Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Hello, shipmates! Welcome to the midweek lowdown from exurban-Portland’s Daily Drip for Wednesday, April 3, 2019. Local weather is showery and windy, with a 5500-foot snow level, and highs of 60 in the valley, 55 at the coast, and 45 up yonder mountain at Government Camp. Sunrise 6:47 AM, sunset 7:41 PM.

Both sides of the great gun divide showed up at the Oregon Capitol for a hearing on the omnibus Senate bill that carries a package of measures; a crowd spilled over into three hearing rooms. Leadoff witness was Governor Kate Brown, who highlighted the storage requirements under the bill: “Just as it’s important to wear a seatbelt or a helmet, it’s critical that people keep their guns safely stored when not in use, particularly when children are in the home.” On the other side, CEO Joshua Underwood of gunmaker Radian Weapons said more regulations won’t keep guns out of the wrong hands, and that “the public would be greatly impaired in their ability to protect themselves and their unarmed citizens around them.” And 2nd Amendment activist Kevin Starrett accused the bill’s sponsors of “hatred toward those wanting to exercise their constitutional rights.” The Senate Judiciary Committee votes next week. A separate bill in the House would require anyone convicted of domestic abuse or named in a protective order to hand over their guns.

Another sizzling potato is landing on Governor Kate Brown’s desk, as both houses of the Oregon legislature have now passed a bill that takes a 100-million-dollar chomp out of the “kicker” tax rebate that otherwise would go back to taxpayers’ pockets. There’d still be over half a billion dollars of unpredicted revenue that’ll be split between the people on their 2020 tax returns if the latest revenue predictions hold true. The kicker is a unique Oregon law, and the thought of paring it back to spend on other state needs–schools, for example–has launched a fusillade of bitter comments on news sites like OregonLive. “Socialist hogs,” said one, about the legislature. And it gets more toxic from there. It’s up to the governor whether to sign the bill.

Gov Brown says the time has come to step on the gas to replace the ancient Interstate Bridge, which she calls “a seismic risk, a freight bottleneck, a barrier to effective public transportation and a source of some of the worst gridlock in the nation.” She’s ordered the state Transportation Commission to open a joint office with Washington, where the legislature is set to OK what Vancouver lawmakers call a “down payment” on restarting the project that Washington itself killed five years ago because of irreconcilable differences over light rail.

Fire investigators say the blaze in Wilsonville’s Villabois development does not appear to have been criminal in nature, but they have not arrived at a cause.

***

A protest demanding the release of the Mueller report is scheduled from 5-7 PM tomorrow at the north end of Tom McCall Waterfront Park, as part of a National Day of Action. A House committee today will vote to issue a subpoena for the so-far-secret document.

There’s been a security breach at Mar-a-Lago, where a woman from China was arrested for sneaking in while the president was in Florida last weekend. She said she was there to go swimming, but didn’t have a swimsuit. What she did have were two passports, four cellphones, one laptop, an external hard drive and a thumb drive that contained “malicious malware.”

A total of four women are saying that Joe Biden touched them in a nonsexual but inappropriately lingering way during encounters over the years. Nancy Pelosi is saying that women should “pretend they have a cold” when they meet Biden. And Donald Trump seemed to reference his own history of (quite different) charges from women, when he said, “Welcome to the world, Joe.”

***

The Blazers are back from their road trip tonight, playing the Memphis Grizzlies at 7 at the Moda Center.

***

Let’s ditch the newsy grind and see what’s dripping into the Coffee Cup of hope, light, and people doing good things!

—“Two days after her dog was presumed to have perished in fire, owner revisits site and hears barking coming from the rubble.”

—“Fighting Sex Trafficking at the Truck Stop. It’s not ‘the world’s oldest profession..It’s the world’s oldest oppression.'”

—“13-year-old boy trades in Xbox, does yard work to buy his single mother a car”

—“Teacher’s skirt covered in kids’ doodles is the hit of the art show”

—“Amazing Rescue: Rangers free 6 trapped baby elephants in Thailand”

*****

With that, we head together into a Wednesday. Tonight my pal Bruce Murdock and I will be MCing the Royal Rosarians’ “Newsmaker of the Year” banquet, hearing interesting and inspiring stories from the city’s major media outlets, and staying out late to do it. So tomorrow morning’s DD may be a bit unpredictable. But who knows?

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