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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: 66333

Reported Deaths: 826
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah15240213
Washington903896
Marion8436130
Clackamas547276
Umatilla415648
Lane389037
Jackson343623
Malheur231839
Deschutes195514
Yamhill158216
Linn127518
Polk107615
Douglas82215
Jefferson77311
Benton7197
Union7172
Klamath6854
Morrow6257
Lincoln56513
Wasco47918
Josephine4434
Columbia4383
Coos3901
Hood River3661
Clatsop3350
Baker2593
Crook1986
Grant1231
Tillamook1120
Curry1052
Lake1010
Harney871
Wallowa702
Sherman230
Gilliam210
Wheeler30
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1128219

Reported Deaths: 18753
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3706367446
San Bernardino851761129
Riverside815651413
San Diego72815968
Orange711161554
Kern38519445
Fresno36315471
Sacramento33421546
Santa Clara31103464
Alameda27622499
San Joaquin24649503
Contra Costa22482258
Stanislaus20658418
Tulare19818303
Ventura18105174
Imperial15257355
San Francisco14542158
Monterey13887114
San Mateo13334169
Sonoma11486155
Merced10986176
Santa Barbara10946133
Kings1011586
Solano936380
Marin7560128
Placer607167
Madera588580
San Luis Obispo566435
Yolo425775
Shasta410042
Santa Cruz389627
Butte371259
Napa277817
Sutter267713
El Dorado19304
San Benito174615
Yuba173210
Lassen14803
Tehama145723
Mendocino142422
Nevada10529
Lake83418
Glenn8326
Humboldt7849
Tuolumne7848
Colusa6426
Mono4993
Siskiyou4951
Amador45016
Calaveras43421
Inyo27916
Del Norte2731
Plumas1770
Modoc1140
Trinity1140
Mariposa1122
Alpine420
Sierra170
Unassigned00
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