TOO MUCH HEMP?: A new report published by the Oregon firm Whitney Economics says commercial hemp cultivation could become the nation's third-most lucrative crop in coming years. But it also warns that 65 percent of American hemp growers surveyed didn't have a buyer for their crop. This raises the possibility of a glut, similar to the oversupply of cannabis that has driven down Oregon's prices ("Too Much Weed," WW, April 18, 2019). But it also might just be a "hiccup," says Beau Whitney, who owns the firm and oversaw the report. "It's indicative of how immature the overall industry is," says Whitney. The report shows 46,000 acres of hemp currently being grown in Oregon by nearly 1,700 licensed growers. That's within shouting distance of Oregon's flagship crop: hazelnuts, which cover 70,000 acres. (But it's nowhere near the largest crop, wheat, at nearly 800,000 acres.)
URBAN LEAGUE BOSS RUNNING FOR SENATE: When state Sen. Jackie Winters (R-Salem) died in office earlier this year, the Senate lost its only black woman. Nkenge Harmon Johnson, CEO of the Urban League of Portland, aims to change that. Harmon Johnson, a longtime Capitol Hill and Obama administration staffer who briefly served as communications director for Gov. John Kitzhaber, is seeking the Democratic nomination in Senate District 10, which covers South Salem and Monmouth. (Harmon Johnson runs the Urban League of Portland but lives in Salem.) She hopes to challenge incumbent Denyc Boles (R-Salem), who was appointed to the seat after Winters' death. "Oregonians have so much opportunity," Harmon Johnson said Nov. 5. "Now we need to build the pathways to seize it. In affordable housing, food and agriculture, small business and jobs, health and education, and the administration of justice, we can have lasting progress within our reach."
TORNADOES PERSUADE CONSERVATIVES: Conservatives are more likely to support action to fight climate change if they report being harmed by extreme weather events, Oregon State University researchers found in a study published this month in the journal Global Environmental Change. The OSU researchers surveyed 1,600 residents in 10 communities across the United States with at least four fatalities due to extreme weather, such as floods and tornadoes, from 2012 to 2015. "There's been a lot of speculation that extreme weather could have this impact," said Hilary Boudet, an OSU associate professor of public policy. "Now we have evidence that personal harm may be moving the needle on a person's beliefs, particularly those with more conservative political orientations." The survey did not explicitly link weather to climate change, so researchers believe respondents were making the connection on their own.
WOMEN TAKE THE PORT: Since assuming office in 2015, Gov. Kate Brown has brought ethnic and gender diversity to Oregon courts, boards and commissions. She has now flipped one of the last bastions of white male dominion: the nine-member commission that directs the 128-year-old Port of Portland. Last week, Brown nominated restaurateur Katherine Lam of the Bambuza Hospitality Group and Meg Niemi, president of Service Employees International Union Local 49, to the port commission, replacing AFL-CIO boss Tom Chamberlain and Gary Young of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. If the two are confirmed by the Oregon Senate later this month, says port spokeswoman Kama Simonds, "it would be the first time there would be five women on the Port Commission."
DO GOOD: WW's Give!Guide campaign is live and accepting donors, and is vying to raise $4.2 million and engage more than 3,500 young donors. G!G heads to My People's Market on Saturday, Nov. 9, to present the Give Back Room, a collection of nonprofits doing work to support communities of color. Swing by and learn more about how to support these nonprofits, and visit giveguide.org for more details on how you can make a difference.