GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
None of Governor Kate Brown’s advisers or appointees gave written orders to conceal the death of an infant who stopped breathing at a Eugene day care last fall during her contentious race for governor. Yet emails and texts sent to her office in August 2018 make clear that child care regulators told the governor’s spokeswoman what they would say should news of 9-month-old William Cannon’s death become public. The messages, provided at no cost in response to a public records request, also reference conversations about the baby’s death that left no paper trail. Brown’s office and the Office of Child Care provided more than 4,500 pages of communications exchanged by the governor, top staffers, regulators and spokespeople during 10 days in August. The messages started the Wednesday William was found unconscious at Little Big Blessings day care, which had been cited months earlier for unsafe sleeping practices. He died two days later at a Portland hospital.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
As she hunted ways to fund the state’s health care system for low-income Oregonians last year, Gov. Kate Brown landed on what she billed as a $120 million solution: taxing businesses that don’t spend enough on their employees’ health care. What Brown actually introduced was a far more sweeping proposal — a half-a-billion dollar behemoth that, she acknowledged Thursday, is not likely to live through this year’s legislative session. “It raised substantially more money than we had anticipated,” Brown said. “We didn’t frankly need that much.” The apparently dead bill, House Bill 2269, was designed to address employers with at least 50 employees that don’t offer sufficient health insurance benefits. According to the Oregon Health Authority, in mid-2017 roughly 90,000 people who worked for large employers were forced to seek coverage from the publicly financed Oregon Health Plan, Oregon’s version of Medicaid.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Oregon lawmakers are looking to begin by tracking assaults more methodically. Senate Bill 823 would require hospitals to document when, where and how assaults occur — so new systems can be developed to prevent them. Senate Bill 823 has the support of health worker unions. Kevin Mealy with the Oregon Nurses Association said it’s unacceptable that one in four nurses report being physically attacked every year.
Trees lining the path to Arcadia Beach slant back against the hillside as if permanently enduring invisible gale-force winds. The path down to the beach buckles and drops. A winter storm first washed away access to Arcadia Beach in 2015 and landslides and erosion continue to warp the path. Caution tape blocks off a spot near a set of stairs where the ground has crumbled away. The state expects to begin rerouting and repairing the path this year. In the past, the storm damage would have been written off as the type of problem you just have to deal with on the coast sometimes.
Washington County Circuit Judge Charles Bailey, who has long been criticized for his imperious courtroom style, abruptly announced he will step down from his position as the court’s presiding judge. In a resignation letter last week to the state, Bailey acknowledged that other judges had concerns about him and that he’s been dissatisfied with his job in recent months, according to a source who saw the letter. Bailey declined to comment on his reasons Thursday to The Oregonian/OregonLive. “You’ve got your slant and your angle, and I’m clearly on your hit list,” Bailey said. He added that his resignation was “clearly an internal thing.”
The clock is ticking for the Portland Diamond Project to start paying real money to reserve a marine cargo terminal for its billion-dollar baseball park — or give up on building at the site. By the end of the month, the pro baseball boosters could have to start paying the Port of Portland hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for the exclusive negotiating rights to the Northwest Portland terminal where they hope to build a 32,000-seat stadium. The bill for the first three months will come to $375,000.
In the past four years, Polk County has hired 12 patrol deputies, three prosecutors, five jail staff, restored 24-hour patrol services and restarted the Polk County Inter-Agency Narcotics Team using funds from a public safety levy. To keep the funding in place, county leaders are asking residents to vote “yes” to renew the Polk County Safety Operating Levy for the next five years. Measure 27-129 is set to reappear on the special district election ballot May 21. Ballots were mailed out May 2. The levy, passed in May 2015, put in place a tax of up to 45 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value per year.
When Santiam Canyon Superintendent Todd Miller submitted paperwork to Linn County in February to place a $17.9 million bond on the ballot, there were 570 students in the district. Last week, there were 583. “Even at a time of year where things usually stay stagnant in terms of students, we’re continuing to have growth in the region,” he said. Student populations for the schools in Mill City and the surrounding areas in the district are expected to continue increasing, prompting school officials to think about the future.
A Salem wildland-firefighting and roofing company has been hit with a hefty fine after violating overtime and record-keeping laws and hiring underage workers. The Statesman Journal reports West Coast Reforestation Inc. will have to pay over $73,000 to 26 employees for overtime violations and another $7,200 in civil penalties for disobeying child labor requirements. The Department of Labor’s Regional Public Affairs Director Leo Kay says the violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act happened between January 2017 and January 2019.