THIS WEEK: Benton Extreme, OSU Drives Alone, Sneaky HIV, Brown Quakes, Cattlegate, and More

Here is a roundup of news you might have missed. 

Spring Brings Memories of Winter… and Fall 

Oregon State University surprised and amazed no one at all by calling for remote classes in spring. 

Gov. Brown Keeps Benton in Extreme Category 

Benton County stayed in the Extreme Risk category, while surrounding counties – meaning Douglas, Linn, and Lincoln – moved down to High Risk. Shockingly to even the people living there, the Portland Metro area has also moved down to High and is currently sticking its tongue out in a southernly direction. What this means to you: Albany restaurants and gyms can partially reopen; Corvallis, not so much.  

OSU Says ‘Car Pool Already’ 

30% of the people who drive to OSU, drive alone, which doesn’t work if the university is going to meet its 2030 sustainability goals. So, by adhering to their 4 C’s of activism, a set of 15 actions has been developed to decrease that number in 10 years. It’s all about the math. 

Construction Leads to Injury 

A study done at OSU claims that people get hurt working construction. They get hurt more working construction at night. In other news, the sun rises in the east. 

Gov. Brown Gives Official Okay to Sports 

After lowering the risk level for 10 counties, Gov. Kate Brown called for “softening” of limitations to activities – meaning allowing for sports! Students K-through-Small-College will be able to reopen their fields and courts, just like their big university counterparts. Brown then called out higher level counties to start planning for in-person classes.  

HIV in Black Communities 

While the rest of the world has been moaning and groaning about the new pandemic, the old pandemic has been hitting the Black communities in Oregon extra hard. Just goes to show, you can’t take your eye off of HIV. 

Higher Minimum Wage 

It’s great to think about offering everybody a living wage. And $15/hour – which we’re slowly but surely working our way towards – would make life so much easier for those who would earn it. Unfortunately, it would also offer millions the exciting option of losing their jobs because companies can’t afford to pay that much. When is the balancing act between keeping everyone well and letting the lucky few keep being billionaires going to end? In other news, the rich get richer, and the poor might get less poor – or way poorer, depending. 

Musk Invests in Bitcoin 

So, two companies had unexpected jumps lately – Bitcoin and Tesla. Now they have met! Elon Musk has invested a s***ton of money into Bitcoin. This could be interesting. 

Top Chef Coming to Portland 

After a year of looking at screens playing reruns of long-dead shows while locked out of actually experiencing life, Top Chef – the reality television show about extravagant meals prepared by people in search of their 15 minutes of fame – is starting a new season. And they are filming it in Portland! 

Brown Cutting Watchdog  

For a minute, Gov. Kate Brown thought it would be a great idea to fire the folks watching out for the Next Big Oregon Earthquake (we’re calling it the NBOE). Everybody else disagreed. 

Notorious Farm Farming Options Still Available 

After 200 environmental citations and about $200,000 in fines, Lost Valley Farms of Boardman filed for bankruptcy – good for the animals standing in massive amounts of feces and the people drinking the milk from cows standing in massive amounts of feces. It took about 18 months – April of 2018 to Dec. of 2019 – to officially clean the place up. But according to Stand Up to Factory Farms, the legal holes that allowed it to happen once are still alive and creating more massive amounts of feces. 

Windows Still Endangered in Portland 

Portland has gone from hero to zero in terms of people wanting to move there. Probably because of the kids wandering the streets, throwing things through unsuspecting – maybe even a few suspecting – windows. So why the hell are they doing this? 

Brown Doubles Down on Teachers Before Seniors 

Cutting the Line is still that terrible, horrible, teacher-is-gonna-see-ya thing to do. Someone needs to explain that to Gov. Brown, because there is a pile of seniors who are not happy to suddenly be behind teachers in the line for vaccinations.  

Portland is Fifth Worst 

Oregon’s biggest city comes in behind Seattle, DC, San Francisco and some place in North Carolina for worst in the country. If you’re thinking racial disparity in policing, you are correct. Black people in Portland are 4.3% more likely to get arrested and 3.9% more likely to get killed by a cop.  


It seems that cattle rustling has met Ponzi schemes. Easterday Ranches, owned by the Easterday family in the Columbia River Basin, had 200,000 head of imaginary cattle. Having found the imaginary nature of the cows a bit surprising, Tyson sued the Easterdays for $225 million. The Easterdays did what any good scammer would – they sold the land where the cows were supposed to be and filed for bankruptcy.  

Black Activism from Oregon’s Beginnings 

For too long, Oregon’s racist policies barred Black people from laying their head down to sleep in the state. But not everyone followed the rules. One such lady was Mary Jane Shipley Drake… of Benton County.  

By Sally K Lehman