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OREGON CAPITAL BUREAU: JAKE THOMAS - Visitors at the Oregon State Penitentiary Memorial Healing Garden on the day of its opening.
November 07, 2019

State penitentiary sees healing 'therapy' in new inmate garden

by Jake Thomas/Oregon Capital Bureau
Project behind high walls near Salem was made possible by determined inmates and some help from the outside.
COURTESY PHOTOS - Medals left unclaimed are stored in Salem. The state is trying to find the owners of medals left behind in safe deposit boxes and other places.
November 07, 2019

State seeks owners of medals of heroism sitting unclaimed in Salem

by Sam Stites/Oregon Capital Bureau
More than a dozen medals, countless ribbons and artifacts are in government hands, awaiting their owners or heirs to collect them.
PMG FILE PHOTO - Hundreds of people attended a town hall organized by the Q Center in February took aim at hate crimes against LGBTQ Portlanders. A new law has changed the way hate crimes are reported.
November 06, 2019

Why a new law seeks to improve how hate crimes are reported

by Jake Thomas/Oregon Capital Bureau
Improved data could reveal the breadth of hate in Oregon while aiding law enforcement and community groups.
PMG FILE PHOTO - OHSU doctors check out the new Knight Cancer Research Building. The university and its labor unions are battling over working conditions and other issues.
November 05, 2019

Unions, OHSU locked in workplace struggle

by Claire Withycombe/Oregon Capital Bureau
Oregon's training hospital campus finds itself beset by social media trolls and employment clashes.
PMG FILE PHOTO - A computer system used by Oregon's Department of Education could be vulnerable to security breaches, according to a new audit by the secretary of state's office.
November 05, 2019

Audit: State education agency should do more to secure data

by Claire Withycombe/Oregon Capital Bureau
Bureaucratic reshuffling blamed for some issues, but Department of Education needs tighter control on software, security.
OREGON CAPITAL BUREAU: SAM STITES - Steve Allen is new director of the Oregon Health Authority's behavioral health care program.
November 05, 2019

New Health Authority program director sees opportunity, not chaos

by Sam Stites/Oregon Capital Bureau
Steve Allen stepped up for the job nobody wanted, now he's overhauling the way Oregon responds to mental health and addiction.
PMG FILE PHOTO - Nkenge Harmon Johnson of the Urban League of Portland, plans to run for a Salem-area Senate seat held by the late Jackie Winters.
November 05, 2019

Nkenge Harmon Johnson plans to run for Jackie Winters' Senate seat

by Jake Thomas/Oregon Capital Bureau
The Democrat is the third entrant into what's expected to be a competitive race in Marion and Polk counties.
PMG FILE PHOTO - State Sen. Michael Dembrow of Portland was part of a  pro-carbon emission bill rally outside the Capitol in June. Dembrow and others could try again to pass a cap-and-trade bill next year.
October 30, 2019

Democrats rev up plan for new carbon-reduction bill

by Sam Stites/Oregon Capital Bureau
Fear over denial of quorum during short session sparks murmurs of referring constitutional amendment to voters.
PMG FILE PHOTO - Supporters of an initiative petition to repeal a law that would give Oregon driver's licenses to people who could be in the country illegally are making a new push after the secretary of state bounced their original petition.
Oct 28, 2019 852

Initiative supporters make a new push to repeal driver's license law

'We were kind of at a point where we could either fight it in court, which would cost a lot of money, or revise and re-file as a new initiative petition, which we did.'
State Sen. Denyc Boles
Oct 23, 2019 691

Democrats see opportunity in Salem Senate seat

Although the election is a year away, both parties are preparing for a competitive race that could tip the state's political balance.
PMG FILE PHOTO - A new state audit says the Department of Human Services data security system could use a few tweaks to improve.
Oct 23, 2019 376

Audit shines light on weaknesses in state public assistance system

Kinks expected to be fixed in Department of Human Services system by pilot-phase rollout beginning April 2020.
PMG FILE PHOTO - Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon, D-Woodburn, supported a bill to allow undocumented immigrants and others without proof of legal residence to get an Oregon driver's license.
Oct 22, 2019 120

Petitioners blast state decision to block driver's license initiative

Secretary of state says effort to repeal law giving undocumented immigrants licenses went against 'full text' requirement.
COURTESY PHOTO: DREAMSTIME - A coalition of groups are promoting a rule to block ICE agents from making arrests in Oregon courthouses.
Oct 18, 2019 97

Groups push rule to block ICE courthouse arrests

'There is a perception in communities across the state that if they go to court for any reason, they may be arrested by ICE.'
DREAMSTIME - Oregon's Court of Appeals blocks a temporary six-month ban on some vape products. The ban would have affected hundreds of people employed in the industry.
Oct 17, 2019 516

Appeals court blocks vape products ban

An injunction was sought by business owners who were worried about the ban's impact on employment in the cannabis and nicotine vape industry.
PMG FILE PHOTO - Oregon labor unions are unhappy with the Legislature's pension reforms, and they're withholding cash for many Democratic candidates.
Oct 16, 2019 562

Unions to Dem candidates: Don't expect a lot of election cash

Education Association joins other labor groups in withholding funds for lawmakers who voted for pension reforms.
OREGON CAPITAL BUREAU: SAM STITES - OLCC Director Steve Marks addresses the media following the OLCC board's unanimous approval of temporary rules implementing a six month ban on all flavored vaping products as directed by Gov. Kate Brown's executive order.
Oct 11, 2019 189

OLCC kicks off six-month ban on flavored vape products

Ban takes effect Monday, Oct. 15, as OHA and OLCC to create work group to investigate cause of vape-related outbreak.
COURTESY PHOTO - Oregon's Public Records Advocate Ginger McCall, who leaves her position Oct. 11, said in her final report that the state needs to re-evaluate fees charged for public records and change the way people can appeal rejected records requests.
Oct 09, 2019 613

Records advocate: more transparency, fewer fees

Departing official's final report points to needed changes in the way Oregon agencies handle and charge for public document requests.
PMG FILE PHOTO - Oregon's Public Records Advocate Ginger McCall will leave her job in mid-October after citing undue influence from the governor's office. A state panel wants the new advocate to be independent.
Oct 02, 2019 474

Panel wants law changed to make Oregon records advocate independent

New position touched by recent controversy was supposed to make state government more transparent.
PMG FILE PHOTO - Former Legislature HR Director Lore Christopher was paid nearly $100,000 for several months work after she retired.
Oct 01, 2019 761

Ex-legislative HR director's quiet exit included pay to research, handle projects

Lore Christopher collected $96,000 after she agreed to retire in midst of Capitol harassment turmoil.
OREGON CAPITAL BUREAU: CLAIRE WITHYCOMBE - Civil engineer Kris Strickler is in line to be the new leader of ODOT.
Sep 26, 2019 701

New ODOT leader steers change in agency culture

Kris Strickler, who still must be confirmed by the Senate, gets stuck in traffic just like us - and he doesn't like it either.