Writings and observations

Another round of federal approval to go after sea lions, which have been going after fish (as is their wont), has gotten federal approval, and we’re more likely to see stepped up activity along that front in Washington and Oregon.

In Washington and Idaho, meanwhile, legislatures continue on. Budget battles are the big issue in Washington, as a coalition of Senate Republicans plus a few Democrats have began to face off against the larger-majority House Democrats. (Will they use up the rest of their special session time on this?) In Idaho, budget issues are mostly resolved, but others still abound as legislators hope for adjournment soon – from the ultrasound bill in the Senate to the ethics issues involving Senator Monty Pearce.

More on all this and more in this week’s Washington, Oregon and Idaho’s weekly briefings. Write us (stapilus@ridenbaugh.com) for more information or a sample.

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Digests

Coming up Monday in the Washington, Oregon and Idaho Public Affairs Digests, stories about:

How wolves may be helping another predator species, the Canada lynx.

The meaning behind the new yelloweye rockfish efforts.

The impact of the significant auto fabrication plant opening in Moses Lake.

The abrupt launch of wildfires around the region.

The big Hanford contract just given to a local Richland firm.

Studies of how the middle class in Oregon, and wages overall in Idaho, are fast losing ground.

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Digests

sheep
Shearing sheep in a late Oregon winter. (photo/Linda Watkins)

Washington and Idaho legislative sessions moved toward final budget decisions as March moved into April, while Oregon’s legislators began rolling out their major initial proposals – though final action there may be several months away.

Economic indicators in Oregon and Washington continued cautiously upward, though on a slow trajectory.

Some of the larger stories in the Washington edition:

bullet CenturyLink-Qwest merger completed

bullet Still little consensus over Alaskan Way

bullet Highway spending report

bullet Efficiency projects launched at UW

In the Oregon edition:

bullet Budget committee chairs release proposal

bullet CenturyLink-Qwest merger completed

bullet Not all Portland utility money goes to utilities

bullet New biodiesel fuel requirement

In the Idaho edition:

bullet Third bill in Luna proposal passes

bullet CenturyLink-Qwest merger completed

bullet PUC rejects conservation fund proposal

bullet A child abuse proclamation

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Digests

Canyon County
Idaho Democrats speak at a Canyon County event. (photo/Idaho House Democrats)

Washington and Idaho legislative sessions moved toward their climaxes, with major budget structuring underway in Washington and a couple of major bills – the last of the Tom Luna overhaul bills, which cleared the Senate, and the guns on campus bill, which died there – moving toward final action.

Economic indicators in Oregon and Washington continued to point cautiously upward.

Some of the larger stories in the Washington edition:

bullet Prison safety initiatives planned

bullet Tacoma port volume triples

bullet Seattle allows park and ride options

bullet Island farming

In the Oregon edition:

bullet CenturyLink-Qwest merger approved by PUC

bullet Representatives urge small-county payments

bullet SEIU proposes state budget shifts

bullet Commission offers global warming report

In the Idaho edition:

bullet Third bill in Luna proposal passes

bullet Personal income growth in Idaho dips

bullet Wolf litigation sans Idaho

bullet Idaho State enrollment drops

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Digests

Brookings
Tsunami damage at Brookings harbor. (image/Department of Energy)

Tight state budgets continued as a leading thread in Northwest news this week; Washington reported an enormous $778 million drop in anticipated revenues. Cuts rather than revenue increases appeared to continue to be the preferred alternative at all three legislatures to dealing with the shortfalls.

Economic indicators in Oregon and Washington were pointing up, with Oregon posting its largest one-month gain in jobs in 15 years. And in Idaho, two major public school laws were signed into passage, and another was under revision in the Senate.

Some of the larger stories in the Washington edition:

bullet Revenue estimate: A $778 million drop

bullet Washington job numbers improve

bullet Constantine proposes stimulus

bullet Worker compensation bill signed

bullet Cantwell: Crack down on gas speculation

In the Oregon edition:

bullet Major job additions in February

bullet Two wilderness areas proposed

bullet No radiation from Japan

bullet Tax credit information still hard to get

In the Idaho edition:

bullet Otter signs two Luna plan bills

bullet Wolf litigation partly resolved

bullet Senior water rights upheld over juniors

bullet Otter signs geothermal leasing bills

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Digests

Brookings
Tsunami damage at Brookings harbor. (image/Office of Governor John Kitzhaber)

The Friday tsunami did not do the damage in the Northwest it did in Japan, but there was some damage – most notably in Brookings, where an emergency situation persists.

Idaho saw passage through the legislature of two major education overhaul bills, likely to be signed early this week. Legislative and economic news were key elements in this week’s Digests.

Some of the larger stories in the Washington edition:

bullet Locke nominated as ambassador to China
bullet Emissions agreement hits home in Centralia
bullet Vehicle emission changes proposed
bullet CMLK would-be bomb suspect arrested
bullet Death with Dignity update

In the Oregon edition:

bullet Tsunami hits South Oregon coast
bullet Job openings increasing in Oregon
bullet Wyden co-sponsored wireless tax bill
bullet Workplace deaths decline

In the Idaho edition:

bullet Luna school plan passes legislature

bullet Activists plan Luna recall

bullet Census releases new numbers on Idaho

bullet Idaho Power irrigation plan approved

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Digests

train derail
A trail derails at University place. (image/Pierce County)

The legislative sessions continue to heat up, especially in Idaho but in Washington as well, in this week’s Public Affairs Digests for Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Also a lot else, including more on census results, more developments on the Columbia Crossing project, .

Some of the larger stories in the Washington edition:

bullet Seattle Council overrides Alaskan Way veto
bullet Columbia Crossing comment sought
bullet Viaduct work may save old building
bullet Census results and education

In the Oregon edition:

bullet Kitzhaber leans activist at Portland City Club
bullet Unemployment rate sticks at 10.4%
bullet Blumenauer on “ungreening” the Capitol
bullet Three Imnaha wolves grabbed

In the Idaho edition:

bullet Protests over Luna school plan
bullet McClure remembered
bullet Unemployment rate unchanged
bullet Governors call for forest restoration

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Digests

Boeing tankers
Boeing gets the tanker contracts. (image/Boeing)

The legislative sessions continue to heat up, especially in Idaho but in Washington as well, in this week’s Public Affairs Digests for Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Also a lot else, including reports on the Air Fo0rce tanker contract for Boeing.

Some of the larger stories in the Washington edition:

bullet Census: Minority population grows fast
bullet Recovery project completed at Hanford
bullet Record DNA hits in state labs
bullet The Nisqually quake, 10 years after

In the Oregon edition:

bullet Census: Minority population grows
bullet Kitzhaber sets up review of the unneeded
bullet Wyden urges Patriot Act review
bullet Crime is down, but …
bullet Automatic admissions policy set
bullet Similarities to New Zealand quake
bullet Re-looking at Columbia River treaty

In the Idaho edition:

bullet Parts of Luna proposal clear Senate
bullet AG: Mortgage tops consumer complaints
bullet Archeological closures near Cottonwood
bullet Brownlee water levels drop

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Digests

Obama at Hillsboro
President Barack Obama visiting Intel at Hillsboro. (vidcap/White House stream)

Lots of legislative activity – new legislation, still – in this week’s Public Affairs Digests for Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Also a lot else, including last week’s presidential visit to Hillsboro.

Some of the larger stories in the Washington edition:

– NW leaders say they’ll take rail money
– McGinn vetoes Alaskan Way deal
– Senators propose freight act
– Workplace deaths rise in Washington
– Reporting on extreme tides

In the Oregon edition:

– Obama makes Hillsboro visit
– Kitzhaber names department heads
– Roberts named to Metro Council
– Ag amounts to 15% of Oregon economy
– Mollala River measure returns
– $48 million for state health insurance
– New Blue Book out in e-firm first

In the Idaho edition:

– Revisions offered on Luna plan
– Idaho Power signs four wind agreements
– Meridian bans smoking in parks
– Crapo backs monument limit bill
– Geddes on his new job

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Digests

digest
weekly Digest

The elections last week – recounted in detail to the legislative and judicial level for Washington, Oregon and Idaho – were dominant elements of Northwest developments in the new Digests. The results moved Washington and Oregon closer to the center, and Idaho more Republican than it already was.

Elections aside, the week was busy on plenty of other developments, in area from the economy (some continuing bad news, but not entirely) to education and arrival of still more federal programs that got little press attention.

As a reminder: We’re now publishing weekly editions of the Public Affairs Digests – for Idaho, Washington and Oregon – moving from a monthly to a weekly rundown of what’s happening. And we’re taking it all-electronic: The print edition will be moving to e-mail.

That means we can include more information, and get it out a lot faster: The weekly Digests will be in your in-box first thing Monday morning. If you subscribe, of course: That’s $59 a year, for 50 issues and the yearbook. Yes, including the yearbook. The Idaho Yearbook, which we published for years up to 2002, will return early in 2011 – in printed book form – and Digest subscribers get it for free with their subscription. And the Oregon and Washington yearbooks will be coming out at the same time.

If you’d like to take a look at one of the new weekly Digests, here’s a link to the Idaho edition, to the Oregon edition and to the Washington edition. If you’d like to subscribe, here are the links (through to PayPal) for Idaho, for Oregon and for Washington.

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Digests