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local | Politics | News | EnvironmentJune 25, 2015 6:30 p.m.
The $343.5 million transportation funding package to cover road and transportation updates didn't make it out of the Oregon Senate.
The Cover Oregon board of directors doesn't have the legal authority to drop its troubled website and have Oregonians use the federal website - according to a legal opinion from the state's legislative counsel.
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden's Eastside Forest Plan is now one step closer to passage. The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Thursday.
The backers of a failed biofuels project have proposed a $1.25 billion refinery and propane terminal at the Port of Longview on the Washington side of the lower Columbia River.
local | News | OPB News BlogDec. 3, 2014 5:59 p.m.
The fate of Astoria's old Flavel House is out of the Flavel family's hands after being abandoned and boarded up for years.
Engineers continue to study the abandoned trolley bridge over the Clackamas River, whose foundations appear to have shifted. The owner, Union Pacific, says the bridge was inspected within the last year, as a part of talks to include it in a walking trail between Gladstone and Oregon City.
Developers are abandoning plans to turn a large swath of vacant riverfront property in Salem into an apartment complex.
It's been a month since Canada officially stopped putting pennies into circulation. Shortly thereafter, President Obama called the U.S. penny obsolete and said minting them was something "we should probably change." Portland author David Wolman has written extensively about cash, including the penny — and the nickel for that matter. In his book, The End of Money, he points out that the penny takes up an amazing amount of our time.
According to one estimate, Americans forfeit $1 billion a year due to the time spent dealing with pennies at cash registers and in wallets, when we could be doing something else, like generating income or thinking up the next Facebook.
Photographed by Albert H. Wulzer on a trip to the Columbia Gorge, this block house was built by the army in 1856 to protect troops and settlers at Cascade Rapids. It was abandoned in 1861, coinciding with the start of the Civil War.
The Cover Oregon board voted to abandon the flawed state-run exchange and adopt the federal website. We'll hear why the site had to die.
A sculpture on Portland's eastside is causing some controversy among some Portlanders. A new libertarian-leaning caucus of the Oregon Republican Party is protesting the use of public funds to pay for the sculpture, called "Inversion: Plus/Minus." The debate over "Inversion: Plus/Minus" calls to mind other recent publicly funded arts projects that didn't make it through the vetting process. "Rebirth" — a 30-foot-tall deer sculpture with the face of a baby — was abandoned after public backlash. And a plan to engineer the new Portland commuter bridge with musical grooves that would "play" Simon and Garfunkel's "59th Street Bridge Song" as bikers rode along them was canceled when it was deemed too expensive. Some of the new Portland Arts Tax will go to the Regional Arts and Culture Council, which funds public art programs and organizations in Portland. A TriMet policy directs 1.5 percent of construction budgets go to public art. We'll hear how the art projects are chosen, and what the vetting and public input processes are like.
A fire broke out on Warm Springs Reservation over the weekend. The blaze, which officials believe is man made, grew fast and by early Sunday morning Kah-Nee-Ta resort was evacuated. Only one building, an abandoned homestead, has burned, but local fire crews have been dispatched to at least 40 homes. By tomorrow morning, fire officials expect a Type 2 Incident Team with state-wide resources to relieve exhausted local crews. The fire is near the eastern border of the reservation.
Governor John Kitzhaber's top advisor on the now-abandoned Columbia River Crossing (CRC) is under investigation by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. After a Willamette Week cover story highlighted Patricia McCaig's role as a consultant for a contractor working on the CRC, two individuals filed complaints with the commission over potential conflicts of interest in her dual roles. A preliminary investigation (pdf) suggests there is "a substantial objective basis to believe" that McCaig may have violated as many as eight state statutes with her actions. In a letter to the Ethics Commission, McCaig said, "There is no real or perceived conflict of interest." Regarding her capacity as a consultant for the contractor David Evans and Associates, McCaig said, "I was not talking to or corresponding with a legislative official to influence or attempt to influence legislative action." The commission has 180 days to conclude its investigation.
Baker City is a town that has seen a lot of ups and downs. The community of about 10,000 is situated in the high desert of eastern Oregon, surrounded by sagebrush and snow-dusted mountains. More than 100 years ago, miners came in search of gold and then settled in. Timber mills once flourished in Baker City, until major reductions of logging on public lands. The city was once a railroad hub, but after cars became popular the rail lines to Baker were abandoned.
Even the name "Baker City" has gone through big changes. In 1911 residents dropped "city" from the name, deciding that it sounded too quaint. In 1990, citizens voted to go back to the original name (although you still hear longtime residents refer to the community as simply "Baker.")
Today, Baker City is a town working to embrace its dynamic history while also forging a new economic path. The community is working to bring tourism to downtown with its brick storefronts, an historic (and possibily haunted) hotel, and old, opulent buildings. The natural beauty of the nearby Wallowa Mountains and Anthony Lakes ski resort give visitors a reason to stop in, too, and the community is also working to brand itself as a destination for cyclists. There are festivals and arts events year-round in this community, like the annual Great Salt Lick Contest or the short film festival that happens each June.
Baker City is not near any metropolitan areas, which means it's a place that attracts people who really want to live there. As Baker City resident Ann Mehaffy says, people live in Baker either because they grew up there and they know it and love it, or because they're "city runaways who are looking for a sense of authenticity, history and community."
When Jake Dekker first heard about the boy who would later become his son, he had a strong negative reaction. Nine-year-old Danny had been diagnosed with ADHD, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and something called reactive attachement disorder. He'd grown up in foster care, having been abandoned by his mother as a baby, and then later abused by the people who were supposed to protect him. Growing up, Jake Dekker never thought he'd be a father. He was gay and didn't see any good examples of people like him being parents. Also, he battled substance abuse and for a time says he couldn't imagine brining a child into his alcoholic world. But Dekker got clean, got a long term partner and slowly began to recognize a deep desire he had to become a father. How he met, got to know and ultimately adopted the boy named Danny is the subject of the memoir, One Kid at a Time. Dekker says he wanted to write the story in part to talk honestly about the difficulties of adopting in the foster care system and to let people know they can be overcome.