Morning Roundup

Photo credit: Portland Business Journal

Volkswagen plans EV infrastructure in Portland, Bend approves Uber and Gov. Brown freezes hiring statewide.

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Portland to receive more EV infrastructure

As part of its diesel-scandal settlement, Volkswagen formed Electrify America. The subsidiary will invest $300 million in electric vehicle infrastructure in 11 metropolitan areas. Portland and Seattle are on the list, the Portland Business Journal reports. Electrify America has not yet identified how many new chargers and charging stations will be installed in each city. Oregon already sports one of the nation’s best EV infrastructures, as we reported in our April issue.

Bend approves licensing program for Uber

In the 24 hours since the Bend City Council approved framework to allow rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in city limits, more than 700 residents have signed up to drive, the Bend Bulletin reports. The city will begin accepting driver license applications May 1. Bend isn’t the only city to consider changing city rules to allow Uber, Salem is also going through a similar process. After years of back and forth, Salem is holding a public hearing to likely approve an ordinance April 24.

Gov. Brown announces statewide hiring freeze

The freeze is the first in a series of planned executive orders over the next few weeks aimed at easing the budget deficit.

Oregon officials hid 8,000 elder abuse cases from safety records

The Department of Human Services site is designed to help consumers pick elder care facilities by maintaining safety records. But an investigation by the Oregonian found thousands of those records were whitewashed from the site. More than 60% of substantiated  complaints in the last decade aren’t available on the DHS site.

Oregon drops some defenses in Linn County timber suit

A class action lawsuit seeks $1.4 billion for insufficient timber harvests. The state conceded the suit isn’t blocked by the statue of limitations and will no longer argue county governments and local taxing districts can’t sue Oregon for breach contract, Capital Press reports. Oral arguments in the case began yesterday.

Leif’s suit against BBB dismissed by judge

The vehicle-repair company filed a $5 million lawsuit against the Better Business Bureau claiming defamation after Leif’s received an “F” grade. A Multnomah County Judge ruled Leif’s didn’t prove it had legitimate grounds for the suit and is requiring Leif’s to pay the BBB’s legal fees, the Oregonian reports.

Opinion: Oregon celebrates Earth Day with freeway expansions

In a column for City Observatory, economist Joe Cortright (and occasional OB columnist) says Earth Day should make us think twice about the Legislature’s plan to spend $1 billion widening Portland freeways.