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Lobbyist Says The Oregon Legislature Needs to Look Hard at Rural Oregon


A lobbyist for rural Oregon says lawmakers need to wake up. Karla Kay Edwards, with the Cascade Policy Institute says while the recession hit Portland in 2007; rural Oregon has been struggling since the early 90's.  For example, she says on average, Oregonians make only 91¢ on the dollar compared to the average wage nationwide. But in rural Oregon, it’s just 75¢ on the dollar compared to personal income nationally.  The spotted owl listing is just one component to a larger trend. She says "On top of that. You’ve seen additional environmental laws that have impacted those farmers and foresters, and those are our mainstays of our economy. In return we've been told that it’s okay because you'll have eco-tourism and different tourism but the reality is that we're trading good family wage jobs for minimum wage jobs that are seasonal instead of permanent." Edwards says there hasn't been much movement to help all of Oregon this session; a 30-30 split in the House has just stopped many bills, including the ones that could help rural areas. She believes if rural lawmakers joined together regardless of party affiliation, they could get some meaningful legislation passed. 

 

 

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