Wyden Town Hall; Friday Fire; Infrastructure Bill U.S. Senate

Meeting gets a little bristly

Senator Ron Wyden visited Florence Yesterday for his 832nd town hall meeting since he was elected to serve.  It was a generally quiet interaction until the subject of the electoral college came up.  Wyden was asked about Daylight Savings Time and the question got a chuckle from the crowd until he likened it to the 12th amendment of the consitiution:

“A lot of these practices have to be reviewed.  In the context of kind of modern reality.  And I said yesterday for the first time I am going to support eliminating the Electoral College.”

Initial cheers were heard from the crowd then boos at which time an audience member began shouting from his seat

“Why would any of you…why would any state stay in this union if there wasn’t an electoral college?  You explain that to these people.”

Wyden interjected a little humor to ease the tension before addressing his concern.

“I can cast a vote at 11 o’clock in the morning and I will get a call at 12 o’clock in the morning from Nancy P. Wyden and she’ll say you blew that one buster.  So people can disagree and these are important issues and the gentleman expressing a view that many share and I respect that.”

Wyden went on to say that with modern technology, people have access to  information in a way that did not exist when the founding fathers drafted the amendment.  He said now if the votes of ALL Oregonians are going to count…it is time to move to a popular vote.

Controlled Burn Lets loose

Fire Crews battled an out of control ‘controlled burn’ on the south side of the Siuslaw Bridge. Off of Grand Ave. and Spruce St. on Friday Afternoon.  Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue, Oregon Department of Forestry, Reedsport Volunteer Fire Department and the Gardiner Fire Department Responded around noon when A Controlled Burn broke loose and ignited nearby trees and brush.  Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue Chief, Jim Langborg

“There were some approved Slash Burns .  The gentleman started burning the pile but some embers were floating and got into some other piles.”

Langborg says the fire consumed about 20 acres and they were able to turn it over completely to ODF around 7 pm.  And in his words:

“Completely accidental.  Again the fire had been approved.  The guy called before…he did everything he was supposed to do.”

Chief Langborg said in all about 42 firefighters from the 4 agencies involved responded to the blaze.

Wyden Seeks Infrastructure Monies

After the town hall Coast Radio News had a chance to talk with Senator Wyden about his transportation bill that he is introducing in the senate and how his bill will coincide with Oregon’s state transportation bill that is being worked on in the state house.

“Mine picks up on build America Bonds. Which between 2009 and 2010 much of the infrastructure work was using those build America Bonds.  There’s a lot of money sitting on the private sidelines.”

Wyden believes that this money, if accessed, would be a great benefit to Oregon’s aging infrastructure and if passed could ease the burden on Oregon tax payers.