A new school and new beginning in Vernonia

08.22.12 Thumbnail VernoniaFinally, the day had come to savor the victory. It had been five years of uncertainty, fighting, wrangling, and putting up with going to school in some pretty sorry conditions. But after five years of herculean efforts by the community, supporters, funders and others, Vernonia’s new K-12 school was christened.

Oregon and the health care ruling

06.28.12 SupremeCourt ThumbnailToday’s ruling by the Supreme Court that left standing the basic provisions of the Obama Administration’s health care overhaul also put the spotlight on Gov. John Kitzhaber and Oregon's own health care reform efforts.

What's really behind high gas prices?

PumpingGas BlogHigh gas prices have been in the news constantly this spring. For weeks, as Oregon has experienced soaring gas prices, the blogosphere has been awash in claims that refineries are fixing prices. Turns out, the paranoid among us could be right.

Salem's Hispanic economy grows

robin-BLOGThe number crunchers in the research division at the state’s employment department have come up with a very interesting snapshot of the growing Hispanic population in the Salem metro area, and its economic impact. Read more by Editor Robin Doussard.

Editor's Notes: resort group thinks small

robin-BLOGEarlier this month I wrote a 4,000-word story on the shaky future of large destination resorts in Oregon. Here’s the abridged version: The housing collapse, over-saturation and public outcry has stalled any new big resorts, those given an exemption to build outside urban growth boundaries in hopes of spurring tourism for rural economies.

Editor's Notes: Thinking big in Baker

robin-BLOGTiny, beautiful Baker City has, like most rural Oregon towns, long struggled to create new business and jobs out of the ashes of its natural resources industry. The seat of a remote county with a population of only 16,000, Baker suffers from high unemployment but it does not suffer from a lack of trying.

Editor's Notes: Closing the poverty gap

robin-BLOGThe recession destroyed more than 8 million jobs. And while a federal report issued last week showed that the nation gained back 290,000 of those jobs in April, it will be a long time before the economy will be able to soak up the millions who are unemployed.

Editor's Notes: The Rural Economy Project

robin-BLOGIt’s unusual for Oregon’s rural communities to get the spotlight. With most of the population of the state living in the Portland Metro area, rural towns are out of sight and generally out of mind. Rural leaders for years have told me that they figure they are pretty much on their own to reinvent their depressed economies, and unfortunately I have to agree with them.

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