Commentary

Biden’s protection of old-growth trees welcome but mature stands need protection, too

BY: - February 23, 2024

Amidst all the bad climate and environmental news is a welcome development: the Biden administration’s announcement of a new national policy aimed at protecting old-growth forests.  The proposal advances the cheapest, most effective solution we have – leave them standing. Temperate rainforests found throughout western Oregon and Washington trap and store enormous amounts of carbon; […]

Oregon Senate floor session

Oregon should not follow Congress in giving away more corporate tax subsidies

BY: - February 21, 2024

When it comes to tax policy, all too often Oregon fails to fly with her own wings. Rather than heed her motto, Oregon hitches a ride on the back of Congress, no matter how awful the destination.  Right now, Congress is heading toward handing corporations several tax cuts that would accomplish little other than pad […]

Like these trees on Barbur Boulevard and Naito, trees fell across Portland as a result of January storms. 

Extreme weather is our new normal. Resilient homes should be, too.

BY: - February 20, 2024

During last month’s winter storm, the weight of ice on trees and power lines called attention to the dangerous conditions across Oregon. In fact, January’s storm and frigid temperatures ravaged our state, leaving 15 people dead, hundreds of thousands without power and many homes damaged by downed trees. As someone who’s lived in Eugene my […]

Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read joined Oregon college students at a rally against higher education budget cuts Thursday, May 11, 2023. Read said there is "no better investment for the future of Oregon than higher education." (Alex Baumhardt/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

House bill on divesting coal investments would align Treasury holdings with other state initiatives

BY: - February 15, 2024

The Oregon State Treasury has hundreds of millions of dollars invested in coal but the Clean Oregon Asset Legislation – or COAL Act – would clean up those holdings.  House Bill 4083 would encourage the Treasury to stop investing in coal, phase out existing coal investments and report on this progress. Rep. Khanh Pham, D-Portland, […]

Rep. Jason Kropf, D-Bend, and Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber, D-Beaverton, talk to reporters on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, about their proposed framework to address the drug addiction and overdose crisis.

How treating drug addiction as a public health crisis could fix the failings of Measure 110

BY: - February 13, 2024

After listening to hours of contentious testimony about Measure 110 in a Legislative hearing last week, it struck me that everyone who testified for and against the recriminalization of hard drugs was coming from the same place. All acknowledged, at least implicitly, that opioids like fentanyl are dangerous, that persistent use of them is bad […]

A closed-door group has proposed that property taxes be increased to pay for wildfires.

All Oregonians already pay for wildfires, so why should they pay more?

BY: - February 8, 2024

In a recent OPB story that covered the impact of the Oregon Legislature’s decision to eliminate the timber severance tax 30 years ago, it was noted that neither former Gov. John Kitzhaber nor then-Rep. Lane Shetterly recalled the bill.  While I can believe that Kitzhaber doesn’t recall signing the legislation, it strains credulity that Shetterly, […]

Gov. Tina Kotek has set a goal of building 36,000 new homes a year – nearly double the average number of homes built in Oregon in recent years.

Oregon faces problems with expanding housing in cities: paying for services for new residents

BY: - February 6, 2024

Oregon, like our neighbors to north and south, is in the midst of an aggressive home building project. But we’re faced with a larger problem than either California and Washington when it comes to sustaining a growing population: Our local tax system can’t keep up with new development. Here in Oregon, as we build new […]

The Oregon Supreme Court in Salem.

Oregon Supreme Court decision not likely to be legislative boon for Democrats

BY: - February 2, 2024

The Oregon Supreme Court decision barring 10 Republican state senators from another term after the current one was quickly assailed by Republicans, as you’d expect. Republican Sen. Suzanne Weber of Tillamook responded, “I’m disappointed, but can’t say I’m surprised that a court of judges appointed solely by Gov. (Kate) Brown and Gov. (Tina) Kotek would […]

A woman walks past the Amazon Go grocery store at the Amazon corporate headquarters on June 16, 2017 in Seattle, Washington

It’s not the vibes giving us a sour economic mood; it’s the monopolists

BY: - February 1, 2024

In recent months a lot of economic commentators have been flabbergasted that despite low unemployment, steady job growth and easing inflation, the public mood about the economy remains dour. Pundits have blamed social media, partisanship and negative media headlines. But what if our headline economic data simply fails to tell a complete story? Dig a […]

A teacher instructs children using phonids.

Students do better and schools are more stable when teachers get mental health support

BY: - January 30, 2024

When it comes to mental health at school, typically the focus is on helping students, especially as they emerge from the pandemic with heightened levels of anxiety, stress and emotional need. But as school officials seek to put resources toward student well-being, another school population is possibly being overlooked: teachers. Teachers are experiencing high levels […]

Creative thinking needed to save rural hospitals

BY: - January 26, 2024

Over the last 15 years, approximately 150 rural hospitals have closed nationwide. What does it mean? Are these facilities obsolete, no longer needed?  Maybe in a few places, but in the vast majority of communities they provide critically important services. In most rural communities, the hospital has multiple roles and is the cornerstone for health […]

Oregon's tax system, like those across the country, favors the wealthy.

Oregon’s tax system is fundamentally unfair, but we can fix it

BY: - January 23, 2024

If you were designing a tax system from scratch, who would you tax at a higher rate: a low-income family struggling to pay the rent and put food on the table, or a rich family making way more money than they spend? For moral and practical reasons, it’s long been recognized that a fair tax […]