2.15.13 In the News

Happy birthday Oregon! The state turns 154 years old



A diagram of Oregon’s Economic Forecast methodologyState economists are releasing the quarterly economic and revenue forecast today at the state Capitol in Hearing Room A. The forecast, which is the first of two lawmakers will consider for the 2013 session, will shape the budget framework being developed by the House and Senate co-chairmen of the budget committee.

Bills aim for more digital privacyAn improper post or tweet on a social media website can land an employee, college applicant or job seeker in hot water. After news reports that some employers and universities have asked applicants and employees to hand over their Facebook passwords, Oregon legislators and civil rights groups are pushing for more digital privacy.

Bill would swap statue of Salem founder for one of Hatfield at U.S. Capitol A statue of the founder of Salem that has been sitting in the U.S. Capitol for more than half a century could return to Oregon. The state gave two bronze statues to the National Statuary Hall Collection in 1953. One is of Rev. Jason Lee, the first missionary of Oregon and the founder of Salem and Willamette University. The other is of John McLoughlin, a fur trade officer, businessman and physician known as the “Father of Oregon” and the first to govern the Oregon Country.

Inside Portlandia

Council approves LOT water plant applicationsIn a change of heart for two councilors, the West Linn City Council unanimously approved a water treatment plant expansion and its pipeline during its Monday meeting. The meeting was the completion of a drawn-out conditional use permit process that began in earnest last spring for the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership (LOT).

Green corridor disagreement comes to a voteBoring resident Norm Rice lives in a home that is about 30 feet from the fence at the edge of Highway 26 right-of-way. The only thing between his home and the Highway 26 fence is an easement he granted for a road leading to a large business and two other residences.

Hillsboro gets on base with team as Portland strikes outDon’t feel so bad, Portland — Hillsboro’s not trying to rub it in. Really. On Tuesday, that city’s Parks and Recreation Department organized a tour of the state-of-the-art baseball stadium where the Hillsboro Hops will play. It is scheduled to be finished in the Gordon Faber Recreational Complex along the Sunset Highway in time for the first home game on June 17.

Hillsboro takes step toward approving new $15 million public works complexHillsboro took a step toward construction of another new city facility that could be funded at least partially by full faith and credit bonds. The Finance Committee recommended approving a $1.1 million contract for design and architecture work on a new facility for the Public Works Department. The City Council will have final say on the contract with LRS Architects at its meeting next week.

Lake Oswego City Council to take up water partnership after permits approvedAs the lengthy battle over the expansion of a water treatment plant begins to die down in West Linn after the cityapproved permits for the project, it very well could move next door to Lake Oswego. It took Lake Oswego and Tigard more than a year to get the controversial permits to expand the plant in West Linn’s Robinwood neighborhood and install a larger underground water pipeline in the city. That process ended Monday when the West Linn City Council voted 4-0 to approve the permits, but they now come with a $5 million price tag.

Portland owed millions in unpaid parking ticketsAs Portland leaders grapple with budget issues, the city is owed a hefty sum of money from drivers who violate parking laws. There is currently $42 million dollars in unpaid parking tickets in Multnomah County, much of which would come to the city of Portland. It’s a lot of money, especially when you consider how that would help cover the $25 million in budget cuts Portland’s new mayor is asking city bureaus to make.

Tualatin delays decision on transportation planTualatin Mayor Lou Ogden announced to a packed house on Monday that the City Council would postpone its vote on whether to adopt Tualatin’s updated Transportation System Plan. Because the city failed to post a notice of a public hearing 10 days in advance, the council is obliged to open its Feb. 25 session for further public comment. The council will then vote to either approve the TSP in its current form or to submit previously redlined proposed projects for further study before finalizing plan.

Waterhouse signal paves path for Fanno Creek crossing planA new mid-block crossing system that makes it easier for Waterhouse Trail users to cross Walker Road in Northwest Beaverton serves as a precursor to a similar crossing plan for the Fanno Creek Trail at Southwest Hall Boulevard.

Outside Portlandia

Deschutes 911 levy renewal heads to May ballotA new, yet not so new measure for Deschutes County voters will be on the May ballot. A property tax which helps pay for the 911 dispatch center will be expiring this summer, and voters will be asked if they want to keep it in place for five more years, officials said Thursday.

Hackers ding cityHackers rang up almost $4,800 in long-distance telephone calls via the phone system at the Pendleton Convention Center. But catching the culprits isn’t likely. Kathy Marshall is an assistant at the convention center, 1601 Westgate, and handles front office duties, including fielding phone calls. ”It started in the beginning of January,” she said. “I was getting these strange, long-distance numbers coming in.”

Lebanon council meetings headed to YouTubeCity council proceedings will now be available for viewing on YouTube, according to Lebanon Mayor Paul Aziz. Aziz used one of his personal cameras to record Wednesday night’s meeting and posted it to YouTube Thursday morning.

Man claims city discriminating against himA Columbia City man believes the city is discriminating against him, forcing him from his home. City administrators say they are only following the law. Mayor Cheryl Young says, “It’s complicated.” Stephen Bahl was arrested last summer on charges related to his father’s death in 2009 and his mother’s disappearance in 2012. Bahl, 59, later pleaded guilty to abuse of a corpse, admitting that he had not reported his mother’s death and had instead buried her in a shallow grave on a logging road near Columbia City.

Opposition is growing to proposed PUD lineAn group of landowners and concerned citizens is organizing to fight the proposed Tillamook Public Utilities District (PUD) transmission line from Tillamook to Oceanside. The PUD plans to build a high-voltage 115kV (kilovolt) line that would travel east to west through Tillamook along Front Street. The PUD has already surmounted the first hurdle in the building process. On Jan. 3 the Tillamook City Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit (#CU-12-04) for the PUD.

Sisters City Council has lofty goals for 2013The Sisters City Council has some lofty goals for the year, which include improving Cascade Avenue and annexing the airport. And that’s just the beginning. The Western style town serves as the gateway for many travelers coming to and from Central Oregon on Highway 20. But the heavily used main street through town, Cascade Avenue, is deteriorating. ”We are going to rebuild the road and widen the sidewalks, make it more pedestrian friendly,” Sisters City Council President McKibben Womack said Wednesday.

Vale Council tackles arsenicVale City Council members are considering the city’s options to deal with arsenic in its water system. The city’s water treatment plant no longer keeps the levels of arsenic in the city’s water below the maximum level allowed by federal water standards on a consistent basis, and none of the options for fixing the problem is cheap.

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