The following article contains excerpts from an interview conducted with Republican candidate Teri Grier.
Teri Grier has not given up the fight for rural Oregon. She is running again for State Representative of House District 9. Grier still feels that “the vast rural community of Oregon, which is largely conservative, is under siege by the much louder voice of liberal Portland.”
According to Grier, the rural citizens in her district are struggling to find jobs. The high rate of unemployment has pressured her neighbors to relocate for work. Grier attributes the unemployment rate to the state’s leaders who consistently vote for Portland’s needs, not the needs of the rural community.
To Teri, this crisis is an eerie throwback to her childhood, when she experienced the down turning of several mines in her small town in Arizona. Both her mom and step-dad lost their jobs along with numerous other families, many of which were forced to pack what they could into a truck and drive away, leaving the key in the front door. Teri describes this disaster as a “modern day Grapes of Wrath.”
Teri firmly believes this experience gives her the ability to understand rural Oregon in a way many other legislators cannot. When discussing the possibility of being a voice for these communities, she stated that “the experience that I’ve had can help make that happen. Those places that feel like they’ve been forgotten . . . they’re not forgotten.”
Jump forward over twenty-five years later, and Teri, who now has been working in public policy for over two decades, is aghast as the Oregon Legislature frequently passes major pieces of legislation in less than 30 days that “should take six years or longer.” The lack of transparency in state government and the intentional neglect of rural community needs inspired Grier to begin a write-in campaign for state representative in 2016.
In the 2016 election year, Grier drove all over her district, knocking on thousands and thousands of doors, just listening to local people share. Unfortunately, she lost to Democratic incumbent Caddy McKeown in the fall by 1,111 votes.
However, Teri Grier was not fazed by the loss and is running again. She has the support of many rural communities and conservatives House District 9 from her last campaign. Grier plans to work hard so rural Oregon is not neglected in the future.
According to Koin6, it has been estimated that Oregon’s population is now at 4.1 million, according to an annual report from Portland State University’s Population Research Center. The research report stated that the population increased by almost 65,00 residents since 2016. The biggest factor was people migrating to the state, accounting for 88% of the increase. The other 12% was attributed to an increase in the amount of births in the state over deaths.
The tri-county Portland metropolitan areas unsurprisingly reported the largest population gains since last year. Multnomah and Washington Counties also added over 12,000 residents while Clackamas County added a little over 8,000 residents. The City of Portland saw the greatest growth over any other city in Oregon; it’s population now estimated at 639,100.
Finally, Deschutes County, located in Central Oregon, saw in increase of 3.6%, which was the greatest increase by percentages, adding around 3,265 new citizens to its most popular city, Bend.
Over 400 acres of land in the Stevens Pass area were purchased by a local group so as to prevent the Pacific Crest Trail from being severed. The Pacific Crest Trail Association is a private group focused on protecting and promoting the Pacific Crest National Trail, which runs from Mexico to Canada including the famous Cascades in Washington. It’s a popular site to Pacific North-westerners and tourists alike.
In an interview with Megan Wargo, the PCTA’s director of land protection, she stated that “the Forest Service is the overall manager for the entire trail. Where the trail goes through private land, they have a trail easement to allow the public to pass through the private property.”
However, on part of the Stevens Pass, no one had obtained an easement. Wargo believes this mistake was an oversight since the path was built piece by piece. “In most likelihood, it was just an oversight. Somebody thought there was an easement there, but the easement was not recorded.”
The association managed to secure federal money with the help of the Forest Service from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to purchase the land; however, the PCTA had to secure a loan from The Conservation Fund to help with the purchase because of the magnitude of the forest fires this summer.
Once the Forest Service can turn its focus away from the forest fires, the PCTA will sell the land to the Forest Service and repay the loan.
“It was a roller-caster ride getting it closed,” Wargo stated. “The risk of not closing that project would have been pretty large as far as the PCT and keeping it open.”
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is a key landmark in Portland, Oregon and an exciting opportunity for people of all ages. This winter is no different as OMSI opens up an exhibit specifically to celebrate the Holiday Season.
Portland architects and bakers coordinated to produce the event. It will be part of OMSI’s latest exhibit, entitled “Illusion: Nothing Is As It Seems”. It just recently opened and will run through January 1st.
According to an article in The Oregonian, all of the gingerbread houses are made up of 80% edible material and have a wide variety of themes, which include merry-go-rounds, skyscrapers, and landscapes.
View more photos of the exhibit on The Oregonian and visit the actual exhibit this winter!
The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships that allows awardees the chance to study at Oxford University in England. Only 32 Americans are awarded the scholarship every year, and this time, a fellow Portlander received this award.
JaVaughn T. “JT” Flowers was a student at Lincoln High School. He did not perform well academically and even stayed a fifth year in high school at a boarding school in Connecticut. His efforts payed off, and he went on to study at Yale, founding an organization called A Leg Even to assist low-income Yale students by offering mentoring and tutoring services as well as connections to faculty. During his years at the Ivy League school, he studied in six different countries to examine the various cultures and politics. His thesis investigated Portland’s sanctuary city policy for immigrants undocumented in the United States. His academic excellence also resulted in receiving the Truman scholarship in 2016, which gives gifted students graduate support to help them prepare for government or public service careers.
He currently works for Representative Earl Blumenaur in Portland. “I’m essentially getting paid to learn about all the incredible work going on across all these different silos in Portland,” Flowers said in an interview with The Oregonian.
The competition for the Rhodes Scholarship is intense and involves a difficult, time-consuming application process. Finalists were flown out to Seattle for several events, including standing in front of a seven-judge panel. Rhodes Scholars have their tuition and all expenses covered to study for two or three years at Oxford.
Flowers was floored by the news. “I really don’t know how to attach words to it. I’m really at a loss. I’m so humbled.”
Blumenaur was thrilled by Flowers’ success. In an interview with the Associated Press, he stated, “He’s just an outstanding candidate for the Rhodes. He’s a very quick study, very good wth people, an incisive listener who is able to translate that back to people who contact him and to the staff in our office. We’re excited for him, and we’re excited for what he’s going to do when he’s back.
Flowers plans to earn degrees in Comparative Social Policy and Public Policy in order to give back to his hometown, Portland. “Portland is home for me and will always be home for me. I was born and raised here in the heart of Northeast Portland. I want to set up permanent shop here. I’ll be gone for a couple years, but then I’ll be right back here.”