You may have seen the news that the State Land Board, made up of the governor, the treasurer and the secretary of state, just voted to renege on the deal that was made to sell the Elliott State Forest. The governor's plan would use $100 million in taxpayer-funded bonds to end the state's obligation to earn money for schools from the forest. (In case you forgot, school kids raised money to plant the Elliott forest so that they would have money for K-12 school funding in the future.)
I know this is a complicated issue and there isn't space to go into it here, but one of the frustrations I have in this legislative process is that we end up doing "busy" work, passing this or that little bill, but are neglecting the core things our state government should handle, such as paying for quality education for our kids. I don't believe the Land Board should be able to simply ignore the fact that the forest was supposed to provide stable, long-term funding for our kids.
Speaking of trees and wasting money, if you were to drop by the Capitol last week, you would have seen a massive crane out front, shutting down a lane of traffic. Apparently, they are doing some seismic retrofitting to the Capitol structure and are moving four historic trees near the building. The price tag for this project is around $300,000, paying a California firm to move four trees. I personally think that $300,000 could go toward a lot of other important things in our state, such as funding several teachers in your school district! But as I write this, the trees were swinging through the air, moving to their new home.
As days pass in this session, the policy committees are starting to wind down and the budget and transportation deals are starting to heat up. I have been advocating for full funding for the entire Newberg-Dundee bypass. We just saw that the Joint Committee on Transportation, Preservation and Modernization currently has the bypass on the Possible Secondary Future Projects list. I will keep you updated as the discussions continue.