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On this day, June 4, 1990, Janet Adkins, age 54, of Portland, became the first person to use a suicide machine developed by Dr. Kevorkian. This began a national debate over the right to die.

Also on this day, June 4, 1999 a federal judge in Portland ruled that AT&T must open its cable lines to competitors. Also on this day, June 4, 2017, a pro-Trump rally and counter-protest in Portland was marked by multiple arrests and clashes.

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Sisters Rodeo
Wednesday, June 7, 2023 at 6:03 pm
Sisters Rodeo
June 7th-11th
67637 Highway 20

Sisters, OR

Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest
Friday, June 9, 2023 at 8:30 am
Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest June 9th-11th
Cannon, Beach, OR

Portland Rose Festival
Sunday, June 11, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Portland Rose Festival Fri, May 26, 2023 – Sun, Jun 11, 2023
Portland, Oregon

Linn County Pioneer Picnic
Friday, June 16, 2023 at 8:00 am
Linn County Pioneer Picnic June 16, 17, and 18
Pioneer Park Brownsville, Oregon

Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival
Friday, June 16, 2023 at 11:00 am
Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival June 16th-18th
Clatsop County Fairgrounds 92937 Walluski Loop Astoria, OR 97103

Rogue Music Fest
Friday, June 16, 2023 at 3:30 pm
Rogue Music Fest
(JUNE 16-17, 2023)

with Eric Church (Friday) and Carrie Underwood (Saturday)
Jackson County Expo 1 Peninger Rd Central Point, OR 97502

Silverton Hills Strawberry Festival
Sunday, June 18, 2023 at 12:00 pm
Silverton Hills Strawberry Festival Sunday, June 18th, 12 – 5 PM
Collidge‑McClaine City Park Silverton, OR 97381

UTV Takeover
Wednesday, June 21, 2023 at 2:00 pm
UTV Takeover JUNE 21-25, 2023
Boxcar Hill Campground Coos Bay, Oregon

Lincoln County Fair
Friday, June 30, 2023 at 5:00 pm
June 30-July 2 Lincoln County Fair
Lincoln County Commons 633 NE 3rd St, Newport, OR

St Paul Rodeo
Friday, June 30, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Small town fun, big time rodeo! JUNE 30 - JULY 4, 2023

St Paul Rodeo website
4174 Malo Avenue NE, Saint Paul, OR, United States, Oregon

Waterfront Blues Festival
Saturday, July 1, 2023 at 11:00 am
Waterfront Blues Festival July 1-4
Tom McCall Waterfront Park 1400 SW Naito Pkwy. Portland, OR 97201

Marion County Fair
Thursday, July 6, 2023 at 5:00 pm
The Marion County Fair
July 6-9
Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center 2330 17th ST NE Salem, OR 97301

Overland Expo Pacific Northwest
Friday, July 7, 2023 at 8:00 am
Overland Expo Pacific Northwest July 7th-9th

Oregon Country Fair
Friday, July 7, 2023 at 11:00 am
Oregon Country Fair July 7,8,9, 2023 11:00am - 7:00pm
Veneta, Oregon

Jackson County Fair
Wednesday, July 12, 2023 at 10:00 am
Jackson County Fair Wed, Jul 12 – Sun, Jul 16
Jackson County Expo 1 Peninger Rd, Central Point, OR

Linn County Fair
Thursday, July 13, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Linn County Fair

July 13-15
Linn County Fairgrounds 3700 Knox Butte RD

Albany, OR 97322

Miners's Jubilee
Friday, July 14, 2023 at 8:00 am
Miners's Jubilee July 14, 15, & 16; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Geiser Pollman Park 1723 Madison Street Baker City, Oregon

Sherwood Robin Hood Festival
Friday, July 14, 2023 at 10:00 am
Sherwood Robin Hood Festival July 14 and 15
22560 SW Pine Street Sherwood, Oregon 97140

Lane County Fair
Wednesday, July 19, 2023 at 10:00 am
Lane County Fair JULY 19 - 23, 2023
Lane Events Center 796 W 13th Ave, Eugene, OR

Columbia County Fair
Wednesday, July 19, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Columbia County Fair July 19 - 23, 2023
Columbia County Fairgrounds 58892 Saulser Rd, St Helens, OR 97051

Washington County Fair
Friday, July 21, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Washington County Fair


Washington County Fair
JULY 21 - 30
Westside Commons 801 NE 34th Ave, Hillsboro, OR 97124

Coos County Fair
Tuesday, July 25, 2023 at 5:00 pm
The Coos County Fair
July 25-29
Coos County Fairgrounds 770 4th St, Myrtle Point, OR 97458

Chief Joseph Days Rodeo
Tuesday, July 25, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Chief Joseph Days Rodeo July 25 - 30, 2023
Harley Tucker Memorial Arena 405 W. Wallowa Ave. Joseph, OR

Curry County Fair
Wednesday, July 26, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Curry County Fair July 26th-29th 2023
Curry County Fairgrounds 29392 Ellensburg Ave, Gold Beach, OR 97444

City of Dallas Krazy Dayz
Thursday, July 27, 2023 at 8:00 am
City of Dallas Krazy Dayz July 27-30th
Downtown Dallas Oregon

Clatsop County Fair
Tuesday, August 1, 2023 at 5:00 pm
The Clatsop County Fair
August 1st-5th
Clatsop County Fair and Expo Center 92937 Walluski Loop, Astoria, OR 97103

Yamhill County Fair & Rodeo
Wednesday, August 2, 2023 at 10:00 am
Exhibits, Rides, Rodeo, Nightly Musical Entertainment https://yamhillcountyfairs.com/fair-and-rodeo/general-information-schedule/
Fairgrounds on Lafayette Ave. McMinnville

Benton County Fair
Wednesday, August 2, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Benton County Fair AUGUST 2 - 5, 2023

Deschutes County Fair
Wednesday, August 2, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Deschutes County Fair August 2 - 6, 2023
Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center 3800 SW Airport Wy, Redmond, OR 97756

Vanport Jazz Festival
Friday, August 4, 2023 at 10:00 am
Vanport Jazz Festival August 4th-5th
Colwood Golf Center 7313 NE Columbia Blvd Portland, OR

Oregon Jamboree Music Festival
Friday, August 4, 2023 at 5:00 pm
The Oregon Jamboree
August 4th-6th
Located on a large field south of Sweet Home High School. The venue extends across the Weddle Covered Bridge to Sankey Park. Sweet Home, Oregon

Dune Fest
Tuesday, August 8, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Dune Fest August 8-13, 2023
Oregon Dunes Recreation Area Winchester Bay, OR 97467

Douglas County Fair
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at 8:00 am
Douglas County Fair AUGUST 9 - 12
Douglas County Fairgrounds Complex 2110 SW Frear Street Roseburg, OR 97471

Grant County Fair
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at 9:00 am
Grant County Fair August 9 @ 9:00 am - August 12 @ 8:00 pm
Grant County Fairgrounds 411 NW Bridge St. John Day, OR 97845

Tillamook County Fair
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at 10:00 am
Tillamook County Fair
August 9th-12th
Tillamook County Fairgrounds 4603 3rd St, Tillamook, OR 97141

Josephine County Fair
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at 10:00 am
Josephine County Fair August 9th-13th
Josephine County Fairgrounds 1451 Fairgrounds Rd Grants Pass, Oregon

Crook County Fair
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Crook County Fair
AUGUST 9 - 12
Crook County Fairgrounds Prineville, Oregon

Umatilla County Fair
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Umatilla County Fair August 9-12
Umatilla County Fairgrounds 1705 E. Airport Rd. Hermiston, OR 97838

Elephant Garlic Festival
Friday, August 11, 2023 at 12:00 pm
25th Annual Elephant Garlic Festival August 11th, 12th and 13th
Jessie Mays Community Center 30975 NW Hillcrest St. North Plains, Oregon 97133

Clackamas County Fair
Tuesday, August 15, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Clackamas County Fair August 15-19, 2023
Clackamas County Fairgrounds 694 NE 4th Ave, Canby, OR 97013

Aumsville Corn Festival
Friday, August 18, 2023 at 7:00 am
Aumsville Corn Festival Friday, August 18, 2023 - 6:00pm to Saturday, August 19, 2023 - 6:00pm
595 Main Street Aumsville, OR 97325

Woodburn Fiesta Mexicana
Friday, August 18, 2023 at 12:00 pm
Woodburn Fiesta Mexicana August 18th-20th
Legion Park - 1385 Park Ave. Woodburn, OR

Morrow County Fair
Sunday, August 20, 2023 at 7:00 am
Morrow County Fair August 20
Morrow County Fairgrounds 97836 OR-74, Heppner, OR 97836

Wednesday, August 23, 2023 at 12:00 pm
Farwest Green Industry Show August 23-25
Oregon Convention Center 777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. Portland, OR 97232

Northwest Art and Air Festival
Friday, August 25, 2023 at 8:00 am
Northwest Art and Air Festival Aug 25th-27th
Timber Linn Park- 900 Price Rd SE, Albany, OR 97322

Oregon State Fair
Friday, August 25, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Oregon State Fair
Oregon State Fair & Exposition Center 2330 17th St NE, Salem, OR 97301

Siletz Bay Music Festival
Friday, August 25, 2023 at 6:30 pm
Siletz Bay Music Festival August 25th – September 3rd
Lincoln City, Oregon

Newberg SummerFest
Saturday, August 26, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Newberg SummerFest
August 26-27
Memorial Park Newberg, OR

Walnut City Music Festival
Saturday, September 2, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Walnut City Music Festival September 2nd-3rd
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum 500 NE Captain Michael King Smith Way McMinnville, OR

Harney County Fair & Rodeo
Tuesday, September 5, 2023 at 10:00 am
99th Harney County Fair and Rodeo September 5th - 9th, 2023
Harney County Fairgrounds 69660 S Egan Rd, Burns, OR 97720

Sublimity Harvest Festival
Friday, September 8, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Sublimity Harvest Festival September 8-10
11880 Sublimity Rd SE Sublimity, OR

Bandon Cranberry Festival
Saturday, September 9, 2023 at 10:00 am
Bandon Cranberry Festival
September 9 & 10
Bandon City Park (main venue) Bandon, Oregon

Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire
Saturday, September 9, 2023 at 11:00 am
Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire
September 9th & 10th
S Kings Valley Hwy & Grant Rd

Monmouth, OR

Pendleton Round-Up
Saturday, September 9, 2023 at 5:00 pm
The world famous Pendleton Round-Up
Pendleton Round-Up Grounds 1205 SW Court Ave, Pendleton, OR 97801

Bay Area Fun Festival
Saturday, September 16, 2023 at 2:00 pm
Bay Area Fun Festival September 16 and 17
Coos Bay, Oregon

Rose City Comic Con
Friday, September 22, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Rose City Comic Con SEPT. 22 – 24
OREGON CONVENTION CENTER 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Portland, OR 97232

Sisters Folk Festival
Friday, September 29, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Sisters Folk Festival Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2023
Sisters, OR

Stormy Weather Arts Festival
Friday, November 3, 2023 at 2:00 pm
Stormy Weather Arts Festival November 3-5
Cannon Beach, Oregon

Yachats Celtic Music Festival
Friday, November 10, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Yachats Celtic Music Festival Nov 10, 11, & 12th
Yachats Commons Building 441 Hwy 101 N, Yachats, OR

Veteran's Day Parade
Saturday, November 11, 2023 at 11:00 am
Veteran's Day Parade
Downtown Albany, Oregon

Civil War Oregon State vs. Oregon Football Game
Friday, November 24, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Civil War- Oregon State Beavers vs. Oregon Ducks Football Game
Autzen Stadium 2700 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Eugene, OR 97401

Christmas Storybook Land
Saturday, December 2, 2023 at 10:30 am
Christmas Storybook Land

December 2 – 16
Linn County Fairgrounds Inside the Cascade Livestock Building 3700 Knox Butte Rd Albany, OR 97322

View All Calendar Events

Another $1 Million on Equity Programs in Oregon
Determined from intersectionality and privilege

In April, Washington County Oregon Health and Human Services gave $1,000,000 to 11 community-based organizations through a grant to that they are saying was to support "community-based organizations" in strengthening "social and emotional wellness across the lifespan".

Washington County says that the goal of this effort was to develop an "equity- and community-centered funding opportunity" that offered organizations the opportunity to select "social and emotional wellness strategies that were trauma-informed and grounded in racial equity approaches".

Washington County says the organizations that were funded will contribute a larger body of work in Washington County that aims to improve behavioral health outcomes among children and youth, adults, and older adults in Washington County, particularly for Black/African American, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian, People of Color, immigrant and refugee, LGBTQ+ communities, or those living at the intersection of those identities.



Washington County says the grant awards were selected through a review process that involved internal and external partners.

The organizations listed below were selected for awards under this grant.
--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2023-06-03 18:12:53Last Update: 2023-06-03 19:50:50

Portland Catholic Archbishop Sounds off on HB 2002
“The passage of HB 2002 does not need to be inevitable”

Aatholic Archbishop of Portland Alexander Sample has released a statement on HB 2002 which is pending before the Oregon Legislature. The bill has several parts -- many controversial -- but one of the most controversial is that the bill, according to the Legislative Policy and Research Office, "modifies provisions protecting privacy of minor's reproductive health care information and permitted disclosure of information to minor's parent or legal guardian."

Archbishop Sample's statement outlines five major points. The bill has passed the Oregon House by a vote of 36-23, but has stalled in the inactive Oregon Senate, due to the Republican walkout.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-06-02 19:35:22Last Update: 2023-06-02 19:53:30

Joint Committee on Oversight and Accountability Holds First Meeting
Anonymous tip line available

The Oregon Joint Committee on Oversight and Accountability held its first meeting June 1. Members of the Oregon Legislature and members of the public were invited to bring their experiences and observations related to state government and where it requires greater oversight.

Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) lead the meeting, and said, “In light of multiple ongoing corruption scandals, we sent a letter to President Wagner and Speaker Rayfield in April requesting the creation of this committee. Democrats were extended three separate invitations to join us. All went unanswered. Republican and Independent members will utilize our own resources to conduct committee meetings until Presiding Officers deem accountability and oversight worthy of their attention, time, and nonpartisan staff. President Wagner has frequently applauded the Oregon Legislature’s rigorous committee process. Our hope is that he and other Democrat leaders see the value in this committee and agree to fully resource it.”

The letter requesting formation of the committee, emphasized, “The OLCC’s actions have been greatly covered in the news over the past several months, with several allegations leading the public to believe this agency is corrupt. We must resolve these issues with full transparency… We understand that in certain instances, investigations are being conducted by the Department of Justice. This is not sufficient. We must provide the standard of oversight and accountability that our Constitution and the people of Oregon expect.”

The first meeting was mostly organizational with the adoption of committee rules and an informational presentation by Reagan Knopp, staffing the committee with Russ Walker, described a website in the making.



“We must hold our state government to a higher standard of transparency. House Republicans are committed to holding state agencies accountable. Last night we began this important work,” said House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville).

Also serving on the committee is Senate Independent Leader Brian Boquist (I-Dallas), Representative Greg Smith (R-Heppner), Representative E. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath Falls), and Senator Dick Anderson (R-Lincoln City). There are three vacant seats for House Democrats, and three vacant seats for Senate Democrats.

Each member and visiting legislators expressed the need for transparency in government and engage with the public that have observed matters needing investigation. Even though Democrat legislators chose not to show up, their public represented them venting their frustration over the walkout. None spoke to the agenda, or on the issue of accountability for the Senate being conducted in violation of the constitution and statutes, or why the state should give minors full consent over their medical treatments without parents’ knowledge. They all had the same script – it’s your job to show up to work.

If you would like to submit an anonymous tip on government corruption, call our tipline at 541-213-0201. To view a live stream of the meeting go here.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-06-02 19:14:44Last Update: 2023-06-02 19:40:25

Why We Are Denying Quorum In Oregon
Government is not a parent

The Washington Examiner published in their Restoring America column, an article by Senators Daniel Bonham and Kim Thatcher titled “Why we’re denying quorum in Oregon’s Senate.”

In the article they state, “Our motivation is simple: We are protesting the lawlessness and corruption of the Democrats who have controlled our state for decades. This is the only tool we have left to stand up and defend Oregonians…Without the first walkout in Oregon’s history in 1897, we may not have the initiative and referendum process we do today — one of the most direct and democratic aspects of our state Constitution.”

They contend that Measure 113 was passed to scare them away from denying quorum, but it has backfired. “We work for Oregonians, not the government…Our decision to deny quorum now is the result of two immoral bills pushed by Democrats.” Both bills are an attack on the family removing parents’ rights.

House Bill 2395, would create government-sanctioned secrecy between parents and their children, thereby driving a wedge between the family unit by removing parental consent for children to have substance abuse treatment and mental health services, when parents should be informed of all medical and health services their children need.

House Bill 2002, would allow a child of any age to be able to have an abortion without parental knowledge, and change Oregon's current abortion laws to remove any requirement for healthcare providers to notify parents if a minor has an abortion. It would also allow minors to have irreversible sex-change treatments and procedures without their parent’s knowledge.

“Democrats in power are willing to put the full force of government behind this controversial concept, prioritizing their special interests over the well-being of Oregon families,” Bonham and Thatcher stated.

They want to make Oregon a “transgender tourism” state, adding to already being an “abortion tourism” state. House Bill 2002 would give protections to doctors who perform sex-change surgeries in other states, in violation of their state laws, and allows them to “seek refuge” here so they will not lose their medical license, even though they may have lost it in another state. Oregonians and insurance companies will be paying for this.



House Bill 2002 comes with a $6.2 million price tag, but that doesn’t include the cost the insurance companies will pass along in increased premiums. Insurers will have to cover expenses for transition surgeries and years of treatment will have an astronomical impact on health premiums. Actuaries also factor in increased mental disorders and gender dysphoria as well as increased cases of depression and managed care.

The article states, “Democrats claim this is an expansion of Oregonians’ “rights,” but what it would really do is open up young girls and women to additional harm. Whoever gets an underage girl pregnant needs to be in jail. Instead, these criminals would be able to coach young women and girls about how to get an abortion, destroying the evidence of wrongdoing.”

HB 2002 repeals the protections in ORS 167.820 - concealing the birth of an infant. It would no longer be a crime to conceal the birth of an infant or to prevent a determination of whether it was born dead or alive. This allows for live abortions, abortions after birth, or for a newborn to be bought and sold.

Senator Bonham writes in his newsletter, “As soon as the government steps in, insidious opportunities for pedophiles, sex traffickers, and kidnappers crop up… Parents are financially, legally, and morally responsible for their children. This should be an inalienable understanding about the relationship between parent and child. I find it extraordinarily disturbing that the majority party seeks to protect their activist agenda at the expense of children's lives. The government is not a parent; it never has been and never will be.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-06-02 13:23:02Last Update: 2023-06-01 23:53:52

Portland Settles Sidewalk Blockage Suit
The lawsuit pits disabled persons against homeless persons

The City of Portland has settled a federal lawsuit with several persons claiming that "Federal disability access laws were enacted to provide persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate fully in civic life." According to the complaint filed in federal court, the lawsuit was brought "to address the City’s systemic failure to provide full and equal access to its sidewalks to Plaintiffs and similarly situated persons with mobility disabilities."

The complaint cites the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The first named plaintiff, whence the suit gets it's name is Tiana Tozer who -- according to court documents -- "lives in the Irvington neighborhood of Portland, Oregon and works in Downtown Portland. Ms. Tozer has a mobility disability that limits her ability to walk."

The lawsuit pits disabled persons against homeless persons. Simply put, "The City has failed and continues to fail to maintain its sidewalks clear of debris and tent encampments, which is necessary to make its sidewalks readily accessible to people with mobility disabilities. Indeed, a substantial number of the City’s sidewalks—particularly those in the City’s busiest business corridors—do not comply with applicable federal statutes and regulations because they are blocked by tent encampments and attendant debris, rendering the sidewalks inaccessible, dangerous, and unsanitary for people with mobility disabilities."

The complaint offers some detail about some of the worst locations. "Simply, the City’s sidewalks, when viewed in their entirety, are not readily accessible to and usable by persons with mobility disabilities due to the City’s failure to maintain clear sidewalks free of debris and tent encampments. Indeed, the City’s most glaring violations are centered in Portland’s Old Town, Chinatown, Downtown, and Pearl District areas, as well as locations on the City’s east side, including the Central Eastside Industrial District, the Lloyd District, and the areas surrounding Laurelhurst Park, Lone Fir Cemetery, and Sunnyside Elementary School.

According to the settlement agreement, the city will: The Portland City Council enacted an emergency ordinance to approve the settlement.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-06-01 22:38:37Last Update: 2023-06-01 23:19:55

Oregon Democrat Leaders Display Desperation
Republican Senators threatened with $325 per day fine

Virtually every day articles are release decrying what the Senate Republicans are doing to government by staying out of the capitol. Here is one week's sampling of their desperate attempts to sway public opinion to ignore the real issue. All can be read here. On the opposite side, the Oregon Republican Senators have one response:



Senate President Rob Wagner announced on the Senate Floor today that he would compel the attendance of absent members and impose a fine of $325 per day beginning Monday June 5th, 2023.

Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) released the following statement: “One thing remains clear: President Wagner is insistent on facilitating an unlawful, uncompromising, unconstitutional agenda. Once again, he has retaliated against members who are exercising their right to peacefully protest his own unlawful, hyperpartisan actions.”

“Senate Republicans don’t feel compelled to entertain his political theater. In fact, we suggest President Wagner pay our fines since it is his behavior that galvanized our protest. “

“If Democrats want us to provide a quorum before June 25th, they must agree to follow Senate Rules, follow the law, and work to put forward constitutional, bipartisan bills that don’t violate a parents’ sacred right to love and care for their child. Senate Republicans will not be bullied into allowing the lawlessness to continue.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-06-01 16:49:53Last Update: 2023-06-01 23:26:20

Governor Focus Is On Returning To Status Quo
Republicans will not abandon parents rights

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek attempted to insert herself into discussions on the pause in the Oregon Senate but didn’t come prepared to make good on her commitment to serve Oregonians – all Oregonians, Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) said.

Democrat leaders blast Republicans for not showing up to pass their agenda. Representative Daniel Nguyen (D-Lake Oswego, SW Portland) said, “When Senate Republicans refuse to respect our democracy and take a vote on critical legislation, Oregonians – many who have small businesses – are the ones who pay the price.”

There is a growing development that this session could be the least expensive for small businesses there has been in many years. One small business owner commented to Northwest Observer that he still has not recovered from the lock down, and he has never seen a session that ends with taxpayers and small businesses better off.



Senator Knopp stated, “Republicans entered good-faith discussions with the Governor over the last several days. Our goal was to find a bipartisan resolution for the end of Session resulting in the passage of substantially bipartisan budgets and bills. Unfortunately, the Governor was focused on a return to the status quo: an agenda that is unlawful, uncompromising, and unconstitutional.”

Perhaps the Governor is concerned with the number of bills that will be found unlawful that were pushed through by the majority party without a single Republican vote. Senator Suzanne Weber (R-Tillamook) and rural legislators filed legal action against the Senate President and Secretary that is in Circuit Court now. Rural Senators have filed numerous constitutional and statutory complaints against the President and Secretary since January 2023.

The Governor may be facing another resignation as accusations are mounting against Senate President Wagner. He is accused of denying medical absences for Republican Senators while excusing the same for Democrats. Others were refused religious accommodation that has been granted for over 160 years, and still others were excused. Further complaints include refusal to adjust and meet Oregon Constitution and statutes regarding plain language requirements. Even the Legislative Counsel has opinioned that this type of complaint must be investigated.

“If Democrats want us to provide a quorum before June 25th,” Knopp said, “they must agree to follow Senate Rules, follow the law, and work to put forward constitutional, bipartisan bills that don’t violate a parents’ sacred right to love and care for their child. In the meantime, we will continue to work every day on behalf of the Oregonians we took an oath to represent.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-06-01 10:46:45Last Update: 2023-06-01 02:17:08

Oregon Democrats Announce $4 Billion Public Safety Package
Priority safety bills differ on what it will take

Oregon Democrat legislative leaders announce more than $4 billion for the Public Safety and Accountability Budget framework for their Safer Oregon Agenda. If approved, the package would support core law enforcement agencies and make targeted investments in keeping Oregon families safe and addressing serious crime, including: The Legislature will also be directing significant resources to the Oregon Public Defense System to ensure a fair legal system, and investing in behavioral health crisis response services through omnibus legislation like House Bill 2395, which would address the fentanyl crisis in a targeted and strategic manner to reduce drug trafficking.

This Safer Oregon Agenda includes 13 bills with additional funding requests for coordination between the state and local law enforcement to address retail theft rings of an unspecified amount, funding $6 million for Children’s Advocacy Centers to prevent sexual abuse, and $10 million funding for the Oregon Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Fund.

At the opening of the session, the Oregon House Republican Caucus announced their 2023 priorities. One of four priorities was Supporting Law Enforcement and Increasing Community Safety. That package included: Then in March the House Republican Caucus proposed the Safe Schools Package offering seven bills with two having bipartisan support. They proposed common sense safe guards for schools and a study related to hiring retired police officer to provide security in schools. That was followed in April with a Safe Communities Package, which laid out 16 Senate bills that had very little cost.

Early March Senate Republicans offered three bills requested by victims that would collectively support victims of sex crimes and promote justice after Richard Gillmore, a serial rapist of at least 9 victims was released from prison. “We have three bills that we think are critically important in keeping Oregonians safe and keeping violent perpetrators in prison,” said Senator Knopp.



Very few of the Republican bills received a hearing. Now “safety” is being formulated on Democrat terms to create public interest. A new bill in the package is HB 3443, which prohibits landlords from terminating lease or taking other specified actions due to status of tenant as victim of bias crime. Senate committees continue to pass bills without Republican representation staking up bills for a floor vote. They also made sure to include the controversial firearms bills, HB 2572 and HB 2005. A list of the bills can be viewed here.

“The people of Oregon were loud and clear that making our streets and communities safer must be one of our top priorities this session,” said Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Springfield & Eugene). “With this package, we are taking direct aim at the root causes of crime and improving law enforcement response to ensure every Oregonian feels safe and secure wherever they live in our state.”

Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) agreed with the priority, but differs on how to resolve Oregon’s unsafe environment.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-05-31 12:09:36Last Update: 2023-06-01 15:22:57

Oregon Food Bank Gets Political
Nonprofits are prohibited from any political campaigning

The Oregon Food Bank tweeted something at 5:00 PM on May 26, 2023 that is turning some heads.

"Senators who walk off the job are walking away from their responsibility to the million+ Oregonians who will seek food assistance this year. Tell our legislators to do what’s right and come back to work on behalf of people facing hunger in Oregon." declared the tweet.

The tweet and other messaging sent from OFB were referring to a bill that they are urging a vote on that is currently stuck in the legislature due to the Oregon Senate Republicans walking out in protest of controversial legislation being pushed by the Democrats.

Republican Representive Ed Diehl (HD-17) tweeted in response, "Is this really an appropriate position to take for a taxpayer funded operation? How about asking the Democrat Senators to seek compromise, seek common ground, instead of shoving wildly unpopular legislation down our throats? I think you are out of line by taking sides on this issue."

Nonprofit entities are prohibited from any political campaigning, according to the IRS. Many observers are wondering if some Oregon nonprofits are disobeying the law.

Non profits such as The Oregon Food Bank are also required to provide transparency of their operations to the public.

These days, in the age of information, this information is easily accessible online. Susannah Morgan is the CEO of OFB and makes $199,231 a year. There are six other paid directors of OFB that make six-figure salaries.

They spent $9,482 in one year in lobbying expenses, which doesn't seem to include $112K salary to Moira Bowman, director of advocacy. The Department of Justice, Charitable Activities regulates charitable activities in Oregon, including nonprofit corporations organized for a public benefit.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-05-31 07:43:03Last Update: 2023-05-31 10:42:53

Oregon Hospital Rule Changes Proposed
Linn, Marion counties want state mental hospital rules changes

Linn County Oregon has announced that they are joining with Marion County in asking for changes in how long criminal defendants can be held at the Oregon State Mental Hospital. Commissioners Roger Nyquist, Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker have all agreed.

In September 2022, a federal judge ruled that criminal defendants could not be housed at the hospital for more than one year. The decision also means anyone charged with a misdemeanor cannot be housed at the state hospital and those services must be provided at the county level.

According to a letter to Gov. Kotek and David Baden interim director of the Oregon Health Authority, Marion County Commissioners Colm Willis, Kevin Cameron and Danielle Bethell contend that decision, “essentially ended all civil commitments to the state hospital and has left more individuals with untreated behavioral health needs requiring a hospital level of care in our communities.”

Commissioner Nyquist said the state is failing to adequately operate a state mental hospital that meets the statewide needs. He added the mental health issues are a key factor in why many people are homeless. He said the state must add capacity to meet those needs.



Commissioner Sprenger, who previously served as a state representative, said reducing the number of beds at the state hospital has been a legislative policy statement for several years.

Marion County and now Linn County, are asking:
--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-05-30 19:06:12Last Update: 2023-05-30 19:20:31

Republicans Blast Senate President Wagner
“This is not good faith bipartisanship”

The Oregon State Senate Republican Caucus have released a memo declaring Senate President Rob Wagner’s recent actions in the state capitol as unlawful, uncompromising, and unconstitutional.

Actions they are saying began long before the constitutional walkout protest.

“Democratic majority rule is constrained by laws and the provisions of our Constitution. When the majority breaks these laws and willingly chooses to ignore them, they are in violation of their sacred oath of office and trampling on the very mechanisms that maintain a healthy representative democracy. It is our duty to protect these mechanisms of the law and vigorously hold them accountable. Rob Wagner is driving representative democracy off a cliff. We will not merely be a speed bump to these reckless and partisan violations of our laws,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend)."

The Senate Republican have pointed out some highlights:

Eliminating Public Hearing:

Rob Wagner has allowed an extremely partisan bill, SB 393, to pass out of committee without a public hearing. There is no greater example of driving democracy into a ditch by allowing bills to pass without holding a public hearing.



Silencing Oregonians that are represented by Republicans:

Rob Wagner killed the entire Senate Republican Equitable Oregon agenda. He did this despite Republicans and Independents representing nearly 2 million Oregonians and roughly 90% of Oregon’s natural resource lands. Later, Republicans attempted to bring 75 bills to the floor for consideration and Rob Wagner led his Caucus in voting no on each of these critical discussions. This is not good faith bipartisanship.

Refusing Common Sense Bipartisanship:

Rob Wagner refuses Republican and Independent legislators requests to set up a bipartisan, bicameral, even-numbered committee on oversight and accountability.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-05-30 16:38:32Last Update: 2023-05-30 16:53:12

Oregon House Refers Ranked Choice Voting to Ballot
Oregonians want election integrity

Oregon House passed House Bill 2004 with bipartisan support, which would establish a plan for implementing ranked choice voting (RVC) in Oregon, for voter consideration.

RCV requires voters to rank candidates by preference instead of voting for just one person. A candidate wins by receiving a majority of the first-preference votes cast. When there is no majority winner, this method allows for an instant runoff. The candidate with the lowest number of first-preference votes is eliminated and their vote is transferred to their second preference candidate. This process continues until a candidate achieves a majority of the votes cast.

Supporters claim if approved, this legislation would: Opponents are questioning:

Health Insurance Rates to Rise Again in Oregon
Reinsurance has now lowered rates for 6 straight years

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) has announced that health insurance companies have filed 2024 health insurance rate requests for individual and small group markets, and it looks like rates will rise again.

In the individual market, six companies submitted rate change requests ranging from an average 3.5 percent to 8.5 percent increase, for a weighted average increase of 6.2 percent. That average increase is slightly lower than last year’s requested weighted average increase of 6.7 percent.

In the small group market, eight companies submitted rate change requests ranging from an average 0.8 percent to 12.4 percent increase, for a weighted average increase of 8.1 percent, which is higher than last year’s requested 6.9 percent average increase.

DCBS says that the Oregon Reinsurance Program is meant to help stabilize the market and lower rates. Reinsurance has now lowered rates by at least 6 percent for the sixth straight year.

You can view the full list of rate change requests online.

“We continue to have a strong and competitive insurance marketplace with at least four carriers offering plans in every Oregon county,” said Insurance Commissioner and DCBS Director Andrew Stolfi. “In light of the high inflation and increasing labor costs across the country, we are encouraged that the individual market’s overall average requests were lower than last year. We still have a lot of options for Oregonians to choose from and the Oregon Reinsurance Program continues to allow Oregonians to find reasonable rates.”



Virtual public hearings about the 2024 requested health insurance rates will be held July 17-18 from 1:30-4:30 p.m.

A web address to watch the public hearings will be posted online.

At the hearings, each insurance company will provide a brief presentation about its rate increase requests, answer questions from Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) staff, and hear public comment from Oregonians. The public also has the opportunity to comment on the proposed rates at any time online now through June 30.

“We look forward to putting these rate requests through a rigorous public review, and we encourage the public to join the virtual public hearings and provide feedback on their health insurance plans,” Stolfi said.

The requested rates are for plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act for small businesses and individuals who buy their own coverage rather than getting it through an employer. For the second year in a row, every county has at least four companies available for people to buy insurance on the individual market. Deschutes County, which has four companies in 2023, is proposed to have five in 2024.

Over the next two months, the division will analyze the requested rates to ensure they adequately cover Oregonians’ health care costs. DFR must review and approve rates before they are charged to policyholders.

Preliminary decisions are expected to be announced in July, and final decisions will be made in August after the public hearings and comment period ends.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-05-28 13:26:57Last Update: 2023-05-28 13:46:46

Kotek Declares Drought Emergency in Lake and Sherman Counties
Conditions have progressively worsened over winter and spring

Governor Tina Kotek has declared a drought in Sherman and Lake counties through Executive Order 23-08, and directed state agencies to coordinate and prioritize assistance to the region.

Both counties are experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions, with over 90% of Lake County and 94% of Sherman County in drought, according to the United States Drought Monitor. Conditions have progressively worsened over winter and spring due to well below average precipitation.

While most of Oregon has seen drought conditions improve over the year, drought conditions in Sherman County have worsened from moderate to severe drought due to well below average precipitation. Streamflows in Sherman County are measuring at 88% of the long-term average. Likewise, streamflows in northern Lake County continue to measure below average as a result of lower than usual precipitation and little runoff response from snowmelt.

Drought is likely to have a significant economic impact on the farm, ranch, recreation, tourism and natural resources sectors, as well as an impact on drinking water, fish and wildlife, and important minimum flows for public instream uses and other natural resources dependent on adequate precipitation, stored water, and streamflow in these areas. Extreme conditions are expected to affect local growers and livestock, increase the potential for fire, shorten the growing season, and decrease water supplies.

The drought declaration by Governor Kotek unlocks a number of drought-related emergency tools for water users, including assistance to local water users. Drought declarations also allow the Water Resources Department to expedite review processes and reduce fee schedules.



ORS 536.750 lists some of the activities that are permitted by the Water Resources Department following the declaration of a drought emergency. These are:

(a) Issue without first conducting a hearing under ORS 537.170, a temporary permit for an emergency use of water.
(b) Allow a temporary change in use, place of use or point of diversion of water without complying with the notice and waiting requirements under ORS 540.520
(c) Notwithstanding the priority of water rights, grant preference of use to rights for human consumption or stock watering use
(d) Waive the notice requirements under ORS 537.753 and the report required under ORS 537.762
(e) Allow a temporary exchange of water without giving notice as required under ORS 540.535, and
(f) Utilize an expedited notice and waiting requirement established by rule for the substitution of a supplemental ground water right for a primary water right under drought conditions in place of the notice and waiting requirement provided in ORS 540.524.

The Oregon Drought Readiness Council, a standing body composed of natural resource, public health, and emergency response agencies, received requests from the Lake County Board of Commissioners and Sherman County Board of Commissioners in May requesting Governor’s drought declarations.

The Council received input from Oregon’s Water Supply Availability Committee on regional water supply conditions and Council members have conferred on this matter. The Council recommended that the Governor declare drought in Lake and Sherman Counties for the 2023 calendar year, pursuant to ORS 536.740.

As state and local officials coordinate with federal partners, conditions will be closely monitored by the state’s natural resource and public safety agencies, including the Oregon Water Resources Department and the Oregon Department of Emergency Management.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-27 09:50:20Last Update: 2023-05-27 10:38:41

Representative Conrad Asked to Resign
Lane County is upset with their Representative

Lane County Republican Party passed a resolution and Chair, John Large, issued a letter for Representative Charlie Conrad to resign his position as Lane County Representative to the Oregon House of Representatives.

The action came after Conrad voted in support of HB 2002, the controversial bill with a long list of grievances affecting children and parents. Democrats have focused on the protection of reproductive health care, as in abortions, which isn’t in danger. Opponents point to other matters such as allowing minors of any age to obtain abortions, contraception and other reproductive care without their parents’ knowledge and teens 15 or older to access gender-affirming care without their parents knowing. 

Conrad claimed to do his own research and changed his vote once out of committee becoming concerned for kids wanting to transgender. In his vote explanation, he states, “I support this bill because, overall, I think its cumulative impact will strengthen Oregon's health care system. Specifically, it will provide support to people in need of critical healthcare services by allowing them to make the best decisions for themselves based upon their individual circumstances. The bill accomplishes this by providing legal protections for patients, providers, and staff while ensuring medically necessary treatments are covered by insurance.” He details his reasoning, but neglects to address the real issue of minors receiving medical advice and treatment without parent knowledge and other critical issues.

Lane County Republican Party’s request for resignation states Conrad’s vote does not align with their stated values, and lists ten reasons that Conrad ignored in his vote for HB 2002b.



Lane County Republican Party further “withdraws all current and future support for Representative Charlie Conrad.”

HB 2002 isn’t the only bill Conrad has sided with Democrats on. He voted for HB 2004, which establishes ranked choice voting. He voted with Democrat on HB 2279 to repeal residency requirement in Oregon Death with Dignity Act. Conrad also voted with Democrats on critical enforcement bills relating to paramilitary activity and domestic terrorism, HB 2572 and HB2772 among others.

Representative Conrad gives no indication he will resign, but has indicated after the session he will go around to reach the 70,000 people in his district and if they don’t like who he is, he said they can vote him out.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-05-27 00:18:03Last Update: 2023-05-27 17:02:35

Homeless Attack Golf Course Employees in Bend
Deschutes County Sheriff took them into custody

On May 24, 2023, deputies with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the Lost Tracks Golf Course on a report of an assault that had just taken place. Initial reports detailed a female had just assaulted a golf course employee and that during the assault a male had brandished a machete.

Both assailants were believed to be residents of the houseless camps on U.S. Forest Service land that borders the golf course.

During the course of the investigation, it was learned the female assailant, later identified as Laura Allison, had confronted one of the golf course employees about golf balls being hit over the driving range netting. During this confrontation Allison screamed obscenities at the juvenile employee and eventually began chasing him when the juvenile employee attempted to leave the area.

Allison then confronted the second golf course employee and struck him in the head with her fist. The employee defended himself and was able to eventually restrain Allison while the other employees contacted Deschutes County 911 Dispatch.



During this melee Michael Parker arrived on scene, walking from his camp trailer that is located on U.S. Forest Service land that borders the golf course. Multiple witness advised deputies Parker was armed with a machete, which he removed from its sheath and brandished it in an aggressive manner towards the employee restraining Allison.

The employee, being afraid for his own safety and the safety of the others present opted to release Allison. Both Allison and Parker returned to their nearby camps.

Parker was located shortly after the incident and taken into custody. Parker was lodged at the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Adult Jail on charges for unlawful use of a weapon and menacing .

Allison was contacted on May 25, 2023, and taken into custody. Allison was lodged at the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Adult Jail and has been charged with 4th degree assault and 2 counts of menacing.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2023-05-26 20:27:29Last Update: 2023-05-26 20:36:56

Monkeypox Vaccines Pushed by OHA For Pride Month
Oregon is still seeing cases

Oregon public health officials at the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) are now saying that they want to raise awareness that getting vaccinated with both doses of the monkeypox vaccine might be the best way for people to protect themselves and their community. They say this is especially true now, with Pride month coming up. It is also true that abstaining from non-manogamous gay sex is also a good way to avoid the disease.

Tim Menza, M.D., Ph.D., senior health adviser for Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) monkeypox response, said that while the number of monkeypox cases in the state has decreased dramatically since last summer, the outbreak that began in June 2022 is not over.

“There are reports of increases in cases in the United States (Chicago) and across the globe, including in France and South Korea,” Menza said.

Oregon still sees one to three monkeypox cases reported per month, although that’s a significant drop from the 10 to 15 cases reported per week when the outbreak peaked in early August 2022.

The state’s total count of monkeypox cases now stands at 280 in 12 counties since the start of the outbreak, including 278 adult cases and two pediatric cases.

There have been no deaths.

That the monkeypox outbreak is not yet over is a sentiment shared recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On May 15, the agency issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) advisory, warning health care and public health partners of ongoing mpox community transmission in the United States and internationally. The HAN informs clinicians and public health agencies about the potential for new clusters or outbreaks of mpox cases, and provides resources on clinical evaluation, treatment, vaccination and testing.

“We have the tools to prevent a resurgence in Oregon, including testing, vaccination, treatment, strong community partnerships and data to guide our response,” Menza emphasized. “As we gather and travel for Pride celebrations in Oregon and around the country next month, we can use these tools now to help us avoid repeating the outbreak of 2022.”

OHA says that the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine is free and readily available to anyone in Oregon who wants to be vaccinated.



As of May 15, 20,972 doses of JYNNEOS have been administered in Oregon, including 13,084 first doses and 7,703 second doses. Menza believes there are many more people who could benefit from vaccination who have not yet received their first dose and that there are about 5,381 people who remain eligible for a second dose but have not yet received it.

According to a study published Friday (May 19) in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the vaccine was found to be 75% effective for those receiving one dose and 86% effective for those who had two doses. OHA also insists that it's "safe and effective".

“People with two doses of the vaccine can feel confident in their protection, but breakthrough cases are possible, so if you've been vaccinated and notice a new spot or rash, talk to your health care provider,” Menza explained. “We are still learning how long vaccination protection lasts, but we know that vaccines make getting and spreading mpox less likely, and help make symptoms less severe.”

Monkeypox spreads primarily through close, skin-to-skin contact.

Most often, it has occurred through intimate or sexual contact, and during contact with the lesions of an individual with monkeypox through a caregiving relationship, such as a parent caring for a child or an adult caretaker of another person.

Infection rates are highest among gay or bisexual men living in Multnomah County, those ages 30 to 39, and members of the Latino and Black/African American communities.

People who suspect they have monkeypox should contact their health care provider to let them know before going in to be seen. The provider may recommend testing for monkeypox. Those who don’t have a health care provider can call 2-1-1 or their local public health authority for help finding a clinic or health care provider.

For more information about monkeypox in Oregon, visit OHA’s monkeypox website.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2023-05-25 19:23:10Last Update: 2023-05-26 14:58:47

Response to Pandemic Was Damaging to Young People
Juvenile Department seeing results of school closures

The closure of schools for nearly two years during the COVID-19 pandemic has had definite negative effects on young people, Linn County Oregon Juvenile Director Torri Lynn told the Linn County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning.

Lynn said that the Juvenile Department is seeing an uptick in referrals now that schools are back in full session and many of the young people are exhibiting significant behavioral issues.

Lynn said there were 59 referrals in April, which seems to be trending as normal this year.

Lynn said the behavior issues are likely linked to the isolation of students and for many, a lack of a positive role model during the closure.

Board Chairman Roger Nyquist asked Lynn if he thought school closures were a bad idea,

Lynn said yes, “absolutely a bad idea” adding he said the same thing as closures were being proposed two years ago.



“During the COVID closures, we only saw the highest flyers,” Lynn said. “We talked about this. That we might lose kids educationally and other kids would be on the edge. We probably won’t get these kids back.”

Commissioner Sherrie Sprenger asked how the county can combat what appears to be an escalating issue.

Lynn said the key will be early intervention and appropriate response, but he added, like everywhere else, it is difficult to find staffing.

Overall, in April there were 206 young people on probation or pending court appearances in Linn County, with 47 assessed as high-risk.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-05-24 16:14:01Last Update: 2023-05-24 16:22:26

Oregon Democrats Urged to Return $500,000 Campaign Donation
Came from now-disgraced cryptocurrency executive Nishad Singh

A bipartisan group of legislators urge the Democratic Party of Oregon (DPO), who in 2022 misreported a $500,000 donation under a false name from the now-disgraced cryptocurrency executive Nishad Singh, to return the contribution immediately.

“The culture of corruption among top Oregon Democrat politicians is increasingly evident and incredibly disturbing,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). We have argued since the beginning of Session that the need for accountability and transparency has never been greater. We have also argued that investigations must be conducted by outside, independent counsel. They can’t escape this any longer.”

Last week, The Oregonian reported: “The Democratic Party has not returned the $500,000 donation. But with FTX filing for bankruptcy, it is possible that the FTX bankruptcy trustee will seek to claw back any FTX-linked funds donated to political organizations.”

Jake Thacker, an Oregonian living in Portland, told NPR that he lost at least $70,000 when FTX came crashing down. Who knows how many other Oregon investors lost their money while the DPO received the largest contribution the committee had ever reported?

Over the weekend, The Oregonian Editorial Board wrote: “In her first significant decision as the acting secretary of state, Cheryl Myers slashed a proposed fine against the Democratic Party of Oregon for misreporting a $500,000 donation – the organization’s single-largest ever… Despite the seriousness of the incident, Myers cut the proposed $35,000 fine to just $15,000 and pledged to drop a criminal investigation into whether the party knowingly gave a false name unless new evidence merits it. In exchange, the Democratic Party of Oregon pledged to submit a detailed summary of training and practices adopted to prevent future mistakes; provide documents when asked to verify contributions; and face additional fines if it fails to meet these and other modest obligations."

“… Myers claimed that the settlement “serves the public interest” by giving the agency greater oversight to ensure better compliance and marks a win for transparency."



“But in reality, transparency, oversight, and the public interest appear to have little to do with this case. Rather, a deeper look at the relationships, the investigation and the kidglove settlement raises significant questions about the ability of Democrats to hold accountable their own party. And the reduction in fine – which Gov. Tina Kotek panned in a call with the editorial board – is a disheartening decision that undermines efforts to rebuild trust in the agency."

“The Democratic Party of Oregon, unsurprisingly, has donated and/or received thousands of dollars to and from Democrats currently in office, including Gov. Tina Kotek and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. In fact, Rosenblum, whose office is authorized to take on campaign finance complaints and oversees criminal prosecutions, has given the Democratic Party of Oregon more than $100,000 over the years.”

It comes as no surprise that Rosenblum has no intentions of pursuing a criminal investigation into the Democrat Party.

The Oregonian Editorial Board went on: “Oregon is one of the only states in the country without campaign contribution limits, and the only protection for Oregonians comes from an elections division that is willing to hold all political players accountable – even friends.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-05-23 10:41:39Last Update: 2023-05-23 10:58:04

Timed Use Permits Required at Multnomah Falls
Plan ahead for your visit

From Friday, May 26 through Monday, Sept. 4, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., a timed use permit will be required for each personal vehicle accessing Multnomah Falls from Interstate 84 Exit 31 in Oregon.

ODOT is trying to encourage people to see Multnomah Falls via public transit, by bicycle or by tour/shuttle. View Travel Oregon's Car-Free trip guide to learn more.

Time-limited permits are needed if you arrive by personal vehicle at I-84 Exit 31 for Multnomah Falls.

If you want to visit Multnomah Falls by personal vehicle, the best way is to get a permit and take I-84 to Exit 31.

Reserving a permit Multnomah Falls (I-84) timed use permits will be available online for a $2 transaction fee per permit up to two weeks in advance of your visit.

A limited number of permits will also be available for same-day pickup without a fee at the Gateway to the Gorge Visitor Center in Troutdale and the Cascade Locks Historical Museum.

Using your permit



Timed use permits will not be required on the Historic Columbia River Highway/U.S. 30 in 2023. However, parking is extremely limited at the small lot along the Historic Highway/U.S. 30 at Multnomah Falls.

ODOT says that last year’s 2022 Waterfall Corridor timed use permit pilot was successful in providing a safer, more reliable, enjoyable experience for visitors within the corridor. However, without a dedicated funding source, partners cannot staff and operate the full system and will instead focus our limited resources on the main sources of congestion and safety concerns at the most visited site in the corridor: Multnomah Falls.

ODOT says that project partners will target congestion at Multnomah Falls in 2023. The effort will help reduce congestion by:
--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2023-05-22 17:13:39Last Update: 2023-05-22 17:46:33

Drug Dealers Indicted in Federal Court
Two Honduran Nationals were residing in Gresham

Two Honduran Nationals residing in Gresham, Oregon have been indicted in federal court for transporting hundreds of thousands of counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl and several pounds of powdered fentanyl from California to Portland for resale.

Kevin Martinez-Avila, 27, and Allen Moya-Vargas, 29, have been charged with conspiring with one another and others to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl.

According to court documents, in February 2023, investigators from the Westside Interagency Narcotics Team (WIN) learned a drug courier from California was transporting a large load of fentanyl to somewhere in or around Portland. On February 22, 2023, WIN investigators located the courier’s vehicle and followed it to a residence in Gresham.

Soon after, investigators observed Martinez-Avila drive away from the residence. They stopped his vehicle, searched it pursuant to a state search warrant, and located 47 grams of powdered fentanyl.

Inside the Gresham residence, investigators located Moya-Vargas, 150,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl and more than seven pounds of powdered fentanyl. Investigators believe the residence was being used by Martinez-Avila and Moya-Vargas’ drug trafficking organization to unload and store fentanyl brought to the Portland area before it was distributed to others.

Both men have now made their initial appearances in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jolie A. Russo.



They were arraigned, pleaded not guilty, and ordered detained pending a jury trial scheduled to begin on June 27, 2023.

If convicted, Martinez-Avila and Moya-Vargas face maximum sentences of life in federal prison with 10-year mandatory minimum sentences.

This case was investigated by WIN. It is being prosecuted by Scott M. Kerin, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

WIN includes representatives from the Washington County Sheriff's Office, Beaverton and Hillsboro Police Departments, Oregon National Guard Counter Drug Program, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and Homeland Security Investigations.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-05-21 14:15:24Last Update: 2023-05-21 14:25:18

Representative Diehl on HB 2002
“A state-mandated wedge between parent and child”

Oregon legislative bill HB 2002 has caused a lot of drama at the Oregon State Capitol for many different reasons, largely the fact that it would strip away parental rights in Oregon.

Critics of this radical legislation being pushed by the Democrats are concerned that it also legalizes and removes all investigations/accountability of live-birth babies who die from infanticide.

Representative Ed Diehl (Republican HD-17) says that it's a “state-mandated wedge between parent and child”.

“Oregon’s implementation of so-called “gender-affirming care” is harming children and young adults, and House Bill 2002B will lead to an expansion of that harm”, says Diehl.



Diehl explained, “The Healthier Oregon Plan, which offers free health insurance to those who don’t qualify for the Oregon Health Plan because of immigration status, will be expanded this year to cover all age groups. And the Oregon Health Authority confirmed that when it comes to Oregon Health Plan coverage, residency is assumed (they do not verify) and eligibility moves forward without delay based on that assumption. So, with House Bill 2002B, Oregon will soon be offering abortions and so-called gender-affirming care to everyone, regardless of residency or immigration status.”

He concluded, “Despite the DCBS claims that detransition services are covered in the base bill, it is clear based on the State’s Legislative Council opinion that the bill does NOT include detransition services. This LC opinion matches the legislative intent, when my -11 Amendment to include detransition services was flatly rejected by the Democrats.”

HB 2002 is being held up by the Republicans in the Senate, who have walked out in protest of the bill.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-21 00:57:36Last Update: 2023-05-21 17:15:34

Recreation Season Kicks Off At Oregon Dunes
More safety education and sound monitoring activities

Staff and volunteers of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (ODNRA) are busy preparing campgrounds and trails for summer visitors. According to the US Forest Service, Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) motorists this year will notice more safety education and sound monitoring activities. These will include courtesy sound checks, sound enforcement checkpoints and sound education programming.

“We are excited to welcome summer visitors to the dunes,” said Central Coast Deputy District Ranger Jeremy Aujero. “As a multi-use recreation area, there is a place here for everyone. With that in mind, we’d like to remind visitors to respect closures, out-of-bounds zones, noise limits, and quiet hours. We appreciate everyone’s help to care for the land and provide a family-friendly place where people can visit for generations to come.”

The US Forest Service says that safety is paramount to ensuring a family-friendly environment at the ODNRA and this season, there will be a greater emphasis on noise safety levels.

Forest Service staff and partner agencies will be conducting a variety of sound outreach, education, monitoring, and enforcement activities on the ODNRA intended to help OHV riders understand what the sound limit is, why it’s important, and how to comply. OHVs found to be in violation of the sound limit may be subject to citation.

Excessive sound poses a potential disturbance to adjacent landowners, other recreationists, and sensitive wildlife. Noise regulation and monitoring are important aspects of OHV management. The Oregon Dunes Management Plan (1994) establishes standards for OHV sound rules and sound monitoring. The current OHV sound limit for the ODNRA is 93 decibels, as measured from an OHV’s tailpipe while the vehicle is stationary.



Several scheduled events at the ODRNA may increase visitation at various times: For more information about recreation opportunities, please visit the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area website or call the Reedsport office at 541-271-6000.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2023-05-20 17:25:53Last Update: 2023-05-20 21:12:08

Electrification Is Not Decarbonization
Legislators never address the abuses of children

There has been some media coverage about what the best solutions are to address carbon emissions. Some groups are advocating for removing the choice of natural gas equipment in new homes and businesses and mandating electric alternatives.

According to the nonpartisan firm, DHM Research, 70 percent of voters in Oregon and Southwest Washington oppose a ban on new natural gas hookups in homes and buildings. And recently the Oregonian published an editorial about the Eugene City Council’s decision to ban the use of natural gas in new homes, expressing a strong preference for sound policy and science over political posturing.

A closer look at the source of emissions shows that electricity is responsible for 60 percent of emissions in Oregon. In fact, Oregon electric utilities rely on nearly as much natural gas for power generation as all the natural gas utilities in the state deliver to customers. In 2017 electric power consumption used 104,362 million cubic feet compared to 137,515 used by residential, commercial, industrial and vehicle fuel. In 2021, electric usage increased to 140,145 compared to 134,046 customer use. NW Natural has published their Vision 2050: Destination Zero reporting their plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 for the energy services provided to 2.5 million Northwest residents.

NW has developed three scenarios that incorporates energy efficiency and conservation through building shell improvements, deep retrofits, and advanced heating equipment; lower-carbon fuels such as renewable natural gas and clean hydrogen; and technology that extracts carbon alongside natural gas combustion.

Portland General Electric has a 2040 goal of zero emissions on the power serving customers and net zero emissions that is based on one plan dependent on homeowners and businesses adopting to their renewable clean energy or time-based programs. Their program requires consumers to change their habits, ending operations at coal plants, adding more wind and solar facilities with battery storage. Consumers have two choices: generate thier own power with solar panels or pay more for electricity that they claim is 100% renewable.

But, as reported by NW Natural, currently electricity can’t be generated without natural gas. PGE says, to reach the 2040 goal they will require technology advancements they are working on developing to fully eliminate emissions from our power supply. Among them will need to be a new battery design that is low in emissions to produce and that can be recycled. Another is manufacturing wind and solar equipment in the U.S. with low emissions. It doesn’t seem that emissions for production in China goes into the calculation.

PGE development funding comes from the Renewable Development Fund made possible by a community of more than 235,000 Green Future customers, the largest renewable program in the country. Funds come from a portion of the payments that Green Future Choice and Block customers voluntarily pay in addition to their standard PGE electricity bill. Since its inception in 1999, the Renewable Development Fund has awarded 87 projects with more than $16.5 million, creating 16.6 MW of renewable generation.



Oregon’s majority party has made it their goal to eliminate fossil fuels including natural gas, even though they have a zero emissions plan as good or better than the electric plans. And in order for the electric plans to ween off of natural gas, their emissions will increase due to battery useage.

Outside of emissions, legislators never address the abuses of children as young as six years old that mine cobalt for battery production for solar and wind storage and electric vehicles. Electric vehicles may emit less omissions to drive, but need to be driven 37,000 miles to make up for the higher emissions to manufacture them. The new Hummer EV emits approximately 341 grams of CO2 per mile driven making it worse than every fossil fuel sedan, even the heaviest.

Akio Toyoda, the president and grandson of the founder of the giant Japanese car company, is bucking the trend towards electric vehicles and is listening to consumer polls. “People involved in the auto industry wonder whether EVs are really okay to have as a single option. But they don’t speak out loudly,” he told reporters. "I believe we need to be realistic about when society will be able to fully adopt battery electric vehicles…. And frankly, EVs are not the only way to achieve the world's carbon neutrality goals."

World studies have shown that price drives consumers, not emissions. When the war on natural gas forced a surge in price in 2022, almost all parts of the world turned to a cheaper coal even though it is dirtier. And there is the human aspect. How much value is given to children’s lives over CO2 emissions that vegetation needs to make the earth green?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-05-20 12:29:36Last Update: 2023-05-19 03:02:28

OLCC Proposes Raising Fees
Comment opportunity until June 5

The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission took advantage of Governor Tina Kotek’s directive to make state tax compliance a requirement for the agency, by proposing to raise the surcharge tax.

The May 18 meeting dealt with issues that arose over OLCC former employees gaining preferred access to rare liquor products by creating a series of new policies restricting employee access.

Republican leadership has called for an investigation into various activites of OLCC, including land purchased, and have requested Democrat leaders create a Joint Oversight and Accountability Committee. However, all such requests are going into a dark hole.

Now OLCC is proposing to double the current “temporary” surcharge of fifty cents first enacted in the 2009-2011 budget cycle and has continued ever since. The proposal would increase the current fifty cent surcharge on each bottle of distilled spirits to one dollar per bottle. On top of that surcharge, Governor Kotek's budget for 2023-25 includes a line item for an additional fifty-cent surcharge on distilled spirits which is estimated to raise $45.2 million for the general fund.

Restaurants are still recovering from the pandemic when inflation hit. Many have closed their doors permanently. Oregon restaurants support local distillers, and these cost increases trickle down to the consumer, which they can’t afford to lose. You can watch the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association (ORLA) testimony on how this tax increase will hurt small bars and restaurants the most at a time when the Governor and the OLCC Commission should be supporting them.

The increase is proposed to provide funds for mental health and addictions, but the funds go into the general fund and has no guarantee of use. If the funds are needed, shouldn’t the legislature make the proposal as they did with the current surcharge, ORLA asked.



“We are a very [substance] abusive state,” said OLCC Chair Marvin Révoal. “As we move forward your comments will be well received and accepted. We are not trying to convince one another as to what to do. We’re going to continue this [public] process because it’s very important.”

The Commissioners heard initial testimony at their April 20 and May 18 Commission meetings, and will accept written comments through June 5, 2023. To submit written comments; visit ORLA's Take Action page.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-05-19 14:32:55Last Update: 2023-05-19 16:38:55

Oregon School District Sues Social Media
Social media hurts students

In April, Oregon Gervais School District Superintendent, Dandy Stevens, wrote to the community that Gervais School District filed a lawsuit on March 30, 2023 against several social media giants.

Stevens writes, “In the last year, many of us have observed employees or former employees of various social media platforms testify before Congress subcommittees on how teens are targeted by these platforms using very sophisticated algorithms designed to constantly engage and even provoke our youth.”

The Gervais School District is suing Meta, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Google and YouTube claiming social media hurts their students’ self-esteem and mental health encouraging engagement in destructive or vandalism aimed at district property, targeting of teachers and fellow students with follow-up posts meant to shame and cyberbully individuals. The lawsuit claims their “techniques are both particularly effective and harmful to the youth audience.”

“Additionally,” Stevens writes, “because of the extent and often extreme bullying, the district has seen an increase in the mental health issues of students in relation to body image, social standing, self-esteem, and friend groups to name a few. This requires significant time by counselors, teachers and administrators to address these situations which include working with parents on situations they are often not aware are occurring. Dealing with these issues takes time and financial resources away from the general operations of our buildings.”



Stevens states they have two goals with this lawsuit. “The first is that we want social media platforms to make changes in how they design their programs and platforms so that the negative targeting of our youth, which often results in mental health and safety issues, stops. It is a constant barrage on our youth that is difficult for them to navigate in a healthy way. The other goal is that the district is seeking to bridge the gap between the resources we are having to use and the budget we have available.”

The district was approached about being a part of this litigation by attorneys Keller Rohrback LLP based in Seattle, the district felt it had the documentation and evidence to support that social media companies are causing harm to students. It will cost the district nothing if they lose, and any monies gained, the district will seek input on the spending priorities.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-05-19 11:07:47Last Update: 2023-05-18 21:28:30

Wagner Berates Republicans for Walk Out
“Chief among them is our bill to protect access to reproductive health care”

As ten Republican Oregon State Senators have reached the ten day limit on the Oregon Constitution's limit for unexcused absences that forbids them from holding office in the next term, Senate President Rob Wagner has taken to the floor to describe the crisis.

Article IV, Section 15 of the Oregon Constitution says:

Punishment and expulsion of members. Either house may punish its members for disorderly behavior, and may with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member; but not a second time for the same cause. Failure to attend, without permission or excuse, ten or more legislative floor sessions called to transact business during a regular or special legislative session shall be deemed disorderly behavior and shall disqualify the member from holding office as a Senator or Representative for the term following the election after the member's current term is completed.

The second sentence in that section was amended to the Oregon Constitution by the voters in 2022. Democratic legislators proposed it as an amendment to the Oregon Constitution for the purpose of removing a strategic tool used by the minority Republicans.



Following his announcement of the lack of a quorum, Senate President Wagner gave a short speech berating the missing Republican Senators, saying,

"Today is another extremely challenging day for Oregon...Certain Senators continue to disrespect our democracy...It has been made clear: This walkout is about shutting down debate on this floor and stopping bills that the people of Oregon say they want. Chief among them is our bill to protect access to reproductive health care."

Republican Senators David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) and Dick Anderson (R-Lincoln City) have not been participating in the walkout. Senator Fred Girod (R-Lyons) is not yet at the ten day threshold because he has been excused for medical reasons.

Oregon Firearms Federation Director Kevin Starrett, saw this moment as a victory for Republicans noting, "The Democrats love to drone on about the rights of minorities and pat themselves on the back for their demands for “equity and inclusion.” But in the end, they are transparent frauds. The far left “OPB” was right. The Democrats, in their zeal for retribution, screwed up. They now have zero leverage. The Senate Republicans have demonstrated amazing courage and selflessness and now the Democrats are wetting themselves."

Starrett supports the walkout, as there is anti-firearms legislation pending, which would not pass if the walkout were to continue.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-19 09:50:20Last Update: 2023-05-19 11:05:29

House Democrats Reject Legislation to Reform Measure 110
“Criminals first” agenda prevails

In recognition of National Police Week and in response to Oregon’s drug crisis, House Republicans attempted to withdraw four pieces of legislation to prioritize public safety and Measure 110 reform. Democratic committee chairs never advanced these bills in committee. The Democratic majority -- under the leadership of Majority Leader Julie Fahey -- voted each bill down on the floor, despite bipartisan support on three of the four votes.

A recent poll among Oregonians revealed that: While none of the motions received the required 31 votes to withdraw a bill, three of the four bills had bipartisan support and split evenly in tied 30-30 votes.

HB 2310 would have done what most Oregonians are asking for. Not only did this body fail to meet the moment today, but I would like to point out that this bill was never even scheduled for a public hearing to gain the input of Oregonians. Do we not want to hear what they have to say? We must hold drug users accountable to prevent future tragedies,” said Representative Rick Lewis (R-Silverton), former Chief of Police for 28 years, on the House floor.

Just this week alone, it has been reported that: Just yesterday, Washington lawmakers voted to keep drugs illegal. Today, Oregon House Democrats voted to keep drugs legal.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-18 06:24:59Last Update: 2023-05-17 18:14:01

Boshart-Davis Calls for Waiver of COVID Fines
“The state does not need this money”

Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany) has sent a letter to Governor Tina Kotek urging her administration to take executive action to waive and refund fines related to OR-OSHA’s COVID-19 rules. Representative Boshart Davis suggested that, with the exception of willful and egregious violations, these fines should be cleared to allow Oregon employers and the state to continue to recover from the pandemic and its impacts.

“I’ve talked to plenty of business owners who were doing their best to keep their employees and the public safe during the pandemic, but simply had a hard time keeping up with often changing rules and a complex regulatory landscape,” said Representative Boshart Davis. “The pandemic is over and OR-OSHA’s COVID-19 rules have been suspended. It only makes sense that these fines should be suspended and refunded as well.”

In her letter to Governor Kotek, Representative Boshart Davis referenced media reports suggesting outstanding fines total approximately $800,000. An estimated $100,000 has already been collected by OR-OSHA. Representative Boshart Davis said eliminating these fines would represent a gesture of good will between state government and the employer community and would also allow OR-OSHA regulators to focus their time and attention on keeping workplaces safe prospectively, rather than events that occurred in the past.



“I think even state regulators would admit that the rollout of COVID-19 rules was often confusing, conflicting, and difficult to navigate for everyday Oregonians,” said Representative Boshart Davis. “The state does not need this money. Let’s accelerate our state’s recovery process by wiping out these fines and working together with the employer community to move our state forward. I urge Governor Kotek to get this done.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-18 06:06:57Last Update: 2023-05-17 18:05:57

Republican Leaders Sound Off on Revenue Forecast
“Democrats have shut down any potential conversation around tax cuts”

The May Economic and Revenue Forecast has been released under a new, modernized model that -- according to Oregon Senate Leadership -- lacked explanation, but indicated record revenue. If accurate, the Personal Kicker for the 2023-2025 Biennium is up to an estimated $5.5 billion and the Corporate Kicker an estimated $1.8 billion.

House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) said, “This morning’s revenue forecast revealed a few things -- Oregon’s funding is secure for the time being, our workforce is slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels, and we expect the kicker to be rightfully returned into the hands of hardworking Oregonians. But while the State of Oregon is doing well, I want to ask my fellow Oregonians -- are you?”

“It should be no surprise that the revenue derived from Oregon’s Corporate Activity Tax is up, which also means Oregonians are paying more for everything as a result. Oregon is effectively incentivizing businesses not to come here, while family businesses are shutting down because the cost of doing business is simply too great.”

“Despite the detrimental impact of the CAT Tax on businesses, Democrats have shut down any potential conversation around tax cuts to reduce the size of government. House Republicans will continue to advocate for fiscal responsibility, a lower cost of living, and the viability of our business community.”



“Oregon families are on track to receive the largest Kicker return they have ever received. Republicans trust Oregonians with their tax refund, their children, and their families. Meanwhile, Democrats want government to spend your money and parent your children,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend).

“Senate Democrats must come to the table in good faith, abandon their uncompromising, unlawful, unconstitutional agenda, and allow us to participate in floor sessions. Senate Republicans have been clear that we are willing to pass substantially bipartisan budgets and bills that comply with the law.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-17 16:27:38Last Update: 2023-05-17 17:06:57

“Climate-Friendly and Equitable Areas” in Oregon
New rules for greenhouse gas emissions reduction

The City of Albany Oregon has announced that it is in partnership with the Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments (OCWCOG), and is hosting a public event to discuss Climate Friendly Areas (CFAs). Albany City and OCWCOG staff will present the proposed CFAs in a May 31st meeting and have a discussion on how they overlap with any vulnerable areas. They say that anti-displacement strategies will be discussed. An online survey will be available on the project website after the meeting for another opportunity to comment. Spanish interpretation and children’s activities will be provided.

The City of Albany is saying that this is to urge some residents to consider more housing and transportation choices, in order to meet Oregon’s adopted climate goals.

The Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities state program says that the new rules require cities over 50,000 to reform parking standards, plan for mixed use “climate-friendly” areas where residents, workers, and visitors can meet most of their daily needs by walking, bicycling or riding transit, and create more equitable and accessible communities, especially for those "traditionally underserved and experiencing discrimination".



The first phase of the process is to study and determine potential locations of climate-friendly areas by the end of 2023.

The second phase is to adopt development standards for these areas and amend the official zoning map as needed by the end of 2024.

The Climate Friendly Areas program says that "the process requires centering voices of underserved populations and working towards equitable outcomes. While some may see Climate Friendly Area designation as a benefit, others may fear gentrification-caused displacement. State standards require specific analysis of this issue and adoption of anti-displacement measures."

Those interested can contact Anne Catlin via email or via phone at (541)-917-7560.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2023-05-17 09:16:50Last Update: 2023-05-17 10:26:11

Republican Senate Leadership: “Democrat Culture of Corruption”
“This is just the beginning of the fight”

Weekend negotiations between Democrat and Republican leaders have failed to produce a legitimate agreement. Today, all Senate Republicans protested the Senate floor session in solidarity with the three members who reached 10 unexcused absences.

“I conveyed in discussions over the weekend that Senate Republicans will end their protest to pass substantially bipartisan budgets and bills that are lawful and constitutional and that will benefit all Oregonians,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). “Democrats are instead using their slim majority to justify moving forward with an extreme, unlawful, and unconstitutional agenda. Democrat leadership offered no solutions to rectify the constitutional and legal dilemma we raised and are instead aiding and abetting a culture of corruption.”

“But as a general rule, the state should not be giving children an avenue for pulling away from parents – their key support system – in such a serious situation, especially since the state won’t be sticking around to help that child afterwards. While Democrats cast this bill as if it keeps government out of patients’ medical decisions, in reality, it helps keep parents out of their kids’ lives.” wrote the the Oregonian Editorial Board

“If Democrats thought we would facilitate an agenda that intentionally removes the rights of parents, they were seriously mistaken. Democrats have gone too far,” said Deputy Leader Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles), who reached the 10-absence threshold.



“Senate Republicans are united in defending Oregonians from the culture of corruption that has permeated Democrat politicians like former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and Senate President Rob Wagner. We are simply asking for lawful bills, a bipartisan approach, and a transparent process. Let it be abundantly clear: this is just the beginning of the fight,” concluded Knopp.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-16 22:42:49Last Update: 2023-05-16 22:58:43

Analysis: Democrats’ Pot Cash Scandal Widens
Kotek orders OLCC to crackdown

In the wake of the resignation of Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, Governor Tina Kotek announced she is directing the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Com-mission to make state tax compliance a requirement for the agency to issue or renew cannabis retail licenses.

According to a statement by the Governor's office, this will impact approximately 823 licensees -- a disproportionately high percentage of licensees. Data from DOR shows that cannabis retailers have a higher non-compliance rate in Oregon for payment of taxes (9%) than other tax programs administered by the agency (3%). The OLCC has indicated that there are approximately 823 licensees that would need to obtain the tax compliance certificate in any given year.

At the center of the storm is the embattled cannabis dispensary, La Mota. Owners of the cannabis dispensary chain were major donors to prominent Democrat candidates while at the same time, allegedly facing millions of dollars in tax liens, nonpayment of rent and other bills, and dozens of lawsuits in recent years.

At Governor Kotek’s direction, the OLCC and Oregon Department of Revenue will implement a new mandate requiring applicants for cannabis retail licenses to provide OLCC proof of tax compliance as part of their application process. OLCC has existing statutory authority to make this change and will engage in administrative rulemaking to add this requirement.

Governor Kotek allegedly received over $60,000 from tax-troubled cannabis organizations. And it doesn't end with her. Willamette Week has reported that Democrat politicians including Senate President Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) received campaign contributions from cannabis retail businesses and their owners in stacks of cash. Large cash contributions make it far more difficult to detect illegal activity because they lack a paper trail.

“I’m grateful to the current leadership at the OLCC and the Department of Revenue for working collaboratively to resolve this long-standing need for equivalent tax compliance across cannabis and liquor sectors,” Governor Kotek said. “This will help ensure that all businesses are operating under the same rules and not getting any competitive advantage if they haven’t paid their taxes.”

“While it may be technically legal, I don’t think it’s appropriate. It shows a severe lack of judgment to be taking large quantities of cash from owners of a company that is clearly troubled,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). “If the last few weeks have shown us anything, it’s that the Democrat Party’s culture of corruption is alive and well. That is why I have drafted LC 4584, a bill limiting cash political contributions to $100. Campaign finance reform has long been a topic of discussion on all sides of the aisle. I have been consistent in my support for reasonable campaign finance limits.”



“As wonderful as it is to have piles of cash, it is hard to trace, track or verify. That makes it a troublesome component in a state where there are already no state limits on campaign finance contributions,” said The Bend Bulletin Editorial Board.

“This is another prime example of why we need a bicameral, bipartisan Joint Committee on Oversight and Accountability. Corruption, wherever it hides, should be rooted out so Oregonians can begin to rebuild trust in their elected leaders,” added Knopp.

Oregon law permits ensuring tax compliance before the issuance of some licenses, contracts, employment, and appointments can be finalized. OLCC will work to add an additional tax compliance tool to its application and renewal process for cannabis retailers by requiring licensees or applicants to provide OLCC with a tax compliance certificate from DOR.

“We want to help people comply with Oregon’s tax laws,” said Betsy Imholt, Oregon Department of Revenue Director, “This is one more opportunity to connect with taxpayers to ensure their taxes are paid. It is good for both Oregon and for the taxpayer.” Several agencies already partner with DOR to confirm that a person is in tax compliance before the issuance of a license, execution of a contract, or appointment to a board or commission.

“Oregon’s cannabis industry is important to the state’s economy, and the sales tax it generates is vital to the state’s budget,” said Craig Prins, OLCC Interim Executive Director. “That’s why it’s critically important for us to get this group of licensees into compliance and paying their fair share.”

This change at OLCC is the first step to expanding and standardizing tax compliance requirements across state government. In addition to evaluating the need for any statutory or administrative changes, DOR will evaluate ways to embed equity into enforcement and compliance, such as the use of payment plans to be brought into compliance, and through automating the certification process to meet the increased demand for compliance certifications.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-16 21:37:25Last Update: 2023-05-17 22:33:42

A Different Approach to Homelessness in Oregon
Clackamas County had rejected state funded “Project Turnkey”

In one year, Clackamas County has seen a 31% decrease in homelessness, according to the just-released annual Point in Time count of people experiencing homelessness.

“Let’s savor this for a moment,” said Board of County Commissioners Chair Tootie Smith in a commission meeting on May 9. “I’m so thankful to our staff doing the extraordinary work to get us to this place; and we want to keep going. This Board is dedicated to staffing addiction treatment and mental health options, and we’ll put our resources behind these efforts. We also need to get rent assistance out there before people lose their housing."

The full Board joined Chair Smith in celebrating the headway on addressing homelessness, commending the county’s partners for their dedication, and committing to continued action. The commission praised county staff and partners for serving over 6,500 people in 2022 through homeless prevention and housing programs, while recognizing the county must remain dedicated to doing the work to end homelessness.

Deputy Director of Housing and Community Development Vahid Brown agreed that 410 people experiencing homelessness in the county is still too many.

“We’re making a significant difference in one of the most difficult problems,” Brown said. “It means that what we’re doing is working. This comes down to the dedication of staff, our private and nonprofit community partners, and law enforcement. We’re making a difference for hundreds of households of extremely vulnerable people and for the wider community that cares deeply about this problem. We are literally saving lives."

Brown touted the effectiveness of the county’s Built for Zero initiative, in which outreach workers track people experiencing homelessness by name, build trust with people and connect them with housing.



“Built for Zero allows us to track inflows and outflows to and from homelessness," Brown said. "The number of people exiting homelessness needs to be greater than the number entering, and if it is, we will continue to be on the right track. And we need a robust suite of tools to help people exit, including addiction and recovery services.”

Brown discussed multiple types of outreach that county workers engage in, including behavioral health drug and alcohol counselors who do outreach alongside law enforcement through the LEAD program, as well as medically-focused outreach in coordination with Providence Health.

For more information, check out the county’s report on the 2023 Point-In-Time homeless count and the Board of County Commissioners’ full discussion of the report.

The Clackamas County Board of County Commissioners is made up of five county residents who are elected to four-year terms. Tootie Smith is the Chair of the Board.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2023-05-16 19:31:53Last Update: 2023-05-16 19:46:53

Setting the Record Straight
Eastern Oregon Senator releases statement on walkout

Oregon State Senator Lynn P. Findley (Republican SD-30) has released a statement concerning the walkout protest in the Oregon Senate. It reads as follows:

Dear constituents,

I want to update you to explain why I have joined my fellow Republican and Independent Senators in denying quorum. Oregon is facing an accountability crisis. By denying quorum we are stopping the Senate Democrats from willfully ignoring the rules and passing bills unlawfully.

Senate Republicans recently noticed that the Senate is not complying with the Oregon Constitution, Senate Rules, and statue (OR Const. Art. IV §21, SR 13.02(5), and ORS 171.134). The law clearly states that bill summaries must score a minimum of 60 on the Flesch readability scale. In other words, bill summaries should be written at an eighth or ninth grade reading level. Almost all bill summaries fail this standard. This law is important for transparency and accessibility.

On May 1, we raised this issue on the Senate floor. President Wagner consulted Legislative Counsel. Then he ruled that bills complied with the law. Despite the fact the bill summaries scored below 60 on the Flesch scale. Senate Democrats voted in support of this decision. The next morning President Wagner provided a legal opinion from Legislative Counsel which claimed: Let me be clear that Republicans objected to many bills over the readability law. Including bills with bipartisan support. We proposed sending bills back to committees so the summaries could be edited to comply with the readability law. Democrats voted against that solution.

Republicans used every procedural tool to make the Senate comply with the law. On May 3, the only option left was to deny quorum (20 members must be present for the Senate to conduct business). This was a necessary step to stop Democrats from passing bills unlawfully.

Also, Senator Weber joined others in taking the issue to court. President Wagner was defended by executive branch lawyers. They argued that the separation of powers blocked the courts from getting involved. Furthermore, they argued that the Oregon Constitution prevents legislators from civil proceedings during session. Ultimately, Judge David Leith chose not to intervene. Although he said: “If it was mine to decide, I would say that the summary doesn’t meet that standard” (VanderHart, OPB, 5/4/23). Democrats have incorrectly used this court case to justify their actions.

I am not a lawyer, but the following things are clear to me. As a Senator, I swore an oath to upload the laws and constitution of Oregon. My oath is sacred to me. I refuse to join a quorum of the Senate if our actions will trample on the rule of law.



This is going on at a crucial time for Oregon. The Secretary of State recently resigned over ethical concerns. The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission is embroiled in scandal. Now we are learning that the Senate is willfully violating the law. It seems that leadership in Oregon government feels they can do no wrong and are above the law. We are in the middle of an accountability crisis, and it is time that something is done about it.

There have been questions about Measure 113. The ballot measure was passed last year and bars legislators from seeking reelection if they have more than 10 excused absences during a session. My oath to uphold the constitution is more important to me than being reelected.

There have also been claims that Republicans don’t really care about the readability law and the real purpose of the walkout is to stop specific Democrat bills. For me, this is absolutely about the readability law. I imagine that once this issue is resolved, the majority party will continue to push through their bills. When that occurs, I will strongly oppose and discuss those bills on the floor.

My office has received comments asking if the reason for the walkout is because “Republicans are too dumb to read”. This is about making the lawmaking process accessible to Oregonians. I consistently hear from constituents that have trouble understanding proposed bills. Oregonians shouldn’t need a graduate degree to understand bill summaries.

It’s worth restating that almost all bills are not complying with the readability law. I have not confirmed if all my bills comply with the readability law. However, it is safe to assume that most of them do not. Legislators rely on the help of Legislative Counsel to draft bills and their summaries. I wrongly assumed that their work was done in full compliance with the law.

I’m sure that the legislature was more diligent in complying with the readability law when it was first implemented in 1979. Overtime, as staff and legislators changed, the law was probably forgotten about. Whatever the case, the law is still on the books and all bills should comply with it. Being absent from some floor sessions does not mean that I’m not working. I’m still attending my committees, making phone calls, answering emails, taking meetings, and working on policy. Last week I went home to take care of needs in my district. While I was there, I would have attended committee virtually. But President Wagner doesn’t allow it.

By denying quorum we have drawn attention to Democrats willfully violating the law. There are variety of ways we can either comply with the law or make changes to it if necessary. What is important me to me is that Senate leadership is held accountable.

It is a great honor to serve in the legislature. I don’t always agree with my colleagues across the aisle on policy. Yet, I respect them for their experiences and service. I’m optimistic that reason will prevail and soon we will come together to resolve this accountability crisis.

I’m grateful for the positive messages of support I have received from my constituents and Oregonians across the state.

All the best,

Lynn P. Findley

State Senator, Senate District 30

Oregon State Senate District 30 comprises of all of Baker, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Malheur, and Wheeler counties, as well as parts of Deschutes, Lake, and Wasco counties. The 30th district is the largest in the state.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-15 18:58:16Last Update: 2023-05-15 19:24:04

What are Oregon Republicans Protesting?
HB 2002 has many people and parents worried

It's a stand-off at the Oregon Capitol over parental rights, in regards to notifying parents about abortion and transgender treatments and procedures. The Oregon Senate Republicans have continued their protest of the concerning legislation that the Majority Democrats are trying to push through the state legislature.

HB 2002 has already passed through the Majority Democrat House Chamber. Republicans condemned the bill, calling it radical and dangerous.

The bill would prohibit health insurance plans from denying or even limiting coverage of irreversible sex-changing procedures and treatments. Under this law, parents would also not have the right to know whether their child is receiving these treatments.

Under this law, insurers must cover cosmetic medical procedures for those identifying as a different gender, such as tracheal shaving, hair electrolysis and facial feminization surgery.

Another Oregon law that HB 2002 alters is the decriminalization of the concealing the birth of an infant.

The removal of this basic law would set a dangerous precedent for society, a suggestion that an infant's life is not worth investigating.

The Northwest Observer asked legislators why this should be decriminalized, but have yet to receive a response from any of the Democrat legislators.

Representative Brian Stout (Republican-HD31) spoke about the illegality of the proposed legislature, saying that : "The rights of a parent as guardians of our children are not only a responsibility but it is a right of law. The primary holding of supreme court case, Troxel V. Granville stated, “There is a fundamental right under the Fourteenth Amendment for a parent to oversee the care, custody, and control of a child”."

Stout stated that, "All throughout our nation’s history we have established the precedent that minors do not have the same rights as a legal adult. A minor has been defined by an age number. You must be 18 to get married on your own. You must be 18 to vote. Only 18 years of age or more counts to be able to serve our military and you even must be 18 to buy a scratch off lottery ticket. Let us not forget to mention you must be 21 to use or consume alcohol or marijuana legally. Are these laws established because we all know or tend to think that minors make poor decisions? Possibly and most certainly. We have all made mistakes in our early years and when we made those mistakes, we typically learn from them. Let us not forget who was there to help correct our mistakes and help us grow through the experience, our parents."



Stout says that the rights of a parent as guardians of our children are not only a responsibility but it is a right of law.

Stout also pointed out that "HR5 just passed the US House. It is the Parents Bill of Rights Act and it clearly outline parents’ rights and requires schools to notify parents of intent to change a child’s gender or pronouns, as well as issues related to mental and physical health on medical exams. So, while the rest of the country is working to preserve parents’ constitutional rights, we convene here today over a bill that destroys them at every level."

He continued in statement, "The contents of this bill and the language within sends a clear message to all Oregonians – a message that we as parents no longer matter in life changing decisions of our own children. Let me say it again another way. If this bill passes, we as parents are being told that we have no business being involved in or even knowing about the health and physical care of our children. Parents tend to know their own children best - not the government as a collective body, not a counselor, not a teacher, not a medical worker. Let us as parents not be blind as to the true intent of this bill before us. If there was ever a time to look up from your screens and listen to the truth and facts of what is in this bill, it is now. I stand here today with every parent in preserving their legal rights. I stand here today in opposition and defense of the most valuable and vulnerable, our children.

HB 2002 is currently scheduled for a reading on the Senate Floor, where the Republicans are protesting the extremist agenda, and they have refused to grant the Democrats quorum on the Senate floor.

The Republicans Senators are now putting their political careers on the line, as it is now punishable under Oregon law for the legislators to be absent from the legislative session for more than 10 unexcused days. Some observers have criticized this strategy, as the Democrats have employed the walkout technique themselves in years past, and this limits the ability of a minority caucus to negotiate legislation.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-05-14 10:37:52Last Update: 2023-05-15 09:07:31

Senator Files Violation of Religious Freedom
Request denied without explanation

Senator Cedric Hayden (R-Fall Creek) files religious discrimination complaints on sixth day of Oregon Senate walkout. Senator Hayden, aka Pastor Hayden is an occasional preacher and member of the Seventh Day Adventist, which meets for worship on Saturdays.

Senate President Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) denied Hayden’s request to be absent for church on Saturday where he was scheduled to preach, as well as requests to be off the next seven Saturdays of the legislative session for “duties scheduled as elder of my church.”

“Other Senate absences have been excused, absences unrelated to religious reasons,” Hayden wrote in his complaint to the bureau. Hayden also complained he was denied Sunday off to take care of his disabled daughter, a request that was “flatly denied.”

Hayden noted, “Meanwhile, other legislators have been treated like employees and ‘excused’ from floor sessions by Wagner for apparent medical reasons.”

His complaint to the Bureau of Labor and Industries and to the Legislative Equity Office claims President Rob Wagner violated his religious freedom by denying his requests to be excused to attend a church service on Saturday. Wagner denied the request without any written explanation. Hayden has previously been granted Saturday absences throughout his legislative career.

Hayden wrote, “The receipt did not indicate the rationale for being denied the fundamental right to attend and lead the worship services of my church as Saturday is my known day of faith. Notice was given by my staff twice earlier in April that it is my practice that, absent an emergent need to be away from my church duties on a Saturday, my faith is a sincerely held religious belief, and my attendance of worship and time off for such is a valid reason for an excused absence.”



The walkout is a protest over the lack of following rules, laws and the constitution. Wagner’s spokesman, Connor Radnovich told Oregon Capital Chronicle that the First Amendment doesn’t hold weight in a walkout. “This isn’t about religion, this is about this being a walkout. If we were able to get the work done on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, we would not have to be here on Saturday.”

Is Senate President Wagner using Measure 113 as an excuse to break the law? Oregon Constitution Article IV, Section 15. Punishment and expulsion of members. Either house may punish its members for disorderly behavior, and may with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member; but not a second time for the same cause. Failure to attend, without permission or excuse, ten or more legislative floor sessions called to transact business during a regular or special legislative session shall be deemed disorderly behavior and shall disqualify the member from holding office as a Senator or Representative for the term following the election after the member’s current term is completed.

The requirement of “permission or excuse” is one or the other. One is aimed at permission from legislative authority. But the other seems self regulation by the person. An “excuse” option is the legislator’s reason or justification for the absence that doesn’t need preauthorization, just grounds for the absences. Certainly a constitutional religious right would be justification needing no authorization. Perhaps challenging illegal procedures is also justification for absences needing no authorization.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-05-13 00:00:58Last Update: 2023-05-13 00:18:40

No Goats or Sheep in the Forest
To protect the health and viability of bighorn sheep

In efforts to protect Bighorn Sheep and be compliant with the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area Comprehensive Management Plan, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest executed Forest Order No. 06-16-04-23-01. The order places restrictions on domestic sheep and goats within the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.

The order prohibits, “possessing, storing, or transporting any domestic sheep or goat,” within all Forest Service Lands within the Congressionally designated boundaries of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.

Shaun McKinney, Forest Supervisor for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, explains the intention of the order in the Assessment of Need. “The intent of this order is to protect the health and viability of bighorn sheep, a Region 6 sensitive species, within their core habitat. Further, this order augments the science and conservation work from our partners and ensures significant investments to Bighorn Sheep are safeguarded.”

Jamie Ratliff, Wildlife Program Manager on the Wallowa-Whitman, explains that disease and parasite transmission from contact with domestic sheep and goats is a significant risk for bighorn sheep.

“The effects of domestic sheep and goat exposure on bighorn populations can take several forms including high mortality rates in lambs and chronic or sporadic adult mortality,” said Ratliff.



Ratliff continues to explain that multiple bighorn sheep populations in the Hells Canyon (ID, OR, and WA) area have already experienced high rates of mortality due to pneumonia outbreaks caused by bacteria (Mycoplasma Ovipneumonia) which continues to have lingering effects. “Overall, contact between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep will limit bighorn numbers and distribution in areas where respiratory disease occurs,” said Ratliff.

Currently, pathogen transmission to bighorn sheep can only be controlled by maintaining separation between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep and/or goats.

Forest Order No. 06-16-04-23-01 is scheduled to remain in effect until May 1, 2026, unless rescinded sooner. For a full copy of this order, visit the Forest Orders website.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2023-05-12 10:27:11Last Update: 2023-05-12 11:43:56

State Lifts COVID-19 Response Measures
Lifting of COVID-19 vaccine requirement for education, health care workers among other changes taking effect in coming weeks

In alignment with the federal COVID-19 public health emergency ending May 11, state health officials today announced the lifting of health-protective measures that helped reduce COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths, and expanded access to services during the pandemic.

The changes affect a wide range of programs and services. Some changes are effective May 11, and others will take effect in the coming weeks. Other changes put in place during the COVID-19 emergency will continue after the end of the federal emergency.

“These changes are an acknowledgement of the progress we’ve made over the last three-plus years,” said Dean Sidelinger, health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA. “However, we know COVID-19 will remain a part of our lives for years to come, so we need to continue taking steps that prevent its spread, such as staying up to date with vaccinations. My thoughts go out to those sick with COVID-19, mourning a loved one, or still suffering with symptoms following their acute infection.”

Highlights of the changes resulting from the ending of the federal public health emergency are as follows:

Vaccination requirements
Effective Thursday, May 11, workers in health care settings will no longer be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 under state rules, OHA announced today. A similar vaccination requirement for teachers and school staff in private and public education settings will lift June 17, the end of the last week of school, to support consistency in student instruction through this school year.

Exposure, isolation guidance
A five-day period of isolation for those infected with COVID-19 also will no longer be recommended for the general population, including people in K-12 education settings. Oregon public health officials believe widespread population immunity due to vaccination and repeated infections means many COVID-19 infections are now likely asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, and the five-day isolation period is doing little to reduce transmission.

Instead, officials say, the recommendation for the general population will be to stay home until fever free for 24 hours and symptoms are improving; avoid contact with individuals at increased risk for severe disease, including older adults and those with underlying medical conditions; and consider masking for 10 days.

School testing
Diagnostic testing resources for students and staff with symptoms or exposure to COVID-19 in schools will remain available through July 31, 2024. iHealth self-tests will remain available for K-12 schools to request and distribute to their school communities until current stock is depleted. Weekly opt-in “screening” testing for K-12 students and staff without COVID-19 symptoms will end July 31 as funding for the effort wraps up.



The endings of the vaccination, isolation and some testing measures are among a spate of impending changes over the coming weeks as Oregon, and the nation, continue the long, careful transition out of the pandemic. A number of “flexibilities” put in place during the pandemic will remain in effect.

The following are among the COVID-era activities and requirements that will continue after May 11: The following are among many other changes taking effect May 11:

COVID-19 reporting
Health coverage, supports

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-11 06:56:23Last Update: 2023-05-17 22:21:48

Challenges Facing School Boards Series
Restoring Oregon Schools

Editor’s note: This is the tenth and final in a multi-part series on the impact of your vote for School Board Candidates, an OAA Voter Education Project

One of the top challenges for Oregon school boards is to improve graduation rates and reduce drop-outs. Oregon is ranked 44 for public school quality and safety.

School boards are making important decisions about strategies to mitigate the learning decline during the last two years. The magnitude of the impact of COVID-19 lockdown resulted in test-score drops and increase absentees. Studies have been done on strategies to help students catch up.

The Brookings Institute Research Study says these students are not a “lost generation,” and student’s have a capacity for resiliency. What they discovered, which shouldn’t be a surprise, is the type of intervention is specific to grade and subject. For instance, tutoring was found to have larger effects in elementary math than in reading. Other studies showed summer learning programs in math were effective, reductions in class size had no effect, and extending the school day was beneficial but only to maximize teaching.

The need to restore the last two years is directly related to graduation rates. The Oregon Statewide Report Card 2021-22 clearly shows the last two years had a much greater impact on high school students than lower levels. That is translating into lower graduation rates. Despite what legislators would have you believe, the pandemic devastated all races and ethnicities alike. Matter of fact, English Learners maintained the highest levels throughout the pandemic. And white students ranked seventh out of 12 categories – not a “privileged” group as taught.

Looking for a way to improve on Oregon's graduation rate and make college affordable, former Senator Mark Hass pushed for the creation of Oregon Promise, which makes Oregon’s 17 community colleges tuition-free to high school graduates. Eight years later, the program may be dismantled.

The State’s Higher Education Coordinating Committee says Oregon Promise "has not led to lasting increases in enrollment, momentum, completion, or equity.” Only an additional one percent of students have found it made college more affordable. Meanwhile, taxpayers are picking up the tab.



The Joint Task Force on Student Success for Underrepresented Students in Higher Education requested SB 262 suggesting limiting eligibility for Oregon Promise program to students and families with adjusted gross income at or below $100,000, and permit the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to use Oregon Promise funding to award grants for degree completion. Their report suggests that graduation rates are affected by the increasing costs at public universities and community colleges. It makes combined state and federal grant aid for a student at the lowest income level insufficient to meet the full cost of attendance at many public institutions of higher education in Oregon. Therefore, the Oregon Promise is needed to motivate underrepresented students. They also suggested pre-college mentorship to help more underrepresented students attend college. The bill currently sits in the Ways and Means Committee.

A June 2022 poll commissioned by the Oregon Moms Union found that 55% of Oregonians think our state’s education system is on the wrong track. They said they knew something was seriously wrong with the way politicians were imposing their own will on students.

More than anything else, this series has pointed out how comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) has been integrated into the curriculum and affecting all aspects of education. It is the most contentious issue for parents. Stop World Control has obtained documents from the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) instructing teachers in kindergartens and elementary schools to teach toddlers to masturbate. UN documents instructs all education authorities and policy makers to make sure that little children will have sexual relationships, and international judicial organization’s statement suggests that sex between little children and adults should be legalized, calling for the acceptance of pedophilia as a normal sexual orientation. Parents want answers from the State Board of Education.

School boards are not just faced with restoring students and graduation rates, but the Statewide Report Card 2021-22 shows the Economically Disadvantaged student group is larger in 2021-22 than in prior years and anticipated to increase. Despite the state's push towards equity, CSE, CRT, social-emotional learning, and gender identity, school boards are challenged with deciphering state guidelines so they can be administered in an equal manner to advance all students.

Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project lists the candidates and those responding to the survey on their website.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-05-11 02:36:42Last Update: 2023-05-11 01:33:39

Governor Tina Kotek Sets Secretary of State Appointment Timeline
“Local elections are underway across the state”

Governor Tina Kotek has issued the following statement regarding the timeline to appoint a new Secretary of State:

“Local elections are underway across the state, culminating in election day next week on May 16, and I do not want to distract from the important work of the staff in the Secretary of State’s office and the elections team who are working to ensure the election goes smoothly and without disruption. Therefore, I will announce updates on my plans to appoint a new Secretary of State after the election.”



The office of Secretary of State has been particularly volatile in the past several years, with three Article V, Section 16 of the Oregon Constitution reads:

Governor to Fill Vacancies by Appointment. When during a recess of the legislative assembly a vacancy occurs in any office, the appointment to which is vested in the legislative assembly, or when at any time a vacancy occurs in any other state office, or in the office of judge of any court, the governor shall fill such vacancy by appointment.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-10 19:34:52Last Update: 2023-05-17 22:23:16

ODFW Advises that Coastal Residents Be BearWise
“Finding your trash spread out across the yard or driveway can ruin your day”

There is much to look forward to at the Oregon coast with the onset of warmer and sunnier weather but -- according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife -- bears getting into your garbage is not one of them. With spring comes the emergence of black bears from their dens in search of food.

Now is the prime time to look around your property and make sure food sources attractive to bears are secure and inaccessible. If you live along the Oregon coast or own or manage coastal rental property, consider using bear-resistant trash cans.

A bear's strongest sense is smell and everything from trash cans to grill drippings can bring them to your property. Finding your trash spread out across the yard or driveway can certainly ruin your day, but the consequences could be much more severe. If bears become habituated to humans (too comfortable around people) they could pose a serious threat to human safety.

A bear that loses its wariness of people and becomes conditioned to human-provided sources of food may be humanely killed. This is often the only option to protect humans and ultimately to protect the larger bear population from learning the same behavior.

Bears, like all wildlife, have a specialized diet that coincides with seasonal changes. Access to human-provided food can negatively impact their health, lead to conflict with humans and in many cases have fatal consequences.



Bears have a great memory when it comes to food. Not only will they remember where they have found food before, including trash, but female bears will also pass this knowledge down to their young. Intentionally or unintentionally feeding bears can negatively affect multiple generations of bears.

The good news is that most conflict between humans and bears is preventable. Bears don't want to be around humans, but the prospect of an easy meal is often too good to resist. Removing things that attract them to the area is the most important thing you can do to protect people and ensure bears stay wild.

Follow these BearWise tips: Living responsibly with black bears is possible and it's up to everyone to do their part to keep humans safe and bears wild. Contact your local ODFW office to report unusual bear activity or for information and resources to help prevent conflict with black bears.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-10 18:35:08Last Update: 2023-05-10 19:07:20

Concealing the Birth of an Infant in Oregon
Why do Democrats want to decriminalize such a thing?

Some observers might be wondering lately why there is another walkout protest happening at the Oregon legislature. The Republican Senators have staged a walkout protest lasting several days in response to some radical legislation being pushed through by the Majority Democrats. The walkout seems to be a technique used to leverage perhaps at least some bargaining power, with hopes to get the majority party to alter the bill to be more acceptable, and less radical.

HB 2002 proposes a number of radical changes to Oregon law, even stripping parental rights. It would encode into Oregon law that a child of any age, can receive an abortion, without parental knowledge.

It prohibits health insurance plans from denying or even limiting coverage irreversible sex-changing procedures and treatments. Under this law, parents would not have the right to know whether their child is receiving these treatments.

Under this radical law, insurers must cover cosmetic medical procedures for those identifying as a different gender, such as tracheal shaving, hair electrolysis and facial feminization surgery.

Another Oregon law that HB 2002 alters is the decriminalization of the concealing the birth of an infant.



Within the bill, in section 59(5) the bill states that it would repeal ORS 167.820, and ORS 161.005.

These Oregon laws are enumerated within the Oregon Revised Statutes as Offenses Against General Welfare and Animals, concealing the birth of an infant.

According to ORS 167.820, a person commits the crime of concealing the birth of an infant if the person conceals the corpse of a newborn child with intent to conceal the fact of its birth or to prevent a determination of whether it was born dead or alive.

Concealing the birth of an infant in Oregon is currently only a Class A misdemeanor, it seems that the complete removal of the law would set a dangerous precedent for society, a suggestion that an infant's life is not worth investigating.

For many people, this raises serious concerns about the society we are building, and our culture.

Representative Andrea Valderrama (D-Portland), Representative Travis Nelson (D-Portland), Senator Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton & Southwest Portland) and Senator Elizabeth Steiner (D-NW Portland/Beaverton) are the Chief Sponsors of HB 2002.

At the time of this publication, the Republican Senators are continuing their walkout in protest of the radical legislation.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-05-10 13:25:58Last Update: 2023-05-30 13:43:17

Oregon Lawsuit Supports Police
Allows police to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement

Attorneys United for a Secure America (AUSA), a project of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the City of Cottage Grove, Oregon, and its police department, both of which are being sued by activist plaintiffs to enforce an Oregon law called the “Sanctuary Promise Act,” which bans local law enforcement from cooperating with federal government in immigration law enforcement.

In filing the brief, AUSA represents Advocates for Victims of Illegal Alien Crime (AVIAC). AUSA’s brief points out that Oregon’s anti-cooperation law is preempted by a federal law granting local officials the right to cooperate in federal immigration law enforcement; that the alleged harm of eroding the illegal alien community’s trust of the police is too speculative to support the requests preliminary injunction; and that Oregon’s anti-cooperation law, by working to keep criminal aliens in the country, has devastating effects on these criminal aliens’ subsequent victims.

“It is hard to fathom why any state would want to endanger its citizens and legal permanent residents by protecting people who entered the United States illegally and then commit additional crimes,” said Don Rosenberg, president of AVIAC. “Look at the criminal record of any illegal alien who has killed someone, and you will always see they had prior arrests and convictions for other crimes. The Sanctuary Promise Act is nothing more than a promise made by Oregonian authorities that law-abiding Oregonians will become victims of criminal illegal aliens.”



“It is axiomatic that the protection of public safety is a core governmental function,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “With this anti-cooperation law, Oregon nevertheless hopes to prevent as many criminal alien deportations as possible. We hope the court sees this law as the disaster that it is, and does not construe it to block the public-spirited official of Cottage Grove from exercising their federal right to cooperate with immigration officials to protect their community.”

The case is Rural Organizing Project v. The City of Cottage Grove__, No. 23CV07691 (Ore. Lane Circuit Court).

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-05-09 00:47:48Last Update: 2023-05-09 01:37:17

Secretary Fagan Resignation Effective Today
“Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s actions put this agency in a difficult position"

Deputy Secretary of State Cheryl Myers will assume the title of Acting Secretary of State today, May 8, at 1:00 PM when Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s resignation officially occurs. Governor Tina Kotek will appoint a new Secretary of State to complete the remainder of Secretary Fagan’s term.

According to a statement released by the office, the Secretary of State’s office will not experience any interruption in its operations during the transition.

“Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s actions put this agency in a difficult position," said Acting Secretary of State Cheryl Myers. "I believe she made the right decision by resigning. The professional staff at the Secretary of State’s office will continue serving Oregonians through the Elections Division, Audits Division, State Archives and Corporation Division. We do not expect any interruptions in service during the transition.

“This is a resilient agency, with strong division leadership and internal systems that can withstand change. We are ready to continue the important work of the Secretary of State’s office during this transition.



“While I already possess the same authorities as the Secretary from when originally sworn in as Deputy SoS, I am not an elected official. Since January 2021, my role has been to manage the directors of the Elections, Audits, Archives, Corporation and internal divisions, with a focus on helping them serve Oregonians. That’s what I’ll continue to do through this transition.

Elections Director Molly Woon said, “The Elections Division is assisting and supporting Oregon’s 36 county clerks and election administrators during this regularly scheduled Special District Election. The Secretary’s resignation has no bearing on our team’s ability to provide centralized services and support county operations. We will continue to provide exceptional service and encourage all voters to make their voices heard in the May 16th elections.”

The Secretary of State is not the filing officer for any May 2023 contests and does not certify this election as in even numbered years.

“Secretary Fagan’s actions have cast a shadow over the good work of the Oregon Audits Division," said Audits Director Kip Memmott. "I join Acting Secretary Myers in agreeing with the Secretary’s decision to resign. It’s the best way for the agency to move forward.

“Soon, an independent, third-party review of our audit work, requested by the Governor’s Office, will show we operated in full compliance with Government Auditing Standards and demonstrated our commitment to accountability, integrity and reliability. I look forward to that validation as we begin to restore the trust that is necessary to the work we do as auditors.

"I want to personally say I stand behind my staff and the work completed in our audit of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission. From the origin of the idea to audit OLCC up until the report release last week, the Oregon Audits Division followed government auditing standards and procedures every step of the way, as we always do.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-08 12:49:42Last Update: 2023-05-08 16:12:17

Challenges Facing School Boards Series
OEA - the good, the bad, and the ugly

Editor’s note: This is the nineth of a multi-part series on the impact of your vote for School Board Candidates, an OAA Voter Education Project

The Oregon Education Association (OEA) is a union that represents about 41,000 educators working in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 public schools and community colleges. OEA’s membership includes licensed teachers and specialists, classified/education support professionals, community college faculty, retired educators, and student members. OEA members also belong to the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association (NEA).

OEA members are affiliated with Local Associations, which bargain their work contracts with support from OEA staff. Local Associations also collaborate with local school districts, community colleges, school boards, and community leaders to provide the basic right to a good public education to every student.

The mission of OEA is to unite the public education profession and advocate for those professionals to ensure quality public education for students in Oregon. But this is where OEA gets off track. They say, “We’re on a journey to address equity and racial justice in our union and our schools. This work begins by looking deeply at our own experiences and preconceived notions around race and equity—how white supremacy and privilege shape our perspectives, attitudes and actions.”

How OEA is addressing equity and racial justice is creating issues for school boards. They recent announced financial sponsorship of the “Tides of Pride Grooming Event” complete with drag queen history, and building a gender and sexuality association to talk “really explicitly and seriously about sexuality and gender” to children. This event, held in North Bend on May 5, helps the Gender & Sexuality Association (GSA) actively organize clubs throughout the state with a tool kit for growing clubs.

In the GSA tool kit is a list of groups with systemic power of privilege that they sterol-type. The tool kit is prejudice in the same way they present their information identifying the privileged. Privileged are labeled as straight people, cisgender people, men, white people, and nationalist-citizens that are the cause of oppression.

Is this how OEA supports a “safe, welcoming, and inclusive school environments”? OEA says their members work to engage in professional learning, policy advocacy, and organizing that have a positive impact on schools, themselves and their colleagues, and most importantly, students. But membership funds are being spent to belittle and attack the normal adjusted students.



OEA members are also members of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Behind the information AFT distributes to teachers is NewsGuard, a private, self-declared fact checker that receives money from the government and partners with large institutions like AFT, Microsoft, big pharma and the World Economic Forum. They put pressure on media companies to not report on certain things. Marissa Streit, PragerU, reported that their documentaries make for students on the founding of America and pro-American content, NewsGuard labeled as a misinformation and rated them as a misinformation company.

NewsGuard is rating conservative news outlets like The Federalist, Epoch, Fox, Daily Wire and PragerU with very low scores less than 50% while New York Times and CNN received 100%. Any company receiving less than 60 is labeled with a warning against doing business with them to curb the news away from their direction.

NewsGuard offers their service free to libraries and schools. Schools use the ratings that NewsGuard gives as due diligence, best practices and truth in science. AFT is censoring out information for teachers that NewsGuard gives a low rating to creating a shield censoring out topics they don’t want brought out in schools. Streit says, “this isn’t just a Praeger U fight it is all of America, they are going to come after every podcast they can’t control…America needs to be awake that they are operating in our schools and media…and we are being robbed of our freedom of speech.”

Don’t forget, it was mostly at the say of OEA why Oregon schools were the last to open after the COVID threat was over. Even after teachers were vaccinated, unions played politics with getting students back to school. Teachers need to evaluate the worth of being an OEA member. Now school boards are faced with how to accelerate learning from credible sources without the interference from OEA.

Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project lists the candidates and those responding to the survey on their website.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-05-07 11:32:27Last Update: 2023-05-02 21:20:26

Sunset Empire Transportation District to Suspend Operations
Operations discontinued indefinitely

The Sunset Empire Transportation District in Clatsop County, Oregon has now suspended the bus services and other operations after the agency’s troubling financial condition came to light.

The transit district’s board voted unanimously on April 27th to discontinue operations indefinitely and furlough employees.

"The message is we will not be offering any public transportation services effective Saturday due to the financial situation that we’re in. We will get it restarted as soon as we have a financial package in place. And we’ll get the process to restart up and running as soon as possible,” said Jeff Hazen, the transit district’s executive director.



The publicly funded transit district’s bus routes and para transit services are meant to connect riders across Clatsop County. The Lower Columbia Connector also takes riders between Astoria and Portland. The agency has an annual budget of $6.6 million and 46 employees.

The Sunset Empire Transportation District (SETD) was formed by the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners on March 24, 1993.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2023-05-07 11:23:45Last Update: 2023-05-07 18:56:50

Challenges Facing School Boards Series
The rationale behind CRT

Editor’s note: This is the eighth in a multi-part series on How Your School Board Vote Affects Oregon Schools an OAA Voter Education Project

When the New York Times published the 1619 Project, it fueled heated debates on the role of critical race theory (CRT) in classrooms. The study of how racism shapes laws, policies, society and American history only accelerated the conversation of slavery and racial injustice.

The media narrative has defined racism by their victimized class. So much so that if you are of a victimized class - minority, then you can’t be a racist or commit a hate crime, even if you are guilty of doing so. The by-line is that society has driven them to crime by not giving them equal status regardless of having equal opportunity. This is being played out in the Nashville School shooting. The shooter is being portrayed as the victim because of her victimized class.

School boards, superintendents and teachers, even experts, all have their own theory and disagreements on how CRT is defined. The core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies. The major argument is its focus on group identity over universal, shared traits that divides people into "oppressed" and "oppressor" groups and urges intolerance. What started as a culturally relevant teaching has morphed into a theory that advocates discrimination against the privileged, mainly white people, in order to achieve equity. This is evident in the Oregon legislature and organizations allowed into schools that refer to "white supremacy."

In 2021, Senator Sara Gelser Blouin (D-Corvallis, Albany) attempted to put the 1619 Project and CRT as a required part of instruction when she sponsored SB 683. That bill may not have passed, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been implemented. CRT is at the core of social and economic justice that takes into consideration race as a nexus of equality.

As the Civil Rights Movement used the First Amendment that spurred protest marches and media reporting on racial discrimination, so is CRT using the First Amendment with the same racial concerns with a broader economic context. It elevates the equality principles of the Fourteenth Amendment above the liberty principles of the First Amendment. CRT was pushed by lawyers and activists that saw the civil rights era had diminished and they sought an alternative legal framework for combating racial inequality. CRT was one of the approaches tried along with critical legal studies, critical theory, feminist theory, postmodernism, and cultural studies.

Today CRT has expanded into the fields of education, political science, American studies, and ethnic studies. It also has produced several offshoots, including critical white studies, Latino critical race studies, Asian American critical race studies, American Indian critical race studies, and critical queer studies.

The rub that CRT scholars proport is instead of helping to achieve healthy and robust debate, the First Amendment is used to preserve the inequities of the status quo. They claim “there can be no such thing as an objective or content neutral interpretation in law in general or of the First Amendment in particular… there is no 'equality' in 'freedom' of speech.”



CRT used the First Amendment to wage their battlefield for hate speech regulations. There is no legal definition for hate speech, but Oregon has passed extensive laws trying to define it with penalties even when a Supreme Court’s ruling, R.A.V. v. St. Paul (1992), seemingly closed the door on “hate speech” regulation. "The First Amendment does not permit a state to use content discrimination to achieve a compelling interest if it is not necessary to achieve that interest."

However, CRT, as presented in SB 683, is the history of slavery and the disproportionate harm towards Blacks and other inequities in the judicial system compared to whites. It has been adopted into curriculums by piecemeal into social studies standards. That was enabled in 2021 by passing SB 702, replacing social studies disciplines and best practices for curriculum with consultation of any group that supports a theory being pushed making it easier to incorporate CRT, SEL and any other theory.

In 2022 Oregon Department of Education (ODE) adopted standards to integrate ethnic studies in social studies for K-12 adding new "perspectives and histories" to allow students to "feel welcome and recognized in the classroom and a part of our collective narrative, our shared history," an ODE spokesman told Fox News Digital. The new standards address white supremacy by having kindergartners "engage in respectful dialogue with classmates to define diversity by comparing and contrasting visible and invisible similarities and differences."

CRT flows over into other areas. It was the impetus to defunding school resource officers and police. After a number of school shootings, parents are again starting to ask for resource officers to be returned to the schools. However, the majority party in the legislature has blocked attempts to fund resource officers, so it is left to school boards on how to provide a safe environment. School boards are also faced with where to draw the line between First Amendment rights and equality. Critical race studies has become a battlefield for rights, and school boards have become the mediator to make sure one person's rights doesn't turn into "hate speech" for another.

Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project lists the candidates and those responding to the survey on their website.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-05-05 11:31:24Last Update: 2023-05-03 00:52:23

Constitutional Carry in Oregon?
Attorney General issues draft CCFO ballot title

On May 4, 2023, the Oregon Attorney General’s Office issued a draft ballot title to the Secretary of State’s Elections Division for Initiative Petition 2024-021, proposed for the November 5, 2024, General Election. That issuance brings Oregon one step closer to becoming a constitutional carry state.

That draft ballot title reads: “Amends Constitution: Creates constitutional right to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.”

Led by Constitutional Carry for Oregon (CCFO), 2024-021 seeks to amend the Oregon Constitution as simply as possible, adding only one sentence. At present, 27 U.S. states are already constitutional carry states.

After a 14-day comment period, the Attorney General’s Office will then certify the ballot title. The process of gathering the 160,551 signatures for the initiative to appear on the November 2024 ballot will begin thereafter.



CCFO has until July 5, 2024, to submit signatures.

CCFO is a grassroots volunteer effort. The three chief petitioners are: Joel Pawloski, a retired Army Lt. Colonel in Marion County; Kerry McQuisten, the former mayor of Baker City in Baker County; and Jean Sampson, former city council member of Clatskanie in Columbia County.

In a joint statement, the petitioners stated, “We’re pleased with the draft title and explanation of our effort as it will appear on the ballot. As we’ve followed the procedural constitutional requirements for initiative petitions very carefully, we don’t anticipate any legitimate challenges. We look forward to beginning the signature-gathering process.”

Those interested can find more information on the Constitutional Carry for Oregon (CCFO) website.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-05-05 09:37:04Last Update: 2023-05-05 12:14:50

Concerns in North Clackamas School District
Parents are running for school board to change the culture

According to many observers, North Clackamas, Oregon school district seems to have a long history of racial discrimination and sexual abuses on campus. The district has faced multiple lawsuits, which seems to result in continuous property tax increases and even lost trust within the community after those who have raised concerns are targeted, silenced and slandered.

In May of 2021, a 12-year-old 7th grade student at Alder Creek Middle School was raped by an older student, in an unlocked closet on campus. In a 200 million dollar lawsuit filed against the district, the family alleged a pattern of previous incidents between the male and female student that "should have alerted teachers and school administrators of the potential for harm."

In an August 2020 lawsuit, the parents of a six-year-old kindergarten student at a North Clackamas Elementary School sued the district for racial discrimination and the failure of staff to respond. “We want to be an active part of this community, but we want to be accepted in this community,” said Ashley Butler. He and other parents have tried to make changes within the district only to be disappointed.

In various federal and state cases, North Clackamas School District has been named time and again for failing to protect students, especially who many say are the most vulnerable demographics such as; students of color, students with disabilities, and students who identify as LGBTQIA.

According to allegations in a recent 10 million dollar lawsuit, when teachers or students speak out, the district under current leadership, has a history of defaming, slandering, and attacking those who report issues.

Parents who have tried to raise concerns, or work with the school board to effect policy changes have similarly been slandered and silenced by current school board members, and
Oregon's politically biased media.

Concerns were expressed, alleging that school-based exemptions to obscenity laws have given rise to age-inappropriate materials, and pornographic content. Not long after, the incumbent board members chose to move meetings online, "indefinitely."

According to the Portland Mercury, "audience outbursts and commentary from parents and other community members who oppose LGBTQ-related teaching materials, gender-inclusive sex education curriculums, and conversations about race," necessitated online only meetings.

And now, more concerned parents are speaking up about these LGBTQ-related teaching materials, gender inclusive sex education curriculums and conversations about race. Two local moms who are running for school board are Courtneigh Swerzbin and Aimee Reiner.

Aimee Riener, is endorsed by Clackamas County Commissioner Ben West, who is a known conservative. West won the right for same-sex marriage in Oregon when he and his husband, Paul Rummel, took their case to the Supreme Court—securing the landmark ruling.

Still, Reiner has been accused of anti-LGBTQ bigotry, after presenting explicit content to the board's attention. Until meetings were moved online, Reiner attended meeting after meeting, in an effort to address campus culture and disparate outcomes for NCSD's most vulnerable students.

Courtneigh Swerzbin is no stranger to racial discrimination. Swerzbin, like Reiner, has suffered from the bias in Oregon's media. Raymond Rendelman, editor of Pamplin's Clackamas Review, recently released a hit piece, attacking Swerzbin's grammar and victim blaming the recipient of a racially motivated incident—irrelevant to the election.

According to
Swerzbin's campaign website, she was shocked to learn children and staff at NCSD are being segregated by skin color for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion lessons. Swerzbin says she's running for "true inclusion," and kids over politics.

Unlike legislative elections, school board elections are meant to be non-partisan. However, the nearly identical campaign finance disclosures and endorsements for the "North Clackamas United slate" tell a very partisan story.

The slate consists of current board members; Glenn Wachter, Jena Benologa, and April Dobson. Lobbyist Paul Kemp, is a new candidate but certainly not new to politics—having spent years lobbying in Salem for gun control. According to OreStar, the slate of four share endorsements and funding from progressive left-wing activist groups, the Oregon Democratic party and large out-of-state donors with a vested interest in a new math curriculum.



All four candidates also list a progressive left treasury service, C&E Systems, as their bookkeeper. Jena Benologa's PAC (Political Action Committee) e.g. has spent upwards of $1,00.00 to C&E Systems, whose website boasts of "Electrac," a fundraising/donor portal available to Oregon's most "progressive candidates."

NextUp Action Fund, and Basic Rights Oregon have endorsed the Leftists. This election, they are locally known as the "United slate". Both NextUp Action Fund, and Basic Rights Oregon have also lobbied to lower the voting age to 16, in addition to lobbying for HB 2002, a bill that allows the state to expand diagnosis of gender dysphoria to dentists, and optometrists while giving DHS (Child Services) the authority to remove children from parents who might question that diagnosis.

Four School Based Health Clinics operate on NCSD campuses, and provide direct access to dentistry, ophthalmology, prescription medication, abortion services and gender affirming care. Under recent legislation, schools can also transport minors to receive services during school hours, without parental consent or knowledge.

According to Marketwatch, sexual reassignment surgery
is a 1.95 billion dollar emerging market in the healthcare industry. Parents, as well as healthcare professionals, have expressed concerns that a lack of standards for the therapeutic evaluation of minors, may be placing an emphasis on profits over vulnerable youth.

Rather than being addressed, these concerns have been dismissed by current school board members. In addition, there seems to be a pattern among those who have spoken out about instances of rape on campus, discrimination and who have raised concerns at school board meetings in general, have also endured harassment, death threats, bullying and even calls to their employers, as a result.

The voters of North Clackamas will be faced with a litany of issues to ponder during this school board election, as both financial and educational priorities are evaluated.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2023-05-05 08:50:23Last Update: 2023-05-06 15:20:18

Territorial Sea Plan Rocky Habitat Management Strategy Adopted
The designations were recommended by the OPAC following an inclusive public process

On April 20, 2023 the Land Conservation and Development Commission -- under the leadership of Chair Anyeley Hallová -- unanimously adopted an amendment to the Rocky Habitat Management Strategy, Part Three of the Oregon Territorial Sea Plan. The decision added six new management areas that reflect the needs of the communities that proposed them. Rocky Habitat Management Areas focus on balancing use and conservation through the enhancement of visitor experiences with education and interpretation to limit wildlife disturbance and habitat degradation.

These designations complete a multiple year effort led by the Ocean Policy Advisory Council to revise the Management Strategy to include site management designations along areas of Oregon's iconic rocky shoreline. Extensive feedback from agencies, organizations, governments, and general rocky coast users supported these revisions.

The new management area designations include: The designations were recommended by the OPAC following an inclusive public process that provided an opportunity for the public to submit proposals for new management areas. Designations will go into effect following rulemaking by partner agencies in the coming year.

Interested persons can access the Rocky Habitat Web Mapping Tool online.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-03 18:53:52Last Update: 2023-05-03 19:17:59

Oregon Democrats Want Republicans To Do Their Job
Republicans want rule of law

Oregon Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton & SW Portland) attempts to call Republicans to get back to work after they refused to attend the floor session claiming a willfull lack of upholding the law by Senate President Rob Wagner.

Lieber is calling Republicans to return and honor Measure 113 passed by voters, which limits the number of unexcused absentees a legislator can have to 10 or be prohibited to run for reelection. Lieber states, “By walking out today, Senate Republicans are abandoning all who believe in our democracy, particularly the voters who sent them to Salem to vote on their behalf. Voters were clear last year when they passed Measure 113 by an overwhelming margin and in every state senate district: elected lawmakers should be in the Capitol doing their jobs. Republicans are, once again, undermining our democracy and ignoring the people of Oregon.

During Monday morning’s floor session, Senate Republicans pointed out that bills being considered by the Senate violate the law by being noncompliant with Senate Rule 13.02 (5), ORS 171.134, and Article 4 § 21 of the Oregon Constitution. The Senate recessed and when it reconvened that evening, the Presiding Officer ruled that it did comply, but Republicans claimed it failed to provide any reasoning to substantiate the ruling despite many objections. Republicans attempted to appeal the ruling several times.

Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) stated, “Let’s be clear – Wagner’s ruling was inappropriate, unjustified, and unlawful. It unequivocally violates Senate Rules, Oregon’s Constitution, and Oregon statute. We will not sit by and allow these actions without consequence. We have made a simple request: that bills comply with the law. Senate Rules are clear and Senate Democrats are violating them. It is the responsibility of the clerks in both chambers, as well as Legislative Counsel, to ensure a measure summary complies with Oregon Revised Statutes, Chamber Rules, and the Oregon Constitution... We cannot allow the Senate to operate in an unlawful and unconstitutional manner, nor can we allow this reckless behavior to continue. In an act of deep partisanship, Wagner ruled with total disregard for the integrity of the Senate to dictate his party’s extreme, unconstitutional agenda onto Oregonians at all costs. It is for these reasons we were compelled to take the unprecedented step of voting to remove Wagner from his role as Senate President, and why we are engaging in a constitutional protest today.”



Lieber is advocating for a democracy - rule of the majority. Knopp is standing on the Constitutional Republic of representation. Lieber wants to use the Constitution to get Republicans back to the Senate floor, but ignore the rules and procedures set out in the Constitution that Republicans want followed.

Republicans Senator Suzanne Weber (R-Tillamook) and Representative Emily McIntire (R-Eagle Point) want to solve the matter in court. They filed a lawsuit against legislative leaders contending that the bill summary of House Bill 2002 violates Senate Rule 13.02, ORS 171.134, and Article 4 § 21 of the Oregon Constitution. Weber and McIntire will be represented by Oregon Right to Life.

The statute and rule require bill summaries to be written at an 8th-grade reading level, which correlates with a Flesch-Kincaid readability score of 60. House Bill 2002 scores well below 30, corresponding to the reading level of college graduates. “The Senate operates within the confines of the Constitution, state law, and chamber rules, all of which are being willfully ignored by the Senate President and the majority party. It is clear that legislation we adopt must be plainly written and easy to understand. Anything less disenfranchises Oregonians across the state and violates the law in the process. If Democrats refuse to comply, it is our responsibility to hold them accountable to process and rules,” said Senator Weber

Many questions about the impacts of House Bill 2002 remain. During committee work sessions, legislative counsel was unable to answer several questions about the bill. Still, it was pushed through the House despite serious concerns.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-05-03 17:10:01Last Update: 2023-05-04 00:49:29

Oregon Tolling Gets A Pause
New subcommittee to oversee ODOT plans

After months of advocacy, legislative lawmakers representing the Clackamas County area scored a major victory for local communities facing the impacts of tolling on I-205. Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) plans begin with two bridge tolls on Interstate 205. But plans for the next few years are per-mile tolls on all lanes of Interstates 5 and 205 and, if a replacement project gets underway, a toll for a new I-5 Bridge over the Columbia River.

Last week, Representative Courtney Neron (D-Wilsonville) with Clackamas lawmakers introduced HB 3614, which would pause tolling until January 2026 and establish a committee to oversee ODOT’s tolling program. The bill was co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 31 legislators.

In response, the Speaker of the House, Senate President, and Co-Chairs of the Joint Transportation Committee announced the creation of a Special Subcommittee on Transportation Planning to oversee and monitor ODOT plans to mitigate the negative impacts of tolling on vulnerable communities. In order to make sure that any tolling program is carefully considered and incorporates the feedback from impacted communities, Governor Kotek placated lawmakers with a pause to all toll collections until January 2026.

Brendan Finn, Director of Urban Mobility and Megaprojects office at ODOT, reported on KGW News that a pause may get the issue out of people’s minds. If voters pass IP 4, it will put control in the hands of voters before a toll can be adopted by requiring voting by the residence within 15 miles of the tolling area.

“I know firsthand that our communities have not felt heard by ODOT, and that they feel their deep concerns were being ignored by the agency,” says Rep. Annessa Hartman (D-Gladstone), who has been appointed to serve on the newly formed Special Subcommittee on Transportation Planning. “Since being sworn into the legislature, I’ve advocated fiercely in the Capitol for our voices to be heard and for ODOT to pause, listen to our constituents and get this right. There is a lot of trust that needs to be rebuilt and I am proud to serve on this committee to give our districts a seat at the table.”

The Subcommittee will meet through the interim to oversee ODOT’s plans to ensure safety, mitigate congestion, support our economy, reduce pollution, and ensure that the needs of local communities are being heard and incorporated into planning.



“Families and local leaders in our communities have been justifiably frustrated with ODOT’s behavior,” says Rep. Jules Walters (D-West Linn). “This committee will give a voice to those frustrations, and the pause will give us time to ensure the agency hears them.”

“Our communities should not disproportionately shoulder the cost of interstate infrastructure. A flawed tolling program would harm working families, individuals on fixed incomes, and businesses in my community. I don’t believe a toll should divide someone from their own town.” said Rep. Courtney Neron (D-Wilsonville) “We have an obligation to ensure community voices are heard, legislative sideboards are in place, and that ODOT cannot proceed without truly taking our needs into consideration.”

Oregon polls show that the majority of Oregonians don’t want tolling, except for a new I-5 bridge. As Finn reported, the timing of the pause is distracting – perhaps for more than tolling.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-05-03 14:24:33Last Update: 2023-05-03 00:49:08

Challenges Facing School Boards Series
Where SEL went wrong

Editor’s note: This is the seventh in a multi-part series on How Your School Board Vote Affects Oregon Schools an OAA Voter Education Project

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills known as “soft skills” traditionally associated with conflict resolution and character education. It has evolved from being considered “wishy-washy” to being an integral part of educating the whole child.

The roots of SEL are as old as ancient Greece. Plato wrote about education in The Republic, proposing a holistic curriculum that requires a balance of training in physical education, the arts, math, science, character, and moral judgment. In 1988 an article in Scientific American featured a pilot program called the Comer School Development Program centered on James Comer’s speculation that the contrast between a child’s experiences at home and those in school deeply affects the child’s psychosocial development and that shapes their academic achievement. When the pilot showed promise in two poor, low-achieving, predominately African American elementary schools in New Haven, Connecticut, the movement took off with the pilot as the hub of SEL.

Social emotional learning and emotional skills was the subject of several studies and the focus of organizations such as CASEL (Collaborative to Advance Social and Emotional Learning). Then under new leadership the group's influence grew all the way to supporters of SEL in congress in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, through H.R. 2437, the Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act of 2011.

Preparing children to be responsible, productive, and caring citizens is a timeless pursuit that are goals of education. How best to do this in our school system is a relatively recent and still evolving area of study and practice, and it's the main question the SEL movement seeks to answer.

Oregon’s initiation goes back to 2015 when parents first got a look at the Common Core curriculum asking grades K-3 their feelings about their mother when asked to do a chore, and third-graders were asked to write opinion pieces. From that point, SEL has been viewed as suspect. Described as the process through which we learn to recognize and manage emotions, care about others, make good decisions, behave ethically and responsibly, develop positive relationships, and avoid negative behaviors, it has never materialized as such.

That same year the Comprehensive Sexual Education Act was passed requiring recognition of a child’s sexuality of choice as affirmation of their identity. Schools were weaving social and emotional development into various parts of the school day intermixing it with identity, which became gender identity in 2021.

Where SEL appeared to be an important step in a child’s development, suddenly turned and became a nightmare after almost two years of lockouts to structured schooling. By the time students returned to classrooms, the legislature had defunded resource officers, and adopted equity practices that allowed destructive organizations under the name of “inclusion” to infiltrate schools. The ugly head of “comprehensive sexuality education” emerged in the form of Rape Culture that empowered girls to show up to school half naked.

The true benefits of SEL were buried when in 2016, the State Board of Education approved the Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) creating standards by combining the Human Sexuality Education Law (2009), the Healthy Teen Relationship Act (2012), the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Law (2015), and taking advantage of other laws. It replaced the model of abstinence-only education, and didn’t recognize a belief system forcing an opt-out method as the only option for parents. However, in order to graduate, the student is still expected to know sexual education. The Board claims “the standards do not promote sexuality or impose a set of values, but they do admit they empower students to recognize, communicate, and advocate for their own health and boundaries.”



John Oakley Beahrs, retired psychiatry professor stated in testimony that HB 2023 (2019) mandated coercive indoctrination into identity politics under the false guise of liberal education. It “replaces actual history with indoctrination that grossly alters it, and coercively mandates instructing in but one viewpoint – one that’s favored in today’s Oregon, but neither universal nor necessarily in the public interest. In other words, LGBTQ figures are featured because of their sexual preference and gender identity, not their relation to the subject being taught. Because the subject matter is part of every subject, the law implies parents cannot opt their children out.”

Some say parents piggybacked on the inflammatory debate over critical race theory making SEL the next controversial concept. Conservatives are saying it is just another effort to indoctrinate kids with liberal ideology. What they see is an attack against children from all sides. Diversity has confused young students to the extent that SEL has lost its way. The controversy has centered on social-emotional “screeners” being used to guide school-wide programs sponsoring Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) clubs, using schools to promote a LGBTQIA+ agenda while identifying students who are ripe for transitioning.

Every school district wades through a deluge of social-emotional curricula to find one that works. The activation of parents across the state is going to be demanding on school boards to dig into what they are adopting and not depend on the state or district administrators for the end-all answers.

Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project lists the candidates and those responding to the survey on their website.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-05-03 11:43:07Last Update: 2023-05-02 18:51:35

Deputy SoS Myers to Transition Office
“This is an unfortunate situation”

Following the resignation of Secretary of State Shemia Fagan under a cloud of ethical misjudgements, Deputy Secretary of State Cheryl Myers issued the following statement.

“This is a resilient agency, with strong division leadership and internal systems that can withstand change. We are ready to continue the important work of the Secretary of State’s office during this transition.

“My first priority is to make sure Oregonians receive the customer service they deserve. This agency does such critical work, and it’s our job to put Oregonians first during this transition.

“This is an unfortunate situation, but a change of leadership will allow agency staff to continue their good work with less distraction moving forward.”

The Secretary will continue in her official duties until Monday, May 8, at which point Deputy Secretary Cheryl Myers will take on oversight of the agency until a new Secretary is appointed by the Governor. The Deputy has the power to perform any act or duty of the Secretary of State pertaining to the office of the Secretary (ORS 177.040) and is well positioned to help the agency maintain stability and continuity of operations during this transition.

All SOS divisions have consistently reported to Oregon’s Deputy Secretary of State over the last two years. In her role, Deputy Myers will continue her oversight of the agency and will collaborate with the Governor’s Office on a plan to onboard the Governor’s appointment to replace the outgoing Secretary Fagan.



Deputy Myers' professional background includes public policy, organizational leadership, economic development, public education/youth advocacy, and a history of assisting organizations to construct equitable cultures and embed collaborative practices. Her prior public service roles include Director of Economic & Business Equity in the Governor’s Office, Chief of Staff for the Higher Education Commission and as Operations & Engagement Director for Educator Advancement in the Chief Education Office and 8 years as an elected school board member. She is well positioned to help the agency maintain stability and continuity of operations during this transition. ​​​​​

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-02 13:19:46Last Update: 2023-05-02 13:45:36

Secretary of State Fagan Resigns
“I am confident that the ethics investigation will show that I followed the state’s legal and ethical guidelines”

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan announced her resignation today, effective Monday May 8.

The Secretary will continue in her official duties until Monday, May 8, at which point Deputy Secretary Cheryl Myers will take on oversight of the agency until a new Secretary is appointed by the Governor. The Deputy has the power to perform any act or duty of the Secretary of State pertaining to the office of the Secretary (ORS 177.040) and is well positioned to help the agency maintain stability and continuity of operations during this transition.

The Oregon Elections Division and Oregon’s 36 county elections officials are fully prepared to administer the May 16 Special Districts Election. The Elections Division will work with counties to complete the normal activities involved with administering local elections.

The following is a statement from Secretary of State Shemia Fagan:

“While I am confident that the ethics investigation will show that I followed the state’s legal and ethical guidelines in trying to make ends meet for my family, it is clear that my actions have become a distraction from the important and critical work of the Secretary of State’s office. Protecting our state’s democracy and ensuring faith in our elected leaders – these are the reasons I ran for this office. They are also the reasons I will be submitting my resignation today. I want to thank the incredible staff in the Secretary of State’s office for their hard work and Oregonians for the opportunity to serve them. It has been a true honor to serve the people of Oregon.

“At this time, I believe it is in the best interest of our state for me to focus on my children, my family, and personal reflection so that the Secretary of State staff can continue to offer the exemplary customer service Oregonians deserve.”

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek -- who will appoint Secretary Fagan's replacement -- said, “This morning, Secretary Fagan informed me of her decision to resign. I support this decision. It is essential that Oregonians have trust in their government. I believe this is a first step in restoring that trust. During the upcoming appointment process, my office will do everything possible to support the hard-working staff in the Secretary of State’s office and ensure this will not disrupt the May 16 election.”



The Governor’s office will initiate the process to identify and appoint a replacement. Deputy Secretary Cheryl Myers will serve as acting Secretary of State in the interim.

“Secretary Fagan found herself in a web of ethical violations and it finally caught up to her. It is critically important that statewide elected officials exercise good judgement at all times. It is clear that Fagan has broken Oregon’s trust beyond repair. It’s time to return integrity to the Secretary of State’s office,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend).

“Today’s resignation of Secretary Fagan reflects the level of corruption occurring in state government. Since the beginning of the year, I have said we need a transparent process. The level of abuse Secretary Fagan flaunted from her official position is just another example the extreme measures of one-party rule in Oregon,” said House Republican Leader Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville). “We encourage the Governor to use this opportunity to appoint a person who can restore trust and ethics in the Secretary of State’s office. Additionally, we suggest due diligence and thorough vetting in the consideration of potential appointees.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-02 13:10:30Last Update: 2023-05-02 14:24:18

Lewis and Clark Bridge to Close for 8 Days in July
The only Columbia River bridge between Astoria and Portland

The Lewis and Clark Bridge between Rainier and Longview, Washington will close for up to eight days beginning at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 16 for bridge deck repairs.

The crossing between Rainier, OR and Longview, WA is the only Columbia River bridge between Astoria and Portland

During the closure, crews from Combined Construction, Inc. will replace two bridge expansion joints and a fractured floor beam. Pedestrians, bicyclists and emergency responders will be able to cross the bridge during the closure except during a small window when the floor beam is being replaced.

Closure of the only bridge across the Columbia River between Astoria and Portland may create hardships for communities along the Columbia River and require residents to reschedule medical and other important appointments. Check Tripcheck.com for more information.

The bridge must be closed to ensure a long-lasting repair and for the safety of travelers and construction crews in the work zone. To set the new expansion joints in place, crews will pour concrete which needs four days to cure and strengthen, without movement and disturbance from moving traffic. The replacement of the floor beam also requires no traffic on the bridge.

“There is no good time to close a bridge, and the vital importance of the Lewis and Clark Bridge to Washington and Oregon communities cannot be overstated,” said WSDOT Southwest Region Administrator Carley Francis. “Our goal is to do this repair work right and re-open the bridge to travelers as soon as safely possible.”

Construction work taking place before and after the closure will be done at night using single-lane closures and alternating traffic across the bridge. The five-week construction schedule of nighttime lane closures and a bridge closure of up to eight days shortens the construction timeline for this $1 million preservation project. It also avoids months of daytime single lane closures that would create congestion throughout Southwest Washington and Northwest Oregon.

On April 12, bridge inspectors discovered a fractured floor beam resulting in an emergency 12-hour closure. Prior to that discovery, the bridge was scheduled to close for up to six days for expansion joint replacement work. The closure has been extended to accommodate the additional work of installing a new floor beam.

Construction schedule

Construction is estimated to begin the week of June 12 and travelers should expect traffic delays or detours for approximately five weeks.

The full closure of the Lewis and Clark Bridge for up to eight days begins at 8 p.m. on Sunday, July 16.

Emergency vehicles – including only ambulances with active critical medical needs or law enforcement emergency response – can use the bridge during the closure except when crews install the new floor beam. The timing of this work will be communicated in advance.



Due to safety, no park and ride facilities are available.

Before and after the closure, crews will reduce travel across the bridge to one lane each night beginning at 8 p.m. and alternate traffic through the work zone.

There will be no single lane closures during the Fourth of July holiday weekend -Friday, June 30 – Tuesday, July 4.

For the safety of travelers and the construction crew, the work zone will have reduced speed limits.

Plan for longer travel times During the following times travelers should expect longer delays and congestion due to nighttime single lane closures: During the closure, all traffic crossing the Columbia River will detour to either U.S. 101 Astoria-Megler Bridge between Astoria and Megler, WA or the Interstate Bridge on Interstate 5 between Vancouver and Portland.

Ferry service

The Wahkiakum County Ferry between Cathlamet, Washington and Westport, Oregon will run twice an hour 24 hours a day while the bridge is closed. This ferry has extremely limited capacity. Its use should be reserved for urgent matters that do not require an ambulance. Travelers should also be prepared for lengthy wait times and long lines.

Medical access

Depending on where people begin and end their travel, using the detour routes can add upwards of two and a half hours of travel time. People who use the SR 433 Lewis and Clark Bridge to access scheduled medical services should plan their travel time with this in mind and contact their providers to confirm or reschedule their appointments.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2023-05-02 09:49:31Last Update: 2023-05-02 14:35:11

Oregon Senate Republicans Force Recess over Plain Wording of Bills
“Government attorneys are required to write bill summaries in clear and simple language”

Oregon State Senator Suzanne Weber (R-Tillamook) made a point of order on the Senate floor that HB 2285 fails to meet readability standards laid out in subsection 5 of Senate Rule 13.02 and Oregon Revised Statute ORS 171.134. This bill, and many others, are unlawful and we will not pass them.

Article IV, Section 21 of the Oregon Constitution requires every legislative act to be “plainly worded, avoiding as far as practicable the use of technical terms”. Subsection 5 of Senate Rule 13.02 requires all measure summaries to comply with ORS 171.134 which requires all measure summaries prepared by the Legislative Assembly to “be written in a manner that results in a score of at least 60 on the Flesch readability test.”

“Government attorneys are required to write bill summaries in clear and simple language so every Oregonian can understand what their elected representatives are doing in the Legislature. This is made clear in Senate Rules, in Oregon’s Constitution, and further clarified in statute. We will not conduct business until a remedy is agreed upon. Transparency and accountability are required for our system to thrive. We have been very clear about this since the start of session and our commitment was further exemplified in today’s point of order,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend).



The Honorable Gary Wilhelms, former member of the Oregon House of Representatives (1973-1979) and 1979 House Republican Leader issued the following statement:

“As the House Minority Leader in 1979, I remember this bill. I cast one of 31 bipartisan votes in the House to pass SB 543, putting this rule in statute. Transparency prevailed then as it should today. The law is the law, and I’m glad the Senate Republican Caucus is attempting to enforce this statute today.”

The Oregon Senate is standing in recess until there is a legal ruling from the presiding officer.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-05-01 16:29:45Last Update: 2023-05-01 19:52:57

Impeachment Procedure Proposed in Oregon
Oregon is the only state without such a procedure

Oregon House Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany) has now urged the Legislature to advance HJR 16, which proposes an amendment to the Oregon Constitution to establish an impeachment procedure for statewide elected officials. Oregon is currently the only state in the nation without such a procedure.

“Recent events illustrate, yet again, the importance of having an impeachment procedure on the books as a check against negligence and abuse of power by public officials,” said Representative Boshart Davis. “While I recognize that investigations need time to play out, members of both parties have already expressed their dismay and concern over the emerging situation with Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and the impact this is having on public trust. The Legislature must have the ability to remove a statewide elected official when necessary.”

Previous attempts to establish an impeachment procedure received bipartisan support, with now Governor Tina Kotek and Congresswoman Val Hoyle voting in support. Representative Boshart Davis is joined by Representatives Jami Cate (R-Lebanon), Bobby Levy (R-Echo), and Anna Scharf (R-Amity) in sponsoring HJR 16.



“This has been a bipartisan issue in the past and it should be again this year,” concluded Representative Boshart Davis. “Regardless of how ongoing events play out, it’s clear that Oregon should join the 49 other states by moving forward with establishing an impeachment procedure.”

HJR 16 is currently in the House Committee on Rules, where it has yet to be granted a hearing.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-05-01 15:17:49Last Update: 2023-05-01 17:56:40

Challenges Facing School Boards Series
School Health Center - Where is it headed?

Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a multi-part series on the impact of your vote for School Board Candidates, an OAA Voter Education Project

Times have changed since the days of having a school nurse in a small room near the school office. She would typically provide band aids when needed and call parents if a child was feeling ill. She was probably also responsible for eye checks and so on. These days many schools have doctors and counseling offices at the school. According to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) School Based Health Centers (SBHC) have existed in Oregon since 1986 and there are currently 81 operating centers. Centers are located on school property to provide easy student access. Appointments are encouraged, but not required.

OHA suggests the purpose of SBHCs is to provide a wide range of primary medical care and mental health services for all students regardless of insurance status. Convenience is also listed as a benefit. Parents miss less work and students miss less school when they don’t have to take the time to drive across town for an appointment.

Having a health center on school grounds may save money and be convenient, but Oregon consent laws are creating concerns for many parents. Their children can go to the health center for various services without their knowledge.

Roseburg High School has a student health center through Aviva Health. On their consent form they cite the current Oregon age of consent law: “Privacy and authorization to give consent for treatment: According to Oregon Law (ORS 109.610, ORS 109.640, ORS 109.675), a student age 15 may give consent for any medical or surgical treatment; age 14 may give consent for mental health treatment; and a student of any age may give consent for treatment of sexually transmitted disease and birth control. The Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) may restrict a parent/guardian’s access to a student’s medical records without permission by the student."

Having SBHC’s so easily accessible, a 15-year-old student can walk down the school hall and be seen by a doctor, diagnosed, and treated and then return to class without parents knowing anything about it. A 14-year-old might see a counselor during lunch hour and get advice that parents might not agree with.



If parents are concerned now, consent laws are likely to become even more extreme very soon. There is currently a bill (HB 2002) in the legislature that is on the fast track to being passed. If this bill is signed into law, it will enable minors of any age to receive reproductive services (i.e., emergency contraception and medication abortion) without the consent or knowledge of their parents. When the legal counsel was questioned regarding this bill, she confirmed that it also makes provision for students of any age to receive gender-affirming care. Parents will only be notified and involved in their child’s care if the minor authorizes the disclosure in writing.

Representative Jami Cate (R-Lebanon) states “HB 2002 allows a child to bypass parental consent for "gender affirming care" at any age, and above 15 years for sex-altering surgeries. Keep in mind, a child needs parental authorization in Oregon to get their ears pierced or a tattoo under the age of 18.” 

Representative Ed Diehl (R-Turner) said, "I received confirmation this week from Legislative Legal Council that House Bill 2002 specifically exludes detransition treatments from insurance coverage. With this bill, Medicaid and private insurance are mandated to cover treatments when your “gender identity” and sex don’t align. But, if you believe you have made a mistake and want a procedure to align with your sex, coverage will not be mandated. The wording in the bill is intentional." Fox News reported on Oregon's extreme bill.

Getting cold medicine at a school health center probably has little consequence, but getting an abortion or starting gender-affirming care are very serious matters. The consequences of which will stay with them for the rest of their life. Children are not mature enough to reason and make life-altering decisions on their own, so they naturally turn to adults for guidance. SBHCs make it easy for youth to turn to people that may not have their best interests at heart.

To codify the issues in HB 2002 and services provided at SBHCs, the legislature wants voters to amend the Oregon Constitution to provide protections for abortion, gender affirming care, as well as same-sex marriage. SJR 33 guarantees equality of rights that cannot be denied or abridged of equal rights by any law, policy or action that discriminates, in intent or effect, based on health decisions for pregnancy outcomes, gender identity, sexual orientation, or gender, giving the legislature the power to enforce.

Parents have the responsibility and right to make decisions that they feel are best for their children and across the state they are demanding involvement and are looking to school boards to listen to their concerns and represent them.

Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project lists the candidates and those responding to the survey on their website.

--Wendy Frome

Post Date: 2023-04-30 12:12:11Last Update: 2023-04-30 20:26:07

Kotek Announces Homelessness Funding Agreements Signed
“I look forward to the work ahead to help ensure these investments yield visible, measurable results”

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek and Oregon Housing and Community Services have announced that funding contracts for the Homelessness State of Emergency have been signed and funding will start being distributed to the regional multi-agency coordination groups.

On her first full day in office, the Governor declared a homelessness state of emergency and urged the legislature to pass an early investment package to meet specific goals in reducing unsheltered homelessness by January 10, 2024.

On February 24, the Governor launched emergency response infrastructure, made up of seven regional MAC groups across the state tasked with effectively distributing emergency funds.

The legislature passed the Affordable Housing and Emergency Homelessness Response Package on March 21. On April 10, the Governor announced the emergency funding allocation across the seven MACs tied to specific outcomes.

“The housing crisis demands urgent action on an unprecedented timeline. I am grateful to the providers, local and county leaders who quickly assembled to form the MACs, the legislature for passing the package early with bipartisan support and broad stakeholder input, and to communities across Oregon embracing this call to action,” Governor Kotek said. “I look forward to the work ahead to help ensure these investments yield visible, measurable results across our state by the end of the year.”



Six of the seven regional MACs have finalized contracts to receive emergency funding to execute the Governor’s emergency order, which specifies the dollars will be used to prevent nearly 9,000 people from becoming homeless, rehouse more than 1,200 households, and create over 600 new shelter beds in emergency areas by end of the year. Due to a local policy that requires the Clackamas County commission to approve the contract before it is signed, Clackamas County’s contract is expected to be executed next week.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-04-30 08:27:43Last Update: 2023-04-30 08:37:38

Republican Leaders Ask for Fagan to Resign
“If forced to do so, we will move forward on our own”

In light of recently published admissions in the Willamette Week who laid out major ethics violations against Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, House and Senate Republican Leaders are calling for her resignation.

“She must resign,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp and House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson in a joint statement. “This appears to be an ethics violation and if it isn’t then Oregon’s ethics laws are broken. An elected official cannot take funds for personal use from someone they regulate.”

The Secretary of State oversees audits for the State of Oregon. In no way could the top elected official ethically work a ‘side gig’ for a company engaged in the industry in which the Secretary is responsible for auditing and regulating.

“We have been continually calling for oversight into the OLCC and this industry. And yet, another turn of government misuse is apparent today. Democracy will die in darkness if we don’t hold elected officials accountable,” said House Republican Leader Breese-Iverson.

The House and Senate Republican Caucus’ along with the Senate Independent Caucus will be holding their first Oversight and Accountability Committee meeting this Thursday, May 4th.



The Oversight and Accountability Committee was first requested over a week ago in a letter to the Presiding Officers of both the Senate and House Chambers. Sadly, these requests have gone unanswered.

“We have tried to work with our colleagues across the aisle to defend democracy in Oregon and hold our agencies and officials accountable. Democrats have remained silent, if forced to do so, we will move forward on our own,” said Senate Republican Leader Knopp.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-04-29 10:19:18Last Update: 2023-04-29 10:36:54

Oregon Parents Should Not Have to Co-Parent with The Government
Republican Leaders Pen Op-Ed in The Oregonian

Oregon House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) and Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) penned an op-ed in The Oregonian on House Bill 2002 B, which according to many observers, seems to allow the State to knowingly and forcefully strip away parental rights.

The op-ed reads as follows:

"Field trip permission slips. Tattoos and piercings. Contact lenses. These are just some of the examples in which parents are required to provide consent for their children in the state of Oregon."

"However, a bill in the Oregon Legislature would knowingly and forcefully strip away parental rights. House Bill 2002 B expands the use of taxpayer dollars for irreversible sex-changing treatments and procedures – including sterilization for those as young as 15 – without parental consent. Private insurers under this measure must cover these procedures, allowing minors to undergo treatment on their parents’ insurance without their knowing. Yes, you are reading that correctly."

"In addition, this legislation will allow a minor at any age to have an abortion without parental knowledge or consent. A doctor may not disclose this information to a child’s parent unless the child provides explicit written permission – stripping away a parent’s right to know."

"Make no mistake, Oregon law already permits a minor at age 15 to have an abortion without parental consent up until the moment of birth. Our fear with removing the age limit for parental consent is that it leaves children on their own to deal with the consequences of what might have been a crime, or at the very least a significant event deserving of parental guidance. Lawmakers may very well be aiding and abetting pedophiles and sex-traffickers who can pressure kids into telling doctors that a boyfriend got them pregnant to avoid criminal repercussions."

"In less than an hour of debate in a recent Joint Ways and Means committee meeting and with minimal time for questions, Democratic leadership forced a vote on this bill knowing there would be no further opportunity for public comment than the one hearing held in March."

"During the committee meeting, the Ways and Means Democratic co-chairs audibly gasped when Legislative Counsel confirmed that 10-year-olds would be able to get abortions without parental knowledge – despite co-chair Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-Portland) boasting they were “intimately involved with the development of this bill.”"



"Republicans had a multitude of questions that were left unanswered. We asked about the estimated fiscal impact on the health care insurance premiums for Oregonians. The answer? We will have to pass it to find out."

"However, as budget committee staff confirmed, we do know that House Bill 2002 B vastly expands the types of irreversible sex-changing treatments and procedures funded by Oregon taxpayers. These services will be offered through the Healthier Oregon program, which provides health coverage to low-income individuals who would qualify for Medicaid except for immigration status and who “live in Oregon.” According to the Oregon Health Authority, there’s no time requirement to establish residency.

"We believe it should be standard practice to know how much something costs before approving it. Nothing about this bill or the approach taken by Democratic leadership is fiscally responsible. This is a long and complicated bill. It needs more input, not less." "Don’t be fooled, this is not an abortion or equality issue – this is a parental rights issue."

"This is the state of Oregon effectively telling you that the government understands the needs of your child better than you do. This is an extreme attack on the sacred relationship between a parent and a child."

"House Bill 2002 B is scheduled for a vote on the House floor on Monday, May 1. Please call your state representative and state senator and make your voice heard. Parents – the time to take a stand is now."

Tim Knopp (R-Bend) is the state senator for District 27. Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) is the state representative for District 59.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-04-29 09:49:54Last Update: 2023-04-29 11:09:02

Challenges Facing School Boards Series
PRE Opposes Gender Identity Teaching

Editor’s note: This is the fifth of a multi-part series on the impact of your vote for School Board Candidates, an OAA Voter Education Project

The Parents’ Rights in Education (PRE) is opposed to the teaching and promotion of Gender Identity beginning in kindergarten. Unfortunately, the Nashville, Tennessee school shooting this week is an outgrowth of the activism now present in most public schools across the country.

The Tennessee shooter, a confused young adult female, was in counseling. According to Nashville’s chief of police, John Drake, investigators believed the shooting stemmed from “some resentment” the suspect harbored “for having to go to that school” as a younger person. We want to know what advice she was getting.

School counselors and psychologists today, encourage parents to begin social transitioning in kindergarten. Parents are bombarded with the message their children should be encouraged to explore their “real identity.” I recently received a call from a concerned father whose five-year-old son was seen by the Philomath, Oregon grade school psychologist, who recommended Dad consider “social transitioning.” Although Dad and son discussed biological reality, his son was influenced by female siblings to wear long hair and feminine clothing. Dad needed to be reminded he is the father and has the right to mentor his son. What if he had not contacted PRE?

What seemed like an effort to protect individuals struggling with “gender dysphoria,” has rapidly developed into a highly volatile political issue, and minor children are the target. Parents’ rights to direct the education of their minor children, and manage their healthcare decisions, have been stolen and sacrificed on the altar of Gender Identity Rights. These are pseudo “rights” fabricated out of a false premise. Humans cannot medically change their sex.

The average voter is unaware of the purposeful solicitation and recruitment of minors by public school staff and volunteers to change their sex. Students are inundated with messages about their “gender identity” rights daily. National Education Association member teachers wear badges encouraging students to seek them out for one-on-one counseling about sexuality and gender identity. In addition, LGBTQIA++ activist teachers adorn their classrooms with Gay Pride, Transgender, and Black Lives Matter political flags and posters.

Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Clubs, a project of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, are now in K-12 schools. GSA Network is a political organization using local public school districts as distribution centers for their trans political agenda to “leverage the collective power of thousands of trans and queer young people in the United States who connect with us through our network. ”Parents are not informed of their child’s membership in these clubs. Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage, confirms the influence of these clubs in decisions students are making to explore gender transition.

PRE featured a parent speaker whose daughter was influenced to change her sex at age 14 because of her GSA Club’s friend’s decision to do the same. As independent journalists Colin Wright and Christina Buttons have documented, many teachers who serve as adult ‘advisors’ to these clubs are intentionally concealing the sexual and political nature of their activities from parents, deliberately misleading families with vague language about ‘acceptance, tolerance, diversity, and identity.’” If parents do not support their child’s “transition” at school, they will likely be reported to Child Protective Services.



The GSA Network has re-defined freedom, motivating “vulnerable trans and queer youth to advocate for racial and gender justice.” According to their new mission launched in March, Devising Freedom’s national strategy “will intentionally work to combat the harmful effects of anti-trans legislation and executive orders that have emerged in at least 22 states across the country, and continue to target young people in their schools, their homes, and their communities.” Their plan to “cultivate a strong, youth-led movement” and “cultivate a practice of visionary leadership,” should raise concern from anyone understanding the real meaning of freedom.

Families are shocked to learn they no longer have the right to be present when their children are counseled at school. The Oregon Department of Education recently announced the publication of a new and expanded document celebrating gender expansive students. Oregon, by passing HB 2002, plans to set up gender affirming clinics providing mental and physical treatments, including surgeries, throughout the state, serving anyone (even out of state visitors) questioning their biological sex, all on demand at taxpayer expense, and without parent consent.

School Administrators say the role of a school is “to guarantee each and every student (person) a feeling of acceptance, recognition, respect, affirmation, friendship, joy belonging, and safety.” Most students do not feel that way, and if possible, are leaving public schools because of the biased and discriminatory education policies obsessed with sexuality. Trans recruitment and indoctrination in K-12 schools stops here.

Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project lists the candidates and those responding to the survey on their website.

--Suzanne Gallagher, PRE Director

Post Date: 2023-04-28 11:00:45Last Update: 2023-04-28 01:52:25

Car Theft Operation Busted in Portland
Stolen Vehicle Op Nets 19 Arrests

Portland Police Bureau’s East Precinct partnered with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office for a successful night of stopping stolen vehicles and arresting car thieves.

PPB's East Precinct says that they continue to run these operations using a data driven and evidence-based approach to conduct fewer stops while increasing their rate of stolen vehicle recoveries.

On Friday, April 21, 2023, East Precinct and MCSO conducted the latest Stolen Vehicle Operation (SVO), focusing on the eastern area of East Precinct, and in the Fairview/Troutdale area.

In total, 19 individuals were arrested and 13 actively driven stolen vehicles were recovered. The following is a summary of the SVO results: “These ongoing missions are successful due to the commitment shown by the East Precinct personnel and command to really focus enforcement efforts on stolen vehicles and the nexus they have with gun violence,” said Chief Chuck Lovell. “I want to thank the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office for their partnership and assistance with this mission.”

“Working together to reduce community violence allows us to build safer communities. I want to thank the Portland Police Bureau for including us in this focused effort in east Multnomah County,” added Sheriff Nicole Morrisey O’Donnell.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2023-04-28 09:05:06Last Update: 2023-04-28 09:17:31

Tillamook County Preps for The Big One
ODHS delivers community two large emergency containers

To help Tillamook County prepare for a Cascadia earthquake event, the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Office of Resilience and Emergency Management delivered two large portable cargo containers filled with emergency relief supplies and equipment to the Tillamook Municipal Airport.

These containers, called Conex boxes, were delivered in April and are part of an emergency preparedness partnership between ODHS, Tillamook County, Tillamook Municipal Airport and Near Space Corporation.

“Coastal communities like Tillamook are prioritized to house these Conex boxes because data shows they are likely to be cut off from the rest of the state during the Cascadia earthquake,” said Ed Flick Director of the ODHS Office of Resilience and Emergency Preparedness. “ODHS has primary responsibility for mass care and shelter following disasters, so helping local communities access critical supplies that can quickly be used to serve their local community is important to us.”

A section of the Tillamook Municipal Airport is designated as an evacuation assembly point for Tillamook County. The Conex boxes are stocked with food, water, tents and medical supplies to support 100 people at the evacuation assembly point for two weeks in the event of an emergency. Conex boxes are tan or rust colored containers that are 20-feet long and 8-feet wide.

Evacuation assembly points are short-term locations for people to gather while emergency responders work to access the impacted area. They are not intended to be long-term shelters but are places people can register, receive nourishment and short-term shelter, get essential medical care and be scheduled for transport out of the area when needed.

The Conex boxes and the emergency supplies in them are being provided to Tillamook County at no cost.

There will also be a series of training sessions to ensure emergency preparedness officials in Tillamook County are familiar with how to use and deploy the provided supplies during an emergency.

“Tillamook County is grateful to ODHS for supporting our community’s emergency preparedness efforts in this way,” said Randy Thorpe Tillamook County emergency management director. “Having these critical and lifesaving emergency supplies immediately available at an evacuation assembly point will help our community respond to and recover from a mass disaster like a Cascadia earthquake event.

Michele Bradley, general manager at Port of Tillamook Bay where the airport is located, is involved with emergency management planning in Tillamook County and collaborated with Thorpe to identify the best location for the Conex boxes and supplies to be stored. They determined that a location close to Near Space Corporation at the airport would be best.



“I’ve been a part of work groups on resilience after a disaster,” said Bradley. “I wanted us to be part of the solution. The airport is a good location, and it makes sense to work with the state on this. We could easily serve the seven cities and unincorporated areas in Tillamook County from this location.”

Near Space Corporation tests and flies unmanned aerial vehicles such as drones for the Federal Aviation Administration. Kevin Tucker, president of Near Space Corporation also has experience in emergency preparedness planning.

“With our unmanned aerial vehicle testing and operations we are very much involved with emergency management and disaster preparedness,” said Tucker. “We want to make sure we are doing everything we can for preparedness. We want to help all we can. It’s pretty much just being a good citizen.”

Anyone who wants to learn more about how to prepare for emergencies can find resources online.

ODHS holds three distinct roles through its Office of Resilience and Emergency Management. In one role, OREM staff work every day with ODHS programs, offices and affiliated agencies. The second role is as the lead agency for cooling, warming and cleaner air centers to protect the public from life-threatening weather and related events. The third role is as the primary agency for mass care and social services recovery, as outlined in Oregon’s comprehensive emergency operations and recovery plans. In this role, ODHS supports the evacuation, sheltering, feeding, emergency assistance, family reunification, distribution of emergency supplies and human services needs of people impacted by disasters.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2023-04-27 17:52:30Last Update: 2023-04-27 20:22:19

Decreased Safety is Major Concern of Toll Project
Clackamas County has extensive concerns

Clackamas County’s official response to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) I-205 Tolling Project Environmental Assessment (EA) describes a wide variety of concerns with both the methodology and conclusions drawn in the EA. The county submitted its 36 pages of comments to ODOT on April 20.

The county’s primary concern is that the project does not plan for how to alleviate (or mitigate) the impact of all the traffic that will shift from I-205 onto county and city roads to avoid the tolls. That jump in local traffic, which the EA acknowledges could be from 30% to 100%, will dramatically decrease safety and increase congestion on many already crowded local roads.

The EA refers to mitigation measures, but they are minimal and inadequate. For example:

The only mitigation proposed for the Stafford Road/Rosemont Road intersection is to install a rectangular rapid flashing beacon to improve pedestrian crossing, but the entire intersection is projected to be failing by 2027. No measures at all are proposed to mitigate the increased traffic volume.

Tripling the average daily traffic volume on rural roads such as Borland Road will create conditions that reduce safety and double the likelihood of crashes. Even so, there are no mitigation measures proposed to address this impact.

Tolling I-205 is expected to add more than 3,000 vehicles a day to the rural Arndt Road –the equivalent of 10 years’ worth of traffic growth without tolling. Again, there are no mitigation measures proposed to address this dramatic increase.

And even the inadequate mitigation measures that are proposed are unlikely to be in place when tolling is scheduled to begin in late 2024 because there is not enough time to put them in place.

Other county concerns include:

Higher levels of stress for people walking and rolling along local roadways due to increased traffic;

Decreased access to local businesses in congested, unsafe conditions;



No decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, contrary to what is stated in the project, because there are no area alternatives to driving (like transit) and people will be driving longer routes on local roads to avoid paying the toll;

Severe impacts especially to low-income residents and other communities of concern who will either have to somehow pay the toll or travel on more congested, less safe local routes;

Significant aspects of the environmental review only covered areas within 100 feet of I-205, which means there was no analysis of impacts to important nearby places such as the historic Arch Bridge in Oregon City;

There has been no analysis of the cumulative impact of I-205 tolling along with the Regional Mobility Pricing Project (RMPP), ODOT’s next tolling project to toll all lanes on I-5 and I-205 in the Portland metropolitan area.

The EA is the federal environmental review process that ODOT is required to complete before the agency can implement its plans to toll the I-205 Abernethy and Tualatin River bridges in Clackamas County beginning in late 2024. A successful EA results in a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

In consideration of the many deficiencies and negative impacts of the project reflected or omitted from the EA, Clackamas County is requesting that:

FHWA not issue a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for this project; and FHWA direct ODOT to develop an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for this project, combined with the RMPP, to analyze the impacts of both tolling projects and provide meaningful opportunities for public engagement.

Along with the 36 pages of comments the county submitted to the state, more information on Clackamas County efforts to respond to the proposed tolling plan is available on the county web page on ODOT's proposed tolling.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2023-04-26 18:03:00Last Update: 2023-04-26 18:40:47

Siuslaw Forest Logging Project Case Goes Forward
Lawsuit objects to plan for very broad timber sales

The Siuslaw project area west of Eugene is subject of a lawsuit brought by environmentalists against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The bureau made a motion to dismiss, but a U.S. magistrate judge recommended denial of the bureau’s motion moving the case forward. If the U.S. District Judge Michael McShane signs off, this court decision will set a new precedent that will allow people who live near areas or are affected to bring actions before any trees are cut down.

The Courthouse News reported that Oregon environmentalists inched toward a win against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Friday. According to the suit brought by Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild in 2022, the bureau’s planned “landscape” project in its Siuslaw project area violates the National Environmental Policy Act because the agency failed to prepare an environmental impact statement and consider the project’s overall impacts to the bureau-administered forestland. In doing so, the groups claim the bureau excluded dozens of previously identified environmental issues from its project analysis “on the grounds that they did not relate to the Siuslaw project’s narrowly defined purpose of timber production.”

By issuing an environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact, the bureau approved decades of logging projects on 13,225 acres across 10 separate watersheds and old-growth forest habitats. This inevitable logging, the environmentalist say, will harm several fish and wildlife species protected under the Endangered Species Act, including northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets and Coho and Chinook salmon.

According to Cascadia’s complaint, “another logging project slated near the Siuslaw project — the N126 project — will also overlap with the landscape plan and have significant cumulative effects on fish and wildlife, erosion and water quality, invasive species infestations and wildlife habitat.”

Government attorney Alexis Romero argued the lawsuit came at an “unusually early stage and without any imminent kind of sales,” thereby lacking the injury necessary for standing. The bureau’s motion to dismiss also highlighted how the landscaping plan does not automatically authorize timber harvests or other ground-disturbing activities that could harm Cascadia’s interests.

The Courthouse News reported that Judge Kasubhai disagreed with the bureau, finding the agency identified and mapped out specific logging tracts within its landscaping plan, making logging inevitable.

The judge rejected the bureau’s argument against plaintiffs’ interests, stating that the groups have demonstrated that some members have regularly enjoyed recreation activities in distinct geographic areas planned for logging.



The Courthouse News said, Cascadia Wildlands’ legal director and attorney Nick Cady said he expected Kasubhai’s recommendation and that the bureau’s resistance to their claims is unusual given that Cascadia’s members recreate and live nearby the project area.

According to Cady, the bureau’s new strategy to plan very broad timber sales without pinpointing its exact planned parcels for logging is what prompted the lawsuit, particularly in how the agency is putting the “cart before the horse” by proactively claiming that its logging project wouldn’t affect the environment because they promise to follow the law.

In its announcement of the lawsuit, Cascadia said the bureau is required under federal law to consider the negative impacts of its proposed logging on the region’s communities against the benefits of timber volume generation logging. The organization further noted that many residents strongly oppose the logging project, believing it will contribute to drinking water contamination, increased fire hazards, loss of recreation, soil erosion, more road construction and the destruction of wildlife habitat.

On the reverse side of that argument is that forest thinning slows wildfires, which would increases carbon emissions, reduce air quality, and threatens loss of homes. And now there are reports of wildfire survivors with mental health issues.

If environmentalists win their case and coupled with the proposed Western Oregon Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), which is now projected to decrease timber harvest by 50%, the impact on funding for local governments could be astronomical.

--Dollie Banner

Post Date: 2023-04-26 16:42:14Last Update: 2023-04-26 20:17:44

Challenges Facing School Boards Series
Case Study on Adopting Curriculum

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a multi-part series on the impact of your vote for School Board Candidates, an OAA Voter Education Project

Candidate Jeff Myers’ is speaking out about how school boards are led into questionable and perhaps unlawful practices. School district have been steadily declining for years, and not just academics. One of the most important roles of a school board is to approve the core curriculum taught throughout the district. This doesn't mean the board members will review every book, every lesson, or every classroom activity. However, they do have the responsibility and authority to ensure the school district adheres to the standards, rules, and laws of our state. School boards have repeatedly failed to perform this vital function.

Jeff Myers, Beaverton school board candidate, researched Oregon law (ORS 337.120) and Oregon Administrative Rule (581-022-2350) when the school board voted to adopt the recommendations put forward by the school district administrators for their Elementary Social Science curriculum (grades K-5). He verified his findings with district staff, including Heather Cordie (Deputy Superintendent – Teaching & Learning), Kayla Bell (Administrator for Elementary Curriculum), and Aujalee Moore at the Oregon Department of Education.

Many school boards have made changes to the rules regarding public comments since the beginning of the pandemic in an attempt to muzzle parents. Testimony is being limited to two minutes per person. During Myers' two minutes, he outlined the violations of Oregon law and Oregon Administrative Rule that the district and school board committed to when they adopted their new Social Science curriculum for grades K-5. The curriculum didn’t exist yet, but the district had a plan to use an outside consultant to build it. The board had no authority within the law to vote to adopt a curriculum that didn’t exist, let alone one that hadn’t been reviewed by parents and the public.

Beaverton’s experience isn’t an isolated case when it comes to taking shortcuts that cuts out parents and the public. In Beaverton’s case, the school district began their work on a new curriculum in 2020, but when they presented their very lengthy report to the school board on May 23, 2022, it was lacking most of the components of a curriculum for grades K-5. Presented was an optional 2021 Social Science standards and a created student-friendly learning targets with a draft book list by grade level.

The intent was to have an outside consultant, Dr. Katy Swalwell, author of Social Studies for a Better World: An Anti-Oppressive Approach for Elementary Educators, which expresses her desire to transform children to take on a particular viewpoint for a “better world”. She is outspoken about her disgust for things like the constitution, Christianity, the Founding Fathers, White people, capitalism, the police, and her book is part of the recommended professional development readings for teachers.

Myers said, "that’s all they had done when they presented their final report and recommendations to the school board. And on the June 21, 2022 meeting the school board voted unanimously to approve and adopt the “curriculum” that didn’t really exist."



Myers reports, “The school board received no units, lessons, activities, assessments, scope or sequence, student-facing material, or teacher guides… they had nothing but learning targets and draft book lists. Worse yet, parents and citizens were not given the opportunity to review the curriculum required by law. Beaverton School District may try to argue that they had parents and community members as part of their project team and that the team did get the chance to vote to finalize their work. Even if that is adequate parent involvement, what were they basing their votes on when the elementary curriculum didn’t yet exist?”

“According to the Oregon law and rule, the school district should have created the curriculum first, then solicited parents and citizens for feedback, and then taken the final step to request board approval. The district completely failed to follow the laws & rules governing this process as did the school board.”

“The unit content rolled out to kindergarten classrooms so far, is not at all developmentally appropriate for that age/grade. That’s not just coming from me,” Myers said, “but from teachers inside and outside of the district who have reviewed the material. For some reason, they have incorporated lessons for the health standards into this Social Science unit. I am specifically referring to lessons/activities regarding “consent” and “gender identity,” which are not in the Social Science standards, let alone for 5-year-olds! This is especially troubling since the district is required by law to notify parents ahead of teaching the health curriculum so they can review the curriculum and opt their children out if they so choose.”

School districts are using the pandemic as an excuse to never implement the 2018 standards and instead wait just long enough for these optional 2021 standards to arrive. And even with all the warnings provided by ODE on using these standards and the complete lack of support provided for them, ODE still created curriculum options, which is encouraging school districts to use them.

In the Beaverton's case, Myers wants to stop the use of all the new Social Science units and materials in grades K-5 and return to last year’s content to allow a small project team to select and recommend to the school board a Social Science curriculum from the State Board of Education’s approved list for the 2018 standards.

School boards must be attentive to violating laws when adding diversity and identity lessons into unrelated subjects - they may be violating additional laws and rules and potentially opening the door to lawsuits.

Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project lists the candidates and those responding to the survey on their website.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-04-26 15:35:49Last Update: 2023-04-25 14:56:32

Washington County Taxes to Increase
An increase of $601

Washington County Oregon is announcing that the Transportation Development Tax (TDT) rates will increase by 6.01%, effective July 1.

Once the increase takes effect, the TDT rate for a single-family detached home, for example, will be $10,599 – an increase of $601 more than the 2022-23 rate of $9,998.

Washington County says that the TDT is based on the average estimated traffic generated by new development of that type and is paid by developers to fund transportation projects including road improvements, sidewalks, bike lanes and transit upgrades such as bus shelters.



Washington County says that the TDT rates are adjusted annually based on a five-year rolling average of road construction, labor and right-of-way costs.

The rate increase was approved April 18 by the Board of Commissioners. County code calls for the Board to act on TDT adjustments annually before May 1.

Kathryn Harrington is the Chair, At Large of the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

Those interested can learn more about the Transportation Development Tax and the Transportation System Development Charges online, or view the Transportation Development Tax Rate Schedule.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2023-04-25 17:06:13Last Update: 2023-04-25 17:56:56

Oregon is a Super Highway for Fentanyl
Oregon overdose deaths increased 41%

Two highway stops last week yielded 31 pounds of powder and 100,000 fentanyl pills. Fentanyl is fueling a surging public health crisis in Oregon. Illicit fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin, cheaper and easier to manufacture and more addictive. It also carries a greater risk of overdose, especially for young people with no experience using opioids.

Last year, Oregon overdose deaths increased 41%, compared to a 16% increase nationwide, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. This coincides with a surge of illicit fentanyl in Oregon. Oregon peer recovery specialists report they are now responding to 40 to 50 nonfatal overdose reports per month. Opioid overdoses can be reversed with naloxone rescue kits, which the Save Lives Oregon Clearinghouse coalition provides free. Several bills were introduced to make available naloxone kits to schools and emergency personnel and limit their liability, but the Democrat leadership didn’t find it worthy of hearings.

On April 23, 2023, an Oregon State Police(OSP) Trooper out of the Salem Area Command stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation. While on the stop, the Trooper observed signs of criminal activity and subsequently asked for consent to search the vehicle. The driver denied consent but admitted to importing marijuana from California. The OSP K-9 Titan (pictured above) was deployed and alerted them to a large duffel bag in the trunk. An additional search of the vehicle revealed a large amount of various controlled substances. Both occupants of the vehicle were detained, interviewed, and charged with federal drug charges and lodged at the Multnomah County Jail.



Two days prior, on April 21, 2023, a Trooper from the La Grande Area Command stopped a vehicle traveling westbound on Interstate 84 near La Grande, Oregon. While on the stop, the Trooper observed signs of criminal activity. A search of the vehicle was conducted which led to the seizure of approximately 100,000 Fentanyl pills, 3 Kilograms of Heroin and 1 Kilogram of Fentanyl Powder.

Both cases are being investigated jointly by the Oregon State Police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). They are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

--Dollie Banner

Post Date: 2023-04-25 16:09:56Last Update: 2023-04-25 17:29:21

Challenges Facing School Boards Series
The Façade of the School Board

Editor’s note: This is the third of a multi-part series on the impact of your vote for School Board Candidates, an OAA Voter Education Project

Who really makes decisions? The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) provides directives and developed ORIS (Oregon Integrated System) as a framework for the Continuous Improvement Process, which integrates equity in every area of the process. A process where school boards are pressured to adopt what ODE recommends. The ORIS centralizes many decisions that rightfully should be made from the ground up, but are actually made top down. Furthermore, decisions made at the school board level are farmed out to the district administration or unelected committees.

What most voters don’t realize is the roll of the school district with the school board. ORS 332.075 allows the school board to authorize the school district office to enter into contracts with board approval. The process deteriorates when the school board, and parents, become the last in line to hear about such contracts that have been negotiated and only aware of them when they are taken to the board for their stamp of approval. By that time deals have been made, the public’s only recourse is a mass display of protest. This type of feedback from parents made the news in Beaverton when the district tried pushing a contract and parents were locked out of the school board meeting. As a result, the National Association of School Boards proposed making parents that demonstrate domestic terrorists.

Parents are increasingly making public records requests to get to the bottom of issues. The Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) say it is an immoral violation on their personal privacy, even though all government workers are subject to public records requests.

The school superintendent is hired by the district school board to carry out what the school board approves: school budgets, approved curriculum, and policies in schools. If a superintendent is not going to be supportive of the board and the district, then they are hindering what the school board, with parents’ input, deems important in their schools.

The issue of superintendent hiring and firing is now critically important. In Newberg, Albany, and other school districts, school boards dismissed superintendents who did not comport with community values, undermined school board policies and continually placed progressive ideology above academic instruction. This was an essential last-ditch mechanism for school boards to dismiss non-responsive superintendents and preserve academic and community values.



However, upset with the firing of the Newberg superintendent for not following the board’s policy that only American and Oregon State flags can fly in classrooms, legislative progressives rushed to pass SB 1521 in 2022. The bill made it impossible to fire a superintendent for cause without 12 month notice – despite what the hiring contract may say. The law now limits the ability of the district school board from terminating the superintendent if they are acting in compliance with state and federal law and refuse to follow a board’s policy. It sets state and federal laws or guidelines, including executive orders, orders of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, declarations, directives or other state or federal authorization, policy, statement, guidance, rule or regulation over local school boards. In other words, local control and parents’ voices are not considered.

COSA and ODE pushed SB 1521 to override parents that are flooding board meetings demanding the termination of instruction on gender identity and sexual options, shared bathrooms/showers, and receive abortion drugs without parent consent. Currently, HB 2002 is working its way through the legislature that allows students of any age to start transitioning without parents’ knowledge.

Many suggest this is what tyranny looks like using students as experiments, thwarting the voice of parents, and neutering school boards to keep progressive superintendents and the Department of Education ideological agendas moving forward using public schools as the vehicle.

Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project lists the candidates and those responding to the survey on their website.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-04-24 19:40:42Last Update: 2023-04-25 01:32:06

Complaint Filed Against Save Yamhill County PAC
The PAC is now known as “Oregon Taproot PAC”

A complaint was filed today with the Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division that detailed likely campaign finance violations by Save Yamhill County PAC, now known as Oregon Taproot PAC. The complaint was filed by a Yamhill County voter who not only noticed the name change, but also an abnormality with the most recent expenditure.

It appears that Save Yamhill County PAC filed an amendment to their committee on March 16, 2023, to change the PAC name to “Oregon Taproot”. March 16th was only four days prior to the filing deadline for candidate and measure voter pamphlet statements, which were due on March 20, 2023.

On April 19, 2023, Oregon Taproot PAC posted a $1,050 transaction for “Voter Pamphlet Statements” in Orestar as a reimbursement to PAC Director Lynnette Shaw, a controversial progressive activist in Yamhill County and member of Progressive Yamhill. Progressive Yamhill and Save Yamhill County were behind several failed recall attempts of school board members and a county commissioner. The expenditure occurred on March 20, 2023, the same day as the deadline for submission of voter pamphlet statements.



There are no records of which statements Lynnette Shaw paid for. There have been no in-kind transactions posted to any candidate or measure PACs, and Oregon Taproot has not updated its committee to reflect that it is engaged on any measure in the county. This violates campaign finance laws.

A local activist who asked not to be named asks, "Who or what is Save Yamhill County trying so desperately to protect by filing a last-minute name change, paying for voter pamphlet statements, and not disclosing the in-kind contributions? Perhaps the candidates will come forward now that “Oregon Taproot” has also put them in violation of campaign finance law."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-04-24 17:15:40Last Update: 2023-04-28 15:34:33

Oregon House Republicans Vote to Protect Oregon from Environmental Hazards
Democrats refuse to move bills out of committee

In recognition of Earth Day, Oregon House Republicans have attempted to withdraw five pieces of legislation that would have protected Oregon from future environmental hazards. Experts expect that more than 720,000 tons worth of wind turbine blades will end up in U.S. landfills over the next 20 years, and that 78 million tons of solar waste will end up in U.S. landfills over the next 25 years. While none of the motions received the required 31 votes to withdraw the legislation, three of the five votes received bipartisan support.



“We cannot simultaneously claim to be moving towards a renewable energy future while having no plan to mitigate the potentially hazardous waste caused by these energy sources. We should be doing the responsible thing and understanding the ramifications of the policy we set,” said Co-Vice Chair of the Climate, Energy, and Environment Committee, Representative Bobby Levy (R-Echo) on the House floor. “I am disappointed that we had the option before us today to study the impacts of this growing energy sector and chose to disregard it.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-04-24 17:05:49Last Update: 2023-04-28 15:33:29

Tax Relief Package Rejected by Democrats
Designed to wake-up voters to one-party rule

Last Tuesday was Tax Day. Oregonians pay the largest share of their income in taxes, with middle-tax Oregonians bearing the heaviest burden in the nation. A ‘Tax Day Tax Relief’ package is the latest attempt by Republicans to bring good legislation out of committee for a floor vote. Senator Dennis Linthicum states, “Our traditional, historically sound legislative ideas never got heard at the committee level so we have been focusing on bringing several key policy areas – healthcare, taxes, crime, policing, education and medical freedom – to the floor.”

Democrats continue to block bills that would have given Oregonians much-needed relief. The Tax Day Tax Relief package included bills that would have repealed unfair double taxation and given middle-class Oregonians a broad-based tax cut.

While Oregonians were trying to pay their tax obligation on Tax Day, another government failure occurred. Vendor internet service outage impacted the state government websites. The outage made it impossible for taxpayers to access the Department of Revenue website and the internet portal, Revenue Online. To accommodate affected taxpayers, the Department of Revenue accepted tax payments through midnight, Friday, April 21, without assessing late penalties or interest on taxes owed.



Senate Republicans already made a similar move to decrease the cost of living with their Affordability Package. The senate attempted to withdraw seven pieces of legislation that would help relieve Oregonians saddled with inflationary costs and tax burdens. The rejection comes amid Oregon experiencing one of the nation’s largest increases in homelessness and a major housing affordability crisis.

Meanwhile, the Senate Republicans attempted to withdraw sixteen pieces of legislation from committee for a vote on the Senate floor that would make communities safer. Democrat’s complete rejection came after they rejected a ‘Safe Schools’ package.

Still waiting for movement in the House Rules Committee is the Bipartisan Drought Relief and Water Security package (BiDRAWS), which leverages existing programs and provides capacity to expand resources to support farmers and ranchers with a voluntary, incentive-based approach. Along side it is SB 1086, which would protect waters from homeless contamination.

Linthicum wants voters to know, “The attempt to move these bills out of committee and bring 'em down to the floor is designed to bring attention to what is really happening under one-party rule. Oregonians need to know we are fighting for them, using every parliamentary technique available.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-04-22 16:44:19Last Update: 2023-04-22 22:55:10

Challenges Facing School Boards Series
Money and School Quality

Editor’s note: This is the second of a multi-part series on the impact of your vote for School Board Candidates, an OAA Voter Education Project

A national phenomenon hasn’t missed Oregon. Education is more expensive for fewer students. Throwing huge amounts of money at the public school system hasn't improved test scores or any measure of school quality, but it has corresponded with a stampede of kids out of the school system.

The 2022 year was a building year, but despite “free” federal money that was not part of the yearly school budget, Oregon lost 30,000 students. Education is changing and parents are abandoning progressive, union controlled monolithic public-school systems in favor of schooling where they have a choice, a voice and control over their children’s education. The poorest families—mostly minorities—who can’t afford private alternatives are the victims of a failing public system.

Congress passed three COVID relief bills worth $5.3 trillion earmarked broadly for concerns to improve safety and security, upgrade HVAC systems and equipment, and make site improvements. Oregon school districts alone received $1.65 billion from the American Rescue Plan and 3 allotments from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds. Allotments from 3 Governors Emergency Education Relief funds brought in another $60 million. There was $30 million for distance learning, $28 million for charter and private schools, $27 million for migrant students and $7 million for teaching English. There is more to be allocated through 2025. Taxpayers should be asking, “Where is all that money going?”

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) 2023-25 Agency Request Budget states the Student Success Act has increased Oregon’s investment in K-12 education to a level close to what is called for in the Quality Education Model. Might that be due to the loss of 30,000 that no longer have a share in public school funds? The budget also increases system oversight and district support, increasing the potential to increase student success and close longstanding equity gaps.

ODE’s 2023-25 budget total funding request is $17.7 billion, which is nearly $1 billion more than current service levels, compared to the co-chairs requested increase of $1.2 billion over available revenue. That's an increase of more than $2,000 per student. Budgeted for local school districts and education service districts is $9.3 billion from the State School Fund, of which about 61 percent, $7.9 billion, comes from the General Fund.

It seems like the corporate kicker and the Corporate Access Tax funds haven't benefited taxpayers nor school funding. However, local school boards can take advantage of various enhanced funds including about nine percent of all General Fund resources supporting multiple state grant and investment programs. Investment programs include educator effectiveness efforts, CTE/STEM, Chronic Absenteeism, the High School Graduation and College and Career Readiness Act of 2016, and Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education, Electronic grants, as well as Youth Development Division grant programs. In addition, General Fund supports grants-in-aid funding for K-12 programs totaling $554.9 million.

School boards are also dealing with reversals and defunding that have impacted K-12 education programs over the years. The 2013 establishment of the Oregon Education Investment Board led to a suite of strategic programs, including programs in early reading and connecting to work. But by 2017, most of those strategic investments were repealed. ODE also experienced limits in oversight of state standards. The systemic lack of governance and funding instability contributed to the abandonment of the state’s prior major K-12 improvement efforts leaving school boards to pick up the pieces.

ODE’s budget request states, “Oregon does not have a detailed road map of programs to improve K-12 education, which could help foster a longer-term focus on improving programs and managing investments already in place.” Out of all the legislative educational bills this session, not one will audit or help improve the efficiencies of school funding.



ODE is also requesting an increase in per-student funding for the Regional Inclusive Services Program in the 2023-25 biennium for students experiencing disabilities. Based on a model that assumes increased funding per student, the budget applies a 3.02% growth to restore the program to the level of funding per student in the 2009-11 biennium, the funding required for the 2023-25 year is $87,317,035. Funding for disabled student has dropped continuously for 10 years as student count increased. The 2021-23 budget starts a trend upward back to the 2017-19 level of $2,866 per student. The increase only pays for caseload increases and standard inflation. If SB 575 passes, permitting every disabled student a full day of classroom teaching by qualified teachers, the school board will be faced with a shortage of funds, extra teaching staff, and classrooms.

A one-time $500,000 General Fund appropriation was approved last session for a study of the impact of State School Fund spending, and to determine if this spending pattern results in disparities between students who are black, indigenous or people of color (BIPOC) and those who are not BIPOC students. However, the Statewide Report Card 2021-22 does not support special treatment or spending for any race or ethnic group over another. Most all the groups’ achievement rates were affected equally by the pandemic, and only the economically disadvantaged showed an increase displaying their resilience. When only one group (Asians) perform above 50 percent, it is clear education is in a broad statewide crisis and separating funding for specific groups makes it more difficult for school board to dispense education equally.

Unions also impact the school budget mandating salary levels, and by supporting legislation that mandates infrastructure improvements, such as earthquake proof buildings, water purification, air quality systems, and smaller class sizes requiring more classrooms. These expenses along with building maintenance may come partially from grant money that comes from the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching Program (OSCIM). This money for districts actually increases each year if not used. It is dangled like bait to incentivize local school districts to raise taxes on property owners. Voters should also be wary of being on the hook for 20-30 years for upkeep and maintenance of abandoned, empty school buildings. Progressive school administrators continually suggest such taxes are an “investment” in the communities. Informed citizens know investments return money to investors, and it is something school boards must be savvy about.

If parents succeed in passing school choice, money will follow students not government facilities. Budgets may have further limitations on school districts that will affect the success of all students. Every time the state mandates expensive and time-consuming tasks on schools that are already trying to function with limited resources, it affects the success of all students. School boards play a vital role in managing obligations for success of the school district.

Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project lists the candidates and those responding to the survey on their website.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-04-21 15:09:29Last Update: 2023-04-28 15:48:15

Leaders Demand Accountability from OLCC
Republican and Independent leaders urge Democrat leaders to create a jJoint Oversight and Accountability Committee

House and Senate Republican and Independent leaders sent a letter to Senate President Rob Wagner and House Speaker Dan Rayfield asking for an equal bipartisan and bicameral Joint Committee on Oversight and Accountability. The letter includes the names of those who would serve as Republican and Independent members of the 12-person equal committee.

The letter reads as follows:

“Dear Presiding Officers,

As you may know, House and Senate Republican and Independent leaders sent letters in March and April urging the Governor to launch independent, nonpartisan investigations into the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission’s (1) potential favorable treatment of land acquisitions, (2) alleged rare liquor distribution, (3) process of granting retail licenses. In response, the Governor has said that the DOJ’s investigations will suffice. We disagree.

Today, Oregon House and Senate Republican and Independent leaders are calling on you, as presiding officers, to create an equal bipartisan and bicameral Joint Committee on Oversight and Accountability. Its first order of business should be to seek answers in the alleged actions of the OLCC.



The OLCC’s actions have been greatly covered in the news over the past several months, with several allegations leading the public to believe this agency is corrupt. We must resolve these issues with full transparency.

We put forth the following names to serve as Republican and Independent members of the 12-person committee:

Senator Tim Knopp, Senate District 27
Senator Dick Anderson, Senate District 5
Independent Senator Brian Boquist, Senate District 12
Representative Vikki Breese-Iverson, House District 59
Representative Greg Smith, House District 57
Representative E. Werner Reschke, House District 55

We understand that in certain instances, investigations are being conducted by the Department of Justice. This is not sufficient. We must provide the standard of oversight and accountability that our Constitution and the people of Oregon expect. We ask that you take immediate action by creating this committee today.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-04-21 11:39:10Last Update: 2023-04-25 09:47:19

Democrats Wage War With Religions
Introduces expanding Constitutional Equal Rights

Oregon Senate President, Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) helped sponsor SJR 33 giving the voters of Oregon the decision to expand equal rights to include the right to contraception, abortion, and marriage equality in Oregon's Constitution during the 2024 General Election. If passed, this amendment would give Oregonians’ freedom and rights to consider their own self-interest above all else in decisions about their own bodies and families, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity – including the right to access health care, contraception and abortion.

This constitutional amendment comes in response to last year’s Supreme Court Dobbs decision that went against half a century of legal precedent and repealed a person’s constitutional right to an abortion under Roe v. Wade. The Democrat sponsored legislation responds to fears that this decision will also place other fundamental freedoms at risk, leaving it up to states to protect their people’s rights.

Notably, if passed at the ballot, this legislation will also enshrine a person’s right to marry who they love and repeal Oregon’s ban on same gender marriage from the state constitution. This is contrary to beliefs of Christians, Islam, Mormons, Catholics, Orthodox Jews and other denominations.

SJR 33 will give Oregon voters the power to respond to growing threats from or support a minority group of 4,901 claiming to be LGBTQIA+, 5.6 percent of the population. Religions have let them take over our schools, our government, and if SJR passes, our lives.

The Constitution amendment to Article 1, section 46:
  1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the State of Oregon or by any political subdivision in this state on account of sex, including but not limited to denial or abridgement of equal rights by any law, policy or action that discriminates, in intent or effect, based on:
    (a) Pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes or related health decisions;
    (b) Gender identity or related health decisions;
    (c) Sexual orientation; or
    (d) Gender.
  2. The Legislative Assembly shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this section.
Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber (D – Beaverton & SW Portland) said, “As the only LGBTQ member in the Senate, this bill is personal. I know how it feels to live somewhere that doesn’t accept you for who you are. From bans on abortion to bans on medical care for transgender people, hate is on the rise across the country, and this is Oregon’s opportunity to respond with hope. We can make Oregon a healthier, safer, and more just place for everyone, and I could not be more proud to take part in this effort.”

Is this political talk? Because in 2022 Oregon was tied for second place as the most friendly place to live with its “robust anti-discrimination laws.”

Lawmakers think that SJR 33 can be used to market the state to turn around the declining population. Half of young people say states’ abortion laws will impact where they choose to put down roots, and LGBTQ college students are gravitating towards states that protect their rights.



In addition to SJR 33, Democrats are also taking action this session to protect bodily autonomy through the Reproductive Health & Access to Care bill. HB 2002 ensures no politician or parent can interfere in the medical decisions made between a child/patient and provider. To address urgent needs in response to Dobbs decision, this legislation will: In 2017, Democrats passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), which codified the right to an abortion in state law and made the full range of reproductive health care more affordable and accessible for all Oregonians. As a result, Oregon now has the second highest population of LBGTQAI+ in the country along with their added healthcare needs for depression, STDs, cancer and obesity, which runs higher in their community.

Last year, the legislature established the Oregon Reproductive Health Equity Fund, a $15 million dollar investment in abortion access which expanded provider capacity across the state and supported those seeking abortion care in Oregon following the Supreme Court’s repeal of Roe v Wade.

SJR 33 has been referred to the Senate President’s office for a committee assignment.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-04-20 16:29:04Last Update: 2023-04-20 20:58:27

Democrats Reject Affordability Package
“For decades, the majority party has failed to make Oregon more affordable for working families”

According to a release put out by the Senate Republican Caucus, thanks to a decade of failed policy and never-ending tax increases passed by Oregon Democrats, Tax Day has become more and more daunting for Oregonians. With this in mind, Senate Republicans attempted to withdraw seven pieces of legislation from committee that would help relieve Oregonians saddled with inflationary costs and tax burdens. Even as we pay among the largest share of taxes of any state in the nation, Senate Democrats refused to consider the entire ‘Affordability’ Package.

“As elected leaders, it’s critical that we are good stewards of taxpayer dollars and that we show our constituents the value of the strategic investments we make,” said Deputy Leader Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer), who moved to withdraw from committee SB 990, a measure returning the Kicker in the form of a check instead of a credit.

“For decades, the majority party has failed to make Oregon more affordable for working families. In fact, they’ve done the opposite,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend), who moved to withdraw from committee SJM 1, a measure urging Congress to adopt a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.



“Today, because of partisan politics, this body failed to make a meaningful difference in the pocketbooks of Oregonians when we had the chance,” said Deputy Leader Dick Anderson (R-Lincoln City), who moved to withdraw from committee SB 446, a measure establishing a refundable income tax credit of $1,000 per qualifying child.

“Democrats have turned the Senate into a legislative graveyard where good bills go to die,” added Knopp. “It is said that the only two things we are guaranteed in life are death and taxes. It turns out, this is also true of the Democrat-controlled Senate.”

Today, Oregon (and Massachusetts) residents will pay the largest share of their income in taxes. Oregon consistently lands in the top 5 most expensive states to live in, and top 5 most expensive states to retire in.

Meanwhile, Oregon has experienced one of the nation’s largest increases in homelessness and a major housing affordability crisis. Performance in Oregon schools continues to plummet despite record spending. Oregon ranks worst in nation for prevalence of mental illness and access to care. The drug overdose death rate is among the highest in the nation and the crime rate lands in the top 10.

Senate Democrats have rejected a complete ‘Affordability’ Package proposed by Republicans.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-04-20 10:51:03Last Update: 2023-04-20 11:14:54

Challenges Facing School Boards Series
Accountability to The Public and Parents Rights

Editor’s note: This is the first of a multi-part series on the impact of your vote for School Board Candidates, an OAA Voter Education Project

Ask any voter or parent and you’ll find they are confident that they elect school boards to represent them, they are allowed to give input, and influence decisions on what is taught in public schools. In odd number years, the third Tuesday in May, May 16, 2023, voters mark their ballots to elect roughly half of Oregon’s school boards.

Months prior, organizations and groups search for candidates that are willing to fulfill the responsibilities and commitments expected of school board members, including policies, rules and curriculum, teacher standards, and collective bargaining.

Parents have basis for assuming their school board will function as parents wish and in the best interest of their children. ORS 332.072 tells them “the legal status of school districts as corporate bodies, and the district school board is authorized to transact all business coming within the jurisdiction of the district and to sue and be sued. Pursuant to law, district school boards have control of the district schools and are responsible for educating children residing in the district.”

Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Project is once again sponsoring candidate surveys that touch on the nitty-gritty of what school boards face. Mostly based on current and past legislation, it exposes the trending in the legislature on issues that have become contentious in school board meetings. One such bill was SB 1521 passed in 2022, which prohibits a school board from dismissing a superintendent for following any federal, state or local requirement even if it is at the option and against the school board policy.

As is noted in ORS 332.072, parents can sue school board members for violation of laws. Such laws as: One thing the “pandemic” has told parents is how much in the dark they have been. Are there really “public” schools when they are not open to the public and are not accountable to the public? Schools are run by government, they are regulated by government, they are funded by government, they are compelled by government, they are government schools. Perhaps what is missing was best stated in the Journal of Counseling and Development. “Research indicates that when a collective group of school, family, and community stakeholders work together, achievement gaps decrease.” (p. 408, Bryan & Henry, 2012)

As the 2023 legislature progresses, attention is drawn away from school board elections. As legislators discuss bills such as SB 292, school board members are reminded of the requirement to file a statement of economic interest by April 15, 2023. SB 292 proposes to give board members in districts less than 1,650 students extended time to file. If passed, HB 2002 will be the most serious issues facing school boards affecting parents relationship with their student, and parents will be looking to school boards for support.

Parents cannot ignore that their rights are in peril. In this series we will highlight issues that school boards face and what voters need to know to reform school policies.



In 2016, Oregon adopted new health education standards. Beginning in kindergarten, students are taught about media influence on health and ways to prevent diseases. This was three years before COVID-19 was detected in the U.S.

Students are also taught the many ways to express gender - and how to communicate with preferred pronouns with people of all sexual orientations.

At meetings and public hearings early on, as the curriculum was being developed, there was very little concern from parents. Perhaps the biggest blessing coming out of the pandemic is that parents learned what their children are being taught and how overly sexual the curriculum is that is being implemented. It opened their eyes to the whole realm of education and how much it had changed in a short time.

School board elections are crucial for education reform. Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project lists the candidates and those responding to the survey on their website.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-04-19 18:30:11Last Update: 2023-04-20 15:29:23

Oregon Ranks 43 in Economic Outlook
But, economic performance is ranked 13

The Rich States, Poor States report sponsored by the state legislative group, The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), has released their assigned grades for the best economic climate in the country. Utah took top spot for the 14th time with low and flat taxation, no unfunded pension problems, light regulation, and a right to work law makes Utah an ideal destination for business, capital and families.

The three authors of the report are CTUP co-founders Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore and ALEC vice president Jonathan Williams.

Predictably, the big losers are the blue state meccas New York, Illinois, Vermont and California with Oregon slightly above at 43. Our neighbor to the north dropped to 34 like a rolling stone, Washington just adopted a first-ever capital gains tax.

Not to be surprised why Greater Idaho is so popular, it came in number 4 for economic outlook behind Arizona, North Carolina and Utah. The new rankings also reveal that, as proven by the 2020 Census data, Americans “vote with their feet” by moving from high-tax to low-tax states.

Oregon, on the other hand, has been on a decline since the report’s inception in 2008, when it ranked 35th for economic outlook. The next year the legislature sessions went to annual Oregon sessions, and the economic outlook hit bottom at 45th by 2015 and has stayed between 41 and 44 ever since. Despite Oregon’s economic outlook currently being at 43, the economic performance is ranked 13th. Why such a desperate outlook? So what changed to start the decline?

The personal income tax and marginal corporate income tax obligations stayed stable until 2019, but property tax took a big leap in 2009 and again in 2010 corresponding with a drop in the economic outlook. The culprit seems to be all the remaining tax burdens ranked at 42 costing $21.85 per $1,000 spent made up of fees, hidden sales tax and gas taxes that rose as economic outlook declined over the years.



Influencing factors begin with Oregon ranking 50 in estate tax levied. The outlook ranked 49 for personal income tax progressivity valued at $38.28 per $1,000 and the marginal personal income tax rate at 14.69%. The marginal corporate income tax rate ranked 48 at 15.73%. The property tax reform ranks 35 at $31.57 per $1,000.

In the early 20th century, Oregon acquired a national reputation for its progressive program of direct participation by the electorate in the legislative system. This direct legislation came to be known as the "Oregon System." The progressive tradition of direct legislation and the state's fiscal conservatism are defining characteristics of the Oregon political system. Constitutional requirements along with voter insistence that tax measures be referred to them has meant the Legislative Assembly must work closely with the electorate to gain support for tax increases.

Even though the constitution restrains taxes, the economic ranking indicates this direct legislation hasn’t always been used wisely. Voters have not guarded their constitutional rights, and legislators have used loopholes to manipulate and impose hidden taxes that has depressed the state’s outlook.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-04-19 18:23:54Last Update: 2023-04-19 17:24:09

Douglas County Removes Waste Oversight
Advisory Board Eliminated by Board of Commissioners

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners met on April 12 to decide the fate of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee. Roseburg City Councilor Ellen Porter was among the last members of SWAC when it was put “on hold due to covid-19 safety measures”. Porter inquired about her current status on SWAC.

Ellen Porter then testified that Douglas County Commissioner Tom Kress stated in a memo that the SWAC “will be dissolved after it provided advice to the Board that was deemed to be of no value in 2019” and “valueless advice was too close all but 4 transfer stations and to double the disposal fees.“

Councilor Porter’s testimony corrects Kress’s memo by stating; “A more accurate accounting of the facts during those meetings was that the County staff and consultant recommended that the SWAC agree with their conclusion that seven of the 11 transfer stations be closed and disposal fees be increased to at least $89/ton if not $97/ton. Carisa Cegavske summed it up so well in the Jan 11, 2019 front page article of the News Review.”

Councilor Porter continued; “We had numerous public meetings about the issue and they were well attended by concerned citizens. These citizens were strongly opposed to the closure of so many transfer stations, more so than their concern with increased disposal fees. Concern was greatest regarding the transfer stations in South County and Glide. The SWAC agreed with the public and chose to advise the Board to not close the large number of transfer stations recommended by County staff and their consultant.”



Councilor Porter concluded by saying; “As a long term SWAC member, I disagree with a decision to dissolve the function as it provides much needed transparency associated with this public resource… that decision should be based on an accurate accounting of the facts, rather than the inaccurate assessment recently provided to members of the public.”

Members of the public spoke, too. Michaela Hammerson testified saying; “I don’t believe there has been sufficient public discourse about disbanding this and changing our laws here in Douglas County. I would appeal to you that before we make a decision like this we first involve the community and allow them to have public discourse. We have over the last few years really seen that the community and the public and American people in general are very interested in being a part of their own self-governance.”

Terry Noonkester testified; “Eliminating the Solid Waste Advisory Committee is the loss of a committee to represent the people of Douglas County, the loss of a hearing process to hear the peoples grievances and the loss of transparency.”

After the three testimonies opposing the vote to cancel SWAC were heard, the Commissioners had their turn to give their reasons for abolishing SWAC.

Commissioner Kress informed Councilor Porter that she and all previous SWAC members were termed-out. He spoke on the elimination of the SWAC hearings saying, “…we are not doing that, that is what we are doing here today… The BOC, before we can come to any decision have to deliberate in front of the people and allow people the opportunity to say their piece.”

The commissioners office has verified that the public is not allowed to request for items to be put on the BOC agenda. Public comments during BOC meetings are allowed only as they relate to an item on the agenda.

Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman stated; “This concept of eliminating a hearing, literally, when the Advisory Board Committee was doing this work, oftentimes the voice of the people got filtered before it got to us, that is problematic, I like this format much better, were we are hearing directly from the people...”.



Commissioner Freeman continued with, “When you get an advisory committee that seems adversarial, it doesn’t really work well… It became that, when the members of the advisory committee went directly to the newspaper and said things that weren’t true. An example of that, we have heard that again here today.” Freeman addressed several problems of issues that were “left out” rather than anything contradicting the article.

Commissioner Freeman emphasized that the Board of Commissioners did not vote on waivers, "that did not happen, we did not vote on those waivers”. However, their county employee, Director of Solid Waste Scott Adams, made two of those decisions regarding the Safeway and the Windmill waivers. Freeman claimed that it was SWAC’s idea to give the Director the authority to make those decisions.

Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice stated that SWAC member Dick Heard told the county that they needed to charge $140 a ton immediately or they would not met financial requirements. That was contradicted by the Carisa Cegavske article that stated “Committee member Dick Heard suggested the number should be adjusted to $97 right away.”

Commissioner Boice addressed a statement by Ellen Porter saying “The fact that you quote the News Review Article and present it as Gospel to me is a little bit humorous because I have not known them to get the story completely accurately (sic) very often.”

The COB meetings, and this public hearing embedded within the COB meeting, are not structured to allow for rebuttal to the commissioners statements.



Larry Spielbusch, a former chairman of SWAC contributed the following comment; “There would not be a Roseburg Landfill if not for the involvement of the SWAC, solid waste operations, public works engineering, county commissioners and numerous private consultants that convinced the DEQ that a landfill could exist where it is now with the proper controls. For the current BOC to state the SWAC is “useless” is absolutely incorrect and flies in the face of over 50 years of work by a large number of intelligent individuals that provided numerous hours of work to insure we could operate a landfill in Douglas County. This current BOC has no desire to hear what the public has to say and the current solid waste staff/engineering are by far inferior to what existed in the past.”

Neither of the Commissioners, Tom Kress nor Tim Freeman, have ever attended a SWAC meeting. The BOC unanimously passed the amendments to the Douglas County Ordinances that will strike all references to the SWAC from the County Code as of July 12, 2023. SWAC no longer exists.

--Terry Noonkester

Post Date: 2023-04-18 11:19:55Last Update: 2023-04-18 11:38:18

Senate Democrats Reject Affordability Package
Oregonians pay among the highest tax rate in the nation

Oregon Senate Republicans attempted to withdraw seven pieces of legislation from committee that would help relieve Oregonians saddled with inflationary costs and tax burdens. This procedure allows for a floor vote on bills a committee chair doesn’t act on.

Thanks to a decade of failed policy and never-ending tax increases passed by Oregon Democrats, Tax Day has become more and more daunting for Oregonians. Even as we pay among the largest share of taxes of any state in the nation, Senate Democrats refused to consider the entire ‘Affordability’ Package.

“As elected leaders, it’s critical that we are good stewards of taxpayer dollars and that we show our constituents the value of the strategic investments we make,” said Deputy Leader Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer), who moved to withdraw from committee SB 990, a measure returning the Kicker in the form of a check instead of a credit.

“For decades, the majority party has failed to make Oregon more affordable for working families. In fact, they’ve done the opposite,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend), who moved to withdraw from committee SJM 1, a measure urging Congress to adopt a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“Today, because of partisan politics, this body failed to make a meaningful difference in the pocketbooks of Oregonians when we had the chance,” said Deputy Leader Dick Anderson (R-Lincoln City), who moved to withdraw from committee SB 446, a measure establishing a refundable income tax credit of $1,000 per qualifying child.

“Democrats have turned the Senate into a legislative graveyard where good bills go to die,” added Knopp. “It is said that the only two things we are guaranteed in life are death and taxes. It turns out, this is also true of the Democrat-controlled Senate.”

Today, Oregon (and Massachusetts) residents will pay the largest share of their income in taxes. Oregon consistently lands in the top 5 most expensive states to live in, and top 5 most expensive states to retire in.



Meanwhile, Oregon has experienced one of the nation’s largest increases in homelessness and a major housing affordability crisis. Performance in Oregon schools continues to plummet despite record spending. Oregon ranks worst in nation for prevalence of mental illness and access to care. The drug overdose death rate is among the highest in the nation and the crime rate lands in the top 10.

The complete ‘Affordability’ Package Senate Democrats rejected.

--Dollie Banner

Post Date: 2023-04-18 11:15:44Last Update: 2023-04-18 17:29:30

Constitutional Freedom Initiative Advances in Oregon
CCFO submits 1,000 sponsorship signatures

Constitutional Carry for Oregon (CCFO) has now submitted the required 1,000 “sponsorship signatures” to the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office, completing the next step in the process to get IP-21 on the ballot.

In total, CCFO submitted 1,345 signatures. CCFO says that provide a significant buffer should some signatures prove invalid.

IP-21 seeks to amend the Oregon Constitution, establishing the right to carry concealed firearms without a permit. At present, 26 U.S. states are already constitutional carry states.

After the Secretary of State’s Office validates the sponsorship signatures, which may take up to ten days, the Attorney General’s Office will generate a ballot title.



Barring legal challenges to that title, the process of gathering the 160,551 signatures for the initiative to appear on the November 2024 ballot will begin thereafter.

CCFO has until July 5, 2024, to submit signatures.

Constitutional Carry for Oregon is a grassroots volunteer effort.

The three chief petitioners are: Joel Pawloski, a retired Army Lt. Colonel in Marion County; Kerry McQuisten, the former mayor of Baker City in Baker County; and Jean Sampson, former city council member of Clatskanie in Columbia County. More information can be found on their website

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-04-17 15:36:06Last Update: 2023-04-17 18:10:51

Voice Your Tolling Opinion with the Federal Government
April 21 Marks the Last Day

By the end of 2024, the Oregon Department of Transportation plans to toll both the Abernethy Bridge and the Tualatin River Bridges on I-205. Tolls could be as high as $2.20 each way on each bridge, or $8.80 round-trip across both bridges. That’s just the first phase.

By the end of 2025, ODOT expects to impose tolls along the entire lengths of both I-5 and I-205 from Wilsonville to the Washington state border. After that, the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program plans to charge tolls to cross the Columbia River on both I-5 and I-205.

Cascade Policy Institute is sending out notices to comment on ODOT’s tolling plans. Federal law allows anyone to comment on an Environmental Assessment. If the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) receives sufficient comments that demonstrate the negative impacts of ODOT’s tolling plan, then the agency may not approve the tolling plan.

Cascade writes: Under federal law, states must get permission from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to charge tolls on Interstate highways. One of the steps is publishing an Environmental Assessment that details the potential environmental and economic impacts of a federally funded project. ODOT recently published its Environment Assessment of the Abernethy and Tualatin River bridge tolls.

ODOT estimates the average household will pay $575 a year just for its first phase of tolls. That’s $575 that Oregonians won’t be able to spend on other things, with restaurants and retail establishments the hardest hit. ODOT estimates that its tolls will cause more than 750 people to lose their jobs and reduce wages by about $3 million a year.



The transportation department projects that it will collect $132 million a year in tolls: $93 million a year from households and $39 million a year from freight carriers. At the same time, ODOT estimates that reduced traffic on I-205 will produce only $105 million in economic benefits from reduced congestion, environmental improvements, and economic activity. That means Oregonians will be $27 million worse off every year these tolls are collected.

This is not how congestion pricing is supposed to work. Done correctly, congestion pricing makes people better off because the value of the travel time saved is worth more than the tolls they pay. Somehow, ODOT got way off track and concocted a tolling scheme that charges outrageous tolls, doesn’t generate sufficient time savings, impoverishes families, and drives out employers.

If you wish to comment, send your comments to I205TollEA@odot.oregon.gov with "EA comments" in the subject line. The deadline for comments to be considered is Friday, April 21, at 4:00 pm. For more detail and other options for comments.

--Dollie Banner

Post Date: 2023-04-14 15:04:00Last Update: 2023-04-14 21:47:44

Abortion and Gender-Altering Bill Moves Forward
Allows 10-year-olds to have abortions without parental knowledge, No Age Restriction for Irreversible, Gender-Altering Procedures

Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) released the following statement on the passage of HB 2002 out of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means:

“Tonight, during the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, despite uncertain facts and unanswered questions, Oregon Democrats passed the most extreme abortion and gender-altering legislation in our nation’s history.

The legislative manipulation witnessed tonight was too fast and too extreme for Oregon.

In less than an hour of debate in tonight’s meeting, without public input and minimal time for Q&A, Democrat leadership forced this bill through knowing that there will be no further opportunity for public input.

During the committee meeting, Democrat committee leadership audibly gasped when Legislative Counsel confirmed that 10-year-olds would be able to get abortions without parental knowledge under the legislation they were “intimately involved with crafting”.

One anonymous parent offered testimony, saying "I am convinced any bill that furthers this ideology, without seriously questioning why it is occurring and what made us all to drastically change our thoughts about such fundamental ideas as sex/gender and a child/teen being able to have informed consent, is not in our children’s best interest."

Legislative Director for the Muslim Religious Freedom Alliance, Abu Jalani offered, "We are in opposition to HB 2002 which as written would criminalize the act of parenting when a parent of a child advises or tries to prevent their child from seeking “reproductive healthcare”. It’s egregious that lawmakers believe parents shouldn’t have ultimate decision making in the healthcare of their children."

The statement from Republican Leadership continued:

As Democrat committee leadership stated tonight, Republicans “should have known this was coming” and prepared accordingly. We did know, we did prepare, we did come equipped with thorough questions. They simply could not answer them and would not give us more time.

If this policy was truly a well-crafted, well-vetted Democrat priority, why were government attorneys unable to answer the questions asked of them tonight with even an ounce of certainty?

Make no mistake - there are 73 days left in this Legislative Session. The time constraint argued by the Democrats is self-imposed. They are in the majority, and they set the agenda.

House and Senate Republicans will continue to stand for the safety of children and the rights of parents. This is a day we won’t soon forget.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-04-13 23:12:38Last Update: 2023-04-13 23:42:00

Legislators Send Governor Letter Over Oregon CHIPS Act
Letter highlights alternative land options to farmland

Oregon Representative Anna Scharf (R-Amity) led 19 legislators from both sides of the aisle sending a letter to Governor Kotek requesting her consideration of private, member only golf courses as available land before taking farmland out of production.

Senate Bill 4, the Semiconductor Bill, passed out of the House on Thursday, April 6th and was signed by Governor Kotek. The bill dedicates $190 million to develop a grant and loan program to support semiconductor businesses looking to expand in Oregon, providing the opportunity for significant federal funding support provided by the CHIPS and Science Act that Congress passed and President Biden signed in August 2022. It also funds $10 million to help communities prepare land for manufacturing sites and $10 million for a University Innovation Research fund that will help public universities secure federal research grants.

During debate on the House floor, several members raised concerns about Section 10 of the legislation that provides the Governor broad authority over its implementation.

Lawmakers wrote, “We raised concern that farmland has inadequate protections in the bill – frequently reminding our colleagues that once farmland is paved over, it is lost forever. We challenged the mindset that farmland is the only available option for the land needed in Senate Bill 4.”

In the letter, the lawmakers proposed two alternative suggestions to farmland, including Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course in North Plains and Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club in Aloha. “If we are going to look at open spaces and available land for semiconductors, we believe we should consider all open spaces – not just farmland,” wrote the lawmakers. “Large, open fields in the Willamette Valley are not purposeless. These fields are feeding our families, Oregonians, and the world. A member only golf course does not.”



Governor Kotek gave a statement about the impact of the bill, “Oregon has been at the center of the semiconductor industry in the United States for decades. This bill is an absolutely essential tool for leading a coordinated effort with the private sector to ensure we can compete for federal funds to expand advanced manufacturing in Oregon. We are poised to lay the foundation for the next generation of innovation and production of semiconductors.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-04-13 15:40:39Last Update: 2023-04-13 20:28:43

Todd Nash Announces Run for Oregon Senate District
“It would be an honor to represent the citizens of Senate District 29 in the legislature”

Todd Nash, a Wallowa County Commissioner and President of Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, has announced his intent to run for Oregon State Senate District 29 in the 2024 Republican Primary Election. Senate District 29 is currently represented by longtime and well-respected legislator Sen. Bill Hansell who announced on March 3, 2023 he would not seek re-election after his term expires.

“Eastern Oregon has been well represented by Senator Hansell and I intend to carry on that tradition to give rural Oregonians a voice in the legislature,” said Nash. “There are a multitude of issues that need to be addressed and challenges that need to be tackled that will require experienced leadership in natural resources, economic development, and community-based issues if we are going to ensure rural Oregonians have the representation they deserve. I will be that leader and the voice we need.”

Nash has lived in Enterprise since 1968. He was elected as Wallowa County Commissioner in 2016 and has served as President of Oregon Cattlemen’s Association since 2021. In addition, he has been active with Association of Oregon Counties as Co-Chair of the Natural Resource Committee and on the Public Lands Committee at National Association of Counties. He is also the immediate past Co-Chair of the Wallowa County 4/H FFA Fair livestock Sale where he served for 15 years.

His work in the community has been acknowledged often. He has been the recipient of the Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce Award for Entrepreneur of The Year Award, Wallowa County Cattlemen of the Year Award and Honorary Cattlemen of The Year, the American Forest Resource Council’s Tillicum Award and many other state and local awards. Nash has been very active with the state legislature going back to 2010 helping to shape many state policies within farming, timber, ranching and natural resource issues. He has also worked with Oregon Department of Agriculture and is currently a State Weed Board Member.

In preparation for filing for the seat this September, Nash has opened a political action committee, developed an exploratory committee, and hired an Oregon campaign management firm.

“It would be an honor to represent the citizens of Senate District 29 in the legislature. I look forward to meeting with and listening to constituents throughout the district, learning their issues, and earning their trust and eventually their vote,” said Nash.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-04-12 15:36:34Last Update: 2023-04-12 15:56:14

Constitutional Carry Amendment Moves Forward
Constitutional Carry For Oregon submits 1,000 sponsorship signatures

The group Constitutional Carry for Oregon has submitted the required 1,000 “sponsorship signatures” to the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office, completing the next step in the process to get IP-21 on the ballot. In total, CCFO submitted 1,345 signatures, providing a buffer should some signatures prove invalid.

IP-21 seeks to amend the Oregon Constitution, establishing the right to carry concealed firearms without a permit. At present, 26 U.S. states are already constitutional carry states.

The text of the amendment is simply:

AMENDS CONSTITUTION: Establishing right to carry concealed firearms without permit.

PARAGRAPH 1. Section 27, Article I of the Constitution of the State of Oregon, is amended to read:

Sec. 27. (1) The people shall have the right to bear arms for the [defence] defense of themselves, and the State, but the Military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power. (2) The right described in subsection (1) of this section includes the right to carry, without a permit, a concealed firearm.



After the Secretary of State’s Office validates the sponsorship signatures, which may take up to ten days, the Attorney General’s Office will generate a ballot title. Barring legal challenges to that title, the process of gathering the 160,551 signatures for the initiative to appear on the November 2024 ballot will begin thereafter. CCFO has until July 5, 2024, to submit signatures.

Constitutional Carry for Oregon is a grassroots volunteer effort. The three chief petitioners are: Joel Pawloski, a retired Army Lt. Colonel in Marion County, Kerry McQuisten, the former mayor of Baker City in Baker County, and Jean Sampson, former city council member of Clatskanie in Columbia County. More information can be found at www.ConstitutionalCarryforOregon.com.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-04-12 14:51:18Last Update: 2023-04-12 15:21:42

Kotek Announces Funding Amounts, Local Goals for Homelessness
Will rehouse more than 1,200 households, create over 600 new shelter beds

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has announced how much funding each region within Oregon's homelessness state of emergency will receive from the state, as well as the specific outcomes local communities are expected to achieve with the emergency dollars.

On her first full day in office, the Governor declared a homelessness state of emergency and urged the legislature to pass an early investment package to meet specific goals in reducing unsheltered homelessness by January 10, 2024.

“Oregonians are demanding urgent action and accountability. That’s why this emergency funding is tied to specific, local action plans that will reduce unsheltered homelessness,” Governor Tina Kotek said. “The state will continue to provide technical assistance and partner with local communities to make sure this money makes a difference on the ground.”

Critics have pointed out that Governor Kotek has presided over the largest increase in homelessness in Oregon's history and that her hostility to housing providers has led to the housing shortage in Oregon. They also point out that the abundance of money allocated for homelessness hasn't seemed to solve the problem.



The following funding amounts are based on many factors, including the appropriation made available by the legislature, detailed plans that local communities submitted, and a detailed formula developed by Oregon Housing and Community Services: HB 5019 appropriated $85.2 million for local homelessness emergency plans. OHCS will reserve $3 million to ensure the goals of the emergency order are achieved. An additional $3 million will be used for a statewide landlord incentive, available to landlords participating in local rehousing efforts. The requests from all regions within the emergency order totaled $98.8 million, so there were not enough funds to provide each region with its full funding request.

In addition, the early funding package included $33.6 million to help prevent homelessness for an estimated 8,750 households. This funding will be distributed statewide through existing eviction prevention programs.

Recognizing that unsheltered homelessness impacts communities in every part of Oregon, the legislature also approved $26 million to address homelessness in the counties that do not meet the threshold of the emergency order.

The Governor's Office reviewed the Community Plans and funding requests to ensure that each region has the resources and technical assistance they need to meet specific goals to reduce unsheltered homelessness in their community. OHCS is sending each region an announcement of its funding amount today and will include an updated timeline for finalizing grant agreements with the goal of funding being available to communities by April 28, 2023.



“I want to thank everyone who has stepped up to help move this work forward – including staff at the state and local level who have been working diligently to make sure we have solid plans to quickly distribute these emergency funds,” Governor Kotek said. “This alone won’t solve this crisis, but it is a significant downpayment on our efforts. It will build the new, outcomes-oriented infrastructure we need to address homelessness heading into next year.”

The Oregon Department of Emergency Management and the state housing agency have supported the establishment of Multi-Agency Coordinating groups in emergency areas that will serve as the core infrastructure of the emergency response.

MAC groups have been providing the planning, coordination, and operational leadership to bring real, measurable improvements on the ground. They will be responsible for the day-to-day implementation of funds, working with their communities to help move individuals and families into housing stability.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-04-12 14:24:09Last Update: 2023-04-12 14:51:18

Oregon Senate Passes Key Curriculum Transparency Legislation
“Every parent deserves a seat at the table in their child’s education.”

The Oregon Senate has passed SB 409, a bill that brings greater curriculum transparency to Oregon. This bill, which passed with bipartisan support, promotes student success by empowering parents with the knowledge of what their kids are learning in the classroom, and aims to improve communications and trust between parents and teachers.

This bill requires local school boards to post on their websites the following information for every course of study offered by the school district: the title and description of textbooks and instructional materials used and a link if available, a syllabus, and identification of the state's academic content standards that are satisfied by the course. It also requires updates within 30 days after changes are made.

“Accessing school curriculum is not an easy and transparent process in Oregon. I’ve heard stories from parents who’ve even had to submit a public records request to learn about what’s being taught in their child’s school,” said Representative Lily Morgan (R-Grants Pass), a co-chief sponsor of the bill. “If this process was easier and more accessible, then we could cut to the chase and know exactly what our kids are learning in the classroom.”

“We know that parental involvement is the key to student well-being and success,” added Senator Suzanne Weber (R-Tillamook), a co-sponsor of the bill and Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Education. “By empowering parents with the knowledge of what their children are being taught, we are better positioning them to be able to help their children learn essential skills like reading, writing, and math.”



SB 409 is a step in the right direction for Oregon’s kids and parents. But we are not done yet. In the spirit of this legislation, it is my hope that school districts will voluntarily post their own specific curriculum on their websites,” said Senator Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer), a co-chief sponsor of the bill. “Every parent deserves a seat at the table in their child’s education. I will keep standing up for curriculum transparency and parental rights in Oregon.”

SB 409 is now headed to the Oregon House of Representatives for consideration.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-04-12 14:08:36Last Update: 2023-04-12 14:24:09

Crack Down on Organized Retail Theft
Increase penalties for those convicted of organized retail theft

This week the Oregon State Senate passed Senate Bill 340 with little opposition, which is said to significantly increases penalties for organized retail theft repeat offenders. Organized retail crime refers to groups operating multijurisdictional, coordinated schemes or enterprises to commit a variety of financial crimes, and sometimes include violent tactics.

Under SB 340, individuals convicted of organized retail theft will face harsher penalties. The new law will also amend and strengthen current statutes to allow law enforcement and prosecutors to aggregate the value of stolen property over 180 days for purposes of proving the crime of organized retail theft, and allows prosecutors to add multiple theft transactions together if they were against the same or multiple victims within a one-year period. Finally, it will create more accountability for people who threaten retail workers while committing theft.

The US Chamber of Commerce reports that 57% of retailers have reported a rise in organized retail crime in the past year. These thefts often involve networks of criminals who target high-value merchandise, causing significant financial losses for retailers, increasing costs for consumers and an unsafe work environment for retail workers.

Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) said, “Organized retail theft is a threat to consumers, employees, and local businesses. The passage of Senate Bill 340 is a strong statement that we will not tolerate organized retail theft in our state and will work to ensure safe communities for all.”



Senator Brian Boquist (R-Polk & Yamhill) has a different opinion. Voting against the bill, he says, “SB 340 is a pathetic response to retail theft in which prosecutors have refused to prosecute retail theft. When District Attorneys came under political pressure for allowing massive retail theft, we get this bill. It does nothing. It makes a crime of repeat offender theft but District Attorneys do not prosecute the first theft so the public gets nothing. Police and Sheriffs are told not to arrest retail thieves as public prosecutors will not take thieves to court. Now to combat public outrage that hurts the reelection of elected officials we get this bill referencing “repeat property offenders.” Since thieves are not being charged by elected District Attorneys the first time, then, what repeat offenders exist for a judge to sentence? Enforce existing laws. Then SB 340 extends the theft statute of limitations and allows charge bundling to make it look like prosecutors were powerless in the past. They were not. RICO and other ORSs allowed prosecution but DAs have not prosecuted. The closure and departure of corporate stores is 100% the fault of failing District Attorneys. This bill is purely political. Where is the Attorney General?”

SB 340 is the product of the Organized Retail Crime Task Force, which is made up of industry and labor stakeholders that could be negatively impacted by organized retail crime. SB 340 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-04-12 11:45:54Last Update: 2023-04-11 18:02:58

Senate Republicans Force Votes on Safe Communities
Democrats voted down the entire package

Last week Oregon Republicans attempted to withdraw sixteen pieces of legislation from committee for a vote on the Senate floor to make our communities safer. While the valley has experienced several shootings within a week, the Democrats voted in lock step to say ‘no’ to safer communities. This comes just after House Democrats largely rejected a ‘Safe Schools’ package following the Nashville school shooting. Instead they double down on restricting gun ownership by lawful citizens.

Senator Fred Girod (R-Lyons) said, “Sixteen. Today, we brought forward sixteen bills that deserved to be considered. Bills that would have cracked down on fentanyl dealing, increased the number of patrol troopers on our highways, and made necessary fixes to Ballot Measure 110, (which decriminalized the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs and diverted some marijuana tax dollars to a grant program). There’s no reason that can justify why they failed.”

“For years, Democrats have voted with criminals, not victims,” said Deputy Leader Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles), who made a motion to withdraw SB 430, a measure that would enhance sentencing for criminals whose assault causes lifechanging injury. “Today, we had an opportunity to vote to strengthen our communities and provide justice for victims of crime. For reasons I can’t fathom, the majority party said no to even having a discussion.”

An article by The Oregonian Editorial Board over the weekend noted that roughly 16,000 more people left Oregon than moved in from 2021 to 2022. It cited housing unaffordability, homelessness, increasing taxation, drug addiction crisis, untreated mental illness, gun violence, traffic deaths, and educational mediocrity as reasons why. Furthermore, a recent DHM Research survey found that just 3 in 10 of Oregonians think the state is headed in the right direction.



“Process matters. We were promised a bipartisan session, yet what we’re seeing is an extreme, partisan agenda that fails to meet the needs of Oregonians we represent,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend), who made a motion to withdraw SB 664, a measure that would criminalize threatening to commit a terroristic act. “Democrats showed their hand today by rejecting reasonable measures improving community safety.”

The complete ‘Safe Communities’ Package Republicans propose includes such things as creating crimes of patronizing a trafficked child, controlled substances homicide, and threatening to commit a terroristic act.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-04-11 12:14:23Last Update: 2023-04-11 17:55:46

Wood Stove Turn-in Event
“Old” wood stoves pollute the air

Washington County Oregon is now offering a $250 incentive to residents who turn in their old, "uncertified" wood stoves or wood stove inserts or those certified between 1986-1992.

Only 40 stoves/inserts will be accepted at this one-day event. This is the third consecutive year for the turn-in event. The first two years brought in 36 old wood stoves.

When: Saturday, May 6, 2023, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Where: Far West Recycling, 6440 SE Alexander St., Hillsboro

What qualifies for the $250 reward?



Washington County says that "old" wood stoves pollute the air and can harm the health of the owner and their neighbors. In addition, anyone selling a home with a wood stove or fireplace insert in Oregon must ensure it was certified to meet emissions performance standards at the time of manufacture. If it was not certified, state law requires it to be removed, destroyed and disposed of when a home is sold.

Washington County says that interested participants must register online ahead of time. Only 40 stoves will be accepted. Additional instructions are provided on Washington County’s webpage.

“This is a great opportunity for Washington County residents who want to get rid of their old wood stove and don’t want to replace it with a new one,” said Washington County Housing Rehabilitation Specialist Tim Davis. “For those who want to replace their old wood stove with a new one, our Wood Stove Exchange Program is a better option.”

Under the Wood Stove Exchange Program, qualifying residents can receive a rebate of $1,500-$4,000 when they replace their old or uncertified wood stove with a cleaner heating device. Some households may qualify for a full-cost replacement, depending on their income.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-04-11 11:48:08Last Update: 2023-04-11 12:24:56

Republican Leaders Defend Public Right to Hearings
Democracy dies in darkness.

Oregon Republican Senate Leader Tim Knopp and Senator Brian Boquist sent Senate President Rob Wager a letter on Senate Bill 393-A. The new 7-page “gut and stuff” amendment to SB 393, which now incorporates gun regulations, passed out of the Senate Committee on Judiciary along partisan lines without the public’s input.

Kevin Starrett, Oregon Firearms Federation reports that the committee members had no idea what the bill does, but passed it to a floor vote anyway. He says, “In defending it, Prozanski took the bizarre position that it would save lives by adding a 72-hour waiting period before a person could take possession of a gun they bought. In his garbled explanation he could not even keep the different bills straight. What is clear, is that along with all the other elements of these bills, anyone with any firearm’s magazine will be subject to arrest after it becomes law.”

On the Senate floor, Senate Knopp said, “Yesterday, a chair you appointed to a Senate committee you created reported Senate Bill 393-A out of committee. It was introduced as a benign study bill. Neither the base bill, nor the [gun control] gut and stuff amendments ever received a public hearing. OLIS shows zero items of posted testimony. SB 393-A is now headed to the Senate floor having received zero public input on a bill that affects a Constitutional right. This is offensive to the character and tradition of democracy and diminishes the legitimacy of the Senate...Don't let democracy die under your watch.”



To weigh-in on the public’s right to have a voice in all legislation, contact Senate President Rob Wanger, 503-986-1600, email Sen.RobWagner@oregonlegislature.gov.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-04-10 00:15:44Last Update: 2023-04-10 00:26:03

Drone Cops in Portland
PPB authorized to begin pilot UAS program

On April 5, 2023, the Portland City Council authorized the Portland Police Bureau to purchase and operate Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) commonly referred to as “Drones” in a limited pilot project.

Portland Police Bureau personnel assigned to the Specialized Resources Division testified in front of City Council on March 22, 2023, regarding the program. PPB will begin a year-long pilot project, using drones in limited areas. PPB says that the sUASs are expected to cost under $80,000.

sUASs are widely used in the public sector, as well as by nearly every law enforcement agency within the Portland Metro area. The regulated use of sUASs by the PPB Investigations Branch will provide improvements in safety for both officers and community members. Additionally, the use of sUAS technology in crime / major crash scene events reduces inconvenience to the public by minimizing documentation time at a scene.

PPB sUASs are exact or slightly modified versions of commercially available products and will be clearly marked with City of Portland or Portland Police logo. During the pilot phase, PPB will use the drones in two areas: Traffic Division and the Metro Explosive Disposal Unit.

The Traffic Division will use a drone to: The Metro Explosive Disposal Unit will use a drone to:



“I’m pleased PPB will begin this pilot using drones on a limited basis,” said Chief Chuck Lovell. “Drones have proven to drastically reduce personnel time at crash scenes, increase safety and decrease the amount of time the public may be impacted when it comes to situations such as road closures. During this critical staffing period, PPB continues to look for innovative ways to help us do our jobs more efficiently and effectively.”

The Bureau will follow ORS 837 Unmanned Aircraft Systems as well as its Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which prohibits the drone equipment from: PPB will begin to train and license pilots and operators including training on current laws, FAA regulations and the Bureau’s SOP and identify equipment needs, tests and procedures. This pilot project would begin in about 60 days.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-04-09 12:35:33Last Update: 2023-04-09 14:39:47

Washington County Republican Party Stands Behind President Trump
“We condemn the unending political attacks”

The Washington County Republican Party of Oregon has now given a statement asserting support of President Donald J. Trump and blasting the Department of Justice and law enforcement agencies for political weaponization of the country's justice system.

The statement reads as follows:

"We, the Washington County Republican Party Executive Committee of Oregon, publicly condemn the weaponization of the judicial system and law enforcement agencies with respect to the indictment of President Donald ). Trump."



The statement continues, "As Republicans, we believe in the rule of law and order and stand for justice for all. We are crossing a line that has never been seen in American history where political opponents are harassed and persecuted by those in positions of power. Our country is being torn apart by these unprecedented actions and a two-tiered system of justice."

It concludes, "We in the Washington County Republican Party of Oregon stand against the unwarranted indictment of President Donald J. Trump and condemn the unending political attacks leveled against him and other conservatives."

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-04-08 15:23:09Last Update: 2023-04-08 16:35:33

Governor Kotek Issues Statement Condemning Court Ruling in Mifepristone Case
What is she so upset over?

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek issued a statement in response to the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruling. This ruling stems from a lawsuit filed last November by anti-abortion groups in Texas. It aims to block use of Mifepristone, a medication used for abortion in the United States.

The Plaintiff Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over its approval of mifepristone, a medication used to terminate a pregnancy. Plaintiff alleged that the FDA exceeded its regulatory authority to approve the drugs by using its accelerated drug approval authority, failed to study the safety of the drugs under the labeled conditions of use, and ignored the potential impacts of hormone-blocking regiment on adolescent girls.

Governor Kotek stated, “This is a shameful, dangerous ruling that will prevent patients across the country from accessing safe, effective medication. As we sort out the impact of this ruling, hear me loud and clear: abortion is still accessible and legal in Oregon. As your Governor, I believe in the right to reproductive freedom and will continue to be a fierce advocate for that right. My administration will be working with the Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Department of Justice, and the Biden Administration to evaluate the ruling and fight for patients across Oregon and the United States.”

However, the U.S. District Courts Summary states: By illegally approving chemical abortion drugs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration failed to abide by its legal obligations to protect the health, safety, and welfare of girls and women. The FDA never studied the safety of the drugs under the labeled conditions of use, ignored the potential impacts of the hormone-blocking regimen on the developing bodies of adolescent girls, disregarded the substantial evidence that chemical abortion drugs cause more complications than surgical abortions, and eliminated necessary safeguards for pregnant girls and women who undergo this dangerous drug regimen.



What exactly is Governor Kotek condemning? The continued use of a drug that has never been tested for real world use and girls under 18? Chemical abortion drugs causing hemorrhaging where 35 percent end up in the emergency room? Protecting girls from becoming sterile?

In the Oregon Legislature, HB 2002 passed the House Committee on Behavioral Health and Health Care on a partisan vote and is now in the Ways and Means Committee. Oregon law already allows school health centers to give out abortion drugs or arrange for an abortion without parents' knowledge or consent. HB 2002 extends that to gender-affirming treatments to transgender. This bill should be evaluated for compliance with the ruling to protect our students.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-04-07 19:54:35Last Update: 2023-04-07 20:07:42

Citizen Academy Students Graduate from Medford Program
An inside look into local government

The Winter 2023 Medford Citizen Academy students were recognized for completing the program during the April 6 City Council meeting. They also received a certificate of completion for this accomplishment.

The Medford Citizen Academy is a free, eight-week program designed to give participants an inside look into how the City's local government works and the services provided. Each week, students spent time with a different department, where they learned how it operates and then participated in a hands-on activity.

The first session, City Government 101, kicked off with students getting an overview of the City's departments. Then they met Mayor Randy Sparacino and City Manager Brian Sjothun, who both talked about their roles and why our local government is essential. The session concluded with students receiving a tour of City Hall and the Lausmann Annex.

Next was the Building Safety session, where students learned about how the department helps residents with building permits, inspections and business licenses. Then students took on the challenge of creating earthquake-proof buildings using toothpicks, marshmallows and Jell-O.

Week three was the Planning and Developing Our Community session, where the Planning department discussed housing and community development, current and long-range planning, and the Medford Urban Renewal Agency. Then students participated in a group activity where they came up with a development plan for a site on N. Riverside Avenue.

The following week was the We Keep Your City Healthy and Active session with the Parks, Recreation and Facilities department. The department gave students a tour of the Santo Community Center and highlighted some of its recreational programs. This session's hands-on activities included a self-defense demonstration and students developing their own neighborhood park. They also received a t-shirt for their participation.



Halfway through the Citizen Academy was the Public Works session, Students got to see how the streets signs are made and the traffic signals work. They also received their own personalized street sign during this session.

Week six was the Dollars and Sense session, where the Finance department talked about the financial services and budget process. Students were then tasked with creating a two-year budget for the Public Works department.

The next week, students headed over to the Medford Police Department for the We Keep Your City Safe: Pt. 1 session. MPD explained some of the different services that the officers provide and the work that goes into protecting the community. They also got to see a demonstration from the K-9 program and Drone Response Team.

We Keep Your City Safe: Pt. 2 was the last session of the program, presented by the Medford Fire Department. Medford Fire gave students a tour of the station, showed them some of the fire operations and gave a lesson on fire prevention. Some of the activities during this session included going for a ride on the aerial platform and knocking down a small fire.

Medford says they look forward to bringing back this program in Fall 2023 and that those interested can apply online.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-04-07 12:59:12Last Update: 2023-04-07 13:22:18

Wheeler Names New Director of Homeless Services
Will we see improvement in Portland?

Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson and Mayor Ted Wheeler have now announced that Kaiser Permanente executive Dan Field will serve as the next Director of the Joint Office of Homeless Services.

The announcement, made at a press conference in the Multnomah County Boardroom on April 5th, follows a national search that supposedly had 48 candidates.

“This search was conducted collaboratively with Joint Office staff and leadership at the County and City,” Vega Pederson said. “I am proud to say that our search has yielded in Dan Field, a leader to meet this moment, one who understands the complexities and has the commitment to coalition- and relationship-building that is needed to help bring added urgency and accountability to the Joint Office's work and investments.”

“We take this hire very, very seriously and we are very happy that Dan Field has been willing to step forward to help lead our collective efforts,” Wheeler said.

Dan Field spoke at a press conference announcing his hire on April 5, 2023.

He spent nearly two decades with Kaiser Permanente, Field also served as a staffer for former Gov. John Kitzhaber when Kitzhaber was president of the Oregon Senate, and as chief of staff for former Portland Mayor Vera Katz when she was speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives.

Field played a role in founding HealthShare of Oregon.

In 2020, he sponsored projects aimed at reversing systemic racial injustices, including the creation of the Kaiser Center for Black Health and Wellness, scheduled to open later in 2023.

In 2021, he helped launch a mass vaccination clinic at the Oregon Convention Center that administered more than 550,000 COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Dan's years of work at the confluence of health care and housing have shown the promise in this approach, as has his ability to work across our region to connect the dots to address difficult challenges with unique sources of funding and partnership,” said Chair Jessica Vega Pederson.

The press conference convened speakers including Vega Pederson, Wheeler and Field, along with Joint Office Interim Director Joshua Bates; Angela Martin, Co-Director of HereTogether Oregon; Marcus Mundy, executive director of the Coalition of Communities of Color; Ed Blackburn, former executive director of Central City Concern; and Jessica Getman, board chair of the Portland Business Alliance.

Field said he steps into the role with “humility about the challenge ahead of us,” and said he will center people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in his work.

“To anyone in the community who is homeless or housing insecure, whether you're sleeping on a couch, living out of your car or lying in a doorway, we see you and we will keep you at the center of everything we do,” Field said. “That is my pledge here today. Please hold me to it. We want a community that is just and equitable and where everybody is safely housed. My pledge to you is we will work hard to honor that trust and to strengthen our community in the process.”



The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners must approve Field’s appointment. Pending that approval, Field is expected to take over the Joint Office of Homeless Services, and its $255 million budget and 95 employees, on April 28.

Formed in 2016, the Joint Office is a partnership between Multnomah County and the City of Portland. They contract with community-based organizations and work with other governmental entities to provide equity-based services including housing assistance, shelter, healthcare and services navigation, employment assistance, and street outreach.

Joshua Bates, Deputy Director of the Joint Office, has served since November 2022. He will remain at the Joint Office as Deputy Director to work with Field.

“It was clear that he brought partnership- and coalition-building to this work,” Bates said. “I'm certain that through his position, he will build bridges in ways that have not been built before to serve folks experiencing homelessness. I am excited to be a part of that bridge-building and to support the next phase of the Joint Office alongside Dan Field."

The County began recruiting for a permanent director in fall 2022, leveraging the reach of community and advocacy organizations

. Recruitment was centered in the County’s focus on equity and leading with race, using the County’s Gladys McCoy hiring standards and focusing on diversity and inclusion in designing hiring panels, interview questions and selection criteria.

“It was important not only to end this search with a successful candidate able to help the Joint Office build strategically for the long-term, but to engage in an inclusive process that increased our connection to and involvement with key community partners,” said Chair Vega Pederson. “I feel confident in where we landed and the process we took to get here.”

The search drew 48 local and national candidates, 51% of whom identified as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color). Seven candidates advanced to interviews with County leaders. Three finalists were then interviewed in February by a nine-person panel made up of County leaders, Joint Office staff, representatives from the City, local providers, and community members with lived expertise.

The top two candidates submitted short videos that were reviewed by more than 30 stakeholders from across Multnomah County, including members of the business community, elected leaders, and the representatives from the housing and homelessness continuum of care. Chair Vega Pederson and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who was involved throughout the process and in final decision-making, then interviewed each of the top two candidates together in a small group setting.

“I look forward to working with Dan in his new position as the director of the Joint Office of Homeless Services. Throughout the interview process, I was incredibly impressed by Dan's commitment,” Wheeler said.

“He has the experience, he has the drive, he has the connections,” Wheeler said.

Field has been the executive director of Community Benefit, Government Relations and External Affairs at Kaiser Permanente.

“I am looking forward to returning to public service. I love our community — Multnomah County, the City of Portland, and the beautiful cities that make up our region — and see so much potential in the Joint Office and in our community to reach local solutions. This is my opportunity to focus on good policy that features connections across the broad spectrum of stakeholders whose ideas and investments are needed to build the strongest and most responsive housing safety net we can,” Field said.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-04-07 12:00:33Last Update: 2023-04-07 12:44:06

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