GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Jim Green wanted his prospective business partners to know he wasn’t all that concerned with where they cut down the tropical hardwood that would eventually become veneer siding on homes across the United States. “I’m not worried that you’re stealing from a national park. I don’t care,” he said during a 2017 meeting. What mattered to Green was that he had paperwork — even if bribery or graft was involved — indicating that everything was above board.
Oregon ranks dead last among all states for prompt responses to public records requests, a new nationwide analysis by MuckRock found.Oregon government agencies’ average response time is 148 days, which was the worst by more than three weeks. The quickest states, which include Vermont, Idaho and Rhode Island, produce responses within fifteen days on average. Slow responses by state and local agencies have frustrated journalists, lawyers and members of the public for years in Oregon. WW published a story last month using records released by the Portland Police Bureau three months after the request was made.
The state has sold $100 million in bonds, kickstarting a process to decouple the Elliott State Forest from a state fund for education, State Treasurer Tobias Read said Thursday. The Elliott is currently required to generate money for K-12 public schools through the Common School Fund, and in recent years state officials have come close to selling about 82,500 acres of the coastal forest because of reduced timber harvests on the land. The bond money will, effectively, allow the state to eventually free the Elliott from its money-making obligations.
Washington bump stock owners have a final chance to earn $150 for turning in their devices before they become illegal Tuesday. The Washington State Patrol is offering the sum to any Washington resident who turns in a bump stock-type device. The agency has held buy-back events at offices throughout the state, the last of which is set for Monday.
The three siblings who filed a lawsuit to halt the sale of Alpenrose dairy have dropped their suit, and the pending sale is off. While it’s unclear what this means for the dairy over the long-term, it for now appears likely to soothe fears that a sale of the historic business on the western edge of Portland could end public’s access to ballparks, a bike-racing velodrome, a community theater and community events that have been active on the 52-acre site for decades.
A former candidate for the Oregon Supreme Court filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Portland on March 22, alleging that his employer, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, improperly released a damaging report about him to WW last year. The Oregonian first reported the lawsuit. The plaintiff, Van Pounds, worked for DCBS in securities regulation.
The high price of textbooks can be troublesome for college students, but some classes at Central Oregon Community College have begun using free or inexpensive online resources to ease the burden on student wallets. The practice saved COCC students an estimated $964,360 in the 2017-18 school year, according to Open Oregon Educational Resources, an organization that helps community colleges and four-year universities adopt affordable or free online textbooks. The group said 773 courses that year used the online resources.
People living in Jackson County have the best health and longest lifespans in southwest Oregon. However, the county finishes in the middle of the pack compared to all counties in the state, according to the national 2019 County Health Rankings report. Jackson County ranks 16th in the state on health outcomes — beating out Curry County at No. 28, Douglas County at No. 29, Coos County at No. 30, Josephine County at No. 33 and Klamath County at No. 35.
The Daily Astorian
The Sunset Empire Transportation District is trying to run a bus line from Astoria to Union Station in downtown Portland. The transit district is applying for a two-year, $738,000 grant from the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. The district would provide a local match of $82,000. “The proposal is for three trips a day,” said Jeff Hazen, the transit district’s executive director. “I’ve also included in there the possibility of buying two used motor coaches to make the ride a little more comfortable.”