Here’s some stuff you might like.
Business: Back in 1986, Gov. Neil Goldschmidt called Bend “the middle of nowhere.” One reason Bend feels less nowhere (more somewhere?) than it did back then is because the internet allows people to work remotely from the middle of nowhere. According to the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, the Bend Metropolitan Statistical Area (which is all of Deschutes County) is the “work from home capitol of America,” with the highest rate of working from home of any MSA in the country.
Law: Oregon’s new Pay Equity Act mostly went into effect on January 1. If you employ people in Oregon, it’s a really good idea to check out this BOLI site to learn what is required under the law. The Act’s requirements are somewhat onerous and there’s significant liability for not following them.
Politics: Liberal/progressive candidates swept Bend City Council elections last November. Newly elected Mayor Sally Russell vacated her Council seat to become mayor, so the Council needed to appoint someone to take that seat. With a 4-2 left-leaning majority, the expectation was that they’d appoint another progressive. Well, for reasons I have yet to fully understand, they instead appointed Republican Chris Piper. It’s hard to believe that some people pay me to do political stuff given how often I’m surprised by political events.
Et cetera: Local newspapers are, slowly, dying. Western Communications, the parent company for the Bend Bulletin and six other newspapers in mostly more middle of nowhere places throughout the West, is struggling to pay its property tax obligations. This reportedly follows paying employees late and other indicators of financial trouble. I hope Western Communications and other local newspaper owners are able to figure out how to make it financially in the internet age. They’re the only ones who reliably cover local government activity, which over Western’s service area must equate to well over a billion dollars of tax revenue and enormous regulatory authority. If the newspapers go, the public will be even more poorly informed about local goings on than they are already.
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Have a great weekend!