What is your mask wearing behavior?
I wear a mask when I am out in public
I wear a mask when I have to, like grocery shopping or to get seated
I never wear a mask because I have respiratory problems that prevent it
I never wear a mask based on principle
Northwest Observer
Subscribe for Free Email Updates
Search Articles
Woman Sexually Assaulted While Sleeping in Portland
Felon has been arrested and released multiple times

On October 29, 2020, at approximately 2:05 p.m., Central Precinct officers responded to the 2000 block of West Burnside Street on reports of a male suspect who was sexually assaulting an unconscious female victim in public. After arriving on scene and speaking with several witnesses in the vicinity, officers located the suspect and placed him into custody.

The Portland Police Bureau Sex Crime Unit was notified and 39-year-old Jedediah Thomas Zach was booked into the Multnomah County Detention center on Sex Abuse I and Sex Abuse II charges.

It seems Jedediah Thomas Zach has quite a record, including felony robbery. Just last month he was arrested and released twice in one day, with zero bail in Multnomah County.

The Portland Police Bureau Sex Crimes Unit consists of sworn personal and victim advocates who apply a victim-centered approach to reporting and investigating sexual assaults.

Multnomah County Victims' Assistance Program: Provides support during the reporting of sexual assaults and referrals to victim services and resources: 503-988-3222.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-30 06:23:16Last Update: 2020-10-30 08:53:32

Renewable Energy Association Appoints New Director
Former County Judge Mike McArthur accepts position

The Community Renewable Energy Association (CREA) announced the appointment of Mike McArthur as executive director. McArthur will take over for Brian Skeahan, who announced his retirement.

“We were pleased when Mike expressed interest in the position,” Les Perkins, Chair of the CREA Executive Committee and Hood River County Commissioner said when the announcement was made. “We had an excellent applicant pool,” Perkins said, “but ultimately the executive committee unanimously agreed that Mike was the right person with the right skill set for the CREA executive director position.”

McArthur was Sherman County Judge at the beginning of the wind boom in the gorge. He was involved in CREA’s formation and formative years. In 2004, McArthur became executive director of the Association of Oregon Counties, where he helped champion renewable energy development. McArthur chaired the Governor’s Renewable Energy Work Group from 2005 to 2007.

McArthur said, “I am committed to CREA’s original vision of the positive benefits renewable energy provides all Oregonians. CREA is unique as a place where local governments can come together with project developers to understand each other’s needs, and by doing so, ensure Oregon will continue to be a place where these developers will want to do business, thereby creating jobs and tax base for Oregon.”

Skeahan came to CREA in 2013 after a 30+ year career in public power. During that time, he was involved in renewable energy development including hydro, landfill gas, and wind project development. “I would like to thank this and prior CREA Executive Committee members for the opportunity to work with them. It was an interesting way to wind up my career, providing me a new and different perspective on this interesting and important industry,” Skeahan stated.

McArthur will join CREA officially on November 1, 2020. Skeahan will stay on board through CREA’s annual meeting November 17, 2020 and then until the end of November.

CREA currently operates as an intergovernmental entity pursuant to Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 190. CREA was formed to promote, foster, and advance the economic application and public understanding of community based renewable energy. Members include 13 Oregon counties, a city (Prineville), irrigation districts, and renewable energy developers.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-29 18:59:00Last Update: 2020-10-29 21:21:24

Oregonians Respond to Ed. Dept. On BLM Resolution
Students and families express concern

Editor's note: This article first appeared as a blog on the website LibertyInEducation.org

On October 15, the Oregon Department of Education issued a Black Lives Matter Resolution. The resolution contains laudable statements supporting the equal treatment of Black students, fair treatment of all students, and removing roadblocks hindering student success. We support those messages of respect, understanding, and belonging.

The statements that bring concern for many students and families contain the words “equity”, “anti-racism”, and “systemic”, which sound reasonable on the surface, but are, perhaps, destructive or counter-productive. What exactly do these terms mean and how are they taught in the classroom? The phrase “Black Lives Matter” can precisely mean what it declares, Black students matter. But, could it mean something more? Does it bring unintended division into the schools when it is meant to unite?


This is not a new word for the Oregon Department of Education and most parents in Oregon are familiar with the phrase “equity lens”. the Oregon Department of Education has used this approach with distance learning, so it is not surprising that the Oregon Department of Education states their focus on equity in this resolution. In their Equity Initiatives, the Oregon Department of Education wants equal outcomes. Thomas Sowell, a Black author and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute has researched extensively on the causes of discrimination and disparities among Black youth. More than a decade ago he caught on to the “hoax”:

The biggest hoax of the past two generations is still going strong — namely, the hoax that statistical differences in outcomes for different groups are due to the way other people treat those groups. The latest example of this hoax is the joint crusade of the Department of Education and the Department of Justice against schools that discipline black males more often than other students. According to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, this disparity in punishment violates the "promise" of "equity." Just who made this promise remains unclear, and why equity should mean equal outcomes despite differences in behavior is even more unclear. This crusade by Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is only the latest in a long line of fraudulent arguments based on statistics. If black males get punished more often than Asian American females, does that mean that it is somebody else's fault? That it is impossible that black males are behaving differently from Asian American females? Nobody in his right mind believes that. But that is the unspoken premise, without which the punishment statistics prove nothing about ‘equity.’

We wonder if the Oregon Department of Education’s “equity” policy is actually equitable? Is it beneficial to the communities we are trying to build? Or have these policies actually widened the gap? As Sowell suggests, perhaps there are other statistical differences that cause the achievement gap? There are differences in family dynamics, gender, income, personality, birth order, etc. In Sowell’s most recent book “Discrimination and Disparities” (2018) he continues to speak out against the focus of equal outcome. He states “children raised by two parents tend to have higher levels of intelligence but also that first-born and single children have even higher intelligence levels than those of younger siblings, indicating that the time and attention given by parents to their children greatly impacts the child’s future more than factors like race, environment or genetics.” Overall we feel that focusing on outcome over opportunity is more harmful than helpful.

“Anti-racism” & “Systemic Racism”

We have been hearing from parents across Oregon that their children are being told in class they are racist from birth. Sixth grade teachers are discussing the Breonna Taylor case and stating that the “killers will be held accountable”, and to “be prepared for large protests around the country if they are not”. Parents are listening to their children’s teachers delegitimize the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, and undermining our law enforcement. Other students are being taught about “white privilege” and inherited racial guilt. Do these teachings support the Oregon Department of Education’s mission, as stated in the resolution, to promote “educational practices that lead directly to the educational and life success of all Oregon PK-12 students”?

These are not the lessons of Martin Luther King. Rather, all of these lessons are rooted in theories from the Black Power Movement of the 1960s—an ideology that gave rise to Critical Race Theory. By definition, these ideas are simply “theories” and their impact on child development is unproven. Many black scholars are speaking out in opposition to teaching these topics to young people, especially without allowing for open debate or opposing viewpoints. Many believe these lessons are harmful for children of all races—division, guilt and permanent victim status leading to hopelessness are just a few of their unintended consequences. Recently, Kemi Badenock, a woman of color and Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom, recently spoke out about the dangers of teaching Critical Race Theory:

In Oregon and around the world, parents, politicians, teachers, and others are beginning to question these teachings, which are divisive and dehumanizing.

“Black Lives Matter”

The Oregon Department of Education Black Lives Matter Resolution states:

WHEREAS, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel issued an advisory opinion that it is not a violation of the Hatch Act for federal employees to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the Black Lives Matter Global Network while on duty, including wearing or displaying materials related to the cause, because they address issues such as racism, which are not inherently aligned with a single political party and do not meet any criteria for a "partisan political group”.

If the statement “Black Lives Matter” is nonpartisan and teachers are supported in wearing Black Lives Matter gear, are they also supported in wearing other slogans such as “Blue Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter”? If Black Lives Matter is a statement not representing a political agenda, then other slogans should also be acceptable. However, in the Oregon Department of Education’s “Training Toolkit” released with the Resolution, a teacher discusses how she handled a student saying “All Lives Matter” in one of the virtual classrooms. The student then wrote an apology letter.

Clearly only certain slogans and statements are being supported by the Oregon Department of Education. If Black Lives Matter is not in violation there should be equal treatment of other statements as well.

Recently Governor Brown rightly asked for the removal of symbols of the noose, the Confederate flag, and the swastika. We agree with this. Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill stated on the issue:

The Oregon Department of Education is committed to ensuring that Oregon’s schools are safe and inclusive for all students and staff, and the All Students Belong rule is an important step in that process. The noose, Confederate flag and swastika are being used to bully and harm students and staff, and this is particularly true for students of color. Students must feel like they are safe and belong in their own schools if they are to learn work and grow to their fullest potential. It is our responsibility to make sure that all of our school communities feel safe and welcomed, and we support youth to set a moral standard.

Does “all students” include students that have parents in law enforcement? Does “all students” include students whose families have escaped communism? We heard from an Oregon parent that escaped communist rule in Vietnam and she shared with us her thoughts on the raised fist. She states, “It represents communism. We hate communism. I lived in a refugee camp in Thailand for 2 years before coming to the United States. We escaped and now they teach communism to my children and they are confused. The United States is land of liberty! They don’t teach it anymore.” Are these students feeling they “belong in their own schools”? The symbol that BLM has adopted is the communist fist, which to those who have escaped communism, means “genocide.” Children with these family histories must feel like they are safe and belong in their schools too.

Although the ODE’s Resolution is well-meaning, we are concerned about possible unintended consequences. Does it enhance or reduce freedom? Assemble or divide? We believe that the most inclusive line in the Resolution are the last 3 words, “All Students Belong.” If ODE really believes this, they need to rethink their Black Lives Matter Resolution.

--Oregonians for Liberty in Education

Post Date: 2020-10-29 17:20:10Last Update: 2020-10-30 08:35:01

Oregon Wildfire Cleanup Update
Cleanup completion is likely 6-18 months

As the state sets its sights on recovering from historic wildfires, the Oregon Department of Transportation will take a lead role, as part of the Oregon Debris Management Task Force, in ash and debris removal.

Oregon’s Joint Legislative Emergency Board approved $50 million last week to begin this work in the eight counties affected by wildfires – Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion counties.

The 2020 Labor Day fires were the largest and most expensive disaster in Oregon’s history. Nine Oregonians lost their lives, more than 1 million acres burned and over 5,000 homes and businesses were destroyed. The state has transitioned from immediate fire response to statewide recovery.

“The level of damage and magnitude of loss to Oregon’s communities cannot be overstated,” ODOT Director Kris Strickler said. “Our collective efforts to rebuild will be long-term, challenging, and will demand strong partnerships at all levels. We can – and will – do this together.”

Preparing to rebuild requires we first clean up the debris the fires left behind. Removing household hazardous waste, hazard trees, and other ash and structural debris will be a lengthy and expensive process.

The wildfire cleanup process is already underway. Step 1, removal of household hazardous waste, is fully funded by FEMA and the state of Oregon and is already underway in several counties. Step 2 is removal of ash and debris.

As the lead contracting agency for Step 2, ODOT will oversee the cleanup efforts, awarding contracts for ash and debris removal. ODOT has already begun removal of hazard trees across the state, a process that could take nine months to complete. The estimated timeline for ash and debris cleanup completion is 6-18 months and includes considerations such as weather impacts, property access limitations and geographic scope.

ODOT will work in close partnership with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Emergency Management, local governments, property owners, and private sector partners.

Initial estimates put the debris cleanup tally at over $600 million, including $326 million for ash and debris removal and $295 million to remove damaged trees. The estimate is preliminary and is likely to change. As debris cleanup efforts begin, the true costs of the damage will become clearer.

Property owners need to sign an access agreement, called a Right of Entry form, as soon as possible to allow crews to clean up their property for both steps 1 and 2. The sooner you sign this form, the sooner cleanup can get started in your area.

If you choose to clean up hazardous waste, ash and debris outside of this process, it will be at your own cost. Removal of household hazardous waste and debris can be an expensive process, costing as much as $75,000. Even with insurance, the cost will reduce the amount of money you can use to rebuild your home.

More information is available online, or you can email ODOT via a dedicated email for all wildfire debris related inquiries.

Oregon’s Debris Management Task Force, which includes ODOT, OEM, and DEQ, is coordinating federal, state, and local government agencies to clean up debris from the 2020 Oregon wildfires.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-29 11:30:38Last Update: 2020-10-29 19:47:52

Concerns of Government Overreach in Oregon
Republican Senator Dennis Lithicum issues statement

Senator Dennis Linthicum continues to advocate for Oregonians, businesses and other employers that are unfairly targeted by Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OR-OSHA).

Senator Linthicum issued the following statement:

“A preposterous parade of medical elites, bureaucrats and their media cohorts are needlessly frightening the people of Oregon during the COVID-19 political pandemic. Instead of leaders that portray optimism and innovation in the face of uncertainty, the Democrats and their bureaucratic cronies want to force all Oregonians into their twisted view of absolute subservience under the guise of safety.

“We see this with OR-OSHA making daily, indiscriminate attacks on employers and private enterprise. OR-OSHA’s new rule proposals are a callous assault on the American cultural, social, spiritual, and economic prosperity that rightfully belongs to every Oregonian.

“We are witnesses to the arbitrary overreach of Governor Kate Brown’s unhinged reign and fear- mongering to maintain power. COVID-19 cases are going up in Oregon because we are testing more, thanks to an influx of tests from the federal government. Follow the bottom line, or follow the money, to understand the governor’s arbitrary decisions during the political pandemic: some larger university sports programs are operational because they rake in revenue for the state, while smaller school programs remain locked down, forcing some students to pursue their dreams in other states.

“This example, and countless others, coupled with Governor Brown’s continuous Executive Orders, which were recently extended to keep Oregon locked down until early January 2021, are all declarations of unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power, which carries devastation and distress to new levels here in Oregon. I am proud to be part of a lawsuit to protect the people of Oregon in an attempt to curb Governor Brown’s horrific abuse of government power.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-28 17:47:45Last Update: 2020-10-28 18:26:00

Anti-Racism in the High Schools
The anonymous letter that shook Lake Oswego to its politically correct, common core

Editor's note: This article contains offensive language.

You may have heard that a large, unpermitted, Black Lives Matter protest occurred over the weekend in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Perhaps you've seen the flyer that circulated around social media claiming "We are going to F### S### up in Lake Oswego"

But where did it start, and why Lake Oswego?

According to the Lake Oswego School District, an anonymous letter was sent to a home, displaying a window painting that stated "Silence Supports Police Violence."

The letter sent anonymously, signed "your neighbors", asks for the painting to come down, and to respect the values and views of all neighbors. A seemingly innocuous neighborhood issue, very quickly escalated into a community debacle, as the school board, district, city council, chamber of commerce, and then BLM, decided to get involved to offer their viewpoints on the situation. Beginning with Lake Oswego School District sending out an email to parents "reaffirming its commitment to creating environments of anti-racism"

Frustrated parents began to seek answers, upon receiving this email, trying to understand this choice of intervention. An email response to one parent, who wishes to remain unnamed, reads that the school felt it was important to get involved, as a student of LOSD, resides in that particular home. Mary Kay Larson goes onto add that the school (not the family unit) is "responsible for educating and supporting the whole child, not just academics."

The letter must have been extremely inappropriate to warrant such a response, be rendered "horrible" by school board members, and incite flyers calling to F### S### Up. One main point made, was the intent of the anonymous letter writer, who mentioned property values. The School Board responded that this individual placed greater value on property than Black Lives, therefore excusing whatever reactions would follow. Even excusing the flyer, calling for violence, as an acceptable means to an end, "dismantling white supremacy."

It's unclear who reached out to Portland based group "Moms United For Black Lives", or if officials within the city coordinated efforts for the protest, but Willie Poinsette of the Lake Oswego "Respond to Racism" group, told KOIN News "the march shows that people of color in Lake Oswego aren’t “sitting in a bubble,” and there are other people out there who support the movement within the city." Poinsette also expressed frustration that the Proud Boys were called to the march. According to their Oregon chapter, local area business owners requested the Proud Boys security services. Antifa was also invited for security reasons by "Moms United For Black Lives" founder Demetria Hester, according to Facebook posts pictured here.

Hester states "Yes awesome day! The wimpy chuds were (crying emoji). They was big scared and when they saw security they didn't want none." "Yes it was beautiful watching them be scared" added another protester on the thread. In the live Facebook feed, Antifa can clearly be seen armed to the teeth, open carrying shotguns, and AR semi-automatic rifles.

With Antifa security, the organizers of the event marched down Lake Oswego streets, chanting things like "burrrr it's cold in here, there must be some racists in the atmosphere" (as the group came upon cars in the Safeway parking lot with Trump flags, and the American flag), but not before getting a pep talk from Demetria Hester herself. Her speech reads as follows:

"Wake up wake up wake up, we're here to wake up you racist white people" Hester yelled into a bullhorn prior to the march.

"They think because they live in lake Oswego they're safe, we're here to wake them up. They think because they live in lake Oswego they're superior to everyone else". "Everywhere you look there's a Karen, they said it's not ok to protest. They don't have unity, we have unity. They hate themselves, they have hate in their hearts because they hate themselves."

"Start loving yourselves, start loving your family. These white people are evil, they have no hearts, they couldn't change if they wanted to. They don't know what it's like being another color, they don't know what it's like to be afraid of dying because of their skin color."

"Ya'll are evil, everything you do is evil, y'all ain't shit, y'all ain't shit. How bout y'all stop drinking, how bout y'all stop being alcoholics, lake no negroe. Your wives know you ain't shit, and they're leaving you. Wake up, white men don't know what the F### they're doing"

The march proceeded down 2nd street, by Safeway, to A avenue, ending by the water fountain on the promenade where the group began harassing restaurant goers, and demanding to hear the term "Black Lives Matter" from passersby. One woman was jeered at, and called a racist while sitting at a table, silently filming. Captured here by Twitter user "KittyLists." "Look at this, she's super racist", says Hester with the bullhorn. Another anti-racist marcher asked, "Do your kids go to L.O High? Are you teaching them to be racist like you? Or are they trying to teach you not to be a f###ing racist?"

It's abundantly clear that the protest was directly connected to, what started as, a minor neighborhood conflict over appropriate window signs. Normally a city council meeting would have taken public comment, and then determined what constitutes free speech vs divisive content, or an impediment to peace. However, in this case, members of the school district decided to take matters into their own hands, believing it's their job to "educate and support the whole child, not just academics".

After reviewing correspondence between parents and school district officials, it's also clear that the School District was well aware of the upcoming protest, along with the flyer calling for violence. It would appear the Lake Oswego School District is more concerned with racism, then it is with the safety of students. By taking on the role of families, to educate and support the whole child, LOSD has created a new set of moral and ethical dilemmas. Additionally, the failure to allow this situation to permeate through the proper channels of government, creates a new set of questions. What is the role of the School District?

Is the School District responsible for students, while they're at home, under the care of parents? Is the possibility of racism more important than actualized violence? What authority or responsibility does the school district have to maintain the peace in a community? Can government be a "made to order", individualized policy maker, or does it need to be equally applicable to all? Is it our government's role to create enforceable policies, involving thought, the human mind, or hearts?

In the continued fight for equality, and tolerance, how do personal biases, or violence help create a more tolerant or just society? Are we demonizing those who disagree with our own world views, while labeling them as racist, at the detriment of democracy?

One thing we can probably all agree on, is that true, two sided conversations are not happening in our reactionary, triggered world. Conversations that are desperately needed to understand one another, are being replaced by insults and bullying. As the divide continues, we're seeing these same dynamics playing out in city council meetings, legislative hearings, and on the Presidential debate stage. Rhetoric seems to be taking the place of solid policy discussions. In a recent Oregon legislative committee hearing, bipartisan support over simple budgetary appropriations, could not be found, but instead became a continuous, emotionally charged debate.

Our State, and our Country is at a critical crossroads. Will we be able to place personal feelings aside, and address the root issues, making sound policy decisions for all? Or will our country crumble, as two ideological extremes lock horns, like two rams fighting over the prized ewe?

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-10-28 16:41:29Last Update: 2020-10-29 08:32:08

Lane County Approves More Deputy Sheriffs
Will enhance rural patrol and service for the next five years

The Lane County Board of Commissioners unanimously (4-0) approved the addition of 4.0 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) deputy sheriff positions in order to enhance rural patrol and service for the next five years.

Two FTE will be designated to work in the McKenzie River Valley area during the ongoing response, recovery and rebuilding related to the Holiday Farm Fire. The other two FTE will be assigned to the West Lane region.

“As most of our rural residents know, funding for the Sheriff’s Office has allowed for only minimal rural patrol over the past several years,” said Sheriff Cliff Harrold. “This new investment comes at a time when the McKenzie River area is in need of support and a sense of security as residents begin the rebuilding process. It also allows us to increase the level of service we can provide to West Lane County residents who live in the most geographically difficult area to provide law enforcement services. Overall, this will help reduce response times and increase our presence in rural communities.”

Prior to this new investment, funding for the Sheriff’s Office only provided 25 FTE to patrol 4,600 square miles of the county. Those 25 FTE, spread across 24 hours per day, seven days per week, provided about three deputies on at any given time to respond to calls throughout the county, resulting in very long response times for life safety calls, and often no response to property crime calls.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to provide designated District Deputies to both the McKenzie River Valley area and to the West Lane County area so we can continue to build those valuable relationships that result in safer communities,” said Harrold. “While this funding is temporary, we are hopeful that it leads to more conversations about how to fund public safety in the long term for Lane County residents and visitors.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-28 10:52:16Last Update: 2020-10-28 11:02:00

Governor Kate Brown Extends Lockdown Orders
Statewide mandates extended until January 2021

Governor Kate Brown today extended her declaration of a state of emergency regarding COVID-19 for an additional 60 days, until January 2, 2021. The declaration is the legal underpinning for the Governor’s COVID-19 executive orders and the Oregon Health Authority’s health and safety guidance. She issued the following statement:

“As early as January of this year, the Oregon Health Authority began its COVID-19 preparedness efforts as cases spread overseas. Since then, more than 600 Oregonians and over 200,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 — and last week, we set a daily record with 550 new cases.

"Extending the COVID-19 state of emergency is not something I do lightly, but we know all too well that not taking action would mean an even greater loss of life. The second wave of COVID-19 has arrived in the United States, and this time it is hitting all of our communities.

“My goal is to keep Oregon on track to open more schools for in-person instruction for our students — and to continue to reopen, and keep open, our businesses, communities, and economies. Oregon is not an island. Without safety precautions in place, we could quickly see our case counts spike as well.

“We must continue to work together and follow the simple steps that have kept us safe throughout this pandemic: washing our hands, wearing face coverings, watching our physical distance, staying home when sick, and avoiding social get-togethers, especially indoors.”

The state of emergency declaration is the legal underpinning for the executive orders the Governor has issued to keep Oregonians healthy and safe throughout this crisis, including her orders on reopening Oregon while maintaining essential health and safety protections, as well as orders around childcare, schools, and higher education operations. Extending the state of emergency declaration allows those orders to stay in effect.

The Governor reviews and reevaluates each of her emergency orders every 60 days, to determine whether those orders should be continued, modified, or rescinded. The findings of this review process are listed in the executive order.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-27 16:22:57Last Update: 2020-10-27 17:25:57

Elections Clerk Gives Out Wrong Election Date
Marion County Clerk Burgess sends out wrong notice

Even though the state has been a vote-by-mail state since 1995, the problems with it persist in Oregon. Marion County Clerk Bill Burgess has sent a reminder to Marion County voters via text that provides only little detail to the situation, but suggests that the clerk himself had just previously sent out the wrong date for notifying voters of when the elections occurs. Voters were then reminded that it is too late to mail in your ballot, and it should be dropped off a Marion County ballot drop box.

The unusual message from Bill Burgess via text #41575 is seen here:

“##Welcome to Marion County Clerk - Elections Track Your Ballot##

You may have received an incorrect message with the wrong Election date. Election day is November 3rd. It's too late to mail your ballot. Use one of the many ballot drop boxes in Marion County.

Questions? Call 503-588-5041.

Visit the **[Marion County Elections Website](http://www.co.marion.or.us/co/elections)** for additional election information or visit the **[Oregon Drop Box Locator](http://sos.oregon.gov/voting/Pages/drop-box-locator.aspx)** to find a ballot drop box near you.

**Bill Burgess** **Marion County Clerk** Phone: (503) 588-5041 Email: [elections@co.marion.or.us](mailto:elections@co.marion.or.us)’

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-27 15:39:50Last Update: 2020-10-27 17:31:08

Update on City of Portland Covid-19 Relief Actions
White owned small businesses less likely to receive aid

The City of Portland continues its work to ensure recovery from the economic and social impacts of COVID-19, prioritizing housing stability, small business support, and safe spaces for people experiencing homelessness. These actions are designed to support Portlanders through the worst of the crisis into a safe, sustainable recovery and a more-resilient future.

Local Business Support
Last week, Prosper Portland announced the distribution of more than $11 million in small business relief grants from the latest round of the Portland Small Business relief Fund (SBRF). More than 900 small businesses—the vast majority owned by BIPOC community members—will receive support via the Fund.

The work of selecting among the more than 4,900 applicants was guided by the city’s Equity Toolkit and the knowledge that Black people, indigenous people and all people of color have experienced the greatest impacts from the pandemic.

An additional $3 million will be distributed as block grants to community-based organizations that serve culturally specific populations to ensure the funds reach community members most in need. The block grant process will begin during the week of October 26th.

In total, this year Prosper Portland distributed more than $17 million to more than 1,200 local businesses, most of which are owned by people of color.

Very early in the pandemic, Mayor Wheeler directed Prosper Portland to stand up its Economic Impact Task Force, convening community partners to identify the greatest needs and the most efficient and effective responses to support local businesses through the crisis and into recovery. The more than 80 task force partners shaped the City’s response for local businesses.

Actions include dedicating $200,000 to a retail activation strategy, redirecting $100,000 for areas impacted by increased graffiti in partnership with City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, and adopting a $1 million utility support pledge that prioritized Black-owned businesses.

Renter and Homeowner Stability, Safe Spaces for People Experiencing Homelessness
The Portland Housing Bureau dedicated $1.6 million in CARES Act funds to housing stabilization and home retention support for low-income BIPOC homeowners. On Friday, October 23rd, the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) announced a $15 million COVID-19 Household Assistance Program. Under the program, Portlanders struggling from health or financial impacts of COVID-19 can apply for $500 to help with food, dependent care, medicine, rent, utilities, and transportation. In total, the program is expected to assist 27,000 Portland households.

Housing relief actions through the PHB began in March, when the City and County adopted a six-month eviction moratorium for those unable to pay rent due to COVID-related economic hardship. The moratorium was recently extended to January 8, 2021. The mandatory relocation assistance program was extended until March 31, 2021. In August, in partnership with the County and Joint Office of Homeless Services, the City also committed $35 million in state, local and federal funds for rent assistance to thousands of Portland households.

Earlier, PHB distributed $1 million to boost people hurt by the pandemic. The bureau provided $200,000 in assistance to households suffering a loss of income due to COVID-19 for urgent household needs like groceries, utilities, and medical expenses. It provided $800,000 to households in need through internal referrals by social service agencies and homeless service providers. And, the City deferred rent payments for all commercial retail tenants on City property to allow small businesses to focus on getting through the crisis.

Despite the pandemic, the City also continues to exceed goals for the creation of new affordable housing. There are now 1,494 units of permanently affordable Portland housing-bond supported homes open or in development throughout Portland—enough for an estimated 3,076 people. Nearly 700 of the homes have two or more bedrooms to serve families with children. More than 600 of the homes are reserved for extremely low-income households, including those experiencing homelessness, seniors on fixed incomes, and veterans. Projects funded outside of the Portland Housing Bond also are moving forward.

Since February, the City, Multnomah County, and the Joint Office have partnered to help people experiencing homelessness stay safe. The City opened public restrooms and added dozens of portable restrooms and handwashing stations throughout the community. Portland Parks & Recreation provided community centers for use as COVID-compliant temporary shelters. The City also partnered with the Joint Office to open three new safe outdoor shelters during the spring of this year. The Joint Office is also supplying community partners and volunteers with life-saving gear to share with people in camps, including more than 110,000 masks and hundreds of gallons of sanitizer and water.

More recently, Mayor Wheeler announced nearly 300 new beds at three sites around the city to serve people experiencing homelessness through the fall and winter. These 24-hour sites will offer safe, physically distant beds with resources including housing navigation services, three meals a day, showers, and laundry. Two Portland Parks & Recreation community centers will serve as shelters, as will downtown’s Greyhound bus station.

--Sabrina-Marie Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-27 12:19:30Last Update: 2020-10-27 21:06:54

Attorney General’s Hotline Answers Voter Questions and Concerns
Most calls returned within 24 hours

Why do some voters receive multiple ballots? What if my signature doesn’t match the one on file with elections officials? How do I report suspected voter fraud? Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum wants Oregonians to know they can call the Attorney General’s Voter Protection Hotline at 971-673-4111 with non-emergency questions and concerns.

“Voting by mail in Oregon is easy, secure, and resistant to fraud.” Attorney General Rosenblum said. “That said, there are reports of misinformation around this year’s election, and voters may have urgent questions. I want Oregonians to know they can call our hotline and get a pretty quick call back.”

Staff at the Oregon Department of Justice review hotline messages regularly and return most calls within 24 hours on weekdays and on Mondays following the weekend. The hotline currently offers recorded instructions in English and Spanish, but messages can be returned in other languages upon request.

Attorney General Rosenblum said that along with the Secretary of State’s “My Vote” web site, county elections officials are a key resource for voters.

“Oregonians of all parties are justifiably proud of our elections system,” she said. “That’s due in no small part to our County Clerks and elections staff in all 36 counties who provide a high level of service to voters and ensure that ballots are processed and counted with a high degree of security and transparency.”

Voter fraud in Oregon is extremely rare, according to every study of the state’s 20-year history with conducting elections by mail. But Attorney General Rosenblum says voters should still call the hotline if they suspect fraud or any illegal activity related to the election.

“DOJ will work with the Secretary of State and law enforcement to investigate and take appropriate action against anyone who commits fraud or otherwise interferes with an election,” Attorney General Rosenblum said.

The DOJ has also created a one-pager to ensure Oregonians understand how their right to vote is protected. The Oregon Votes 2020! one-pager is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese.

Voter Protection Hotline Summary

Since its launch on October 13, the Attorney General’s Voter Protection Hotline has logged more than 90 calls, many from voters worried that their ballots had not yet arrived. By now, all voters registered in Oregon should have received a ballot at the address on file with their voter registration. Voters can check their registration online at the Secretary of State’s website and contact their county elections office for a replacement ballot, if necessary.

Other callers had questions about multiple ballots arriving for the same voter, or about receiving ballots addressed to voters who have moved or who are deceased. Because Oregon prints ballots 30 days before they are mailed, any registration changes made after that date could result in duplicate ballots, as could requests for replacement ballots.

Regardless of how many ballots are sent, however, only one ballot is considered “active,” and only one ballot per voter will be validated by elections officials. After a voter’s ballot has been accepted, subsequent ballots would be rejected and flagged for review to determine whether voter error or fraud were involved.

Tuesday, October 27 is the last day to safely mail in ballots in Oregon. After Tuesday, voters should use an official ballot drop box (the Secretary of State has a drop-box locator, but check with your county elections office for the most up-to-date list of official sites near you). Your ballot must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3.

The Oregon Department of Justice is led by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and serves as the state’s law firm.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-27 10:33:12Last Update: 2020-10-27 10:51:33

Portland Sees Record Low Temps
No break in climate change legislation is expected.

Portland, Oregon and the surrounding area saw record low temperatures this morning, getting down to an unseasonably cold 29° F, but a a far cry from the -29° F reported in Montana. Ironically, the Columbia River Gorge did not reach freezing because of the East Wind. Eugene even had Portland beat with a frosty 23° F this morning.

Noted climate realist, Dr. Gordon Fulks commented "I think that we can safely blame the Canadians or Mother Nature, not Global Warming, for the frigid morning."

Here is the official Record Report from Clinton Rockey at the National Weather Service:

Record Report

SXUS76 KPQR 261836

1136 AM PDT MON OCT 26 2020



HILLSBORO 24 *** NEW RECORD 27 (IN 1954)
EUGENE 23 *** NEW RECORD 26 (IN 1954)

ASTORIA 33 32 (IN 1976)
MCMINNVILLE 25 23 (IN 1900)
SALEM 27 26 (IN 1978)

We also tied cold records at a couple of stations last Thursday:

Record Report

SXUS76 KPQR 230236

735 PM PDT THU OCT 22 2020


HILLSBORO 30 TIED 30 (2008)
ASTORIA 34 TIED 34 (1961)

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-26 14:53:57Last Update: 2020-10-27 09:44:43

Attacked by Antifa
How the system works. And doesn’t.

Editor's note: Michael Strickland is a free-lance photo-journalist in Portland.

Before Michael Forest Reinoehl shot Aaron Danielson. Before Kyle Rittenhouse. Before Marquise Love punted Adam Haner’s head into the ground. Before the McCloskeys. Before Jake Gardner in Omaha. Before the Albequerqe guy shot people shouting they were going to kill him.

Before Andy Ngo was attacked. Before Joey Gibson and Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys. Before riots were commonplace in Portland. Before everyone and their mother were accused of being white supremacists. Before “antifa” was a household term. Before Trump was even the nominee for President.

There was me.

My name is Michael Strickland. Some of you may remember me from my stints at The Gateway Pundit and affiliated site Progressives Today and my YouTube channel Laughing At Liberals. I used to film political events around the Portland area and report on them. What started off as a hobby blossomed into my actual job in 2015 after “documentarian” Skye Fitzgerald, who was caught lying to the mother of a disabled kid and the family of a shooting victim for a very biased documentary project on guns, stole two video cameras from me and body slammed onto the pavement, shattering my arm and leaving me too disabled to go back to my old line of work.

Since covering political events in the area had now become my job, I began covering more and more events. I was basically just filming wackjob leftists in the area saying and doing the things they say and do. Several of my videos and stories started going viral. News networks started buying my footage. International news distributors starting hiring me to cover local events. My videos were getting played on FOX news, MSNBC, and several local news broadcasts. I was becoming a serious problem for the left simply because I showed the world what they were all about.

This all came to a head on July 7th, 2016, when I was filming a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Portland. This was before one could assume that violence and destruction were going to happen. I was just standing there, holding a video camera on a monopod, filming the speakers on the steps of the Justice Center. I wasn’t there to argue with anyone or instigate anything, as I preferred a fly-on-the-wall style of filming protests.

A gang of antifa thugs made the conscious and deliberate decision to stage a physical altercation with me. They made a b-line right for me and started attacking me. I tried to get away, they kept coming after me, and with no police around, I eventually drew down on them with my legally carried Glock 27. Fortunately they all stopped coming at me at that moment, they ceased to be threats, and I reholstered, without firing a shot. Every move I made was in reaction to what other people were doing to me. Had I waited another second or two, until their bodies were on top of me, there would not have been that buffer zone, and there’s a significant chance that I would have had to do the unthinkable. I’m very thankful they all finally stopped and backed away from me at the point that I drew, and that that was the amount of force necessary to prevent them from doing further harm to me.

I reholstered after having my gun out for 7 seconds, just enough time to neutralize the threats. I was in a bit of a state of shock. I couldn’t believe I was in that predicament and I had to draw. I continued to retreat up the block until police eventually showed up. To arrest me.

I attempted to explain that I had been attacked and that my actions were in self defense and that I had a Concealed Handgun License, but they didn’t care about anything I had to say. They didn’t even want to watch the video of it on my camera. They threw me in jail.

Deputy District Attorney Kate Molina then cited a false police report at my arraignment involving a completely separate matter, and used it as justification for charging me with felonies and keeping me in jail on $250,000 bond.

Fortunately enough people were up in arms over all of this that enough funds were raised to pay for attorneys and bail me out (only 10% was needed for the actual cash amount).

While I was out on bail, pre trial release officer Chelsea Fonua ordered that I be banned from blogging, banned from talking to the media, banned from posting videos, banned from twitter, banned from even going to political events. I couldn’t make my own case publicly. Had I done any of those things I would have been thrown back in jail, forfeited bail, and been on the hook for the full $250,000. I was effectively banned from working.

My own first-person video, which is the only angle that showed the initial attack by the mob, was ordered as sealed evidence by Judge Thomas Ryan. Also part of the sealed evidence was video taken from the Hatfield Courthouse surveillance cameras that shows the gang huddling up, formulating their attack on me, masking up, and moving in to get me in an organized fashion. All the public got to see was what the news cameras picked up, which was the seven seconds I had the gun, yelling “Everyone needs to get the hell back! Get the hell back!” with no context.

After a trial in February of 2017, where many pieces of exculpatory evidence were ruled inadmissible and many due process rights violations were committed against me, I was found guilty of 21 counts, including 10 felonies of “Unlawful Use Of A Weapon”, all for not harming so much as a fly and trying to get away to avoid an altercation. The violent thugs who started the fight are considered to be the innocent victims.

I was sentenced to 40 days in jail, 240 hours of community service, and 3 years of probation. I was banned from filming political events or anything at the local colleges. Had I done that, it would have been a violation of my probation and I would have been thrown in prison.

I was kicked out of my apartment, been declined various different jobs, car insurance doubled, I was forced to pay $45 monthly probation fees, along with $3100 in fines. Sometimes I wonder, should I have just taken the beating instead? Should I have let them pummel me into the pavement, possibly rendering me even more disabled, possibly killing me, likely robbing me of my camera gear, computer gear, and gun? Would I have been better off?

Of course I’m banned from owning guns, or even being near one that isn’t in the control of someone else. If I’m visiting someone’s house, and a they have a gun in separate room that I don’t know about, that could be construed as a “felon in possession” since the gun would be accessible to me. The judge specifically said I can’t touch anything more dangerous than a butter knife. If I’m at a restaurant (which is rare because I can’t afford to eat out), and someone across from me is having a steak, and they put their steak knife down in the middle of the table, that’s technically a weapon that is accessible to me, and I could go to jail for that.

Since this incident, violence and riots have been common in Portland. A short time after this we saw the election week riots. Then the inauguration week riots. Then more May Day riots. Then the dueling protests between antifa and Trump supporters. Then the antifa and BLM gangs patrolling the streets, directing people around, smashing up cars when someone takes offense. Then the 120 days of nightly riots this summer. My case set the standard for legalized mob violence, while also invalidating the 1st and 2nd Amendment. The gangs of terrorists know they have the legal authority to attack whomever they want in the street, and not only face no consequences for it, but the person they target is the one who goes to jail for fighting back. Violence is now incentivized.

I immediately appealed the ruling, citing a variety of due process errors that occurred throughout the spectacle, and because my actions were solely in self defense. Three years later, spring of 2020, the state appeals court upheld the lower court’s ruling, saying that all of the things Judge Thomas Ryan ruled on, and all of the shady antics pulled by DA’s Kate Molina and Todd Jackson were all perfectly acceptable. The appeals court did this relying on several erroneous things that they referred to as “undisputed facts” that were in fact heavily disputed throughout the trial. They denied me a re-review after I politely corrected them. The state supreme court also denied reviewing the case.

Much of what I have been appealing on involved my state of mind at the moment of the incident, as it relates to mens rea and culpable knowledge that someone is committing a crime. You see, many pieces of evidence that pointed to my mindset were ruled to be inadmissible. Ironically, and disgustingly, the day after the state supreme court declined to hear my case, they overturned a sex abuse case because a woman saying “No, I don’t want to” while crying as a man forces himself onto her isn’t enough for the perpetrator to “KNOWINGLY” realize that the woman is not consenting. They will let state of mind play a factor in overturning rape cases, but not in my case.

I am now in the process of petitioning the Supreme Court Of The United States to hear my case.

Many people ask what they can do to help. Well, most pressing is raising funds to pay the attorneys. I usually hate begging for money, but it all goes to pay for the attorneys and other legal costs. I have a PayPal and Oregon Firearms Federation has been gracious enough to once again take donations for my fund. , just please make a note on the check-out page that it’s for my fund so they know where to allocate the money.

I’m very thankful to those who have donated, both in the past and more recently. I plan on hosting an exclusive livestream Q&A event for anyone who has donated, past or present. There’s no way I would have been able to survive this without the help of so many who have chipped in.

You can also share this story around. Share some of the videos about the case that I’ve posted on my YouTube channel. Share some of the stories on VictoriaTaft.com . Raise awareness over what has happened.

Speaking of Oregon Firearms Federation, they have been there every step of the way helping me out. The same cannot be said for a certain other, very large, supposedly pro gun organization.

Unfortunately, the NRA has been silent on this issue thus far. Though, now that the case is going up to SCOTUS and nationwide precedent can be set, maybe they’ll realize they have to take action and help out. If the Heller case established an individual’s right to own a gun for self defense, then the Strickland case may very well decide if a person can draw their legally owned and carried firearm in self defense. If you’re an NRA member, you should be lighting them up to get involved in my case. Heck, even if you’re not an NRA member, I implore you to hit the NRA pages on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, encouraging them to help out. My hope is that they will get involved.

The NRA and other organizations can file what’s called Amicus Curiae, which is “friend of the court” status. This allows groups and other interested parties who are not directly involved in the case to submit briefs to the court in support of me, and they can make other legal arguments and approach the matter from different angles.

Other groups, such as 1st Amendment and free press organizations and non profits, as well as justice reform groups, should also take interest in this. My case spans a variety of Constitutional, civil, and due process rights, regardless of political leanings. Leftist groups, such as the ACLU, should be up in arms over the way the courts treated me. My brief to the Supreme Court is due November 25th, and interested third parties have 30 days after that to file Amicus.

Regarding the 1st Amendment: Does a person have the right to be in public area, filming a public event, as part of their job, and in exercise of their right to free press? Or does a gang of thugs have the legal right and lawful authority to use force, threats, and intimidation to prevent a person from engaging in their 1st Amendment rights? If the gang of thugs does not have that right, then they used unlawful force against me, thus meeting the threshold for exercising self defense.

Secondly, can the courts threaten someone with imprisonment for engaging in 1st Amendment rights? At various different phases over the course of four years I was banned from blogging, talking to the media, going on twitter, posting videos, going to political events, filming political events, or filming anything at the local colleges. Had I done anything of those things, I would have been thrown in prison as a violation of the terms of my release and/or probation.

The 2nd Amendment ramifications are obvious. Can a person draw their firearm in self defense against a mob that the person believes is engaging in unlawful force, potentially deadly force, and further imminent unlawful force? Given the number of assailants against me and the fact that I am partially disabled, a large disparity of force was presented. Additionally, I used verbal commands, a non lethal alternative, and was attempting to retreat to avoid the conflict, all to no avail, as the mob continued to bear down and pursue me. I followed the training I had received from the numerous firearms courses I had taken over the years.

There are a litany of due process rights violations that have been committed against me at various different aspects:

At my first arraignment, deputy district attorney Kate Molina cited a false police report, filed by a guy named John Slaughter, whom I hardly knew, who had gotten in my face screaming and yelling at me a few weeks prior at the vigil for the Orlando nightclub shooting victims. Slaughter claimed that I had started sending him threatening race based text messages and voice mails, that I have ties to white supremacist groups, and that I drove by his house with my hand in the shape of a gun pointing toward me. Of course all of those accusations are untrue. I barely knew or cared who this guy was. On that evening he’s claiming I drove by his house I was caring for two cats that needed medical attention. But Kate Molina read that report out loud in course, lying to Judge Leslie Bottomly, stating these assertions as if they were fact, with the media there recording it and subsequently broadcasting it to the public. Molina was essentially able to unduly influence and taint the jury pool with these defamatory statements. That police report was so unconvincing that she never brought it up again, never charged me with anything from it, and never pursued anything from that because it never happened. But the damage was done.

Judge Thomas Ryan denied my motion for a change of venue, to move to the trial to a different part of the state, away from the Portland area media footprint. I was effectively denied my right to a fair trial before a jury of my peers, and forced to go with a bench trial.

It turned out that John Slaughter was one of the ones who had organized the mob to attack me, as he testified to that and admitted such on the witness stand.

My indictment is the only one I’ve ever seen that lists specific “victims” using vague descriptions but no names. It says things like “Michael Aaron Strickland, on or about July 07, 2016, in the County of Multnomah, State of Oregon, did unlawfully attempt to use, carry with intent to use and possess with intent to use unlawfully against another person, to wit: a male wearing jeans, a dark top, a backpack, a green cloth on his face, and a multicolor mask on top of his head.”

In fact, though the indictments and other charging instruments specify ten “victims”, only two were ever identified, ever came forward, and testified at the trial. Those two were Ben Kerensa (a 400 pound guy with a lengthy criminal history who led the mob to attack me) and Malcolm Chaddock (whom I had seen at previous protests engaging in criminal behavior and causing trouble, and who served as the distraction for Kerensa to run up along my blind side). The other eight were never identified, never came forward as “victims”, and never testified. I was denied my right to face my accusers, because eight of these people never accused me of anything unlawful. I was convicted of crimes against unknown John Does who were physical threats to me. “Unlawful Use Of A Weapon” has multiple definitions in Oregon. We motioned for the state to clarify which part of the law they were charging me with. Judge Thomas Ryan ruled that the state does not have to clarify such, which left me not knowing what I was supposed to be mounting a legal defense against.

My trial also featured an ambush witness who was allowed to testify after both sides had rested. Molina and Todd Jackson (the other DA on the case) had known for at least six weeks that we were planning on putting on our own expert use of force witness, and he testified that everything I did was correct and in line with how a civilian CHL holder should react in the situation that befell me. As per law, witness lists from both sides were provided to the other the week before the trial. After both sides had rested, Molina and Jackson told the judge they wanted to put on on their own expert use of force witness. We of course objected to this, but the judge allowed it anyway. This expert was Ryan Rasmussen, who serves as Gresham police’s use of force and firearms trainer, and he testified that my actions were wrong and unlawful. Rasmussen was not on any prior witness list and he did not testify at grand jury. He was not a witness to the incident, either. Another problem with all of that is that Rasmussen could only testify as to what a police officer is trained to do, as he has no experience as a civilian. He graduated high school, went into the Marines, then spent a year as armed security, then joined the police department. He has never had a Concealed Handgun License, had never taken a CHL course, does not have any certifications to train civilians, and even conceded that police are held to a higher standard than civilians with CHL’s. yet his testimony was still considered valid.

Can a judge rule that a person’s own experiences, training, and knowledge be irrelevant? Can a judge pretend to be a mind reader and tell a defendant what that defendant was or was not thinking in the heat of the moment, under duress, and under threat of physical harm? At numerous different points, Judge Thomas Ryan substituted his own mindset in place of my mindset. Judge Ryan ruled that a aforementioned incident with Skye Fitzgerald, just 16 months beforehand, where my arm was shattered and had to be surgically reconstructed, was “irrelevant” and somehow didn’t play into my mindset and decision making when I was staring down an even more precarious situation. Judge Ryan also ruled that my statements to the detective, where I explained how the mob attacked me, how I tried to get away, how I was in fear, and how I acted in self defense, were all inadmissible, irrelevant hearsay.

Judge Ryan didn’t even take 30 seconds to go back and deliberate and review evidence and arguments. He immediately announced a guilty verdict as soon as Todd Jackson was done with his closing statement. As Judge Ryan was announcing his verdict, he proclaimed that this is not about what other people were doing to me, it was about my actions. By refusing to consider the actions of those who premeditated and carried out this attack on me, Judge Ryan is essentially refusing to consider self defense as a thing, since self defense is predicated on the actions of others.

At sentencing, Judge Ryan stated with fact that the mob was not about to pummel me, and I could not react in the way that I did. He said “Regarding the acts. I know I’ve already ruled on guilt of innocence, but the Defendant’s acts were not justified. This was not self-defense. This was an unlawful escalation of the situation. Simply put, you cannot respond in the way that the Defendant did in this situation. Brandishing the weapon was not the Defendant’s only option. He was not about to be pummeled.”

He is basically trying to tell me what I was thinking or not thinking.

Further, there are no such terms as “unlawful escalation” or “brandishing” in the Oregon statutes. By stating that drawing was not my “only option” he is implying that some sort of action was necessary. Oregon has no duty to retreat (State v Sandoval, 2007), so that action was not legally necessary, even though I was retreating and trying to avoid conflict. The judge is basically making up the laws as he goes along.

If they can do these things to me, they can do it to anyone. They can do it to you, your family, your loved ones, your doctor, your auto mechanic, your neighbor. I have no doubt that shady police, unethical DA’s, and crooked judges are using these tactics to lock up innocent people every day. This is our best chance to overturn these practices. I am fighting not just for my rights, not just to clear my name, but for everyone’s rights. Help me win this for all of us.

--Michael Strickland

Post Date: 2020-10-26 12:57:52Last Update: 2020-10-26 14:50:22

Victim Torched in Car in Portland Oregon
Portland Oregon is a dangerous city lately

Portland Oregon is out of control in 2020. Unspeakable crimes seem to happen with regularity under Ted Wheeler and Kate Brown's leadership -- while most of the media remains silent.

On Friday, October 23rd at about 10:48pm., Portland Police responded with Portland Fire & Rescue to a vehicle fire in the area of Northeast 148th Avenue and Northeast San Rafael Street. Responders determined there was a person, deceased, in the vehicle.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office conducted an autopsy and determined this death was a homicide. Additional information will be released at the direction of the investigators. It is not known if this incident is related to the Antifa and/or Black Lives Matter riots that have plagued the City of Portland for months.

Portland Police homicide detectives are investigating and ask that anyone with information about this incident contact Detective William Winters via email or at 503-823-0466 or Detective Anthony Merrill via email or at 503-823-4033.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-26 10:46:46Last Update: 2020-10-26 13:49:00

Ted Wheeler Distributing Prepaid Cards
Part of a $36 million City investment in housing relief

On Tuesday, October 27, Portlanders struggling from health or financial impacts of COVID-19 will have the opportunity to apply for $500 in household assistance through a new City of Portland program to help with costs such as food, dependent care, medicine, rent and utilities, and transportation.

United Way of the Columbia-Willamette has partnered with the City to distribute 2,800 prepaid debit cards through two open application windows. The cards will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis. The application window for the first 1,400 cards opens on October 27 beginning at 9am and the remaining 1,400 will be distributed on October 30 beginning at 1pm. All applications must be submitted online.

To be eligible, applicants must be at least 18 years old and living in the City of Portland; have experienced a loss of income or elevated health risk related to COVID-19; and have a household income at or below 80% of Area Median Income (see income eligibility chart).

“The City of Portland’s emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis prioritizes housing stability, food security and support for the most vulnerable in our community,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “This household assistance program will help ease the daily struggle of those who are most deeply impacted by the pandemic’s severe economic impact.”

The $15 million Household Assistance Program was rolled out by the Portland Housing Bureau earlier this month. To ensure assistance would reach Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) communities, and those facing barriers to accessing a public application, the majority of the funds are being distributed in collaboration with approximately 35 culturally specific community-based organizations—most of which represent new partnerships for the City, in an effort to create new opportunities with City resources and better serve BIPOC communities.

“We know that it is Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color who are most deeply impacted by economic crises and most often left behind by economic recovery,” said Portland Housing Bureau Director Shannon Callahan. “In a time of such great need, having these broad community-based partnerships is critical to getting this assistance to those in need who are too often left out and left behind.”

Through a partnership with the Joint Office of Homeless Services (JOHS), prepaid cards will also be provided to families and individuals experiencing homelessness and living in shelters and on the streets. Those cards will be made available through sheltering organizations and outreach teams that contract with the Joint Office.

“The pandemic has only deepened the crisis for people experiencing homelessness in our community. Especially as we head into winter, these household assistance funds will be a lifeline for people who are struggling to face COVID-19 without even the basic protections a home,” said Marc Jolin, Director of the Joint Office of Homeless Services.

In total, the Household Assistance Program is expected to assist 27,000 Portland households between now and December 30.

The program is part of a $36 million investment in housing relief measures by the City of Portland and the Portland Housing Bureau in response to COVID-19, including $19.5 million in City funds for rent assistance and $1.6 million in housing stabilization support for low-income BIPOC homeowners. Members of the public seeking rent assistance should call 211.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-26 09:02:11Last Update: 2020-10-25 16:03:53

Candidate Comparison: Gulstrom v. Sollman
House District 30 includes Hillsboro and North Plains

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Candidate for House District 30 Darrell Gulstrom is challenging incumbent Janeen Sollman, her 3rd run to represent portions of Washington County.

Three major issues to Oregon voters are the economy, safety and education. Sollman voted to increase taxes and fees including cap and trade, corporate gross receipts tax, and reduce the kicker. She helped sponsor a prohibition on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas exploration and production. Gulstrom indicates he would vote no on these issues and says he “believes in Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Sollman helped sponsor the bill that nullified Measure 88 passed by voters allowing undocumented driver’s license and she helped sponsor a bill that requires no proof of citizenship to obtain a driver’s license. Voted to require employers to notify employees of ICE investigations, and prevent courts from asking immigration status and notifying ICE. Gulstrom served in the US Air Force until 1982. He would vote no and support voters. He also supports the work of ICE.

In the area of education, Sollman voted to include in all curriculum’s contributions from every minority group such as immigrants, LGBTQ, disabled and women. She voted against mandated vaccination with no exceptions and ban those from schools that don’t comply. Gulstrom also would vote against forced vaccinations and would vote against curriculum mandates to include minority group contributions. He served on the Hillsboro school board as an activist for conservative causes.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-26 07:31:58Last Update: 2020-10-25 13:46:44

Oregon AG Comments on Appliance Rules
Rosenblum opposes exemptions

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act, prescribes energy conservation standards for various consumer products, including residential clothes washers and dryers. In proposed rulemaking the Department of Energy proposes to establish separate product classes for top-loading residential clothes washers and consumer clothes dryers that offer cycle times for a normal cycle of less than 30 minutes, and for front-loading residential clothes washers that offer cycle times for a normal cycle of less than 45 minutes. The Department of Energy would consider appropriate energy and water efficiency standards for such product classes, if adopted, in separate rulemakings.

The deadline for comment was September 14th, 2020. However, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed comments opposing the U.S. Department of Energy’s proposal with other Democrat run states on October 13. She claims the proposed rule completely exempts fast-cycle clothes washers and dryers from any energy efficiency standards, which isn’t true according to the Federal Register.

Rosenblum states, “The Energy Policy and Conservation Act makes it clear that the Department of Energy is not allowed to weaken energy efficiency standards, let alone carve out complete exemptions to those standards. In this case, Department of Energy claims the authority, not only to exempt both washers and dryers from the Department of Energy’s own standards, but to exempt certain washers from minimum standards set by Congress itself.” However, the Act does not just seek to reduce energy demand and provide energy efficiency through energy conservation, but a comprehensive approach to increase energy production and supply as well to make the U.S. energy independent.

Part of the review has to do with the reduced life of appliances. The adoption of stricter standards has increased appliance demand through turnover, and increased energy used to manufacture and replace appliances more often.

Attorney General Rosenblum noted that Department of Energy unlawfully claimed that the rule change is exempt from the National Environmental Policy Act, based on its assertion that granting exemptions from energy efficiency standards will have no environmental impact. “Allowing increased energy use means more greenhouse gas emissions,” Rosenblum said. “Claiming that this action has no environmental impact is an example of climate denialism.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-25 17:29:48Last Update: 2020-10-25 20:13:19

How to Start a Career in Nursing
COVID-19 has created opportunities

As COVID-19 has taken its hold on Oregon, there have been many news reports about regional nursing and school nurse shortages. Becoming a nurse is an excellent career path; not only can you work anywhere, but you’ll also be making a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis. The path to becoming a nurse is varied and depends on what type of nurse you’d like to become. This guide will help you learn about the various nurse occupations, how to find your first job, and how to further your education and career.

Determine a pathway When you’ve decided to become a nurse, there are a number of factors to consider. First, what type of nurse do you want to be? Do you want to work in a hospital, or would you be happier in a nursing home? It’s also important to determine whether you’d like to support medical staff as part of a team, or if you’d rather manage other nurses or oversee systems. Let’s take a closer look at some different types of nursing degrees.

When it comes to education, you can earn a nursing diploma or Associate Degree in nursing from a community college or vocational school, or pursue a Bachelor of Science in nursing from a four-year college or university. Beyond your undergrad, you can earn a Master of Science or a Doctoral degree if you want to expand your learning and your career options.

Many nurses will choose to earn a master’s degree in nursing to further their careers. It’s possible to pursue a master’s degree while still working: many colleges now offer online training to obtain a master’s in nursing education, nursing leadership and management, or nurse informatics.

Before you start looking for jobs, it’s necessary to obtain a license.

Career options The career paths are varied for nurses: whether it’s assisting in labor and delivery or working in an emergency room, you can pursue nursing in a number of different settings.

If you want to jump right into the hands-on nursing experience, you could become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). You can become a CNA with just a certificate in nursing, which can be obtained from a community college or vocational school. The next step up is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), which requires about a year of schooling and allows you to work more directly with patients.

Many who earn a two-year associate’s or four-year bachelor’s nursing degree will become a Registered Nurse (RN). RNs do more hands-on medical work, including administering medication, assisting doctors with exams and surgeries, and more.

There are more advanced nursing careers for those with four-year degrees and master’s degrees: you could become a Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, or a Nurse Practitioner.

Finding your first job Once you’ve finished nursing school and obtained your license, determine in what setting you’d most like to work. Nurses have a variety of environments to choose from, whether it’s a hospital, clinic, nursing home, or school. You can even work as a traveling nurse, filling in for temporary stints all over the country.

One of the challenging aspects of finding your first job is overcoming your lack of experience. You can gain more experience through internships, job shadowing, or filling in as an on-call nurse. This can be a great way to learn what you do and don’t like before committing to a full-time job.

A nursing career can be varied with plenty of options depending on the amount of schooling you’re prepared to complete. Consider what kind of education you’d like to pursue, and where you’d most like to work. Becoming a nurse will provide you with job security and a diverse array of opportunities—use this guide to help you get started.

Julia Merrill is a retired board certified nurse practitioner

--Julia Merrill

Post Date: 2020-10-25 17:20:07Last Update: 2020-10-27 01:04:15

Interstate Bridge Replacement Meeting to be Held
Bi-state steering group will meet on November 6th and 30th

Meetings are starting for yet another Portland-Vancouver area Columbia River crossing project. The last project failed after eight years of studies and tests. It was known as the Columbia River Crossing project and it managed to waste $175 million dollars without any tangible results.

Anyone interested in the bi-state Interstate Bridge Replacement Program can attend the Executive Steering Group’s introductory meeting from 8:00am to 11:00am on Friday, November 6th. This virtual meeting is the first of two kickoff sessions, with the second meeting scheduled for 1:00pm to 3:00pm on Monday, November 30th.

This meeting will be hosted in Zoom in an effort to follow the states’ social distancing guidelines for slowing the spread of COVID-19. It will also be livestreamed on YouTube, and those without internet access will have the option to call in to listen to the meeting. Meeting materials and instructions for participation are available on the Executive Steering Group page.

The Oregon and Washington departments of transportation are convening the 12-member steering group to provide regional leadership recommendations on key program issues of concern to the community. The advisory body includes senior representatives from both state departments of transportation, TriMet, C-TRAN, Oregon Metro, the Southwest Regional Transportation Council, the cities of Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington, and the Ports of Portland and Vancouver. These parties have a direct role in the integrated, multimodal transportation system around the Interstate Bridge. A community representative from each state will also serve on the group. At the kick-off meetings the steering group will: Public input on agenda items is welcome for each steering group meeting and can be shared via email, phone or online during the meeting:

Those who would like to weigh in can email comments to Washington state at the address interstatebridge@wsdot.wa.gov with “ESG Public Comment” in the subject line or call 360-905-1560 and state “ESG Public Comment” in your message. Facilitators will provide an opportunity for online participants to give input during the meeting. More information is available on the Executive Steering Group page.

Comments received by 8 a.m. on Wednesday, November 4th will be shared with the committee ahead of the meeting. All comments received prior to or at the meeting will be included in the meeting summary.

To request an accommodation, such as materials in alternate formats, interested persons can contact the program team at 360-905-1560 at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.

Replacing the aging Interstate Bridge across the Columbia River with a seismically resilient, multimodal structure that provides improved mobility for people, goods and services is a high priority for Oregon and Washington. In late 2019, governors and legislative leadership in both states directed the Washington Department of Transportation and Oregon Department of Transportation to launch the bi-state Interstate Bridge Replacement Program to lead this work. Program development will center on equity and follow a transparent, data-driven process that includes collaboration with federal, state, regional and local partners.

Comprehensive and equitable community engagement is critical to identify a solution that prioritizes safety, reflects community values and discussions with communities of concern, and fosters broad regional support. The Executive Steering Group, Community Advisory Group, and an effective equity strategy will be key components of comprehensive community engagement efforts to ensure ongoing, extensive and inclusive public dialogue.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-25 14:20:26Last Update: 2020-10-25 14:23:02

Candidate Comparison: Nelson vs. Schouten
House District 27 is the Beaverton area

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Candidate for House District 27 Sandra Nelson is challenging incumbent Sheri Schouten, her 3rd run to represent a portion of Washington County.

Three major issues to Oregon voters are the economy, safety and education. Schouten voted to increase taxes and fees including cap and trade, corporate gross receipts tax, and reduce the kicker. She was a sponsor to prohibit hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas exploration and production. Nelson indicates she would vote no on these issues and is for “government reduction of taxes, red rape, regulations, and overly restrictive land us laws nearly always increases the availability of jobs and affordable homes.”

Schouten signed a letter to US Attorney General William Barr demanding “immediate withdrawal of federal operatives from the City of Portland.” She helped sponsor the bill that nullified Measure 88 passed by voters allowing undocumented driver’s license and she helped sponsor a bill that requires no proof of citizenship to obtain a driver’s license. Voted to require employers to notify employees of ICE investigations, and prevent courts from asking immigration status and notifying ICE. Nelson would vote no and support voters, and would not vote to reduce the effectiveness of ICE for protection.

In the area of education, Schouten voted to include in all curriculum’s contributions from every minority group such as immigrants, LGBTQ, disabled and women. She voted to require mandated vaccination with no exceptions and ban those from schools that don’t comply. Nelson does not endorse a curriculum that mandates minority groups contribute nor mandated vaccinations.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-25 13:15:59Last Update: 2020-10-25 13:31:58

Elliott State Forest Transformation Plan to be Discussed
The plan is to transform it into a publicly owned research forest

Named for the state's first state forester Francis Elliott, the Elliott State Forest is a state forest in the coast range regions of Coos and Douglas counties, between Coos Bay and Reedsport. The Department of State Lands and Oregon State University are working on a plan to transform the Elliott State Forest into a publicly owned research forest.

The Elliott State Forest is overseen by the three-member Oregon State Land Board, which consists of the Governor, the State Treasurer and the Secretary of State. In 2018, the State Land Board asked the Department of State Lands to look into the possibility of working with Oregon State University to make the Elliott State Forest a publicly owned research forest. Key elements of a research forest proposal have now been drafted with the help of advisory committees, Tribes, state and local governments, stakeholders, and the public. Interested persons can participate in the process by sharing thoughts on how this forest can best serve the varied needs of our state while fulfilling our constitutional obligations.

Several years ago, under heavy environmental regulations, the Elliott State Forest at one point generated negative revenue, as it cost more to maintain than it was generating in timber sales. Environmentalist backed Democrats in the state legislature have been working to "sell" the forest back to the state and to place the forest into some sort of conservation status. The research plan is widely seen as part of that process.

Article VIII, Section 2 of the Oregon Constitution says that

(1) The sources of the Common School Fund are:
. . .
(a) The proceeds of all lands granted to this state for educational purposes, except the lands granted to aid in the establishment of institutions of higher education under the Acts of February 14, 1859 and July 2, 1862
. . .
(2) All revenues derived from the sources mentioned in subsection (1) of this section shall become a part of the Common School Fund.

There will be two remote presentation and Q&A sessions about the draft plan with Department of State Lands and Oregon State University on October 26th and November 5th, as well as informal drop-in Zoom sessions that will occur on October 27th, 29th, November 4th and 6th. All of these sessions are open to the public.

Department of State Lands has created a website where you can find details for the draft proposal, information on the remote sessions, and ways to provide feedback. The Department asks that feedback be provided by November 13th in order to prepare for the State Land Board meeting on December 8th, where we will make a determination on next steps for this forest.

Photo courtesy Oregon Department of Forestry - Elliott State Forest

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-25 08:22:00Last Update: 2020-10-23 20:03:30

Home Schooling on the Rise
Do-it-yourself may be your kids’ best chance to get a good education

The number of homeschoolers is rising in nearly every district in Oregon. Oregon Department of Education shows more than 22,000 students registered being homeschooled. Survey shows that 40 percent of families are more likely to homeschool when lockdown restrictions lift. Statistics are easy to keep, as one of the requirements for homeschooling is that the parents need to notify the school district that they live in that they will be homeschooling.

The Governor’s Healthy Schools Reopening Council met to review the steps Oregon will need to take to return more students to in-person instruction in schools. While new nationwide data on schools reopening for in-person instruction has become available, the increasing community spread of COVID-19 in counties across Oregon presents a major obstacle to returning more students to the classroom.

"Returning to in-person instruction safely is key to ensuring Oregon’s students are receiving a high-quality education that prepares them for lifelong success," said Governor Kate Brown. "But our schools and our educators do so much more than teach and inspire students. Our schools provide warm and nutritious meals to students who are hungry. They are health centers. They provide for students’ mental health and well-being. And, at the center of it all, are the teachers, nurses, counselors, librarians, and support professionals who, every day, build the personal, individual connections with students that are so crucial to their lifelong success.”

As of this week, only two counties currently meet Oregon’s metrics for in-person instruction for all grades, however, Oregon as a whole is exceeding the statewide 5% positivity rate maximum allowed for schools to move forward with reopening. Seven counties currently meet the metrics for some in-person instruction for K-3 students. (Before case counts increased, as many as 20 counties were eligible to resume in-person instruction for K-3 students). According to the Oregon Department of Education, approximately 45,000 students currently receive at least some in-person instruction in Oregon schools. Updating Oregon’s metrics without addressing the rising COVID-19 case rates in counties across the state, though, would leave most students in Oregon in comprehensive distance learning.

Governor Brown stated, “Distance learning is exponentially more difficult for parents who can’t stay home, because they work in essential sectors like the service industry, construction, manufacturing, and agriculture. Not every home in every county has reliable access to broadband or learning devices for all children. And, unfortunately, too many students do not have a stable place to call home. These are the kids who need in-person instruction the most. The kids for whom a smile in the classroom or a helping hand in the lunchroom means everything.”

The Northwest Observer interviewed a frustrated father whose son is struggling with the amount and level of technology required to do his lessons and the lack of support. He receives instruction over zoom two days a week and the other three days is expected to be self-disciplined to complete the lesson. Parents facing this amount of commitment to help their student in an ineffective program are looking elsewhere for a better more proven method of schooling.

Parents who are considering home schooling their children can review the legal requirements which are a part of the Oregon Department of Education's administrative rules.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.com

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-25 06:16:57Last Update: 2020-10-24 19:59:30

City of Portland Sues Trump
Portland, Seattle and New York are upset at loss of federal funds

"In an act offensive to both the Constitution and common sense, President Trump has called on the Attorney General to formally identify certain American cities as 'anarchist jurisdictions' -- an oxymoronic designation without precedent in American jurisprudence -- and has activated the entire federal bureaucracy to preclude such jurisdictions from receiving federal funds."

Thus begins a complaint filed in the US District Court of Western Washington State in Seattle against the President of the United States and the federal bureaucracy. The cities of Seattle, Portland and New York have filed this suit against President Donald Trump this week.

The complaint references a memo from the President issued on September 2nd of this year, identifying the three cities as jurisdictions that permit "anarchy, violence and destruction." The memo describes the situation in these cities, as well as the disposition of the local government toward law enforcement.

It is the policy and purpose of the United States Government to protect the lives and property of all people in the United States from unlawful acts of violence and destruction. Without law and order, democracy cannot function. Americans cannot exercise their rights, including their rights to peaceful expression, assembly, and protest. Property is destroyed, and innocent citizens are injured or killed.

Unfortunately, anarchy has recently beset some of our States and cities. For the past few months, several State and local governments have contributed to the violence and destruction in their jurisdictions by failing to enforce the law, disempowering and significantly defunding their police departments, and refusing to accept offers of Federal law enforcement assistance. As a result of these State and local government policies, persistent and outrageous acts of violence and destruction have continued unabated in many of America’s cities, such as Portland, Seattle, and New York.

Section three of the memo very specifically outlines the criteria to be identified:

(b) In identifying anarchist jurisdictions, the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of OMB, shall consider, as appropriate:

(i) whether a jurisdiction forbids the police force from intervening to restore order amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction;

(ii) whether a jurisdiction has withdrawn law enforcement protection from a geographical area or structure that law enforcement officers are lawfully entitled to access but have been officially prevented from accessing or permitted to access only in exceptional circumstances, except when law enforcement officers are briefly withheld as a tactical decision intended to resolve safely and expeditiously a specific and ongoing unlawful incident posing an imminent threat to the safety of individuals or law enforcement officers;

(iii) whether a jurisdiction disempowers or defunds police departments;

(iv) whether a jurisdiction unreasonably refuses to accept offers of law enforcement assistance from the Federal Government;

At issue is the restriction of federal funds to such jurisdictions. "The Director of OMB shall issue guidance to the heads of agencies on restricting eligibility of or otherwise disfavoring, to the maximum extent permitted by law, anarchist jurisdictions in the receipt of Federal grants that the agency has sufficient lawful discretion to restrict or otherwise disfavor anarchist jurisdictions from receiving."

In a breathless summary, the complaint summarizes, "failing to anchor his decision in any provision of federal law, the Attorney General based his decision, made via a press release, on an arbitrary and capricious list of misleading and cherry-picked bullet-points about each City that in no way supports the assertion that the Cities have chosen to abandon their jurisdictions to lawlessness and violence."

Revealing the real issue, the complaint says that "The Cities rely on billions of dollars in federal funding to provide a range of vital services, including housing, public transportation, and emergency relief. The funding threat could not come at a worse time, as the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged municipal finances, draining reserves and forcing painful budget cuts. The Defendants’ express plan to defund 'anarchist jurisdictions,' if permitted, would be devastating to the Cities."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-24 17:53:42Last Update: 2020-10-24 19:16:57

Climate Change Lawsuit Falls Flat in Oregon
Supreme Court Denies Extremist Lawsuit

The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that the state does not have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the environment.

The majority court opinion denied the claims of ​Kelsey Juliana and Ollie Chernaik​, two young Oregonians who filed suit in 2011 against the state of Oregon for failing in it's public trust duty to protect essential natural resources including water, wildlife, and the atmosphere -- from ongoing impacts of the climate crisis. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit were seeking a ruling through the lawsuit that would have made it illegal to use any natural resources in Oregon, unless government approved.

Writing for the majority, Justice Lynn R. Nakamoto affirmed the reality of climate change, but did not agree that the state has a responsibility to protect the environment:

"On review, the parties continue to dispute the scope of natural resources subject to the public trust doctrine and the state’s obligations with respect to natural resources subject to the doctrine. Urging an expansion of the public trust doctrine, plaintiffs contend that the state has, and breached, fiduciary obligations to prevent impairments due to climate change with respect to a range of natural resources in Oregon. Although the state agrees that the natural resources in Oregon that plaintiffs describe have suffered some adverse effects of climate change brought on, in part, by carbon dioxide emissions, the state contends that the Court of Appeals correctly determined that the state does not have the obligations that plaintiffs claim..."

Former Chief Justice Thomas Balmer explained in a dissenting opinion that in reaching its decision the majority had reframed the plaintiffs’ case to reach the adverse result. In the ​divided ruling​, the Court agreed with the youth that navigable waters are subject to the public trust doctrine, but said the state has no affirmative duty to take care of its resources.

Kate Brown decided she need to weigh into the decision by the Oregon Supreme court, and she takes the opportunity to further advocate for her radical climate change agenda, which is set on suppressing industry and commerce in Oregon. Brown is know to use Emergency Clauses and Executive Orders to get her way, when others don't agree with her.

“As I have said throughout this legal process, I agree with the plaintiffs, and other young people across Oregon and the world, when they say there is an urgent need for climate action.

“The unprecedented wildfires that raged across the West this year should have been a wake-up call for everyone: we need to be taking impactful steps immediately to address climate change. That’s why I took executive action in the spring to reduce Oregon’s carbon emissions, after Republican legislators walked out two years in a row to block climate action legislation. At every turn, the industries that are dependent on polluting the climate have tried to delay action—placing the health and economic burdens of climate change onto Oregon’s youth.

“To all of Oregon’s young people: If you’re frustrated by the speed at which your government is addressing the most urgent crisis of this generation and the next, know that I am too. There is a place where Oregonians can make their voices heard––the ballot box. If you care about climate change, if you care about the future of this planet, if you want future generations to have clean air and clean water, then please, vote.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-24 13:18:20Last Update: 2020-10-24 15:06:11

Jackson County Murder Suspect Arrested
63 year old victim was stabbed with a knife

On Thursday Jackson Count Sheriff's dispatch received a report of an assault with a weapon at 8005 Gladstone Ave., White City, Oregon. Deputies found the victim deceased at the scene and learned the suspect had fled on foot.

The investigation has determined that the victim was stabbed with a knife by a male who frequented the address. The victim was a resident at the house.

The victim is identified as Amanda Gail Berthelot, 63 years old, of White City, Oregon.

The suspect was originally contacted approximately 90 minutes after the stabbing in the 2600 block of Falcon St in White City. He was detained on a Parole Violation on an Original charge of Unlawful Use of a Weapon and lodged at Jackson County Jail.

The suspect is identified as Hector Cruz Orozco, birthdate 08/24/1996 who has multiple listed addresses in White City.

On friday, additional charges were added on Orozco. He is now charged with Murder, Animal Abuse I and Tampering With Evidence. The animal abuse stems from an earlier incident involving the suspect killing a dog.

The suspect is lodged at Jackson County Jail. The case will be reviewed by the Jackson County Grand Jury.

The Major Assault Death Investigation Unit was activated and JCSO investigators were assisted by members of the Oregon State Police, the OSP Crime Lab, Medford PD, Central Point PD, Ashland PD and the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-24 10:23:11Last Update: 2020-10-24 17:54:26

Brown Issues Executive Order on Worker Housing
Someone has to be the physical distancing monitor. No, really.

Effective immediately and over the objection of the Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has issued an executive order regulating temporary worker housing in the agriculture industry saying, “It is by now very clear that this virus has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color. We have also seen outbreaks spread quickly in crowded housing, and in settings where workers live together and work in close quarters.”

The order contains several provisions.

Housing operators must identify one or more individuals who will be responsible for identifying appropriate physical distancing and sanitation measures and ensuring that such measures are implemented, including planning and implementing housing operation activities so that unrelated occupants will not need to be within 6 feet of each other.

The order claims that having a limited number of toilet facilities can encourage crowding, which in turn promotes the spread of COVID-19. Because of this, portable toilets or chemical toilets must be sanitized three times a day, and plumbed common-use toilet facilities must be sanitized at least twice a day, or more often, if necessary.

Each sleeping room without double bunk beds must have at least 50 square feet of floor space per occupant. Where there are double bunk beds for related individuals, provide 40 square feet per occupant. Do not use triple bunks, and do not allow the use of double bunk beds by unrelated individuals. Beds and cots must be spaced at least six feet apart between frames in all directions and arranged so that occupants sleep head to toe, or beds and cots must be separated by a bed length, floor to near ceiling temporary non-permeable barrier.

Housing operators must clean the facilities' high-contact areas and equipment before each occupancy. They must also ensure that high-touch or high-contact surfaces and areas in common use facilities are sanitized at least two times daily.

This Executive Order remains in effect until April 30, 2021.

Shortly after the Governor issued the executive order, the Oregon Farm Bureau expressed dismay at the Governor’s decision to release a last-minute Executive Order extending the rules for employer-provided agricultural housing and shocked that the Governor would add criminal penalties to the enforcement of these rules.

Adoption of the original temporary COVID-19 rules for agriculture allowed no meaningful public input and resulted from an activist petition, not from any public health or scientific experts.

The Farm Bureau points out that there has not been an identified “outbreak” of COVID-19 in agricultural housing since the beginning of the pandemic, even before the temporary rules were adopted. OR-OSHA’s data shows that of the 11,617 complaints made to the agency, and subsequent violations found, agriculture represents only 33. Almost all of these cases were minor, such as not having enough posters displayed. The Oregon Health Authority has made it clear that social gatherings off-site are the major driver of continued spread of COVID-19, not on-farm employment and housing.

They note that outbreaks are actively occurring off-site in community-based and other housing. Because of bed-spacing, prohibition of bunk beds, and other technical requirements, the temporary rules reduced the amount of safe on-farm housing and pushed employees out into unregulated environments. Farmworker advocates acknowledge that community-based and off-site housing doesn’t require social distancing, yet this housing has not been the subject of increased regulation, scrutiny, or criminal penalties. The Oregon Farm Bureau says that it agrees with the need to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in housing, but believes there is a way to protect employees without displacing them.

They also say that lack of public comment on the order also subverts the requirements of the Oregon Administrative Procedures Act.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-23 18:07:28Last Update: 2020-10-23 20:16:50

COVID-19 Vaccine Plan Released
Spoiler alert: People of color get in line first.

The Oregon Health Authority has come out with a plan for distributing and administering the COVID-19 vaccine, once it is developed, approved and released. The plan, mostly a technical discussion of the nuts and bolts of distribution and cooperation with local health officials, begins with a strong statement on equity:

Oregon’s plan to allocate and distribute COVID-19 vaccine is grounded in a commitment to health equity, which requires an examination of how power and resources are distributed. With this foundation, the vaccine plan presented here represents a starting point for the iterative, responsive work of co-creating this strategy in partnership with communities most impacted by longstanding health inequities and disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. This introduction presents the framework for Oregon’s approach to co-creation and community collaboration.

The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn focus to the inequities many communities face. We have been presented an opportunity to put our values into action. This plan is intended to be a living document that represents just one step of many for Oregon as we work toward the goal of eliminating health inequities in our state by 2030.

The report alludes to a historical inequity in health care, but does not go into examples:

The inequitable burden of disease and other negative health conditions on communities of color and indigenous and American Indian/Alaska Native communities are not new. COVID-19 has simply highlighted this inequity at a time when more people are paying attention to illness, health and racial justice in the U.S.

The document refers to Governor Kate Brown's general policy framework for an equitable response to COVID-19, summarizing as follows:

Governor Kate Brown shared a framework for applying equity across the state’s response to the pandemic. This framework highlights three equity values that guide our work: 1. Prioritizing Equity: Prioritizing equity and addressing racial disparities as we work toward recovery from COVID-19. 2. Addressing Health and Economic Impacts: Address underlying systemic causes of health and wealth inequalities especially for those most impacted. 3. Ensuring an Inclusive and Welcoming Oregon: Commitment for Oregon to be an inclusive and welcoming state for all.

The document cites the following data to support the racial and ethnic impact of the disease, but in the case of COVID-19, race and/or ethnicity may be proxies for poverty and derivatively the type of living situation. Living environment -- most notably communal living -- has been a strong indicator of likelihood of contracting the disease. For instance, the disease has been prevalent in prisons, care centers and dorm-type living situations.

RaceCases% of total casesCases per 100,000
American Indian/Alaska Native9202.5%1887.6
Pacific Islander6271.7%3774.4
More than 1 race7281.9%362.2
Not available4,51812.1%n/a

EthnicityCase count% of total casesCases per 100,000
Not available4,54212.1%n/a

Aside from equity considerations, vaccinations will start with healthcare and essential worker occupational health vaccination clinics.

One thing that the document doesn't discuss, is whether or not the vaccine will be mandatory, or what level of official encouragement people will get to have them receive the vaccine. Many people will want to get the vaccine. Some will resist.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-22 17:11:23Last Update: 2020-10-22 20:42:49

Another Statue Torn Down in Portland
Harvey Scott was former editor of the Oregonian

A statue that has stood for 87 years in southeast Portland was torn down, being the latest atrocity amidst a series of Antifa and Black Lives Matter vandalism and rioting that has plagued Oregon's largest city for much of the year 2020. The statue of the former Oregonian newspaper editor had stood since 1933.

This is the seventh statue torn down in Oregon overall and the fifth one this year. It seems to be connected to the same rioting leftist group responsible for the other statue vandalism. The vandalism occurred on the so called "Day of Rage" this year, October 12th, also known as Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day.

The violence has continued with no authorities in the area including the Multnomah County District Attorney willing to arrest and convict some of the rioting persons. It is unclear if or when the Democrat leaders of the state and city will step in to protect the history of Oregon.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-22 10:15:40Last Update: 2020-10-22 10:49:16

McMinnville Chamber Holds Candidate Forum
The local chamber grills local candidates

The McMinnville Chamber of Commerce hosted a virtual candidate forum on October 19. Participants were the current Mayor, Scott Hill and current City Councilors Kellie Menke from Ward 2, Adam Garvin from Ward 3 and his challenger Tynan Pierce. Lisa McCracken the challenger for Ward 1 had a conflict and could not participate. Other participants were challengers Heidi Parker for Mayor, Chris Chenoweth from Ward 1 and Brittany Ruiz from Ward 2 for City Council. The forum was hosted by McMinnville Chamber of Commerce Board Chair-elect Patrick George and Linfield professor Kevin Curry. Six questions were asked, and each candidate had two minutes to answer them.

Questions involved complaints often heard about city government and challenges facing the city.

Why are you running?
The incumbents stressed experience. The challengers emphasized a need to change.

The next question involved a common complaint of a failure to show respect to testifiers at council meetings, a lack of proper notice of issues on the agenda and enough time to consider testimony before concluding an ordinance.
There were sharp differences of opinion on this between incumbents and challengers.

Name two important challenges to McMinnville.
Mayor Scott Hill named restructuring financing and equity/diversity/inclusion. Heidi Parker brought up safety and security and a tough love approach to homeless. Kellie Menke suggested expanding the Urban Growth Boundary and attracting businesses to create jobs. Brittany Ruiz pointed to access to services for all. Chris Chenoweth also wants to expand the UGB, as well as clear the roadblocks to businesses choosing McMinnville. Adam Garvin pointed to the need to keep the cost of living low and improve public safety. Tynan Pierce voiced climate/clean water, racial justice, and compassion for the “houseless”.

Are fees and fines excessive and applied capriciously?
The incumbents cited a holistic approach to financing, the challengers expressed a need to rethink spending priorities that lessen dependence on fees and fines.

How do we handle race and inclusion challenges?
Scott Hill suggested collaboration and the creation of a task force. Heidi Parker has seen bias from her bi-racial marriage. She says that equal treatment for all is the answer. Kellie Menke has Japanese aunt and lesbian sister. She thinks that training is needed and that we need to eliminate housing discrimination. Brittany Ruiz has Hispanic husband and is of scientology faith and says that minorities need equal access to services. Chris Chenoweth says that there is no place for bigotry and that equal enforcement of laws is a must. Adam Garvin suggests training for local solutions, not national solutions. Tynan Pierce says that Oregon was founded on systemic racism and that we need nationally funded solutions

How to fix homelessness?
Scott Hill thinks we need to bring groups before council to teach solutions and bring local partners together. Heidi Parker points out that mental health and addictions are the problem, and that we need to help those that want help and eliminate harm to businesses, even relocate those refusing help. Kellie Menke says that the issue is well addressed with new ordinances, but that lack of Block Grants hurts funding. Brittany Ruiz says that a task force is needed. The solution must show compassion. Chris Chenoweth points out that this is a complex problem and we can't just treat just the symptoms. We need to enforce the laws equally. Adam Garvin thinks we can learn from other communities and that funding can come from higher levels of government. Tynan Pierce thinks that McMinnville has done poorly and that we need more compassion and more funding, and less police.

The entire event lasted about an hour and a half.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2020-10-21 18:07:57Last Update: 2020-10-21 19:22:16

These Are Ted Wheeler’s Priorities
Equity, COVID Recovery, Violence Prevention and Environmental Stewardship

Investments in equity, COVID recovery, violence prevention and environmental stewardship top Mayor Ted Wheeler’s list of budget priorities for the City’s annual fall spending review.

Each fall the Portland City Council reviews the City’s budget to determine whether any mid-year changes are needed because of new and unforeseen circumstances. The fall check-in typically is used for technical adjustments and small changes. This year, because of fiscal uncertainty caused by the pandemic, Council is considering more significant decisions.

The Mayor seeks to take measured steps to rebuild reserves while also making targeted investments to help Portland recover equitably and sustainably. Below is a description of the Mayor’s proposal (please note the dollar figures are approximate, may be rounded, and are subject to change).

Equity Community Investments

Community Reinvestment Initiative

Around the country, communities are calling for divestment from police agencies and reinvestment in community. The Mayor’s 19-point racial justice plan calls for reducing the Police Bureau’s budget and reinvesting in communities of color. The Mayor is partnering with City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly to propose a $3 million investment in a community-led process empowering Black Portlanders to decide how best to invest in the community. We will work with Reimagine Oregon and other community partners to design this process.

Approximately $1.9 million would come from ongoing cannabis tax revenues previously dedicated to the Police Bureau. An additional $1.5 million will be made available from one-time funds. The balance will be used to help staff, support and report on the process.

“Community members know what they need to advance public safety and economic empowerment,” the Mayor said. “This proposal will give the community voice and votes to decide how best to invest in the changes needed to advance equity and racial justice.”

Increasing the City’s Capacity to Advance Equity

People of color, indigenous people and members of the LGBTQIA+ community face barriers related to employment, health care, policing, education and more. The Mayor is committed to building city employees’ capacity to understand and fight for equal access to opportunity for everyone and to build relationships with community-based organizations. To do so, the Mayor will ask the Council to create new positions focused on equity and justice.

LGBTQIA+ Policy Analyst

This new position in the Office of Equity and Human Rights will supplement analysts who currently focus on racial equity. The position will help ensure every City bureau works to provide equal opportunity to members of the LGBTQIA+ community and to remove barriers faced by LGBTQIA+ people. Just as important, the position will increase the City’s ability to partner with organizations like the Cascade Aids Project, Pride Northwest and the Human Rights Campaign. The position will be supported with $125,000 in ongoing revenue.

Increased Capacity for the Office of Equity and Human Rights

The Mayor will ask the Council to support three new positions in the Office of Equity and Human Rights. The positions will focus on providing more training for City employees, on data analysis to ensure the City is making progress on its equity goals, and on increasing the accessibility of all City facilities and programs. The request also includes support for two AmeriCorps VISTA interns who will focus on Black male achievement. Finally, the Mayor will direct that bureaus jointly fund a fourth position focused on civil rights investigations and trainings. Combined, these requests require $430,000 in ongoing funds.

“We need better understanding and capacity among our employees, and we need a stronger focus on accountability for progress. This proposal helps us accomplish both these important objectives,” the Mayor said.

Improving Tribal Relations

The city of Portland has one of the largest urban Native American populations in the nation. Tens of thousands of tribal members live in the City. The City is a leader in working to improve relations with Native Americans and with Tribal nations. Currently, the City’s tribal relations program has two staff. The success created by the City’s one liaison, while significant, does not match the City’s goals of making Portland a destination for Native people to live, work and visit, and to ensure Native people are visible and supported.

“We need to weave knowledge of and respect for Native people and culture into the fabric of the City’s operations and relationships. That requires more than one person,” the Mayor said.

That’s why the Mayor will ask Council to approve a third position to support the existing tribal liaisons’ highly successful work. The new position requires $130,000 in ongoing funds.

COVID-19 Recovery

Portland was in the first wave of cities responding to the pandemic this spring. With both City funds and federal relief dollars, Council prioritized immediate relief to vulnerable renters, people living outside, and small businesses. The City stood up its Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) to keep people informed about the latest public health information and to ensure a coordinated City response to the pandemic. The ECC continues to work closely with Multnomah County to ensure the health and safety of people experiencing homelessness.

The Mayor’s proposal continues funding for the ECC so no staff there are laid off; invests in the central city so it is clean, healthy, and welcoming to employees and visitors; and offers a lifeline for City-owned arts venues to avoid higher costs down the road.

Housing Stability and Safe Sleep Options

The Mayor has prioritized renter and homeowner stability, and the safety of people experiencing homelessness, since the pandemic began. In his proposal, $3.6 million in federal funds is allocated for several hundred additional shelter beds through the cold and rainy winter months, and $1.4 million will support rent assistance to help people stay in their homes.

Two important programs to help people experiencing homelessness stay healthy and safe are funded with federal money that expires at the end of this calendar year: three outdoor camps serving about 100 people each; and 100 port-a-potties places throughout the community. The Mayor proposes to use unspent funds from the Portland Street Response, on a one-time basis, to continue these services through the end of this fiscal year. This allocation is $2.1 million in total.

Sustaining the COVID-19 Emergency Coordination Center

In addition, the Mayor also is asking to City Council to approve continued support for operation of the COVID Emergency Coordination Center with a one-time allocation of $290,000 to match FEMA funds supporting operations at the ECC.

Garbage and Litter Pick-Up

COVID health guidelines are changing how we live and work, and have affected how we are managing shared public spaces. That’s why the Mayor is asking the Council to approve an additional $800,000 for garbage and litter collection and to support the work of the Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program. The Mayor is requesting $650,000 in one-time funds and an additional $150,000 from reallocations within the existing budget.

Additionally, the Mayor proposes $77,000 in one-time dollars to extend our contract and continue our partnership with SOLVE for Keep it Pretty, Rose City cleanup events. This level of funding will allow SOLVE to expand their events and increase engagement in underserved neighborhoods, especially East Portland. This investment will fund the agreement through the end of 2021.

Downtown Retail Activation

Cleaning up Downtown is a great start. The Mayor also wants to help Downtown business re-open safely and help bring customers back to the City’s core. That’s why the Mayor is seeking Council approval of a one-time investment to support ongoing marketing of downtown’s wide range of open shops and businesses.

The Mayor seeks to invest $150,000 with Travel Portland, which is working closely with an array of partners including the Old Town Community Association, Portland Business Alliance, public agencies, and other community partners to raise the profile of businesses that are open downtown.

The Mayor also will ask the Council to make a one-time investment of $50,000 in Prosper Portland’s work to activate downtown neighborhoods. Prosper is working with local business and community groups to sponsor open-air markets, performances and other activities designed to bring people into the downtown core. This one-time $200,000 investment will be redirected from the City’s spectator venues fund.

Maintaining the Viability of City-Owned Performing Arts Venues

City-owned facilities operated by Portland’5 Centers for the Arts include the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, the Keller Auditorium, Antoinette Hatfield Hall and the Winningstad Theater, Newmark Theater and Brunish Theater. To protect public health, these City-owned facilities are closed.

Although some of the venues are offering virtual programs, revenues are not sufficient to sustain operations while the City of Portland and Multnomah County are still in Phase I of COVID recovery. To avoid major costs to the City, and to ensure the venues are ready to reopen when conditions allow, the Mayor is asking the City Council to approve a one-time investment of $1.6 million to maintain minimal staffing and maintenance.

“Our arts venues bring culture, people and jobs to our downtown. We need to them to be ready to re-open when conditions permit. We need to protect our past investment in these important community assets,” Mayor Wheeler said.

Violence Prevention

Enhancing the Public Health Response to Gun Violence

The COVID-19 crisis is increasing stresses and strains on people across the Portland community at the same time social distancing and other public health guidelines make providing social services more difficult and expensive than ever. One terrible result is an alarming increase in gun violence.

“Just like a virus, ending gun violence requires prevention, education and intervention,” the Mayor said. “We know what to do. We need the resources to do it. That’s why I am asking the City Council to increase its investment in the Office of Violence Prevention,” he said.

The Office of Violence Prevention works on the root causes of violence to both prevent violent incidents and reduce the need for law enforcement. The office coordinates resources and services, administers grants for non-profit organizations that strengthen community, and facilitates community conversation and problem-solving. Given the COVID-caused crises in our community, the need for more community-based violence prevention and problem solving has never been greater.

The Mayor is asking the Council to approve two new positions for the program. One will provide support for the office’s existing staff to increase their capacity and effectiveness. The other will focus on coordinating programs designed to foster existing and grow new community partnerships to prevent violence before it occurs. The Mayor seeks $271,000 in ongoing funds to support this vital work.

Environmental Stewardship

Portland has long been a leader in environmental stewardship. There is increasing urgency to protect Portland’s environment and for the City to do its part in the fight against climate change. The Mayor’s proposal makes several investments to keep important work going.

FEMA Floodplain Update

The National Flood Insurance Program is managed by FEMA and provides renters, homeowners, and businesses insurance coverage for flood damage. The program is complex, but a key feature is that local floodplain management rules must comply with Endangered Species Act protections for wild salmon and steelhead. City bureaus are working on a multi-year project to keep local certification and maintain flood insurance protection for the people of Portland. $260,000 in one-time funds will allow the City to meet a critical FEMA deadline, stay in compliance, and continue important community engagement about the future of floodplain management and flood protection.

Columbia River Levee Reconstruction

Portland is part of a group called Levee Ready Columbia working to bring the Columbia River’s local system of flood control levees, 27 miles in total, up to federal standards so local residents and business owners qualify for affordable flood insurance. Setting aside $315,000 on an ongoing basis ensures Portland continues to meet its obligations.

Dark Skies

The Portland Dark Skies Project will reduce light pollution in Portland, reducing negative health impacts to humans and negative impacts on wildlife, reducing energy waste, and bringing back the night sky. Last year, Council directed the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to develop recommendations to get us there. In his proposal, Mayor Wheeler directs the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to develop a budget proposal to fund an important piece of the solution, Code updates, for Council's consideration as soon as practicable and no later than the Spring FY 2021-22 Supplemental Budget Process.

Willamette River Superfund Clean-up

In 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated a 10-mile stretch of the Willamette River a Superfund Site. This is one of the most complex superfund sites in the country, and it wasn’t until 2017 that EPA released its final clean-up plan. The City is partnering with the EPA and others to make sure the work is moving forward and being led by community values and organizations. $1 million in one-time resources will ensure the City meets its obligations.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-21 17:22:37Last Update: 2020-10-21 17:41:51

Democratic Candidates Run Afoul
Scandals dog a handful of Dems

A disproportionate number of Democratic legislative candidates have found themselves in hot water this legislative cycle. In a year in which the party is hoping to pick up seats in order to cross the next threshold -- to gain a quorum-proof majority -- they seem to have problems with elections integrity in many of their races. This fact may hold them back.

One wonders why, among the surely many talented possible candidates, the Democratic side has been unable to field a slate of integrity. Could it be that there is such hubris in the party that ethics is regarded as optional? Here are some of the examples.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-21 10:27:48Last Update: 2020-10-20 20:54:48

Husband Stabbed in Neck Protecting Wife’s Purse
Part of a series of recent stabbings in Portland

Violence seems without end in Portland, Oregon.

On October 19, 2020, at 10:03 p.m., Portland Police Bureau Officers from East Precinct and Transit Police responded to the 1100 block of Northeast 99th Ave in the Hazelwood neighborhood on reports of a robbery. It was reported that four young males between the ages of 11-15 exited the Max at Gateway where they approached an adult woman, who was homeless, and attempted to steal her purse. The woman struggled with the youth to retain her purse. The woman's husband confronted the youth and was stabbed in the neck by one of them. The victim was transported to an area hospital with serious injuries. The suspects fled the scene and no arrests were made. Once at the hospital, it was learned that the victim's injuries were non-life-threatening.

A few hours later, at 1:03 a.m. on October 20, 2020, a victim of a stabbing walked into an area hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. The adult male victim, who is also homeless, was stabbed five times near his camp in the Lents neighborhood by an unknown suspect. No crime scene was located and no arrests were made.

The last stabbing was reported at 2:39 a.m., where another victim walked into an area hospital with a serious, but non-life-threatening injury after being struck with a hatchet. The adult male victim was uncooperative with police, however, officers learned that the incident occurred in the Lents neighborhood near Southeast 92nd Ave and Flavel St. No crime scene was located and no arrests were made.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-20 21:25:50Last Update: 2020-10-20 22:05:39

Kate Brown Sued Over Religious Freedom
Closure necessary to prevent a “mass exodus” from public schools

Attornys from Alliance Defending Freedom representing a private, religious K-12 Oregon school filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday against Governor Kate Brown to challenge her order threatening private schools with 30 days jail time and $1,250 fines for reopening in-person instruction, despite allowing public schools of identical size in the same county permission to resume in-person classes.

After nearly two months of advising that Hermiston Christian School could provide in-person instruction to the 51 students enrolled in its K-12 program, Brown reversed course and, on July 29, ordered private schools in Umatilla County and elsewhere to remain closed while offering exemptions to public schools with 75 or fewer students. On the same day Brown extended the prohibition of in-person instruction to private schools, a spokesperson for the governor expressed a desire to prevent a “mass exodus” from public schools and emphasized that public schools could suffer a reduction in funding if students disenrolled to obtain education elsewhere.

“While responding to crises can be difficult, this case is not. There is no legitimate reason for allowing public schools with 75 or fewer students to provide in-person instruction while denying the same opportunity to small private schools, including religious ones,” said ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Tucker, director of the ADF Center for Christian Ministries. “Hermiston Christian School operates in the same county as a public school that is open, and it operates with the same number of students, who are performing the same type of activity, working in an even larger physical environment, and complying with the same health and safety protocols. Gov. Brown’s refusal to extend the same treatment to Hermiston Christian School as she does to small public schools violates the U.S. Constitution and discriminates against parents who choose to provide a religious education for their children.”

After receiving the governor’s assurance that in-person instruction would resume, Hermiston Christian retained its teachers and staff, made expenditures to meet or exceed the state’s health and safety protocols, and told parents that they could plan on in-person classes for their children. On September 16, the Oregon Department of Education granted Hermiston initial approval as an Emergency Child Care Facility for school aged children and, after conducting a virtual inspection of school facilities, noted that Hermiston Christian’s “facility is very clean and organized. [Staff] were very well prepared and are following the Health and Safety Guidelines.” However, the Umatilla County Public Health Department has advised the school that it is not permitted to provide in-person instruction even if the students are in its facilities for childcare.

“Gov. Brown’s personal preference for public over private education does not permit her to discriminate against faith-based schools,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman. “Oregon’s Department of Education has personally evaluated Hermiston Christian School and found that it is a safe place for school-aged children to spend full days, but the very same department threatens imprisonment and fines if the school dares to educate those very same children while they’re in the building. Public health crises do not suspend the Constitution or permit elected leaders to favor secular public schools by granting them unique exceptions.”

The complaint notes that Hermiston Christian serves some low-income families in its community who cannot simultaneously supervise their children’s remote education while working outside of the home to provide essential income. As the complaint explains, “Most distance-learning models rely on increased levels of parental involvement, which imposes unique burdens upon single parents or low-income families with two working parents.”

ADF attorneys filed Hermiston Christian School v. Brown in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Pendleton Division.

This is the second lawsuit filed against the Governor in the past few days. Friday, a group of legislators filed a suit based on separation of powers and other issues.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-20 18:42:19Last Update: 2020-10-20 19:27:48

Executive Appointments Director Sought
Or maybe you want to be appointed to a board or commission

Governor Kate Brown is seeking qualified candidates to apply for the Director of Executive Appointments position.

The Governor appoints nearly 300 policymaking, regulatory and advisory boards and commissions. Many of these set policy for executive branch agencies. The Executive Appointments Director works with the Governor’s Policy Advisors to recommend candidates for the Governor's selection and guides appointments through the Senate confirmation process.

This work requires an excellent grasp of the various missions of boards and commissions and how their work relates to that of state agencies, the Legislature, the Governor's Office. The Director must engage with a variety of stakeholder groups across the state to identify qualified volunteers and must balance the needs and goals of boards and commissions with demographic considerations such as geography, race, ethnicity, age, gender, military status, disability status, and experience.

Governor Brown is looking for a Director to build on current goals for increasing racial diversity in Oregon boards and commissions. Members of Oregon state boards and commissions are vital participants in the policy–making, regulatory, and advocacy efforts for a wide variety of issues affecting Oregonians. The board system contributes to the success of Oregon state government by bringing diverse and local talent and interest to the state level.

If you are interested in being appointed by the Governor to one of the almost 300 boards or commissions, you can get more information on the executive branch website. Members of Oregon State Boards and Commissions are vital participants in statewide decision-making and dedicated individuals have the opportunity to participate in developing a wide variety of important governmental policies. Major issues range from consumer protection, economic development, education, conservation, and health care—all of which are critical to the ongoing success of the State of Oregon.

You must be an Oregon resident and taxpayer to participate unless otherwise noted.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-20 08:28:02Last Update: 2020-10-20 09:52:40

Lockdowns Criticized
Some alternate theories on COVID-19 exist

The Oregon Health Authority now recommends wearing a face covering/mask instead of a face shield (except in limited situations when a face shield by itself is appropriate, like talking to someone who is Deaf or hard of hearing and needs to read lips to communicate).

Jason Shurka studies body responses and is making a documentary on his findings, particularly body responses to diseases. A body always strives for balance. A fever is when the body heats to fight a virus. He says even cancer tumors are caused as a defense of another problem.

Shurka says a virus activates itself to detox the body against something that has attacked the body. He says that groups of people don’t spread a virus. They are just grouped in one frequency area so that the energy produced attacks the irregularity. The more vital the body is the more susceptible to toxic environments. He says the COVID-19 lockdown is detoxing the body from all the immunity our bodies have built up making us more susceptible to viruses.

So is COVID-19 a nature virus or a created irregularity attacking our bodies?

Dr. Reiner Fuellmich, consumer protection trial lawyer in California and Germany for 26 years and member of the German Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee, prosecutes those responsible for implementing the economically devastating lockdowns around the world as well as fraudulent testing to engineer the appearance of a dangerous pandemic.

In “Crimes against Humanity,” Fuellmich identifies their case showing lockdowns were unnecessary because the virus was already in retreat and infection rates were starting to decline when lockdowns were imposed. He says scientific evidence shows a majority of people already have built-in protection against the virus due to cross-reactive T-cell immunity. They also show that the PCR test -- a test for COVID-19 DNA -- cannot be used to identify an active infection with SARS-CoV-2 or any other virus, and mortality statistics during the pandemic have been within the norms of any given year, meaning the pandemic has not resulted in an excess number of deaths or a death toll higher than normal.

Fuellmich explains that crimes against humanity, first defined during the Nuremberg trials following World War II, are today regulated in Section 7 of the International Criminal Code. Pandemic measures, on the other hand, have "caused the loss of innumerable human lives, and have destroyed the economic existence of countless companies and individuals worldwide."

As noted by Fuellmich: "PCR tests are simply incapable of diagnosing any disease. A positive PCR test result does not mean that an infection is present. If someone tests positive, it does not mean that they're infected with anything, let alone with the contagious SARS-CoV-2 virus." Even the United States CDC … agrees with this and I quote directly from page 38 of one of its publications on the coronavirus and the PCR tests dated July 13 2020. Public health, both physical and mental, as well as the global economy, have all suffered tremendous blows. According to Fuellmich, there's evidence showing a range of falsehoods and misrepresentations of facts have purposely been circulated, such that, based on the rules of criminal law, it can only be assessed as fraud. Under the rules of civil tort law, all those who have been harmed by these PCR tests induced lockdowns are entitled to receive full compensation for their losses.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-19 21:14:25Last Update: 2020-10-20 08:28:02

Salem Center 50+ Launches Wellness Program
Mobile health care van provides services to seniors

City of Salem Center 50+ has launched the WOW van (Wellness on Wheels) to keep seniors connected to their community through life-enriching activities and services. With the support from Salem Health, United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley, P3 Health Partners Oregon, and Home Instead Senior Care, Center 50+ now delivers socially distanced wellness services to area seniors.

Front porch visits from the WOW Van includes fitness, nutrition, mobility and wellness programming, activities, lifelong learning instruction, social checks ins, and technology tutoring.

The Center 50+ is Salem’s premier non-membership community center providing programs and services to adults age 50 and older and their caregivers. Although the Center is temporarily closed to the public due to COVID-19, programs and services continue to be offered throughout the community. Center 50+ serves more than 850 people a day and hosts more than 150 programs and activities each term.

The WOW Van was inspired through the work of the Age-Friendly Salem Initiative and meets the goals of keeping seniors socially connected, engaged in their community, and able to remain safe and healthy in their homes for as long as possible. Center 50+ recognizes the importance of delivering services to older adults whose mobility and aptitude to travel around Salem has decreased because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Marilyn Daily who manages operations and programming for the center says, “Everyone on our staff is excited about the possibilities of this service and eager to bring classes and companionship to those who need it most.”

To find out more about the WOW Van residents are encouraged to email Connect50plus@cityofsalem.net or to visit the Center 50+ website.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-19 20:07:05Last Update: 2020-10-19 20:22:28

Kate Brown Will Appoint County Court Position
Judge James to Retire from Marion County Bench

Governor Kate Brown announced that she is accepting applications for a judicial vacancy on the Marion County Circuit Court created by the planned retirement of Judge Mary M. James. The Governor thanked Judge James for her dedicated judicial service, and announced that she will fill the position by appointment. Judge James’ retirement takes effect November 30, 2020.

Interested applicants should mail or submit online (no in-person delivery) their completed application forms to: Dustin Buehler, General Counsel, Office of the Governor, 900 Court Street NE #254, Salem, OR 97301-4047. Forms must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 9, 2020. Forms emailed by 5:00 p.m. on the closing date will be considered timely so long as original signed forms postmarked by the closing date are later received.

Governor Kate Brown fills judicial vacancies based on merit. She encourages applications from lawyers with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences.

ORS 3.041 and 3.050 provide that at the time of appointment to the court, the candidate must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of Oregon, and a member of the Oregon State Bar. SB 977, recently passed by the Legislature, creates a new requirement. It amends ORS 3.041 and requires that these vacancies must be filled by persons who are residents of or have principal offices in the judicial districts to which they are appointed or adjacent judicial districts.

For questions about the appointment process, or to request an interest form, contact Shevaun Gutridge via Email here or at 503-378-6246

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-19 19:09:51Last Update: 2020-10-19 20:30:44

Albany Works to Accent Riverfront
A vibrant riverfront can encourage positive new redevelopment

The confluence of the Willamette and Calapooia Rivers was significant to the native Kalapuya peoples and to early European settlers who eventually built the city at this unique intersection of rivers, roads, and railroads.

Albany is one of last major cities on the Willamette to invest in its riverfront and today, the riverfront is separated from downtown Albany by parking lots, Water Avenue, railroad tracks, and is missing sidewalks and crossing options. The connection between downtown Albany and its waterfront has become largely hidden by thick foliage and poor water access.

Over time, the City has been taking steps to reestablish downtown Albany’s connection with its rivers. In recent years, the City has been preserving waterfront properties for public use, using the Central Albany Revitalization Area to make strategic investments in downtown, and planning improvements to Water Avenue and the waterfront parks.

Now, the City is taking the next steps in this long-standing effort to improve Albany’s waterfront and how it connects to downtown. The expectation is that new waterfront redevelopment will ultimately create one of the most unique downtowns in the state of Oregon. When complete, the riverfront will be a major downtown anchor, connecting the community to the river to which it was historically connected.

This project will create plans to improve Water Avenue, Monteith Park, and the publicly owned portion of the riverfront and Dave Clark Trail. The project area includes up to 24 acres of park space and 14 blocks of streetscape along Water Avenue between Monteith Park and Main Street.

This process is expected to generate a final design concept by Summer 2020 and a final design is expected to be ready for City Council approval by Spring 2021. A phased approach to construction will allow for individual projects to be built over time. Pending final review, approval, and permitting, it may be possible to begin construction of individual projects as soon as Fall/Winter of 2021. The cost has not been determined.

You can find out more at the Albany Waterfront Project website.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-18 11:23:18Last Update: 2020-10-18 13:10:07

Portland Indian Leaders Denounce Leftist Mayhem in Portland
Destruction at the Oregon Historical Society very disappointing

Members of the Portland Indian Leaders Roundtable met and issued the following statement:

“We, the members of the Portland Indian Leaders Roundtable, disapprove of the destruction and theft of property, and threat of violence, by those participating in demonstrations last night. As with other resistance movements who have turned out in countless numbers this year, we understand that there is justifiable righteous indignation over the unconscionable mistreatment of our people and communities over centuries, and that Indigenous People’s Day is a time to reflect and speak out against these injustices. Yet, we cannot condone pointless acts of vandalism and the brandishing of weapons that serve only to detract from the real message that must be heard:

Many of us have spent our lives advocating for the needs of our people and working to prevent re-traumatization of our elders and families. Acting only in anger is not our way. Disavowing the teachings of our elders is not our way. Wielding weapons and stealing what is not ours is not our way.

The destruction at the Oregon Historical Society was so very disappointing, especially given the great care they have given to their most recent exhibit that displays Native American history so honestly and respectfully. We thank them for their deep consultation with tribal nations to create this exhibit and wish them the best in the repairs to their building.

On this Indigenous People’s Day of October 12, 2020, we choose to continue our important work being of service to those who need us. Relying upon the Indigenous values of respect, humility, kindness, and accountability, we will continue to work toward healing, using our traditions and culture as a guide.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-18 11:20:01Last Update: 2020-10-18 13:26:30

Donors Weigh in on Secretary of State Race
Fagan rakes in cash from the left

In a sign that the Secretary of State Election might be very close, a variety of left-leaning donors have dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Shemia Fagan campaign for Secretary of State.

At this point in the campaign, state law requires reporting of contributions no later than seven days after being received. Below is a report of major donors to Fagan's campaign, during the first 9 days of October. It represents a broad cross-section of left leaning interests, labor unions, and individuals.

Some analysts point out that Oregon voters don't like a highly partisan race, especially for the office of Secretary of State -- a person in the position of being the referee on Oregon's elections. They have suggested that this large last-minute surge of cash is the result of an election that is turning out much like the Brad Avakian/Dennis Richardson Race four years ago, when the respected Richardson defeated the partisan Avakian.

The election is a mere 17 days from now.

Major donations to Committee to Elect Shemia Fagan just during the month of October 2020
10/09/2020Blue Wave Project$5,000
10/09/2020Portland Metro Fire Fighters PAC (223)$10,000
10/09/2020Oregon Nurses Political Action Committee (12986)$20,000
10/09/2020Earl Blumenauer for Congress$1,500
10/09/2020Oregon Health Care Association PAC (275)$5,000
10/09/2020Blue Wave Project$20,000
10/09/2020Aaron Mitchell$5,000
10/08/2020Dentists of Oregon PAC (54)$10,000
10/08/2020Citizen Action for Political Education (33)$2,500
10/08/2020Elect Ellen Rosenblum for Attorney General (15406)$2,500
10/08/2020Save Democracy PAC$5,000
10/08/2020Oregon League of Conservation Voters PAC (2352)$25,000
10/07/2020Citizen Action for Political Education (33)$25,000
10/06/2020Blue Wave Project$5,000
10/06/2020Holding Onto Oregons Priorities$10,000
10/05/2020The Mother PAC (14523)$1,000
10/05/2020Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde$2,500
10/04/2020Molly McCabe$10,000
10/03/2020OFNHP AFT 5017 Political Action Committee (17220)$4,000
10/03/2020Phillip Fogg Jr.$5,000
10/03/2020EmpRes Healthcare Management$2,500
10/02/2020Democratic Association of Secretaries of State$50,000
10/02/2020National Democratic Redistricting Committee$100,000
10/02/2020Local 48 Electricians PAC (4572)$30,000
10/02/2020Professional Firefighters PAC #3219 (3219)$5,000
10/02/2020Oregon League of Conservation Voters PAC (2352)$25,000
10/01/2020Salem Fire PAC (245)$1,000

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-17 18:32:45Last Update: 2020-10-17 20:50:16

Revenue Reminds Taxpayers to Check Withholding
Remember, unemployment compensation is taxable.

The Oregon Department of Revenue is reminding taxpayers that now is the perfect time to review their Oregon tax withholding and payments to avoid a surprise when filing next year.

“We encourage Oregon taxpayers to check their withholding for tax year 2020,” said Personal Tax and Compliance Division Administrator JoAnn Martin. “Not withholding enough during the year could lead to an unexpected tax bill in 2021.”

Oregon’s Form OR-W-4 and Revenue’s online withholding calculator allow taxpayers to determine the correct amount to withhold for Oregon personal income tax. The 2020 Form OR-W-4 and the withholding calculator are available on the department’s website.

Generally, wage earners should periodically review their withholding, especially when they had a recent personal or financial change that may affect their tax situation such as a change in income, filing status, or number of dependents.

This year, thousands of Oregon taxpayers have had to file for unemployment benefits, many of them for the first time. Unemployment compensation is taxable and withholding is not done automatically. If recipients did not elect to have state income tax withheld when applying for benefits, they will need to fill out Form 1040WH from the Oregon Employment Department website and submit it to the OED to authorize withholding.

To get tax forms, check the status of your refund, or make payments, visit www.oregon.gov/dor or email questions.dor@oregon.gov. You can also call 800-356-4222 toll-free from an Oregon prefix (English or Spanish) or 503-378-4988 in Salem and outside Oregon.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-17 11:30:33Last Update: 2020-10-17 18:32:45

Governor Brown Sued Over Shut Down
Separation of Powers is the Basis for Three Legislators

This afternoon Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls), Representatives Mike Nearman (R-Independence) and E. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath Falls), and Neil Ruggles sued the Governor and State of Oregon in the Circuit Court for the County of Multnomah, challenging the Governor’s power to maintain a continuing state of emergency under ORS Chapter 401. The lawsuit claims that the Legislature’s attempt to delegate “all police powers vested in the state by the Oregon constitution” is in fact prohibited by several sections of the Oregon Constitution which provide for a separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers.

“This lawsuit raises constitutional claims not previously considered by the Supreme Court of Oregon in its Elkhorn Baptist Church case, which upheld the Governor’s exercise of emergency powers when challenged on statutory grounds,” explained James Buchal, counsel for plaintiffs. “We hope that the Oregon Supreme Court will follow the Supreme Court of Michigan and other state and federal courts which have recognized that the exercise of very broad statutory emergency powers for months on end infringes the rights of both citizens and legislators to have important general policy rules established by the legislative brand of government.”

The complaint cites Article III, Section 1 of the Oregon Constitution:

"The powers of the Government shall be divided into three separate (sic) departments, the Legislative, the Executive, including the administrative, and the Judicial; and no person charged with official duties under one of these departments, shall exercise any of the functions of another, except as in this Constitution expressly provided."

The lawsuit points out that the measures available to the legislature “places a significant burden on the Legislature to regain its own Legislative powers once the Governor declares an emergency. For example, recently in Pennsylvania, the power supposedly granted to the legislature to end the emergency by a simple majority vote of both houses in a joint resolution failed because the governor vetoed the bill.”

The complaint notes that "All rules and orders...shall have the full force and effect of law both during and after the declaration of a state of emergency. All existing laws, ordinances, rules and orders inconsistent with ORS 401.165 to 401.236 shall be inoperative during the period of time and to the extent such inconsistencies exist." The complaint describes the Governor as a “super-legislature who might strike down 'all existing law' at will after such a declaration of emergency, making the effect of all outstanding laws dependent upon the whim of the Governor.”

Ending on a grand note, the complaint notes that “allowing the Governor to exercise all police power of the state for an extended period of time beyond the statutory limits of ORS Chapter 433 and the Constitutional limits of Article X-A violates the federal rights of Oregonians to a Republican form of government under Article IV, § 4 of the U.S. Constitution.”

One of the plaintiffs, Neil Ruggles, has a Go Fund Me page to help cover the costs of the suit.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-16 16:57:50Last Update: 2020-10-18 13:15:27

Occupational Safety Rules Proposed
Redefining “reasonable diligence”

Amidst the chaos of COVID-19, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration has quietly moved forward with proposed changes to two administrative rules that would stack the deck against employers in contested cases. Oregon OSHA’s Proposed Amendments in General Administrative Rules to Clarify Employer’s Responsibilities and Oregon OSHA’s Proposed Increase of Certain Minimum and Maximum Penalties for Alleged Violations.

These rule changes seem to be about agency convenience in contested cases, not employee safety.

Oregon law says that for an employer to be liable for a serious violation, Oregon OSHA must prove that the employer knew, or with the “exercise of reasonable diligence” could have known, of the violation. Recently, the Oregon Supreme Court has made clear that the burden is on Oregon OSHA to prove what is "reasonable" and what is "diligence" under the circumstances of each case. Now, Oregon OSHA is attempting to change that court ruling.

Oregon OSHA proposes redefining “reasonable diligence” to make employers strictly liable so that the agency can easily win a contested case. They are shifting the burden of determining fault to employers -- despite clear direction from the Supreme Court and legislature. Additionally, the agency’s rule changes make the “unpreventable employee conduct” defense entirely useless, which further lessens Oregon OSHA’s burden of proof. This is an abuse of power for an agency that already has stepped outside the bounds of its authority during this crisis.

Further, through a separate rulemaking, the agency is trying to give Oregon OSHA’s Administrator unlimited discretion to impose huge penalties: $13,538 for any “serious” violation and up to $135,382 for any “willful” violation. These enormous fines could be assessed for just repeat paperwork violations. Or worse, these new rules could be used against businesses struggling to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.

It is evident that these rule changes are focused on ensuring Oregon OSHA’s ability to penalize employers for serious violations with minimal effort and maximum penalties.

Oregon OSHA will adopt these rule changes at the end of October. There will be a final opportunity for in-person testimony on October 28, 2020 at 10:00 AM. Interested parties can register for the Public Hearing on Employer Responsibilities. Written comments are due on October 30th.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-16 16:41:10Last Update: 2020-10-16 16:57:50

Mayhem and Violence Continues In Portland
144 Days And Counting

On October 15, 2020, a group gathered outside the Justice Center in Downtown Portland. Nearly 100 people began standing in the street on Southwest 2nd Avenue between Southwest Madison and Southwest Main Street. Members of the group were seen spray painting Central Precinct as well as putting garbage near the entryways and exits to the sally port garage doors. At the same time, members of the group started a large fire in the intersection located at Southwest Main Street and Southwest 3rd Avenue. As the fire grew larger, members stood near blocking vehicular traffic. Smaller fires were lit by igniting the garbage left near the sally port doors.

Warnings were issued over loudspeaker advising the crowd that all streets are open to vehicular traffic. You must immediately vacate the roadway and proceed to the sidewalk. If you remain in the roadway, you may be subject to arrest for Disorderly Conduct, Interfering with a Police Officer, and other State and City offenses. If you remain in the roadway and show the intent to engage in physical resistance to removal, or if emergency circumstances require, you may be subject to the use of force, including crowd control agents, tear gas, and impact weapons. Move to the sidewalk. Despite the warnings, the crowd continued to block vehicular traffic on Southwest 2nd Avenue as well as Southwest 3rd Avenue at Southwest Main Street.

A passenger vehicle associated with the group stopped near the sally port doors and a passenger exited the vehicle and added accelerant to the fires. The vehicle was later stopped and the passenger was cited for reckless burning and arson 1.

Portland Police along with Portland Fire moved in to the area of Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Main Street and Firefighters addressed the fire. After the fire was out, officers and firefighters left the area.

The group continued to stand in the street and block vehicular traffic. Members of the group also continued to light small fires. Once again the group was warned over loudspeaker to vacate the roadway or they would be subject to use of force, including crowd control agent, tear gas, and impact weapons. The group continued to stand in the roadway and officers arrived on scene and made some targeted arrests.

The group began to leave the area and was mostly dispersed by 12:30 a.m.

The Portland Police Bureau did not use crowd control munitions or CS (tear) gas.

The following person was cited on listed charges:
Talbot, Rachel Lee, 18-year-old, Reckless Burning, Arson 1

The following people were arrested and booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on listed charges:
Reinhardt, Zachary, 29-year-old of Portland, Oregon, Interfering with a Peace Officer, Disorderly Conduct II
Bowen, Justin, 25-year-old of Portland, Oregon, Reckless Burning

--Sabrina-Marie Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-16 11:26:19Last Update: 2020-10-16 12:37:53

COVID-19 or the Common Cold?
More testing with less-than-accurate tests

As the Oregon Health Authority sends out notice of keeping face coverings dry during rainy weather, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website says people testing positive for COVID-19 may simply have the common cold. If you test positive, the test result may show you have antibodies from an infection from a virus that causes COVID-19. However, there is a chance you have antibodies from a virus from the same family of viruses called coronaviruses such as the one that causes the common cold.

“Some tests may exhibit cross-reactivity with other coronaviruses, such as those that cause the common cold. This could result in false-positive test results. Some persons may not develop detectable antibodies after coronavirus infection... Thus, serologic test results do not indicate with certainty the presence or absence of current or previous infection with SARS-CoV-2.”

“Serologic testing by itself should not be used to establish the presence or absence of SARS-CoV-2 infection or reinfection. Antibodies may not be present among those tested early in illness before antibodies develop or among those who never develop detectable antibodies following infection. In addition, the presence of antibodies may reflect previous infection and may be unrelated to the current illness.”

There are growing suggestions that we should wear masks to prevent spreading the flu and colds also. With the constant wearing of a face mask at work and schools, the question is how long can a person wear a mask without fear of hypoxia. According to a study in 2008 that studied the risk of hypoxia, the onset of slight hypoxia starts after the first hour of wearing a mask. It can trap the exhaled CO2 that limits the oxygen intake in the air we breathe and induce silent hypoxia. The inexpensive masks or cloth masks are for show. A respirator mask (N95 mask) filters out 95% of small flu particulate matter, and COVID-19 are smaller. Are we headed towards another medical crisis from wearing the wrong mask too long?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-16 07:34:29Last Update: 2020-10-16 08:22:20

Black Lives Matter Resolution Passed By Oregon Educators
Virtue Signaling from Oregon Board of Education

The Oregon State Board of Education has passed a resolution declaring “Black Lives Matter.”

The resolution strongly supports justice and dignity for all Black people and renews the Board’s commitment to anti-racism, equity, and access to education as a core value. It also urges Oregon school districts, public charter schools, and education service districts to take several actions to support Black students, educators, and community members including renewing their commitment to anti-racism and strengthening networks of support for students and families who are experiencing increased harassment, violence, bullying, or hatred based on race.

The Oregon State Board of Education, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA), the Oregon Education Association (OEA), the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA), the Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA), the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA), the Oregon Association of Education Service Districts (OAESD), and the Oregon Association of Student Councils (OASC) have submitted a joint letter to the Oregon State Board of Education supporting the resolution.

The resolution and letter mirror similar actions taken by boards of education around the U.S., including Baltimore County Public Schools, Indianapolis Public Schools, Berkeley Public Schools, and many more.

“All students belong in Oregon schools. Sometimes, that means telling one student they belong and that they matter when they need to hear it,” said Kimberly Howard, Chair of Oregon State Board of Education. “Sometimes, that means telling a group of students that they matter when they have heard and felt the opposite for far too long.”

“We cannot be silent in response to the racism that students and staff experience in Oregon’s schools,” said Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill. “The Oregon Department of Education is committed to ensuring that Oregon’s schools are safe and inclusive for all students and staff, and that means conclusively and repeatedly saying, ‘Yes, we affirm the dignity and humanity of Black people.’ That’s what Black Lives Matter means, as a statement of love and justice. And love and justice are the side of history we all need to be on.”

“We applaud the Oregon State Board of Education for adopting a Black Lives Matter resolution today. This is an important step -- one of many -- toward affirming our Black children and families. Their lives, their dreams, and their futures matter,” said Craig Hawkins, Executive Director of Coalition of Oregon School Administrators. “As school leaders, it is our responsibility to make sure that all of our students feel seen, safe, and welcome in our schools so they can fulfill their potential and achieve their goals, and we commit to partnering with Black students and community to ensure that our systems change.”

“We fully support Black Lives Matter as a civil rights movement that aims to combat racism and support Black individuals,” said Jim Green, Executive Director of Oregon School Boards Association. “We stand beside Black Lives Matter, as a statement of social justice and an affirmation of the value and worth of Black people.”

ODE is supporting school districts in developing rules, policies, and procedures by providing guidance, educational resources, and toolkits to support implementation of policies prohibiting hate symbols. To provide clarity as questions arise, the resolution and letter affirm that Black Lives Matter slogans and insignias are neither considered hate symbols, nor are they political or attached to a specific candidate or party, so are not prohibited by the state.

Critics have noted that the organization known as BLM seems to be more focused on encouraging Marxism and Communism than on black livelihood.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-15 18:03:23Last Update: 2020-10-15 21:15:39

Explicit Material Borders on Sexual Misconduct
Warning: Explicit. West Linn parents are outraged

Parents are irate after finding out, via social media, that West Linn High School allowed pornographic materials to be used via zoom, during a distance learning class this week.

In a module of "Healthy Living", a class was presented by Clackamas Women's Services titled "Pleasure vs Pain". The class is intended to educate students on healthy touch and pleasurable sexual experiences, versus being able to recognize pain in a sexual partner. The Center has helped many women heal after domestic abuse, and sexual trauma, but parents say this content is taking it too far.

Dayna Dague-Morales, a mother of WLHS student feels outraged, and betrayed "This is unacceptable and infuriating, an education system turned joke, and a total abuse of our tax dollars. I want my child out of public school now". She goes onto add that her student was even disgusted, and left feeling embarrassed, both question when education on a particular subject crosses the line, into becoming the exact unwanted subject matter, being taught.

"At what point does it become sexual misconduct itself, when teaching about these topics", "At what point is far, too far?" Asks Suzanne Gallagher the Executive Director of Parents Rights in Education. "We try to get parents involved when the concept is still on paper, being presented to our school boards, unfortunately, most do not take notice until content is already implemented, at which point it's already too late". The 501(c) was created after various court rulings that have systematically removed parents rights, and the importance of family values in the educational system. The teachers unions have strong armed the judicial system into turning out "in loco parenti" adjudications, like the famed Palmdale ruling, which gives the school full legal guardianship once a child walks through the front door. Gallagher is not surprised by the content "If parents are shocked by this content, they're not paying very close attention, Oregon has an obscenity law that expressly exempt teaching institutions from liability, due to content that would put any parent behind bars, for child endangerment.".

Exceptions to obscenity laws apply to schools, museums and any institution that would show vulgar or X rated content to minors, if done for educational experiences.

Lori Blain is another parent to a West Linn High School student, and says she's "Irate", "I fully intend on taking this to the school board, along with other parents. There will be hell to pay".

In the 2019 long session the Oregon legislature passed, and Governor Kate Brown signed SB 155. The bill titled "Sexual Misconduct Reporting and Investigation" was introduced after a reported incident occurred within the Portland Public School District. Oregon law 339.388(2) requires that a designated licensed administrator report to the department any incident of suspected sexual misconduct involving a student and a non-licensed school employee, contractor, agent, or volunteer. According to the bill language, anyone can submit a report.

West Linn High School is said to have not properly vetted the material prior to its use in the zoom class. The School has been contacted by Northwest Observer, as well as the School Board, without a response, a public statement has yet to be made. We've also reached out to Clackamas Women's Services to request the full class, and Power Point presentation for context. At the time of this report, a response was not given by either the School or the third party contractor.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-10-15 17:21:03Last Update: 2020-10-15 17:53:53

A History of Minimum Wage in Oregon
Spoiler alert: It’s going up

The federal minimum wage is the default wage in all states for most occupations that are involved in interstate commerce. A state may choose to set a minimum wage above or below the federal rate, but minimum wage earners receive the higher of the two amounts. States also may set a different minimum wage rate for specific occupations or employee classes not covered by the federal rate. The current federal minimum wage, set in 2009, is $7.25 per hour.

In 2002, Oregon voters approved a ballot measure to increase the state minimum wage to $6.90, with annual increases tied to inflation. Due to the inflation adjustments, the minimum wage had increased to $9.25 by January 2016. The legislature moved away from a statewide minimum wage in 2016 and instead set regional minimum wages, phasing in increases over a seven-year period with increases occurring on July 1 of each year, as shown in the chart below.

Following 2022, the minimum wages for urban counties will continue to grow according to annual adjustments in the Consumer Price Index. The Portland Metro Urban Growth Boundary minimum will be $1.25 higher than the urban county rate, and the nonurban counties will be $1.00 lower than the rate of urban counties.

Exceptions to the minimum wage law are listed in ORS 653.020. Examples include professional salaried employees and employees in specific occupations, such as taxicab operators, in-home care providers, volunteer firefighters, and some agricultural workers. Oregon, along with six other states, requires the same minimum wage rate for tipped and nontipped workers.11 The remaining states allow a “tip credit” against the minimum hourly rate, meaning that employers may count a limited amount of the worker’s tips toward the minimum wage.

Some economists have argued against a high minimum wage, such as in Oregon, pointing out that it excludes less-skilled people from the marketplace and discourages employers from training new wages. They also point out the increase in self-check and kiosk-ordering in states with a high minimum wage.

--Staff Reports, with Legislative Policy and Research Office

Post Date: 2020-10-15 09:03:32Last Update: 2020-10-14 20:44:52

State Police Take On Poachers
Wildfires have increased wolf and cougar looking for food

This year, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Turn-in-Poachers (TIP) went to a new level. It is the Fall hunting season that brings up poaching of big game animals. But it can include the illegal take of game or fish, trespassing, littering, theft, destroying of property and road closure violations, and damaging habitats affects present and future generations of wildlife, impacts communities and the economy, and creates enforcement challenges. People who "work" the system and falsely apply for resident license or tags are not legally hunting or angling and are considered poachers.

The TIP program offers rewards that pays or offers preference points for tag drawings when information leads to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the illegal killing or taking of wildlife or illegally obtaining Oregon hunting or angling licenses or tags.

Oregon State Police are investigating the unlawful killing of a wolf in the Keating Wildlife Management Unit on or about September 24, 2020, and posted it on the TIP offering a reward. This incident occurred north west of New Bridge, OR in the Skull Creek drainage of the Wallowa Whitman National Forest.

After a lone gray wolf from Idaho’s experimental population entered Oregon back in 1999, gray wolves have continued to disperse into Oregon from Idaho and have established breeding populations. Livestock producers have been affected financially due to direct losses of livestock from wolf depredations.

HB 3560 went into effect in 2011, which directed the Oregon Department of Agriculture to establish and implement a wolf depredation compensation and financial assistance grant program.

The wildfires the last couple of years has increased wolf and cougar activity looking for food. Hunters report wolf packs moving in making it dangerous to hunt, and more bow hunters are carrying pistols for self-protection. This past week KOIN reported on a cougar spotting in Albany near a home by a young man. ODFW reports that more wolves and new locations is now a common occurrence for Oregon as the population has been growing for over a decade.

Those caught illegally hunting animals like wolves, black bears or cougars pay $7,500 in fines. These funds go toward the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to pay for the loss of a resource.

According to the Democrat leadership, it’s perfectly okay to riot and loot your business to provide for family needs, but if you’re unlucky in a hunting tag draw, they don’t have the same empathy. Or if you’re threatened by a predator, animal rights come first over your safety. Is it time to look at the threat of wolves to us and the threat to other animals?

In the meantime, you can report a Wildlife and/or Habitat Law Violation or Suspicious Activity: TIP Hotline: 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP(677).

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-15 06:50:06Last Update: 2020-10-14 20:03:32

Oregon Ballots Are On Their Way
2020 General Election: Ballots Arriving Soon

Today, election officials have started mailing ballots to every registered voter across Oregon for the November 3, 2020 General Election. Now is the time to review the Voters’ Pamphlet and decide how you will return your ballot. Voters’ pamphlets have arrived in the mail and can also be found online in multiple formats including a Spanish translation.

If returning your ballot by mail, no postage stamp is necessary because postage has been pre-paid by the state. We recommend mailing ballots by Tuesday, October 27th. All ballots must be received in an official dropbox or at county election offices by 8 p.m. on November 3rd, postmarks do not count. Dropbox locations across the state can be found on our website.

Voters with disabilities can find detailed information about accessible voting options through local county election officials or on our website. Additionally, we have digital audio, and accessible text, versions of the statewide voters’ pamphlet online.

“Your ballot and vote is your opportunity to make your voice heard,” said Secretary Clarno. “Return your ballot as soon as you can either through the mail or one of hundreds of official dropboxes across the state. Never give your ballot to anyone else to return it for you who you do not know and trust.”

Oregon’s Vote by Mail system provides a convenient way to vote, and voters may also track their ballot. Voters can see where their ballot is in the process through My Vote.

As always, your trusted source of election information is OregonVotes or your local county election officials.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-14 16:42:20Last Update: 2020-10-14 19:59:50

Rep. Cheri Helt Calls Out Opponent
Bend House seat gets fiesty

State Representative Cheri Helt (R-Bend) called out her Democrat opponent for taking money from a donor who was allegedly trying to keep a victim out of the public light. Her opponent, Jason Kropf, who works as a Deputy District Attorney for Deschutes County has apparently returned a campaign contribution from the donor.

"Today Jason Kropf got caught - forced to admit his guilt. His largest campaign donors tried to intimidate and silence a survivor of sex and race based harassment from his own workplace to benefit him politically. He owes Jasmyn Troncoso a public apology and the voters a detailed explanation of his actions and those of everyone associated with funding and leading his campaign. Today, when he got caught, Jason Kropf suddenly speaks. But when it was about believing and supporting his female co-worker, he remained silent. That's called desperate hypocrisy, not leadership or courage."

The story revolves around former Deschutes County prosecutor Jasmyn Troncoso, who has alleged racism and sexism in the office of the District Attorney. She has a pending lawsuit against the office for racial and sexual harassment. Apparently, a member of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association contacted Troncoso's attorney on behalf of the organization and asked her to remain silent in order to help Kropf. When Kropf was called out by Helt, he felt compelled to return the donation.

Kropf issued the following statement on social media:

"Every survivor has the right to speak their truth and demand justice. I believe in [Troncoso's] right to pursue that justice free from influence, political or otherwise. Ethically it is not appropriate for me to weigh in on an open case in my office. I would never involve myself in a way that could in any way diminish her right to be heard -- especially for the sake of my own campaign.

"I have informed the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association that I will be returning their contributions to my campaign."

The Oregon Trial Lawyers Association made a $10,000 contribution to Kropf's campaign on June 20, as well as an in-kind donation of $10,730 on September 17. It's not clear if Kropf will be returning the value of both donations.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-14 14:10:00Last Update: 2020-10-14 14:14:00

Kate Brown Expanding Mask Campaign to National Media
In collaboration with DIRECTV and Portland-based ad agency

Governor Kate Brown announced today that, in collaboration with DIRECTV and Portland-based ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, Oregon's public awareness campaign to inform the public about the urgent importance of wearing face coverings has launched nationwide. Wieden+Kennedy provided their creative services at no cost to the state, and DIRECTV is covering the costs of airing the ad campaign.

“We face this pandemic as one country. The only way we are going to see this crisis through is by working together. By wearing a face covering, we protect everyone around us. I would like to thank the team at Wieden+Kennedy for donating their creative talent, and DIRECTV for their generosity in helping deliver this message nationwide.

“As the colder months return and we all spend more time indoors, we can keep our friends and loved ones healthy and safe by following the advice of doctors: wearing a face covering in public, physically distancing, washing our hands frequently, and avoiding large gatherings.

“Wearing a face covering is a simple, common sense way to protect yourself and others. It’s an easy way to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. Across the country, no matter our differences, we all want to return to the way life was before COVID-19. We all want to reopen schools, businesses, communities, and economies. How do we get there? It starts with each and every one of us wearing a mask in public.”

"We are committed to helping our community stay safe during these challenging times,” said George Granger, Oregon President of AT&T. We are proud to help the State of Oregon deliver their important message. It's imperative that we all do our part.”

The ad campaign—which originally began airing in Oregon in July on social media, online video platforms, and outdoor media—was created to speak directly to people about how our individual decisions can impact the COVID-19 health crisis. It provides clarity and conviction around what wearing a face covering means—and how we all have a role to play in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Text of A Mask is Just a Mask, which is used within the video:

A mask should not be
A sign of weakness
A political statement
Another way to divide us
A mask is a protective device
A barrier to protect you
And those around you from a virus
A mask is just a mask
And masks save lives

This year, don't accidentally kill someone. Wear a mask and socially distance.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-14 13:09:39Last Update: 2020-10-14 13:12:31

Has Brown Been Ignoring Discrimination?
Laws have changed to enhance reporting of allegations

The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) is responsible for the statewide human resources (HR) system, which includes workplace discrimination and harassment investigations.

Workplace discrimination and harassment leaves employers liable for lawsuits and negative publicity, as well as low employee morale and self-esteem.

A recent audit by the Oregon Secretary of State, Bev Clarno has revealed that DAS does not provide sufficient oversight of agency workplace discrimination and harassment investigations, as it does not track or analyze allegation or investigation data. We found agencies are inconsistent in how they conduct investigations, with differing timelines, procedures, and documentation standards. DAS could use investigation data to assess whether allegations are handled appropriately and to identify other potential root causes, statewide trends, and risks that require proactive mitigation.

Agencies can be slow to begin investigations and take an average of 56 business days to complete them. Longer investigations can result in significant costs to the state. HR personnel conduct most investigations, but some agencies use dedicated investigators to increase independence and expertise in this area. Dedicated investigators generally took longer to complete investigations, but had higher quality files and documentation that complies with DAS’s revised policies.

The state lacks formal training for staff who perform discrimination and harassment investigations. There are no requirements investigators receive initial or ongoing training specific to investigations and investigators do not feel the training they are able to obtain is adequate.

The SOS audit report contains six recommendations to DAS intended to enhance oversight of workplace discrimination and harassment investigations.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-14 11:49:09Last Update: 2020-10-14 11:49:54

Vote By Mail: A Review
We started doing it in 1981

The Oregon Legislative Fiscal Office has done an issue review on Oregon’s Vote by Mail. The pandemic has many voters and election poll workers concerned about the health risks posed by in-person voting. Submitting a ballot through the mail or a ballot drop site has become an appealing alternative. In Oregon, it appears to have marginally increased voter turnout.

The paper reviews the history of how we got to the motor-voter system, how it works and how to use it. What may not be so apparent is lying on the registration form is a felony, punishable by five years in prison, a $125,000 fine, and deportation for undocumented immigrants.

A comparison of polling place election in 1992-1998 with vote-by-mail elections held 2000-2018 indicates an improvement in voting. The Primary Election is typically not quit half of those eligible voting in the General Election. Primaries in polling places (1992-1998) were 39.6% that increased in 2000-2018 to 43.9%. General Elections in polling places were 70.4% that increased to 76.1%. Other elections show similar increases. Based on the data, Oregon’s vote by mail system appears to have marginally increased voter turnout 2-5%, depending on the type of election.

The final topic, Potential Areas for Review, may be the intent of the report. Are these suggestions intended for legislative proposals? What was lacking from the report was how identification is verified and improvements to that process, or investigating false ID. Whether or not these suggestions will prove to be less fraud and a more reliable system remains to be seen.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-13 17:27:21Last Update: 2020-10-13 17:45:10

Washington County Fairgrounds Now RV Camping Area For Houseless Adults
Safe Sleep RV program is a temporary, emergency measure to reduce the risk of COVID-19

Washington County’s emergency response to COVID-19 continues with the opening of a temporary, managed RV camping area for houseless adults whose only means of shelter is a recreational vehicle.

As with the Safe Sleep Village project launched in August, the nearby Safe Sleep RV program is a temporary, emergency measure to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in the houseless community. The Safe Sleep RV program will begin operating this week on County-owned property south of Veterans Drive and just east of NE 25th Avenue in Hillsboro. The County has worked closely with the City of Hillsboro in identifying the site near the MAX Blue Line and Westside Commons, and in obtaining appropriate permits to operate the emergency program.

Lowering the Risk of Infection
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an increased risk for Washington County’s houseless population who often have pre-existing health conditions and may lack access to resources needed to prevent the spread of the disease.

As noted by Washington County Board Chair Kathryn Harrington, “Without a safe and stable location to live or to access appropriate services, our houseless neighbors are even more at risk of contracting the coronavirus. If we were to experience an outbreak among this vulnerable population, it could have a ripple effect across the entire community. Everyone benefits from these efforts to keep all of our residents safe, well and healthy.”

How the Program Works
The Safe Sleep RV program is coordinated by Washington County’s Department of Housing Services. County staff will provide onsite management 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including security at the entrance gate and throughout the site at all times.

The program will accommodate up to 35 vehicles, spaced to maintain appropriate physical distancing between campers.

All guests will participate in a check-in process that includes an initial health assessment and a review of all program responsibilities and requirements.

Guests of the program must agree to practice social distancing, wear face coverings within six (6) feet of others, observe sanitary practices, and refrain from unsafe behaviors and illegal activities.

Campers will be provided with face coverings, hand-washing stations and portable restroom units.

Participants will receive referrals to appropriate supportive services and permanent housing options.

The Safe Sleep RV program is fully funded by Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds, which are provided by the federal government to protect public health and respond to the impacts of COVID-19.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-13 08:07:39Last Update: 2020-10-13 15:41:08

Salvage Logging Increases Volume
It’s huge risk, and gamble for this company

In a release dated October 9th, Freres Lumber Company explains their new vision to turn travesty into good stewardship of the land.

After devastating losses, Freres says that it intends to process more timber between now and spring of 2021, than they've ever done in a single year. Without being able to access, and fully assess the damage due to road closures, Freres has laid out a plan to move to higher elevations, and salvage every tree possible. In the statement Freres refers to a quote from environmental groups, "Environmental groups have characterized salvage logging as ‘mugging a burn victim’ in the past."

It goes on to say "To the contrary, we believe that salvage logging and replanting are our responsibility as stewards of our private lands. It is an investment that we make in the future of the company and the Santiam Canyon. Though many of us alive today may not see it, our children may one day hike through acres of towering Douglas Fir instead of devastated, fire-created moonscapes."

Freres is nearly 100 years old, and employs countless workers, paying family wage jobs. The companies include Freres Lumber Co., Inc, Freres Timber, and Evergreen BioPower LLC. Freres Lumber has three manufacturing locations in the Santiam Canyon, all ravaged by fires.

The true indomitable spirit of Oregon shines through, as companies work hard to keep employees hired, and find new ways to rise to the times, in the face of adversity. Freres opines that customers may not be able to "stomach a full diet of burnt logs", "Storing and handling become an enormous concern if we need to segregate our log inventory".

Freres holds out concerns over the quality of the salvaged wood, claiming it could come down to nursery log material, rather than building grade material. The difference is a huge risk, and gamble for this company, but they're willing to take it on, out of a commitment to the environment, sustainability, future generations, and a heart for excellent stewardship.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-10-13 07:15:20Last Update: 2020-10-12 23:30:41

Governor Kate Brown Appoints Matthew Garrett as Wildfire Recovery Director
Appointment is effective through June 2021

Governor Kate Brown has announced the appointment of Matthew Garrett as Wildfire Recovery Director, effective immediately. In this role, Garrett will serve as principal advisor to the Governor on recovery issues related to the 2020 wildfire season, develop a strategic recovery plan designed to consider the needs of all impacted Oregon communities, and lead the development of a 2021 budget and policy request that represents the total recovery needs of Oregon communities in collaboration with the Governor’s Disaster Cabinet and Wildfire Economic Recovery Council.

"As we begin the process of rebuilding after the historic wildfire devastation our state has seen, we need a seasoned leader like Mr. Garrett who understands the economics of our state, as well as the importance of bringing communities together," said Governor Brown. "His experience and approach will help us make good fiscal decisions while helping to address the needs of Oregonians in all our communities that have been impacted."

Garrett brings decades of experience to this role. He served as director of the Oregon Department of Transportation from 2005 to 2019 – the longest serving director in the state agency’s 100+ year history. Agency achievements under his leadership include receiving the largest funding package ever for transportation in Oregon (Keep Oregon Moving in 2017) and implementing the nation’s first operational per-mile road use charge. Previously at ODOT, Garrett served as Local Government Liaison, Chief of Staff, and as the Portland Region manager for ODOT. Before joining ODOT in 1997, he served on the personal staff of U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield from 1994 to 1997 in both his Washington, D.C. office and as Oregon field representative. Garrett was raised in Oregon and is a graduate of George Washington University.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-13 06:37:20Last Update: 2020-10-13 07:10:18

Candidate Comparison: Read vs. Gudman
Oregon State Treasurer

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

The Oregon State Treasurer is an elected constitutional officer within the executive branch of the Oregon state government. Incumbent Tobias Read (D, WF) is challenged by Jeff Gudman (R), Chris Henry (P, PG, I), and Michael P. Marsh (C).

The Office of the State Treasurer is the state's financial services hub and oversees a range of financial responsibilities, including managing the investment of state funds, issuing state bonds, serving as the central bank for state agencies and administering the Oregon 529 Savings Network and Oregon Retirement Savings Plan. More than any other state position, background and training are important to competency for handling billions of our dollars.

Read received a Master’s degree from University of Washington in Business Administration. He says his priority has been to help employees save for retirement by sponsoring the OregonSaves bill. It provides every worker the option of saving for retirement in a state invested account instead of an individual 401(k). Fourth on his list is a strong financial plan. “Our roads, bridges, and schools need critical investment.” Read led the creation of the Oregon Sustainable Bond Program, which will help fund affordable housing development. He also worked to reduce Oregon’s reliance on expensive out-of-state investment bankers, saving millions in unnecessary costs for state and local governments.

Gudman received a Master’s degree from Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania in Finance and Management. He works as an investor and prior financial analyst. His time on the Lake Oswego City Council he claims is the kind of leadership the state needs. “We dramatically reduced our unfunded liability for road maintenance, rebuilt our operations and maintenance center, and rebuilt city hall and the police station – all without asking for an extra dime from our residents. Oregon can do more with the revenue that we already have – without raising anyone’s taxes.” Gudman says his experience sets him apart, “How we manage our finances determines what we can afford: roads, schools, bridges – even PERS. As an experienced treasurer and analyst, I can offer reliable management of our state’s finances to help put our state back on strong financial footing.”

Chris Henry won the nomination of the Independent, Progressive and Pacific Green Parties with 16 years as a Union Truck Driver. Prior to that he was a aircraft mechanic. He graduated from Portland State University in Communications/Civic leadership. Henry wants to stop Wall Street rip-off and “strongly support the formation of a Public Bank for the state of Oregon. Such a Public Bank would be operated as a public utility for the benefit of, not Wall Street bankers, all the citizens of Oregon. Such a bank would use the financial resources already present in the state for capitalization and then use those funds to support public benefit programs such as low interest student loans, or funding of much needed infrastructure renovations.” He also supports creating a post-carbon economy by de-constructing the fossil fuel infrastructure of asphalt streets by turning streets into community gardens.

Michael P Marsh won the nomination of the Constitution Party a retired with maintenance experience. He graduated from Lahabra High School is the only education listed.

Who do you want handling billions of taxpayer funds?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-12 23:30:41Last Update: 2020-10-12 23:35:26

Urban Growth Boundary Fails to Keep Pace
Population increases pressure even the x-urbs

McMinnville is typical of Oregon towns in many ways.

It is running out of land zoned for residential and business development. In 2003, McMinnville identified the need to expand its Urban Growth Boundary by 1,188 gross acres (890 buildable acres). Of that 890 buildable acres, 537 were identified for housing needs. 1000 Friends of Oregon, a deep-pocketed environmentalist group and others opposed any increase.

McMinnville was allowed to bring in 217 acres of rural residential land to its UGB to serve its housing needs as a result of this effort. Not one acre of that 217 has been annexed by the city nor been developed to serve McMinnville’s housing needs.

The city has increasing need to fund PERS and health care for retired staff. Increased expenses can be met by new property taxes on new development or by raising taxes on existing property owners. With new development all but halted, the laws of supply and demand have driven the average cost of an average home in the city to over $400,000. Existing property owners are being financially squeezed as people leave Portland and other wealth centers for a simpler and more affordable life adjacent to first class health care and services.

McMinnville once again wishes to apply to the Land Use Board of Appeals for an enlarged UGB. The process will take time and millions of dollars with the outcome dubious at best. Our land use laws, strictest in the nation, have not changed substantially in 43 years. The UBG acreage was allowed to increase 10% in that time while the population has doubled.

One other effect of tight-fisted urban expansion policies is that they favor the "haves" over the "have nots." People who own property have an investment whose value consistently outpaces inflation. People who don't own property -- younger families and people who are disadvantaged for some reason -- get left behind as the price of real estate is out of reach.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2020-10-12 09:07:20Last Update: 2020-10-12 16:56:59

Gelser Fires Staffer Who Accused Her
A misunderstanding about paid leave

In a dispute over harassment, retaliation and paid leave, State Senator Sara Gelser has apparently fired a staffer who filed a complaint against her, shortly after the Senate Committee on Conduct cleared Gelser of any wrongdoing in the case.

The case was summarized in a 19 page report by a third party investigator:

On December 30, 2019, Sen. Gelser told Ms. Hanson, her Chief of Staff, that Ms. Hanson’s “many consistent errors” were “not sustainable.” In response, Ms. Hanson raised allegations for the first time that Sen. Gelser had subjected her to a “toxic” and “abusive” work environment. Sen. Gelser considered the allegations serious and important, and immediately reported Ms. Hanson’s concerns to Jessica N. Knieling, Interim Human Resources Director. That same day, Ms. Knieling contacted Ms. Hanson to offer resources and support, and to better understand Ms. Hanson’s concerns regarding her work environment. Among other things shared, Ms. Knieling advised Ms. Hanson that the matter would be referred to an outside investigator pursuant to Rule 27 given the nature of the allegations. Ms. Hanson responded that she did not intend to initiate an investigation or even involve Human Resources. Two days later, however, on January 2, 2020, Ms. Hanson raised a new allegation that some of what she experienced was “retaliation” by Sen. Gelser for Ms. Hanson taking or attempting to take family medical leave.

The legislative branch rules on harassment, including Rule 27, are found in the Legislative Branch Personnel Rules The Senate Committee on Conduct includes Senator Denyc Boles (R-Salem), Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland), co-chair Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River) and co-chair Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene). By rule, the committee is balance with two members from each party. According to the report,

The factual record is indisputable that: (i) Ms. Hanson remained on protected OFLA leave from October 29 through November 5 (though the medical certification stated that Ms. Hanson was able to return to work on November 2 or sooner if her symptoms had resolved); (ii) she received her full period of requested leave; (iii) she did not request any additional leave; (iv) there was no denial of requested leave benefits; (v) she was not required to perform any work during her leave; (vi) Ms. Hanson was reinstated to her same position; and (vii) Sen. Gelser encouraged her—on more than on occasion—to make sure she took the time she needed to heal and to not come back to work prematurely.

The report continues:

Ms. Hanson remains unwavering in her belief that Sen. Gelser was “pushing back on her for taking leave,” was “trying to take her leave away,” and was “fixated on taking [her] paycheck away from her.” This belief seems to have arisen after Ms. Hanson returned from leave and was triggered by communication regarding whether Ms. Hanson had sufficient paid time off to cover her leave and how to properly designate the leave. What the record bears out is that Ms. Hanson likely conflated two materially (and legally) distinct concepts: (1) her entitlement to protected leave, and (2) whether the leave would be paid.

The committee met on October 5 to consider the case. At the conclusion, the committee took five votes:
  1. Belongs to a protected class recognized under rule 27 (unanimous Yes)
  2. The respondent interfered with the impacted party's protected leave (unanimous No)
  3. The respondent retaliated against the impacted party for taking or attempting to take protected leave (unanimous No)
  4. The respondent engaged in harassment by engaging in verbal or physical conduct that did denigrate or show hostility because of their status as a member of a protected class (unanimous No)
  5. The respondent treated the impacted party less favorably because the impacted party made a good faith complaint about the conduct prohibited by Rule 27 or participated in the investigation into the conduct prohibited by this rule. (unanimous No)
It's not clear if the case will be further litigated.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-12 08:54:05Last Update: 2020-10-12 16:43:47

Brown Plays Politics, as Oregon Gets Neglected
Everything burns and state government is no help.

On Sunday August 16th at about 2:00 pm, a small fire was spotted near Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Fire crews begin to respond, and reports start a day later by local news on August 17th. Oregon Governor Kate Brown is asked for assistance, but it's technically federal land, and just weeks prior, a special budget session was held slashing the "Natural Resources Budget", along with Fire Mitigation. Republican Representative Cedric Hayden, who serves on the subcommittee for Natural Resources gave a passionate speech, as a volunteer firefighter. Hayden urgently, and emphatically warned his colleagues that this fire season was going to be brutal, requiring full funding.

The Northwest Observer reported the budget cuts, and echoed the warning on August 10th in an article titled "Cuts hit rural Oregon, Pray for rain".

Without desperately needed resources, including six Chinook helicopters, specifically made for and equipped with buckets, the Opal Creek fire quickly spread to neighboring Jaw Bone Flats, and Beachie Creek. Allowed to smolder and spread, due to jurisdictional squabbles, 39 fires had sprung up in various locations. Then the winds came. By labor day September 7th, much of Oregon was on fire. Many were beginning to wonder if help would ever arrive, as they began evacuating their homes and livestock.

An inquiry made by North West Observer to the Governor's office September 8th, asks when Conflagration Orders might be seen?

The very same day September 8th the White House reached out to Oregon Governor Kate Brown, offering help, services and asking the administration to please notify them as soon as their needs are clear via a "Wildfire Response Request". The email, seen here, was obtained by public records request.

Two days later, on September 10th, Oregon Governor Kate Brown held a press conference, at which time she's asked what resources have been requested from the federal government. Kate Brown replies "of course I've reached out to the White House, I've not had a response back". The next day, the White House follows up with Brown's administration, to address an MSNBC report of an unresponsive Trump Administration, and again offer whatever help might be needed.

Brown's office, acknowledges the help and support from Trump, offering that "if asked", during her scheduled press conference at 1:00 pm, Brown would clarify the Trump administration and the State were working closely together. Brown's office is quick to fire back with a politically motivated, quid pro quo, stating "Thanks, we're also trying to dispel rumors with the FBI, and Local Law Enforcement assistance, that Antifa set the fires".

Essentially, Brown's aid twisted arms, during an election year, to help quash Antifa rumors, in exchange for honesty... if asked for.

While politics have clearly played a role in fire response, it appears to have also played a role in the fire's beginning, and quick spread, as well. Tom Sleight, a third generation Molalla farm owner, joined by Nicole West featured here as the "Hillbilly Brigade", sat down with The Northwest Observer, to set the record straight about events witnessed first-hand, on the ground.

Sleight states that he received a call from his brother late Monday night of September 7th. The entire lowlands of Maple Creek, Willhoit, and surrounding areas were ablaze. The Sleight family has learned from years of experience, once Conflagration orders are placed, it can take an additional two to four days before state sanctioned help arrives. At that point in time, Kate Brown had not yet placed Conflagration orders, and both Sleight brothers knew there was no time to waste.

Tom Sleight withdrew approximately twelve thousand dollars from his safe, loaded up his tankers, and began running infrastructure up to the fire line, arriving around 4:30 am. "I just started handing out money to friends and family, telling everyone to go down to harbour freight and buy up all the trash pumps, gasoline, and water tanks they could find", Sleight chuckles.

Nicole West claims it's a deep mistrust of government, years of ineptitude, and failure of one party rule, that essentially saved rural Oregon. "Nobody even stopped to consider what Brown was going to do, we all knew it would be too little too late anyways." West paints a vivid picture of just how effectively, ineffective our government has become. "It was painfully obvious which area was privately owned land, and which areas are government maintained" says West. Government controlled forestry had a 100 year duff layer in spots, smoldering and lighting roots on fire.

"That debris keeps in heat, and acts like an oven" Sleight stated, "on the other hand, the fires blow right through private land, as it's well cared for, well maintained, limbs cut back, and no fuels to keep it there smoldering."

Since the passing and adaptation of the Coho Salmon petition, and various bills last long session, including the "Wildlife Corridor Bill", sponsored by Portland based environmental groups, many gates have gone up, logging contracts gone unfulfilled, and the day use program for needy families to collect firewood ended, state and federally managed lands have grown unmanageable. Forest management is vital for carbon sequestration.

West believes Kate Brown, and Portland residents are out of touch with reality, "Portland is burning their city down, maybe ours too, but the difference is that we're working hard to save ours". "This isn't about climate change, and even if it was, we're going about it all wrong. Fires put more carbon into the atmosphere than all the cars on the road combined. We need to manage our forests properly, we could have stopped this in opal creek at ten acres, the total loss and devastation will cost far more, than had we properly managed the forest to begin with."

"Had Kate Brown actually compromised on HB 2020 in 2019, we might have passed a bipartisan forest management bill. Instead of letting voters decide, she pushed lawmakers to walk out, which is all they can do against the democratic super majority" says James Hieb, who is running this election for Canby City Council.

Hieb and his family have also been impacted by the fires, "Many families, farms, businesses, and lives have been lost, unnecessarily to these fires, but mostly to an entrenched status quo that values party politics over human life. It's going to be a rough winter, food prices will go up due to lost local farms, a downed economy is killing jobs. Everything hinges upon this election in November." "National politics receive the lion share of media, but it all boils down to the local level, if a state thrives, or barely survives. Local leaders determine our daily lives, and how we're going to put the pieces back together".

At the time of this report, the White House was not available for comment regarding interactions with the Brown administration. Reports indicate that President Trump had flown in to personally check on residents of the fires, but have not yet been confirmed.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-10-12 08:38:09Last Update: 2020-10-12 21:26:07

Annual Maximum Rent Increase for 2021 Published
The government tells housing providers how much they can charge.

The Oregon Department of Administrative Services last week published the annual maximum rent increase allowed by statute for calendar year 2021. The DAS Office of Economic Analysis has calculated the maximum percentage as 9.2%.

Following the passage of SB 608 in the 2019 legislative session, Oregon law requires DAS to calculate and post to its website, by September 30 of each year, the maximum annual rent increase percentage allowed by statute for the following calendar year. Per statute, OEA calculates this amount as 7% plus the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, West Region (All Items), as most recently published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The allowable rent increase percentage for the 2021 calendar year is 9.2%. DAS will calculate and post the percentage for the 2022 calendar year by Sept. 30, 2021.

Information about the maximum annual rent increase percentage, as well as the provisions of ORS 90.323 and 90.600 (statutes governing rent increases), can be found on the OEA website.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-11 08:27:29Last Update: 2020-10-11 08:42:05

Portland Spends Money to Mitigate Fallout from Antifa Riots
Prosecution of rioters might be a better option

The City of Portland is currently one of America's most troubled urban areas.

Ted Wheeler has a 19-point plan to get re-elected. Portland is committing $12 million to Black and Brown communities. Significant reforms to local policing have been implemented. He is also directing all City bureaus to develop strategies to better serve Black communities.

Mayor Ted Wheeler says he has a plan, but his policies seem to exacerbate his problems in Oregon's largest city. Despite this, many think he might be the better choice over his opponent in the November election, who is a self proclaimed Antifa extremist named Sarah Iannarone.

The Wheeler administration has given an update on how they are handling this crisis:

The City of Portland is actively working to support the safe reopening and sustainable economic recovery of Portland’s downtown by ensuring our central west side is open for business, healthy, and safe. Portlanders and out-of-town visitors alike love our downtown neighborhoods, and we are excited to see them recover as we move through the worst of this year’s challenges. Our work includes the following:

Graffiti removal
Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly have committed $100,000 to graffiti removal in the areas of nightly protest. About $60,000 of that has been invested so far.

Trash clean-up
There have been three SOLVE litter clean-up events in downtown since June, resulting in 11,000 pounds of trash removal. In addition, Downtown Portland Clean and Safe has removed 22,160 bags of trash – totaling more than half a million pounds – since June. That’s about 24 garbage trucks’ worth of trash.

On Oct. 21, 2020, City Council will consider code amendments that will allow for more trash and debris removal. In addition, the City is participating in a Trash Coordination workgroup with other municipal and business partners to make sure we’re aligning our efforts and making the most of our collective resources.

Retail activation
Mayor Wheeler’s office is working closely with an array of partners including the Old Town Community Association, Portland Business Alliance, Travel Portland, public agencies, and other community partners to raise the profile of businesses that are open downtown.

Some of these efforts include:

Safe Sleep Options
The pandemic has made it more complicated, and less safe, for people experiencing homelessness. The Mayor directed the Joint Office of Homeless Services to add several hundred new indoor shelter spaces through the fall and winter months. These spaces are open around the clock and provide food, showers, laundry, and housing navigation services. Together, Portland Parks & Recreation’s Charles Jordan and Mt. Scott Community Centers provide 175 safe spaces, and more will come online soon. The City also placed 100 portable toilets around our community to make sure that our most vulnerable community members continue to have access to this basic and essential service. Downtown was one of the first areas served.

Public safety
Residents, workers, and visitors should feel safe downtown. We are keeping the community up to date on the City’s full array of public safety initiatives and services, from significant reforms in the Mayor’s 19-point plan to community engagement opportunities and information about recent protest activity. The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) has increased its investigative resources and is working with the Multnomah County District Attorney to ensure successful prosecution of people who engage in violence or criminal destruction.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-10 22:12:46Last Update: 2020-10-11 08:54:05

Oregon Democrats May Try to Delay 2021 Legislative Session
Fears about future sessions associated with COVID-19

Oregon Senator Brian Boquist (R-Dallas) has called out Governor Kate Brown and the Democrats for proposing to delay the 2021 legislative long session in a statement:

“After a summer of Democrat-controlled special sessions that excluded Oregonians from the legislative process, they are now claiming Oregonians should be involved and that the session ought to be delayed. They fear working in proximity to other people without a vaccination, when the governor and Oregon Health Authority have admitted Oregon has one of the lowest COVID-19 mortality rates in the country.

“Led by Governor Brown, Democrats are ignoring the will of the people. Oregonians have been begging for the Capitol, schools, businesses, and the economy to be opened now. Enough tyranny under the guise of COVID-19.

“The arbitrary decisions that have shattered the economy are based on what generates income for the state. Marijuana and liquor stores have stayed open during the political pandemic; both of which fund state programs. Public university dorms are open and generate revenue for the state, yet public schools remain closed, unless they are used for child care, that parents must pay for, despite paying property tax for public education.

“Democrats prioritize the rights of violent anarchists rioting in Portland night after night, over all Oregonians whose lives are impacted by legislation crafted in the marble walls of the Capitol. It is imperative the session is not delayed.”

The Oregon Constitution provides that the long session duration is 160 days, regardless of when it begins, but it must begin on the day provided by law:

Article IV, Section 10. Annual regular sessions of the Legislative Assembly; organizational session; extension of regular sessions. (1) The Legislative Assembly shall hold annual sessions at the Capitol of the State. Each session must begin on the day designated by law as the first day of the session. Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section:

(a) A session beginning in an odd-numbered year may not exceed 160 calendar days in duration; and

(b) A session beginning in an even-numbered year may not exceed 35 calendar days in duration.

(2) The Legislative Assembly may hold an organizational session that is not subject to the limits of subsection (1) of this section for the purposes of introducing measures and performing the duties and effecting the organization described in sections 11 and 12 of this Article. The Legislative Assembly may not undertake final consideration of a measure or reconsideration of a measure following a gubernatorial veto when convened in an organizational session.

(3) A regular session, as described in subsection (1) of this section, may be extended for a period of five calendar days by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of each house. A session may be extended more than once. An extension must begin on the first calendar day after the end of the immediately preceding session or extension except that if the first calendar day is a Sunday, the extension may begin on the next Monday.

While the full effects of a delay are not clear, holding session with COVID-19 regulations in place may slow the pace of legislation. Delaying the session until some or all of the COVID-19 regulations are lifted may speed the pace of legislation.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-10 09:23:12Last Update: 2020-10-10 09:28:53

COVID-19 Survey Conducted by State
Results give the Governor ammunition to keep state closed

The Oregon Healthy Authority surveyed 1,000 Oregonians regarding their thoughts and behavior around the COVID-19 outbreak. The survey, conducted by DHM Research, found the following: The survey also found the following about how often people attend gatherings: A separate survey of 468 Latinx Oregonians conducted in Spanish by Lara Media found the following: The survey found different levels of concern about COVID-19 among respondents based on age, geography, political views and race/ethnicity. Latinos expressed higher levels of concern than whites and reported wearing masks more frequently. Members of the Latinx community have accounted for nearly 40% of Oregon’s COVID-19 cases.

Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said, “These results show that nearly all Oregonians understand it’s important to wear a mask. But fewer Oregonians believe they’re at risk of getting sick and too many people are socializing indoors in bigger groups. It’s hard to sustain the changes we’ve all had to make in our lives to keep ourselves and others safe from COVID-19. But we won’t be able to prevent more infections, and get more schools and businesses open in Oregon, until more people act with urgency and avoid the social super-spreader gatherings that have driven COVID-19 transmission and disease in Oregon.”

Fox News interviewed Wesley Smith, Discovery Institute, on facing extreme COVID-19 surveillance. There is a great deal of push by the government for mandatory vaccinations. He reports that U.S.A. Today said it could include: “Vaccine refusers could lose tax credits or be denied nonessential government services. Health insurers could level higher premiums. You couldn’t enter private businesses unless you showed your vaccine papers.” It’s preparing the ground for Draconian advocacy, Smith says, and Dr. Fauci is claiming global socialist engineering is needed to prepare for future pandemics by changing the way we live, changing water systems and changing the way we travel. He isn’t even talking about COVID-19. Is this where Governor Brown is headed?

One interesting number in the survey may indicate where the Governor is getting her cues. The survey shows 94% Liberals are concerned about COVID-19 in Oregon compared to 58% Conservatives.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-10 08:14:04Last Update: 2020-10-10 09:29:53

Grants for Small Businesses Available Throughout Oregon
Businesses are eligible to receive up to $50,000

Millions in grant funding is available for small businesses facing lost revenue in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Business Oregon awarded the final round of its Emergency Business Assistance Grant funding to intermediary organizations across Oregon to in turn provide grants directly to eligible small businesses. The fund was created by Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon legislature, funded with both federal CAREs Act funds and state funds.

“We reallocated some of our own budget and paired that with millions in federal funding to deliver this much-needed help to Oregon’s small businesses,” said Business Oregon Director Chris Cummings. “We stand as partners with the business community in this pandemic, and I hope every eligible small business accesses this final round of funding from this program.”

Businesses are eligible to receive up to $50,000 in funding as detailed in the application.

Eligibility requirements have been expanded to allow for more business to get funding than in previous rounds. Businesses that have received less than $100,000 in small business assistance through the CARES Act (such as PPP, EIDL, EIDLA, City of Portland Small Relief Program, the Oregon Cares Fund for Black Relief + Resiliency and other programs) are now eligible. Additionally, even if a business was not prohibited from operations by the Governor’s Executive Order 20-12, the business could be eligible if it can demonstrate a 25% reduction in sales (reduced from 50% previously required) over a 30-day period in 2020 compared to a comparable period in 2019.

Also, any business that has already received a grant from this program is eligible for an additional award and should complete the supplemental application. This is a shorter application with less documentation needed. Businesses can expect to receive an award comparable to their prior award.

The following organizations have funding available. The application these organizations will need can also be found on Business Oregon's website in multiple languages to access ahead of time.

Regional Intermediaries and Counties

CCD Business Development Corporation – Coos, Curry and Douglas County

Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. – Jackson, Josephine County

Community Lending Works – Benton, Lane, Lincoln and Linn County

Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments – Marion, Polk and Yamhill County /

Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon – Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington County

Columbia-Pacific Economic Development District – Clatsop, Columbia, Tillamook and Western Washington County

Clatsop County

Columbia County


Col-Pac/West Washington County: NW Oregon Emergency Small Business Grants

Northeast Oregon Economic Development District – Baker, Union and Wallowa County

Greater Eastern Oregon Development Corporation – Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla and Wheeler County

Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council – Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson County

Mid-Columbia Economic Development District – Hood River, Sherman and Wasco County

South Central Oregon Economic Development District – Lake and Klamath County

Statewide Intermediaries

Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development Corporation – Statewide

Central Willamette Credit Union – Statewide

Point West Credit Union – Statewide

In addition to the Emergency Business Assistance Grant program, Business Oregon is providing free masks, gloves and other protective supplies to small businesses.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-09 18:54:29Last Update: 2020-10-11 08:53:25

Measure 110
Decriminalizing drugs in Oregon

Editor's note: This is part four of a multi-part series covering the 2020 Oregon General Election ballot measures.

Issues of public safety, law enforcement and police procedure have become big issues lately. Police shootings and subsequent riots have driven these issues the to forefront, and Ballot Measure 110 is just one battle in this war.

This measure decriminalizes many drug offenses and diverts marijuana tax money to treatment programs. Unlike Measure 90 in 2016, Measure 110 doesn't provide any legal or tax structure for the drugs it decriminalizes.

While the measure purports to reduce the number of drug-related incarcerations, in 2019 the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission published a report on the success of House Bill 2355, showing a marked reduction in misdemeanor drug possession convictions and racial disparity in arrests. Fewer convictions is the result of the new law diverting offenders. The argument for reducing drug-related incarcerations is becoming weaker and weaker.

Opponents of this issue also point out that far from being unkind, consequences of drug use are needed to help addicts to seek help. This initiative has been almost completely funded by a national organization Drug Policy Action which is the advocacy and political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance. This organization shows concern for overdoses and incarceration, though it can be seen as a part of the wider anti-law enforcement movement nationally. They pumped in about $2 million dollars of out-of-state money to put this initiative on the ballot. About $80,000 was left and that was turned over to More Treatment for a Better Oregon: Yes on 110 committee. Over half of that was spent on voters pamphlet statements.

On their website, they describe themselves as "A nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization, Drug Policy Action undertakes a wide range of activities including political advocacy permitted by 501(c)(4) organizations." They say that they "work to pass new drug laws and policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights -- and to elect candidates at every level who support these principles."

Interestingly, $1,000 was donated by disgraced former Multnomah County Commission Chair Jeff Cogen out of his campaign account. Readers might remember that Cogen was driven from office in a scandal that included his alleged use of illegal drugs.

This is the official title for the measure, as provided by the Attorney General, as it will appear on the ballot:

Provides statewide addiction/recovery services; marijuana taxes partially finance;
reclassifies possession/penalties for specified drugs

Result of “Yes” Vote: “Yes” vote provides addiction recovery centers/services; marijuana taxes partially finance (reduces revenues for other purposes); reclassifies possession of specified drugs, reduces penalties; requires audits.

Result of “No” Vote: “No” vote rejects requiring addiction recovery centers/services; retains current marijuana tax revenue uses; maintains current classifications/penalties for possession of drugs

Summary: Measure mandates establishment/ funding of “addiction recovery centers” (centers) within each existing coordinated care organization service area by October 1, 2021; centers provide drug users with triage, health assessments, treatment, recovery services. To fund centers, measure dedicates all marijuana tax revenue above $11,250,000 quarterly, legislative appropriations, and any savings from reductions in arrests, incarceration, supervision resulting from the measure. Reduces marijuana tax revenue for other uses. Measure reclassifies personal non-commercial possession of certain drugs under specified amount from misdemeanor or felony (depending on person’s criminal history) to Class E violation subject to either $100 fine or a completed health assessment by center. Oregon Health Authority establishes council to distribute funds/ oversee implementation of centers. Secretary of State audits biennially. Other provisions.

Major donations to More Treatment for a Better Oregon: Yes on 110
09/01/2020Nurses United Political Action Committee (12987)$5,000
08/13/2020Drug Policy Action$70,000
08/10/2020Oregon AFSCME Council 75$10,000
08/03/2020Bridges to Change, Inc.$5,000
08/02/2020Ben Wood$1,000
07/29/2020Friends of Jeff Cogen (5571)$1,000
07/19/2020Miscellaneous Cash Contributions $100 and under $2,175
07/12/2020Charles Swindells$1,000
07/12/2020Kenneth Thrasher$1,000
07/12/2020Robert Quillin$1,000
07/12/2020Robert Quillin$4,000
07/09/2020Drug Policy Action$200,000
06/21/2020Thomas Imeson$1,000
06/21/2020Susan Mandiberg$1,000
06/21/2020Richard Harris$1,000
06/08/2020Drug Policy Action$225,000
05/13/2020Drug Policy Action$250,000
03/26/2020Drug Policy Action$300,000
02/27/2020Drug Policy Action$300,000
02/23/2020David Menschel$1,000
02/06/2020Drug Policy Action$300,000
01/10/2020Drug Policy Action$215,000
12/09/2019Drug Policy Action$215,000

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-09 11:42:14Last Update: 2020-10-02 16:01:23

Governor Brown, Counties Set the Stage for Housing Meltdown
CARES Act dollars have been allocated, but aren’t being used

Oregon Governor Kate Brown, the Oregon Legislature and Oregon counties are making policy decisions regarding housing that are slowly degrading the long-term availability of housing and setting the stage for a new housing crisis in an already fragile market.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act -- the CARES Act -- was a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in late March 2020. Oregon's cut was about $2.45 billion, of which $1.6 billion is available to local governments, and of that $60 million has been earmarked for rental assistance. As of October 2, only $23 million -- about 38% -- has been expended.

During the first special session of 2020, held in June, the legislature enacted an eviction moratorium expiring at the beginning of September. Governor Brown extended this moratorium by executive order on the eve of its expiration.

This money is not only needed by tenants. The assistance given to tenants must find it's way to private sector housing providers so that they can continue to operate and provide housing. It also has a much needed stimulative effect, as those dollars make their way into the sagging economy.
Parts of the system are broken and are leading to an inevitable systemic meltdown ahead for housing providers, tenants or both. Because of the eviction moratorium, there currently isn't any impact on tenants. Those tenants who choose not to pay their rent are amassing a debt that grows monthly and the time will come when they will have to make good, but the real hurt is felt by housing providers -- often families who are dependent on the rental income -- and they are growing more and more upset as they get left behind legally and financially.

The positive impact of a stop-gap measure like an eviction moratorium is at its peak in the short-term, when people are trying to react to the chaos. After several months, even if personal solutions aren't optimal, for most people, they need to fall into place. At about this time, the negatives start to mount. Tenant debt increases, while housing providers continually have to scramble to make ends meet -- even to maintain the property. What gets harder and harder as time goes on, is the end game.

Because most tenants don't have thousands of dollars in savings, the final chapter has to have one or more of these elements: None of those are pretty, and all get uglier as time goes on.

Rental relief funds are distributed by Community Action Agencies, which serve larger counties or collections of smaller counties, but some have been better than others in distributing the funds. For instance, Clackamas County has only distributed 7.9% of the funds available. Jackson and Multnomah Counties aren't much better at 10.3% and 16.2% respectively. The CAA leading in percentage of distribution, NIMPACT, which is a combination of Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson and the Warm Springs Reservation has only expended 78% of their funds. It begs the question, "Why aren't these counties able to get these funds into the hands of tenants, then housing providers and on to the larger economy?"

Below is contact information for Community Action Agencies across the state.

ACCESS – Jackson County

Community Action Washington County (CAO) – Washington County

Community Action Program Of East Central Oregon (CAPECO) – Gilliam, Morrow, Umatilla & Wheeler Counties
Access application through their website.

Community Action Team (CAT) – North Coast
503-397-3511 – Columbia County
503-325-1400 – Clatsop County
503-842-5261 – Tillamook County

Community Action of NE Oregon (CCNO) – Northeastern Oregon
541-523-6591 – Baker County
541-575-2949 – Grant County
541-963-7532 – Union County
541-426-3840 – Wallowa County

Clackamas County Social Services (CCSS) – Clackamas County

Community Services Consortium (CSC) – Linn, Benton, & Lincoln Counties
541-704-7646 or 541-704-7642 – Linn County
541-704-7625 – Benton County
541-574-2280 – Lincoln County

Community in Action (CinA ) – Malheur and Harney Counties

Klamath and Lake Community Action Services (KLCAS) – Klamath and Lake Counties

Lane County Human Services – Lane County
Access rental assistance application Lane County website.

Mid-Columbia Community Action Council (MCCAC) – Columbia Gorge
541-298-5131 – Wasco & Sherman Counties
541-386-4027 – Hood River County

Multnomah County
CALL: 211 or 1-866-698-6155 (Language interpreters available by phone)
TTY: dial 711 and call 1-866-698-6155
TEXT: your zip code to 898211 (TXT211) (text and email in English and Spanish)
EMAIL: help@211info.org
WEB: search for resources on our online database- https://www.211info.org/search-resources

Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action (MWVCAA) – Marion & Polk Counties
503-399-9080 x 4003

NeighborImpact (NI) – Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson Counties and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
541-548-2380 x 210 or go to the website

Oregon Coast Community Action (ORCCA) – Coos and Curry Counties
541-435-7080 x 370

United Community Action Network (UCAN) – Southern Oregon
541-672-5392 – Douglas County
541-956-4050 – Josephine County

Yamhill Community Action Partnership (YCAP) – Yamhill County

Oregon Human Development Corporation (OHDC) – Statewide services for migrant farmworkers

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-09 09:12:38Last Update: 2020-10-09 10:14:04

Brown Takes a Swipe at Supreme Court Nominee
How to spread the COVID virus

Always ready to take a swipe at the Trump administration, Governor Brown made the statement "What happened at the White House a week or so ago with the announcement and reception regarding Amy Coney Barrett is a great example of how to spread the COVID disease in indoor formal or informal social gatherings." The statement was made during reporter questioning at a recent press conference.

She makes no mention of the other ways to spread COVID-19, such as through rioting, but that doesn't fit her narrative. the jab is a reminder that it's political season, and the Governor is always playing politics.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-08 18:59:16Last Update: 2020-10-08 19:20:28

OLCC Suspends Licence of Business for Noncompliance of Social Distancing Mandates
The business may continue to serve food and non-alcoholic beverages

On September 30, 2020, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission issued an Order of Immediate License Suspension to the licensee of “Top of the Bowl” in Douglas County for violating public health social distancing and face covering requirements. During an investigation that spanned two-months, OLCC enforcement staff observed non-compliance activity at Top of the Bowl that resulted in three charges against the business’ operator. The business, which holds a Full On-Premises sales licenses is NOT allowed to sell or serve alcoholic beverages during the suspension.

The first violation is for not complying with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) statewide mask, face shield, and face covering guidance. The second violation is for violating OHA’s Phase Two Reopening guidance for Restaurants and Bars requiring a six-foot distance between individuals in the bar – employees and patrons. The third violation is for serving food and drink, including alcoholic beverages, after 10 PM, which is outside the hours allowed under OHA’s Phase Two guidance.

OLCC’s investigation began on July 11, 2020, when an OLCC Inspector conducted an inspection of Top of the Bowl. The inspector found the licensee not wearing a face mask while bartending. The inspector provided Verbal Instruction (VI) to the licensee about social distancing, mask requirements and the 10:00 pm closure of licensed premises.

Twice in August, 2020, including one time in company with a Douglas County Sheriff deputy, OLCC enforcement observed the bar operating after 10 PM; staff and patrons were not wearing face coverings or maintaining proper social distancing, and patrons were still consuming alcoholic beverages.

In response to these incidents, OLCC compliance staff met with both the licensee and the bar manager on September 2, 2020 to discuss ways to get the licensee into compliance. OLCC cautioned the licensee that further violations could result in an immediate license suspension.

On September 19, 2020, OLCC compliance staff returned to Top of the Bowl to see if the licensee had implemented corrective actions. Upon entering the premises, inspectors instead observed that staff and patrons were again failing to adhere to the social distancing and facemask requirements.

In response, on September 30, 2020, the OLCC issued the operator of Top of the Bowl an order of immediate suspension for failing to follow OHA’s face covering and reopening guidance for restaurants and bars.

The licensee of record is Top of the Bowl LLC, and Jaimie Hennricks.

The OLCC investigation is continuing and the licensee faces the possibility of additional charges for liquor rule violations. The licensee is entitled to, and has requested, an administrative hearing to challenge the OLCC’s actions. The business may continue to serve food and non-alcoholic beverages on premises or for takeout or delivery, but is NOT allowed to sell any alcoholic beverages.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-08 13:27:06Last Update: 2020-10-08 13:45:30

Measure 109
Legalizing Medical Mushrooms

Editor's note: This is part three of a multi-part series covering the 2020 Oregon General Election ballot measures.

After spending the eye-popping sum of nearly $1.5 million dollars to place this measure on the ballot New Approach PAC will present Measure 109 to the voters. That's over $13 per required signature and one almost can't help but wonder if so much has to be spent per signature, maybe it's not going to be all that popular.

New Approach PAC is a Washington, DC based, super-PAC that has it's sights set on drug legalization on a state-by-state basis. In the wake of Measure 90 in 2014, it's almost as if national drug-legalization efforts have their sights set on Oregon as a semi-willing victim. The basic proposal is to legalize psilocybic mushrooms for medical use. Research has shown that they may have some efficacy for treating PTSD, drug abuse and other disorders.

Despite the dubious record of the cumbersome process for drug approval under the onerous shadow of "big pharma," one wonders if the initiative process is any better of a way to approve medicine. The lesson here might be that if you establish too excessive of a regulatory bureaucracy, one way or the other, we the people will prevail and get our way.

Oregon is proud of the fact that it is the first in many policy areas. Voters may not wish to make Oregon the first state to legalize "magic mushrooms." Other drugs have testing, known potency, accepted dosages and we already have dispensaries called drugstores. Voter approved pharmaceuticals bypass some of the structures we have to reduce problems.

This is the official title for the measure, as provided by the Attorney General, as it will appear on the ballot:

Allows manufacture, delivery, administration of psilocybin at supervised, licensed facilities;
imposes two-year development period

Result of “Yes” Vote: Allows manufacture, delivery, administration of psilocybin (psychoactive mushroom) at supervised, licensed facilities; imposes two-year development period. Creates enforcement/taxation system, advisory board, administration fund.

Result of “No” Vote: “No” vote retains current law, which prohibits manufacture, delivery, and possession of psilocybin and imposes misdemeanor or felony criminal penalties.

Summary: Currently, federal and state laws prohibit the manufacture, delivery, and possession of psilocybin (psychoactive mushroom). Initiative amends state law to require Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to establish Oregon Psilocybin Services Program to allow licensed/regulated production, processing, delivery, possession of psilocybin exclusively for administration of “psilocybin services” (defined) by licensed “facilitator” (defined) to “qualified client” (defined). Grants OHA authority to implement, administer, and enforce program. Imposes two-year development period before implementation of program. Establishes fund for program administration and governor-appointed advisory board that must initially include one measure sponsor; members are compensated. Imposes packaging, labeling, and dosage requirements. Requires sales tax for retail psilocybin. Preempts local laws inconsistent with program except “reasonable regulations” (defined). Exempts licensed/regulated activities from criminal penalties. Other provisions.

Major donations to Yes for Psilocybin Therapy
08/19/2020New Approach PAC$300,000
08/14/2020Timothy Kutscha$20,000
08/09/2020Brandon Pollock$1,000
07/29/2020New Leaf Brands$20,000

Major donations to PSI 2020
09/04/2020Yes for Psilocybin Therapy (20657)$45,000
07/17/2020Adam Wiggins$20,000
07/15/2020Adam Wiggins$25,000
07/09/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$40,000
06/30/2020David Menschel$1,000
06/19/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$80,000
06/15/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$65,000
06/09/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$40,000
06/03/2020John Gilmore$9,981
05/22/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$80,000
05/11/2020Sasha Cajkovich$10,000
05/10/2020Ron Beller$9,952
05/10/2020Mark Farr$1,738
04/19/2020Robert Faust$1,000
04/19/2020Jeffrey Zucker$2,500
04/15/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$60,000
04/12/2020Megan Frost$1,000
04/12/2020Timothy Kutscha$2,000
03/24/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$50,000
03/17/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$50,000
03/15/2020Robert Hanson$1,000
03/13/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$50,000
03/06/2020Benjamin Halper$1,000
03/06/2020Kristyn Judkins$2,500
03/06/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$50,000
03/03/2020Adam Wiggins$15,000
02/25/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$50,000
02/07/2020Field Trip Psychedelics Inc$10,000
01/21/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$225,000
12/20/2019New Approach PAC - 527 organization$150,000
11/19/2019New Approach PAC - 527 organization$100,000
10/18/2019New Approach PAC - 527 organization$10,000
08/14/2019PSI 2020 (19606)$58,372

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-08 11:42:14Last Update: 2020-10-02 16:01:08

Rose Quarter Improvements Coming
Auxiliary lanes are projects to improve the burdened interchange

With all the transportation infrastructure projects going on all the time, it's good to see one that's specifically dedicated to improving traffic flow, safety and congestion. The Rose Quarter Improvement Project, part of HB 2017 -- the transportation package passed in 2017, promises just that.

According to ODOT's description of the project, the new auxiliary lanes will connect on-ramps directly to the next off-ramp on I-5. As an example, about 99 percent of the vehicles that merge onto I-5 heading south from the Fremont Bridge (I-405) during the evening peak hour period are exiting at the three exits within the Project area – the Broadway, I-84 and Morrison Bridge exits. The addition of an auxiliary lane will allow drivers to make these trips without merging into the two through lanes on I-5 before exiting. This will reduce rear-end and sideswipe crashes, both of which are major causes of delay.

Adding safety shoulders will also help reduce the number of sideswipe and rear-end crashes and reduce delays caused by those crashes. The new shoulders will also provide a place for vehicles in crashes to move safely off the roadway and safer and quicker access for emergency service vehicles to reach emergencies within or beyond the Rose Quarter area.

The project schedule spans about a decade, with about half of that being design, planning and compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The Project’s assumed multimodal improvements will provide enhanced separation for pedestrians and bicyclists from vehicles on the local street network. The Project assumes new multiuse paths and a pedestrian-and-bicycle-only bridge across I-5 connecting NE Clackamas Street and the Rose Quarter entertainment area.

The project is going to be pricey. With inflation factored in, the total price tag could come close to $800 million dollars.

Year of DollarsPreliminary Cost Estimate (2017)Base Estimate Range (2025)
TOTAL$450 - $500 million$715 to $795 million
INFLATION$0$130 million to $147 million
RIGHT-OF-WAY$6 million$42 to $52.3 million
PRELIMINARY ENGINEERING$64 to $71 million$74.2 to $81 million
CONSTRUCTION$380 to $423 million$461.2 to $507.1 million

Even though much of the project is targeting vehicle traffic, ODOT notes that some of the existing pedestrian and bicycle facilities in the Project area expose users to navigational challenges, such as crossing freeway on- or off-ramps. Changes to the local street system and the addition of highway covers will reduce conflict points between vehicles and pedestrians, people riding bicycles, or people rolling in the Project area. Changes to overcrossings will enhance walking and bicycling comfort.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-08 11:10:24Last Update: 2020-10-07 21:24:42

Democratic Legislative Candidate Admits to Class C Felony
Shaw claims to have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota

Today the House Republicans filed a complaint with the Secretary of State and called for an immediate investigation into Lynnette Shaw, Democratic candidate for House District 24 for falsifying her education background in the November 2020 general election voters’ pamphlet statement.

Lynnette Shaw stated in her voters’ pamphlet statement that she received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota. This statement was false, violating ORS 260.715. A representative of Lynnette Shaw’s campaign has already admitted to this serious violation.

“Intentionally misleading voters in your voters’ pamphlet statement is a serious crime. We call for an immediate investigation into this matter,” said Trey Rosser, Executive Director of Evergreen Oregon PAC, campaign arm for the House Republicans. “When the Secretary of State’s office confirms what Lynnette Shaw’s campaign has already admitted, we urge the case be referred to the Attorney General for prosecution.”

Per ORS 260.715, “A person may not knowingly make a false statement, oath or affidavit when a statement, oath or affidavit is required under the election laws. Violations under this statue are a Class C Felony.

"We also call on the Working Families Party and Senator Jeff Merkley to withdraw their support of Lynnette as they did in 2018 when another House Democrat Candidate (Amanda La Bell) fraudulently included a college degree on her Voter Pamphlet Statement”, said Trey Rosser. “As Governor Kate Brown stated at that time, ‘It’s important to me that Oregonians know who they’re voting for and that candidates are honest about their history,’ at which time she pulled her support for La Bell along with the Working Families Party and Senator Merkley."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-07 19:49:12Last Update: 2020-10-07 20:10:24

Multnomah County Encourages Inmates to Vote
Some people are surprised there

Multnomah County is making one final push to provide information and resources to anyone who is eligible to vote — including people formerly or currently involved in the justice system.

In partnership with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Multnomah County Election's voter education and outreach specialist has been working to help individuals currently held in jail for misdemeanors update their voter registrations and even vote from jail.

“We do have voters that are currently in jail that get their ballot through the mail and return it to us and are able to vote,” said Catherine McMullen, voter education and outreach specialist for Multnomah County Elections. “We want all eligible voters to be able to participate in the election process.”

She emphasized the resources and rights that citizens have to vote, including those who are experiencing homelessness and those who have formerly been incarcerated on felony charges, letting them know that they also have the power to vote.

“As soon as you have finished serving your time for a felony, you are eligible to re-register to vote and vote again,” said McMullen.

Through the Election Division’s efforts, she also connected with Eloise Holdship, a corrections counselor with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, who’s launched a voter registration initiative for adults in custody.

This work has been especially significant because, as Holdship found, almost none of the individuals she works with are aware of their voting rights. Holdship says she wasn’t aware of their rights, either — which is why she decided to launch the initiative.

“A lot of folks, once they are arrested and awaiting or serving a sanction, just sort of assume they are a person in custody and don’t have much choice in a lot of things,” she says.

Stephanie LaCarrubba, a programs unit manager at the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, has supported the effort. She says it's important to increase voter turnout among incarcerated individuals who can be disproportionately impacted by many issues on the November ballot.

Though the goal of the initiative was to encourage incarcerated individuals to register for the Nov. 3 General Election, Holdship says she doesn’t expect voting rights awareness in Multnomah County jails to stop anytime soon.

“We want to keep it going from here on out,” she says. “Even if it’s in a month when there’s not even a local election, and the adult in custody requests to register, we’d be ready, and we could facilitate all of that.”

Some have questioned if it's a good use of tax dollars to put so much effort into encouraging people to vote who may not be up-to-date on the issues.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-07 16:36:16Last Update: 2020-10-07 16:55:47

Measure 108
More taxes on tobacco and e-cigarettes

Editor's note: This is part two of a multi-part series covering the 2020 Oregon General Election ballot measures.

By far, the most expensive ballot measure this cycle will be Measure 108 which was referred to the voters by the legislature from HB 2270. At $13 million, it has remarkably few large contributors. One doesn't have to try hard to envision the healthcare industrial complex taking on the lowly, blue-collar smokers. Since the proceeds of the tax increase go to fund health care for low-income Oregonians, it can be regarded as taxing the poor to pay for their own health care.

One can wonder about the sustainability of funding health care through increased taxes on nicotine. What do we do when it's no longer cool to smoke and revenue declines? If this is such a good idea, why do we need $13 million from the healthcare-industrial complex against virtually no opposition to pass this? Couldn't we have used that $13 million to pay for -- uh, more health care?

This is the official title for the measure, as provided by the Attorney General, as it will appear on the ballot:

Increases cigarette and cigar taxes. Establishes tax on e-cigarettes and nicotine vaping devices. Funds health programs.

Result of 'Yes' Vote: 'Yes' vote increases cigarette tax by $2 per pack. Increases cap on cigar taxes to $1 per cigar. Establishes tax on nicotine inhalant delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes and vaping products. Funds health programs. Approves other provisions.

Result of 'NO' Vote: 'No' vote retains current law. Cigarettes are taxed at current rate of $1.33 per pack. Tax on cigars is capped at 50 cents per cigar. Nicotine inhalant delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes and vaping products, remain untaxed.

Summary: Under current law, a tax of $1.33 is imposed on each pack of 20 cigarettes, cigars are taxed at 65 percent of their wholesale price up to a maximum of 50 cents per cigar, and nicotine inhalant delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes and vaping products, are not taxed. Measure increases the cigarette tax by $2 per pack and increases the maximum tax on cigars to $1 per cigar. Measure provide for smaller cigars (sold commonly as "cigarillos") to be taxed like cigarettes. Measure establishes tax on nicotine inhalant delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes and vaping products, at 65 percent of the wholesale price. Tax on nicotine inhalant delivery systems does not apply to approved tobacco cessation products or to marijuana inhalant delivery systems. Revenue from increased and new taxes will be used to fund health care coverage for low-income families, including mental health services, and to fund public health programs, including prevention and cessation programs, addressing tobacco- and nicotine-related diseases.

Major donations to Yes for a Healthy Future
09/09/2020Oregon Association of Hospitals & Health Systems$500,000
07/13/2020American Lung Association$5,000
06/20/2020Adventist Health System$396,580
01/15/2020American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc.$50,000
01/11/2020Sky Lakes Medical Center$352,460
12/27/2019Oregon Association of Hospitals & Health Systems$500,000
12/02/2019Grande Ronde Hospital$201,400
11/27/2019Trinity Health$93,648
11/27/2019Salem Health Hospitals & Clinics$857,016
11/25/2019Samaritan Health Services$652,560
11/20/2019Kaiser Permanente - KP Financial Svcs$919,908
11/18/2019Legacy Health System CPC, LLC$1,732,048
11/15/2019Trinity Health$169,204
11/14/2019Nurses United Political Action Committee (12987)$200,000
11/14/2019St. Charles Health System$792,368
11/13/2019Providence Health & Services$3,296,948

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-07 11:42:14Last Update: 2020-10-02 16:00:52

Follow the Money
Why we can’t have nice things in education

The Legislative Assembly shall appropriate in each biennium a sum of money sufficient to ensure that the state's system of public education meets quality goals established by law, and publish a report that either demonstrates the appropriation is sufficient, or identifies the reasons for the insufficiency, its extent, and its impact on the ability of the state's system of public education to meet those goals.

--Article VIII, Section 8, Oregon Constitution

State budgeting is a process by which various priorities compete for scarce resources. Public safety is important, as is transportation infrastructure, as is natural resource management, as are social services. And education.

Some priorities are more equal than others. Not every priority has a constitutional mandate that it be funded. Education does. Driven by the most powerful of all public employee unions -- a giant among giants, the Oregon Education Association -- education funding is mandated by the constitution and state law.

It's the ultimate self-licking ice cream cone. The teachers' union donates huge dollars to Democrat candidates and liberal causes. These politician in turn make sure that education is amply funded. Part of this funding finds its way back to the teachers' union and the process starts again for the next cycle.

As required by the Oregon Constitution, the Quality Education Model Report has been released. Many of the points raised by the report could be arguments for vouchers or increased school choice, but that doesn't really work for the teachers' union. Spoiler alert: They need more resources.

Highlights from the executive summary include:

Oregon has an inequitable education system. The result is that specific student groups consistently achieve at lower levels than their peers. The resulting opportunity and achievement gaps have existed for generations, leaving many students less well-prepared than their peers and less than what they deserve.

We must change our system if we expect to get different outcomes. Our current education system is delivering the outcomes it was designed to deliver, so if those outcomes are not the ones we want—and clearly they are not—then we need to change the system to one that delivers outcomes more consistent with our values.

Changing the system will also take more resources. Through the Student Success Act, the Oregon Legislature provided the needed resources by raising more revenue and appropriating more to education, with the clear goals of improving equity. The coronavirus pandemic means that the added revenue will come in slower than initially projected, but the added revenue is still considerable.

Despite lower than expected revenue, the K-12 funding gap will fall. While lower than earlier forecasts, the revenue from the new Corporate Activities Tax is still substantial, reducing the funding gap to a projected $834 million in the 2021-23 biennium. That’s down from a gap of $1.77 billion in the 2019-21 biennium.

Someday, parents and taxpayers will refuse to accept this sustained level of failure. Maybe they get a pass because of COVID or maybe COVID is the straw that breaks the camel's back. As union members, teachers can't be held harmless. The law now allows them to resign from the union and keep their jobs. Below is our own report of some of the possible reasons why public education has failed and will continue to fail.

Major donations from Oregon Education Association - People for Improvement of Education
DateRecipient (PAC Id)Amount
09/29/2020Eileen Kiely for Oregon (19025)$18,935
09/17/2020Friends of Tobias Read (5208)$5,000
09/17/2020Elect Ellen Rosenblum for Attorney General (15406)$5,000
09/09/2020Friends of Dan Rayfield (14046)$5,000
09/09/2020Friends of Lisa Reynolds (20209)$1,000
06/24/2020Friends of Ben Bowman (19763)$1,500
05/15/2020Oregonians for Ballot Access (20633)$3,000
05/14/2020Laurie for Oregon (20178)$25,000
05/08/2020Committee to Elect Shemia Fagan (14993)$15,000
05/04/2020Christina Stephenson for Oregon (18555)$1,000
05/04/2020Oregonians for Ballot Access (20633)$6,500
04/27/2020Friends of Khanh Pham (20376)$2,231
04/24/2020Committee to Elect Shemia Fagan (14993)$45,000
04/20/2020Committee to Elect Paige Kreisman (19452)$1,000
04/17/2020Committee to Elect Shemia Fagan (14993)$32,000
04/17/2020Campos for Oregon (20099)$1,000
04/07/2020No Fake Democrats PAC (20621)$5,000
04/01/2020Democratic Party of Oregon (353)$5,000
03/17/2020Committee to Elect Rachel Prusak (18850)$1,000
03/17/2020Committee to Elect Shemia Fagan (14993)$10,000
03/17/2020Friends of Diego Hernandez (16199)$1,000
03/17/2020Friends of Chris Gorsek (14515)$1,000
03/17/2020Friends of Paul Evans (16508)$1,000
03/17/2020Kathleen Taylor for Oregon (16757)$1,000
03/17/2020Oregonians for Clem (5133)$1,000
03/10/2020Laurie for Oregon (20178)$5,000
10/16/2019Democratic Party of Oregon (353)$1,485
09/11/2019Democratic Party of Oregon (353)$5,000
04/19/2019Friends of Lisa Fragala (19751)$1,000
04/19/2019Friends of Ben Bowman (19763)$1,000
04/19/2019Martina for School Board (19762)$2,000
04/19/2019Friends of Raul Marquez Guerrero (19789)$2,000
04/19/2019Caroline for Schools (19827)$2,500
04/19/2019Shimiko For Schools (19879)$2,500
04/19/2019Friends of Michelle DePass (19811)$2,500

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-06 20:01:57Last Update: 2020-10-06 20:41:48

Portland Leaders Train on Anti-Racism
Are they doing anything about actual violence?

On Sept. 29 and Oct. 6, the Portland City Council and City bureau directors attended trainings on the history of white supremacy and its impact on Portland and the nation. The trainings, administered and developed in collaboration with the Portland-based Western States Center, are the result of a 2019 resolution condemning white supremacist and alt-right hate groups that was unanimously co-sponsored and adopted by the Portland City Council.

The trainings reflect the Core Values Resolution passed by City Council in June 2020. The resolution identified anti-racism, equity, transparency, communication, collaboration and fiscal responsibility as the City’s core values.

“We made a commitment to becoming an anti-racist city,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “Our partnership with the experts at the Western States Center will help us understand the white nationalists and improve our response to the very real threats they pose to our community.”

“Given our state’s history of white supremacy and our current national leaders’ efforts to downplay its dangers, it is critical local governments like ours understand the threat and take the steps to protect Portlanders as we continue working together to build a more equitable Portland,” Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said.

In recent months, alt-right and paramilitary organizations have mobilized in opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement and government actions aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19. Portland’s leadership in racial justice reform and community demands for change have made the city a target for right-wing politicians and white supremacist groups, who use Portland as a rhetorical tool for division.

“The alt-right and white nationalist groups go to great lengths to radically intensify division during ANY crisis—creating anxiety, division, and exhaustion. Their goal is the devastation of an inclusive and civil society,” Commissioner Dan Ryan said. “Portlanders will not be fooled. We will come together as one to amplify our inclusive and loving values. We will build forward from the profound lessons of 2020 with shared humility, sacrifice, prosperity and pride.”

“While the federal administration adopts fascist policies like banning Critical Race Theory in federal agencies, white supremacist groups in turn have become even more visible and confident,” Commissioner Chloe Eudaly said. “I am grateful to local experts Western States Center for showing Council how to identify and disrupt white supremacy in our community. I am committed to applying my learnings to eliminate extremist ideologies from our city and our government.”

“I am proud of Portland today. Our city is demonstrating to the nation how to come together and reject hate and violence,” said Eric K. Ward, Executive director of Western States Center. “Western States Center welcomes the opportunity to engage with City leaders and looks forward to continuing the hard work of ensuring our city is safe for all.”

Some observers have noted that for the past few months, nearly all the hate and violence has come from left-wing groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa and that these sorts of trainings are nothing more than a red-herring smoke screen to provide cover for lack of action against actual violence. A recent gathering of Proud Boys in Portland was peaceful.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-06 18:43:41Last Update: 2020-10-06 19:32:09

The Endorsement Game
If you think these are the comments of a supporter of the Second Amendment, you’d be wrong

Editor's note: The author, Kevin Starrett is the Director of Oregon Firearms Federation.

“It was a pleasure to speak with you this evening after the wonderful presentation at Threat Dynamics. As I briefly mentioned, I'm a candidate for Lake Oswego City Councilor and to my knowledge, mine is the only election advocating for responsible gun ownership. I'm a lifetime NRA member and have held active Utah and Oregon CHLs since before my youngest (who is almost 9 years old) was born.”

“I am disgusted at the Dem. Leadership in Salem, and applauded the Republican walk--outs for issues relating to medical freedom, and other rights that the majority party seeks to take away from good citizens.”

“Based on my feelings before we met, and especially after I've had time to process our conversation (and through the recent immersion into this community), I feel even more camaraderie with gun-toting patriots and hope to earn the endorsement from reputable lovers of 2A (and potentially the OFFPAC, too)!”

“Thanks for the update! Hope you're well=) I might have already mentioned I'm voting all Oregon Republicans this November;)”

If you think these are the comments of a principled conservative and supporter of the Second Amendment, no one could blame you. But you’d be wrong.

These are the comments of Emma Burke, a self-described, union backed, “progressive” running for Lake Oswego City Council.

Most reasonable people would read these comments and feel a sense of relief that a person who identifies with the left would have such open and refreshing views. But, sadly they too, would be wrong.

Because these were the comments made by Burke in emails to me when she was seeking support and the endorsement from the Oregon Firearms Federation.

Burke approached me after a class I teach about Oregon’s gun laws. She explained that she was running for city council and was hoping to reach out to gun owners and asked for Oregon Firearm Federation’s (OFF) support. So, eager to see some representation in a City that is not known for the values OFF stands for, I was happy to meet with her to learn more about her positions. That meeting took place at my gun club on August 3rd. Burke and I spent a few hours together while she explained in detail her positions and why she was actively seeking our endorsement.

Except for her claim to support gun rights, Burke checked every liberal box. Her personal history and preferences are decidedly “non traditional”. She expressed past support for Bernie Sanders because she thought his election would mean someone else would have to pay off her college loans. Her allies clearly leaned left. But she was convincing while claiming strong support for gun rights.

OFF endorsed her and made a donation to her campaign. And that, was pretty much that, until Oct 3rd.

That night Emma left a very lengthy message explaining her dismay at having failed to properly explain to her other supporters why she would associate with an organization like OFF. The left was not happy. And when the left is unhappy, a toll must be extracted. Her other supporters would pull their endorsements if she did not reject ours. Things apparently had blown up on her social media pages.

Emma was sending back the donation our PAC sent her and rejecting our endorsement. She was sorry, because she did “respect” us.

I called Emma back that night and we talked at length. I told her I was not surprised this happened. That was the way of the left. She was free to run her campaign as she chose, but she was still stuck with the fact that she had already printed our endorsement in the voter’s guide.

That’s politics. But not so fast. After concluding our conversation I decided to see exactly what was said on her social media pages. And there, unsanitized, was Burke’s deceitful, but predictable grovelfest to her leftist comrades.

On several of her pages she wrote, (apparently with a straight face)

“Today, I removed an endorsement post and will be returning funds to an organization whose values don't align with mine. I'm very appreciative to those who brought this to my attention. I've learned a valuable lesson through this and vow to vet folks who offer endorsements from now on.”

The replies to her brazen, bald face lies were the fawning, gushing responses of her liberal followers who were in awe of her bravery and conviction. (Although there were a few that wondered how she could make such a terrible mistake.) The sheer absurdity of the idea that OFF had “offered” an endorsement that was not actively sought and requested seem to occur to none of the social justice warriors who responded to her nonsense.

“Lana LaMuse” wrote, “It takes a strong moral code to stay true to self and community in such uncertain times. Your willingness to question and reevaluate is refreshing!”

Lynn Peterson (that Lynn Peterson) said “ Thank you Emma”.

Megan Barella posted “Thank you Emma Leigh Burke for your integrity.”

And on and on. Of course, at no point did Burke ever feel the need to tell the truth. That she had sought out OFF’s support and endorsement. That she had lied to obtain it or that she damn well knew what our “values” were, and that we did not “offer” an endorsement. That it was comical to think that she should be “vetting” OFF when she was the person asking for support from an organization that is over 20 years old and well known for its no compromise positions.

But, this is the state of liberal mind. Lie if you think it will help you. If that fails, and your comrades attack you, lie about lying. And gladly and unapologetically accept the fawning accolades of the people who still buy your lies even when the truth has been exposed.

There is no question that OFF was sold a bill of goods. We clearly made a mistake. Granted, this emailed line from her was pretty convincing:

“As an elected official, I'll have greater influence and audience to help advocate for gun rights than I currently do as a regular citizen, and I believe that platform, combined with my status as a mom, and survivor of a violent sexual assault (which I truly believe would not have occured if I had been armed) will help further the cause.”

But at least when we’ve been had, we admit it.

--Kevin Starrett, Director, Oregon Firearms Federation

Post Date: 2020-10-06 11:28:02Last Update: 2020-10-06 17:47:26

Firearm Sales Spark Waits
When you couldn’t buy toilet paper, you were trying to buy a Glock, weren’t you?

The Oregon State Police, Firearms Instant Check System (FICS) reports a 57% increase as of the end of September over the same period last year. That’s 310,570 people buying firearms this year.

In step with the Governor’s COVID-19 shut down in March, gun sales went from a modest increase to a 78% jump. Staying around that level until the special session in June calling for police restrictions, sales increased to 107%. Oregon Firearms Federation reported 5000 people waiting in the “queue” for a background check. The increases have continued at 49% last month.

In March, FICS began temporarily discontinuing phone transactions and shifted resources toward online submissions to expedite the process. While gun sales are at an all-time high, Oregon’s FICS for background checks is in the worst shape ever as 65% of the employees work from home with no reliable access to the system and no cell phone access to the system. To complicate resources, four background examiners took extended COVID FMLA/OFIA leave March-May, plus two resignations. The remaining 22 background examiners are expected to clear an average of 1,133 per day, a 57% increase from 2019. Of those 94% are approved.

A common reason for delay in approval is a “near hit” on the name, DOB or SSN# typed into the transaction, incorrect information. Or need to update information. These have to be reviewed by the FICS staff even if the applicant does not have a criminal history. There were 91 denied for mental health adjudication. However, the most common reason for denial is from a convicted felon or on probation with other criminal activities making up the rest of the list. Ninety guns were determined to be stolen.

Oregon State Police list their obligations as: While law enforcement is being restricted by the majority party in the legislature, violence escalates, leaving many law-abiding citizens struggling to have the means to defend their homes. At least we don't have background checks for ammo... If you can still find it.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-05 23:22:13Last Update: 2020-10-06 02:52:56

Measure 107
Measure 107 would limit free speech in Oregon

Editor's note: This is part one of a multi-part series covering the 2020 Oregon General Election ballot measures.

Ballot measure 107 was referred to the Oregon voters by the 2019 legislature. Senate Joint Resolution was sponsored by Senators Tim Knopp (R-Bend), Mark Hass (D-Portland), Jeff Golden (D-Ashland), Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego), and Representatives Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) and Alyssa Keny-Guyer (D-Portland). The resolution is a response to an Oregon Supreme Court decision which allows the state and inferior jurisdictions to enact campaign finance reforms. Ballot Measure 107 merely updates the Oregon Constitution to reflect that possibility. It does not itself enact any limits.

In the State of Oregon Democrats operate a Super-majority legislature, and much of the agenda for the State is set by them. They would now like to further limit the ability of Grassroots Oregonian's to fund raise.

The Democrats have put forth Measure 107 which "Authorizes the state legislature and local governments to (1) enact laws or ordinances limiting campaign contributions and expenditures; (2) require disclosure of contributions and expenditures; and (3) require that political advertisements identify the people or entities that paid for them."

The referring of this free-speech limiting bill to the November ballot has been largely paid for by in-kind Democrat contributions and Big Union money.

Major donations to Yes for Fair and Honest Elections
09/28/2020North Star Action Center$3,000
09/11/2020Team Oregon Victory Fund (19420)$5,000
09/04/2020End Citizen's United $1,200
08/31/2020Alliance for Democracy Portland$1,200
08/17/2020Oregon AFSCME council 75$5,000
08/16/2020Kafoury & McDougal$2,000
08/07/2020Norman Turrill$1,000
08/07/2020End Citizen's United $14,000
07/27/2020Voters' Right to Know$14,000
06/29/2020Team Oregon Victory Fund (19420)$5,000
06/02/2020Honest Elections Oregon$5,000
06/01/2020David Delk$1,000
05/22/2020Kafoury & McDougal$2,500
04/20/2020AFSCME Council 75$10,000
04/12/2020Thomas Keffer$1,000

The above chart of major donors to the Yes on 107 Campaign, highlights a certain irony. This collection of big donors all are advocating for campaign finance limits. No political action committee has yet been established for the No on 107 effort.

For further irony, one of the biggest defender of not having any campaign finance limits was the American Civil Liberties Union. In a Friend of the Court brief the ACLU declares a change of heart.

"The ACLU of Oregon has a particular interest in this case because in recent years, the organization’s understanding of the relationship between campaign finance regulation and the freedom of expression enshrined in both the U.S. and Oregon Constitutions has evolved. This reckoning started in 2011, in the wake of Citizens United. ACLU National came to recognize the multiple, deleterious effects of excessive money in politics – including its negative impact on communities historically excluded from meaningful political participation – and reconsidered its previous absolute opposition to any regulation of campaign finance."

This is the official title for the measure, as provided by the Attorney General, as it will appear on the ballot:

Amends Constitution: Allows laws limiting political campaign contributions and expenditures, requiring disclosure of political campaign contributions and expenditures, and requiring political campaign advertisements to identify who paid for them

Result of “Yes” Vote: “Yes” vote allows laws, created by the Legislative Assembly, local governments or voters that limit contributions and expenditures made to influence an election. Allows laws that require disclosure of contributions and expenditures made to influence an election. Allows laws that require campaign or election advertisements to identify who paid for them. Campaign contribution limits cannot prevent effective advocacy. Applies to laws enacted or approved on or after January 1, 2016.

Result of “No” Vote: “No” vote retains current law. Courts currently find the Oregon Constitution does not allow laws limiting campaign expenditures. Laws limiting contributions are allowed if the text of the law does not target expression.

Summary: The Oregon Supreme Court has interpreted the Oregon Constitution to prohibit limits on expenditures made in connection with a political campaign or to influence the outcome of an election. Limits on contributions are allowed if the text of the law does not target expression. The proposed measure amends the Oregon Constitution to allow the Oregon Legislative Assembly, local governments, and the voters by initiative to pass laws that limit contributions and expenditures made in connection with a political campaign and contributions and expenditures made to influence an election. The measure would allow laws that require disclosure of political campaign and election contributions and expenditures. The measure would allow laws that require political campaign and election advertisements to identify who paid for them. Laws limiting campaign contributions cannot prevent effective advocacy. Measure applies to all laws enacted or approved on or after January 1, 2016.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-05 11:42:14Last Update: 2020-10-04 07:51:46

St. Helens Traffic Stop Leads to Discovery of Mail Theft
Significant mail theft from the Columbia County area

On Tuesday, September 15 at approximately 5:08 p.m., St. Helens officers conducted a traffic stop which led to the discovery of significant mail theft from the Columbia County area.

Jessica Ann Ackerman, 34, was lodged at the Columbia County Jail on charges of mail theft and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Shanika Leann Rice, 29, was lodged at Columbia County Jail on charges of mail theft and unlawful possession of methamphetamine. Further charges are pending.

A large portion of the stolen mail recovered by officers was from the Warren, Oregon area. The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is assisting with the investigation and is in the process of contacting mail theft victims.

The St. Helens Police is regarding this is an ongoing investigation. If you have any information related to this case, you can contact the St. Helens Police Department at 503-397-1521.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-04 20:26:35Last Update: 2020-10-04 22:08:05

Portland Oregon Bans Evictions Through January 8
Also allows a 6-month repayment period for rent payments

Further restrictions on those willing to rent to others might not be the most sensible solution, but the City of Portland is doing just that.

City Council Wednesday voted to extend eviction protections for Portland renters through January 8. The temporary moratorium prevents residential evictions for non-payment of rent and other no-cause evictions. The moratorium also allows a six-month repayment period for rent payments missed between October 1 and January 8.

“In the midst of a pandemic and a national economic crisis, with so many Portlanders struggling to stay afloat, no one should fear being put out of their home,” said Mayor Wheeler. “This moratorium will keep people safely in their homes and protect public health while we work to help Portlanders get the assistance and support they need to make up for missed rent,” he said.

“I am grateful that we are taking action to provide renters peace of mind as this crisis continues,” said City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. “That being said, the County’s extension came mere days before the state moratorium was set to expire—we cannot keep cutting it so close to the wire when renters’ housing stability is at stake. I will continue to work closely with my colleagues and advocate for more timely action before this moratorium expires in January, including a further extension of the emergency adjustment to the Mandatory Relocation Assistance Ordinance.”

Last month, Mayor Wheeler announced his intention to take executive action to extend the expiring State moratorium on residential evictions. While the State moratorium was extended, it does not include the repayment grace period the City’s action establishes. The City of Portland’s action is aligned with the extension passed by the Multnomah County Board of Commissioner. It provides Portland renters an additional eight days beyond the extension issued by Governor Brown on Tuesday.

“In Portland, renters and essential workers are disproportionately those who are Black, indigenous, and people of color. Mass evictions in this moment would hurt already vulnerable households the most and set them back the longest. I’m proud local and state leaders are extending this critical lifeline for renters,” Wheeler said.

The six-month repayment period only applies to unpaid rent between October 1 and January 8. Rent payments missed between April and September 30, under the previous moratorium, will still need to be repaid by March 31, 2021.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-04 19:44:32Last Update: 2020-10-04 19:55:54

Counties to Vote on Firearm Sanctuary
Second Amendment Sanctuary on the Ballot in Four Counties

The Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance or SASO is a measure on the ballot in four Oregon counties for the 2020 November General Election.
Clatsop CountyMeasure 4-205
Columbia CountyMeasure 5-278
Coos CountyMeasure 6-181
Umatilla CountyMeasure 30-145

The SASO is a new law that implements a local layer of legal protections for the rights acknowledged in the Bill of Rights using the initiative process and a county’s Home Rule authority to reject the commandeering of county resources by state and federal agencies.

If enacted, The SASO would impose a directive ordering that the County government shall not use any county resources or employees to enforce state or federal regulations concerning firearms and firearm accessories. Any county agency or employee found guilty of violating the law would face a Class A violation, plus a $2000 fine for the employee, $4000 for the offending agency.

The SASO defends the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. It employs the idea of “Shall not be infringed” by eliminating local enforcement of the many state and federal restrictions limiting the ability of individuals to protect themselves, their families, and others.

The SASO is unique in the fact that it differentiates itself from the feckless resolutions other counties in other states have enacted. The ordinance would punish local government officials who have violated an individual’s Second Amendment rights, which would challenge the practice of “qualified immunity.” Politicians would have to pay for committing unconstitutional crimes and ignoring their Oaths of Office.

Currently, there is a growing trend of defunding the police, disarming the citizens, and discharging the criminals, which will only result in an exponential wave of crime and death unless the electorate is willing to act. A more ominously twisted aspect is that District Attorneys are now charging citizens with crimes for using firearms and other weapons to defend their lives, homes, and property from the mob.

We the people are the last line of defense against anarchy and lawlessness. We must be willing to defend our cities and counties from criminals, looters, rioters, and unethical politicians with the protections and values enumerated in the US Constitution.

The Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance would help achieve that goal by allowing the people to invoke those rights with more legal authority in opposition to federal, state, and local politicians who want to make their own rules.

Registered voters in Lane County or Tillamook County can sign the active SASO petitions that are currently circulating in those two counties.

There is more information at SanctuaryOrdinance.com.

--Rob Taylor

Post Date: 2020-10-03 09:17:50Last Update: 2020-10-03 09:38:21

Candidate Comparison: Aldal vs. Holvey
House District 8 is Eugene and the rural areas to the West and South

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Candidate for House District 8 Timothy Aldal is challenging incumbent Paul Holvey on his 9th run to represent a portion of Lane County.

Three major issues to Oregon voters are the economy, safety and education. Holvey, known as the Carpenters’ Union representative, voted to increase taxes and fees including cap and trade, corporate gross receipts tax, and reduce the kicker. In 2020 he voted in support of SB 1603 imposing up to 6% tax on cell phones to extend broadband services to rural areas in addition to federal grants. Aldal indicates he would vote no on these issues and states he would work to stop over taxing and the shifting of money into non-dedicated funds. He states, the CAT tax is a business killing bill that passes on the cost to consumers lowering the standard of living for all Oregonians. He would work to reduce and repeal taxes not used for the betterment of all Oregonians.

Hovey helped sponsor the bill that nullified Measure 88 passed by voters allowing undocumented driver’s license and he helped sponsor a bill that requires no proof of citizenship to obtain a driver’s license. Voted to require employers to notify employees of ICE investigations, and prevent courts from asking immigration status and notifying ICE. He also voted for firearms to be trigger-cable locked or in a locked container when not carried. In contrast, Aldal said he is pro-constitution, supports local law enforcement and pro-Second Amendment. He states locking firearms is an “infringement and a good way to get citizens killed when one is needed for protection.”

In the area of education and family, Hovey supported the bill to take a child into protective custody without a court order. He voted to include in all curriculum’s contributions from every minority group such as immigrants, LGBTQ, disabled and women. He voted to require mandated vaccination with no exceptions and ban those from schools that don’t comply. Aldal doesn’t support the curriculum bill and says it is vague and poorly written. He also says, “every parent/family should have the right to make their own decisions regarding their medical care based on their beliefs and faith.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-02 19:26:50Last Update: 2020-10-02 19:46:23

Counties Begin Wildfire Cleanup and Recovery Efforts
Hazardous materials removal is first step of rebuilding process

Cleanup from the recent wildfires and wind damage is set to begin in eight Oregon counties as county officials, Oregon’s Debris Management Task Force, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have finalized plans to remove and dispose of hazardous materials from burned properties—free of charge to property owners. Removal of household hazardous waste and fire debris is required before property owners can rebuild from the fires.

Cleanup crews plan to begin operations in Jackson County the week of October 19 and will expand to the other counties shortly afterward, pending the completion by property owners of “Right of Entry” (ROE) access agreements that will allow cleanup crews onto their property. The ROE for a property must be signed before the county and state cleanup process can begin.

Hazardous waste cleanup is provided free of charge to property owners in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Marion counties. FEMA and the State of Oregon are funding the work.

Affected Oregon counties are in varying stages of developing their ROE forms. Property owners are urged to check their county’s website (list below) or wildfire.oregon.gov/cleanup for more information about the ROE process in their county. In preparation for filling out the forms, property owners should identify their property parcel number from their county tax assessor’s office and collect insurance information.

Household hazardous waste can include but is not limited to: fuel and petroleum, car batteries, antifreeze, used oil filters, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides, propane tanks, high pressure cylinders, disinfectants, aerosols, paint, bleach, radiological sources or devices, pool chemicals and ammunition. Cleanup crews will also identify and dispose of bulk asbestos materials when possible.

How the process will work

STEP 1: Household hazardous waste removal – No cost to property owner
1. Once a property owner completes an ROE form with their county, crews will evaluate the property for any overhead hazards (impacted trees) or other physical hazards and conduct air monitoring and visual observations to identify locations of household hazardous waste.
2. Crews will then remove those items from the property for safe disposal.

STEP 2: Ash and debris removal
1. Cleanup crews then will remove burned-out structures—possibly including building foundations—ash and other debris.
2. When this step is complete, property owners will be able to begin the rebuilding process.

State, county and federal partners are actively working to develop funding and implementation options for Step 2: Ash and debris removal.

The State of Oregon’s Debris Management Task Force is overseeing a coordinated effort by federal, state and local government agencies to address hazardous waste and debris removal. The task force consists of the Office of Emergency Management, Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-02 14:51:01Last Update: 2020-10-02 15:11:20

Secretary of State Candidates Debate
Kim Thatcher and Shemia Fagan square off

Secretary of State candidates Kim Thatcher and Shemia Fagan squared off in a debate sponsored by the City Club of Portland. Kim Thatcher started off by saying that Oregon is at a crossroad and the next Secretary of State needs to get Oregon back on track. She is the longest serving member of the Legislative Audit Committee and has focused her attention of the Secretary of State’s office. The Audit Committee is where hard answers are found, such as why millions of Oregonians still haven’t received their benefits. She thinks the state should be doing more to help displaced voters. Small business experience helps her see the issues to administer the Secretary of State’s office as an advocate to get small businesses back to work.

Shemia Fagan began with her history-growing up in Wasco County as a struggling family, which led her to be a civil rights attorney to advocate for the underprivileged. Wants to make government work for everybody, making sure government has fair elections, auditing revenues and programs to make sure they make a difference in the lives of people who need them the most, and run a redistricting committee to make sure Oregon has equal representation for all.

Questioning covered campaign contributions, election, audits, public records, redistricting and the Oregon Land Board.

Thatcher thought that most of her campaign funds came from the forest industry with single donations around $10,000, but she has contributed more from her business. Fagan said public employees were her biggest donors with Emily’s list donating $55,000 and the Governor $50,000. They both support Measure 107 for its transparency and campaign limits. Fagan would like to see grassroots donations and limit a single entity to drown out small donors. Thatcher would put a multi-partisan committee together so no one party dominates.

Vote by mail has been in the news as fraudulent. Thatcher doesn’t believe Oregon’s system is ripe with fraud. There are safe guards in place you don’t see in other states. She did not vote for motor voter due to privacy concerns and not being able to register at the DMV counter. She does not support voter registration on election day. Fagan adamantly stated the widespread claims of voter fraud across the country is a meth stated by people who want to make it harder to vote. She first worked with then Secretary of State Kate Brown to mark out a path to motor voter. She supports same-day registration and would like to see ballot tracking statewide to give Oregonians comfort that their ballot is received.

Audits could be subject to legislative influence, how will they assure audits are free of partisan influence? Fagan would hire outside auditors to be nonpartisan with national guidelines, and thinks the audits should be on what affects people the most. Thatcher serves on the Legislative Audit Committee and says the auditors we have are free of influence. The committee fills the gap working together to identify what audits need to be made, and investigates a tip line for valid requests.

It was proposed to make Public Records office independent. Thatcher is on the Public Advisory Council and proposed a bill to make it independent, which she will again propose and they are working out the funding. The office and advisory council need to work together. Fagan also supports Public Records as an independent agency so the public has someone fighting for them.

When Fagan was asked if she could show her independence from her Public Employees Union supporters, she could not because that would mean going against her own principle. She is proud of their support and believes they should be paid a living wage, have health insurance, retirement security, paid sick leave, and have a say in the safety of their work place. She is on record to make public police records on discipline.

The most discreditable question went to Kim Thatcher equating her participation in the Senate walk-out as a dislike of the legislative process. Denying that statement, she affirmed that the legislative process is very important and that includes the ability for people to weigh-in, which includes quorum denial, which both parties have used. Had the public been given a chance to weigh-in on the issues that are bigger than the legislature, there wouldn’t have been a walk-out.

The Elliott State Forest is overseen by the State Land Board, which includes the Secretary of State. Both thought that the Elliott Forest has to stay in state hands. Thatcher would like to see a stakeholder committee to determine the purpose of the Oregon Land Board. There are lots of proposals for the Elliott Forest to consider. Fagan seemed sold on Oregon State University proposal to use the Elliott Forest as a research forest, which includes decoupling it from the Common School Fund.

They each had an opportunity to ask the other a gotcha question. Thatcher questioned Fagan on her jumping around from position to position and how could voters count on her not running for Governor in two years. Fagan said she had no intention to run for Governor in two years. Fagan tried to tie down Thatcher on her vote for President, which she gracefully deflected staying non-partisan as the position would demand.

Maybe the most interesting question was for each to identify a professional sport they would like to play and what would their walk-up music be. Fagan would play for the WNBA for the Oregon Ducks, and walk on to Lizzo “Good As Hell.” Thatcher would like to be a race car driver to “Radar Love.”

In closing they both asked for your vote reiterating key points.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-02 02:17:06Last Update: 2020-10-02 13:22:18

Democrat Governors Speak on Voting Rights
“It is a right that is foundational to our democracy”

A coalition of 11 governors, including Govs. Jay Inslee (D-WA), Kate Brown (D-OR), Gavin Newsom (D-CA), Phil Murphy (D-NJ), Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI), Tony Evers (D-WI), Tim Walz (D-MN), Ralph Northam (D-VA), John Carney (D-DE), Steve Sisolak (D-NV) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), today released a statement on recent threats to the democratic process and reports of efforts to circumvent the election results.

“We do not take for granted the sacred right of every American to cast a vote, and to have that vote counted, in the presidential election held every four years. It is a right that is foundational to our democracy and essential to the continuation of our constitutional system of government — something to be cherished, revered and defended by elected leaders at all levels.

“Any efforts to throw out ballots or refuse a peaceful transfer of power are nothing less than an assault on American democracy. There is absolutely no excuse for promoting the intimidation or harassment of voters. These are all blatant attempts to deny our constituents the right to have their voices heard, as guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, and to know the will of the people will be carried out.

“As governors, it is our solemn duty to protect the people of our states. Today, we affirm that all votes cast in the upcoming election will be counted and that democracy will be delivered in this election. That means all valid ballots cast in accordance with state and local laws must be counted, and that all states must properly appoint electors in accordance with the vote. We will not allow anyone to willfully corrupt the democratic process by delegitimizing the outcome or appointing fraudulent electors against the will of the voters.

“Our nation has held presidential elections and upheld the results throughout our history, even in times of great peril. We did it during the Civil War and both World Wars, and we can do it during a pandemic.

“And if the outcome of this election means the end of a presidency, he must leave office — period.

“We recognize that democratically held elections are not an exercise in controlling power. By its very nature, democracy is an exercise in determining and honoring out the collective will of the American people, regardless of the outcome. Disenfranchising voters in order to retain power strikes at the very heart of this promise. We call on elected leaders at all levels, from both parties, to speak out loudly against such efforts in the weeks ahead.”

The group of Governors offered no comment on whether requiring photo ID to vote or register to vote would have a positive impact on the democratic process, nor any comment of the impact of the "crossfire hurricane" investigation performed by the FBI against Candidate, then President Elect, then President Donald Trump.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-01 15:05:40Last Update: 2020-10-01 15:17:06

Candidate Comparison: Clem vs. Esp
District 21 is the core of Salem

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Candidate for House District 21 Jack Esp is challenging incumbent Brian Clem on his 8th run to represent a portion of Marion County.

Three major issues to Oregon voters are the economy, safety and education. Clem voted to increase taxes and fees including cap and trade, corporate gross receipts tax, and reduce the kicker. Esp indicates he would vote no on these issues and supports more in-depth study of problems “before throwing more money into the mix.”

Clem signed a letter to US Attorney General William Barr demanding “immediate withdrawal of federal operatives from the City of Portland.” He helped sponsor the bill that nullified Measure 88 passed by voters allowing undocumented driver’s license and he helped sponsor a bill that requires no proof of citizenship to obtain a driver’s license. Voted to require employers to notify employees of ICE investigations, and prevent courts from asking immigration status and notifying ICE. In 2020 he sponsored HB 4005 requiring firearms to be trigger-cable locked or in a locked container when not carried. Esp asks “what good is a locked self-defense firearm in an emergency?” He would vote no and support voters. He also thinks the courts and ICE are part of our legal system.

In the area of education, Clem voted to include in all curriculum’s contributions from every minority group such as immigrants, LGBTQ, disabled and women. He voted to require mandated vaccination with no exceptions and ban those from schools that don’t comply. Esp said forced vaccinations are “infringes on parental rights and religious freedom,” and would vote no on curriculum mandates to include minority group contribution on what he views as the left’s attempt to move education further left.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-30 11:45:18Last Update: 2020-09-30 11:49:07

Oregon Republicans Applaud Good Neighbor Authority
Enables states to perform forest management and watershed restoration services on federal lands

Representatives Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles) and David Brock Smith (R-Coos Bay) released a statement on the Good Neighbor Authority and the recent investment made by the Legislative Emergency Board:

“We have let our natural and working lands become overburdened by fuel loads,” said Bonham. “Federal policy of containment and lack of investments into programs like the Good Neighbor Authority have put us in a position to suffer catastrophic effects from these mega-fires. Investments in this program are a step in the right direction to mitigate risks in the future. Conservation of Oregon’s forests, the communities around them, and the families that rely upon them must be our number one priority.”

Brock Smith added, “I’m grateful for the long overdue investment in this legislation that works cooperatively with our federal partners for resource management, focusing on the urban/wildland interface. Expanding these efforts will protect the health, life and safety of Oregonians and their communities.”

The Good Neighbor Authority allows the United States Forest Service to enter into agreements with states to enable states to perform forest management and watershed restoration services on federal lands. Together, Bonham and Brock Smith were chief sponsors of HB 4118 passed in 2018, which expanded Oregon’s Good Neighbor Authority.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-30 10:50:37Last Update: 2020-09-30 11:31:35

Don’t Drive Distracted in Oregon
October is National Distracted Driving Awareness month

In Oregon over the past five years, 137 people lost their lives in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than 20,992 were injured. Perhaps the saddest part of these statistics, besides there being real people behind them, is that these are preventable crashes.

“When you are behind the wheel, you have one job – to focus on driving safely,” said Kelly Kapri, Oregon’s Distracted Driving Program manager. “If you allow things to distract you, you could lose your life, the life of someone you love or cause another death or serious injury. It’s just not worth it.”

These kinds of tragedies are occurring all over the state so ODOT partners with law enforcement year round for focused enforcement for the law, but especially this October, National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. During October, a national and statewide public education and enforcement campaign will run to remind everyone who uses the transportation system to focus on safety and not allow anything to distract you.

Safety advocates hope that drivers will realize that distractions, such as using a phone, can hurt in more ways than one. From 2014 – 2018, there were 18 people killed and 1,752 suffered serious injuries from crashes where a driver was distracted by using a cell phone. Is that text or call really worth it?

In Oregon, distracted driving costs include not only the potential loss of life or injury, but can hurt the pocketbook as well:

First offense, not contributing to a crash: Class B violation; Fine up to $1,000.

Second offense – or first offense if it contributed to a crash: Class A violation; Fine up to $2,000.

Third offense in ten years: Class B misdemeanor; Fine up to $2,500; Could be up to six months in jail.

See the Oregon Department of Transportation 2020 Fact Sheet for more about distracted driving.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-30 10:49:28Last Update: 2020-10-01 15:01:50

New Public Health Division Director for Oregon
Longtime equity champion replaces retiree

Rachael Banks, who has served as the Multnomah County Health Department’s public health director since 2017, has been named director of the Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division.

Banks begins in her new role Oct. 27. She replaces Lillian Shirley, who is retiring this week after serving in the position since 2013.

OHA Director Patrick Allen called Banks “a leader with professional acumen combined with lived and worked experience around promoting equity.” These qualities are necessary as OHA makes “meaningful progress on health equity while guiding the state’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic — and continuing to advance programs that promote the majority of health that happens outside the doctor’s office, such as reducing chronic diseases, ensuring clean air and water, and urging immunizations.”

Advocating for health equity has been a major part of Banks’ career at Multnomah County since she began there in 2002. She has worked to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, hepatitis C and drug overdoses, and provided injury prevention education to families in populations unfairly impacted by health inequities. She also helped enforce Oregon’s Indoor Clean Air Act that created smoke-free workplaces to protect employees and the public, and she’s promoted health and equity by helping community organizations develop policies to reduced chronic diseases.

Banks has partnered with coordinated care organizations, health systems and insurers to improve how pregnant African-American women transition from clinical to community-based care. And she helped develop Early Learning Multnomah, an early learning hub that ensures kindergarten readiness for children of color ages 6 and younger.

As deputy director of the county’s Public Health Division, she helped develop its first disparity-focused Community Health Improvement Plan and led a unit that enacted culturally specific strategies in the African American/Black, Latinx/Hispanic, Native American/American Indian, Pacific Islander and immigrant/refugee communities. She’s also well known for her work as principal investigator for Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH), a chronic disease prevention program reaching 75% of the Black population.

Banks has led Multnomah County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as public health director, including developing policies, securing resources and mobilizing the division’s workforce, and leading the creation of metrics that ensure the needs of Black, indigenous and people of color are met as the county begins the reopening process. She also has advocated for modernizing the state’s public health system by realigning it to focus on equity, epidemiology, community partnerships, policy and operations, and through strengthened relationships with neighboring counties to create a regional infrastructure to improve communicable disease control.

Banks will be crucial in helping OHA achieve its goal of eliminating health inequities by 2030, while continuing work to expand other important initiatives, such as public health modernization, the State Health Improvement Plan, climate and health, immunizations, opioid prevention, and ensuring clean air and water.

“Rachael’s perspective and skills on these and other critical agency efforts, such as our strategic plan and the roll out of our performance management system, will be an essential component of my leadership team, particularly as the state continues the reopening process and prepares for eventual recovery from the COVID pandemic,” Allen said.

Banks earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Gonzaga University in 2001 and a master’s degree in public administration from Portland State University in 2012.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-29 16:00:58Last Update: 2020-09-29 16:50:37

Kate Brown Renews Eviction Ban
Landlords may not evict for remainder of 2020

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread devastation caused by wildfires, Governor Kate Brown today established a new moratorium preventing residential evictions for non-payment and other no-cause evictions between September 30 and December 31, 2020.

Governor Brown took immediate action in March and April through executive orders to keep Oregonians housed during the pandemic. In the first special session of this year, the Legislature passed House Bill 4213, establishing a residential and commercial eviction moratorium through September 30, 2020, with a six-month repayment period. The Governor’s new executive order will help keep Oregonians in their homes until the Legislature can convene later this year to address housing issues.

“Every Oregonian deserves a warm, safe, dry place to call home,” said Governor Brown. “Since the Legislature passed House Bill 4213, thousands of people have been displaced by massive and devastating wildfires, and the global pandemic continues to make it difficult for many Oregonians, including Oregon's veterans and many families with children, to pay rent, through no fault of their own.

“Keeping economically vulnerable Oregonians in their homes has been critical to the State’s COVID-19 response throughout this pandemic. Having a safe and stable home allows individuals to practice effective physical distancing, helps facilitate quarantine and isolation, and helps to prevent families and individuals from being displaced from their homes into more crowded multifamily or congregate living conditions, where the virus can spread more easily.

“Housing is a critical human need, and, as we enter cold and flu season during a pandemic––and as many students learn remotely from home––it is absolutely critical that people not be turned out of their homes. While my action today will address the immediate issue of preventing residential evictions through the end of the year, it is my hope that, when the Legislature next meets, they will take up the larger issues we need to address regarding housing relief.”

EO 20-56 establishes a new, temporary residential eviction moratorium through the end of the year, due to the urgent need to prevent a wave of evictions during simultaneous wildfire and pandemic emergency response and recovery efforts. Both crises have had an acute and disproportionate impact on Oregon's communities of color, including Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, and Latinx, Pacific Islander, and Tribal communities, as well as families living in rural Oregon.

Added Governor Brown: "Many of the Oregonians most impacted by the pandemic and wildfire crises are those who can afford it least, and who have already faced housing discrimination and vast disparities in the availability of affordable housing. My action today will provide immediate relief, but we still have much work to do to address the systemic racism that lies at the heart of the affordable housing crisis in our country."

Many housing providers, especially small ones, have become uncomfortable with their lack of legal standing in their contractual relations with tenants, and these kind of executive orders call into question the ability of the state to impede contracts.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-28 15:47:47Last Update: 2020-09-29 10:27:12

City of Scappoose Economic Development Committee Seeks Members
Get involved in Scappoose Oregon

The City of Scappoose Economic Development Committee (EDC) is looking to fill one member and two alternate positions. The responsibilities of the EDC, as stated in the Committee bylaws, are as follows:

1) Design, develop, and promote an economic development strategic plan

2) Provide oversight and review of economic development marketing strategies and products

3) Enhance communication and understanding of economic development strategies, and build relationships between the local public sector, community, and business community

4) Act as a forum for sharing information on best economic development practices, current issues, and resources available for communities and businesses

5) Encourage connections and coordination with other local, regional, and state organizations working for the benefit of economic growth and enhancement of the local economy

6) Respond to additional matters relating to economic development as requested by the City Council

If you are interested in joining the EDC, please complete the Citizen Interest Application, which is located on the City’s website. The City will accept applications until the positions have been filled. Should you have any questions regarding the application, and/or would like to receive a copy of the Committee Bylaws, please contact Program Analyst Huell White at 503-543-7146, or by email at hwhite@cityofscappoose.org.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-28 12:11:43Last Update: 2020-09-26 12:53:11

Write In Offers Choice for Portland Mayor
Joe Whitcomb stands out against his rivals

Many people are fed up with Ted Wheeler’s handling of Portland riots. It doesn’t leave Portland voters much choice for mayor when opponent Sarah Iannarone is an open supporter of Antifa and refuses to condemn the violent antifa rioters. Portland uses a nonpartisan system for voting for mayor making it an open primary with the top two candidates advancing to the General Election if no one receives a majority of votes.

Sarah Iannarone claims that she is “ready to enact community-led plans to clean up the mess we’re in.” Accusing Mayor Wheeler of no leadership on civil unrest or public safety, she also is voicing the same anti-federal and anti-police platform.

Enter Joseph Whitcomb asking Portland if they want an alternative, he is stepping up to run a write in campaign for Mayor of Portland. “Tired of the violence and destruction,” he says he is seeking "justice for all" and "equality for all!"

Joseph Whitcomb was born and raised in Portland, married with four daughters and five grandchildren, a degree in Criminal Justice, CCP, OCDL, and rides his mountain bike to work. He’s a rural Oregonian at heart camping, hiking, bicycling, and loves the outdoors. He has worked 23 years in the Materials Department Audit group.

Whitcome says, “I consider myself a conservative, I support our constitution, our law enforcement, and our military. God, Family/Friends and Country. My values have come from these 3 areas of my life. I want to see them strengthened and not diminished. I am running for Mayor because I see these 3 areas being attacked and that saddens me!” He is asking Portlanders who want an alternative to write-in "Joseph Whitcomb" under Mayor of Portland.

One of the drawbacks to the "top two" finishers election system is that you may not get much of a choice between the two, especially in a city with lopsided registration. Voters then have to resort to write-ins to vote for someone different.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-28 09:11:03Last Update: 2020-09-28 09:28:22

Information From Portland on Homeless Camps
Why is Portland seeing so many homeless encampments?

While it might appear to community members that the City of Portland has stopped its cleanup work, the truth is that Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program Performance Measures has never stopped responding to reports during this pandemic. In fact, they have actually been dispatching cleanup vendors more often to assist with trash, debris and biohazard removal. They also spend a great deal of time coordinating with outreach and service providers at various locations in town to assist with various issues.

Whenever individuals in the community submit a reports to HUCIRP regarding a campsite of concern, that report automatically creates a work assignment for a crew with lived experience to go to the reported area, engage with people that are present, pick up camper-identified garbage and conduct an assessment of the area. In July alone, they removed 550,000 pounds of garbage from the community.

HUCIRP encourage community members to continue reporting (once a week regarding any given site) as that will help to ensure that crews are regularly visiting the location to remove trash and biohazardous materials. It will also help to ensure that the City has a current assessment of the conditions in the area.

The best place to report campsites to us is via just one of the following methods:

1)Campsite Report Form

2)PDX Reporter

3)Calling Information & Referral: 503-823-4000.

If you are interested in learning more about what the response to reports looks like, please check out this video

If you have questions regarding a campsite, please send an email to reportpdx@portlandoregon.gov.

If you are interested in learning more about the process for campsite removals, please see this blog

Please note, any and all issues of criminal activity must be reported to the Portland Police.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-27 12:07:06Last Update: 2020-09-27 12:45:42

Big Money Battle Brewing Over Metro Transportation Tax
Get Moving PAC has been getting moving

Measure 26-218 is a local Metro ballot measure which authorizes Metro to impose a payroll tax not to exceed 0.75% on employers with 26 or more employees beginning in 2022.

According to Metro, projects would include a light rail line in the Southwest Corridor between downtown Portland and Washington County, a rapid regional bus network, bridge replacement and repair, sidewalks and pedestrian crossings, off-street biking and walking facilities, and traffic signal and intersection upgrades. It would also fund several additional transportation programs across the region, such as youth bus and MAX passes, walking and biking projects near schools, bus reliability, transition of buses from diesel to electric and low-carbon fuels, retention of affordable housing and addressing potential displacement along transportation corridors.

Some of the persons, unions and companies that could possibly benefit from contracts funded by Measure 26-218 are:
This is a full list of major donors to Get Moving PAC.

09/21/2020Headlight Technologies$5,000
09/21/2020OTAK, Inc$7,500
09/20/2020James Fuiten$5,000
09/20/2020Leah Riley$1,000
09/20/2020James McGrath$1,000
09/13/2020Steve Naito$2,500
09/13/2020Brad Hart$10,000
09/11/2020Harper Houf Peterson Righellis$1,000
09/11/2020Friends of Bob Stacey (13836)$9,500
09/11/2020Affordable Housing for Oregon (19368)$4,299
09/11/2020David Evans & Associates, Inc.$30,000
09/08/2020UFCW Local 555$10,000
09/06/2020Elizabeth Faulkner$1,000
08/30/2020Matt Miller$5,000
08/28/2020Communications Strategies$1,000
08/28/2020Professional & Technical Employees Local 17$1,000
08/28/2020Insulators International PAC$2,000
08/24/2020Local 48 Electricians PAC (4572)$100,000
08/21/2020William Shields$2,000
08/14/2020Stacy and Witbeck, Inc.$150,000
08/14/2020David Evans & Associates, Inc.$10,000
08/03/2020Herb Fricke$1,000
07/31/2020Cement Masons Local 555 $5,000
07/27/2020Warren Rosenfeld$5,000
07/09/2020OTAK, Inc$1,500
07/06/2020Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters$10,000
06/17/2020American Council of Engineering Companies of Oregon$25,000
05/02/2020American Council of Engineering Companies of Oregon$1,000
04/30/2020Burns McDonnell$5,000
04/30/2020Ian McHone$5,000
04/12/2020UFCW Local 555$10,000
04/12/2020200 Market Associates LP$10,000
03/30/2020HNTB Corporation$10,000
03/20/2020Jesse Jackson$5,000
03/20/2020Rachel L Bruce$5,000
03/20/2020Affordable Electric$5,000
03/20/2020Jeff Moreland$5,000
03/20/2020Chicks of All Trade$5,000
03/20/2020Just Bucket Excavating$5,000
03/20/2020Raimore Construction$10,000
03/12/2020Stacy and Witbeck, Inc.$10,000
03/09/2020Walsh Construction Company$5,000
03/09/2020AECOM Technology Group$15,000
01/28/2020Transportation Yes (14743)$5,000

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-27 11:57:37Last Update: 2020-09-27 13:21:46

Equity Grants Announced
Applies to tribal communities and communities of color

OHA announced it had selected nonprofit organizations and tribal governments from throughout the state for health equity grants to address the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Oregon’s tribal communities and communities of color. The grants total $45 million, and a full list of the awardees can be found here.

OHA announced the availability of grant funding and opened for applications to not-for-profit organizations statewide and Oregon’s nine federally recognized Tribes and the Urban Indian Health Program on Aug. 18. OHA received hundreds of applications and has funded 205 organizations and tribes. Requests totaled close to $170 million, and not all applicants could be funded.

“We look forward to partnering with these remarkable organizations and communities, who do such vital work to serve their communities,” said Patrick Allen, OHA director. “We are deeply aware how these organizations’ linkages and knowledge of their communities and the challenges they face are so important to bringing resources to help. We look forward to the collective work to continue to meaningfully address the systemic racism and structural inequities that have caused so much health disparity, especially relating to COVID-19.”

The grants focus resources on communities most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and programs that will address health and economic disruptions, food insecurity and housing, and safety and violence prevention, among other aspects of need.

“While OHA relationships with many of these groups have existed in the past, this grant program represents a deepening and a broadening of the partnership,” said Leann Johnson, director of OHA’s equity and inclusion division. “In some cases, the partnership is new. But whether new or existing, the relationships with these groups, the funding of their work, and their knowledge of the needs of their specific communities are the keys to breaking the hold of structural and systemic racism and oppression. We’re grateful for the work these organizations have engaged in already and will look to learn further from their wisdom.”

To learn more about this program, please visit https://www.oregon.gov/oha/covid19/Pages/equity-grants-covid-19.aspx

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-26 18:15:37Last Update: 2020-09-26 18:41:26

Indoctrination and Public Policy
Give the kids their opinions, then ask them for it.

By now, the image of child climate activist, Greta Thunberg is familiar to everyone, though it seems her star power is slipping. Children are time-honored mascots for any political agenda for which they can be marshalled, and Oregon Governor Kate Brown is no stranger to this tactic. In her response to California Governor Gavin Newsome's proclamation on zero-emission vehicles, Brown invoked the children.

"We have heard loud and clear from Oregon’s youth that climate action is their top priority—and it is the next generation that will pay the greatest price if we fail to answer their call. When zero-emission vehicles are widely used, we can support economic development, public health, and the environment all at the same time. I will be following the California requirement and looking into policies here in Oregon to accelerate transportation electrification."

It's one thing to ask kids for their opinions -- though one wonders how much value that has when actually making policy decisions. It's another to give kids their opinions and then ask them for it.

How does this happen? The largest public employee union in the state, the Oregon Education Association, also happens to be a leading voice for climate activism. They have your children captive for most of the day, and while they might fall short on educating your child on actual knowledge, rest assured, your child will go home trained as a climate activist. Ask Governor Brown.

The even more radical American Federation of Teachers, who boasts on their webpage of passing a "resolution supporting a Green New Deal, which combines strategies to tackle climate change, economic inequality, and environmental racism."

This resembles a pattern and a plan: Union activists take over the curriculum in public schools and feed it to the children, and then these same union activists point to the sage wisdom of these same children as the justification for public policy, to be enacted by the politicians they fund.

Governor Brown is not unconnected to these public employee unions. When she last ran for Governor, received donations of $100,000 on two occasions just during the current political cycle from the Oregon Education Association. The American Federation of Teachers - Oregon gave her $20,000 an increase over the another $10,000 in campaign cash given her during the previous election cycle.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-26 12:53:11Last Update: 2020-09-26 14:11:53

Oregon’s Bill Post Speaks Out on Ongoing Violence in City of Portland
Urges governor to stop anarchist riots

Earlier on Friday, Representative Bill Post (R-Keizer) released the following statement on Governor Brown’s recent executive order and the ongoing violence in Portland:

“Oregon’s political leadership is so narrow-minded. The governor should have made this executive order long ago. This weekend, what is being called a “right-wing” group will be protesting in Portland, and now she wants to defend the community? The “right-wing” groups being referenced do not have a history of violence in Portland, unlike some of the “left-wing” groups that have been protesting since May. There have been violent nightly wars in Portland for over 100 days with loss of life and heavy destruction of private and public property. Where was the concern then? Our political leadership only sees the enemy they choose to see and ignores the facts.

I strongly urge Governor Brown to extend this executive order to stop these anarchist riots from continuing as they have been since May.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-25 13:10:21Last Update: 2020-09-25 19:32:07

A Question of Integrity
Secretary of State candidate Shemia Fagan takes money from those she would audit

In a race in which integrity plays a great role, the Secretary of State's race is seeing some donor activity that is raising eyebrows with some observers who are calling into question how the size of the donations may have an impact on the performance of the candidate, should she land the role of Secretary of State.

Democrat Shemia Fagan recently accepted a $50,000 donation from Governor Kate Brown's political action committee. While it's not unusual for cash to flow between PACs during an election year, it's troubling to some that one of the main functions of the Secretary of State is to audit executive branch agencies -- overseen by none other than Governor Kate Brown.

Another conflict of interest that's developing is that Fagan's campaign is almost wholly funded by public employee union political action committees. One of these, Service Employees International Union -- the largest public employee union among Oregon state workers -- has funded her campaign to the tune of over a quarter of a million dollars. Again, these are executive branch employees whose work will be audited by the Secretary of State.

Fagan came under fire during the primary when an email from fellow Democratic lawmaker Alyssa Keny-Guyer was leaked expressing disappointment over the sources of Fagan's campaign money. Keny-Guyer said, "In addition to the obscene amounts of money from so few sources going into your campaign, now there is an Independent Expenditure cleverly called OREGONIANS FOR BALLOT ACCESS, made to 'appear' neutral since it offers one example of an endorsement for Mark and two for Jamie. No surprise, it is the first website that appears when you google any of the three candidate names."

Insiders are looking back at the 2016 election for Secretary of State when the highly partisan, left-leaning activist labor lawyer Brad Avakian lost to Dennis Richardson, a candidate with a legislative track record for integrity and fairness. Speculation is that this election might be a repeat, where voters may lean toward the candidate who can present a case that includes personal integrity.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-25 12:59:47Last Update: 2020-09-24 20:32:33

Kate Brown Appoints Former Ted Wheeler Chief of Staff to Transportation Commission
Henderson is also a former Electric Vehicle Company Executive

The Oregon Senate has confirmed Governor Kate Brown’s appointment of Bend executive Maurice Henderson to the Oregon Transportation Commission. Henderson will succeed Martin Callery of Coos Bay. Henderson has extensive experience in transportation and mobility issues, serving currently as Senior Director of Government Partnerships at Bird, a provider of shared electric scooters. Henderson will join the commission on October 1, 2020; his first OTC meeting will be October 22, 2020.

“Maurice has broad experience in mass transit, urban mobility, intergovernmental partnerships, and innovative transportation technologies that will be valuable to the commission as we implement our new Strategic Action Plan,” said Robert Van Brocklin, chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission. “We look forward to welcoming him and getting him involved in the commission’s work,” Van Brocklin added.

“I’m passionate about the mission of the Oregon Transportation Commission,” Henderson said. “I look forward to expanding the conversation about Oregon’s transportation future and the actual creation of mobility options for people throughout the state as the commission establishes state transportation policy in alignment with Governor Brown’s vision,” Henderson said.

Henderson’s background includes:

Bird, Senior Director of Government Partnerships (February 2019 to present)

TriMet, Chief Operating Officer

City of Portland, Chief of Staff and Director of Strategic Initiatives

Portland Bureau of Transportation, Assistant Director

Henderson holds a bachelor's degree in Leadership Studies and a master's degree in Public Administration and is a member of the inaugural class for the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-25 11:39:37Last Update: 2020-09-25 13:10:21

Election Complaint Filed Against Oregon Democrat
Alleges Prusak hiding campaign donations

Earlier this month, Friends of Kelly Sloop requested an official investigation with state elections officials alleging that Rep. Rachel Prusak hid campaign donations that were routed to her husband who accepted cash for a documentary film about her that was released this year.

“My opponent released a campaign video promoting herself filmed by her husband, Billy Louviere,” said candidate for State Representative Kelly Sloop. “State elections laws are clear. Rep. Prusak or a member of her family cannot accept cash for campaigning without reporting it publicly,” said Sloop.

Prusak’s husband, Billy Louviere, solicited $6,000 in donations to make this campaign film that Prusak has since used in her fundraising efforts.

“It’s unacceptable that Rep. Prusak is breaking the law and hiding her campaign donors. She’s not above the laws that everyone else must follow,” said Sloop.

To-date, most of Rep. Prusak’s campaign cash has come from special interest groups, large corporations, international pharmaceutical companies, Portland-based political action committees, and even out-of-state political action committees.

Roughly three quarters of the money raised by Friends of Kelly Sloop is from individual and local donors. Sloop has been endorsed by dozens of local organizations, small business owners, community leaders and others from the district. These can be viewed at www.kellysloop.com/supporters.

You may view the text of the filed complaint here.

Kelly Sloop is a West Linn native and former PTA president. She and her husband Mike have three children. Sloop has been a registered pharmacist for over 30 years. She is running for Oregon House District 37 to represent West Linn and Tualatin.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-25 10:32:08Last Update: 2020-09-25 11:39:37

Legislation Proposed Preventing Online Censorship
Attempt to hold online platforms accountable when they unlawfully censor speech

Censorship of social media is a hot topic with the election just around the corner. Wednesday, the Department of Justice sent draft legislation to Congress to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that implements reforms from President Trump’s Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship.

“For too long Section 230 has provided a shield for online platforms to operate with impunity,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Ensuring that the internet is a safe, but also vibrant, open and competitive environment is vitally important to America. We therefore urge Congress to make these necessary reforms to Section 230 and begin to hold online platforms accountable both when they unlawfully censor speech and when they knowingly facilitate criminal activity online.”

“The Department’s proposal is an important step in reforming Section 230 to further its original goal: providing liability protection to encourage good behavior online,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen. “The proposal makes clear that, when interactive computer services willfully distribute illegal material or moderate content in bad faith, Section 230 should not shield them from the consequences of their actions.”

The Department of Justice’s draft legislation focuses on two areas of reform, both of which are, at minimum, necessary to recalibrate the outdated immunity of Section 230.

First, the draft legislation has a series of reforms to promote transparency and open discourse and ensure that platforms are fairer to the public when removing lawful speech from their services. The current interpretations of Section 230 have enabled online platforms to hide behind the immunity to censor lawful speech in bad faith and is inconsistent with their own terms of service. The legislative proposal also adds language to the definition of “information content provider” to clarify when platforms should be responsible for speech that they affirmatively and substantively contribute to or modify.

The second category of amendments is aimed at incentivizing platforms to address the growing amount of illicit content online, while preserving the core of Section 230’s immunity for defamation claims. Platforms that purposely solicit and facilitate harmful criminal activity should not receive the benefit of this immunity.

The department also proposes to more clearly carve out federal civil enforcement actions from Section 230. Online crime is a serious and a growing problem, and there is no justification for blocking the federal government from civil enforcement on behalf of American citizens.

Finally, the department proposes carving out certain categories of civil claims that are far outside Section 230’s core objective, including offenses involving child sexual abuse, terrorism, and cyberstalking. These amendments will be critical first steps in enabling victims to seek redress for the most serious of online crimes.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-25 10:09:40Last Update: 2020-09-25 10:18:27

Candidate Comparison: Lively vs. Linoz
House District 12 is Springfield

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Candidate for House District 12 Ruth Linoz is challenging incumbent John Lively on his 5th run to represent a portion of Lane County.

Three major issues to Oregon voters are the economy, safety and education. Lively voted to increase taxes and fees including cap and trade, corporate gross receipts tax, and reduce the kicker. In 2020 he sponsored HB 4151 imposing a one-percent fee on electric bills and increases car sales tax to subsidize electric cars. Linoz indicates she would vote no on these issues and supports reducing taxes and regulations. She states, “Policies like Cap & Trade impose crippling costs and restrictions that harm small communities that have been declining for decades and doesn’t support the natural areas for logging that built this state’s economy.”

Lively helped sponsor the bill that nullified Measure 88 passed by voters allowing undocumented driver’s license and he helped sponsor a bill that requires no proof of citizenship to obtain a driver’s license. Voted to require employers to notify employees of ICE investigations, and prevent courts from asking immigration status and notifying ICE. In contrast, Linoz said she will “work to provide law enforcement with the support and tools that they need to do their jobs that make our neighborhoods safe places to live, work, play, shop and learn.”

In the area of education and family, Lively sponsored a bill to take a child into protective custody without a court order. He voted to include in all curriculum’s contributions from every minority group such as immigrants, LGBTQ, disabled and women. He voted to require mandated vaccination with no exceptions and ban those from schools that don’t comply. Linoz supports school choice and would like to see Common Core replaced. She believes gender identity instruction is not appropriate for grades K-3, and would not require mandated vaccinations to attend school.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-25 09:02:49Last Update: 2020-09-22 10:26:59

Candidate Comparison: Bonamici vs. Christensen
Oregon’s 1st Congressional District

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Republican candidate Christopher Christensen is running for Congressional District 1 against Democrat incumbent Suzanne Bonamici to represent Clatsop, Columbia, Washington, Yamhill and part of Multnomah Counties.

Bonamici is on a revived House select committee on climate change and has signed onto the Green New Deal introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, claiming 100% energy from a mix of “clean renewable and zero-emission energy sources” by 2030. “Climate change affects our entire economy and it’s more important than ever to develop a comprehensive national energy policy that shifts us toward a clean energy future,” she said. She wants comprehensive background checks, limit gun magazine sizes, and reinstate the ban on military style assault weapons, but claims while reducing gun violence, it must be constitutional and consistent with the Second Amendment. She also helped introduce the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 to transform police practices, limit use of force and stop transfer of military grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.

When you look at what is happening in Portland spreading violence to other parts of the state, Christensen says he is for “no universal background checks and no restrictions on the right to bear arms as outlined in the second amendment.” He states his passion for public policy are in his belief in our Constitution that should be honored, valued, and upheld. He would work for bipartisan solutions to infrastructure and transportation improvements in the region; build the Bridge; make America energy independent; lift people out of poverty, not enable it; choices in education; opposes the artificial creation of emissions trading platforms and cap & trade legislative policies; uphold the Second Amendment to the Constitution; uphold the legal immigration policies of these sovereign United States and advocate for strong border protection measures.

Who will best representative We The People?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-24 16:54:23Last Update: 2020-09-30 10:54:26

Workers in Fire Affected Counties May Get Relief
Workers May Be Eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance

The Oregon Employment Department is announcing the availability of Disaster Unemployment Assistance for individuals who became unemployed, had their work hours substantially reduced or are unemployed self-employed individuals as a direct result of the wildfires and straight-line winds that have been taking place since September 7, 2020. They also must not qualify for regular state unemployment insurance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, other extension programs, or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits. Assistance may be available to workers in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion Counties.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance is a federal program that provides temporary unemployment assistance benefits to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted or had their work hours greatly reduced as a direct result of a major disaster. The Oregon Employment Department administers the DUA program for the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Individuals eligible for regular unemployment benefits or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance are not eligible for DUA.

DUA is available to eligible individuals for weeks of unemployment beginning September 13, 2020. Benefits for this disaster will be available until March 20, 2021, as long as your unemployment continues to be a direct result of the major disaster. You must file the application within 30 days after this announcement date. The deadline for filing a DUA claim related to these fires is October 23, 2020.

In addition to people who lost their jobs as a direct result of the major disaster, DUA may include individuals who:
Unemployment is a direct result of the major disaster if the unemployment resulted from:
To receive DUA benefits, all required documentation must be turned in when you file or within 21 days from the day your DUA application is filed. You will need to provide supporting documentation, including but not limited to, proof of employment at the time of the disaster, or proof of self-employment at the time of the disaster, and income information for tax year 2019. Specifically, required documentation includes a Social Security number and a copy of the most recent federal income tax form or check stubs, or documentation to support that you were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred. Documentation for the self-employed can be obtained from banks or government entities, or affidavits from individuals having knowledge of their business.

Affected individuals are encouraged to apply for DUA through the Oregon Employment Department (OED), which will first check if applicants can qualify for state unemployment benefits, PEUC, other extension programs or PUA benefits.

Applications for DUA are available online at www.oregon.gov/EMPLOY/Disaster. Your application may be mailed to the address listed below, or submitted online at unemployment.oregon.gov.

Application packets will be available at certain evacuation sites and WorkSource Centers. Please include the weeks you would like to claim in your initial application. More information is available on our public website and social media pages. For additional questions or to request an initial application, you can call: 503-570-5000

Contact Information:
Address: Disaster Unemployment Assistance Unit
875 Union Street NE
Salem, OR 97311


Additional Information: www.oregon.gov/EMPLOY/Disaster
Submit your Application Online: https://unemployment.oregon.gov/

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-24 16:02:35Last Update: 2020-09-24 16:59:47

Corrections Concludes Evacuations
More than 3,500 in custody were evacuated and now returned

Marie Garcia, the Legislative and Government Relations Manager with the Oregon Department of Corrections has provided a status update related to the recent wildfire crises. As of September 18, 2020, all adults in custody who were evacuated and relocated due to the wildfires have returned to their home institutions.

She goes on to provide detail:

On September 8, the Oregon Department of Corrections evacuated all employees and adults in custody from Oregon State Correctional Institution, Santiam Correctional Institution, and Mill Creek Correctional Facility and relocated them to the Oregon State Penitentiary – all in Salem – in response to the Beachie Creek (Santiam) fire. The total number of adults in custody evacuated from these intuitions was 1,370. adults in custody returned to Santiam and Mill Creek on September 10 and to OSCI on September 15.

On September 10, the Oregon Department of Corrections evacuated Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville to Deer Ridge Correctional Institution in Madras due to threats from the Riverside and Beachie Creek wildfires. At that time, the institution was determined to be in potential danger as these two fires threatened to merge. The total number of adults in custody evacuated from Coffee Creek was 1,303. The return trip spanned four days so the department could rely on internal resources, including a fleet of buses—the majority of which included restrooms. Meals, water, and hygiene items were sent with each adult in custody, and a supply truck returned Coffee Creek supplies that were taken to Deer Ridge during the evacuation. In addition, an ADA accessible portable restroom was dropped partway along the route, and portable restrooms were made available at Coffee Creek to mitigate any delay in processing adults in custody into the institution. Once Deer Ridge’s medium facility was vacated, adults in custody being temporarily housed in the minimum facility returned to the medium facility -- a move which was also completed on September 18.

The Department of Corrections is aware of the impact the decision to evacuate may have had on the spread of COVID-19 within its facilities and took precautions to mitigate the impact whenever possible. While social distancing is always challenging in a prison environment -- and made even more difficult in the midst of wildfire evacuations -- masks continued to be provided and encouraged among all adults in custody and employees.

As an agency, in this unprecedented time, life preservation was first and foremost in our priorities. Without executing these evacuations, significant loss of life may have occurred. As is the case with any type of evacuation, parts of the plan did not go as smoothly as we would have liked. DOC also did many things extremely well. We are still working through the final parts of these actions but as soon as things return to normal, and the agency is able to review all practices and procedures, we will put together an after-action report that will be available in anticipation of reporting to the appropriate committees during the December legislative days.

The Department has also provided a FAQ document.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-24 15:42:56Last Update: 2020-09-24 16:02:35

City of Scappoose Parks & Rec Committee Seeks Members
Get involved in local government

The City of Scappoose Parks & Recreation Committee (SPRC) is looking to fill two alternate positions. The responsibilities of the SPRC, as stated in the bylaws, are as follows:

1) Advise the Scappoose City Council on parks and recreation matters

2) Support updates to the Parks Master Plan as necessary

3) Be the City’s ambassadors in developing and promoting parks and recreation activities

4) Act as a facilitator in community forums and a catalyst for the promotion and development of park and recreation activities,

5) Encourage building partnerships with other local, regional, and state organizations

6) Respond to additional matters relating to parks and recreation as requested by the City Council.

If you are interested in joining the SPRC, please complete the Citizen Interest Application and return it to Susan Reeves, City Recorder, at City Hall, 33568 E. Columbia Ave, Scappoose or by email at sreeves@cityofscappoose.org. Forms also available on line. The City will accept applications until the positions have been filled. Should you have any questions regarding the application, and/or, would like to receive a copy of the Committee Bylaws, please contact Program Analyst Huell White at 503-543-7146 or by email at hwhite@cityofscappoose.org.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-24 11:19:27Last Update: 2020-09-26 17:42:14

Contrasting Accounts of Economic Recovery
Local and national pictures differ.

House Speaker Tina Kotek released a statement on the September Economic and Revenue Forecast. “The substantial improvement in today's revenue forecast highlights the uniqueness of a recession brought on by a global pandemic. While we are in a better financial position than we expected to be, it is still an unpredictable road ahead, particularly without further federal relief assistance.

“Oregon and the country are still facing a deep recession that is disproportionately impacting lower-income communities. Income inequality is glaringly clear in this forecast. I am pleased that the Legislature took a measured approach to rebalancing the budget in August by strategically using one-time dollars to protect critical services that are essential to encouraging an equitable recovery.”

At the same time, Jay Kudlow took the podium at today’s President’s press conference with a different story. With charts and graphs, he explained the economic recovery. He showed that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the real median household income growth from the Census Bureau released last week was an increase of $6,000, 5-times higher in three years than under eight years of the Obama Administration. His response to an “A” shaped recovery, where only the top did well and the bottom did not do well, he says the lower income levels increased significantly higher than the top 1% or top 10%. Automobiles and housing are showing the highest sales in 14 years. “It’s a phenomenal increase in living standards.” He continued, “While living standards went up, poverty went down and inequality went down.” There isn’t any question we have more work to do on the recovery and unemployment particularly in targeted areas – getting back to school and working on COVID-19 related safety precautions and health precautions. Recovery is looking very good but may still do something to help the small business owners.

Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner release his statement on federal response:

“I continue to be disappointed by Congressional inaction and their failure to provide further pandemic relief to individuals and states. State and local financial support would help our efforts to keep Oregonians housed, safe and able to access health care.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-23 17:25:34Last Update: 2020-09-23 17:33:28

Trump's Federal Assistance Keeping Oregon Afloat
Revenue forecast positive for Oregon, despite Kate Brown lock-downs

The 2020 Oregon revenue forecast was announced today on the second day of autumn, and it seems Oregon has a positive $2 billion dollar ending balance from general and other funds.

This may seem somewhat surprising to some Oregonians that we are seeing such economic activity, but considering that Oregonians have at least received some federal assistance from the Trump administration, it may have been effective enough to help the dire situation imposed on Oregonians by Kate Brown's mandated lock-downs.

Senator Brian Boquist (R-Dallas) and Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) issued the following joint statement:

“The revenue projection shows we are $2 billion ahead, even with the political pandemic, wildfires and Governor Kate Brown’s horrific policies that destroy the livelihoods of hardworking Oregonians and leave bureaucrats untouched.

“The state is not facing grim numbers thanks to President Trump and federal assistance. Governor Kate Brown and Democrats will twist this fact to raise taxes that benefit their special interests on the backs of the dwindling middle class, and low and fixed income Oregonians, despite record setting revenue streams flowing in from personal and corporate income tax collections. The current disparities are thanks to decades of Democrat failures.

“Governor Brown cares only about consolidating her own power, while inciting lawlessness and embracing anarchy and chaos. She has failed to protect and support law enforcement as they put their lives on the line each day, except when she needs them, as the governor rolls through the state with an entourage of fully-armed security.

“Portland was labeled an anarchist jurisdiction by the federal government, complete with the threat to cut federal funding, which compromises the very entity that provided the revenue stream that has saved the state from bankruptcy. Governor Brown would rather watch Oregon burn and its citizens waste away than be a true leader and work with the federal government.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-23 16:25:40Last Update: 2020-09-23 16:30:07

Candidate Comparison: Blumenauer vs. Harbour
Oregon’s Third Congressional District

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Three candidates for Congressional District 3 are running against Democrat incumbent Earl Blumenauer. Republican candidate Joanna Harbour, Libertarian Josh Solomon, and Alex DiBlasi of the Pacific Green party are all vying to represent the northern metro area taking in Portland and Gresham.

Rep. Blumenauer co-signed the Green New Deal introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, claiming 100% energy from a mix of “clean renewable and zero-emission energy sources” by 2030. “I am fighting for solutions to long-term issues like protecting and expanding Social Security and Medicare, making sure we’re ready for the jobs of the future, dealing with our housing crisis, and promoting a Green New Deal to combat the climate crisis.” He wants to abolish ICE, institute universal background checks, keep assault weapons and high capacity magazines out of public space, and make sure unscrupulous gun dealers are held accountable to the law.

When you look at what is happening in Portland spreading to other parts of the state, change is what voters are looking for. Habour, an attorney, believes in constitutional law and wants to correct issues with the justice system. She says she is “not a politician by the classic definition. I believe in keeping my promises and speaking the truth. I will not say whatever it takes to get elected.” She will fight to combat sex and human trafficking, find solutions for homelessness, make tax cuts permanent, find solutions to better forest management and supports Second Amendment rights and religious freedom. She believes in legal immigration, term limits and a balanced budget.

Solomon says, “to protect the liberty of the individual is to protect the liberty of our nation.” He wants to promote indigenous land management techniques including controlled burns, invest in alternative energy technologies, protect our First Amendment rights and prevent internet censorship, and end the wars in Syria and Afghanistan.

DiBlasi asked the Portland City Council to write a resolution creating a legal definition of “Sanctuary City” to protect immigrants from ICE. He supports establishing nationwide, locally run, civilian police oversight review boards to ensure justice is served against officers who abuse their authority. He supports his Green Party’s Green New Deal eliminating fossil fuels going to 100% renewable energy by 2030. Revitalize the economy through localization and infrastructure projects, create a Universal Basic Income program, reduce the military budget by 50%, and establish a Universal Healthcare program.

Who will make the best representative for We The People?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-23 08:56:16Last Update: 2020-09-30 10:55:18

House Race Contrasts Views on Public Safety
Tualatin-West Linn race is a choice for voters

In the shadow of seemingly interminable riots and lawlessness in Portland, the House District 37 race in the suburban cities of Tualatin and West Linn is highlighting the contrasting the views of West Linn Pharmacist Kelly Sloop and first-term incumbent Rachel Prusak (D-West Linn) on the role of police in public safety.

Prusak voted for all of the "police reform" legislation, largely seen as unsupportive of police. Nearly all of the bills contained a tribute to Black Lives Matter in the "whereas" section of the bill, a move that some lawmakers found offensive and unnecessary.

She has also taken $5,000 in donations from the American Federation of Teachers-Oregon, a group that has supported the effort to -- in their words -- "...disarm, defund and ultimately abolish police forces." Sloop describes Prusak as "out of touch with the fabric of our district."

The Democratic incumbent Prusak's website doesn't mention public safety or the issues with violence in Portland. She does have a section on Racial Justice where she says, "Black lives matter. The dehumanization of Black, Indigenous, and people of color in this country has caused more pain, violence, and death than we can ever fully quantify. I see it clearly from a public health perspective: it is slow motion violence." In contrast, on her website, the Republican challenger Sloop says "My opponent is supported by extreme groups that want to defund and even abolish local police."

Voters in West Linn and Tualatin have a clear choice on the issue of public safety this year.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-22 21:00:30Last Update: 2020-09-22 21:30:03

Republican Senator Concerned About Student Success in Oregon
Oregon is failing children that are not in school

A Republican senator in Oregon is expressing concern about the Oregon Department of Education's failure to get Oregon students back in schhol and back to learning.

Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) claims the arbitrary COVID-19 education standards enacted by Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will impair access and harm students’ success.

Some rural Oregon communities will be reopening schools for in-person instruction for 3rd grade and younger children, excluding older students.

“What is the difference between a 3rd grade student and a 4th, 5th or 6th grade student?” asked Senator Linthicum. “After all, each grade level will interact with their teachers and other students and, one could argue, older children have a decidedly better capacity for exercising more caution and care about their environment. Governor Brown and OHA will be the ones responsible for denying education access for those most vulnerable, and they are ruining the chances of success for those who are excluded.”

Senator Linthicum continued, “The arbitrary decision regarding one grade level verses another cannot be justified. Why are some students given opportunity to learn in-person when they live in specific geographic locations, but not others? This is a capricious policy.

“According to the CDC, COVID-19 poses low risks to school-aged children and teachers, therefore getting students in school must be a priority. The governor has failed to open in-person public education for all Oregon students, and is making it harder to seek alternatives through online charter schools and private school education. These education opportunities are critical to Oregon’s future and it is shameful to see our children’s education politicized.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-22 16:09:23Last Update: 2020-09-22 16:37:27

Candidate Comparison: Witt vs. Stout
District 31 is mostly Columbia County

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Candidate for House District 31 Brian Stout is challenging incumbent Brad Witt, his 9th run to represent Columbia and portions of Multnomah and Washington Counties.

Three major issues to Oregon voters are the economy, safety and education. Witt voted to increase taxes and fees including the corporate gross receipts tax, voted for a natural gas investment recovery fee, and to reduce the kicker. He voted against cap and trade, but supported a prohibition on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas exploration and production. Stout said he would vote no on these issues and says as a business owner he “defends small businesses from unreasonable regulations and taxes.”

Witt voted to require employers to notify employees of ICE investigations, and prevent courts from asking immigration status and notifying ICE. He supported the bill to request Congress de-nuclearize the U.S. Stout said he would vote no and supports the work of ICE. He says, “we should enforce constitutional laws before forcing sanctuary status laws.”

In the area of education, Witt voted to include in all curriculum’s contributions from every minority group such as immigrants, LGBTQ, disabled and women. He voted for mandated vaccination with no exceptions and ban those from schools that don’t comply. Stout said he would vote against forced vaccinations and would vote against curriculum mandates to include minority group contributions.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-22 15:06:24Last Update: 2020-09-21 09:24:09

Drazan Calls Out Governor
“This lawsuit would not be necessary if the Governor would treat businesses fairly”

In the wake of alawsuit filed by several Oregon businesses shuttered by order of the Governor, House Republican leader Christine Drazan has commented on the lawsuit. “The governor has exercised her authority without moderation or consideration. While the governor has the authority to protect public health, Oregonians have the right to demand equal treatment and compensation for their losses.

“Oregonians do not owe the governor their livelihoods, as she continues to move the goalposts in the fight against COVID-19. It’s past time for accountability.

“The governor has issued arbitrary, at times contradictory, standards for different communities and groups, handpicking winners and losers for who will be protected from devastating economic impacts, and who will bear the brunt of her orders. If she will not operate with an even-hand toward all Oregonians, then the citizens of Oregon will exercise their authority to call her to account.

“This lawsuit would not be necessary and could still be averted if the Governor would treat all businesses fairly.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-22 12:06:00Last Update: 2020-09-22 12:13:26

ODOT Cracks Down on Political Signs
Mostly impacts Republicans

The Oregon Department of Transportation has issued a press release describing the requirement for a variance for any sign that is greater than 12 square feet and is visible from a state highway. Most political field signs are 32 square feet. The rules were posted recently on the ODOT website. Persons, including political campaigns, who wish to place signs greater than 12 feet can apply to ODOT for a temporary variance.

Though the rules have been in place for years, they haven't been enforced, or have only been enforced on a "complaint driven" basis. According to ODOT,
ODOT's sign program is located in the Salem ODOT offices, and has some level of responsibility for controlling all signs that are visible to state highways throughout Oregon. Their response to temporary sign placement is generally “complaint” driven. In an effort to stem a majority of complaints, ODOT often issues a press release around election time, to help answer questions and to provide information for those who are placing signs. ODOT's release was in response to citizen complaints the department has been receiving recently. One legislator said he suspects that the group Progressive Yamhill is responsible for the bulk of the complaints.

The temporary sign process was changed by the Legislature in May of 2007, in response to the Oregon Supreme Court decision in December of 2006 that held that the Oregon Motorist Information Act (ORS 377.700 through 377.844 & 377.992) was unconstitutional in its permitting requirements. Since that time, the sign program has increased the time a temporary sign is allowed to remain in place from 90 days to 120 days in response to citizen concerns about signs for seasonal businesses. Also changed was the restriction only allowing a variance for size, or time. The OAR now allows a sign owner to request a variance for both, the larger size, and extended posting time, for the same sign. Other than those two changes, the ORS and OAR have remained largely unchanged since they were implemented in 2007.

Stepped up enforcement of these regulations is thought to impact Republicans more than Democrats, because Republicans are more popular in rural areas that are good locations for large political signs.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-22 08:34:29Last Update: 2020-09-22 10:56:01

Kate Brown Again Getting Sued By Oregon Small Businesses
Three Oregon small business have filed the notice

Oregon's governor Kate Brown's administration is finding itself to be the target of yet another lawsuit put forth by small business who were mandated to shut their doors during the extent of the ongoing COVID-19 lock-down in Oregon.

A bowling alley, a salon, and Bullwinkle’s Fun Center in Wilsonville have filed the demand letter.

"Although many other types of businesses were permitted to remain open, subject to social distancing guidelines, those businesses specified categorically … were closed summarily with no opportunity to illustrate how they could safely operate under similar conditions imposed on other types of business enterprises."

“What’s happened here is the governor has basically destroyed property for the purpose of furthering the policy behind the executive order,” says Portland attorney John DiLorenzo, “Property doesn’t have to be tangible.”

Numerous types of small business are listed in the notice of the class action suit.

“There’s a whole constituency that hasn’t been helped at all,” he said. “That’s the small business people.”

"We do wish to point out that whereas you have taken care to provide some level of financial compensation to many affected Oregonians, you have failed to do so for the small business community which we consider to be the backbone of our state's economy. Dilorenzo continues, suggesting the state put forth a compensation plan “if you are of a mind to attempt to address this issue without resort to litigation.”

DiLorenzo states that the same law that allows Kate Brown to declare an emergency also provides for compensation. The quoted statute is found here

John DiLorenzo is the high-profile Portland Oregon Attorney who led the recent timber lawsuit against the State of Oregon for the amount of $1 billion dollars.

See a related article.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-21 17:26:16Last Update: 2020-09-22 12:29:46

Brown Vetoes Spending
Hopes that funds are re-appropriated for fire relief and other priorities

As announced last week, Governor Kate Brown has issued vetoes of several line-item appropriations in order to preserve funding for the state's ongoing emergency wildfire response efforts and maintain a balanced budget.

Combined, the vetoes will preserve over $65 million, improving the state’s ending balance to total $164.3 million in general funds and $16.7 million in lottery funds. In order to expedite an immediate relief package by the Legislature’s Emergency Board, the Governor has also requested that legislators reserve at least $150 million in the state’s emergency fund for upcoming requests relating to the fires.

"When it became apparent that COVID-19 disproportionately affected Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and Tribal communities in Oregon, the Legislature and I worked together to steer Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars to those communities," said Governor Brown. "Now, we must work together to help Oregonians who have lost everything from these fires.”

"Until we understand the total impacts and costs, we must help Oregonians while being judicious with our funds," added Governor Brown. "In light of the current wildfires state of emergency, which occurred after the adjournment of the Second Special Session, I am exercising my veto authority to ensure that state agencies fighting wildfires have necessary resources for responding to this emergency."

Under Article V, section 15a of the Oregon Constitution, the Governor is granted the “power to veto single items in appropriation bills . . . without thereby affecting any other provision of such bill.” Both SB 5723 and HB 4304 are appropriation bills.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-21 14:37:13Last Update: 2020-09-21 14:56:25

“Stand Your Ground” Rally Held
Event is a combined Gathering of Eagles and Rally ‘Round the Flag

Walking into the Curtright hanger, the floor-to-ceiling U.S. Flag takes your breath away. It covers the entire airplane door. The other three sides are glassed out with floor to ceiling windows that outlines crosses, which Ames Curtright was passionate about. Fog hung in the valley below, and we were all thankful it wasn’t smoke after a week of wildfires. About 150 people gathered to be educated on issues and encouraged to be active in the upcoming election. One attendee said it went beyond sharing knowledge, it created ‘understanding.’

After the Invocation by Rev. Matthew Price, Oregon Gospel Ministries, the event started with John Tamny, Freedomworks D.C. and editor of RealClear Markets, speaking on how the coronavirus didn’t cause a crisis, but it was politicians who caused a panic. He pointed out that we need free people doing business to learn how the virus spreads. Instead they use numbers, which is dangerous because the next time they will just use different numbers.

The first featured speaker was Trevor Loudon, author on U.S. politics and featured in his documentary “Enemy Within.” With his distinguished accent, he made points on national security, or lack thereof when it comes to politicians, for which he said that Oregon’s delegation couldn’t pass a background check. He covered key points from his Documentary making the country ungovernable to take it down, and how President Trump is realigning the U.S. economy.

The underlying thread was aimed at getting out the vote, which was capitalized on by Richard Burke, Western Liberty Network and Jeff Kropf, Oregon Capital Watch Foundation, tag-teaming on developing a personal campaign. They emphasized helping people that were burned out of their homes to find a place to vote. Kropf said a poll he was involve with shows that Democrat women are the most moved by the early release of criminals, stressing that defunding police is part of the security issue.

The afternoon started with the Ames Curtright Stand Your Ground Award presented to Mike Pihl representing Timber Unity.

Federal and State Panels each responded to the most urgent question of forest management and controlling fires. Alek Skarlatos, running against Peter DeFazio contrasted his stance of harvesting forest salvage to DeFazio’s recent vote against salvage in forests. Jo Rae Perkins, running against Jeff Merkley, wants to get back to the full authority of the Constitution giving ownership of lands to the states, except for what is specific in the Constitution a clear contrast to Merkley.

On the State Panel, Kim Thatcher running for Secretary of State, and Jeff Gudman running for Treasurer, both had similar strategies for forest management as the Treasurer and Secretary of State serve two positions with the Governor on the Oregon Land Board.

Anna Kasachev and Amelia Salvador, running for representatives, were quizzed on how to reach minority voters and how to reach the younger generations. Kasachev explained that her community was new to the political scene so as the adults learn they are including the youth. Salvador said economy is her field and believed more should be done for businesses, especially small business owner.

The event was capped off with Jessie Jane Duff, Retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant and Trump Campaign spokes person for Women and Veterans, led us in some modified gunnery drills. She made it clear that Trump was interested in Oregon because it shows the best contrast with Trump’s policies.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-21 14:30:06Last Update: 2020-09-21 14:37:13

Department Of Justice Identifies Portland As Jurisdiction Permitting Violence
The troubled city may lose federal funding alongside Seattle and NYC

The U.S. Department of Justice today identified the following three jurisdictions that have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities: New York City; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington. The Department of Justice is continuing to work to identify jurisdictions that meet the criteria set out in the President’s Memorandum and will periodically update the list of selected jurisdictions as required therein.

The list was published on DOJ’s website today in response to President Trump’s memorandum of September 2, 2020, entitled “Memorandum on Reviewing Funding to State and Local Government Recipients That Are Permitting Anarchy, Violence, and Destruction in American Cities.”

“When state and local leaders impede their own law enforcement officers and agencies from doing their jobs, it endangers innocent citizens who deserve to be protected, including those who are trying to peacefully assemble and protest,” said Attorney General William P. Barr.

“We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance. It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens.”

Criteria for evaluating each city is below:

Whether a jurisdiction forbids the police force from intervening to restore order amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction. Whether a jurisdiction has withdrawn law enforcement protection from a geographical area or structure that law enforcement officers are lawfully entitled to access but have been officially prevented from accessing or permitted to access only in exceptional circumstances, except when law enforcement officers are briefly withheld as a tactical decision intended to resolve safely and expeditiously a specific and ongoing unlawful incident posing an imminent threat to the safety of individuals or law enforcement officers. Whether a jurisdiction disempowers or defunds police departments.

Whether a jurisdiction unreasonably refuses to accept offers of law enforcement assistance from the Federal Government. Any other related factors the Attorney General deems appropriate.

New York City

Shootings in New York City have been on the rise since looting and protests began on or about May 28, 2020. For July 2020, shootings increased from 88 to 244, an increase of 177% over July 2019. In August 2020, shootings increased from 91 to 242, a 166% increase over August 2019.

While the city faced increased unrest, gun violence, and property damage, the New York City Council cut $1 billion from NYPD’s FY21 budget. The budget resulted in the cancellation of the new police recruiting class, cuts to overtime spending, and the transfer of certain police functions, including school safety, out of the NYPD.

Meanwhile, the Manhattan and Brooklyn District Attorneys have declined to prosecute charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly arising from the protests, and the District Attorneys in Queens and the Bronx have declined to prosecute other protest-related charges. Both Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo have forcefully rejected federal law enforcement support.

Portland, Oregon

This month, Portland marked 100 consecutive nights of protests marred by vandalism, chaos, and even killing. Those bent on violence regularly started fires, threw projectiles at law enforcement officers, and destroyed property. Numerous law enforcement officers, among others, suffered injury.

Shootings increased by more than 140% in June and July 2020 compared to the same period last year. In the midst of this violence, the Portland City Council cut $15 million from the police bureau, eliminating 84 positions. Crucially, the cuts included the Gun Violence Reduction Team, which investigates shootings, and several positions from the police team that responds to emergency incidents.

In August, Portland Mayor Wheeler sent a letter to President Trump expressly rejecting the Administration’s offer of federal law enforcement to stop the violent protests.

Seattle, Washington

For nearly a month, starting in June, the City of Seattle permitted anarchists and activists to seize six square blocks of the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, naming their new enclave the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ) and then the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” (CHOP). Law enforcement and fire fighters were precluded from entering the territory. The Seattle Police Department was ordered to abandon their precinct within the CHOP. Person-related crime in the CHOP increased 525% from the same period of time in the same area the year before, including by Mayor Durkan’s own count “two additional homicides, 6 additional robberies, and 16 additional aggravated assaults (to include 2 additional non-fatal shootings).”

The CHOP was allowed to stand for nearly a month, during which time two teenagers were shot and killed in the zone. The Seattle City Council, Mayor Durkan, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee publicly rejected federal involvement in law enforcement activities within the city of Seattle.

--Sabrina-Marie Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-21 13:40:15Last Update: 2020-09-21 18:19:16

Opinion: Dark Origins of Carbon Trading
You know who those scientists are

The idea of a carbon exchange was the invention of Enron Corporation. They chose Oregon as the place to try it because of the political climate here, spelled Neil Goldschmidt. They bought PGE to facilitate the plan. Soon the south building of the gray twins down by the river was filled with computers needed for the massive data management. Then the financial house of cards that Enron was built on came tumbling down.

Then, Enron went broke, with top company officials facing prison time. But they left behind a legacy of corporate execs on the board of Associated Oregon Industries (AOI) and others. AOI went from a market corporation group to a cartel corporation driven group. John Ledger took them green to satisfy the new political climate. That was the beginning of the end to that once proud group.

All those computers in that gray building down by the river went to Chicago where Al Gore planned to establish his Chicago carbon exchange. Things were going good for the former vice-president until climate-gate happened. The U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Change, IPCC had over 100 computer models all fail miserably in their claims of drastic increases in Earth’s temperature. Scientists at the IPCC tried to save face but were caught cheating on climate data and their house of cards came tumbling down.

You know who those scientists are. They’re part of the 97% who are in consensuses about humans causing global warming. Funny how they’re all living off government grants. Former Vice-President Al Gore had to abandon his plans in Chicago and soon after the computers in Chicago were obsolete. By then several governments around the world had knock-off carbon plans with varying degrees of failure. The most notable of those was Spain. They went all in on a green energy economy and ended up bankrupt with 25% unemployment 10 years later. The human suffering left in its wake is still very apparent.

Tom Steyer and his stable of local politicians still think Oregon is ripe for Cap and Trade. The lessons of history are there for those able to learn.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2020-09-21 09:27:00Last Update: 2020-09-21 09:44:10

Opinion: Each Student Should Get Their Share of the State School Fund.
Think of it as a money-back guarantee

Editor's note: The following was submitted as testimony to the Oregon Legislature Senate Committee on Education by Dr. Eric Fruits who has been a long-time academic advisor and contributing analyst for the Cascade Policy Institute. His economic analysis has been widely cited and has been published in The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He is also an adjunct professor of economics at Portland State University.

Dear Chair Dembrow, Vice Chair Thomsen, and Committee Members:

Today, you will hear testimony from Reimagine Oregon. Among their “Policy Demands” is increased funding for charter schools. Cascade Policy Institute agrees. But, you can do even more to advance equity and foster excellence in education. It doesn’t require new taxes. It doesn’t require new spending. And, it doesn’t require a sprawling bureaucracy. Put simply, Oregon must flip its education funding model. Instead of funneling money through its dysfunctional public school system, the state should support students directly by providing each student their share of the State School Fund.

I have four kids: a fifth grader, a high schooler, and two in college. My sister is a fifth grade public school teacher, my wife is Kindergarten educational assistant at Portland Public Schools, and I teach part time at Portland State University. Based on firsthand and secondhand experience, the way we deliver education in Oregon is a mess. We’ve been rejiggering and “reforming” education for decades. For years, we’ve layered tax increase on top of tax increase “for the kids.” Yet, we have the third worst high school graduation rate and are ranked in the bottom half of states for college readiness. The state’s pandemic response will make these measures even worse.

My fifth grader in Portland Public Schools just got his daily COVID-19 class schedule, and there’s a lot of alone time. On a typical day, he meets with his classroom teacher over Zoom for 75 minutes over the 6.25 hour day. There’s a half-hour “morning meeting,” 30 minutes to review language arts and social studies, and 15 minutes to discuss math.

Nearly three-quarters of the time he’s “in school” he’s actually watching videos posted by his teacher or working on his own.

Over and over, Governor Kate Brown and our school boards remind us, “We’re all in this together.” But, if you talk to parents and kids, many feel like they’re all on their own. On their own to find space for kids to work. On their own to buy the laptops, printers, webcams, microphones, and headphones to support “online learning.” On their own to pay their broadband providers to supply enough bandwidth to support multiple people video conferencing at the same time. On their own to balance their jobs or job hunts with the school’s Zoom-on, Zoom-off daily schedule.

When the pandemic hit, thousands of parents tried to enroll their children in online charter schools that had a long history of effective distance learning. Some of you were in the room (virtually) when, in June, the Oregon Education Association lobbied against lifting the enrollment cap for online charters. The union argued even a modest lifting of the cap would take money away from public school districts. To them, our kids are just numbers fed into a formula that funds the system. Rather than working with existing money, they are demanding even more spending on the public school system.

On average, Oregon school districts receive about $10,500 per student (ADMr) from the State School Fund. If students aren’t getting adequate instruction from their public schools, they should get that money back to receive instruction elsewhere. States like Oklahoma and South Carolina have already taken advantage of similar ideas by reallocating much of their federal stimulus dollars directly to families to help them adapt to this school year.

Think of it as a money-back guarantee. If the public school isn’t working for your kids or your family, you should have a right to take that money and spend it somewhere that does. Public school districts will benefit from reduced enrollment and can achieve smaller class sizes without increasing the number of teachers on the public payroll and adding to the growing PERS crisis. Because many public school districts have local funding that does not depend on enrollment numbers, reduced enrollment will actually increase per student spending in their districts.

Direct funding of students reduces inequities in school systems because it allows all students to have access to education alternatives. Almost 60% of public charter school students in the U.S. are Black or Hispanic. Imagine what these families could do with as much as $10,500 per student to spend on educational expenses. If equity is the goal, school choice through direct funding is the surest and quickest path.

If your local grocery store doesn’t re-open or can’t keep its shelves stocked, families can take their money elsewhere. In contrast, under our current public education system, families pay income taxes and property taxes to fund schools that aren’t fully open and don’t deliver. On top of that, families have to spend their own money on equipment and supplies to support their kids’ distance learning. Many workers have had to quit their jobs or put off their search for work so they can stay home while their children distance-learn. If we’re all in this together, who’s looking out for them?

Senators, this is your chance to shine. Flip the funding of education in Oregon. Give the money to the students and you will be stunned by their success. It’s not just about equity. It’s about equity and excellence.

Respectfully submitted by

Eric Fruits, Ph.D.

--Dr. Eric Fruits

Post Date: 2020-09-21 08:35:31Last Update: 2020-09-21 08:56:16

Free Masks, Gloves For Oregon Small Businesses
This may be preferrable to government lockdowns

Governor Brown announced a new program to provide masks and gloves to small business in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor, in partnership with the Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board, allocated $10 million from the federal CARES Act funding for the purchase of protective supplies. The state of Oregon is fulfilling orders at no charge until resources are depleted.

“We want our businesses to be able to operate in the safest manner possible right now so that we can get out of this health crisis, and get them back to full operations,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. “Our small businesses are the hardest hit, so we want to help them get the tools they need at no cost to them.”

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees that are headquartered in Oregon with principal operations in Oregon are eligible. Business Oregon — the state’s economic development agency — and the Department of Administrative Services are collaborating to create the order and distribution process. Businesses with fewer than 10 employees will receive a box of 200 gloves and 100 masks, with larger businesses receiving up to 500 masks and 800 gloves. For now, businesses are limited to one order, with additional orders possible at a later date depending on availability

In addition to the small business program, the Early Learning Division (ELD) is providing supplies such as gloves, disinfecting wipes, masks and more to child care providers around the state as part of the effort. The Governor set aside $1.3 million from the federal Governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund to purchase supplies for this critical service. Child care providers have been operating under emergency conditions since March and are following increased safety and health guidelines. Child care providers approved by ELD to operate Emergency Child Care are eligible to order supplies and will need a license/provider number to do so.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, child care providers have been doing critical work to support families and other businesses in Oregon,” said ELD Director Miriam Calderon, “These items will help providers continue operating with a focus on safety for children, parents and their staff.”

The order form is online and is now accepting orders. Businesses and child care providers can access the form here:

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-20 13:16:00Last Update: 2020-09-20 13:40:15

I-205 Public Comment Period EXTENDED
What do you think about toll roads in Oregon?

So far, we've heard from thousands of people across the greater Portland area including southwest Washington. Community members are participating in the comment period by visiting our online open house in Spanish and English. Watch a recording of our webinars on Aug. 12, Aug. 18, and Aug. 20 to hear what others are asking about the toll project.

We want to hear from you, please share your thoughts by visiting our online open house, taking our survey, emailing the project team, or leaving a voicemail.

Web button with text "Have your say!" linking to I-205 Toll Project online open house

The I-205 Toll Project would toll all lanes of I-205 at—or near—the Abernethy Bridge. Tolls could help pay for improvements along I-205 and the seismic work needed on the Abernethy Bridge. With a toll, some people may choose to drive at times when the toll is lower; or, they may choose to carpool, take transit, or use other options instead. The result? More reliable travel. Even a small shift in the number of drivers on the road can reduce travel times.

Community feedback includes questions and comments about tolls, concerns about effects to non-tolled roads, the need for more transportation options, the cost of the toll, and how we plan to use revenue generated by tolls.

Have you shared your thoughts yet? Join us online to share your feedback!

Visit ODOT's online engagement site during the comment period:

English site and Spanish site.

Complete the online survey, which is also available in Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.

A decision on which alternative to implement will be made in 2022 based on the analysis conducted, existing policy and guidance, and community and stakeholder engagement.

Please share this message with your family, friends, and community groups!  

Update: The I-205 Toll Project public comment period end date has been extended from Sept. 16 to Sept. 23, and may be extended further as Oregon state health and safety officials respond to ongoing wildfires.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-19 18:08:06Last Update: 2020-09-19 19:26:32

Virtue Signaling By Oregon Department of Education
Requirements established for anti-bias incidents

This morning, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) filed a temporary administrative rule with the Secretary of State, adopted yesterday by the State Board of Education, that focuses on the health and safety of our students and educators by creating a safer and more inclusive school climate.

During yesterday’s Board of Education meeting, the board unanimously passed the All Students Belong temporary rule to prohibit the use of hate symbols in schools and to establish requirements for anti-bias incidents at a district level.

Like similar initiatives currently in place in Oregon school districts, this effort was sparked by students as a response to the increasing number of incidents impacting their ability to access education in Oregon’s schools.

“Our students called us out and into action,” Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill said. “The Oregon Department of Education is committed to ensuring that Oregon’s schools are safe and inclusive for all students and staff, and the All Students Belong rule is an important step in that process. The noose, Confederate flag and swastika are being used to bully and harm students and staff, and this is particularly true for students of color. Students must feel like they are safe and belong in their own schools if they are to learn, work and grow to their fullest potential. It is our responsibility to make sure that all of our school communities feel safe and welcomed, and we support youth to set a moral standard.”

The rule requires districts to adopt and implement policies and procedures that prohibit, at a minimum, the use or display of the noose, swastika, or Confederate flag in any program or school-sponsored activities except where used in teaching curriculum that is aligned with the Oregon State Standards. This applies to both in-person and distance learning environments. The rule will take effect today, and districts will be asked to have policies in place by January 1, 2021. A permanent rule will be introduced in several months.

ODE will continue to support school districts in developing rules, policies, and procedures over the next several months by providing guidance, educational resources, and toolkits to support implementation of these policies. Most districts have existing nondiscrimination policies and procedures for addressing bias incidents that pose a threat to student, staff and/or community safety that can serve as a starting point for responding to incidents in which hate symbols or hate speech occur in both in-person and in distance learning situations.

“Our goal is to create stronger and safer school communities,” Gill said. “Removing these symbols is an important step in making sure that Oregon schools are for everyone, no exceptions. All students belong.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-19 14:20:40Last Update: 2020-09-19 14:29:34

Evans Runs Left
Supports radical groups and radical agendas

State Rep. Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) has a reputation of running to the left of his Willamette valley district, which includes Monmouth, Independence, West Salem and parts of South Salem.

The American Federation of Teachers-Oregon, a radical union group, has endorsed just a handful of politicians this election, but one of them is State Rep. Paul Evans. He proudly displays their endorsement on his website. Recently, the American Federation of Teachers-Oregon called to “disarm, defund, and ultimately abolish police forces.”

You'll recall that Rep. Evans signed a letter with fellow Democrat legislators that called for law enforcement to be removed from Portland. Since the letter was signed, violence escalated in Portland and other cities, including the shooting death of an innocent man.

Experts note that Evans' association with these causes and groups is generally regarded to be to the political left of the centrist Salem suburbs that he represents.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-19 13:06:04Last Update: 2020-09-16 14:59:31

Candidate Comparison: Reardon vs. Marihart
District 48 is East Portland along I-205

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Candidate for House District 48 Edward Marihart is challenging incumbent Jeff Reardon, his 5th run to represent portions of Clackamas and Multnomah Counties.

Three major issues to Oregon voters are the economy, safety and education. Reardon voted to increase taxes and fees including cap and trade, corporate gross receipts tax (CAT), and reduce the kicker. Voted against an agriculture necessities exemption from the CAT tax, and voted for the prohibition on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas exploration and production. In the 2020 Special Session he voted for a 6% cell phone tax. Marihart indicates he would vote no on these issues and says he doesn’t support any “new tax and personal income tax should be reduced.”

Reardon’s idea of safety is to sign a letter to US Attorney General William Barr demanding “immediate withdrawal of federal operatives from the City of Portland.” He helped sponsor the bill that nullified Measure 88 passed by voters allowing undocumented driver’s license and he helped sponsor a bill that allows not requiring proof of citizenship to obtain a driver’s license. Voted to require employers to notify employees of ICE investigations, and prevent courts from asking immigration status and notifying ICE. Marihart would vote no and supports voters. He also supports the work of ICE and the courts.

In the area of education, Reardon voted to include contributions in all curricula from every minority group such as immigrants, LGBTQ, disabled and women. He voted for mandated vaccinations with no exceptions and to ban students from schools that don’t comply. Marihart would vote against forced vaccinations for private schools, and would vote against curriculum mandates to include minority group contributions. He supports local control and school choice.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-18 14:31:59Last Update: 2020-09-18 15:06:24

Taxes for Thee, But Not for Me
State Rep. Paul Evans served liens on unpaid taxes, while voting for more

State Representative Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) -- like many of his fellow Democrats in the legislature -- finds it easy to vote to raise taxes on Oregonians. He's not found it easy to pay his own, it seems.

Some of the more prominent tax increases that Rep. Evans has voted for are:
When it came time to give tax relief to Oregonians, he voted against considering bills that would be provided a $1,000 income child tax credit to working families, given student relief on student loans, and given seniors property tax relief.

State Department of Revenue records show that he has accrued nearly $17,000 in tax liens. Pundits have noted that it's ironic that while Rep. Evans wants to increase taxes, he seems to be unable to pay his own.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-18 14:14:06Last Update: 2020-09-16 14:59:04

Looking for Animals Displaced During Oregon Fires?
The ODA Animal Tracker is here

Thousands of Oregonians, their livestock, and their animals are displaced following Oregon’s devastating wildfires. Many shelters, private groups and citizens are now housing these animals, some of which do not have known owners. While many of these groups are advertising lost animals on their websites or social media it can be difficult for the public to know where to look. The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has created an online database and website to help.

The ODA Animal Tracker is meant to assist Oregonians looking for animals displaced during the wildfires. This tracker is not intended to replace existing systems already in place at county animal shelters. In order to make the database work, animal shelters, private citizens and groups caring for animals without known owners can email ODA with information and photos. That information will be added to the database and continuously updated. Therefore, owners are asked to visit often if they don’t see their animal listed.

If you are caring for animals without a known owner due to the wildfires you can have the animals listed by emailing ODA at animaltrack@oda.state.or.us. The email must include the following information:

Shelter Name & Location Shelter Phone Number Shelter Email Address Location where animal was found (as much detail as known) Species Color Sex Picture(s) of animals Livestock – Left side, Right side, Face/head, any identifying marks (brands, scars, ear tags) Pets – Left side, Right side, face/head, back

If the shelter, private citizen or group does not have the means to collect and email this information, please call ODA’s Brand Inspection program at 503-986-4685 to request help. It is important to remember that it against the law to keep found livestock. If assistance is needed to verify ownership of livestock, please contact ODA to request the assistance of your local brand inspector (503-986-4685).

County shelter links can also be found on the ODA Animal Tracker for owners to search as well. County shelters will be responsible for ensuring ownership of animals discharged from their shelter.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-17 17:04:46Last Update: 2020-09-17 17:23:48

Elections Complaint Filed Against METRO
Fagan and Brown allegedly misused taxpayer dollars

Clackamas County Chair-Elect Tootie Smith announced today that she filed an official complaint with the Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division against regional governing body METRO for sponsoring a partisan, political candidate fundraiser hosted by the Oregon League of Conservation Voters.

The event occurred as a virtual fundraiser on September 11, 2020 and featured guest speakers like Governor Kate Brown and Democratic Secretary of State candidate Shemia Fagan. The event raised at least $123,000 while featuring endorsements of two candidates for METRO Council, many Democratic candidates for state legislature and other offices, and even promoting METRO’S own $7 billion-dollar transportation tax on the ballot this November.

“I am disgusted that METRO would so boldly violate Oregon’s elections laws and take advantage of taxpayers in this way”, stated Tootie Smith. “Not only is METRO a publicly-funded agency that is prohibited from using taxpayer resources on any political committee, candidate, or ballot measure election, but they did so to promote their $7 billion-dollar tax measure as residents in my county were literally losing everything they own to wildfires that are still burning here. Arrogantly violating the law and the public’s trust should come with swift consequences,” Smith demanded.

The virtual event was held on Friday, September 11th from 6:30-8pm and stated in its promotional materials that all proceeds would benefit OLCV’s mission which specifically includes “electing pro-environment candidates to office”. Oregon League of Conservation Voters is registered with the Secretary of State as a political action committee (PAC) which prohibits METRO from being able to participate as a public government agency.

Shockingly, current candidate for Secretary of State Shemia Fagan failed to recognize the violation of state election law. Fagan was caught in the video recording stating, “I demand that you donate to the Oregon League of Conservation Voters to make sure that we can send back pro-environment, pro-democracy legislators to Salem.”

“As if METRO’s bureaucratic blind spots aren’t bad enough, we have a secretary of state candidate who claims she wants fair elections but is busy using our tax dollars to promote her campaign,” said Smith. “The event celebrated Governor Brown and candidate Shemia Fagan as ‘climate heroes’ of 2020, while my county was burning up as a result of the failed environmental policies they support. The stunning disconnect proves neither of these people are qualified to run the state."

"They were having fun, 'sipping champagne', and asking people to give $2,500 donations to political campaigns, while my neighbors were scrambling to evacuate their homes and save their livestock and property. Meanwhile, Oregonians with few means were giving $5 to GoFundMe drives because the state was not prepared for a disaster. Shame on Governor Brown and Senator Shemia Fagan!” exclaimed Smith.

Clackamas County’s Riverside wildfire has burned over 135,000 acres and many parts of the county are still under evacuation warnings. The fire is barely contained. On September 11th, Mollala’s 8,000 residents, including Chair-Elect Smith, had just been given a Level 3 “Go Now” warning and surrounding Oregon City, Canby and Sandy were upgraded to Level 2 “Be Ready to Leave”. Tens of thousands of metro-area residents have been displaced and many have had their homes and property destroyed.

“Last Friday, when this fundraiser occurred, I was fleeing my home and scrambling to help my neighbors in need,” explained Smith. “I’ve been away from my home for eight days and just returned to view the damage. My entire home is smoke-filled and unlivable. To think that our state leaders were celebrating the very policies that exacerbated these fires while our communities burned makes me sick to my stomach. And to know these politicians were blatantly campaigning using our tax dollars to promote extreme and partisan political agendas is not only unethical, it’s illegal,” she stated.

In addition to the elections complaint against METRO, Smith is exploring a possible lawsuit against the agency for its participation and public support of a partisan fundraiser promoting its own bond measure.

A copy of the complaint filed by Chair-Elect Smith can be found here: METRO ELECTIONS COMPLAINT

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-17 15:28:25Last Update: 2020-09-17 18:08:06

Candidate Comparison: Fagan vs. Thatcher
A lively race for Secretary of State

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Two candidates for Secretary of State, Kim Thatcher and Shemia Fagan, both have Senate records that can be compared to give an indication how they would function as Secretary of State and first in-line for Governor. As possible head of the state elections, Fagan sponsored the National Popular Vote Compact diminishing the value of Oregon’s votes, and sponsored the bill to eliminate proof of citizenship to obtain a driver’s license. Thatcher voted no on all these bills.

Three major issues to Oregon voters are the economy, safety and education. Fagan voted to increase taxes and fees including cap and trade, corporate gross receipts tax (CAT), increased fees on public utilities, prohibit hydraulic fracturing, and reduce the kicker. She sponsored a bill to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction from taxable income. When the CAT tax passed on party lines, Thatcher helped sponsor an exemption for agriculture necessities to keep food prices down, and voted to allow farmers to clean ditches without a permit to benefit agricultural drainage and enable fish and habitats, which Fagan voted against. Thatcher voted against increased taxes and fees.

Fagan signed a letter to US Attorney General William Barr demanding “immediate withdrawal of federal operatives from the City of Portland.” She helped sponsor the bill that nullified Measure 88 passed by voters allowing undocumented driver’s license. Voted to prevent courts from asking immigration status and notifying ICE. Thatcher voted to support voter’s voices in Measure 88, and voted to give judges authority over immigration status.

In the area of education, Fagan voted to include in all curriculum’s contributions from every minority group such as immigrants, LGBTQ, disabled and women. She voted to require mandated vaccination with no exceptions and ban those from schools that don’t comply. Thatcher sponsored the Education Savings Account for school choice. She voted no on forced vaccinations.

Other candidates are Kyle Markley and Nathalie Paravicini.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-17 14:21:12Last Update: 2020-09-18 08:24:22

Oregon Freedom Rally to be Held
Medical Freedom is sponsoring the event

Uniting under the banner of medical freedom, a Freedom Rally is being held September 27th from 1:00 to 4:00 in Salem. Among a full list of slated speakers is Oregon State Senator Dallas Heard.

Heard was recently featured in National File, after asking a very simple question in a committee hearing, to which he's a legislative member of. When Heard asked Portland Police Chief who was responsible for the violence and destruction in downtown Portland, the meeting was quickly gaveled to a close, and the question labeled dangerous.

Heard is also on record calling out the closure of the State Capitol to the public, during special session, as a grave concern to our Republic. He has championed transparency, and accountability, during a dark time in Oregon's history, after losing public records czar Ginger McCall to intimidation from the Governor's office. Heard is a great asset to his district, and an advocate for freedom.

He said, "Freedom or tyranny are the choices we face and the contrast between the two major parties has never been more defined. I am excited to join thousands of Oregonians in Salem to show Kate Brown and the radical left that we will not go quietly into the night. Freedom is not going away and it's because you and I are here to push back against the darkness that has boldly removed its mask over the past year. This is not just another rally. This is about uniting and organizing under one effort to turnout the vote of freedom this November. Alone we are nothing, united we are the force of freedom and light! Be the light!"

The event will host some of Oregon's most prominent lawmakers, along with issue-based advocacy groups, who are joining forces going into the 2021 long session. Last long session, the State came together and was able to defeat several radical, draconian bills. It's only through a unified front, with very clear objectives, that the grassroots believe they'll find another victory for freedom in this battleground State. Over 30 years of one-party rule is now coming to a head, freedom lovers must ensure balance, or accept defeat to radical progressivism, and communism.

State agencies continue to take, and tax from suffering Oregonians. Some who have recently lost everything to Covid-19, and devastating fires brought on by terrifying forest mismanagement, that values politics over people. Many will soon find that they're unable to rebuild due to new zoning restrictions against single family dwellings. Others will be forced to grapple with the fact that there's simply no budget for victims, as the entire budget was recently shifted and re-appropriated to urban areas, in last month's special session.

Many have become increasingly frustrated, and disillusioned with Oregon's Democratic party, Kate Brown in particular has drawn public criticism and ire. The Oregon Republican Party has reported a huge increase in voter registration, as people are becoming increasingly aware of the issues. Medical Freedom is an issue that is truly bipartisan in reach, yet upheld by the minority party only, as vaccine mandates continue to be pushed on a party line vote. It remains unclear how Trump's rushed Covid-19 vaccine will fit into this, increasingly politicized issue. The love of freedom, without fear of government intrusion, should not be partisan, but heralded by all. Tiffany Galloway, an organizer of the event states "We welcome all to attend, we're here to show support for those who care enough about our freedom to uphold it in the legislature. For us, this isn't about one party over another, it's about the ability to think for ourselves, and make decisions based upon what is right for us as individuals. Individualized medical care, in particular, is the basis for a free and just society. There's a very good reason why bodily autonomy was agreed to in the Nuremberg treaty, the doctor patient relationship is sacred".

You can find out more information about the event on Facebook.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-09-17 08:51:55Last Update: 2020-09-17 09:04:57

Racial Council Announced by Kate Brown
Committee will be led by two of Browns policy advisors

Governor Kate Brown convened the first meeting of the Racial Justice Council to address systemic racism in Oregon. In response to Oregonians’ clarion call for racial justice, police accountability, and the recognition that Black Lives Matter, Governor Brown formed the council to take action in advancing anti-racist policies for Oregon.

“This week, as we brace for the impacts of a once in a lifetime wildfire season, we are amidst a global pandemic that has sickened and killed Black, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Pacific Islander, and other communities of color at disproportionate rates,” said Governor Kate Brown. “Racism and racial disparities impact every part of our culture and our economy. The pandemic and the fires have further exacerbated these disparities. We know that most Oregonians are feeling the impacts of wind, fires, and the pandemic, but the effects are not felt equally.”

Governor Brown went on to recognize the contributions and advocacy of members of the Council, as well as thousands of Oregonians who have raised their voices in pursuit of racial justice and criminal justice reform following the murder of George Floyd.

“In honor of the memory of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and too many others, we must center racial equity as we build the state budget and develop our 2021 legislative agenda,” Governor Brown added. “As we recruit and promote people in state agencies. And our boards and commissions. In the very structures of state government.”

“Today, we embark on a process to build an Oregon that we can all love. An Oregon where we can all be loved and respected. As we reshape our state budget, we must support the communities currently experiencing crisis. We must ensure a better future, by focusing necessary recovery measures around racial equity and inclusion.”

The Council is an advisory group to the Governor with subgroups focused on criminal justice reform and police accountability, health equity, economic opportunity, housing and homelessness, environmental equity, and education. The council will provide principles and recommendations that center racial justice and economic recovery to the Governor to inform the 2021-2023 Governor’s Recommended Budget and legislative agenda.

The agenda for the first racial justice council meeting can be found here.

The Racial Justice Council website, including a council member list can be found here.

A full transcript of the Governor’s remarks can be found here.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-16 17:21:19Last Update: 2020-09-16 17:56:22

Oregon in the Crypto World
Can candidates accept Cryptocurrency as campaign contributions?

Up to this point Cryptocurrency regulation has been state-by-state. However, Congressman Paul Gosar from Arizona has introduced the Crypto-Currency Act of 2020. It follows a push by the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency to consolidate real time payments (RTP) licensing regulations at the federal level. The patchwork of regulations has deterred cryptocurrencies from the U.S. market leaving us trailing.

Congress is currently grappling with how to get the U.S. into the crypto world and make it easier for businesses, institutions, and Americans to participate. The Crypto world is not waiting for Congress to act. U.S. banks are providing RTP and seeking regulation to stabilize the market on the world scene. More than 150 countries have crypto markets leaving the U.S. in the dust. The Swiss parliament just passed the Blockchain Act with overwhelming approval creating the most favorable regulatory environment for digital assets in the world.

Since 2014, the Federal Elections Commission has allowed contributions to federal candidates in bitcoin, allowing campaigns to hold them as investments or liquidate, but are not allowed to use them for purchases. That was the position of the Oregon Secretary of State, “Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are here to stay, and Oregon is at the forefront of adapting to this modern reality.”

Even with availability for processing through banks (ORS 717.200), the 2019 Oregon Legislature passed HB 2488 prohibiting contributions to political candidates, a political committee or a petition committee using cryptocurrency. The prohibition was passed even though on July 1, 2018 OAR 461-145-0583 was adopted requiring Cryptocurrency to be treated the same as cash. The bill gives the State Treasurer the power to determine whether cryptocurrency payments are authorized.

Oregon’s State Treasurer, Tobias Read, has expressed concern about allowing for cryptos for political donations. Read has said that the move could make the state’s campaign finance system less transparent. His concern is that it could lead to so-called straw donors trying to donate and conceal their contributions. This concealment is a crime, he stated. However, that was countered by Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services illustrating that cryptographic hash includes an algorithm with a unique string of characters representing the data input, such as history, description of the transaction, and time.

Senator Boquist objected to the prohibition explaining, “Limiting political contributions is probably appropriate. However, the regulation of currency is restricted to the federal government under the U.S. Constitution. Why this is suddenly a ‘state’ issue raises questions in its own right.”

For now, Oregon candidates will have to wait on federal regulation to stabilize the marketplace before Oregon will reconsider allowing candidates to accept cryptocurrencies.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-16 12:21:44Last Update: 2020-09-16 14:56:01

Road Conditions in Oregon
Fires have major effect on transportation

Even with wildfires still burning, ODOT crews around the state have begun assessing damage on hundreds of miles of road, removing thousands of trees damaged by fire, and inspecting culverts, bridges, guardrail and pavement.

The work will continue location by location as conditions allow, but it will be some time before roads reopen – partially or fully – to traffic. Even when roads do reopen, ODOT crews will continue monitoring for hazards including landslides or loose rock in areas where wildfires have scarred the landscape.

New webpage shows recovery progress

A new webpage will track this progress showing information on what we’ve done and still need to do to reopen closed roads. The webpage also provides information on road and office closures, links to news releases, photos, videos and more.

“This is such a dynamic and constantly changing situation, we have to make sure these roads are cleared,” said Luci Moore, ODOT State Maintenance and Operations Engineer. “There are many concerns that we will address. It is likely to be some time before these roads open to full or even partial travel. Each will be determined individually based on the damages.”

Recovery work underway

ODOT has started removing hazard trees on OR 138 E, OR 126 McKenzie Highway and Oregon 22 North Santiam Highway. While ODOT is still assessing how many trees it will need to remove, estimates put the number of hazard trees along the OR 22 corridor alone in the hundreds of thousands.

Roads will remain closed until ODOT can remove debris from affected areas, inspect slopes for weakness, inspect bridges, pavement, culverts, signs, guardrail and other structures for damage, and make repairs. Rock scaling -- to bring down materials that threaten roads -- will be used where needed.

Even after roads are fully reopened, heavy rain will be a concern in fire-stricken areas and ODOT may have further work to do to stabilize hillsides or clear debris from falls. Slides and debris flows are a particular concern -- especially after rains -- in areas where fire stripped away vegetation, tree roots and underbrush, creating greater slide danger.

Know before you go

Partial openings that allow limited traffic while work continues will be common. Drivers can expect to see flaggers or pilot cars and should plan for frequent lane closures.

Drivers should check Tripcheckfor updates on closures.

For pictures of road damage around the state: here

For videos explaining the recovery challenges faced by ODOT crews: here

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-16 11:54:42Last Update: 2020-09-16 13:02:00

Information on How to Vote for Oregonians Displaced by Wildfires
Make your voices heard

Secretary of State Bev Clarno issued the following statement in response to the wildfires and to ensure all displaced Oregonians are able to receive their ballot and vote this November:

“The families and communities affected by the devastating wildfires across Oregon are in my thoughts and prayers. Our team at Secretary of State stands ready to help both in the immediate response and long-term recovery efforts to come.

For any Oregonians displaced from their home and concerned about voting in the General Election this November, rest assured we have a plan and are working closely with local election officials to ensure you can receive your ballot, vote, and make your voices heard.”

For frequently asked questions, visit here


Frequently Asked Questions

How can I receive my ballot if I have been displaced by wildfires?

Ballots will start being mailed October 14. If you know an address where you will be able to receive mail then, you can add a temporary mailing address here If you want, you may also use this paper form to provide us with a temporary address. You can pick up all of your mail (including ballots once they are mailed) at the post office that serves your permanent residence address. Contact your county election office after October 1 for additional options they may have for pickup. Find your county election office here.

If I submit a change of address through USPS, will my ballot be forwarded to the new address?

No. Ballots are unable to be forwarded. It is one of the security features of our system. You must inform election officials of your temporary address using one of the methods above in order to have your ballot sent there.

Do I need to register to vote from my temporary address?

No. You do not need to re-register to vote if you are living somewhere temporarily because you have been displaced by wildfires. You just need to let us know where to mail your ballot by one of the methods above.

Will I be able to vote on the local measures where my permanent address is located, even if I am temporarily living outside that area?

Yes. The ballot you receive will contain the contests for your residential address, not your temporary mailing address.

What if my mailbox was destroyed?

If mail cannot be delivered to your home or mailbox, it will be held at your local post office and you can pick it up there.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-16 09:34:44Last Update: 2020-09-16 11:54:41

Judge Orders Secretary of State to Publish ORP Statement
The court noted that the party had completed uploading prior to 5 pm

The Oregon Republican Party released the statement below following today’s ruling by the Marion County Circuit Court ordering the Secretary of State to include the Oregon Republican Party statement in the 2020 general election voters’ pamphlet, which is sent to every household in Oregon prior to receiving their ballots:

“I was very pleased to see that Judge Channing Bennett had fully reviewed all of the materials submitted by both sides and carefully considered our arguments before making his ruling,” said Kevin Mannix, attorney for the Oregon Republican Party in this case.

Mannix argued successfully that public policy, pursuant to ORS 247.005, supports allowing of the publishing of the voters’ pamphlet statement in this case so that voters have full access to information prior to casting their ballot.

“I appreciate that the court noted that the party had completed uploading the voter pamphlet statement prior to 5 pm and that the timing of the credit card payment processing was at issue,” stated Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bill Currier.

“We are pleased that today’s decision by the court will allow voters to compare the statements of the Republican Party with the Democrat Party side by side,” said Currier. “Being able to review each party’s principles and values before voting is clearly in the best interests of Oregon’s voters.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-14 13:37:39Last Update: 2020-09-14 15:38:30

Brown Called Out for Lack of Forest Management
House Republicans Leader Calls out Governor for Lack of Forest Management and Partisanship

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) released the following statement on the aggressive partisanship from Govemor Kate Brown on the ongoing fires ravaging our state:

"I am deeply disappointed in the aggressive partisanship of our Governor in this time of incredible loss and devastation. But I won't let her claims go without setting the record straight. The Governor's recent comments on Face the Nation are intended to distract from her 29-year failed record on forest management.

Oregon's governor not only lacks the interest, let alone policy chops, needed to lead a state whose land mass is more than 50% forest, she cannot resist taking on the role of partisan-in-chief to the detriment of all Oregonians.

Even in the midst of incredible heroism and community-wide tragedy, Oregon's Governor, Kate Brown, cannot take off her partisan-colored glasses. In one of the worst fire events in our state's history, Oregon's Governor gets herself on national television and goes political.

Her partisanship in a time of tragedy, sacrifice and bravery is shameful, misleading, and manipulative.

The recommendations of the governor's short-lived Wildfire Council prioritized more political, yet less-effective, recommendations to move her environmental agenda instead of protecting Oregonians. Fuel reduction treatments are the most effective solution to reduce the threat of fires.

Instead the Governor continues to cater to an extreme agenda that would all but eliminate healthy and sustainable management of Oregon's forests, while she takes offline the essential diesel fueled firefighting equipment that saved countless homes and lives.

The Governor has issued dozens of executive orders in recent months, yet none of them addressed the need to sustainably manage Oregon' s forests to prioritize forest health and public safety. This is what failed leadership looks like. Entire communities have been reduced to ashes and Oregon's governor refuses to unify our state to rebuild and recover together, preferring partisan jabs over old-fashioned leadership.

In the Same way Kate Brown has failed to provide employment benefits to desperate Oregonians, failed to bring a peaceful end to the riots in Portland and now has failed in her sacred duty to lead toward unity through tragedy, Governor Brown has repeatedly chosen the path of partisanship and division.

Kate Brown has no excuse for the dangerous state Of Oregon's forests after 29 years in elected office. The difficult days ahead demand leadership not partisanship. Now is the time to come together to serve Oregonians, restore hope and rebuild our communities."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-14 13:30:32Last Update: 2020-09-14 13:37:39

Covid Testing on Hold in Oregon
OSPHL closed due to terrible air quality in the lab

Wildfires and hazardous air conditions have affected COVID-19 testing in Oregon. Over the past several days statewide testing numbers appear to have dipped. This is a lagging data point as tests are often reported several days after specimen collection. However, due to widespread hazardous conditions, people seeking testing may have declined. OHA will continue to monitor the situation.

The Oregon State Public Health Laboratory (OSPHL) is closed today Monday, Sept. 14, due to indoor air quality which is too hazardous to safely use appropriate air safety equipment including hoods. No specimens will be accepted or tested. Specimens already received at OSPHL are being held at appropriate temperatures pending testing. OSPHL will reopen as soon as air safety standards can be met.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-14 10:58:52Last Update: 2020-09-14 14:05:10

Molotov Cocktail Used to Start Fire in Portland
Suspect arrested twice in less than 12 hours

A suspect arrested last evening for starting a brush fire was arrested again after he started 6 more small fires.

On Monday, September 14, 2020 at 3:37a.m., East Precinct officers were dispatched with Portland Fire and Rescue to a report of multiple fires burning along the west side of the I-205 freeway. Portland Fire and Rescue extinguished three of them while passing community members put out the other three. All were caught early. No one was injured and no structures were burnt. Officers located Domingo Lopez, Junior walking along the shoulder and arrested him. They seized a lighter as evidence.

Lopez was transported to a hospital on a Police Officer Hold for a mental health evaluation. He was issued citations for 6 additional counts of Reckless Burning.

A suspect was arrested after using a Molotov Cocktail to start a small brush fire.

On Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 4:35p.m., East Precinct officers were dispatched to assist Portland Fire and Rescue with a brush fire in the 9600 block of East Burnside Street. Officers saw that a section of grass along the I-205 freeway was burning. Firefighters extinguished the fire. No one was injured and no structures were damaged.

About an hour later, East officers were flagged down by a witness who pointed out the suspect in a nearby tent. Officers arrested the suspect, who confirmed he lit the fire with the device.

Officers seized a plastic bottle with a wick as evidence (photos).

Officers booked Domingo Lopez Jr., 45, into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of Reckless Burning and Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree. Arson investigators are also doing follow-up to see if other charges are warranted.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-14 10:48:50Last Update: 2020-09-14 10:58:52

Clackamas County Receives Report of Antifa Activity
Heard of staged gas cans and chainsaws to cut telephone poles

As conspiracy theories swirl around about the causes of fires in Oregon, they are quickly countered by media and government organizations denying that Antifa has anything to do with causing the fires. Though proving a negative is hard to do, the word keeps going out that "there is nothing to see here -- move on."

During an emergency meeting of the Clackamas County Commission, commissioners discussed adding a curfew to their emergency ordinance and sought testimony from law enforcement. Since the Sheriff was not available, Captain Jeff Smith provided testimony, which sparked a discussion of whether to call in the National Guard.

Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Captain Jeff Smith: There are lots of confirmed reports of looting, mostly in the outlying areas, Estacada, Colton, Mollala, Sandy mostly in the outlying areas, lots of looting has been taking place burglaries and whatnot. There's reports of -- and this is not specific to an area -- but all over the county both outlying and even closer to the town, of people of extremist groups staging gas cans for later destruction and equally concerning is there are reports of people from other extremist groups -- it's not confirmed Antifa, but suspected Antifa -- this is more specific to the Estacada area -- reports and sightings of people armed with chainsaws and the goal was to fall telephone poles in hopes of starting further fires.

Commissioner Sonya Fischer: I'm not sure I understand when you say staging gas cans? Could you give a little more information about that?

Captain Smith: Specifically, staging full gas cans in sort of concealed type areas to later be used by themselves or by other members of their groups to initiate the starting of further fires.

Commission Chair Jim Bernard: This is some media thing. It hasn't been confirmed.

Captain Smith: No, that part has not. But the Antifa part, there have been reliable sightings and reports, not confirmed, but it's pretty specific, being armed with chainsaws, falling telephone polls in the hopes of starting further fires, and the looting and burglary in the outlying areas all over Clackamas County is definitely confirmed.

Commissioner Fischer: If this is happening, is there coordination with any other state or federal law enforcement in regards to these acts to increase resources? Is that necessary?

Captain Smith: I can't confirm any coordination with any federal law enforcement sources because I think most of them have been deployed in downtown Portland, but I can tell you that here in our Sheriff's [Emergency Operations Center] we have a member of the State Police in our section with us.

Commissioner Paul Savas: After hearing that from Captain Smith, I'm inclined [Chair] Jim [Bernard], we've got to make an appeal to the Governor to call in the National Guard. That's critical information. That's very unsettling. There's not enough law enforcement resources in the Sheriffs department to handle all that. I'm fine with the countywide curfew now, more than I was 15 minutes ago. We can't allow a deliberate attack on property and people's lives and just somehow leave the National Guard out there sitting at home waiting for the call.

Chair Bernard: I'd be happy to call the Governor.

Commissioner Fischer: Can I just ask a clarifying question, because I want to make sure that we aren't over-exaggerating the situation. I think law enforcement has the the best handle on when we would need to call in reinforcements or call in the National Guard, so could you give us some insight on that?

Captain Smith: I'm here speaking on behalf of the Sheriff, but IO would not want to decide on his behalf, so I'd prefer that he weigh in on that call to the Governor specifically. I'd hate to make that call on his behalf.

Commissioner Fischer: So I would suggest that we hold off on that call to the Governor. We want to make sure it's a real ask, if we're going to ask it and we make sure we have confirmation from the Sheriff that we need that. Or maybe we just say that we are concerned and we want you to know and that we want the National Guard on standby if necessary.

Commissioner Martha Schrader: So, I guess my question is how do we confirm that this is Antifa? You said that you've got it from reliable sources. You haven't captured anybody. What's a real solid way to confirm this, because I think that's the tipping point. And right now, we've been thinking they're just rumors, but now we're hearing maybe not.

Captain Smith: I know this came from a Sergeant on the street, but I don't know who his informants are at this time.

Commissioner Schrader: OK, but we'll really have to know that for sure, because we don't want to have another layer of panic out there.

Commissioner Fischer: The issue and I'm tied in -- I'm sure we all are -- with our connections in the outlying areas of Clackamas County but it's not only "is this Antifa?" but it's people's perception that there's a threat, so we have very strong members of our community that believe in protection of life, property and we could have some unrest, which we need to be measuring the pulse of that in our community, so it's beyond a specific group.

This is a video of the transcribed portion of the meeting. The first speaker is Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Captain Jeff Smith.

The entire, unedited video is up on YouTube.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-13 19:03:47Last Update: 2020-09-13 21:23:39

License Suspended For Not Wearing Facemasks
Rogue Jet Boat Adventures suspended by OLCC

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has issued an Order of Immediate License Suspension to the licensee of Rogue Jet Boat Adventures in Jackson County for violating public health social distancing and face covering requirements. The business, which holds Limited On-Premises and Off-Premises sales licenses is NOT allowed to sell or serve alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption or sell any alcoholic beverages for off-site consumption.

On September 4, 2020, at the request of the Jackson County Sheriff’s marine patrol, the OLCC responded to and monitored an organized event being held in Central Point on property adjacent to the Rogue River. The location being used for the event was under the control of Rogue Jet Boat Adventures, but the event itself was organized by a third party, Jefferson State Outfitters.

The event organizers told the OLCC they capped attendance at the event, by limiting sales to 200 tickets, but promoted on social media that more people could show up to attend. OLCC compliance staff observed that there were more than 200 people in attendance, and that they were not wearing face coverings or social distancing. Alcohol servers, under the control of Rogue Jet Boat Adventures, also were not wearing face coverings or maintaining social distancing requirements.

The licensee was cited for not following OHA’s Statewide Mask, Face Shield and Face Covering Guidance.

This is the third immediate suspension the OLCC has issued to alcohol licensees for failure to comply with face covering or social distancing requirements. In August, 2020 the OLCC issued immediate suspensions to Jammin’ Salmon in Rogue River, and the Coos Bay Speedway. Those two immediate suspensions remain in effect.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-13 14:22:34Last Update: 2020-09-13 19:48:50

Curbside Marijuana Now in Oregon
OLCC approves new rules

At its regular monthly meeting on September 11, 2020, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission approved permanent rules allowing licensed recreational marijuana retailers to continue curbside delivery transactions, and increased the marijuana flower purchase amount for OMMP cardholders and caregivers. The Commission also approved ten marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements.

Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic started, the OLCC approved temporary rules designed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The change encouraged social distancing by allowing licensed marijuana retailers to conduct limited transactions outside but close to their physical location. Under the permanent rule licensed retailers can continue to take orders and deliver product to a person outside the store and within 150 feet of the retailer’s licensed premises.

The Commission believes this has proven to be an effective approach to limiting interactions and exposure to COVID. Although this rule is being made permanent due to the pandemic, commission staff will revisit this rule at a later date.

Commissioners also approved continuing the daily purchase limits for OMMP cardholders and caregivers that were approved in temporary rule on March 22, 2020. OMMP cardholders and caregivers will continue to be able to purchase up to 24 ounces per day and no more than 32 ounces per month.

The permanent rules take effect September 18, 2020.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-13 14:10:06Last Update: 2020-09-13 14:22:34

All States Are Real ID Compliant
Need to renew your driver’s license?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that after more than 15 years since Congress passed the Real ID Act, all 50 states are now in full compliance issuing these cards, with most states becoming compliant in the last four years. To date, the 50 states have issued more than 105 million Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, representing 38 percent of all driver’s licenses and identification card holders.

Postponed to October 1, 2021, full enforcement of Real ID will take effect at all federally regulated airports, federal facilities, and nuclear power plants. Passed by Congress in 2005 following a 9/11 Commission recommendation, the Real ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies, like the Transportation Security Administration, from accepting licenses and identification cards for official purposes from states that do not meet the standards.

Do you need a Real ID? Oregon DMV has an information brochure, or an interactive decision helper to make that determination. A Real ID is not needed for driving, proving age, receiving public benefits, or voting.

Getting a Real ID requires in-person with identification documents, Social Security number, proof of address, plus an additional $30 Real ID fee. If you’re driver’s license is coming up for renewal, you may be required to go in-person to renew. However, since Governor Brown issued an emergency over COVID-19, the Oregon DMV has operated by appointment only. A driver’s license renewal in April was given an October appointment. That’s a five month wait.

The Department of Transportation has partnered with Oregon law enforcement agencies to exercise discretion in their enforcement of driver licenses, vehicle registrations and trip permits that expire during the COVID-19 emergency. On July 7, Governor Kate Brown signed into law Senate Bill 1601, which creates a moratorium on citations for certain DMV-related activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent reduction of DMV services effective between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.

But, if you only need identification to travel, a Passport or Passport Card might be a better option. Airport security changes October 1, 2021, will require TSA travelers by air to present a Real ID compliant form of identification to pass airport security. A good option is a Passport card. It’s cheaper than a full passport book ($65 vs. $145 - and if you already have a passport, the card is only $30). You can apply at one of the over 75 acceptance centers in Oregon, the requirements are similar to that of an Oregon Real ID (proof of citizenship – like a birth certificate, passport photo, photocopy of your driver license), and it only takes about four to six weeks to receive.

If you need to renew your Oregon driver’s license or vehicle registration that takes an office visit, there are no alternatives but to get on the list for an appointment. The question lurks, how fast will they catch up after Oregon opens.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-13 07:39:19Last Update: 2020-09-13 19:19:02

Sheriffs Deputy Suspended for Talking About Antifa
Sheriff Roberts has placed the deputy on leave

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office has released the following statement:

On the evening of Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office was made aware of "inappropriate statements" made by one of our Patrol deputies while he was on-duty and in uniform.

Clackamas County is currently in a state of emergency due to several wildfires in our county. It appears the deputy was aware he made these comments while on video. At the time of the comments, the deputy was tasked with ensuring that residents knew of the wildfire hazards while he was patrolling the area.

This deputy has been placed on administrative leave while our Professional Standards Unit investigates this potential violation of policy.

The video is being shared extensively and can be seen here

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-12 12:21:46Last Update: 2020-09-12 13:35:12

Oregon Prisoners Protesting Wildfire Response Conditions
Occured at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution

On September 11 at around 10:00 p.m., male adults in custody (AICs) at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution (DRCI) left their housing units to protest emergency conditions put in place by the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) in response to state wildfires. Approximately 200 male AICs refused to follow direction and return to their housing units from the yard. All but 12 AICs returned to their housing units by 2:00 a.m. on September 12. DOC’s Crisis Negotiation Team was deployed, and no force was used to clear the yard. The remaining 12 AICs were placed in special housing and transferred to another institution. No employee or AICs required medical treatment.

There are two facilities on-site at DRCI – one minimum security and one medium security. As of September 10, the DRCI AICs were being housed in the medium facility and needed to be transferred to the minimum facility to accommodate the multi-custody level evacuees from Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF). Before this move, the minimum facility was vacant.

At this time, the men do not have access to traditional phones because the minimum facility had not been in use since 2016 and phones could not be set up with such short notice. DOC employees had been working to provide the men in the minimum facility with phone calls via employee work phones. DRCI is collaborating with our AIC telephone provider to install ten new AIC phones in this facility. Because the CCCF AICs were moved into the active facility, they have access to phones, video calls, and tablets.

The protesting AICs demanded changes to emergency operations, citing the poor air quality from wildfires, temporary lack of access to phones, and other disruptions caused by the CCCF evacuation. DRCI employees will continue to communicate with AICs as the state battles historic wildfires across Oregon. An ongoing investigation is being conducted to determine the cause of the incident.

Deer Ridge Correctional Institution (DRCI) is located four miles east of Madras in central Oregon. DRCI is a multi-custody prison that currently houses 947 minimum-custody incarcerated adults. DRCI provides a range of correctional programs and services including education and trades programs, mental health treatment, cognitive and parenting programs, and institution work crews. Construction began in October 2005 with the first minimum-security adults in custody (AICs) arriving in September 2007. DRCI is the largest minimum-custody facility in the state and Oregon’s fourteenth prison.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-12 12:07:53Last Update: 2020-09-12 12:21:46

Hospital Board to Decide Transgender Issues
Oregon State Hospital Advisory Board meets September 17

What: A regular public meeting of the Oregon State Hospital Advisory Board.

When: Sept. 17, 1-4 p.m.

Where: The meeting will be held via free conference line at 971-673-8888, access code 50989562.

Agenda: After the public comment period, topics will include updates on Consumer and Family services; Peer Advisory Council; communication with families regarding IDT meetings; OSH data, diversity initiatives, and how the hospital meets the needs of people who are transgendered.

Details: The Oregon State Hospital Advisory Board advises the superintendent, Oregon Health Authority director and legislators on issues related to the safety, security and care of patients. Members include consumers, providers, advocates, legislators, community members, consumer families and OSH union members.

For more information, see the board’s website here

Everyone has a right to know about and use Oregon Health Authority (OHA) programs and services.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-12 11:34:24Last Update: 2020-09-13 12:10:50

Oregon Fire Marshal Placed on Leave
Walker to be replaced by Mariana Ruiz-Temple

Fire Marshal Jim Walker has been placed on paid administrative leave.

At this time, it is unclear why.

Oregon State Police Superintendent Appoints Mariana Ruiz-Temple as acting Oregon State Fire Marshal

Superintendent Hampton says “Mariana is assuming this position as Oregon is in an unprecedented crisis which demands an urgent response. This response and the circumstances necessitated a leadership change. I have the absolute confidence in Mariana to lead OSFM operations through this critical time. She it tested, trusted and respected – having the rare combination of technical aptitude in field operations and administration.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-12 10:52:09Last Update: 2020-09-12 11:26:11

Candidate Comparison: Bynum vs. Hays and Crawford
House District 51 is East Portland and Happy Valley

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Candidate for House District 51 Jane Hays and Don Crawford are challenging incumbent Janelle Bynum, her 3rd run to represent a portion of Multnomah County.

Three major issues to Oregon voters are the economy, safety and education. Bynum voted to increase taxes and fees including cap and trade, corporate gross receipts tax, and reduce the kicker. She voted to prohibit hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas exploration and production. In the 2020 Special Session she voted for a 6% tax on cell phones. Hays and Crawford both indicate they would vote no on these issues but they differ on tolling. Hays would not vote to toll, but Crawford would support tolls “devoted to expanding lanes and capacity.” They also differ in that Crawford supports a sales tax that would replace the personal income tax, and Hays does not.

Bynum helped sponsor the bill that nullified Measure 88 passed by voters allowing undocumented driver’s license and she helped sponsor a bill that allows not requiring proof of citizenship to obtain a driver’s license. Voted to require employers to notify employees of ICE investigations, and sponsored a bill to prevent courts from asking immigration status and notify ICE. Hays and Crawford would vote to support ICE activities, but differ on their support for maintaining Measure 88. Hays would support voters, and Crawford would not.

In the area of education, Bynum voted to include contributions in all curricula from every minority group such as immigrants, LGBTQ, disabled and women. She voted to require mandated vaccination with no exceptions and ban those from schools that don’t comply. Bynum sponsored allowing a child to be taken into protective custody without a court order. Hays and Crawford agree in opposition to curriculum contributions, but Crawford would support vaccinations “with a carve out for private and charter schools.” Hays does not support mandated vaccinations.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-11 14:02:35Last Update: 2020-09-30 10:51:18

Oregon Democrats Accused of Ethics Violation
Claim is that Cribbins used official position to campaign

The Republican Coos County Chair has called out Melissa Cribbins and Cal Mukumoto for election violation, using government offices to push campaign.

Coos Bay, OR. - Republican Coos County Chair, Rod Schilling, calls out Coos County Commissioner and Democrat candidate in Senate District 5, Melissa Cribbins, for violating ORS 244.040, which prohibits the use of public office to further her political campaign.

In the middle of catastrophic wildfire sweeping the state and up and down the coast, Cribbins, along with other government officials and Democrat candidate, Cal Mukumoto, cross-promoted a town hall with other government officials, including Senator Arnie Roblan. The town hall was cross promoted on social media accounts from both official and political accounts.

“Is advancing a political agenda that important to Melissa and Cal that they are using a devastating tragedy to gain influence?” Schilling asked. “Now is the time to focus on working together and building up the communities facing destruction. Instead, it’s plainly clear that Democrats are prioritizing their own political agenda over suffering Oregonians.”

It would be incumbent upon the people of Coos County to look further into what their government officials are doing in their official capacity. Residents of Coos County need clear and concise information during emergencies, not political theater.

“In the meantime, we are the watchdogs to hold Democrats accountable for Oregonians and are pursuing a complaint with the Secretary of State.” Schilling ended.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-10 18:10:13Last Update: 2020-09-10 19:28:02

Applicants Sought for Rulemaking Advisory Committee
Focus on controversial carbon reduction goals

Is this the best time to implement restrictive energy policies on Oregonians?

Governor Kate Brown thinks so.

You can apply to be on this rulemaking committee though. Government belongs to those who show up. You can apply to show up for this committee and let the bureaucrats know what you think about carbon taxes.

Oregon’s Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) is expected to initiate rulemaking at its September meeting to implement parts of Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-04 on reducing greenhouse gas pollution.

That rulemaking will focus on significantly strengthening Oregon’s planning rules about transportation planning and housing, particularly for Oregon's eight urban areas with populations over 50,000 people.

Rulemaking Advisory Committee members and staff will focus on meeting our greenhouse gas reduction goals through rule updates while increasing housing choice and creating more equitable outcomes for community members on the ground. (More background).

We are asking community members and other specialists to help LCDC and staff define these outcomes and goals, and to develop associated strategies for how the state can help increase capacity for coordinated regional and local efforts.

The LCDC are seeking community members and other experts from Oregon’s largest eight urban areas (Albany, Bend, Corvallis, Eugene/Springfield, Grants Pass, Medford/Ashland, Portland Metro, Salem/Keizer) to serve on a Rules Advisory Committee (RAC).

The RAC is expected to meet ten times between fall 2020 and fall 2021. Many if not all of these meetings will be on-line.

Staff and commissioners are looking to create a RAC reflecting Oregon’s current and projected demographics, including race, ethnicity, income, ability and gender. Members of historically marginalized communities may receive contracts to help support their participation.

If you are interested in serving on the RAC, please complete this application, and submit it to Stacey Goldstein: stacey.goldstein@state.or.us by 11:59 PM, Thursday, September 24.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-10 16:28:51Last Update: 2020-09-10 18:10:13

Candidate Comparison: Hernandez vs. Gardner
House District 47 is East Portland

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Candidate for House District 47 Ryan Gardner is challenging incumbent Diego Hernandez, his 3rd run to represent a portion of Multnomah County.

Three major issues to Oregon voters are the economy, safety and education. Hernandez voted to increase taxes and fees including cap and trade, corporate gross receipts tax (CAT), and reduce the kicker. He also voted to prohibit hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas exploration, and voted against an agriculture necessities exemption from the CAT tax. Hernandez sponsored a bill to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction from taxable income. In the 2020 Special Session he voted to impose a 6% tax on cell phones. Gardner, on the other hand, indicates he would vote no on these issues and says, “there are better more effective methods to reduce greenhouse gasses.”

Hernandez’s safety stance is to signed a letter to US Attorney General William Barr demanding “immediate withdrawal of federal operatives from the City of Portland.” He helped sponsor the bill that nullified Measure 88 passed by voters allowing undocumented driver’s license and he helped sponsor a bill that allows not requiring proof of citizenship to obtain a driver’s license and voted to require employers to notify employees of ICE investigations as well as a bill to prevent courts from asking immigration status and notifying ICE. Gardner would vote no protecting the voters will, and would not vote to reduce the effectiveness of ICE for protection. He supports government’s ability to uphold the constitution, and believes “in upholding federal immigration law.”

In the area of education, Hernandez voted to require mandated vaccination with no exceptions and ban those from schools that don’t comply. Gardner does not agree with mandated vaccinations. He supports an Education Savings Account and says, “school choice would force some much-needed improvement in our current education system.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-10 13:19:46Last Update: 2020-09-30 10:52:06

Market Manipulation by Governor Kate Brown
Government to impose further economic restrictions

Governor Kate Brown today issued Executive Order 20-42 , declaring an abnormal market disruption as a result of the statewide wildfire emergency. This order is in response to reports of unusual increases in lodging rates for Oregonians who have evacuated fire areas and concern that the wildfire emergency may prevent ready availability of other essential consumer goods and services.

“During a statewide emergency, it is absolutely unacceptable to price gouge Oregonians who have already been hard hit and are facing devastating loss,” said Governor Brown. “This order empowers the Attorney General and the Oregon Department of Justice to investigate these instances and take appropriate action if businesses are found to be in violation.”

"As wildfires force thousands of Oregonians to abandon their homes, local businesses have stepped up to ensure that families can find essential goods and services at fair prices," said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. "To any who would take advantage of neighbors in need, the Governor's order on price gouging is a reminder that the Oregon Department of Justice will stop them in their tracks."

Oregonians who believe they have been subjected to excessive prices for essential consumer goods and services due to this disruption can report these instances to the Oregon Department of Justice through their Consumer Protection hotline at 877-877-9392. Oregonians can also visit www.OregonConsumer.gov for more information. The Oregon Department of Justice has the authority to investigate unlawful trade practices.

This Executive Order is in addition to, and does not replace Executive Order 20-06, which the Governor issued in March. EO 20-06 declared an abnormal market disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic regarding essential consumer goods and services like hand sanitizer and toilet paper. It remains in effect.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-10 12:26:13Last Update: 2020-09-10 14:12:04

Portland Bans Facial Recognition Tech
First ban of it

The Portland City Council unanimously voted to ban the government and corporate use of facial recognition technology. This is the first ever ban on corporate use of face surveillance in the United States.

Jann Carson, interim executive director of the ACLU of Oregon, had the following comment:

“Portland Police for months have been gassing, beating, and violently attacking the people of Portland to suppress their demands for racial justice. With today’s vote, the community made clear we hold the real power in this city. We will not let Portland turn into a surveillance state where police and corporations alike can track us wherever we go.

“Face surveillance is an invasive threat to our privacy, especially to Black people, Indigenous people, people of color, and women, who frequently are misidentified by the technology. We appreciate Commissioner Hardesty’s leadership and applaud Portland for banning the government and corporate use of facial recognition technology.

“We hope the passage of this landmark legislation in Portland will spur efforts to enact statewide legislation that protects all Oregonians from the broad range of ways that our biometric information is collected, stored, sold, and used without our permission.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-10 11:26:23Last Update: 2020-09-10 14:09:02

Staffer to House Speaker Arrested at Riot
Kristina Narayan was charged with interfering with a peace officer

Portland Police have arrested the Legislative Director for House Speaker Tina Kotek during riots this weekend. Kristina Narayan (D-Portland), 29 was arrested this weekend for interfering with a peace officer -- a class A misdemeanor, along with 58 other rioters. She was released the same day on her own recognizance.

Narayan, who has worked for Speaker Kotek for over four years, according to her Linkedin Profile, describes her position thus: "I synthesize complex ideas into clear work products, policies, and build consensus to help pass legislation."

Narayan may have been lucky to have been arrested by the Portland Police. Since it was the Portland Police, Narayan will likely benefit from the "catch-and-rlease" policy of Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt who has specifically said he would "presumptively decline to charge cases," including interfering with a police officer. If Narayan were to have been arrested by deputized State Police, or federal officers, she could have been subject to federal charges.

Democrats in the legislature have been more focused on putting restrictions on police than bringing the months-old riots to an end.

The story made national headlines on Fox News in the Washington Free Beacon, again making Oregon famous in an infamous way.

Oddly, to our knowledge, the Northwest Observer is the only local or regional news organization that has covered this story.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-09 18:11:03Last Update: 2020-09-09 19:01:10

Candidate Comparison: Merkley vs. Perkins
Two-term incumbent faces Republican challenger

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Candidate for U.S. Senate Jo Rae Perkins is running against incumbent Jeff Merkley. When you look at what is happening in Portland spreading to other parts of the state, change is what voters are looking for. Perkins’ view of the Portland scene is she is incensed over the weeks of nightly protests that have turned violent. She livestreamed praising law enforcement and thinks little of Merkley’s decrying of federal officer’s actions.

Senator Merkley accuses Trump of fueling chaos in Portland and proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act bill to limit the use of federal law enforcement against violent protesters in cities like Portland. It would restrict federal agents’ jurisdiction to federal property and streets surrounding Federal buildings or property, require wearing identification clearly visible when working crowd control, and prohibit unmarked vehicles. President Trump repeatedly says, “Democrats are sticking up for the violence. These are anarchists in Portland that have moved into the state. Any time they’re ready I’ll send in help.”

Perkins’ longtime belief is that the federal government needs to be dramatically reduced in scope. She’s insistent that both the state and federal governments have been overreaching during the current pandemic. She opposes the use of masks saying she has done lots of research and distrust experts and official death statistics. Rightfully so since this week CDC reduced the death count for deaths solely due to COVID-19 from 161,392 to 9,683.

Merkley was one of nine Democrats that signed a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper over the Pentagon's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. They wrote their concerned citing news reports about COVID-19 cases among U.S. troops “the Department is still not properly prioritizing the health and well-being of our service members." Then accused them of insufficient response. The assistant secretary responded accusing the Democrat senators of using "inaccurate media reports that have been discredited, to unfairly portray the Department while we are in the middle of the COVID-19 fight." Merkley also said he wanted to ban middle seats on airlines, “these airlines are only flying because we’re subsidizing them.”

Government arrogance or overreach? Who has their focus on We The People?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-09 13:52:25Last Update: 2020-09-07 13:19:46

Oregon Prisons Evacuated Due to Fires
Inmates relocated to OSP facility

The Oregon Department of Corrections has evacuated all employees and adults in custody (AICs) from Oregon State Correctional Institution, Santiam Correctional Institution and Mill Creek Correctional Institution in response to the Beachie Creek and Lionshead fires. The department notified the public shortly after the decision was being implemented.

In order to maintain safety and security during the evacuations, we were not able to officially notify you earlier in the process. These three Salem institutions are in the path of the fire and the Department of Corrections (DOC) worked closely with the Oregon State Police and State Fire Marshall to carry out the evacuations. With little notice, DOC’s organized labor bargaining units fully cooperated with management and each other to secure the safety of our AICs. We are grateful for their honorable dedication to our unique public safety mission.

To be clear, inmatess from these institutions are not being released from custody—rather, they have been moved to other DOC institutions. At this point, we don’t know how long these moves will remain in place. OSCI has 774 inmatess, SCI has 363, and MCCF has 257.

In addition to our institutions, many DOC employees and their families are evacuating from their homes, and their focus needs to be on the safety of loved ones.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-08 13:01:00Last Update: 2020-09-08 18:46:50

Multiple Evacuations in Oregon Due to Spreading Fires
Labor Day windstorm creates dire situation

This a developing story.

Evacuations across Oregon are prompted after an late summer weather event has brought high winds into the mix, complicating fire fighting efforts in multiple regions of Oregon.

Marion, Lincoln, and Lane County have issued evacuation orders to many residents.

Significant fires include:

Star Mountain

French Creek Fire

Mt. Hood Meadows

Mosier Creek

Santiam Canyon

Grizzly Creek

White River


Beachie Creek

Many other wild fires are not listed here as of yet.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-08 12:08:02Last Update: 2020-09-08 13:01:00

NRC Issues Safety Report for Reactor
Oregon company has a needed energy solution

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a final safety evaluation report for NuScale’s small modular reactor (SMR) design. This meets the agency’s original 42-month technical review schedule and demonstrates the NRC’s commitment to timely licensing of safe technologies for new, advanced reactors. The NRC is preparing a rulemaking to certify the design.

NuScale applied on Dec. 31, 2016, for certification of the company’s SMR design for use in the United States; the NRC accepted the design for review in March 2017. The design uses natural “passive” processes such as convection and gravity in its operating systems and safety features to produce approximately 600 megawatts of electricity. The SMR’s 12 modules, each producing 50 megawatts, are all submerged in a safety-related pool built below ground level. The NRC concludes the design’s passive features will ensure the nuclear power plant would shut down safely and remain safe under emergency conditions, if necessary.

NuScale has indicated it will apply in 2022 for a standard design approval of a 60-megawatt per-module version of the design. That version will require additional NRC review.

Neither a standard design approval nor a design certification grant permission to build or operate a reactor. Full certification, if granted by the Commission following the staff’s recommendation, allows a utility to reference the design when applying for a combined license to build and operate a nuclear power plant.

The majority investor in NuScale is Fluor Corporation, a global engineering, procurement, and construction company with a 60-year history in commercial nuclear power. NuScale is headquartered in Portland and has offices in Corvallis and elsewhere. The first plant is expected to be built in the Boise, ID area.

With increased demands for energy, as well as pressure for greener, renewable sources, nuclear energy shows great promise in the face of rolling blackouts in California.

More information about the NuScale design review can be found on the NRC’s website.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-07 17:30:48Last Update: 2020-09-07 18:03:19

Fire in Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Area
Small fire now but high winds are a concern

Mt. Hood Meadows public safety has reported a small fire at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Area, about 0.25 mile east of the Shooting Star chair lift in the Heather Canyon drainage. There is an engine crew and hand crew already responding to the fire, supported by a helicopter dropping water. Additional crews are on their way to the fire. The fire is estimated to be around 2-acres as of midday.

To protect public safety and facilitate firefighters reaching the fire, the Timberline Trail is closed between Timberline Lodge and Cloud Cap. The Elk Meadow Trailhead and Sahalie Falls Trailhead have also been closed. Travelers in that area are asked to drive extra carefully and be aware of fire vehicles and the possibility of smoke.

There are east winds forecasted and a Red Flag Warning in effect across the region through Wednesday evening, which means there is an increased chance of fire activity. Campfires are currently prohibited across the Mt. Hood National Forest.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-07 17:08:30Last Update: 2020-09-07 17:30:48

Tax Wars in Metro
The result of economic chickens coming home to roost

A bold new commercial, directed at defeating the transportation ballot measure in the Metro region is ready for screens throughout the tri-cojnty area. Stop the Metro Wage Tax is the group mounting a campaign against Measure 26-218, dubbed "Get Moving 2020" which is expected to raise over $5 billion per year as a permanent payroll tax of 0.75%.

It's clear that COVID-19 is both a health and an economic crisis for our community. Many families and local businesses are struggling just to stay afloat – with record job losses, layoffs and shrinking paychecks.

In the face of the sharpest economic downturn in state history, Metro is proposing a brand new tax, forcing local businesses to choose between protecting their worker’s paychecks and keeping their businesses afloat. Metro’s proposal will divide our community by imposing a new tax on wages, threatening local non-profits and businesses at precisely the worst time.

In the last three elections alone, Metro has raised $3.6 billion in taxes. Those measures were supported by many in the business community, including the Portland Business Alliance, who worked to pass new taxes that would create affordable housing, expand green space, and improve homeless services. Many think this is the wrong tax at the worst possible time.

Much of the money goes to light rail, which has seen consistent ridership declines, year over year. Look for this commercial on a screen near you.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-07 15:38:53Last Update: 2020-09-07 16:30:11

Judicial Department Aims to Ensure Racial Justice
And coronavirus makes white supremacy worse in Oregon apparently

The State of Oregon Judicial Department released a statement when the Portland riots were just beginning. They suggest it was to address the death of George Floyd, and to ensure the public they would have an aim to ensure "racial justice" in Oregon.

But isn't justice best served without regard to wealth, power, skin color or other status?

"We write to address the death of George Floyd–a tragedy that has been repeated too often. At the time of Mr. Floyd’s death, our nation already was reeling from the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and many others before them.Those deaths have had a tremendous impact on all of us, but especially on our colleagues, family, and friends from communities of color, who experienced them on a very personal level.

We acknowledge the pain, trauma, anger, and frustration that has resulted from the tragedy of the recent week and that has been felt by the Black community and other communities of color.We understand that many in the judicial branch and throughout the legal community are struggling to process what is happening and trying to figure out what to do.We may wonder if the very core of what we do, as arbiters of justice and officers of the court, is being called into question.

As members of the judicial branch, we are cautious –always careful not to prejudge situations.But we cannot ignore the risks that African Americans, Blacks, and other people of color face as each day dawns.The urgency for action has long been upon us, but the immediacy of the need is even more apparent today.We must ensure that the lives of African Americans, Blacks, and people of color are valued and respected and that the color of peoples’ skin does not affect their rights to justice or the treatment they are afforded by our system of justice.

In facing up to that responsibility, we must recognize that we, in Oregon, are subject to the same prejudices as others throughout this country.Oregon entered statehood steeped in racial discrimination, and it is still with us –from Black exclusion laws in the 1800s, to the common presence of the KKK in the 1900s, to the effects of redlining that continue today.Communities of color throughout this state, in both urban and rural settings, continue to experience inequality that has only been compounded by the coronavirus.

Our courts are an integral part of the justice system and have an essential role to play in ensuring justice for all.We must stand firm against racism and oppression.We must be intentional in our efforts to move in a different direction.We must examine our individual thoughts and beliefs, as well as our professional approaches, processes, and environments to address the impact of our own biases.

We must examine, a new ,what we are doing, or failing to do, to root out conscious and unconscious bias in our legal system."

The full letter can be seen here

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-07 07:44:58Last Update: 2020-09-07 08:38:40

Brown Declines to Call Out Antifa
Instead, blames white supremacy

Wikipedia defines psychological projection as a "defense mechanism in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others." In a bizarre moment, Oregon Governor Kate Brown seemingly heaps all the Antifa and Black Lives Matter violence on white supremacists.

During a press conference that touched on the recent statement signed by Democrats denouncing violence and specifying white supremacy, Governor Brown was asked by a reporter why she failed to call out Antifa for their role in the violence. The Governor answered:

Brown: "My goal, my vision for a future Oregon is to build a better Oregon where everyone can thrive and that means eradicating racism. My understanding of these organizations is that they are built on hate and I think it make it really difficult for us to build what Dr. King would call "a beloved community."

Reporter: Would you plan to address issues with Antifa, as well?

Brown: "We will continue to work with the community to make sure that folks understand that our goal here is to stop the violence directed toward property, stop the arson and obviously stop the person to person violence that is happening, yeah."

Surely, no thinking person supports white supremacy. Most people could not name a white supremacist, nor could they name a white supremacist organization. Some people might accuse an organization of being a white supremacist organization, but could not name anything they have done to attempt to advance the cause of white supremacy. In a state where there is so much to be fixed, from support for foster children, to wildfires, to unfunded PERS liability -- not to mention Antifa and Black Lives Matter violence in Portland and COVID-19 shutdowns, Governor Brown has identified white supremacy as a major problem in Oregon.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-06 10:46:34Last Update: 2020-09-06 11:36:07

Oregon Democrats Issue Statement on Violence
Is white supremacy really a problem in Oregon?

After nearly being recalled, Oregon's governor Brown seems to be avoiding calling out the identity of those who are obviously the true culprits of the months of violence in downtown Portland Oregon. They are the groups popularly known as "Antifa" and 'BLM(Black Lives Matter, the organization)". They are Left-wing groups, so it would not serve the Democrat agenda to rightfully call them out. She instead insists that the "peaceful protests" are necessary, and will continue, in order to advance her idea of "Racial Justice" and "Police Reform" in Oregon. Governor Kate Brown has issued the following statement along with other elected officials and community leaders:

“As elected officials and community leaders, we are coming together to condemn the acts of violence in Portland that have occurred as thousands of Oregonians have been peacefully protesting for racial justice and police accountability.

“The violence must stop.

“There is no place for white supremacy or vigilantism in Oregon.

All who perpetrate violent crimes must be held equally accountable.

“Together, we are committing ourselves to do the hard work that will bring meaningful change for racial justice and police reform.”

The following leaders and organizations signed the letter:

Governor Kate Brown
Tobias Read, State Treasurer
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum
Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle
Speaker of the House Tina Kotek
Senator Michael Dembrow
Senator Lew Frederick
Senator Kathleen Taylor
Representative Maxine Dexter
Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer
Representative Karin Power
Representative Andrea Salinas
Representative Sheri Schouten
Representative Akasha Lawrence Spence
Representative Barbara Smith-Warner
Senate President Peter Courtney
Senator Ginny Burdick
Senator Shemia Fagan
Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward
Senator Rob Wagner
Representative Janelle Bynum
Representative Diego Hernandez
Representative Rob Nosse
Representative Jeff Reardon
Representative Tawna Sanchez
Mayor Ted Wheeler
City of Portland
Commissioner-Elect Carmen Rubio, Portland City Council
Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, Portland City Council
Commissioner Amanda Fritz, Portland City Council
Commissioner elect Dan Ryan, Portland City Council
Mike Schmidt, Multnomah County District Attorney
Reynolds School Superintendent Danna Diaz

Business and Community Leaders:

Black American Chamber of Commerce
Oregon Commission on Black Affairs
Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs
Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs
Oregon Commission for Women
IRCO Africa House
Grantmakers of Oregon and Southwest Washington
Muslim Educational Trust
NAACP Portland
Oasis of Praise International Ministries
Oregon AFL-CIO
Oregon Education Association
Oregon Latinx Leadership Network
Oregon Nurses Association
Portland Business Alliance, Greater Portland’s Chamber of Commerce
Portland Timbers
Portland Thorns
Portland Trailblazers
SEIU 503
Stand for Children
Unite Oregon

Read the full statement here––additional names and organizations may be added.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-05 12:35:04Last Update: 2020-09-05 20:46:34

Oregon Gerrymandering Measure Fails
Politicians will pick their voters.

Initiative 57 has lost the appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The measure “Amends Constitution: Repeals legislative redistricting process; creates congressional/state redistricting commission; equal number of Democrats, Republicans, others.” It was the hope of Norman Turrill, Chief Petitioner, to add “fair, transparent and impartial” redrawing of congressional and legislative district lines in the state.

When all the shutdowns and restrictions ordered due to the coronavirus, made it difficult to gather enough signatures, the Petitioners filed an appeal for a reduction in the number of signatures required. U.S. District Judge Michael McShane agreed and set a lower signature threshold of 58,789 that petitioners were able to meet.

When Secretary of State Bev Clarno accepted Judge McShane’s decision, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum went all out to protect the Democrat Legislators and Governor Brown’s control over redistricting process next year. AG Rosenblum went to the U.S. Supreme Court to fight against placing the initiative on the ballot.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 11 stayed McShane’s order. On September 1st, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the clock was going to run out and didn’t rule on the merits of the case.

Norman Turrill, an Oregon League of Women Voters official and a chief sponsor of the initiative, said he was disappointed by the decision. “The appeals court did not decide on the merits of our case so we will likely never know its reasoning.”

The measure was backed by a coalition of government watchdog groups and business interests, and the only opposition was by groups allied with Democrats. A clear battle against continued gerrymandering of districts so Democrats can retain their control over the process. It’s no wonder Greater Idaho movement is so attractive to 15 Oregon Counties to move the state boundary.

The only anti-gerrymandering move and to save the borders of Oregon is a change in control of the Legislature and the administration of Oregon.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-04 13:16:48Last Update: 2020-09-04 17:14:12

Kate Brown Appointments up for Confirmation
Senate will consider on September 24

Governor Kate Brown has submitted a list of state board and commission appointments to the Oregon Senate for confirmation. She includes the appointment of Terrie Davie, Oregon's first female State Police Superintendent. The Oregon legislature's Senate Rules Committee is scheduled to consider the nominations on September 24.

“Terri brings a wealth of law enforcement experience to this role and a strong record of leading by example," said Governor Brown. "She brings a focus on inclusivity and is dedicated to listening to community voices—including Oregon's Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and Tribal communities—as we work towards a more fair and just law enforcement system in Oregon. I look forward to her leadership as we do the hard work of transforming law enforcement standards and training and putting the state on a path toward racial justice."

“State board and commission members bring a diverse set of backgrounds and life experiences to address a wide range of issues facing state government," said Governor Brown. "Their contributions help lead to policies and strategies that better enable us to serve and represent all Oregonians. I appreciate the willingness of all these nominees to serve our great state and help make it better for all those who call it home.”

The full list of Kate Brown's submissions for Senate confirmation is available here.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-03 20:52:14Last Update: 2020-09-03 22:02:45

Check Your Voter Registration
It’s a good idea to check up on yourself. Here’s how.

It's a good idea to go to the Secretary of State's website to check your voter registration status a couple of months before the election. This link is also used to check to see if your ballot was counted. after the election. This site will as for your name and birthdate and you can see:

Anyone who has an Oregon driver's license, permit or DMV identification card can register to vote online or do things like change their party affiliation.

To cancel voter registration and be removed from the voter rolls, contact the county in which you registered.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-03 18:38:30Last Update: 2020-09-03 21:11:52

Kate Brown Recall Effort Falls Short
Oregon is stuck with unpopular governor until 2022

The Oregon Republican Party has released a statement about the "Stop the Abuse" Kate Brown Recall Effort:

“To our great disappointment, the Stop The Abuse - Recall Kate Brown campaign has fallen 2,796 signatures or less than 1% short of the minimum number of 280,050 signatures required to qualify to put a recall of the Governor on the ballot this fall,” stated Chairman Bill Currier. “It is the highest bar for petition signature gathering in our state’s Constitution and has definitely been an uphill struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with other obstacles.”

“In 2019, nearly 25% of our signatures were gathered at the Oregon State Fair, county fairs, and numerous festivals which have all been canceled due to the Governor’s lockdowns, depriving us of an estimated 50 to 80 thousand additional signatures in 2020,” said Currier. “Also, due to an arbitrary and cynical change in the law by the Democrat supermajority-run state legislature between the 2019 recall and the one in 2020, the ability to freely download and pre-print ePetition sheets to provide to voters was severely reduced. This made it much more difficult for thousands of businesses and individuals to conveniently provide signature sheets to Oregon voters to exercise their state constitutional right to sign the petition.”

“The campaign also faced totally unnecessary and legally-questionable rule changes towards the end of signature gathering from the state elections division that required all the petition sheets to be renumbered, a requirement that the elections division refused to put in writing. This cost hundreds of man hours at a critical time in the campaign and at a time that it could afford it least.” “Of course, it must also be remembered that several of our volunteers faced harassment, destruction of petitions, and physical assault, including a Democrat volunteer who has been recovering in the hospital these past couple of weeks. It is hard to estimate what effect these acts of intimidation had on suppressing signature gathering efforts across the state. Sadly, this is par for the course in Kate Brown’s violent, dystopian Oregon.”

“Because, under state law, prior to the submission of any petition signatures, I, as chief petitioner, must first attest to having the minimum number of qualified signatures. Therefore, the signatures cannot be submitted to the secretary of state’s election division,” stated Currier.

The only other recall effort ever supported by the Oregon Republican party, the 2019 Stop The Abuse - Recall Kate Brown campaign, fell 8% short of the minimum signatures required. The 2020 all-volunteer, grassroots signature-gathering effort total of 277,254 represents a new record number of signatures gathered for any statewide petition of any kind in Oregon history - all without the support of out-of-state donors funding and paid signature gatherers. Over one-third of the signatures of the 2020 recall came from non-Republicans, exceeding the 2019 recall effort.

“Kate Brown is the one who fueled this recall and gave Oregonians new reasons everyday to want a do-over. As she narrowly escapes being recalled this time, we expect that she will continue to abuse power, ruin our economy, prioritize her favorite corrupt special interest cronies, play political games with the lives and livelihoods of Oregonians, aid and abet the violent crime, rioting, looting, and, now, murder in our streets, and let down our children as she guides our state’s education system to the bottom of performance nationally.” “We want to express our profound gratitude and appreciation to the hundreds of petition signature gatherers who worked tirelessly for three months in this monumental effort to give the voters of Oregon a chance to hold our state’s Governor accountable to the will of the voters. It has been and continues to be a worthy cause and you are true patriots.”

“During these three months we’ve heard the countless heartbreaking stories of Oregon families, workers, and business owners who have suffered at the hands of Kate Brown’s egregious abuses of power and her disastrous pandemic shutdowns. We must continue to work to hold her and her enablers in the state legislature accountable by ending the Democratic supermajority.”

“The signers of the 2020 Stop The Abuse - Recall Kate Brown petition represent a large and growing army of voters who are increasingly dissatisfied with the direction of our state and the failed leaders taking it there. This army isn’t going anywhere and the Oregon Republican Party will continue to work to help this army and all Oregon voters with the vital task of restoring freedom, equality under the law, prosperity, and bringing accountability to our state government.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-31 15:16:02Last Update: 2020-08-31 20:54:38

Drazan Responds to Violence
“No more violence.”

State Representative Christine Drazan, the House Republican leader, issued a statement on the recent violence in Portland.

"My condolences to the family of the man who was shot, in what appears to be a politically motivated killing, last night in Portland. This has to stop.

"All summer, night after night, Portland has been taken hostage by extremists. Democrat leaders have declined to prosecute the violent, instead giving them refuge and protection, encouragement and a safe haven to vandalize and intimidate -- finally resulting in last night's senseless murder.

"It should not be the responsibility of the lawful to stay out of the reach of the lawless because the city of Portland and the State of Oregon are run by political sympathizers instead of public leaders. Murder does not justify more killing. We are not at war with each other. This shooting was a criminal act, a political execution, that must mark the end of state sanctioned political violence in the streets of Portland.

"No more violence. Restore safe streets and law-abiding free expression for all now."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-31 04:06:33Last Update: 2020-08-31 04:52:00

Congressional Candidates Call for End to Violence
Urge use of national guard.

Candidates Joanna Harbour, Republican candidate for Oregon's 3rd Congressional district and Amy Ryan Courser, Republican candidate for Oregon's 5th Congressional district called for Governor Kate Brown and Mayor Ted Wheeler to utilize the National Guard, as offered by President Donald J. Trump, to restore law and order to the City of Portland.

“The nightly rioting must end,” Harbour said. “The tragic death was preventable. Today Mayor Wheeler acknowledged that he knew this was possible. But he did not take measures to stop it. The people of Portland deserve to live in peace, where safety and security is the top priority of their leaders. Not leaders who allow death, injuries to persons, and property damage. It is time to allow businesses to clean up and reopen without fear of further damage and looting. Governor Brown should have sent in the National Guard on May 30th to assist the Portland Police in ending this lawlessness! We need law & order now in Oregon; therefore, it is time to bring in the National Guard.”

Ryan Courser said, “Fire Congress and elect new leadership in November! I am the congressional nominee for our 5th district here in Oregon. Standing strong against lawlessness is my first priority. We have had complete mayhem for 95 days in Portland and now is the time to reclaim our state and cities. We can no longer wait to take action. I fully support reclaiming our city streets through tougher measures like bringing in our National Guard. Though I am a staunch advocate of our 1st Amendment exercising our right to peacefully protest, I stand firm against destroying property, assault, rioting, and anarchy. We must demand accountability. I will always advocate for public safety and supporting all law enforcement agencies. Now is the time to elect new public servants who will be committed to public safety, racial equity, and providing accountability. I believe in giving our law enforcement agencies the resources they need to do their jobs effectively ensuring a safe community. In order to ensure safe communities, we must prosecute criminals to the fullest extent of the law. My second priority is economic recovery and without law and order we cannot support our businesses and our communities so both can recover, prosper, and thrive once more.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-30 22:09:28Last Update: 2020-08-30 22:30:36

Trump Supporter Shot Dead in Portland
Kate Brown suggests "Right-wingers" are asking for it by coming to Portland

Blaming Trump and "Right-wingers" driving through Portland is what Kate Brown has now resorted to.

She took every opportunity to bash President Trump that she could while addressing the murder of a man in Portland, and her administration has decided in essence to not make any changes to address this recent murder of a Trump supporter. Any violence in her jurisdiction will be blamed on Trump for political reasons.

A symbolic statement was issued, stressing the fault that Kate Brown places on anyone associated with Trump. She plays the race card as well:

"With months of nightly protests stretching the Portland Police Bureau’s resources thin, additional local and state personnel, as well as federal resources, will give the Police Bureau the investigative capacity to arrest and charge those individuals who have engaged in violent or destructive acts and endangered public safety.

“The right-wing group Patriot Prayer and self-proclaimed militia members drove into downtown Portland last night, armed and looking for a fight. Every Oregonian has the right to freely express their views without fear of deadly violence. I will not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets.

“Time and again, from Charlottesville to Kenosha to Portland, we have seen the tragic outcome when armed right-wing vigilantes take matters into their own hands. Gun violence is never, ever the answer.

“Change will not come overnight, and, as we have seen in these last months, it does not come easily either. But we are building a more just future. I will continue to work with local leaders, law enforcement, and community leaders to bring all voices to the table to help end the nightly confrontations—but that will only come if we commit ourselves to do the hard work to bring about real change and racial justice.”

The plan involves all levels of law enforcement who have agreed to the following:

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute serious criminal offenses, including arson and physical violence.

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office will work with system partners to hold individuals booked for violent behavior, and to ensure that there is adequate jail space to hold such individuals.

As done previously, Oregon State Police will detail personnel and resources to Portland to free up the Portland Police Bureau’s investigative capabilities to arrest and charge those engaging in violent acts. OSP troopers will continue their standard practice of wearing body cameras to allow for the documentation of their activities.

The Governor is asking Clackamas and Washington County Sheriff’s Offices and the City of Gresham Police Department to support the Portland Police Bureau with personnel and resources to keep the peace and protect free speech.

Oregon State Police have offered over two dozen body cameras and associated evidence management to the Portland Police Bureau, and the Bureau will evaluate their use. The City of Portland has agreed to indemnify Clackamas and Washington Counties and the City of Gresham for law enforcement assistance. In addition, the Mayor will seek financial resources to reimburse these jurisdictions for their support.

The United States Attorney and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will commit additional resources for investigation of criminal activity.

The Governor will also convene a community forum, including Mayor Wheeler, and inviting Black protest organizers and community leaders to discuss racial justice and police reform in the City of Portland. The group will create a venue for all community voices to come together, listen to each other, and co-create a just and peaceful future. Blaming Trump and "Right-wingers" driving through Portland is what Kate Brown has now resorted to.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-30 21:03:54Last Update: 2020-08-30 22:09:28

DeFazio Has His Hands Full
The 33-year incumbent’s politics are on parade

US Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) from Oregon's 4th Congressional District has been feeling the heat from his Republican opponent, upstart Alek Skarlatos and has made several moves lately that indicate that he's perhaps not on firm footing with Oregonians in his rural, Southern Oregon district.

For instance, DeFazio came out as an early supporter of the "Defund the Police" movement, favoring a shift of funds away from enforcement and into community policing. He also refused to condemn the violence carried out by anarchists in Springfield and Eugene until forced to five days after the incident. Predictably, he deflects blame away from the rioters and to the President.

DeFazio parrots the partisan narrative that federal law enforcement have been acting outside the law. While criticizing federal law enforcement and calling their actions “gross violations of Oregonians’ civil liberties”, the Congressman later has spoken glowingly of “peaceful protestors.” No specific allegations of wrongdoing have been lodged against any federal law enforcement.

More recently, DeFazio has taken to chaining himself to a mailbox -- a stunt to highlight what is claimed to be an attempt by the president to shut down parts of the post office in preparation for the upcoming election. Experts point out that the US Postal Service volume is down and losses are mounting.

This is not the first time Peter DeFazio has attempted to follow pull numbers and flip-flopping on issues. Between 1995 and 2018 DeFazio has flipped his position for a balanced budget amendment to the constitution multiple times including twice in 2011 alone, first declaring that it was too radical a move in July and then supported a similar proposal in November of that year. He used to proudly be pro-gun and now calls for nationwide gun control. Once considered an ally of the timber industry and responsible forest management, DeFazio now opposes salvage logging or standard Bureau of Land Management timber sales in the Pacific Northwest including one near Springfield.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-30 18:45:29Last Update: 2020-08-28 18:47:10

Statement from Rep. Post on Portland Killing
“Stop it”

Below is a Tweet from an OPB reporter and the official statement of a Multnomah County Commissioner on the death of a man last night at the "Pro Trump rally/drive" in Portland last night. While no one yet knows all the facts of who did what, we know that someone died.

This statement is at the least, irresponsible and at worst, inflammatory. There is never a good time for violence. Oregonians are sick and tired of the lawlessness, anarchy and violence that's gone on FAR too long in Portland. The Governor and the Mayor are not leaders. I do not represent that city, but I have friends there and constituents who have friends and family there. I am calling again for the Governor to do something. Stop the endless violence. Now someone has died. This death does not atone for the other deaths. No one's death is right or good.

Governor Brown. Mayor Ted Wheeler. Stop it.

--Bill Post

Post Date: 2020-08-30 16:28:35Last Update: 2020-08-31 04:06:33

Convicted Felon Vies for House Seat
It’s OK. He’s a member of the same party as the legacy media.

You can tell it’s political season, when ordinary news organizations like the Newberg Graphic divert from their normal hum-drum of biased journalism, in favor of outright whitewash advertising. Newberg Graphic reporter Ryan Clarke (D-Beaverton) has penned such a commercial for Ramiro Navarro, Jr. (D-Keizer) who is running for House District 25.

While the article emphasizes the three-year military service performed by Navarro. Three years is an odd length for a military career, which one would think should have made Clarke at least make passing reference to the type of discharge received by Navarro. Instead, featuring two pictures of him wearing military garb, Clarke glosses over a darker period in Navarro’s life:

Navarro dealt with addiction and post-traumatic stress when he returned home to Oregon, eventually ending up in prison for two years for possessing half an ounce of marijuana, which was illegal at the time of his arrest but has since become a booming industry in the age of legality. Navarro was in and out of incarceration for petty crimes in the years after his initial arrest.

First of all, bail was set at $60,000, which is a little bit more than one would expect for taking a couple of bong hits and merely possessing the now-legal weed. Second, the incarceration “for petty crimes” was for parole violations, caused by the commission of “petty crimes.”

Navarro’s case exemplifies the fallacy of the narrative that many of the people who are behind bars are there because of insignificant drug charges. In many cases – as in Navarro’s case – the ultimate charge that resulted in a conviction was indeed the result of a guilty plea to a relatively small drug charge. But that plea was done in exchange for not having to go to trial for a host of other charges. In Navarro’s case, it was two felony charges for child neglect and endangering the welfare of a minor, which were dropped in exchange for guilty pleas for delivery of marijuana and coercion.

The article notes that Navarro got his priorities in order in 2013, but in October of 2014 and April of 2017, two different women from two different counties filed paternity suits against him, holding him responsible for child support. This runs counter to the narrative played by Clarke in the article, where he says that Navarro “now hosts a boot camp every summer for at-risk youth, teaching them the benefits of higher education.”

Get prepared. It’s not only political season. It’s bias season.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-30 14:54:24Last Update: 2020-08-30 16:28:35

Kafoury Calls Out Republicans
Comments seen as politically motivated

The violence in Portland Oregon has now escalated to an even higher level after roughly 100 days of directionless violent protests and riots connected to Antifa and the "Black Lives Matter" Marxist organization.

The leadership of the City of Portland and Multnomah County Oregon seems unable to anything other than exacerbate the dire situation, and are completely obsessed with "resisting Trump". Portland has now become a national disgrace and example of poor government leadership at the state and local levels.

Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury decided the best thing to do following a man's murder, was to blame Republicans who drove through Portland in an a patriotic caravan event in support of President Trump.

Kafoury even goes as far as calling the event a "white-supremacist agenda" with no evidence of such claims. The commissioner seems to be encouraging the ongoing riots that have plagued the region:

"Last night, an event that was clearly intended to intimidate, provoke and endanger individuals resulted in a fatality. The loss of life is tragic and unacceptable.

"We are witnessing the self-perpetuating cycle of violence fueled by white supremacy. We cannot forget that the protests Portland has seen for more than 90 days began in response to the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was then the latest victim of a long and horrendous history of police brutality against Black people, itself a feature of the systemic racism that poisons our country.

"While the overwhelming majority of protestors have engaged in non-violent demonstration to call for police accountability, racial justice and the dismantling of racist institutions, we have also seen instances of interpersonal violence, vandalism and destruction.

"Then last night — stoked by a president who has gone out of his way to demonize this city and encourage vigilantism in service to white supremacy and his own fragile ego — armed participants of a pro-Trump caravan terrorized downtown Portland, driving their vehicles and shooting paintballs and pepper spray directly at community members and journalists. They came to create confrontation and were able to do so.

"This tragedy will be used to justify escalating violence. It will be used to paint an entire movement with a broad and misleading brush. And sadly, it will be used by the occupant of the White House to deepen divisions and fear.

"Those of us who believe in, and are working toward, a more just and equitable community must take an unequivocal stand against the violence that structural racism inflicts on Black and other people of color, against violence inflicted by police, and against violence between community members.

"And the most effective way to do that is to stand for and build toward something better -- to engage in the hard work of transforming the public safety system, ensuring equal opportunity and making tangible progress toward racial justice. Multnomah County is doing that work now, and we are wholly committed to the long-term work ahead."

More cynical observers noted that the Republican caravan was a “mostly peaceful” event.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-30 12:05:34Last Update: 2020-08-30 13:33:30

Candidate Comparison: Nathanson vs. Smith
A portion of Lane County

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Candidate for House District 13 David J. Smith is running against incumbent Nancy Nathanson to represent a portion of Lane County.

Three major issues to Oregon voters is the economy, safety and education. Nathanson voted to increase taxes and fees including cap and trade, corporate gross receipts tax, increased fees on public utilities, and reduce the kicker. Smith indicates he would stand against any tax that has the possibility of shutting down businesses.

Nathanson helped sponsor the bill that nullified Measure 88 passed by voters allowing undocumented driver’s license. Voted to require employers to notify employees of ICE investigations, and prevents courts from asking immigration status and notifying ICE. Smith said legislators must listen to the voters. He also thinks ICE is doing a good and necessary job, and courts have an obligation to enforce the laws.

In the area of education, Nathanson voted to include in all curriculum’s contributions from every minority group such as immigrants, LGBTQ, disabled and women. She voted to require mandated vaccination with no exceptions and ban those from schools that don’t comply. Smith would vote no and let parents decide on vaccinations, and education shouldn’t be used to promote a group over another.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-30 10:12:37Last Update: 2020-09-30 10:53:31

Voter Fraud: Who is Marking the Ballot?
The electioneering laws don’t prevent people from showing up at your home

Editor’s note: this is the first of a multi-part series on Oregon’s mail-in ballots.

In 1990, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recognizing that people with disabilities had been precluded from fully participating in all aspects of society including voting. Oregon instituted Disability Voting Right using a tablet or computer which allows for assistance.

Janice Dysinger, Oregonians for Fair Elections, says that “anyone’s citizenship status or residence status is difficult to verify because they may not be directly filled out by the voter. Some have language barriers requiring interpreters if specific language documents aren’t available, and the position is that it isn’t the agency’s job to find out if they are qualified. By signing the registration form they certify to it being true.” If needing assistance to register, it begs the question of needing assistance to vote.

When Kate Brown was Secretary of State, the Mark and Dave radio show on KEX asked the audience who completes the ballots in your house. People were calling in and laughing about it. A high school kid marked his dad's ballot, had the dad sign it and mailed it for him. A wife completed her husband's ballot, had him sign it and mailed it for him. And so it went on for the entire show.

The next day they invited then Secretary of State Kate Brown to comment about the responses on the show. She assured the listeners that it is completely legal to mark another person's ballot, as long as the voter signs the ballot.

But, what of people that sign (forge) someone’s signature on a ballot? The excuses are many: they weren’t around to sign, they told you to sign for them, they don’t know English, or they have a disability. Good, honest people are freely interrupting laws without knowing the consequences. Coercion in voting assistance comes with a maximum penalty of $1,000 fine and 10 hours of community service. Voting has gotten so casual in Oregon that people are doing this and don't even know the problem it creates.

ORS 254.445, originally passed in 1985, lists the rules on assisting in marking ballots. Allowances and Limitations
Assistant violations would never happen at a polling place. The people that are "helping" other voters are casting votes that they shouldn't be. If a voter isn't informed enough or has the motivation enough to go to the polls or even complete their own ballot at home, they shouldn't be voting. Voting has gotten so casual in Oregon that people are breaking rules and don't even know the problem it creates. It presents a strong case for polling places to keep people honest.

We must also recognize that there are people that actually want to change an election? Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, says “the purpose of in-person voting is under the supervision of election officers and poll watcher... The electioneering laws don’t prevent people from showing up at your home. That means party activist, campaign staffers, political guns for hire can show up at your home.” What happens to all the ballots floating around? It's the perfect environment for coercion and falsely filing multiple ballots.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-30 09:33:46Last Update: 2020-08-25 09:45:01

Were Not Committed to Equality Anymore
We have a new thing. It sounds similar, but it’s different. It’s equity.

57 years ago Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I have a dream" speech in Washington, DC. It was a prophetic speech which set the tone for the turbulent decade to follow. Arguably, the most memorable quote from the speech was, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Judging people by the content of their character is the essence of equality.

"Equality" was the subject of Dr. King's speech. We don't strive for equality anymore. The conversation is about "equity" which means that certain races get advantaged status. A portion of the federal COVID-19 stimulus money that Oregon received will be set aside for persons of a particular skin color. There's no attempt to hide or sugarcoat that. The front page of the Oregon Cares Fund, explicitly says, “The Oregon Cares Fund is for Black people, Black-owned businesses, and Black community based organizations.” If Michael Jordan or Oprah Winfrey lived in Oregon, they'd qualify.

More than race, having an intact family is more of an indicator of future success. This kind of analysis is rarely allowed into the debate. Those who try get shouted down and labeled as racists or white-supremacists. Things like school choice could help. Education can be a great equalizer and uplifter, and education choice seems like a great idea, especially for disadvantaged communities. Teachers' unions won't let it happen. It seems like the only tools we have left to combat lack of achievement are rioting and cancelling NBA basketball. That's sad. We're smarter than that.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-28 16:21:05Last Update: 2020-08-28 18:14:08

Wheeler to Trump: “Stay Away”
Mayor explicitly and publicly renounces federal help

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D-Portland), in an apparent attempt to make a statement, has penned an open letter to President Trump declining assistance to help with law enforcement as his city burns.

The letter says:

Dear President Trump:

Yet again, you said you offered to aid Portland by sending in federal law enforcement to our city. On behalf of the City of Portland: No thanks.

We don’t need your politics of division and demagoguery. Portlanders are onto you. We have already seen your reckless disregard for human life in your bumbling response to the COVID pandemic. And we know you’ve reached the conclusion that images of violence or vandalism are your only ticket to reelection.

There is no place for looting, arson, or vandalism in our city. There is no room here for racist violence or those who wish to bring their ideology of hate into our community. Those who commit criminal acts will be apprehended and prosecuted under the law.

Tens of thousands of Portlanders have peacefully protested and marched for the noble cause of fixing our broken criminal justice system. They are part of the proud progressive tradition of Portlanders fighting for justice - from racial justice to economic justice to environmental justice.

When you sent the Feds to Portland last month, you made the situation far worse. Your offer to repeat that disaster is a cynical attempt to stoke fear and distract us from the real work of our city. In Portland, we are focused on coming together as a community to solve the serious challenges we face due to systemic racism, a global pandemic and an economic recession.

Stay away, please

While Wheeler accuses the President of politicking, the letter itself is filled with political accusations from a Democrat Mayor in a city that has been run by Democrats for decades. Wheeler offers no plans to quell the violence that has plagued Portland and other cities for over three months.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-28 12:22:43Last Update: 2020-08-28 13:20:08

Oregon Republican Says What Many Are Thinking
The riots in Portland need to end after nearly 100 days

The Republicans are the minority party in Oregon.

In fact, elected Democrats hold a "super-majority". They seem to operate with very little checks and balances to hinder their legislative agenda. Many philosophical and ethical challenges may arise with such adherence to such one-party dominance.

Cries for change may even be snuffed, sadly, by forces in league with such a party in control, aided by a corrupt and biased media. With the injustice of the situation unaddressed, frustration can turn inward upon the opposing political party to "do something", but the power has been deliberately put in the hands of the Majority held Democrat state legislature. Elected Republican influence only goes so far in Oregon, until those numbers change via the ballot box.

To conservative and libertarian leaning Oregonians, it can be encouraging to see some elected Republicans doing everything they can despite the neglect of the media. Senate Minority Leader Fred Girod has once again done so, and it seems to many that he is stating the obvious.

“It’s been nearly 100 straight days of nightly violence in Portland,” said Senator Girod. “Law enforcement, the personnel who are tasked with upholding the law, have been left out to dry with little to no support. By most Democrats failing to denounce the violence, anarchists have been given free reign to destroy public and private property. Anarchists have lit fires, thrown fireworks, Molotov cocktails, water bottles and tools at the police officers who risk their lives each night to protect a city that refuses to protect them.”

Senator Girod continued, “The response from Governor Kate Brown and Mayor Ted Wheeler has been disastrous and has made Portland fodder for national embarrassment. It took until rioters trashed Portland City Hall for the mayor to speak out. Until the governor’s and mayor’s words are followed with action, they are just words, and innocent Oregonians will continue to be collateral damage.”

Perhaps Portland should try going back to just "being weird".

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-28 11:23:04Last Update: 2020-08-28 12:34:44

Rule Changes Proposed for Executive Enforcement
Clarifies actions the state can take against non-compliant licensees

In a move that strengthens the Governor's hand against licensed businesses in the State of Oregon, the Oregon Health Authority has proposed changes in the administrative rules requiring compliance with the Governor's executive orders during an emergency. The comment period for proposed Oregon Administrative Rule 331-020-0079 has expired and the agency is empowered to enact the rule immediately. The rules make clear that businesses licensed by the State of Oregon must comply with executive orders or they will be subject to suspension, revocation, probation, monetary penalties, and an assessment of costs of disciplinary proceedings:

Compliance with Executive Orders and Guidance Required

(1) During a Governor declared emergency, unprofessional conduct under ORS 676.612, includes, but is not limited to, failing to comply with any applicable provision of a Governor's Executive Order or any provision of this rule.
(2) Failing to comply as described in subsection (1) includes, but is not limited to:
(a) Performing services or practicing an occupation or profession in a way that is contrary to an applicable Executive Order;
(b) Providing services at a business required by an Executive Order to be closed;
(c) Failing to comply with the requirements of Oregon Health Authority (Authority) guidance implementing an Executive Order.
(3) No disciplinary action or penalty action shall be taken under this rule if the Executive Order alleged to have been violated is not in effect at the time of the alleged violation.
(4) Penalties for violating this rule include, but are not limited to, suspension, revocation, probation, monetary penalties, and an assessment of costs of disciplinary proceedings not exceeding $5,000. Any such penalties shall be imposed in accordance with ORS Ch. 183.

The rule is slated to go into effect Septermber 1, 2020. It is not known if these rule changes signal an intent on the part of the executive branch to increase enforcement.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-28 10:59:02Last Update: 2020-08-28 11:50:02

Voter Fraud: What’s in the future for voting by mail?
Blockchain technology would take the fraud out of polling

Editor’s note: this is the second of a multi-part series on Oregon’s mail-in ballots.

How many of the national headlines should Oregon voters be concerned about? The news has shifted from fraud to postal delivery being timely for mail-in ballots. Thomas J. Marshall, General Counsel and Executive Vice President of the United States Postal Service, is reassuring for Oregonians in a letter to Secretary of State Bev Clarno. He says their “reading of your state’s election laws, as in effect on July 27, 2020, ballots are generally mailed to eligible voters no later than 14 days before Election Day, which should allow sufficient time for voters to receive, complete, and return such ballots by the state’s Election Day return deadline.”

Nationally, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said “The Postal Service is ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall…we will deliver the nation’s election mail on time and within our well-established service standards. The American public should know that this is our No. 1 priority between now and Election Day. In addition, effective Oct. 1, we will engage standby resources in all areas of our operations, including transportation, to satisfy any unforeseen demand.”

What’s in the future for voting by mail? The Office of Inspector General USPS, originally filed for a patent in February 2019 and the official filing was February 2020. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently made public that patent application titled ‘Secure Voting System’ that describes using blockchain technology to secure mail-in voting. The patent application consists of four levels of protection verifying voters’ identity by an online ballot system. It prevents dogs, cats, dead people, multiple voting and illegal/non-citizens from entering the tally. Once a voter has provided proof of their identity, the system would create an anonymous token for them in the form of a unique identifier. The system separates voter identification and votes to ensure vote anonymity, and stores votes on a distributed ledger in a blockchain. The system would also send the voter a mailed ballot. To ensure there hasn’t been any tampering with the mailed ballot, election officials can compare it to the linked anonymous ballot submitted online. Blockchain technology is a decentralized system used for cryptocurrencies making it nearly hack proof. It would take the fraud out of polling, but caution still points to those not able to navigate online needing assistance and keeping voting coercion-free.

Oregon Secretary of State’s office verified that some of the county election officials have conducted pilot projects with systems using blockchain for military and overseas voters. Jackson County used the technology for the November 2019 special election that allowed the voter to access/mark/cast their ballot via their smartphone. They report that 27 choose to participate out of 213 qualified voters and said it went even better than hoped.

In the meantime, Robert McCullough, McCullough Research, says Oregon’s tally computers can be altered easily to divert votes using a USB stick in less than a minute. Janice Dysinger, Oregonians for Fair Elections, says “the vote tally machine is supposed to be separated from the internet, without any connection to it. Yet a USB drive connects the system delivering the election data to the county clerk's computer routinely in the course of the election. Allowing a USB access to the vote counting machine leaves our election unsecured.”

When investigating the tally machines, Dysinger says “We have never been able to observe the computer code that is inside the machine. It should be ‘open source’ programming that is observable by all parties... Yet, the companies that run the software system say it is patented and that no one can see it. This is debated all the way up to the Election Assistance Commission. We objected to this in 2008. It fell on deaf ears.”

The concern over mail-in ballots nationally is the delay in delivering and counting ballots plus ballot harvesting. If an election can’t be decided by the end of the presidential term January 20, it puts the nation in a turmoil. There are legal debates whether the acting president would be Pelosi or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Either way, the DNC has obtained 600 attorneys to litigate any problems or perhaps cause problems. Could it be for the purpose of prolonging determinations or actually making the election fair?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-28 09:22:29Last Update: 2020-08-25 09:42:08

Policing Under Attack
Unlike COVID-19, community safety is NOT a top priority

The Joint Committee on Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform announced their agenda to their remote September 3, 2020, meeting. They will hold public hearings on nine LC proposed bills for what they say will be introduced in the 2021 session.

Our police are under attack on the streets, while they try and perform a “perfect” job that is acceptable to two drastically different ideals. Even when they do their job perfectly and arrest those in criminal acts, they get no support from the DA. The criminals are demanding these legislative changes to belittle an honorable profession so fewer and fewer will aspire to be our protectors. What will our streets look like then?

Proposed legislation to be discussed:

LC 742 (LC 17) - Regulates use of chemical incapacitants, kinetic impact projectiles and sound devices by law enforcement agencies.

LC 743 (LC 18) - Establishes requirements for peace officer uniforms. Establishes requirements for displaying identifying information on peace officer uniforms and for disclosing identifying information to public upon request.

LC 746 - Imposes limitations on arbitrators’ decisions concerning alleged misconduct by law enforcement officers. Establishes Commission on Statewide Law Enforcement Standards of Conduct and Discipline to adopt uniform standards of conduct for law enforcement officers and disciplinary standards by which law enforcement agencies and arbitrators shall make determinations regarding imposition of disciplinary action against law enforcement officers. Removes discipline guide or discipline matrix as mandatory subject of bargaining.

LC 747 - Relating to arrestee well-being.

LC 762 (LC 19) - Directs Department of Public Safety Standards and Training to establish publicly available database of certain information about misconduct and discipline of public safety employees established by Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. Requires reporting of complaints, allegations, charges, disciplinary proceedings, certain judicial findings and prosecutorial determinations of unreliability, suspensions and revocations of certification and certain resignations of public safety employees to department for inclusion in database.

LC 763 (LC 20) - Directs Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to establish statewide database of reports of use of physical force by peace officers and corrections officers. Requires law enforcement units to report on use or threat of physical force, and deaths of persons in custody, to commission.

LC# TBD - Relating to identifying patterns or practices of misconduct by peace officers or by officials or employees of any governmental agency.

LC 825 - Relating to qualified immunity

You can voice your views by submitting email testimony to JTPUFR.exhibits@oregonlegislature.gov, or register to phone-in using an online form or calling 833-588-4500 for assistance. The meeting can be viewed via livestream on OLIS.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-27 15:36:53Last Update: 2020-08-27 19:11:56

Save Our Children Plans Rally
The group is focused on raising awareness of sex trafficking

Save Our Children is planning a rally on Saturday, September 5, 2020 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. The first 20 people will receive a T-Shirt free of charge with the phrase save our children. Attendees are asked to bring signs and loudspeakers. The group is hoping that this will be a really great opportunity to be seen and heard.

In a society that seems to be clamoring for justice in very loud and public ways, let's not forget those who are most vulnerable and right under our noses.

You can join their facebook group and find out more information at the link.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-27 13:50:21Last Update: 2020-08-27 13:18:47

Adding Up Stats
Remember something about lies, dammned lies, and statistics?

The focus on this week’s bulletin from the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services is air quality tips. “We know indoor gatherings can increase the risk of spreading COVID-19, but what can we do to reduce the risk?” They say turn off your fans and open windows “to move [the hot] outdoor air inside.” If you’re ready to buy this solution, you’re being subjected to brainwashing.

To emphasize the necessity, they present the statistics for the week.

“Viral tests for COVID-19 are the most reliable way to diagnose someone with COVID-19. But what should you do if the test is negative? False negatives happen about a third of the time.” So, their reliable test has a 33% failure? Equal application says it must go both ways. So, of the 247 new “confirmed and presumptive” cases, 82 are being quarantined for no good reason, and we know the bad reason.

But wait, there is more, the report reads, “If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should quarantine for 14 days, even if you don’t have symptoms.” So, if you go out in a crowd, give up your life for two weeks and self-quarantine just in case you got to close to someone that didn’t quarantine themselves.

“Oregon weekly testing reports 247 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 7 new deaths.” The counties with the highest cases continue to be Marion (40), Multnomah (48), and Washington (38).

“Oregon’s 421st COVID-19 death is a 93-year-old woman in Lincoln County who died on August 15 in her residence. The death certificate listed COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death.” No positive test, no exposure, what age do you die of natural causes? The remaining six deaths all listed underlying conditions, and had tested positive. They were ages 93, 66, 87, 68, 71 and 63.

Do these reports strengthen your confidence in how Oregon is handling the COVID-19 outbreak?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-26 18:23:30Last Update: 2020-08-26 18:50:21

Flags To Be Flown At Half-Staff to Honor Fallen Oregon Marines
After days of pleas from Representative Bill Post and others to do so

In response to the urging of State Representative Bill Post (R-Keizer), Governor Kate Brown ordered all flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff tomorrow in honor of two fallen Oregon Marines, Lance Corporal Jack Ryan Ostrovsky of Bend, and Lance Corporal Chase D. Sweetwood of Portland. The two Oregon Marines were among nine service members, eight Marines and a Sailor, who lost their lives in an amphibious vehicle accident off the coast of San Clemente Island, California on July 30, 2020. Flags should be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, August 26.

"These two young men, Lance Corporal Jack Ryan Ostrovsky of Bend, and Lance Corporal Chase D. Sweetwood of Portland, showed incredible honor, bravery, and dedication to the state, to their country, and as Marines," Brown said Tuesday. "My heart goes out to their families and loved ones for their tremendous and unexpected loss. Dan and I extend our sincere appreciation for their service."

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-26 07:00:57Last Update: 2020-08-26 08:16:46

Worries of Excessive Covid Mandates in Oregon
Kate Brown threatens more restrtictions on businesses

Last week, Governor Kate Brown hosted a press conference where she threatened that Oregonians must follow her additional arbitrary COVID-19 rules or she will likely institute unconstitutional travel bans and shut down Oregon’s economic drivers, such as restaurants, again.

“Despite admitting that Oregon has one of the lowest COVID-19 morbidity rates in the country, Governor Brown wants individuals and businesses to do more, give more and surrender all,” said Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls). “The story about keeping COVID under control is a false narrative used to accomplish the real goal: to control all aspects of Oregonians’ lives and crush the economy by forcing compliance. Citizens are already reeling from their sense of powerlessness after the unnecessary and life-shattering edicts by the governor.”

In the face of what the science and data shows about the tragic and costly results from economic lock-downs, Governor Brown has camouflaged government overreach under the pretense that COVID is treacherous for every person, in every walk of life and in every community. Agencies like OR-OSHA are planning on enforcing new rules on top of pre-existing mandates, which will eventually stomp out independent business and free enterprise, on the road to growing government and robbing citizens of their inalienable rights.

“Governor Brown’s actions are the brutal part of the story,” said Senator Linthicum. “The forced closures and mandated distancing requirements are deeply immoral and dangerous. The governor’s malfeasance is driving preventable economic wounds deeper into Oregon’s already struggling communities. It is past time to re-open Oregon and now is the time to Keep It Open.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-25 18:53:43Last Update: 2020-08-25 12:00:57

Voter Fraud: Vote by Mail
Vote-by-mail may enable voter fraud.

Editor’s note: this is the first of a multi-part series on Oregon’s mail-in ballots.

President Trump gave Susan B Anthony a complete pardon for being convicted for voting in 1872. She risked her life to vote. What would she think today of marchers in DC demanding vote-by-mail to replace voting at the polls? Protesters shout on the crowded streets that due to the pandemic their health is threatened if they go to the polls to vote. Isn’t that a rather baffling demand coming from people that are not practicing social distancing during their protest? What is the real reason they are demanding vote-by-mail?

There are many examples from across the country of how vote-by-mail enables voter fraud.
Janice Dysinger, Oregonians for Fair Elections, says the problem with mail-in ballots in Oregon is the registration. “We have seen specific non-citizens say they are not a citizen at DMV, decline to register, only to find they have been registered to vote.” She has worked with others to identify and document voters whose registration was changed without their permission. The Secretary of State denies it, but more people are coming forward having received the wrong ballots or no ballots because their party was changed when doing business at DMV. She stresses that you must check your voter registration before every election, especially if you have done business with DMV.

Dysinger reports that the Human Services Department’s training document instructs their agents to fill out a declination SEL503 form for every person coming into the office to document that they were asked to register to vote. If they don’t ask, they are considered a problem employee. The training manual instructs the agent not to send in the applicant’s ID with the voter registration card to the election’s office, if the ID is from out of state. That it is not the duty of the agent to determine the applicant’s eligibility to vote. Some have language barriers and the position is that it isn’t their job to find out if they are qualified. If they want to register, they say they have to treat them all the same. Even if it’s only partly filled out, they still submit it to the election office.”

Oregon’s rules say that if someone gives their name, birth date and address so they can be sent a ballot, they are agreeing that they are qualified so are registered to vote. Dysinger says “once they are on the voter rolls it is very difficult to find out if they are a citizen or not. The rules are so loose that they can put down any street or cross street or landmark as an Oregon address, and have the ballot mailed to anywhere in the world. It’s a systemic problem with our voter rolls. Anyone from another state or country can register to vote without any ID or documentation using the FVAP.gov application,” which she points out does not meet the Oregon Constitution requirements. She also points to a problem in the Oregon Revised Statutes, ORS 247.035, which says the person only needs to think of Oregon as their home, where they intend to move someday.

The big problem with mail-in ballots all over the country and in Oregon are mistakes made when marking the ballot. In Oregon about 0.35% of voters don’t sign their ballot return envelope.

Dysinger points to problems with executing selecting candidates on the ballot, problems with the signatures, and then you have problems with the post office only delivering 95% of the ballots. Five percent of voters is enough to swing an election.

In the early 90’s, Kate Brown ran for State Representative and won her race by only 7 votes. If just 8 more people had voted for her opponent, we would most likely not have Kate Brown as Oregon’s Governor today. In the 2018 primary, HD 53 was won by just 2 votes.

You can sign a White House petition asking President Trump to stop mail-in voting.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-25 09:05:35Last Update: 2020-08-25 13:56:12

Opinion: Who Should Balance Risk and Reward for You?
Every once in a while, common sense pops up

It isn’t every day that someone from Pennsylvania makes me look at things in a new way, but that’s what happened to me recently. State Representative Jesse Topper represents Pennsylvania’s 78th District. Rep. Topper was speaking about high school football.

I don’t know about you, but when someone from rural Pennsylvania speaks about high school football I pay attention. Other than mining coal, there aren’t a lot of other things to do in rural Pennsylvania. Topper, who coaches football at Bedford High, had the following to say

I’ve had the opportunity to watch this football team at Bedford prepare for this year. And we told them, wear your mask, social distance at meetings, split your time in the weight room. They’ve done all those things. We’ve said if you follow these protocols you’ll have the opportunity to play.

To now come back to them and say, “You’ve done everything right; but you know what we still don’t have the will to let that happen.” And I think back to those words “It’s not worth the risk.”

We know, must of us up here have either played or been a part of athletics, we understand that there is inherent risk to what we do. That’s why there is an ambulance that sits out by the football fields on a Friday night. We know that there is risk.

But always that risk/benefit reward ratio has always been left to the families—to determine is this worth the physical risk. Well, I don’t see any difference in that now.

Those comments struck a chord with me, and I suspect they will with many Oregonians. Maybe I’m just lucky, but if it wasn’t for the hysterical news coverage, the unprecedented erosion of our civil liberties, and our economy being shut down, I’m not sure I would actually know that COVID-19 is ravaging our country.

Tragically, some of our elderly neighbors in Mount Angel have passed away...as people tend to do when they get old. Dying is the risk of living.

We’ve seemed to have lost sight that life is about balancing risk and reward. Reasonable people don’t take foolish risks, but they also understand life without risk is impossible.

Once upon a time, Americans lived their lives understanding that risk is everywhere. But they also saw reward everywhere. Somehow, we’ve become afraid of risk and reward. We have allowed politicians of both sides to stoke our fears—deciding for us where we can go, whom we can meet, and how we can worship.

The problem with politicians is that they’ll take all the power we’re willing to give them.

I stumbled across an interesting word the other day: Kakistocracy. It means “government by the least competent.” In Oregon and throughout our country, we have given a Kakistocracy unprecedented control over our lives. But it appears that politicians are as incapable of fixing our problems as they are uninterested in trying.

For obvious reasons, social scientists had to come up with a word to describe out-of-control corruption, incompetence, inefficiency, and indifference. They call it governmentality. But every once in a while, common sense pops up, even among Republicans; so I’ll give Rep. Topper the last word:

Quite frankly, when the governor was out in a protest in the streets of Harrisburg he was asked, “Did you follow your own protocols?” He goes, “No I didn’t because I felt the cause was worth the risk.”

Well we cannot just allow one person in Pennsylvania to discern for everyone which causes are worth the risk and which are not. That decision needs to be left up to parents and up to families. Is it worth the risk? I believe that in my case it is, maybe some other people don’t; but at the end of the day if we’re going to leave that decision only up to one person then we have a problem that is far greater than COVID-19.

Dan Crowe is from Mount Angel. His wife decides the right balance of risk and reward for him.

--Dan Crowe

Post Date: 2020-08-24 19:48:46Last Update: 2020-08-17 20:20:49

Undercover Journalists Sue Oregon
Criminalization of journalism strikes at the exercise of the First Amendment

Project Veritas sued the state of Oregon in Federal court to declare provisions of the draconian state recording law as unconstitutional. The challenge to Oregon’s undercover journalism ban found in Section 165.540 names Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schmidt and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum as the two defendants.

James O’Keefe, the CEO and founder, established Project Veritas in 2011 as a non-profit journalism enterprise to continue his undercover reporting work. Today, Project Veritas investigates and exposes corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions to achieve a more ethical and transparent society.

According to O'Keefe, “We are seeking to strengthen watchdog journalism by overturning an unconstitutional law criminalizing the kind of corruption-exposing journalism which holds the powerful accountable across the country.”

The challenge to Oregon’s undercover journalism ban found in Section 165.540 names Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schmidt and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum as the two defendants.

Section 165.540 bars individuals from obtaining or attempting to obtain the whole or any part of a conversation by means of any device, contrivance, machine or apparatus, whether electrical, mechanical, manual or otherwise, if not all participants in the conversation are specifically informed that their conversation is being obtained.

“Imagine the Statesman Journal or the Oregonian’s coverage of Portland’s violent and destructive protests if they were able to record deep inside the civil unrest and expose who is really behind the violence. By denying the right to record, Oregon bans the most effective means of gathering the news,” O’Keefe said.

“We made First Amendment history with our legal victory in Massachusetts federal court, when the judge struck down that state’s multiple-party consent laws for recording public officials conducting the public’s business and we are now trying to restore the First Amendment to Oregon,” O’Keefe said.

O’Keefe asserted that the current law places citizen journalists in physical jeopardy given the proclivity of both police officers and protestors to engage in violence directed at journalists during heated times.

The lawsuit states:

“But for Oregon recording law, PVA would investigate allegations of corruption at the offices of the Oregon Public Records Advocate and the Public Records Advisory Council. In 2019, Oregon’s Public Records Advocate resigned due to alleged pressure from or mismanagement by Governor Kate Brown. But for section 165.540, PVA would investigate this issue and secretly record interactions with the Advocate, his staff, and members of the PRA Council in: (a) open-air cafes in Portland, (b) public parks, (c) on sidewalks, and (d) in other public areas. If secret recording is not achievable, it would utilize open recording in these same circumstances. Specifically, the project would examine whether the Advocate and Council operate impartially or with pressure from the Governor. These methods of newsgathering are all illegal under section 165.540.”

The lawsuit goes into more detail about the current how Project Veritas could focus investigations in Oregon on the dramatic rise in violent protests in Portland between the police and members of Antifa and other fringe groups, stating:

“…Some newspaper reports suggest that Portland police have been ordered to stand down and to not engage protestors, even when they act violently or damage property. This investigation involves four distinct sets of reporting activities:

Ben Barr, one of the attorneys filing the lawsuit, said, “Oregon law currently makes it a criminal act to record a protest, or an interview, or nearly any other interaction without clear and conspicuous notice to anyone whose voice might be recorded.”

Barr said this criminalization of journalism strikes at the exercise of the First Amendment.

“The courts have used this law to endorse the arrest of a citizen who held a camera, warned the person he was filming that he had them on camera, but didn’t specifically warn the camera captured audio,” he said. “It is absurd. But more importantly, it is unconstitutional.”

Jered Ede, the chief legal officer for Project Veritas, said while the Oregon laws offer very limited opportunities to openly record, the law is suspiciously under and over inclusive.

“Oregon stands at odds with a vast majority of states which permit undercover journalism, with the United States Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of the press, and with decades of legal Supreme Court rulings deeming laws such Oregon’s unconstitutional,” said Ede.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-24 17:11:41Last Update: 2020-08-24 17:33:38

Opinion: Another Kind of Violence
This assault to our legislative process should be concerning to every Oregonian

We are all too familiar with the senseless violence happening on the streets of Portland each night. I commend the local police, Oregon State Police and Federal Agents who have done their best to protect property and people, given the political handcuffs they must wear. It takes men and women of real character to face adversity and chaos night after night, knowing the work of keeping the peace is a dangerous job, being also despised by some.

Currently, there is another kind of violence occurring in Salem, 50 miles south of Portland. It is not the kind of violence with rocks, fire, lasers or graffiti, however this violence is just as destructive to our way of life. In the last two years, the Democrat-led legislature has passed highly controversial bills — bills that Oregonians voted against. While controversial bills are nothing new, the strong-arm process in which these bills move through the State Capitol is alarming.

Our state’s legislative system is designed to be methodical, open and transparent. It is actually hard work to pass a bill into law, as the process should be. A bill is introduced by a legislator, discussed in committee, amended, passed out of committee and then debated and voted on the chamber floor. The process repeats itself all over again in the other chamber. Finally, when a bill is passed by both the House & Senate, it is signed by the Governor. This can often take several weeks or months. At any point along the way a bill may lose the support necessary to get to the next step. The design of this slow and deliberate process has two main purposes. First, it gives the public the ability to understand what is being discussed and to get involved by directly testifying in person during a public hearing, or by contacting their legislators with their support or opposition. Second, this process protects the minority opinion, giving it a real voice — a voice which can often spawn amendments to improve the bill, or conversely may stop the bill outright.

Controversial bills will garner the attention of Oregonians who wish to give their opinion during a public hearing. The practice of limiting testimony to two or three minutes in committee, which has become all too common, is wrong. People from my district, 200-300 miles away, will spend 5-6 hours driving to Salem in order to express their opinion on a bill that will directly impact their business or way of life — and they are only given 180 seconds to speak. This is not a process that rightly hears the people’s concerns. Rather it’s merely going through the motions, checking a box. If a committee chair plans on hearing a controversial bill, that chair should plan the committee’s schedule accordingly to hear everyone's full testimony. Extremely short time limits discourage the public from being involved, and does great damage to the very idea of a “public hearing”.

Furthermore, given the State of Emergency and Executive Orders we are currently under (which I oppose), the special legislative session held this past June was closed to the public — the public was not allowed into the Capitol. The legislature was open for business, but closed to the public. Public testimony was not allowed in person, only through remote kiosks outside on the Capitol steps. This limited testimony was demeaning as people were reduced to a tiny square on a screen. Drastic changes to public testimony has cut off a key component of the legislative process — effective and direct public input with legislators.

August featured a one-day, 15-hour marathon special session. This time no public input was allowed. None. Think about this for a moment. No direct public input was allowed on budgets or bills. The majority party has been abusing the legislative process over the past few years: Dropping complicated 100+ page major bill amendments at the 11th hour, not giving the public, or legislators time to read, analyze and properly understand proposed changes.; moving bills from one committee, which has expertise to discuss a bill, to a committee with no such expertise in order to obfuscate knowledgeable opposition.

Now there is talk of a third special session in September. The trend of limiting, and even blocking, public input is not good government. The silent violence happening to our legislative process, where minority points of view are not given proper time to organize and speak out, tears apart the fabric of our government of, by and for the people. The process matters, as it protects the people from the overbearing power of its government. This assault to our legislative process should be concerning to every Oregonian who deserves to be heard and desires to live free.

--State Representative E. Werner Reschke

Post Date: 2020-08-24 16:02:38Last Update: 2020-08-24 17:36:02

Oregon is Slipping Economically
Before factoring in riots or government response to COVID-19

The American Legislative Exchange Council, a nationwide think-tank focused on state legislative issues released its annual report Rich States, Poor States and it has some ominous data for Oregon.

As part of it's report, it includes an Economic Outlook Ranking, which is a forecast based on a state’s current standing in 15 state policy variables. Each of these factors is influenced directly by state lawmakers through the legislative process. Generally speaking, states that spend less — especially on income transfer programs — and states that tax less — particularly on productive activities such as working or investing — experience higher growth rates than states that tax and spend more. Oregon's current rank is eight (one is the best, 50 is the worst), so Oregonians have a lot to be proud of. Yet high taxes, high government spending and other factors give it an outlook rating of 42, which should be worrisome. The last decade of legislative super majorities for Democrats have created opportunities for policymakers to create an environment that is not hospitable to business growth -- growth that will be necessary to take up some of the revenue shortfall caused by the government response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Since the recovery from the recession of 2008, the national economy has been flat, while the Oregon economy saw decent gains. However, for the past several years, while the national economy has lurched upward, Oregon's domestic economy has flattened. This has been driven in part by a spate of regressive tax increases as well as many new regulations on business. There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Since 2012, employment growth in Oregon has outpaced federal employment growth, which is good, but it's been steadily sliding under the weight of many anti-business policy moves by the legislature. Individually, they might have been sustainable, but the cumulative weight of regulations, coupled with the cost of government, has stifled economic growth in Oregon.

Numbers and graphs are all well and good, but the real indicator of how attractive Oregon is can be seen in the domestic migration numbers -- the number of people who come to the state minus the number of people who leave. Oregon has had positive growth through the decade -- growth that will almost certainly result in Oregon gaining a sixth congressional district -- but it's tapered off, as of late. These numbers don't factor in the impact of riots in Portland or the heavy-handed government response to COVID-19. Or the impact of upcoming legislative sessions.

This video of State Senator James Manning, Jr. (D-Eugene) illustrates the attitude behind the disregard for Oregon's economic condition.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-24 14:00:13Last Update: 2020-08-24 19:23:35

More Can Be Done With Unemployment
Governor should direct employment department to apply for additional funds

Representative David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) calls on the Governor and Democrat Supermajority to direct the Oregon Employment Department to apply for the additional federal $300 dollar a week Unemployment Grant Program that is available. After congressional negotiations broke down and failed to extend the additional federal UI benefit to the unemployed in July, President Trump, through executive order, made available an additional $300 dollar a week grant program of $44 billion dollars for unemployed families. Many states have applied and have been accepted, and have begun passing these additional dollars on to their unemployed. Oregon has yet to apply, leaving these benefits out of the pockets of struggling Oregon families.

“Oregon families continue to struggle to pay for basic needs, as Governor Brown’s Executive Orders in response to COVID have crippled Oregon’s economy and have left hundreds of thousands of Oregonians unemployed,” said Rep. Brock Smith. “Although the Legislature has taken steps to increase the UI benefits for Oregonians, the failure of the Governor and Supermajority to direct the Employment Department to apply for the available additional federal grants to assist these same struggling working families is deplorable,” he said. “The Oregonian recently reported, ‘Oregon could also apply for the $300 weekly grant, but opt not to pay the extra $100 boost,’ and I call on the Governor to forgo the additional $100 from the state and immediately act on the additional federal benefits to get them in the hands of Oregonians as soon as possible,” he said.

“Oregon unemployed families cannot wait for congress to resume their political narrative back in D.C. and Oregon leaders should not wait either,” said Rep. Brock Smith. “Oregonians deserve action on these additional federal UI benefits now. Our motto, ‘She flies with her own wings’ is a clear example of how we don’t and shouldn’t wait for the congressional disfunction to resume before taking action for our working families,” he said. “The time has passed for Oregon’s leadership to put people over politics, Oregon’s struggling families over their abhorrence of the President, and apply for the additional federal grant unemployment assistance as other states have and continue to do across the nation.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-23 13:22:01Last Update: 2020-08-23 14:43:42

Oregon Democrats Called On To Condemn Violence in Portland
Coastal Republicans ask them to step up

State Representative David Brock Smith and State Senator Dallas Heard; the members of Oregon’s Southwest House and Senate District 01, again condemn the growing hate, violence, arson and brutal assault on the public, police and property in Portland and continue to call on the Governor and their legislative Portland colleagues to join them in condemning these deliberate acts.

“As we pass the 84thday of protests; to which I support the rights to do so, the violence touted by the Governor and Supermajority as caused by Federal Officers defending the Federal Courthouse, continues to grow exponentially in the absence of those Federal Officers”, said Rep. Brock Smith (R-Port Orford). “I support the OSP Superintendents decision to pull his Troopers from Portland; in the face of the Multnomah County DA’s decision to not prosecute the ‘rioters’ crimes, so that our OSP Troopers can resume their duties in other areas of the State where they are respected and their public service is appreciated,” he said.

“As the rampant violence,brutal assaults, destruction of property and lawlessness from rioters continues to spread throughout Portland and into residential areas, we call again on Governor Brown and our colleagues to condemn these horrific lawless acts towards the public. Their lack of this condemnation is viewed as condoning the rioters lawless acts,” said Rep. Brock Smith. “As residents of Portland visit my district or residents of my district visit that of my legislative colleagues in Portland, every Oregonian deserves the right to have their protection of health, life and safety wherever they may be in this Great State,” he said. “That is a main purpose of these protests and it is being lost by the acts of violence that continue to escalate and proliferate throughout Portland in the absence of their representative leaders condemnation of it.”

“It’s unimaginable to me that Democrat leaders across the highest levels of government would continue to stay silent, despite the destruction and hate that has befallen their city and is now spreading from Portland to other parts of our state.” Said Senator Dallas Heard (R-Roseburg). “I have stated it previously, but it needs to be said again and again that I fully support all peoples right to assemble and protest. But this isn’t just protesting. Kate Brown and Portland Legislators have stood idly by and watched as rioters pillage the streets of Portland, all the while actively punishing the smallest of the small business owners and communities of faith across the state for simply trying to stay afloat and provide hope during this pandemic.”

“Small mom and pop working class shops are closing their doors for good under the crushing restrictions and penalties put in place by Kate Brown and her elected House and Senate Democrats. Oregonians of all races and backgrounds who for so long formed the pillars of our communities are disappearing, and instead of standing up for and fighting for those peaceful communities their fates are left up to the will of the mob.”

“Make no mistake, there is no room for hate, bigotry, and violence from the extreme right or left of the political spectrum. We the Republican legislators from Southwest Oregon stand against and condemn any form of violence and hate against ANYONE! The elected Democrats running the entire state of Oregon expose their hypocrisy with every passing day that they don’t push back against this hate and intimidation.” added Senator Heard.

With escalating attacks spreading across Portland, we again call on our colleagues to join us in advocating to end the violence that continues to threaten the health, lives and safety of our Oregon Peace Officers, residents, their business and families across our state.

Below are links to the recent violence that plagues the City of Portland and its’ residents. Warning, as some of the videos have graphic violence.

First video, .attacks on innocent residents walking down the street

Second video: robbed a woman that was skateboarding and then assaulted her. A passerby then stops to help her as she is pleading for her safety.

Third video: The good samaritan and his companion begin to be assaulted, He attempts to drive away, obviously afraid for their lives and in his haste to get around other traffic while being chased by rioters,he crashes.

Fourth Video: The rioters catch up with the good samaritan, he is asking for help as his female companion is still in the truck.The rioters drag him into the street and make him sit in the road.They get the keys to his truck and begin to start getting the passenger out of the truck.

Fifth Video:WARNING-HORRIFIC CONTENT The rioters have beat the good samaritan sitting in the road, then a rioter kicks him in the back of the head knocking him unconscious–leaving him bleeding in the road.

SixthVideo:WARNING -HORRIFIC CONTENT Some come to the good samaritans aid and call 911

Last video: Fire set inside Multnomah Building

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-23 13:09:10Last Update: 2020-08-23 18:53:43

Tone Deaf: Urban vs. Rural
Change is possible

Editor's note: this is the eighth of a multi-part series recounting how the party in power is thwarting the will of the people. There is also a downloadable companion brochure

What each voter represents on their ballot is their identity and what they value – law and order, a strong economy, responsibility, and that our representatives should actually represent all Oregonians regardless of party affiliation. Through the years, urban has dictated state policy that doesn’t make sense for rural voters and they find no reason to vote. But, is that a valid reason not to vote?

Some facts that could change things. Did you know that in the early 90’s, Kate Brown ran for State Representative and won her race by 7 votes? If just 8 more people had voted for her opponent, we would most likely not have Kate Brown as Oregon’s Governor today. And, in the 2018 primary, HD 53 was won by just 2 votes. Many local elections are determined by a hand-full of votes, especially in rural counties.

Rep. E. Werner Reschke, District 56, calculated that based on the 2018 returns, both Republicans and Democrats voted at about 80%. Under strict party line voting, Republicans would need to turn 32% more votes in 2020 to change state policy -- for a total of 112%. But not everyone votes along party lines. There is no indication how Non-Affiliated (NAV) or Independent voters voted.

To change the direction in state policy, it is imperative we find commonality with NAV voters, and encourage them to vote (only 43% voted in 2018). What makes a NAV is they are all individuals and distinct. There isn’t a “common NAV message” other than they don’t like or care about parties.

With majorities in both houses of the Oregon legislature and the Governors’ office, Democrats can pass anything they want, with no cooperation across the aisle and regardless of what voters say, and they are doing so.

We all prioritize personal and family safety, and that’s where we can take advantage of the release of prisoners, increased crimes, and rioting in Portland and around the state. When values take priority over party, the gap is bridged. It can be done, it has been done, we can make the difference but only if you vote and get others to vote.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-23 13:07:47Last Update: 2020-08-08 14:43:51

Tone Deaf: Forced Vaccinations
Parents should be able to choose the health care for their children

Editor's note: this is the seventh of a multi-part series recounting how the party in power is thwarting the will of the people. There is also a downloadable companion brochure

Oregon’s leadership wanted to end all exemptions to vaccinations other than very narrowly defined and nearly impossible-to-get medical exemptions. Religious and Slavic communities saw it as a replay of the controls and persecution they escaped.

Legislative Fiscal Office said that “House Bill 3063 removes the ability of a parent to decline required immunizations against restrictable diseases as a condition of a child attending any Oregon school or children’s facility for reasons other than an indicated medical diagnosis.”

Testimony on Christian reasons to avoid vaccinations undersigned by 189 religious objectors gave details on the moral issue of cell lines taken from aborted babies: “Some of the most common vaccines are only licensed in America in forms that include live attenuated viruses cultured in aborted fetal cell lines. At least eighty abortions, likely more, took place in order to create simply that one vaccine.”

There are inherent dangers for certain children. A child today is to receive many times the doses recommended just two generations ago. Testing of some vaccines has been substandard, some children have been harmed and the pharmaceutical companies are shielded from liability. Parents shoulder the risk and should be able to choose the health care for their children.

A vaccine is in the works for the COVID-19 virus, which is to be optional according to President Trump. In Oregon, Democrats still want to add vaccinations as a mandate -- without exemptions -- for every child to attend school. They want complete medical control including single-payer healthcare. Is one more vaccine added to the 72 already required such a big deal?. The only reassurance to keep vaccinations as an opt-out is a change in the majority party.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-22 13:56:14Last Update: 2020-08-08 14:45:59

Recall Sheets Must Be Numbered Sequentially
This is not a new rule. It has been in place for years.

As the Oregon Republican Party's recall attempt against Governor Kate Brown nears the end of the signature gathering process, supporters are claiming that the Secretary of State Elections Division is changing the rules on numbering the sheets. For example, this post has been circulating on social media:

The Elections Division has just notified us they are changing the rules of the game at the 11th hour. As one example, they are requiring us to spend many, many hours reorganizing and renumbering the petitions, when such action is neither necessary or required by law...

We believe these last minute changes are meant to burden us with frivolous tasks and avoid accountability if they decide to reject our petition as inadequate.

However, the State Initiative and Referendum Manual requires that “Chief petitioners or authorized agents number each signature sheet sequentially in the space provided.”

The signature validation process used by the Secretary of State uses sampling, which depends on referencing pages by sheet number. That's why it's necessary that the pages be numbered sequentially. The Oregon Republican Party pre-numbered the sheets and now is having to go back and sequentially number them.

This is not a new rule. The current State Initiative and Referendum Manual was adopted by administrative rule in March of 2020 and the section on numbering the sheets sequentially is not new.

The deadline to sign the recall is fast approaching. You can find out more by going to www.KateBrownRecall.org

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-22 08:29:24Last Update: 2020-08-22 10:47:11

Governor Fails to Apply for Fed Money
Leaves $300 grant on the table

Governor Brown is so busy trying to outwit President Trump, she is ignoring his executive order to made available an additional $300 dollar a week grant program for unemployed families.

Representative David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) calls on the Governor and Democrat super-majority to direct the Oregon Employment Department to apply for the additional federal $300 dollar a week Unemployment Grant Program that is available. “Oregon families continue to struggle to pay for basic needs, as Governor Brown’s Executive Orders in response to COVID have crippled Oregon’s economy and have left hundreds of thousands of Oregonians unemployed,” said Rep. Brock Smith. “Although the Legislature has taken steps to increase the UI benefits for Oregonians, the failure of the Governor and super-majority to direct the Employment Department to apply for the available additional federal grants to assist these same struggling working families is deplorable,” he said. “The Oregonian recently reported, ‘Oregon could also apply for the $300 weekly grant, but opt not to pay the extra $100 boost,’ and I call on the Governor to forgo the additional $100 from the state and immediately act on the additional federal benefits to get them in the hands of Oregonians as soon as possible.”

As the Governor rolls back on further opening up the state by Executive Order 20-30, she extends her powers under a state of emergency, and she rolls back support. The federal CARES Act of $600 weekly bonus to unemployment expired the end of July, putting families in a dire situation. Instead of passing through a $300 extension, she sits on it.

Instead of passing on $300 weekly for all unemployed, The Governor chooses to pay out a $500 one-time payment to lower income people. Speaker Tina Kotek said. “We have to get more money to help people.” What is she waiting for? Playing games with the President’s Executive Order does nothing to boost the economy, because families that had a modest income don’t qualify. Instead it depresses the economy by allowing those refusing to return to work another month. Restaurant owners are begging their employees to come back to work – this will not help them.

Governor Brown extended Executive Order 20-06 and 20-15 on abnormal market disruption regarding price gouging. However, by refusing to pass along the $300 extension to the unemployed, she is found guilty of her own order gouging people in need of relief.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-22 08:03:15Last Update: 2020-08-22 08:29:24

Opinion: Why I Empathize with the Rioters
Against whom are our protestors really protesting ?

In Oregon today, our Political Establishment is trapped in an unresolvable dilemma: The status quo which has given them absolute control over Oregon Government can survive only so long as the resentments of those who are the source of that power are inflamed without boiling over.

All persons of good will are appalled by what appears to have been the unlawful use of deadly force against Mr. George Floyd, as well as so many other catastrophic deaths at the hands of our police. I certainly am.

But against whom are our protestors really protesting and our rioters really rioting?

The Oregon Democratic Party has dominated Oregon for decades. In those decades, Oregon Democrats keep promising social justice…yet, according to a November 25, 2019 Oregonian article, a black Oregonian is 830% more likely to be in jail than a white one. Worse than Mississippi. Worse than Alabama. Worse than Louisiana. In fact, worse than anywhere else in America.

No reasonable Oregonian is against peaceful protestors exercising their inalienable right to demand positive change. But centuries of experience have taught us that rage rarely leads there. And, as we see nightly, the rioters are enraged.

The rioters are losers and malcontents, which is why it isn’t easy for me to admit...They’re right.

The rioters grasp a truth that those protesting peacefully shy away from: Those in power -- “Progressive” Democrats who ritually say all of the right things -- never had any intention of delivering on any of their promises.

Ted Wheeler believes in...Ted Wheeler. Those who elevated him are counting on that.

You don’t get the support of the racketeers who wield actual power in Oregon Government by rocking the boat. And, like the Mafia in New York City in the 1980s, our racketeers intend to keep laughing all the way to the bank. Forever.

Oregonians aren’t idiots. We know that the raging torrents threaten to carry us away, but most would rather drown on the floundering horse we’re on than jump -- mid-stream -- onto a piebald nag that’s already drowned.

I hate to burst your bubble, but very few of the people I’ve met in politics on either side are inherently honest or wise. Like children, most politicians need strictly enforced boundaries.

Which brings us to the Oregon Attorney General, the one person who should be keeping the politicians and the rioters honest and on side. (And keeping the police off the peaceful protestors).

Tragically, our incumbent Attorney General wasn’t put into that job by John Kitzhaber because of her willingness to rock the boat. Ellen’s re-election slogan is, “I’ve done nothing, and it’s not working!”

Do I sympathize with the anger and resentment of the scruffy, ill-informed, easily-manipulated adolescents who are undermining our protests?

Sympathize? No. As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., teaches us, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.” But I do empathize. Because I understand what it feels like to be used by cynical politicians who will promise you anything to preserve their own power.

It hurts.

Dan Crowe is from Mount Angel. He was the 2016 Republican candidate for Attorney General.

--Dan Crowe

Post Date: 2020-08-21 19:30:34Last Update: 2020-08-17 20:23:39

Vote By Mail in Oregon
Most voters vote at a ballot collection box, not by mail

Pundits have been busy alternately hounding and reporting the results of said hounding of the United States Postal Service. Oregon has had vote by mail for a couple of decades now and we're pretty much used to the timelines and deadlines, so we know that it's not going to put any undue stress on the postal service and won't impact elections in Oregon -- at least any more than any other election.

In 2019, the Oregon Legislature did pass a law that provides for free postage on election ballot returns, so that is one thing that may impact elections and returns. Oregonians can still return their ballots via mail or by dropping them off at a ballot collection site.

Oregon Secretary of State Director of Elections Steve Trout was asked about how ballots are returned and said, "For the past few election cycles it has been 60% Dropbox and 40% through the mail. For this year's May primary it changed to 50/50. We are not sure if that was due to COVID or prepaid postage but probably a little of both."

State Representative E. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath County) said, “One of the good things about Oregon’s Vote By Mail is you don’t have use the postal service. Voters can personally drop off their ballots at an official Drop Box up until 8pm on Election Night. If the USPS shut down tomorrow, Oregon’s voting system wouldn’t miss a beat.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-21 14:25:16Last Update: 2020-08-21 21:03:15

Oregon Agriculture Department Rebranded
$54,000 price tag for new logo, brand

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is proud to announce a new look for the department. The new brand is the result of a redesign effort intended to mirror the growth and transformation of ODA. The previous logo, created more than 30 years ago, is not representative of the many services ODA provides nor does it reflect the department’s updated strategic plan, mission, and vision.

The new logo, colors, and tagline represent agriculture throughout the state of Oregon and ODA’s commitment to the industry. The raising yellow sun represents the vast livestock lands in eastern Oregon, fields of wheat, and optimism as we move into the future. The green leaves illustrate Oregon’s fertile valleys, diversity of crops, growth, and renewal. And blue is tied to a continuous cycle of transformation, Oregon’s oceans, rivers, rain, and commercial fishing. The elements form an “O” for Oregon symbolizing wholeness and timelessness. The tagline reinforces ODA’s dedication to protecting, promoting, and working to help Oregon agriculture, businesses, and communities prosper—today and tomorrow.

ODA began the process of updating its brand in the fall of 2019. The previous logo was nearly 30 years old. The department is thankful for the time stakeholders and employees dedicated to helping create the new brand which represents all of ODA’s work. While the work was completed in March 2020, the release was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In recognition of the state’s budget constraints, ODA is focused first on updating its digital presence with minimal or no cost. The department will wait to order new letterhead, business cards, and other collateral until we run out of the old. As a result, the public may see a bit of the old logo along with the new for some time as the department makes this transition.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-21 14:15:57Last Update: 2020-08-21 14:25:16

I Feel Your Pain
“I hate this pandemic”

The Governor held a press conference today where she gave lip service to the social and economic hardships we're facing because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Ultimately, she thinks that these hardships are a fair exchange for the restrictions she thinks are necessary to combat an outbreak that has killed 400 in a state with 4 million.

State Senator Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis) is having a hard time because of these hardships. Though she doesn't give a great deal of detail -- which is fine -- she's entitled to some privacy, even as an elected official -- her public communications can't help but make a feeling person empathize. Maybe the Governor needs to have a conversation with Senator Gelser. Both Brown and Gelser draw secure paychecks that can't be touched by the economic downturn, unlike many, many other Oregonians.

Anyone familiar with Senator Gelser and her work, knows that she's not a weak person and she doesn't get beat down easily. But if the political elites are starting to feel the pain, maybe they could extrapolate that to the rest of us and give a little bit as far as opening the state goes. If Senator Gelser is crying out on social media, surely the rest of Oregon is feeling the hurt.

We wish the Senator the best.


Post Date: 2020-08-21 13:43:31Last Update: 2020-08-21 14:07:27

Tone Deaf: They Want Your Guns
What part of “shall not be infringed” do you not understand?

Editor's note: this is the sixth of a multi-part series recounting how the party in power is thwarting the will of the people. There is also a downloadable companion brochure

The Second Amendment prevents the government from infringing on U.S. citizens' inalienable right to self-defense. The right to bear arms “shall not be infringed” was ratified in 1791. The controversy comes from fear and that many people believe it to be extremely dangerous enabling mass shootings. When gun restrictions failed at the national level in 2013, the gun prohibitionists coordinated and ramped up events at the state level in many states and Oregon was no exception. Oregon may have been a target because we have been a solid gun-rights state.

The approach has been to nibble at the edges and claim it is not really infringement. Gun rights are something people have beyond the government and the government is there to protect - similar to freedoms of speech and religion.

Every session more gun control bills are introduced, no matter how many have passed before and regardless of the lack of evidence that any previous law affected any crime rate. In the wake of Portland riots, Portland reports a 327% increase in arson based on June’s report compared to a year ago, a 63% increase in vandalism, and 46% increase in burglary. Even before the riots, Oregon State Police conducted 40,000 background checks in March, nearly doubled from 2018 and 2019. What probably disturbs lawmakers is that in the U.S. only 6,058,390 guns are registered out of 393 million owned. These were broken down by state with Oregon ranking 33rd having 74,722 registered guns in 2019. That’s an estimated 40,500 unregister guns in Oregon that are targets for legislation.

Universal background checks were the Holy Grail, and that passed in Oregon in 2014 despite overwhelming opposition. A “Red flag law” passed in 2017, allowing reporting of dangerous gun owners, again under massive opposition and in an undercover move they held a hearing and committee vote on short notice on Monday July 3, when everyone was away for the weekend and couldn’t show opposition.

Now Democrats propose to end statewide preemption, which would allow local restrictions and thus make it difficult or impossible to know if you conceal carry legally. Citizens and law enforcement overwhelmingly opposed all of these, supporting Second Amendment rights. Cities and counties are already free to limit public possession of loaded firearms by individuals who do not have an Oregon Concealed Handgun License, and the cities of Portland, Beaverton, Tigard, Oregon City, Salem, and Independence, as well as Multnomah County have banned loaded firearms in all public places for those without a license.

Oregon gun laws focus on the sale and background checks of those purchasing through legal means, and requires a concealed carry permit if not carrying openly. A gun owner can be held liable in civil court if a firearm injury is caused by negligence, and can be held responsible for damages in a wrongful death claim if the firearm is used to kill someone. I n 2011, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that public universities cannot prohibit firearms on their grounds; however, they may prohibit them inside buildings.

There were four initiatives that failed to gather enough signatures this year, but set the stage for the 2021 legislature.

Does expanding regulations on gun controls really help in reducing gun related crimes? Think about this, “There is no First Amendment without a Second Amendment.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-21 13:03:13Last Update: 2020-08-08 16:16:58

Portland is Famous. Even in Pennsylvania.
Candidate’s message in the keystone state: “Good luck, Portland”

It's not surprising that “law-and-order” politicians are using the nightly riots in Portland as a backdrop for their messaging, but from 3,000 miles away in NE Pennsylvania? That's exactly the strategy of Jim Bognet, a candidate for Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District -- a clear signal that even in a swing state like Pennsylvania, Portland's lack of attention to street violence.

Of course, locals like Alek Skarlatos, running in Oregon's 4th Congressional district against Peter DeFazio, have capitalized on the same message.

Calls to “defund the police” have been backed away from by many over-zealous liberal politicians, fearful that such a stance may not serve them well in the upcoming election. Oregon and Oregon's largest city, Portland, have long been a destination based on the perception of a progressive and vital culture. What we're leaving people with is an image of a dumpster fire.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-21 12:33:28Last Update: 2020-08-21 12:51:40

Kate Brown Wants to Raise Tobacco Prices
Also wants special licensing required to sell

Governor Kate Brown today received recommendations from the Vaping Public Health Work Group to address the epidemic of vaping-related illness and youth vaping in Oregon. According to the Oregon Health Authority, youth e-cigarette use jumped 80 percent between 2017 and 2019.

The work group’s membership includes doctors and experts in pulmonology, pediatrics, and public health, as well as state legislators and state agency representatives. Over the course of the last eight months, they met to discuss the health risks of vaping and making public policy recommendations for long-term solutions.

“In the middle of a worldwide pandemic, it might be easy to forget that less than a year ago, we faced a nationwide epidemic of vaping-related illness,” said Governor Brown. “Now, though, as we are facing the spread of a disease that attacks our respiratory systems, it’s even more important that we take steps to protect the health and safety of Oregon’s youth, who have been using vaping products at increasingly high rates.”

“I would like to thank the members of this work group for continuing this important work even as many of them were also on the front lines responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on these recommendations, we can take long-term steps to ensure that we do not see another outbreak of vaping-related illnesses and deaths, as we did last summer.”

Among the health experts on the Vaping Public Health Work Group is Dr. Brian Druker of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, a pioneer in the field of precision medicine whose research has helped to revolutionize cancer treatment. Dr. Mary McKenzie, the Director of Pulmonology at Legacy Health, also brought her direct experience working with patients with vaping-related lung injuries to the panel.

The recommendations of the Vaping Public Health Work Group include:

Banning the use of flavored e-cigarettes and other flavored vaping tobacco products

Flavored products disproportionately target Oregon youth, young adults, and communities of color. Banning these products is an evidenced-based approach to prevent Oregonians from becoming addicted at a young age. Flavored products are market-entry products, with 75% of Oregon youth choosing flavored products, compared to only 18% of adults over the age of 25. For decades, the tobacco industry has also targeted people with low incomes and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities with marketing campaigns, leading to harmful health impacts for those communities.

Banning harmful additives, requiring ingredient disclosure for cannabis vaping products, and establishing standards for documentation and verification

Because cannabis is a new industry, additional regulations are needed to ban harmful additives, such as vitamin E acetate, which were strongly linked to the outbreak of vaping-related illness last summer. Many illnesses were linked to products purchased at licensed retailers. Other additives may also be harmful. Ingredient disclosure will help consumers and regulators verify what additives are in cannabis vaping products. In addition, there are not yet established federal or state safety standards for the safety of additives when combusted or vaporized.

Increasing the price of tobacco and nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, through tax and non-tax approaches

As youth have less spending money than adults, they are generally price-sensitive consumers. Raising the price of tobacco products has shown to be the most effective way to reduce youth use, reducing overall tobacco-related health care costs and deaths. In general, For every 10% increase in the price of e-cigarettes, use can drop by as much as 20%, depending upon the type of e-cigarette. E-cigarettes and other inhalant delivery systems are not currently taxed in Oregon.

Banning online and phone sales of e-cigarettes and other vaping products

Requiring in-person sales of vaping products will help prevent the sale of vaping products to underage Oregonians. While state and federal law prevent the online sale of cigarettes, there is no federal law prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes and other inhalant delivery systems.

Tobacco retail licensing

Only eight states, including Oregon, do not have a tobacco retail licensing system. Licensure would create a mechanism to help ensure that tobacco laws can be enforced effectively, including laws prohibiting the sale of vaping products to underage Oregonians. Licensure fees would help to cover the costs of vaping-awareness education and enforcement.

CBD device regulations

The CBD market is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the cannabis industry. Because they do not contain THC, CBD vaping products are not subject to the same regulations as other cannabis vaping products. As such, no regulations currently prevent youth access to these products.

Audit testing of cannabis products

A state lab to conduct audit testing of marijuana products would help to prevent the sale of prohibited substances and verify ingredients and additives. Recognizing that a state lab would be a significant expenditure, the work group recommends that the state utilize private, licensed labs to conduct audit testing in the near term.

Cessation supports

Nicotine is a powerfully-addictive drug, and making cessation supports like medications and counseling available through health care providers and insurers would remove barriers to patients receiving the help and support they need to quit.

Public relations campaign

Public education efforts have helped to decrease youth smoking and smoking rates generally in the United States, and would also be effective to decrease youth vaping rates. This would save future health care costs over the long term.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-20 22:35:20Last Update: 2020-08-21 19:12:01

Tone Deaf: Carbon Tax
More taxes doesn’t mean a better environment

Editor's note: this is the fifth of a multi-part series recounting how the party in power is thwarting the will of the people. There is also a downloadable companion brochure

“Cap and Invest” is a tax that would hit seniors and the lowest income families the hardest. The stated goal is to require all electricity through renewable and carbon-free sources reducing greenhouse gases 45% below 1990 emissions levels by 2035. We are at 32% below 1990 already, so we are on track - why this bill?

The mechanism is what leadership wants because the marketplace is where the money is made. Polluters buy credits for each ton of emissions they release annually, which rolls the cost to citizens in energy costs to the tone of $700 Million in new taxes, 72-cent increase in gas costs, and 13% increase on utilities. It was all exposed when Oregon State Climate Change Research Institute Director Phil Mote testified on May 27, 2018 that the bill will have a net effect of zero on world climate.

Regardless, in order to pass the bill out of Ways & Means in 2019, Democrat Senate President Peter Courtney replaced Senator Betsy Johnson’s no vote with his yes vote in order to move the bill to a floor vote triggering Republican Senators to walk out.

Then in 2020, Democrat leadership refused to listen to Republican Minority Leaders and schedule hearings on budget bills before HB 2020, which triggered another walkout and a do-nothing session. Then they refused the Republicans’ offer to return to work on the 2020 budget bills. Democrats chose to fund nothing if they couldn’t get their “cap and invest” bill.

28 of Oregon’s 36 counties opposed the legislation and some passed a formal Proclamation. They saw it as destructive to Oregonians - costing jobs and paying people not to work or “retrain” when the bill does nothing toward the stated goal according to their own expert!

Failure is not an option, Governor Brown secured $5 million from the Emergency Board on March 9, 2020, and the next day issued Executive Order 20-04 commanding DEQ to implement the new emission levels without legislation or public input. While lowering emission level will have no affect on climate change, it will cost Oregonians, for what?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-20 13:35:35Last Update: 2020-08-08 14:50:26

Kate Brown Declares Emergency Due to Wildfires
Much of Oregon in extreme fire danger

Governor Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency due to the imminent threat of wildfire across Oregon. Much of the state is now in extreme fire danger, and red flag warnings have been issued for hot, dry, windy conditions and dry thunderstorms.

Oregon has experienced wildfires this season that have resulted in evacuations, threatened critical infrastructure, and destroyed homes and other structures. The extended forecast in Oregon calls for continued warm and dry conditions, resulting in the imminent threat of fire over a broad area of the state. Furthermore, Oregon continues to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, which adds complexity to wildland firefighting and operations to protect the health and safety of firefighters and Oregonians whose homes or businesses may be threatened by wildfire.

"The wildfire season has escalated in Oregon this summer, and fire crews are working in extreme temperatures to keep homes and resources safe during this pandemic," Governor Kate Brown said. "Given drought conditions and hotter than usual temperatures, Oregonians should be prepared for an intense wildfire season this summer. I'm committed to making state resources available to ensure crews have the resources they need on the ground and across the state. I urge the public to use extreme caution and be mindful of fire restrictions to protect the beauty and bounty of our state."

Pursuant to ORS 401.165 et seq, Governor Brown determined that a threat to life, safety, and property exists due to the imminent threat of wildfire. The Governor's declaration authorizes the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal, in coordination with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, to utilize personnel, equipment and facilities from other state agencies in order to respond to or mitigate the effects of the wildfire emergency.

The Oregon National Guard will deploy firefighting resources as needed and in accordance with Operations Agreement Smokey 2020 throughout the remainder of the fire season based upon threat and resource shortfalls. The Oregon Health Authority will continue to provide guidance and assist with mitigating the spread of COVID-19 at wildland fire facilities and camps, emergency shelters, and evacuation centers.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-20 12:28:42Last Update: 2020-08-21 01:06:24

Portland Being Prioritized For Covid Relief Funds
Oregon Republican leader calls out Kate Brown

Today, the Joint Emergency Board or E-Board met to prioritize Portland over suffering Oregonians by voting to change what the Coronavirus Relief Funds(CRF) can be used for by giving over $100 million to the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), a government agency, over local governments.

In committee, Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Stayton) pointed out how the May E-Board meeting specifically set aside CRF funds for local governments after the city of Portland and Multnomah and Washington counties were given $247 million directly from the federal government.That same month, a letter from Governor Brown included how the remaining CRF funds“should be prioritized for jurisdictions that did not receive CRF funds directly from the federal government last month.

”A report from the Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) in May laid out a framework showing local governments and tribes should receive $415 million of the CRF, and a portion should be used to purchase personal protection equipment (PPE). Nowhere does it say they are responsible for purchasing Portland or Multnomah and Washington counties’ PPE.

“Governor Brown is prioritizing DAS, her personal slush fund, over suffering Oregonians,” said Senator Girod. “The local government CRF should not be used to pay for the city of Portland and Multnomah and Washington counties’ PPE because they received a generous $247 million from the federal government,in contrast to the $76.3 million distributed to local governments.”

Senator Girod continued, “This is another example of Governor Brown putting Portland first over the rest of the state.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-20 11:09:26Last Update: 2020-08-20 12:15:10

COVID-19 Counts Under Suspicion
Shutdown over science.

The decisions being made about schools, economic activity and the basic functioning of society need to be made based on the facts. This should be true regarding all government activity, but it especially needs to be true in the case of a medical crisis, where -- due to privacy requirements -- only the government has access to the facts. Lives are at stake as well as the fortunes and happiness of persons in society, and people need to have confidence that all their needs are being properly balanced, based on the facts available.

For example, in a Facebook post, Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg reported that the Oregon Health Authority is reporting “presumptive positives” for employees who have tested negative for the disease. These reports go into the numbers that make up case statistics and are ultimately used to issue shutdown orders or move counties between phases.

In another case, Malheur County announced its first COVID-19 death on June 6, a 70 year-old male. No details were reported by the county, except that the test results were reported postmortem. It turned out that, while he may have tested positive for the disease, his death was actually caused by falling off a ladder -- a cause that can hardly be attributed to a respiratory infection.

In the letter obtained by the Freedom Foundation, the OHA explained what they mean by a “COVID-19 death.” It is

death of a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case within 60 days of the earliest available date among exposure to a confirmed case, onset of symptoms, or date of specimen collection for the first positive test; or someone with a COVID-19-specific ICD-10 code listed as a primary or contributing cause of death on a death certificate

In still another instance of the state's inability to follow the facts, in a letter to constituents, Marion County Commissioner Colm Willis calls out the Governor and the OHA for a mistaken assessment that placed Marion County on a watch list.

You may have heard recently that the Governor added Marion County to her COVID-19 watch list. This was based on the Oregon Health Authority's conclusion that we had too many cases in Marion County that could not be traced to a source. Unfortunately, OHA came to this conclusion without all of the relevant information. After our epidemiologists finish a case investigation they upload information into a statewide database that OHA manages. However, because OHA changed its criteria without advance notice to our team, not all of the case information for Marion County was uploaded into the statewide system. Once all of our information was uploaded it turned out that Marion County did not meet the criteria to be included in the Governor's watch list. This was brought to the attention of the Governor, but she decided to keep Marion County on the watch list, "out of an abundance of caution." Frankly, this is ridiculous.

Other states have has similar missteps in reporting facts. Washington reported gun shot deaths as COVID-19 deaths. Colorado had to redefine its methodology for reporting fatalities after it was caught fudging the books.

These are not just one-off mistakes that can be explained away. These are all deliberate departures from facts for the purpose of keeping and exercising power. If there's any question about whether decisions are being made based on power and not safety, one only needs to look at the way in which the facts are being reported -- or not reported.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-20 10:41:02Last Update: 2020-08-20 12:35:59

Election Pledge Signed By Kate Brown
November election will happen

Governor Kate Brown today announced she is leading a coalition of the Governors of California, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Nevada, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Michigan in pledging to uphold the integrity of the general election and to work to ensure that voting is safe, accessible, and secure. The pledge sets forth commitments to ensure confidence in the integrity of the election, in light of unprecedented attacks on voting rights and voting access.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is fundamentally changing the way Americans live and work," said Governor Brown. "Our nation faces an unprecedented challenge to protect the health and lives of millions. But in the face of such a fight, we cannot let our constitutional right to free and fair elections suffer.

"In order to defeat this virus, no aspect of our society will remain untouched, and that means we also need to take steps to ensure people do not have to choose between their health and safety and their right to vote."

The Governors agreed to:
--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-19 13:05:35Last Update: 2020-08-19 13:39:24

Opinion: If You Don’t Like Rioting, You Have a Choice
Peaceful protest can only facilitate change that people actually want.

Portland Mayoral Candidate Susan Iannarone was recently interviewed on KGW’s Straight Talk: She said, “Peaceful protests, in my opinion, might not necessarily be moving the conversation forward.” She was, accidentally, 100% right.

Peaceful protest can only facilitate change that people actually want. The dilemma Antifa (and its enablers in the current Oregon power structure) face is simple: Sane people don’t want the changes Antifa demands.

The Symbionese Liberation Army and the Weather Underground ran into the same problem in their day as Antifa is now. Imposing “radical change” on American has always been hard because Americans don’t actually want radical change.

The “intelligentsia” has had to form elaborate Rube Goldberg Machines to explain America's lack of revolutionary zeal, arguing that our reluctance is a product of “false consciousness,” or maybe malignant “corporate mind control” or “racism/sexism/[fill-in-the-blank]-phobia.”

But what if the answer is as obvious as it appears? Americans don't want radical change because we believe the present system - while perhaps imperfect - is infinitely superior to the half-baked Messianic Communism of a bunch of idiots.

These scruffy, self-appointed “Vanguards of the Proletariat” seem to be incapable of understanding that our reluctance to give them absolute, unaccountable power is because of them—a bunch of ill-informed, petulant adolescents who have never achieved anything constructive in their lives and whose grievances are a product of the very surpluses the present system churns out.

The majority grasps something Antifa does not: The only people who dislike surplus are those who have always lived amidst plenty.

Antifa is misled. Our tolerance of their destructive defiance is not proof of our well-hidden desire for radical change. It is simply a product of our complacency. Tragically, Antifa is energized by our unwillingness to defend the very conditions – the Rule of Law, economic virility and opportunity, and a certain tolerance for imperfect justice – which have produced the massive plenty to which Antifa perversely takes exception...even while hypocritically gorging on it themselves.

The current Democratic power structure in Oregon never had any intention of giving Antifa any power. They just wanted to cynically use these crazy people. Heck, they might even leverage the chaos to unseat a sitting President of the United States!

But one-party government makes those in power forget the lessons of history: Like arson, deranged shock troops often end up getting out of control. And now the politicians are in a bind. There’s no one in Oregon Government to whom they can turn to re-assert order while also remaining in the good graces of the lunatic fringe.

If only they had an apolitical Oregon Attorney General who could rally our excellent law enforcers to restore law and order, someone whom Ted Wheeler and Kate Brown could denounce even while they thanked me...er...him.

Alas, all that you can do on Election Day is write in a well-qualified, apolitical name for Attorney General—to spite an Antifa which cannot solve your problems, a Democratic Party which profits from your problems, and a Republican Party whose candidate is a convicted felon.

When I ran for Oregon Attorney General in 2016, I told you that Justice in Oregon isn’t a question of Left and Right; it’s a question of right and wrong. If I hadn’t run as a Republican, they tell me I would have won.

Oregon will only return to stability and prosperity when she has an Attorney General free from the pressures of partisanship.

I am the first to admit it: For a politician, I make a great Soldier-Lawyer. And maybe that’s exactly what Oregon needs right now.

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Dan Crowe was the 2016 Republican Nominee for Oregon Attorney General.

--Dan Crowe

Post Date: 2020-08-19 08:27:58Last Update: 2020-08-17 20:25:41

OHA to Assist Communities of Color
Grants are targeted to tribes and communities of color

Although Oregon Health Authority fails to mention whether “white” people could see any support through this program, it asserts that it’s programs intention is to address a “disproportion” among “communities of color” that must be addressed through extra COVID-19 relief funds, though most Oregonians have yet to see much at all, let alone a “disproportion”.

OHA opened grant applications to not-for-profit organizations statewide, Oregon’s nine federally recognized Tribes and the Urban Indian Health Program. The grants come from legislatively directed $45 million in federal CARES Act coronavirus relief funds.

The grants are intended to address the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Oregon’s tribal communities and communities of color. This innovative program leverages federal funds to address social determinants of health and the systemic racism and other health and economic inequities tribal communities and communities of color experience, which have been compounded by COVID-19.

The program will provide grants to not for-profit-organizations and tribal communities. These grants can be used to help people address:
These health equity grants stem from priorities community partners identified in discussions with teams from the Office of Equity and Inclusion Division, Community Partner Outreach Program and OHA’s Tribal Affairs.

“This investment represents an extension of our commitment to eliminating health inequity, especially the disparities driven by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Patrick Allen, OHA Director. “It also reflects our commitment to get better at community engagement, to engage our partners upfront and authentically respond to their input.

“We know these efforts don’t address all the health inequities communities face and won’t fund all the need. However, at a time when COVID-19 poses an unprecedented health emergency, these grants will help people in communities across Oregon be safer and healthier.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-18 18:25:35Last Update: 2020-08-18 18:45:28

Tone Deaf: Getting Soft on Crime
This amounts to a partial rollback of measure 11, without voter approval

Editor's note: this is the fourth of a multi-part series recounting how the party in power is thwarting the will of the people. There is also a downloadable companion brochure

The Oregon Mandatory Sentences for Listed Felonies Act, also known as Measure 11, passed in 1994, set mandatory sentences for listed felonies and barred early release, leave or reduced sentences for persons over the age of 15. Oregon Democrat’s agenda is to undo the stiffer sentencing guidelines for the most serious person-crimes. After the implementation, Oregon District Attorneys Association (ODAA) attributed the legislation for the drop in crime rates 51% between 1995 and 2009.

Since then the law has been massaged. ODAA’s website lists this as facts, “Oregon has one of the lowest incarceration rates in the nation. According the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, only 25% of the people convicted of felonies go to prison, and that is typically for crimes such as murder, rape and robbery. Oregon’s prisons are filled with violent, repeat offenders. Non-violent, first-time (and second-time and third-time) offenders typically get probation or some other type of alternative sentence. The numbers don’t lie: According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 75% of people convicted of a felony in Oregon never go to prison. The vast majority of those in prison are there because they committed a violent offense such as murder, rape or robbery. For non-violent offenders, Oregon DAs are committed to seeking justice in ways that do not involve prison, such as diversion, drug courts, mental health courts and other alternative programs.”

The death penalty has been voted on nine times by Oregonians and always passed, but was effectively undone by the last two governors (both Democrats) who refused to carry it out. Then in 2019, the legislature passed SB 1013, which essentially bans the death penalty by reclassifying crimes making it harder to seek the death penalty by limiting the types of crimes punishable by death to terrorist acts and murders of children and police officers, among other things. Legislators were assured it was not retroactive, but when implementing didn’t support that, there were many, including ODAA, that thought the change affecting Oregon’s death penalty laws should have been referred back to the voters.

Accelerating SB 1013, Governor Brown is scheduled to release a total of 700 inmates early “to slow the spread of covid-19.” ODAA already says that 75% of people convicted of a felony in Oregon never go to prison, so she is releasing the worst of the worst. Is this correct leadership in the wake of Portland riots? Portland reports a 327% increase in arson based on June’s report compared to a year ago, a 63% increase in vandalism, and 46% increase in burglary. Drug offenses, on the other hand shows a reduction, which reflects the reforms in marijuana laws.

What is happening in Portland is taking root in other cities across the state including homes. When protesters were arrested, 59 out of 400 have had their charges dropped. Is this what stiffer sentencing guidelines look like? Is this how the state puts an end to violent riots?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-18 12:57:24Last Update: 2020-08-08 14:51:14

Are We Still Doing That Science Thing?
When people say we want to “flatten the curve,” this is the curve we are talking about

The scheduled opening date for the school year is September 8. It looks like public schools won't make it. Private schools may be able to convince the authorities to open on a one-off basis.

With the economy staggering, the state looking at a $4 billion budget deficit for the next biennium, it may be time to do some more science. As more people get the virus, more herd immunity develops and some weighing of other factors like "overwhelming hospitals" and the need to have a robust economy -- as well as a robust society in general -- needs to be done.

Not only do we need to do the science. We need to do the math. Remember, in a state with a population of 4.2 million, there have been only 23,451 cases, which is a little over 1/2 of one percent. There have been only 388 deaths. Tragic, but don't even bother to do the math.

We've been doing this for several months now -- long enough to learn from the experiences of other states and other countries, long enough to learn about therapeutics and the effectiveness of public health measures.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-17 20:25:41Last Update: 2020-08-17 22:13:09

Opinion: Oregon’s Ongoing Problem with Slavery
The mission remains incomplete.

I consider Craig Berkman – a former Oregon Republican Party Chair and convicted felon – a friend.

As a career military defense lawyer who got sucked into Oregon politics while serving as Oregon’s Veterans Advocate, it always puzzled me why politicians on both sides weren’t more sympathetic to people in jail, at least as a professional courtesy. I suppose Craig’s journey from politics to prison happened because he stole from someone important. One way or the other, he did his time and was paroled to Tampa.

For most of Craig’s erstwhile “friends” in Oregon, his conviction was the end of the story. But for me, it was just the beginning. By the time he was paroled, Craig had seen the inside of “American justice,” and it shocked him to his core. Like Chuck Colson before him, Craig decided to devote the rest of his life to fighting prison slavery via his Free at Last Coalition.

You see, most of us think that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution outlawed slavery. But a huge loophole remained. Slavery in America is still perfectly legal “as a punishment for crime.”

We are not talking about a court-martial sentence “to hard labor without confinement.” (Soldiers breaking rocks still get paid.) America’s multi-billion-dollar for-profit prison industry is rooted in paying prisoners nothing. It’s a racket which generates billions of dollars of profits per year for the private companies that run the businesses…and for the States that rent out their prisoners and keep the wages.

Given that Oregon incarcerates black people at drastically higher rates than whites, use of prison slave labor is more than a little bit awkward to a Ruling Party in Oregon that won’t shut up about “social justice.”

In using State power to exploit the helpless for profit, for-profit prison industries are simply using the same playbook that giant corporations like Apple and Nike do in collaboration with dictatorships like China. The only difference is that our prison slavery is happening in places like Sheridan, Oregon.

In Tom McCall’s Oregon, the Republican Party stood for moderation, consensus, and live-and-let-live. As a farm boy from Mount Angel, I grew up in that tradition and ran on it when I was the Republican nominee for Oregon Attorney General in 2016.

No one ever told me that my passionate advocacy for fundamental reform of Oregon Justice, the elimination of non-unanimous juries, the fair treatment of all Oregonians under the law, and better stewardship of our environment wasn’t “Republican enough.” To me, Justice has never been a question of Left and Right. It’s a matter of right and wrong.

And that’s how Craig and I were introduced.

The Republican Party was formed in 1854 to complete the destruction of slavery which had begun in New England before the Constitution was even ratified. (When Vermont was founded in July of 1777, slavery was banned outright.)

But the mission remains incomplete.

Craig invited me to work with him in the Free at Last Coalition, and I was proud to join. I brought to the effort the idea that justice reform and public defense are core Republican issues. We are not the Party of rampant, unregulated Capitalism-at-all-costs. Tom McCall’s Republican Party – and therefore my Republican Party – is the party of conservationism, which is rooted in the same soil as conservatism.

Oregon Republicanism must seek to conserve the best traditions of the past, while steadfastly supporting the expansion of the best of society (and government) to all Oregonians. Standing up for the least amongst us is one of those best practices. It’s what Republicanism was created for.

Section 34 of Oregon’s Bill of Rights mirrors the ‘exception clause’ of the 13th Amendment. Section 34 is the basis for legalized slavery in Oregon.

It needs to be fixed.

Oregon doesn’t have the power to singlehandedly change the U.S. Constitution. But we can change our own. Rather than incessant, hopeless recall efforts against a hapless Governor, Oregon’s Republican Party should lead the charge in ripping the last remnants of legalized slavery from Oregon’s Constitution.

Somewhere in Heaven, Abraham Lincoln and Tom McCall are nodding.

Dan Crowe is from Mount Angel. He was the Republican candidate for Oregon Attorney General in 2016. He is against slavery.

--Dan Crowe

Post Date: 2020-08-17 09:47:24Last Update: 2020-08-17 18:27:58

Feds Approve Lethal Removal of Sea Lions
It’s a measure meant to save endangered salmon

In a document released by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration entitled “Reducing Predation Impacts on At-Risk Fish by California and Steller Sea Lions In the Columbia River Basin” the federal government has authorized lethal removal of sea lions in the Columbia river by the Washington and Oregon departments of fish and wildlife, as well as several listed tribes.

The document outlines three alternatives: do nothing, Lethal and Non-Lethal Removal of Sea Lions, and Lethal and Non-Lethal Removal of Sea Lions and Modified Task Force Recommendations. They chose option three.

The document goes on to say

National Marine Fisheries Service would partially grant the eligible entities’ request, with modifications, for lethal removal authority of California Sea Lions and Stellar Sea Lions. The eligible entities’ would kill sea lions captured in a trap via lethal injection or captive bolt, and would involve the transfer of healthy sea lions to zoos or aquaria, if available. Where trapping of sea lions is not feasible due to environmental or behavioral constraints, sea lions may be darted to facilitate capture and removal. The methods and protocols for darting and removal of free-ranging sea lions shall be developed and approved by National Marine Fisheries Service and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee prior to implementation. Annually, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee shall evaluate the darting, capture, and removal of free-ranging sea lions, the methods and protocols, and determine if they need to be modified or discontinued.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-17 09:06:50Last Update: 2020-08-17 09:47:24

Oregon Hospital Connected to Portland Riots
OHSU President affirms support for far left extremism

Oregon Health and Sciences University, located in Portland, Oregon has came under fire for being invested in the controversial Marxist organization, ‘Black Lives Matter”. Several employees of the hospital were found to be distributing supplies to the rioters who have been plaguing Portland for nearly three months with what the main stream media has referred to as “mostly peaceful protests”.

OHSU President, Danny Jacobs has gone as far as releasing this statement which is in support of the organization BLM. He includes some “anti-racism” resources for “white people”.

“George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor...are the names of three recent victims of violence against people of color; a violence that remains rampant in our country. We have seen and listened in horror and utter disbelief at the tragic events surrounding their deaths in the media. These losses have impacted communities of color in deep and excruciatingly painful ways, as they represent so many others before them who also suffered untimely deaths from similarly tragic events. Their names will soon be replaced with others if we continue to allow systemic racism in thoughts, words and deeds to plague our nation.

“While we process the anger and despair these events have evoked among so many of us, it’s important to remember who we are as a university. Our mission is to enhance the health and well-being of Oregonians. We are a community of healers who have dedicated our lives to improving the human condition of others. This includes the physical and mental anguish people of color are suffering from as a result of bias and discrimination. These senseless attacks are antithetical to OHSU’s values and contrary to the work we do.

“This crisis demands the attention of us all—we cannot permit the loss of any more lives by sitting idly by and simply hoping for change. We must shatter the structural racism that perpetuates these cruel acts against people of color. The time to end racist-fueled discrimination and brutality is now.

“Acknowledging the fact that racism exists is the first imperative step in committing to change. Let’s educate ourselves about the historical cultural norms that are embedded into our everyday lives that contribute to bias and prejudice that leads to the injury, trauma and untimely death of Black men and women. Institutional racism is also inherent to disparities in health, education, wealth and the criminal justice system. You can act by joining conversations about race, listening to new ideas, declaring an anti-racist stance with your friends, families and coworkers, and inviting others to join you. Silence and inaction have led our society to where we are today and can no longer be tolerated going forward.

“OHSU firmly stands with the communities supporting George, Ahmaud and Breonna in calling for justice to be served and with our own members who are grieving and heartbroken. It is important to acknowledge the disproportionate psychological toll these events have on Black members of our community. If you are experiencing trauma, please practice self-care by seeking support from your friends, family and other community members, and utilizing the Employee Assistance Program, Confidential Advocacy Program and Resident and Faculty Wellness Program.

“Other emotional wellness resources are available at OHSU for employees and students to help in dealing with these tragedies, and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion is also here to support you. Thank you for your commitment to creating a safe, inclusive and equitable society for all.”

Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S., OHSU President

The organization “Black Lives Matter” clearly has a radical agenda. Critics would note that the philosophies promoted by BLM -- such as the desire to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family” -- will only continue to propagate the same frustrations that have plagued these communities.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-16 17:34:48Last Update: 2020-08-16 18:39:52

Tone Deaf: Gross Receipts Tax
Defeated by the voters, it comes back to life in the legislature.

Editor's note: this is the third of a multi-part series recounting how the party in power is thwarting the will of the people. There is also a downloadable companion brochure

Gross Receipts Tax, also called the Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) is a tax on gross receipts regardless if a profit was made. It’s a tax to do business in Oregon. Oregon voters rejected the gross receipts tax ‘Measure 97’ in 2016, 60% to 40% and rightfully so: gross receipts taxes are regressive in that they raise costs to consumers and affect those at the lowest income levels the most.

Four states - Indiana, New Jersey, Kentucky, and Michigan, tried gross receipts taxes and found them harmful to the state’s economy and repealed them. Regardless, the 2019 Oregon legislature passed HB 3427, a $2.5 Billion gross receipts tax, the largest tax increase in the state’s history. At the same time, Senate Bill 116-B passed, which preemptively torpedoed the ability of voters to refer HB 3427 to the ballot by setting the election date for January 2020, which is notorious for depressing voter turnout, and allowing the legislature (in other words, Democrats) to write the ballot title rather than the customary Secretary of State’s office. It was a deliberate step to stop a challenge of the legislation.

The gross receipts tax was advertised as a way to increase education spending. Yet critics of the proposal contend that revenue from the new tax will likely be used to supplant existing education spending and raise overall spending. What got lost in the debate is the fact that Oregon’s rate of growth in education spending is topping the rest of the nation. Forbes reports that “during the last half decade (2012-2017 data), state spending on K-12 in all 50 states increased by 16.5%. Yet in Oregon, K-12 spending rose much more rapidly, by 26.3% -- now putting Oregon near the top in spending per student. This means that HB 3427 proponents are imposing a new tax, one of the most economically harmful, in order to put more money into an area of the budget that is already growing much more rapidly in Oregon than in other states.”

What does Governor Brown plan to do to keep Oregon from the same downward spiral of increasing taxes as other states experienced, and how will she discourage people from fleeing? Are we headed for a state that looks like Detroit - no public services and bankrupt?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-16 13:54:14Last Update: 2020-08-08 14:52:54

Kate Brown Disappointed Prisons Won’t Be Closing.
Warner and Shutter Creek facilities to remain open after budget cuts.

During a press conference briefing of the Special Session on August 11th, 2020 Kate Brown expressed she was “disappointed that the Warner and Shutter Creek prisons would remain open.”

As if to wag her finger at the lawmakers who didn’t help her pass this legislation, she went on to say, “I think – and evidence shows, we can be much smarter in our approach to tackling crime”. This can be taken as an odd statement when just this last Spring she had proposed prisoner releases due to COVID-19 fears.

Oregonians are unsure of her claim that “we can safely close our prisons and keep our communities safe” since there have recently been a large amount of protesters who have been charged with crimes against business owners and patrons of downtown Portland, and now those charges have been dropped or ignored by Multnomah County Courts.

She went on to respond stating “we should be focusing on preventing crime and investing in drug and alcohol treatments and other strategies” and “for the first time in years Oregon prison projections are down”. Critics are wondering if it be that those projections are down because her administration demands the courts look the other way on the lawlessness and rioting going on Downtown? Or is it because she truly plans on tackling crime in an efficient and just manner.

--Sabrina-Marie Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-16 06:41:25Last Update: 2020-08-16 18:02:21

How to Use OLIS to Find Legislative Information
Featuring State Rep. Bill Post


Post Date: 2020-08-15 14:57:39Last Update: 2020-09-13 15:02:58

How to Look Up Campaign Finance Info
Featuring State Rep. Bill Post


Post Date: 2020-08-15 14:53:28Last Update: 2020-09-13 15:03:10

How to Use “My Vote”
Featuring State Rep. Bill Post


Post Date: 2020-08-15 14:46:30Last Update: 2020-09-13 15:03:26

Fire Threatens Columbia Gorge
Wasco County officials are concerned about the fire’s trajectory

Nearly 1,000 acres are burning in a Columbia Gorge fire that has been determined to be human-caused. State resources are being utilized despite the nearly 4 million in cuts to the Oregon Department of Forestry Fire Protection program, and at this time, efforts to contain the fire are struggling at the time of this writing. Level 1,2, and 3 Evacuations have been ordered, numbering in the hundreds. Some structures and homes have already been a total loss.

Governor Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act in response to the Mosier Creek fire that broke out in Wasco County this evening. The fire is currently threatening 300 homes, and residents of Osburne Cutoff, Vensel, Catron, Dry Creek, Carroll, Morgenson, and from Chenoweth Airport to Vensel/Ketchum road are on level 3 evacuations. Oregon State Fire Marshal will assume command tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. and will work to bring resources from counties around Oregon to assist in the response. Oregon State Fire Marshal will be working under unified command with Oregon Department of Forestry.

"With high temperatures and weather conditions helping fires grow quickly, I have invoked an emergency declaration to make more state resources available to the fire crews on the front lines in Wasco County and the Columbia River Gorge at the Mosier Creek fire," Governor Brown said. "I ask Oregonians to remember that preventing wildfires is critical this year, especially as we have fire crews on the front lines during this pandemic. Be cautious and honor all burn bans, and keep our fire crews in your thoughts as they fight to protect our communities and the landscapes that surround them."

In accordance with ORS 476.510 - 476.610, Governor Brown determined that a threat to life, safety, and property exists due to the fire, and the threat exceeds the firefighting capabilities of local firefighting personnel and equipment.

The Governor's declaration authorizes the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal to mobilize resources to assist local resources battling the fire.

Fire danger levels will be on the rise in Oregon, with a warming trend this weekend into next week. Residents are asked to take extra precautions to prevent human-caused wildfires. Oregonians are encouraged to take extra care when preparing for road trips and outdoor adventures that include securing and maintaining vehicles before hitting the road and checking on all campfire and local restrictions at intended destinations.

Wasco County officials have expressed concern about the fire’s trajectory in the upcoming weekend which is going to be a hot one.

The second special session of the legislature featured several reduction in fire protection spending, including reductions in equipment purchases, delays in radio system purchases and increases in the rates charged to private landowners for fire protection -- all while maintaining over $200,000,000 in raises for public employees.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-15 06:12:05Last Update: 2020-08-15 06:41:25

State Police Pull Out of Portland
Leave a glancing blow for the DA on the way out.

The State Police have announced that they are leaving Portland and apparently re-deploying to counties with friendlier -- or less-friendly, depending on your point of view -- District Attorneys than the one in Multnomah County. Oregon State Police Captain Timothy R. Fox issued this statement:

The Oregon State Police is continually reassessing our resources and the needs of our partner agencies and at this time we are inclined to move those resources back to counties where prosecution of criminal conduct is still a priority.

Last night was our last night in Portland.

This decision was based on the fact that our two week commitment ended last night... Troopers are returning to the communities that they are assigned to serve and protect.

Readers will remember that Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s Office announced a new policy in which he said that “[w]e will presumptively decline to charge cases where the most serious offenses are city ordinance violations and crimes that do not involve deliberate property damage, theft, or the use or threat of force against another person. Crimes in this category include:
In a tweet, Governor Brown seemed to indicate that it was planned all along.

The level of violence in the core downtown Portland area has fluctuated over the two plus months of nightly rioting, and it remains to be seen if this move impacts the intensity of the violent activity.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-13 21:44:00Last Update: 2020-08-13 22:23:00

Culver School District Will Open
We will be ready to open our doors on September 8

In a letter addressed to Culver families District Superintendent Stefanie Garber has announced that the schools in the district will be opening and that the district does “not believe [distance learning] is best for our students, our families, and our community.”

Garber opens the letter by saying, “On Tuesday, July 26, 2020, Governor Kate Brown raised the requirements for school districts to open in response to COVID-19. Using these new metrics, Culver wouldn’t be able to have students on campus until the number of daily cases in Jefferson county is under 3 cases, for 21 days. You are hearing about some of our neighboring districts starting the school year with Distance Learning and no students on campus.”

Garber says that 89.7% of the district want onsite learning and will accommodate the rest with hybrid learning, which involves a mix of onsite and distance learning. She cites several evidence based arguments for opening the district.

Jefferson County recently had an outbreak but it seems to be leveling off and will probably self-mitigate by early September.

Garber concludes the letter by sternly stating, “We have purchased all the necessary equipment, as well as hired more custodial staff, to make sure we have an extra-sanitized and safe school environment. We will be ready to open our doors on September 8, 2020.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-13 15:04:21Last Update: 2020-08-13 15:33:48

Tone Deaf: Driving Privileges for Illegals
Passed in 2013, rejected in 2014, passed again in 2019.

Editor's note: this is the first of a multi-part series recounting how the party in power is thwarting the will of the people. There is also a downloadable companion brochure

The Oregon legislature passed SB 833 in 2013 to issue drivers’ licenses to those unable to show proof of legal presence in the United States. Using Oregon's Referendum law which allows citizens to veto any act of the legislature that does not have an emergency clause, signatures were gathered and the question was put to the voters.

Voters overturned the act with Ballot Measure 88 in November 2014. The vote to veto failed in Multnomah County but prevailed in 35 other counties, approved by 66% of Oregon voters – nearly a 2:1 margin. It was a surprising defeat for Multnomah County when security-minded voters banded together, regardless of party affiliation.

Even though nearly a million Oregonians voted NO on Measure 88, over the next four years the Legislature’s Democrat majority operated as though Ballot Measure 88′s outcome had been the opposite. Richard F. LaMountain, current President of Oregonians for Immigration Reform and chief sponsor of Measure 88, noted that the Democrat majority “plowed forward with laws that credentialed college students here illegally to compete with U.S. citizens for taxpayer-funded scholarships; extended Oregon Health Plan coverage to 14,000 additional illegal immigrants; broadened sanctuary protections; and granted illegal immigrants enrolled in Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program the right to renew Oregon driver licenses.”

Then, again Democrat legislators passed HB 2015 in 2019, giving drivers’ licenses to those without proof of legal residence. One must ask if Oregon’s initiative system is so disregarded, our only recourse is to vote.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-13 13:49:44Last Update: 2020-08-08 14:54:15

Catch and Release
Multnomah County is open for riot tourism

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s Office has set a new policy regarding protest related cases. “We recognize that we will undermine public safety, not promote it, if we leverage the force of our criminal justice system against peaceful protesters who are demanding to be heard... A prosecutor choosing to decline to prosecute a case is not condoning or endorsing the conduct that led to the arrest and/or citation.”

Demetria Hester, a Black Lives Matter leader was arrested during Monday’s declared riot for disorderly conduct in the second degree and interfering with a peace officer. The Multnomah County District Attorney declined to prosecute and charges were dismissed.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s policy goes on to state, “We will presumptively decline to charge cases where the most serious offenses are city ordinance violations and crimes that do not involve deliberate property damage, theft, or the use or threat of force against another person. Crimes in this category include:
On the face, the charges deserved an investigation according to the policy.

The policy strives, “to advance the safety of our community and its members. We recognize the need to broaden our vision of what a safe community means and our role in promoting that vision. To advance public safety we must not only prevent crime, but must also promote economic and housing stability, educational opportunities, strong family and community relationships, and the mental and physical health of all those who live in our county.”

Upon release, Hester said, “This is a revolution and we’re getting reparations. If you’re here, do your part.” She ended her remarks by inciting the crowd that had gathered in chants of “stay woke” and “reparations.” She told reporters she is a survivor of a hate crime on the light-rail train in Portland, “we will never stop because we want to be treated equal as people.”

Her idea of equality is her right to loot, destroy businesses and public buildings endangering public safety – it isn’t reparation to steel from others. Perhaps the attorneys need to consider motive and degree of inciting damage when dismissing a leader that publicly promotes destruction. How interested are Portland leaders in stopping the looting and rioting and protecting their community?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-12 18:54:18Last Update: 2020-08-12 22:05:35

Private Schools Appeal to Governor Brown
They claim the Governor moved the goal posts

An ad hoc consortium of private schools has sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown asking that she rethink restrictions on the opening of their schools in the fall.

The letter recounts the original understanding, “Private schools have been told that there is no final approval required as the the plan. They were to submit a plan to Local Public Health Agency, post it on each schools website, submit the plan to the governing board, and provide a web link to [the Oregon Department of Education]. Then, the school would be ready to open as outlined in the plan.”

Private schools -- especially smaller ones -- may not be able to manage the costs.

“Private schools have, in good faith, spent time, finances, and committed to teachers and school families based on the guidelines that private schools were able to choose the instructional model that was best for their school communities, and could open for in-person instruction with a completed plan following Sections 1-3 of the guidance. The sudden mandate for comprehensive distance learning puts the integrity of private schools on the line, which, in good faith, committed to educate children in-person, and collected tuition from parents based on the premise that they could open under the conditions as outlined by the [the Oregon Health Authority]. In addition, the shift did not come with any funds from [the Oregon Department of Education] to private schools to implement the shift - unlike the promise to public schools.”

Near the end of the six page letter, following argument as to why the schools should be allowed to open, the final plea is made.

“We know that in-person education is significantly better than online learning. We cannot subscribe to a one size fits all approach to opening our schools in the Fall. There may be one size which fits all in terms of large, urban, public schools. Oregon private schools are designed to focus on the needs of our own specific communities. In many instances these specific communities contain a significant number of minority students.”

“Accordingly, we request that you affirm the guidelines issued by [the Oregon Department of Education] and [the Oregon Health Authority] up to to July 27. 2020, remain in effect for private school reopening as provided in Sections 1, 2, and 3 of the Safe Schools, Ready Learners document.”

The letter was signed by a wide variety of elected officials, including:

Bev Clarno, Oregon Secretary of State
Senator Tim Knopp
Senator Kim Thatcher
Senator Chuck Thomsen
Senator Bill Hansell
Representative Raquel Moore-Green
Representative Greg Barreto
Representative Shelly Boshart Davis
Representative Mike Nearman
Representative E. Werner Reschke
Cliff Bentz, Oregon Congressional Nominee
Colm Willis, Marion County Commissioner
Tootie Smith, Clackamas County Commissioner
Lily Morgan, Josephine County Commissioner
Mary Starrett, Yamhill County Commissioner
Lindsay Berschauer, Yamhill County Commissioner-Elect
Sue Gold, Curry County Commissioner
Mark Bennett, Baker County Commissioner
Sam Brentano, Marion County Commissioner
Jerry Willey, Washington County Commissioner
Rick Dyer, Jackson County Commissioner
Lyle Mordhorst, Polk County Commissioner

Numerous educators and administrators also signed the letter

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-12 15:57:12Last Update: 2020-08-12 18:54:18

Skarlatos Condemns Violence
Public safety looks to be a big issue in November

Alek Skarlatos, Candidate for Oregon’s 4th Congressional District, issued a statement condemning the Seattle City Council’s decision to defund their police department as both reckless and dangerous. Seattle’s Police Chief, Carmen Best, announced plans to retire in the wake of the vote which saw only one city councilor vote against the budget package stating that it did not go far enough in its radical aims.

“I visited the ‘Police Free Zone’ in Seattle prior to the shootings there and the murder of a 19 year-old young man,” said Skarlatos. “This ‘Mob Squad’ of politicians who support defunding the police have blood on their hands and are responsible for the violence that has come to rural Oregon.”

The CHOP, or CHAZ, was formed in Seattle on June 8th of this year by violent protesters who forced police to abandon the East Precinct Building and declared it a police free autonomous zone. Its creation spurred increased anarchy in the city culminating in several shootings, including a murder, eventually forcing the mayor to order police to clear the neighborhood. The violence has spread to many other cities throughout the country and region with Portland, Oregon facing more than 70 straight days of unrest as Antifa-affiliated groups have targeted the Federal Courthouse in that city. Smaller cities such as Eugene and Springfield, Oregon have experienced rioting that targeted local businesses and residential areas.

You can find out more about Alek Skarlatos at his website

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-12 12:13:03Last Update: 2020-08-12 12:27:21

Linthicum Denounces Proposed Travel Ban
Reminds the Governor that travel is a civil right

State Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) issued a statement pointing to the unconstitutionality of potential travel bans during the COVID-19 event. Governor Kate Brown has threatened to institute travel bans across state lines to further perpetuate fear of the virus.

“A travel ban would crush any bit of remaining life out of rural Oregon,” said Senator Linthicum. “If travel has been such a danger to the lives of Oregonians, why did Governor Brown wait until now? Her actions to date are unjustified and completely blind to the social and economic engines of American enterprise.

“Additionally, freedom of movement is guaranteed by the Privileges and Immunities Clause in the United States Constitution (U.S. Constitution, Article IV, Section 2). Freedom of movement has long been cemented as a fundamental Constitutional right.”

Senator Linthicum continued, “On top of the COVID-19 fear mongering, the governor demeans Oregonians for going to church or hosting a birthday party, while she fails to denounce the violence and callous rage occurring nightly in Portland. Since she condones leftist politics, the violent riots are apparently frivolous get-togethers and not a threat to public health, but somehow, weddings are.

“Governor Brown should be protecting our civil rights, not throwing them away. I refuse to step aside and let the governor continue to take away our civil liberties; our American rights.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-12 10:26:14Last Update: 2020-08-12 10:38:56

Re-Balancing Act
Don’t watch. The sausage is being made.

Following the marathon 15 hour second special session, House Speaker Tina Kotek released that “The budget that lawmakers ultimately approved yesterday makes approximately $400 million in strategic reductions, taps $440 million in one-time funds and resource adjustments, and draws down $400 million from the constitutionally dedicated Education Stability Fund in order to protect education, health care, and other core services while reducing some ongoing costs heading into the next budget cycle.”

“Re-balancing” has no similarity to “equitable.” There was nothing equitable about the re-balancing, which targeted projects and programs that wouldn’t have as much election consequences and added new programs to boost the major party’s election returns. It had a lot to do with why the re-balance didn’t receive an overwhelming vote -- hitting rural projects the hardest.

Item one on the Joint Ways and Means 2020 Re-balance Plan smells of a Ponzi scheme. It’s described as “use of Education Stability Fund to offset General Fund and CAT need in the State School Fund.” They weren’t even secretive in reducing the State School Fund $350 million and the CAT fund $50 million to prop up other funding shortages, and replacing those school funds with $400 million from the Education Stability Fund. The bottom line is that they cut $40 million from the budgets and propped up other budgets with $400 million from the Education Stability Fund.

On May 7, Governor Brown asked state agencies to make plans to reduce their budgets by 17% as a backstop to the $2.5 billion in the rainy-day fund. What happened to that plan?

Oregon is ranked high in economy preparedness based on the rainy-day fund. Could that be why the Education Stability Fund was used to retain the false image that everything is super?

When voters passed the Education Stability Fund in 2002, it didn’t occur to most voters that the fund would be manipulated to be used as a rainy-day fund for the General Fund shortfall beyond an equitable cut in education to not let education suffer. But what has happened is the education stability fund is being used to make possible adding new funding like $2 million for Individual Development Accounts or adding $1.35 million for upgrades to the Capitol building.

Another question voters should ask is if the state is anticipating $1 billion budget hole, why are they adding new projects? The Legislative Fiscal Officer Ken Rocco says the CAT could bring in $415 million less than expected. Is that going to be another hit on the Education Stability Fund? Our economy is in uncertain times, but playing political games with the school funds isn’t what voters are looking for in leadership.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-11 20:20:25Last Update: 2020-08-12 15:40:20

Rep. Post Update on Special Session
Spoiler alert: There is a “threat” of a Third Special Session later in September

At about 11:20 pm on Monday August 10th, the Second Special Session of 2020 ended. I wanted to give you an update on how I perceived how it went and how I voted on key bills. You can actually look up everything yourself at OLIS (Oregon Legislative Information System).

First of all, I remain committed to a fair and transparent legislative process. That did not happen. Any budget proposals should always be prioritized for economic recovery (especially in light of our situation due to Covid 19) and funding the core functions of our state agencies, while reducing red tape and government waste. None of this happened in this special session. Once again, just as in the first special session, we met without public input or involvement as the Capitol remained closed to Oregonians. This is just absolutely wrong as we in the Legislature have a responsibility to be responsive, transparent and accessible to the people of Oregon.

Bills were posted to OLIS late Sunday, which didn’t give the public enough time to know what was actually happening at the Capitol on Monday and they were completely cut out of the process. In fact, the Speaker of the House, early on in the joint committee, stated that “no public testimony would be allowed” and proceeded to only allow a very small handful of “invited testimony” to speak while encouraging the public to “email their testimony” to the legislative staff. Of course it was not read into the record, so how effective is that?

As for budget bills, I advocated for preserving funding for vital natural resources, public safety and educational programs like FFA. The budget is the people’s money and they deserve to know that their tax dollars are being used efficiently and effectively. Instead, we made cuts to essential services and programs like: veteran’s affairs, mental health care and other vital services.

Here were the main bills of attention:

HB 4301 - The “police reform” bill.

I voted “Yes” because the bill basically put into state law, what is already law…(I know that sounds silly…). The US Supreme Court case law standards have been in practice for over 30 years but now it’s “really law!”

HB 4302 - DOGAMI Fee bill

I voted “No” because this was a “fee bill” and we do not need to raise fees. The department claimed they would have to cut 2 of their 11 staff. I countered with “move the office from Portland where everything is more expensive, to somewhere less expensive”.

HB 4303 - Education Stability Fund Transfer bill

I voted “No” because I don’t believe this is necessary. It transfers $400 million for our “savings” to the State School Fund. Now that the school funds have been dispersed, every district in Oregon has made their budget adjustments accordingly and this savings account needs to be reserved for an even greater emergency (like maybe even by next year).

HCR 221 - Capitol Workplace Harassment Rule Revision

I voted “No” in solidarity with my colleague from the other side of the aisle, Rep. Jeff Barker, who made a strong argument that this rule could be “weaponized” depending on which party is in charge. There is NO due process with this rule.

SB 1701 - Wage Threshold for UI Filing

I voted “Yes” on this bill as there are still thousands of Oregonians who haven’t received their unemployment checks yet and this will help others who are working reduced hours to receive a greater UI benefit.

SB 1702 - Prioritizes Educator UI Claims

This was quite fun as the bill died in committee thanks to a bipartisan vote of legislators. In fact, later in the day, the Governor sent out a press release incorrectly blaming “Senate Republicans” when it was a Senate Democrat that killed the bill. One of OPB’s reporters tweeted this below:

SB 1703 - Department of Revenue Sharing of Information

I voted “No” because I felt this was a “slippery slope” allowing one department to share YOUR personal information with another department and that there was no sunset (end) to this.

SB 5721 - Bonding Bill

I voted “No” because these bonds were based on politics not on merit and do not take into consideration how much some communities (like Keizer, St. Paul and Newberg) would benefit from capital projects and that those projects are not equitably distributed across the state.

SB 5723 - Omnibus Budget Bill

I voted “No” because most importantly to me, it made a $4.6 million cut to the Farm to School program that I and Rep. Brian Clem worked so hard to create. The budget cuts also included mental health care, $170 million from health care, and $2.1 million from Veteran’s services.

In summary, nothing much changed. There is a “threat” of a Third Special Session later in September. As always, I will keep you up to date as I learn more.

--State Representative Bill Post

Post Date: 2020-08-11 19:53:50Last Update: 2020-08-11 20:20:25

Sherwood School Board to Meet
This is the first meeting since their inappropriate website was exposed

The Sherwood School District School Board is scheduled to meet at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, August 12. This meeting marks the first meeting since the school district was exposed promoting materials suggesting that staff “vote for Democrats” and and “Donate to campaigns of local progressive politicians...who are trying to unseat incumbent Republicans/conservatives.” The activity caught the eye of at least one State Representative and ultimately resulted in the board taking the offending materials off its website and issuing an apology

The agenda for the meeting has been posted on the district website. Those wishing to submit public comments are encouraged to let their voices be heard.

Parents groups have been weighing their legal options.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-11 19:38:21Last Update: 2020-08-13 15:50:44

Educator Carve Out Bill Dies in Committee
No, you don’t get cuts in line

The Oregon Legislature nearly passed SB 1702 through a joint committee hearing on the first day of the second special session of the year, a session which is meant to focus on fixing a broken state budget.

The bill would have prioritized the processing of claims in Oregon’s plagued unemployment claim system, but for one group of people only, that being “teachers”. Certainly, countless other Oregonians who continue to struggle without help do not get the special treatment that the teachers’ union is requesting through their lobbying of the legislature. This bill would have been passed with the severely overused “emergency clause” attached to it as well if it had not been halted in committee. Senator Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) voted no on the legislation to halt it in committee.

Governor Brown issued a press release lamenting the death of the bill. “It’s appalling that Senate Republicans today voted down a common sense fix to the unemployment process that would put money in people’s pockets faster. The bill would have eliminated red tape for education employees, freeing up staff to process other claims more quickly,” she said.

From the Senate floor, Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Stayton) responded, “My conclusion is the number of Republicans equals the IQ of the governor.”

Girod later said in a press release, “A bill that would have prioritized public employees to receive unemployment benefits over Oregonians who have been waiting without help for months, had bipartisan opposition and died in the Joint Committee on the Second Special Session of 2020.”

“Governor Brown, this is your mess,” continued Girod. “Your commitment to pandering to special interests knows no bounds. You wanted your special interests to jump the line and receive unemployment benefits ahead of Oregonians that have been waiting for assistance and haven’t been getting it for months.”

“I am trying to protect the tens of thousands of unemployed Oregonians, through no fault of their own,” said Senator Lynn Findley (R-Vale). “Oregonians are begging for help, some filing for bankruptcy, and the governor is blind to those pleas, and instead prioritizes public employees.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-11 09:10:07Last Update: 2020-08-11 10:34:27

Prozanski: Water Cannons as Crowd Control
Why we can’t have a discussion about law enforcement.

Joint Committee On Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform met and had further discussions about the use of tear gas to control riots. The proposal is LC 742 which would regulate police use of pepper spray, sound devices or kinetic impact projectiles.

You'll remember that during the first special session in late June, the Legislature passed HB 4208 which placed strict limits on the ability of law enforcement to use tear gas to control riots and never for any other purpose.

(2) A law enforcement agency may not use tear gas for the purposes of crowd control except in circumstances constituting a riot, as described in ORS 166.015.
(3) Before using tear gas in circumstances constituting a riot, a law enforcement agency shall, in the following order:
     (a) Announce the agency’s intent to use tear gas;
     (b) Allow sufficient time for individuals to evacuate the area; and
     (c) Announce for a second time, immediately before using the tear gas, the agency’s intent to use tear gas.

During the discussion Sen. Floyd Prozanski suggested the consideration of water cannons as an alternative to chemical means of riot control. Committee Co-Chair Rep. Janelle Bynum bristled at the suggestion and an animated exchange ensued.

Other police reforms are on the table, as well as budget issues.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-09 19:52:35Last Update: 2020-08-09 20:25:18

A Preparation for Tolls
Just because it’s a conspiracy theory, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown told lawmakers on Tuesday that she is actively considering travel restrictions to slow the spread of the COVID-19, especially southern interstate travel. The details are unclear how it will affect Oregonians doing business in other states, or traveling for vacation and could include quarantine following travel. This action is being considered after Oregon’s infection rate has plateaued and California’s rate is declining. So, what is the point?

In 2017, lawmakers approved a $5.3 billion statewide transportation packaged that includes a road fee (toll) plan. To set the road fee plan in motion the Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee has met six time since November with five more meetings scheduled this year. The committee consists of government, industry and transit-related stakeholders tasked to ensure equitable I-205 and I-5 toll processes, and to help develop a framework for the toll project.

The Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee reviewed the mobility and equity strategies for I-205 and I-5 toll projects offering recommendations for how to toll the metro area's busiest highways. The June 29, 2020 meeting summarized that most agreed that improved transit needs to be one of the benefits that comes out of toll revenue; that toll revenue will provide improvements to roads and infrastructure; that there must be the potential for tolls to decrease emissions, though only if paired with incentives to use public transit; and that using carpools and apps connecting people to get to work and other events or activities can provide a sense of community and decrease the number of cars on the freeway.

Retired State Representative Jeff Kropf reports that polls show that next to violent protesters moving voters towards law and order candidates, that tolling freeways that are already paid for upset voters.

In response, Initiative Petitions 10 was collecting signatures to put the toll issue on the ballot in November that will restrict tolls or user fees to approval by voters, except on new freeways. It failed to draw funding, so it did not make the ballot, but backers are committed to trying again.

From the Vote On Tolls Act of 2020:

"No personal or recreational vehicle, or commercial truck usage, of transportation infrastructure in Oregon may be subject to any transportation fee or toll, unless ... approved by both a majority of voters in the state and a majority of voters in each county in which the fee or toll applies."

When the Governor talks of restricting travel to stop the spread of the COVID-19 from other states, is it another conditioning act to usher in tolling?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-08 16:16:58Last Update: 2020-08-08 16:43:31

Why is Governor Brown delaying distribution?

Joint Emergency Board met August 5, amid other joint committee meetings in preparation for the Second Special Session. Oregon received about $2.45 billion in federal CARES funds (CRF) of which $1.6 billion was to be passed to local jurisdictions. The rest of the $2.45 or $850 million is spread across nearly four dozen other recovery programs. The money can’t be used to make up lost revenue, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury. It can only be used to cover unbudgeted expenses due to COVID-19 that occur between March 1 and Dec. 30.

Counties and cities that had populations of more than 500,000 in 2019 were eligible for direct funding. All the other jurisdictions can only receive a share of funds through the state. Accordingly, Portland received around $114 million and Multnomah County around $105 million of direct payments.

Months ago, Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Stayton) issued a statement and wrote a letter to Governor Kate Brown asking for the remaining Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) from the federal government to be rightfully distributed to local governments. Oregon distributed around $247 million to the city of Portland, and Washington and Multnomah counties. Senator Girod said, “Local governments should have received roughly $625 million of the CRF, or 45%, of the remaining amount.” The funds have not been distributed. “Governor Brown is refusing to respond to the pleas of local governments across the state. It would appear that the governor is waiting for the election to go one way in the hopes of using the CRF as a slush fund for her own special interests and Portland. Stockpiling federal funds for political gain, while vulnerable Oregonians are suffering, is abysmal.”

According to reports from the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) where the funds are housed, local governments got only $200 million through reimbursable expenses. This leaves questions about what happened to $123,617,662 the Emergency Board has for local governments.

Cities and counties are strapped within their budgets, and that is being stretched with the increase in violent threats. President Trump has sent relief, why is Governor Brown delaying distribution?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-07 19:54:10

Oregon High Court Approves PERS Reform
Requiring public workers to pay is not an impairment of contract.

The Oregon Supreme Court announced a decision Thursday which dismissed all the complaints of government employee unions and upheld SB 1049 which was passed by a vote of 31-29 in the House and 16-12 in the Senate during the 2019 session, despite the objections of many Democrats. Indeed, House floor proceedings had to be halted while House Speaker Tina Kotek met separately with Reps. Mitch Greenlick and Andrea Salinas, presumably to secure their votes.

The bill was not liked by government employee unions. It has two major effects. First, it requires that public employees make a small contribution toward their own retirement plans. The second, is that it establishes a cap on the amount of annual pay that can be used in retirement calculations at $195,000.

Government employee unions sued, using the argument that the new law was an "impairment of a contract" made with employees at the time they were hired. The high court noted the distinction between changing someones benefit based on work already performed, as opposed to changing the arrangement for future work, which they said is legal. This is what SB 1049 does.

This legislation caused quite a stir in Democratic circles, inspiring at least one primary challenge in May. Sponsored by Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek, it was widely seen as a way for Democrats to deflect criticism for not taking measures to resolve the unfunded PERS liablity, which stands at about $27 billion and grows each day. SB 1049 will not change that number much.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-07 13:53:39Last Update: 2020-08-07 14:22:30

Portland Mayor Calls Out Rioters
Ted Wheeler responds to the turning tide of public opinion

There is a saying. “Never give in to terrorists.” It seems that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has finally reached the point where the utility of appeasing the mob has lost it's value. If he's true to his word, arrests should increase and violence should wane.

In a press conference, Mayor Wheeler said:

“When you commit arson with an accelerant in an attempt to burn down a building that is occupied by people who you have intentionally trapped inside, you are not demonstrating, you are attempting to commit murder.

“This is not the first time that people have tried to set fire to a city building with people intentionally trapped inside. Unfortunately, it's not the second time. And by the way. This building is in a residential neighborhood attached directly to neighborhood homes. This can't be ok.

“This is not peaceful protest, this is not advocacy to advance reforms to transform any system. They're keeping out police officers from responding to historic levels of violence in our community. Right now Portland is experiencing record gun violence. [Police] need to be focused on responding to that, not on responding to arson at our own police precincts.

“We have supported non-violent demonstrations in Portland.

“There's been a lot of talk, particularly in political right-wing circles that we have allowed criminal activity to take place or that we have endorsed criminal activity

“It is actually disturbing to me that there are people who are coming from out of town,even out of state, to witness these activities. This is not a tourist opportunity.”

Mayor Wheeler ended the conference on a political note. He said to the rioters:

“Don't think for a moment if you are participating in this activity that you are not being a prop for the re-election campaign of Donald Trump, because you absolutely are. You are creating the B-roll film that will be used nationally to help Donald Trump during his campaign. if you don't want to be part of that then don't show up.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-07 10:12:14Last Update: 2020-08-07 10:49:02

COVID-19 Numbers Don’t Add Up
Are people getting the best treatment available?

Death isn’t a subject anyone wants to talk about, and the Oregon Health Authority is no exception. When it comes to COVID-19, they do not graph deaths but still the Governor uses deaths to spread the fear of COVID-19 with the implication that death is lurking for all of us.

On March 25, 2020, the Oregon Board of Pharmacy adopted temporary rules in response to the Governor’s Executive Order restricting the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as treatment for COVID-19 in anticipation of a shortage even though FDA declared no shortage on March 28. It took until July 14, 2020, for the Board to repeal the temporary rule. There was never a real question of safety in taking these drugs, and 6,000 doctors surveyed said hydroxychloroquine as the most effective therapy for COVID-19.

So, for what reason was it withheld from Oregonians to treat COVID-19? Dr. John Powell is a board-certified family physician who works at Evergreen Family Medicine as director for Urgent Care and Hospitalist services. He writes an open letter to Governor Kate Brown encouraging her to ease social distancing restrictions and relax the ban on “non-essential medical services.” At the heart of his request is that “it is becoming clear to many of us who follow epidemiological data and global research about this virus that the severity of COVID-19 related illness does not warrant the current Oregon public health measures…. Rising numbers of COVID-19 cases illustrate that what we are doing is not working. Data demonstrating falling infection fatality rates, emergency department visits and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 coupled with age severity differentials demand a more targeted and sustainable public health approach… Let us start by structuring the pandemic around our lives and not our lives around COVID-19.” With reports of near-death patients recovering with proper treatment of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, why is the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) continuing to report several deaths per day since July 14?

It’s hard to determine how prevalent COVID-19 really is. Today, OHA website charts 19,162 positive tests and 20,225 cases, so there are 1,063 that were probably diagnosed before testing began. What is more confusing is the 4,065 recovered cases. That leaves 16,160 still active positive COVID-19 cases. Even if you subtract an average of 300 new cases per day for the past 20 days plus 15 per day hospitalize, there shouldn’t be more than 6,300 active cases.

OHA documents the duration for recovery is an average of 20 days for non-hospitalized symptomatic cases and hospitalized cases is an average of 26 days. They also show a few people active clear out to 94 days. If this chart says anything it’s that physicians aren’t being proactive with treatment options.

Oregon has had a sympathetic heart for the terminally ill. In 1997, Oregon legislature passed the Death With Dignity Act allowing terminally ill Oregonians to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of a lethal dose of medication prescribed by a physician. Then in 2015, Oregon enacted the “Right to Try” law (HB 2300) allowing doctors to prescribe experimental medications and treatments to terminally ill patients. Its intent is that dying patients no longer have to lobby for an exemption from the Food and Drug Administration in order to try medications that are still being tested waiting for FDA approval.

So, what are the number of deaths and why so many lingering cases? The numbers for those dying jumps after age 60 with white people having the highest death rate at 2.8% and Asians a close second at 2.5%, versus Blacks and Indians at 1.3%. All the talk about helping people of color because they are the hardest hit by COVID-19 is not support by the numbers. Even the total case numbers are 40.7% of white affected versus 3.6% and 2.4% for Blacks and Native-Americans.

Is Oregon embracing laws allowing doctors more freedom to treat in dire situations? As an Oregonian, the numbers are bothering, and more than the numbers, are people getting the best treatment available?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-06 20:47:04

Lawmakers Denounce Continued Riots
Call for accountability and action.

Oregon House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) released the following statement on the ongoing violence in Portland: “Riots in Portland have been allowed to continue for far too long. Last night’s riots were planned and executed to risk the lives of officers working in their precinct. This destruction and violence must end. The premeditated attacks on Portland Police Precincts while law enforcement officers and civilian employees were inside must be recognized as an unlawful attempt to harm or kill Oregonians. Those arrested in last night’s event should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We stand with our law enforcement community and demand accountability.

The destruction must stop so that we can move forward and create lasting change.” Representative Bill Post (R-Keizer) added, “I strongly urge the Governor to put a stop to this violence. These protests are anything but peaceful as they continue to destroy the city and put law enforcement at risk. As of last night, this violence moved from a small core of downtown Portland and public buildings to private neighborhoods. Violence breeds violence. We must do better.”

Representative Vikki Breese Iverson (R-Prineville) stated: “At what point do Oregonians hold our Governor and Mayor Wheeler responsible for the violent criminal acts occurring night after night? All Oregonians deserve better!” Representative Raquel Moore-Green (R-Salem) said: “The attack on Portland Police East Precinct last night was planned with willful intent to cause deadly harm – not a peaceful protest. I urge the Governor and Mayor Wheeler to condemn these actions and put an end to the violence now.”

Representative Greg Barreto (R-Cove) added: “The unchecked chaos and lawlessness that is being committed by rioters in Portland and basically promoted by Democrat leadership is absolutely abhorrent. When did the liberal leaders of Portland become so irrational in their viewpoint on police, basic law enforcement and the need for order? Their lack of wisdom and common sense, to think they could defund law enforcement, taking away their capacity to not only protect citizens, but also their basic right to even protect themselves, is unbelievable. For law enforcement officers, it is unimaginable what it must be like to be willing to serve and put your life on the line for those that would place you in a compromised position and not have your back.”

Representative E. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath Falls) stated: “Portland is becoming an embarrassment to our wonderful state. It is past time that Portland’s Mayor, the Governor and District Attorney support the rule of law. Oregon law enforcement should not be hand-cuffed with restrictions preventing them from doing their job to enforce safety. Police need the full support of all political leaders to arrest those who are committing crimes of violence and vandalism. Moreover, these individuals should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Without effective action, riots and violence will continue to spread.”

Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence) added: "It's a shame to see Portlanders -- as well as riot tourists -- tearing up the city of Portland, while their feckless leaders do nothing but blame the President. Enough is enough. They need to get this under control."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-06 17:30:08

A Look at Qualified Immunity
Are we going to get what we want?

Oregon State Legislature is set to address police reform this week, in a closed to the public, special session.

Many new policies, currently being floated, are well supported by law enforcement, and have been requested through the chain of command for some time now. However, there's one policy that has many in law enforcement concerned, for several reasons. The idea is to hold each officer accountable, for excessive force, or causing injury to another when they take things too far. This, on the heels of the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Many refer to this policy as "Qualified Immunity", but what is qualified immunity exactly?

Qualified Immunity pertains to officers, in the line of duty, who are required to make a split-second decision over life and death. The immunity aspect only pertains to officers who have followed police rules, regulations and policy to a T. It's determined as "qualified" when a police-involved fatality is, by the book, and therefore the officer is given immunity from liability for having carried out their job duties and description. When an officer uses unjustified force, the immunity is not applicable, and they are no longer protected or indemnified.

But what happens when officers can be held liable for their actions, even when they've followed all the rules? If immunity is removed, would every individual arrested and sent to jail, file a lawsuit against their arresting officer? Simply put, yes, if qualified immunity is completely removed, officers would have no protection for doing their job. How many good, qualified, well-educated individuals would want to stay on the job? My guess is, not very many. In the state of Oregon, finding good recruits has been difficult in the past few years, according to a state trooper who has asked to remain anonymous.

"I'm concerned that we'll be forced to hire whoever applies at this point, just to fill positions, as less qualified candidates will not want to be subjected to these working conditions," said one Oregon State Trooper.

Imagine if you will, working at McDonald's, and a customer becomes violently ill with e-coli food poisoning. Rather than sue the restaurant, the customer, instead, sues you directly. Most officers are not paid well enough to cover the cost of lawsuits. Several insurance agents, who have written policies for decades, were asked what they thought the cost might be per officer, if they needed to pay for insurance to do their job. While most were hesitant to guess, the result was a possible ballpark of around three thousand dollars per year. That's quite a chunk out of a salary, so let's just say the union renegotiates their contracts with the city or county to offset this cost. Who will ultimately pay for it? The taxpayers of course. That's potentially thousands more per year, for inferior law enforcement officers.

Luckily, our legislature is not quite there. However, the table is currently being set for this potential outcome. LC 742 retroactively determines when an officer is liable for the use of acoustic devices, tear gas, and kinetic impact projectiles. This new law would only allow the use of non-lethal crowd control when the mayor, or sheriff declares an active riot, civil commotion or mob action. Oddly enough, the bill extends to proxy officers, like Federal Agents. The retroactive date is July 1st 2016, and states that incidents which have occurred prior to the passage of this bill (since July 1st 2016) have 180 days to submit their claim. Claims after passage have two years have to file a lawsuit. Two years seems like a very long time to determine if you've been hit by a projectile, if a riot was declared.

Perhaps our courts will be left to determine if a rally is indeed a riot, or a peaceful demonstration, after the fact? Either way this bill strictly states that officers will only be immune from liability if they're indemnified, which is redundant. Basically, our law is being left open to public pressure and perception, and our officers are on the hook depending upon the outcome. Ultimately, removing protections from officers in the line of duty, may cost the taxpayers more money, and result in less qualified officers.

One vital question arises when it comes to policy, "is the stated intent going to be the actual outcome?" If it's not, then why are we passing it? If you believe law enforcement should be protected and supported in doing their job, now is the time to email in your testimony. This bill, along with several others, was heard in the Joint Interim Committee on Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-08-06 08:29:43

Oregon Now Compliant with Federal Real ID Act
As of Oct. 1, 2021, the TSA will require Real ID

The Department of Homeland Security notified Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Monday that Oregon is in compliance with the federal Real ID Act.

As of Oct. 1, 2021, the Transportation Security Administration will require identification that complies with the Real ID Act to pass through airport security when boarding a domestic flight. This date was moved forward one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The October 2021 federal ID requirements also will apply when entering a secure federal facility, such as a military base.

You can continue to use your standard Oregon driver license or ID card for domestic air travel and other secure federal locations until October 2021. Even after that, your standard Oregon license or ID card will continue to be valid for everything else that you use it for today.

You may already have what you need to board domestic flights in October 2021 and beyond – such as a passport or other ID acceptable by the Transportation Security Administration. Find out what is acceptable ID for air travel at TSA.gov.

How to get Real ID

First, find out if you want the Real ID option with DMV’s decision tool at Oregon.gov/RealID. If you do want the option, the website has a second tool explaining the requirements and producing a checklist of documents you’ll need to bring with you when you visit a DMV office.

The Real ID option also has an additional fee of $30 – in addition to an original application, renewal or replacement fee.

If you want the Real ID option, please consider delaying your visit to DMV as long as possible or getting a passport and/or passport card instead. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a long backlog of customers and it will take months to catch up.

You will need an appointment for any type of driver license or ID card issuance, including Real ID. You can schedule an appointment online at DMV2U.Oregon.gov. To keep customers safe, DMV offices are open only for services that require in-person visits. This limits the number of people inside an office to help maintain safe social distancing.

You cannot get a Real ID card online because the act requires you to bring certain documents with you and for you to get a new photograph for your card. You cannot use DMV’s card replacement option online to change to a Real ID card or to make any other change to your card.

Six things to know if you want the Real ID option
  1. If your card's expiration is a year or more ahead, please consider waiting as long as possible to get the Real ID option. Airport security checkpoints will not require additional ID until October 2021.
  2. Consider getting or renewing a passport instead. It’s valid for 10 years. If you already have a passport, you can get a passport card that fits in your wallet for a lower cost than a Real ID license or ID card.
  3. If you want the Real ID option, please be aware that your appointment will be weeks away due to the COVID-19 backlog at DMV offices.
  4. Once you have an appointment, please use the document checklist tools at Oregon.gov/RealID so you are prepared for your appointment with everything you need.
  5. If you need to call DMV, please be aware that the number of calls is overwhelming the phone system. If you get a busy signal, please try again after a while. Please do not use autodial because that is part of the reason the phone system is overwhelmed.
  6. If you need a drive test, you cannot schedule one at DMV at this time. You can find third-party drive test services here: Oregon Class C Drive Testing Businesses

More information

Learn more about Real ID on our website at Oregon.gov/realid

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-05 08:06:37Last Update: 2020-08-06 11:01:33

Call for Opening Schools and Choice
“Our children’s education must not be politicized”

Today, Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) calls for the re-opening of local schools and champions school choice options in Oregon.

"After the governor's press conference last week, it is apparent in-person schooling is not a priority for Governor Kate Brown," said Senator Linthicum. "According to the CDC, COVID-19 poses low risks to school-aged children and teachers, therefore getting students in school must be a priority."

Linthicum continued, "I'm advocating for educational freedom in our state as families need the ability to pursue the best educational opportunities for their children. Oregon's statewide test scores are abysmal and with threats to in-person instruction in the fall, parents deserve alternatives."

"I'm calling on Governor Brown to list the 3% participation cap, which needlessly limits charter school enrollment. These enrollment caps limit school choice options, which harms all students, particularly from disenfranchised and under-served communities.

"Failure to open schools and unlock educational choices for all students will negatively impact long term inequities and further harm families. Education is critical to the future of our state, and our children's education must not be politicized.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-04 23:06:06Last Update: 2020-08-04 23:06:37

“Paperwork Protests” Restrictions Proposed
Proposal will limit a tactic used by extremist environmentalist groups

"Paperwork protests" are keeping the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from reducing wildfire and smoke risks on public lands, and providing sustainable timber harvests to support jobs.

The good news is the BLM is proposing to modernize its forest management rules for the first time in 35 years. These rules provide an alternative to the paperwork protests that block efforts to manage our forests and keep them accessible.

What are paperwork protests? Under current rules anti-forestry groups stall forest management by filing written objections after environmental analyses have been completed, pubic input has been received, and land management decisions have been made. These paperwork protests often contain hundreds of pages with frivolous points that have little to do with the work at hand. Because the BLM must respond to each point under current rules, this broken process drains taxpayer resources and brings forest management to a halt.

In a few horrible cases, wildfires will devastate a forest where smart forest management is planned before the BLM can even respond to the protests. For example, the Pickett Hog timber sale in Oregon received 29 protests in September 2017 – delaying the project by more than a year. Before the BLM could complete protest reviews and responses, the Taylor Creek fire burned the forest in July 2018.

The BLM's proposed rules improve public participation in land management decisions. They will allow the public to comment on forest projects earlier in the process when public input can have the greatest impact. But "paperwork protests" could no longer be used and abused - after decisions have been made - simply to stall work that helps keep our forests healthy, accessible and less vulnerable to severe fire.

People who would like to comment on this proposal, can do so by sending an official comment concerning this proposed regulation by August 7. Your comment will be officially registered at RegulationsGov. Please send a message that it's time to end the gridlock on our public lands, improve forest health, and support rural American jobs.

--Nick Smith

Post Date: 2020-08-04 15:12:05Last Update: 2020-08-04 22:54:10

Meme of the Week
Kermit is as Kermit does

--Northwest Observer Meme Team

Post Date: 2020-08-03 22:15:49

Gearing Up for Second Special Session
Still more police reforms. Oh, and cutting the budget.

The Second Special Session is scheduled August 10. The First Special Session in July seems to have been a trial run easing into more police reforms. Passed were common sense guidelines for use of tear gas and self-defense actions. Rep. Fred Girod said the focus of this session needs to be the budget and not policy. Senate President Peter Courtney agreed saying, “Now is the time for budget. That must be our mission this special session.” But, Speaker Kotek has other ideas to bolster the first session.

Seven policy bills have been drafted on police reforms that range from restrictions on use of tear gas, use of physical force, and identification and uniform standards. Fortunately, the budget reductions proposed doesn’t eliminate state officers, but it does eliminate a vacant project manager positions, one game enforcement position and one Firearm Instant Check System Trooper. It also defers the trooper recruit school, defers purchase of ammunition, cancels purchase of vehicles, reduces investment in State Radio System, and reduces Fleet Services support.

What I didn’t see in the budget was accounting for any added expenses that will surely happen now that the state police have taken over for federal agents guarding federal property in Portland. After the Portland Police Bureau reported overtime through July 22 costing taxpayers $5,351,383, the state police should anticipate similar if the Oregon State Police is going to effectively guard the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Federal Courthouse and the Justice Center to prevent the return of federal agents.

The special session is going to make it more difficult, if not impossible for police to be effective against rioters and some identified as terrorists. These bills emphasize enforcement misconduct. The most devastation to our protection is LC 742 replacing HB 4208 passed in the first special session. All these bills include an “emergency clause” meaning we have one chance to speak out and send testimony, and no right of challenge.

LC 742 - Regulates use of chemical incapacitants, kinetic impact projectiles and sound devices by law enforcement agencies. Creates private cause of action for person injured by unlawful use of chemical incapacitants, kinetic impact projectiles and sound devices by law enforcement agencies. Prohibits law enforcement agency from using proxy law enforcement agency to enact measures that court or statute has barred law enforcement agency from using. Prohibits law enforcement agency from acting in concert with another law enforcement agency to engage in misconduct barred by statute or court order. Eliminates immunity from claims under Oregon Tort Claims Act arising out of riot, civil commotion or mob action. Revives certain claims.

LC 745 expands HB 4203 passed in the first special session adding corrections officers to that bill and remove the use of force for self-defense or protection of others when using force that impedes normal breathing or circulation of blood of another person by applying pressure on throat or neck under any circumstances.

LC 751 - Establishes Task Force on Uniform Statewide Law Enforcement Disciplinary Standards regarding alleged misconduct.

LC 763 - Directs Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to establish statewide database of reports of use of physical force by peace officers and corrections officers. Requires law enforcement units to report on use or threat of physical force, and deaths of persons in custody, to commission.

Other policy items on the agenda deal with worker’s compensation for front line workers who contract COVID-19, permitting restaurants to sell mixed drinks to go, and allowing ballots to be counted if they are postmarked by Election Day.

China is running espionage in the U.S. and targeting legislators and businesses to influence unlawful operations, says Secretary of State Pompeo. All in an attempt to gain power over U.S. citizens through riots and voter fraud.

Fox News reports that Portland’s shootings have doubled in July compared to last July with 15 murders in one month, the highest in three decades. Will putting police under fire from both sides, subjecting them to flagrant lawsuits diminish the force leaving us unprotected?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-03 21:09:17Last Update: 2020-08-03 21:10:00

Open Up Oregon Rally Planned for Saturday
Event to be held at the State Capitol

A rally to Open Up Oregon is planned for Saturday at the Oregon Capitol.

A Facebook event post declares

The Oregon Governor and counterparts have pushed too far. They are closing our schools, shutting down businesses, and bullying citizens. Its time we organize together and discuss options to respond to this tyranny. Join us at The Oregon State Capital on August 8th at NOON. Please reach out for volunteer opportunities.

The Rally is scheduled to run from noon to 4:00 and will feature several speakers. You can find out more at the event link on Facebook

Many Oregonians are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the shutdown of economic activity in the state for such a prolonged period of time.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-03 09:41:10Last Update: 2020-08-03 09:41:54

Farmers and Truckers Sue Governor Brown Over Carbon
Allege that the executive order violates the law

Lawyers representing a group of agricultural, business, forest an transportation industry associations have filed a suit in Marion County Circuit Court naming Oregon Governor Kate Brown in her official capacity as Governor of Oregon. The suit alleges that her executive order requiring carbon reduction at state agencies, issued in March of this year is illegal and asking that much of it be declared unconstitutional.

The core of the executive order is found in Section 3A, which the plaintiffs are asking to be declared unconstitutional. It issues a directive to executive branch agencies that they "shall exercise any and all authority and discretion vested in them by law to help Oregon's achievement of the GHG emissions reduction goals." These goals are a reduction of "at least 45 percent below 1990 emissions levels by the year 2035 and at least 80 percent below 1990 emissions levels by the year 2050."

Specifically, the suit alleges that

"[T]he Governor issued Executive Order No. 20-04 [which] unilaterally set a minimum 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for the State of Oregon, and doubled the carbon intensity reduction standard previously established by the Legislative Assembly. EO 20-04 mandates that 16 separate state agencies and commissions, including the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission, adopt rules to achieve those standards. The Governor issued EO 20-04 after the Legislative Assembly, the department of state government charged with making laws, failed in successive legislative sessions to adopt nearly identical efforts to amend the existing statutory GHG goals and low carbon fuel standards found in ORS 468A.205 and ORS 468A.266."

The suit requests:

Plaintiffs are entitled to a judgment...declaring that:

(a) Sections 2, 3.A, and 4.C of EO 20-04 are unconstitutional because they violate Article III, Section 1, of the Oregon Constitution and/or exceed the scope of authority delegated to the executive branch under Article V of the Oregon Constitution.

(b) Section 4.A of EO 20-04 is unconstitutional because it violates Article III, Section 1, of the Oregon Constitution and/or exceeds the scope of authority delegated to the executive branch under Article V of the Oregon Constitution.

Rachel Dawson, a Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute suggests that progress is being made, if emissions are considered on a per-capita basis.

She notes that “When measured on a per capita basis, Oregon GHG emissions in 2017 were actually 21% lower than 1990 levels. We have more than doubled the 10% emissions reduction goal and done so—three years ahead of the deadline.”

The 2019 session was marked by a Republican Senate walkout to deny a quorum over HB 2020, which had passed the House. This bill would have set carbon goals for the entire state, not just state agencies, as the executive order does. Governor Brow's executive order was seen as a way for her to have something to give to her left-leaning environmental lobby in the absence of a bill, which many observers say was not a sure bet to pass the Senate.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-01 22:04:20Last Update: 2020-08-03 12:00:59

Democrat Justice Reforms
Defund the police & close the prisons. What could go wrong?

COVID-19 has been a godsend for Democrats in Oregon. Back in early March State Republican Legislators successfully foiled Democrat-only supported Cap & Trade legislation. This was not merely a policy win for Republicans but also a political win by a party in the super minority. Poll after poll showed Cap & Trade was unpopular with Oregonians and Republicans captured that enthusiasm to take appropriate steps to kill the bill. Nationally, Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, having created the best economy in US history and foreign policy success after success, appeared to be on his way to almost certain victory over Joe Biden, whose mental capacity was quickly diminishing, like daylight after sunset.

Without a dynamic candidate at the top of the Democratic ticket and without an issue to energize their base, Democrats needed something, and something in a hurry. COVID-19 came at the right time and was an unknown — and people fear the unknown. Democrat leaders didn’t let this crisis go to waste, but instead, have used every opportunity to fan the flames of fear. Oregon Governor Kate Brown, declared a State of Emergency, which may have been approved by most, at first. However, looking back, it has, and continues, to cause unnecessary harm to Oregonians. The Governor’s ability to call a State of Emergency is one thing. For Brown to have the sole authority to extend it, and extend it and preparing to extend it yet again is something else entirely.

This state of emergency all but sidelines the legislature. Private meetings after private meetings take place at the Governor’s request to determine each new policy during this state of emergency: schools being opened or closed, how many people may gather together in one place, travel restrictions, mask wearing — all of these public policies are discussed and decided behind closed doors. One wonders if we still live in a republic or do we now all serve only one leader, her majesty Kate Brown? An open, methodical, sometimes painfully slow but transparent process, are the hallmarks of our constitutionally representative republic. What we have seen since March, well, it is certainly not that.

One policy of grave concern is the Governor’s drive for criminal justice reform. While discussing how to make our justice system more "just", should be on the mind of every legislature, this push has come from well publicized, yet isolated incidents, in Minneapolis and Atlanta, which are not comparable to Oregon's justice system. The Democrat’s new platform to make life just for all, is to Defund the Police and to close State prisons. Let me repeat that. To address the increased violence we are seeing in our cities Democrats want to Defund the Police and close State prisons. Next week two of Oregon’s 14 prisons could be closed. Nearly 500 inmates will be transferred to other prisons throughout Oregon. All of a sudden the Governor’s grave concern for slowing the spread of COVID-19 is put on the back burner to right all the wrongs of America and to appear caring and compassionate. Ironically, it is likely that several of these prisoners will be released, due to lack of space and concerns over spreading COVID-19.

Furthermore, Democrats continue to line up legislation to decriminalize illegal drugs and associated criminal behavior. In Democrat Utopia as long as you do not hurt someone physically, other criminal activity like, theft and vandalism will not be met with jail time, but therapy time -- maybe. The closure of prisons pushes us towards a brave new world, in which criminals are set free due to overcrowding. We will soon hear that our prisons are nearing or at capacity. Therefore new policies must be tried because prisons are too expensive to build and operate. Leaving only the option of privatized, for profit prisons (currently not legal in Oregon) , or holding taxes hostage until the population succumbs to increased exploitation, in exchange for "safety".

It would seem that crime actually does pay, in Democrat run states. But it doesn't have to...

This November Oregonians will have a chance to say no to these criminal justice "reform" policies. Policies that place more importance on the rights of criminals, rather than that of law abiding citizens. It is time to bring balance back to Oregon and November 3rd is the place to start.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-01 12:42:15Last Update: 2020-08-02 08:36:18

Brown Calls Second Special Session
Focus will be on the budget and more police reform

As expected, Governor Kate Brown will convene a Special Session of the Oregon Legislature at 8:00 a.m. Monday, August 10, 2020 to rebalance the state budget by addressing the state revenue shortfall created by the government response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Governor Brown issued the following statement today:

“This crisis has impacted all of us—Oregon families, businesses, non-profits, and local governments have all had to cut costs. The State of Oregon has been tightening its belt as well. With a nearly $1 billion budget deficit in the current biennium, there is more work to do.

“These decisions will not be easy. Oregon has been smart with our reserves and saved for a rainy day, preparing us to weather this economic storm. But if we use too much of our savings now, then we’ll be stuck with an even bigger budget gap for the next biennium. Putting off tough decisions this summer will only leave us with impossible choices next January.

“Unlike the federal government, Oregon must balance our state budget. State and local governments have been left reeling from the economic downturn. For months, we have waited for Congress to take action, and it is still my hope that they will include aid for states and local governments in the coronavirus relief package currently being negotiated.

“We need to preserve critical services like health care, education, and senior services during this pandemic. And, we must do more to address the disparities in state support for Oregon’s underserved communities, particularly our Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Pacific Islander, and other communities of color. I would like to thank legislators for beginning this work already, and I look forward to rolling up our sleeves and crafting an updated budget that serves all Oregonians.”

Despite passing numerous police reform bills in the last special session, Governor Brown also noted her support for what she describes as "urgent legislation that builds on matters considered in the first special session", including additional police accountability reforms.

Governor Brown has already proposed $150 million in General Fund savings for the biennium. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, state agencies have worked to find efficiencies by reducing non-critical spending, delaying new programs, halting non-essential travel, and leaving positions unfilled. Governor Brown is convening the special session under her authority pursuant to Article V, section 12, of the Oregon Constitution.

Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Stayton) countered, “Senate Republicans have been willing to work on the budget since before the governor called the first special session earlier this summer. If we diverge from the stated purpose of addressing the budget, this second special session will make a mockery of the legislative process yet again. “Policy bills should be off the table. The focus should be on the budget.”

Critics of the last special session noted that most of the “police reforms” were of little consequence. Some, even legislators like Sherrie Sprenger (R-Scio) -- a former Deputy Sheriff -- took exception to the tribute to Black Lives Matter placed into the text of each bill.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-07-31 21:41:48Last Update: 2020-07-31 21:42:34

“Defund the Police”
Maybe if we just rename the police department, things will be better.

Ever since the “Defund the Police” movement began, many observers have wondered aloud if this policy was to be taken seriously or if it were nothing more than over-the-top hyperbole. After all, one of the most fundamental functions of government at all levels is public safety.

For a time, it seemed that common sense would prevail and, after some municipal self-searching, some measures would be taken and some statements would be made, and everything would return to normal -- including the fact that law enforcement is done by human beings, and imperfect human beings make mistakes. We appropriately have high expections for law enforcement and when they fail, we hold them highly accountable, as we are with Derek Chauvin who is alleged to have killed George Floyd, as well as his fellow officers. Their legal prospects are bleak.

The center of the storm, Minneapolis, Minnesota -- the site of the death of George Floyd -- went first, and blinked. It passed a resolution to amend the city charter, but the changes are small. It puts the police under control of a civilian, appointed by the mayor, instead of the mayor himself. Other than that, the changes are aspirational and symbolic. There is no police departement in Minneapois any longer. They have replaced it with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.

Hopes turned to Seattle, the home of CHAZ or CHOP or whatever that short-lived new country was called before it was put out of its misery. The emerald city is considering a resolution with a little more bite. It, too, renames its police department to Department of Community Safety & Violence 14 Prevention. It removes 9-1-1 communications, Emergency Management, Harbor Patrol and Parking Enforcement from under the police -- as if this is what communities of color need.

Portland ought to be next. The site of the battle for the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse still reeks of tear gas and graffiti. Portland City Commissioner Joanne Hardesty doesn't take a back seat to anyone, when it comes to justice. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is tough enough to attend the riots and (some say) purposely get himself tear gassed, but it remains to be seen if he's tougher than Hardesty on policy.

One ironic twist is that while all these proposals fall under a movement named “Defund the Police,” all of them call for more studies, more personnel, more costly shuffling of the bureaucracy, all of which mean more spending. Just not on police.

--Staff Reports. Robert Borger contributed to this article.

Post Date: 2020-07-31 18:54:26

“Fake” Emergencies Challenged
Citizens have a chance to end this legislative abuse

Initiative Petition 1 proposed for the 2022 election, is collecting signatures to limit the legislature from declaring a bill to be an emergency which prevents a citizen’s challenge. The petition requires a bill designated as an emergency to pass with a two-thirds vote, exempting constitutional provisions.

One of those constitutional exemptions is Article X-A in response to a “catastrophic disaster” declared by the Governor within an emergency legislative session.

If you’ve followed Governor Brown’s response to the pandemic, she has used Oregon statutes to override the Oregon Constitution in her declaration of a “catastrophic disaster.” The Oregon Supreme Court supported her actions even though it defies the authority of grammar principles in constructing her argument.

If the “Emergency Clause” hadn’t been abused for fake emergencies, we would not have the “Gross Receipts Tax” costing Oregonians $2.5 billion in added taxes, the largest tax increase in the state’s history.

If there were no fake emergencies, the legislature could not have overridden Measure 88 passed by 66% of Oregon voters repealing a 2013 law giving drivers licenses to those unable to show proof of legal residence.

The emergency clause on HB 2975 prevented a citizen’s initiative to challenge the legislature from taking $108 million from taxpayer’s kicker.

Then there are the legislative bills that had fake emergency clauses that caused the Republican legislators to walk out in 2019 and 2020 sessions. Heading that list is “Cap and Trade.” Not far behind are the gun bills and forced vaccinations. Part of the insult of “Fake Emergencies” is that the party in power owns all branches of government. They can do whatever they want. Abuse of the emergency clause at this point begins to look like spiking the ball after going ahead by eight touchdowns.

More than reforming an emergency clause is needed. It takes a lot of funding and volunteers to challenge legislation. Voters passed the death penalty nine times, and Measure 11 in 1994 that forced stiffer sentencing guidelines on the most serious person-crimes. But still in 2019 the legislature passed SB 1013 reclassifying crimes in order to avoid more convictions that carry the possibility of the death penalty in most cases, and loosen sentencing guidelines. This bill is open to challenge, but how many times do the voters need to speak before heard?

The No Fake Emergencies petition isn’t a complete answer, but it does uphold the First Amendment for Oregon voters with the right to challenge legislation when our legislators are off base.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-07-31 17:28:05

School Re-Opening Guidelines: A Series
Don’t bother to read them. Wait for the movie.

Editor’s note: This is the first of a multi-part series analyzing the latest version of the school re-opening guidelines.

The Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority have released an extensive revision of Ready Schools, Safe Learners: Guidance for School Year 22020-21, a 74 page tome on what metrics need to be met before a school can re-open. The document is quite comprehensive and takes into account various non-traditional educational environments and some of the less-common aspects of education. Approximately half of the document is set in green type, indicating that it is new or changed.

Cryptically, the section numbering starts with 0 -- something found more in the basements of Computer Science labs than in the fields of health or education. Nonetheless, the sections of the documents include:

Some critics have pointed out the misuse of the term "guidelines." Most of the work is not a suggestion. Each page has a footer that reads “Checkboxes () indicate requirements; arrows (⇨) indicate recommendations.” There are far more checkboxes than arrows, be assured. The term “required” appears 80 times in the document.

OK, let’s cut to the chase. Is your kid going back to school -- back to a brick-and-mortar building -- in the Fall? The Governor, despite all the positive vibes she tried to project, pretty much told you “no.” Her way of sugar-coating it was to repeat over and over that “School in the Fall is not going to look like a traditional school year.” This is the new vocabulary of leadership: When you fail, introduce it as the “new normal.”

If you don't believe that analysis of her press conference earlier this week and want to read it in black and white, this is what the document says:

Returning to In-Person Instruction Through the On-Site or Hybrid Instructional Models

For a school to return to in-person instruction through the Oregon Department of Education’s (ODE) OnSite or Hybrid Instructional models, the metrics below, which consider local as well as statewide conditions, must be met:

1) Schools must be in a county that is no longer in baseline phase to consider in-person instructional models. At this time, no Oregon counties are in baseline phase.

The following County Metrics must also be met for three weeks in a row:

AND 2) The following State Metric must be met three weeks in a row:

Want some science to down that bitter pill? This chart is included with the bad news.

Approximate COVID-19 Case Rates in Other Countries When They Re-Opened Schools
CountryDateNew cases per 100,000 per dayNew cases per 100,000 per 7 days (week)
New Zealand5/15/20<0.1<0.7
*Oregon data included at two different time intervals for comparison.

One wonders if the results in Oregon are being driven by a different level of testing or reporting. It just doesn't seem like things are all that bad in Oregon.

Smart parents who find this unworkable are looking for different options. For certain, there is one schooling option that won't look all that different than last school year. That's home schooling.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-07-30 18:25:06Last Update: 2020-07-30 21:25:28

Meme of the Week
Your doctor called. You aren’t getting enough memes.

--Northwest Observer Meme Team

Post Date: 2020-07-29 21:08:26

The Grass is Greener
...taxes lower, fewer regulations, oh, and the federal courthouse is not on fire.

Rural Oregon counties have launched Move Oregon’s Borders for a Greater Idaho, a movement to make themselves part of Idaho by moving Oregon’s borders. Fifteen counties are circulating petitions for the general election. On July 18, Wallowa County reached their first goals to put their initiative on the Wallowa County ballot in November 2020 elections.

Mike McCarter, President and Chief Petitioner of Move Oregon’s Borders for a Greater Idaho, appeared on Fox & Friends first on July 21 said “a large number of decisions are made in the Willamette Valley including Portland and rural Oregon would like to align itself with a state that is used to dealing with rural counties and rural concerns… We would like to choose who governors us.” In a setback, U.S. District Judge Michael J. McShane, ruled against Move Oregon’s Border’s request for more time and a reduction in the number of signatures due to the COVID pandemic. He determined that the group had not made much of an effort to obtain signatures. But McCarter says the group is more than halfway to its goal in Jefferson, Union and Douglas counties and believes it’ll secure a ballot spot in Sherman County. (That county only requires 60 signatures.)

Move Oregon’s Border wants to make its case on the ballot of each of the counties the group would like to see as part of a Greater Idaho. Most of the counties petitioning have double the number of registered Republican than Democrats, but non-affiliated voters are growing to significant numbers in all counties. If all or any of the 22 targeted counties vote to move themselves into Idaho, the Oregon and Idaho legislatures, and ultimately the U.S. Congress, would have to give their approval.

It doesn’t help Oregon’s case that Governor Kate Brown had a different understanding when speaking with Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on jurisdiction in Portland. Governor Brown agreed to address the violence in Portland by sending in State and local police in a phone call with Secretary Wolf, and that federal agents would leave after streets are secured. Blithely, the Governor tweeted that “federal government has agreed to withdraw federal officers from Portland.” Wolf retorted, "As I told the Governor yesterday, federal law enforcement will remain in Portland until the violent activity toward our federal facilities ends. We are not removing any law enforcement while our facilities and law enforcement remain under attack."

Who really wants to live in an Oregon that doesn’t put the safety of citizens and property in perspective? Even if you’re not Christian, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” is universal when it comes to infringing on someone’s rights. It’s difficult to accomplish change within the rule of law when leadership is non-existent. But isn’t that the challenge that Ben Franklin gave all Americans when he said, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-07-29 19:02:41Last Update: 2020-07-29 19:03:17

State Police to Engage Rioters
Federal law enforcement officers will continue their mission

After meeting with Governor Kate Brown, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf has released the following statement:

Over the past 24 hours, Governor Brown and I have been in regular communication and have agreed to a joint plan to end the violent activity in Portland directed at federal properties and law enforcement officers. That plan includes a robust presence of Oregon State Police in downtown Portland. State and local law enforcement will begin securing properties and streets, especially those surrounding federal properties, that have been under nightly attack for the past two months. Oregon State Police will coordinate with Federal Protective Service (FPS) officers to ensure all federal facilities remain protected and secure.

This plan is possible due to the valiant efforts of the DHS law enforcement officers protecting federal property in Portland from violent activity for the past two months.

The Department will continue to maintain our current, augmented federal law enforcement personnel in Portland until we are assured that the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other federal properties will no longer be attacked and that the seat of justice in Portland will remain secure. This has been our mission and objective since the violent, criminal activity began.

The Department will continue to re-evaluate our security posture in Portland, and should circumstances on the ground significantly improve due to the influx of state and local law enforcement, we anticipate the ability to change our force posture, as we do everyday at our other 9,000 federal properties we protect across the country.

President Trump and this Administration have been consistent in our message throughout the violence in Portland: the violent criminal activity directed towards federal properties and law enforcement will not be tolerated, state and local leaders must step forward and police their communities, and the Department of Homeland Security will not back down from our legal duty to protect federal law enforcement officers and federal properties in the face of such criminal behavior.

President Trump has also made clear that this Administration is ready and willing to partner with state and local law enforcement to protect every American – and you see that commitment in Portland with this plan. The Department and this Administration will also continue to fulfill its solemn obligation to uphold federal law across the country.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown, in a facebook post, spun the meeting differently:

After my discussions with VP Pence and others, the federal government has agreed to withdraw federal officers from Portland. They have acted as an occupying force and brought violence. Starting tomorrow, all Customs and Border Protection and ICE officers will leave downtown Portland.

Out local Oregon State Police officers will be downtown to protect Oregonians' right to free speech and keep the peace. Let's center the Black Lives Matter movement's demands for racial justice and police accountability. It's time for bold action to reform police practices.

Speculation is rampant that the riots are losing favor with the public and that if they continue, there may be a negative impact on the November elections for Democrats. It remains to be seen if the State Police have any more success than federal law enforcement in ending the riots and violence.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-07-29 09:17:35Last Update: 2020-07-29 10:12:37

Democrats Want Your Body
It’s about power, not public health.

The controversy over forced vaccinations brought to light where the 2019 Oregon Legislative session wanted to take healthcare. Supporting legislators painted HB 3063 as protection for young children but studies do not support that opinion. It drew the conclusion that it was another step towards their ultimate goal -- single payer health care, that passed along party-lines to develop a prototype.

The proposed vaccine law would make Oregon among the strictest in the nation, eliminating the religious and philosophical exemptions that parents can currently use in order to skip or delay shots.

Legislative Fiscal Office said that “House Bill 3063 removes the ability of a parent to decline required immunizations against restrictable diseases as a condition of a child attending any Oregon school or children’s facility for reasons other than an indicated medical diagnosis. Children who have not received the required immunizations may attend online education programs with the exception of attending in-person certain school-related events or meetings.”

The fear tactic being used over the COVID-19 virus didn’t work. Why would you fear a breakout from less than 5% unvaccinated if vaccines work so well? Proponents find themselves in a philosophical conundrum: If vaccines work so well, why don't you just use them, and you'll be safe. If someone doesn't want to use them, they pose no threat to you. That is, unless vaccines don't work.

Testimony on Christian reasons to avoid vaccinations undersigned by 189 religious objectors gave details on the moral issue of cell lines taken from aborted babies: “Some of the most common vaccines are only licensed in America in forms that include live attenuated viruses cultured in aborted fetal cell lines. The Rubella portion of the MMR or MMRV is Wistar RA 27/3. It is documented that at least eighty abortions, likely more, took place in order to create simply that one vaccine. It also appears that the researchers involved had close relationships with abortionists, and obtaining babies’ bodies for the purpose of creating vaccines was intentional. What persuasion or coercion of mothers to that end took place is unknown. WI-38 is a cell line sourced from the lung tissue of a Swedish baby girl, and MRC-5 was taken from a baby boy. Both of these are currently in use in America, and this alone would be enough to give Christians serious pause. What is even more alarming is that the cell lines do not last forever, and there is a demand to continue to produce cell lines. One recent one is Walvax-2, taken from a Chinese baby girl. She was one of nine aborted babies used in starting this new cell line in 2015.”

A driving force against HB 3063 was a group of Slavic communities that testified that they fled to the U.S. for freedom from forced medications -- people not unfamiliar with religious persecution. Joining them and the religious groups were those that questioned the validity of vaccinations. A freedom of information act request revealed that the CDC commissioned a vaccinated vs unvaccinated study in 1999 with results so damaging they hid it. The data verified what parents have been saying, showing inculpated thimerosal (mercury preservative used in vaccines) as the principle culprit behind the autism epidemic. After a plot to hid the study came to light, they attempted to restrict the data and revealed false findings. In a second attempt, which they thought would vindicate the false results, again proved a shocking 364% increase in autism among African American boys given MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine in Georgia. And, again the CDC official, Frank DeStefano, ordered the results destroyed, and a sanitized study is now cited in 97 publications as proof that vaccines don’t cause autism.

Despite CDC’s efforts at suppressing the studies, independent scientists and research institutions (including UCLA) have managed to conduct and publish several additional vaccinated/unvaccinated studies since 1999. Those studies indicate high incidence of chronic diseases and brain and immune system injuries among vaccinated compared to unvaccinated clients.

Breeauna Sagdal of the Unified Liberty Coaltion noted,"American children are delaying vaccines, not by choice, but, due to skipped well child visits. We expect to see the results, of delaying vaccines reflected in the data. Time will tell, if SIDS, and infant mortality plummet during this pandemic.”

A vaccine is in the works for the COVID-19 virus, which is to be optional according to President Trump. In Oregon, Democrats still want to add vaccinations as a mandate for every child to attend school. They want medical control. And goodness knows, we've seen enough of that lately.

Those voting in support of mandatory vaccinations include:
Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner, SD 19
Senator Lee Beyer, SD 6
Senator Lew Frederick, SD 22
Senator James I. Manning Jr, SD 7
Senator Arnie Roblan, SD 5
Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward MD, SD 17
Senator Chuck Thomsen, SD 26
Speaker Tina Kotek, HD 44
House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner, HD 45
Representative Diego Hernandez, HD 47
Representative Teresa Alonso Leon, HD 22
Representative Jeff Barker, HD 28
Representative Janelle Bynum, HD
Representative Brian Clem, HD 21
Representative Margaret Doherty, HD 35
Representative Julie Fahey, HD 14
Representative David Gomberg, HD 10
Representative Chris Gorsek, HD 49
Representative Mitch Greenlick, HD 33
Representative Ken Helm, HD 34
Representative Cheri Helt, HD 54
Representative Paul Holvey, HD 8
Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer, HD 46
Representative John Lively, HD 12
Representative Caddy McKeown, HD 9
Representative Mark Meek, HD 40
Representative Tiffiny Mitchell, HD 32
Representative Nancy Nathanson, HD 13
Representative Rob Nosse, HD 42
Representative Carla Piluso, HD 50
Representative Karin Power, HD 41
Representative Rachel Prusak, HD 37
Representative Dan Rayfield, HD 16
Representative Jeff Reardon, HD 48
Representative Andrea Salinas, HD 38
Representative Tawna Sanchez, HD 43
Representative Sheri Schouten, HD 27
Representative Kim Wallan, HD 6
Representative Marty Wilde, HD 11
Representative Anna Williams, HD 52
Representative Brad Witt, HD 31

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-07-29 08:15:57Last Update: 2020-07-29 16:55:43

Rep. Nearman Calls for Moving Federal Courthouse
Suggests that Dallas might be a better location

State Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence) announced today that he is calling on President Donald Trump to close the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse for the Oregon District located in Portland, and offering to have its operations moved entirely to the City of Dallas, Oregon and a new courthouse constructed there, a little over an hour away from its current location.

Nearman said, "While this will certainly be inconvenient for many in Portland who have business at the courthouse, the City of Portland has demonstrated over the last two months that it is both unwilling and unable to provide even the most basic security for the facility."

Many Democratic legislative leaders defended the rioters in a letter to the US Attorney General William Barr, criticizing the activity of federal law enforcement, as they have defended federal property in Portland.

The 16 story courthouse, completed in 1997 at a cost of $129 million, has been under daily siege by rioters for two months, sustaining an unknown amount of damage.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-07-29 07:11:09Last Update: 2020-07-28 22:13:48

Executive Orders Reach All-Time High
At least Governor Brown is good at something

Congratulations, Governor Kate Brown, on July 21, 2020, you issued the most executive orders in one year in the history of Oregon. Granted, this is an unusual year, but we are barely half through the year.

The winning order isn’t glamorous. Matter of fact, it’s in a series of orders that is issued every other year. Executive Order 20-32 along with 20-31 declares a state of emergency in Morrow, Wheeler, Douglas, Gilliam, Josephine, Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson and Wasco Counties due to unusually low water supplies and hot, dry conditions. The orders include six directives, which are a repeat of duties and assistance that agencies normally operate under. There are no new duties or moneys. It is unfortunate that these counties have to be highlighted in an executive order to receive the service they rightfully deserve anyway.

These same counties were the subject of emergency orders in February through May in 2019 for severe winter storm, heavy snow, ice accumulation, high winds, flooding and landslides. In 2018 there was again a series of drought emergency orders due to low snow pack, precipitation and stream flow, and warming temperatures. Curious, I checked emergency orders for 2017. Any guesses? Yep, there was again a series on severe winter storms.

What is common is a sense of placating these rural counties with words from on high. What is interesting is that in years of elections the emergency on drought and fires running up to the election are issued. Another coincident is in 2019 as these severe storm orders were issued the legislature was passing flood safety and water quality districts for urban growth in Metro in SB 431 and HB 2008. And, in 2018, bills passed focused on water use, reservoirs and transfers under <