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Regional Roundup 

Found in this week's Cascades Reader

Oregon Gets A Raise

  • Pixabay

The state's minimum wage is set to increase by $0.50 today, the fourth of eight annual increases planned until 2023. It's expected to affect about a quarter of a million people across Oregon.

Depending on where you live, the new wage might be slightly different. For Benton County and other "standard counties," the minimum wage is rising to $11.25 an hour. In the Portland metro area, it will be slightly higher at $12.50 to reflect the higher cost of living, and rural counties will raise wages to $11 an hour.

Some say this growth in wages is still falling behind standards of living. A study published by the Oregon Center for Public Policy shows that all three wage tiers in Oregon still fall short compared to similar areas nationwide. In counties comparable to "standard" counties like Benton, the average hourly minimum wage required to afford a one-bedroom apartment is $15.44, compared to $11.25 right now. —Ian MacRonald, Corvallis Advocate

Judge Says He'll Rule On Hammonds Grazing Allotments In July

  • Conrad Wilson, OPB

After hours of testimony, a federal judge in Portland extended a temporary restraining order as he considers whether or not to prevent a controversial Harney County ranching family from grazing their cattle on certain parcels of public land in southeast Oregon.

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon granted the extension to allow for more evidence. After that, he said he would rule on whether to not to grant a preliminary injunction, a more permanent decision that would stay in place until the case is resolved.

In May, a trio of environmental groups sued the Bureau of Land Management. They're trying to prevent the federal government from allowing the Hammond family from grazing cattle on what the environmental groups argue is sensitive lands for sage grouse and redband trout. —Conrad Wilson, OPB

Sources: Rent control law cools investment in apartments

  • PMG file photo

Investment in multifamily housing projects fell substantially in Oregon following passage of the new statewide rent control law by the 2019 Legislature in February.

According to a June 18 article in the rental industry trade journal CoStar, investments in market rate apartment buildings in Oregon totaled $200 million in March, April and May of this year — a 38% drop from the $325 million invested during the same period last year.

Most of the decline came from out-of-state investments, according to the article.

Some developers have been predicting out-of-state investment in multifamily projects will drop because of several relatively new policies that complicate financing them, including statewide rent control and Portland programs intended to help tenants and produce more affordable housing units. —Jim Redden, Portland Tribune

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