As the State Turns

By Johnny Beaver

stateturnssymbolPoor Credit? Big Problems

Bad news, Oregonians with poor credit – also largely just known as poor Oregonians who wind up with bad credit because they’re poor — it turns out that you likely pay more than twice as much for homeowner insurance as anyone else.

Data firm took a peek at insurance rates in different states as they stack up against those with good and bad credit ratings. Not surprisingly, the worse the credit score, the more a person pays. Oregon is ranked 11th in terms of states with the largest rate differences.

Researchers claim that those with poor credit often file more claims, and that this is the reason they are penalized with higher rates.

Both Massachusetts, California and Maryland have barred insurers from using credit scores when determining these kinds of insurance costs. So far authorities report that the sky in those states has yet to fall.

Oregon Ranks High in Health Contribution

Oregonians working for the state, rejoice! Unless you hate your job, of course. But still, a study by The Pew Charitable Trusts has found that Oregonian state workers receive a particularly nice health insurance package compared to those in one of our nation’s other glorious states.

In Oregon, the premium per employee per month works out to about $1,284, and the state picks up an average 95 percent of that premium cost. That’s like only paying 1 cent for a Kool-Aid packet. Well, not exactly, but I’m not feeling very mathy at the moment.

Although the study doesn’t look at what they refer to as “total compensation,” there may be other factors that could contribute to state employees cringing at this entire portion of this week’s As the State Turns. For example, let’s say that really cheap Kool-Aid packet… turns out you can only retrieve it by covering yourself in steaks and jumping into an alligator-filled swamp. I guess we’ll need some more studies.

In the meantime, be glad you’re not in Hawaii. That state only pays 58 percent of the premium.

Steve Rulez

Now for some bad news: if you think dropping poison on people out of a helicopter sounds like the best time to be had since killing chickens in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, it might be time to start looking for a new hobby. Owner Steve Owen and his Pacific Air Research, Inc. business were both issued $10,000 fines and were stripped of the right to apply pesticides in Oregon for an entire year. But why?

Contracted to spray herbicides on clearcut sites in Curry County, good old Steve floated his whirly-copter over a bunch of homes in Cedar Valley. While the state was unable to determine whether the poison was sprayed or merely leaked, pesticides 2,4-D and Triclopyr wound up all over a bunch of residential properties. The incident resulted in dozens of complaints and reports of illness, after which time Steve-O offered up some false records of his payload. However, it seems like perhaps Steve wasn’t the only one to screw up.

Widely considered one of the most complex cases of its kind, some contention still exists as outside experts and federal investigators pointed out multiple holes in the state’s process as well as regulatory system. For example, no water or urine samples were collected, it took people and their healthcare providers a very long time to get proper chemical information from the state, and so on. Your typical bureaucratic Ferris wheel of doom.

In a way, wild Steve and his whirly-gadget has kind of done us all a favor, as this case prompted a state senate hearing on the issue.

Intel Lays Golden Egg on Washington County

$100 billion. That’s 100,000,000,000 cheap burritos. That number represents the amount of money that Intel Corp. just agreed to invest in its Portland facilities over the next few decades. Currently Intel employs 17,500 people, and it is estimated in a recent study by ECONorthwest that every one of those jobs has helped to create three others. The hope for the future on all sides of this agreement is that Intel’s investment in the area will increase job openings steadily for some time.

Having started in Oregon back in the mid 1970s, Intel is the largest for-profit employer in the state. In fact, Oregon facilities are the largest of those that Intel even operates. This recent deal was met until Oregon’s Stategic Investment Program, which is a public-private partnership of sorts that has helped bring in billions of invested dollars to the state over the last two decades