Legislature gives $200,000 for youth shelter — The Legislature gifted a high school student $200,000 to help fund a homeless youth shelter in Salem. Lawmakers included $200,000 for the shelter in a $93 million omnibus spending bill approved Saturday as the 2018 Legislative session neared its final hours. McKay High School student Raul Marquez is trying to raise $400,000 to open the shelter in the former Catarino Cavazos Center, once a center for at-risk Latino youth that’s now up for sale. Marquez already has received a $100,000 grant from the United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley, where he is a teen board member, and $24,900 in community donations. Marquez could not be reached for comment Saturday.
Lawmakers look to boost public pension offerings — Oregon lawmakers also passed a bill establishing two funds to help schools and other public employers cover their rising public pension costs. The bill in part incentivizes the costs to make extra, one-time contributions to pay down unfunded liabilities faster. The bill is the product of a task force Gov. Kate Brown created last year. The task force was dealt the responsibility of looking for ways to reduce the state’s $25 billion in unfunded pension liabilities by $5 billion. The bill would redirect a portion of state revenues to establish two new funds. The first would receive most of the money, which would be deposited with PERS in a pooled “side account” for school districts. The second stream of money would create a fund to incentivize all public employers to tap their own reserves and make extra one-time contributions to the pension fund.