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On this day, November 26, 2010, US federal agents in a sting operation arrested Mohamed Osman Mohamud (19), a Somali-born teenager, just as he tried blowing up a van he believed was loaded with explosives at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland.




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Oregon Legislature Interim Committee Meetings
Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 8:00 am
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Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 8:00 am
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82nd Session of the Oregon Legislature Begins
Monday, January 9, 2023 at 8:00 am
The 2023 Session of the Oregon Legislature begins. Legislators are sworn in and bills are introduced.
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State Contracts to be Studied for Diversity
BBC Research does not appear to have any blacks or Hispanics

The Department of Administrative Services alongside commissioned BBC Research & Consulting, will be hosting six stakeholder engagement sessions in early December to provide information about Oregon’s disparity study, to seek feedback and be available for questions. These meetings will provide information about the project team, the purpose of the study, the project approach, and how business owners and stakeholders can participate directly in the study. The project team will also answer any questions attendees have regarding the study. In addition, attendees will have an opportunity to share any comments or insights about working with the state. This feedback will be integrated into the analysis and report.

BBC Research itself, does not appear to have any blacks or Hispanics among its own directors or employees.

The disparity study, which will examine contracting by state government agencies. The study will seek information about businesses that are owned by people of color, women and service-disabled veterans. The project team will assess whether there are disparities between contracts and procurements awarded and the availability of those types of businesses for the work requested. The study will also assess marketplace conditions for businesses owned by people of color, women and service-disabled veterans throughout Oregon to determine whether any barriers make it more difficult for those businesses to compete for or perform state work.

Public Comment Zoom Meetings
December 6, 11:30 a.m.
December 6, 5:30 p.m.
December 7, 11:30 a.m.
December 7, 5:30 p.m.
December 8, 11:30 a.m.
December 8, 5:30 p.m.
Stakeholder engagement sessions will take place in early December, with two sessions a day over the course of three days. Public participation and feedback are crucial to a successful study, please join any of the following sessions:

“We highly encourage anyone interested in state contracting or procurement to participate in these engagement sessions,” said Christopher D. Wilson, Disparity Study Manager. “We hope to hear about all experiences, your insights will help the state better encourage the participation of small businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, person of color-owned businesses, and woman-owned businesses in state work.”

The disparity study began in October 2022, and the project team expects to submit a draft report to the state in June 2023 and a final report in August 2023.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-25 06:28:05Last Update: 2022-11-26 09:34:04



Google Settles with Oregon
Google uses the personal data it collects to target ads

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, along with 39 other state attorney generals, announced a historic $391.5 million settlement with Google over its location tracking practices. The settlement, which was led by Oregon AG Rosenblum and Nebraska AG Doug Peterson, is the largest attorney general-led consumer privacy settlement ever. Because of Oregon’s leadership role in the bipartisan investigation and settlement, Oregon will receive $14,800,563.

The settlement outlined that Google misled its users into thinking they had turned off location tracking in their account settings, when, in fact, Google continued to collect their location information. In addition to the multimillion-dollar settlement, as part of the negotiations, Google has agreed to significantly improve its location tracking disclosures and user controls starting in 2023.

“For years Google has prioritized profit over their users’ privacy,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “They have been crafty and deceptive. Consumers thought they had turned off their location tracking features on Google, but the company continued to secretly record their movements and use that information for advertisers.”

Location data is a key part of Google’s digital advertising business. Google uses the personal and behavioral data it collects to build detailed user profiles and target ads. In fact, location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects. Even a limited amount of location data can expose a person’s identity and routines and can be used to infer personal details. Specifically, Google confused its users about the extent to which they could limit Google’s location tracking by adjusting their account and device settings

The attorneys general opened the Google investigation following a 2018 Associated Press article that revealed Google “records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.” The article focused on two Google account settings: Location History and Web & App Activity. Location History is “off” unless a user turns on the setting, but Web & App Activity, a separate account setting, is automatically “on” when users set up a Google account, including all Android users.

“Consumer privacy is one of my office’s top priorities. That’s why it’s so important to me that Oregon played a key role in this settlement. Until we have comprehensive privacy laws, companies will continue to compile large amounts of our personal data for marketing purposes with few controls,” continued AG Rosenblum.

The settlement requires Google to be more transparent about its practices. In particular, Google must:
  1. Show additional information to users whenever they turn a location-related account setting “on” or “off”;
  2. Make key information about location tracking unavoidable for users (i.e., not hidden); and
  3. Give users detailed information about the types of location data Google collects and how it’s used at an enhanced “Location Technologies” webpage.
In 2019, Attorney General Rosenblum formed the Oregon Consumer Privacy Task Force to answer the growing calls for legislation that would give consumers more control over their online privacy and require businesses to adhere to basic standards when handling personal information. The task force has now grown into more than 150 participants from a variety of perspectives.

The task force will introduce comprehensive consumer data privacy legislation in the upcoming 2023 legislative session. If the bill is successful, consumers will have more control over their personal data. They will have the right to know what personal information a company is collecting, to whom or where their data was disclosed, and they will receive a copy of all the data a company has about them. Companies would also need to correct inaccuracies in personal data or delete their information. In addition, the task force plans to introduce companion legislation to create a state registry of data brokers, companies that often operate under the radar but make billions selling personal consumer data.

Blocking Google from collecting personal data may spoil their artificial intelligence robot called LaMDA (Language Model for Dialog Applications). This is the product for which Google has been collecting personal information and habits. Google has been in the news as to whether this AI robot is sentient having thoughts and feelings, and they have fired those claiming it possess those self-aware algorithms.

Elon Musk said in a speech at the 2017 National Governors Association, “Robots will be able to do everything better than us. I have exposure to the most cutting-edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned by it.”


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-25 06:24:37Last Update: 2022-11-24 21:15:24



Beware of Black Friday and Cyber Monday Scams
“The biggest shopping days of the year are also packed with scams”

Thanksgiving week Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum reminded us that the biggest shopping days of the year are also packed with scams. Black Friday and Cyber Monday and the holidays draw millions of buyers every year looking to score deals, compete for hot products, and cross names off their shopping lists. She says, be ready – and safe!

“With all these deals, unfortunately, fraudsters are also looking to cash in,” said Rosenblum. “Let’s not give scammers any gifts, credit card information, or new identities this year,” said AG Rosenblum. “Before you open your wallet, review this list carefully to ensure you can shop confidently and make the most of all the great holiday deals. Be sure to review our ten practical tips as well!”

1. Non-delivery scam

If a deal seems too good to be true on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, it probably is. When making online purchases, you should always receive an order confirmation with a tracking number. But in this scam, you won’t. And surprise, surprise, the package never arrives. When you attempt to contact the seller for help, you learn they have disappeared.

2. Gift card scam

In this scam, an online store will ask that you pay using a gift card. If this happens, it should raise big red flags. Gift cards are often utilized by cybercriminals to steal your money because these types of purchases cannot be tracked, and it is impossible to get your money back.

Treat gift cards like cash, never giving out your gift card number or PIN, and using them only with the issuing merchant. For example, you’d use a Target gift card at a Target store or Target.com.

3. Fake order scam

Phishing is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but modern-day phishing attacks have become more sophisticated. In the fake order scam, con artists will send cryptic text messages or unsolicited emails to notify you of a "problem" with your online order.

But you never ordered anything! They want you to click the link in the phishing email, which leads to a website asking for your banking credentials or other sensitive information, which they can use to commit other frauds.

These emails are designed to appear like they came from a legitimate sender, like Amazon or Walmart. Please look out for these and don’t fall for them!

4. Fake delivery scam

Phishing attacks go a step further in this scheme, as criminals will send fake delivery notifications by text or email. Usually, these notifications are disguised to be from FedEx, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service.

Just like the fake order phishing scam, you’ll be invited to click a link to accept your delivery, where they’ll steal your personally identifying information.

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5. Fake website scam

Cybercriminals are setting up imitation websites of popular online stores. These copycat websites look exactly like the official retailer, and the untrained eyes of an average consumer can easily fall for the trap.

If you have unsuspectingly made an online purchase from a fake retail website, criminals may have stolen your credit card information and other personal details, and you should contact your credit card and/or bank immediately.

To avoid falling victim to one or more of these scams on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, review these 10 practical tips to help you watch your wallet, shop wisely, and protect your personal information online.

If you have fallen victim, be sure to report it to the Oregon Department of Justice online at www.oregonconsumer.gov or by phone at 1-877-877-9392.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-24 13:59:51Last Update: 2022-11-24 16:11:12



Kate Brown Grants Pardon for Marijuana Offenders
More than $14,000,000 in fines and fees will be forgiven

Governor Kate Brown has announced a pardon for prior Oregon offenses of simple possession of marijuana, an act that will impact an estimated 45,000 individuals across the state and forgive more than $14,000,000 in associated fines and fees. The pardon will remove 47,144 convictions for possession of a small amount of marijuana from individual records, eliminating barriers for thousands of people seeking employment, housing, and educational opportunities who have otherwise been ineligible.

The pardon applies to electronically available Oregon convictions for possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana, in pre-2016 cases in which the person was 21 years of age or older, where this was the only charge, and where there were no victims. This pardon does not apply to any other offense related to marijuana or other controlled substances. More information can be found here.

“No one deserves to be forever saddled with the impacts of a conviction for simple possession of marijuana -- a crime that is no longer on the books in Oregon,” said Governor Brown. “Oregonians should never face housing insecurity, employment barriers, and educational obstacles as a result of doing something that is now completely legal, and has been for years. My pardon will remove these hardships. And while Oregonians use marijuana at similar rates, Black and Latina/o/x people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.

“We are a state, and a nation, of second chances. Today, I am taking steps to right the wrongs of a flawed, inequitable, and outdated criminal justice system in Oregon when it comes to personal marijuana possession. For the estimated 45,000 individuals who are receiving a pardon for prior state convictions of marijuana possession, this action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions.”

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Following the Governor’s pardon, the Oregon Judicial Department will ensure that all court records associated with these pardoned offenses are sealed, as required by law


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-24 11:07:59



Lawsuit Filed over Measure 114 Gun Restrictions
Kate Brown and Ellen Rosenblum named

A lawsuit has been filed by Oregon Firearms Federation, Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey and firearms dealer Adam Johnson against Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum seeking to have Measure 114 declared unconstitutional.

According to the complaint, filed in the Pendleton Division of US District Court, "Millions of law-abiding Americans own firearms equipped with magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. There is nothing unusual or novel about this technology. Many of the nation’s best-selling handguns and rifles come standard with magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds—and firearms equipped with such magazines are safely possessed by law-abiding citizens in the vast majority of States. The reason for the popularity of these magazines is that in a confrontation with a violent attacker, having enough ammunition can be the difference between life and death."

The case was immediately moved to the Portland Division under Judge Karen Immergut. Immergut is a Democrat appointed by Donald Trump. The court acted with unusual speed on Thanksgiving Day by scheduling oral arguments for Dec 2nd.

According to the complaint, Measure 114 violates a litany of constitutional provisions. Oregon Firearms Federation Executive Director Kevin Starrett pointed out, that "In spite of the fact that there are still uncounted ballots, Oregon’s Secretary of State has declared that the ban on new gun sales, and the outlawing of standard capacity magazines, goes into effect on December 8th.

"This came as a shock not only to gun owners, and gun stores but to the State Police and Sheriffs who have been saddled with implementing this nightmare with no direction, no funding, and no resources . And that’s exactly how it was intended," according to Starrett, who is seeking donations to help with mounting legal costs.

"We know the state has said they will vigorously defend this measure and work to shut down gun stores as quickly as possible. And as you know, virtually every firearms related legal challenge has been lengthy, expensive, and wrought with setbacks.

Starrett continued, "The courts were more than happy to uphold orders that closed schools and crippled small businesses during COVID."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-24 06:24:08Last Update: 2022-11-24 20:37:10



Double Homicide Inspires Legislative Concept
Pardons for prior marijuana possession

Senator Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro) speaks out regarding the double homicide in Washington County on November 16. The suspect, Carlos Jimenez-Vargas, is believed to have killed his wife and her sister, Gabriela Jimenez and Lenin Hernandez-Rosas, then shot himself. He was previously arrested six weeks earlier and charged with fourth-degree assault, strangulation, second-degree invasion of personal privacy, luring a minor, unlawful use of a weapon and menacing. Senator Sollman, board member of the Washington County Family Justice Center, is using this tragedy to expand pretrial release assessments to include crimes of domestic violence and personal violence, such as strangulation.

“As someone that grew up in a home where domestic violence was present,” she said. “I know that domestic violence is about negative, and often violent control. Early in the 2023 legislative session, I will be looking at how different courts address these issues in order to help prevent tragedies like this from occurring and will be working with all advocates interested in working on this issue.”

Meanwhile, Oregon Governor Kate Brown grants another round of pardons for prior marijuana possession that will impact an estimated 45,000 individuals across the state and forgive more than $14,000,000 in associated fines and fees. The pardon will remove 47,144 convictions for possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana, in pre-2016 cases in which the person was 21 years of age or older, where this was the only charge, and where there were no victims. This pardon does not apply to any other offense related to marijuana or other controlled substances. It eliminates barriers for thousands of people seeking employment, housing, and educational opportunities who have otherwise been ineligible

Governor Brown said, “We are a state, and a nation, of second chances. Today, I am taking steps to right the wrongs of a flawed, inequitable, and outdated criminal justice system in Oregon when it comes to personal marijuana possession. For the estimated 45,000 individuals who are receiving a pardon for prior state convictions of marijuana possession, this action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions.”

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Following the Governor’s pardon, the Oregon Judicial Department will ensure that all court records associated with these pardoned offenses are sealed, removing housing insecurity, employment barriers, and educational obstacles.

This follows the release of 953 convicted felons earlier this year that included more than 70 people who committed crimes as juveniles including murder. There were a lot of questions in a lawsuit about the constitutional and statutory rights of victims. However, the courts sided with Governor Brown.

Oregon has set a precedent passing laws that protect rehabilitation of inmates. So it shouldn’t be a surprise when courts seem to side with predators rights. Can Senator Sollman bring back constitutional and statutory rights in the way courts look at victims?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-23 16:48:12Last Update: 2022-11-23 20:24:08



Knopp Hopes for a Bipartisan Session
Democrats appear on track to lose their supermajority

Oregon Senate Democrats met at Salishan Resort to choose their nominee for Senate President. The choice of Senator Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) to replace the retiring Peter Courtney -- known for his commitment to the institution and bipartisan solutions -- suggests a new direction.

“Oregonians are facing a number of crises that require action from the Oregon Legislature," said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). "With close results in several key Senate elections, and the end of the supermajority, voters indicated they want their elected officials to work together in a bipartisan fashion now more than ever."

"I am disappointed that Democrats first step in preparation for the 2023 Session is to designate a new nominee for Senate President without seeking any input from Republicans. Senator Wagner has shown he is untrustworthy, deeply partisan, and doesn’t have the necessary skills to run the Senate in a bipartisan fashion. There are no votes in the Senate Republican caucus for Senator Wagner."

If Democrats are intent on uniting Oregon to fix our problems, Republicans are all in. If Democrats want to run a progressive agenda to pay back their supporters, they can expect total opposition.”

While certification will not occur until December, Democrats appear on track to lose their supermajority and hold their Senate majority by a small margin. The combined total margins in Senate District 3 and Senate District 20 are approximately 2,850 votes.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-23 15:13:41Last Update: 2022-11-23 20:19:59



NW Natural is Still a Viable Energy Option
"Innovative efforts that actually reduces carbon emissions"

Despite the attacks by Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown, and Governor-Elect Tina Kotek on natural gas suppliers, NW Natural Gas continues to prove they are a viable carbon neutral option. Representative Khanh Pham (D-Portland), co-sponsored HB 2021 (2021), said the bill “builds on existing energy policy to ensure Oregon’s electricity is generated from clean energy and carbon-free resources like solar and wind energy by 2040.” Her testimony neglected to mention it halts growth in natural gas usage.

HB 2021 implants into law a requirement for retail electricity providers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers to 80% below baseline emissions levels by 2030, 90% below baseline emissions levels by 2035, and 100% below baseline emissions levels by 2040.

Oregon government has not made it clear to Oregonians that not all electricity is carbon neutral. It takes coal, or oil or natural gas to produce electricity. In a study by Charles Frank, Brookings Institution, he made a comparison of baseline net cost of five options to replace coal. The net cost per KWH for Wind is 5.64 cents, Solar is 18.74 cents, Hydro is -.33 cents, Nuclear is 1.04 cents, and Gas CC is -3.18 cents. What the carbon neutral proponents want you to pay is an additional 21.92 cents per KWH for solar electricity, and for wind an increase of 8.82 cents per KWH.

The benefits of reducing carbon emissions do not appear to be cost effective for higher priced options. According to Frank's report, the cost of reduced emission benefits are: Wind is 4.77 cents, Solar is 5.11 cents, Hydro is 4.83 cents, Nuclear is 5.16 cents and Gas CC is 3.46 cents. Frank answers the question of why the costs per KWH of wind and solar are much higher, and the benefits not much different, than the other three low-carbon alternatives. Costs are higher due to cost to build a wind or solar plant, they operate at full capacity only about 15 percent of the time, and output is highly variable. Frank estimates that it takes at least 7.3 solar plants and 4.3 wind plants to produce the same amount of power as one Hydro or nuclear or coal or gas-fired plant. He suggests that renewable incentives that favor wind and solar are very expensive and inefficient way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

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Last year Northwest Natural presented Vision 2050: Destination Zero, an in-depth report that shows multiple scenarios for how NW Natural can achieve carbon neutrality, a low-carbon energy future in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This report analyzes potential scenarios in which NW Natural could achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 for the energy services they provide to 2.5 million residents.

Emerging new technologies can play a role in decarbonizing non-renewable gas supplies through the direct capture of carbon dioxide at the point of combustion. These emissions can be sequestered or utilized, giving rise to the category of carbon capture, utilization, and storage.

NW Natural has market-ready technology in the pilot phase of deployment designed for natural gas utilities. They are piloting the CarbinX unit, manufactured by the Canadian-based CleanO2 firm, which draws a fraction of the flue gas from natural gas-fired appliances and mixes that gas with potassium hydroxide to produce potassium carbonate. The initial model is expected to capture 20% of the CO2 in the flue stream and eventually rise to 100% in 2030. The CarbinX device is best suited for larger facilities like indoor aquatic and recreation centers or hotels with on-site laundry, places that use relatively stable amounts of natural gas.

NW Natural is also partnering with Modern Electron on another pilot project to turn methane into clean hydrogen and solid carbon to go live in early 2023. All these innovative efforts that actually reduces carbon emissions, unlike HB 2021, have fallen on deaf ears with the Oregon legislature's majority party.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-22 06:54:19Last Update: 2022-11-21 22:27:48



Oregon Declares Another Emergency
U.S. Senate declares emergency is over

The Biden Administration is fighting back against Senate Republican along with 13 Democrats who voted to put an end to the notion that COVID is still an emergency. Senate Joint Resolution 63 is intended to put an end to a national emergency declared by the President on March 13, 2020. Senator Roger Marshall, a physician from Kansas, forced the issue onto the Senate floor, but Joe Biden says he needs an “emergency” to fund things like student loan forgiveness.

Now that Nancy Pelosi is out of the picture, this vote may get enough bipartisan support to put a bill on the president's desk. However, Joe Biden says he will veto it, saying the bill would end the national emergency "abruptly and prematurely."

Governor Kate Brown is desperately trying to keep the crisis mentality going in Oregon to test out the newly passed authority given to the Oregon Health Authority. The shortage of nursing and professional staff created during the COVID emergency is having a lingering effect. Many were forced to quit because they refused to take a vaccine that is now being suspended or banned in India, Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Latvia. In the U.S., a year ago, twelve state governors signed legislation restricting COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

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Still Governor Brown continues to tell healthcare workers they can’t help with the shortage of nurses if they choose to not vaccinate or qualify for an exemption. SB 1529 carried by Senator Deb Patterson (D-Salem), passed on partisan lines against overwhelming opposition concerned with the unfettered powers given to the Health Authority whenever an emergency is declared or to declare an emergency with the governor’s approval. SB 1529 allows the Public Health Director to direct and deploy State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Oregon (SERV-OR), a database of healthcare professionals volunteering their services including those licensed in other states that can practice in Oregon upon declaration of an emergency.

The Governor’s executive order will give hospitals additional flexibility to staff beds for children, allow them to draw on a pool of medical volunteer nurses and doctors from other states (SERV-OR), and take other steps to provide care to pediatric patients. One may ask what the emergency really is since SERV-OR data base includes 5,150 Oregon licensed professionals that could fill in without an emergency. There is an additional 224 with dual license in Oregon and another state, and 75 out-of-state license holders.

There is no vaccine for RSV, so why does Governor Brown and OHA continue to block Oregonian professionals that aren’t vaccinated in the light of national bi-partisan support declaring the emergency is over?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-21 08:30:31Last Update: 2022-11-21 19:55:37



Multnomah County Forecasts More Budget Deficit
“We are more likely to have a recession than not”

The Multnomah County Budget Office delivered an update to its five-year budget outlook Tuesday, Nov. 15, projecting a growing gap between revenues and expenses in the most recent General Fund forecast.

The five-year forecast is meant to help the Board of County Commissioners assess the long-term financial implications and stability of both current and proposed policies and programs. The forecast anticipates a deficit of $2.6 million for fiscal year 2024, which starts July 1, 2023, and lasts through June 30, 2024. The deficit is expected to grow to $15.4 million by FY 2028.

Business income tax and property tax collections are steady, said Jeff Renfro, the County’s economist. But they may be offset by factors including personnel cost increases in light of new labor agreements, growing recession risks and continued uncertainty over inflation.

“I will just say now I think we are more likely to have a recession than not,” Renfro said. “And we are incorporating that into some of our assumptions.”

Additionally, one-time-only funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, which spent taxpayer dollars a series of poverty, homelessness and public health programs during the pandemic, is set to expire. The fiscal impact of continuing those programs would surely add costs.

While the most recent data shows that inflation may be cooling down, Renfro said, the Federal Reserve may keep interest rates higher for longer than initially planned to ensure inflation eases. Each month that passes with higher interest rates increases the risk of recession, Renfro said.

Moving forward, Renfro said, he is expecting more pressure from inflation and rising personnel costs. Reduced profits would reduce County tax revenues.

In FY 2023, Renfro said, the County could see its business income tax revenue down 12% from the previous year.

The contradiction, Renfro said, is that household incomes continue to rise. Households have more savings than in the past. That means households are able to continue driving consumption, which is good for the economy.

Inflation and the increase in interest rates have also reduced housing affordability, which affects lower-income households the hardest. The decrease in housing affordability will be exacerbated by interest rate increases in the medium term, as the slowdown in housing construction will make the housing shortage worse. Data from the Budget Office’s new Data Library, created by College to County intern Pari Magphanthang, confirmed these already existing, stark disparities.

Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, a Democrat who served two terms as an Oregon legislator said rising interest rates underscore the need for “mitigating those disproportionate impacts through Congressional action like rental assistance or child supports or construction loans.”

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Airport travel rebounds, but uncertainty remains on downtown business trends.

The restrictions of the covid pandemic devastated domestic air travel at Portland International Airport.

But even as air travel has been slow to recover, motor vehicle rental tax collections have returned to normal. That’s because rental car prices are higher. Motor tax revenue also has rebounded to normal levels.

“My assumption going forward is that, as the supply chain issues and the higher price issues start to unwind, we will continue to get kind of incremental growth in traffic through Portland International Airport,” Renfro said.

Renfro noted a surprising uncertainty in the downtown Portland commercial market. Many spaces, especially downtown, remain under lease despite not being occupied on a consistent basis. It’s unknown what will happen to the commercial real estate market as more of those leases expire.

Based on the structure of the County’s property tax system, Renfro said, risk to the County’s ledger from the commercial real estate market is somewhat limited. But property taxes account for 60% of the County’s revenues, so even a small change will have some effect.

On Dec. 9, the Budget Office will release its annual budget manual and guidance to help departments prepare their FY 2024 budgets. Then, on Feb. 13, 2023, the departments will submit their budgets to the Budget Office. On Feb. 24, the Budget Office will post those program offers online.

The Budget Office will also deliver two more budget forecasts: one in March 2023 and one in May. On April 27, the Chair’s Office will release its proposed budget, with adoption scheduled for June 18.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-11-20 08:05:41Last Update: 2022-11-20 09:02:20



Oregon Firearms Instant Check System Overwhelmed
“We will not be focusing investigations on magazine capacity issues.”

The passage of Oregon ballot measure 114 is slated to go into effect on December 8, 2022, despite the fact that ballots are still being counted, according to the Oregon Secretary of State. This measure is a prime example of the state divide passed by only four counties and rejected in 29. Only Multnomah, Washington, Lane and Benton counties passed the measure. Now, the rush to purchase a firearm has overloaded the Firearms Instant Check System (FICS).

Several organizations are planning legal action to find at least parts of Measure 114 unconstitutional. Several county sheriffs have released statements.

Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast stated efforts will go into developing procedures to comply and monitor potential litigation. “We anticipate significant strain on our limited staffing and resources...we will prioritize our services towards the areas of greatest need to best serve the residents and visitors within Marion County, therefore will not be focusing investigations on magazine capacity issues.”

Linn County Sheriff Michelle Duncan stated, “This is a terrible law for gunowners, crime victims, and public safety. I want to send a clear message to Linn County residents that the Linn County Sheriff's Office is NOT going to be enforcing magazine capacity limits.”

Union County Sheriff Cody Bowen joined with Sheriff Duncan to not uphold the laws under Measure 114.

Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe said in an interview with Truth About Guns, that he also does not intend to enforce magazine capacity limits. “That is just the way it’s going to be. The supreme law of the land is a constitution of the United States, and I believe that this measure is totally contrary to the Constitution.”

Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber also believes Measure 114 is unconstitutional, but in a release stated none of the measure outcomes affects their current licensing program.

Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler stated to NewsWatch 12 that making it more difficult for legal gun owners to acquire a gun and repeating background checks does not address the impact that mental illnesses have on gun violence. He is concerned with the number of extra employees that will be required to deal with permits, background checks, safety training, etc.

More county sheriffs are speaking out indicating they will not enforce Measure 114. Among them are Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey,

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The Oregon State Police (OSP) is aware that the public has many questions regarding Ballot Measure 114. The Oregon State Police is working very closely with the Department of Justice, the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association and the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police to assess the required processes that need to be completed to implement this law. OSP, lawmakers and stakeholders must write regulations for the first rules on permits for buying a gun and figure out the cost to enforce.

For the month of November 2022, approximately 63% of the requests received into the FICS unit have been approved. The remaining transactions must be evaluated by an OSP employee to determine what caused the person to be kicked out of the automated process. If applicable a manual correction can be made, and the application can be approved.

OSP suggests checking information when submitting for a Firearms purchase or transfer that could exclude you from the automated process: This unit has been working through these extreme firearms request volumes and will continue to process them as quickly as possible.

The FICS unit’s hours of operation are set in statute, and largely determined by retail hours, seven days a week 363 days a year with only Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day off. Information about the Oregon State Police’s Firearms Instant Check System (FICS) including how to complete a Firearm Pre-Purchase Self-Assessment Questionnaire, can be found on their website.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-18 06:31:49Last Update: 2022-11-17 20:00:25



Kate Brown Issues Executive Order to Help Pediatric Supply
Pediatric cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus are on the rise

Governor Kate Brown has exercised her executive authority under ORS Chapter 401 in response to a surge of pediatric cases and hospitalizations of respiratory viruses, including Respiratory Syncytial Virus -- commonly known as RSV -- across Oregon. The executive order will give hospitals additional flexibility to staff beds for children, allow them to draw on a pool of medical volunteer nurses and doctors, and take other steps to provide care to pediatric patients.

RSV is a common respiratory virus that spreads through virus-containing respiratory droplets produced from coughing and sneezing. For most children, RSV produces mild illness. However, young children are especially susceptible to RSV. Children under the age of two are at increased risk of severe disease.

Since the onset of Oregon’s RSV season in late October, the statewide pediatric hospitalization rate has more than tripled, and is likely to exceed its previously recorded weekly hospitalization rate imminently. With only two pediatric specialty hospitals in the state with a pediatric ICU — OHSU’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital amd Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel – and a third hospital, Providence St. Vincent’s Hospital, which has a limited number of pediatric ICU beds — this executive action will help ensure hospitals have the tools they need to care for sick children, both from RSV as well as from other illnesses that may bring kids to the hospital.

"Oregon’s nurses, doctors, and hospital staff are deeply committed to caring for our children, and I’m grateful for all the work they are doing under difficult circumstances to help our kids,” said Governor Brown. “As the country faces a surge in pediatric RSV cases, we want to make sure Oregon’s hospitals have access to the tools they need to provide care for sick kids. For parents, please know you can take steps to reduce the risk of RSV, including practicing the good health and hygiene habits we’ve learned over the past few years.”

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

“Like other hospitals in the region and across the country, OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital is currently admitting a high number of sick patients. Illnesses have hit our communities hard—and this comes on top of extreme health care staffing challenges which were exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Dana A. Braner, M.D., physician-in-chief at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital. “We expect this spike in illness to continue in the coming months. The dedicated staff here at Doernbecher are incredible, and they will continue to provide quality, compassionate care for our patients.”

“It’s important for parents to remember that while this respiratory season is severe, there are key steps families can take to protect their young children,” said Dr. Jim McCord, interim chief medical officer for Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel. “Be cautious with your young children around large groups of people, particularly indoors, make sure your child is up to date on flu and childhood immunizations, and everyone needs to wash their hands frequently. Parents should contact their primary care provider with questions or concerns.”

State health experts at the Oregon Health Authority encourage all individuals at increased risk of severe disease (and their caregivers) to take steps to prevent RSV and other respiratory infections this flu season. If you have questions about your child’s care, call your health care provider or visit an urgent care center. At this time, hospital emergency departments are strained. Only visit the hospital if your child shows signs of severe illness, such as if your child has trouble breathing.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-17 06:58:02Last Update: 2022-11-16 14:40:52



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