Writings and observations

jorgensen W. SCOTT
JORGENSEN

 
Conversations with Atiyeh

Friends, family, well-wishers, elected officials and Oregonians from all walks of life descended upon the state capitol in Salem yesterday morning for the memorial service of former Governor Vic Atiyeh.

The service was held on the floor of the House of Representatives, which began to fill up an hour before the ceremony. Smiles and friendly chatter flowed freely, with several stories about the former governor shared among those who knew him.

Speakers included Gerry Thompson, who served as chief of staff in the Atiyeh administration.

Thompson said that the administration faced 12 percent unemployment, a prime interest rate of 20 percent, 14 percent inflation and an “abysmal” national economy.

“Believe me, it was not an easy time,” Thompson said.

As Thompson told an anecdote about a trip Atiyeh took to Southern California to honor former President Gerald Ford, one could almost picture the two leaders reunited in the afterlife playing another round of golf together.

Sen. Jackie Winters (R-Salem) affectionately recalled the twinkle in the governor’s eye. She described how a cross-burning incident in suburban Milwaukie prompted Atiyeh to enact laws making racial and religious harassment a felony in Oregon.

“The governor had a unique understanding of diversity,” Winters said.

Another former governor, Barbara Roberts, described the work she did with the governor while she served as House Majority Leader. Those times involved multiple special legislative sessions and budget cuts, yet the two set aside their partisan differences and overcame those challenges.

“That’s the job of leaders, and Vic lead,” Roberts said. “He loved Oregon, and was so proud to be a native Oregonian.”

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) praised the way Atiyeh always took the high road.

“He never thought of someone else as an enemy,” Walden said. “Vic was genuine, and he was honest.”

Vic’s daughter, Suzanne, described the former governor as a patient and kind father whose true talent was love. She said he lead a lifetime of doing the right thing and taught his children that responsibility was an honor.

A flower bouquet sent from officials in China was on display outside of the House chamber during the ceremony. It was yet another reminder of the bridges that Governor Vic Atiyeh built over international waters for the good of all Oregonians.

W. Scott Jorgensen has worked as an award-winning reporter for various publications throughout Oregon, and was a news director and talk show host for the Grants Pass Broadcasting Corporation. He has also been an aide in the Oregon House of Representatives and a field organizer for a successful statewide ballot measure campaign.

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Jorgensen

harris ROBERT
HARRIS

 
Oregon
Outpost

Independent candidate Greg Orman (Kansas) has just received a huge boost in his race for US Senate in heavily Republican Kansas.

Democratic nominee Chad Taylor dropped out of the election leaving independent Orman to face Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts in November.

The key takeaway from this for Oregon Republicans should be that in a jurisdiction tilted heavily towards one major party, the smaller major party can strategically choose not to field a candidate if there is a viable moderate in the race. And good things will happen.

In a Multnomah County State House race a moderate independent would likely outperform a Republican candidate. If nothing else this would force the Multnomah County Democrats to spend on their own general elections and prevent the leadership from shipping their campaign treasuries off to swing districts.

There is current precedent in Oregon. But it’s the Democratic Party who “got it”.

Democrat Ryan Howard was set to run in heavily Republican Oregon House District 25 (Yamhill Co). But once Independent Party member Chuck Lee entered the race, Howard switched and is running against Republican Kim Thatcher for Senate District 13, which isn’t quite as Republican. Chuck Lee won the Independent Party nomination and won the Democratic write in vote and will be one on one against Republican nominee and very conservative talk show host Bill Post.

Most years, the Republican candidate in HD-25 would cruise to a November victory. But Lee has over $51,000 on hand at this point, while Post has just $36,000. Since the May primary, Post has received contributions of $10,000 from Oregon Right to Life, $1,000 from ORLPAC and $1,000 from Banking industry PAC . He’s also received $4,000 from Republican Leader Mike McLane’s committee and $1,000 from Republican Representative John Davis’s committee. And he collected $2,500 from Oregon Firearms Federation PAC and $15,000 from businessman John Duke.

I suspect McLane, Davis, and these other entities (With the possible exception of Mr. Duke) would have preferred to use their money differently. Maybe in the Washington County swing districts where they have strong candidates Mark Richman in HD-29, and Dan Mason in HD-30.

HD-25 race shows that Democrats get it. If Lee beats Post, the Democrats have someone they can work with in the Legislature. And if Lee loses? At least Oregon Right to life and the Republican leadership spent their resources on a race that Democrats wouldn’t have been competitive in anyway. And they didn’t even have to finance a candidate. All they had to do was step out of the way.

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Harris

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)

Over 8 years Idaho pays $1.2b for Medicaid expansion elsewhere (Boise Statesman)
Searching for middle ground on Boise bike lanes (Boise Statesman)
Snake aquifer levels reported as stable (IF Post Register)
Students going back to school (IF Post Register, Moscow News)
WA court presses legislature on schools (Moscow News)
ISU instructor shoots self in foot (Pocatello Journal, Moscow News)
Tangled traffic in downtown Nampa (Nampa Press Tribune)
Ford Idaho Center bring in new scoreboard (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nampa cops watch for skateboard, bikes (Nampa Press Tribune)
Otter won’t debate at TF, will elsewhere (TF Times News)
Hoof care manufacturer will build at Jerome (TF Times News)

Eugene city hall demolition starts (Eugene Register Guard)
Warmer and drier conditions in September? (KF Herald & News)
Klamath college reviews shooting security (KF Herald & News)
Pacific Green Senate candidate files false info (Medford Tribune)
Atiyeh recalled at memorial service (Portland Oregonian, Sale Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune)
State GMO efforts draw little fed response (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Athena’s loss of PGG store damaging (Pendleton E Oregonian)
AG says state negligent in prison inmate death (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Cover Oregon board votes on its future (Portland Oregonian)

Supreme Court pushes again on schools (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Bremerton Sun, Olympian)
Snohomish auditor may give up some computers (Everett Herald)
Olympic peninsula hit with net outage (Port Angeles News)
Ferry exec reprimanded by DOT leader (Seattle Times)
22 Hilltop mobile park residents forced out (Spokane Spokesman)
Tacoma cell phone tracker told council (Tacoma News Tribune)
Yakima plans anti-gang efforts (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take