Marijuana revenues continue to beat estimates, future unclear for women’s prison and second standoff trial will move forward.
1. Marijuana taxes exceed expectations, again
New revenue estimates show a total of $54.5 million collected this year in marijuana taxes — 25% more than the state estimated from Feb. 2016 to June 2017, Willamette Week reports. More than $6 million was collected in November alone.
However, continued licensing delays are causing businesses and the state to miss out on additional revenue. A new report argues the delays cost businesses more than $22 million a month and $1.3 million in lost state revenue, the Portland Business Journal reports.
2. Second women’s prison denied state funding
Oregon Corrections asked for $3.8 million to open a second women’s prison in Salem, with the intent to begin accepting inmates next year. But a legislative committee has recommended the Emergency Board turns down the funding request, the Oregonian reports. The Emergency Board, which meets to consider funding requests when the Legislature isn’t in session, meets tomorrow to vote on the matter.
3. Second standoff trial to proceed
Federal prosecutors decided to move forward with the second trial of defendants involved in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff, OPB reports. Prosecutors are adding misdemeanor charges against the seven defendants, in addition to the felony conspiracy charges already filed.
4. Oregonian armory investigation has additional impact
Nine Oregon armories closed to the public Dec. 9 after an Oregonian report found the National Guard failed to address lead contamination at armories nationwide, the Bend Bulletin reports. While the Bend Armory has since reopened after cleaning and lead testing, armories in Forest Grove, Coos Bay and Portland are still closed.
5. Trump will keep his businesses, could face lawsuits
The President-elect said his children will run his businesses, but will not sell off his empire. Ethics experts say this will destroy presidential precedents and open the door for investigations and lawsuits as a result, the Oregonian reports. With 500 companies in 25 countries, Trump needs to sell to a third party to avoid the perception that he’s shaping policy to benefit himself. Trump was scheduled to discuss his plan for resolving the conflict Thursday, but delayed that news conference until January after the Electoral College vote.
6. Pendleton back in the air service business
Boutique Air will begin flights between Pendleton and Portland as of Dec. 19, the East Oregonian reports. Pendleton’s former air service, SeaPort, cancelled the city’s only service in September after filing for bankruptcy.
7. More winter weather headed toward Portland
The region may have thawed from last week’s winter storm event, but more snow and ice is on the way, OPB reports. Wednesday and Thursday could see snow accumulation between 3 and 6 inches, as well as the coldest temperatures to date. The weather service warns cold temps will likely impact travel through the weekend.
8. Video Series: Mark Stilwell, captain of the Columbia Dredge
Click here to watch the second installment of “Oregon at Work,” an OB original video series.