1. Task force proposes tax increases to fund ODFW
Charged with finding new ways to fund the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the task force released its first report Monday. The document included a proposal for either a wholesale beverage tax or an income tax surcharge, the Statesman Journal reports. ODFW has struggled to maintain its wildlife programs, evidenced by a $32 million budget shortfall for the 2015-2017 biennium. The beverage tax would add 2.1% to drinks subject to the existing bottle bill. About 19 cents on a six-pack of microbrew could raise $85.9 million per biennium for the ODFW. The proposed annual income tax would range from $0 to $78 based on income. The tax would raise $85.9 million.
2. Zoom+ cuts alternative care benefit from health plan
The health plan used to cover alternative care like acupuncture, but as of 2017, those benefits are no more, the Portland Business Journal reports. Instead, Zoom intends to provide access to alternative care in its clinics.
3. Department of Human Services settles class action suit
The suit was filed on behalf of Oregon foster children alleging DHS failed to find appropriate housing. As per the settlement, the DHS will no longer house foster children in hotels or its office without an emergency, the Statesman Journal reports. The department is now also restricted from holding children in jails without charge or in a hospital without a medical reason. These policies were already largely followed, so the direct impact on DHS practices is unknown.
4. Portland partners with PSU for B Corp Challenge
The challenge is designed to increase diversity is businesses and encourage companies to work toward Benefit Corporation certification. The partnership and challenge was announced by Mayor Charlie Hales on Giving Tuesday.
5. Bend develops new process for large construction projects
Property owners would need to submit a master plan prior to construction if their parcel is more than 20 acres under proposed rules, the Bend Bulletin reports. The master plan would include information such as impacts to surrounding neighborhoods, sewers and roads. Property owners would also have to prove they meet housing requirements.
6. Wilsonville's Flir Systems purchases another foreign company
Last month, Flir purchased a Canadian vision camera company, Point Grey Research, for $253 million. Today, the night vision camera company announced it purchased Norwegian Prox Dynamics, a nano-class drone manufacturer, for $134 million, the Oregonian reports. Prox produces a one-ounce helicopter that uses a Flir thermal camera.
7. Everything old is new
38 Davis, a new mixed-use project in Old Town/Chinatown, offers a snapshot of next generation business and design trends.