Make the McKenzie Connection!

Articles written by Julia Shumway


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  • Two lose primaries without help from GOP

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|May 30, 2024

    Two incumbent House Republicans lost their jobs in election night blowouts last Tuesday as their caucus and most colleagues stood on the sidelines. Different factors led to Reps. Charlie Conrad, R-Dexter, and James Hieb, R-Canby, losing their seats: Conrad angered Oregon Right to Life by siding with Democrats on a 2023 law to widen access to abortion and gender-affirming care, while Hieb couldn’t compete with 2022 governor nominee Christine Drazan when she decided to return to the L...

  • 12th District House race could hinge on abortion rights

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|May 2, 2024

    A primary in rural Lane County will determine whether the Oregon House Republican caucus will include candidates who differ from the party line on abortion. First-term Rep. Charlie Conrad, R-Dexter, faces a challenge from Republican business owner Darin Harbick in the 12th House District, which stretches south and east from Eugene to scoop up small rural communities including the McKenzie Valley, Creswell, Cottage Grove and Lowell. Conrad has earned praise from colleagues and some constituents,...

  • More than 120 candidates, but only a handful of races are competitive

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Apr 4, 2024

    More than 120 candidates are vying for 60 seats in the state House this year, including the most recent Republican nominee for governor and a handful of candidates trying to flip control of key swing seats. Democrats now hold 35 seats in the House, with 25 districts represented by Republicans. The overall balance of power in the state House isn’t likely to shift following November’s elections, but Democratic wins could give the caucus the three-fifths majority needed to pass tax increases wit...

  • First Amendment doesn't protect senators who walked out

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Mar 7, 2024

    The First Amendment doesn’t protect state senators who walked out in protest for six weeks from losing their chance to run for reelection, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. The Leap Day decision is a final nail in the coffin for a handful of Republican senators who have been trying to evade a voter-approved constitutional amendment meant to discourage quorum-denying walkouts by punishing lawmakers who miss 10 or more days of work. Ten Republican senators, six of whom would have been up f...

  • Less gas taxes = less Oregon roadwork

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Dec 7, 2023

    Oregon’s top elected officials pledged to spend millions of dollars on winter road maintenance after dire warnings from the state Department of Transportation that highways would go unplowed because of a budget shortfall. Gov. Tina Kotek, Senate President Rob Wagner, and House Speaker Dan Rayfield announced Monday that the state would commit $19 million to make up the shortfall and allow the department to buy snow plows, purchase sand and salt for deicing roads and fix potholes and damaged p...

  • Senators suing Oregon Senate president, secretary of state

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Nov 9, 2023

    Three Oregon Republican senators sued Democratic Senate President Rob Wagner and Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade in federal court on Monday, marking the latest in a series of attempts by Republicans who shut down the Legislature for six weeks to subvert a voter-approved law and run for reelection. The federal lawsuit filed by Sens. Brian Boquist, Cedric Hayden, and Dennis Linthicum, along with three county Republican central committees and two voters, joins a state lawsuit filed by...

  • Oregon unions, progressive groups weigh in on Senate walkout lawsuit

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Nov 9, 2023

    Unions and progressive advocacy groups that advocated for a new voter-approved law to punish lawmakers for walkouts are weighing in on a lawsuit by a group of Republican senators that challenges how the secretary of state interpreted the law. Supporters of the new law filed two amicus, or friend of the court, briefs urging the Oregon Supreme Court to uphold Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade’s ruling that a handful of Republican senators who missed more than 10 days of work are ineligible...

  • Oregon receives $157 million to expand broadband access

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Oct 5, 2023

    Oregon will receive $157 million from the federal government to help connect about 17,000 homes and businesses to the internet, the White House announced Wednesday. The money, which comes from the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package passed by Congress in 2021, follows an earlier allocation of $688 million for broadband in Oregon through the $1.2 trillion infrastructure law, also passed in 2021. “Between those two programs, I would expect that we’re going to get all Oregonians that are cur...

  • Federal judge tosses Oregon lawsuit over mail voting, tabulation machines

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Jul 13, 2023

    A federal judge has tossed a lawsuit intended to end mail voting and electronic voting tabulation in Oregon, saying “generalized grievances” about the state’s elections aren’t enough to give a group of unsuccessful Republican candidates and other election deniers standing to sue. U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman dismissed the suit late last month. Plaintiffs, led by former school superintendent and 2022 Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Thielman, are appealing her ruling. “Plaint...

  • Oregon Legislature returns Saturday for last push toward sine die

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Jun 22, 2023

    The Oregon House and Senate will return Saturday and possibly Sunday for the last gasps of a 160-day marathon that reached its quickest pace this week. Sunday at 11:59 p.m. is the constitutional deadline for the Legislature to adjourn sine die and end its work for the year, though lawmakers could opt to extend that deadline by five days with a two-thirds vote. Legislators, however, are eager to head home. But before they can call it a year, lawmakers plan to act on dozens more bills, including h...

  • Oregon Senate Republican walkout ends with compromises

    Ben Botkin and Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Jun 22, 2023

    Oregon Senate leaders on Thursday reached a deal that brought a handful of Republicans back to the floor, ending the longest walkout in state history and clearing the way for the Legislature to pass a budget and start working through hundreds of backlogged bills. The deal reached Thursday included watering down Democratic measures intended to guarantee abortion access and prevent gun violence, as well as considering a Republican proposal that would allow the Legislature to impeach statewide...

  • Efforts for ranked-choice and STAR voting gaining progress in Oregon

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Jun 1, 2023

    Efforts to change Oregon’s voting system are on the move in the state Legislature and among citizen groups trying to write laws at the ballot box. The House last week voted mostly along party lines to approve House Bill 2004, Speaker Dan Rayfield’s proposal to establish ranked-choice voting in statewide elections beginning in 2028. The bill’s prospects in the Senate are unclear as Republicans continue a walkout that prevents the Senate from voting on any bills, but citizen groups have also...

  • Govenor, fire officials say wet winter could delay wildfires, but drought persists

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|May 18, 2023

    A wet winter is likely to delay wildfires, but ongoing drought in eastern Oregon could make for a worse fire season east of the Cascades, Gov. Tina Kotek and state fire officials said Tuesday. Kotek’s press briefing came just ahead of a forecasted heat wave bringing temperatures in the 90s to the Willamette Valley later this week. “Even this week, we are seeing how quickly the weather can turn hot and dry,” she said. “Oregonians should prepare for fire season. Prepare your yard, have an evacuat...

  • How Rep. Charlie Conrad changed his mind to vote for abortion, gender-affirming care

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|May 18, 2023

    Everyone at the Oregon Capitol knew how an April committee vote on legislative Democrats’ sweeping measure to expand access to abortion and gender-affirming care would go. Democrats who hold the majority in the Legislature believe voters gave them a mandate to pass House Bill 2002, which would protect medical providers from prosecution for providing reproductive health care or gender-affirming care. Republicans adamantly opposed it, focusing most of their ire on provisions in the bill a...

  • Oregon House passes $200 million for housing and homelessness

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Press|Mar 23, 2023

    Oregon is on track to spend $200 million to help homeless residents move into houses, give people who have fallen behind on rent more time to pay, and create new goals for cities to build homes under a pair of measures approved Wednesday by the state House. House Bill 2001 and House Bill 5019 passed on 50-9 and 49-10 votes, respectively, with only Republicans opposed. The bills now head to the Senate, where a vote is expected early next week. If they pass, as predicted, Gov. Tina Kotek is...

  • New home construction incentives taking shape

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Feb 23, 2023

    Oregon legislators are working on plans to provide more time before evictions, more money for factory-built homes, and new revolving loans to encourage building houses for middle-income families. Lawmakers including state Rep. Maxine Dexter, a Portland Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Housing and Homelessness, are aiming to pass a set of new housing policies and well over $100 million in new state spending within the next month. An omnibus bill the House committee discussed Tuesday is...

  • Economists expect a 'mild' recession

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Nov 24, 2022

    After months of record revenue growth, Oregon economists now expect the state to enter a "mild" recession next summer. State economists told a legislative panel on Wednesday that economic forecasters in Oregon and around the country anticipate a recession within the next year because inflation remains higher than the Federal Reserve wants it to be, with the Fed expected to continue raising interest rates. In a quarterly report released Wednesday, officials from Oregon's Office of Economic...

  • Vote coming on gun safety

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Aug 4, 2022

    Oregonians will have the chance to decide in November whether the state should ban large ammunition magazines and require licenses for all gun owners, the Secretary of State’s Office confirmed. Backers of Initiative Petition 17 submitted more than 160,000 signatures from Oregon voters who supported the proposed law earlier this month. State election officials on Monday confirmed that the proposal will appear on ballots in November. The news follows a June survey from the nonpartisan Oregon V...

  • $1.65 million to restore streams, wetlands, prairies

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Jun 2, 2022

    Oregon streams, wetlands, and prairies will get $1.65 million in federal funds to restore wildlife habitat, the state's senators announced this week. The money is part of the $26 million the U.S.Bureau of Land Management will spend nationally this year to restore ecosystems and comes from last year's bipartisan infrastructure law. "Most Oregonians will tell you that our forests, coastline, rivers, mountains, high desert, and more are what make this state such a special place to live," said Sen....

  • Auditors say, despite complaints, ODOT handled wildfire cleanup well

    Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Oct 28, 2021

    A report released last Wednesday by state auditors largely praises how the Oregon Department of Transportation handled debris removal after the largest natural disaster in state history. The transportation department and the contractors it hired to remove tens of thousands of damaged trees from along 120 miles of state highways in the Santiam Canyon and McKenzie River Valley after catastrophic fires in 2020 have been under fire for the past year as employees and onlookers alike reported that...