Randy Stapilus

Oregon Legislature

Hard to read summaries, supposedly behind Senate walkout, could easily be fixed

By: - June 6, 2023

Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, and leader of the Oregon Senate Republicans who in effect have staged another quorum-denying walkout, has acknowledged the obvious: The walkout was about the content of a group of bills, about policy choices, not a technical issue of whether their summaries met legal requirements. Before moving on from what clearly was […]


Time to remember the sacrifices of our military service members

By: - May 29, 2023

For a lot of Americans, Oregonians included, Memorial Day means time off from work and the effective start of summer season, featuring enjoyable activities in communities large and small from the Rose Festival City Fair to the Prineville Memorial Day Parade.  Most of us in recent years have become separated from the reason for, and […]

school desk education

Takeover of Newberg School Board appears to thwart other conservative candidates in election 

By: - May 18, 2023

The political signage telling you everything you needed to know about the McMinnville School District election this season came in the form of multiple yard and field signs, clearly expensive and featuring soft pastel designs with attractive candidate portraits – all visibly from the same sources.  And the signs were only the most obvious part […]

Book banks in Oregon

More book banning cases emerge in Oregon this year

By: - May 17, 2023

If you read about school or public library book banning in some places – Idaho or Texas, for example – it might come as a jolt but not a surprise. This kind of thing doesn’t happen in Oregon, right? Except that it does, even in a state not usually identified as central to the conservative […]


Judicial elections are low profile, but they can have a wide impact

By: - May 1, 2023

Our courts tend to be afterthoughts in our politics and elections, barely considered compared to the higher-profile elected legislators.  Many voters in Oregon pick up their ballots and voter guides at election time, marching through their votes for offices like president, governor, senator and representative, but pause when they hit judges and justices up for […]

Betsy Johnson

Supporters for open primaries already campaigning for 2024 election

By: - April 16, 2023

The 2024 campaign has begun for at least one item that may be on next year’s general election ballot: a constitutional amendment that would change the state’s primary election of 2026. I saw the early shot in this campaign in my email in-box, in a missive from the group All Oregon Votes. The “Big endorsements […]

U.S. Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer

U.S. Rep. Chavez-DeRemer treads careful path in tough district

By: - March 31, 2023

In 2022, Oregon’s 5th Congressional District race was the least predictable major contest in the state, and now it looks much the same for 2024.  Both the national Cook Political Report and the Sabato Crystal Ball already label it a toss up – a rarity for a contest in which an incumbent is expected to […]

Field in Wallowa County

Oregon needs a land-use strategy to ensure a supply of development ready land

By: - March 22, 2023

This year marks a half-century since Oregon Gov. Tom McCall signed into law Senate Bill 100 requiring comprehensive planning, which warned “uncoordinated use of lands in this state threaten the orderly development, the environment of this state and the health, safety, order, convenience, prosperity and welfare of the people of this state.” Back then, the […]

Oregon Legislature Capitol building under construction

Although Oregon’s open records laws aim for transparency, they’re complicated

By: - March 15, 2023

If you want people to recycle, make it as easy as possible.  The same should be true of Oregon’s open records law, but it isn’t. With this being Sunshine Week, which focuses on easier access to public records, it’s important to remember that accessing public documents in Oregon gets more complicated all the time. The […]

Justice symbols

State proposal would allow convictions to be overturned based on new science

By: - March 1, 2023

Sometimes the job of legislating involves weighing not just one interest or two but a whole group of them, all competing against each other – even when the core issue seems simple.  For example, Senate Bill 554.  The background is that technology used in criminal forensics has been changing dramatically (think, for example, of advances […]

West stricken by drought

Oregon’s water problems are accumulating; Idaho may have an answer

By: - February 20, 2023

The Jan. 25 report on Oregon’s water shortage, released by the Secretary of State’s office, prominently included a cautionary quote from the legendary western explorer John Wesley Powell, delivered in 1893 as the regional approach to water management started to take form: “I tell you gentlemen you are piling up a heritage of conflict and […]


Will Oregon legislators follow-through and enact campaign finance reform?

By: - February 3, 2023

If Oregon legislators wind up their session this year without substantially addressing limits on campaign contributions, there will be no publicly acceptable excuses – not even that of their own self-interest.  It’s not only the legislators who have pledged to move on the issue, but also the formerly most-influential legislator and now governor Tina Kotek. […]