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Brown's Budget Outlines Her Rural Agenda

Gov. Kate Brown's proposed budget includes more than $247 million for rural infrastructure projects in Oregon and other increased spending to benefit rural residents.

Posted: Dec 7, 2018 9:37 AM
Updated: Dec 7, 2018 9:54 AM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown's proposed budget includes more than $247 million for rural infrastructure projects in Oregon and other increased spending to benefit rural residents.

The Daily Astorian reports there's enthusiasm from observers about Brown's spending plans for rural Oregon, from dams to housing to high-speed internet.

But some advocates and lawmakers worry about other parts of her budget that cut fire protection on forestland, hold steady money for community colleges and increase taxes by $2 billion.

Despite the state's robust overall economic growth, rural Oregon has yet to fully bounce back from the Great Recession.

Rural unemployment has been declining since its peak in 2009, and the state's rural economy is less diverse, making it more vulnerable to shocks. And the populace and workforce in rural areas of Oregon are aging, according to a report last year from the state Employment Department.

Brown wants to boost funding for loan programs and for public-private partnerships to build housing for people who can't find affordable homes in the communities where they work. Brown wants the state to borrow $130 million through bonds to build up to 2,100 affordable homes for communities of color and in rural areas.

The governor has also proposed millions in water projects.

Brown's budget allots $16 million to replace the Wallowa Dam, which is more than a century old and whose operators keep less water than it was built to hold to avoid a failure.

Brown's wish list includes an agricultural workforce center at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton and an industrial trades center at Klamath County Community College in Klamath Falls.

Oregon's 17 community colleges had about 280,000 students in the 2016-17 school year, according to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. They primarily serve rural areas.

But unless the Legislature raises nearly $2 billion in new taxes for her major education revival plan, Brown's budget would reduce money that community colleges say they need to continue current operations for the next two years.

It would also cut funds to Oregon Promise, which covers tuition for certain students.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 309841

Reported Deaths: 3569
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah50840642
Washington34683272
Marion32181388
Clackamas26315270
Lane23632246
Jackson20753255
Deschutes16401100
Umatilla12552125
Douglas10599185
Linn1030285
Josephine8536163
Yamhill737299
Klamath637891
Polk617770
Malheur475867
Benton454027
Coos406469
Columbia320237
Jefferson310446
Lincoln272829
Union266036
Wasco236739
Crook212137
Clatsop210225
Tillamook179623
Baker171920
Morrow166621
Curry166317
Hood River161635
Harney77115
Grant7538
Lake6608
Wallowa50111
Gilliam1364
Sherman1283
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4636268

Reported Deaths: 67966
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles144412725849
Riverside3575584802
San Diego3492274006
San Bernardino3468955501
Orange3135295354
Sacramento1498662070
Santa Clara1403871841
Fresno1356471889
Kern1343971515
Alameda1160681320
Ventura976231120
San Joaquin971621615
Contra Costa95595924
Stanislaus800341229
Tulare72812896
San Mateo52172607
San Francisco51808605
Monterey49445565
Solano44061312
Santa Barbara43065500
Sonoma39376376
Merced39279535
Placer36390364
Imperial34235755
Kings30038285
San Luis Obispo28273313
Madera21672258
Butte21205230
Shasta20647276
Santa Cruz20134211
Yolo19118239
Marin17080242
El Dorado15964127
Sutter13055153
Napa1224695
Yuba923461
Nevada845685
Humboldt826284
Tehama821184
San Benito708567
Mendocino681971
Lassen636827
Tuolumne612593
Lake601087
Amador489759
Glenn396430
Siskiyou388841
Calaveras339366
Del Norte334234
Colusa290718
Inyo166239
Mono14935
Plumas12336
Mariposa96712
Trinity71910
Modoc6278
Sierra1980
Unassigned1180
Alpine1000
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