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River Wars
Keyboard warriors zoom into Capitol committee hearings

Tuesday night in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on several bills, including HB 2734 that would create a new “excise tax” of 5% on purchase of wake boats, equipment, storage and transportation. HB 2725 would in effect ban all motor sports on the “Newberg Pool” of the river which after the Oregon State Marine Board banned wake surfing on most of the rest of the river, would effectively ban it on the entire river.

In the hearing, the panel of proponents included one Senator, one Representative and as an “expert” a homeowner on the river. Each was given as much time as they needed while over 75 people were waiting to testify for or against -- most were against. One homeowner in fact took over 20 minutes to go through her slide show. When Representative Jami Cate (R-Lebanon) pointed that she doesn’t live on the portion of the river that currently allows wake surfing -- she lives on a banned portion -- she was not allowed to elaborate on why that was important.

Then, after the panel, no opponent panel was called on, it was on to public testimony. The Chair, Brad Witt, ended the hearing leaving over 35 people hanging. They decided to voice their opinions anyway as the meeting quickly spiraled out of control -- including one person from Willamette Riverkeepers who testified with his middle finger. The chair tried to get it back but instead ordered the committee staff to shut it down.

One citizen filed a complaint.

I would like to formally complain about the rude aggressive behavior of the scientific presenter from the Willamette Riverkeeper Travis Williams (see attached photos) who made threatening and disgusting gestures and mouthed profanity on screen during my statement to the Committee.

I would ask that he be sanctioned and not allowed to appear at future public gatherings on this topic, as it appears he poses an on going risk for harassment to these opposing his views.

This is indicative of how the super-majority Democrats are running committees in this “virtual” setting. There are increasing compliants of limited time for opponents, limited testimony, limited hearings and a generally chaotic environment.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-03-10 18:43:11Last Update: 2021-03-10 19:14:05

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