Oregon

Oregon Liquor Privatization?
4:39 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Oregon Watches Washington Liquor Transition

As Washington moves to private sales of hard liquor, Oregon is not yet set for the same transition.
Photo credit: Wikimedia user O'Dea Wikimedia Commons

The state of Washington is preparing for a seismic shift this week in the way people buy liquor. A similar transition from state-controlled alcohol sales is not yet on the horizon in Oregon. But some in the industry hope that will change.

Washington voters initially rejected the idea of turning control of hard liquor sales over to the private sector. But last fall, an initiative to do just that passed by a wide margin after an expensive advertising campaign by Costco.

The retail giant isn't planning a similar ballot run in Oregon this year. Instead, grocery industry lobbyist Joe Gilliam says retailers will try their hand at convincing the Oregon legislature first. And he says the industry will simply point north for an example of what happens when lawmakers don't compromise.

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Oregon Mosque Firebomber
5:27 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Decision On Cody Crawford's Release Postponed

A federal judge in Eugene heard arguments Tuesday for the release of a man charged in the fire bombing of a Corvallis mosque in 2010. Cody Crawford is currently in jail awaiting trial.

Government lawyers argued victims of the mosque bombing were not given enough notice of Cody Crawford's motion for release. Despite this, Judge Thomas Coffin allowed the defense to make their arguments.

Crawford's attorney presented a psychologist's opinion that his client has Aspergers syndrome, and would not be dangerous if released.

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Oregon Kids Mental Healthcare Problems
4:48 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

State Audit Finds Unexplained Gaps In Children's Mental Health Care

Oregon auditors have found that girls under age 13 and Hispanic youth are using using mental health services at a disproportionately low rate.
HHS.gov Northwest News Network

Oregon needs to do a better job at making sure that low-income children are getting the mental health services they’re eligible for. That's the finding of a new audit by the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

The report applauds the Oregon Health Authority for bringing tens of thousands of additional children into the Medicaid-funded Oregon Health Plan over the past three years.

But auditors found that some groups of children were using mental health services at a disproportionately low rate. They include girls under age 13, and Hispanic youth of all ages.

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Oregon Librabrian Fakes Resume
5:35 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

State Librarian Hopeful Pleads Guilty To Padding Resume

The Marion County District Attorney's office says the 46 year-old Robert Hulshof-Schmidt produced fake documents to falsely claim he had a Masters Degree in Library Science from the University of Washington.
Photo courtesy of Oregon State Library.

A man who nearly became Oregon's State Librarian will now spend the next two years on probation for forgery. He pled guilty Thursday to going beyond just padding his resume. He forged documents showing that he had a degree from the University of Washington.

Last winter, Robert Hulshof-Schmidt was just weeks away from an internal promotion to the top spot at Oregon's State Library in Salem. Then, he suddenly withdrew his application and stopped showing up for work at the agency where he'd been employed for nearly seven years.

Library officials were mum on the about-face. Eventually someone else was named to the job.

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Oregon Corrections Layoffs
5:24 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Oregon Lawmakers Scale Back Corrections Layoffs

Oregon lawmakers have been pressing state agencies to cut back the ranks of middle managers. A legislative panel voted Wednesday to do that.
Photo credit: Chris Lehman The Oregon Department of Corrections

Oregon lawmakers have been pressing state agencies to cut back the ranks of middle managers. A legislative panel voted Wednesday to do that. But they scaled back a proposed round of layoffs at prisons because of safety concerns.

The Department of Corrections had submitted a budget-cutting plan to eliminate 81 positions, including more than 50 prison lieutenants. Lawmakers instead told the agency to scrap just 21 jobs by this summer. House Democratic leader Tina Kotek said the original proposal was too much, too soon.

Tina Kotek: "I am concerned about the safety issues within the system by reducing the number of supervisors. It's a challenge of safety for the staff, safety for the inmates."

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Drake Monument
7:10 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Drake Landmark Designation Sparks Debate

Garry Gitzen stands over Oregon's Nehalem Bay, which he claims is where Sir Francis Drake spent five weeks in 1579.
Photo by Colin Fogarty Northwest News Network

Oregon and California are locked in a dispute over something that happened 433 years ago. That’s when Sir Francis Drake became the first British explorer to make contact with Native Americans. It happened on what is now the American West Coast. The question is where. Oregon or California? The National Park Service is poised to officially recognize one state’s claim and not the other’s.

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Oregon Jobs Gains
4:53 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Oregon's Recovery Uneven Around The State

Oregon's economy is recovering slowly but steadily according to the latest forecast from state economists.
Photo credit: Wikimedia user M.O. Stevens Wikimedia Commons

Oregon's economy is recovering slowly but steadily according to the latest forecast from state economists. But not all parts of the state are along for the ride.

Some economic indicators are looking up in Oregon. That's according to state economist Mark McMullen. But he told state lawmakers that even though the pace has been slow statewide, it's even worse once you get away from the Willamette Valley and the Columbia Gorge.

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Oregon Revenues uneven
4:30 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Oregon Revenue Forecast Mostly Flat

Combined general fund and lottery fund revenue forecasts from Dec. 2010 - June 2012.
Graph by Oregon Office of Economic Analysis

Oregon lawmakers got so-so news from the state's economist Tuesday. Revenues are predicted to remain mostly steady over the rest of the budget cycle.

The latest projection of state income tax collections is down slightly since the last forecast. But the drop was offset by a series of budget actions that lawmakers took earlier this year.

State economist Mark McMullen told a legislative panel that Oregon's economic recovery is still on track. It's just slow.

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Kitzhaber Faux Bill Signing
4:34 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

Kitzhaber Signs Series Of Bills…Again

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signing two measures into law in March.
Photo credit Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has been busy signing a series of bills dealing with everything from marine reserves to tax incentives. But the deadline to sign bills from this year's legislative session was actually more than a month ago.

With a bipartisan group of lawmakers gathered behind him, the governor extolled the virtues of House Bill 4068.

John Kitzhaber: "The people here deserve a lot of credit for bringing a bill to my desk with broad, bipartisan majorities."

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Rural Town Development
6:39 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Far-Flung Residents Of Remote Oregon Build A Gathering Place

Coming down into Arock, Ore. from the highway.
Photo by Anna King Northwest News Network

Nearly every Northwest city and town has a center of gravity -- a place with a heartbeat. You know: Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square or Seattle’s Pike Place Market. But in the remote town of Arock, in southeast Oregon, that kind of spot has been missing for a long, long time. That’s about to change. Anna King has this story about a far-flung community that’s building a new place to gather.

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