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Fagan Defends Kristof Decision
“The Court’s decision in this case will establish precedent”

Oregon may be becoming a political playground for rich liberal elites -- even from out of state. Former New York Times columnist and CNN pundit, Nicholas Kristof, fresh from disqualification from the Oregon Democrat gubernatorial primary has taken his appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court, and though most public offices will decline comment on pending cases, Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan is glad to argue her side in the press.

According to a release put out by Secretary Fagan -- who is also an attorney -- "Objective facts demonstrate that until late 2020, Mr. Kristof’s primary residence was in New York. His legal arguments are impossible to square with the Oregon Constitution’s equitable standard and would lead to special treatment for well-connected candidates."

The Oregon Department of Justice, led by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, filed a brief with the Oregon Supreme Court on behalf of Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, asking the Court to uphold the Elections Division’s January 6 disqualification of Nicholas Kristof as candidate for Oregon Governor.

Article V, section 2, of the Oregon Constitution states that a candidate must be a “resident within” Oregon for the three years before the general election.

“My focus throughout this process has been to make sure Oregonians can trust the accuracy of their ballots,” Secretary Fagan said. “I have a duty to Oregon voters to make sure every candidate on their ballot is qualified to serve.”

Secretary Fagan Continued, “The Court’s decision in this case will establish precedent for hundreds of decisions local elections officials make every year about what it means to be a “resident” for purposes of running for political office. It’s clear that the framers of the Oregon Constitution understood that residency means an Oregon “domicile,” and that you can only have one domicile at a time. Not only do the objective facts demonstrate that Mr. Kristof was not domiciled in Oregon until late 2020, his legal arguments are impossible to square with an equitable standard for future candidates. They would create irrational results. For example, under the rule Mr. Kristof proposes, a person would be eligible to run for Governor, or serve as Governor, in two different states at the same time.”

In the 77 page brief, Secretary Fagan makes the following points:

At issue is the definition of “resident within” Oregon. When the Constitution was written, residency meant domicile (living permanently) in Oregon. Contemporaneous legal definitions, case law, and even the own words of delegates at Oregon’s Constitutional Convention support this commonsense definition. This long-established standard was placed in the Constitution to ensure candidates had some stake in our state’s political and civic life. It’s clear they did not intend to allow a person to serve if they had been a permanent resident of another state during the years just before their election. The brief refers to this as the “domicile test."

Objective facts demonstrate that Mr. Kristof fails the domicile test. Until December 2020, Mr. Kristof’s primary residence — his legal domicile — was in New York. These facts include: Voting in New York from 1999 through the November 2020 election; Centering his professional and personal life in New York, where he owned a home he used as a base for his job at the New York Times, where he returned to after international travel, and where he enrolled his children in school; Maintaining a driver’s license in New York even though New York law only requires in-state licenses for permanent residents; and Paying income taxes in New York from 1999 to 2020. Based on all the facts before them, elections officials correctly determined Mr. Kristof did not meet the residency requirements to run for Governor of Oregon in 2022 and should not appear on the ballot.

Mr. Kristof makes three arguments for his inclusion on the ballot, but all fail to identify a workable standard that applies fairly to everyone. The Secretary’s brief states:

1) [Mr. Kristof] repeatedly [invokes] his status as a “frontrunner” in the gubernatorial race, as a person who has raised millions of dollars, and as a person who has numerous supporters...Embedded in this “frontrunner” standard is [Mr. Kristof’s] argument that the Court should “let the voters decide.” But this court should strongly reject the implication that a person’s popularity, wealth, or political clout is relevant to whether they are “resident within” Oregon. The Elections Division and local elections officials apply the same rule to all candidates no matter how known or unknown they are, and regardless of how many residences they own, if they own a residence at all, or if they are houseless. Adopting the rule [Mr. Kristof] appears to propose would enable a grave injustice, in which “the voters decide” for well-resourced and well-connected candidates, and other candidates are held to a more exacting standard. (Page 31)

2) [Mr. Kristof] contends that a person who owns homes in multiple states could be “resident within” Oregon without being domiciled there. But that rule produces irrational results. It would allow a person to be elected Governor of Oregon while continuing to vote and live out of state. Even more counterintuitively, that person could run for Governor of two different states at the same time. Construing residency so broadly that it allowed those scenarios would undermine the reasons for adopting any residency requirement at all. (Page 31)

3) [Mr. Kristof also] suggests that he should be considered “resident within” Oregon because he feels a deep connection to the state … But no filing officer could ever make consistent, fair determinations about a candidate’s qualifications for office based on such subjective, transitory facts. (Page 32)

The Elections Division’s decision to disqualify Mr. Kristof was made by an experienced elections professional who has served Oregon for nearly two decades, working on residency determinations under the last six Secretaries of State. Her decision was based on the objective facts he provided and which were publicly available and known to the Elections Division. The decision was not unusual. On the contrary, it is a common, and often uncontroversial occurrence for elections officials to determine that a candidate does not meet residency and/or other requirements and cannot appear on the ballot. The Elections Division disqualified ten other candidates in the past year, including six other candidates for Governor.

"The rules are the rules and they apply equally to all candidates for office in Oregon,” Secretary Fagan said. “I stand by the determination of the experts in the Oregon Elections Division that Mr. Kristof does not currently meet the Constitutional requirements to run or serve as Oregon Governor.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-01-22 12:21:24Last Update: 2022-01-22 13:03:05

Brown Names Director of Oregon Housing Community Services
Andrea Bell will serve as Acting Director

Governor Kate Brown has named Andrea (on-DRAY-uh) Bell as Acting Director of Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS).

Bell serves currently as the Director of Housing Stabilization, where she is a member of the agency’s executive team and leads a division implementing a wide range of homeless services, energy and weatherization assistance, rental assistance programs, and policy initiatives to advance equity and racial justice.

She will begin serving as Acting Director in February.

“Andrea Bell has the extensive leadership and on-the-ground expertise to ensure a seamless transition for Oregon Housing and Community Services at this critical moment, as we continue to work to help keep Oregonians in their homes,” said Governor Brown. “And, she has the vision to lead the agency as we begin to move from federal and state-funded emergency response to supporting and developing long-term eviction prevention services at the local level. I am confident in her leadership as we work to continue to expand affordable housing in Oregon, strengthen tenant protections, help people experiencing homelessness find homes, and address the deep racial disparities in housing stability and homeownership caused by decades of racism in housing policy in this country.”

“OHCS is in a pivotal moment in continuing to help thousands of Oregon families access stable and affordable housing,” said Director Bell. “Under the leadership of Executive Director Margaret Salazar, this past year was the most impactful in OHCS history with millions of dollars disbursed in emergency response-focused work. During a global health pandemic this assistance provided a lifeline, ensuring thousands of Oregon’s most vulnerable residents could remain stably housed, keeping kids in school, and avoiding slipping into homelessness. In these unfathomable times, it’s an honor to be in the position of guiding the agency work outlined in the Statewide Housing Plan. I am humbled and grateful to continue to advance this work across the housing continuum with talented and dedicated staff to increase housing stability across Oregon. All Oregonians, regardless of their zip code, or where they come from, deserve safe, stable, and affordable housing."

Bell started working for OHCS in April 2019 as the Assistant Director for Homeless Services and became the Director of Housing Stabilization in 2020, where she was an architect in Oregon’s controversial emergency rental assistance program.

As Assistant Director of Homeless Services, Bell helmed the development and oversight of the homeless services strategic planning and initiatives.

Before coming to OHCS, Bell was a Housing Administrator for the Medicaid health plan, Mercy Care.

Bell earned a master’s degree of public health from Arizona State University and a bachelor's degree from California State University Northridge.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-01-21 18:08:11Last Update: 2022-01-21 18:27:01

School Choice Initiative Rejected by Fagan
Teachers’ unions have regarded school choice as an existential threat

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan (D-Portland) has rejected Initiative Petition 1 for the 2024 cycle on the grounds that it makes multiple changes to the Oregon Constitution. Initiative petitions may each only make a single change to the Oregon Constitution. Republican Gubernatorial candidate Marc Theilman was the Chief Petitoner. IP 1 proposed to make changes to the Oregon Constitution allowing school choice.

Shemia Fagan was first elected as Secretary of State in 2020. She was heavily supported by public employee unions, especially teachers' unions, including $19,500 from the American Federation of Teachers and $56,500 from the Oregon Education Association. Teachers' unions have regarded school choice as an existential threat.

"All Oregon families deserve the right to choose the school that their children attend. We are disappointed that the Secretary of State denied Oregonians the opportunity to vote for expanding educational opportunities for all students and will appeal" said Donna Kreitzberg, a representative of the Education Freedom for Oregon Executive Committee"

According to Secretary Fagan,

"The Secretary has determined it does not comply with the procedural requirements established in the Oregon Constitution for initiative petitions. In particular, the Secretary has determined that the Initiative Petition does not comply with the requirements of Article XVII, section 1, of the Oregon Constitution. The purpose of this requirement is to allow voters to express their opinions separately on each proposed change to Oregon’s fundamental law.

The Oregon Constitution gives voters the right to consider and vote on these changes separately and it is the Secretary’s duty to protect that right by rejecting initiative petitions that would violate that right.

The Secretary has determined it does not comply with the procedural requirements established in the Oregon Constitution for initiative petitions. In particular, the Secretary has determined that the Initiative Petition does not comply with the requirements of Article XVII, section 1, of the Oregon Constitution. The purpose of this requirement is to allow voters to express their opinions separately on each proposed change to Oregon’s fundamental law.

The Oregon Constitution gives voters the right to consider and vote on these changes separately and according to Secretary Fagan, it is the Secretary’s duty to protect that right by rejecting initiative petitions that would violate that right.

In the Secretary’s view, IP 2024-001 makes at least three unrelated changes to the Oregon Constitution. These include: In making the determination the Secretary of State reviewed the text of Initiative Petition 2024-001, considered all procedural constitutional requirement comments filed, and received counsel from the Attorney General.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-01-20 22:08:29Last Update: 2022-01-20 23:47:13

Kevin Mannix Announces Run for Oregon House District 21
Mannix has lead opposition to Governor Brown

Kevin Mannix has announced a run for Oregon House District 21 in the Oregon state legislature.

"Oregonians-especially crime victims-need a trusted advocate serving them," Mannix declared.

Former State Representative, State Senator, and Governor candidate Kevin Mannix announced on Thursday that he has filed with the Secretary of State for State Representative, House District 21 (Keizer and Central Salem) as a Republican.

Mannix has run his own Salem law firm since 1986, served as Chair of the Oregon Republican Party as well as the Marion County Republican Party and served five terms in the Oregon House of Representatives. He is well known in Oregon political and legal circles as the father of Measure 11, the popular ballot measure that instituted mandatory minimum sentencing for violent crimes.

"I am running to return to the Oregon House because I have witnessed the erosion of public safety by the legislature and the lack of support for victims of crime in Oregon," said Mannix. "Oregonians-especially crime victims-need a trusted advocate serving them." Mannix added, "Our public education system needs to respect parental involvement and return to a system that meets the needs of our children and upholds Our values."

In 2020, Mannix led again with the fight against the lockdown of churches, schools and small businesses by the Governor's Executive Orders. He took that fight all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court. Mannix has continued to lead the opposition to Governor Brown's mandates.

Kevin and his wife, Susanna, were married in June 1974. Susanna is a registered nurse at Salem Hospital. Kevin and Susanna have three children: Nicholas, Gabriel, and Emily.

"I look forward to the opportunity to advocate at the Legislature for the good people of Keizer and Central Salem following this election," said Mannix.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-01-20 13:55:55Last Update: 2022-01-20 14:12:37

QSA Clubs promoted in Elementary Schools
4th and 5th graders urged to join without parental knowledge

The acronym QSA stands for Queer Straight Alliance or Queer & Sexuality Alliance. It seems that the LGBTQ has invaded elementary schools motivating LGBTQ students to start QSA Clubs.

A slide presentation with an invitation to join the QSA Club was presented to all 4th and 5th graders at Raleigh Hills Elementary School in Beaverton School District.

Parents are just finding out about the invitation to 4th and 5th graders and asking why they weren’t informed of clubs. A public records request revealed predatory behavior on the part of the social worker, district personnel, and principal pressuring kids into joining this club by signing a contact form without parental knowledge or consent.

The record shows district leadership, Pat McCreery, sought district counsel’s guidance on permission slips trying to not tell parents. The district’s legal counsel responded: ”In summary, it looks like the permission part is needed for student transportation, not general participation, and to answer the question of who is in the building before/after hours, not why they are there.”

For a club to be able to occur on a school campus,a teacher or other school staff has to be the sponsor and it has to get administration approval.

The administrator approved Amanda Cook, Raleigh Hills Elementary Social Worker, as the school faculty advisor for the QSA Club.

Her request states, “We have a small group of students now asking and advocating to start a QSA, and I’m hopeful we can start after winter break.” Did students contact her, or did she instigate the contact? Cook organized the material for the club invitation and used classroom hours for the presentation. Her office is the meeting place during lunch to avoid contacting parents.

The club is intended to be student run. However, the presentation and goals are beyond elementary levels. One slide said QSA is a community where everyone belongs; students who identify as LGBTQ+, their allies, and those who want to learn more. Another slide addressed: What will we do? Representative E Werner Reschke (R-Klamath/Lake Counties) responded to the situation, “This is shocking. It is grooming at best; evil at worst. Sexualizing children is wrong, period, full stop. It is child abuse, no matter whether done by a pedophile or by the state.”

Jeanette Schade, educator for 24 years, stated in public testimony, “It is absolutely appalling that school teachers and officials are partaking in this type of behavior who are supposed to be ‘safe’ adults. These are 9- and 10-year-olds. Keep the personal and social politics out of the schools. Stop this predatory behavior and get back to teaching reading, writing and arithmetic without indoctrination.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-01-19 19:24:09Last Update: 2022-01-19 19:37:46

Analysis: What Are the Limits of State Authority with COVID-19?
“That power rests with the States and Congress, not OSHA”

In March of 2020, with very little scientific or historical data available, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order declared an emergency and imposed a shutdown of the state, except for essential services, essentially shutting down the economy for a period of two weeks in the name of preserving hospital capacity. At the time, there was little objection. After all, it was only for two weeks and though hindsight is 20/20 and we know a lot more about COVID-19 now, at the time the impact of the disease was unknown.

Nearly two years into the COVID-19 outbreak, the boundaries of state power are being scrutinized. On a national level, the US Supreme Court, in an opinion in the case of National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration a stay of the Biden Administration's vaccine mandate was granted. A concurring opinion, authored by Neil Gorsuch -- an affirmation of liberty over security -- reads in part:

The question before us is not how to respond to the pandemic, but who holds the power to do so. The answer is clear: Under the law as it stands today, that power rests with the States and Congress, not OSHA. In saying this much, we do not impugn the intentions behind the agency’s mandate. Instead, we only discharge our duty to enforce the law’s demands when it comes to the question who may govern the lives of 84 million Americans. Respecting those demands may be trying in times of stress. But if this Court were to abide them only in more tranquil conditions, declarations of emergencies would never end and the liberties our Constitution’s separation of powers seeks to preserve would amount to little.

In light of this decision, House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) said, “The U.S. Supreme Court made an important decision by blocking a federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private employees. The message was clear: OSHA does not have the authority to broadly regulate public health. This should apply to Governor Kate Brown’s Oregon OSHA and its failed leadership because it has not respected individual health care decisions. In light of this important action from the Supreme Court, House Republicans call on Oregon OSHA to remove its strict and punitive COVID-19 mandates on private businesses and drop its plans for a permanent indoor mask mandate.”

Likewise, Representative Christine Drazan (R-Canby) said, “The Supreme Court made the right decision today by blocking a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees of large businesses. This vaccine rule would have forced private employees to choose between giving up control of their own personal health care or forfeit their jobs. That’s not a real choice. Oregonians and all Americans deserve the dignity of deciding what is best for themselves. The government should not force them to lose their jobs because of their own personal health care decisions.”

State Senator Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) has also questioned the limits on the authority of the Oregon Health Authority and asked Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen "what statute(s) give OHA the authority to mandate vaccinations, masks or any other mandate concerning COVID?"

He replied that ORS 431.110 (General powers of the Oregon Health Authority) provides in section (1) that OHA shall “Have direct supervision of all matters relating to the preservation of life and health of the people of the state.” More specifically, section (5) provides that OHA shall “have full power in the control of all communicable diseases.” These are general powers, and are not tied to any emergency declarations.

Thatcher mused, "If the “general” statutory powers (not even including “emergency” powers) the OHA claims they have are covered under “all matters relating to the preservation of life and health of the people of the state” then what’s stopping them from banning cigarettes, mandating dietary choices, and dictating an acceptable body mass index? Or, even further, demanding carbon dioxide limits, or banning weapons? The list could go on forever."

In what amounts to a self-serving, bureaucratic dump of some 42 pages Oregon OSHA outlines it's authority.

Echoing Justice Gorsuch, Thatcher added, “It seems they are granting themselves legislative powers.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-01-19 07:22:50Last Update: 2022-01-19 08:00:10

Progress of Interstate 5 Bridge Replacement
Needed improvements remain unaddressed

Interstate 5 provides a critical connection between Oregon and Washington that supports local jobs and families, and is a vital trade route for regional, national and international economies.

Operating and maintaining these aging structures costs around $1.2 million each year, split evenly between ODOT and WSDOT. Larger maintenance projects to keep the Interstate Bridge in service are expected to cost over $280 million through the year 2040, not including seismic retrofit.

Replacing the aging Interstate Bridge across the Columbia River with a modern, seismically resilient, multimodal structure that provides improved mobility for people, goods and services is a high priority for Oregon and Washington.

Recognizing that needed improvements remain unaddressed, Washington and Oregon dedicated a combined $50 million in 2019 to restart Interstate Bridge replacement work. The states’ governors and legislative leaders directed ODOT and WSDOT to open a bi-state project office to complete the planning, design and construction work.

ODOT and WSDOT are jointly leading these efforts in coordination with eight other bi-state partner agencies: TriMet, C-TRAN, Oregon Metro, the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council, the cities of Portland and Vancouver, and the Ports of Portland and Vancouver. These agencies have a direct stake in future improvements because of their roles within the region’s integrated, multimodal transportation system.

Together with ODOT and WSDOT, they will provide coordinated regional leadership throughout program development.

Bi-state legislative involvement will also be essential to successfully complete the planning and design process and move to construction. Each state legislature has identified eight lawmakers to provide direction and oversight to shape IBR program work. Oregon’s Joint Interim Committee on the Interstate 5 Bridge is co-chaired by Senator Lee Beyer (D-Eugene) and Representative Susan McLain (D-Hillsboro). The Committee will meet with the Washington State Legislature’s committee on January 24, 2022 in a remote meeting at 6 PM. The meeting will be live streamed providing updates on the process to identify solution and draft modifications. Public comments or written testimony will be available.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-01-18 21:06:24Last Update: 2022-01-18 21:25:21

Oregon Senate Republicans Honor MLK
“He would detest the violence that has taken over many American cities”

As the nation remembers the tremendous legacy of Dr. King, the Oregon Senate Republicans honored his legacy of non-violence and peaceful protest.

Through Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Americans were shown how non-violence could catalyze some of the greatest reforms in the nation’s history.

Many try to use Dr. King’s legacy to push their political agenda while tossing aside what his example means for America today.

His wisdom of non-violence and peaceful protest still rings true. As he said in his 1964 Nobel lecture, “Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love… violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.”

“What is clear from Dr. King’s writing and teachings is that he would detest the violence that has taken over many American city streets in the name of ‘justice’. Today, we should remember Dr. King for what he actually did and advocated for. His incredible sacrifice is a lesson for all of us,” said Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend).

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-01-17 20:47:20Last Update: 2022-01-17 21:02:32

All-State Choir Competition Discriminates
Vaccinated can spread COVID, but no test required

This weekend was the Oregon All-State Choir and Band Competition in Eugene.

Middle Schools and high schools all over the state submit recording of their performance with the hopes to be selected to compete. Students in music consider qualifying for this event a badge of honor for their school.

In order to attend and compete, students were divided into two groups. If the student were vaccinated, they got a free pass. However, unvaccinated students were required to show a negative Covid test.

One parent, Katrina Cole, is speaking out against this discriminatory practice between the vaccinated and unvaccinated students. She voiced her concern to Director Sutton of OMEA about the discrimination policy. “I was told there would be no measures taken to protect my child from other students who were vaccinated.”

On January 13, 2022, the Oregon Health Authority reported that 72,683 fully vaccinated individuals have tested positive for Covid that has been reported. CDC also says that people with vaccine breakthrough infections can spread Covid to others.

Cole says, “My son is a student in the Sherwood School district and was scheduled to participate in the All-State choir performance in Eugene with other Oregon middle school students. In order to participate, he was required to show a negative Covid test or a vaccine card. Although he had no known exposure and no symptoms whatsoever, due to his unvaccinated status, we had to take the test. Much to our surprise it was positive.”

Cole is not objecting that her son could not attend, but how many students that are vaccinated were allowed to attend that were also positive. Disappointed, she emailed Director Sutton requesting a refund of the $300 associated with the event and was refused even though attendance was out of their control.

Cole spoke with other health care officials who are very concerned with this policy and extremely surprised the event was not postponed due to our current outbreak situation and school closures.

Not only is this inequitable for the number of students who are testing positive, but it clearly discriminated against unvaccinated students.

She posed the situation to Director Sutton, “My son is not even sick (no symptoms whatsoever). He only tested based on your policy, as an unvaccinated participant. Without requiring this for all participants, you have discriminated against him. This is not equitable at all. How many asymptomatic vaccinated students are you allowing to participate and spread Covid? Now you are refusing to refund the hard-earned money he worked for to be able to attend this event in the first place. I fully support music education, but I hope that the injustices on these policies will be brought to light and corrected in the near future. You can be sure I will be fighting for the rights of ALL students.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-01-16 10:35:21Last Update: 2022-01-17 15:32:36

Trimet Reduces Bus Routes
Most severe bus operator shortage in it’s history

On Monday, Jan. 10, TriMet reduced services on 20 bus lines to address the most severe bus operator shortage in the agency’s history.

All affected lines will have buses coming less often on weekdays, and some may run fewer hours of the day. TriMet first announced the service reductions in early December.

The following lines will have a service reduction:

4, 8, 12, 15, 17, 21, 30, 33, 35, 52, 54, 56, 62, 67, 70, 71, 75, 76, 77, 78

Of these, lines 4, 12, 17, 21, 30, 33, 35, 52, 54, 56, 62, 67, 70, 71, 76, 77 and 78 will also have reduced hours of operation, which means buses may start later or end earlier in the service day.

Riders are encouraged to visit Trimet's website and plan any trips to see how the adjustments impact arrival, departure and transfer times.

Also, LIFT paratransit riders may experience longer ride times or differences in desired pickup or drop-off times, as the LIFT program provides service the same days and times as our fixed-route buses.

TriMet says they are actively recruiting bus operators. They are offering newly hired operators a $2,500 hiring bonus, starting pay of $21.84 per hour and seven weeks of paid training. In addition to benefits including vacation, personal and sick time; health, dental, vision, disability and life insurance plans; and pension and retirement benefits, including a monthly employer retirement plan contribution of 8% of employee base pay. With pay increases guaranteed, full-time TriMet bus operators can achieve top pay in three years, earning an annual salary of at least $68,000 without overtime.

Training classes start every three weeks and can accommodate 26 people. For the past year, those classes have fallen short of that threshold, with as few as two or three people in some classes. All new operators must successfully complete the seven-week program, including receiving their Commercial Driver License (CDL), prior to heading out on the road.

Many observers are noting factors such as the controversial Covid vaccine mandate, that is likely a main contributor to the bus driver shortage.

TriMet says they have focused the adjustments on maintaining service in communities of color and areas where people of low income live and work. The plan was evaluated through a comprehensive Title VI analysis, which found no disproportionate impact on communities of concern within the service area.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-01-14 11:08:36Last Update: 2022-01-14 11:35:22

Portland Schools Clash with Union Over Closure
“We cannot allow a small group of individuals to hijack our schools”

As Oregon school districts struggle to keep schools open in the face of personnel shortages, Portland Public Schools administration has taken the Portland Association of Teachers -- the teachers' union, uder the direction of Elizabeth Thiel -- to task for their plan to coordinate teachers' absences in order to force a wider shutdown of in-person instruction at district schools.

The union describes the deterioration of communication between the themselves and the district on the Portland Teachers' Union Website saying

In August, we demanded to bargain with the District over the workload impacts of the pandemic. The District finally sat down to formally begin this critical discussion in November. By then it was clear that our untenable workload– exacerbated by the pandemic conditions– was creating a staffing crisis that threatens our ability to safely run our schools.

We clearly stated our goal of offering educators meaningful workload relief, and creating better systems of support for students before the winter break, so that our community could have time to adjust to any changes, and so that students and educators could come back in January with some confidence that things will get better.

After 5 sessions of bargaining, it became abundantly clear that the District wasn’t willing to offer any significant workload relief for educators, or any meaningful improvements in student safety or student academic/emotional support. Therefore, today, we informed the District we are withdrawing from these talks.

Portland Public Schools has warned educators that this behavior is unlawful and harms students and has put a School Closure Tracker on their website which shows that 161 teachers -- or about 3.5% -- have had to be isolated due to being infected or presumptively infected with COVID-19. With the rise of absences among students and staff driven by the omicron variant of COVID-19, PPS has moved some schools into temporary distance learning, with campuses closed.

State Representative and gubernatorial candidate Christine Drazan (R-Canby) issued the following statement in response to a letter distributed by Portland Public Schools regarding reports of teachers and unions coordinating mass absences in an effort to close schools.

“It is incredibly alarming to hear reports of attempts to organize mass staff absences with the goal of closing our schools,” said Representative Drazan. “Our kids have been through enough these past two years. They’ve suffered from isolation, struggled to keep up with remote learning, and are now once again dealing with the anxiety of whether their classrooms will remain open. We simply cannot allow a small group of individuals to hijack our schools and force our students to pay the price.”

“We all know that good teachers are committed to their students and understand how important it is to keep kids in the classroom. Portland Public Schools is taking appropriate action to hold a limited number of bad actors accountable for their actions. Keeping our schools open full time and in person must be our shared priority.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-01-13 16:04:14Last Update: 2022-01-13 16:22:57

Steve Bates to Seek Election to Senate Seat
Bates will be on the May 17th Republican Primary Ballot

At the January 4th meeting of the Boring Community Planning Organization, long time Boring community leader, Steve Bates announced his intention to run for Senate District 26.

Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River), who currently serves in Senate District 26 has stated he will not seek re-election.

Steve Bates advised the Boring CPO that the redistricting just completed by the state legislature has assigned an average of 141,241 residents to each senate district. He stated that "the Senate District 26 boundaries that take effect in January, 2023 have been changed dramatically. They stretch from The Dalles to Canby, taking in a portion of Wasco County, all of Hood River County, areas east of Troutdale in Multnomah County and, based upon 2020 census data, about 90,000 Clackamas County residents that include those living in the Mount Hood Villages, Sandy, Boring, Eagle Creek, Estacada, Beavercreek, portions of Oregon City and Canby."

Steve Bates stated "Of the estimated 141,000 residents of Senate District 26, about 70% live within a 35 mile radius of my home. I am in a very good location to properly represent all of the people of SD26. I have lived in Boring for 45 years and I recall most of the time, my Senator lived within a 30 or 35 mile radius from me."

As a result of his announcement at the meeting, the Boring Community Planning Organization voted unanimously to endorse Steve Bates for Oregon Senate District 26.

Steve Bates has been involved with the state legislature over the past several years advocating for the community of Boring and veterans issues. 17 pieces of legislation have been introduced at his request by several different legislators and over half of them received unanimous bi-partisan votes. Steve Bates said "I have developed relationships at the Capitol through the years and I look forward to expanding those relationships and adding to them as the Senator from SD26."

He plans to work on the following items which can receive bi-partisan support: Transportation Issues such as traffic congestion, Law & Order - funding for the Oregon State Police and County Sheriffs, Veterans Issues and Mental Health Advocacy.

Steve Bates has stated: "In addition to advocating for our veterans, I will also further the efforts to reclaim and activate the Willamette Falls Locks so that there is a navigable waterway from Portland to Salem in the event of a major catastrophe." He also intends to support issues such as community college funding, prioritizing vocational education and replacing the Clackamas County Courthouse.

Marie Teune, an elected board member of both, the Oregon Trail School District Board and Mt. Hood Community College Board issued this statement: "Beyond a doubt, Steve Bates is the most qualified person to run for Oregon State Senate. Being his neighbor for 40 years, its been amazing to see how he has become an icon in our community. Steve exemplifies honesty, integrity, leadership, commitment and hard work for the community he cares so much about. We need Steve representing our Senate District."

"Through the years, it has been my privilege to advocate for my community and our veterans around the state. It would be my honor to represent and advocate for my hometown and my fellow residents of Senate District 26," Bates declared.

A registered Republican, Steve Bates will be on the May 17th Republican Primary Ballot.

The winner of the primary election will face the Democrat nominee in the General Election on November 8th.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-01-12 07:49:30Last Update: 2022-01-12 08:24:00

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