Business: The headline “Bend home sales drop to late-2007 level” makes those of us who were in Bend for the Great Recession rock back and forth while hugging ourselves. February home sales dropped to 106 for the month, down 34.5% from a year ago. Let’s hope this is a result of Snowmageddon 2.0, shall we?
Law: If you think you are an independent contractor or employ independent contractors, there is a really good chance you actually are an employee or have employees under Oregon law. The state government and unions, to the degree one can meaningfully distinguish between those entities, really dislike independent contractors and have been waging a decades-long battle to make independent contractor relationships as rare as possible. A bill in the legislature, HB 2498, is the latest salvo. The bill states that someone who provides services for someone else cannot be an independent contractor if the services provided are in the usual course of the other person’s business. So, a personal trainer working at a gym might no longer be an independent contractor, etc.
Politics: On August 22, 2018, Oregon Governor Kate Brown was in a tight re-election fight against challenger Knute Buehler. An independent group was running ads attacking Brown’s record on child care. On that date, a nine-month-old baby boy was found unconscious at a state-regulated daycare with a history of regulatory infractions in Lane County. Two days later, the baby died. On the date the baby died, the regulatory agency in charge of child care sent Brown’s office a proposed press statement regarding the death, consistent with prior state practice of disclosing such deaths “in a timely manner” as required by federal regulations. There were communications between the agency and the governor’s staff, the content of which was redacted from a public records production to the Oregonian, and no disclosure was made until the Oregonian recently inquired about the death. The state maintains that there’s nothing to see here – that the failure to disclose was justified under the law and was not politically motivated. However, the sequence of events as reported by the Oregonian indicates the failure to disclose may well have been politically motivated. If the legislature, which funds the relevant state agency and writes child care laws, does not undertake a real, bipartisan investigation of this tragedy, why do we have a legislature at all?
Et cetera: A month ago, I let you know about a new nonprofit called Local Voter Project, which raises money to buy introductory Bend Bulletin subscriptions for newly registered Bend voters. The purpose is to provide new voters the information they need to be involved in our local government and civic life, and to support local journalism of the type that uncovered the important story described in the section above. I am very grateful to the generous Bend Business Roundupers who contributed to the cause. We are planning to buy the first round of subscriptions toward the end of this month. We would love to buy 100 subscriptions, which would cost around $6,500. We have a ways to go to meet that goal. If you feel like helping out, you can donate here. Thank you!
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Jeff started EagerLaw PC to help Oregon entrepreneurs succeed in business. Jeff worked in Washington, D.C. for Oregon Congressman Greg Walden, served as Mayor of the City of Bend, and has been practicing law in Oregon for over a decade. Jeff believes strongly in entrepreneurship and enjoys making the legal side of business transparent and easy for his clients.