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Plus, economists forcast another recession and a well-connected political figure gets a new state job.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: PARIS ACHEN - Oregon Gov. Kate Brown

Democratic politicians in Oregon, California and Washington are working together to create a political "blue wall" along the West Coast and pass progressive legislation, including a coordinated carbon tax.

That is not a right-wing conspiracy theory but the thrust of a front-page story in the Sunday, Nov. 5, issue of The New York Times. Written by reporters Alexander Burns and Kirk Johnson, it says that all three Democratic governors, including Gov. Kate Brown, "have spoken regularly about policy collaboration, and over the summer began coordinating talks on climate change with foreign heads of state."

The article also said that Portland and Seattle are examples of cities with strong environmental policies and booming economies.

Forecasting another recession

Just as the economy is finally shifting into high gear after the Great Recession, another recession could happen in the next few years, according to both economists who spoke at the 2018 Housing Forecast sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland last Friday.

Robert Dietz, the chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, said the current recovery has gone on longer than usual, supported by federally supported low interest rates. He predicted a recession could hit in the next four or five years, sooner if there are some so-called Black Swan events such as a major war.

Tim Duy, the senior director of the Oregon Economic Forum, agreed. He said a recession could occur in the next three or four years. Duy, who also is an economics professor at the University of Oregon, predicted there could even be some economic disruptions leading up to the next recession. Among other things, he predicted the Federal Reserve Board will allow interest rates to continue increasing because inflation is still so low.

But Dietz and Duy both said the economy is in good shape now.

Neely gets new job

Longtime state powerbroker Kevin Neely will now be a lobbyist for Portland State University.

About a year ago, the former lobbyist for the Oregon District Attorneys Association, among others, was part of a controversy as the owner of Election Solutions, also known as C&E Systems, a software company that manages campaign financing data. Neely is married to Kristen Leonard, who left as the governor's chief of staff after Willamette Week published a series of articles saying there were undisclosed conflicts of interest of a state government staffer owning a company with a state government contract. Leonard is now back doing government relations for the Port of Portland.

Neely, a 1996 graduate of PSU, will take the position as vice president of government relations on Dec. 4. An inquiry about whether Neely still owns Election Solutions was not returned by press time. He is still listed on its business registration form.

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