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Slant 4-23-2015

• The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is facing a $32 million deficit in the next two-year budget cycle, and cuts are looming. The agency is in a bind due in part to its reliance on revenues from fishing and hunting licenses. It’s a quandary. Fishing license fees have gone up while there are fewer fish to catch, so fewer people go fishing. And hunting is no longer such a big part of Oregon’s culture, at least not in urban areas. But ODFW is a key player in protecting Oregon’s fragile waterways that are under pressure from our growing population and climate change. It’s in Oregon’s best interest that we adequately fund ODFW and also the Oregon Water Resources Department, and the logical way to do that is a combination of increased commercial and recreation fees (they are still a bargain) and new general funds appropriated through the Legislature. If cuts are needed at ODFW, district and field biologists must be protected, along with programs affecting water quality and endangered species. A public hearing on the state budget is coming up in Springfield Thursday, April 23. See Activist Alert this week.

We share the jubilation in the newsroom of The Seattle Times for the Pulitzer Prize they just won for their tough and continuing coverage of the Oso landslide stories. That daily newspaper is not going away, unlike our disappearing Oregonian in Portland. It’s all about putting real resources into content and believing in the importance of print.

Jon Krakauer’s new book Missoula strikes fiercely, in the classic Krakauer style, at a crisis of sexual assault and the official response in this Montana college town with its beloved athletes. Sound familiar?  Our concern is that the media response will once again ignore the universality of the problem, instead trashing only Missoula. The story could be “Eugene” or “Corvallis” or “Seattle” or “Tallahassee,” but maybe this is the route we have to take to see a societal response.