Writings and observations

yakima fest
Yakima last weekend held its first Blues and Brews Bash on North Front Street.

 
A little more emphasis this week on economic news, which is looking up a bit: The jobs picture is improving a little (the percentage rate stayed about the same in Washington, but the number of jobs is up, and the jobless rate fell in Idaho) and, as an indicator, state tax revenues are coming in higher than expected.

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Briefings

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Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

More houses sell at cash (Boise Statesman)
Democratic convention closes without disputes (Moscow News)
Rapidly rising garbage at Canyon landfill (Nampa Press Tribune)
Oregon sets up radio helicopters for fires (Nampa Press Tribune)

Corvallis library opens Sundays again (Corvallis Gazette)
Oregon tries drones to watch fires (Medford Tribune, Corvallis Gazette)
Richardson hit over spam accusations (Ashland Tidings)
SOU reduces water use, plans for drought (Ashland Tidings)
2014 looks like a good travel year (Ashland Tidings)
Obscure manual sets free repair fees (Portland Oregonian)
Marion County looks at noise ordinance (Salem Statesman Journal)

Snohomish jail death results in lawsuit (Everett Herald)
Researching sea star wasting (Port Angeles News)
Ship bell brought up for research, show (Port Angeles News)
Business concerned about $15 mininum wage (Seattle Times)
Boeing automatic, pilot errors in review (Seattle Times)
Fewer big road projects in southwest WA (Vancouver Columbian)
Scientists study magma below Mt. St. Helens (Vancouver Columbian)
Farmers markets adding to producers income (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take

oregon
RANDY STAPILUS / Oregon

You really do get the sense sometimes that people pay attention only to bad news.
Oregon, like many other states (its neighbors among them), has been seeing not spectacular but steady improvement in its economic picture this year. More numbers to that effect came in this past week, with (for one major example) unemployment numbers running closer to the norms of reasonably prosperous times.
You have to qualify a lot of this. There’s been some diminishing of what’s considered the full work force, so practical unemployment is still higher than Oregonians would like to see.
But it is getting better.
Take a look too at the story (in the local government section) on Metro construction receipts, which starts, “It’s been a banner year for construction in the Portland region – so much so that the region’s construction tax has generated about 20 percent more than its original forecast for the current grant cycle.”
That’s not a small deal, and the overall pace of construction around the state seems to bear that out.
In a good many places, you do get the sense of people taking a breath of relief.
Now, of course, would be the right time to look at areas of restructuring the state could do with. The long-discussed talk about rejiggering the state’s tax structure would be a good thing to get underway at this point, maybe peaking about the same time the state’s economy does. Economic reorganization talk tends to yield a little more productivity during times when money is flowing more freely.
There’s work to do now, too.

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