Hoping our 2020 visions come true
At this time of year, we traditionally outline our editorial board's wishes for the coming year. Now, as the Portland area enters a whole new decade, we'd like to offer some visions for 2020 and beyond.
– First, we're hoping the new decade brings a return to bipartisanship in Oregon. The state Legislature has typically been a far less polarized than the U.S. Congress. But in 2020, that appeared to change. Several lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans alike — cite a new, heightened sense of partisan bickering, even tribalism, in Salem. Some are choosing to leave the Legislature.
This is just two years after 2017's biggest bill, a $5.3 billion statewide transportation package, passed with praise from Democrats and Republicans alike. The legislation, which benefitted urban, suburban and rural Oregonians, was based on an extensive listening tour by liberal, moderate and conservative lawmakers, taking in most of the state.
Then came 2020, with its $1 billion-per-year tax increase for public K-12 schools; two Republican walkouts in the Senate; a failed bid to protect more children from the measles and a cap-and-trade carbon emissions bill that stalled.
All of which led to a much more divided Legislature than Oregonians are used to.
As we head into a short session for 2020, beginning in February, let's hope for a return to Oregon's bipartisan traditions.
Other wishes for the new year:
– Everyone wants a practical solution to the area's homeless situation that includes kindness and respect for the homeless community and greater consideration of the effects on homeowners and businesses.
It's worth repeating what has become our mantra these past few years: This is not Portland's problem alone. Every city on the West Coast struggles to find the solution. Every suburban city feels it. Rural communities feel it.
It will take smart and heartfelt resolve by cities, counties, Oregon and the federal government — along with the business communities and faith communities — to turn this around.
– Similarly, a happier future for affordable housing is needed. Voters have approved money for more government-funding housing initiatives in the region and those projects will begin to bear fruit in 2020.
The Legislature has required all large cities to expand the definition of "residential neighborhoods," paving the way for more of the so-called "missing middle housing," such as duplexes and stand-alone "granny flats."
Every community must do its part to address the housing and affordable housing shortages. We would like to see real progress throughout the region in this coming year.
– For the Trail Blazers, we would hope their history of injuries to big men becomes a thing of the past, and that Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins, in particular, return to help guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in the quest for an NBA championship.
– We're hoping that the state of Oregon clarifies and strengthens the rules on governmental transparency. Public records should be made public and without an undue burden on the person or group seeking those records. This is not an issue facing journalists alone. It's an issue facing every citizen who wants to know how tax dollars are spent, how policy is enacted and how elected officials use the power we give them when we elect them.
– In the past, the business model of community newspapers like ours meant aggregating as many readers as possible and then selling advertising based on the size and quality of that audience.
But that business model is changing.
At the Pamplin Media Group, we're asking readers to help fill the void by subscribing to their hometown paper if they haven't before, or by expanding their subscriptions to include online access to all Pamplin websites.
No other media — TV, radio, the Internet or anything else — covers your town's Little League scores or your school board. No other media finds those profiles of your neighbors. But to do that, readers have to support the local newspaper.
Find out more at savinglocalnews.com.
– In Newberg it is our sincere hope that the myriad troubles within city government will come to an end and those folks can get on with the job of governing.
The rafts of litigation plaguing the city of Newberg is unfortunate and robs valuable time and resources that could otherwise be directed at adressing the city's challenges: creating jobs, fixing the streets, developing the waterfront, creating affordable housing, addressing the former WestRock mill site and encouraging tourists to come and spend their money locally.
Soon, the city will have a new city manager and that individual, frankly, will inherit a mess. He or she will be charged with addressing the infighting between city departments, backbiting between individuals and litigation that threatens to severely damage the city financially.
It is not a job we would wish on anybody. But it is our hope that whoever the city council chooses to take the reins of city government has a strong disposition and is not afraid, if necessary, to make some changes in order to restore some semblance of harmony to city government.
– Our final wish is that people of all political, religious and philosophical stripes will do their best in 2020 to just get along with and support their fellow man.
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