Weekday Wrap: Oregon farmworkers will soon earn overtime, designs unveiled for Washougal waterfront project

Weekday Wrap: Oregon farmworkers will soon earn overtime, designs unveiled for Washougal waterfront project

Overtime farm workers are coming to Oregon

A hotly debated bill requiring agricultural employers to pay their workers overtime goes into effect Jan. 1, and some are already looking for ways around it. Some farmers have said they plan to cut hours or mechanize some of their processes.

Anne Krahmer-Steinkamp, ​​a blueberry farmer in Albany, said it’s not that she doesn’t think her workers don’t deserve the extra pay. It’s that she and other farmers say they can’t afford to pay overtime.

The additional payment will be made in stages over five years, starting in January. Farm operators will be required to pay workers time and a half for every hour worked after 55 per week. This threshold drops to 48 hours in 2025 and 40 in 2027.

While labor advocates are excited about the new policy, farmers and others say it spells trouble. “It’s not raining money in agriculture,” said Jenny Dresler, a lobbyist for the Oregon Farm Bureau Federation. “That’s rare sometimes.” (Shannon Sollitt/Salem Statesman Journal)

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Development of the Washougal waterfront will begin by the fall of 2023

A Portland-based developer recently unveiled designs for the Hyas Point waterfront development project in Washougal, Wash., and construction is expected to begin in the summer or early fall of next year. The first phase of the project will include several streets, including a main street that runs east to west along the Columbia River, and four buildings that will house 276 apartment units and 56,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. RKm Development owner Roy Kim said the company is trying to incorporate office space into the buildings to provide as much variety as possible and is looking at adding restaurant space after receiving “some interest.” (Doug Flanagan/Camas-Washougal Post Record)

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Deschutes County Jail seeks to treat drug addiction

A medication-based treatment program will soon be available for Deschutes County inmates with addictions. Once in prison, inmates will be evaluated by nurses to determine if they can benefit from the program, which combines medication-assisted treatment with counseling.

The goal is to help inmates kick their addiction, hopefully preventing them from committing future crimes, such as shoplifting or petty theft, often committed to support one’s addiction.

Without intervention, the “vicious cycle” will continue, said Josh Lair, a community outreach coordinator for Ideal Option, which partnered with the prison to implement and fund the program. “I think it’s important for us as a community,” Lair said, “to really start to change the tone and the dialogue when it comes to addiction and law enforcement.” (Anna Kaminski/Bend Bulletin)

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Clackamas County deputy shoots man during disturbance call

A Clackamas County deputy shot a man outside a home near Estacada last week, according to a news release from the county sheriff’s office Wednesday. Deputies were dispatched on Dec. 22 to a report of a domestic disturbance involving a gun at a home near Milo McIver State Park. They were able to remove family members from the home while crisis negotiators spoke with an armed man inside. But the sheriff’s office says the man was still holding a gun when he left the home. Deputy Isaac Bailey then shot 53-year-old Jason Lee Savage after telling him to drop the gun. Savage is expected to survive. Bailey has worked with the sheriff’s office for four years. A major crime group is investigating. (OPB staff)

Amtrak will get new trains with a new look for the Northwest

Amtrak passengers in the Pacific Northwest can expect new trains to come online over the next few years. The company announced that the new trains will be completed by 2026, with exterior designs based on the Northwest. Some train cars will feature Mount Hood and Mount Rainier displayed on the side. The train carriages will also include redesigned cafes and panoramic windows for viewing the Northwest scenery. The new trains will travel the 18-stop route between Eugene and Vancouver, Canada. (OPB staff)

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