Ballot returns remain strong for the Nov. 6 general election, according to figures complied by Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson. Though Nov. 1, 882,000 Oregonians had returned their ballots. That’s 32 percent of those registered to vote. If recent trends hold—about two-thirds of voters turn in their ballots in the final five days—nearly two million Oregonians will vote in the current election. That’s a big jump from the 1.54 million who voted in the 2014 mid-term election. Oregon’s automatic voter registration law, which went into effect in 2016, has dramatically increased the number of registered voters in the state from 2.17 million in 2014 to 2.76 million today. This year’s ballot returns continue to show greater turnout among Democrats than Republicans. Democrats have a 9.9 percentage point registration advantage over Republicans but so far have a 12 percentage point edge in terms of ballots returned.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
In a message to Oregon Food Bank employees delivered Friday, Ron Brake said he’d hoped to “help those on small or fixed budgets,” but that the corporate-backed campaign to pass Measure 103 has “twisted its meanings in directions that I could not have imagined.” “I regret the extra work that I know fell on you, and I very much regret ever agreeing to be involved in 103,” Brake wrote. “Going forward, I will be staying completely out of politics.” Reached on Friday afternoon, Brake declined to discuss the email to food bank employees, calling it “private.” Asked about Brake’s comments, the campaign behind Measure 103 sent along copies of two recent emails in which Brake indicated his support for the effort. The most recent, sent Monday, shows Brake responding to an e-mail by saying: “I hope we win!” “Mr. Brake has been an outspoken supporter of Measure 103 and keeping Oregon groceries tax free,” said Joe Gilliam, president of the Northwest Grocery Association, in a statement. “We have been dismayed by the underhanded harassment many of our endorsers and supporters have faced throughout this election.”
With polls showing the two main gubernatorial candidates only a few percentage points away from victory, their campaigns are focused on winning votes from nonaffiliated and independent voters in the final days before Tuesday’s election. The last-minute choices of those voters could determine the outcome of the race, political analysts said Thursday. Nonaffiliated voters make up 32 percent of the state electorate. They are the second largest voting bloc after Democrats who make up 36 percent. When combined with independents, nonaffiliated voters outnumber Democrats.
The Bend Bulletin
For most of the past two years, Oregon Democrats have focused on trying to build ironclad supermajorities in the Legislature to work in tandem with Democratic Gov. Kate Brown. But with polls showing a surprisingly tight governor’s race, a new set of questions have come up: What if Republican Knute Buehler wins? “It’s new territory,” said Jim Moore, director of the McCall Center for Civic Engagement at Pacific University. “Nobody has had to ask these questions in a long time.” In Oregon, the Democrats hold almost all the levers of political power. In addition to the governorship, Democrats hold a 35-25 voting edge in the House and 17-13 in the Senate. Party leaders have focused on gaining the one vote needed in each chamber to create a supermajority that could pass finance and tax bills without Republican help. But a Buehler victory would bring up two new numbers: 40 in the House and 20 in the Senate. Those are the thresholds needed to create a two-thirds majority and override any veto by a Gov. Buehler.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
The two have blasted out their ads 35,000 times on TV so far, according to the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks political commercials. “Well, it feels actually great to be able to communicate, to be able to tell the story of the big problems in Oregon,” said Buehler, “… Our advertising dollars have allowed us to make that case very strongly.” Brown expressed a weariness with the expense of the advertising onslaught. “If this campaign is about nothing else,” she said, “it is about the time for Oregon to move forward on campaign finance reform.”
In recent weeks, canvassers along the Interstate 5 corridor have been telling Oregonians how to vote on six statewide issues: “Yes” to re-elect Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, “yes” on an affordable housing bond initiative, and “no” on four conservative ballot initiatives. It’s not immediately clear who paid for the effort – door hangers handed out by canvassers say they’re from “the Oregon voter guide.” Those curious enough to go online will find the funders include the state’s powerful public employee unions and such groups as Planned Parenthood. The canvassers are part of a strategy by unions and advocacy groups to get Democrats and like-minded Oregonians to vote down the slate of conservative ballot measures and keep Brown in the governor’s office. “Kate Brown’s campaign is coordinating with [Defend Oregon and Our Oregon] to try to make sure there’s as little overlap as possible in progressive energies,” Looper said. “Everybody’s trying to pull in the same direction.”
Democrat Eileen Kiely, of Sunriver, and Republican Jack Zika, of Redmond, say they’ve made a conscious effort to not go negative. On the issues, they vary widely. Zika believes the state doesn’t need to raise taxes, “I think we can pay our bills, we just need to prioritize. We need to make sure what are wants and what are needs. And, we have to take care of education, healthcare, public safety. Right now, Oregon, for revenue coming in per capita, we’re eighth out of the whole nation.” While Kiely would like to focus on the general fund, which is used to pay for key services like education and law enforcement, “And, that’s one of the reasons the Oregon Business Plan, which represents a lot of the business leaders in Oregon, is saying it’s time to raise business taxes as part of an overall comprehensive budget.” Both candidates agree the state should allow more local control over finding solutions to the affordable housing crisis.
The Associated Press
U.S. businesses ramped up hiring in October, and wages rose by the largest year-over-year amount in nearly a decade, a combination that is pulling a rising share of Americans into the job market. Healthy economic growth is spurring employers to hire at a rapid pace that shows no sign of flagging even with the economy in its 10th year of expansion. With the supply of unemployed dwindling, companies appear to be finally putting up generous enough pay raises to attract and retain employees. Average hourly wages rose 3.1 percent in October from a year earlier, the fastest annual gain since 2009.
Dsuvia will not be available at retail pharmacies or for any home use, Gottlieb said. The medication, which comes in a single-use package, also should not be used for more than 72 hours. The medicine comes in a tablet that can dissolve under the tongue. Side effects of the potent drug include extreme tiredness, breathing problems, coma and death.
Fentanyl is on the rise in Lane County. Just ask the 23 people who overdosed on the dangerous drug over four days in September. Or the 15 who overdosed in the first half of October. All survived, thanks to a medication that reverses the effects of opioids, but the flurry of overdoses has focused local attention on the drug. Still, despite that spike, fentanyl’s prevalence in the community is difficult to gauge, according to Sgt. Dave Lewis, a Springfield police detective. “I do know for a fact that the presence of fentanyl is on the rise here,” Lewis said. “But I think it’s more pronounced than we know … Anytime there is a new trend in the drug world, law enforcement is generally behind, as far as figuring out the magnitude of it. But it’s definitely here.”
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Biologists have released 1 million young coho into the Lostine River over a two-year period. The fish “imprint” on the water and learn where to come back as adults. These young fish were trucked in from a hatchery far downstream. Johnson said they weren’t sure if the fish had enough time in Lostine River water to successfully “imprint” and find home after they spent time in the ocean. But it looks like it’s working. The first female coho returned to the mouth of the Lostine River on Oct. 22. During the last two weeks, the tribe has seen 42 coho reach the Lostine. “It’s so exciting,” said Becky Johnson, with the Nez Perce Tribe. “When one species is gone, it affects more than just that species or the people that are harvesting it at that time. It affects the birds and the bears and the coyotes. It’s a big circle of life-type thing,” Johnson said. Bringing coho back to the Grande Ronde Basin has been a goal for the tribe since Johnson started working there 25 years ago.
Rep. Rick Lewis and Barry Shapiro
Funding for education is a high priority for me. We failed to fully fund education at even the current level of service in the 2017 Session in spite of an increase of more than 11 percent. I voted ‘no’ on the education budget because I believe underfunding education by $200 million is unacceptable. We can and we must do better. I believe the Legislature should take action to fully fund education early in the session, thereby ensuring that education truly is a priority.
Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon
As a state, we need to re-invest in education so we can boost graduation rates, lower class sizes, and address the rising cost of college. I’m proud of the historic public education funding we passed in the 2017 session, and I know that there is still much more we can achieve. I am committed to investing in jobs-skills training, career and technical education in our high schools, so every Oregonian can find a good-paying job.
Rural communities will bear the brunt of the cost if cap and trade becomes law. The biggest windfall from the tax will come from of an increase in gasoline prices. It’s likely that a gallon will increase immediately by $0.16 and then go up from there. For rural residents who have to drive longer distances to get to work or shop and have no transit options, this gas price increase will hit us disproportionately. But the tax will also find you at home through an increase in electricity and natural gas prices. A recent economic analysis estimated that the average Oregon family of four would pay $500 to $1,500 more per year under cap and trade.
It’s disappointing, albeit not surprising, to see the misinformation about the recently updated Worker Protection Standard rules in a recent Mail Tribune opinion piece (“Pesticide rules won’t protect workers,” Oct. 7). As someone who represents pesticide applicators from across the state and served on the rules advisory committee for the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration rulemaking, I adamantly disagree with the assertions made by Carl Wilmsen and Lisa Arkin about the updated WPS. We all want workers who operate around pesticides to be safe. As agricultural employers, farmers depend on their employees as partners. One of the more unfortunate outcomes of the rulemaking process was the attempt by some to pit farmworkers and farmers against each other, and it appears that some groups are continuing to do just that. Most Oregon farmers see their workers as close friends, if not family, who help make their operations successful and would never unnecessarily endanger their health. The OR-OSHA rules, in conjunction with our already strict pesticide regulations, help ensure that continues to be the case.
I strongly urge members of the next legislative session to add sunset clauses to all constitutional amendments on the next general election ballot that, if passed, would require a re-vote on the amendments after time has passed to really see the effects. Five years would give an ample amount of time to see if it was well-planned and workable. If voters agree the idea was sound and did what was promised, it would be written in stone in the constitution. If it turned out it did not stand up to what was promised, it would fail the vote and be purged from the record. I believe this called a fail-safe scenario. The people of Oregon deserve a system of laws that fully reflect what was promised to us by those writing the original ballot measures.
I just moved back to Oregon a few months ago. On Oct. 9, I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to switch over my drivers license and register to vote in Oregon. When I got my license, I asked the clerk repeatedly, “Am I registered to vote now in Oregon?” To which the response was, repeatedly, “Yes, you are automatically registered.” Today, when I still didn’t see a ballot in the mail, I called the county elections office, and was told I failed to register in time to vote in this election. They have the October 9th date in the computer when I registered at the DMV, but they said there is 21 days from when the DMV registers you, until you are registered “automatically” with the elections office. So even though I went to a government office specifically to register to vote, and was told that I was registered to vote before the registration deadline, I cannot vote this year and there is nothing I can do. This is the first midterm or presidential election I will miss since I turned 18, and it’s crushing.