Hill to Hall Nov. 20–22

Nov. 20: Oregon county jury sides with counties in timber revenue lawsuit

The state of Oregon lost a lawsuit by 14 Oregon counties, which claimed the state cost them decades worth of logging revenue and won $1.1 billion in damages. The four-week trial, which took place in Linn County, argued over the meaning of “greatest permanent value” of designated state forest land, using an 80-year-old law that promised to share revenue with counties, according to AP News. While the state is expected to appeal, the judgement accrues $90 million in interest a year, which according to The Oregonian, encourages the state to resolve the case quickly. 


Nov. 21: Portland prepares new program for 911 Calls involving people experiencing houselessness

Portland City Council approved a new program to respond to low-priority 911 calls involving people experiencing houselessness, which is planned to start in 2020. The project, called the Portland Street Response, will create a new team of first responders, pairing a medic from the fire bureau and a crisis worker aiming to provide a more compassionate response to people in crisis, as well as keep 911 responders free for higher priority calls, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. The project, led by Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, is planned to start in the Lents neighborhood, where calls have swelled in the past five years. 


Nov. 22: Oregon Supreme Court bans random traffic stop questions 

A new ruling by Oregon’s Supreme Court prohibits police officers from asking questions during traffic stops that are unrelated to the reason the driver was pulled over. It restricts officers to asking questions that are “reasonably related” to the original reason the driver was pulled over, according to OPB. While officers still have leeway to ask questions if they have reason to believe a separate crime has occurred, officers can no longer inquire about crimes without there being an explicit reason to be suspicious of that crime. 


Nov. 22: Protesters against planned pipeline stage sit-in in Governor’s office

Demonstrators opposed to the Jordan Cove Project, which proposes a new pipeline that would be built through Oregon, staged a sit-in at Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s office in the state capitol. The project is sponsored by Canadian company Pembina and would build a 229-mile pipeline to an export facility in Coos Bay, according to Willamette Week. The demonstrators were protesting for Brown, who was not in the capital and had no official stance on the project, to oppose it. According to AP News, 21 protesters were arrested for trespassing but were released Friday morning.