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Oregon's Legislature has passed a bill that would protect concealed carry gun permits from public records requests.
Measure 63 would allow homeowners to make up to $35,000 per year in certain improvements without getting a permit.
A conservation group has convinced Oregon's Court of Appeals that state-approved water permits in the Clackamas River could have been bad for threatened fish.
The operator of an oil-shipping terminal near Clatskanie in Northwest Oregon is being sued by environmental groups that say the facility lacks the proper permits and is doing environmental harm to local communities.
Construction permits will likely take longer to come through in Portland, with the city preparing to cut more than half the workers in its Bureau of Development Services.
The city of Portland passed new rules regulating short-term rentals in August, but few people have applied for the necessary permits to make their rentals legal.
News | Nation | Think Out LoudMarch 27, 2017 7:36 p.m.
The latest local business news, a movement to extend reciprocity between states for concealed carry permits and an in-depth look at how pharmaceutical companies set the prices for drugs.
Some gun owners want to have their concealed carry permits recognized across state lines. What would that mean for Oregon? We talk with Tim Schmidt, president and founder of the United States Concealed Carry Association, and Oregon state Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Douglas County).
Portland Business Journal editor Rob Smith will be in studio for our regular business update. Here are some of the topics we'll be looking at:
In this short legislative session, two lawmakers are focusing on bills related to handguns. Rep. Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) introduced legislation that would allow concealed weapons permits to be themselves concealed from public records requests. This is an issue that came up in 2008 after the the Jackson County sheriff initially refused a public records request from the Medford Mail Tribune for concealed weapons permit-holders' names. This was part of an investigative piece the newspaper was doing at the time and, eventually, the paper sued and won the rights to the records. The investigative story was about a school teacher who challenged a campus-wide ban on guns. Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) has introduced legislation that would address that issue directly. She's sponsoring a bill that would ban guns and other "dangerous weapons" on school grounds and another that would ban them in all public buildings. Burdick told the Oregonian her bills are a reaction to Thatcher's bill.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, which began in New York on September 17, has since spread to hundreds of cities across the United States and around the world. As coverage of the protests has grown, so have comparisons between the Occupy and Tea Party movements. President Obama, for one, said the two groups were "not that different." Both groups have been characterized as having "leaderless" beginnings, and both have claimed they've been snubbed by the media. Nate Silver, a statistician at the New York Times, says that the Occupy movement is catching up to the the amount of media coverage that the Tea Party protests received when they began in early 2009. Still, Tea Party representatives in Oregon say they've been the victims of a double standard. In a press release, the Oregon Tea Party wrote:
Despite the refusal of protest organizers to secure the proper permits for their parade and use of public parks, Mayor Adams expressed support for the Occupy Portland protest on social media…Nationally, Tea Party representatives say the key difference between the two movements is where they place the blame. The Tea Party says government is the problem, while many Occupy protesters point to public greed.
After struggling with securing permits for their Bradwood Landing LNG terminal, NorthernStar Natural Gas said this week they were suspending the project indefinitely. This news was quickly followed by the company's announcement that it was declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy. NorthernStar laid the blame for the failure on poor market conditions and the protracted regulatory process in Oregon. Environmentalists, who have long opposed LNG projects in the state, are declaring victory, saying public opposition to the project has everything to do with its indefinite delay. The proposed Bradwood terminal on the Columbia River was not the only liquified natural gas venture in the state. Oregon LNG is still in the permitting process for a terminal they hope to build on the Skipanon Peninsula in Warrenton. The Federal Regulatory Energy Commission hasn't approved that project yet, but FERC gave the go-ahead to the Jordon Cove Energy Project, which is trying to get local and state approval for a terminal in Coos Bay.
Oregon's senators want to give states more authority when it comes to new liquified natural gas terminals. Sentators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, along with Democratic lawmakers from Maryland, Washington and Connecticut, introduced a bill last week that would repeal a specific section of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (pdf). The goal is to wrest control away from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which now has the final say in permitting sites for new LNG projects. If passed, the bill would do nothing to stop two LNG projects near Astoria, which already have approval from FERC.* If passed, the bill would affect two LNG projects near Astoria and Coos bay — which already have approval from FERC — only if those approvals are overturned on appeal. But a proposed terminal in Warrenton could be affected. Groups such as Columbia Riverkeeper, which oppose all three LNG ventures, say they think the state would do a better job of regulating liquified natural gas permits. Anti-LNG groups applauded Oregon's attorney general earlier this year when he challenged FERC's approval of an LNG facility in Coos Bay. The natural gas industry is opposed to the senators' bill. At least one company has complained that the deck is stacked against them in Oregon, in part because of Attorney General Kroger's decision to hire a vocal opponent of LNG as part of his environmental law team.