State Library eClips
* Oregon’s top budget writers unveil proposal filled with painful cuts
* State might let districts cut 2 1/2 days off school year for snow
* Oregon’s national monument fight is far from over
* Government plan for Klamath wildlife refuges violates law, conservation groups say
* 21,000 reasons to give rent-stabilization policies a chance — Guest Opinion
* Oregon legislators warn of painful cuts in ‘existing resources’ budget
* Minto Island Bridge to open in April, sort of
* Bridge going nowhere fast at Salem’s Riverfront Park — Opinion
* Oregon Democratic leaders release proposed budget that would cut range of public health care and social services
* Pile up of school snow days prompts request for waiver
* A flatter jobs cycle? — Opinion
* Corvallis residents split on joining logging suit
* School district snow days now equal headaches at year’s end
* Rift exposed over ODOT oversight
* Legislature’s budget-writers set shortfall at $1.8 billion
* Clackamas board stays in timber lawsuit
* Why so few Airbnb permits? Could tax avoidance be a reason?
* OTC nixes expected release of draft ODOT review
* Lawmakers’ spending framework includes cuts, no new taxes
* Advocates to change method of counting homeless
* Road improvements will be needed to ease congestion in Bend
* Drug testing bill filed in Salem
* Editorial: Dont let anyone pull a Whitsett — Opinion
* Death Penalty: Prison Superintendent – OPB’s Think Out Loud
* Oregon Education Officials Offer Relief To Snow-Battered Schools
* Why A Small Texas Town Wants Oregons Nuclear Waste
* Oregon Budget Proposal: Program Cuts, No New Taxes
* Federal Approval Of GMO Grass Seed Sparks Outcry
* Oregon Budget Proposal: Program Cuts, No New Taxes
* Oregons hazelnut boom gains momentum
* Reflecting on eight years of progress — Guest Opinion
* Washington Ecology shakes up dairy regulation
* Hansell, Barreto ask wheres the emergency
* Lawmakers to consider air pollution regulations for dairies
* State school board to discussion snow day exemptions
* Wallowa County ranch to adopt new water conservation practices
* Pronghorn deaths blamed on toxic plant
* Education providers, lawmaker tour local preschool programs
* Medford airport has another record year
* Our View: Federal land sell-off is not imminent — Opinion
* Our View: Monument expansion strikes a balance — Opinion
* Guest Opinion: The Affordable Care Act helps in fighting the opiate epidemic — Guest Opinion
* ‘Takings’ case moves to Washington, D.C. venue
* Sprague River closes to all fishing Monday
* H&N View – Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument — Opinion
* National Monument expansion brings potential backlash
* New handgun policy: Much ado about not much — Opinion
* Teen alcohol, tobacco use down
* Highway 99 improvements planned
* Douglas County school districts test for lead in drinking water with results online
* Reedsport seeks millions for flood mitigation
* Seven Feathers to host conference on beaver restoration
* Replace Affordable Care Act with new plan — Guest Opinion
* Feds reject Idaho utility’s bid to negate Oregon fish law
OREGON’S TOP BUDGET WRITERS UNVEIL PROPOSAL FILLED WITH PAINFUL CUTS (Portland Oregonian)
From teacher layoffs to cutting as many as 355,000 people from Medicaid, Oregon’s top budget-writers painted what they hope is a heart-wrenching scenario Thursday of what would happen if the state had to operate without increased taxes or other revenues the next two years.
STATE MIGHT LET DISTRICTS CUT 2 1/2 DAYS OFF SCHOOL YEAR FOR SNOW (Portland Oregonian)
To help the many Oregon school districts hit by nine or more snow days, the state is considering letting districts fall 14 hours, or about 2 1/2 days, short of mandated school year requirements.
Districts could be let off the hook for even more time, but they would have to make their case in writing — and get the state Board of Education to vote to approve it.
OREGON’S NATIONAL MONUMENT FIGHT IS FAR FROM OVER (Portland Oregonian)
After years of planning, campaigning, feuding and finger-pointing, Oregon’s fight over new national monuments seems to be coming to a close – for now.
In his final days in office, President Barack Obama announced a massive expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon last Thursday, but a proposal for a monument at eastern Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands has run out of time.
GOVERNMENT PLAN FOR KLAMATH WILDLIFE REFUGES VIOLATES LAW, CONSERVATION GROUPS SAY (Portland Oregonian)
Three conservation groups filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday alleging a management plan for five wildlife refuges in Southern Oregon and Northern California doesn’t do enough to restore and protect key habitat for tens of thousands of migrating waterfowl.
21,000 REASONS TO GIVE RENT-STABILIZATION POLICIES A CHANCE — GUEST OPINION (Portland Oregonian)
It’s no secret that communities across Oregon are experiencing severe housing shortages and extreme rent increases. Last year, over 21,000 kids in Oregon’s school districts experienced homelessness. That means 21,000 kids worried about where they and their parents would sleep at night, rather than focusing on school. This year, Oregon legislators will have an opportunity to lift the statewide prohibition on rent stabilization, a step that would help keep families in their homes and set children up for success.
OREGON LEGISLATORS WARN OF PAINFUL CUTS IN ‘EXISTING RESOURCES’ BUDGET (Salem Statesman Journal)
Last month, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown proposed a budget showing what the next two years will look like if lawmakers can agree on new revenue measures.
On Thursday, the Legislatures top budget-writers released a version showing what will happen if they cant.
MINTO ISLAND BRIDGE TO OPEN IN APRIL, SORT OF (Salem Statesman Journal)
A Salem pedestrian bridge crossing the Willamette River at Riverfront Park is now scheduled to open in April.
Construction setbacks have plagued the project since city councilors approved a design for the Peter Courtney Minto Island bridge in 2010, delays that could cost the lead contractor more than $200,000.
Ed. Note: State Grant Funding.
BRIDGE GOING NOWHERE FAST AT SALEM’S RIVERFRONT PARK — OPINION (Salem Statesman Journal)
Would a home or business owner tolerate a build job that missed its completion date by more than a year?
Salem’s Riverfront Park has been called the community’s living room. The velvety green oasis along the Willamette River provides outdoor opportunities galore and offers scenic spaces that improve livability in our city.
Ed. Note: State Grant Funding.
-Plan would downsize but keep open the Junction City psychiatric hospital-
Leading Democratic budget crafters released their proposed 2017-19 state government budget Thursday with a long list of spending curbs, including in public health care, social services, drug treatment and corrections, to fill a projected $1.8 billion hole.
PILE UP OF SCHOOL SNOW DAYS PROMPTS REQUEST FOR WAIVER (Eugene Register-Guard)
An exceptionally cold, stormy and snowy winter has school districts across Oregon running out of time to instruct their students for the required number of hours this school year.
Snow, freezing rain and bitter cold temperatures prompted districts all over the state to cancel school for several days in December and January.
A FLATTER JOBS CYCLE? — OPINION (Eugene Register-Guard)
-Unemployment in Oregon dips to historic lows-
A chart of Oregons unemployment rate during the past 30 years looks like the profile of the Cascades: high peaks and deep valleys. Its great news that the state jobless rate fell to 4.6 percent in December, resulting in an average of 4.9 percent for all of 2016 the lowest since recordkeeping began 40 years ago.
CORVALLIS RESIDENTS SPLIT ON JOINING LOGGING SUIT (Eugene Register-Guard)
-The class action lawsuit seeks compensation from the state over lost logging revenue-
Residents have sharply divided opinions about whether their county should be involved in a lawsuit against the state.
SCHOOL DISTRICT SNOW DAYS NOW EQUAL HEADACHES AT YEAR’S END (Portland Tribune)
-The Oregon Department of Education mandates the minimum amount of classroom time that each public school district needs to offer each year.-
Most public school districts in Oregon schedule a day or two each year to account for the possibility of snow no matter how unlikely that outcome is in the Portland area.
Ed. Note: Discusses State Board of Education meeting next week.
RIFT EXPOSED OVER ODOT OVERSIGHT (Portland Tribune)
-Gov. Brown has written a noncommittal response to the Oregon Transportation Commission.-
In a highly unusual letter, the head of the Oregon Transportation Commission has asked Gov. Kate Brown to personally engage in beefed-up oversight of the Department of Transportation.
LEGISLATURE’S BUDGET-WRITERS SET SHORTFALL AT $1.8 BILLION (Portland Tribune)
-Lawmakers who sit on the Ways and Means Committee will tour the state in February to ask Oregonians for advice on how to balance the budget.-
The chief budget-writers for the Oregon Legislature say the state’s deficit now sits at $1.8 billion. And cutting programs alone is the wrong way to balance the books.
CLACKAMAS BOARD STAYS IN TIMBER LAWSUIT (Portland Tribune)
-But county commissioners propose recovery of state forest land, not money, if western Oregon counties prevail against the state.-
Clackamas County commissioners have opted to stay in a lawsuit led by Linn County that seeks to recover up to $1.4 billion from the state in past losses and future proceeds from timber sales on state forests.
WHY SO FEW AIRBNB PERMITS? COULD TAX AVOIDANCE BE A REASON? (Portland Tribune)
Airbnb offers a ‘quick reference guide’ for prospective Portland hosts on its website, essentially a checklist to get started. It mentions they need to file for a city business license, notify neighbors, file a permit application and get an inspection. Another Airbnb web page notes lodging taxes must be paid to Portland, Multnomah County and the state. It makes no reference to state or federal income taxes on earnings. However, a separate Airbnb handout on taxes encourages hosts to consult a tax professional for reporting their income.
OTC NIXES EXPECTED RELEASE OF DRAFT ODOT REVIEW (Portland Tribune)
Oregon Transportation Commission heard an update on the schedule for completion and release of the findings.
The Oregon Transportation Commission on Thursday, Jan. 19, nixed a scheduled briefing on draft findings of a management performance audit of the Oregon Department of Transportation.
LAWMAKERS’ SPENDING FRAMEWORK INCLUDES CUTS, NO NEW TAXES (Portland Tribune)
Joint Ways and Means Committee co-chairs lay groundwork for budget talks in the 2017 session.
The co-chairs of the Legislature’s joint budget-writing committee Thursday presented a spending plan that included cuts in services to reflect the state’s expected $1.8 billion shortfall for the next two-year budget cycle.
ADVOCATES TO CHANGE METHOD OF COUNTING HOMELESS (Bend Bulletin)
-Central Oregon numbers could grow as a result-
An upcoming count of homeless people is expected to show that their numbers in Central Oregon are higher than previously recorded.
Regional organizers of the federally mandated point in time count, which is scheduled to take place next week, say the likely increase is due to changes in the way the count will be conducted in Central Oregon. The new methodology is an attempt to correct for inaccuracies of past years, which can make homelessness appear to be decreasing when its not.
ROAD IMPROVEMENTS WILL BE NEEDED TO EASE CONGESTION IN BEND (Bend Bulletin)
-Millions of dollars in improvements are needed to deal with Bends soaring population-
Bend is expected to grow by nearly 35,000 residents over the next decade, which means the city will need to spend millions of dollars expanding streets to meet the demands of new residents and the cars they bring with them.
But the problem is already here in this city of 81,000 people.
DRUG TESTING BILL FILED IN SALEM (Bend Bulletin)
-Federal law still a hurdle-
A bill meant to prevent employers from using off-the-clock marijuana use as a cause to fire or refuse to hire someone is on the growing list of proposed legislation awaiting lawmakers in Salem.
Backers of Senate Bill 301 say it would override state Supreme Court decisions that say employers need not accommodate workers off-the-job use of marijuana, legal for all adults since July 2015.
EDITORIAL: DONT LET ANYONE PULL A WHITSETT — OPINION (Bend Bulletin)
Oregon House Bill 2429 is a tribute to Doug and Gail Whitsett. But its not for the work the married Republicans did to represent their districts in Eastern Oregon. Its for the way the Whitsetts effectively picked their successors.
DEATH PENALTY: PRISON SUPERINTENDENT – OPB’S THINK OUT LOUD (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
Frank Thompson is a retired prison superintendent from the Oregon Department of Corrections. Though he oversaw Oregons only two executions in the modern era while on the job, he now opposes the death penalty. He joins us as part of our series of conversations about capital punishment in Oregon.
OREGON EDUCATION OFFICIALS OFFER RELIEF TO SNOW-BATTERED SCHOOLS (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
Oregon education officials may relax instructional time requirements for school districts that have lost class time to snow and ice.
Proposed rules would allow districts to count 14 hours of weather-related cancellations as instructional time. Thats similar to what Oregon used to allow, before phasing out allowances for time lost to weather emergencies.
WHY A SMALL TEXAS TOWN WANTS OREGONS NUCLEAR WASTE (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
Communities from Oregon to New York may be clamoring to get nuclear waste out of their backyards, but one small town in west Texas is actively vying to store the nations spent nuclear fuel at least for the next century or so.
OREGON BUDGET PROPOSAL: PROGRAM CUTS, NO NEW TAXES (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
The chief budget-writers for the Oregon Legislature have released a spending proposal that includes cuts to state programs.
The proposal issued Thursday outlines how lawmakers might bridge an expected budget gap.
FEDERAL APPROVAL OF GMO GRASS SEED SPARKS OUTCRY (Northwest Public Radio)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has deregulated a controversial grass seed that is genetically modified to resist the herbicide called Roundup. The move has sparked outcry from critics who fear the grass could contaminate crops in Oregons billion-dollar grass seed industry.
OREGON BUDGET PROPOSAL: PROGRAM CUTS, NO NEW TAXES (Northwest Public Radio)
The chief budget-writers for the Oregon Legislature have released a spending proposal that includes cuts to state programs. The proposal issued Thursday outlines how lawmakers might bridge an expected budget gap.
OREGONS HAZELNUT BOOM GAINS MOMENTUM (Capital Press)
-Enthusiasm for hazelnuts is high due to healthy prices and the availability of new cultivars resistant to eastern filbert blight.-
The expansion of Oregons hazelnut orchards is gaining momentum, with acreage surging by nearly 64 percent in the past five years, according to an industry analyst.
Farmers planted about 9,200 acres of hazelnuts last year, up from 6,200 acres in 2015 and 4,300 acres in 2014, said Mike McDaniel, principal of Pacific Agricultural Survey, which tracks the industrys growth.
REFLECTING ON EIGHT YEARS OF PROGRESS — GUEST OPINION (Capital Press)
-It has been an absolute pleasure to work in the Obama administration serving rural Oregonians. Thank you for that opportunity, and I hope our paths cross again.-
When I was asked by the Obama administration to lead the USDA Rural Development in Oregon, I set out on a journey that would lead me to small communities across the state grappling with infrastructure and economic development needs, into the homes of people struggling to make ends meet, and through the doors of businesses just getting off the ground or searching for resources to expand.
WASHINGTON ECOLOGY SHAKES UP DAIRY REGULATION (Capital Press)
-The Washington Department of Ecologys rules could keep dairies out of court, but the costs for farmers are uncertain.-
New rules issued by the Washington Department of Ecology on Wednesday will change the regulatory landscape for the states 230 dairies with more than 200 cows.
Embracing the rules may shield dairies from government fines or lawsuits by environmental groups, but will mean taking on new obligations with uncertain costs.
HANSELL, BARRETO ASK WHERES THE EMERGENCY (East Oregonian)
-Proposal asks for 2/3 majority in state House, Senate to declare new laws emergencies-
Two Eastern Oregon lawmakers seek to curtail the legislative practice of new bills going into effect as soon as the governor signs them into law.
State Sen. Bill Hansell of Athena and Rep. Greg Barreto of Cove, both Republicans, said the use of the emergency clause on bills has gotten out of hand, so they are sponsoring Senate Joint Resolution 15 to make it harder to declare an emergency.
LAWMAKERS TO CONSIDER AIR POLLUTION REGULATIONS FOR DAIRIES (East Oregonian)
-The Oregon Legislature will consider a bill revisiting recommendations made by the Oregon Dairy Air Quality Task Force in 2008.-
Oregon lawmakers may finally be ready to follow through on air quality controls for dairy farms originally put forth by a state task force nearly a decade ago.
Senate Bill 197 would direct the Environmental Quality Commission to adopt a program for regulating air emissions from dairies something the Oregon Dairy Air Quality Task Force recommended to the Department of Agriculture and Department of Environmental Quality back in 2008.
STATE SCHOOL BOARD TO DISCUSSION SNOW DAY EXEMPTIONS (East Oregonian)
-The Oregon State Board of Education will discuss the possibility of granting flexibility to school districts to still count some snow days toward their requirements for minimum instructional hours.-
The Oregon State Board of Education will discuss the possibility of a temporary exemption to instructional time requirements, in light of the unusual number of snow days for schools around the state.
WALLOWA COUNTY RANCH TO ADOPT NEW WATER CONSERVATION PRACTICES (East Oregonian)
-Approximately 1 billion gallons of water will be saved through new conservation projects on Wolfe Ranch in Wallowa County.-
A Wallowa County ranch figures to save 1 billion gallons of water annually through a series of conservation projects, such as adding sprinklers and forgoing irrigation during peak summer months.
The Freshwater Trust, an environmental nonprofit with offices in Portland, announced it is working with Wolfe Ranch to upgrade irrigation infrastructure, transfer points of diversion and lease water rights on the farm to benefit endangered salmon in the Lostine River.
PRONGHORN DEATHS BLAMED ON TOXIC PLANT (Argus Observer)
Just two weeks ago, a group of eight elk died in the Boise foothills after feeding on Japanese yew plants. This week, a herd of 50 pronghorn antelope were found dead in Payette, victims of the same toxic shrub.
EDUCATION PROVIDERS, LAWMAKER TOUR LOCAL PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS (Argus Observer)
Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, joined local early education and early childhood development providers Tuesday to visit two preschool programs in Ontario and Vale.
The first stop for Bentz and company was an Ontario family care program, based out of an Ontario home. The groups second stop was in Vale, where they visited preschoolers in a Preschool Promise classroom.
MEDFORD AIRPORT HAS ANOTHER RECORD YEAR (Medford Mail Tribune)
The Medford airport capped its third-straight record year with its second-best December ever, finishing 2016 with 822,289 travelers passing through its gates.
“We can’t expect every year to be up like this past year was,” airport Director Bern Case said. “But if we are up a percent or two each year and grow with economy, I will be pleased with that.”
OUR VIEW: FEDERAL LAND SELL-OFF IS NOT IMMINENT — OPINION (Medford Mail Tribune)
Supporters of public lands are alarmed by a change in U.S. House rules that appears to smooth the way to transferring federal land to states to do with as they wish. But both President-elect Donald Trump and his Interior secretary nominee oppose such transfers.
The change, tucked away in a package of rules adopted by the House Jan. 3, bars the Congressional Budget Office from considering the dollar value of federal land that is transferred to other entities. The rule essentially makes such transfers budget-neutral, removing a major obstacle.
OUR VIEW: MONUMENT EXPANSION STRIKES A BALANCE — OPINION (Medford Mail Tribune)
Supporters of a larger Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument got some of what they wanted when President Barack Obama designated 47,624 acres as new monument land. Opponents, including the timber industry and the Jackson County commissioners, were disappointed, but the move is unlikely to bring the negative consequences they fear.
GUEST OPINION: THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT HELPS IN FIGHTING THE OPIATE EPIDEMIC — GUEST OPINION (Medford Mail Tribune)
As the new year begins, Oregon, like much of the country, is facing a public health crisis with opiates pain pills and heroin. Oregon currently leads the nation in abuse of prescription pain pills, and from 2001-2011 admission rates to drug treatment facilities for opiate addiction quadrupled.
Although action is being taken, both at the state and local level, to curb the prescription of opiates, we are still seeing devastating local effects.
‘TAKINGS’ CASE MOVES TO WASHINGTON, D.C. VENUE (Herald and News)
Klamath Basin irrigators are taking their case to a higher court.
A historic case on the ramifications of a major water shutoff to Klamath Reclamation Project irrigators in 2001 will be heard at trial from local farmers or their attorneys starting Monday, Jan. 30 in Washington, D.C.
SPRAGUE RIVER CLOSES TO ALL FISHING MONDAY (Herald and News)
The Sprague River will close to all fishing beginning Monday and continue through April 21, according to an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife news release.
ODFW announced the emergency regulation Thursday in order to protect spawning redband trout from the stress and mortality associated with fishing pressure and handling.
H&N VIEW – CASCADE-SISKIYOU NATIONAL MONUMENT — OPINION (Herald and News)
There are several things wrong with President Obamas expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument last week. Its major good points are that the 47,624-acre expansion is smaller than the 66,500-acre expansion originally opposed, and it does seem to help preserve parts of a unique ecosystem where two mountain ranges meet.
President Barack Obamas expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument last week has been lauded as a triumph for some and a catastrophe for others, especially the O&C counties who say the expansion will further restrict logging.
Jim Whittington, Bureau of Land Management public affairs officer for the Medford district, said his office has started dealing with the logistics of the 48,000-acre expansion.
NEW HANDGUN POLICY: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOT MUCH — OPINION (Albany Democrat Herald)
Some Republicans in the state Legislature are worked up over a new policy that stops most state employees with licenses to carry concealed handguns from bringing guns to work.
“Outrage,” the GOP thundered in the subject line of an emailed press release last week. The press release itself added, in a somewhat more restrained tone, that Republicans were “disturbed” by a new rule from the Brown administration that “compromises the self-defense rights of Oregonians.”
TEEN ALCOHOL, TOBACCO USE DOWN (LaGrande Observer)
-Oregon Student Wellness Survey show teen use in county drops significantly-
The numbers are eye popping and reason for schools, parents and youth leaders to celebrate.
The 2016 results of the Oregon Health Authoritys biannual Oregon Student Wellness Survey indicate that alcohol and tobacco use among teenagers in Union County is down way down.
HIGHWAY 99 IMPROVEMENTS PLANNED (Douglas County News-Review)
Douglas County moved a step closer Wednesday to making about $5.4 million in improvements on Highway 99 south of Winchester Bridge.
DOUGLAS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICTS TEST FOR LEAD IN DRINKING WATER WITH RESULTS ONLINE (Douglas County News-Review)
The Oregon Board of Education adopted new rules for lead testing last year in state schools that required a quick response by educators to ensure the health and safety of Oregon students.
The board recommended that all schools test their facilities and provide reports to their communities within five days of receiving the results. Individual school districts posted lead test results on their websites.
REEDSPORT SEEKS MILLIONS FOR FLOOD MITIGATION (Douglas County News-Review)
Two weather disasters in 2015 opened up millions of dollars in grant funds to Douglas County, and Reedsport is claiming most of that money for flood mitigation.
The city sits at the junction of three rivers the Umpqua River, the Smith River, and the Scholfield River and is a few miles away from the Pacific Ocean. The towns levee protects it from most flooding waters, but not all.
SEVEN FEATHERS TO HOST CONFERENCE ON BEAVER RESTORATION (Douglas County News-Review)
Oregons official state animal, the beaver, plays an important role in the states wetland ecosystems. Those advocating for the beaver plan to convene next month for a series of presentations focusing on beaver ecology as a crucial part of threatened species recovery.
REPLACE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WITH NEW PLAN — GUEST OPINION (Douglas County News-Review)
The incoming Trump administration and the Republican Congress have vowed to replace the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something better. The replacements suggested, such as cross state insurance sales, Medicaid block grants or expanded HSAs seem unlikely to maintain current levels of coverage or control costs. Let me propose a system that would be different and I think, much better than any of the alternatives so far suggested.
FEDS REJECT IDAHO UTILITY’S BID TO NEGATE OREGON FISH LAW (Idaho Statesman)
Federal authorities on Thursday rejected a request by an Idaho utility to negate an Oregon law requiring fish passage as part of relicensing for a hydroelectric project on the Snake River where it forms the border between Idaho and Oregon.
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