Morning Roundup

Photo credit: Oregonian

DEQ dilutes clean air plan, economic development in Eastern Oregon gets a boost and health insurance rates to increase.

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The good news: It’s Friday. The bad news: The Morrison Bridge closes for the next two weeks as of 8 p.m. tonight. Prepare for gridlock.

More bad news for Gov. Kate Brown. The Department of Environmental Quality has watered down new rules for regulating air quality. The rules are a direct reaction to the Bullseye Glass pollution scandal in 2016. The new plan creates a loophole for the state’s largest polluters. The Oregon Business and Industry group helped lead the industry effort to dilute the regulations. The Oregonian has the story.

OB Original Blog: Banking on brownfields. Portland considers a tax incentive program to ready polluted properties for development.

Economic development gets a boost in Eastern Oregon. The Legislature approved $5 million to create a special economic development region to help businesses compete with businesses in Idaho. The funding also creates a pool for loans, grants and projects to encourage regional development. Capital Press has more.

Greenlighting pesticide-filled dirt. The DEQ has approved the reuse of 250,000 tons of contaminated dirt once it is relocated to a nearby Salem farm. A legal loophole is responsible for the decision. Read the story from the Statesman Journal.

Health insurance rates increase. Regulators approved final 2018 rates this week, ranging from a 1.6% decrease for BridgeSpan Health to a whopping 14.8% increase for Kaiser. The increases are lower, however, than those approved last year. The Portland Business Journal has the story.

Tolls on road to reality. The Legislature’s much- lauded transportation package outlines a plan for tolls on Interstates 5 and 205. The Oregon Transportation Commission has until the end of 2018 to submit its tolling proposal to the Federal Highway Administration for approval. The Portland Tribune has more.

From the OB archives: “It’s a man’s, man’s, man’s world.” In yesterday’s roundup, we reported on the latest tech and diversity study. Here’s a related story we published a couple of years ago, in which we asked male tech workers to weigh in on the industry’s gender troubles. 

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