City Club of Central Oregon – May 2018

May Forum: A Solution for Pollution?

Considered by some to be a fruitful “pollution solution” and others a “job-killing energy tax,” it is no wonder carbon pricing was a hot-button issue in Oregon’s recent legislative short session. While the proposed Clean Energy Jobs bill did not pass, legislative leaders are clear it will be back on their 2019 agenda. Statewide efforts to reduce climate pollution in Oregon have been a decade in the making. In 2007, the Legislature set ambitious goals for carbon pollution to reduce Oregon’s contribution to drought, severe weather and rising sea levels, which are among the hallmarks of climate change. Many argue that the next step is to set a price on carbon, cap emissions from Oregon’s largest carbon polluters, auction permits to continue polluting, and reinvest permit proceeds into efforts that fuel a clean energy future.

How would the proposed “cap and invest” program work? What has been the experience of other states that have implemented similar efforts? Are we ready to set a price on carbon? And how might a cap and invest program effect Oregon businesses and residents? At this month’s City Club, special guest Greg Dotson, a ‘twenty-year veteran of energy policy-making in Washington, D.C.,’ will explain the market-based approaches to reducing carbon pollution and talk about the cap and invest bill that was proposed for Oregon this year. We will then hear from two representatives from the business community about the positives and negatives of this proposal, followed by a panel discussion and audience Q&A. Join us as we explore whether carbon pricing is the right next step for our state.

City Club of Central Oregon – April 2018

April Forum:

Transportation Planning Today For Tomorrow’s Technology

Will the chicken be crossing the road by foot, in a self-driving car or pedaling a bike?

The future of transportation is changing. From autonomous vehicles to investing in “great streets,” we can shape the planning today for our community’s future growth and technology.  Learn about the economic benefits of creating “great streets” that are walkable, bikeable, and likable. See how other communities have responded to growth (aka traffic) and their transportation solutions. Discover how demographic trends are shaping our needs. Alex Joyce, an urban planning expert, will cover all these topics and touch on the interplay between growth priorities and transportation investments. Join us to decipher how that chicken will cross the road in the future!

Threat at Bend Senior High

Bend Police Increasing Presence at Bend Senior High Tuesday After Report of School Threat

Administrators at Bend Senior High School released the following letter to parents and students on Monday night to warn them about a police investigation involving a reported school threat, and the increased presence that Bend Police will have on campus on Tuesday when students return from the three-day holiday weekend:

February 19, 2018

Dear Bend Senior High School families,

In recent days, we have seen students and community members responding to, and talking about, the terrible act of violence that took place at a Parkland, Florida high school. For those who work and attend school in classroom environments every day – or send their students to school every day – we may find that events like the tragedy in Parkland feel close to home and raise intense emotions.

This weekend we talked with a student who reported overhearing two other students talking about general school attacks in ways that were perceived to be threatening to the Bend Senior High School learning environment. Bend Police Department and school administrators spent countless hours throughout the weekend attempting to follow up on this lead. The students who were said to have made these remarks were not identified and the single witness statement did not yield a viable lead. We will continue to investigate any new information that becomes available.

I share this with you tonight so that you are aware that we will have an increased police presence at Bend Senior High School tomorrow, which is the date that the reporting student said the two youth were allegedly discussing violence could take place at our school.

We and our partners at Bend Police Department have invested many resources into looking into this tip – all hours that we give willingly and with passion as we want to do everything we can to keep our students and schools safe.

That said, we have an opportunity for a ‘teachable moment’ where we can talk to our students about tone that is appropriate to use when having conversations with others about the tragedies that we are too frequently seeing on our mobile devices, on social media and on television.

It is my hope that you can help to reinforce to your student that if they see something, they should always say something. Please encourage your students to contact the main office, talk to a staff member or counselor, or use the SafeOregon tip line that they can find under the First Step icon on their iPad desktops at any time. (Parents, you can download First Step on your own device. Search for First Step OR in your app store.)

This single incident is not indicative of the Bend Senior High School culture or students. We, and our law enforcement partners, believe that our school will be safe for all students tomorrow. Patrols and police presence will be increased in an abundance of caution. Additionally, we understand that in informing our community of this threat we run the risk of other students copying this behavior. However, we felt it was important to communicate with our parents about this situation tonight.

Thank you for your support of our Lava Bear community.

Sincerely,

Bend Senior High School Administration Team

City Club of Central Oregon – February 2018

City Club of Central Oregon February forum: PERS SNATCHERS

Is Oregon’s Pension Promise Broken? Can it be fixed?

Oregon has sought to attract and retain the best and brightest public employees by promising fixed rates of return on pensions within the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS).  Oregon originally failed, however, to adequately fund those promises.  Accordingly, the Legislature reduced pensions in 2003.  But when the stock market crashed, public employers still had to make up the difference. This situation begs the following questions:

  • Is PERS broken?  If so, can it be fixed without breaking promises to employees?
  • How is PERS impacting other programs?
  • If pensions are reduced or privatized, will Oregon need to increase wages to attract and retain quality employees?
  • What are the alternatives to the current system?
  • What legal, economic, and political obstacles exist to those alternatives?
  • Who gets to decide, and how do we hold them accountable?
  • Should Oregon retire its public retirement program, as we know it?

City Club of Central Oregon – January 2018

January forum: FRESH FROM THE FARM – a conversation about how food grown in Central Oregon gets to markets, restaurants and your table

Restaurants, markets, and individuals are finding that procuring local foods to serve, sell, and eat are a priority for many reasons. According to the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council, “Consumers deliberately choose to support local businesses for economic, environmental, and social reasons. Growth in farm-to-table restaurants appeals to consumers who desire fresh foods.”[1]

How easy is it for your favorite local restaurant to follow through on a commitment to serve locally-sourced foods? What are the challenges faced by the farmers and ranchers in Central Oregon? How does locally grown food make its way to you?

The City Club of Central Oregon will present a Forum on January 18, 2018, having a conversation with:

  • Megan French, farmer at Boundless Farmstead, describing the challenges and rewards of growing food for distribution in Central Oregon
  • Brian Kerr, executive chef at Deschutes Brewery Public House, discussing the importance of farm relationships in procuring local foods for sale
  • Liz Weigand, owner of Agricultural Connections, about facilitating channels to move food from a local farm to local markets, restaurants, and individual households

Moderated by Mary Orton, founder and principal of the Mary Orton Company

[1] “Economic Impact of Local Food Producers in Central Oregon: A survey based IMPLAN model incorporating the USDA AMS Toolkit guidelines,” October 2017.

City Club of Central Oregon – September 2017

September 28, 2017

Hooked! Understanding our Addiction to Opiates

In the mid 1990s, the country’s pendulum of prescribing practices dramatically swung: doctors who at one time were prosecuted for overprescribing opiates to patients were now facing mounting pressure to write scripts for chronic, non-cancer pain. Since then, both the dosage and use of therapeutic opiates has skyrocketed, leading to widespread abuse—and what is now considered the worst drug crisis in American history. City Club’s September forum will examine the causes and impacts of this crisis, as well as our community’s approach to tackling an epidemic that not only kills, but also has major social and economic implications.

  541.749.5151

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