OCTOBER 5, 2017 




Secretary Of State Audit Calls For Better Safety In Disabilities Program

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The audit by Oregon’s Secretary of State Office found that some patients can’t properly manage their home care workers, especially when a patient has Alzheimer’s or a similar disease affecting mental capacity.  The audit also found the Aging and People with Disabilities program doesn’t make sure workers are trained to meet a patient’s specific needs. Ashley Carson Cottingham with the Department of Human Services generally agrees with the findings of the audit, but said problems are overstated. “The tone of the audit makes it sound like this program is not going well, and I would argue that it’s going very well,” Carson Cottingham said. “We are meeting the majority of consumers’ needs.”


Audit: DHS should improve oversight of in-home care

Portland Tribune

Lack of oversight, data gaps, and overworked case managers could continue to put low-income Oregonians receiving in-home care at risk, state auditors said in a Wednesday report. Auditors from the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office said the Oregon Department of Human Services should take “immediate action” to improve in-home care for seniors and people with disabilities in a program serving about 13,000 people.


Energy Department will look for new leadership – again

The Oregonian

In a news release, Read described Kaplan as “a proven leader” who had pushed for a full accounting and investigation of the Energy Department’s business energy tax credit program, trimmed the agency’s budget, and advocated for killing underperforming tax credit programs. At the very least, after four years at the helm, Kaplan will be escaping one of the most thankless assignments in state government, trying to rehabilitate and reenergize what had become one of Oregon’s most dysfunctional agencies.


Oregon hires $200-an-hour PR firm for childcare regulator

The Oregonian

Oregon education officials hired a $200-an-hour public relations firm in Washington, D.C., to craft “persuasive messages” for the state’s childcare regulator in response to reporting by The Oregonian/OregonLive on how the agency handles problem facilities. Springboard Partners will be paid up to $9,900 to develop a communications plan, edit state documents and write talking points for employees through the end of December.


Governor promises recovery aid for Hood River County

Hood River News

At Friday’s session, Brown announced the creation of a “recovery council” that will tie together Gorge elected leaders and the governor’s staff. Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Hood River) will chair the panel. “The mandate of the council will be twofold,” Brown said. “Number one: assess the economic damage that’s been done and prioritize the needs. And number two: identify and deploy state support in a timely, coordinated manner.” The group will keep her informed of what’s happening on the ground, Brown explained. As for state employees, their job is to “cut red tape.”


Campaign Seeking to Repeal Oregon Gun Control Measure Fails to Gather Sufficient Signatures

Willamette Week

The group seeking to repeal a gun control measure passed by the 2017 Legislature said this morning it failed to gather the nearly 59,000 valid signatures required to place the measure on the January 2018 special election ballot. “It wasn’t for lack of support. We just simply did not have enough time. I blame Governor Kate Brown for that,” said Chief Petitioner Mike Nearman (R-Independence) said in a statement.




Oregon Redistricting Task Force Wants To Strip Power From Lawmakers

Oregon Public Broadcasting

A task force created by Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson is recommending that future redistricting be done by an independent commission. That would be a significant change from the current model, which tasks Oregon lawmakers with drawing up a plan. The current method of allowing lawmakers to draw the maps is “susceptible to political manipulation,” Richardson wrote in a newsletter announcing the task force report. “There is an inherent conflict of interest in allowing legislators to draw their own districts and pick their own voters.”


Oregon Redistricting Task Force Recommends Independent Commission

NW News Network

It’s recommending that an 11-member independent commission draw the maps of legislative and congressional districts. California and Washington use similar methods. 
 But Democratic Party of Oregon Chair Jeanne Atkins said Richardson is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. “I don’t think the Secretary’s made the case for it,” she said. A spokesperson for Richardson said the Secretary of State is talking to Republican lawmakers in an attempt to get the plan introduced during the next legislative session.




Poll: Majority oppose state tax on health care

East Oregonian

About 58 percent of 645 respondents surveyed online by the Nashville pollster said they oppose the tax, while 35 percent support it. Icitizen did not verify whether respondents were registered voters, only that they were Oregon resident. “We have not done any polling so I have nothing to compare it to, but I would say it is consistent with feedback we have received from folks who signed the petition,” said state Rep. Julie Parrish, R-West Linn, who spearheaded a petition for the referral.


Pat Allen on his ‘wild ride’ and goals for the troubled Oregon Health Authority

Portland Business Journal

Allen is now heading up the largest enterprise of his career, one with 4,000 employees and myriad responsibilities — overseeing the state’s Medicaid program, 16 coordinated care organizations, the Oregon State Hospital, the medical marijuana program and the public health infrastructure, from foodborne illness prevention to immunizations.


No easy cure likely in fight over control of Zoom+Care clinics

Portland Tribune

Competing depictions of the firm’s situation offered by two groups of shareholders give a rare peek inside the local health care company, shedding light on how twin goals of profitability and growth may be affecting staffing and care.




ODOT: Tear Down $12 Million Highway 97 Bridge Near La Pine

The Associated Press

Engineers with the Oregon Department of Transportation plan to recommend tearing down a nearly completed $12 million overpass on Highway 97 in La Pine after a geotechnical investigation found the underlying soil is unstable. The Oregon Transportation Commission is scheduled to hear and decide on the engineers’ recommendation at a meeting in Silverton in late October.




Oregon Income Inequality Has Reached Record Levels

Willamette Week

A new report from the Oregon Center for Public Policy finds the gap between rich and poor in this state is at its widest level ever. “Income inequality is one of Oregon’s greatest challenges,” said OCPP policy analyst Daniel Hauser. “Such extreme income inequality not only limits the ability of working families to get ahead, it also impairs economic growth.”




Three Portland Men Sue Boy Scouts of America for $21 Million for Knowingly Hiring a Sexual Predator

Willamette Week

“The Boy Scouts of America is outraged there have been times when Scouts were abused and we sincerely apologize to victims and their families,” Matthew Devore, Scout Executive and CEO of the Cascade Pacific Council said in a statement. “The behavior included in these allegations is abhorrent and runs counter to everything for which the BSA stands. Nothing is more important than the safety of our youth members. In the many years since these alleged actions occurred, we have continued to strengthen our efforts to protect youth.”


Three Portland men file $21 million suit against Boy Scouts of America

The Oregonian

The lawsuit is the latest alleging negligence by the Boy Scouts regarding convicted pedophile Calvin Malone. “The tragedy is that most of this abuse happened after the Boy Scouts of America learned that Malone was abusing boys and decided to let him back in as a Scout leader,” said Peter Janci, the Portland attorney representing the men. “These young lives were shattered – and it was completely avoidable.”




Editorial: Focus gun control debate on what would make a difference

Bend Bulletin

Sadly, Gov. Kate Brown has been unable to rise above the gun control script. In responding to Bulletin reporter Gary Warner’s inquiry this week about possible gun laws, she blamed failure on politicians who “try to appease the mourners but then side with the NRA.”  There’s no room in Brown’s universe for principled opposition based on what might actually work without violating citizens’ rights. And we’re not just talking about their 2nd Amendment rights. In pushing Senate Bill 719 in the most recent legislative session, Brown and the Democratic majority decided to ignore questions about due process and danger for law enforcement, among other issues.


Editorial: Politicize Las Vegas tragedy? Yes, please

The Oregonian

It was exactly the right call to make. And it’s what Oregonians, who on Sunday marked the two-year-anniversary of the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, should all be doing. The senseless killings of concertgoers, apparently by a lone gunman spraying bullets from his hotel window, exposes once again the impotence of the nation’s gun-violence laws and the weak will of Congress to strengthen them. So yes: This latest tragedy should immediately spark calls to Congress to work on a political solution that helps protect the public from this relentless onslaught of violence. If that is considered “politicizing,” then so be it.


Editorial: Updated distracted driving law goes into effect

Lebanon Express

So, stay away from texting while driving and if taking a call is necessary and you don’t have a hands-free device, just pull over in a safe spot.  Well, slow down your world a little when you’re driving. It can be a challenge for many people to step away from electronics for a while, especially those with intense jobs or others who are simply addicted. You might think you’re the best driver in the world and can handle it or perhaps you believe you just won’t get caught. That could be true, until it’s not. And then it’s too late.


Editorial: Re-examine split juries


Requiring unanimous verdicts would not have reversed all those convictions. In many cases, the holdout jurors would have been persuaded to adopt the majority’s view, or a compromise would have been reached. That’s how it’s done in 48 states and in the federal courts, where nothing less than a unanimous verdict will satisfy the principle that guilt must be established beyond a reasonable doubt. In Oregon, that principle has an asterisk that may need to be removed.


Guest: Different wage studies get different results

Mary C. King is professor of economics, emerita at Portland State University

Seattle’s success at pushing fast food restaurants to pay better wages without cutting jobs, is most likely due to higher sales, lower turnover and better employee productivity.




Some in GOP open to banning gun accessory used in Vegas mass shooting

The Associated Press

Senior congressional Republicans say they are open to considering legislation banning “bump stocks” like the shooter in Las Vegas apparently used to make semi-automatic rifles perform more like fully automatic weapons.



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