Everyone Gets a Raise!
Thanks to the passage of Senate Bill 1532, minimum wage workers in Deschutes County will get a raise on July 1, when Oregon's minimum wage increases from the current $9.25 hourly rate to $9.50. Minimum wage workers in Portland will see an increase of 50-cents an hour.
The new "wage law" lays out the schedule of gradual increases over the next six years, until it reaches $12.50 in more rural areas, $13.50 in Deschutes County, and $14.75 in metropolitan areas.
Gov. Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 1532 on March 2 of this year, making Oregon the first state in the nation to enact a statewide, tiered minimum wage.
Before signing the bill, she said, "I started this conversation last fall. The cost of essentials such as food, childcare, and rent are rising so fast that wages can't keep up. Many Oregonians working full time can't make ends meet, and that's not right."
The bill was opposed by several business groups, including the Salem Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business, the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, and Oregon Farm Bureau.
Of Oregon's seven federally elected Congressional members, all but one supported the universal background checks and the "no-fly-no-buy" rules aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists. Following a 14-hour filibuster and failed vote in the Senate, Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined their Democratic colleagues for the 24+ hour sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. But Central Oregon's representative, Greg Walden, was nowhere to be found.
After numerous phone messages, emails and follow-up calls to Walden's Bend, Medford, and Washington, D.C., offices inquiring after Walden's whereabouts during the sit-in, a staff member finally confirmed that he did not attend. As of press time, Walden's communications director had not responded to requests for a statement explaining his absence.
Deer Carnage on the Streets of Bend
Between January and October of last year, 150 deer met their maker on the streets of Bend, due to collisions with vehicles. That's 15 deer fatalities per month, and no matter which party is at fault, the deer almost always loses.
Oregon Department of Transportation offers seven tips for avoiding/surviving deer collisions:
-When you see one deer, watch for more.
-Slow down and stay alert, especially at dusk and after dark, when deer are most active, and most difficult to see.
-Wear your seat belt.
-Look for reflections, which signal deer crossing signs and deer eyes.
-Stay the course. If you see a deer in the road, brake firmly and calmly, and stay in your lane.
-Honk! Seriously – lay on the horn.
If all else fails, call 911 to report a collision with significant vehicle damage.