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Surplus and Pain from Trump Tax Plan in Oregon

Eugene tax returnSALEM, Oregon — A report released Friday from Oregon’s state economists warned the federal tax overhaul could cost the state more than $200 million in revenue in the short term, amid an overall bright outlook for state businesses and workers.

The report by the office of Economic Analysis predicted state tax revenues would drop, then eventually begin to rise after changes made in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed by President Trump late last year. Ultimately, state economists said economic activity stimulated by the overhaul should make up most of the loss, leaving the state only about $40.1 million in the red. They cautioned that the effect was uncertain.

“Our forecasts are always very uncertain. There’s always a whole lot of upside and downside risk,” said Mark McMullen, the state economist for Oregon. “This time it’s even more extreme — I am not even sure the authors of the federal tax law know all of its implications.”

Because of both the tax overhaul and the recent stock market adjustment, in which markets dropped sharply at the start of this month, state economists lowered their revenue predictions through at least 2023.

Oregon uses figures from residents’ federal tax forms to calculate state tax, so changes to federal law automatically carry over to the state’s own system. Based on changes to tax law alone, the maximum potential impact on state revenues from the overhaul is about $217 million in the next two years — and would last until the expiration of some tax discounts in the federal rules. But McMullen said state economists expect increased economic activity and corporate funds repatriated from offshore to wipe out about $177 million of the shortfall.

The report also relayed positive signs about economic activity in the state, with employment growth and wages and household income rising faster than the national average. Analysts described the figures as in keeping with previous predictions, and part of a long-running national economic upturn.

The effect of the federal overhaul had been a point of uncertainty for state lawmakers, who had been debating adjustments to state taxes based on early estimates that the overhaul would initially cost Oregon about $55 million per year. The prediction of a smaller deficit raised questions about whether lawmakers would adjust their response.

Senate Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson said in a statement that she remained uneasy over the effects of the federal plan on state revenues in the long run, despite the positive news in the forecast.

Sen. Jackie Winter, the leader of the Republican minority, said she saw the forecast as eliminating the need for tax increases this year.

A key feature of the report is the gradual decrease of the negative effects of both the overhaul and the market shift. The report and other state documents predict it will occur over about the next six years. State predictions, which give figures for two-year periods, put the state down $40.1 million in 2018-2019, down roughly $109 million in 2020-2021, and down $93 million in 2022-2023, compared to revenue estimates prepared last year. After 2023, forecasters say effects from both will become positive.

Chief among the drivers of the swing is the stock market shift, McMullen said, the effects of which will likely take multiple years to fully affect the state economy.

On Friday, other Oregon economists said they saw the findings in the report as positive news for the state’s economy in general, but unclear in their effects on the state budget, especially in the long term.

Eugene Gas Price Stays Steady: Will it change in 2018?

Gas Price EugeneEUGENE, Oregon — Average retail gasoline prices in Eugene have not moved in the past week, averaging $2.77/g Monday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 78 gas outlets in Eugene.

This compares with the national average that has increased 3.9 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.48/g.

Including the change in gas prices in Eugene during the past week, prices were 29.1 cents per gallon higher Monday than the same day one year ago and are 5.8 cents per gallon lower than a month ago.

The national average has increased 1.3 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 13.6 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.


Gasoline prices on January 2 in Eugene have ranged widely over the last five years:
2017 – $2.48/g
2016 – $2.34/g
2015 – $2.49/g
2015 – $2.49/g
2014 – $3.37/g
2013 – $3.41/g


Areas near Eugene and their current gas price climate:

Portland – $2.81/g, down 0.4 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.81/g.
Medford – $2.80/g, up 2.7 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.78/g.
Salem – $2.75/g, up 1.2 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.74/g.


“It’s mostly a happy New Year as gas prices remain in the low-to-mid $2 per gallon range, but it’s not quite as happy as could be as it’s the priciest start to a New Year since 2014,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “2017 wrapped up a fairly tame year, but keep in mind oil prices are among the highest we’ve witnessed in over two years, and we’re in the middle of a severe cold snap, one which is likely to drive up demand for heating oil, propane and other petroleum products, which is certainly a bullish start to the year. GasBuddy’s 2018 Annual Fuel Outlook, being released tomorrow morning, will be giving motorists a good look at what to expect in the year ahead. In looking at our own report card from our 2017 Fuel Outlook, we had forecast a yearly average gas price of $2.49 per gallon, and were less than 10 cents away from hitting it head on. Anyone who’s got a tank to fill- whether gas or diesel- will want to stay in the know for what’s coming in the year ahead.”


Coca-Cola Bottling Franchisee Could Bring New Life to Shuttered Eugene Factory

Eugene NewsEUGENE, OR – The shuttered Coca-Cola bottling factory in northeast Eugene may get a second life.


A Utah-based Coca-Cola bottling franchisee is examining an enlargement of the 24,000-square-foot distribution building at 2980 Chad Drive, according to planning documents filed with the Eugene Planning and Development Department.


Swire Coca-Cola, USA, headquartered in suburban Salt Lake City, bought the building in May from another franchisee based in Los Angeles for $1.8 million, according to a deed filed in Lane County.


The building has been unused and vacant since 2013.


An architectural firm working with Swire filed documents and blueprints with the city of Eugene proposing a building addition of an undisclosed size, plus improvements to the existing interior.


A Swire spokeswoman, Scarlett Foster-­Moss, said the company had not committed to any expansion in Eugene. “We are in the process of taking on new territory in Oregon,” she said. “As part of that, we are really exploring all of our options in terms of our ability to grow our footprint. Obviously, that means assessing all the facilities we now possess.”


The Chad Drive bottling and distribution factory was built on 8 acres in 1990, with large truck bays and warehouse doors for Coca-Cola to distribute soft drinks across the region. The property sits between Chad Drive and Randy Papé Beltline.


Coca-Cola closed the facility in 2013 as it developed its distribution in the Portland area, laying off 21 warehouse drivers and others.


Swire’s documents are light on details. A two-line project description says, “tenant improvement of interior office space” and “building addition at the south side of the distribution center.” On October 10, company representatives met with city planners to discuss the plan.


Two blueprints appear to show an addition even larger than the existing building.


Swire’s purchase of the Eugene property was part of a refranchising agreement that gave the company control of bottling and distribution buildings in Bend, Wilsonville, Pendleton and La Grande. The company also owns dozens of properties in eight other west and Midwest states, according to its website.


Swire is the 3rd largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the United States, its website says, with more than 1,800 employees.


Greater Limitations on Fireworks in Eugene

EUGENE – Eugene City Councilors are taking to the public their future ordinance further restricting the use of fireworks.


Councilors voted 6-2 to move the regulation to a public hearing on Wednesday.


The regulation tightens up limits on firework use within Eugene city limits.


It shrinks the window that you can legally light personal fireworks to the following four days:


July 3

July 4

New Year’s Eve, and

New Year’s Day


Large commercial events, such as an Emeralds baseball game, would need special approval to light fireworks outside of those days.


The proposed regulation also bans fireworks that produce “audible effects” such as whistles, screeches or bands.


It is too loud if it can be heard more than 50 feet away.


Other councilors said that restriction of noisy fireworks will protect sensitive groups like those with PTSD, seniors, pets, or just the general public.

They also cite safety as another reason to tighten up restrictions.


Councilor Betty Taylor said, “I hope we don’t have to have a huge fire before we actually have a ban.”


In addition, Councilors Greg Evans and Mike Clark voted against moving the proposed ordinance to a public hearing. Clark said, “I think this ordinance is silly”.


Clark also questioned the city’s ability to apply the new regulation.


One idea is to use a new App, “Nail ‘Em,” that is now being used in California. With the click of a button, the app allows you to record your neighbors’ fireworks use and send it directly to police.
Amy Linder with Eugene-Springfield Fire said, “You can take a photograph of what you observe, it marks it with a time stamp and GPS coordinate, and then that data is collected”.


Linder reported they are still in the initial stages of exploring the app and that might not be ready for this Independence Day. Nevertheless, the proposed ordinance might. Councilors want to hear more from the community at a public hearing. The earliest that could be scheduled for is November 20.


The New Generation of Electric Trucks

Electric TrucksMany car making companies had shown their interest in electric trucks but it was not clear if the industry of trucking is ready for it.  Many analysts and ordinary people expressed their complaints about the impacts of trucking, such as pollution of the air and traffic on freeways and highways. As a result, electric trucks can be very beneficial. Tesla, an American auto maker and energy storage company, plans to take over the idea. It prepares to reveal the Tesla Semi by the end of this month. However, when the product will be revealed, using it in the transportation industry will not be as fast as many people can predict. German company of auto making, Mercedes Benz, has been testing its model of electric truck since April 2016. Formerly, it has been confirmed that electric trucks will be highly usable in the nearest future. Although, we will not see roads full of electric trucks in the upcoming months, the society’s adoption of them will eventually take place over the next few years.


What Benefits Does It Have?

To keep it short, electric trucks are cost dynamic. This new technology will have, indeed, other advantages as well. New safety details will be added. The trucks will have some degree of automated driving. The most important feature is the less reliance on the traditional fuel.

It Will Surely Have Threats

Commercial trucks need absolutely another source of power. Heavy trucks mostly are not efficient enough. Having heavy cargo will make the truck much heavier. What about charging stations? That issue is remaining uncertain. After revealing Tesla Semi, there will be problems with people getting charge on stations and not having to stop in the middle of the road. It is a big issue for traffics on freeways. These are vital challenges that auto making companies should consider.

Industry of Trucking

There are two main factors that will show which company will have the most market share. However, the quality of the vehicle remains in the first place. Being the first to produce this kind of vehicle is a proven benefit for the company. Companies must optimize the process of the product. As for Tesla, the process has been quickened because of its presence in mass media. Many analysts said their opinions about the product. One of them even said that it can be the biggest catalyst in trucking in decades.

Kaiser Permanente Grants $794,000 to 3 Non-Profit Organization in Eugene

Recently, Kaiser Permanente is donating a combined $794,000 to three nonprofit organizations in Eugene, Oregon. Within those three nonprofit organizations, two are caused to help the mentally ill and keep housing and one is aimed towards helping low-income parents who have experienced trauma during their own childhood.

ShelterCare and Willamette Family Inc will receive $325,000 each over a time period of 3 ½ years. Trauma Healing Project will receive $144,000 over 3 years. This brings in the total up to $794,000.

All of the organizations had to apply for the grants they received.

The mission of Kaiser Permanente is strictly about improving the health of the communities we serve.

The grants that were received by ShelterCare and Willamette Family Inc are a part of $2.27 million that Kaiser Permanente has aimed towards seven nonprofit organizations in Oregon and Washington. The grant that was given to Trauma Healing Project came from Kaiser Permanente Community

Fund at the NW Health Foundation which is completely separate.

The money that was granted to ShelterCare will help 120 people, Willamette Family Inc will help 300 people, and the Trauma Healing Project will help 650 people.

The aim of ShelterCare is to teach managers and property owners how to properly assist tenants who are mentally ill or have a problem with addiction that are stirring up issues related to housing. As for the Willamette Family Inc, they aim to train health workers providing a rental rehabilitation program for people who suffer with health challenges related to behavior. Finally, Trauma Healing Project aims to help parents who are expecting and parents who have young children and have experienced a type of childhood trauma when they were a child.

Kaiser Permanente was founded in 1945 and is based in Oakland, CA. They are one of the largest nonprofit health care plans in the nation. In 2015, Kaiser Permanente opened a medical clinic and a dental clinic in Eugene. The medical office is located in the same area where the former Eugene Public Library used to be. Whereas, the dental office is located near Vallery River Center in place of the former Fletcher’s for Children store.
Around 10,000 patients are served by Kaiser Permanente in Lane County, which includes 2,000 patients on the Oregon Health Plan. In all, Kaiser Permanente serves over 50,000 members nationwide.

Since opening in Eugene in 2015, the organization has given out over $800,000 in grants.

Eugene School Students Raised $10,000 During Nature Walk

Kennedy Middle School organized a fundraiser and raised over $10.000. Tuesday morning the students took a long walk around Eugene in a company of Eugene Police bike patrol.


Over 500 middle school students took a Nature Walk seven to ten miles long with a Cop fundraiser. They were raising money for field programs, scholarships and programs for future students. It was also a way to support student PRIDE (Positive attitude, Respect, Integrity, Discipline, Excellence). The program is made to reward students for good work.

The students of Kennedy Middle School loved the opportunity to help future students. They have raised over $10,000. The donations are also going to be accepted through the weekend.

It is the first time Kennedy Middle School has organized the fundraiser. It was not just a chance to get money for future programs and projects, but for students to be physically active and participate in a social activity.

New Eugene City Hall Costs Much More Than Expected

The new design for the Eugene City Hall can cost the city a lot more than expected. The price has already climbed up to $24 million which is $6 million more than the initial plan has suggested and can go up to about $25 million.

city hallThe officials say that the old building was turned inward and did not look welcoming and accessible.  The new four-story building will be turned outward to “invite people in”. The increase of the cost happened because of the safety reasons. Project managers say that the seismic update is required so the project would be built to last and not fall down in case of an earthquake. They want the highest level of seismic safety used for fire stations and hospitals. To find the money for the upgrade and other additions, the city staff considers fundraising and using the city’s risk fund.

The project arises many objections, as none of the decisions were brought to vote. Some think that the new building will look more like a fortress because all of the over the top safety measures and create a wrong image.

The cost can be reduced if the council votes against some of the additions many people question, such as individual offices for part-time councilors. The voting will take place on the April, 20.

Heavy Snow And Blizzards Expected From Appalachia To Philly


Heavy snow that hit Washington area is expected to arrive from Appalachia to Philly and possibly farther north by the weekend. In Virginal a state of emergency was issued Thursday morning. Power outages and travel disruptions are possible. It is advised to stay off the roads when the storm hits, although they are being prepared for the severe weather.

On Wednesday there was heavy traffic in Maryland because of the storm, and major delays continued through the night. In Virginia, because of the road and ramp closures, there were 767 crashes over a 24-hour period.

The National Weather Service stated that there can be 12-16 inches of snow coming down during the weekend around the I-95. In Philadelphia’s northern suburbs up to a foot of snow is possible. Heavy snow is predicted for Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington. In the District of Columbia a blizzard is possible. In Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas ice and freezing rain are possible.