Category: Cover Stories

Salem PACs -local money influences election

by Helen Caswell Political Action Committees (PACs) have existed in the United States since 1944, but have not come to the attention of most Americans until recently, when issues of campaign finance became central to public conversation. Here in Salem, they are a factor in local elections. Typically representing labor, business, trade union or ideological interests, PACs raise and spend funds to elect – or defeat – candidates for public office, ballot initiatives or legislation. Each PAC is allowed to give up to $5,000 to a candidate per election (primary and general elections are counted separately) up to $5,000...

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Poetry Has a New Name

Poetry is Art, although these days it feels more like the bastard stepchild of Art. It’s as if poets drew the short straw in the new-age creative community, and are now waiting in a long line for tickets to a show that’s gone on without them. But a quiet, underground revolution is occurring. Gone are the days of impenetrable metaphor, cryptic allusion, and lofty language. Poets are beginning to realize that in order for poetry to regain its former glory, they must redefine writing as a vernacular art form by becoming more “2016.” Whitman and Dickinson understood this more...

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Forest for the trees -CRISIS in Oregon’s privately-owned timberlands

by Helen Caswell Economists, foresters and environmentalists concerned about toxic drinking water, habitat degradation and economic equity say Oregon’s system allows large private corporations to use industrial agriculture methods that deforest thousands of acres of Oregon forests, contaminate water and accelerate climate change. They say these calamaties are the result of a law, the Oregon Forest Practices Act (OFPA) and the vigorous lobbying of international timber corporations in the Oregon legislature that keeps the law toothless and the Oregon Department of Forestry complicit. The Oregon Department of Forestry disagrees. “To be blunt, the Oregon Forest Practices Act is an...

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Can Salem Build a home for its homeless?

by Helen Caswell Housing First “People living day to day on the street are only able to live in survival mode,” says Pamella Watson, who is a member of the Salem Homeless Coalition, is chair of the Homeless Task Force at First Congregational Church of Christ, and is one of Salem’s “arta-pottie ladies.” “These people are consumed with looking for their next meal, looking for a place to sleep. So if you are able to get them into shelter, you allow them to get out of survival mode and start addressing issues.” Salem homeless advocates like Watson are increasingly...

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Getting Territorial Over Delisting -Controversy ignites over move to permanently remove wolf designation

On January 14, the efforts of two lawmakers got underway to make into permanent law a recent decision by state wildlife officials to remove wolves from the state’s list of endangered species. The attempt is opposed by several environmental groups. The positions of each side suggest sharp divisions in values and disagreement over basic facts. The 2016 legislative effort to ratify the November 9 “delisting” of Oregon wolves by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is being advanced by Rep Greg Barreto (R – Cove) and Senator Bill Hansell (R – Athena). The two are reacting to...

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