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Posts published in “Day: March 29, 2015”

Rural funding

idaho RANDY

A somewhat more receptive House last week went along with (and this was partly because it was lumped in with other must-pass measures) a rural school funding measure backed by the Oregon House delegation. Ultimate passage is now a matter for the Senate, but initial appearances were that the biggest hurdle had been cleared with the House action.
The House work was led by Republican Greg Walden of the 2nd district, working the Republican leadership side, and Democrat Peter DeFazio, working with his caucus. Walden is well-positioned within the leadership structure, and DeFazio has lots of seniority, but the House has been a high nut to crack over the last number of years, and passage of something to replace federal timber money, which Congress increasingly has been disinclined to renew, has become harder and harder. It will not get easier any time soon.
The stakes are high for the many Oregon counties, especially those in the southwest (Curry, Coos, Douglas, Josephine and others) especially accustomed to getting the money in hand. Walden’s release on the payments includes a number of examples of the impacts, such as: “According to the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, they would be forced to eliminate their remaining patrol deputies and 911 dispatchers by July without this funding. The Department faces worse patrol shortages than nearly two years ago when a 911 dispatcher asked a woman if she could just ask a man assaulting her to go away because there were no deputies to send on weekends.”
Up to now, the Oregon delegation has been playing a frantic game of catchup, trying to help these rural areas by keeping the traditional run of money coming.
But the time seems to be arriving when some new approach is needed. The contours of this revenue box are going to have to be re-examined, because the counties’ future will be tenuous indeed if they’re having to rely on annual strokes of good fortune such as this year’s seems to be.

On the front pages


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)

Reviewing year-old Army national guard crash (Boise Statesman)
Legislature nearing its conclusion (IF Post Register)
Reviewing the Church Committee on the CIA (IF Post Register)
Little help in region on mental illness (Lewiston Tribune)
Tribes contend radioactivity is in the wind (Pocatello Journal)

Oregon snowpack diminishes greatly (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard)
Some of Oregon's small towns grow strongly (Eugene Register Guard)
Walden town hall features water deal (KF Herald & News)
More truckers using Highway 97 (KF Herald & News)
Conservation group looks to buy 352-acre ranch (Medford Tribune)
Prices rise high for many key drugs (Salem Statesman Journal)

Condition of Whatcom jail blasted (Bellingham Herald)
Who benefits from political spending? (Bremerton Sun)
Bremerton annexation may run afoul of state law (Bremerton Sun)
Legislators may toughen rules on oil trains (Everett Herald)
College may drop many student health policies (Kennewick Herald, Olympian)
Longview Port running into land limits (Longview News)
Democrats plan deal on class-size initiative (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
British firm buys Port Angeles composites make (Port Angeles News)
What's the effect of sea lions on salmon? (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic)
Companies with tax breaks still paying low (Seattle Times)