US tax bill would hit Oregon taxpayers hard
The Republican tax bill that passed the US Senate last week has plenty of implication for taxpayers in Cascadia, especially in Oregon. States with high levels of SALT (state and local taxes) will be hit hard by the elimination of deductions for those taxes, according to a story at Willamette Week. The average taxpayer in Oregon could see their annual tax bill jump by $573 as a result of the massive tax overhaul, which sharply reduces rates for corporations and wealthy individuals.
BC coroners urge compassionate action on opioid crisis
BC’s opiod crisis resulted in more than 2,000 deaths in 2016, and is already topping 1,500 this year. Coroners have been on the front lines of this epidemic, and in an editorial for the Georgia Straight, Lisa Lapointe argues that “just-say-no” prevention campaigns are ineffective. “In the long run,” she writes, “compassion and support, including prescribed medical treatment where appropriate, will be much more effective in turning this crisis around than fear and shame.”
Sweeps and no-sits; Band-aids for Cascadia’s homeless problem?
Even as the economies of Seattle and Portland are booming, each urban area continues to deal with a surge in homeless camps. The Seattle Times features a detailed report on the city’s “sweeps” of homeless camps. Even though police and caseworkers have new guidelines for camp removal (incidence of crime, sanitation, or safety issues) those evicted often don’t accept temporary housing and are back in other camps immediately.
Meanwhile, protesters drew attention to Portland’s controversial “so-sit” regulations in the downtown core, which have the support of large retailers such as Columbia Sportswear. Despite criticism, Portland mayor Ted Wheeler announced he’s planning to expand the no-sit zone. “When you criminalize things that only homeless people have to do,” said one activist, “you’re criminalizing homelessness.”
Some orcas are thriving better than others
Even though the southern resident population of orca whales in the Salish Sea are down to 76 individuals and declining rapidly, some transient varieties of killer whales are thriving, according to a detailed report in Hakai magazine. The transient pods, which range from Southeast Alaska to Puget Sound, are more resilient due to a varied diet that includes harbor seals, as opposed to resident whales, which subsist primarily on threatened chinook salmon.
Cascadia Band of the Day: Smokey Brights
Seattle indie-band Smokey Brights was recently featured on KEXP’s blog, and there you’ll find a track off their upcoming EP Come To Terms. The four-song album features gritty, buzzing guitars and funky synthesizers, and lyrics the band says confront “divisive politics, broken hearts, and absent dialogues.” A CD release party is scheduled for January 20 at Seattle’s Tractor Tavern.
Alyson Provax creates animated, visual poetry
Portland printmaker, poet, and animator Alyson Provax is a fascinating artist–using letterpress printing and animation, she creates deceptively simple, but playful poems. At Poetry Northwest, you can read two visual poems inspired by the recent total eclipse. “An eclipse is a disappearance, Provax writes, “and disappearances are not simple math: without the sun the whole world is changed.”
That’s today’s wrap-up of news and arts from the Damp Northwest. –Andrew Engelson Photo credits: Smokey Brights by Yunkin Keophomma