Morning Roundup

Photo Credit: Oregonian

Portland bans fossil fuel storage, city spends $47 million on affordable housing and Bend named best performing U.S. city.

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1. Portland passes another first in nation bill — by banning new bulk fossil fuel storage

Just one week after approving a tax on high CEO wages, the Portland City Council unanimously approved its fossil fuel storage ban, the Oregonian reports. The ban prevents new storage facilities larger than two million gallons, and restricts existing terminals from expansion. 

2. Portland council also approved a $47 million housing purchase

Portland is purchasing a 263-unit apartment complex in Northeast, The Ellington at Northeast 66th and Halsey, for $47 million and allocated up to $10 million for repairs, the Oregonian reports. The bulk of funding for the affordable housing purchase comes from the $258.4 million housing bond approved by voters in November. Two-thirds of the building will be allocated to families making no more than 60 percent of the median income, with one-third reserved for families making less than 30 percent of the region’s median income. At the moment, only 44 units of the building have income restrictions.

3. Fed raises interest rate for second time since 2008

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen announced the increase yesterday citing the country’s strengthening economy, the New York Times reports. The benchmark rate increased from 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent. Yellen declined to speculate on the President-elect’s policy proposals and their impacts on the economy during the announcement, instead saying the Fed is operating under a cloud of uncertainty.

4. Bend named best-performing small city in U.S.

The Milken Institute released its annual rankings this week, placing Bend at the top of the list thanks to strong job and wage growth over the last year, the Bend Bulletin reports. The list evaluated 201 small metro cities. Bend ranked 8th last year, and 46th two years ago.

5. Will Medford ever be cool?

One reader offers their take on my look at Medford’s elusive “coolness.”

Leaders with vision and committed investors are what Medford needs. Although I live out of state I see Medford as a blank canvas waiting for an infusion of arts and culture to grow it’s own unique brand of Oregon “cool.” I am bullish on Medford. My recommendation is to focus more on downtown, invest in featuring Middleford Alley and progress the Commons concept. I can see Medford’s future cool within reach. — David

What do you think? How should Medford grow its brand? Comment below with your thoughts.

6. Snowfall brings Portland area to a standstill

The region was hit with anywhere between 1 and 3 inches of snow yesterday, compounded with freezing temperatures and nightmare commutes. Just like Snowpocalypse in 2014, many drivers abandoned their vehicles on the highways and surface streets when faced with the icy conditions and lengthy commutes, OPB reports. The Oregon Department of Transportation is now working to remove abandoned vehicles so trucks can begin clearing ice from the roadways. 

Curious why a smattering of flakes shuts down an entire city? The Oregonian provides an explanation.

7. PCC brings back Newberg High welding program 

The welding partnership gave Newberg students a jump start on the Portland Community College program, but was cancelled in 2012 due to a lack of enrollment. PCC announced the program will return in January thanks to a new principal and a backlog of welding students awaiting classes at the high school. The program offers dual credit for students.