Oregon

Transportation
12:16 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Oregon Looks to Improve Rail Service

Rail crossing in Eugene.
Credit Jes Burns

Oregon is looking at ways to improve train service between Eugene / Springfield and the Portland metro area. It's part of the Oregon Passenger Rail Project.

Oregon Department of Transportation says ridership has increased steadily on trains that go back and forth from Eugene to Portland and up to Vancouver, B.C. Over the next 25 years, the population of the Willamette Valley is expected to grow by 35 percent. ODOT's Jim Cox is Project Manager:

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2014 Election
7:14 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Rancher Eyes Oregon Governor's Race

Jon Justesen's ranch is based near the tiny town of Kent, Oregon.
Credit Chris Lehman

Conventional wisdom in Salem is that Governor John Kitzhaber will run for re-election next year. But that’s not a given. The 66-year-old Democrat has repeatedly said he’s not made up his mind. That's left potential Republican candidates wondering what the governor’s race will look like next year. There’s one candidate who has entered the fray that you may not have heard of. He says everything he needs to know, he learned in the fields of central Oregon. He even wrote a song about it.

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University of Oregon
1:21 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Audit Finds Overpayments At UO Research Unit

Credit Jes Burns

Secretary of State Kate Brown says a University of Oregon research department manipulated payroll in order to avoid mandatory furloughs and salary freezes imposed by the governor.

U of O officials asked the Secretary of State to audit the Institute of Neuroscience after an internal review flagged problems. In 2009, the governor imposed across the board furloughs and pay freezes for all state employees in response to the economic crisis. Tony Green is with the Secretary of State's office.

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Public Safety
11:31 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Curry County Asks Voters To Help Fund Sheriff's Patrols

Curry County Courthouse.
Credit Curry County

Voters in Curry County are considering a Public Safety Levy on the November 5th ballot which would help pay for rural sheriff patrols and the jail. There hasn't been much public effort to get out the vote.
 

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Oregon Special Session
7:03 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Special Session Bills Finally On The Move

The five bills on the agenda for Oregon's special legislative session are finally on the move. Nearly two full days after lawmakers arrived in Salem, a legislative panel voted Tuesday evening to advance the measures out to the floor. The full legislature could vote on them Wednesday.

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Affordable Care Act
11:53 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Oregon's Health Insurance Exchange Hits Glitches

Credit Cover Oregon

Oregon's new health insurance marketplace-- part of the Affordable Care Act-- has run into some glitches on its launch day. Cover Oregon's online system is not functioning properly.

Cover Oregon is not correctly determining eligibility for tax credits, the Oregon Health Plan and Healthy Kids. The problem is expected to be fixed in a couple of weeks. Jason Davis with Lane County Health and Human Services says it's possible to get health coverage, just not through the website.

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Drivers Licences
7:34 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Controversy Continues Over Granting Driver's Licenses to Undocumented in Oregon

Members of Oregonians for Immigration Reform collect ballot signatures at a Milwaukie parking lot.
Credit Oregonians for Immigration Reform.

Next to immigration reform, Latino advocates in Oregon say the second most important issue in their community is undocumented immigrants being allowed to drive legally. Currently they can't, but a new state law—set to take effect in January—would allow it. A group that aims to stop the law from taking hold and refer the question to voters, faces a deadline this Friday.

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weather
11:07 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Record Rainfall For September In Western Oregon

Credit wikimedia

The weekend brought two heavy rainstorms through western Oregon. The rain made this the wettest September on record in many parts of the state.

Eugene's rainfall was measured at more than 6 inches. The previous record for the month of September was about 5.5 inches in the late 1800s. Astoria got more than 10, also breaking its record for the month.

Andy Bryant is a hydrologist with the national Weather Service in Portland. He says two storms came through this weekend.

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Health Care
10:02 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Cover Oregon Launches October First

Credit Cover Oregon

On Tuesday, October 1st, Oregon launches its health insurance exchange program-- a key piece of President Obama's health care overhaul. It's called Cover Oregon.

Michael Cox describes the program in a nutshell:

Cox: "Cover Oregon is an online marketplace where customers can come, shop for health insurance, compare plans side by side, access financial help, and get enrolled in coverage, starting in October."

Cox is a communications specialist with Cover Oregon.
He says their goal is to make the process easy.

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Oregon Capitol
7:25 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Oregon Capitol Building Turns 75 Years Old

The view looking straight up into the interior of the Oregon state capitol rotunda.
Credit Chris Lehman

You've seen those safety posters marking so many days since a workplace injury. Oregon's state capitol building could have one that says "75 years without burning to the ground!" The original two went up in flames. Now, a series of events scheduled next week will mark the 75th anniversary of Oregon's third and longest standing state capitol. The celebration comes as lawmakers consider a $300 million overhaul.

Frankie Bell is perhaps the ultimate state capitol tour guide. She's worked in the building for more than half its existence.

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