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Charter Schools Achieve Superior Outcomes with Unequal Funding

The University of Arkansas has published a first-ever comparison study of cost effectiveness and return on investment between different types of public schools. The Productivity of Public Charter Schools rates 28 states and the District of Columbia according to the productivity of charter schools relative to traditional public schools. Public charter schools receive 36% less […]

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Join a Union or Pay? Not So Fast, Say Oregonians

A public opinion poll released this week reveals that 84% of Oregonians agree that employees should have the right to decide, without force or penalty, whether to join or leave a labor union. The poll of 500 Oregon adults was conducted for National Employee Freedom Week, a grassroots campaign of 77 organizations in 44 states […]

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Sustainability Is Fine, Unless There’s Nothing Left to Sustain

The University of Oregon may hire four new “hot shot” sustainability professors whose mission will be to “change the world by figuring out how to rebuild and reorganize cities…to account for climate change, population growth and environmental damage.” Worthy goals, no doubt. But remember what the blind longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer had to say about […]

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Time for a Third Bridge to Vancouver

Last week a conceptual plan for a new bridge over the Columbia River was unveiled at a public forum in Vancouver, WA. The plan, presented by Florida-based Figg Engineering, calls for a four-lane bridge east of I-205. The new bridge would have 144 feet of river clearance – the same as the I-205 Bridge — […]

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A Prescription for Affordable Housing in Portland

A new issue faces Portland. City Hall is considering waiving development fees for developers of market-rate housing in the Old Town Chinatown district.

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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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