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April 9th, 2003 | Winners & Losers
 

Comments from the cheap seats.

     
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ILLUSTRATION BY CHAD CROWE
WINNERS

1) Nurse-midwives don't always get the respect they deserve in the medical community, but Oregon Health & Science University may help change that. U.S. News & World Report ranked the University's nurse-midwifery program the nation's best (in a tie with the University of Pennsylvania's).

2) Oregon's loggers rolled up their plaid sleeves and fired off a 21-chainsaw salute at news that federal forest managers will release giant patches of Northwest public timberland for harvest. The settlement, a compromise between conservationists and foresters, will yield 60 million board feet of lumber from 17 sites that do not threaten salmon--or so we're told.

3) In another example of brilliant budgeting, legislators axed the state's anti-smoking program to save $4 million by June. That's good news for Big Tobacco, whose products kill more people than car crashes, homicide, suicide and AIDS combined.

1) Legislators winced when an Oregonian report revealed they'd spent $800,000 worth of taxpayer money last year on ergonomic chairs, family portraits and running a members-only cafe, even while they punched huge holes in prescription coverage, drug and alcohol treatment, and other programs for the nation's hungriest population. Legislators' old chairs--sold at surplus for 77 cents each--were replaced by a model that cost $373. Can you say Ikea?

LOSERS

2) The state inched ever closer to full-blown recession as Oregon factory laborers suffered three sets of major layoffs. In just three days, Roseburg Lumber announced plans to slash 450 jobs, Sony opted to close its 277-employee compact disc plant in Springfield, and Monaco Coach decided to cut 450 positions at its Coburg plant.

3) Starbucks' relentless campaign to infiltrate and demoralize the people's republic of Portland has apparently run out of steam. Citing slow sales, the corporate java juggernaut shut down its kiosk inside the Central Library. Jittery bookworms need not fret, however--librarians will let them bring in outside coffee.

A federal judge dealt a blow to Oregon industries when he found the state's water-quality rules are so flawed and lax that they violate the U.S. Clean Water Act. Now it looks like either the state Department of Environmental Quality or the feds will have to pour out a new set of rules--tougher ones.

 
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