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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.

Confirmed Cases: 19699

Reported Deaths: 333
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah455393
Washington287723
Marion271368
Umatilla212224
Clackamas144337
Malheur70812
Deschutes5488
Lane5353
Jackson4111
Yamhill39912
Lincoln3959
Union3922
Jefferson3243
Morrow3162
Polk30012
Linn25510
Klamath1981
Hood River1740
Wasco1713
Benton1606
Douglas1391
Josephine1071
Coos880
Columbia840
Clatsop820
Crook431
Baker350
Lake320
Tillamook320
Wallowa191
Curry140
Sherman140
Harney100
Gilliam40
Grant20
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 526685

Reported Deaths: 9684
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1958054760
Riverside38487738
Orange38066653
San Bernardino34017477
San Diego30516568
Kern21228151
Fresno15759138
San Joaquin11958180
Alameda11909192
Santa Clara11030192
Sacramento10174148
Tulare9990193
Imperial9513232
Stanislaus9308135
Contra Costa8176131
Ventura787777
San Francisco698961
Santa Barbara652663
San Mateo5744120
Marin518076
Monterey496634
Merced458351
Kings445356
Solano380638
Sonoma311339
Madera211432
Placer195318
San Luis Obispo192616
Yolo161442
Santa Cruz11964
Butte10128
Napa9809
Sutter8406
San Benito6894
El Dorado6681
Lassen6320
Yuba5334
Shasta3979
Colusa3574
Mendocino3419
Glenn3321
Nevada3161
Tehama2461
Humboldt2454
Lake2111
Mono1451
Tuolumne1442
Amador1370
Calaveras1361
Del Norte900
Siskiyou880
Inyo641
Mariposa592
Plumas330
Trinity50
Modoc40
Sierra30
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
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Hi: 91° Lo: 57°
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Brookings
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Crater Lake
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Grants Pass
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Klamath Falls
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