Oregon’s People

Oregon’s state education director a quiet, collaborative force in the turbulence of pandemic

BY: - January 3, 2022

Colt Gill gets up at 2:30 every morning, thinking about his duty to the principals, teachers, students and school staff in Oregon’s 216 school districts and education service districts.  The director of the state Education Department is in action, answering emails, conferring with his deputy director Carmen Urbina and responding to text messages from school […]

Slowing effects of climate change among priorities for Oregon’s new watersheds director

BY: - December 29, 2021

Lisa Charpilloz-Hanson learns best out in the field, which is how the new director of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board found herself, first month on the job, standing over a bridge in Tillamook watching salmon and steelhead swim upstream. In her new role, Charpilloz-Hanson now has a hand in how to spend $170 million each […]

Oregon state senator asked to act on shifting counties to Idaho – a request he sought

BY: - December 10, 2021

An eastern Oregon legislator is being called on his declaration that he would advance the idea of moving portions of Oregon to Idaho – if county commissioners asked. Such legislation would be a big step forward for a quixotic political effort to reject governance by Oregon officials and seek the embrace of a more Republican, […]

Sen. Sara Gelser Blouin

Oregon state senator honored for pressing for fixes to Oregon’s foster care system

BY: - December 6, 2021

State Sen. Sara Gelser Blouin has been working on child welfare issues for a long time. In 2007, after being elected to the Oregon House for Corvallis, the Democrat sponsored Karly’s Law, which strengthened protections for abused children.  In 2015, she was elected to the state Senate, where she spearheaded legislation that makes investigations into […]

After more than three decades, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio is done with Congress

BY: , and - December 1, 2021

Peter DeFazio was waiting for three things to happen before he ended his decades-long congressional career. First, Donald Trump needed to be out of the White House. Second, Oregon needed its long-awaited sixth congressional district. And finally, Democrats needed to control Congress. He finally checked those three boxes this year, and now he’s ready to […]

Our House of Portland

Survey: Older lesbian, gay, bisexual Oregonians suffer high rates of discrimination, abuse

BY: - November 22, 2021

A majority of older lesbian, gay and bisexual Oregonians have experienced discrimination and many have been subjected to elder abuse, according to a survey commissioned by the Oregon Human Services Department. The survey indicated that this population suffers from relatively high rates of poverty, suicidal thoughts and housing and economic instability. Many interviewed for the […]

Oregon cattle grazing

Votes in eastern Oregon to shift to Idaho deserve attention – on both side of the Cascades

BY: - November 22, 2021

The movement to shift big chunks of Oregon into Idaho got another convert earlier this month. Harney County voters put their muscle behind the idea of cutting ties to Oregon and living under the Gem State, favoring the concept 63% to 37%. The local ballot measure is like others passed around the state in the […]

Children running on sidewalk

Oregon’s child welfare director appointed to new job by the Biden Administration

BY: - November 18, 2021

Rebecca Jones Gaston, Oregon’s child welfare director, just received a big promotion: The Biden administration picked her to be its commissioner overseeing federal social services for children. The nomination comes two years after Jones Gaston took the reins at Oregon’s Child Welfare Division, a troubled agency with unstable management. She was the seventh division chief […]

A common room at the Children's Farm Home is currently being used for storage.

In Oregon, families and their children can’t wait for processes, bureaucracy to get care

BY: - November 17, 2021

It would seem any child experiencing mental health crisis would receive compassionate care, with understanding for how that child and family is impacted by what they are going through.  Yet the act of seeking help can be traumatizing. Take the experience I recently learned about from a colleague and friend. She described that it took […]

Oregon’s new wildfire czar explains his job – Q&A

BY: - October 25, 2021

Last week, Doug Grafe wrapped up orientation at his new job as state wildfire programs director. He takes on his new job after 17 years at the Oregon Department of Forestry, appointed by Gov. Kate Brown. He will advise her on preventing wildfires and carrying out the mandates of Senate Bill 762.  That legislation, passed […]

Dr. Dean Sidelinger: Big-picture team player in Oregon public health

BY: - October 5, 2021

At 50, there’s a lot that Dr. Dean Sidelinger could brag about. He earned a doctor of medicine degree from a highly ranked university and added a master’s in education. As a pediatrician, he trained younger physicians and helped shape medical curricula.  Then he went into public health.  For nearly 15 years as a health […]