The Oregonian Editorial Board is the albatross around the state's neck

By Nick Abraham of Portland, Oregon. Nick is the editor and lead contributor of Oil Check Northwest, a local research-focused energy and politics watchdog.

The Oregonian is a paper divided. On the one hand are investigators like Rob Davis who continue the paper’s tradition of hard hitting stories on crucial issues, one that includes 6 Pulitzers since 1999. On the other, the Oregonian Editorial Board, which is quickly sinking the paper’s credibility by pushing a deeply anti-environment agenda out of step with its readership.

This year alone, the Oregonian has published 17 editorials deriding everything from getting the state off heavily polluting coal energy, electric vehicles and even a baffling attack on the state’s 40 year old bottle bill. Likewise they’ve pushed and even celebrated dangerous fossil fuel projects; everything from coal export terminals to the propane facility planned (and rejected) for Portland.

Most recently, they exasperated readers with their 18th anti-clean fuels editorial in 2 years. This bill has been passed by the legislature, signed by the governor and companies’ are already making $200 million clean fuel investments in Oregon based on it. The Oregonian’s obsession with this bill is telling of their deeply bent agenda.

Earlier this year, when the board set its 2015 editorial agenda, one of the top requests was for more stories on the environment and climate change. The paper’s bizarre answer managed to both mislead and dismiss its readership.

“Readers responded with scores of online comments and dozens of emails and letters to the editor, many of which urged us to focus on climate change…these readers will be disappointed when our agenda appears next month.” ... “It requires either profound myopia or incredible arrogance to pretend that any policy adopted by Oregon lawmakers will have a meaningful effect on the earth's temperature.”

Since releasing their climate-less agenda, the board has inexplicably written story after story on climate change related topics, all staunchly anti-environmental. Disregard for Oregonian reader's climate concerns is so dangerous because the state is already feeling the effects of a changing world. The boards claim that climate issues are "none-local" stories. Yet 7 Oregon counties are already in severe drought this year. Fire fighter budgets are exhausted, struggling with longer and more severe wildfire seasons. The state’s $100 million fishing industry is continually hit by the ocean’s rapid acidification. The tales go on and on and on.

On May 5th, the Oregonian announced that Chairman N. Christian Anderson III was on his way out. He’ll become editor of the Register-Guard in Eugene, a readership even less likely to tolerate his anti-environmental bias. However, editorial editor Erik Lukens remains. Last month, the board called the clean fuels bill the “albatross around Kate Brown’s neck” showing full well Lukens has no plans to shift course. The Oregonian may soon feel a squawking feathery weight of its own if its board doesn’t get off its one-sided soapbox.

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