Legislative Session Starts; Coal Trains; Boys and Girls Club; Lane Levy

Coast Radio News
Local News

1 February 2013

Lawmakers Head Back to Salem.

The 77th Oregon Legislative session convenes at 11 o’clock Monday morning in Salem.  Shortly before that Democrats, who hold the Governor’s office and majorities in both chambers, will release their legislative agenda.  Incoming 5th District Senator Arnie Roblan provided a sneak preview.

Arnie Roblan – “From the perspective of the governor it’s to finish up the work that he started on the school transformation and the work that was done on the health transformation.  And then his new issues are public safety and criminal justice system.”

Roblan says the trend toward tighter revenues and mounting costs will have an impact on budget talks in the House.

Arnie Roblan – “A lot of these things have built in cost increases.  One of the big issues that the governor brought up was whether or not we’re going to do anything with regard… and can we do anything with regard to PERS.

After spending four terms in the Oregon House, Roblan was elected to the Senate last fall.


Lane Levy

It still has to go through a hearing next week, but it’s more than likely that Lane County Voters will decide on a $13.9-million a year tax levy in May.  The money would fund expanded jail operations and provide for a limited number of spaces for “youth treatment services” over the next five years.

Lane County Commissioners unanimously approved the concept of the levy earlier this week.  The plan would increase taxes on real property in Lane County by 55-cents per thousand-dollars of assessed valuation.  The median value of homes in the county is $151-thousand.  The tax bill on that value would increase by $83 per year over the five year period.

The money would not provide for any additional sheriff’s patrols; nor more prosecution.  It would also not be used to replace any general fund money.  All factors that the results of a community survey showed increased the probability of approval by voters.


Boys and Girls Club

Today is the last day on the job for Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Ken Gaylord.  After 2 ½ years in that position, Gaylord says it’s time to retire and make room for fresh new ideas.  The organization has promoted from within:  Jonathan Hicks will lead the club that serves more than 600 area kids.

Gaylord will take some time off immediately, but will stay with the organization on a part time basis as the Resource Development Officer.  In that role he will work on attaining financial sustainability … a goal he says is “essential” to the club.

Both men will be guests on next week’s KCST Our Town to talk about the transition.


Coal Foes Win Court Fight

The Oregon chapter of the Sierra Club has won the latest round in its effort to get public records from the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay about plans to export coal.  Those plans would include coal trains running through Western Lane and Douglas counties.

A Circuit Court judge ruled this week that the port violated public records laws when it demanded $19-thousand to produce records that had been requested by the club in 2011.  The records were part of the Sierra Club’s long-running battle over coal exports to Asia.

The port had agreed to provide the 25-hundred pages of documents, but wanted to be paid for the cost of a lawyer blacking out confidential material.