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Liberal Oregon resists dropping fossil fuel, other controversial investments

Oregon State Treasury

Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon residents are increasingly pushing for the state to divest from fossil fuel companies and other controversial investments, but the state treasury is resisting and putting the onus on the Legislature.

In addition to fossil fuel companies whose products are a main driver of global warming, the state employee retirement fund is also invested in a company whose spyware was used against human rights workers, journalists and other targets, and in companies that operate private prisons where detained immigrants were mistreated and some died.

Even as some cities and other states such as New York have begun divesting, Oregon, a predominantly liberal state, clings to the status quo. The disparate approaches underscore that managers of public funds are often torn between ethical considerations, legal imperatives and obligations to beneficiaries.

The Oregon State Treasury oversees some $118 billion in investments, including an undisclosed amount in fossil fuel companies and other controversial sectors. Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read wouldn’t be pinned down on the amount, despite repeated direct questions by Oregon Public Radio.

“It’s not just public equities, it’s also private equity, it’s also bonds,” said Read, a Democrat who’s running for governor in the 2022 election. “So we’re selling and buying bonds literally every day. So it changes.”

In a letter to House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senate President Peter Courtney, Read and fellow members of the Oregon Investment Council said they can’t pursue divestment because state law specifies investments must “make the moneys as productive as possible.”

They said it’s up to the Legislature to change the laws and warned that lawmakers might need to dig into the state’s general funds to cover any losses from divesting.

“When we exit investments, we do so for performance reasons, not political or personal ones,” Read and four other members of the OIC wrote in their Oct. 25 letter.

Kotek, who is also a Democratic candidate for governor, was not impressed.

“Speaker Kotek … supports pursuing strategies to divest Oregon’s public funds from fossil fuels,” her spokesman Danny Moran said in an email Friday. ”She finds it disappointing that Treasurer Read’s letter seems to affirm his support for the status quo.”

Much of the divestment focus in Oregon is on fossil fuels, with groups such as Divest Oregon and 350PDX pushing for it to combat climate change. Divestment advocates say there’s also a financial incentive, with the value of share offerings in fossil fuel companies dropping.

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The Associated Press



    1. Great ! tell us all what it is that makes Oregon “great” ? Is it their middle of the road economy ? Some of the poorest air quality on the planet- sometimes outdoing China and India for toxic PM’s ? Is it the 1000% increase in murder in Portland ? Is it the never ending failed shutdowns-lockdowns- peaks and valleys of failure surrounding the CV19 strategy- or is it just the over all dishonesty of the liberal Demokant party that sits back and scratches their bums while the state burns to the ground every summer ? Oh yeh- Oregon kicks a** alright- it’s own !

        1. “Happy Thanksgiving” ???

          Turkey prices? Up 24%
          Pie crusts? Up 20%
          Russet potatoes? Up 16%
          Dinner rolls? Up 15%
          Cranberries? Up 11%
          Gravy? Up 9%
          Sweet potatoes? Up 4%

          Bah- Humbug !!!

          1. Thanks Ebeneezer, knew I could count on you. Did you see Deschutes County has recovered all the jobs lost during the pandemic and then some? Oh wait, that’s positive news, never mind.
            Watch for those 3 ghosts. Not that I’d expect them to change your mind or heart…

  1. The State Of Oregon: Run by Clowns, kept afloat by red blooded hard working ingenious American/Oregonians…
    2022: Oregon, lets shed the Clowns and put aside our differences.
    Oregonians are made up of Hippies, Cowboys/girls, Rednecks, Nerds, Hipsters, Artists and everything in between. We all love this beautiful place. It’s time to come together as Oregonians first and “Think” about solutions not “Feel” about them.

    1. – unless your ancestors survived the incomplete genocide that took place in what is now this state, you can’t claim “indigenous” status, no matter how strongly you “feel” your disneyland mythology of history is real – something to “think” about

      1. I think if you or anyone were born in oregon that makes you indigenous. So many people get hung up on their ancestry. It great to be proud or ones ancestry but don’t use it as a scapegoat or leverage to make people feel “less” because you say they aren’t indigenous.

        1. – what you think is of little consequence, especially in the face of what actually is – sorry about your feelings, but things are what they are and the word means what it means

        1. Wow such anger over something you and noone alive experienced. You just keep clinging to the past. Like your ancestors were the only ones that met with grotesque tragedy…pfft. pick up a history book and choose a century.

  2. “Liberal Oregon resists dropping fossil fuel, other controversial investments”

    – controversial? – only if you believe that pile of money will take care of you on a dead planet
    – “liberal”?, “conservative”?……. stupid

    1. Well think about it logically. Do you know the warming of the planet isn’t its natural progression? We have been coming out of an ice age (according to science) since before recorded history. No person on this planet knows what the planet’s natural state is. Soo…it’s all a guess!!!

  3. Liberals are led by their emotions and fads. Conservatives are led by reasoning and truth.

    “To anger a conservative – lie to him. To anger a liberal – tell him the truth”. President Theodore Roosevelt

    1. – fake quote already used by the Donald, and Tucker Carlson – must have been your emotions (or need to fit in with the fad of repeating falsehoods) that compelled you to push another deception, because reasonable logic would dictate otherwise

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