Spanning the State: Segregation doesn't belong in Oregon, Edition

Carla Axtman

Last week, the the Kansas House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill to allow any individual, group, or private business to refuse to serve gay couples if “it would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Brought by conservatives cowering against the fear of impending marriage equality in their state, this deep red state considered codifying anti-gay segregation into law. The state senate reined the whole thing in on Friday, however. Apparently allowing public safety officials to pick and choose which people they serve and protect based on sexual orientation was just too much, even for Kansas.

Lest you think this type of public policy is the providence of states where conservatives rule: think again. Oregon has it's own version of this circulating now as a petition, and they're gathering signatures. This proposal, along with the one in Kansas, is being sold as honoring "religious liberty".

No. This is not about religious liberty. This is about segregation. "Separate but equal" should never be public policy in Oregon.

And now, let's Span the State!

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Oregon has our own direct connection to the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The opening ceremony sweaters worn by the US Olympic Team were made with yarn from the Imperial Stock Ranch near Shaniko, Oregon.

A charter school hoping to open its doors in Cannon Beach has been denied its application by a unanimous vote of the Seaside School Board. The charter school plans to appeal. The school board noted a long series of problems with the proposal, not the least of which is a series of fiscal deficits expected to accrue. At no point in the proposal does the school show operating in the black.

The vacant Civil Stadium in Eugene will have its fate decided this Wednesday when the Eugene School Board votes to select either the city of Eugene, Fred Meyer or the Eugene Family YMCA to buy or lease the stadium property. Eugene School District Superintendent Sheldon Berman has recommended to the Board that they select the city of Eugene, but the Fred Meyer team says they'll stick around even if they're not chosen in case the deal falls through. Despite neighborhood protest against the opening of a Fred Meyer store at the location, the potential financial benefits for Fred Meyer are tremendous.

The Wallowa County Chieftan hosts a folksy, if not confusing column from Barrie Quallie, a cowboy from Wallowa County. Suffice it to say the piece demonstrates a tremendous gift for storytelling. This story focuses on Quallie's high school classmate Donnie Burns who "had won the County Spelling Bee when he was in the eighth grade. His next big win was the pinochle championship in San Quentin." The confusion for me comes in what is meant to be the lesson of this piece. But see what you think.

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