As the State Turns: Spendin’ and Hidin’ and Hopes for Denyin’

stateturnssymbolFish News Is Good News, Sorta Kinda Not Really
Good news, folks: wild Chinook salmon are all up in Bear Creek, a body of running water that cuts through the mysterious southern outpost of Medford. Apparently the result of this is that people get to go check out these big a*s fish for a few more weeks before they all die. Naturalists’ words, not mine. Well, I paraphrased.

Some guy named Jim Hutchins who likes to count salmon in his spare time (don’t judge) says that 404 of the fish were flopping about, and that this happened almost two weeks earlier than last year. He also kindly asks us not to inquire as to how he got such a specific number.

And… that’s about all there is to this story.

Oregon to Public: Bam, We Built a Whitewater Park
And it’s true, I checked. Although I didn’t spot it while I visited a record 10 breweries (and then got sick) in Bend the other day, that’s where it’s at. Apparently the Deschutes River splits into three channels and one of them is a “whitewater channel” with several “wave features.” I think I reported on this before, but let’s just say last weekend wasn’t the only time I’ve consumed a large volume of beer.

The whole thing cost enough to purchase nearly 10 million burritos, but not to worry: that sh*t was voter-approved, baby. Woo!

And… that’s about all there is to this story, too.

Oregon Department of Education Gets an F
On the exact same day that Oregon released all of the results for statewide school exams… the Board of Education lowered the passing score requirement. Their reasoning has something to do with the newer tests, called the Smarter Balanced exams, being harder than the old ones. So they approved new, tough tests… and then lowered the scores required to pass. Gotcha.

According to “experts,” what they’ve done is basically return the standard to what it was before the new tests were implemented. Double gotcha.

I know this is an old bag of turds at this point, but good lord. Everyone knows that our kids are dumb because our educational system is forced and lacks any greater attempt at helping students to understand the scope of what they’re learning and why. There’s nothing in it for them but memorization without context, unless they’re lucky enough to get an amazing teacher. While we have this huge cultural problem on our hands, these board members are playing hide the pickle with standardized testing that most of the establishment already believes is broken.

Triple gotcha, I suppose.

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times…
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) just completed a review of state highway bridges. Their findings suggest that yes, the $1.3 billion spent by ODOT over the last 10 years was used to do good stuff. With the bridges. The not as good news is that almost 2,800 bridges are screwed up and due to topple down while you and yours traverse their length by 2020. Currently there are 61 bridges that have been deemed “structurally deficient,” and personally, I’d like a list. Because I have my heart set on death by skydiving.

The News You’ve Been Waiting For
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls… dying time is here. Wait, that’s Beyond Thunderdome. I meant to say, guess what bro, Kate Brown, the interim governor, is running… for GOVERNOR! Nobody saw that coming.

And… that’s about all there is to this story. Yep, this one, too.

Elliot Forest Sale Details for Your Reading Pleasure
The lowdown is that buyers will be required to pay full market value for the entire forest, which measures at about 84,000 acres. All interested parties must “formally” make themselves known by Dec. 15 of this year, and the state intends to pick from them by the end of 2016—completing the sale in 2017.

 Selling the forest because it costs a fortune to manage—the state is proud of their choice and they want you to be proud, too. For America.

By Johnny Beaver

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