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Inside Portland

Inside Portland (Jun 24th, 2019)

We should get another partly cloudy day tomorrow before the rain rolls back in on Wednesday. We may even get some thunderstorms on Thursday.

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1. Oregon's political system remains at a standstill, as Republican state senators continue their second walkout of this legislative session. Republican Sen. Tim Knopp, of Bend, called into NPR this morning from his hiding place in Idaho. He admits that Democrats have included Republican amendments into the climate protection bill, but not enough to qualify as "bipartisan" in his mind. Republicans say they won't come back to Oregon until the climate protection bill is put before voters, but Democrats say the language in the complex carbon tax bill couldn't accurately be summarized in the space on voter's pamphlets—leading voters to make uninformed decisions. Over the weekend, a rally in Salem voiced support for Republicans.  – NPR

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2. Some of the loudest supporters of the GOP walkout have been armed, anti-government militia groups including Oregon's branch of the Three Percenters militia. After Sen. Brian Boquist threatened state police ("send bachelors and come heavily armed"), militia members offered to help protect Republicans from being forced to return to work. State police also learned of a violent militia threat at the Capitol, prompting lawmakers to call off their special session, though those threats never materialized. The GOP tweeted out pictures of the weekend's peaceful protest, mocking Democrats for fearing militia action, which drew condemnation from national figures including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Idaho's branch of the Three Percenters also say they have been assisting GOP members, but the GOP denies any collaboration with militia groups. – THE OREGONIAN/OREGONLIVE

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3. By the Numbers: "Clean Energy Jobs Bill"

100 – HB 2020, the bill at the heart of this controversy, is 100 pages long.

116 – That's how many amendments the bill has included since being introduced this legislative session.

6 – That's how many hours of debate the bill saw in the House before passing.

45% – One of the bill's goals is to reduce carbon emissions to 45 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2035.

80% – By 2050, the bill aims to reduce carbon emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels.

$0.22 – Most of the bill affects businesses, but all Oregonians would feel the carbon tax at the gas pump, including an extra 22-cent tax per gallon in 2021.

$3 – By 2050, that tax would increase to $3 per gallon. – WILLAMETTE WEEK

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4. Another bill awaiting a vote in Oregon's Senate could radically change the housing market in Portland and throughout the state. HB 2001 would essentially ban single-family zoning by July 2022. The goal is to create more affordable housing options for Oregon's middle class, many of whom can't keep up with rapidly rising home prices. Right now, multi-family units like duplexes are banned in neighborhoods designated as a "single-family zone." The bill would ban those zones, except in cities with fewer than 10,000 residents. If a town has more than 10,000 residents, but fewer than 25,000, then the town must allow duplexes. Bigger cities must allow even bigger units, including triplexes, quads and more. It passed in the House last week. – PORTLAND TRIBUNE

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5. We now know what will replace the food carts next to the downtown Target on 10th and Alder—and it's swanky. The food cart pod (currently Portland's largest, by the way) will be replaced by the Northwest's first Ritz-Carlton hotel. The 35-floor, $600 million tower will feature 251 hotel rooms and 138 residential units including ultra luxurious penthouse suites. There will also be a restaurant, swimming pool, a spa, and spaces for retail and office use. Food carts have until the end of the month to leave the block, but Commissioner Chloe Eudaley hopes to find them a new home near the North Park Blocks. – PORTLAND BUSINESS JOURNAL

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6. For more than 20 years, Portland has been represented in D.C. by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, but that could change in 2020. He's facing two primary challenges. Charles Rand Barnett wants to take more aggressive action on the climate, and Albert Lee has aligned himself with Democratic Socialists locally and on the national level. – WILLAMETTE WEEK

7. In Cannon Beach, an elementary school is ensuring that all students are prepared for tsunamis. Cannon Beach Academy gives students and staff a backpack filled with a disaster survival kit. – NW NEWS NETWORK

8. Should it be free to ride TriMet? Advocates say it would address inequities in transportation while tackling climate change, but TriMet says it would be forced to cut back the quality and scope of services if it lost fare revenue. – PORTLAND MERCURY

9. Have you noticed the new e-scooters with seats? It's a part of PBOT's attempt to address accessibility issues that were highlighted during focus groups. – KATU

10. Pride month isn't over yet, but if you're getting burned out by the celebrations, take a more historical approach with "Staying Out." The show runs all week, celebrating the pioneers of pride. – PORTLAND MERCURY

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Schuyler Durham writes Inside Portland and Inside Finance. He’s a lifelong Portlander who got his start covering the local music scene, but later became enamored with the complexities of financial and political reporting. After three years in broadcast news, he's now diving back into the digital realm. You can keep up with his writing on Twitter at @SchuylerWriter or watch him goof around on Instagram at @bitterbuddha.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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