As the State Turns

Bill a Total Disappointment Despite Oil Train Secrecy
House Bill 2131 has a terribly boring name, but don’t let that fool you (some idiot keeps naming them all stuff like that). What’s it about? Well, right now, oil trains and secrecy. I’m imagining spies, cars with ejection seats and machine guns hidden behind the headlights, Russian stereotypes, love interests that turn out to be evil and can crush you with their legs, Sean Connery (or his corpse… not sure if he’s still around), and pens that do things that normal pens can’t do and probably shouldn’t. Gathering all the resources I could muster, I dove right in and… disappointment. Turns out this whole damn thing is just about oil train secrecy. Literally.

There is a fair bit of real-life drama, though. The bill was pulled last Friday when several members of Oregon’s legislative somethin’ or other expressed concern that the verbiage contained within would allow for too many secrets to be kept by the oil train companies (hence the oil train secrecy thing). Apparently people would actually like to know when super-flammable black gold is being shipped through their area. Crazy, but true. If anything deserves to be hidden from public comment, it’s the oil trains, am I right? There was that whole crash ‘n’ explode ‘n’ burn ‘n’ evacuate thing that happened in Mosier last year. But hey, only 42,000 gallons of oil caught fire or soaked into the ground. Only 16 of 96 cars derailed. Quit complaining, you liberal scum.

Anyhow, there’s a big war going on over this. “Your amendment violated federal laws,” “You’re putting people in danger for profit,” “You’re a noodle-brain, poopoo-face garbage-nuts.” I think the best thing to do is just sit back, relax, and let the government sort it out without any civilian input. After all, the first version of the bill included the kind of transparency people wanted, and they changed it in favor of the rail companies in the second version. Things happen for a reason, folks.

Oregon Public Broadcasting’s ‘Oregon Field Guide’
In celebration of the state we know and love, OPB has published a guide of sorts that’ll help take you and yours around to all of the beautiful hotspots in Oregon. Paying my respects as well, I’d like to offer some of my own.

At the top of our list we have the Oregon Trail Commemorative Gazebo, located on the edges of the Walmart parking lot in Lebanon.

Next up? That one gas station near Trader Joe’s on 9th Street. The full gas station experience, complete with the nicest people on Earth (I’m being serious for two seconds) and a bevy of snacks that you can pretend are a meal.

All gassed and snacked, why not head out to Eastern Oregon? They’ve got a ton of dirt and an increased chance of being robbed or shot at by Tusken Raiders. Also, if you go far enough, you’ll stumble into one of Idaho’s famous speed traps.

Now that the gas is running low, why not run out and get stranded near Pendleton? They’ve got a Three Stars on Yelp Subway that makes a totally average sandwich. Will the tomatoes be good, or will you have to pick them off? The surprise is half the fun.

A short list, but that’s the end. You won’t survive that sandwich.

Places in Oregon Where Pot Is Grown Unhappy with Pot Being Grown
As the pot business continues to grow into its big boy pants, there are bound to be a few, shall we say, hiccups. One of them is the increasing burden of weed mega-crop businesses who operate in the area of peaceful, law-abiding, antisocial citizens who moved way the hell out in the middle of nowhere just to get away from everyone. And other people. And also smaller pot-growing outfits.

Accusations of bad farming practices, illegal use of city water, and crazy drivers making it unsafe for kids who don’t know how to stay out of the road are just the tip of the iceberg. My favorite component of this battle are the pot growers that are like, “It’s the big corporations that are pissing people off,” while standing right next to a local civilian who says, “They’re literally all pissing me off, big and small.”

Though things will settle eventually, this settling will likely be due in no small part to legislation. And in no big part due to any large pot companies deciding to actually respect their neighbors.

By Johnny Beaver

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