As the State Turns

stateturnssymbolOregon to Help Build Wooden… Skyscrapers?
Great news, ladies and gentlemen: a company from Riddle (it’s a town in Oregon, I promise) called D.R. Johnson (I know it’s improper to use parenthesis again so soon, but have fun figuring out what the D and R stand for…) is the first in the nation to make a new timber product. I’ll give you a clue: it’s made out of wood.

Cross-laminated timber, as it is called, is special wood, though. Space-age technologies and good old-fashioned, blue collar elbow grease (a medical condition) make this magical wood product by gluing it together, with space glue I’m sure, super dense layers of… wood… and it has been said to be so strong that it surpasses steel and concrete. Yes, some crazy people want to build skyscrapers out of wood. I guess if this year’s lineup of Republican presidential hopefuls can exist, why the hell not.

The governor has mumbled something about her support for the technology because it’ll be creating jobs.

Yay, Only Seven More Years Until Equality (Sort Of)
The proposed settlement of a federal class action lawsuit looks to affect the lives of thousands of Oregonian workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The story is that some private folks were joined by the U.S. Department of Justice in a legal claim that the State of Oregon was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. How so? Little things called sheltered workshops, where people with said disabilities were segregated. This has allowed all sorts of groups, including companies like Goodwill Industries, to pay these people well under minimum wage for their labor—sometimes just pennies an hour.

Yes… the next time you drop off your leftover goods and go to pat yourself on the back, remember that there’s a chance someone with a severe disability is having to cart it off the curb at a rate of pay that might not even buy them a meal at Taco Bell after a long day.

But not to worry! If a judge signs the settlement, Oregon will be forced to ensure that 1,115 disabled adults currently working in sheltered workshops would eventually receive competitive employment. Within seven years.

Yeah, not good enough. But it’s a start.

You Gotta Get Up to Get Down
Veterans in need of food, housing, and work attended a recent “Stand Down” event in the fine northern city of Portland (where I once saw a flasher get flashed by their flashing target). Those in need were able to grab a sandwich and a haircut while companies such as UPS, US Bank, and even Starbucks were present.

Events like these not only honor those that put their life on the line for the country, but exercise the human capacity for compassion. Unfortunately, things were nearly spoiled when a group of Corvallisites decided to take a break from protesting a new homeless shelter to travel to Portland and make heavy-handed suggestions that “while this is a great event, perhaps we should move it several miles outside of the city where the veterans can’t scare anyone.”

Also, yes… that subheadline is a Coolio reference. Because I can.

The Klamath Strangler
Sheriff Frank Skrah of Klamath County is a troubled man. As in he faces charges of harassment, attempted fourth degree assault, misconduct, and strangulation. I was under the impression you were allowed to beat the hell out of inmates, but maybe I spent too much time in Florida. Just to make a note of it, though… how do you only “attempt” to assault someone? Do you run at them, fists ablaze, but slip on a banana peel and miss?

Anyway… innocent until proven guilty, and Skrah is fighting the charges tooth and nail, including a legal complaint filed against the Klamath County Commissioners.

I guess on the plus side, if he did do it… strangulation is pretty classy. It really fell out of favor after the Victorian era, but perhaps with hard-working individuals like Skrah out there, a comeback is just over the horizon.

The Johnny Beaver Insight Network
Once again this week I will throw caution to the wind and answer Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Public Insight Network questions just for you!

What can communities learn from Oregon’s young people?

Slang, mostly. A great deal of slang. And in terms of the teenagers, also how to get drunk off of one beer.

Send us your favorite back-to-school photos, from now or in the past.

This would require me to violate the terms of my parole.

What do you think of OSU’s plans for Bend?

 Yep, they really have been asking this question for months. I suppose nobody has responded.

By Johnny Beaver