Oregon state Capitol

Oregon’s low-income vets could get dental treatment under legislation

BY: - February 9, 2022

Under a plan before the Legislature, thousands of veterans would gain access to dental care. There are about 300,000 veterans in Oregon but few have dental benefits through the Veterans Administration, which essentially restricts coverage to those who have been disabled by service injuries. House Bill 4095 would provide care for the poorest who make […]

Online hearing on farmworker OT

Farmworkers plead for overtime pay as ag industry warns of harmful impacts

BY: - February 9, 2022

Emotional and passionate testimony stretched into the night Tuesday during a legislative hearing on a proposal to require overtime pay for Oregon’s farmworkers. Legislation put forward by two Democratic lawmakers would pay farmworkers time and a half after working 40 hours a week and would include tax credits for companies to help them adjust. Overtime […]

End of mandatory masking brings relief along with stress and liability to school leaders

BY: - February 9, 2022

Jon Zwemke, superintendent of schools in the coastal town of Reedsport, got just a few hours’ notice that statewide mask mandates would be over for his students and staff by the end of March. On Monday, Feb. 7, the Oregon Health Authority announced it would be up to district leaders to decide what they wanted […]

Oregon state agency pushes to add suicide prevention to apprenticeships

BY: - February 9, 2022

Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle noticed something disturbing as she regularly signed certificates for those graduating from state-sponsored apprenticeship programs. Some, most often men, had died before they could start their new trade. “I asked my staff why these people died,” Hoyle said, “and it was suicide, and these are young men that were my son’s […]

Emergency room sign at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center

Health insurance coverage in Oregon increases slightly during pandemic

BY: - February 8, 2022

About 4 million people in Oregon are covered by health insurance, marking an increase of nearly 60,000 people in two years. That’s according to the Oregon Health Authority. It said the percentage of Oregonians with health insurance increased from 94% in 2019 to 95.4% last year.  The increase was mainly due to more people getting […]

Farmworker toils in field.

Push to pay overtime to Oregon’s farmworkers up against strong industry opposition

BY: - February 8, 2022

A fight is brewing in the Oregon Legislature over a proposal to give farmworkers overtime pay after 40 hours a week. Democratic supporters say the change is long overdue and that extending overtime pay to a group of essential workers who toil long hours, do difficult work and earn low wages is a matter of […]

Oregon Health Authority will lift indoor mask mandate by end of March

BY: - February 7, 2022

UPDATE: The Education Department provides more details on what’s ahead for Oregon schools, and state Republican lawmakers react. In a sudden turnaround, the Oregon Health Authority announced Monday it will lift the state’s mask requirements by the end of March for indoor public places, including schools. The announcement came on the same day that the […]

Syringe and opioid pills

Addiction to drugs, alcohol deepens in Oregon, report shows

BY: - February 7, 2022

Oregon has the worst drug addiction rate in the country, federal data show. The latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health said that 9% of teens and adults were addicted to drugs in 2020. About 12% of Oregonians aged 12 and older said they had an alcohol problem. That compares with nearly 7% in […]

At-home test

Oregon Health Authority has stockpiled more than 2 million rapid antigen tests

BY: - February 2, 2022

The Oregon Health Authority has stockpiled 2 million Covid-19 rapid test kits at its warehouse in Wilsonville, but does not know when they’ll be sent out. It is waiting for requests for the tests, according to Jonathan Modie, a spokesman with the health authority. The health authority ordered 6 million test kits from iHealth Labs […]

Lawmakers hear testimony on ways to provide relief from extreme heat, cold

BY: - February 2, 2022

Oregon lawmakers Wednesday heard testimony on two bipartisan proposals that would help low-income homeowners and renters pay for air conditioning and heat and find relief in extreme weather. The two bills respond to growing concerns that the June 2021 heat wave, where temperatures in parts of the state reached 118, could become more common. At […]

Julie Siepmann waiting on the phone

Callers face long waits on Oregon’s child abuse hotline

BY: - February 2, 2022

Julie Siepmann waits until she gets home to call the state to report a child who appears to be in danger. A clinical social worker who interviews children suspected of being abused, she’d prefer to call when she’s at work but the wait times for the child abuse hotline are too long. Reaching a screener […]

A health care professional picks up a vial of vaccine

Yamhill County commissioner’s retreat from hard stand on Covid may reflect reality

BY: - February 2, 2022

Anti-masking and anti-vax forces have pushed their protests to extraordinary degrees. At one January rally in Washington speakers “compared U.S. vaccination policies to Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Doctors in white coats falsely claimed that vaccines are ‘not working’ and advocated for unproven treatments.” Oregon opponents of measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic have […]