Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (July 5, 2019)
Friday, July 5, 2019
KATHRYN B. BROWN
WYATT HAUPT JR.
Founded October 16, 1875
Congressional inaction made HB 2015 inevitable
n the final day of the session, the
Oregon Senate passed House Bill
2015, a measure that will allow
illegal immigrants and other Orego-
nians who can’t prove their legal resi-
dence status to get an Oregon driver’s
We can appreciate the argu-
ments supporters make for the mea-
sure, and don’t find them to be com-
pletely without merit. While the new
law will undoubtedly benefit illegal
immigrant workers and their employ-
ers, we regret the state has been
forced to act where Congress has
Anyone now applying for an Ore-
gon driver’s license must provide
proof of legal presence in the United
States, proof of full legal name and
proof of current address.
In July 2020, the state will begin
offering, as an option, commercial
and noncommercial driver’s licenses
and identity cards that meet strict
federal standards, the so-called Real
ID. To obtain Real ID-compliant doc-
uments, the applicant will have to
provide proof of legal presence, date
of birth, legal name, Social Security
number and address.
Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, anyone
In the final day of the session, the Oregon Senate passed House Bill 2015, a measure that will
allow illegal immigrants and other Oregonians who can’t prove their legal residence status
to get an Oregon driver’s license.
boarding a commercial aircraft or
entering a secure federal facility must
have a Real ID or a passport.
HB 2015 provides that on Jan. 1,
2021, the Department of Transpor-
tation will no longer require proof
of legal presence to issue a standard,
non-Real ID noncommercial Oregon
driver’s license. Applicants for non-
Real ID commercial licenses would
still have to prove legal presence.
It is essentially a recasting of Mea-
sure 88, a ballot initiative supported
by many ag groups that failed to win
voter approval in 2014.
Supporters say issuing licenses to
illegal immigrants will make Oregon
roads safer because they will have
to pass the written and driving test.
Having a license will make it more
likely they will obtain the required
insurance. That’s all good.
The licenses will allow illegal
immigrants to legally drive to their
jobs — jobs that they cannot legally
Eighty percent or more of farm
workers are in the country illegally
and are ineligible for legal employ-
ment. They present forged or appro-
priated credentials — licenses, Social
Security cards and immigration doc-
uments — to employers, who in turn
accept them in good faith. As long as
an employer has no knowledge that a
worker is ineligible the law holds the
It is a wink-and-a-nod arrangement
made necessary by a severe labor
shortage and an immigration system
hopelessly mired in politics. We hope
HB 2015 doesn’t make it harder for
employers to pull off the charade.
We continue to believe that fed-
eral reform should have been the first
step in the normalization of the sta-
tus of illegal immigrants. Action by
Congress would have made HB 2015
But, congressional inaction made
the Legislature’s action inevitable.
Newspaper staff brings
passion to their work
Be part of the climate change
House Bill 2020 may or may not have been
the best way to limit the effects of climate
change on Oregonians. Doing nothing is defi-
nitely the wrong way to reduce the effects we
all are feeling now and will feel in increas-
ing severity in the near future. Democrat and
Republican lawmakers share responsibility
for the failure of our legislature to find a way
that fairly distributes the pain of changing the
way we live and conduct our business in order
to avoid the worst consequences of climate
My extended family is watching a 50-year-
old pine forest on our small part of the Blue
Mountains being ravaged by mountain pine
beetle. The past decade of drought has left
our trees unable to fight off the attack of
the bugs that always live around us. We see
increasing conflict over water allocation: not
just between farmers, ranchers and fish but
also between orchardists and wheat growers,
alfalfa growers and cities. We now expect to
suffer weeks of heavy smoke in our air with
health effects for all of us and life-threatening
effects for some. What will it take to convince
us that we need to stop passing our pollution
into our air and water while there is still hope
of a livable future?
We should not be encouraging our leg-
islators to continue partisan in-fighting and
instead should be collaborating with them to
find ways to cut our pollution and to mitigate
the worst economic consequences of those
corrective measures. Fighting pollution pro-
duces more economic winners than losers,
but if you are one of the losers who is being
priced out of an historic way of life, it still
Unsigned editorials are the opinion of
the East Oregonian editorial board. Other
columns, letters and cartoons on this page
express the opinions of the authors and not
necessarily that of the East Oregonian.
How can Oregon help the truckers and log-
gers and farmers whose livelihood is threat-
ened make the changes to new technologies
and practices that can reduce their carbon
emissions and their water consumption?
I hope my fellow East Oregonians who
think House Bill 2020 was not a good solu-
tion will contact their legislators with ideas
for a better solution to the very real problem
of climate change. If you are one of the people
who still thinks there is no climate change or
that it doesn’t urgently require action to slow
it, I hope you will broaden the sources from
which you get your news and learn just how
big a threat we are facing. We can’t let another
year go by doing nothing.
unique challenges in a rural, local area.
Yet our newsroom is occupied by indi-
That’s how long I’ve been editor of
viduals that have shown me in the past
this great newspaper. While that isn’t
60 days that they truly care for our com-
a terribly long time inside the big picture,
munity. That kind of concern and atten-
I have been able to determine few things
tion from our reporters is essen-
about this area in that time.
tial if we are to be successful in the
The first one probably reso-
nates the most. This is a great
area. I can’t say or write that I was
Our newsroom has proven it is
completely unfamiliar with Pend-
flexible enough to take advantage
leton or Umatilla County before I
of shifting opportunities — and
left my communications and pub-
news stories — on a regular basis.
lic relations job in La Grande.
That is crucial for readers.
What I wasn’t aware of was the
Readers need to know that those
great people that make this area
providing their news are ready to
such a fine place to live and work.
tackle any subject — no matter
In the small amount of time I’ve
how mundane — in an effort to
been in Pendleton, I’ve met many
keep them informed.
good people who are enthusiastic about
The newspaper industry has changed
their home and the people who live here.
— since the day I decided to step into the
The other element to my first 60 days I
profession. When I started out in this busi-
ness, the online product wasn’t as import-
find significant is the East Oregonian. I’ve
ant as it is now. When I began as a journal-
worked at many newspapers in my career
ist, the world was a little different, a little
and this is clearly one of the better places
slower and slowly stumbling into a faster
I’ve worked at.
The staff of the newsroom and the peo-
ple who work in our other departments are
We present the news differently now as
focused on providing a quality product for
social media and the online product con-
tinue to gain in relevance. Yet our funda-
our readers. That means one of the biggest
mental mission remains the same: Inform
potential hurdles for a new editor — enthu-
siasm — is already present.
people and give them an unbiased review
Our newsroom also symbolizes the kind
of what is important in their community.
of dedication and hard work that are nec-
I am grateful I was chosen to be the
essary for any newspaper to be success-
editor of this great newspaper and I am
ful. Work as a reporter isn’t an easy gig
excited for what lays ahead. We are already
off to a good start.
anywhere and it can offer up its own set of
Who decides which streets
As I sit here watching asphalt trucks go
up my street, I start wondering what the res-
idents of Byers, Despain, Third Street, and
other needful streets would think if they knew
that a street that was not as needy was seen
to before aforementioned streets. But all they
have to know is this work is being done on
Bob Patterson’s street: a new water main and
paving over past two budget cycles.
I know our director of public works will
have a good answer why his block should be
a greater priority than Byers or other more
needy streets. Just ask him what street is next:
Northwest Eighth between Furnish and Gil-
liam? Rob Corbett’s street. Just wondering.
Our government at work.
The East Oregonian welcomes original letters of 400 words or less on public issues and public policies
for publication in the newspaper and on our website. The newspaper reserves the right to withhold
letters that address concerns about individual services and products or letters that infringe on the rights
of private citizens. Letters must be signed by the author and include the city of residence and a daytime
phone number. The phone number will not be published. Unsigned letters will not be published.
Send letters to the editor to
or via mail to Andrew Cutler,
211 S.E. Byers Ave.
Pendleton, OR 97801