Writings and observations

tolo bridge
 

Spanning Interstate 5 north of Central Point, the 58-year old Tolo Road Bridge (milepost 36) will undergo repairs, which requires a six-week closure to traffic beginning Monday, July 28. Local traffic will use Willow Springs Road as a detour. The Tolo Road Bridge is being repaired to extend its life and prevent it from being load-limited. The Tolo Road Bridge rehabilitation is part of the same project that is repaving I-5 from Rock Point (exit 43) to Evans Creek (MP 49). Knife River of Central Point is the prime contractor. . (photo/Department of Transportation)

 
Check out this week’s list of wildfires around Oregon – a list nearly as long as the list of wildfires all across the country. The saving grace is that none of them were of the enormous size (none anywhere close to as large as Washington’s Carlton Complex) but they add up to a lot.
Fire was an even bigger story in Washington, where the Carlton Complex turned into the biggest single fire in the state’s history.
And fire season still is early.

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Briefings

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Washington

TVW is one of Washington’s marvels – the closest equivalent to CSPAN the Northwest has.
CSPAN is so rigorously neutral that it could be taken for a government operation, although it – like TVW – is actually a nonprofit that simply watches government very closely, televising legislative hearings, official events, interview programs and so on.
That it isn’t actually a part of government comes up every so often, such as when it sought to stream action on the floor of Congress (there was a dustup over that). And now TVW has a dustup of a structurally related sort.
Earlier this year the Washington Legislature tried to get a handle on regulating the use of drones in Washington air space, specifically restricting their use by government agencies. Governor Jay Inslee vetoed the measure, apparently less out of broad philosophical disagreement but because he wanted an independent group, a task force, to take a run at it. In the meantime he issued an order to state agencies: No drones for now.
TVW has latched on to the subject and wanted to do a program about drone policy. That wasn’t a problem, but this was: It wanted to launch a drone and send it around the statehouse, maybe to give a sense of what they’re like and what they’re capable of. An Olympian article said that after reporter Christina Salerno, a state Department of Enterprise Services official responded, “While we can appreciate your desire to fly a quadcopter—a drone—around the Capitol Building and the campus, we are denying your request. The reasons include our concern that the use of this device for filming the campus may violate the privacy of tenants and visitors as well as posing an unnecessary public safety risk for those who may be below its flight path. Additionally, we believe this activity could unreasonably disrupt normal conduct of state business.”
For now, that can be attributed simply to wariness, and uncertainty about the implications of seemingly small current actions. But as policies get hammered out in the months and years to come, we may be seeing a lot more drones and a lot more requests that may be harder to comfortably deny. And from organizations not nearly as normally plugged in as TVW.

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Washington Washington column

news

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)

Boise airport plans eatery replacement (Boise Statesman)
Tribes pushing for return of salmon (Boise Statesman)
Board of Education newcomers cite goals (Nampa Press Tribune)
CSI plans expansion in Jerome (TF Times News)
Reviewing work of Office of Performance Evaluations (TF Times News)

Looking at new UO chemistry, physics cluster (Eugene Register Guard)
Safeway, Albertsons merger okayed by shareholders (Ashland Tidings)
Home prices rising at Ashland (Ashland Tidings)
More hot weather coming at Medford (Medford Tribune)
Fast jets deployed in fire fighting (Portland Oregonian)
Salem council to review Howard Hall again (Salem Statesman Journal)

Kitsap may see labor shortage (Bremerton Sun)
Shonomish Co union gets benefits settlement from county (Everett Herald)
Washington rare in No Child waiver rejection (Kennewick Herald)
Another Columbia bridge plan released (Longview News)
Increase in homeless on Olympic peninsula (Port Angeles News)
Debating possible med school at WSU (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic)
Former Seattle Mayor Paul Schell dies (Seattle Times)
Spokane Transit okays longer trolley line (Spokane Spokesman)
Firefighting in WA so far has cost $50m (Spokane Spokesman, Vancouver Columbian)
Vancouver restaurant plans to be pot-friendly (Vancouver Columbian)

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First Take