All blog posts created by Communications Office
  • Oregon Fire Briefings Show Need for Ron's WIldfire Funding Reform

    Ron received two fire briefings last week in Oregon that highlighted the importance of his bipartisan wildfire funding reform bill.

    Federal and state fire officials told the Senator at briefings in Portland and Bend that months of low precipitation and high temperatures throughout Oregon add up to a fire season that began earlier and could end much later than usual, perhaps into October.

    Oregon is less than a month into summer and we already are facing the potential of a terrible trifecta of drought, high temperatures and fuel buildup on the forest floor,” Ron said.

    Praising the work of firefighters on the ground battling the blazes, Ron told fire officials that his wildfire funding reform bill with Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo is a must to end the dysfunctional cycle of “fire borrowing.” Right now, the Forest Service is forced to siphon money away from fire prevention work to pay to put out fires because the cost of fighting wildfires often goes over budget. The Wyden-Crapo bill would end the dangerous cycle of raiding fire prevention accounts to fight fires by funding the largest wildfires like other natural disasters.

    The need to reform the currently broken system so that the largest infernos are funded by a separate account is especially evident, he said, as the state confronts the potential for a longer and tougher fire season.

    To see more about the Portland briefing, watch here. And to see more about the Bend briefing, watch here.

    View in full screen

    After the fire briefings in Portland and Bend, Ron held town halls in Harney, Lake and Jackson counties. At these three most recent town halls, Oregonians spoke with Ron about Iran, the global economy and the environment.

    He pledged when he was elected to the Senate in 1996 that he would hold an annual town hall in each of Oregon’s 36 counties. He has now held 740 such meetings.

    To hear more about the importance of all these town halls to Ron, watch here.

  • 7 Wonders, 7 Days

    Ron last week visited Oregon’s “Seven Wonders,’  meeting with local businesses at each stop to hear their ideas on how to build on the state’s growing recreation economy -- as well as taking in the beauty of Oregon’s natural icons.

    Listening to Oregon's Businesses

    In addition to holding those listening sessions in his visits to Crater Lake, Mount Hood, Smith Rock, the Painted Hills, the Wallowas, the Columbia River Gorge and the Coast, Ron also held similar gatherings in Portland and in Eugene.

    At each of the nine sessions, Ron and officials from Travel Oregon - who designed the "Seven Wonders” campaign -heard how Oregon’s travel and tourism economy has grown to the point that it’s become a huge economic engine in every corner of our state. Travel Oregon estimates that travel and tourism contribute to about $10.3 billion to the state’s economy.

    This is a big economic multiplier,” Ron said, citing the outfitters, gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and brewpubs, hotels and motels, and shops that all benefit from recreation and tourism.

    The reality is 100,000 jobs in Oregon depend on this industry,” Ron said.

    Among the many themes Ron heard throughout his weeklong trip were the needs for recreation permitting to be simplified, for more infrastructure, and to make sure recreation is always accessible  so that all Oregonians - children, seniors, families and veterans - can experience the many benefits of getting outdoors in our great state

    He also heard at each Wonder how Oregon’s recreation and tourism businesses have room to keep growing.

    At the start of the trip heading into the Fourth of July weekend, Ron said he hoped to hear directly from people on the ground about what actions he could take that would create the economic climate for them to continue doing what they do well—providing an unmatched experience for visitors and creating jobs in every part of our state.

    That hope was clearly met with all the feedback he gathered. Ron will take all that input and work in the months ahead on legislation, or other actions, that incorporates all the good suggestions he heard.

    The Journey

    If you want to see more photos and details about all the places Ron stopped, check out this map or use the #7WondersOregon hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

  • Legislation launched to help grow Oregon beer, wine, cider, distilling industry

    Ron unveiled legislation last weekend in Oregon that would help to continue the strong growth of the craft beverage industry -- brewers, vintners, cidermakers and distillers -- in the state and nationwide.

    Flanked by representatives from each of those beverage industries in Oregon at a June 12 news conference at Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland, Ron detailed how the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act would reduce outdated excise taxes and streamline antiquated regulations.

    The result, he said, would “uncork” even more growth in these homegrown Oregon beverage industries, which combine to produce an estimated 40,000 jobs and $6 billion in annual revenue for the state.

    The combination of tax relief and regulatory relief will free up the capital for small business that they need to reinvest to create even more jobs,’’ he said. “This is a 21st century powerful economic engine for Oregon.”

    After Friday’s news conference in Portland, the senator held a roundtable Saturday in Eugene with brewers, vintners, cidermakers and distillers from Eugene and the Willamette Valley; and Sunday in Bend with brewers, vintners, cidermakers and distillers from Central Oregon.

    At all three stops in Portland, Eugene and Bend, industry officials lauded the bill for combining all their conerens into one comprehensive piece of legislation. The legislation will be referred to the Senate Finance Committee, where Ron is the top-ranking Democrat.