Connecting state and local government leaders

WATCH: This Is What a Megaquake Will Do to an Important Lifeline in Portland


Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our Weekend State and Local Digest: Maine’s unvaccinated kindergartners; Sacramento seeks out Filipino teachers; and Alabama reverses its ban on margarita pitchers.

INFRASTRUCTURE | It’s often hard to imagine how major seismic forces will impact specific locations in a quake-vulnerable city like Portland, Oregon. That’s where video simulations can come in handy. This one, produced by Multnomah County, shows the destruction of the Burnside Bridge, an important drawspan that crosses the Willamette River and connects downtown with neighborhoods east of the river. The bridge also crosses light-rail and freight rail tracks, in addition to Interstate 5, all of which would be impassable should the Burnside Bridge and its approach structures fail in the next major earthquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast of the Pacific Northwest. Multnomah County officials are in the process of looking at different options how to make the Burnside Bridge, built in 1926, more resilient during a major quake so it can remain an operational lifeline to aid the quake response and recovery. If it’s not retrofitted, the Burnside Bridge is almost certain to fail in a megaquake along with many of Portland’s other aging river spans. [OregonLive; KXL]

WILDFIRES | Firefighters trying to control the massive Whittier Fire near Santa Barbara, California, encountered a bit of good luck this weekend when “sundowner winds” that had been forecasted for Saturday night didn’t materialize “with the full vengeance with which they were expected.” That meant that the fire didn’t get any downslope momentum toward urbanized coastal areas, as had been feared. If the fire moves back in that direction, “will lack the advantage of a running start.” But the area is not out of danger and there are numerous populated areas that are under evacuation orders. As of Sunday, the fire, which started July 8 and has burned about 18,000 acres, was somewhere between 36 percent and 49 percent contained. [The Santa Barbara Independent; KSBY-TV]   

MINIMUM WAGE | Minimum wage workers in Kansas City and St. Louis are preparing to take a hit in their paychecks at the end of August thanks to Missouri’s Republican-controlled legislature approving a bill that preempts municipalities from passing ordinances that sets a local minimum wage that is higher than the state’s. Although Gov. Eric Greitens didn’t OK or veto the measure, he did allow it to take effect without his signature. Kansas City has been in the process of implementing a minimum wage of $8.50 an hour and St. Louis had recently boosted its minimum wage to $10 an hour. [St. Louis Public Radio]

PUBLIC HEALTH | The number of unvaccinated children entering kindergarten in Maine has jumped, alarming health officials who say there is a higher risk of infectious disease like chicken pox. Data from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention for the 2016-17 school year shows that the rate of parents in Maine who are exempting their children entering kindergarten from required vaccinations jumped from 4 percent to 4.8 percent. That’s nearly 600 kindergarten students. [Portland Press Herald]

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT | Officials in Sidney, Nebraska, are trying to figure out what their city’s next economic development move is now that Cabela’s, the national outdoors retailer that had been headquartered there, was acquired by a competitor, Bass Pro Shops. While the Missouri-based retailer has pledged to keep some jobs in Sidney, the city “has little chance of attracting middle-management-type jobs that Cabela’s is likely to cut.” [Omaha World-Herald]


Rochester, New York (Shutterstock)

Rochester, New York: A municipal ordinance passed in December 2005 that has successfully reduced the number of children in the city with lead poisoning to less than a third of what is was is being used a model for other cities to follow, including Toledo, Ohio. Rochester’s ordinance requires lead checks for rental properties in order to get a certificate of occupancy. [The Toledo Blade]

Oak Brook, Illinois: McDonald’s is saying goodbye to its headquarters campus in Chicago’s western suburbs and relocating to the West Loop. McDonald’s is not the only corporation to ditch suburban environs for more urban ones: “Such relocations are happening across the country as economic opportunities shift to a handful of top cities and jobs become harder to find in some suburbs and smaller cities.” [The Washington Post]

Louisville, Kentucky: A highly contagious strain of dog flu has been confirmed in at least four dogs at Louisville Metro Animal Services, which is “working swiftly to formulate a plan to best handle this issue,” according to a statement. [The Courier Journal]

Sacramento, California: A teacher shortage in California’s capital city has prompted school officials to recruit educators from the Philippines for certain hard-to-fill positions. The Sacramento Unified School District hired 12 special education teachers from international recruiting trips to the Philippines. [The Sacramento Bee]

Montgomery, Alabama: Under pressure from the public, the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has reversed its ban on serving margaritas in pitchers. []