Last year, Source Weekly, which has long since coincided a women’s edition with International Women’s Day, honored itself for a major event with the Bend Chamber’s Women of the Year. Literally, I arrived a little late on the night of the awards banquet because I had posted an update on the arrival of COVID-19 in Oregon. Little did we know that the Women of the Year would be the last time that many of us are in a room with so many people, and how royally COVID-19 would change all of our lives.
This year, in which the chamber is concentrating on supporting companies during this time, the source has again awarded the “Women of the Year” award itself – but not without the support and buy-in from the community. The first step was through a nomination process that anyone in the community could participate in. Then the winners of the last four years were invited to narrow down the nominees – and finally the last two source women of the year, Jesse Durham (2020) and Erika McCalpine (2019) stood by me to determine the winners. It was really a community effort and I thank everyone who participated.
This year’s winner may not surprise those who know her. Just as none of us knew what the chaos 2020 would bring, I don’t think Morgan Schmidt had any idea how her “little idea” of creating an online space for pandemic support was her and life like that many others would change. Have fun with the issue and congratulations to all award winners!
Guest Comment: Oregon House Bill 3296
Oregon is known worldwide for its IPA and Pinot Noir. Oregon-made beer, wine, and cider are the living embodiment of the state’s agricultural and industrial premium and the state’s enduring pioneering legacy. Oregon House Bill 3296, specifically referred to as the Addiction Crisis Recovery Act, would no doubt decimate the state’s world-famous breweries, wineries, and ciders, and the multitude of related businesses that rely on the industry.
Proponents of HB 3296 claim, “This is not a beer tax campaign – it is a public health effort to reduce harmful alcohol use and end Oregon’s addiction crisis.” However, the proposed 3000% increase would make Oregon’s excise tax rate 45% higher than Tennessee’s, which is currently the highest in the country. The proposal would raise excise taxes on beer and cider from the current $ 2.60 per barrel to a ridiculous $ 72.60 per barrel. The majority of the state’s 200+ breweries and ciders are small, family-run businesses that operate on tight margins and have already been decimated by the closings of restaurants and bars due to the ongoing pandemic. For a small producer making 1,000 barrels a year, the state excise tax would rise from $ 2,600 a year to $ 72,600 a year, on top of federal excise duties and any other business-related taxes breweries and ciders already pay.
HB 3296 supporters like to claim that this bill is “for the kids” and aims to curb underage drinking, or as Mike Marshall of Oregon Recovers said on KTVZ, “Teens have less money to spend on alcohol, that is, per minute in which you raise the money. ” They’ll price less to buy, and the same goes for binge drinkers. “The reality is that Oregon’s breweries and wineries don’t make cheap alcohol for children. They make high-end products that are marketed to adult connoisseurs. Youth and excess alcohol don’t reach for wild beers and mixed-culture heirloom ciders. Big foreign ones and international producers are able to absorb this type of tax hike while keeping budget prices in. In reality, the tax hike will only hurt small, local, family-run breweries and ciders.
HB 3296 would not only hurt Oregon’s breweries, wineries and ciders, it would hurt the hop growers in the Willamette Valley, micro-malting operations like Madras’ Mecca Grade Estate Malt, tank manufacturers like Portland’s Pinnacle Stainless and Portland Kettle Works, yeast laboratories like Wyeast Labs in Hood River, mobile packaging companies like Portland’s Vice Canning, and more. Oregon’s breweries, wineries, ciders, and related industries provide Oregonians with thousands of jobs that put HB 3296 directly at risk, although Oregon Recovers unrealistically claims that “… an increase in the price of alcohol actually increases the total number of jobs while increasing the number of jobs jobs in alcohol-related areas would decrease by an amount too small to be measured … ”
Oregon’s breweries and wineries not only provide jobs, but also meeting places for their communities. They are leaders in environmental stewardship and committed philanthropists. Beer and wine made in Oregon are part of the fabric of this great state.
Ultimately, HB 3296 is not about addiction recreation, but about neo-forbidden groups trying to stamp out the state’s indigenous beer and wine industry for good. Inform your legislator at donttaxmydrink.org/petition/.
– Zach Beckwith, Chief Brewer, Bend Brewing Company & Treasurer, Central Oregon Brewers Guild
I am really disappointed with last week’s opinion. It is inappropriate to call and slander someone who makes an absolutely valid point simply because they prefer to remain anonymous. The idea of expecting ramifications for the pointless stupidity of attending a super-spreader event during COVID times seems perfectly appropriate. And I definitely don’t think teenagers are too young to understand the concept of personal responsibility and accountability while realizing that their millennial parents are unlikely to embrace this idea themselves. It is no wonder they lack the ability or inclination to teach this to their children. Apart from that, these legitimate brats endangered the health and safety of the entire community and caused the school to postpone classes for a week. They threatened the health of responsible classmates, teachers, and their own families. And they have contributed more than 50 other reported COVID cases in Deschutes County, keeping local businesses closed. There should be “consequences”. And since you have this platform, consider adding the term “personal responsibility” to your own dictionary.
– Harry B. Williamson
RE: Midtown Rising, Feature, 2/25
While the BCD revitalization is exciting and certainly needed in many ways (e.g. central apartments), tenant evictions and rent increases to remove tenants are on the rise. I spoke to a company this week that was forced to liquidate at this point and no longer own its own business because their maker’s landowners were being evicted at such short notice. Sure, let’s suppose there were other decisions that weighed on their business closure, but I would assume that EVERY local business was reaching its limits if they only had 60 days to find new commercial space in Bend, that suits their needs.
– Paul Trends via bendsource.com
Letter of the Week:
Paul: Thank you for writing our website with this information. The article discussed the idea of avoiding gentrification and while we can’t assume it was there, it is certainly sad to hear. Come by and get your gift card for the palate!
– Nicole Vulcan