Morning Roundup: Bullseye in the news again; Oregon uninsured rate drops to 7%

In today’s news, toxins found at Bullseye Glass again, Oregon’s uninsured rate drops to 7% and Car2go launches preemptive strike against new car-sharing competitor, ReachNow.

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1. DEQ finds evidence of additional toxins at Bullseye plant

The state agency confirms high levels of selenium have been found once again at Bullseye Glass. The Southeast Portland manufacturer has been the subject of an ongoing toxic air investigation since high levels of selenium were first found in February. The Oregonian reports the levels found could cause coughing but not long-term health damage. Although the specific source is unknown, the finding has sparked new restrictions for Bullseye. The glass plant cannot burn selenium in unfiltered furnaces and can only use 5 pounds of selenium per day. 

2. The state’s uninsured rate has dropped to 7%.

The Oregon Health Authority says the rate puts Oregon below the national average. OPB reports that rate dropped 2.7% in one year.

3. Car sharing services compete in Portland

BMW’s new ReachNow car-share service officially launches in Portland today. In response, Car2go announced it is expanding its service area, the Oregonian reports. Car2go will now provide service as far east as 82nd avenue, whereas the ReachNow service area stops at 72nd avenue. Car2go also reduced its rates from 41 to 35 cents per minute. ReachNow will charge 41 cents per minute.

4. Oregon in top 3 for pharmaceutical campaign contributions

Pain Care Forum, a group of pharmaceutical companies, has given $1.1 million to Oregon legislators over the past decade. These donations rank Oregon third in the U.S. for campaign contributions by the group. But as the Statesman Journal reports, those contributions appear to have little effect on Oregon legislation. Rather than ease pain medication restrictions, Oregon has routinely increased its efforts to combat drug addiction.

5. Meanwhile, Portland’s Amanda Fritz is pushing for public election funding

Commissioner Fritz has long advocated for a shift away from private campaign contributions. The city used to finance campaigns with public contributions, but the system was nixed in 2010. The Portland Mercury reports Fritz recently held a forum to explain her proposal, which is based on New York City’s method: Candidates would have to collect either $2,500 from 250 people for commissioner positions, or $5,000 from 500 people for the mayoral position.  Candidates who meet those requirements would receive a 6-1 match from the city for donations up to $50.

6. Hotel boom sign of growing tourism in Bend

In Bend, the hotel industry continues to flourish. The Bend Bulletin reports that since 2013, five hotels have opened and four additional projects are either in the proposed or construction phases. Once those projects are completed in 2018, Bend will have about 3,200 hotel rooms. 

7. Portland firm partners with Facebook, again

Portland’s Fortis Construction won another large contract with Facebook, this time for a massive data center in Los Lunas, New Mexico.  Fortis has already built a handful of data centers for Facebook — including those in Prineville and Sweden.  According to the Portland Business Journal, the first of six phases for the New Mexico center will cost $250 million. The other phases are likely to cost just as much. 

8. Take our reader input survey on Oregon’s food and wine industry.

Results will appear in an upcoming issue of the print magazine.