Tim Nesbitt


One plan to reform Portland city government aims for more diversity – but might not get it

By: - May 2, 2022

On any list of city governments ripe for reform, Portland has earned top billing. After two years of disruption, dysfunction and discontent, the need to overhaul Portland’s outdated commission form of government has evolved from a perennial talking point to an urgent 911 call demanding a city-wide response. Luckily, while the 911 callers remain on […]


Democrats learn to wave at the log trucks in rural Yamhill County

By: - April 15, 2022

Six of the leading Democratic primary candidates in Oregon’s new Congressional district have more in common than their largely indistinguishable policy agendas. Each of them has spent at least half a day, some a full nine hours, touring Yamhill County and driving old logging roads with the county’s only Democratic commissioner, Casey Kulla. Yamhill County, […]

Oregon State Seal Capitol

Reforms to PERS were needed, but Oregon leaders still shy from discussing pension issues

By: - April 4, 2022

For decades in Oregon, the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) has been the source of much-debated fiscal problems for the state, its school districts, cities and counties. But now that the rising costs of the system have finally stabilized, at least temporarily, the politicians who helped to craft its much-needed course correction don’t want to […]


Responses to the pandemic are driving Innovation in Oregon schools

By: - March 18, 2022

This is a week when parents and kids are celebrating the end of mask mandates in schools throughout Oregon. For many, it feels like a huge relief to return to the “old normal” in our classrooms. But the old normal won’t be good enough to overcome what our kids have lost during the past two […]

Oregon Senate floor session

In Oregon, legislators are stepping in to advance worker benefits broader than unions

By: - March 4, 2022

On first impression, the fight for farmworker overtime In Oregon looks like a struggle to claim 20th Century labor standards for a historically marginalized workforce. True enough. But it’s also another example of how blue state legislatures have begun to use their lawmaking powers to improve conditions for workers in every nook of the 21st […]


Yamhill may soon become a bellwether county in national politics

By: - February 18, 2022

Yamhill County has long been a neglected bastion of Republican politics in Oregon, relatively moderate in its conservatism and safely distant in its residents’ minds from the liberal excesses of metro Portland. It’s a county that used to be taken for granted by Republican strategists and written off by their Democratic counterparts in statewide and […]


Oregon’s long-overdue Private Forest Accord could set stage for climate change work

By: - February 10, 2022

It’s been a long time since Oregonians first saw the words “private forest” and “accord” in the same document – more than 50 years in fact, since Oregon adopted its first-in-the nation Forest Practices Act in 1971. One year after that, with enactment of the federal Endangered Species Act, the terms of engagement on our […]


Legislators accustomed to short sessions should not shy from big ambitions – for Oregon’s good

By: - February 3, 2022

No legislative session can compete with the excitement of a Super Bowl. But does the Oregon Legislature have to run another short, low-scoring event this year? In a practice approved by Oregon voters in 2010, lawmakers gathered this week for their sixth even-year session and expectations were, initially, modest – not just from observers in […]


Graduation rate news may disguise what’s really happened to Oregon students

By: - January 24, 2022

We learned last week that Oregon’s high school graduation rate for the class of 2021 was not as bad as many had feared. It declined by just two percentage points, from a high of 83%, after a full year of shuttered classrooms and disrupted learning. Was this good news or bad for our pandemic-forced experiment […]


Legislators resist electoral reforms in Oregon at their peril in the future

By: - January 7, 2022

If you want to get a sense of emerging political issues, the kind that legislatures initially ignore and later scramble to get ahead of, a good place to start is to look at the ballot initiatives filed for the next statewide election in Oregon. There are 48 of these “prospective initiatives” filed for 2022. No […]

Oregon State Seal Capitol

Democrats in Oregon are in charge and they need to govern to stop the string of failures

By: - December 17, 2021

It used to be that progressives were criticized for trying to do too much or move too fast. Now, the criticisms I hear are all about not getting things done or responding too slowly to the demands of the moment. I’m not thinking of the Biden administration, still in its first year, but of the […]


The state is celebrating a big number for education – but other numbers in Oregon warrant attention

By: - December 3, 2021

“Ain’t nothing ever enough.” That observation, delivered by a union negotiating team member years ago, has stayed with me ever since as an ever-ready description for what goes on in both bargaining and budgeting. The most recent example came in response to a legislative report showing that Oregon has reached a multi-decade high water mark […]