In the News

Statewide

Unions propose state budget cuts of $278 million - A coalition of unions and other public-sector groups released a report Tuesday suggesting state government could save $278 million over the next biennium by making a series of spending cuts. The group said savings could come from three sources:

  • $66 million by further reducing the number of managers and supervisors in state government, a process that began in 2011 ;
  • $111 by cutting every department’s “services and supplies” budget by 10 percent;
  • $101 million by collecting more unpaid income taxes.

Bill would bar employers from pressing employees for social media access - SALEM — State lawmakers will hold a public hearing this afternoon on a bill that would make it illegal for employers to try to get access to the nonpublic portions of an employee or job applicant’s Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account.

Inside the UGB

TriMet general manager warns of 70 percent service cuts by 2025 if union doesn’t budge on health benefits - TriMet is on route to cut 63 bus lines and 70 percent of service by 2025 without more changes to union health and retirement benefits, the agency’s general manage said Wednesday. Once regarded as the gold standard of public transit in the U.S., TriMet is at real risk of becoming a “skeletal system” if its financial situation doesn’t change, Neil McFarlane said in a doom-and-gloom “State of TriMet” presentation (ppt) to the board of directors.

TriMet’s newest buses are recording passenger conversations; ACLU not pleased - As if we needed another reason not to start up a conversation with the bus rider in the next seat: TriMet is listening. Oregon’s largest transit agency has trumpeted the looks, comfort and fuel efficiency of its 55 new “3000 series” buses, including four hybrids.

Tigard officials draft 2013 legislative agenda, propose property purchases - Tigard officials will pass on a list of grants, projects and policy priorities to the congressional delegation when the mayor and city manager meet with members in Washington, D.C. later this month.

Beaverton drew new enterprise zone map as Nike expansion plans became public - Beaverton started to discuss its proposed enterprise zone expansion in late October. The borders were drafted in mid-December and finalized a few weeks later, after Nike’s plans were publicly known.

Damascus backs up legality of disincorporation ballot title - In December, two residents filed a petition to disincorporate the city. Damascus then verified the wording of the ballot title was valid. That ballot title was then challenged in court by another resident, who proposed a new way to word it. The city responded to the challenge in court simply: “this office believes that the existing ballot title meets all statutory requirements.”

Across the River

Clark County commissioners support efforts to block MAX light rail on Columbia River Crossing - A group moved on three fronts this week to stop TriMet’s MAX light rail trains from rolling over a proposed Columbia River Crossing from Oregon into Clark County. They picked up the backing of Clark County commissioners Tuesday afternoon after commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke passed a resolution opposing any funding of the Columbia River Crossing light-rail tolling project. Commissioner Steve Stuart was ill and absent.

Camas city administrator is getting settled in - Nina Regor, Camas’ new city administrator, has come home. After stints in Gresham, Ore., Spokane Valley and Cloverdale, Calif., Camas’ top administrator has returned to the area where she was born. ”There are just some parts of the world that really draw people in,” Regor said. For the Vancouver-born Regor, the Pacific Northwest beckoned her back, with a little help from a new job. Her first week as Camas’ city administrator has been a whirlwind of activity, she said. Boxes and unread papers have stacked up in her office as she’s hustled from one meeting to another.

Outside the UGB

Medford sewage plant hurts the Rogue River, study finds - MEDFORD — A study commissioned by fly-fishing groups contends the effluent released from Medford’s wastewater treatment plant illegally harms insect life and promotes unwanted algae growth in the Rogue River. The study says the pollution could harm chinook salmon eggs laid in gravel downstream of the treatment plant near TouVelle State Park.

Hermiston City Council calls for federal immigration reform - The Hermiston City Council is calling on the federal government to support immigration reform. The East Oregonian reports the council voted 7-1 Monday night to approve a request from the Hispanic Advisory Committee for a letter describing the city’s stand. Mayor Dave Drotzmann said he would sign the letter along with council members. He says people in the community “need to be recognized rather than looking behind their backs, scared of what’s going to happen to them.”

Panel to select top road projects - The Lane Area Commission on Transportation will meet Wednesday, Feb. 13, to pick the most important local transportation construction projects that it wants the state to fund.

Lane County to ask voters again for jail levy - The Lane County Board of Commissioners hopes the 10th time is the charm. County voters have rejected nine consecutive law-enforcement-related ballot measures dating to 1998, but the county board on Tuesday decided to put another proposal before voters. Commissioners voted 4-1 to place a five-year property-tax-based local option levy on the May 21 ballot.

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