Ben Botkin

Ben Botkin

Ben Botkin covers justice, health and social services issues for the Oregon Capital Chronicle. Ben Botkin has been a reporter since 2003, when he drove from his Midwest locale to Idaho for his first journalism job. He has written extensively about politics and state agencies in Idaho, Nevada and Oregon. Most recently, he covered health care and the Oregon Legislature for The Lund Report. Botkin has won multiple journalism awards for his investigative and enterprise reporting, including on education, state budgets and criminal justice.

Former Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Edwin Peterson who modernized courts dies at 93

By: - December 7, 2023

Former Oregon Chief Justice Edwin J. Peterson died on Saturday in Salem, leaving behind a legacy of modernizing the courts system. He was 93. Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Meagan A. Flynn announced his death on Thursday. Peterson served as chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court from 1983 to 1991.   “Edwin Peterson was a […]

Hospitals appeal judge’s ruling that dismissed their case against Oregon 

By: - December 7, 2023

Four of Oregon’s largest hospital systems announced on Thursday they have appealed a federal court ruling that dismissed their lawsuit alleging the state violates the civil rights of Oregonians with mental illnesses by giving them inadequate care.  The four hospital systems – Legacy Health, Providence Health & Services, PeaceHealth and St. Charles Health System – […]

Gov. Tina Kotek talks to the Oregon Capital Chronicle in the ceremonial office of the state library in Salem on May 17, 2023. (Michael Romanos/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Kotek allows more than 10,000 Oregonians to reinstate driver’s licenses 

By: - December 5, 2023

Gov. Tina Kotek on Tuesday issued new orders to forgive unpaid traffic fines for more than 10,000 Oregonians, making them eligible to get their driving privileges reinstated.  Those Oregonians should have been eligible to apply for reinstatement of their driver’s license nearly a year ago. In December 2022, former Gov. Kate Brown issued an order […]

Salinas, Harshbarger introduce bipartisan bill to expand telehealth services for rural Americans

By: - December 1, 2023

U.S. Rep. Andrea Salinas is asking Congress to pass a bill that would expand telehealth services and provide mental health care to people in rural regions.  Salinas, an Oregon Democrat, introduced a bill on Thursday that would provide $10 million annually in grants for telehealth services in rural areas, with the goal of offering mental […]

Artifician intelligence can save people time.

Kotek forms Oregon advisory council to guide the state’s use of artificial intelligence 

By: - November 29, 2023

Gov. Tina Kotek announced plans on Wednesday for an advisory council that will guide the role of artificial intelligence in state government. The decision underscores the growing influence of artificial intelligence and its potential to streamline government and make agencies more efficient or create confusion and infringe on privacy protections.  Kotek is charging the Oregon […]

Demand for food aid spikes in past year as many Oregonians struggle with hunger 

By: - November 28, 2023

After the pandemic ended, the demand for food  continued to increase in Oregon, with the need for  millions more pounds of produce, pasta and other staples at meal sites and food pantries. The Oregon Food Bank distributed more than 104 million pounds of food in the fiscal year from July 2022 through June 30, an […]

Harney County judge declares Measure 114 on gun safety unconstitutional

By: - November 21, 2023

Oregon’s voter-approved gun law that would require permits and a safety course violates the state constitution, a Harney County Circuit Court judge ruled on Tuesday.  The ruling is a setback for gun safety advocates who backed Measure 114 in response to gun violence and mass shootings and convinced Oregon voters to pass it in 2022. […]

Advocacy group criticizes Oregon corrections agency’s plans to improve women’s prison

By: - November 21, 2023

An advocacy group for incarcerated people says the Oregon Department of Corrections has inadequate plans to improve the treatment and conditions at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, the state’s only women’s prison. In a Nov. 14 letter to Gov. Tina Kotek, the Oregon Justice Resource Center said the Oregon Department of Corrections’ response to address harsh […]

Scandal-marred Oregon Secretary of State audit will remain online 

By: - November 20, 2023

Oregonians still can access the audit of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission after former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s moonlighting scandal with cannabis company La Mota put the audit under intense scrutiny.  Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade, who released her review of the audit on Monday, said in a release that it is […]

State and resettlement groups help Ukrainians in Oregon

By: - November 17, 2023

About 4,500 Ukrainians have arrived in Oregon since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, upending their lives and forcing them to flee the danger and chaos of their homeland. Nearly two years later, government agencies, resettlement organizations and community groups have banded together to help Ukrainians settle into a new life in Oregon. To help […]

Oregon Legislature Capitol building under construction

State revenue forecast shows stable economy as Oregon lawmakers prepare for 2024 session 

By: - November 15, 2023

Oregon state revenues are stable with low inflation and unemployment in the economy, according to the December revenue forecast released on Wednesday by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis. The forecast helps state lawmakers as they prepare for the 2024 session, which starts in February, and plan legislation that may need additional funding to address […]

Justice symbols

Biden nominates Oregon judge for the federal bench

By: - November 15, 2023

President Joe Biden on Wednesday nominated Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Amy M. Baggio for a federal judge position in the Oregon district.  The White House announced the nomination of Baggio and four others as federal judges nationwide, subject to confirmation in the U.S. Senate. Baggio has served as a Multnomah County judge since 2019.  […]