Here’s some stuff you might like.
Business: At this week’s Bend City Council meeting, Joshua Lehner of the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis presented a brief powerpoint of what’s going on with the local and state economy. The good news is that Bend’s median household income has recovered from the Great Recession, during which it took an awful pounding. The bad news is that economic growth is slowing, and is facing headwinds such as housing prices, tight labor market, and trade wars. It’s good information, but it’s perhaps unsurprising that a state agency would omit another obvious headwind: the last legislative session featured an array of anti-business taxes and regulations that suck money and decision-making out of the private sector and deposit them with people in Salem who dislike all markets except that one really cute farmers market with all the CBD and organic beeswax booths.
Law: Ever since Oregon voters approved legal recreational marijuana earlier this decade, the Deschutes County Commission has been tied in knots about the growing and processing of pot in the rural county. After a brief moratorium, the Commission allowed marijuana businesses to operate, received significant blowback from rural residents annoyed at the smell, lights, noise and voracious snacking allegedly caused by those operations. The county responded with a series of strict regulations in an attempt to mitigate those problems (less the snacking), and got sued by the Oregon Farm Bureau for interfering with agricultural activity. Now, in a kind of “fine, you guys decide what you want us to do” moment, the Commission has taken a first step to possibly referring to the voters the question of whether to allow additional marijuana businesses in the rural county.
Politics: The two biggest decisions facing the good people of Bend this summer are, in order of the cumulative amount of mental energy expended, the following: (1) whether to wear the 10 Barrel hat or the Patagonia hat and if the Patagonia hat then which Patagonia hat, the original one with the rainbow mountains, or the one with the rainbow buffalo or the one with the rainbow fish? and (well behind the first) (2) how should vacancies on the Bend City Council be filled? Appointments currently are made by vote of the Council, but some people think there’s not much transparency to that process, which is true. And with an elected mayor position now, there probably be more vacancies as Councilors run for and sometimes win the mayor spot, and vacate the Council spot. My two cents, having been around a few of these appointments: it’s better to let the voters fill vacancies in the next regularly scheduled election.
Et cetera: My friends, if you consider yourself a nerd and maybe specifically a history nerd, I cannot recommend highly enough the Hardcore History podcast by Dan Carlin. The best way I can describe the podcast is that it’s the podcast equivalent of a Ken Burns documentary. Carlin researches his subjects, such as World War I, thoroughly and does a brilliant job of mixing detail with narrative. The information is top-notch but presented in a way that makes it really pleasurable to consume. The episodes are long, some around three hours, but an absolute joy to listen to. I’m listening to a six-part series on World War I right now while I drive and work out and pretend to work. It turns out Carlin lives in Eugene, so if you know him, please thank him for me, and check out the podcast!
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Have a great weekend!