A kick in the pants to everyone involved in the illegal dumping of radioactive waste in an Arlington landfill.

According to reporting by Oregon Public Broadcasting, more than 2.5 million pounds of radioactive fracking waste ended up in the landfill along the Columbia Gorge after a North Dakota company, Goodnight Midnight, contracted a company called Oilfield Waste Logistics to dispose of fracking waste. According to Columbia Waste Management, the company that operates the Arlington landfill, Oilfield Waste Logistics “misrepresented” the nature of the materials.

This week, OPB reported, Oregon Department of Energy decided it was less risk to the health of landfill workers to leave the radioactive waste where it is than to try to extract it and haul it to another state. Workers were already unknowingly exposed to the materials when the waste came in.

The department also fined Oilfield Waste Logistics and Columbia Waste Management — and rightly so. But the amounts ($308,656 and $60,000, respectively) seem paltry and are unlikely to provide any real deterrent to large companies illegally dumping dangerous materials in Oregon in the future.

A tip of the hat to those running for election in May. Hermiston and Pendleton school districts, in particular, have multiple contested races for school board seats that, at times, no one has run for at all. Anecdotally, it seems school boards around the state are seeing more interest this year, likely because decisions regarding COVID-19 have highlighted how influential those positions are.

Of course, quality is as important as quantity when it comes to political races, and we hope candidates prove wise, competent and well-informed. Competitive races have a way of forcing candidates to articulate their positions and make their case, and draws additional attention to the issues. That’s always a win.

A tip of the hat to the collaboration in Hermiston between Agape House and Hispanic Advisory Committee Chair Jose Garcia to bring food and clothing to farmworkers. Agape House Executive Director Mark Gomolski estimates they have provided supplies to approximately 4,800 people so far.

Workers in industries where long hours are the norm and paid vacation isn’t readily available can have a difficult time visiting food pantries during their operating hours, so it makes sense to provide a more accessible opportunity.

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