submit during the short session starting Feb. 5, 2018.


Fire leaders reflect on this year’s fire season


He says the Forest Service needs to mitigate fires before they grow. “We know changing conditions are occurring, we need to change the management practices to adapt to the changing conditions in the landscape,” Brock Smith said. But some officials say the game plan varies depending on the fire and conditions. “Different challenges come up at different times depending on the location of the fire and the fuel conditions,” Roland Giller, acting public affairs officer for Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest said.




Former Rep. Denyc Boles announces interest in filling old seat when vacated

Statesman Journal

“I believe I can be an effective leader for District 19 on day one,” Boles, also a Republican, said in her announcement. “I hope I can be an advocate and a catalyst for change here at home and in our state government.” Boles is currently a member of the Marion County Budget Committee and Salem Chamber Government Affairs Committee. Were she to receive the appointment, Boles said she would run for the seat in the 2018 election.


Out-of-state group seeks to oust Peter Courtney, president of Oregon Senate

The Oregonian

A deep-pocketed California group that dislikes the Electoral College system has spent nearly $100,000 this year going after its nemesis: Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney.




Editorial: Another state agency lacks controls for money

Bend Bulletin

The best thing about the new audit of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission is it didn’t find an excess of wasted taxpayer money. However, it did find an absence of controls in place to ensure money was not being wasted.


Editorial: New Energy Department rules need in-depth review

Bend Bulletin

The controversy appears to pit environmentalists against energy business interests, with the Energy Department in the middle. Lawmakers will make progress only by examining individual cases and decisions to determine how the rules are actually working, rather than just what they say. Rooting out bias on both sides is critical to ensuring the department works for the people of Oregon, not environmentalists or business interests.


Editorial: Oregon and Alabama suffer from one-party rule

Daily Astorian

More significantly, the state Legislature is dominated by the Democratic party. That has led to a very unhealthy outcome. Some eight years ago in The Daily Astorian’s conference room, the Republican candidate for governor, Dennis Richardson said: “The public employees unions run the statehouse.” Our Democratic state senator, Betsy Johnson, has confirmed Richardson’s diagnosis.


Guest: Retain renewable fuels standard

Scott Hayes is a Forest Grove resident and owner of Arbor House Tree Farm

Oregon produces millions of tons of woody ‘waste’ products every year, from logging debris to sawdust to small trees from U.S. Forest Service thinning projects. All of it contains stored solar energy. The cost of harnessing that energy can be competitive with fossil fuels.


Guest: Policy reforms would improve state for all

Eric Fruits is an Oregon-based economist

Oregon’s land-use laws – as well as regulations regarding design review, historic preservation and inclusionary zoning – have stifled residential development. Demand for housing is outpacing construction, driving up housing prices. The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis estimates that over the past 10 years, the Portland area has underbuilt by 27,000 units.


Guest: Estate tax affects more than just wealthy

Steve Swanson is president of the Swanson Group Inc. in Glendale

As we evaluate the merits of various tax regimes, let’s be smart about the true impact of the death tax. Unlike what some would have us believe, the negative impact of this tax is not confined to a small number of wealthy families. It will be felt by many across socio-economic classes, and by the national economy overall.




Washington Rep Accused Of Harassment Resigns Leadership Position

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Embattled Washington state Rep. Matt Manweller has resigned his leadership position with House Republicans. He’s also been stripped of a key committee role. In a statement, House Republican Leader Dan Kristiansen said Manweller agreed to step down as assistant floor leader. He was also “removed” from his position as the ranking Republican on the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee.



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A New Bi-State Columbia River Crossing Legislative Task Force May Be on Horizon

Willamette Week

“It is our understanding that Washington legislators will convene this group this month, with the expectation of inviting Oregon legislators to participate next year,” Kotek told WW in a statement. “We will be watching their early discussions closely and welcome their leadership in restarting a bi-state discussion to replace the I-5 bridge across the Columbia River.”




Portland Leader: If Rich People Gave Up Their Trump Tax Breaks, Oregon Could End Homelessness

Willamette Week

Multnomah County Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury tells WW that the two problems have the same solution: If Congress just redistributed the tax breaks it’s handing out to the richest Oregonians, she says, this state could effectively end homelessness. “Congress wants to cut a $375 million check to the top 1 percent in Oregon and add it to our national debt,” Kafoury tells WW. “That kind of money could effectively end homelessness—statewide—by paying for 46,000 housing choice vouchers.”


Rural renters struggle with steep price hikes

The Associated Press

Rent hikes up to 40 percent at Mariposa Townhomes in Medford are just the tip of the iceberg as renters across the county find themselves priced out of their homes. “We get calls from several people a week who are losing their homes or will lose their homes,” said Jesse Sharpe, statewide organizer for Community Alliance of Tenants.




Bethel, Junction City school districts to receive more than $330,000 in grants for career tech ed courses


The Bethel School District was one of 31 districts across the state to receive grant funding for the CTE program. A total of 205 middle and high schools will benefit from the funding, which will “serve diverse communities around the state with programs focused on advanced manufacturing, engineering, agricultural science, aviation, robotics, forestry, home construction/renovation and biomedical/health science,” according to ODE.




Sheriff wants jail expansion

My Columbia Basin

Rowan said with new laws designed to cut down on the state’s prison population, the trickle-down effect means more offenders are being housed in county jails. “A lot of the reasons are not just Umatilla County issues, but they’re state issues,” Rowan said. “We need to come together and try to develop a program where we can meet the needs of that population.




Editorial: Governor has a shot at leadership


Showing even a bit of leadership on the issue could help to defuse Republican claims on what is shaping up as a potentially potent campaign issue, that Brown has been ineffective in the governor’s office. And it comes with an added benefit: It could help prevent the eventual fiscal disaster that Oregon could be facing somewhere (sorry again) down the road.


Editorial: Stuck in the cellar


In February 2018’s short session, the Legislature has a chance to do the will of the people and give full funding to Measure 98. It should do so. Not simply because Oregon’s graduation ranking is embarrassingly low, but because students who might otherwise drop out may well find new purpose to be in school. And that’s a win for the state, which will have had a hand in producing students who want to contribute to Oregon instead of standing on a street corner.


Guest: The region’s growth boundary amplifies our housing crisis

Lori Chavez-DeRemer, mayor of Happy Valley

We must expand the urban growth boundary to account for this new population boom. Since I want to talk supply and demand, I also recognize that growth boundary expansions rely on changing other factors to work.These factors include compensating labor industry workers better, decreasing property taxes and funding infrastructure improvement. These are seemingly unmanageable issues, but they sit at the forefront of every mayor’s discussions across the country. We must be pragmatic. Our citizens and businesses are counting on us to be real in our solutions and alleviate the current affordable housing and homelessness crisis.


Guest: Addressing Portland’s livability without ‘harassing the homeless’

Ted Wheeler, mayor of Portland

We have a comprehensive strategy to address housing, homelessness and livability. The strength of our strategy is bringing many threads together. Alone, any one thread can break. But woven together we are creating something effective, something durable. The majority of our work lies ahead and I expect us to continue to make significant progress. I am dedicated to ensuring that the prosperity our city is experiencing extends to everyone who lives, works and visits Portland.




Suspect In Manhattan Subway Blast Was Wearing ‘Low-Tech’ Device

National Public Radio

“This was an attempted terrorist attack,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals. Thank God our first responders were there so quickly, to address the situation.”

“Preliminary investigation at the scene indicates this individual was wearing an improvised low-tech explosive device attached to his body,” O’Neill said. “He intentionally detonated that device.”










Remembering Mayor Vera Katz, 1933-2017 (Photos)

Portland Business Journal

From State House Republican Leader Mike McLane, via email, came a personal note. “Holly and I were deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of Vera Katz, former Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives and Mayor of Portland,” McLane wrote.


Mayor behind Portland’s transformation dies at 84

The Associated Press

“Vera Katz was more than a pioneer. She was a force. She escaped the Nazis. She battled cancer. She ran the House. She ran the city. She was a natural leader. Vera led and people followed,” Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney said. “Oregon has lost a great human being.”


Vera Katz, former Portland mayor, dies at 84

The Oregonian

She was a pioneering female politician, a bold and endearing Portland mayor and a trailblazer for progressive causes such as gender equality, gay rights and education reform. “We lost a true pioneer today,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown tweeted Monday.


Former Mayor Vera Katz dies

Portland Tribune

She led Portland as mayor from 1993 to 2005. Katz was elected to the Oregon House in 1972 and became the first female speaker of the house in 1985, a post she held until 1990. Oregon political leaders praised Katz’s legacy and called her “a trailblazer” for women on many issues.


Portlanders Mourn Vera Katz, the Rose City’s Last Successful Mayor

Willamette Week

On Dec. 11, Portland lost its last great mayor: Vera Katz died at 84. Katz, who ran Portland with vision and willpower, was remembered today by a spectrum of state and city luminaries. Jesse Katz, her son, in a statement: “My mom was the embodiment of the American dream: coming with nothing and making a better life not just for herself but for the countless others she touched. While we miss her terribly, I know that her fearlessness, generosity and persistence will continue to shine light on our world.”


Kate Brown’s request for state government success stories gets a scathing response

The Oregonian

Gov. Kate Brown wants Oregon state employees to share their stories of innovation, cost savings and great customer service with her. But one state official had a sharper response. “Thank you for seeking ‘great stories and examples’ of public employees for your campaign,” wrote Kim Sordyl, a non-voting member of the Oregon Board of Education. Sordyl went on to list a handful of news stories about problems in state government, before concluding: “From now on, it’d be great if you didn’t have public employees working on the campaign during work hours.”


State geologist: LNG pipeline analysis inadequate

Mail Tribune

The concerns about the Pacific Connector Pipeline and Jordan Cove processing terminal were outlined in a letter by Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries Director and State Geologist Brad Avy.

“DOGAMI finds the information in the Resource Reports submitted by the applicant to be incomplete, has comments about possible deficiencies in the scientific and engineering analyses related to geologic hazards; and at this point is not satisfied that geologic hazards will be adequately addressed to ensure public safety,” Avy wrote.


Columbia CEO: GOP Tax Plan Could Hurt Oregon Workers

Statesman Journal

Columbia Sportswear Chief Executive Tim Boyle said congressional Republicans’ proposed tax overhaul could mean higher taxes for Oregon employees if, under the changes, they can no longer deduct state income taxes from their federal tax bill.




Facebook Plans To Build 2 New Data Centers In Prineville

Oregon Public Broadcasting

“It is very good news for us,” said Prineville Mayor Betty Roppe. “Our community was very heavily mills and logging industry and that has gone by the wayside. I do expect some of that to come back. But in the meantime, we have to look at every avenue we have to create jobs for the people who live in our community.” Facebook currently employs 200 workers. Under an agreement with the city of Prineville, the company has to promise to provide additional, well-paying jobs for residents, in exchange for tax breaks.


Facebook will spend ‘hundreds of millions’ on two more Prineville data centers

The Oregonian

The news means a continued influx of hundreds temporary construction workers into the small, central Oregon community that is still recovering from the loss of timber mills and Les Schwab’s corporate headquarters.


Facebook adding to Prineville data centers

Bend Bulletin

Construction of the first new building, the fourth in the Facebook complex, will start this month, according to an email from Amy Hunter, of Weinstein PR, a Portland firm working with Facebook. Building four will begin serving traffic in 2020, she wrote, while building number five will break ground in 2018 and begin serving traffic in 2022.


Oregon town seeks first microbrewery, offers benefits

The Associated Press

In an internet presentation aimed at luring craft brewers, Madras — which sits between irrigated farmland and high desert within sight of the snow-capped Cascade Range — says it will assist in site selection and costs of architecture, engineering, permits and building renovation. It also offers expedited permitting, technical assistance and an opportunity for a start-up loan.




Eugene School Board hears strategies for handling disruptive students


A shift in approaches to education also can play a role in student behaviors. District officials said resources have been shifted from the “whole child” approach — which focuses more on the social and emotional needs of a child — to prioritizing academic skills.




Editorial: Don’t give the Legislature more freedom to tax

Bend Bulletin

Some in Oregon believe the government that governs best taxes more. And to carry out their dreams, they aim to change the wording of the Oregon Constitution to make it easier to raise taxes. Voters should tell them no.


Editorial: Vera Katz, Portland’s splendid torch

Portland Tribune

In her last State of the City speech, Katz closed her remarks with a George Bernard Shaw quote she heard when she was in a hospital intensive care unit. “My life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatsoever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations” Katz closed by saying she hoped she’d lived up to those words. In our view, she did.


Editorial: Lawmakers should back Gov. Brown on OSU-Cascades bonds

Bend Bulletin

Oregon has one of the lowest rates in the country of students going to college directly from high school, at a bit over 45 percent, according to the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. If that is to change, higher education has to be available in Central Oregon. Lawmakers, we hope, will recognize Brown’s financing request for what it is, a critical piece in the effort to improve that number.


Editorial: Landing CTE funds


The CTE programs of today prepare students — some of whom will go on to higher education — for the occupations of the future, including in fields such as robotics and biomedicine. This is important to the growth of both the state and national economies. It also is important in helping to rebuild the middle class, which has been eroded as more and more Americans were pushed into poverty by wages that didn’t keep up with living costs and a lack of skills that would open the door to better paid work. Both districts are due congratulations for landing the grants, which came through a competitive program established in 2011. Hopefully, the state will find ways to continue to increase CTE funding.



Update from Rep. Greg Walden

I want to give you a quick update on my recent work as your representative in the House, and share some important news for Oregonians and local communities in our great state. In the House, we recently passed critical legislation to help communities in Oregon clean up old industrial sites and put them back into productive use. The International Trade Commission (ITC) also took important action to combat illegal trade practices from the Chinese, and help protect wood products jobs in Oregon. And at the Energy and Commerce Committee — where I serve as chairman — we recently passed important legislation to boost hydropower production in Oregon and across the country.I hope you’ll continue reading to learn more about this work and recent headlines impacting our state.

A better path forward for Cascade-Siskiyou

After an extensive review of national monument designations made under the 1906 Antiquities Act, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke released a final report that included recommendations for the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon. I appreciate Secretary Zinke’s willingness to come to southern Oregon this summer to meet with passionate people on all sides of the issue before making his decision, and his recommendation reflects the concerns we heard raised by foresters, private landowners, county commissioners, ranchers, and others.

Past presidents have ignored federal law that governs much of this forest land and have exceeded the intent of the Antiquities Act by roping in enormous swaths of private land into the monument. The result was a loss of private property rights and reduced revenues for our schools and roads. Meanwhile, the forests become more overstocked, increasing the risk of catastrophic fire. After the devastating fires this summer, it’s time to get back to responsible management of our public lands.

For more information on Secretary Zinke’s final report and full recommendations for the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, please click here.

Winner of the 2017 Congressional App Challenge

Click here or on the image above to watch a demonstration of Tyson Seable’s app, “Flare”

I am pleased to announce that Tyson Seable, a freshman at Grants Pass High School, is the winner of the 2017 Congressional App Challenge! The Congressional App Challenge is designed to engage student creativity and encourage their participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education fields. This nationwide event allows high school students from across the country to compete against their peers by creating and exhibiting their software application, or “app,” for mobile, tablet, or computer devices on a platform of their choice.

Tyson’s app — called “Flare” — allows users to distribute quizzes to friends and students, and provides live results for each quiz that are available for download and sharing. And while the app is designed for classrooms, Tyson said that Flare can be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys a challenge — it will be available on the Google Playstore in December. I enjoyed talking with Tyson to tell him the news and congratulate him on winning this year’s challenge. Tyson is an ambitious student with a unique skill set and bright future ahead of him.

I encourage interested students from across Oregon’s Second District to participate in next year’s Congressional App Challenge. For more information on the Congressional App Challenge and how to participate, please visit

Good news for Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport

Click here or on the image above to read more from the Herald & News in Klamath Falls

Recently, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) made an important announcement for the community in Klamath Falls and the Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport. The TSA announced they will be leaving their screening equipment in place as the airport continues its recruitment process for a new carrier to bring commercial air service back to Klamath Falls.

I heard from airport officials that leaving the screening equipment in place will allow the airport and local community to recruit a replacement carrier without the administrative and logistical burdens of removing the equipment. That’s why I sent a letter to TSA Administrator David Pekoske requesting that the screening equipment remain in place until the airport’s robust recruitment process is complete.

This is a small but important step that will help the airport recruit a new carrier, and I will continue to work alongside my congressional colleagues, the Department of Transportation, and airport officials to return commercial air service back to Klamath Falls. Learn more here.

Reauthorizing the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program

Click here or on the image above to view my speech on the House floor

Recently, the House passed bipartisan legislation that will help communities in Oregon clean up old industrial sites and put them back into productive use — boosting local economies and growing jobs. The Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act originated in the Energy and Commerce Committee — where I serve as chairman — and seeks to reauthorize and make improvements to EPA’s Brownfields Program.

Oregon has successfully utilized the Brownfields Program to clean up industrial sites across our state and put them back in to productive service. One great example is the Old Mill District in Bend, the former site of two lumber mills that is now a bustling hub of economic activity thanks in part to the Brownfields Program.

Before-and-after photo of the Old Mill District in Bend, Oregon, one of Oregon’s most successful Brownfields Program projects. Picture courtesy of Old Mill District

Bend isn’t alone. Last year in The Dalles, Google broke ground on an expansion to their data center on 26 acres of former mill land that was cleaned up under this program — a $600 million investment expected to create 50 new jobs.  In my hometown of Hood River, the Port of Hood River just finished a brownfields cleanup of another former mill site, opening over 12 acres of land for future business opportunities in the area. And in southern Oregon, the city of Grants Pass is in the early stages of working towards the same goal. They’ve successfully secured assistance through the Brownfields Program to begin planning the cleanup and redevelopment of the old Spalding Mill industrial site.

These are just a few examples of how the Brownfields Program has been successful in Oregon. The Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act — which passed on a 409-8 vote — will help ensure this success continues. Learn more here.

Boosting hydropower in Oregon

Click here or on the image above to view my remarks at the Energy and Commerce Committee meeting

As Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of my top priorities is to boost renewable energy and help protect small businesses and consumers from overregulation. Recently, the Energy and Commerce Committee passed important legislation to promote hydropower in Oregon, and rein in costly regulations that are hurting rural communities in our state.

In Oregon, over 43% of our electricity is generated from hydropower — a clean energy source that emits zero carbon. During our meeting, we passed legislation to help Oregon do a better job of harnessing its great hydropower potential. Legislation we passed promotes hydropower development at existing non-powered dams and opens the door wider for the construction of more pumped storage hydropower projects, which is of particular interest to Oregon where we have tremendous opportunities to build new pumped-hydro storage facilities.

This work builds on legislation we passed in the House — the Hydropower Policy Modernization Act — which will help modernize hydropower production across the country. With the abundance of hydropower in Oregon, we must ensure we are taking full advantage of this valuable resource. Learn more about our work to get that done here.

Protecting timber jobs in Oregon

In a move that will help protect timber jobs in Oregon and across the country, the International Trade Commission (ITC) recently announced tariffs against China to protect the U.S. hardwood plywood market. Specifically, the ITC announced tariffs up to 183% against the Chinese for illegally subsidizing hardwood plywood imports. Oregon is the largest producer of hardwood plywood in the United States, and in October I testified before the ITC in support of an investigation into China’s illegal trade activity.

Meeting with employees of Timber Products, a hardwood plywood lumber mill in Medford

For too long, hardwood plywood mills in Oregon — like Timber Products in Medford — have suffered from the unfair trade practices China has used to corner this vital market, and threaten family-wage jobs in our state. When I met with employees of Timber Products in August, we discussed the need to protect U.S. timber jobs and send the clear signal that using illegal trade practices to hurt American companies, cost American jobs, and harm American communities is unacceptable. The ITC’s action helps accomplish that, and I will continue to work to protect manufacturing jobs in Oregon and throughout the United States. Learn more here.

2017 Champion of Rural America Award

Honored to be a recipient of the National Grange’s Champion of Rural America Award for 2017

I was also truly honored to receive the National Grange’s Champion of Rural America award this year. As Oregonians, we understand well the importance of supporting rural America. With over 167 Granges throughout our great state, National Grange has been a strong advocate and voice for rural communities in Oregon and across the country for 150 years.

Click here or on the image above to view my video message for the National Grange’s 150-year anniversary

I want to especially thank National Grange President Betsy Huber and her entire team for their service and dedication to rural America and rural Oregon, and for this tremendous honor. To learn more about the National Grange and the work this organization does for rural communities, please click HERE.

That’s all for this update. Remember, you can always keep in touch with me via email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

It is an honor to represent you in the U.S. Congress.

Best regards,

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

Please feel free to sign up for my E-Newsletter, like me on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter and Instagram if you have not already done so.

If you would like to contact me with a follow-up question or comment, you can do so by clicking here.







New state office looking to improve on Oregon’s recreational economy

The Associated Press

The new office will focus on improving access and participation to outdoor recreation and the stewardships and sustainability of resources. “The goal is to see outdoor recreation reach its full potential through a unified strategy,” Havel said.


Capitol Roundup: Rose City road trip for pols on the stump

Bend Bulletin

The Oregon Leadership Summit is held each year to gaze into the communal crystal ball and try to get ahead of what is happening in the state. It’s hard to keep up — the evidence is everywhere in the host city, which, with all of the cranes on the skyline, evokes its older nickname, “Stumptown.” That’s the moniker from the days in the 19th century when Portland was growing so fast that to clear roads, the city would chop down the trees and leave the stumps to be pulled out later. Sort of Victorian-era speed bumps for wagons. Here’s the latest from the big city, Salem and all points of the compass.


Oregon Sen. Sarah Gelser among those featured in Time person of year

The Associated Press

Oregon state Sen. Sarah Gelser, who filed a complaint against a male colleague for sexual harassment, is one of the women and men featured in Time magazine’s person of the year: The silence breakers. Gelser said on Twitter Wednesday it’s an honor to be included. She urged women and men in every profession to speak out if they’re victims, saying there’s no shame in coming forward.


Time’s Person of the Year: ‘Silence Breakers’ includes Oregon Senator Sara Gelser

Statesman Journal

Time magazine named “The Silence Breakers” — women who triggered a #MeToo national outcry over sexual harassment — as the 2017 “Person of the Year.” Among them was Oregon Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, who earlier this year accused Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, of sexual harassment and unwanted touching starting when she was still a member of the House of Representatives. Kruse has denied her allegations.


New Seasons Market Hires The Same Union-Busting Firm Donald Trump Used to Fight Workers At His Las Vegas Hotels

Willamette Week

“Our staff has raised questions regarding this process and therefore we have hired a consulting firm, Cruz & Associates, to conduct information sessions to inform them. We have over 3,300 staff members at New Seasons Market and we are committed to providing our staff with objective information that keeps them informed. We are all learning together and value our speak up culture which ensures all voices are heard.”


Ashland doctor joins race for senate seat

Ashland Daily Tidings

Ashland doctor Julian Bell, who ran for governor in 2016, is the third Democrat to file for one of the most highly contested legislative seats in Oregon, Senate District 3. Bell, 46, is running on a progressive platform, supporting universal health care in Oregon and a greater reliance on energy that’s not supplied by the fossil fuel industry as part of his concern about climate change. “These are basically the issues of our times,” Bell said. “To deal with them, we need to go to the place where laws are made. The place is the legislature.”




Oregon sends strike teams, equipment to help

Mail Tribune

Ten strike teams from all over the state are on their way to help California firefighters battle several massive blazes north of Los Angeles. The Oregon Fire Marshal said Wednesday it is also sending heavy equipment to help.


Deschutes County looks to resolve wildlife zone issue

Bend Bulletin

On Wednesday morning, the Deschutes County Commission deliberated on a potential amendment to the county’s code that would affect whether churches are allowed in a portion of the county zoned to protect mule deer and other animals. Conservationists and some county residents are concerned that allowing churches could stress Deschutes County’s shrinking deer populations, but other residents believe the provision violates religious freedoms and could lead to a lawsuit stemming from a federal law.


Grazing resumes on land scarred by wildfires in Oregon and Idaho

The Associated Press

Ranchers in Idaho and Oregon have begun grazing their cattle again on some of the thousands of acres burned in wildfires in 2015. The Bureau of Land Management has allowed grazing to resume on 48 of the 84 pastures on affected allotments in southwest Idaho and Southeast Oregon.




Report examines Oregon education against other states

Hermiston Herald

The data from the Legislative Policy and Research Office was compiled after a request from State Representative Greg Smith’s office, made in hopes of better understanding why Oregon’s graduation rates are suffering. They asked for a side-by-side comparison of Oregon and 10 other states: five high-performing states, and five comparable Western states. Against high-performing states Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont and Minnesota, and western states Colorado, Utah, Washington, Nevada and Arizona, the data showed how Oregon stacked up in eleven categories. Among the findings:


Eugene School District supervisors and senior staff get raises


Eugene School Board members unanimously approved Superintendent Gustavo Balderas’ recommendation to provide district managers, administrators, professionals and supervisors and other senior staff with cost-of-living raises at the board’s meeting Wednesday night. Employees in such positions will receive a 2.1 percent raise in the 2017-18 school year, a 1.8 percent raise in the 2018-19 school year and a 2 percent raise for the 2019-20 school year.




Kaiser Permanente, PeaceHealth give $590K for temporary housing for Lane County residents with severe mental illness or serious medical conditions


ShelterCare will use the money to place 30 to 40 of these vulnerable people in private-­market apartments for six months to a year while they apply and wait for federally subsidized permanent housing, said Susan Ban, ShelterCare’s executive director. “It’s a bridge,” she said.




Oregon Congressman Greg Walden Is Now Off Conference Committee On Tax-Cut Bill

Oregon Public Broadcasting

What’s not clear is exactly why he exited the committee just a day after he was appointed to the panel Monday by House Speaker Paul Ryan. The official announcement on Tuesday referred only to the “removal of the gentleman from Oregon” and the appointment of Rep. Fred Upton to the committee.


Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader Casts A Rare Democratic Vote For Concealed Carry Gun Bill

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader was one of just six Democrats in the House who voted Wednesday for a bill that would allow concealed handgun licensees to carry their weapons in all 50 states.




Editorial Agenda 2017: Fix Oregon’s budget before the job-stealing robots arrive

The Oregonian

Fixing Oregon’s fiscal problems won’t prepare Oregonians for the robotic future by itself. And it’s hard to know how the state will react as businesses adopt new technologies that displace workers. Oregon has a long history of innovation, individualism and entrepreneurialism; at the same time, it’s also a state that can resort to protectionist policies. This is, after all, one of only two states in the nation that bars drivers from pumping their own gas. But until and unless Oregon makes structural changes to its revenue and spending problems, the state won’t have a say in directing how the robotic revolution plays out. That’s a future no one should be ready to accept.


Guest: With energy storage, big and cheap beats shiny and new

Nate Sandvig is director of U.S. business development for National Grid Ventures

In the end, we’ll need an “all-of-the-above” strategy to remove carbon from the grid, and limited pilot-project investment in batteries will be valuable for some uses. But there are enormous economic and reliability benefits from proven large projects, and we should take advantage of them now. Pumped hydro is the only option big enough to displace new gas plants. It is at least 90 percent cheaper than batteries per megawatt, and it provides electricity for more than twice as long for generations. For customers, utilities, and our future, it should be an easy choice.


Editorial: The Bend park district could use a lobbyist

Bend Bulletin

Bend Park & Recreation District directors decided Tuesday to hire a lobbyist to represent the district in Salem. They’ll pay $9,000 for six months of Erik Kancler’s service next year, in part while the 2018 Legislature is in session. Park district residents can thank state Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver, for the decision. After all, it was his sneak attack on the district’s proposal to build a southern footbridge across the Deschutes River that no doubt persuaded park board members that having a lobbyist on hand in Salem might be a good thing.


Editorial: Don’t spray farmworkers


Farmers and orchardists don’t like no-spray buffer zones, because they eat into the area that can be chemically treated to stop or prevent pests and diseases. But the public health effects of pesticide exposure must also be considered. Even if buffer zones are considered in strictly economic terms, the rising cost and decreasing availability of farm labor should induce the agriculture industry and the state to do more to protect the health of farmworkers and their families.


Editorial Nelson: Senate race will be a lively one

Mail Tribune

Given the extreme polarization of American politics, it may be too much to expect a civil, constructive campaign, but voters should demand one. Previous contests have featured negative advertising from both sides of the fence — a tactic that doesn’t sit well with Southern Oregon residents. I sincerely hope all the candidates for this pivotal seat will keep that in mind throughout the campaign, but especially after the nominees are selected in the May primary.

Mean-spirited attacks benefit no one, least of all the voters who must make a choice on election day.


Editorial: #metoo in the spotlight


Victims fear being labelled troublemakers or liars, being seen as a problem, becoming isolated, losing their jobs or even their careers. They are unsure of who to talk to if they are uncomfortable or even whether they should talk to someone. In some cases, their abusers threaten them with the prospect of making the workplace difficult for them, with derailing their careers or, in extreme cases, with violence. Sexual harassment and abuse crosses all lines — geographic, ethnic, political and economic. Like a disease left untreated, ignoring it will only allow it to become worse. Recognition by Time of the importance of the #metoo movement was nice, but we have only taken the first steps on what may be a long road.


Guest: What Oregonians want in new leaders

Adam Davis is a founding principal in DHM Research, a nonpartisan public opinion firm

There is considerable attention being given to diversity, equity and inclusion in the hiring process everywhere these days, and justifiably so. The findings suggest, however, that there are many important qualities people want their leaders to have regardless of their skin color, gender or age.






PERS: Big investment returns won’t stop steep pension cost increases

The Oregonian

As it is, required PERS payments from the system’s 900-plus employers jumped 45 percent in July. While the system expresses those rates as a percentage of payroll, in dollar terms, it means employers will collectively contribute $2.9 billion during the current two-year budget cycle, compared with $2 billion in the last. That’s a painful increase for many school districts, municipalities and state agencies struggling with tight budgets. But there’s a lot more coming. Systemwide, PERS contribution rates are set to rise about 4.5 percent of payroll in 2019, with a similar increase in 2021. That translates to almost $1 billion in extra contributions for the 2019-21 budget cycle and another $1 billion in 2021-23.


Retired Portland Police officer appointed to Oregon Legislature

The Oregonian

Helfrich lives in Hood River and worked for the Portland Police Bureau for 25 years before retiring, according to the House Republican Caucus. He was also enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Helfrich’s prior government experience includes service on the Cascade Locks City Council, the city’s planning commission and budget committee, and serving on the board of directors of the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District.


Helfrich named to House Dist. 52

The Sandy Post

A longtime public servant, Helfrich served on the Cascade Locks Planning Commission and City Council, the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District Board, in the Air Force during the Gulf War and as a Portland police sergeant. “I understand the needs of my community well as both leader and member,” he said in a letter earlier this week. “Upon appointment to Representative for House District 52, I will continue and expand upon the work of (former) Rep. Mark Johnson.”


Video: Straight Talk: Rep. Knute Buehler


Republican candidate for governor and representative Knute Buehler speaks with Laural Porter about policies he thinks will help Oregon.


Drug Companies Give to Brown While Cambia Backs Buehler

The Lund Report

In the campaign for governor, Rep. Knute Buehler has outraised the sitting governor slightly for the year, reporting contributions of $2 million to Kate Brown’s $1.9 million. But she’s burnt through $1.2 million while he has limited expenses to $550,000.


Oregon AG joins suit opposing Trump’s contraception rollback

Portland Business Journal

“I’m proud to join my Attorney General colleagues in fighting this misguided rule rollback. Employers’ views should have no bearing on a woman’s personal decisions about her health care,” Rosenblum said in a statement.




Repeat deportee sentenced for assault in Oregon

Associated Press

A Mexican man who was deported from the United States more than a dozen times was sentenced Friday in Oregon to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to sodomy, kidnapping, sex abuse and other charges in separate attacks on two women.


SCOTUS To Hear Case With Potential Impact On Oregon LGBT Protections

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Advocates say the Supreme Court case challenges Oregon’s public accommodation non-discrimination laws, which protect LGBT people from being refused service or entry to public places because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The law applies in places such as retail stores, restaurants, parks, hotels, doctors’ offices and banks.




Oregon’s Native American students face education challenges

Statesman Journal

Native American students in Oregon are graduating at lower rates, performing worse on state assessments, attending fewer days and receiving more suspensions and expulsions than their peers, according to a report released last week by the state Department of Education. For graduation rates alone, Oregon’s Native American students are graduating at about 56 percent, compared with the state’s overall four-year graduation rate of 74.8 percent.




Dems accuse secretary of state of breaking the law

Associated Press

The Democratic Party of Oregon filed a complaint Friday against Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, the top Republican state official, alleging he tried to sway voters against a ballot measure on a health-care tax that is the subject of a special election in January.


Former Oregon Secretary of State Files Elections Complaint Against Current Secretary of State Dennis Richardson

Willamette Week

“Our Oregon Health Authority audit revealed that in just six months, OHA wasted more than $88 million,” Richardson says. “Today, the Democratic Party Chair filed a meritless complaint to divert attention from OHA’s wasteful spending. Holding to my deeply held principles of transparency and accountability, we transferred this matter to the Oregon Department of Justice for review.”


Oregon Democrats allege Secretary of State Richardson misused public resources on newsletter

Statesman Journal

“Dennis Richardson made promises during his campaign to run an office that could be trusted to act in a nonpolitical and even-handed manner, yet it’s clear that he has infused politics into the work of both the state audits and elections divisions,” said Jeanne Atkins, Oregon Democratic party chairwoman and former secretary of state.


Democrats file election complaint against Dennis Richardson

The Oregonian

In her complaint, Atkins took issue with Richardson writing in his newsletter: “Soon Oregon voters will be considering whether or not to approve tax increases intended to provide additional funding to the OHA. With such abysmal examples of OHA misfeasance and obfuscation, OHA faces tough questions about its credibility and its ability to appropriately spend the money it is provided.” Atkins alleged that Richardson was in effect telling voters to reject the tax hike. In a statement, Richardson said Democrats filed the complaint to distract from the Health Authority’s failings.




Wolf management plan draws criticism from conservation group

Bend Bulletin

However, a conservation organization is concerned that the changes to the plan, including rules around when and how residents can kill wolves, open a path for Oregon’s gray wolves to be treated like any other carnivore in the state, to the detriment of the still-vulnerable population. Danielle Moser, wildlife coordinator for Oregon Wild, said the draft could put a “foot in the door” for regulated wolf hunts down the line.




Editorial: Put an end to PERS’ outrageous payouts

The Oregonian Editorial Board

Without the meaningful work to address this financial crisis facing our state, lawmakers are left to nibble around the edges in an attempt to limit additional budgetary pain and inequity to state employees. To that end, Oregon Rep. Gene Whisnant has a promising idea targeting one of the system’s more well-known shortcomings. The Republican, who represents the Sunriver area in Central Oregon, is aiming a bill for the upcoming short session that would block educators at community colleges and four-year universities from adding payments from outside work into their regular state salary as pension pay-outs are calculated. Again, this is a small, but needed fix. The “final average salary” calculation isn’t an issue for the vast majority of regular Joe recipients. But it’s been found to be a handsome pension loophole for those few highly paid employees who qualify.


Editorial: Stop the denial about Oregon’s PERS problem

Bend Bulletin

PERS problems were caused by decades of dreamy assumptions about returns on investments and inflated promises of benefits. Democratic legislators are locked in an embrace with public employee unions, which produces enough delay and denial to stop any serious consideration of meaningful reforms. Instead, Gov. Kate Brown has backed a cartoonish exercise in selling pieces of state government to pay down the liability. Her big goal of the next legislative session is to raise hundreds of millions in new taxes for green energy. Brown is a leader in Oregon’s PERS cover-up.


Guest: It’s time for Oregon and Washington leaders to talk traffic

Rep. Rich Vial, HD 26

With many decisions ahead regarding the use of tolls and how to prioritize congestion-relief and maintenance efforts, the committee will be busy for years to come. However, there remains a significant missing piece to the puzzle. Without a process for regular coordination with Washington state, we will never effectively address the congestion that plagues our transportation system.


Editorial: ‘No’ on Measure 101

Baker City Herald

If voters reject Measure 101, that would reduce the bill’s revenue by an estimated $330 million. According to Measure 101 proponents (who also supported House Bill 2391), that would put those 350,000 Oregonians in peril of losing coverage under the Oregon Health Plan. Parrish and Hayden disagree. We think they make a compelling argument, which is why we urge Oregonians to vote no on Measure 101 next month.


Editorial: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

The Dalles Chronicle

Stepping up to serve

Daniel Bonham, owner of Maupin’s Stoves & Spa in The Dalles, is to be commended for stepping forward to take the House District 59 seat vacated in late October by John Huffman. We wish Bonham luck in the halls of Salem as he represents 63,000 constituents in western Wasco, Wheeler, Jefferson and northern Deschutes counties.


Editorial: Clean up inconsistency in tobacco law

Bend Bulletin

In a perfect world, there would be no legally sanctioned smokers among Oregonians between the ages of 18 and 21, but this is not a perfect world. And uncomfortable as the idea makes us, it’s not right to take away the right of those who are allowed to buy tobacco now.


Editorial: Port of progress

East Oregonian

Spending capital improvement dollars should not be affected by politics, and that seems to be true at the Port of Morrow. It’s a dark red district represented by the Republican Party’s longest serving House member, who has earned a favorable view from Kotek (who, by the way, represents the Port of Portland). We’re not so naive as to be unaware of the undercurrent of political favor guiding such decisions, but we’re pleased to see practical concerns hold more sway than ideological differences.


Guest: Oregon needs comprehensive family/medical leave laws

Register-Guard, Main Street Alliance

Nobody should be forced to choose between their economic security or caring for their family in a time of need. It’s time for Oregon to enact a strong paid family and medical leave program so that every business, employee, and family can thrive in our communities.


Editorial: Payments aren’t ‘spending’


It’s appropriate that the $1.4 million has been released — but members of Oregon’s congressional delegation should make clear to their colleagues and the administration that the O&C money should not have been withheld in the first place.


Guest: Extreme positions thwart gun safety dialogue

Register-Guard, Author

Some, I know, will oppose even these mild measures. If you are one of them, you, like absolutists on the other side, need to get over it. Your guns will remain secure in your responsible hands, but sooner or later such changes are coming, and you and I and our families and communities will be just a little safer when they do.




Jeff Merkley is only Democrat to get amendment in GOP tax reform bill

The Oregonian

Oregon’s Jeff Merkley is the only Democrat to get one included in the final bill. His amendment cut out a provision of the hastily-written bill that appeared to give a special tax exemption only to Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan. The private school is funded in part by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Merkley’s office said. Senators voted 52-48 to strip out the tax break.


Wyden: Tax overhaul ‘a betrayal of middle class’

Portland Tribune

Among his priorities, he said, are restoring some deductibility for state and local taxes on federal returns — both House and Senate versions cap the property-tax deduction at $10,000, and eliminate others — and for interest on student loans and high medical expenses. The House plan eliminates them; the Senate plan leaves them untouched, although it would tax stipends paid to graduate students.


Higher education leaders in Oregon nervously wait as tax plan still could be ‘devastating’ to students

The Oregonian

College students and campus administrators in Oregon are nervously watching Congress to see whether the final Republican tax plan includes policies that private and public university leaders alike say would be devastating for students and make college less accessible for everyone.


3,000 Oregon rental units at risk under tax plan

Portland Tribune

The tax reform plan approved by the U.S. House of Representatives would eliminate private activity bonds, which support programs that yield affordable housing units in Oregon and other states.

;-) The Americans With No Abilities Act (ANAA)

Democratic Senators are considering introducing legislation that will provide new benefits for many more Americans. The Americans With No Abilities Act is being hailed as a major legislative goal by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills and ambition.

“Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society,” said California Sen. Barbara Boxer. “We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability (POI) to be ridiculed and passed over. With this legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers, simply because they have some idea of what they are doing.”

In a Capitol Hill press conference, Nancy Pelosi pointed to the success of the U.S. Postal Service, which has a long-standing policy of providing opportunity without regard to performance. At the state government level, the Department of Motor Vehicles also has an excellent record of hiring Persons with No Ability (63 percent).

Under the Americans With No Abilities Act, more than 25 million mid-level positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance.

Finally, the Americans With No Abilities Act contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the non-abled, banning, for example, discriminatory interview questions such as, “Do you have any skills or experience that relate to this job?”

“As a non-abled person, I can’t be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them,” said Mary Lou Gertz, who lost her position as a lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint, Mich., due to her inability to remember “righty tighty, lefty loosey”. “This new law should be real good for people like me. I’ll finally have job security.” With the passage of this bill, Gertz and millions of other untalented citizens will finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Said Sen. Dick Durbin, II: “As a senator with no abilities, I believe the same privileges that elected officials enjoy ought to be extended to every American with no abilities. It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her inadequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation and a good salary for doing so.”

This message was approved by Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Maxine Waters, Elizabeth Warren & Nancy Pelosi… all Americans With No Abilities!