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Portland Public Schools’ New Ombudsman Should Be Independent

In response to parent complaints, Portland Public Schools will create a new ombudsman position. An ombudsman is a person within an organization who provides accountability and investigates complaints.

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The “Sharing Economy” Benefits Homeowners, Guests

By Everet Rummel An emerging sector of many local economies is “homesharing,” or renting space in your home to strangers for a short term, usually a few nights. Smartphone apps such as Airbnb allow owners to list their homes for renters to see. Homesharing is controversial because it remains informal in most places and challenges […]

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The Portland Seed Fund: Boom or Bust?

The Portland Seed Fund started as a public-private venture intended to close a funding gap for small loans to entrepreneurs. The City of Portland, the City of Hillsboro, and the State of Oregon provided a majority of the funds for the first Seed Fund and a significant portion of the second Seed Fund. It was sold as a way for public entities to help private companies begin, with the expectation that the Fund would earn money.

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Portland Should Be Fair to Taxis by Setting Them Free

This issue affects almost all city-dwellers, and cities around the world are taking action. Some view it as their own livelihoods being at stake. It has even sparked mass protests in Europe.

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“Pay-It-Forward” Is a Step Back

The Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission is considering a proposal called “Pay-It-Forward.” This pilot program would give free tuition at a state university to one thousand high school graduates each year, beginning in 2016….

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Oregon’s Self-Service Gas Prohibition Probably Won’t End—But It Should

Only two states prohibit motorists from pumping their own gasoline: New Jersey and Oregon. I’m not sure what excuses the powers-that-be use in New Jersey, but here they in-effect warn that “you’ll set yourself on fire.” The ban went into effect in 1951, and the only attempt to end it failed at the polls in […]

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Small Business Owners Say: $15 Minimum Wage Is a “Mortal Threat”

This week Seattle became the first city in the nation to mandate a $15 minimum wage. But far from being a victory for workers, a super-high minimum wage is likely to cause more harm than good by destroying businesses and reducing workers’ options. Washington Policy Center’s Erin Shannon writes: “Some business owners in Seattle say […]

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Should Portland Residents Pay Another Fee to Cover Basic Road Maintenance?

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales is proposing a new transportation tax for 2015. He claims this is needed to offset a decline in revenue. However, the facts show a different story. Total revenue for transportation has been growing for decades. For example, from 1996-2007, Portland transportation revenue grew by 60%. According to the city auditor, that […]

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The Last Communist City: Havana or Portland?

It’s clearly a stretch to describe Portland as a communist city, but there is an eerie similarity between Portland and the real communist city of Havana.   Portland-based independent journalist Michael J. Totten recently traveled to Cuba to see for himself the Havana that most tourists never see. He published his fascinating account in a […]

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How Jefferson Explained the Constitution to Louisiana Nuns

This week in 1804, Thomas Jefferson wrote to an Ursuline nun in New Orleans, who had asked him to clarify her religious community’s rights under U.S. law after the Louisiana Purchase. President Jefferson assured her that the American government would never interfere with the nuns’ property, ministries, or way of life.   Jefferson wrote, “The […]

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