Eastern Oregon lawmakers often complain that their counterparts from urban areas don’t understand rural matters. Now, a state agency that deals with those issues is slated to close. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.
The Office of Rural Policy is only four years old. It was billed as a way for state government to keep tabs on the needs of the sparsely-populated eastern part of the state. But some lawmakers said it duplicated the work of existing branches of government, and funding for the office dwindled.
Pendleton Republican Senator David Nelson says he’s disappointed in the news that it will close. He says the office paved the way for lawmakers to pass a bill this year that funds research on new irrigation projects in his part of the state.
Nelson: “As a result of the actions of the Rural Policy Board, legislators throughout the state said you know what, there is an issue on water.” 0:07
Nelson says the end of the office puts more pressure on rural lawmakers to make their case in Salem.