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Old 10-27-2015, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Portland Metro
2,301 posts, read 4,208,679 times
Reputation: 2733

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Government/tax system: because Oregon has no sales tax and relies almost solely on income tax, when we have an economic downturn like we had in '08-'12 the state just gets flummoxed. My kids' school district faced huge budget cuts and teacher layoffs. There is really no rainy day fund, and we have a law (called the "kicker") that mandates that when times are better the state has to return overpayment of income tax back to the taxpayers. I blame this partly on a what I think is a pretty ineffective state government.

Infrastructure: We have (I think) six airports in the entire state that have major airline commercial flights: Portland, Eugene, Medford, North Bend, Redmond, and Pendleton. It's a function of the population distribution in the state, for sure, but if you live in Corvallis you need to allot a minimum of 2 hours to make it through traffic to PDX to catch a flight. Or you can fly out of EUG and pay more for the flight. If our state kicks anything more than a pittance to the airports for improvements or for attracting airlines I'd be very surprised.

Also, we have Amtrak, but don't expect the frequency of train service like you have in the East.

In addition, our highway/freeway system is in dire need of improvements. Our population has outgrown the transportation system but little is being done about it. And that doesn't even address the vulnerability of the system to disaster. This OPB article (Half Of Critical Oregon Bridges Could Collapse In Big Earthquake . News | OPB) states
Quote:
Of 1,232 lifeline structures ODOT identified, 713 bridges are considered seismically vulnerable or potentially seismically vulnerable. That’s nearly 60 percent of state-identified lifeline bridges likely to collapse or be potentially taken out of use after a quake.
Unfortunately, our Congressional delegation is pretty lame at bringing home money for infrastructure projects.

Also, our critical energy hub on the lower Willamette in Portland where most of the fuel for the state comes in is vulnerable: Oregon's energy hub on the Willamette River a catastrophic risk when a megaquake hits | OregonLive.com

There's more about school buildings and other buildings that are vulnerable if an earthquake strikes. Cities in Chile are more prepared and resilient than our cities.

And my own personal view of Corvallis as a former 10-year-long resident there: I really liked living there. Very easy to navigate town on a bike or walking, and a surprising number of things to do for a small city. Very little traffic. But one of my major gripes was that the city infrastructure "improvements" (to roads and parks, for example), frequently seemed to be half baked. For example, putting in a traffic circle as a traffic-calming device in place of a 4-way stop but not widening the streets to accommodate. Also spending a lot of money to build new parks, plant trees, shrubs, and flowers but then not picking up trash, weeding, or otherwise maintaining the park after it was built. But I moved 6 years ago, so things may have changed.

What I'm trying to get across is that things aren't done here like they are in other parts of the US. I think we like to kick the can down the road a lot here, and we have a fairly passive population that seems happy with the way things are done and how our government works and seldom raises a stink. If you're coming from back east that may drive you crazy, or you may love the attitude here.
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Old 10-27-2015, 12:54 PM
 
4,060 posts, read 5,015,023 times
Reputation: 2875
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjpop View Post

What I'm trying to get across is that things aren't done here like they are in other parts of the US. I think we like to kick the can down the road a lot here, and we have a fairly passive population that seems happy with the way things are done and how our government works and seldom raises a stink. If you're coming from back east that may drive you crazy, or you may love the attitude here.
I've lived a lot of places east-west and I don't actually find OR all that different in that regard.

Politically I agree that we're somewhat irrelevant in terms of national politics. Internally I think the biggest shock coming from elsewhere was the "Measure" system.

In theory it's a great way of putting democracy directly into the hands of the citizenry, but it comes with a number of downsides. For one, every ballot is stuffed with important issues you get a direct vote on, which is great if you're opinionated or have bothered to read up on the issue, but does everyone read up or think through the consequences?

Mmmm...unlikely. Though I will say there have been some that have made sense - the initial measure to legalize marijuana was voted down because it was half-baked (get it?) and the measure writers were forced to re-write something a bit better, and voila, it passed on the next run.

But some of the issues that make it the most challenging for OR to keep up, much less get ahead were also passed into law by measure. jjpop noted two:

1) The Kicker (added to the constitution in 1980 by measure, mandates that if revenues exceed forecasts by , I believe, 3%, the state has to return that excess to taxpayers. Regardless of tax system, it's not unusual for states to eat it in a downturn, but the kicker does mean OR can't bank excess revenue on any upswing. In the long-term it has a bit of a ratchet effect.

2) Measure 5 - similar (but different in several key regards) to CA's Prop 13, caps property tax growth, and passed on a fairly slim majority (52-48%). Some of the support for it was gained with the suggestion the property tax cap would be offset by the addition of a sales tax, but not surprisingly that measure was voted down.

Then there was the Measure 47 / Measure 50 fiasco. Voters had to approve a measure (in special election) to undo the madness of a measure they had passed just a year prior.

In any case, both Measure 5 and 47/50 are telling, for two reasons:

A) A single motivated individual (cough * Sizemore * cough) can swamp the system with measure after measure because they have the cash to back it, and
B) On the big questions, like taxation, etc. the legislature often gets to shy away from its duty and is content to just punt issues off to the measure system.

Look back at the Measure 5 issue - if it could be "fixed" somewhat by institution of a sales tax, why don't we have a sales tax 25 years later? Because the Legislature won't, and no one wants to waste the money to put it on the ballot as a measure.

Now, if the intent of Measure 5 (for some supporters) was that it be passed concurrently with a sales tax, why not just write both into a single measure? Because by law you can't - a measure can only include one change to the constitution. Had the legislature passed the same initiative as a statute, they could have done both, but since they can punt things off to the measure system, you get these type of calamities from time to time.
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Old 10-27-2015, 12:56 PM
 
4,060 posts, read 5,015,023 times
Reputation: 2875
P.s. Wiki actually has a good list of all the historical state measures, and important to note that, in addition to state measures there can be local measures as well.

So any given ballot can be quite the research project if one is taking it seriously and reading up even just on the big issues. Alas, I'm not sure everyone does.
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:04 PM
 
17 posts, read 22,556 times
Reputation: 20
jjpop and bler144,
I appreciate getting your unvarnished thoughts and it helps me much more than reading brochures.
CC


Quote:
Originally Posted by bler144 View Post
It's hard to find a Dunkin Donuts out here. For some people I know that alone would be a deal-breaker.
Living without coffee would be a deal-breaker, we've been getting ours from New Orleans for over 20 years.
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Old 10-27-2015, 03:07 PM
 
4,060 posts, read 5,015,023 times
Reputation: 2875
Quote:
Originally Posted by corvus_corax9 View Post
jjpop and bler144,
I appreciate getting your unvarnished thoughts and it helps me much more than reading brochures.
CC



Living without coffee would be a deal-breaker, we've been getting ours from New Orleans for over 20 years.
Oh, there are plenty of options for coffee between OR/WA companies.
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Old 10-27-2015, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
14,929 posts, read 36,641,854 times
Reputation: 15336
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjpop View Post
Government/tax system: because Oregon has no sales tax and relies almost solely on income tax, when we have an economic downturn like we had in '08-'12 the state just gets flummoxed. My kids' school district faced huge budget cuts and teacher layoffs. There is really no rainy day fund, and we have a law (called the "kicker") that mandates that when times are better the state has to return overpayment of income tax back to the taxpayers. I blame this partly on a what I think is a pretty ineffective state government.

What I'm trying to get across is that things aren't done here like they are in other parts of the US. I think we like to kick the can down the road a lot here, and we have a fairly passive population that seems happy with the way things are done and how our government works and seldom raises a stink. If you're coming from back east that may drive you crazy, or you may love the attitude here.
I think most of the culture shock that people have when they relocate here is in regard to the apathy that many Oregonians have toward infrastructure. The population is okay with having the highest dropout rate in the nation for our schools. When they talk about the kicker going toward an education rainy day fund, it is like someone is proposing murder. The population is okay with the state of the bridges, roads, etc. The politics of Oregon are very weird.

BUT between our great craft beer, local wines, and a coffee house on every corner, I think we are easily placated with good food, caffeine, and wine. I meet a lot of people that won't move here because of the schools. They go on to other states. I meet a lot of people that move here because they love the outdoor activities and slower paced lifestyle. They will make do with the schools. At the end of the day, everyone has to weigh the good things the state has to offer vs. the bad things.
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Old 07-23-2016, 10:21 PM
 
213 posts, read 482,568 times
Reputation: 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverfall View Post
Ha. Ha. When we were back in the DC area with our kids a couple of years ago, my son commented on all of the Dunkin Donuts shops everywhere.

The old Dunkin Donuts is Daynight Donuts now.
Dunkin Donuts use to be out here. I remember going to one in Springfield, as a kid in the 80's.

No longer my cup-of-tea, but it does make you appreciate it more once you finally get something you can no longer have on a regular basis.
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Old 10-28-2016, 04:46 AM
 
4 posts, read 3,689 times
Reputation: 10
Good choice.
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