Climate March RallyPhoto by Bob Keefer


Climate march and the fate of the Elliott State Forest

• We heard lots of chatter at the Climate March and rally April 29 about next steps in the resistance. Clearly, we need to do what we can to defeat Trump loyalists in Congress, at the same time holding on to progressive majorities in Oregon. Congressman Greg Walden, the only Republican in Oregon’s delegation, needs a gutsy opponent in 2018, probably from Bend, Medford or Hood River. So far, no one has surfaced, although Walden has been the point man for Trump’s attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, not a popular position in Oregon.

• Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, gave a rousing speech on the University of Oregon campus April 26 — just in time for May Day and the international celebration of working people. She was brought here by the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics to close its exploration of the future of public education in this country. Her union has 1.6 million members and is growing, Weingarten said, noting that unionized workers earn 27 percent more than non-unionized workers. We left her speech eager to do all we can for public school teachers, students and parents in this fight against Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration.

• The Oregon State Land Board will again discuss the fate of the Elliott State Forest at its May 9 meeting in Salem. The Elliott, a public forest, is at risk of being sold into private hands. A last-ditch effort by Gov. Kate Brown to save it has slowly gained an endorsement from a fellow SLB member, Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read, but nothing is set yet. According to The Register-Guard, Brown’s plan faces a potential lawsuit from Oregon’s public school boards if it sells for less than market value. Profits from the Elliott go into Oregon’s Common School Fund. There will be a rally in Salem 9:30 am Tuesday, May 9, at the Department of State Lands Building, 775 Summer Street. Find “Rally for the Elliott & State Land Board Meeting” on Facebook for rally and carpool information.

Important news for Oregon progressives: Chuck Sheketoff is stepping down later this year as director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy, and OCPP is searching for a replacement. Founded 20 years ago, the Portland-based think tank has worked effectively with the theme “because facts matter.” Such a revolutionary idea! It will not be easy to replace Sheketoff’s wit, passion, energy and smarts for progressive causes in this state. He leaves a staff of two policy analysts, a communications director, a development coordinator, office manager and a board of directors to carry on OCPP’s mission.

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