A tip of the hat; a kick in the pants: Nov. 9, 2010

A tip of the hat; a kick in the pants

A tip of the hat to our representatives, Bob Jenson of Pendleton and Greg Smith of Heppner, for their re-election to the Oregon House. They asked for and got re-elected, but both Republicans know it’s not going to be an easy two years in the Legislature.

Oregon faces considerable — some would say insurmountable — budget problems. Jenson and Smith, the two most senior House members, will play key leadership roles.

We might even suggest each should be considered for top positions based on their vast knowledge and willingness to work for solutions outside of the backroom politics of the major parties.

How does Mr. Speaker Jenson sound? How about Mr. Smith, chairman of the budget committee? Or, vice versa? Transportation and other business groups would certainly approve of either or both in those key positions.

That would give northeast Oregon some real clout in solving problems here and across the state.


A tip of the hat to Portland General Electric for its efforts to find a cleaner fuel for its Boardman plant.

Faced with opposition from environmentalists who object to the company burning coal at Boardman, PGE officials are considering partnering with area growers to produce giant cane. Corporate managers admit producing electricity from cane would be more expensive than from coal, but they expect even the cost of coal-fired operation to increase over time.

The greatest benefit of switching from coal to cane for PGE would be the company’s ability to continue to operate its 30-year-old Boardman plant with few modifications.

That would preserve PGE workers’ jobs and would keep area farmers busy growing fuel for firing the generators. But first, company officials want to conduct a test burn in 2012, and hope to contract with farmers to grow 250-350 acres of giant cane during the next two years.

We applaud PGE for trying to make the best of a bad situation. Without searching for alternatives, they could be closing the plant forever within 10 years.


A kick in the tail for clean-up operators at Hanford. It turns out, according to a report in the Tri-City Herald, that a radioactive rabbit was trapped and killed at the Hanford nuclear reservation recently.

 It seems it was likely drinking water from the basement of an old building on the site that was being torn down under tight control. The rabbit was trapped in an area fairly near the boundary of the reservation and close enough that its droppings could have posed a hazard. The clean-up contractor had found the droppings last week. That lead to a rabbit-trapping operation netting the hot bunny. 

Officials say there is no danger to the public. Still, it is a very serious matter and worth a kick to all involved with the clean-up operation. There are lots of rabbits in our part of the world and the public must be protected. It does cause one to worry that a faster rabbit might have hopped away.


A tip of the hat to the employees in the Umatilla County District Attorney’s office. They’ve had to endure the hurt inflicted as the Department of Justice investigates District Attorney Dean Gushwa for sexual harassment and other potential legal violations involving county employees. It’s been a difficult situation for all involved, to say the least.

According to Commissioner Dennis Doherty and sources in the DOJ, the office hasn’t missed a beat in prosecutions and keeping up to speed on criminal cases. That says a lot about the legal and clerical workers in the office.

A tip of the hat also to Attorney General John Kroger and the DOJ for providing the leadership and assistance to the Umatilla office. We have a feeling the investigation of Mr. Gushwa is nearing conclusion and strongly believe justice will be properly served.


A tip of the hat and toot on a Indian flute to Ko-Na Foster Kalama of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation for a very innovative program that uses music to help ease potentially troubled youth into being positive citizens and better students. Kalama, who had worked as a tribal prosecutor, child advocate and war veterans counselor, began to share his love of music with students at Madras Middle School. He soon had hardened gang members falling in love with American Indian music. His work provided an inspirational story as reported by Erin Mills in the Sunday East Oregonian.  We encourage you to go to eastoregonian.com to read it if you missed the Sunday newspaper print version. Perhaps it, along with an interesting writing program also shared at a meeting at the Pendleton Library this past weekend, can serve as inspiration for similar programs in Eastern Oregon.

Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the East Oregonian editorial board, comprising Publisher and Editor Tom Brown, Associate Publisher Kathryn Brown, Managing Editor Skip Nichols, News Editor Daniel Wattenburger and Senior Reporter Dean Brickey. EO Publishing Co. Board Chairman Mike Forrester also contributes editorial content. Other columns, letters and cartoons on this page express the opinions of the authors and not necessarily that of the East Oregonian. 


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