Morning Roundup

Lone Rock sues Oregon over Elliott Forest sale, new audit finds Medicaid system operating as it should and CBO score spotlights flaws in GOP healthcare bill.

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Elliott Forest battle isn’t over yet

The Lone Rock Timber Management Company is suing Oregon over the failed Elliott Forest sale, Coos Bay World reports. Lone Rock bid $220.8 million to purchase 82,500 acres of the state forest, but that agreement was withdrawn when Gov. Kate Brown argued the forest should be kept in public hands. The Oregon Land Use Board decided to do just that earlier this month. Lone Rock is suing for $3.3 million for out-of-pocket losses and lost business opportunity.

Secretary of State Richardson releases new Medicaid audit 

Just a week after releasing an audit alleging the Oregon Health Authority is spending millions on benefits for ineligible recipients, Richardson says the system is managing eligibility appropriately, the Portland Business Journal reports. Richardson alleged the OHA was spending $37 million a year on benefits for ineligible recipients. The new audit found the Oregon Eligibility System was accurate 99.7% of the time.

Oregon leaders say CBO score confirms GOP healthcare bill is flawed

The Congressional Budget Office scored the revised American Health Care Act and found the bill would still increase the number of uninsured by 23 million in the next 10 years. Sen. Ron Wyden was quick to react saying the bill doesn’t help those who need affordable health care, the Portland Business Journal reports. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici called the bill dangerous and harmful. Sen. Jeff Merkley says the report shows “TrumpCare 2.0 is even worse than TrumpCare 1.0.” Oregon’s lone Republican Congressman Rep. Greg Walden continues to support the bill saying the CBO report found premiums will go down under the bill.

Oregon steps closer to joining popular vote movement

The House approved an agreement to elect the President via popular vote, the Statesman Journal reports. The agreement now moves to the Senate, where it has been blocked three times since 2009 by Senate President Peter Courtney. Courtney says he won’t block the agreement this time as long as the final decision is put to voters. The agreement adds Oregon to the National Popular Vote compact, which seeks to circumvent the Electoral College. So far the compact has 165 votes; Oregon would add seven. The compact needs 270 to be successful.

TriMet’s $1.2 billion budget will build new police precinct

The transit agency approved its budget Wednesday, which included $9.9 million for a police building, the Oregonian reports. TriMet currently leases a building in Old Town that needs repairs and offers limited space. TriMet wants to increase its officer count by 10% in the next decade. Opposing parties include Opal Environmental Justice, which argues expanding the police presence makes the system less safe.

OB Original Blog: Carbon pricing in doubt as business support fractures

In March this year, the business community gave a rare show of unity on environmental policy when a group of diverse business leaders, led by the Nature Conservancy and Merritt Paulson, CEO of the Portland Timbers and Thorns, released recommendations for decarbonizing Oregon’s economy. But the business community is more divided on carbon pricing than ever before, writes Research Editor Kim Moore.

Eugene commits funding for homeless shelter

The city’s budget includes $1 million for a homeless shelter, the Register Guard reports. The funding comes from a settlement with Comcast over disputed fees.

Oregon wineries join marijuana sector

Vineyards are beginning to embrace wine-and-weed tourism, the Statesman Journal reports. Some vineyards are adding marijuana plants to their land while some are opting to replace grapes with pot. Cowherd Vineyard, for example, will now brand its weed the same way it brands wine.