Oregon

Oregon economists told lawmakers Thursday that a robust economy means they'll have more money to spend on schools, human services and public safety.

A measure that would require many Oregon employers to provide paid sick leave is poised to advance in Salem.

NOAA

Regional power managers are meeting in Portland this week. One issue they're looking at is how drought conditions across the Northwest may affect the region's supply of hydropower.

Water supply forecasts are looking bleak for many Northwest rivers this year. Snowpack levels in many areas are far below average, and they're not likely to improve.

John Fazio is a power systems analyst for the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. He said that will mean less water in rivers and less hydropower.

The Oregon Supreme Court tossed out much of the state legislature's 2013 attempts to curb pension payouts to retired public workers.

An Oregon judge has proposed awarding a same-sex couple $135,000 in damages after a bakery refused to make a cake for their wedding.

Supporters and opponents of a measure that would require criminal background checks on private gun sales testified at the Oregon Capitol Wednesday.

The battle over raising Oregon's minimum wage will take center stage in the state legislature Monday.

Beth77 / Flickr

Oregon lawmakers decided Wednesday to make it less likely for people who win big at the Oregon Lottery to keep getting public assistance.

The Lottery likes to dangle the possibility of winning big bucks in front of its players. But a 2013 state audit found that in one two-year period, hundreds of Oregonians continued to receive food stamps despite winning lottery payouts of $5,000 or more.

Republican Representative Andy Olson said it went up from there.

"There was one person who won more than $900,000,” Olson said. “So we had a little bit of a problem."

Curtis Perry / Flickr

We know the old saying that "speed kills" applies to people who drive recklessly. But does it also apply to legislation to raise highway speed limits? An interstate speed limit increase in Washington looks dead, but appears to have a chance in Oregon.

Sean Mack / Wikimedia Commons

Oregon's congressional delegation is hoping to secure a two year extension of timber payments to rural counties. The Secure Rural Schools provision is in a bill the U.S. House is voting on this week.

The Secure Rural Schools Act provides payments in lieu of taxes for timber-dependent counties in Oregon and other states.

Oregon Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio said this bill helps counties while lawmakers try to find a long term solution to funding shortfalls.

The Oregon House is set to vote Monday on a measure that would require a doctor or nurse to be on hand when you donate a pint of blood.

Oregon lawmakers gave initial approval Tuesday to a bill that would ban so-called "conversion therapy" on youth.

You might think that a bill that would outlaw something that doesn't even take place in Oregon might sail through the legislature.

Washington, Oregon and Idaho are trying to figure out how to keep their state driver’s licenses from becoming obsolete in the eyes of the federal government.

Oregon's new governor promised continuity for the most part as she faced the press for the first time since taking the oath of office on Wednesday.

AP Images

The Oregon Senate voted Tuesday to extend the state's low-carbon fuel program. The decision came despite objections from Republicans that the plan is tainted by the ethics scandal surrounding Governor John Kitzhaber and First Lady Cylvia Hayes.

Senate Bill 324 would lift the 2015 sunset on Oregon's low-carbon fuel program. That would ultimately would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels by 10 percent over a decade.

But the plan has gotten caught up in a swarm of accusations of influence peddling in the governor's office.

Kate Brown has been sworn in as Oregon's 38th governor.

Oregon Seat Belt Blitz

Feb 10, 2015

Police agencies across Oregon are participating in a two-week traffic safety campaign focused on proper seat belt use.

State law requires that children under 40 pounds use a car seat.

Last year, nearly a third of children killed or injured in Oregon crashes were not wearing the proper restraint.

Multnomah County Sheriff’s spokesman Lieutenant Steve Alexander says kids are much safer in car seats.

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.

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