Oregon’s People

An ambulance outside Oregon Health & Science University's emergency department.

VOTE 2022: Candidates for governor diverge in views on tackling Oregon’s mental health crisis

BY: - October 20, 2022

With a recent national report putting Oregon 50th in the nation for mental health care, major candidates for governor advocate divergent ways to improve the situation: Tina Kotek sees implementing Measure 110 as part of the solution, Betsy Johnson wants local agencies to find fixes the state can back, and Christine Drazan is ready to […]

VOTE 2022: Next governor will face soaring inflation, uneven recovery

BY: - October 19, 2022

The governor of Oregon doesn’t have much control over the larger economic forces that determine whether the state’s economy is going to boom – or bust. “Mahonia Hall doesn’t set monetary policy,” said Betsy Johnson, one of the candidates who could move into the governor’s official residence after November’s election. That’s true enough. But the […]

Oregon Chief Justice Martha Walters to retire at year’s end

BY: - October 18, 2022

The head of the Oregon Supreme Court announced Wednesday she’ll retire at the end of the year.  Chief Justice Martha Walters, 72, has spent the last 16 years on the state’s highest court, and has been its leader for the last four. Walters is the first woman to serve as chief justice in Oregon. Her […]

Racial slurs in Oregon Democratic senator’s 1971 memoir prompt Republican criticism

BY: - October 6, 2022

More than 50 years ago, a 20-year-old Harvard student spent his summer picking weeds and harvesting watermelons on a southwest Georgia farm that aimed to help Black sharecroppers rise from poverty.  That student, Jeff Golden, is now a Democratic state senator running for re-election in a southern Oregon district targeted by Republicans. They seized on […]

Tribes ask US Supreme Court to hear case over destruction of sacred site near Mount Hood

BY: - October 4, 2022

Members of two Northwest tribes want the federal government to restore a sacred site near Mount Hood that was destroyed in a highway expansion project 14 years ago.  After the case was dismissed by two lower courts, the tribes on Tuesday took it to the highest court in the country.  Members of the Confederated Tribes […]


Governor’s debate fractured, with 2 candidates on one side of an issue, another opposed

BY: - September 29, 2022

In a group of three, two usually line up – and did in the latest Oregon gubernatorial debate A two-way contest of any sort is a relatively simple matter of one side gaining more than the other. Add a third side to the picture and it becomes much more complicated.  In Oregon’s race for governor, […]

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality names interim leader after director resigns

BY: - September 23, 2022

Leah Feldon, deputy director of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will lead the agency following the departure of former Director Richard Whitman this week.  Feldon was named interim director at a Friday meeting of the Environmental Quality Commission by its five governor-appointed members. The commission oversees the environmental quality department.  Feldon has worked at […]

Director of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality abruptly resigns

BY: - September 21, 2022

The head of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality resigned from the job this week, three months before his scheduled retirement.  Richard Whitman, who has led the agency since 2016, had announced in June that he would retire at the end of the year. Department spokesperson Harry Esteve said Whitman is resigning early due to personal […]

Democratic Oregon governor nominee Tina Kotek argues for gun safety at Portland forum

BY: - September 7, 2022

PORTLAND – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek has pushed for a debate solely on gun laws since a gunman murdered 19 young children in Texas this spring.  By Wednesday, in the wake of a grocery store shooting in one of Oregon’s largest cities, Kotek had given up on getting her two rivals in the governor’s […]

Summoning inspiration from solitary, former Oregon inmate wins PEN America prison writing award

BY: - September 7, 2022

Alex Tretbar scratched Lou Reed lyrics into the concrete “rhomboid exoskeleton” of an Oregon jail’s solitary confinement hole, then found the strength to write about it. “Some people work very hard,” the song goes, “but still they never get it right.” Tretbar, a Wichita native and University of Kansas graduate, references the experience in “Variations […]

Tax credits on electric cars, heat pumps will help low-income Oregonians, politicians say

BY: - September 7, 2022

Sammie Lewis of North Portland no longer has a home energy bill. Her house has been newly insulated and retrofitted with solar panels and a heating and cooling pump. She updated her home with the help of a local nonprofit that leverages state and federal grants and tax rebates to help low-income Oregonians make their […]

With $65 million, fund hopes to help thousands of struggling undocumented immigrants

BY: - September 2, 2022

A nonprofit founded at the beginning of the pandemic to help undocumented immigrants is poised to distribute safety net grants to thousands of people. The Worker Relief Fund announced this week it has received $65 million approved by the Legislature in February. The money will be doled out to undocumented workers who’ve lost work or […]