HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE
SEPTEMBER 11, 2017 DAILY CLIPS
Businesses hurt by Oregon wildfires can obtain advice from government-sponsored small-business development centers, the state said. “Our centers have advisers who are here and ready to help work with businesses through supply chain interruptions, personnel issues and fewer customers” caused by the dozens of fires in the state, Mark Gregory, state director of the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network, said in a statement.
Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke, who’s only been at that post for a few weeks, expressed that this has been one of the most dire fire seasons on record for their agency. “We’re nearing a lot of records … we’ve been at planning level 5, which is the highest planning level, for 31 straight days,” he said. He said they’ve had 8 million acres burn across the United States, while the average is about 5.7, and that there are 80 large fires happening right now. “That’s fires greater than 100 acres, across the country. Normally for this time of year, it’s about 20. So this season has been longer, and still has got a ways to go yet,” Tooke said. With a heavy tone, he told reporters that the agency is tapped out on resources, with 28,000 people fighting fires across the country. They’ve had to dip into other accounts for funding, and he worries about firefighter fatigue. The Chetco Bar Fire still rages in Southern Oregon.
Overnight conditions helped crews keep the Eagle Creek fire in check, though they were not able to make significant gains in containing the blaze. The size of the fire remains about 33,000 acres. It is 7 percent contained, a figure that has not changed since late last week. Officials said the prospect of a clear, sunny day will help crews fight the fire from the air. Low winds also will help keep the blaze from spreading. “It was a good night, a good night of work,” said Sandy Roberts, a spokeswoman for the Oregon State Fire Marshal. “Today’s crews are really focused on the fact that we have good weather to get work done.”
And while fire officials confirmed there’s been little growth and no active flame in most of the Chetco Bar fire’s eastern side for a few days, they cautioned against complacency. “Conditions might change as the weather heats up,” East Zone Incident Commander Brian Gales said, noting that the 188,284-acre fire — one of the nation’s largest — could still cause trouble. “With three-to-five days of drying, the fire could take some small runs, but I don’t think you’ll see a wall of fire coming at the fire lines.”
We talked with Oregon Senator Ron Wyden about how to prevent these massive wildfires in future seasons, and what we need to handle the current blazes across the state. KATU’s Steve Dun also hears from two hikers who share their story of how they became heroes while rescuing the 150 others who were stranded on the Eagle Creek Trail.
An amendment pushed by U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., to effectively block Oregon from putting tolls on Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 passed the House Wednesday, causing unease among state lawmakers who worked to establish such tolls.
“The big emphasis on this project is safety and mobility,” ODOT area manager Gary Farnsworth told the Bend Metropolitan Planning Organization board Thursday. The $50 million provided by the state roads bill is enough to shift Highway 97 at Cooley Road and install permanent traffic signals where the roads connect, ODOT project manager Amy Pfeiffer said, but it won’t fix other traffic issues on the north corridor. “It gets you that,” she said. “It doesn’t solve the problem at 97 and Robal.”
Hundreds of counter-protesters turned out on Sunday on the Willamette River waterfront to confront members of the right-wing Patriot Prayer group. One of them, Sean Mitchell of Troutdale, says counter-protesters and critics misunderstand Patriot Prayer. “I came to Portland to show support for America, for the flag,” Mitchell tells WW. “To them, if you love America then you’re a racist, a Nazi and a bigot. “If loving America makes me a bigot, then so be it but that’s not who I am. I’m here out of peace. I’m here out of love, I didn’t come here to throw punches and fight.” Counter-protesters threw rocks and water bottles at police and sprayed them with silly string and in one case, a fire-extinguisher.
OREGONIANS IN CONGRESS
But the debate over what U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, calls “ground rules for the internet,” is moving to the legislative front, and he is leading that effort. Walden, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, invited CEOs from Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon and Netflix to a full hearing alongside CEOs from broadband providers Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and Charter Communications. The hearing was postponed Thursday, committee spokesman Zach Hunter said, to allow talks between stakeholders to continue. He’s called for bipartisan legislation to set out the “ground rules for the internet.” “Too much is at stake to have this issue ping-pong between different FCC commissions and various courts over the next decade,” Walden said in an Aug. 8 prepared statement.
When Americans are fighting each other, instead of uniting for the common good, the United States suffers. This doesn’t mean a nation of people marching in lockstep, strait-jacketed into group-think. From the Founding Fathers onward, lawmakers and the courts have protected and encouraged vigorous and open debate and disagreement. From these debates come solutions. Any observance of the anniversary of Sept. 11 should include remembering what it felt like to be a nation united, in the face of unspeakable horror. It should honor the sacrifices made by many that day by vowing to continue to work for a unified, and strong, country.
Paul Krugman, New York Times
In short, letting Dreamers work is all economic upside for the rest of our nation, with no downside unless you have something against people with brown skin and Hispanic surnames. Which is, of course, what this is all really about.
Steve Schell is a Portland lawyer.
Research into the new tolling requirements, which Oregon adopted last session, for the Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 bridges will help assess the extent of the need to ease congestion. Oregon’s new joint Transportation Committee should get authority to accept this olive branch and restart the effort to restore to the public loss of those frozen freeway hours. It’s time.