WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden hopped on the phone last week in his Washington, D.C., office to brag about Oregon's vote-by-mail system. But even he had to admit he was troubled by other developments in his home state.
Wyden is a longtime cheerleader of vote by mail on Capitol Hill. He was the first U.S. senator from Oregon elected with mailed ballots. (The second, he's quick to note, was a Republican.) That system is gaining support amid a pandemic—and scorn from a president who says he'll punish states who try it.
So Wyden was in the mood to boast about Oregon's healthy turnout May 19.
He was more troubled by the sluggish pace at which the Oregon Employment Department is delivering federal benefits to jobless citizens. And he has a bad feeling about what's going to happen when COVID-19 collides with wildfire season.
He also reviewed ESPN's Michael Jordan documentary, The Last Dance. Wyden himself played college basketball, so we wondered: Did he ever face off against somebody who later played Jordan? Spoiler: Not really. But he did reminisce about the night he hooped against a future NBA star.