BY EMMA HALL | OB WEB EDITOR
In the aftermath of the anticlimactic 2013 legislative session, we update a few stories Oregon Business covered this past year.
- The Oregon Legislature passed a bill to limit gold dredges on salmon streams, due to an influx of out-of-state gold miners. Hands off our gold, Californians and Idahoans! Well, hands off our spawning salmon and water quality. We heard from both sides in Op-Ed pieces here at OB. First, Sen. Alan Olsen (R-Canby) wrote in favor of allowing more small-scale mining. Sen. Alan Bates (D-Medford) responded in defense of more water protections. The bill heads now to Gov. Kitzhaber.
- The Legislature approved an additional $4 million in film industry tax credits, raising the budget to $10 million, but not quite to the $12 million that Gov. Kitzhaber wanted. In September our Celluloid Forest story reported that the industry spent $130 million in Oregon in 2011 producing film, television and TV commercials, up from $62 million in 2009. Although Leverage may be over, NBC, makers of Grimm, have expressed interest in filming another show in Portland.
- At the beginning of the session, we reported on the leaders of Oregon's business associations and what they hoped to accomplish. One of those was the much-debated clean fuels bill, which was rejected by the Senate. The bill could still be revived in the February 2014 short session, ahead of the scheduled 2015 sunset date on Oregon's clean fuels program.
- Across the river, the Columbia River Crossing failed in the Washington Senate. Project managers had already spent more than $175 million in public funds planning the bridge that is now dead in the water. The biggest chunk of change was paid to consultant David Evans and Associates, the Portland design and management firm we profiled in April. And by "chunk of change," we mean more than $37 million.
- In April we reported on the dearth of public and private amenities in East Portland — and efforts to make the area safer and more pedestrian friendly. Passed one hour before the session ended, House Bill 2322 did just that, by allocating $3.6 million from the Oregon capital construction budget to extend the sidewalk along Southeast 136th Avenue.
Our July-August cover story focuses on wolf tourism, an issue that is currently dividing Eastern Oregon. Our poll this week wants to know what you think- is wolf preservation good for Oregon's economy? So far respondents are leaning heavily toward supporting wolf tourism, with 72% of the vote. Be sure to cast your vote here.