Oregon Politics and Power Last Week from the Oregon Capital Chronicle

Probing Oregon politics and power

A cricket climbs on a rose after rain. (Lynne Terry/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

The biggest story of the week,  for more than a month, centers on the 5th Congressional District, which runs from Portland to Bend. Terrebonne attorney Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a progressive Democrat, narrowly lost to Republican U.S. Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer last year and is gearing up for a rematch.McLeod-Skinner built a wide base of volunteers and donors over two failed congressional campaigns and an unsuccessful run for secretary of state. She galvanizes grassroots support like few other figures in Oregon politics — but behind closed doors, many of the people who worked closest with her say she’s a nightmare as a boss, yelling at and berating employees and making them feel scared and anxious.

That was far from the only political news of the week. Lynne Terry wrote about House Speaker Dan Rayfield jumping into the race for attorney general. Rosenblum stayed busy, signing onto legal efforts to preserve access to medication abortion and protect students who took out loans from schools that made fraudulent claims.

Ben Botkin covered the latest development in the scandal that ended Shemia Fagan’s tenure as secretary of state. An independent review of the audit her office conducted of the cannabis industry — including the marijuana business Fagan moonlighted for — recommended that audit be removed from an online repository. Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade, a former Multnomah County auditor, is reviewing the earlier audit.

Botkin also followed a state audit that found widespread failures in the Oregon Health Authority’s system that determines whether vulnerable Oregonians receive mental health care. The audit confirmed information in Botkin’s earlier report about Comagine Health.

In criminal justice news, an advocacy group called on the state to close Oregon’s only women’s prison and a former member of the Norteños gang incarcerated in Umatilla sued the state for housing him with current gang members despite his requests to stay elsewhere.

Finally, federal money is flowing in for green energy in Oregon. Alex Baumhardt reported on a $2.5 million grant to study attitudes toward offshore wind. That money was dwarfed by a $1 billion commitment from the White House on Friday for a “clean hydrogen hub” in Oregon and Washington. Portland General Electric and a host of Washington companies will participate.

Oregon Capital Chronicle