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EUGENE, Ore — As the Eugene City Council debates the issue of a paid sick leave ordinance, a divided community voices its opinions.
The council held a public hearing Monday night on an ordinance that would require employers to provide sick leave to their workers.
67 people signed up to testify at the public hearing an issue that’s dividing many business owners and workers.
The proposed ordinance would require all employers to provide workers with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
Some workers who testified said the paid sick leave would give them peace of mind if they become sick.
But many business owners said it’s going over their heads, and some already have their own sick leave policies.
“The paid time off concept has worked well for us because an employee can be absent for any reason of their choosing whether personal time or sick,” said Dan Meyers, Vice President of Finance for Industrial Finishes and Systems.
“Too often reduced to sitting my sick child propped up on pillows in front of the TV with her cell phone close by while I reluctantly go to work because I can’t afford not to,” said Dawn Helwig, Eugene resident.
The Springfield Chamber of Commerce and other local businesses were against the ordinance.
LTD didn’t have an official stance.
Century Link was neutral.
Sundance Natural Foods spoke in favor.
Councilors will likely vote on the ordinance next Monday.

2014 IAAF World Juniors Championships Official Press Conference #1:

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Hillsboro Hops pitcher/Former Beaver Scott Schultz:

2014-CLR-CANDID-Elect-Dennis-RichardsonSALEM, Ore. – The Independent Party of Oregon is announcing its support for Dennis Richardson in this November’s gubernatorial race.

Richardson, a Central Point representative, recently won out among registered independents in a survey conducted by the party — 677 votes compared to John Kitzhaber’s 413.

That means Richardson can list the independent party endorsement on the November ballot.

The Jackson County Republican Party, which has supported Richardson, says independent voters have typically been viewed as taking votes away from major party candidates.

But it’s becoming more and more important for a candidate in any party to get that support.

“What’s good is that when their values are still comparable to the candidate, then that helps the candidate in the general race,” said Jackson County Republicans Chairman Chuck Heauser.

According to the survey, the big priorities of independents are limiting campaign expenditures, getting a better return on tax dollars spent, and making college and vocational school more affordable.

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A strong low pressure system is beginning its move through the Pacific Northwest. Light showers are possible Tuesday afternoon and evening. Otherwise mostly cloudy and cool for everyone.

Wednesday the main front moves through and we will see showers off and on all day. Temperatures will stay in the 70′s inland and low 60′s along the coast.

Thursday is our cleanup day. The day begins with clouds that will clear off to sunny skies and inland temperatures will bump up into the 80′s. Friday we’ll begin to see 90′s inland and around 70 at the coast with full sunshine.

The weekend will be hot and sunny with temperatures climbing into the mid-90′s.

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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — A fire at the Springfield Plywood and Veneer mill left about 250 people without a job.

Those employees met Monday afternoon at Springfield High School for an employee meeting. Employees say they were told their insurance is good through the end of the month and they will get one-one-one meetings with management about 401(k)s. They say they also hope to get help finding new jobs.

Employees say they came to the meeting to ease their concerns.

“I was hoping to hear that they were going to rebuild. That was the main thing I’m concerned with. This is the second time this has happened to me. I worked 15 years at a plant in Creswell, Bald Knob, and it burned. That lead me here, and here I am again,” says mill employee John Troute.

“The atmosphere was awesome. Like I said, the Swanson group is like family. I have good vibes with our owner, Steve Swanson, and I do believe he’s going to rebuild,” says Chris Wright.

Chief Operating Officer Chuck Wert says if they did decide to rebuild it would take at least two years. He says there could be 100 jobs opening up at their plants in Roseburg and Glendale.

Officials are still investigating the cause.

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EUGENE, Ore. — The city of Eugene will take public comment Monday night on a proposal that would require paid sick leave for workers. Lane County took action Monday morning with three new ordinances.

Monday morning dozens of business owners and union members packed into Harris Hall to voice their opinions to commissioners about the city of Eugene’s sick leave ordinance.

The three ordinances all deal with sick leave. The first passed unanimously and exempts employers in the county outside of city limits from ordinances regulating employment.

The second, also passed unanimously exempts any unit of local government with employees in Lane County from ordinances regulating employment.

With a 3-1 vote the third ordinance exempts all employers with employees in Lane County from these employment ordinances.

“Really it’s a much larger issue than just sick leave. I think what you see here is sick leave was a catalyst to have a much larger conversation,” said commissioner Sid Leiken.

Commissioners discussed the issue of home rule and how the city of Eugene’s ordinance could impact businesses all throughout the county.

Even though the county commission passed these ordinances, the city of Eugene could still pass its ordinance Monday night.

But with a conflict between these ordinances, county commissioners said the battle could end up in court.

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CORVALLIS, Ore. –The Old Spaghetti Factory says it is opening a restaurant in Corvallis this year.

North of downtown Corvallis sits an old train depot on Northwest Second Street that has been transformed into restaurant after restaurant – and The Old Spaghetti Factory hopes to change the failing business cycle by bringing its chain to Corvallis.

Previous restaurants at the site include Michael’s Landing and Terminus. The property is a few blocks north of the downtown area with a view of the Willamette River.

Previous Terminus customers Mary and Jerry Wellman say they think it is the location of the property that has forced past restaurants to close their doors. They say some of their friends don’t even know the old train depot is there.

“It’s too bad that it’s two blocks north of where everyone else tends to go,” Jerry Wellman said. “So it seems that this might not be a great location for any kind of restaurant unless they have any kind of prior image.”

The Old Spaghetti Factory, a family business that started in Portland in 1969, is still family-owned. The chain owns 41 other restaurants in the United States, and two in Japan.

“I’m personally really excited about it because I’ve always enjoyed going to the restaurant at multiple different places,” said OSU graduate Chase Bains. “I grew up in Cincinnati and I went there with my family.”

Bains and one of his friends say they love eating at the Old Spaghetti Factory.

“We both went to the Old Spaghetti Factory in Seattle and I really enjoyed it,” said his friend Jordan Jennings.

Both Bains and Jennings think that coming to a college town will help give the business more success than other restaurants because of how well-known it is and because of its deals.

“I’m definitely looking forward to November when it opens,” Bains said. “I just think that will be a really good thing for Corvallis.”

But others are not as thrilled about another chain coming to town. The Wellmans for example say they prefer one-of-a-kind restaurants.

“It was different when it was Terminus,” said Jerry Wellman. “It was very different. Unique.”

Despite their different tastes, the Wellmans say it will be nice to see the old train depot come back alive.

“I noticed there was a big tree limb down in the parking lot and it just looks sad,” said Mary Wellman. “It would be nice to have somebody in there.”

The company will start renovations soon and hopes to open by mid-November.

Well TestingBENTON COUNTY, Ore. — Approximately 77 percent of Benton County’s wells have not been tested – posing huge health concerns – according to the Benton County Environmental Health Department.

The Oregon Health Authority has granted Benton County funds to conduct free well testing that will check for nitrate, arsenic, and coliform bacteria.

Bill Emminger, the Environmental Health Director, says the purpose of the project is to educate homeowners of well issues and how to maintain them. County officials are able to test about 60 more wells within county lines within the next month by doing a visual inspection of the wells, collecting water samples, then providing homeowners with a final report.

Emminger says Benton County has elevated levels of nitrates, especially in farmland areas. Of the county’s 10,000 wells, he says only about 23 percent have been tested.

“It’s an issue because we could have people living in those homes who are drinking the water,” he said. “If it’s fecal coliforms, it could cause some severe illness.”

Emminger says high arsenic levels can cause cancer, and nitrates can lead to blue baby syndrome and a higher risk for miscarriages for pregnant women.

Anyone who is interested in participating in the free program can get more information by clicking here.

gay pride flagWashington, D.C. (CNN) –  President Obama signed an executive order Monday, prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of gender and sexual orientation.

The President said the action means LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) federal employees will now be protected from discrimination.

“Thanks to your passionate advocacy and irrefutable rightness of your cause, our government, the government of the people, by the people and for the people, will become just a little bit fairer,” said President Obama during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

The executive order impacts about 28 million workers.

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