Senator Ron Wyden

Devil's Staircase
Rachael McDonald

Oregon U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley introduced a bill last week to expand wilderness in the state. The legislation has failed to pass 3 times in Congress.

The bill would designate more than 200 thousand acres of land as wilderness or national recreation areas. The bill creates the Devils Staircase Wilderness in the Oregon Coast Range southwest of Eugene. It also expands the Wild Rogue Wilderness. Josh Laughlin with the conservation group Cascadia Wildlands says he's hopeful public support can help get the bill passed this time.

Senator Wyden Pushing For Highway Funding

Jun 22, 2015
columbiariverreview.com

Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden pushed for increased and long term highway funding during an address to a congressional committee, last week.

A recent report from the American Society of Civil Engineers asserts the U.S. needs to invest 3.7 trillion in infrastructure by 2020 just to reach satisfactory conditions. Senator Wyden accused Congress of limping from one short term funding package to another without a long term solution.

columbiariverreview.com

President Barack Obama has signed the USA Freedom Act into law, just hours after Congress sent it to his desk. Oregon's U.S. Senator Ron Wyden praised passage of the Freedom Act, which changes how the government can conduct surveillance and gather data, which was put in place under the Patriot Act.

On Tuesday, Sen. Wyden said it is not an exaggeration to say passage of the Freedom Act is the most significant victory for Americans' privacy rights in more than a decade. The Democrat said Americans do not need to sacrifice their liberty to have security.

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden Praises Patriot Act Expiration

Jun 1, 2015
columbiariverreview.com

Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden praised the end of the bulk collection of Americans' information under the Patriot Act during the legislative session Sunday. The U.S. Senate failed to approve a measure which would extend the ability for the National Security Agency to collect Americans' phone records and emails. Wyden also called for the Senate to pass the USA Freedom Act to enact additional reforms.

Karen Richards

Senator Ron Wyden met with leaders of several Oregon fire prevention agencies today (Thursday) in Springfield. He's proposed legislation he hopes will make their jobs easier, as they face another potentially dangerous fire season.

With precipitation in the Willamette Basin currently at ten percent of normal, firefighters say they're doing work now they usually do in June. Senator Wyden is aware of the urgency. He and Idaho Republican Senator Mike Crapo have introduced a bill to classify mega-fires as natural disasters.

Coos Bay Rail Link

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mike Crapo from Idaho introduced the Short Line Railroad Rehabilitation and Investment Act of 2015 on Tuesday.

The senators' proposed act would extend the maintenance tax credit for short line railroads nationally which expired in 2014. When the previous bill was enacted, short line railroads across the country received a 50 percent tax credit, or, up to $3,500 per mile of track owned.

Now that these funds are expired, railroad owners will have less money to pay for maintenance. Martin Callery from the Port of Coos Bay explains:

Anna King

As Congress prepares to adjourn next week, still unresolved is a pair of bills with wide-reaching implications for southern and western Oregon. Over the past year, Senator Ron Wyden has pushed hard for compromise measures that would address long-standing conflicts over logging and water. But now those bills are in limbo.

Nick Edwards / OPB

Oregon's Dungeness Crab season is set to begin on schedule this year December 1. The Coast Guard rescue helicopter based in Newport is set to be decommissioned December 15th, which has commercial crabbers and their families worried.

Karen Richards

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler held a roundtable in Eugene today to discuss retirement savings issues.

At the meeting on LCC's downtown campus, Senator Wyden and Treasurer Wheeler heard from a couple dozen students, retirees, and professionals. They were looking for ideas to help shape an Oregon plan for retirement security.

Wyden said the days of working for the same company for decades, and retiring with a healthy pension, have gone the way of black and white TV:

Wyden Talks Rural Funding, Paying For Wildfires

Sep 30, 2014
Desmond O'Boyle

While in Eugene last week, Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden spoke with KLCC's Desmond O'Boyle about funding for rural parts of the state and the rising costs of fighting wildfires.

Senator Wyden has worked to renew The Secure Rural Schools Act several times, most recently in 2013. The Act ensures funding to rural areas not collecting the timber revenue at the rate they once did. Oregon's share of the Secure Rural Schools Act is more than 2 billion dollars annually. Wyden says as far as providing financial assistance to the State, this is a very important bill.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden On Privacy And The Digital Age

Sep 29, 2014

Meeting Date: Friday, September 26th, 2014

Air Date: Monday, September 29th, 2014

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden discusses privacy in the digital age.

Senator Ron Wyden Discusses Privacy In The Digital Age

Sep 26, 2014
Desmond O'Boyle

Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden discussed protecting privacy in the digital age at the Club of Eugene, Friday.

As a longtime member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Democrat has been critical of government programs collecting large amounts of data on U.S. Citizens. Wyden is concerned the merging of communications systems worldwide will cause innocent Americans to be swept up in searches that target overseas terrorist threats.

Albany Democrat-Herald

A new long-term care home in Lebanon for Veterans is finished and will be dedicated, Saturday. The facility can house up to 154 residents and is named after a World War I Medal of Honor recipient from Corvallis.

The 40 million dollar facility broke ground in 2012 and focuses on rehabilitation services and long term care for veterans with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs Spokesman Jeremy Woodall is proud of the building.

Karen Richards

Oregon's U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley were both in Eugene on Monday. They led a forum on the Department of Transportation's proposed changes to oil train transport.

Bakken shale oil production in the Dakotas has transformed railroad tank car movement across the west. Volumes have increased four thousand percent since 2008, according to the Association of American Railroads. Senator Ron Wyden says rules regarding safety and preparedness have not kept pace:

Devan Schwartz / Earthfix

A controversial method of logging is being tested on a Bureau of Land Management forest in Southern Oregon. The idea is to remove trees in the same way nature does. It’s being touted as a model for the Pacific Northwest.

Critics say it’s just a new twist on the same old problem: too much logging and not enough environmental protection.

Steep hillsides slant toward a bright blue sky. This section of forest, known as the Buck Rising site, is a checkboard landscape. It ranges from intact forests, to stands of thinned trees, to clearcuts.

Tiffany Eckert

Oregon continues to rank among the most "food insecure" states in the nation. Dependency on food stamps is at an all time high. According to the Children's Defense Fund, more than 315-thousand Oregon kids were eligible for free or reduced school lunches last year. So, what happens when school is out? KLCC's Tiffany Eckert looks at the problem of childhood hunger and what some agencies and school districts are doing to meet the need over the summer.

"B" Loftis has been feeding school kids for 27 years.

Courtesy of Amber Lee

A college-bound student from Eugene testified Tuesday before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on what role the tax system plays in student loan debt.

Amber Lee told the Senate committee about growing up with a father addicted to crystal meth who had a gambling problem. From age 7, she knew she wanted to be a doctor. Lee hopes to fulfill that dream but knows it will be an expensive journey through college. She's starting at Portland State University in the fall.

Desmond O'Boyle

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden participated in a ceremony Thursday (today) in Springfield highlighting the expansion of a new EmX bus stop. The Senator also talked about the importance of increasing access to public transportation, and cutting emissions as well.

Wyden: “It’s clear to me that we need the Executive Branch playing offense on this issue and to put in motion the steps that really only Congress can work with Executive on and that is the challenge of dealing with climate change when you have to bring in India, China, and so many of the developing nations.”

EmX Expands To Riverbend

May 29, 2014
Desmond O'Boyle

Sacred Heart’s RiverBend hospital in Springfield has a new EmX stop that is closer to the facility. About 50 supporters and dignitaries attended a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday (today).

Land Transit District’s EmX now stops at the Pavilion station located on RiverBend Drive. It provides direct access to Lane County’s largest medical center for thousands of patients and employees. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden stressed the importance of expanding public transportation.

Jes Burns

Tom Towslee, state communications director for U.S.  Senator Ron Wyden for almost seven years, will retire June 30th.  After gathering news for United Press International in Washington, D.C., and for Oregon newspapers, Towslee became a news source instead.  In an interview with KLCC’s Claude Offenbacher,  Towslee begins by describing how he came to work for Senator Wyden.

wikepedia

This summer is shaping up to be a hot season for wildfires, especially on the west coast. Federal officials and lawmakers took the opportunity Monday to urge passage of legislation that would treat big wildfires like other natural disasters. They say this would fix a problem that’s hampered efforts to prevent the fires in the first place.

Anna King

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden is saying cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is like something out the movie “Groundhog Day.” In a boathouse on the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon,  Saturday, he said the problems at the nuclear site repeat over and over.

Senator Wyden says key documents at Hanford were kept from him, the State of Washington and the public.

Ron Wyden: “We were told in 2012 that this double-shelled tank … was an isolated issue. Now we have obtained documents indicating some very serious questions about whether that was actually the case.”

logging
Tiffany Eckert

Conservationists from across the nation are in Eugene this weekend for the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. Public lands advocates took this opportunity to protest a logging bill sponsored by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. Today (Friday) more than 50 people marched from the Knight Law Center to the Federal Courthouse.

The protesters are opposed to plans to increase logging on public forestlands in western Oregon. Self proclaimed "tree sitters" are part of the rally. So are fishery managers and scientists.

rally
Tiffany Eckert

At a small rally at the Federal Courthouse in Eugene today (Monday), community activists and union representatives held signs in protest of the new trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (or T-P-P.) KLCC's Tiffany Eckert reports.

As the group sang re-worked verses of the popular Bob Dylan protest song, a delegation prepared to hand deliver about 55 letters to Senator Ron Wyden.

Shelley Pineo-Jensen is with Eugene Springfield Solidarity Network. She criticized Wyden for not taking a stronger position  on the TPP.

Rachael McDonald

US Senator Ron Wyden's bill to increase timber harvest in Western Oregon is generating criticism from both sides of the ongoing logging debate.

Doug Robertson is a Douglas County Commissioner and the President of the Association of O & C Counties. He says he's still analyzing Senator Wyden's bill but...

Panoramio.com

Legislation was introduced last week to improve water management on the Crooked River near Prineville.  Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley spoke Friday about the bill.

Merkley: "You know how we say here in the West: Whiskey, that's for drinking, and water, that's for fighting."

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