In today’s news, Oregon could join push for popular vote legislation, ‘Motor voter’ yields low ballot return rate and Uber to offer healthcare for drivers.
1. Oregon to consider changing state’s electoral college strategy
The Oregon House has passed legislation requiring state electoral votes go to the winner of the popular vote three times: in 2009, 2013 and 2015. Each time Oregon Senate Chair Peter Courtney prevented the legislation from coming to the Senate floor. There’s a renewed push to change the way a president is elected in light of the most recent election, in which the popular vote candidate did not win the electoral college vote, OPB reports. In order to see a national impact, states comprising 270 electoral votes must pass legislation allocating their votes to the popular vote candidate. At this point, 165 votes are determined by popular vote from 11 states and the District of Columbia.
2. ‘Motor voter’ law yielded votes, but at lower return rate
Oregonians who registered to vote through the DMV voted at a lower rate than other voters. Their turnout was 43% as compared to the 82% average for self-registered voters, the Register Guard reports. Despite the low turnout, an additional 97,000 votes — or 2.02 million total — were cast in this election, breaking previous records.
3. Uber partners with Legacy Health to provide health care for drivers
This is the third such partnership for Uber, the Portland Business Journal reports. The ridesharing company recently announced similar agreements in San Francisco and New York. Services for drivers include free flu shots, wellness classes and ergonomics therapy.
4. Alaska sends first flight powered by biofuel
The Alaska Airlines flight left Seattle yesterday morning drawing 20% of its power from biofuel, the Seattle Times reports. The fuel was produced from forest residuals leftover from timber harvesting. The flight was the first of its kind.
5. Donald Trump and timber
One of the President-elect’s many promises on the campaign trail was to revitalize the timber industry in Oregon and Washington. Timber companies say they’re “cautiously optimistic” about Trump’s promises, but it’s unclear how he could actually accomplish the task, according to Herald and News. Logging declined in the 1990s due to the Northwest Forest Plan and the National Environmental Policy Act. To increase logging, these acts would have to be altered.
6. Stuffstr partners with H&M, North Face
The app matches unwanted items to organizations that can use them, such as clothing. Unwanted clothing can now be dropped off at H&M and The North Face locations for recycling. Portland-based VP Steve Gutmann says Stuffstr is working toward a goal of “No Unused Stuff.”
7. Cannon Beach explores workforce housing
The lack of housing for employees in Cannon Beach isn’t a new issue. OB’s Kim Moore examined the topic this summer; her article profiled businesses considering providing housing to staff. The lack of housing is now being addressed by the City Council, reports the Daily Astorian. Workforce housing could be placed on city land if the council approves zoning changes to an RV Park — to start. The proposal comes from an affordable housing task force, which will continue to develop remedies to the coastal town’s housing problem.