House approves signs to honor mid-valley Marine and soldier

administrator, 03/15/2013 5:44 pm

ALEM — The Oregon House of Representatives met Thursday and voted 56-0 to use highway signs to honor a mid-Willamette Valley Marine and soldier who were killed in Iraq.

Family members said the brown and white signs will help keep the memory of Marine Lance Cpl. Tyler Troyer and Army Spc. Eric Scott McKinley alive, and keep the public aware of their sacrifices.

“You drive down the road, you see this,” said Michael Thorpe, Troyer’s father.

“People will drive by and remember him long after I’m gone,” said Tom McKinley, Eric McKinley’s father.

The matter moves on to the Senate for consideration.

Signs honoring Troyer will be placed on Highway 34 just west of Oakville Road. The 21-year-old West Albany High School graduate was killed by a sniper in November 2005.

Signs honoring McKinley, a Corvallis resident who attended Philomath High School, will be placed on Highway 20/34 in Philomath. The 24-year-old was killed by a roadside bomb in June 2004.

More than 10 family members of Troyer and McKinley were in attendance on Thursday. After the vote, representatives gave them a standing ovation.

Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany, took the lead on the House bill. He spoke of McKinley’s bright-colored mohawks during high school, and how he befriended Iraqis while serving.

Olson noted that Troyer was a member of the Bulldogs baseball team, and how, after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, he knew he wanted to defend the country…

Read more from the Albany Democrat-Herald…

Editorial: Revised prison forecast is good news

administrator, 10/03/2012 5:34 pm

The state of Oregon’s latest prison population forecast is a blast of good news, a clear signal that the state’s efforts to stem the unsustainable growth in our correctional system might be starting to bear fruit.

The latest forecast, released this week, suggests that Oregon’s prison population will drop by more than 500 inmates over the next two years.

That’s a sharp contrast from the forecast of six months ago, which projected continued steady growth in the inmate population – although it did say that the rate of growth was beginning to slow.

Well, that was a snippet of good news – but the prospect of continually steering more money into the Department of Corrections, at the expense of other vital programs such as community-based corrections, wasn’t promising.

All the more reason to cheer the remarkable turnaround chronicled in this week’s forecast.

The biggest factor behind the turnaround: The package of reforms approved by the 2013 Legislature, including a reduction in sentences for certain drug and property crimes. The key bill in the package, House Bill 3194, also lowers penalties for some driving with a suspended license and marijuana-related charges.

It’s worth noting that Albany Rep. Andy Olson, a Republican, was a key player in getting the Legislature to sign off on these changes…

Read more from the Albany Democrat-Herald…

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