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Sources Say: Oregon vs. Oracle? Outside state, few seem interested

How big a deal is the fight between Oregon and Oracle on the Cover Oregon health exchange website?

In state court, Oregon has accused Oracle of racketeering; in federal court, Oracle has accused Oregon of contract and copyright violations. But none of those suits were mentioned in the recent national news stories about Oracle Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison’s announcement that he is stepping down as head of the high-tech firm he founded.

In fact, not a single story on Ellison’s decision in such publications as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today even mentioned that Oregon has accused Oracle of a criminal conspiracy. Makes you wonder if anyone outside of Oregon thinks the dispute is more than just political posturing.

OK, now this debate is a real party

Photo Credit: TRIBUNE PHOTO JAIME VALDEZ - Jason Levin, the Pacific Green Party candidate for Oregon Governor.Just when the major parties thought it was safe to talk to a bunch of newspaper editors, along comes Jason Levin to crash the party.

Levin, the Pacific Green Party candidate for governor, showed up uninvited Monday morning as the two major party candidates — Democrat Gov. John Kitzhaber and Republican state Rep. Dennis Richardson — were a few minutes into an editorial board gathering for the Pamplin Media Group and the Eastern Oregon Media Group. They were answering a question about state computer problems when Levin walked through the conference room door at the Pamplin Media Group office on Southeast Lake Road, past at least two state troopers guarding Kitzhaber and made himself at home,

grabbing a seat next to Richardson.

A flummoxed Portland Tribune President Mark Garber tried to explain that Levin hadn’t been invited because the interview was set up “between the Democratic and Republican candidates.” Levin’s reply: “Yes, I know everything has been set up between the Democratic and Republican candidates.

“I think we’ve established that separate-but-equal is not equal. As a third-party candidate, it’s really difficult to get time on television and meet the other candidates.”

Kitzhaber and Richardson didn’t object, and Levin stayed, answering questions from reporters and editors.

Not easy being a new kind of green

In the public’s mind, the Pacific Green Party of Oregon is associated with tree-hugger types, folks who might stand in the way of a bulldozer in a forest to protect a tree.

So it was somewhat surprising when Levin came up with a novel idea to fund transportation during the candidates’ debate he crashed at Pamplin Media Group offices Monday.

“I think we need to put our forests back to work,” Levin said.

Oregon needs to reassess past agreements that bar logging, he added.

Levin stressed that he wants to protect old-growth timber, but wants to see much more timber cut to help Oregon’s rural


Later in the joint appearance before the editors and reporters, Levin argued that one of the best things Oregon can do to stimulate its economy is legalize marijuana — and capture greater tourism dollars.

Guess we have a new kind of green candidate here.

Less pay padded by intangible perks

A fight has broken out in The New York Times about Portland’s national reputation as a mecca for young people.

The Times, which has long promoted Portland as a cultural oasis, published an online essay on Sept. 16 saying that it lacks enough good-paying jobs for young people (it was also in the Sunday magazine Sept. 21).

“Portland’s paradox is that it attracts so many of ‘the young and the restless,’ as demographers call them, that it has become a city of the overeducated and underemployed — a place where young people are, in many cases, forced into their semiretirement,” wrote former Portlander Claire Cain Miller.

The next day, The Times posted a response from Joe Cortright, the Portland economist perhaps best known for this theory that attractive “young creatives” boost the local economy. In the piece, Cortright argues that unemployment among young people in Portland is no worse than any other big city — and better than New York, according to U.S. Census


“Far from being condemned to perpetual joblessness, the typical well-educated young adult moving from New York to Portland would have a statistically better chance of being employed than if they stayed in the Big Apple,” Cortright wrote.

Miller didn’t claim unemployment among young people was higher in Portland, however. She said they earn less than their peers in many other cities, including Grand Rapids, Mich., and Rochester, N.Y.

Portland livability doesn’t rate listing

Portland’s reputation for livability also took a hit in the Wall Street Journal on Sept. 17. Although Portland is frequently named as one of the top cities for a certain thing — like biking or owning dogs — the Journal published a story that said it is not one of the best overall cities in the country.

The list of 50 Best Places to Live was compiled by 24/7 Wall St., a financial news and commentary website, which used U.S. Census data to compare such variables as crime rates, employment growth, educational attainment and house affordability. Portland failed to even make the list, which had Newton, Mass., in top place, followed by Bellevue, Wash.

In fact, only one other Oregon city was included on the list — Beaverton, in 21st place. According to the article, most large cities were excluded because of their crime rates. Unemployment also was a major factor, and Portland’s rate was higher than the national average for most of the past seven or so years because the Great Recession hit harder here.