Morning Roundup

Photo credit: Oregonian

Prineville faces power shortages, Oregon healthcare ranked most expensive, and Clatsop College attempts (but fails) to leave timber lawsuit.

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The impacts of this year’s snowpocalypse continue to be felt across the region. Now that the Portland metro area has thawed out, local schools are considering how to make up for the extended break snow break. That could mean Saturday classes and a shortened spring break for Portland Public Schools. Prepare the groan heard ’round the city. 

1. Meanwhile, a post-secondary institution in Linn County is having its own struggles. Clatsop Community College tries, then fails, to leave Linn County timber lawsuit

The college’s board voted this week to leave the $1.4 billion lawsuit. This same decision was also recently made by Clatsop County, with concerns that taxes would be increased for county residents if the state loses. CCC’s vote, however, was deemed a tie after one board member’s email vote was invalidated, the Daily Astorian reports. The deadline to withdraw from the lawsuit was Wednesday. 

2. Prineville is running out of electricity

The Eastern Oregon city is home to data centers for both Facebook and Apple, but power resources are running low, the Oregonian reports. So low in fact, that a proposed factory for the city cannot be supported on the current power grid. The factory deemed “Project Falcon” could provide more than 300 additional jobs in the region if enough electricity is found.

3. Oregon healthcare market highest priced in comparative survey

A study by the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement found Oregon’s health care prices were 17% above average, the Portland Business Journal reports. The study surveyed five regions: Oregon, Utah, Maryland, St. Louis and Minnesota. Costs in Oregon were the highest for inpatient, outpatient and services provides in office. 

4. Portland Mayor doubles down on sanctuary status amid threats to funding cuts

Mayor Ted Wheeler said he’s willing to “go all the way” to defend the city’s status as a safe haven for immigrants, OPB reports. He also questioned the legality of the order, which directly conflicts with a state law from 1987. The law prevents police from using local resources to arrest residents if their only legal violation is their residency status. Failure to comply with the executive order puts Portland and other sanctuary cities at financial risk. The President deemed sanctuary cities ineligible for federal grants until they comply.

5. In other presidential news, a federal hiring freeze leaves seasonal jobs in question

Oregon jobs including seasonal firefighters and park rangers are at a standstill until further word comes from the White House, the Statesman Journal reports. The Forest Service and National Park Service had recently announced plans to hire more than 1,200 for work in the region.

6. Scotts and USDA play defense on bentgrass deregulation

Facing major pushback from environmentalists, Scotts-Miracle Grow Co. is justifying a Jan. 17 decision by the USDA to deregulate a genetically modified creeping bentgrass that escaped test fields in 2003, the Capital Press reports. The engineered grass, developed by Scotts and the Monsanto Corp., has thus far found root in two Oregon counties and portions of a county in Idaho.  Scotts and the USDA assure protections as part of a deregulation agreement, but environmental groups vow legal action.  

7. Jeld-Wen seeks $452 million from IPO

Oregon’s former door and window maker could raise initial public offering funds as early as Friday, the Oregonian reports. Valuations put Jeld-Wen at $2.4 billion — half of the company’s estimated worth last year. The company was sold and moved to North Carolina in 2015. Revenues have only modestly increased since. 

8. OB Original Blog: Mt. Hood transit system expands

The public-private transit partnership improves access and mobility and reduces traffic on the increasingly congested Highway 26 corridor.