Oregon

Oregon lawmakers are set to consider a measure that would raise the wage to $15 per hour.

Paul Eggert / Wikimedia Commons

It's about time... daylight saving time, to be precise. Some Oregon and Washington legislators want to end the yearly practice of springing forward and falling back.

A panel of Oregon lawmakers will take a first look Wednesday at changes to Measure 91 -- the voter-approved legalization of recreational marijuana.

AP Images

The Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area is a 50-mile long sandbox stretching along the coast from Florence to North Bend . Giant dunes reach up to 500 feet tall and rolling hills of open sand can seem to stretch to the horizon.

But the dunes are in trouble. Invasive vegetation is quickly closing in, shrinking the open sand.

A new Forest Service plan addresses how off-road vehicles use the dunes.

It’s a quiet morning at the Oregon dunes. Usually, you’d hear the buzz of off-road vehicles here.

Anne Swoboda / Flickr

Federal regulators said Oregon is not doing enough to protect water quality in coastal areas. A ruling Friday could end up costing the state millions.

More than fifteen years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency told Oregon it needed to tighten regulations on nonpoint source, or runoff-related, pollution. Some changes happened, but not enough. Federal officials said Oregon’s logging rules still don’t do enough to protect fish habitat and drinking water.

Kasey Myers / Flickr

Wolves in the eastern third of Oregon have reached a key milestone in the state’s recovery program. Officials have confirmed seven breeding pairs. It’s the third year in a row a healthy number of pups have survived. Those two indicators of a recovering wolf population trigger phase two in the state's wolf reintroduction plan.

Oregon’s wolf program coordinator Russ Morgan spoke Wednesday on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s talk show, Think Out Loud.  Morgan said one of the big takeaways is that ranchers can now kill wolves that are chasing livestock on their properties.

Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

 

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has until January 12 to put the finishing touches on his inaugural address. But writing the speech should be old hat to the governor.

He's done it three times already.

Andreas Solberg / Flickr

People under age of 21 in Oregon will have legal immunity if they report alcohol-related medical emergencies. It's one of several new laws taking effect with the New Year.

Washington Department of Labor and Industries

The new year will mean higher pay for low-wage workers in Oregon and Washington. The minimum wage in both states is set for an increase.

The minimum wage in both Washington and Oregon is tied to inflation. It's going up by 15 cents an hour in both states: to $9.47 in Washington and $9.25 in Oregon.

Oregon has failed in its attempt to recover millions from a bad investment in a for-profit university.

Newport Coast Guard Helicopter Base Will Remain Open

Dec 11, 2014
Coast Guard News / Flickr

    

The U.S. Coast Guard helicopter base in Newport will stay open. It had been slated to close this month to save the Coast Guard $6 million.

Democratic members of the Oregon delegation negotiated the language in the coast guard reauthorization bill. It will prohibit the closure of any air facilities in the U.S. for the next year.

Stephen D. Melkisethian / Flickr

Supporters of a food labeling measure in Oregon have conceded defeat, more than one month after the election. Measure 92 would have required food manufacturers and retailers to label genetically engineered foods. It produced the most expensive initiative campaign in Oregon history. The difference between the "no" and "yes" votes was so close, it triggered the first statewide recount in more than six years. That recount is largely confirming the initial totals.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

A large state owned forest in Oregon might end up in new hands.

The State Land Board endorsed a proposal Tuesday to transfer ownership of the Elliott State Forest. But it's not clear who the new owners would be.

The Elliott State Forest in southwest Oregon is supposed to be managed to bring in as much money as possible. And that money is supposed to go to public schools. But the forest is actually losing money in the wake of restrictions on logging.

KATU

Supporters of a food labeling measure in Oregon sought a court order to block the certification of the election results. The group filed a request for a temporary injunction Monday.

Measure 92 would require food manufacturers and retailers to label genetically engineered foods. It fell just 800 votes short in the November election.

Cannabis Training University / Wikimedia

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission could get a more than $500,000 injection of emergency funds to help oversee the legalization of recreational marijuana.

That’s because starting next year, the OLCC won't be controlling just liquor anymore. Voters gave it the job of regulating pot, too.

Legal marijuana sales likely won't begin until early 2016. But the OLCC is about to embark on a lengthy rulemaking process for how marijuana can be grown and sold in the state. The agency wants to hire four new people right off the bat with more to come next year.

Rocio Lara / Flickr

Businesses in Oregon could soon take advantage of the crowdfunding phenomenon. State regulators Wednesday heard from the public on proposed rules to let smaller companies raise cash from Oregon investors.

Think Kickstarter except instead of making a donation you'd be making an actual investment in a small business. It’s a workaround of federal rules--with a quarter-million dollar limit per company. Small business advocate Jarvez Hall says he thinks the new policy could open doors to people of color who can have a harder time accessing traditional sources of capital.

AP Images

    

Forest owners in the Northwest use helicopters to spray weed killer after logging. It is an effective way to kill plants like blackberry and alder that compete with the next crop of tree seedlings. But it is controversial.

Last year people near the coastal Oregon city of Gold Beach claimed they were poisoned. State officials and timber lobbyists blamed that incident on mistakes by the pilot. But sometimes, communities report drift even when timber companies appear to be following the rules.

AP Images

Idaho and Oregon have the highest share of unauthorized immigrants who will benefit from President Obama’s recent executive action. That’s according to a report from the Pew Research Center.

46 percent of Idaho’s and 43 percent of Oregon’s undocumented immigrants are newly eligible for deportation protection. The program Obama announced last month extends protection to people who have been in the country for more than five years and have children born in the U.S. D’Vera Cohn from the Pew Research Center says that describes many of Oregon’s 120,000 unauthorized immigrants.

Chris Lehman

The first statewide recount in more than six years is underway in Oregon. Elections workers Tuesday started hand-counting the more than 1.5 million votes cast for and against Measure 92.

The initiative would require food manufacturers and retailers to label genetically engineered foods. It failed in the initial tally by just 812 votes. That triggered a state-funded recount. In Salem, Marion County clerk Bill Burgess has a team of about 50 temporary workers combing through ballots. He says the counters found just one correction to make during the first three hours on the job.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Dozens of Oregon cities rushed to approve taxes on recreational marijuana before Oregon voters legalized it this fall. But it's not clear whether those revenues will ever materialize since Measure 91 seemingly rules out local taxes on pot.

dmmd303 / Flickr

The most expensive initiative in Oregon history appears headed for a recount.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

A new law to legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon doesn't begin to take effect until next year. That means state lawmakers have the chance to tweak the measure before it kicks in. A legislative panel discussed some options Wednesday at the state capitol.

Measure 91 allows adults in Oregon to grow, possess, and sell marijuana under state regulation. Just what that state regulation looks like is still being determined. Democratic Senator Lee Beyer reminded his colleagues that there's nothing to stop them from putting their own stamp on the voter-approved measure.

Oregon's Unemployment Rate Holds Steady

Nov 18, 2014
AP Images

Oregon’s unemployment rate held steady last month. That’s despite steady job growth in several industries.

Oregon added 9,900 new jobs in October. That’s the largest single month employment gain in almost 20 years.

State employment economist Nick Beleiciks says those jobs came from growth in several key industries.

“Manufacturing has added a lot of jobs during the recovery, professional business services, and healthcare and social assistance just keeps growing,” Beleiciks said.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Astroturfing is when interest groups run a campaign that’s designed to look like it’s grassroots in nature. A document obtained by public radio shows the oil industry is at the center of more than a dozen Astroturf groups in Washington, Oregon, and California.

Jonathan Martin / Flickr

A new report published Monday identified the culprit behind the mysterious disease that’s been killing millions of West Coast starfish.

After months of research, scientists have identified the pathogen at the heart of the starfish wasting disease.

They said it’s different from all other known viruses infecting marine organisms and have dubbed it as “sea star associated denso virus.”

Oddly enough, West Coast starfish have been living with the virus for decades. The densovirus was detected in preserved starfish specimens from as far back as the 1940s.

Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press

Sponsors of a food labeling initiative in Oregon said they haven't conceded the election yet.

Measure 92 would require food manufacturers and retailers to label genetically engineered foods. As of Friday afternoon, it's still losing by about 5,000 votes. But that's close enough to give supporters a glimmer of hope.

Measure 92 supporters are still raising money. They're using it to bankroll an ongoing effort to contact voters with contested ballots.

Yes on 92 spokesman Sandeep Kaushik said he knows it's a bit of a Hail Mary.

John Rosman / OPB

This week, Oregon voters chose to legalize marijuana and to direct the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to draw up rules to tax pot and to keep it out of the hands of people under 21. Now regulators in Oregon have to figure out how to take the pot economy that’s been operating under their noses and turn it into a regulated market.

Oregon GMO Food Labeling Measure Narrowly Defeated

Nov 6, 2014
Stephen D. Melkisethian / Flickr

Oregon voters narrowly defeated a measure that would have required labels on genetically engineered food.

After the most expensive campaign in Oregon's history, 51 percent of voters said no to Measure 92 while 49 percent said yes.

Dana Bieber is with the No on Measure 92 Coalition. She says the defeat is a victory for consumers, farmers and taxpayers.

Oregonians Reject Driver Card Measure

Nov 5, 2014
Oregon DMV

Tuesday Oregon voters rejected Measure 88, a referendum that would have allowed driver cards for Oregonians who can’t prove they’re in the country legally.

Alan Sylvestre / OPB

John Kitzhaber is headed back to office for an unprecedented fourth term as Oregon Governor. The Democrat held a four-point lead over Republican challenger Dennis Richardson Tuesday night.

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