Morning Roundup: Counties sick over leave; Portlandia’s gentrified heritage

In today’s news, Oregon counties claim sick pay law is unconstitutional, and CNN critques Portland gentrification.

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Sick over leave. Oregon’s recently-approved sick pay law requires employers with at least 10 employees to pay for sick leave, and nine Oregon counties now say this mandate is unconstitutional. The counties have filed a lawsuit in Linn County Circuit Court; Linn County filed first, followed by Douglas, Jefferson, Morrow, Masher, Polk Sherman, Wallowa and Yamhill counties.  The local governments claim they cannot afford the additional costs. OPB has more.

Health costs on the rise. Costs for state employees will remain in check for now, but health care premiums are expected to rise in 2017. Premium increases for state employees are capped at 3.4% — legislative approval is required for anything larger. The Public Employee Benefit Board recently voted to approve the maximum increase in 2017. Unions, however, say it’s getting harder to stick to that cap moving forward. The Statesman Journal reports.

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Portlandia’s dirty little secret. A recent episode of United Shades of America linked Portland’s “cool” reputation to gentrification and displacement of poor and minority communities. Host W. Kamau Bell said he wanted to remind the Portland’s “white hipsters” how they got here.  Read more from The Oregonian.


Cold Coffee Conundrum. Starbucks already began offering a Cold Brew coffee last year, but Portland will be one of the first cities to experience the cold bar — a new coffee experience. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said customers crave  cold coffee drinks, which will soon include a Nitro Cold Brew and a Cold Brew with Vanilla Sweet Cream. The Portland Business Journal has the scoop.


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Chronicle of a death foretold? Verizon employees will soon head back to work after unions reached a deal ending a seven-week strike. The deal will add 1,400 new jobs and pay raises up to 10% for the company’s 40,000 employees nationwide. Business Insider reports the deal could signal Verizon’s exit from wireline communications to a wireless and internet business. 

Fully recovered. Signs that the economy has fully recovered from the 2008 crash are everywhere. The most recent study shows consumer spending had its largest increase in six years last month. Spending increased 1% last month, also indicating that the Federal Reserve may increase interest rates in June. Reuters has more.