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Side Notes 4/15-4/22 


The Oregon House of Representatives voted Tuesday to allow local governments to practice what's known as "inclusionary zoning." Currently banned in Oregon and Texas, the zoning approach would require affordable housing units to be built alongside market-rate housing, while creating incentives for such development. The bill's proponents say the change would create much-needed opportunities for affordable housing, pointing out that between 2007 and 2011, 25 percent of Oregonians spent more than half their paychecks on rent. Housing is typically considered "affordable" when it constitutes 30 percent or less of income. That same ratio would be applied to zoning, with up to 30 percent of a given zone being set aside for affordable housing. The bill now moves to the State Senate.

Volunteers in Medicine, a local program that provides medical services to low-income residents who cannot access coverage through Affordable Care Act programs, received some recent accolades. At last weekend's SAGE Awards, presented by the Bend Chamber, Volunteers in Medicine was honored with the People's Choice Award. The clinic also recently received a $3,000 grant from the Pacific Power Foundation to support cultural competency training and volunteer education. Since opening in 2004, Volunteers in Medicine has served more than 11,000 patients, providing benefits estimated to be worth $62 million.

Not to be a buzz kill, but April is Alcohol Awareness Month. No, that doesn't mean it's time to check the fridge and the cupboards to ensure you have enough booze for the possibly, maybe pending apocalypse. It means its time to take a hard look at your relationship with fermented grains and grapes and make sure you're still having fun. According to a 2014 Gallup Poll, one third of Americans say alcohol causes family problems. Whether you're part of one of those families, or you're the one causing problems, help's available. If you and booze are still happy as a two peas in a pod, consider given a high-five to one of your badass sober friends.

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