BIDEN BUNDLER LIST DOESN'T INCLUDE ANY LIKELY AMBASSADORS: As President Joe Biden's administration begins filling political appointments, The Washington Post this week speculated on whom he might name to ambassadorships, noting that big donors often get prime posts. (One recent example: Portland hotelier Gordon Sondland, a Trump donor appointed ambassador to the European Union. Sondland's now working on a tell-all book.) Just four Oregonians made the list of the 800 individuals or couples who raised $100,000 or more for Biden: Columbia Sportswear general counsel Peter Bragdon, Portland General Electric executive Nidhi J. Thakar, and The New Republic publisher Win McCormack and his partner, political consultant Carol Butler. The first two declined to comment. Butler says the only thing she and McCormick wanted was a Biden victory. "It really felt like American democracy was at stake," Butler says.
VAXX BILL SPIKED WITHOUT A FIGHT: Advocates for increasing Oregon's childhood vaccination rates have opted not to push a bill this year to remove the philosophical exemption for parents who don't want their children vaccinated for school. "Oregon is at a critical moment with the implementation of vaccinations for COVID-19, and we have determined this does not make it possible to have the engaged, thoughtful conversation we need about childhood vaccination requirements in our schools," the Healthy Kids, Safe Schools coalition wrote to its partners in an email obtained by WW. "We remain committed to bringing back this legislation in a future session." Two years ago, Democratic lawmakers killed a bill to end Oregon's philosophical exemption to school vaccination requirements, as part of a compromise to end a Republican walkout (though more walkouts followed). This year's Senate Bill 254 would also have ended the philosophical exemption. The political minefield that vaccines represent, along with the focus of public health officials on addressing the pandemic, appears to have been too complicated for advocates to traverse this year. Oregon, along with Idaho, has the highest philosophical exemption rate in the country.
HERNANDEZ EXPULSION VOTE DELAYED: The ongoing saga of third-term state Rep. Diego Hernandez (D-East Portland) took two twists this week. Facing an expulsion vote for violating House rules on sexual harassment and creating a hostile workplace, Hernandez filed a lawsuit Feb. 12 in Marion County Circuit Court seeking a temporary injunction to block the vote. He's also seeking $1 million in damages from the Legislature for the infliction of "emotional distress" and the loss of his legislative pay—which Hernandez reckons to be $60,000 a year, including per diem allowances—and benefits. Due to a pandemic-affected schedule, the House only meets in floor sessions on Tuesdays. House leadership announced the Feb. 16 session, where a vote on Hernandez's fate had been contemplated, would be canceled because of weather. Meanwhile, the state requested that Hernandez's lawsuit be moved to federal court, where it will be heard in front of U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken at 1 pm on Feb. 18.
BLUMENAUER WANTS TAX CREDIT FOR E-BIKES: Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland) has introduced a bill to give up to $1,500 in tax credits to anyone buying an electric bicycle. The Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment, or E-BIKE, Act would cover 30% of the cost of e-bikes with a sticker price up to $8,000. "One of the few positive developments of the last year has been the surge in biking," said Blumenauer, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus. "Communities large and small are driving a bike boom. Notably, electric bicycles are expanding the range of people who can participate and making bike commuting even easier."
WYDEN DESCRIBES INSURRECTION: In the latest episode of Dive, a podcast by Willamette Week, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) describes the failed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the acquittal of former President Donald Trump in another impeachment trial. "You really felt our very Capitol was at risk," he says. "Because Donald Trump in effect invited this mob from practically everywhere." The exclusive interview streams Feb. 20 wherever you get your podcasts.