Hill to Hall April 15-21

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April 12–17: White House sends mixed signals regarding interest in TPP

White House officials reported on April 12 that President Donald Trump told top economic advisors to reconsider entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an international trade agreement from which Trump withdrew in 2017 as one of his first acts in office. Trump later tweeted on April 17, “I don’t like the [TPP] deal. Bilateral deals are far more efficient, profitable and better for our workers.”

April 16: Uber issues letter of apology to Portland leaders

In an open letter addressed to Portland City Council, Uber General Manager for the Pacific Northwest Alejandro Chouza apologized for “[certain missteps and failure] to live up to the Portland way of collaboration and transparency” since the ridesharing company began operating in Portland in 2014. As The Oregonian reported, the exact nature of these mistakes is not clarified, leaving the matter open to speculation about a number of scandals, including Uber’s use of the controversial violation of terms of service tool known as Greyball and the October 2016 security breach in which Uber paid hackers $100,000 to keep quiet.

April 17: Will pro baseball come to Portland?

The Oregonian reported The Portland Diamond Project submitted formal proposals for one of two sites near downtown Portland for a new baseball stadium. The first site is the current Portland Public Schools headquarters in the Rose Quarter; the second is an industrial site owned by Esco. Lawmakers have attempted to bring Major League Baseball to Portland since at least 1996.

April 18: Treaty to formally end Korean conflict in discussion

Ahead of next week’s inter-Korean summit, lawmakers in North and South Korea have confirmed they are negotiating details of a treaty to officially end the Korean War, which began in 1950 and came to a halt following a 1953 armistice agreement. Key points of discussion are denuclearization of the North and possible or partial withdrawal of American troops from the Demilitarized Zone of the South.

April 18: City Council candidate proposes new tax to fund social services

Portland City Council Candidate Julia DeGraw held a rally on April 18 in support of her proposed Basic Rights and Social Services Tax. According to DeGraw’s campaign website, the BRASS tax would raise revenue from Portland’s highest income earners to fund social services including schools, affordable housing and mental health and addiction programs.

April 18: Senate Democrats propose new Medicare buy-in bill  

Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) have proposed a new bill that would allow working-age Americans to buy into Medicare. The bill adds to the list of five major proposals that could affect the Affordable Care Act.

April 20: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announces aim to ban assault weapons

During Portland’s National School Walkout Friday morning for the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School Shooting, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced he would ask state lawmakers in the next legislative session to lift Oregon’s preemption laws so Portland can ban assault-style weapons. Preemption laws, active in 43 states, prohibit city government from making their own gun control laws. Referring to the April 7 Portland Police shooting of John Elifritz, Portland’s Resistance founder Gregory McKelvey tweeted, “This dude [Wheeler] really used my megaphone to act like he cares about gun violence. Police violence is gun violence.”

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