Morning Roundup

Photo credit | Willamette Week

Department of Energy to return utility taxes, TriMet debuts electric bus and Airbnb asks Portland to abandon city regulations.

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Another Department of Energy controversy. A Marion County judge ruled the ODE improperly collected its “energy supplier assessment” from nine utilities and must give the money back. The agency is also under fire for doling out suspect energy tax credits. Willamette Week has the story.

TriMet unveils electric bus. The first five electric buses will operate in Beaverton on the 62-Murray Blvd line. The buses are the result of a $3.4 million federal grant awarded in 2016. Read more from the Portland Business Journal.

Airbnb asks Portland to abandon regulations. The short-term rental company wants Portland to get rid of mandatory rental inspections and let Airbnb handle host registration. Airbnb would send host information to the city instead. The Portland Tribune has the story.

Eclipse triggering Y2K fears. Eclipse crowds could overload internet servers and shut down credit card systems in restaurants, grocery stores and local shops. If you’re leaving home to view the eclipse, it might be best to pack a lunch. The Statesman Journal has more.

In other eclipse news, Alaska Airlines is hosting an elite, in-flight viewing party for selected scientists, astronomers and an astronaut. The flight departs from PDX at 7:45 a.m. and returns a few hours later at 12:30 p.m. No word on the cost.

Uber has more problems too. Uber investor and board member Benchmark Capital is suing former CEO Travis Kalanick over the Greyball scandal. As Axios reports, Benchmark alleges fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. The suit could be the final push that removes Kalanick from Uber once and for all.

Oregon smoking age officially 21. Gov. Kate Brown signed the bill making Oregon the fifth state to raise its smoking age Wednesday. The change will take effect Jan. 1. The Oregonian has more.

OB Originals:

Wildfire season slow to heat up. Compared to last year, this season has been a breeze. But fire danger is getting worse, fast.

Media manipulation and the OHA scandal. The Oregon Health Authority scandal is a cautionary tale for journalists and communications professionals alike.