Politics & Government

Politics & Government

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Voters in Corvallis Tuesday approved a 5-year property tax levy to fund city services including the library, pool, senior center, public safety and social service organizations.

The levy will raise more than 3 million dollars per year. The measure passed narrowly with 52 percent of voters in favor. Measure 2-86 will charge property owners about 82 cents for 1000 dollar assessed value.

Julie Manning is Mayor of Corvallis. She is grateful to voters for approving the levy.

City of Springfield

Springfield has hired a new Chief of Police. Medford Deputy Police Chief Tim Doney will start his new job  in December.

47-year-old Doney has been with Medford PD for 25 years.  The chief position had 50 applicants and Doney was chosen from 4 finalists. Springfield City Manager Gino Grimaldi says Doney's extensive experience was a big factor.

Grimaldi: "You look for 2 things. His experience as an officer is one. The other thing you look for is experience. Leadership and leadership potential."

Voters in three Oregon counties have rejected property tax increases to fund public safety and jails. The levies in Curry, Polk, and Columbia counties would have made up for cuts to federal timber aid.

Voters in Curry County on Oregon’s south coast soundly defeated their safety levy.
That leaves the county 2 million dollars short of funding next year for the jail and six deputies. Commissioner David Itzen says the county may try one last time to pass a safety levy next May.

Austin Jenkins

A record twenty-two million dollars in opposition spending appears to have paid off for grocery, seed and pesticide makers. Washington voters  Tuesday night were rejecting a ballot measure to require GMO-labeling of foods. Opponents declared victory.

The music at the Yes on 522 party in Seattle’s Pioneer Square was upbeat. But the speeches were of the more subdued variety. Trudy Bialic of PCC Natural Markets is a campaign spokesperson. She addressed the crowd after early returns showed the measure down by nearly double digits.

Lane Community College

Lane Community College has lost a promoter.

Larry Romine, long time board member, writer and teacher, died October 25th, at the age of 83. 

Larry Romine was a reporter for the Register-Guard back in 1960's, the heyday of the daily paper. He taught journalism at LCC and the University of Oregon.  Larry served two terms on the Lane Board of Education. His friend and colleague Pat Albright filled the board position from District 5 when Larry retired.

Rancher Eyes Oregon Governor's Race

Nov 5, 2013
Chris Lehman

Conventional wisdom in Salem is that Governor John Kitzhaber will run for re-election next year. But that’s not a given. The 66-year-old Democrat has repeatedly said he’s not made up his mind. That's left potential Republican candidates wondering what the governor’s race will look like next year. There’s one candidate who has entered the fray that you may not have heard of. He says everything he needs to know, he learned in the fields of central Oregon. He even wrote a song about it.

Voters across Oregon have until 8pm Tuesday evening to turn in their ballots.  Overall, it's been a rather uneventful general election, with mostly small communities voting on local measures.  

But next year, things are sure to be different.  Not only will Congressional seats be up for grabs, several high-stakes issues are making their way to the ballot.

albanyvisitors.com

The city of Albany has been coping with more people panhandling lately-- but the number of people who are homeless there remains steady.

In 2006, Albany closed a homeless camp in one of its parks. Since then, homeless advocates have been meeting annually to discuss services for those who are in need.

Marilyn Smith is spokeswoman for the City of Albany. She says they're hoping more members of the general public will attend Wednesday's summit.

The Unsettled Future of Eugene’s Multiple Unit Property Tax Exemption: A Debate

The City of Eugene’s controversial multiple unit property tax exemption (MUPTE) program has been under a lot of scrutiny in recent years.

The City of Eugene has used MUPTE to enable re-development of     underutilized areas in our downtown. Now, neighborhood activist Paul Conte has produced a ballot initiative that would repeal this program.  So we ask the question: Should we retain MUPTE as a tool to enable downtown re-development, or should we eliminate it?

Beginning Friday, more than 800,000 Oregonians receiving SNAP, or food benefits, will see a reduction in their monthly stipend.  The change is the result of an expiring federal stimulus program put in place during the recession.  

How much food can you buy with ten dollars?  A loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, a bag of carrots, a couple apples, maybe some off-brand pretzels… not much more.  But it enough to provide a person a meal a day for about a week.  

Jes Burns

Lane County  officials remind voters this election to only use ballot drop boxes that are open. 

Three groups of Lane County residents are casting ballots in the general election – those in the Springfield and Junction City School Districts and residents in the River Road Park and Recreation District.  Correspondingly, only drop boxes in Junction City, Springfield and at the River Road Park office are open.   

City of Eugene

Monday night, the Eugene City Council approved two locations for homeless people to pitch their tents. Although the city has some work to do first, volunteer organizations say they are ready to go.

The council voted 6 to 2 to allow campsites on Chambers Street at Northwest Expressway and Roosevelt Boulevard near Garfield. Michael Wisth is with the City of Eugene.

Wisth: "We have no set timeline but we are trying to work quickly to roll out a template for agreements with any group that will be managing the site."

New Police And Fire Station Before Albany Voters

Oct 29, 2013
City of Albany

Elected officials in Albany say the city needs two new public safety facilities, but they don't have $20 million to pay for them.  Officials are hoping voters will authorize the city to borrow the money. 

Mayor Sharon Konopa says for many years, Albany officials have realized their downtown fire station needs to be replaced.  

Konopa: "And also, we have needed to expand our existing police station."

The Science of Forest Management and Conservation

Oct 28, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013 from 12:00 to 1:30 pm

Air Date: October 28, 2013

Guest Speakers: Professor Jerry F. Franklin, University of Washington; and Professor K. Norman Johnson, Oregon State University

Roughly half of Oregon’s 61 million acres of land area is forest land. The federal government owns about 60 percent of the forests, the state owns about 3 percent, Native American tribes about 2 percent, and private citizens the remaining 35 percent.

Governor Barbara Roberts On Up The Capitol Steps

Oct 28, 2013

Former Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts speaks on her new book, Up the Capitol Steps: A Women's March to the Governorship. She tells us the story of her rise to power, beginning as a school board member, to Secretary of State, to Oregon's first female Governor.

Her talk was recorded at the University of Oregon on October 23, 2013. It was sponsored by the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics.

US House Approves Small Port Dredging

Oct 24, 2013
City of Coos Bay

The US House of Representative has passed legislation that would provide harbor maintenance for small ports along Oregon’s coast.  A lack of federal funds has led to a major backlog on dredging and maintenance projects, threatening the economy of several cities.

Representative Peter DeFazio is one of 47 co-sponsors of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013.  He spoke on the House floor Wednesday.

Lincoln County

As politics in Washington, DC have become increasingly partisan and dysfunctional, one county in Oregon could potentially move the opposite direction.   

On Election Day, November 5th, residents of Lincoln County will decide whether to change the way they elect their county commissioners.  

Currently commissioners in Lincoln County run partisan races – meaning they declare their candidacy as a Republican, Democrat or another political party.  If challenged within that party, they go through primary elections, and then move to the general ballot.

Meeting:  October 18, 2013
Aired on KLCC:  October 21, 2013

Maurice Cox, former City Councilor and Mayor of Charlottesville, VA, and now Director of the Tulane City Center Initiative in New Orleans, LA.

U.S. House of Representatives

Representative Peter DeFazio was in Eugene today (Friday) to give a recap of the government shutdown and look forward to the next legislative hurdles.

Congressman DeFazio expressed relief to be at home for a long weekend, and to be done with what he called the disruptive, unnecessary and expensive shutdown. DeFazio said tourists, timber workers and retirees were among those who contacted him with questions and concerns over the past three weeks. He said the shutdown caused a broad range of unexpected consequences.

Rachael McDonald

A paving project on a portion of Eugene's Willamette Street includes new bike lanes and some other changes.

The project includes the stretch of street between 18th and 23rd avenues. It's the portion that passes by the shuttered Civic Stadium. Reed Dunbar is a transportation planner with the City of Eugene.

Oregonians will be considering a relatively thin ballot in the coming weeks, dominated by local measures.

In Eugene, voters in the 4000 households in the River Road Park and Recreation District will decide whether to continue supporting their community center.  

The River Road Park and Recreation District covers about 8 square miles in north Eugene. The district's original tax base eroded over the past few decades as the City of Eugene annexed properties in the area.  

Timber companies filed a lawsuit Monday against the federal government. They claim there is no legal reason to suspend logging during the partial government shutdown.

The American Forest Resource Council joined Murphy Timber Company, High Cascades Inc., and South Bay Timber in the lawsuit. It seeks an injunction to lift the ban on logging during the government shutdown. AFRC Spokeswoman Ann Forest Burns says there is no provision in the contracts that says logging must be stopped on projects already approved. She says the lack of timber will hurt workers and mills.

Meeting:  October 11, 2013
Aired on KLCC:  October 13, 2013

Guest Speakers: Alley Valkyrie, activist and community organizer; Pat Farr, Lane County Commission; and

Professor Ofer Raban, University of Oregon School of Law

Photo Courtesy of The City of Eugene

The City of Eugene is facing a multi-million dollar gap in its budget, so it's asking residents' help to shape a solution. A series of community meetings starting this week are being held at local high schools to discuss the situation.

Last year, Eugene voters defeated a City service fee. To balance the budget, funds were transferred from its Reserve account. But, that fix was only supposed to fill the gap for one year. City Councilor Claire Syrett says if they are not able to find some new solutions, they might be back in the same position as last year.

March Against Monsanto Rally In Eugene

Oct 13, 2013
Photo by Desmond O'Boyle

About three hundred people attended a rally in downtown Eugene Saturday as part of a worldwide "March Against Monsanto" protest.

Concern has steadily grown over the use of Genetically Modified Organisms being used in farming practices. The agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto is the main proponent of such practices. The Oregon Senate has approved a bill limiting the ability for counties to ban the use of GMO's. Organizer and spokeswoman Sabrina Siegel says politicians need to stop taking money from big businesses.

Lane County

The Lane County Board of Commissioners will use a Washington State recruitment firm to find candidates for their new Administrator.

Meeting:  Friday, October 4, 2013
Aired on KLCC:  Monday, October 7, 2013

Digital Privacy and the NSA - Who Is Reading Your E-mail and What You Can Do About It

Guest Speakers: Seth Woolley and Kyu Ho Youm

The first Friday Forum of October focuses on practical privacy in the digital age. Is privacy possible? If so, how can you protect yours?

Rachael McDonald

Homeless people who've pitched their tents around town in small communities they're calling "Whovilles" met with the Mayor of Eugene Monday. The group wants the city to lift or change its camping ban.

Currently a group of about 30 people is camped at Hilyard and Broadway in Eugene. Whoville representatives met Mayor Kitty Piercy and asked her if they can stay there. Police have cited the campers for violating Eugene's camping ban.

City Of Eugene Seeks Budget Input

Oct 7, 2013

The City of Eugene is inviting the community to attend workshops devoted to shaping the budget. Eugene is currently facing a significant gap due to the recent recession and low property tax revenues. The deficit in the general fund over the past four years has caused the city to decrease its expenses by $24 million. Last year, the city faced a similar gap of $5.3 million and was forced to dip into the reserve fund. There will be five workshops in all, the first at South Eugene High School on October 15th.

Oregon Military Department Affected By Shutdown

Oct 4, 2013

Approximately 1,000 full-time personnel in the Oregon Military Department are being furloughed due to the government shutdown.

The Oregon Military Department is comprised of Citizen-Soldiers, Airmen, and civilians. The shutdown will affect training activities, equipment maintenance, and efficiency at military bases. Capt. Stephen Bomar says to maintain readiness they are forming plans in case the shutdown is prolonged.

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