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Jan. 16, 2015 12:05 a.m.

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local | News

Utility Crews Still Working To Restore Electricity To Downtown Portland

Dec. 9, 2013 7:49 p.m.

A Portland General Electric repair crew continues to work under a street in downtown Portland, in an effort to restore power to an eight-block area.

local | Energy | Economy

Oregon Public Utility Commission Approves Rate Changes For Natural Gas

Oct. 29, 2013 9:39 p.m.

Many Oregonians will pay more to heat their homes in November than they did last year.  The Oregon Public Utility Commission approved rate changes for all three of the state's natural gas companies.  But, not everybody will be seeing a larger bill.

Politics | local | News

As Pipes Age And Rates Rise, Portland Voters Consider Stripping City Of Utilities

May 5, 2014 7 a.m.

In cities across the nation, water is getting more expensive. In Portland, rate increases at the city’s public utilities are behind a measure on the ballot, 26-156, to create a water and sewer district.

Water | Energy | local | News | Will We Be Ready For The Megaquake In Oregon?

How To Safely Turn Off Utilities After A Disaster

May 15, 2015 9:45 p.m.

In the wake of a natural disaster like an earthquake, the natural gas, water and electricity in a home become potentially serious threats to health and well-being.

Technology | local | News | OPB News Blog

Top Stories: Portland Creates Rules For Google Fiber Utility Cabinets, Bend Task Force To Regulate Vacation Rentals

Nov. 6, 2014 4:15 p.m.

Headlines for Thursday, Nov. 6: Portland is drawing up new rules for Google Fiber and other businesses to install utility cabinets; Bend is creating a new task force to steer the city's approach to regulations for vacation rentals; counties and municipalities may have options in banning recreational marijuana; and more.

Politics | local | News | OPB News Blog

Top Stories: 3 Gubernatorial Debates Scheduled, Hermiston Makes Moves For Natural Gas Utility

Aug. 26, 2014 3:15 p.m.

Headlines for Tuesday, Aug. 26: The candidates for governor have set dates for three of five debates, Hermiston has taken the first step in forming its own utility to provide natural gas, Grants Pass native Ty Burrell won an Emmy Monday night for his role in "Modern Family," and more.

local | Economy | Business

In Redmond, Responsibility For Utilities Shifts From Renters To Owners

May 29, 2013 10:56 p.m.

The city of Redmond will soon change the way renters wind up paying for city utilities. Redmond's city council unanimously approved a measure requiring water, sewer and garbage accounts to be in the names of property owners rather than the tenants. 


Charter Commission Considers A New Utility Board

Jan. 29, 2012 6 a.m.

Portland's charter commission has begun hearings on a plan to create a public utility board.

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Nov. 13, 2015 2:29 a.m.

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Feb. 18, 2015 5:50 p.m.

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Two Drawer Utility Chest

July 16, 2013 8:15 p.m.

Walnut and figured hard maple combine to make this Shaker masterpiece shine.

Think Out Loud

Increasing Incentives for Energy Efficiciency

June 10, 2013 7:06 p.m.

Oregon is listed as the fourth most energy efficient state in the US, behind Massachusetts, California, and New York. But can we do even better? A new study from Oregon State University addresses the disparity between the incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and how to bridge that gap. When a utility company invests in renewable power sources, such as hydroelectric or wind power, they earn a profit from the energy sold. When an old refrigerator is replaced with a new one, or incandescent light bulbs are swapped for fluorescent ones, energy consumption decreases, as do utility companies' profits. The study doesn't advocate replacing renewable energy with energy efficiency. Rather, it suggests that the promotion of and incentives for energy efficiency be just as attractive and available as those that exist for renewable energy.

Think Out Loud

The Top Environmental Stories of 2011

Dec. 19, 2011 5:40 p.m.

 A lot of the biggest Northwest environmental stories surrounded energy issues.  Coal plants in Centralia, WA, and Boardman, OR both faced pressure to close their doors sooner than planned. Those closures come at the same time that Longview, WA and Bellingham, WA proposed coal export terminals to ship the resource to China. Idaho joined in on the national push toward "fracking" for natural gas. And the federal decision to postpone the Keystone XL oil pipeline has raised the question of whether we'll see more oil tankers in NW waters as companies look for other routes to carry oil to China. The national Solyndra controversy raised questions about the certainty of investments in the local renewable energy industry. The wind and hydroelectric industries tried to work out the kinks of how to deal with the times when too much energy gets generated by both sources. And the Japanese tsunami that led to the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis and cleanup has raised quesitons everywhere about the safety of nuclear energy.

Think Out Loud

Local Elections

Nov. 9, 2011 5:06 p.m.

Updated 8:20am Nov. 9, 2011 Voters are making key decisions in local elections all across the country. Oregonians in the First Congressional District will decide which two candidates to send to the special election in May. (We spoke with the Republican and Democratic frontrunners last month.) Washington voters will decide whether or not to privatize liquor sales in that state. This is an issue that failed to pass last year and if it passes this time, it could fuel a similar effort in Oregon — that's something we've also talked about on Think Out Loud. Washingtonians will also weigh in on how toll money should be spent and how home care workers should be trained. Outside of our region, some local elections have broader implications that could impact the Pacific Northwest. In the swing state of Ohio, an effort to repeal a state law that limits public employees' bargaining rights could serve as a bellwether for the 2012 presidential election. Voters in Boulder, Colorado voted last week to create a public utility after studying Portland's failed attempt to do so five years ago.

Think Out Loud

Environmental Update

May 8, 2012 4:30 p.m.

Two years ago, a historic agreement was struck to remove four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath river. But the process is far from over. The agreement (pdf) signed by a group of Klamath River stakeholders  can only be enacted if approved by Congress and the Department of the Interior. The Department of the Interior conducted several studies of the area to determine if the dam removal would revive the salmon population. Recently, a former scientific integrity officer has brought the studies into question. He says the studies are too optimistic about the outcomes of the dam removal.

Think Out Loud

Abuse at Coffee Creek Prison

May 1, 2012 4:25 p.m.

Oregonian investigative reporter Les Zaitz looked into widespread sexual abuse at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility for a story published in the paper on Sunday. His detailed report includes a number of alarming findings. He wrote:

Sex acts occurred all over the 108-acre prison campus — in cleaning closets, utility tunnels, toolsheds, woodlands and under a firetruck. Security weaknesses identified three years ago remain because prison managers couldn't get money to fix them.
Sexual contact between prison inmates and correctional staff is a felony under state law, and a number of Department of Corrections employees have been convicted of sexual misconduct and other offenses. The state has also settled several lawsuits with victims, paying out more than $1 million.

Think Out Loud

Columbus Day Storm: 50 Years Later

Oct. 12, 2012 7:25 p.m.

Kathleen Langtry was 15 years old when she, her brother and mother narrowly escaped being hit with spraying glass from a storefront window. They rushed home to meet up with her other two sisters. It was a long wait until her father got home well after dark, shaken up from nearly being blown into the Willamette River.  That Columbus Day Storm would claim nearly 50 lives in Oregon and Washington before it was finished. The cleanup from the damages it wreaked cost an estimated $200 million — in 1962 dollars. According to PGE, the storm left nearly 98 percent of the utility's customers without power. Many families — like Langtry's — were trapped in their homes without access to phone, lights or food. Here's an Oregonian video looking back at the storm


That's My Art: Mona Superhero

March 26, 2012 2 a.m.

Self-taught utility tape artist Mona Superhero uses duct tape and an X-acto knife to create work reminiscent of '60s-style silk-screened pop art.

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