Mourning Noah DeWitt

Eugene loses young change-maker, vision-holder

Photo by Taylor Partee Johnston

Noah Michael DeWitt was a shining example of how to be. His sparkling brown eyes would absorb pain from yours when you were sad. He’d listen to you talk about what makes you happy with rapt attention. He always carried pen and paper around with him — in a fanny pack, in the red milk crate on his bicycle or behind his ear. He’d sway his head and shoulders side to side with swagger when he heard a slap-worthy song. Noah absorbed his experiences of this world and spread the happy vibes from them whole-heartedly.  Continue reading 

State Laws Would Support Local Distillers

Rep. Jennifer Williamson told the Oregon Legislature’s House Committee on Business and Labor that her two distillery bills are not encouraging anyone to drink more hard liquor, but to drink Oregon hard liquor.  Williamson, a Democrat, is chief sponsor of two bills moving forward in the Oregon Legislature that would improve ways distilleries are allowed to market and sell their products. She became aware of some of the industry’s concerns after she and her husband took a tasting tour of Bull Run Distillery, which is close to her Portland district.  Continue reading 

Lawmakers Wrestle With Body Camera Policies

In the wake of police shootings across the country, several bills regarding police body cameras were proposed in this year’s Oregon legislative session. Only one major bill is left, focusing on the issue of the body cams and public records.  Rep. Lew Frederick (D-Portland) started with a bill mandating that every law enforcement agency in the state equip its officers with body cameras. It quickly became clear that would be financially impossible for many counties and rural areas in Oregon.  Continue reading 

Laws Would Combat Animal Cruelty

State legislators in Salem are moving forward with bills to protect animals living in Oregon. Many of the new laws would give law enforcement officers additional means to make sure existing laws against animal cruelty are obeyed.  As the weather heats up, the issue of dogs being left in hot cars heats up too. The “dogs in cars bill,” as its sponsor Sen. Tim Knopp (R-Bend) calls it, is moving forward in the Legislature. SB 614 would allow law enforcement officers to break into a vehicle to save an animal. Continue reading 

Bills On Capping Carbon, Charging Stations Still Alive In Salem

The legislative session in Salem passed a major deadline on April 21: Any bill that didn’t pass out of its original assigned committee is effectively dead. Some bills combatting climate change and protecting the environment didn’t make it out of committee before the deadline.  A bill that would transition Oregon’s energy sources from coal to cleaner power died in committee, as well as bills to regulate aerial pesticide spraying and cultivation of GMOs. However, Rep. Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene) still has several bills with potential to pass in this session. Continue reading 

Law Would Clarify Rights In Strip Clubs

Several ideas for new laws to regulate strip clubs are making their way to Oregon’s Capitol in Salem for consideration. Several months ago a coalition of dancers, social workers and advocates began meeting to discuss what regulations they should push for. They ended up with proposals for two bills that would affect establishments providing “live entertainment” all across Oregon. Most of the impetus for the proposed legislation is out of Portland, a city that has had a debatable reputation for having the most strippers per capita in the U.S.  Continue reading 

Laws Would Make Equal Pay A Civil Right

Current laws in Oregon make it illegal to pay people of opposite sex different wages to do the same job. There are also federal protections. However, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) conducted a study between 2011 and 2014 and found that women in Oregon make an average 79 cents for every dollar a man makes.  Continue reading