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Oregon Politics, Who’s Hot and Who’s Not: GMO Recount, Amanda Fritz, Portland Police

Friday, December 05, 2014


Measure 92 recount is well underway

Every Friday, GoLocalPDX breaks down who's rising and who's falling in the world of Oregon politics. Check out who made the lists this week.


GMO recount: The recount effort for Oregon’s Measure 92, which would require labels on genetically modified foods, is well underway. Initial results show that the overall total shifted by only two votes in favor of the measure. While it’s still too early to tell, results indicate there may not be much change from the initial results, in which the Measure went down by 812 votes. 

John Kitzhaber: The governor released ambitious figures for his proposed budget for the 2015-17 biennium. Included in the proposal is $100 million for housing subsidies to address homelessness across the state, marking the first time the state would allocate such a significant amount of money to the issue. 

Amanda Fritz: The commissioner has indicated she will bring a proposed smoking ban City Council early next year. The proposal comes from a citizen advisory board and recommends banning tobacco products in all city parks. The Oregonian reports that, if the ban passes, Portland will join 64 other Oregon cities and large metro areas including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago who have similar bans. 

#Crimingwhilewhite: The latest hashtag trending on twitter, where white Americans are reacting to a grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner in New York. The tweets are about crimes they claim to have committed, but have for the most part gotten away with. The digital protest is, in a way, a continuation of the protests happening across the county in the aftermath of a St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police offer in the shooting of Michael Brown. 

State’s new marijuana program: It’s high times for marijuana advocates in Oregon. After legalizing the drug at the ballot this past November, the state is preparing the law’s implementation. The Oregonian reports that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which is charged with overseeing marijuana regulation, requested $583,000 from the state to pay for four new staff positions, travel expenses, and legal counsel. 


U.S.  House Republicans: House Speaker John Boehner’s standing was bolstered yesterday when House Republicans overwhelmingly voted on legislation to curb Obama’s plan to protect millions from being deported. The executive order could impact as many as 64,000 undocumented Oregon residents, according to media reports.  However, the House vote doesn’t really matter since the Senate has vowed to ignore the bill and Obama would veto it, but it still shows the extent to which House Republicans are still stuck on the issue.  

Portland Police Bureau: Representatives from the bureau were unable to defend a procedure in which officers are protected from answering questions from investigators 48 hours after a shooting. As GoLocalPDX reports, a recent audit of the bureau’s procedures led to recommendations that the bureau consider revisions to 21 of its current procedures. The bureau disagrees with at least 4 of the recommendations, at least in part.

Ron Wyden: The Democratic Senator from Oregon is struggling to push a timber bill through the lame-duck session of Congress. The bill, unpopular among several environmental groups, would increase timber harvests in western Oregon land previously owned by the Oregon & California Railroad. The Republican takeover of the Senate next year means this may be the Senator’s last chance to get such a bill passed.   

Poverty in Portland metro area: Narratives around gentrification in Portland might obscure an important truth: high-poverty census tracts have dramatically increased in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro area. The GoLocalPDX reports that the number of “high-poverty tracts,” defined as areas where residents had poverty rates of 30 percent or more, rose to 18 in 2010, up from 8. 

Gus Wendel is a writer, organizer, and musician. Originally from Eastern Oregon, he now resides in Portland.


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