News Roundup

The  James Comey testimony had the country riveted yesterday.  But Oregon politicians are engaged in a nail biting drama of their own.

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With only four weeks remaining in the 2107 session, Oregon legislators are headed for a cliffhanger finale. Will law makers pass a multibillion dollar transportation package?  Will SEIU hold the transportation package hostage in lieu of a major corporate tax overhaul?  Will Republicans hold education spending increases hostage to spending cuts? Stay tuned.

Speaking of sagas,  Zoom Management’s woes are multiplying. The Oregonian’s Jeff Manning reports that federal investigators descended on the health care startup yesterday in connection with the company’s failed insurance arm.  Zoom is under scrutiny for falsifying financial reports to the Oregon Division Consumer and Business Services. The company said it was handing over $3 million to the insurance arm — but didn’t. 

A tragedy is unfolding at Oregon State University with the discovery that Luke Heimlich, a standout pitcher for Oregon State’s top-ranked baseball team, pleaded guilty to a single count of molesting a 6-year-old girl when he was a teenager. An Oregonian reporter discovered the felony charge as he was putting together a profile of Hemlich.

Oregon Farmers bet on Trump as Cash Cow.  OB reporter Hannah Wallace talks to Oregon ranchers and farmers about government regulations, why the 45th president might be good for agriculture and why they are worried about proposed USDA budget cuts.

Oregon continues to make name for itself as a state for data and fulfillment centers operated by tech giants. The latest entrant is an Amazon fulfillment center in Troutdale. The $178.4 million facility, to open next summer, comes with an offer of tuition assistance and higher than minimum wage pay scale for the 1,500 workers the company has promised to hire. In exchange for the worker benefits, the Troutdale City Council unanimously approved a five-year tax break for Amazon beginning in 2019 worth about $9.6 million.