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|Articles - Jan/Feb 2012|
|Thursday, January 19, 2012|
By Robin Doussard
Water use is an ongoing issue in the state, as farmers, industry, conservationists and governments, particularly in Eastern Oregon, all vie for an increasingly stressed resource. As the 2012 legislative session gets under way Feb. 1, this year is no different. What is different, according to Richard Whitman, the governor’s natural resources policy director, will be collaboration around ways to look at mitigation of new Columbia River withdrawals and new storage projects.
“In the past it has focused on bucket-for-bucket mitigation,” says Whitman. “That policy is not changing right now. But instead of putting water back into the system, let’s look at key limiting factors … we’re trying to change the discussion to think more broadly.” He points to Washington State, which has done more to develop its existing water rights than Oregon and has been more aggressive about funding storage projects. Whitman says involving Washington will be key because of that and the interdependency of the two states.
In addition, Rep. Mike McLane (R-Medford) will introduce a bill to create a Columbia River task force that would make a plan for the new allocation of 450,000 acre-feet from surface or storage sources with the ambitious goal of benefiting agriculture, industry, endangered species, municipalities and conservation efforts. That plan would be presented to the 2013 legislative session.
Trying to claim more water from the Columbia has long been controversial because of endangered fish species, tribal water rights, hydropower needs and the myriad local, state and federal agencies involved. In 2007, the so-called “Oasis” bill pushed by Eastern farmers, utilities and businesses aggressively sought more Columbia water during restricted summer months. Then-Gov. Ted Kulongoski threatened to veto it if it made it to his desk. It failed in the Senate. Whitman says Gov. John Kitzhaber wants a collaborative effort and this bill sets that in motion. He says the governor is talking with a number of legislators from Eastern Oregon about these issues.
“We need jobs, we need fish habitat, we need aquifer recharge,” says McLane. “One thing for sure is that it’s time to stop arguing.”
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University
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One year after he was appointed chair of the Portland Development Commission, Tom Kelly talks about PDC's longevity, Neil Kelly's comeback and his new role as Portlandia landlord.
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The Big One serves as an allegory for Portland, a city that earns plaudits for lifestyle and amenities but whose infrastructure is, literally, crumbling.
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Uncertainty in Greece and China, along with potential interest rate hikes mean investors are looking at the market and nervously questioning where they should be invested.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Oregon's roads are crumbling, and revenues from state and local gas taxes are not sufficient to pay for improvements. We asked readers if the private sector should help fund transportation maintenance and repairs. Research partner CFM Strategic Communications conducted the poll of 366 readers in February.
"I feel private enterprises are capable of operating at a higher efficiency than state government."
"This has been used in Oregon since the mid-1800s. It is not a new financing method. This form of financing may help Oregon close its infrastructure deficit by leveraging funds."
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