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FDA Votes No to Booster Vaccines for Most People
OHA seems to dismiss the fact in announcement

Under the direction of Pat Allen, the Oregon Health Authority released a statement on September 17th concerning the FDA booster dose recommendation, but failed to mention at all the part where the FDA voted 16-3 that most people do not need the booster vaccine.

OHA's statement only focused on the part of the FDA's statement that the committee recommended that people age 65 and older and those considered at high risk of severe COVID-19 receive a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after the second dose.

This news is widely considered a blow to the Biden presidential administration, and Oregon's Governor Brown's relentless and exhaustive efforts to try to achieve some 100 percent compliance to the vaccination effort. This comes on the tails of recent forceful government mandates that government, healthcare, and education workers be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

The choice to only release selective information to the public by the OHA will likely continue to damage the reputability of the statewide health coordinator, according to many observers, and they are noting that the OHA would have been better off including all of the information released by the FDA to the people of Oregon.

You can view OHA's press release on the announcment here.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-09-17 19:39:24Last Update: 2021-09-18 01:33:43

Tina Kotek Aims for Your Guns
She vowed to make a safe gun-storage law a top priority

Editor's note: This is the seventh of a multipart series on Tina Kotek – her past and her future – as well as where her political ambitions might take her.

Gun reform is not a new subject for Speaker Tina Kotek. In 2015 she made news when in her town hall she expressed support for a “pro-rape” gun measure that she called “closing a loophole.” That measure would have effectively ban you from loaning or selling a gun to a sister (or other female relative or friend) who was in imminent danger of a sexual assault.

Numerous violent incidents took 528 lives in Oregon in 2017, which started a series of reform attempts. The 2017 session witnessed Kotek’s democrats pull every shady trick in the book to ram through SB 719 which is referred to as the “Gun Confiscation Bill.” Dubbed as an “extreme risk protection order”, it allows a family member or household member to arbitrarily report that someone is a risk to themselves or others, and grants police the authority storm one’s home and confiscate deadly weapons. This confiscation does not require substantive proof that the person in question ever did anything wrong. The accused would then have to spend thousands of dollars of their own money on attorney and court fees to prove they are worthy of their 2nd Amendment rights.

The reforms proposed in 2019 in SB 978, would have required gun owners to secure their guns, and impose regulations on “ghost” or 3-D printed guns and require gun owners to report lost and stolen guns. When the gun bill failed in 2019 by an outpouring of citizens that caused Republican Senators to walked out, it stop the passage. After the session, KOIN reported that Speaker Tina Kotek vowed to make a safe gun-storage law a top priority in the next legislative short-session in 2020.

Speaker Kotek’s comments on the 2021 session praised police reforms but said they did not go far enough, but still included serious changes to the way law enforcement officers can respond to protests and how they face discipline. As we witnessed, police were told to stand down if no one is seriously hurt while Antifa destroyed property and scared children at a religious gathering on the Waterfront in Portland. That is the face of her policy reform.

The height of the 2021 session came when Kotek’s caucus rammed through SB 554, as she had promised in 2019. The bill sets new requirements for how gun owners must securely store their weapons when not in use, bans guns in the Capitol and Portland International Airport, and paved the way for public schools and universities to pass their own gun bans. The penalty section makes gun owners liable for crimes committed if the gun is stolen. It virtually makes the gun non-accessible putting at-risk families in harm’s way.

Referendum 301 is currently collecting signatures to repeal SB 554. Deadline is September 24.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-17 17:51:46Last Update: 2021-09-17 18:39:34

Dundee Mayor Mulls Congressional Run
Bonamici has proven to be a reliable ‘yes man’ for the Democrat party

Oregon’s Congressional District One is a tough demographic for Republican challengers. For decades Democrats have exerted a lock on that seat. Redistricting will change the boundaries, but changes aren’t known. Past incumbents Elizabeth Furse and David Wu enjoyed the same public union support extended to current office holder Suzanne Bonamici. Those three all understand that if you deliver for the public unions you’ll get millions in campaign funds and canvassers from the ranks of government employees. The new Congressional District 6 is likely to be Yamhill and Polk Counties and just enough Portland Democrats to ensure Democrat dominance in the seat.

Undaunted courage describes 2022 Republican challenger David Russ. Currently serving as mayor of Dundee, David runs as an alternative to representatives that promise one thing during a campaign and then obey party leadership once in office. In Bonamici’s case she obeys Nancy Pelosi if she wants to maintain her standing on Congressional committees. While accomplishing little for CD1 constituents, Bonamici has proven to be a reliable ‘yes man’ for the Democrat party.

David Russ, a very approachable candidate, has done what he has promised as mayor of Dundee. Russ puts it succinctly, "My campaign is strongly driven by faith and direction from God. My tenure will be driven by the Constitution and Service to my Constituents."

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-09-17 17:29:48Last Update: 2021-09-17 18:47:39

Vaccine Mandates Causing Staffing Shortages
Yamhill County Declares Emergency

The Board of Commissioners of Yamhill County Oregon have declared a County State of Emergency due to Foreseeable Lack of Adequate Resources to Respond to Basic needs for Health, Safety and Emergency Services.

They passed a resolution declaring the emergency on Thursday, September 16th, with only one no vote being from Commissioner Casey Kulla.

The resolution reads as follows:

RESOLUTION 21-09-16-1


THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF YAMHILL COUNTY, OREGON (the "Board") sat for the transaction of county business in formal session on September 16, 2021 at 10:00a.m., via Zoom, Commissioners Mary Starrett, Lindsay Berschauer and Casey Kulla being present.

WHEREAS, the ongoing cOVID-19 pandemic has exhausted many providers of core public services, including first responders, healthcare providers, educators and related staff, emergency service providers, and public safety providers; and

WHEREAS, the recent surge of COVID-19 cases, due to the Delta variant, has further strained the delivery of those public services and has filled regional hospitals with COVID-19 patients and

WHEREAS, in an effort to address this new surge, the State of Oregon has attempted to further increase the percentage of Oregonians who are vaccinated against CoVID-19 by imposing vaccine mandates for certain sectors, including education, healthcare, emergency services and state workers; and

WHEREAS, while some Oregonians have received the COVID-19 vaccine as a result of the state mandate, other workers subject to the state mandate have left or are expected to leave employment rather than receive the CoVID-19 vaccine; and

WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners anticipates that Executive Order 21-29 mandating vaccinations for state executive branch employees, OAR 333-019-1010 mandating vaccinations for healthcare providers and staff, and OAR 333-019-1030 mandating vaccinations for teachers and school staff will have a detrimental impact on the delivery of healthcare, education, public safety and emergency services within Yamhill County; and

WHEREAS, ORS 401 et. seq. and Yamhill County Ordinance 883 authorize the Board to declare that an emergency exists within the county and to prepare for and carry out any activity to prevent, minimize, respond to or recover from such emergency.


1. The Yamhill County Board of Commissioners formally declares that, in accordance with ORS 401 et.seq. and Ordinance 883, a State of Emergency is hereby declared within Yamhill County due to the immediately foreseeable lack of adequate resources to deliver basic health, safety and emergency services; and

2. ORS 401 et. seq. and Ordinance 883 provide the bases for invoking this declaration of emergency, which shall continue until December 31, 2021 unless extended or earlier terminated by the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners upon a finding that the emergency conditions no longer exist; and

3. The Board of Commissioners requests that the State of Oregon immediately withdraw its vaccine mandates to prevent further exhaustion and departure of providers of core public services, including first responders, healthcare providers, educators and related staff, emergency service providers, and public safety providers, that are essential for the safety and well-being of Oregonians living in, visiting and traveling through Yamhill County.

Done this 16th day of September 2021

Yamhill County Board of Commissioners

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-17 15:52:20Last Update: 2021-09-18 01:29:25

Oregon Education Department Calls for Safe Spaces
We must ensure that schools are safe and welcoming spaces for every student

In a controversial resolution, the Oregon State Board of Education has passed a resolution "Encouraging Solidarity and Support for Student Identities." Some observers see this as the imposition of political favoritism upon Oregon students by allowing and promoting certain Leftist ideas such as those of the Marxist political group -- Black Lives Matter -- while at the same time apparently discouraging any right-leaning political promotion.

The Board passed the resolution, which calls out the the Newberg School Board to reverse course on it's recent efforts to disallow political symbolism such as BLM and Pride flags from the Newberg public schools, and that certain other student identities are not political or controversial.

The "Resolution Encouraging Solidarity and Support for Student Identities" specifically calls on the Newberg School Board to encourage district staff to celebrate and stand in solidarity with students through the use of signs, flags, placards and symbols, and affirm in words, policy and action that every student is welcome, appreciated and ensured an equitable access to a high quality education in Newberg Public Schools. The Oregon State Board of Education is also encouraging Oregon School Boards to agree with the "Every Student Belongs" rule.

“Equity does not mean that one side gets ignored or favored. It is quite the opposite: we have a responsibility to create and maintain humane, livable spaces for children who have consistently lived on the brink of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion,” said Guadalupe Martinez-Zapata, Vice-Chair of the Oregon State Board of Education. “A minimal demonstration of that humanity, a flag, a banner, a sign, is all it could take for a student to feel safe. Each student is unique, and every one deserves our love and care.”

The resolution also encourages all districts to show in actions and in words that every student is affirmed in their identities and is made welcome in their schools, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, native language, immigration status, documentation status, age or disability.

“Now more than ever, we must work to ensure that our schools are safe and welcoming spaces for every student. We know that has not always been the case – in particular for our students of color, Indigenous, Tribal citizens, immigrants, English learners, and LGBTQ2SIA+ students, as well as our students who experience disability,” said Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill. “Student identity should be supported and celebrated, and we must recognize the unique needs and perspectives that our students bring.”

The resolution states that Oregon school districts can welcome and affirm student identity by modeling the use of inclusive language, encouraging the proactive creation of safe and affirming spaces, and engaging in honest and authentic dialogue with students on who they are and how best to serve their needs. School boards can also adopt similar resolutions, in consultation with their local communities, as long as those local decisions do not go against what the State Board of Education has decided.

The Oregon State Board of Education and the Oregon Department of Education claim that they remain committed to ensuring Oregon’s schools are safe and inclusive for all students and staff. The resolution says that symbolism of pride and Black Lives Matters slogans and insignia are statements of love and affirmation only, and indicate support and solidarity for those students who want to use those symbols. They do not meet the requirements of a hate symbol nor are they attached to specific political candidates or parties, even though BLM is known to be closely aligned with the Defund the Police movement and other left-leaning ideology.

The resolution makes no mention of the legality or constitutionality of creating policies based on race, nor how to deal with the expression of right-leaning students.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-09-16 22:28:31Last Update: 2021-09-16 22:35:02

Tina Kotek’s Impact on Education
Does Tina Kotek walk in Kate Brown’s footsteps?

Editor's note: This is the sixth of a multipart series on Tina Kotek – her past and her future – as well as where her political ambitions might take her.

Education is at the forefront of this state. Unless we educate our students, freedom and liberties will always be at stake. Speaker Tina Kotek claims her 14 years in the House is her strength, what does that look like for education?

In 2013, Kotek sponsored HB 3077 that enacted the Interstate Compact for Agreement among the states to elect the president by National Popular Vote. Whether you trust big states to vote for you or not, it forfeits Oregonian’s right to vote to larger states. The right to vote is the core to the Republic that insures liberties. Kotek voted to add civics as a requirement to graduate, so does she support the individual right and duty to vote?

Oregon Constitution, Article I, Section 1, says “we declare that all men, when they form a social compact are equal in right...” Governor Brown changed “equal in right” to equity in outcome, which translates into redistribution. Even after two federal judges ruled equity in outcome is unconstitutional, Kotek still supports Governor Brown’s change in agenda. She was chief sponsor of HB 2001 during the 2021 session requiring school districts to retain teachers with less seniority if teacher has more merit and if retention of teacher is necessary to maintain school district's diversity ratio -- release of teacher would result in lesser proportion of teachers with cultural or linguistic expertise.

Kotek’s legislative biography also takes credit for championing the Student Success Act that is funded by the corporate activity tax, After two states abandoned the tax as taking too big of hit on their economy, she passed it on party lines. The tax increases funding for the state’s preK-12 public education system by $1 billion per year. Makes one question where it went if a 3.3 percent increase in the amount of $9.3 billion was need for schools for the next biennium. Will schools see that $1 billion when businesses can’t operate?

It was Speaker Kotek that sponsored SB 552 in 2011, designating the Governor as Superintendent of Public Instruction. At the feet of the powerful teachers’ unions, she’s presided over what is arguably the largest decline in effectiveness in the Oregon education system since statehood. That has sparked parent’s ire with her caucus passing SB 744, which suspends graduation requirements showing proficiency in Essential Learning Skills.

As the gubernatorial election hastens, there is an important question on the table -- does Tina Kotek walk in Kate Brown’s footsteps?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-16 20:11:04Last Update: 2021-09-17 09:10:35

The $1.25 Billion I-5 Cover Up
Governor Brown comes to the rescue

On September 9, the Oregon Transportation Commission released an announcement stating they were advancing the Hybrid 3 highway cover option for the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project. With conditions. The Rose Quarter Improvement Project is part of a larger $5.2 Billion transportation investment package -- Keep Oregon Moving passed as HB 2017. One of the most immediate conditions for the Hybrid 3 project is for the Oregon Department of Transportation to provide a Project Funding Plan on how the revised Project might be funded.

In the early 1960’s Interstate 5 was built through the Portland area which, due to the location of the new freeway, caused the removal of homes and businesses in the historic Albina district. The Albina community primarily was, and still is, a Black community. Due to the loss of homes, businesses and potential economic growth over the years from building I-5 through the Albina district, various stakeholders from the community, city of Portland, and state have been planning since 2010 on ways to rejuvenate the area, and the local economy.

The solution was to build a 4.1-acre cap over I-5 at the Rose Quarter that would serve to provide outdoor plaza space and reconnect streets that had been bisected by the construction of I-5. The (corrected) cost estimate of this solution was between $715 million to $795 million. However, the plazas did not address the loss of businesses and economic opportunity the construction of I-5 had displaced. As the proposed solution stood, the cap over I-5 was not sturdy enough to support buildings like businesses, apartments, etc. As a result, the Albina Vision Trust withdrew their support of the project and Portland City Commissioners requested the project to be “paused” because it was not “aligned with the city’s Racial Equity Plan or Climate Emergency Resolution”. This standoff lasted 15 months.

Governor Brown comes to the rescue. After the Albina Vision Trust withdrew their support for the proposed I-5 Rose Quarter project and spent 15 months away from the table, Governor Brown brokered a compromise. That compromise forces the Oregon Department of Transportation to spend more time and money on the project as well as increasing the project scope. The revised project now will require a more robust cap over I-5 capable of supporting buildings 2-5 stories high.

There is, of course, much more to the story. There is the addition of lanes on each side of the freeway to be added, and the need for the Harriet Tubman School to be moved. There is the projected cost of up to $1.25 billion for the improvement and the need for ODOT to come up with a funding plan. Of course, there will be the multiyear construction zones on I-5 going through the Rose Quarter, but if all goes to plan the Albina district will have a 4.1-acre cap they can develop on.

The result: Precious transportation dollars not being used for transportation. One can almost see the sign now. “Keeping Oregon on the Move. Your Tax Dollars At Work. Completion 2027.”

--Steve Howard

Post Date: 2021-09-15 21:11:37Last Update: 2021-09-15 21:30:24

Special Election for City Council Happening in Washington County
Deadline for voting is Tuesday, September 21

Beaverton voters will need to drop off ballots for the September Special Election for City Council at an official ballot dropsites after today, September 15. They will not reach the elections department by the deadline if mailed at this time.

Many observers have recently questioned if Washington County on its way to becoming like Multnomah County, and may continue to see only Democrats elected, and a similar lack of accountability as it's neighbor county. Some observers of the situation are claiming that some Democrats may be better than others, in this case, Jerome Sibayan has been called the "less-radical" candidate.

A picture has now been circulating on Facebook showing Ky Delgado-Warren, a known Antifa member, thanking Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty “for hosting and inviting” The 649, the bar owned by Ky Delgado-Warren and her husband Karim Delgado, for an event to raise money for the her “friend” Beaverton City Council candidate Ashley Hartmeier-Prigg.

According to Ky Delgado-Warren’s Facebook page, she touts her activities with Antifa, and she calls her troops into action on a regular basis. Observers have already witnessed, and some have experienced, the destruction of what has occurred in downtown Portland where Mayor Ted Wheeler, an Antifa sympathizer, has done nothing to help his city escape the nightly Antifa riots that apparently Ky and others like her participated in for months last summer, and that still continue today.

Why is the Mayor Lacey Beaty inviting a known Antifa member and friend to sling alcohol at a fundraising event she is hosting?

Mayor Lacey Beatty needs to answer to why she is fraternizing with Antifa knowing they are an Alt-Left group who is known for destruction.

Washington County elections officials are asking voters to use one of these official ballot dropsites as early as possible so all ballots can be processed in a timely manner. The deadline for voting in the September Special Election is 8 p.m. Tuesday, September 21. If you use a ballot dropsite early, and do not wait until Election Day, it is likely you will avoid encountering any traffic back-up that often develops at many of the dropsites on the day of the election. Ballots will be collected at all official dropsites until the 8 p.m. deadline Tuesday, September 21, 2021. Postmarked ballots will not be accepted for this election.

Beginning next year effective January 1,2022, Oregon will allow for ballots that are postmarked by Election Day and received no later than seven days after an election to be accepted and counted.

Here is the list of official ballot drop sites with 24-hour access: Additional information on election matters may be found at the Washington County Elections Office website or by calling 503-846-5800.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-09-15 18:30:25Last Update: 2021-09-15 19:53:11

Analysis: The Coming Power Crises
How long do you think batteries will supply a large city with power?

Around 100 people died in this summer’s heat wave in the Portland area. Most or all did not have AC at all so sufficient power was probably not part of the cause this time, but humans are dependent on power for both heating and cooling and there are decisions being made which call into question whether we will have sufficient power at hand. We all know California has already had power blackouts due to decisions they have made about power generation. The entire west coast is controlled by people bent on elimination of fossil fuel power, and the blackouts are the result. It would be fine if they replaced fossil fuel generation with something that will produce cleaner power, but they aren’t. They are zealots and like Lord Farquaad in the movie Shrek, if some people have to die, well, that’s a sacrifice they are willing to make.

People died from the cold last winter in Texas partly because Texas had invested heavily in solar and wind over the last decade and during that cold snap in February the sun wasn’t shining and the wind wasn’t blowing. When utilities invest in renewables, they are supposed to build the equivalent generating capacity in something that can and will always produce power. It doesn’t always have to be running – if solar and wind are generating the needed power it can be on standby but it needs to be there for emergencies. It wasn’t there in Texas because even though they had it, it had not been properly protected from cold weather. Sensors failed when they froze and safety systems took the plants offline. I hope they learned a lesson. We are seeing more extremes in both hot and cold, and people need power in both cases to preserve life.

We have two power utilities here: Portland General Electric and Pacificorp. Both are investor owned and operate within the framework created by state and federal government regulations and subsidies. PGE’s largest power producing plant -- Boardman -- was decommissioned last October, 20 years before its time, because it was a coal plant. What have they replaced that generation with? Something that burns much cleaner like natural gas, the use of which has led the US to be one of a few countries to decrease CO2 output in the last 20 years even though population has grown? Nope. It will be replaced with: nothing. Their plan is to replace it with “market purchases,” -- in other words, from states smart enough to maintain generating capacity -- and “wind, solar and batteries.” How long do you think batteries will supply a large city with power when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing during a cold snap like Texas had? A couple hours, maybe? That is if they have winterized them which what will you bet, they won’t? So you are reliant on someone who had the foresight to maintain power generation, selling you some power. What if they have the cold snap as well, like most of the country did during Texas’ nightmare?

We have the same nightmare on the way here if we don’t exercise some oversight of our elected officials. Our form of government requires an informed citizenry to properly oversee them. Get involved or don’t complain.

--Henry Lee

Post Date: 2021-09-15 17:41:44Last Update: 2021-09-15 18:10:25

Workers Comp Rates Fall in Oregon
Due to a continued downward trend in Oregon’s lost-time claim frequency

In 2022, Oregon employers, on average, will pay less for workers’ compensation coverage according to the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. The decline in costs marks nine years of average decreases in the pure premium rate -- the base rate insurers use to determine how much employers must pay for medical costs and lost wages.

Underpinning the cost decreases is the success of Oregon’s workers’ compensation system, which includes programs to control costs, maintain good worker benefits, ensure employers carry insurance for their workers, and to improve workplace safety and health.

The numbers illustrate positive, long-term trends: The reduction in costs is due to a continued downward trend in Oregon’s lost-time claim frequency and downward trends in claim severity and medical costs, according to the National Council on Compensation Insurance. NCCI is the U.S. rate-setting organization whose recommendation DCBS reviews as part of its annual public process to decide rates.

Employers’ total cost for workers’ compensation insurance includes the pure premium and insurer profit and expenses, plus the premium assessment. Employers also pay half of the Workers’ Benefit Fund assessment, which is a cents-per-hour-worked rate.

The decrease in the pure premium of 5.8 percent is an average, so an individual employer may see a larger or smaller decrease, no change, or even an increase, depending on the employer’s own industry, claims experience, and payroll. Also, pure premium does not take into account the varying expenses and profit of insurers.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-14 13:00:09Last Update: 2021-09-14 09:04:34

School Boards Association: “Follow the Law”
“We must do better, even in the face of divided and sometimes hostile communities”

In the face of mounting push-back against what many see as heavy-handed COVID-19 policies demanded by the Governor, The Oregon School Boards Association has distributed a letter to all school board members asking them to follow the law. The issues mentioned are COVID-19 mandates and free-speech restrictions -- presumably calling out the Newberg School District for their ban on Black Lives Matter and rainbow flags. The letter begins:

To Oregon School Board Members,

Before joining an Oregon school board, each and every appointed or elected individual is required to take an oath of office. The wording can vary by district, but generally follows this template:

“I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, the constitution and laws of the state of Oregon, and the policies of (my district). During my term, I will faithfully and impartially discharge the responsibilities of the office to the best of my ability.”

Powerful words, but pretty simple ones, too: I will obey the law, and I will do my very best.

Yet at a time when Oregon’s school boards have never been more tested, we are also lamentably seeing a remarkable number of board members doing their very best to ignore the law or openly defy it. Such behavior is simply unacceptable.

In addition to battling COVID-19 restrictions, many school districts have also been battling Critical Race Theory, and to some, this also presents a legal challenge for school boards.

Article 1, Section 20 of the Oregon Constitution would seem to rule out any action based on Critical Race Theory or reparations. It says: "No law shall be passed granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges, or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens."

The letter from the OSBA continues:

We are duly elected leaders of our communities. We set examples for young people. We are sworn to follow the law – whether we like that law or not. Whether the issue involves court-sanctioned health safeguards during a deadly pandemic or constitutionally protected forms of speech, our oaths bind us. We must do better, even in the face of divided and sometimes hostile communities.

Our actions should be centered on positive outcomes for students. Creating even bigger divisions in our schools and communities does not serve that end. We call on Oregon’s more than 1,400 school board members to carefully weigh the consequences of your actions, to heed your oaths, and to lead by example.

Our children deserve nothing less

For many school board members -- and for many more taxpayers, voters and parents -- school boards who fight these restrictions have the children's best interest in mind.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-14 09:04:34Last Update: 2021-09-14 09:27:58

Linthicum Blasts PSU’s Mistreatment of Professor
Academic freedom and honesty are dead in Oregon’s public Universities

Recently, Portland State University’s Peter Boghossian resigned from his position as assistant professor, marking the end of academic freedom and honesty in Oregon’s higher education system.

Citing Portland State’s unseriousness and lack of commitment to real education when confronted with facts that conflict with prevailing left-wing narratives of the day, Boghossian published his resignation letter online.

Senator Dennis Linthicum issued the following statement about his resignation:

The far-left are hell-bent on bullying and tormenting any individual with a different mindset. Prof. Boghossian was not promoting ideals that were destructive to the American ideal or higher education, but that's the point.

“During his time at PSU, Boghossian did incredible work to expose the corruption inside our system of higher education and attempted to hold it accountable. That work must continue until we restore higher education to what its primary purpose: learning, not indoctrination.

“Boghossian is a scholarly authority who could present students with difficult issues, historical context, and well-reasoned assessments of the circumstances. In other words, he taught students to think for themselves. His analysis was simply too honest for our modern social culture warriors. That was the sin he was punished for.

"HECC, the PSU board, and PSU's faculty caved to the outrageous demands of the radical left by failing to support him. The mainstream and social media organs also played a part by largely ignoring the issue. They have abandoned truth and integrity and embraced the ideological tragedy that is failing our students.

"How many more rare, talented, and committed professors will Oregon sacrifice to destructionist ideologies that roam our university campuses?"

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-14 08:47:44Last Update: 2021-09-14 08:54:32

Chehelam Parks Empire
When property tax dollars are taken from consumers they consume less

Chehalem Parks and Recreation District currently has taxing authority over a little fewer than 40% of Yamhill County property owners. Most are in Newberg or Dundee. In 2020-21, $3,286,290 of local property taxes went to CPRD. Among their operations are parks, a pool, youth sports, playgrounds, golf, preschool, and adult sports. The legislature set aside $1.25 million last session to build their new Community Center. Debt service on a $19.9 million bond is an annual obligation.

Just how much of that bond was for acquisition and development of the 18 hole golf course isn’t identified on their website. The annual costs for maintenance, personnel and a share of administrative overhead for the golf course are just over $2 million a year. Golf revenue in 2019-20 was reported at $1.25 million. In 2020-21 revenue was listed at $1.5 million. The 32,500 citizens living in the CPRD taxing district are subsidizing golf to the tune of 25-30% for those that choose to play golf at CPRD. It’s a good deal for the small percentage of citizens that golf there.

Is it a good practice for government to provide non-essential services that compete with private enterprise? When property tax dollars are taken from consumers they consume less. Reduced spending diminishes the local economy lowering local GDP. Consumers have fewer choices and less economic freedom. Still, CPRD argues their golf course stimulates the local economy.

CPRD has allowed themselves to become part of a failed project of the County. They are studying the possibility of acquiring and operating the once hoped for bike path, Yamhelas Westsider Trail, between the communities of Carlton and Yamhill. Since each of five LUBA decisions decided to protect farmland over recreation on Yamhelas Westsider Trail you’d think the matter concluded. The last LUBA decision ordered the County to pay opponents legal fees. Legally, it’s game over for the County, but not necessarily for the taxpayers.

A small private group, Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail, paid for a survey about the bike path but had CPRD sponsor the survey to give it some much needed legitimacy. The survey asked touchy feely questions of people who know little to nothing of land use law. Those respondents know nothing of the history of non-transparency leading up to the waste of time and money for this assault on farmland. Respondents may not properly understand that using tax dollars on a project to benefit a few, that would otherwise stimulate the economy if left with consumers is actually a financial drag on the local economy. Respondents might not understand that diminishing output of a primary industry -- farming -- has a negative multiplier further diminishing all local economic activity.

Of concern is that CPRD has plans for a third nine holes of subsidized golf and that they have grand designs on a system of bike paths through farms that would violate the very land use laws that scuttled the Yamhelas Westsider Trail debacle. Also concerning is the fact that the Yamhelas Westsider Trail debacle is outside the CPRD taxing district. Why is CPRD so intent on what some see as empire building in inefficient golf and illegal trail activities? Why are they and their Board of Directors meddling in matters outside of their taxing district?

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-09-13 13:06:36Last Update: 2021-09-13 22:56:36

Giant Hornets Located in Washington
Asian giant hornets are not native to the U.S., are the world’s largest hornet and prey on honey bees and other insects

The Washington State Department of Agriculture, Oregon Department of Agriculture, and USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service found the first Asian giant hornet nest of 2021. The nest was in a rural area east of Blaine, Wash., about one-quarter mile from where a resident reported a sighting of a live Asian giant hornet on Aug. 11, the first of 2021.

WSDA narrowed the search area by Aug. 17 but was unable to access the location until today. A WSDA tracking team and a team of USDA APHIS and ODA staff searched the area beginning this morning at 7:30 a.m. with the USDA APHIS and ODA team spotting the nest about 9:15 a.m.

` “I was glad to be able to share what I learned last year with our ODA collaborators,” said Stacy Herron, a USDA APHIS plant health safeguarding specialist who assisted WSDA on the hornet project last year. “Finding the nest with ODA one day after simulating tagging and tracking in training was a very rewarding experience and demonstrates just how valuable the WSDA training was.”

“It’s an honor to be a part of this innovative pest prevention work in Washington,” said Jake Bodart, ODA Insect Pest Prevention Management program manager, said. “While Asian giant hornets have not yet been detected in Oregon, we are pleased to participate and learn first-hand from our partners on what it takes to respond to introductions of this emerging pest.”

“Teamwork has been the key to success with this effort,” Sven Spichiger, WSDA managing entomologist said. “Whether it is the public reporting sightings and building traps or state and federal agencies working together, this is really a model for success in invasive species management.”

WSDA netted, tagged with a tracker and released three hornets between Aug. 11 – Aug. 17. One hornet slipped out of the tracking device, another hornet was never located, and one eventually led the team to the nest.

WSDA entomologists will now develop their plans to eradicate the nest, most likely next week.

Asian giant hornets are not native to the U.S. They are the world’s largest hornet and prey on honey bees and other insects. These hornets may attack honey bee hives in the late summer or early fall. A small group of Asian giant hornets can kill an entire honey bee hive in a matter of hours.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-13 09:59:12Last Update: 2021-09-12 10:05:58

Veteran and War Memorial Grants Coming to Oregon
Grants may be used for restoring broken monuments

The Oregon Heritage of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is offering grants for the construction or restoration of veterans and war memorials.

Local governments and federally recognized Tribes are eligible to apply for work on monuments on public owned properties.

New monuments should acknowledge veterans and wars not already recognized in the community.

Grants for restoration may be used for broken monuments, missing elements of monuments, or the related design elements of monuments for veterans or wars. Grants may also fund the addition of elements to existing monuments.

Projects must include the active participation of a veteran organization.

A free, online workshop about the grant applications will be September 29, 2:30-3:30 p.m. Registration is required. The grant application deadline is December 10, 2021.

Past funded projects include repair to the Doughboy monument in Astoria, a women veteran monument in Springfield, a new monument in Malin, and additions to the large memorial in Washington County.

For more information about the Veterans and War Memorials grant and other grant programs, visit the Oregon Heritage of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department website or contact Kuri Gill by email or by calling 503-986-0685.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-09-12 17:17:48Last Update: 2021-09-12 18:57:02

Oregon Sunshine Committee to Meet
Possible changes in leadership structure on the agenda

The Oregon Sunshine Committee is holding an electronic meeting on September 22, 2021 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM.

The public can attend by telephone or via Webex, although there is no further information provided by the Committee at this time. Meeting links and call-in numbers are available upon request sent to SunshineCommittee@doj.state.or.us.

The Oregon Sunshine Committee was created in 2017 with the passage of HB 2101 in the Oregon State Legislature.

Like the name suggests, it's job is to make sure that Oregon’s sunshine laws are working. A large part of that task involves reviewing the hundreds of exemptions that can keep government information out of public hands, with the goal of creating a more transparent government.

The agenda of the meeting on September 22nd will be to recap where things stand with the Sunshine Committee’s work and discuss the path forward from, including possible changes in the leadership, and leadership structure, of the Committee. Discussion on these issues could lead to votes on leadership and structure questions and possibly also on how the Committee will prioritize its work going forward.

The meeting materials that have been provided to the members include the draft report the Committee worked on in early 2020, and the 2011 proposed re-organization of public records exemptions.

An archive of past committee meetings can be found here.

Written comments to the Oregon Sunshine Committee about its work and requests for accommodation can be sent to SunshineCommittee@doj.state.or.us.

Regular meetings of the Oregon Sunshine Committee are currently scheduled on the third Wednesday of every odd-numbered month (January, March, May, etc.). The Sunshine Committee generally meets in Hearing Room C of the Oregon State Capitol at 1:30 PM.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-09-12 09:44:24Last Update: 2021-09-12 18:58:04

Horse Viruses Confirmed in Oregon
Agriculture Department advises owners to vaccinate their animals

The Oregon Department of Agriculture received six confirmed reports of West Nile Virus diagnosed in Oregon horses in the past two weeks. One additional suspected case is under investigation. The affected horses live in multiple counties throughout the state: Umatilla, Malheur, and Klamath. None of the infected horses were recently vaccinated against WNV, and most of the horses have never been vaccinated for WNV.

Numerous additional WNV cases have also been reported recently in Washington, Idaho, and California near the Oregon border. Therefore, ODA advises annual vaccination as an effective tool for preventing WNV infection in horses.

On September 9, Oregon State Veterinarian, Dr. Ryan Scholz, DVM, received a report that Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHV-1) was diagnosed in one horse and suspected in a second horse on a private farm in Linn County. A third horse on the same farm tested positive for EHV-1, with a fourth and fifth horse exposed. Two of the affected horses were euthanized. A preliminary investigation shows none of the five horses have been moved off the farm or in contact with other horses in the past four weeks. As a result, Dr. Scholz placed the farm under quarantine.

EHV-1 is highly contagious. While there are no known exposures linked to the Linn County farm, Dr. Scholz recommends that horse owners concerned about exposure monitor their horse’s temperature and contact their veterinarian if a fever or clinical signs develop. EHV-1 testing is generally not advised in asymptomatic horses. More information is available from Equine Disease Communication Center.

Photo by Mathias P.R. Reding on Unsplash

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-12 09:33:37Last Update: 2021-09-12 10:06:50

Huggins Announces for Governor
The Filmmaker Joins a Crowded Republican Field

Jim Huggins, author, actor and independent filmmaker, President and CEO of New Shepherd Films, is putting his business on hold to devote his time to run for Oregon Governor. He announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination on the Lars Larson Show, immediately drawing attention to the root of why Oregon and Portland are failing calling out politicians to uphold the public order. His website summarizes his campaign: MakeGovernmentDoWhatItsSupposedToDo.com.

What Huggins says about his company is his personal philosophy, “we tell true stories and we tell them in a manner that reflects God at work. If we can do that, then you have a chance of having your life change. If you’re concerned about society and which way it’s going, change your entertainment. We are here to be a light so people have a choice.” He directed the award-winning film, Forgotten Heroes, The Robert Hartsock Story, among others.

Married with three children Dr. Huggins holds two doctorate degrees, one in engineering and a doctorate of divinity. He is a former officer of the USAF Air Command. He is an adjunct faculty member at Corban University giving instruction in media arts and filmmaking, including effective storytelling regardless of the media.

Dr. Huggins is a sought-after speaker for his powerful way of communicating his vision. Jim desires to impact the culture around him in a positive way beyond movies and books. From exposing politicians making bad decisions that is affecting our safety to education funding going down the drain with no accountability, he is intent to clean Oregon’s swamp.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-11 07:34:59Last Update: 2021-09-11 19:14:25

Are You Safer Under Tina Kotek?
Kotek has some responsibility for the violent outbreaks

Editor's note: This is the fifth of a multipart series on Tina Kotek – her past and her future – as well as where her political ambitions might take her.

Crime comes in all shapes, but every crime interferes with freedom. Protecting property, whether it’s personal or a business, is crucial to our liberties.

Speaker Kotek’s legislative biography says during the historic 2019 session, she guided the Oregon Legislature to pass the first statewide laws in the country to combat rent gouging. But, in 2014, she replied to a question at a town hall about rent control, saying she opposes rent control. Then, she turned around in 2019 and co-sponsored SB 608, the nation’s first statewide rent control act. As warned, the limit on rent increases were far more generous than historical increases and has resulted in higher increases than historical increases.

Is the crime in the free market or in restrictions? Kotek fought to preserve and increase affordable housing, but did nothing to secure low-income neighborhoods. Kotek boosted on Facebook in 2017 thanking Governor Brown for announcing a plan to curb gun violence. However, shootings in Portland nearly doubled in 2020 and this year has already more than doubled over last year’s highs.

Recently, she owned the push for more equitable policing and a fairer criminal justice system. She sponsored HB 4301 in the 2020 Second Special Session to modify defenses available to peace officers requiring a peace officer to consider alternatives to physical force or deadly physical force if reasonable opportunity to do so exists. Is that what we see in Portland?

As early as 2011, Kotek was promoting anti-policing policies co-sponsoring HB 2951 that identifies “involved officer” in incident that used deadly force causing serious physical injury. She was the chief sponsor of HB 4207 in 2020 for an online database of suspensions and revocations of police officers. This past session she sponsored and passed HB 3164 removing refusal to obey officer’s order as a manner of committing a crime to reduce the case against her assistant arrested for interfering with a police officer.

Last year, the Statesman Journal report Speaker Kotek slamming Portland police for using tear gas during protests where more than two dozen protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct. In a letter to Mayor Wheeler, she said, "It was an unnecessary escalation by the PPB against people exercising their freedom of assembly and freedom of speech." This past weekend police were told to stay away from conflicts between rioters. The Wall Street Editorial said, “Cities that tolerate political violence invite more of it. Portland, Ore., has failed to learn this lesson, and it’s a miracle no one was killed amid recent clashes… Mayor Ted Wheeler, federal courts and Oregon lawmakers have severely restricted when police can use less-lethal force, even amid riots.” As Speaker of the House, Kotek has some responsibility for the violent outbreaks as a part of state leadership. Why are 90% of rioters arrested never charged?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-10 16:10:39Last Update: 2021-09-10 16:55:35

Special Session Called for Redistricting
Legislative districts to be reapportioned

Governor Kate Brown has now called the Oregon Legislature into a special legislative session in order to adopt new congressional and legislative district maps, the next step in the census and redistricting process.

Redistricting is the once-a-decade process of redrawing United State House of Representatives (Congressional) and Oregon State Senate and State House of Representatives (Legislative) district boundaries to account for changes in population. ​​​

Earlier this year, Republicans in the State Legislature brokered a deal with Speaker of the House, Tina Kotek (D) Portland to suspend the rules requiring legislative bills to be read in full during the session, in exchange for allowing Republicans to have equal representation on the Redistricting Committee. Prior to this deal, Democrats were set to have majority of members directing this effort.

The special session will begin on Monday, September 20 at 8:00 a.m. The Oregon Constitution directs the Legislature to reapportion legislative districts every ten years, following the U.S. Census.

“In Oregon, we believe your vote is your voice, and every voice matters,” said Governor Brown. “This special session is an opportunity for legislators to set aside their differences and ensure Oregon voters have their voices heard at the ballot box. Based on my conversations with legislative leaders, and the ongoing public testimony we are hearing from Oregonians across the state this week, I believe the Legislature is ready to begin the next step of the redistricting process.”

According to the Oregon Supreme Court’s recent decision in State ex rel Kotek v. Fagan and Senate Bill 259 (2021), the deadline for the Legislature to complete redistricting plans for state legislative districts and federal congressional districts is September 27, 2021.

Due to COVID, the statewide redistricting tour planned for September was moved to a virtual format only.

Members of the public were invited to participate in the virtual hearings to provide feedback on the draft maps created by the House and Senate Interim Redistricting Committees. These maps were made available starting on September 3rd.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-09-10 14:05:43Last Update: 2021-09-10 16:35:22

Republican Opposition Lines Up for Oregon’s Fifth
A faltering Biden administration could make this a different year for Republicans

As incumbent 5th Congressional District Representative Kurt Schrader makes national news for ducking his district -- fueling speculation that he may not run for a 6th term in Congress -- opponents across the aisle are beginning to line up to run against him.

Former Happy Valley Mayor and candidate for state legislature, Lori Chavez-DeRemer is poised to run, though through redistricting, she may not end up in the 5th Congressional District. From the suburbs of Portland, crime -- of course -- is at the top of her issues list.

Former Keizer city councilor Amy Ryan Courser lost to Kurt Schrader in a topsy-turvy 2020 election by a mere 6.7%. Her issues are appropriately national and include national security, borders and the national debt.

West Point grad and energy executive Nate Sandvig is running on a platform to "restore sanity." Education -- especially the impact of the left -- is at the top of of the list for this Tillamook County native. He also features energy solutions, touting "stable and secure energy supplies."

For his part, Kurt Schrader has been able to fend off all opposition with his substantial incumbent war chest which could at any time be supplemented by his significant personal fortune, but in a year that features a faltering Biden administration -- despite the fact that he won't personally be on the ticket -- could make this a different year for Republican challengers. Additionally, the trickiness of going from five to six Congressional districts could move some Democrats out of the district.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-09 20:32:01Last Update: 2021-09-09 23:26:20

Oregon Education Department Offers Sex Ed Training
“Focus on strategies for affirming LGBTQ2SIA+ students and creating inclusive classrooms”

The Oregon Department of Education has announced that they will be presenting a four-part virtual teacher training series on K-5 Comprehensive Sexuality Education.

According to their website, "While this training is designed to develop skills for teaching sexuality education with a K-5 focus, the foundational activities included are highly relevant to Comprehensive Sexuality Education teachers of all grade bands. The second two modules focus on strategies for affirming LGBTQ2SIA+ students and creating inclusive classrooms through Health and Sexuality Education."

In June of 2020 the Oregon Department of Education published its LGBTQ2SIA+ Student Success Plan which will be featured in this training. The document drives toward a chapter called "Recommendations | Trust, Connection and Inclusion," which is divided into three domains: As the public school system looks away at parents unenrolling their children in record numbers and declining -- even unmeasured -- performance, they choose to focus on K-5 student sexuality as one of the most important issues to be addressed in the classroom.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-09 17:02:31Last Update: 2021-09-09 22:45:28

Bill Post Will Not Seek Reelection
The Representative has served House District 25 for the last 6 years

Representative Bill Post (R-Keizer) has announced he will not be seeking reelection in 2022 in the Oregon House of Representatives.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve House District 25 for the last six years,” said Post.

“When I was a radio talk show host, I often spoke of my desire for term limits on elected persons but always as “self-imposed” by those officials. I don’t believe the writers of our Oregon Constitution intended for “citizen legislators” to stay in office for years and years but rather, to let the next citizen step up and serve. I look forward to the next chapter in my own family’s life and in the future of this state.”

Representative Post plans to serve the district through the remainder of his term and looks forward to completing the redistricting process. Currently, Rep. Post serves on the following House Committees: Agriculture and Land Use, Energy and Natural Resources, Business and Labor, Wildfire, and the Joint Committee on Information Management and Technology, and serves as the Assistant Deputy Leader in the House Republican Caucus.

“I still feel there is much work to be done at the legislature, so it is with mixed emotions that I make this announcement. I am very grateful for the support I’ve received from the community and the relationships that have been built while serving Keizer, St. Paul and Newberg.”

Pivotal Legislation from Rep. Post:
--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-09-09 09:54:17Last Update: 2021-09-09 10:17:20

Kate Brown Apppoints Lane County Judge
To replace Judge Suzanne Chanti

Governor Kate Brown has announced that she will appoint Erin A. Fennerty to the Lane County Circuit Court.

Fennerty fills the vacancy created by Judge Suzanne Chanti’s recent retirement.

Her appointment is effective immediately.

“For years, Erin Fennerty has maintained a high-volume civil litigation practice while passionately serving her community,” said Governor Brown. “Erin’s work ethic and practice experience will serve her well as a trial court judge in Lane County.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah, she earned a law degree from George Mason University School of Law. Since then, Fennerty has practiced family law, education law, municipal law, and general civil litigation at the Luvaas Cobb law firm in Eugene. She serves as a pro tem judge for the Lane County Circuit Court. Fennerty is registered as a Democrat.

She is the past-president of the Lane County Bar Association, a member of the Lane County Family Advisory Committee, and serves on the Oregon State Bar’s Professional Responsibility Board and Family Law Section Executive Committee. Fennerty also previously served on the WomenSpace Board of Directors.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-09-08 15:56:00Last Update: 2021-09-08 17:38:20

“Critical Thinking” Professor Driven from PSU
Global Diversity and Inclusion recommends Boghossian receive coaching

In an open letter to Portland State University Provost Susan Jeffords, Internationally renowned Philosophy Professor Peter Boghossian has resigned his position.

In the letter, Boghossian cites the "Social Justice factory" replacement for free inquiry as his reason for leaving.

I never once believed — nor do I now — that the purpose of instruction was to lead my students to a particular conclusion. Rather, I sought to create the conditions for rigorous thought; to help them gain the tools to hunt and furrow for their own conclusions. This is why I became a teacher and why I love teaching.

But brick by brick, the university has made this kind of intellectual exploration impossible. It has transformed a bastion of free inquiry into a Social Justice factory whose only inputs were race, gender, and victimhood and whose only outputs were grievance and division.

Boghossian followed neither party, voting for Andrew Yang in the 2020 presidential election. He was the subject of a Title IX Discrimination investigation, based on his work. Regarding this, he said, in the letter:

With Title IX investigations there is no due process, so I didn’t have access to the particular accusations, the ability to confront my accuser, and I had no opportunity to defend myself. Finally, the results of the investigation were revealed in December 2017. Here are the last two sentences of the report: “Global Diversity & Inclusion finds there is insufficient evidence that Boghossian violated PSU’s Prohibited Discrimination & Harassment policy. GDI recommends Boghossian receive coaching.”

Not only was there no apology for the false accusations, but the investigator also told me that in the future I was not allowed to render my opinion about “protected classes” or teach in such a way that my opinion about protected classes could be known — a bizarre conclusion to absurd charges. Universities can enforce ideological conformity just through the threat of these investigations.

The letter details some of the many attacks he faced at Portland State University based on his work. He says that, "The university did nothing to stop or address this behavior. No one was punished or disciplined."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-08 14:47:38Last Update: 2021-09-08 15:12:27

Unlicensed Child Care Approved by Gov. Brown
Some experts predict a continued labor shortage

In the face of a labor crisis in low-wage workers, including child care workers, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has issued an executive order allowing unlicensed childcare facilities in Oregon. According to the Governor's executive order, because of the Delta variant, "These challenging circumstances highlight the critical importance of our childcare infrastructure to support working parents, including parents who are healthcare providers, and our youngest Oregonians."

The executive order reads, in part:

An entity or individual can be approved to operate a temporary unlicensed emergency childcare facility as authorized by order of the Early Learning Division if the entity or individual meets and complies with all requirements for emergency childcare as provided by the Early Learning Division, including any conditions imposed on the emergency childcare approval. The Early Learning Division may issue guidance to implement this directive.

A childcare worker may satisfy the requirement to be enrolled in the Central Background Registry through an Emergency Background Check as authorized by order of the Early Learning Division and in accordance to guidance issued by the Early Learning Division. The Early Learning Division may issue guidance to implement this directive.

As Oregonians continue to receive extended unemployment benefits, some experts predict a continued labor shortage, especially in low-wage employment.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-07 10:54:40Last Update: 2021-09-07 11:21:22

How’s Your Health Under Tina Kotek?
She supports requiring health workers and school staff get vaccinated

Editor's note: This is the fourth of a multipart series on Tina Kotek – her past and her future – as well as where her political ambitions might take her.

From a thinly veiled attempt to covering illegals with health care in the failed HB 2164 to requiring school-based health services , Speaker Kotek has placed a heavy thumb on the scales of health care. Kotek has driven the health care agenda towards universal health care with designed benefits for minority groups. She’s on record as pro-choice while defending access to reproductive health care for all Oregonians.

How could we forget Cover Oregon. As Speaker, Kotek lead her caucus to pass SB 99 in 2011. This was the bill that enabled the failed Cover Oregon website and in 2015 she was forced to help sponsor its repeal. The extreme failure made national news and cost the state more than $300 million. Kotek and leadership tried to blame the companies hired to build the website, but the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform investigation concluded that it was the politicians playing politics who were to blame.

Before New York tried to limit the size of soft drinks, Kotek tried limiting the size of drinks with high-calories. If you were disabled or needed liquid nutrients, containers would be limited to 12 ounces. That may not have been her intent. Perhaps it was aimed at sports drinks or teenage diets, but it didn’t go over well in 2011 when Kotek sponsored HB 3222 prohibiting sale of single servings of high-calorie beverages in prepackaged containers to not more than 12 ounces.

Speaker Kotek made sure HB 3057 passed using her majority to further Governor Brown’s mandates. The bill authorizes Oregon Health Authority to disclose individually identifiable information related to COVID-19 for medical reasons, but also may contract for purposes of responding to COVID-19 recovery efforts, provide what treatment and individual has had, and report services that were necessary for response and recovery efforts.

On August 19, Kotek tweeted support requiring health workers and school staff get vaccinated. “I support this decision. We need to keep our kids in school and support hospital systems throughout the state that are on the verge of collapse due to the Delta variant.” Hospitalization only exceeded last November by 20 or fewer for five days for the entire state and is now declining.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-07 10:53:18Last Update: 2021-09-08 14:59:29

Timber Unity Seeks Vaccine Mandate Relief
“Less mandates and more dialogue are critical to managing public safety”

A letter has been sent on Labor Day from Timber Unity Board President Mike Pihl to Governor Kate Brown in regards to her recent executive orders on Covid-19 vaccine mandates

Dear Governor Brown,

I represent Timber Unity Association, an Oregon 501c6 non-profit membership association with a mission to protect and defend the livelihoods of Oregon workers whose incomes are dependent on the natural resource economy. Today, on this Labor Day, our association is speaking out on behalf of the public employees and healthcare workers for whom you have issued a requirement of mandatory Covid-19 vaccination as a condition of workplace employment. Given that public employment and healthcare employment tend to be the predominant work opportunities in rural communities outside of natural resource jobs, many of the industry workforce we represent are spouses or parents of nurses and other healthcare workers; law enforcement and corrections officers; volunteer and regular firefighters; and other state workers.

At the beginning of this pandemic, we as a board encouraged our members to mask up to protect businesses and workers. When groups have asked us to participate in rallies in opposition to your executive orders, we’ve refrained from encouraging people to aggregate out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our members. As it relates to vaccines, we have discouraged misinformation from being distributed on our sites. Like the rest of Oregon, our board runs the spectrum of those who have been fully vaccinated, those who’ve acquired natural convalescent immunity, and those who have philosophical issues with vaccinations. We’ve encouraged members to make their medical choices based on medical advice, not social media memes.

During the pandemic, our organizational time has been to be a resource to the state during other natural disasters like wildfires and the winter ice storms. We’ve worked to be a resource in helping interpret executive orders so our members can comply with the orders – even when we haven’t agreed with the orders themselves. But with the most recent vaccine mandates, we feel the need to speak up and tell you about the impact that will happen in rural communities if they go into effect as written.

We are aware of the pressure the recent Covid surge is having across the state. It is pushing healthcare and emergency management to the edge of its capacity. And with new mutations on the horizon and winter months coming, we can anticipate that we’re not out of the woods and another surge is on the horizon. Moreover, until we see some rain, we can fully expect to be in fire season when your vaccine mandates become operable. Therefore, it’s critical that we work to find a compromise that doesn’t put key public workers and healthcare workers in the position of walking away from their employment over philosophical reasons. Right now, these essential frontline workers have been going full tilt since the beginning of the pandemic. Cutting them loose over a vaccine debate doesn’t just cost the state in terms of exacerbating a skilled workforce crisis, it costs taxpayers money to hire new workforce, particularly the high cost of hiring out-of-state traveling healthcare as replacements.

Governor Brown, we hope you’re aware that in recent weeks, studies have shown that immunity acquired from contracting Covid-19 can be as protective as a vaccine, particularly against the Delta variant. We know from the states tracking reinfection that the Centers for Disease Control pegs reinfection at 1% or less. That makes the risk of reinfection comparable to the risk of a breakthrough infection for a vaccinated individual. We are also not seeing reports of reinfected individuals being hospitalized or dying from a second infection.

We are asking that you give direction to the Oregon Health Authority to include in these vaccine mandates that public workers and healthcare employees who can demonstrate through laboratory testing that they have positive antibodies for Covid-19 that they be allowed to continue to resume the important work they provide to the communities in which they live. By broadening your mandate, you’ll avert a labor workforce crisis in critical public services and safety at a time when we can’t afford to lose workers. If even a handful of firefighters, nurses, or law enforcement leave their jobs or take early retirement, in the smaller communities in Oregon, it leaves us dangerously short of qualified and/or licensed personnel to do key jobs. Moreover, because these workers have been on the frontlines, many have already contracted Covid-19 at some point during the pandemic. If they still show positive antibodies, we should continue to allow them to work in these roles as they have since the beginning of the pandemic.

The other issue we believe needs to be addressed is the Employment Division’s stance that refusing a vaccine as part of workforce requirements is insubordination, therefore, not a benefits-eligible termination of employment. There are reasons besides religious and medical that people would be hesitant to take a vaccine, especially where only one FDA-approved option exists, and the others are still in Emergency Use Authorization. If, but for refusing this vaccine, any other reduction-in-force of these employees would have rendered them eligible for unemployment benefits, then the Employment Division should maintain a policy of extending benefits in this circumstance. Previously, the Legislature has extended unemployment insurance beyond the scope of eligibility or duration – we believe strongly this should be one of those occurrences where benefits are extended to those that are terminated for failure to meet a workplace requirement of vaccination.

Conversely, if unemployment benefits are not extended, then we would support that vaccine injuries which public employees and healthcare workers experience as a result of the mandate are covered by the state for long-term disability. This would be in the same manner the United States’ Department of Defense and the Veterans’ Affairs Administration covers long-term disability for members of the military when vaccine injuries occurred because the vaccine is a requirement as a condition of military employment.

Governor Brown, you have it within your authority to provide maximum flexibility on these mandates, while still managing the important task of public safety. You also can send a strong message to private employers by implementing flexible policy that recognizes a broader way to reach heard immunity. Less mandates and more dialogue are critical to managing public safety. It’s time to change course to achieve a balanced need to manage through the remainder of the pandemic as it moves to an endemic disease, with the need to maintain critical public sector and healthcare workforce, especially in resource-starved areas of our state. We stand ready to help with more workable solutions.


Mike Pihl, President

Timber Unity Association

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-06 17:16:22Last Update: 2021-09-06 20:10:44

Pearl District Shooting Injures 3 Inside Restaurant
Even upscale Portland neighborhoods seem unsafe

Three people are recovering from gunfire related injuries after a shooting inside and outside of a busy restaurant in the Pearl District Neighborhood of Portland, Oregon.

On Saturday, September 4, 2021, at 1:19p.m., Central Precinct officers were dispatched to a report of a shooting at Northwest 10th Avenue and Northwest Davis Street. When they arrived, they did not locate any victims but found evidence of gunfire and a significant number of people in the area. It took a significant number of officers to secure the crime scene. Crews from the Portland Bureau of Transportation assisted officers with traffic control.

Officers soon after learned that three people had arrived at local hospitals with gunshot wounds. One adult female and 2 juvenile (teenage) males were treated for injuries that are non-life threatening. Officers confirmed the injured were connected to the Pearl District shooting.

The Enhanced Community Safety Team responded to the scene. Preliminary investigation indicates that a verbal argument led to a physical fight between a group of known people inside the restaurant. Shots were fired and the group moved outside the restaurant where more shots were fired. Investigators have confirmed the three people injured were a part of the prior confrontation and there's no indication any bystanders were struck.

One adult male was detained for the investigation and a gun was seized as evidence. No charges have been filed at this point.

Detectives believe that several people left the scene without waiting to speak to police. If anyone has information about this case, they're asked to contact the police.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-09-05 09:33:23Last Update: 2021-09-05 09:54:40

Doing Business in Oregon? Let’s See What Kotek Has to Say
Several bills affect the operation and bottom line of businesses

Editor's note: This is the third of a multipart series on Tina Kotek – her past and her future – as well as where her political ambitions might take her.

As Speaker of the House, Tina Kotek carries a lot of power deciding which bills will be heard seriously directing her caucus to vote for, which will receive a courtesy hearing in a quid pro quo move, and which get trampled on the cutting floor. The 2021 Session summarized her philosophy of taxation: With record revenues in the coffers, she led her Democrat allies to raise taxes on the citizens of Oregon.

Kotek has promoted the review of all taxation bills saying that just as tax credits are reviewed periodically, so taxes should also be reviewed for sufficiency. This mindset has driven her agenda in legislative sessions. Her caucus pulled off the second big rip-off costing individual taxpayers $15 million reducing the kicker by passing SB 846 along party lines.

In a reverse strategy, in 2016 session she fostered an increase in tax revenue with the passage of the union’s legislation to raise Oregon's minimum wage, the strongest equal pay law in the nation, touted as the nation's first fair work week law. She claims success for working families, but Oregonlive reported they were not so pleased with the increased taxes withheld.

Several bills affect the operation and bottom line of businesses. One such bill Kotek helped to sponsor and directed her caucus to vote in was the Producer Responsibility Program. SB 582 establishes a program for packaging, printing and writing paper and food serviceware, which requires producers to join a program plan for recycling materials creating a new industry under approval of DEQ.

On Facebook she says, “Businesses that repeatedly violate our air quality and environmental standards put our communities in danger. The DEQ should have the authority to deny permits based on multiple past violations so we can prevent avoidable catastrophes like the 2018 fire at NW Metals.” In 2021 Kotek sponsored HB 3372 blindsiding industries with a one-strike-and-you’re-out rule that would close the business if they had history of noncompliance with environmental quality.

Oregon is rich in minerals and the only producer of emery in the U.S. The Mined Land Regulation and Reclamation program is supported by fees paid by natural resource extraction permittees. In an unprecedented move Kotek sponsored HB 4302 in special session to raise the fees on permits for mineral exploration, mining operations, exclusion certificates, gas and oil drilling and exploration and geothermal well drilling operation. It also limits the number and distribution of onshore exploration sites and oil, gas and geothermal wells, limiting new developers from exploring more efficient and cost saving electricity.

The power displayed in the 2021 session was Kotek’s ability to lock in an alternative to cap-and-trade helping to sponsor and pass HB 2021. This bill requires retail electricity providers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers to 80% below baseline emissions levels by 2030, 90% below baseline emissions levels by 2035 and 100% below baseline emissions levels by 2040. Electric companies are required to develop clean energy plans for meeting clean energy targets, as if zero emissions were even possible or healthy for plant life.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-04 13:09:51Last Update: 2021-09-04 09:27:36

Tina Kotek and Transportation
Debate over the Columbia River Crossing plagued the state

Editor's note: This is the second of a multipart series on Tina Kotek – her past and her future – as well as where her political ambitions might take her.

Tina Kotek earned her Masters degree in International Studies at the University of Washington, which made her a natural as Speaker of the House of Representatives to cochair the Oregon-China Sister State Committee, having the purpose to host and entertain delegations visiting from and to the provinces in China, and to promote exports to China and Chinese investments within Oregon. The Oregon China Sister State Relations Council president is Lan Jin. Lan is the principal of a business consultant company called Octaxias. Although the company boasts of helping thousands of business owners access the Chinese markets, only high-profile names are mentioned on its website. The company’s “Latest News” page includes Speaker Kotek pictured with Lan after arranging her trip to China in 2014.

Almost as soon as Kotek was selected Speaker, debate over the Columbia River Cross plagued the state. She was the legislative lead on the project accused of stonewalling the public from receiving honest answers when figures did not add up. She defended not listening to public comments over the controversy of the $10 billion price tag attached to a state-of-the-art bridge design. Her excuse was that the public views were wrong, but as time revealed, they were right. She states she wanted to make the project the best it could be, but when Washington State wouldn’t share in funding, Kotek supported a plan called the “Oregon Only CRC” plan.

In Kotek’s biography on the legislature website, she claims she led the way to a historic investment in the state's transportation infrastructure package -- HB 3055 -- a 10-year $5.3 billion bill that will increase gas taxes to 40 cents by 2024. However, she voted no on the bill explaining, “it does not include a requirement for ODOT to “right-size” projects...of congestion management. ...does not include community workforce or project labor requirements...” She does claim, “this bill adopts many provisions from my efforts,” even though she voted no.

Her biography goes on to say she made the first-ever statewide investment in public transit, and created a fund to help individuals purchase zero-emission vehicles. It is blatantly clear her shepherding of the 2017 Transportation Package has paved the way for tolls, used as congestion pricing, as well as the vehicle mile tax among other things.

The whole idea of zero emissions has been designed around inducement. Promoting electric vehicles through tax credits for vehicles purchases and recharging sites. She directed her caucus to pass HB 2165 along party lines authorizing electric companies to recover costs from retail consumers for infrastructure to support transportation electrification, and increases manufacturer's suggested retail price for hydrogen fuel-powered light-duty zero-emission vehicles to qualify for standard and Charge Ahead zero-emission and electric vehicle rebates.

On party voting lines, Kotek moved her caucus to pass electric vehicle tax credits and requires State Parks and Recreation Department to allow for installation of public electric vehicle charging stations in HB 2290

Speaker Kotek’s agenda to push electricity leaves an uncertainty if electric companies will be able to guarantee enough energy to supply the state continuously.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-03 17:03:58Last Update: 2021-09-03 17:11:32

Malheur County Sheriff Gives Statement on Kate Brown Mandates
“We will resist unconstitutional mandates”

The Malheur County Sheriff has release a statement in response to Oregon Governor Kate Brown's recent demands that everyone in the State of Oregon must wear a mask both indoors and outdoors, whether vaccinated or un-vaccinated for Covid-19, and vaccination mandates.

"Malheur County is a great place to live, work, and visit. The Malheur County Sheriff's Office is proud to be a part of creating the high quality of life that we enjoy here."

For the above stated reasons, I feel it necessary to write this letter in reference to protecting the freedoms and liberties that are granted to all U.S. citizens by the Constitution of the United States of America.

The citizens of Malheur County are good hard working free-thinking people who possess a high degree of common sense and a solid educational foundation.

All of the alleged science that has been evolving from State and Federal agencies has apparent political ideations that our Malheur County population has has seen through from the beginning. That in no way means that we take this pandemic lightly. We all have friends and relatives who have suffered as a result of this horrible disease. However, that does not equate to a governmental ability to mandate that an individual or a population of people must forgo their freedoms or liberties. With that degree of common sense come the ability to make rational decisions to stay home when ill, wash hands and stay away from obviously ill people. We all learned that from childhood and do not need to be politically parented. Every citizen should enjoy the liberty to choose for themselves the best actions to take. It is not government's place to mandate such things as the wearing of masks, or the need fore vaccinations. These should be personal choices and no-one else's business. At some point people have to realize there are consequences for their choices.

If we are truly interest in the health of our citizens we must also look at the damage unnecessary mandates have caused by creating anxiety and mental health issues of those who are now faced with taking a vaccination they do not believe to be safe or lose their livelihoods.

As elected Sheriff of Malheur County I believe that it's not the government's job to protect our health. It's the government's job to protect our Rights, Freedoms, and Liberties. It's each of our job to protect our own health.

"When you trade liberty for safety, you end up losing both." (Ben Franklin)

It is important to remember that "the Constitution of the United States was not written to restrain the citizen's behavior. It was written to restrain the government's behavior." (Rand Paul)

It has become very apparent that certain governmental heads have used this pandemic to enact emergency procedures and are testing the waters of tolerance from the loss of freedom to alleged safety. I agree with our citizens that these mandates do not fall within the superior mandates of the Constitution of the United States, which I am sworn to follow above lower orders of (other) elected officials.

Please be advised that the Office of Sheriff in Malheur County will not be a source of enforcement for your mask or vaccination mandates. Furthermore, we will resist future unconstitutional mandates.


Sheriff Brian E. Wolfe

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-03 15:27:09Last Update: 2021-09-03 16:43:56

Redistricting Maps Proposed
“We’ve committed to an inclusive and accessible process”

House and Senate Redistricting Committees Release Proposed Maps for Public Review and Testimony The House and Senate Committees on Redistricting released proposed congressional and legislative maps delineating new district boundaries for Oregon’s congressional and legislative districts. The presented maps are not final and will be used by community members to provide input during the 12 virtual public hearings held September 8 through September 13.

“There has been an impressive amount of public engagement throughout the redistricting process thus far,” said Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland) who chairs the Senate Committee on Redistricting. “We remain committed to fairness, transparency and following the law as we continue to hear from members of the community and finalize electoral maps.”

The proposed maps were created in alignment with statutory criteria. The public is invited to testify and give the committees’ members feedback on the electoral lines.

“We’ve committed to an inclusive and accessible process,” said Representative Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego), co-chair of the House Committee on Redistricting. “Already we’ve heard a record amount of testimony at the beginning of the year following 10 public hearings and we look forward to hearing from the public again next week to ensure fair, representative maps.”

The Legislative website on redistricting has more information on redistricting, to sign up to testify, or to access to previous public hearings held by the committees, visit www.oregonlegislature.gov/redistricting.

Once a decade, based on U.S. Census Data, states redraw electoral lines to reflect population shifts, and take into account changes in demographics to ensure fair representation in government. Due to a delay in Census data caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oregon Supreme Court extended the deadline for completing the new maps to September 27.

As Oregon’s population growth outpaced other states, the state will receive an additional sixth Congressional seat in the U.S House of Representatives. Thus, the committees will draw new lines for six Congressional Districts in addition to drawing lines for Oregon’s 30 State Senate and 60 State House Districts. District lines will be informed by 2020 Census Data and public testimony. Those lines are required to be aligned with Oregon’s statutory criteria.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-02 19:17:51Last Update: 2021-09-05 10:59:19

Undernosing and Chin-Riding at the State Fair
So much for the 2021 State Fair slogan "Fun Make a Comeback"

The big news story from the Salem Statesman Journal was that over twelve people complained about masks. Over twelve people complained. That’s their breaking news story. It was such great news that it was picked up over 1,700 miles away in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Breathlessly, the story read,

Upwards of a dozen complaints were filed to Oregon's workplace safety agency this past weekend over concerns that the state's outdoor mask mandate was not being observed at the Oregon State Fair.

Reporters seem not to go out anymore in person to get the story, so they make a report like this with photos making it look like the fair is sparsely attended when in fact thousands are going. Maybe 350,000 if the media has not scared attendees away. The media reported that Governor Kate Brown said that the Oregon State Patrol would enforce masking. No, OSP did not. A memo from OSHA to vendors at the fair sent a ripple of compliance, but otherwise had little effect. Everyone was having fun. No one was being harassed or arrested.

The memo read, in part,

Under the Oregon Safe Employment Act and Oregon OSHA's rules related to penalty calculation, the minimum penalty for a serious violation is $100 and the maximum penalty is $12,675. Penalties are typically determined based on the severity and probability of the violation cited, as well as upon the size of the employer.

However, a willful violation -- including situations where the employer is aware of the requirement and chooses to continue to operate in violation of it -- carries a minimum penalty of $8,900 and a maximum penalty of $126,749.

Vendors, exhibitors, and other similar employers should therefore be aware that violations will be characterized as "willful" violat ions if Oregon OSHA concludes that the employer was made aware of the facial covering requirements -- including direction received from the operator of the venue -- and continued to disregard the violation. This is distinct from whatever sanction or enforcement mechanisms may be available to the venue operator as part of the contractual relationship.

So much for the 2021 State Fair slogan "Fun Make a Comeback." OSHA made sure that didn't happen.

In attendance for eight hours at the fair on August 30th an estimated 75-80% were mask free. Two days later it seemed like many more than that were mask free. It seems that many Washingtonians and Oregonians both seem tired of the world that Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Oregon Governor Kate Brown put us in a year and a half ago.

Citizens, themselves, while the local media holed up in their homes, citizens went out since March 2020 and photo documented that no emergency was going on...not then and not now. With time at home citizens started doing their own independent research. Some have been on the trail of how many on social media posted they took the jab, posting memes to that effect, then how soon after there was an obituary about their "sudden” deaths. Many of them were young.

We will know after September 6, 2021, if the media fearmongering worked or citizens flocked to the Oregon State Fair, 350,000 strong, and had a fabulous time.

--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-09-02 18:10:32Last Update: 2021-09-02 19:17:51

Oregon BIPOC Caucus Slams High Court
“Roe vs Wade enshrined reproductive health care as a constitutionally protected right”

BIPOC Slams Court for Standing Against Abortion The Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a bid to stop Texas from banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. That sparked comments by the Oregon Legislative Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus blasting Texas Governor for signing into law Senate Bill 8 to ban abortions after six weeks, as well as -- in their words -- encouraging private citizens to act as bounty hunters.

The BIPOC Caucus includes: Senators Lew Frederick (D-Portland), Kayse Jama (D-Portland), James Manning (D-Eugene) and Representatives Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn), Wlnsvey Campos (D-Aloha), Andrea Valderrama (D-Portland), Mark Meek (D-Oregon City), Khanh Pham (D-Portland), Ricki Ruiz (D-Portland), Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego), Tawna Sanchez (D-Portland). They release a confusing statement about reproductive health that means the opposite of abortion:

“Roe vs Wade enshrined reproductive health care as a constitutionally protected right. In Oregon, we have a long history of protecting reproductive rights and removing barriers to accessing abortion because we know abortion is healthcare.

"BIPOC communities are most often forced to resort to unsafe abortions due to reproductive healthcare restrictions, a symptom of institutionalized white supremacy and patriarchy. Senate Bill 8 once again disproportionately takes away our constitutional right to make decisions about our own bodies as a worst case scenario, and forces those with the resources to travel across state lines for healthcare access as a best case scenario. This bounty hunting draconian abortion ban is an assault on our fundamental right to choose, and we condemn the passage of this bill.

Science has discovered that at the time of conception there is a flash of light that they can’t explain. The flash, sparked by zinc in the egg meeting the sperm, starts embryogenesis, at which time DNA identifies the personhood. But, apparently as seen from past legislation counting an unborn child as a person in the case of killing the mother, it isn’t about the fetus but what happens to the mother. Otherwise, killing the fetus would be a crime any time.

Do these legislators truly represent Blacks and people of color? Do they enjoy their minority status so much that they aim to keep it by reducing their race through abortions? They cry white supremacy for not letting them destroy themselves. But as Black people made up 12 percent of the U.S., they account for 38 percent of reported abortions. For ages 15-44, Black abortions are 3.8 times higher than white abortions and 2.15 times higher than Hispanic abortions. Black women average 1.6 more pregnancies than White women but are five times more likely to have a pregnancy that ends in abortion.

You get the picture. If it is white supremacy to protect the extinction of the Black race by protecting their unborn defenseless babies, what does that make them?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-02 15:57:01Last Update: 2021-09-02 18:10:32

Portland Sees Nine Shootings in 16 hours
Elected leaders seem incompetent

The Portland Police Bureau's Enhanced Community Safety Team (ECST) has reported there were nine shootings over the course of 16 hours, beginning just after noon on August 31, 2021, through the early morning hours of September 1, 2021.

Two of the shootings resulted in people being seriously injured and one shooting involved a service animal being killed.

On August 31, 2021, at 12:12 p.m., officers responded to the Springwater Trail near the 9400 Block of Southeast Cooper after shots were heard. Officers located multiple cartridge casings in the area of a homeless encampment at this location. (Case #2021-242431)

On August 31, 2021, at 5:49 p.m., officers were dispatched to the 5000 Block of NE 101st Ave on a report of a shooting. (Case #2021-242647)

On August 31, 2021 at 7:40 p.m., officers were dispatched to a shooting in the 1700 Block of Southeast 122nd Avenue, involving an injured dog. Officers located crime scene which consisted of multiple cartridge casings. Officers located an intended victim and a service dog, which succumbed to gunfire related injuries. This investigation has been assigned to ECST. (Case #2021-242798)

On August 31, 2021, at 9:07 p.m. Officers were dispatched to a report of a male shot in the area of Northeast 13th Avenue and Northeast Multnomah Street. Officers located a victim suffering from a gunshot wound and provided immediate trauma care. The victim was transported to an area hospital with a serious injury. This investigation has been assigned to ECST. (Case #2021-242875)

On August 31, 2021 at 9:10 p.m., officers responded to the report of a shooting in the 2000 Block North Lombard Street. Officers located a victim with damage to vehicle caused by gunfire. Witnesses report that the victim and suspect in this case had no interaction and that suspect discharged firearm into the victim's vehicle and fled the area. (Case #2021-242880)

On August 31, 2021, at 9:40 p.m., there was a report of a disturbance which ended with a shooting in the area of the 1900 Block SE 122nd Avenue. (Case #2021-242906)

On August 31, 2021, at 11:08 p.m., officers were dispatched to a shots fired call in the area of North Portsmouth Avenue and North Willis Blvd. Officers contacted several individuals, one who reported being in physical confrontation with a group. A firearm was displayed during the confrontation and the victim ran off when shots were fired. (Case #2021-242960)

On September 1, 2021, at 1:05 a.m., officers were dispatched to a report of a shooting with a victim injured in the 6200 Block of Northeast Columbia Blvd. Officers arrived and found a male victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Officers provided immediate trauma care and the victim was transported to an area hospital with critical injuries. This investigation has also been assigned to ECST. (Case #2021-243035)

On September 1, 2021, at 4:25 a.m., officers were called to Southeast 74th Ave/ Southeast Reedway Street on a report of shots in the area. Officers located a crime scene consisting of more than 20 cartridge casings, an unoccupied vehicle, and an area residence which had been stuck by gunfire.(Case #2021-243106)

The Portland Police Bureau has stated that these incidents required significant numbers of officers, sergeants, detectives, and criminalists to investigate, and drained resources on East and North Precincts.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-09-02 12:35:51Last Update: 2021-09-02 15:49:59

The Deep State Strikes Back
But things took an interesting turn in the Newberg School District

When the Newberg School Board voted to remove controversial political symbols from their classrooms they probably expected some resistance. They almost surely got more than they planned for.

The school board voted to remove political symbols like BLM and “gay pride” flags so that teachers and students could concentrate on school subjects. But the school board voted to remove all political flags and symbols -- although there have been no reports of any “Proud Boy” or “III%” flags ever making an appearance in Newberg schools.

The response from liberals was swift, organized and personal. Not only were marches organized, and large signs posted against the decision but such liberal icons as Alexandria Ocasio Cortez joined in condemnation of the school board.

The ACLU threatened a lawsuit and the Newberg City Council voted to censure them.

But the opponents of the school board’s decision didn’t stop there. They set out to personally destroy the people who voted to remove political propaganda from the classroom. They demanded that the offending school board members be fired from their day jobs. A Facebook group called “Equity ForNewberg” (sic) pushed to have the artwork of one school board member removed from a local business. Then they placed school board member Dave Brown in their sights.

Dave Brown serves on the Newberg School Board, but works as a coach in the Canby Schools. The “Equity ForNewberg” page asked people to contact the Canby School District and complain about Brown saying in a post, “Canby School District has strong pro-equity polices that Dave Brown is undermining in the Newberg School District.”

But things took an interesting turn when it was learned that one of the people involved in the Facebook group attacking the Newberg School Board members was Autumn Foster. Foster is the “communications director” for… the Canby School District.

Dave Brown’s working relationship with the Canby Schools has nothing to do with his role as school board member in Newberg and there have been no reports that we could find that he has ever acted in any way that would call into question his professionalism or commitment to his job as a coach. So Foster’s involvement in this attack on another Canby employee because she disagrees with his decision to remove extremist political symbols from classrooms is startling. It must also cause the Canby School Board members to wonder how she would use her job to undermine decisions they might make.

But Foster’s politics are not a secret in Canby. During the Trump Administration Foster placed a post on a Facebook page referring to Trump with the following: “F. This. Racist. Piece. Of. Sh.” For some, the battle over control of public schools has crossed not only geographical lines, but the lines of decency.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-01 20:49:34Last Update: 2021-09-02 15:57:01

Kate Brown Submits Appointments for Confirmation
Oregon State Senate will consider on September 22

Governor Kate Brown has now submitted a list of state board and commission appointments to the Oregon Senate for confirmation.

“State board and commission members bring a diversity of backgrounds and life experiences to provide valuable insight into a wide range of issues facing state government," said Governor Brown. "Our policies, programs, and initiatives are stronger when diverse perspectives have been at the table helping to craft them. I appreciate the willingness of all these nominees to help us build a safer, stronger, and more just and equitable Oregon for all."

Included on the list are nominees for positions such as Public Employees Retirement Board, Board of Trustees for Oregon State University, State Marine Board, Teacher Standards and Practices Commission and more.

The Senate Rules Committee is scheduled to consider the nominations on September 22.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-09-01 17:19:38Last Update: 2021-09-01 17:37:04

Barbara Smith Warner Condemns Texas Abortion Ban
“It is clear the Republican Party cares little about the rule of law”

Oregon House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland) made a strongly-worded statement following last night’s passage of SB 8, a Texas law that bans abortion after six weeks.

Smith Warner said, “Oregon is the only state with no limits whatsoever on abortion, because abortion is health care. What is happening in Texas with SB 8 is critical to every Oregonian, because an assault on reproductive rights anywhere is an assault on reproductive rights everywhere.

“Across the country, we are seeing attacks on basic human rights and our democracy. From banning books in schools to Jim Crow era voting laws and attempts to overthrow democratically elected governments here in Oregon and in D.C., we are up against anti-democratic forces who will stop at nothing to implement their radical, white nationalist, misogynist agenda.

As the science confirms more and more about the early stages of life, some insiders see the US Supreme Court possibly preparing to overturn the landmark case which legalized abortion. Smith Warner continued, “Despite Roe v. Wade being settled law for almost 50 years, we continue to see ongoing attacks by the Republican Party to end abortion care. These bans disproportionately harm low-income, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities and other marginalized groups who lack the resources to seek care outside the state.

“It is clear the Republican Party cares little about the rule of law, having pushed through three illegitimate Supreme Court Justices who share their radical beliefs. The Court’s failure to uphold Constitutional precedent is a clear, present and dangerous sign of what is to come. We must act now or face even more dire consequences.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-01 16:52:23Last Update: 2021-09-01 17:02:03

Kate Brown Announces Court Appointments
Two judges to the Multnomah County Circuit Court

Governor Kate Brown has announced that she will appoint two judges to positions on the Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Governor Brown will appoint Jenna Plank to a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Leslie Roberts and will appoint Chanpone Sinlapasai to a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Angel Lopez. Both appointments are effective immediately.

“Judges on the Multnomah County Circuit Court handle a wide variety of cases, many of them complex, and serve an increasingly diverse population,” said Governor Brown. “Jenna Plank and Chanpone Sinlapasai have the experience, work ethic, and compassion to hit the ground running, and to help the court work through its caseload fairly and efficiently."

Jenna Plank earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Portland in 2001 and obtained her law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School in 2005. After graduating from law school, Plank started serving as a prosecutor in the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office, where she has served her entire legal career. She currently supervises the misdemeanor unit. Plank also served on the Oregon State Bar Uniform Criminal Jury Instructions Committee and works with mock trial instruction and moot court competitions.

Chanpone Sinlapasai emigrated from Laos to the United States as a refugee at the age of four. She went to college in California. After law school, she worked at the Immigrant Refugee Community Organization and then as an anti-trafficking and domestic violence attorney. She later became a partner at Marandas Sinlapasai Garcia, and currently practices federal immigration law. Sinlapasai has served on several anti-trafficking task forces, the Mexican Consulate Protection Team, the Immigrant Refugee Community Organization Advisory Board, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Citizens Academy. She also is the past chairwoman of the Oregon Commission on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-31 17:54:38Last Update: 2021-08-31 18:04:06

Will House Speaker Tina Kotek Run?
Will she run for governor? Or Congress?

Editor's note: This is the first of a multipart series on Tina Kotek – her past and her future – as well as where her political ambitions might take her.

Democrat candidates are keeping their declarations under wraps. One person we are sure to see run for a major office is Tina Kotek. She has made several distinct moves to position a run. The most significant is her compromise with state unions on benefits to maintain her close alliance with union leadership.

Raised in Pennsylvania, Tina Kotek forged her political career while working on her Masters in International Studies at the University of Washington in the mid-1990s. She began work to win domestic partnership benefits for faculty and students. Upon graduation, Kotek began her public service career as a policy advocate for the Oregon Food Bank, and went on to serve as the policy director for Children First for Oregon before running for office.

Tina Kotek's first run for office in 2004 was unsuccessful in the 43rd House District. Switching to the 44th House District in 2006, she won with little opposition. In 2011, Kotek was chosen as the House Democrat Caucus leader, and when Democrats won the majority in 2012, she made national news as the first out Lesbian Speaker of the House in the nation, which she has retained ever since.

As Speaker, she has played a key role in Governor Brown's "equity" agenda to not just further her own agenda, but to lower the standards making it easier for minorities. In a press release January 4, 2021, she claims "Oregon was founded as an anti-Black "white utopia" -- from red-lining to forced displacement for "economic development" Black families were literally robbed of wealth." To tear down this "white utopia" she helped to sponsor SJM 4, urging Congress to enact legislation to begin process of implementing reparations for African Americans based on slavery and discrimination.

In that same statement, as Speaker for the leadership of House Democrats, she set out steps to confront Oregons racist past by following the lead of BIPOC leaders. She proposes giving them dedicated space to launch a special legislative committee to propose reforms to the overall legislative structure that will encourage more diverse representation in prioritizing their needs with an equity lens applied to both policy and budget decisions

After Governor John Kitzhaber resigned in February 2015, elevating Kate Brown to the governorship, Kotek was named by The Oregonian as a possible successor to Brown as Oregon Secretary of State. Through a spokeswoman, Kotek denied interest in the job. But, she is now at that crossroads. Will she run for governor? Or will she run for Congress?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-08-31 17:40:57Last Update: 2021-09-03 16:12:13

Columbia County Sheriff Pens Letter to Governor Brown
“The people of Columbia County have had enough!”

The Columbia County Sheriff has released a statement in response to Governor Kate Brown's recent demands that everyone, everywhere in the State of Oregon must wear a mask both inside and outside of buildings, regardless of Covid-19 vaccination status, and mandatory vaccination requirements for employment:

Governor Kate Brown,

I write to you today on behalf of the citizens of Columbia County in hopes of opening a dialogue. As Sheriff, it is my responsibility to provide for the peace and safety of those in Columbia County. I believe it is in the best interest of Columbia County, and all other counties throughout Oregon, to retain local control over decisions affecting the public health and safety and to protect the individual choice of those we represent.

The people of Columbia County want our county back. The citizens have endured "two weeks to flatten the curve", unemployment and the loss of several of our small businesses over the last year and a half and we have had enough!

You have once again initiated what many consider to be an unconstitutional mandate by requiring our children and citizens to wear masks and by requiring vaccinations for state employees, healthcare workers and teaching staff. We have had enough of your overreaching mandates and bullying threats. In short, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office will not be enforcing vaccination requirements or mask mandates.

The citizens of Columbia County will choose to wear a mask or choose not to wear a mask. We will choose to get vaccinated or choose not to get vaccinated. But we will do so as individuals with free will over our own bodies. And I, as Sheriff, will fight for and support the residents of Columbia County in this endeavor.

As Sheriff of Columbia County, I took an oath to uphold the constitution and to stand up and defend the people of this beautiful county we call home. I, and the other elected leaders in Columbia County, have the right to do what is in the best interest for our community. Let us do so. We demand local control be placed where it works best, in the hands of the individual citizens and the local officials who represent Columbia County.


Brian Pixley, Sheriff

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-30 09:58:49Last Update: 2021-08-30 10:36:01

Another Sheriff Will Not be Enforcing Mask or Vaccine Mandates
Sheriff Travis Ash says he will uphold the Constitution

The Baker County Sheriff's Office has released a statement in response to the recent statewide mandate form Governor Kate Brown that everyone must wear a mask in Oregon, both indoors and outdoors, regardless of Covid-19 vaccination status:

In light of recent questions I have received, I am reaching out to affirm that my stance on mask and vaccine mandates has not changed since the beginning of the pandemic. The Baker County Sheriff's Office has not and will not be enforcing mask or vaccine mandates. We are not responsible for enforcement of Oregon Health Authority rules.

Over the course of the pandemic, lapses in leadership at the state and national level have resulted in a certain level of distrust. I am in favor of local control, science, and common sense. We saw the benefits of local control last year when many of our small school districts were able to return to in person learning and extra-curricular activities (without negative health consequences) much sooner than larger counterparts.

As everyone knows, we are experiencing a surge in Covid-19 related sickness. This spike in cases and hospitalizations is supported by real-time local data. I believe our county health department and county physician have our best interests at heart in making recommendations and providing guidance for our community. These are our own local experts who are a reliable source of information as we make our individual health decisions.

I know that many people in our country have a very strong opinion about vaccinations, masks, the pandemic, and unfortunately, the politics of it all. As sheriff I represent everyone, and I hate to see how residents are being divided over these issues. I believe that in spite of our differing viewpoints we all want what is best for our community. We breathe the same air. We visit the same stores. Our children go to the same schools. We are still in this together. I ask that we don't attack those whose decisions may be different than ours, and to please take responsibility for staying home when you are sick. Real people around the world and in our own community have lost loved ones or are experiencing long-term health effects. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.

I am proud of the Baker County Sheriff's Office staff and their commitment to providing for the peace and safety of those in Baker County during these trying times. As your sheriff, I will uphold my oath to support the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of the State of Oregon. I have and will continue to serve our community with unwavering dedication, honesty, fairness and integrity.

Bake County Sheriff Travis Ash

A good number of Oregon sheriffs have now issued similar statements on the matter.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-29 12:10:48Last Update: 2021-08-30 08:38:59

Aurora Fire District Chief Blasts Kate Brown
“Our State government has been weaponized”

The Fire Chief of Aurora Fire District in Aurora, Oregon has released a statement in response to Governor Kate Brown's recent demands that everyone in Oregon should wear face coverings, both indoors and outdoors, regardless of Covid vaccination status:

Staff, Volunteers and citizens,

I have been in the fire service for 28 years and have been so fortunate over my career that words cannot express. Over the past 28 years, I have experienced outbreaks, fires, storms, death, destruction, perseverance, and resilience. The fire service is a great occupation that has come at great sacrifice to myself and to my family, but the rewards of helping others in need has been the opportunity of a lifetime.

We have all dealt with many challenges over the past few years, whether it be fires, pandemic or ice storms. Luckily, for us in the fire service, we are always up to the challenge and we always come out on top. Today, however, is different.

Governor Kate Brown has announced that first line responders will now be required to receive a “vaccine.” Previously it was announced that those of us who chose not to get the vaccine would have the option to test. This option has now been taken away.

During the pandemic, first responders were hailed as heroes. We were the first ones to deal with patients that were suffering from issues, whether COVID or other illness or injury. We have gone from being heroes to now becoming too dangerous to employ without a “vaccine.”

This mandate is un-American, as our State government has been weaponized to the point where people are afraid to take a stand. I will no longer sit silently on the sideline and watch this happen. I love my job, I love the fire service, and more importantly, I love the people that I work with and serve. I am required to enforce this mandate by October 18th, 2021 or when the “vaccine” receives full authorization.

I will not abide by the Governor's mandate. Additionally, I will not enforce this mandate on any member of this fire district. In the old America, we used to have choices. Frankly, I do not recognize the country that I live in right now.

I recently sent out a survey to the staff and volunteers of our District. You need to be aware that 25% of the members of the Aurora Fire District have informed me that they will quit if forced to receive a “vaccine.” This survey was sent out while we still had the option to test. Now that the option to test is gone, I have reason to believe 25% of our personnel quitting is dramatically underestimated. Within these numbers, we are faced with the potential of nearly half of the career staff leaving. A decrease in membership to our already short handed cadre of staff and volunteers will have devastating results and will negatively impact our ability to respond. These staff and volunteer responders that will quit are the same ones that have been safely responding to emergencies throughout the duration of this pandemic.

Before you begin thinking I am a conspiracy theorist, or an anti vaxxer, please consider the following. I support my vaccinated and unvaccinated members equally. The “vaccine” is not the issue. Please take out the word “vaccination” and insert any other medical procedure or medication. These choices are better left between an individual and their physician.

We have policies and procedures in place that have kept our members and our public safe from COVID for the past 18 months. We have responded to many COVID patients and have never experienced an outbreak among our personnel. We have never had any of our personnel pass COVID throughout the District. We know how to keep ourselves and the public safe, we have been doing it for years. The Governor's new mandate will make our residents less safe. If she is so worried about the lack of responders now, I'll stand by and see what happens with this ridiculous and intrusive requirement.

I have asked the Aurora Fire District Board of Directors to stand up for medical freedom, and to stand up for America. I have asked the Aurora Fire District Board of Directors to support me and my decision. I want to continue working for the Aurora Fire District, but I have had it with the shifting goal posts and government overreach. I will NEVER force a member of this fire district to inject themselves with anything that they do not want.

I will never quit advocating for my people and for what is right. What is happening is wrong, and I will not enforce it. Should the Aurora Board of Directors choose, they would need to terminate me from my employment as your Fire Chief before I would enforce this intrusive requirement.


Joshua L. Williams

Fire Chief

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-28 07:20:42Last Update: 2021-08-28 10:41:47

Tillamook County Sheriff Refuses to Enforce Mask Mandate
“My deputies will not be treating people like criminals if they choose to not wear a mask”

The Tillamook County Sheriff's Office has released a statement indicating they will not be enforcing Oregon Governor Kate Brown's recent demands that everyone in the State of Oregon should wear a mask both indoors and outdoors, regardless of Covid vaccination status:

To whom it may concern,

With the recent surge in Covid hospitalizations, I have been receiving inquires from the media and public regarding enforcement of the Governor’s mask mandate. The simple answer to that question is that the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing any mask mandate. I could easily fall back on the adage that we just don’t have the personnel to accomplish this daunting task - which is true - but that would not represent the entirety of the reason for my decision.

The fact is, I don’t believe it is the role of the Sheriff’s Office to enforce what is essentially an Oregon Health Authority directive, not a criminal one. TCSO is not the enforcement arm for OHA and my deputies will not be treating people like criminals if they choose to not wear a mask.

I believe that there is a certain amount of personal responsibility that each of us has and lately seems to be forgotten. If you are not feeling well, whether you suspect its Covid, the flu, the common cold or any other communicable disease, please contact your healthcare provider and consider staying home. Please, don’t go to work, shopping or to a function or event when you are sick. This is what I hope people were doing before Covid, and what we will do after. If you are concerned that an event or activity could potentially be a “spreader” event, then don’t attend it.

A simple remedy for the customer who finds themselves in a business that is making a choice different to their own beliefs in a way that makes them uncomfortable is to simply leave and not frequent that business any longer. If a customer is not complying with the wishes of a business, a representative from that business can ask the customer to comply or leave the premises. If the customer doesn’t comply with that request, then the business should contact law enforcement.

While we will not be enforcing the mask mandate, we will be enforcing crimes such as Harassment and Trespass. If a customer in a business located within the county refuses to leave an establishment after being asked to do so, or there is a physical altercation with another person, Deputies will respond and investigate as they do for other suspected criminal activity.

I hope this clears up any questions regarding this issue. Please stay safe.

Joshua Brown

Tillamook County Sheriff

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-27 19:53:51Last Update: 2021-08-28 03:17:05

YamCo Recall Groups Slapped with Oregon Elections Complaints
Over 50 campaign finance violations reveal a disturbing level of defiance of disclosure laws

Lindsay Berschauer, Vice-Chair of the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners, filed two separate complaints with the Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division today detailing over 50 campaign finance violations associated with the ‘Save Yamhill County’ and ‘Recall Lindsay Berschauer’ political action committees. Among the violations were a failure to declare ‘Save Yamhill County’ as the main political action committee conducting the recall effort against Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer, over 50 documented failures to lawfully report campaign contributions and expenditures in both PACs, and a failure to report expenditures associated with the campaign’s media outreach.

The complaints were filed by Eric Winters, a seasoned election law attorney, who represents Mrs. Berschauer. The complaints detailed long lists of violations with fines as high as $250 for a single violation.

“It’s disturbing to discover that Save Yamhill County has not followed Oregon campaign finance laws since they initiated the recall effort”, said Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer. “Attempting to hide campaign activity violates public trust and should alarm their contributors, whose donations will now be paying off fines. The public deserves to know the truth about this group’s unlawful actions and its attempt to overturn an election.”

The purpose of Oregon's campaign finance disclosure laws is to provide the public with accurate and timely information about election-related activities. When properly followed, these rules of disclosure also help inform voters of the activities undertaken on behalf of candidates, political committees and petition committees by those who provide financial or related in-kind support to them. Timely and accurate disclosure of campaign finance activities operates to safeguard public trust and discourage corruption. The campaign finance disclosure rules help voters keep track of what is happening, when it occurs and who is supporting specific campaigns -- in short, they help tell the stories of Oregon's political campaigns through the mandatory reporting of the related activities of political actors.

The continuing series of unreported and misreported campaign finance disclosure violations by Save Yamhill County and Recall Lindsay Berschauer may make county voters wonder how truthful this effort will be over the next couple months. What is clear is that the funding sources and activities of the recall campaign and associated PACs have been largely and illegally concealed from the public and merit a thorough investigation by Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and the Elections Division.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-27 15:10:56Last Update: 2021-08-27 15:13:43

Washington County Votes to Enforce Mask Wearing
Violations will be considered a Class C Civil infraction

On August 24, 2021, the Washington County Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed to enact a new rule authorizing County Health and Human Services staff to enforce Oregon’s statewide mask mandates.

The County Board went on to blame the Delta variant and the un-vaccinated in their statement.

“The evidence is clear and compelling. Our community is in a dire situation and the Board has taken decisive action to ensure that all Washington County residents are protected from exposure to COVID-19 in public settings. The good news is that we have two powerful tools to fight the Delta variant surge. Mask wearing and vaccinations are absolutely the best ways to protect one another—especially our children and those with underlying health conditions that prevent them from getting the vaccine. We must all act with urgency to save lives and eliminate needless suffering,” said Washington County Board of Commissioners Chair Kathryn Harrington

Violations will be considered a Class C Civil infraction, with a maximum fine of $500 per day for businesses.

After the first complaint, a business will receive a phone call and email explaining the mask guidance; after the second complaint the business receives a letter and email.

If the County receives a third complaint staff will visit the business to verify the complaint. If the business is found to be in violation of the mandate, the County will forward the complaints and documentation to Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (OR-OHSA).

If the county receives a fourth complaint, Health and Human Services staff will issue a citation and impose fines.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-26 22:13:51Last Update: 2021-08-26 22:38:38

OSP Will Enforce Mask Wearing at State Fair
Required both indoors and outdoors

Many Oregonians have recently began to question whether the State Fair would happen at all this year, or if Governor Brown would try to shut the event down citing Coronavirus safety measures. Many people are eager to ditch the government restrictions and return to normal living after a year and a half of restrictions, lock-downs and canceled events.

It seems that the 2021 Oregon State Fair will happen, and the Oregon State Police will provide law enforcement services during the 11-day event. They apparently will also be carrying out Kate Brown's recent orders that everyone must wear a mask, both indoors and outdoors, regardless of vaccination status.

The Oregon State Police has a temporary command center at the fair, which includes a dispatch console. This command center gives OSP Troopers the ability to quickly facilitate remedies to a wide variety of incidents that can come up at the State Fair. The Oregon State Fair starts this Friday and runs through September 6, 2021.

An OSP Trooper will be stationed at each entrance greeting every visitor who comes to the fair.

They also will be encouraging parents to utilize the “if lost” bracelets that the fair provides. Parents or guardians will be asked to write their cell phone number on the inside of a bright yellow “if lost” bracelet and place it on their child’s wrist. If the child is separated, Troopers can easily reunite the child by calling the cell phone. It is beneficial; to have a same-day photograph of your child should they become separated from adult supervision. A height display will be positioned at each pedestrian entrance, which provides the appropriate backdrop, if needed, for law enforcement. By taking these safety precautions, OSP says Troopers will have the needed information to quickly reunite families.

OSP says Troopers are always looking for fair patrons to be vigilant with their surroundings.

“We ask anyone who witnesses criminal or disruptive activities to quickly report any incidents by calling OSP at *OSP from a mobile or 503-375-3555,” encourages Lt. Zohner.

The Oregon State Police says that masks will be required to be worn by all guests ages 5 and up, exhibitors, employees, and volunteers while on the Oregon State Fairgrounds, in both indoor and outdoor locations.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-26 18:48:47Last Update: 2021-08-26 19:12:46

Building Back Basics in Education
“I do a lot of public record

Jeanette Schade is becoming a national recognized name for what she is doing to restore the Oregon education system. Her journey started when she ran for Beaverton School Board, but as soon as she started campaigning against critical race theory (CRT) and comprehensive sexual education the union came out against her. She counts her loss as a blessing because she can more effectively campaign for better education without the restraints of a school board position. However, she is not totally convinced she lost and is looking into anomalies in the election.

School boards across the state are buying into critical race theory motivated her to organize a PAC, Build Back Basics in Education. When the Beaverton School Board scheduled a CRT retreat, she knew it was time for action. Opposed to the board’s direction coupled with not listening to parents, when the school board again shut out parents from the August 30 meeting, Schade took it as a challenge. She has scheduled a Beaverton Parent/Community School Board Meeting and Rally at the same time at the district office starting at 5:30 pm with an American Flag wave. It will be livestreamed on YouTube and parents are invited to bring their comments and be heard.

Schade says the agenda will include: “two naturopathic Doctors: Robin Sielaff and Julie Glass who will talk on masks and vaccines regarding kids. Two lawyers: Paul Janzen and Bob Snee will talk on the mandates and what to do. The rest will come from parents and community members who will get 3 minutes to speak on a topic regarding schools that they so choose.” She is also encouraging people to write the school board.

Schade says, “I talk to people all over the state almost daily as they email or call me. Most of what I do is local in the tri-county area. I do a lot of public record's requests to see what the district is doing and how they are spending taxpayer dollars. I also speak at various groups who invite me, and I talk about how CRT is in our schools and how to combat it.” She is also a scheduled speaker at the Western Liberty Network annual conference in February, 2022.

“What’s happening in this district is happening statewide,” and she hopes to get parents activated.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-08-25 18:34:09Last Update: 2021-08-26 09:36:21

Kicker Gonna Kick
“It’s clear that Democrats raided $15 million from the Kicker for no good reason. ”

The Office of Economic Analysis has presented the quarterly revenue forecast, which is the final forecast for the fiscal biennium. It confirmed that Oregon taxpayers will receive a $1.9 billion Kicker -- the largest kicker in the history of the kicker. The money will be returned to taxpayers in the form of a tax credit on the next state tax filing.

The median taxpayer can expect to receive a credit of $420, while the average is estimated to be $850.The corporate Kicker will send an additional $850 million to K-12 schools. The state budget will also have an ending fund balance of $699 million.

The strong revenue growth seen during the 2019-21 biennium put a cap on a decade of unprecedented expansion in Oregon’s General Fund revenues. Over the past decade, General Fund revenues have almost doubled from around $12 billion per year to around $24 billion. Over the decade as a whole, kicker payments amounted to $2.6 billion, reducing cumulative General Fund resources by 2.6 percent. Last biennium, kicker payments took away half of the General Fund growth. Looking forward, the current $1.9 billion kicker reduces 2021-23 revenues as well.

Senate GOP Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) issued a statement that said, “It’s clear that Democrats raided $15 million from the Kicker for no good reason. Unprecedented deficit stimulus spending by the federal government and Oregonians stepping up to support businesses during the Governor’s shutdowns has given the state excess money.

“The legislature now has money to invest in COVID and wildfire response and recovery and preparing for upcoming unknown expenses in the next biennium. Most importantly, our kids need to be in school full-time to get caught up after a year of learning loss. This money can help our kids recover.”

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan took a dim view of Oregon's progress. “Despite a budget that has doubled in ten years, the state is worse off today for our students’ education, housing prices, and the safety of our communities. State agencies have fumbled distribution of unemployment checks and rent assistance to those in desperate need. The state has struggled to protect foster kids. The cost of higher education is a barrier for students and families.

“The spending spree of the last decade has not solved Oregonians’ problems. Billions in new taxes did not make things better and the state can’t continue to operate this way. The lowest hospital bed per capita, bottom of the nation graduation rates, deteriorating safety for communities, and persistent homelessness are unacceptable.

“While it is great for the state that we have an increase in tax revenues, it is not the same thing as real progress for Oregonians.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-25 10:49:54Last Update: 2021-08-25 12:38:51

Clatsop County Commissioner Sends Letter to Governor Brown
Expresses concern over vaccine mandates

A Commissioner from Clatsop County Oregon has now sent Governor Kate Brown a letter expressing concern, in response to the recent vaccine mandate announcement.

The letter can be read here:

Dear Governor Brown,

As a member of the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners, I respectfully request the State of Oregon consider the impacts of vaccination mandates on rural schools, volunteer fire agencies and other vaccine mandated sectors.

For Clatsop County I am particularly concerned for the support staff, custodians, bus drivers and teachers’ aides that serve as the foundation for our K-12 schools.

In rural Oregon, vaccine hesitancy is real and many hard-working Oregonians will be required to choose between the vaccine and their personal freedom (and, thus, job). As you can imagine, many will choose personal freedom.

It is important that even during a pandemic, government is respectful of individual rights and freedoms.

We need to be sensitive to the legacy current decisions will have on the longstanding relationship between the government and citizens.

Maintaining public trust and confidence is a hallmark to local governance – vaccine mandates will forever change this trust balance – and not in a positive manner.

After eighteen long months of responding to the pandemic, we have learned many things, including the efficacy of masks, social distancing, personal hygiene and staying home when sick. While the vaccine is a valuable tool that Clatsop County will continue to advocate for and dispense, it is not without skeptics in our community.

I ask that you allow schools, hospitals, rural fire agencies and others to make local decisions on whether and how mandates are structured, communicated and implemented.

Our response to COVID-19 cannot be a one size fits all – local control, local values and local decisions are the path forward.

As we anticipate the inevitable COVID surges, lets continue to work together to educate, vaccinate, test and support those most in need, but simultaneously allow local agencies and industries to be the final decision-maker as to the specifics of their local response/approach.

Mandates had their time and place in the early stages of the pandemic; let’s make the transition to the more typical and desirable approach of local community-based decision- making and accountability based on an underlying respect and acknowledgement of personal rights and freedom.

Thanks for your consideration.


Courtney Bangs

Clatsop County Commissioner, District 4

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-24 22:57:09Last Update: 2021-08-27 20:32:36

Emergency SNAP Benefits to Continue in Oregon
402,000 SNAP households will receive $65 million in extra food benefits

In a news release, the Oregon Department of Human Services announced that most Oregonians who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits -- previously known as "food stamps" -- will receive emergency allotments in September.

The federal government has approved emergency allotments every month since March 2020. This gives SNAP recipients additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In September, approximately 402,000 SNAP households will receive approximately $65 million in extra food benefits in addition to their regular SNAP benefits.

“We are grateful to have the opportunity to provide emergency benefits to most SNAP households in Oregon,” said Dan Haun, director of the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Self-Sufficiency Program. “We also know that many Oregonians are still struggling to meet their basic needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we encourage them to contact our partners at 211 and the Oregon Food Bank for support during this difficult time.”

Emergency allotments will be available on Sept. 11 for current SNAP households. New SNAP households will receive the emergency allotments Sept. 30 or Oct. 2.

SNAP recipients do not have to take any action to receive these supplemental benefits as they will be issued directly on their EBT cards.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-24 14:59:09Last Update: 2021-08-24 15:52:25

Kate Brown Demands Masks Worn Outside
Homeless are exempt

Governor Kate Brown has announced new statewide outdoor mask requirements to help stop the spread of the Delta variant.

Effective Friday, August 27, masks will be required in most public outdoor settings, including large outdoor events, where physical distancing is not possible, and regardless of vaccination status.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) also strongly recommends masking for outdoor gatherings at private residences when individuals from different households do not consistently maintain physical distance.

“The Delta variant is spreading fast and wide, throwing our state into a level of crisis we have not yet seen in the pandemic. Cases and hospitalizations are at a record high,” said Governor Brown. “Masks are a quick and simple tool we can immediately deploy to protect ourselves and our families, and quickly help stop further spread of COVID-19.

“The Delta variant is much more contagious than previous variants we’ve seen, and it has dramatically increased the amount of virus in our communities. Masks have proven to be effective at bringing case counts down, and are a necessary measure right now, even in some outdoor settings, to help fight COVID and protect one another.”

Under the Governor’s direction, the OHA rule will require masks for all individuals — regardless of vaccination status — in outdoor settings in which individuals from different households are unable to consistently maintain physical distance.

The rule does apply to fleeting encounters, such as two individuals walking by one another on a trail or in a park. While the rule does not apply to outdoor gatherings at private residences, masks are strongly recommended in those settings when individuals from different households do not consistently maintain physical distance.

“It is much easier for people with the Delta variant, compared to people who were sick last year, to infect others around them,” said State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger. “This is because they have one thousand times more virus in their nose – which means that those around them are much more likely to get sick because this variant behaves so differently. We are starting to see instances where cases are clustering around events, like outdoor music festivals, that happen outdoors. Wearing masks in crowded settings – even outdoors – will help slow the spread of COVID-19.”

The rule aligns with the exceptions outlined in the recent statewide indoor mask requirements, and does not apply to: The OHA rule will go into effect this Friday, August 27, however Oregonians are strongly encouraged to immediately start wearing masks outdoors, as outlined above.

Governor Brown continued, “The combination of vaccines and masks is the most powerful way we can fight this latest surge of COVID-19 and save lives. Vaccination continues to be the best way you can protect yourself and your family from the Delta variant, and the most effective way we can help our exhausted nurses and doctors, who are working around the clock to treat Oregonians sick with COVID in our ICUs — the majority of which are unvaccinated individuals. With the full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine this week, we have additional reassurance that the vaccines are safe and effective.”

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-24 13:43:43Last Update: 2021-08-24 16:59:49

Public Comment Sought on Redistricting
“The Delta variant has changed everything.”

Every 10 years, the Oregon Legislature redraws the legislative and Congressional districts. Based on -- in their words -- growing hospitalization rates across the state due to the Delta variant of COVID-19, Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) and House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) today announced that the upcoming public hearings of the House and Senate Redistricting Committees will be moved to a virtual format.

“While the committees had hoped to visit communities across Oregon in person, the recent surge in COVID-19 cases has made this increasingly risky to public health. More Oregonians are now in our hospitals, intensive care units, or on ventilators than ever before in this pandemic. Our hospitals, healthcare workers, and frontline staff are overwhelmed. The Delta variant has changed everything.

“After consulting with infectious disease doctors, public health experts, and the bipartisan chairs and vice-chair of the House and Senate Redistricting committees, we have decided to move September’s redistricting public hearings to a virtual format. This will ensure a safe, transparent process where Oregonians from every community can make their voice heard and provide input on Oregon’s next set of legislative and congressional maps.”

House Redistricting Committee Co-Chair Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany) responded to the announcement with the following statement and what it means for the process moving forward. “It’s unfortunate that we can no longer meet with Oregonians in-person to hear their ideas and concerns regarding redistricting. Losing the opportunity for face-to-face interactions certainly has downsides.

"However," continued Boshart Davis, "I encourage everyone who was planning to attend to sign up for these virtual hearings and to share with your friends and neighbors. Your comments made on the record will have the same weight and importance for legislators as we continue this process. I look forward to working with my fellow co-chair and committee members to maximize the opportunities for individuals to testify so that we don’t lose any voices by switching to an online platform.”

The new schedule for the September Redistricting Public Hearings can be found below. Meetings will be held virtually and organized to hear from residents of each current congressional district. Oregonians can participate by signing up for video or phone testimony, uploading written testimony, or by submitting a map for consideration by September 7.

Wednesday, September 8
8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Residents of Congressional District 1
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Residents of Congressional District 2
5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Residents of Congressional District 3
Thursday, September 9
8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Residents of Congressional District 4
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Residents of Congressional District 5
5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Residents of Congressional District 1
Friday, September 10
8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Residents of Congressional District 2
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Residents of Congressional District 3
5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Residents of Congressional District 4
Monday, September 13
8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Residents of Congressional District 5
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Statewide: open to residents of any district
5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Statewide: open to residents of any district

You can find your congressional district on the Legislative website, by entering your address in the top-right corner and clicking the “Congress” tab.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-23 13:25:56Last Update: 2021-08-23 14:46:51

Upheaval at the Newberg School Board
The left’s outrage proves these signs are politically motivated

About a year ago a group of citizens formed Newberg Dundee Strong and with it a political action committee, COPS (Community Oriented Public Servants). The group recruited and supported three candidates for Newberg School Board.

The campaign leading up to the May 2021 election produced two winners: Trevor Dehart and Renee Powell. Their election changed the complexion of the board. Parents of children in the school district began complaining that political signs were appearing in classrooms and were offended. Their complaints fell on deaf ears to leftist principals.

After hearing this news the school board was motivated to bring a vote to ban political signs -- notably pride flags and BLM flags -- and apparel worn by staff in the district. Word of this incoming vote caused over 500 citizens to write letters to the board and over 90 people signed up to speak at the online board meeting. The ban passed 4-3 during the August 10th school board meeting.

A firestorm in Oregon and even on a national level has erupted. Some supporters of the board's action say that if you don't agree with the left they will stop at nothing to destroy you and that the same radical left that trashed political signs during the election and claimed racism are trying to get board members fired from their jobs and removed from their positions.

The sole purpose of banning political signs was to remove politics from school, elevate education, and make it a place that is inclusive to everyone. BLM and pride flags represent a segment of the population and are offensive to many people, thus making schools non-inclusive. The left's outrage at this ban proves these signs are politically motivated. They promote inclusivity to all, so why would making school safe for everyone be bad? Students' first amendment rights to express themselves via the clothing they wear still stands and is encouraged.

There was a large BLM and Pride rally in Newberg last Friday where supporters held and waved their signs to support this movement. The public square is the appropriate place for this and should stay out of our schools.

--Robyn Wheatley

Post Date: 2021-08-22 12:39:16Last Update: 2021-08-22 15:03:25

Schrader Calls for Infrastructure, Despite Inflation Fears
Stimulus may be inflationary

Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR), along with eight other Democrat Congressional Representatives, has released the following statement to reiterate his position and call for an immediate vote on the Senate-passed Bipartisan Infrastructure bill:

“The Senate overwhelmingly voted to invest $1 trillion to modernize our nation’s aging infrastructure for the 21st century and the House must also deliver for the American people,” Rep. Schrader said. “The ambiguity of the reconciliation process would leave the bipartisan infrastructure package in limbo and lead to possible failure. Families in Oregon and throughout the country simply cannot afford to miss out on the largest effort in a century to rebuild our crumbling transportation and water systems and make transformative investments, like ensuring universal access to affordable high-speed broadband and strengthening energy resiliency.

“The House must pass the bipartisan infrastructure package without delay. Waiting any longer risks losing the creation of good-paying union jobs, growing and supporting businesses and keeping our country competitive in the world market.”

A white paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research points out that -- at least with actual infrastructure projects -- any short-term stimulus effect is offset by the short-term impact of re-allocation of construction resources, as well as negative impacts on traffic flow caused by construction. The report also emphasizes that the economy is generally trending favorably, as government policies on COVID-19 caused pent-up demand and government-induced stimulus may be inflationary.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-22 11:44:15Last Update: 2021-08-22 11:59:59

Salem Keizer School Board Meeting Controversy
“It’s disgusting how you let these white people in without masks”

Comments made during public testimony given at an August 10th Salem-Keizer School Board meeting have sparked controversy in Oregon, and have now led to the school board's August 24th work session meeting to be cancelled. Some observers are noting that this type of division and racism witnessed at the August 10th meeting seems to run rampant in the public school system, supported by the spread of policies such as Critical Race Theory in the class room.

"It’s disgusting how you let these white people in without masks", was heard by one student giving public testimony, and she did not shy away from or try to apologize for the racist statement. Students who seem to be supportive of her statement even gave applause at the end of her short speech, which is seen at the beginning of this video.

The full video of the August 10th, 2021 Salem-Keizer School Board meeting can be seen here.

The Salem-Keizer School Board is chaired by Osvaldo Avila and Ashley Carson Cottingham is the vice chair.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-21 13:36:12Last Update: 2021-08-22 12:39:16

Governor Brown Tightens Vaccine Mandates
11,000 Americans have died from the vaccines

Governor Kate Brown recently announced she will be deploying up to 1,500 Oregon National Guard members to support frontline health care workers as Oregon hospitals face a surge of hospitalizations due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant. Today she added nurse strike teams, establishing temporary decompression units to free up bed space, and removing barriers to discharging patients who no longer require hospital-level care. Oregon has also made requests to FEMA and the Biden-Harris administration for additional federal resources and support. The Governor announced she has formed a Hospital Crisis Prevention and Response group consisting of health care stakeholders to problem solve in real time and suggest new measures to aid health care workers and hospitals during the ongoing hospital crisis.

Governor Brown wrenched up her mandates by announcing two new vaccination measures to address Oregon’s hospital crisis, caused by the Delta variant surge, and to help keep Oregon students safe in the upcoming school year and minimize disruptions to in-person instruction: "The Delta variant has put enormous pressure on our health systems, and health care workers are being stretched to their absolute limits providing life-saving treatment for the patients in their care," said Governor Brown. "I am devoting all available resources to help, and we must proactively implement solutions right now. We need every single frontline health care worker healthy and available to treat patients."

Hospitals are well stocked with equipment, so will Governor Brown’s announcement of vaccine mandates cause mass resignations?

Nurses and locals protested on August 10 and again today against mandating staff be vaccinated. Breanna Jarmar, Executive Director for Oregonians for Medical Freedom, was interviewed by Rick Dancer, reporting that nursing homes that care for COVID patients receive less financial assistance if their staff is not fully vaccinated, so Peace Health will lose money without full compliance. She says, “It’s more about money than caring for people.” Rick Dancer reported that Bob Sneed, a constitutional lawyer is preparing to represent the nurses. Your rights belong to you, not the government.

The Governor said, “In both cases, health care workers and educators who are not yet vaccinated are urged to speak with their doctor or primary care provider to get their remaining questions about vaccination answered immediately, so they can begin the vaccination process in time to meet the new requirements. In the case of educators, the Governor outlined the importance of masks and staff vaccinations to protect students: because children under 12 are still not yet eligible for vaccination, masks are a critical mitigation measure to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Ensuring all the adults around students are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 adds another layer of protection for students as well.”

Update Governor Brown ignores: as of July 16, 2021. 11,000 Americans have died from the vaccines, and 48,000 seriously Injured as of July 9. The death toll averaged nearly 100 persons per day for the period from April 23 until July 9, 2021. In total, 118,902 adverse event reports had been filed, that’s about 30 people per day are dying from the shots, and these numbers have grown. CDC is trying to use the decrease in cases to justify the vaccine deaths, but the survival rate for both vaccinated and unvaccinated is 99%. When you add the chance of being disabled and unemployable, it goes way up for the vaccinated.

When Rick Dancer interviewed nurse Magen, she said medical freedom is a dangerous slippery slope. We are shutting down the science, FDA has not completed the challenge trial so they have not approved the vaccines. Vaccines do not stop a person from getting or spreading COVID. When asked what the answer is, she said we need to talk about health, diets, and exercise - 96% of all COVID-19 patients that die are overweight.” Vaccinated deaths don't discriminate.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-08-20 09:29:25Last Update: 2021-08-19 20:53:29

Skarlatos Calls Out Biden Administration
“We were taught to never leave a man behind”

Former Oregon National Guard Soldier Alek Skarlatos, who served in Afghanistan has released the following statement:

"As a former infantryman who served in Afghanistan, we were taught to never leave a man behind.

"As a result, it’s time for President Joe Biden, our commander and chief, to authorize the Pentagon to take back Bagram Air Field.

"This will give our military additional power and another route for Americans and our allies to evacuate the country.

"Then, President Biden needs to expand the security perimeter around the Kabul Airport, and allow our military to go out and rescue every American and as many Afghan allies as possible so they do not need to go through these Taliban checkpoints, where they are being beaten, whipped, and denied access.

"Once we complete that mission, which should not have any self-imposed artificial deadlines, then we can work to draw down our presence in Afghanistan."

Skarlatos is a former Oregon National Guardsman, who served in Afghanistan. In 2015, while traveling on a train bound for Paris, he, along with four others, jumped into action to stop an Islamic Terrorist who tried to open fire on a passenger train. His heroism earned him several awards and medals around the world including, the United States' Soldier’s Medal.

After serving as a National Guardsman for 5 years, Skarlatos left military service in November 2017. Upon completing his service, Skarlatos voiced his inspiring experience by authoring 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of A Terrorist, A Train, and Three American Heroes describing the events that led up to the attack on the train ride to Paris from Amsterdam. He worked with legendary director Clint Eastwood on the film 15:17 to Paris that portrayed the harrowing attack in which Skarlatos starred as himself.

Skarlatos ran for US Congress in Oregon's 4th Congressional District against Peter DeFazio and is expected to run for Congress in 2022.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-20 09:02:00Last Update: 2021-08-20 13:54:03

COVID Fallout: Shortage of Bus Drivers
What else could go wrong?

National news reports a shortage of school bus drivers. Another fallout of COVID-19? The lockdown put an increasing demand on delivery services, Amazon, UPS and FedEx, and now schools are scrambling to find drivers. You don’t have to drive far to see a Bus Driver Wanted sign.

Mid-Columbia Bus Company, serving Northeastern Oregon schools, is offering bonuses to applicants. Besides a high turnover, they have a problem finding enough drivers that pass the drug test requirements. The problem has increased with the legalization of marijuana and COVID-19 has added to the difficulty.

Jefferson County is twenty percent short of having enough business drivers to start school. They cite a problem of pay. The district can’t match what Amazon pays drivers.

Prior to the pandemic, Portland metro has repeatedly had problems with scheduling and delays, so much so that parents have questioned the safety of their children. Parents that call about delays get connected with First Student headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, leaving parents uncertain. Corvallis, Medford, Phoenix-Talent and Central Point school districts as well as districts in Josephine County also contract with First Student and are struggling finding enough drivers even with signing bonuses. Other districts are redrawing bus routes, asking parents to help and hiring charter bus services.

Parent are saying that when buses are delayed their children miss out on breakfast. They don’t know how long the delay will be to feed them, then they get to school to late for what the school serves. A survey by the National Association for Pupil Transportation in both 2016 and 2017 the number one concern of parents was the shortage of school bus drivers.

Transportation directors cite another issue. The strengthening economy makes part-time jobs less attractive, and the job isn't for everyone. It’s odd hours and requires some training.

On top of stress placed on drivers due to shortages, returning drivers are questioning the inclusion of a critical race theory type training required for the training on in-service day. The agenda says, they will find out if they “unconsciously are treating others differently.”

One thing for sure, most districts will be eliminating and consolidating routes. But shortages won’t delay starting school.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-08-20 08:43:29Last Update: 2021-08-19 21:02:00

PPS to Require Vaccines for Employees
“Portland Public Schools and its labor union partners are outlining the details”

In a press release dated August 18, 2021 sent to colleagues, Chief of Human Resources Sharon Reese at Portland Public Schools has announced that all Portland Public Schools staff will be required to be vaccinated, unless they have an approved exception. It is not clear what the approved exceptions will be or if there will be any exemption for COVID-19 survivors who can be presumed to have natural immunity.

The statement is as follows

"The public health guidance is clear -- vaccines are the best way to prevent the spread and the severity of COVID. Today we are announcing a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all PPS staff.

"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have followed the guidance of public health experts to best ensure the health and well being of our students and staff members. The State of Oregon has communicated that local school districts are in the best position to determine further measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In alignment with public health experts’ recommendations, Portland Public Schools, along with its labor partners, is committed to taking every step possible to ensure the health and safety of our students, employees, and community.

"Today, as we prepare to welcome students back to school for full-time in-person instruction on September 1, PPS, the Portland Association of Teachers and the Portland Federation of School Professionals have agreed with the concept that we will require all employees -- including classroom teachers, school-based and central office staff -- to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

"PPS and its labor union partners are outlining the details of this vaccine requirement for the 2021-2022 school year. More information will be made available to all PPS employees by Monday, August 23.

"In short, all PPS employees will be required to submit proof of full vaccination by August 31, unless they have an approved exception. PPS employees who do not provide proof of vaccination by August 31 will be required to be tested regularly, or until proof of vaccination is submitted.

This shared commitment and announcement to require the COVID-19 vaccine for all PPS staff is another important, safe and effective way to protect our students, staff and community and towards our path to ending this pandemic.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-20 08:17:33Last Update: 2021-08-19 18:03:01

David Brock Smith Slams the Governor’s Vaccine Mandates and Scare Tactics
Fully vaccinated and still COVID positive from another fully vaccinated individual

Representative David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) was fully vaccinated back in April with his colleagues at the Oregon State Hospital, now has tested positive for COVID-19, although contact tracing shows he contracted the coronavirus from another fully vaccinated individual.

“I watched the Governor’s Press Conference today in disbelief, appalled at her mandating vaccines and at the fear mongering tactics of Oregon Health Authority Director Allen (who has no health degree) and State Epidemiologist Sidelinger (who is a pediatrician and has no degree in epidemiology). Once again, Portland dictates the mandates across the state, as earlier this week Portland Public Schools mandated vaccines for all teachers and staff and now the Governor forces the rest of the state to comply.”

“With urban democrats tweeting vaccine mandates for Oregonians to be able to dine in restaurants to their shaming of those; specifically calling out rural Oregonians, who choose to be unvaccinated, when is enough – enough? Where and at what profession do the vaccine mandates end? I am living proof that vaccinated individuals can still contract Covid from another vaccinated individual. Where is this data? Why is there not a concerted effort to learn and collect data on the “breakthrough” cases that I and others are a part of? Where is the Governor’s efforts on dealing with hospital capacity? A 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation Study; reported again in December of 2020, shows that Oregon has fewer hospital beds per capita than any other state in the U.S. and yet our healthcare institutions had to practically beg for financial help during the last surge of the pandemic. Where is the democrat supermajority’s action on funding to increase our hospital capacity in Oregon when we know that no matter how many Oregonians are vaccinated, Covid will always be with us?”

“I fear forcing vaccinations on teachers, health care workers and staff is only the beginning and the Governor must stop these tyrannical mandates now. She must also hold our School Districts harmless and at minimum, fund them at 2019 levels as her mandates will surely drive more children and staff out of our classrooms. This will be especially true for our smaller school districts that can barely keep, let alone attract, teachers and staff.”

“Covid is here to stay. I and my family are vaccinated by choice. I have and continue to encourage Oregonians to be vaccinated against Covid. I and thousands of others like me are proof however that you can still contract and spread Covid even if vaccinated. Forcing these vaccines on Oregonians is wrong. Forcing these vaccines on Oregonians based on their profession is worse. These actions are none other than a symptom of Oregonians lack of trust in their Governor, her leadership and the rollercoaster of agency mandates over the last year and a half of ‘14 days to flatten the curve’.”

Representative David Brock Smith represents House District 1, which includes Curry, Coos, Douglas and Josephine counties.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-20 07:20:40Last Update: 2021-08-19 17:17:33

Perkins Condemns Afghanistan Withdrawal
“In less than 7 months, Biden has surpassed Jimmy Carter as the worst President”

Jo Rae Perkins, Republican Candidate for the United States Senate, has condemned President Joe Biden for the disastrous withdrawal policy that has led to the collapse of Afghanistan and the return of the Taliban to power.

“President Biden’s decision to rapidly withdraw our troops has led to the collapse of Afghanistan. He has squandered our military’s decades of work and their lives sacrificed. Due to his failed leadership, there is now no hope for stability in Afghanistan. There is no doubt that Biden is incapable of leading our country on foreign policy and militarily,” said Perkins.

Perkins noted that Biden withdrew the troops so recklessly that now our military equipment is falling into the Taliban’s hand and paving the way for the return of Al-Qaeda.

“The Taliban will be back in power by the 20th anniversary on 9/11. Burning our embassy on that painful day will be a national embarrassment to our nation,” said Perkins. “We have left countless souls to be taken by the Taliban in retribution. Our country’s credibility has been severely damaged. In less than 7 months, Biden has surpassed Jimmy Carter as the worst President in our nation’s history.”

Perkins is concerned that China has announced that they will recognize the Taliban, giving China a major foothold in the region, further eroding America’s influence internationally.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-20 06:54:46Last Update: 2021-08-19 17:05:40

Analysis: Teens and Blacks Say No
We don’t want to be experiments

Portland Public School District Superintendent Guerrero has sent out a press release in part stating:

“The State of Oregon has communicated that local school districts are in the best position to determine further measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In alignment with public health experts’ recommendations, Portland Public Schools, along with its labor partners, is committed to taking every step possible to ensure the health and safety of our students, employees, and community.”

By “labor partners” Guerrero means the Portland Association for Teachers. There were no “labor partners” at the August 4, 2021 work session with a panel called “public health experts” one from Washington, D.C. where eleven-year-old children can be vaccinated without parental knowledge or consent. See previous Northwest Observer report on that session where some elected school board members valiantly attempted to get parents and the public’s questions answered to no avail.

The July 27, 2021, Portland Public School Board meeting included an announcement of a vaccination clinic to happen that week at Franklin High School. The day of the clinic only 15 students showed up to be vaccinated. Students do not want to be vaccinated. Black Americans do not want to be vaccinated. In parts of New York only 28% of Black Americans got vaccinated.

“Dr. Reed Tuckson, a founding member of the Black Coalition Against COVID (BCAC), believes the increased resistance of Black Americans to take the vaccine comes from a long-time distrust in U.S. societal institutions.”

Black Americans’ intuition, experience and distrust of American institutions is well founded in history. The Public Schools created by the 1854 Congress (a Congress that feared the coming freedom of Black men) brought in institutional racism that even the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown vs the Board of Education that desegregated the schools could not reform.

Samuel Blumenthal’s 1984 book outlines the history of that government education system patterned off the Prussian school system and how it was and is set up to bring in socialism. It’s the reason Kindergarten is a German word. America has had a German compulsory government school system beginning in 1854.

“Jim Crow was the name of the racial caste system which operated primarily, but not exclusively in southern and border states, between 1877 and the mid-1960s. Jim Crow was more than a series of rigid anti-black laws. It was a way of life. Under Jim Crow, African Americans were relegated to the status of second-class citizens.”

Jim Crow came into Portland, Oregon with the 2020 masking. Those who couldn’t or wouldn’t wear a mask were told to stay outside like what was done to Black Americans for almost one hundred years. The Democratic Party created the Klu Klux Klan (KKK), that party brought in Jim Crow. Now it’s the same party and the teachers’ unions who repeat this kind of history, but now attempt to do it on everyone.

The Tuskegee experiment on Black American men ran from 1932 to 1972. There was no informed consent. Just as in today in 2021 the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Oregon Health State University (OHSU) and Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) refused to give NW Observer the “fact sheet” on the vaccine with the PBEM employee overseeing the Franklin High School vaccine clinic stating that pulling up your sleeve to get the injection “…was informed consent.” These various institutions continue in the same mindset that created the Tuskegee experiment.

A long history, for forty years the Public Health Service used, abused, caused further injury and death to Black American men. The study only stopped in 1972. Historical memory remains in the Black Community of institutional abuses and taking of their rights and health. But the superintendent of the Portland Public School District repeatedly says that he will follow the Public Health experts; under the guise of public health, he deems he can take away the rights of students, parents, and the Black community.

Citizens viewing the recent PPS board meetings noticed that the school board directors elected by the voters in Portland, Oregon are not the boss of the Superintendent, Guadalupe Guerrero, that he and his administrative staff are the boss of the school board. In the August 4th work session when board members were presenting too many questions from parents emailing them, Guerrero interrupted them about “...getting too much into the nitty gritty…” He and his staff’s repeated mantra was to do what the “public health experts” say. Historically it is the young people, it is the teens who opened the modern-day civil rights movement in 1955. Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr get the credit, but it was teens and young Black men coming back from World War II who said, “Hell no we are not sitting at the back of the bus, and we will eat at the lunch counter.”

Claudette Colvin is why in the Portland area public school systems they not only will not teach about Claudette’s role in starting the 1955 civil rights movement (and her case and other teens’ cases went to the US Supreme Court, but not Rosa Park’s also), but one year when a substitute, in February, for Black History month put up Claudette’s photo and the photo of the college kids at the lunch counter the school district took them down. The remark to the substitute was, “It’s hard enough controlling these kids and you put that up there?”

Teens today, students today should learn about Claudette Colvin. Fifteen-year-old Claudette by her actions pushed adults like Rosa Parks to, nine months later, act. Some in Portland see in the current population of young people, that there are some Claudette Colvin teens who are standing up for their rights.

It may be the teens and Black Americans who once more end up reminding the community and the world that the US Constitution was written for all to use to acquire and ensure their rights in America.

--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-08-19 15:17:20Last Update: 2021-08-19 16:54:46

Kate Brown Announces Vaccination Mandates
Health care workers, teachers, staff, and volunteers required to be fully vaccinated

Governor Kate Brown has announced two new vaccination measures to address Oregon’s supposed hospital crisis, caused by the Delta variant. The governor claims this is to help keep Oregon students safe in the upcoming school year and minimize disruptions to in-person instruction.

Oregon’s vaccination requirement for health care workers will no longer have a testing alternative

The governor announced that health care workers will be required to be fully vaccinated by October 18 or six weeks after full FDA approval, whichever is later.

All teachers, educators, support staff, and volunteers in K-12 schools will be required to be fully vaccinated by October 18 or six weeks after full FDA approval, whichever is later.

"The Delta variant has put pressure on our health systems, and health care workers are being stretched to their absolute limits providing life-saving treatment for the patients in their care," said Governor Brown. "We need every single frontline health care worker available to treat patients."

"Our kids need to be in the classroom full-time, five days a week, and we have to do everything we can to make that happen," said Governor Brown. "While we are still learning about the Delta variant, we know from previous experience that when schools open with safety measures in place, the risk of transmission is low. That’s why I’ve directed the Oregon Health Authority to issue a rule requiring all teachers, educators, support staff, and volunteers in K-12 schools to be fully vaccinated."

The Governor also outlined the steps Oregon is taking to support hospitals during the ongoing surge in cases and hospitalizations, including deploying the National Guard and nurse strike teams, establishing temporary decompression units to free up bed space, and removing barriers to discharging patients who no longer require hospital-level care.

Oregon has also made requests to FEMA and the Biden-Harris administration for additional federal resources and support. The Governor announced she has formed a Hospital Crisis Prevention and Response group consisting of health care stakeholders to problem solve in real time and suggest new measures to aid health care workers and hospitals during the ongoing hospital crisis.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-19 14:37:38Last Update: 2021-08-19 15:17:20

Salem-Keizer School Board Cancels Meeting
Citing racial and transphobic comments

The Salem-Keizer School Board work session scheduled for August 24, 2021 has been canceled. Please refer to the following statement released by school board leadership:

It is with deep regret that due to ongoing public safety concerns within our community, the Salem-Keizer School Board meeting for August 24 is canceled. This was to have been an opportunity for the board to hear from staff and students about the amazing partnership between our school district and Chemeketa Community College, including the redesign of our alternative education program. Our goal was to interact with students and staff while seeing the new agriculture complex at Chemeketa. We will reschedule at a time we can accomplish this in person. To the students and staff who prepared for this meeting and to our partners at Chemeketa, we apologize.

We are seeing a continual call in our community to create disruption to our board and our schools with divisiveness that has no place in the lives of our students. At our last board meeting, we witnessed disrespect, racial and transphobic comments, and a disregard for health and safety protocols. We believe our communities of Salem and Keizer are better than this, and board leadership does not want any person to be in an environment where they will not feel safe or welcome.

As a board, we remain highly committed to our goal of getting our students back to school for five days a week of in-person instruction. Getting students in school physically and having them remain in school is our single focus.

Please join us as a community in our commitment to get our students back in school, and support our healthcare workers who are working around the clock taking care of our critically ill community members.

Be safe, mask up, get vaccinated and support the safe return of our students to school!

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-19 13:47:58Last Update: 2021-08-19 14:06:20

Vaccine and Mask Mandates in Washington State Announced
Everyone must wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status

Gov. Jay Inslee has announced a vaccination requirement for employees working in K-12, most childcare and early learning, and higher education, as well as an expansion of the statewide mask mandate to all individuals, regardless of vaccination status.

The governor was joined for the announcement by Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal and Secretary of Health Dr. Umair A. Shah.

K -12 educators, school staff, coaches, bus drivers, school volunteers and others working in school facilities will have until October 18 to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment.

The requirement includes public, private and charter schools, and comes as schools across the state prepare to return for the 2021–2022 school year amid rapidly increasing case and hospitalization numbers.

This does not impact students, regardless of age.

“It has been a long pandemic, and our students and teachers have borne their own unique burdens throughout,” Inslee said. “This virus is increasingly impacting young people, and those under the age of 12 still can’t get the vaccine for themselves. We won’t gamble with the health of our children, our educators and school staff, nor the health of the communities they serve.”

Inslee also announced a vaccine requirement for employees in Washington’s higher education institutions, as well as for most childcare and early learning providers who serve children from multiple households.

Read the rest of the story on the Governor Inslee's Medium page.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-19 10:45:04Last Update: 2021-08-19 10:51:54

Benton County to Require Masks Outdoor
All individuals ages 5 and above

The Benton County Board of Commissioners have issued Order #D2021-063. It was issued on August 17, 2021.

Effective immediately, the order requires all individuals ages 5 and above, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings when in indoor public settings and in outdoor public settings where a physical distance of six feet cannot be maintained.

“The health and safety of Benton County residents remains the number one priority,” said Benton County Board chair, Xan Augerot. “We cannot pretend that we live on an island. Individuals from different parts of Oregon and the United States are coming to Benton County to visit and recreate. We needed to take further action to ensure the health and safety of our communities and protect our hospital systems.”

“We’re averaging between three and four ventilated COVID patients in our ICU. When you look at these individuals, you see that they’re critically ill,” said Laura Hennum, CEO of Good Samaritan Regional Medical Regional Medical Center.

You can view the August 17, 2021 Board of Commissioners meeting here. The discussion regarding COVID-19 begins at 7:25.

The Board of Commissioners’ order can be read here.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-19 10:10:02Last Update: 2021-08-19 10:41:25

Oregon Leaders Welcome Refugees
The United States has admitted more than three million refugees

As the situation in Afghanistan winds to a chaotic end, several Oregon state Legislators have signed on to a letter addressed to Oregon Governor Kate Brown, "calling for the safe passage for people from Afghanistan who are facing immediate threats to their lives and the lives of their families."

The letter references SB 778, passed in the 2021 session which established within the office of the Governor the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Advancement for the purpose of operating a statewide immigrant and refugee integration strategy. The bill faced only token opposition in the Senate and just 6 no votes in the House.

While few people oppose extending help to the unknown counts of refugees created and yet-to-be created by the chaos in Afghanistan, many see the current refugee system as subject to abuse and being used as a way around the legitimate immigration system.

The letter calls on the Biden administration to lift caps on refugees and then continues, "As a state, we must also take all the necessary steps to be prepared to resettle families when they arrive. Events in Afghanistan echo the departure of the United States from Saigon following the end of the Vietnam War. In 1975, the United States lifted refugee caps to allow more than 125,000 families to resettle in communities across the country."

the letter notes that "the United States has admitted more than three million refugees who have resettled in this country. Though refugees and immigrants have faced and continue to face significant barriers, they continue to demonstrate their dedication to serving the public and they add immense value to our communities.

The letter is signed by

Representative Khanh Pham, HD 46
Senator Kayse Jama, SD 24

Additional signers are,

Speaker Tina Kotek, HD 44
Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner, HD 45
Rep. Pam Marsh, HD 5
Rep. David Gomberg, HD 10
Rep. Marty Wilde, HD 11
Rep. John Lively, HD 12
Rep. Nancy Nathanson, HD 13
Rep. Julie Fahey, HD 14
Rep. Dan Rayfield, HD 16
Rep. Paul Evans, HD 20
Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon, HD 22
Rep. Courtney Neron, HD 26
Rep. Wlnsvey Campos, HD 28
Rep. Susan McLain, HD 29
Rep. Brad Witt, HD 31
Rep. Maxine Dexter, HD 33
Rep. Ken Helm, HD 34
Rep. Dacia Grayber, HD 35
Rep. Lisa Reynolds, HD 36
Rep. Rachel Prusak, HD 37
Rep. Andrea Salinas, HD 38
Rep. Mark Meek, HD 40
Rep. Karin Power, HD 41
Rep. Rob Nosse, HD 42
Rep. Tawna Sanchez, HD 43
Rep. Andrea Valderrama, HD 47
Rep. Jeff Reardon, HD 48
Rep. Zach Hudson, HD 49
Rep. Ricki Ruiz, HD 50
Rep. Janelle Bynum, HD 51
Rep. Anna Williams, HD 52
Senate President Peter Courtney, SD 11
Majority Leader Rob Wagner, SD 19
Sen. Jeff Golden, SD 3
Sen. Floyd Prozanski, SD 4
Sen. Lee Beyer, SD 6
Sen. James Manning Jr., SD 7
Sen. Sara Gelser Blouin, SD 8
Sen. Deb Patterson, SD 10
Sen. Kate Lieber, SD 14
Sen. Chuck Riley, SD 15
Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, SD 17
Sen. Ginny Burdick, SD 18
Sen. Kathleen Taylor, SD 21
Sen. Lew Frederick, SD 22
Sen. Michael Dembrow, SD 23
Sen. Chris Gorsek, SD 25
Sen. Tim Knopp, SD 27
Sen. Bill Hansell, SD 29

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-19 10:05:04Last Update: 2021-08-19 10:24:01

Josephine Commissioners Signal Narco-Slavery
“After law enforcement releases these workers from custody they have nowhere to go”

Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel attributes the increase in cannabis farming in 2021 to increased activity by drug trade organizations in Southern Oregon. Even though hemp and marijuana can be legally grown in Oregon, with it comes an increase in the illegal market. There are reports of water being stolen, land being clear-cut, and threats to residence. It should have got the attention of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. After all, HB 3000 was passed to bridge the enforcement gap to crack down on illegal growers.

Josephine County Commissioners -- Darin Fowler, Dan DeYoung and Herman Baertschiger, Jr. -- got the message and discovered related issues when performing enforcement operations. They sent a letter to Governor Brown regarding Narco-slavery complete with photos.

Dear Governor Brown,

Narco-slavery occurs when organized criminal networks intimidate, relocate, exploit and abuse their laborers. Unfortunately, one consequence of cannabis legalization has been a tragic surge in narco-slavery. During recent cannabis enforcement operations, Josephine County officials have witnessed the appalling conditions to which laborers in the unsanctioned cannabis industry are subjected. Such conditions include:

Typically, after law enforcement releases these workers from custody they have nowhere to go. We assume that many or most workers eventually get collected by their illicit employers and relocated to the next exploitive operation. The purpose of this letter is to assist you, Director Steve Marks, Commissioner Val Hoyle and your staff in your effort to learn about the extent and severity of this problem. We want to work together with you to end this human tragedy immediately.

In 2017 Josephine County passed Measure 17-81, but when Commissioners attempted an ordinance to effectively ban commercial and medical marijuana on rural residential land of five acres or less, it got backlash from growers. Local growers appealed the ordinance to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals, which ruled against the county saying it could not ban pre-existing lawful uses. The county failed on appeal also. In April 2018, the county sued the State of Oregon wanting a federal judge to disqualify cannabis as pre-existing lawful use along with other points. It could have effectively invalidated the state’s cannabis program. However, the judge ruled the county lacked standing to sue the state and it had no justiciable case or controversy exists between the parties.

Josephine County has not turned away from 62% of the county voting to curtail cannabis growing in residential areas. This letter should put growers on notice to clean up their act.

--Donna Bleler

Post Date: 2021-08-18 18:19:26Last Update: 2021-08-19 09:15:26

City of Eugene Approves Homeless Sites
Intended to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring

At its meeting on July 21, the Eugene City Council approved the first two Safe Sleep sites at Chase Commons Park and 2nd and Garfield.

These sites will be managed by social service providers and provide a space that homeless people can park their vehicles or sleep in tents.

In addition, the Council approved a request to expand an existing site used for medical respite at the Eugene Service Station, allowing it to serve as an additional Rest Stop location that can serve up to 12 people at any one time.

Following a review of more than 300 locations, vetting dozens of potential sites, and outreach efforts to understand community concerns staff recommended and Council approved the first two Safe Sleep sites.

Chase Commons Park: This City owned property is approximately four acres in size. After initial neighborhood and business outreach, staff have drafted a site plan that will accommodate up to 20 Conestoga huts on a portion of the site.

2nd and Garfield: This property, owned by Lane Transit District (LTD) and located at 310 Garfield Avenue, is approximately five acres and could accommodate both tents and vehicles. Staff are working with local social service providers related to operating this site.

Staff continue to assess other properties for future Safe Sleep sites, including both public and private properties. Sites will continue to be evaluated further by the Planning and Development Department and Public Works to determine suitability for siting and compatibility with public use. Additional sites will come back to City Council for approval as quickly as possible.

On April 28, the City Council approved an ordinance that allows Safe Sleep Sites to accommodate more tents or vehicles than previously allowed by City Code, up to 60 vehicles and 40 tents per site. Currently, the City anticipates the approved Safe Sleep sites will be prepared for use by the end of August. People staying at the two large temporary camps at 13th Avenue and Washington Jefferson Park will be prioritized to move into the new sites once they’re established. People living in their cars in industrial areas supposedly can move into the safe vehicle sites.

Through the City’s partnership with Lane County a number of other actions are also underway, including coordinated outreach efforts, adding permanent supportive housing units, engaging with landlords to increase affordable rental options, expanding rapid rehousing programs, and improving tenancy supports.

These efforts, when implemented together, are intended to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring, according to the City of Eugene.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-18 16:38:29Last Update: 2021-08-18 16:47:24

Kate Brown Wants All Kids in Masks
Sends letter to school officials

Governor Kate Brown has issued a letter to Oregon superintendents, school board members, and education leaders, calling on them to enforce mask mandates for school children around the state.

“Throughout this pandemic, my north star for decisions about our schools has been to do what is best for our students. We know that students’ mental, physical, behavioral, social, and emotional health is best served when they can be in schools for full-time, in-person instruction,” said Governor Brown. “The Delta variant puts this goal at risk. It puts our children’s health and lives at risk. But, by again taking simple and effective precautions, we can still return our children to classrooms full-time this fall.”

The governor issued the letter in response to statements and actions from local school leaders indicating they would ignore state law.

Several school boards have passed or are considering resolutions opposing Oregon’s K-12 indoor mask requirements.

In one school district, a superintendent encouraged parents to make claims on behalf of their children by requesting mask exemptions under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Governor Brown continued: “Because that’s the thing about masks: they don’t just protect you, they protect everyone around you. Wearing a mask is an act of kindness. By wearing masks, we are teaching our children that they can protect each other in the classroom. That we can all work together to keep each other safe. When I visited classrooms this spring, I saw children who were overjoyed to be with their friends and teachers again."

Those children's smiles could not be seen by the Governor, as they were required to be in masks.

“I have heard much about personal freedom when it comes to masks in school board meetings and on social media. Without the universal wearing of masks in our schools, the Delta variant will spread.”

As with Oregon's previous K-12 mask requirements, the Governor claims that the current indoor mask requirement can be enforced by Oregon OSHA under state law.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-18 16:04:52Last Update: 2021-08-18 16:21:21

COVID Class Action Suit Explored
The State re-instituted indoor masking as a sure sign we are heading back into lockdowns

A class action lawsuit is being explored against the State of Oregon by businesses that have been affected by state action to control the COVID-19 outbreak. Free Oregon, founded by former Portland coffee entrepreneur Ben Edtl, is exploring legal and political options.

The possible class action lawsuit, against the State of Oregon, for the statutory “taking” of personal property. Free Oregon has retained the leading civil rights attorneys in our state, that specialize in property rights and plans to force the government to compensate, by law.

"Kate Brown and her cronies at the State of Oregon, used COVID-19 regulations and fear to destroy tens of thousands of small businesses in Oregon. Never before has a government regulated small businesses so arbitrarily and unconstitutionally. Free Oregon and its legal team have determined a path in which to successfully sue the State of Oregon on the basis of a Statutory Taking. In this, we will force the State of Oregon to compensate business owners, by law, and ensure this never happens again in the United States," said Edtl.

Edtl and Free Oregon are looking for businesses which may qualify to join this class action. If COVID regulations hurt or destroyed your business, Edtl is asking you to fill out the application. Free Oregon is seeking small business owners that have experienced the total loss of their business or a significant proportional loss of business value, due to the COVID-19 regulations imposed by Kate Brown and the State of Oregon. According to Edtl, "We are particularly interested in hospitality, personal services, fitness and retail industries, but many others may also qualify to participate."

Edtl describes the timeline of the taking. "In Spring of 2020, we were told “two weeks to flatten the curve.” By June 30th, 2021 Governor Kate Brown held her flimsy press conference at Providence Park to announce the “reopening” of Oregon. By August 13th, 2021 (less than 45 days after her grand “reopening”) the State re-instituted indoor masking as a sure sign we are heading back into lockdowns on small businesses. We must fight back."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-17 13:38:31Last Update: 2021-08-18 18:19:26

Governor Brown Passes-the-Buck to Superintendents
“Wearing a mask is an act of kindness”

Governor Kate Brown today issued an open letter to Oregon superintendents, school board members, and education leaders, calling on them to take action to ensure Oregon’s K-12 students can return to full-time, in-person instruction in the classroom this year, with minimal disruptions from COVID-19.

“Throughout this pandemic, my north star for decisions about our schools has been to do what is best for our students. We know that students’ mental, physical, behavioral, social, and emotional health is best served when they can be in schools for full-time, in-person instruction,” said Governor Brown. “The Delta variant puts this goal at risk. It puts our children’s health and lives at risk. But, by again taking simple and effective precautions, we can still return our children to classrooms full-time this fall.”

While most Oregon school districts are moving forward with health and safety plans to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during the upcoming school year, the governor issued the letter in response to troubling statements and actions from local school leaders, and others, indicating they would ignore state law. Several school boards have passed or are considering resolutions opposing Oregon’s K-12 indoor mask requirements. In one school district, a superintendent encouraged parents to make false claims on behalf of their children by requesting mask exemptions under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The governor called on districts to reject taking actions that defy state and federal laws, and to take action to protect students’ health and safety instead.

Governor Brown continued: “Because that’s the thing about masks: they don’t just protect you, they protect everyone around you. Wearing a mask is an act of kindness. By wearing masks, we are teaching our children that they can protect each other in the classroom. That we can all work together to keep each other safe. When I visited classrooms this spring, I saw children who were overjoyed to be with their friends and teachers again. For them, safety protocols were not a burden but a benefit, giving them a reprieve from virtual classrooms and isolation from their peers.

“I have heard much about personal freedom when it comes to masks in school board meetings and on social media. I have not heard as much said about personal responsibility. As leaders, we have a great responsibility to our students and their futures. One of the sacred, fundamental responsibilities of a school district and its leaders is to keep the children in their care safe. It is up to us to make clear-eyed decisions based on science and fact. Flouting mask requirements will put everything we have worked towards in the last year at risk. Without the universal wearing of masks in our schools, the Delta variant will spread.”

As with Oregon's previous K-12 mask requirements, the current indoor mask requirement can be enforced by Oregon OSHA under state law. The questions is, will parents comply or withdraw their students from schools? That seems to be the trend.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-08-17 12:50:26Last Update: 2021-08-17 13:38:31

Linthicum Blasts Kate Brown
Says Democrats want a permanent pandemic

Governor Kate Brown’s latest mask mandate went into effect on the same day she activated 1,500 Oregon National Guard members to assist hospitals. Their deployment begins this Friday. The Governor also issued an extension of her unconstitutional mortgage foreclosure moratorium through the end of the year.

Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) issued the following statement:

“The Governor’s decision to activate our brave men and women of the National Guard is little more than COVID kabuki. It reveals her preference for panic theater rather than actually helping the situation.

“The Governor continues to assault our constitutional system of checks and balances while running roughshod over the liberties of Oregonians. Whether it is the mask mandate or the foreclosure moratorium, the Governor lacks legal and constitutional standards for her decisions. Democrats want to perpetuate a sense of panic because they want a permanent pandemic to push socialist policies that could not be implemented without frenzied hysteria.

“The Governor is promoting policies for free housing which has been a long-time progressive agenda item. By a stroke of the pen, the Governor has declared it illegal to be responsible for bills and debts. This government intrusion into private contracts is a violation of longstanding constitutional protections of contracts and individual property rights.

“To make matters worse, Governor Brown’s insistence that we continue to pay people extra not to work is causing a labor shortage throughout the state. Businesses are hiring but can’t find workers because it’s often more lucrative to collect beefed-up unemployment checks. The long-term consequences of these overreaches are predictable and devastating: less housing, higher prices, and high unemployment while jobs are abundant. It’s time for the government to get out of the way and incentivize responsible citizens to get back to work and manage their own lives and housing needs again.

“The pandemic has given the extreme left their utopian dream of totalitarian control. They have declared everyone a victim, housing free, work optional, grades unnecessary, and masks mandatory. It is time for these repugnant and unsound policy initiatives to end!”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-17 10:16:30Last Update: 2021-08-17 10:22:18

Wyden Proposes Reduction in Forest Management
The bill raises questions about future access, private property and water rights

At a time when many forestry experts think that Oregon needs more forest thinning to reduce wildfire risks, a new bill making its way through Congress will make this job more difficult.

S.192, introduced by Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, restricts thinning and other forest management activities on three million acres of Oregon's federally-owned lands.

The bill -- known as the ‘River Democracy Act’ -- will add nearly 4,700 miles of Oregon “rivers” to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. But most of the waterways in the bill are not even classified as rivers. Many are small creeks and tributaries that don't even carry water year-round, and are overgrown and ripe for wildfire. Yet the bill adds half-mile buffers where thinning and public access will be restricted.

The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 was enacted to preserve certain rivers with “outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition.” The 1968 Act provides a mechanism for robust study and review of proposed waterways to ensure they are eligible and/or suitable for designation. Considering past use and litigation of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the bill raises a lot of questions about how it will impact future access, private property and water rights and other traditional uses of both public and private land.

Wildfires over the past two years have devastated Oregon's rivers, watersheds and nearby communities. Many experts say that we need to reduce wildfires risks and maintain safe public access.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-17 09:17:26Last Update: 2021-08-17 09:41:53

Bend Mayor Asks for Mask Mandate
“The recent increase of cases in our community has been substantial and alarming”

In a letter addressed to the Deschutes County Commissioners, Bend Mayor Sally Russell is asking that County leaders ask citizens to mask up.

Though the letter is signed only by herself, Russell uses the first person plural to introduce the letter. "We are writing to you today to urge you to fulfill your roles as public health leaders and join us in informing our community of the imperative need for everyone to wear masks indoors in public spaces or anywhere else the risk of transmitting Covid-19 is high. The recent increase of Covid-19 cases in our community has been substantial and alarming."

Russell cites the infectiousness of the Delta variant as one reason for wanting the mask mandate. "A unique variant of concern appeared in Deschutes County in late June. We agree with their conclusion that this indicates the presence of the Delta variant in our community — a powerful mutation of Covid-19 that has a higher viral load (meaning a greater amount of the virus is present in the nose and mouth) and, accordingly, a much faster infectious period."

She also makes note of hospital capacity in Bend, caused by staffing shortages. "We are acutely aware of St. Charles’ staffing shortages, and we recognize the critical need to support our local health care workers through this time. Beyond that, we also realize our collective responsibility in ensuring that our hospital system is ready and able to deliver care to all of our community members."

"The City of Bend, like the rest of Deschutes County, is exhausted by the continual presence (and disturbing new activity) of this virus. The call to act, though, resounds clearly through the recent public health data. We stand with our County leadership in making a decision that puts the needs of community first and foremost," she concludes

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-17 08:51:23Last Update: 2021-08-17 10:46:05

Kate Brown Extends Eviction Moratorium in Oregon
For the remainder of 2021

Governor Kate Brown has announced that she has extended Oregon’s residential mortgage foreclosure moratorium until December 31, 2021.

The moratorium is allegedly meant to prevent Oregonians who own their homes from losing their homes to foreclosure if they have lost income and been unable to pay their mortgage during the COVID-19 pandemic. House Bill 2009 authorized the governor to extend the mortgage foreclosure moratorium period for two successive three-month periods beyond June 30.

The Governor previously issued Executive Order 21-14, extending the moratorium until September 30, 2021. The extension until December 31 is the last extension allowed under House Bill 2009.

“As we continue to see record high numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations driven by the Delta surge, I am committed to ensuring that Oregonians have a warm, dry, safe place to live during this pandemic," said Governor Brown. "Extending the temporary residential foreclosure moratorium another three months will prevent removal of Oregonians from their homes by foreclosure, which would result in serious health, safety, welfare, and financial consequences, and which would undermine key efforts to prevent spread of COVID-19."

Governor Brown claims that extending House Bill 2009’s foreclosure moratorium will also provide relief to mortgagors that are leasing property to residential tenants, allowing landlords needed flexibility to continue to work with tenants who are struggling to pay rent.

Oregonians who have fallen behind on their mortgages during the pandemic are encouraged to contact a housing counselor in their community. A list of housing counselors in communities across Oregon is available here.

On June 25, 2021, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 278, which provides tenants a 60-day safe-harbor period from eviction for nonpayment of rent. In Multnomah County, the safe harbor period is 90 days. The 60-day safe-harbor period for each tenant begins when they provide their landlords with proof that they have applied for rental assistance. The program is offered to all eligible renters regardless of immigration status.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-16 14:29:11Last Update: 2021-08-16 15:07:32

Oregon puts Race Politics in K-12 Classrooms
This is a departure from the educational standards of fairness and equality

Editor's note: This article appeared as a blog on the Oregonians for Liberty in Education site and is reprinted here, with permission.

On July 19th, 2021 Governor Kate Brown signed into law HB 2166. This bill is the fruit of Gov. Brown’s Racial Justice Council, an organization set up last year for the purpose of providing the governor with policy recommendations that “center racial justice.” In line with that goal, the new law makes sweeping changes to the educational standards of the state of Oregon.

The most drastic change is the creation of a new K-12 education standard and framework called "Social Emotional Learning.” The intention is made clear saying that the “...social emotional learning should be incorporated into all academic content standards as part of an integrated model of mental and emotional health, with the explicit goal being to promote antiracism and educational equity and to create conditions for all students to thrive...” The bill further reveals itself in multiple places with the use of language such as “antibias,” “institutional racism,” and “positive racial identity development.”

Far from being common and agreed upon language this is rhetoric associated with the new and controversial Critical Race Theory. CRT views all American institutions from a racial identity perspective and encourages class struggle from that basis. The Social Emotional Learning framework makes Critical Race Theory the law of the land in Oregon, making public school students as young as Kindergarten to see the world through the lens of race.

The bill also adds a mechanism to force this on children outside of the public school system. The “Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion Prevention Program,” primarily provides educational resources for early childhood educators on how to incorporate the ideals of Critical Race Theory into their curriculum. This includes everything from information on how to encourage “positive racial identity development” to what it means to have “antibias practices.”

However, it does not stop at merely providing voluntary resources for educators, it makes the use of those resources mandatory for licensure in Oregon. Any early childhood care and education programs “certified or registered” in the state of Oregon must request services from the Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion Prevention Program when a young child is facing potential expulsion. Under this bill, early childhood educators and providers are no longer able to exercise their own professional judgment in matters of discipline, but are subject to the oversight of a centralized and racially motivated government body.

Moreover, Oregon is putting its money where its mouth is by providing educational grants on the basis of their own racially charged world view. HB 2166 establishes a grant program for Public Charter Schools that requires 65% of the student body be either “disabled” or “racial or ethnic groups that have historically experienced academic disparities.”

This bill is a drastic departure from the educational standards of the state of Oregon and the historical values of fairness and equality guaranteed by the Civil Right Act and the Constitution. It ends the debate on Critical Race Theory by cutting off the voices of local school boards, parents, and educators, in favor of biased sense of morality from the governor’s office.

--Oregonians for Liberty in Education Staff

Post Date: 2021-08-16 10:23:11Last Update: 2021-08-16 10:38:45

Oregon Direct Democracy: Circulating and Signing Petitions
Initiative or Referendum are an important ways to get involved in direct democracy, especially because of supermajorities

Editor's note: This is the third of a multi-part series on direct democracy in Oregon

The Oregon Secretary of State publishes the rules for Initiatives and Referenda in the State Initiative and Referendum Manual. If you are actively involved in a campaign to gather signatures, it is well worth reading. You might learn something and dispel some myths along the way.

A circulator is an individual who asks voters to sign a petition and signs the petition as a circulator. It's always a good practice to ask each prospective signer if they are a registered Oregon voter. Most circulators are volunteers and it's important that they follow the requirements and guidelines for circulating petitions. You may notice that the petition form has a box that says that "Some circulators for this petition are being paid." If the campaign ever wants to use paid signature gatherers, they have to check that box at the beginning.

While gathering signatures, the circulator must witness each signature collected. That means that they must watch the person sign the petition. It is not sufficient to merely be present in the same room or vicinity. After the sheet is filled or they are done gathering for the time being, they have to complete the circulator certification.

Provide the date when the certification was signed. The date must be provided in month, day, year order -- like 08/16/21 -- written in all numbers.

A circulator must allow any person to read the text of an initiative or referendum petition. A complete copy of text must be available for signers of an initiative or referendum to review. These are often printed on the back side of the petition.

It is against the law for circulators to knowingly offer money or anything of value to another person to sign or not sign the petition and they may not write, alter, correct, clarify, or obscure any information about the signers unless the signer initials after the changes are made. At times signers will make a mistake and scribble out the mistake. That's fine, but they need to put their initials above the scribbling. A circulator may assist a disabled signer who requests assistance in completing their printed name, address and date signed. In such a case, no initials are required.

A signer is a person who is a registered Oregon voter who agrees to sign the petition. The signer must provide an original signature -- just as contained in their voter registration record -- but is encouraged to provide their printed name, date signed, and address. The printed name, address, etc. is only used for the Secretary of State to validate that the signer is a registered voter. None of this is legally necessary for the signature to count, but obviously it helps. The signer can put their residence address or the mailing address that the county has on file for where to mail a ballot. One common mistake is to have one person fill out the date an address information for themselves and their spouse and then just have the spouse sign.

Each signer must be an active registered voter at the time of signing the petition in the electoral district where the petition is being circulated. Most petitions are statewide, so that requirement is easy.

If the signer has downloaded an electronic eSheet, they must have personally printed a copy of an eSheet or requested a separate person print a copy. Circulators may not use e-sheets to gather signatures. They may only use the 10 line or 5 line signature sheets.

Gathering signatures for and Initiative or Referendum is an important way to get involved in Oregon's direct democracy, especially when the legislative process is not an option because of supermajorities.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-16 09:30:08Last Update: 2021-08-14 10:27:31

Curry County Defies Governor on Lockdowns
“The role of government is to help and support the citizens it represents”

The Curry County Board of Commissioners has passed a resolution on lockdowns at their August 4 meeting, which lays out a bold case for constitutionally limited government and proposes push-back on the governor and the state, in case of lockdowns.

In the resolution, the commissioners note that the "Curry County Board of Commissioners strongly believes that all provisions of the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Oregon must be upheld without exception, and that public officials should not pick and choose those provisions to be recognized and defended, and should recognize and defend all provisions."

The resolution also asserts that "public officials throughout Oregon are charged with protecting the health of all Oregon communities, but are also charged with doing so within the constraints of our national and state constitutions and that the role of government is to help and support the citizens it represents, not to control or force policies on them."

The commissioners note that "the Governor of Oregon has issued a series of Emergency Orders which have, in certain respects, exceeded the limits of the United States and Oregon Constitutions, in particular, by closing businesses and schools outside of the powers authorized to the Governor, and expanding the jurisdiction and power of state government agencies beyond the jurisdiction and powers authorized by state law."

The resolution contains two provisions:
  1. All employees and agencies of Curry County shall not assist in the enforcement of business closure, school closure, or stay-at-home directives under the Executive Orders of the Governor relating to the Coronavirus pandemic, including state agency directives or guidance.
  2. All employees and agencies of Curry County shall recognize the protections provided by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Oregon in carrying out their duties.
The three elected Curry County Commissioners are Court Boice, John Herzog and Chris Paasch.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-16 09:25:00Last Update: 2021-08-16 10:32:09

Mayors Urge Congress to Protect Dreamers
The Conference of Mayors has supported a pathway to citizenship and extension of DACA

Several mayors from Oregon cities and from cities across the nation have signed a letter to call on Congress to take immediate action that provides permanent protection from deportation and a path to citizenship for all so-called "Dreamers" who have lived in America since they were children and are building their lives here in the only country many of them have ever known. "Dreamers" is a term used to describe children of illegal aliens who were brought to this country as minors.

Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty , Hillsboro Mayor Steve Callaway, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Tigard Mayor Jason B. Snider, are the only Oregon mayors to sign on to the letter, which was sent out on letterhead from the United States Conference of Mayors.

Following the recent Texas U.S. District Court decision that struck down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program -- known as DACA -- signatory mayors have pledged to work with Congress to implement a permanent solution for DACA recipients and their families.

In the letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, mayors wrote, in part: “...it is even more urgent than ever that Congress act quickly to provide permanent protection from deportation and a path to citizenship for all Dreamers – people who have lived in America since they were children and built their lives here. As Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, we write on behalf of all the nation’s mayors to urge you to take whatever action is necessary and possible immediately to accomplish this. We pledge to work with you in this effort to help you make this happen. The United States Conference of Mayors has had strong policy supporting a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and extension of the DACA program for many years. Our bipartisan organization has adopted this policy because it is the right thing to do – for Dreamers, for our communities, and for our country.”

Following the release of the letter, Mayor Beaty of Beaverton issued the following statement:

“It is important that Congress hear from mayors across the nation about the urgency of taking immediate action to protect Dreamers. Dreamers are an important part of our community, and they are Beaverton residents just like the rest of us. The recent U.S. District Court ruling undermines the integrity of DACA protections and has thousands of young people living in fear of deportation and uncertainty about their livelihood. The time is now to advance policies that support a path to permanent citizenship for all Dreamers so that they can study, work and build families in our cities without fear.”

179 mayors signed the letter, which states, in part:

"The cultural, economic, and social contributions of the more than 800,000 DACA recipients and their families to our cities cannot be overstated; particularly during a global pandemic where over 200,000 DACA recipients are working in essential roles, including 27,000 in health care positions. Each year, DACA recipients and their households pay $5.6 billion in federal taxes and $3.1 billion in state and local taxes on top of their payroll tax contributions to Social Security and Medicare. After taxes, DACA recipients and their households have a combined $24 billion in spending power to put back into their communities."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-15 11:27:29Last Update: 2021-08-15 12:09:17

Brown to Deploy Guard to Staff Up Hospitals
Deployment of 500 Guard members to hospitals will begin August 20

Governor Kate Brown today announced she will be deploying up to 1,500 Oregon National Guard members to support frontline health care workers as she claims that Oregon hospitals face a surge of hospitalizations due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant.

Beginning August 20, an initial 500 Guard members will be deployed to hospitals around the state to provide logistical support as materials handlers and equipment runners, as well as assisting with COVID-19 testing and other necessary services to support hospital operations. The Oregon National Guard is prepared to provide logistical support for more than 20 hospitals across the state.

Despite the fact that hospitalizations are no more prevalent than the previous spike, Governor Brown said, “This morning I received the grim news that there are 733 Oregonians hospitalized with severe cases of COVID-19, including 185 in intensive care units,” said Governor Kate Brown. “I cannot emphasize enough the seriousness of this crisis for all Oregonians, especially those needing emergency and intensive care. When our hospitals are full with COVID-19 patients, there may not be room for someone needing care after a car crash, a heart attack, or other emergency situation.”

“I know this is not the summer many of us envisioned,” said Governor Brown, “with over 2.5 million Oregonians vaccinated against COVID-19. The harsh, and frustrating reality is that the Delta variant has changed everything. Delta is highly contagious, and we must take action now.”

While the Delta variant seems to be more contagious, it seems not to be more deadly. According to this graph provided by the Oregon Health Authority, deaths in all age groups have not peaked.

“We will get through this the same way we have before: together. So please, if you have been waiting to get vaccinated, go do it today. Vaccines are safe, effective, and widely available. And, when you go out in public today, wear a mask. Masks are a simple and effective way for all of us to help slow the spread of COVID-19.”

While the Oregon National Guard also has members with health care, nursing, and medical training, many of those members are already hard at work for their civilian employers –– Oregon hospitals and health care providers.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-15 10:42:33Last Update: 2021-08-16 09:25:00

National and International Media Rips Kate Brown
Once again, Oregon is internationally famous, and not in a good way

Fox News covered the story -- also reprinted in the New York Post -- and provided a video clip, saying, "Gov. Kate Brown, the Oregon Democrat, signed a bill last month with little fanfare that drops the requirement that high school students prove proficiency in reading, writing or math before graduation."

Across the pond, the UK's Daily Mail extensively reported the bill signing, underscoring the racial component.

"The state of Oregon will no longer require its students to demonstrate proficiency in math, reading and writing in order to earn a high school diploma in a bid to bolster minority students.

"Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill late last month suspending the state's 'essential skills' requirement for graduation for the next three years while its Department of Education seeks alternative graduation requirements.

"The bill extended a suspension of the requirements that was put in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Associated Press chimed in -- again, picking up on the racial aspect -- with this:

Rashelle Chase, founder of Mxm Bloc, an advocacy group led by Black women and focused on education and other social justice issues, said certain children struggle with exams and had been hurt by the testing requirements.

“Under the best of circumstances, in totally normal times with no pandemic, there are a number of children who don’t test well,” Chase said, including children of color, those in need of special education, low-income students and early language learners. She added that it’s “not a deficit on the part of those children.”

But others say testing is an important tool to assess students’ learning and that eliminating the requirement could be hurtful.

Greg Gutfeld also criticized the Democrat Governor on his Fox News national show.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-15 06:44:59Last Update: 2021-08-15 11:52:36

Alyssa Chatterjee Named Director of Early Learning Division
Appointed by Governor Kate Brown

Governor Kate Brown has announced that she has appointed Alyssa Chatterjee as the Director of the Early Learning Division (ELD). In this role, Chatterjee will lead the agency responsible for supporting Oregon’s young children and families to learn and thrive. She will oversee the transition of the ELD into the new Department of Early Learning and Care on January 1, 2023.

“I am thrilled to name Alyssa Chatterjee as Director of the Early Learning Division," said Governor Brown. "Alyssa led the development of my office’s early learning and child care policy, and had a key role in shaping policy and supporting the work of my Children’s Cabinet and the Racial Justice Council. She hit the ground running in May as acting director to continue our ongoing work with early learning and child care providers to ensure all children across Oregon can thrive and reach their full potential. I look forward to her continued leadership and collaboration.”

Chatterjee has focused on early learning policy throughout her time working for the State of Oregon. Prior to joining the Governor’s Office as deputy education policy advisor in August 2019, Chatterjee was among the first employees at ELD when the division was formally created. She served in a variety of roles at ELD, including as a policy advisor and legislative coordinator for the agency. As a member of ELD’s executive team, she helped guide the state’s early learning strategic planning process for the 5-year statewide early learning system plan, Raise Up Oregon. She has a bachelor’s degree from Willamette University.

Chatterjee had been serving as the acting director of ELD since May; her permanent appointment was effective August 1.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-14 19:15:43Last Update: 2021-08-14 19:23:57

Oregon Direct Democracy: How the Initiative Process Works
Oregon is one of about half the states that has a robust direct democracy process

Editor's note: This is the second of a multi-part series on direct democracy in Oregon

Oregon is one of about half the states that has a robust direct democracy process. In that sense, we are lucky that we can change our Constitution, make and change laws and even veto acts of the Legislature -- known as a referendum.

The initiative process is described by the State Initiative and Referendum manual and starts with an idea to create, amend or repeal an Oregon law or provision in the Oregon Constitution. To file, a chief petitioner needs only have the text of the proposed initiative and between one and three chief petitioners. This form is filed with the Secretary of State and, after a cursory review for any legal problems, the petitioners are issued templates for the sponsorship phase.

Any initiative proposed to change the Oregon Constitution has enhanced requirements: "Templates" refers to electronic forms which, when printed out, become the signature sheets. The "sponsorship phase" refers to the initial period in which the petitioners will gather between 1,000 and 2,000 signatures to get the process started. The reason for this phase is to be able to show that there is sufficient support and energy behind the effort to engage further. During the sponsorship phase, it is required that the text of the measure physically accompany the signature sheets. If there is a small amount of text, the Secretary of State will determine that it can be printed on the back side of the petition. For larger amounts of text, they need to be stapled to each copy.

Once the Secretary of State has validated over 1,000 signatures -- they have 10 business days to complete this -- they turn the text over to the Attorney General who five business days to draft and file ballot title that "impartially summarizes the petition and its major effect." A ballot title is not just a headline. It contains four parts and the wording is vital to the success or failure of each petition. At this time any registered voter may submit written comments on the legal sufficiency of the draft ballot title. After the deadline to submit comments, the Secretary of State's Elections Division will forward any comments received to the Attorney General for consideration when certifying the ballot title. Note that these comments should be on the legality of the process, not the content of the initiative. By submitting comments, this gives the commenter standing if the title is appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court -- which it often is.

Out of this process comes the certified ballot title, which will be printed on the back of the signature sheets which will be circulated. Statewide initiatives are only voted on in the general election in even-numbered years but, while an initiative can be filed for any future even-numbered year, chief petitioners are only allowed to circulate for a two-year period prior to the signature turn in date in July of an even-numbered year.

The number of signatures needed is a function of a percent of the vote in the last regular gubernatorial election.

Constitutional Initiative(8%) 149,360
Statutory Initiative(6%) 112,020
Referendum(4%) 74,680

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-14 10:27:40Last Update: 2021-08-14 10:28:42

Oregon Direct Democracy: How it Started in Oregon
Facing a great deal of corruption in the political system, Oregon passed many reforms

Editor's note: This is the first of a multi-part series on direct democracy in Oregon

In The Oregon System by Allen H. Eaton, the author describes the political possibilities in Oregon:

"Of all the democracies in the world, the state of Oregon is the one in which the people can make or unmake at will any law, constitutional or statutory, elect or recall any official, -- in short, do anything in politics which they wish to do, for there is practically no limitation to their political powers."

During the late 19th century, facing a great deal of corruption in the political system, Oregon passed many reforms to its election system. Amazingly, it wasn't until 1891 that Oregon first passed a law requiring a secret ballot and almost equally amazingly, Oregon first passed a law requiring a system of voter registration in 1899.

On the heels of these reforms, in 1902 the Oregon Legislature passed and the people approved -- by a vote of 91% -- amendments to the Oregon Constitution allowing the initiative and referendum process, championed by Populist reformer William U’Ren. The first use of the initiative process was a measure passed in 1904 to create primary elections and end the practice of parties picking nominees through political conventions.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-13 20:34:01Last Update: 2021-08-13 17:14:31

Most of Oregon Under Air Quality Advisory
Who is responsible?

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Southwest Clean Air Agency and Lane Regional Air Protection Agency issued and extended air quality advisories Friday for many parts of Oregon due to smoke from fires in Oregon, Washington, California and Canada, as well as smog in metro areas.

DEQ expects the air quality advisory to last until a least noon Monday. DEQ and partner agencies will continue to monitor wildfire smoke and ozone pollution, or smog, in these areas.

The following areas are under advisory: Smoke and ozone levels can change rapidly depending on weather. Check current conditions on the Oregon Smoke Information Blog, DEQ’s Air Quality Index, or by downloading the free OregonAIR app on your smartphone.

The Oregon DEQ offers the following advice:
--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-13 15:48:02Last Update: 2021-08-13 16:02:09

Union County Sheriff Sends Kate Brown a Letter
Says mindless dictates will no longer be tolerated

The Union County Oregon Sheriff has now sent Governor Kate Brown a letter dated Friday, August 13th, in response to the latest round of restrictions imposed statewide on Oregonians.

The letter reads as follows:

"I write to you today in hopes of opening a dialogue and as a last resort to put you on notice that we the people of Union County, Oregon have had enough!"

"Enough of your overreaching mandates! Enough of your bullying threats. Enough of you dictating our state by fear. You have once again initiated what many consider to be an unconstitutional mandate by requiring our children to wear a mask while in school. You have gone so far as to threaten our teacher's livelihoods and their ability to provide for their family with fines and certification revocations if they don't enforce your mandate. You have backed our school board members into a corner even though the east side of the state has expressed a desire to have local control over these situations."

"Leaders listen to their constituents. You have continued in a long line of politicians who ignore the will of the people on the east side of the state."

"You sit on the opposite side of the state and dictate with a heavy hand. You ramble off your orders to Oregon Health Authority and Department of Education telling them to carry out your mindless orders or face the consequences of your threats. You are inflicting more damage to our children than any virus could ever do, and you hide behind the misrepresentation that you care for us all. You ma'am care nothing about our children or the people of Eastern Oregon."

"As Sheriff of Union County I took an oath to uphold the constitution and stand up and defend the people of this beautiful county we call home. We have the God given right to choose what is best for ourselves and our children. Let us do so."

"We will raise our children how we see fit. We will choose to wear a mask or choose not to wear a mask. We will choose to get vaccinated or choose not to get vaccinated. Your mindless dictates will no longer be tolerated."

Sheriff Cody Bowen

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-13 15:36:51Last Update: 2021-08-13 16:57:12

Oregon Republicans Give Statement on Census Redistricting Data
Boshart Davis urges Legislature to reject partisan influences

The US Census has now released the 2020 Census Redistricting Data.

House Redistricting Committee co-chair Shelly Boshart Davis released the following joint statement in response with fellow committee members Christine Drazan and Daniel Bonham:

“Today marks another important step in the process of redrawing Oregon’s political boundaries. We join our colleagues in committing to an open, transparent and collaborative process. At the same time, we recognize that Oregon’s current political maps have not produced equitable representation for minority communities and differing political views.

It is our shared responsibility to fix this. Over the next month and a half, we urge every member of the Legislature to reject partisan influences that are too often an inherent part of this process and to commit to producing fair maps that accurately reflect the diversity of the people of Oregon.”

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-12 17:43:29Last Update: 2021-08-12 17:49:19

Goodwin Chosen to Fill HD 2 Seat
It is likely that she will see her first vote in a probable special session

In a joint meeting of the County Commissioners of Josephine, Jackson and Douglas Counties, Christine Goodwin was unanimously chosen to fill the seat that was vacated by State Representative Gary Leif upon his death.

It is likely that she will see her first vote in a probable special session in late September to determine Legislative and Congressional districts.

Goodwin touted her skill set that she says she developed in the public and private sectors. She did not reveal whether or not she would run for election in 2022, but it has been speculated that she would not. Prior to the vote, Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice expressed his preference for someone who "isn't planning to run in the election, if possible," so that the will of the people could be heard next year, without having a candidate as an incumbent.

“The entire Republican Caucus welcomes Christine Goodwin to the House and looks forward to the work we will accomplish together,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby). “Christine’s years of public service and community engagement shows that she is deeply committed to the people and communities in District 2 and they will be well served by her leadership.”

“It’s an honor to participate in the Legislature,” added Christine Goodwin. “I look forward to representing the constituents of House District 2 to the same high standards they received from Gary Leif who was an inspirational public servant.”

Christine Goodwin is a former teacher and coach at Roseburg High School for seven years, and has been a resident of Douglas County since 1978. She is a former owner of several small businesses, and was recently appointed as an Interim Douglas County Commissioner. Goodwin has served on the UCC Foundation Board, Community Cancer Center Board, Economic Development Initiative, Parks Advisory Board, Planning Commission and Community for Healthy Forests. Her husband of 41 years, Dr. Lynn Goodwin, is an optometrist, and together they have two children and three grandchildren.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-12 16:45:06Last Update: 2021-08-12 17:38:23

YamCo Counsel Retires After Complaint
A bar complaint showed clear duplicity in conduct of his official duties

The real life soap opera surrounding efforts by a few to build a bike path on an abandoned rail right of way through farm country in Yamhill County saw its first casualty from the ranks of the conspirators. County Counsel Timothy “Todd” Sadlo announced his pending retirement after a bar complaint showed clear duplicity in conduct of his official duties. His downfall came about when he claimed differing uses for a partially built bridge on the right of way the use of which was specifically detailed in the awarding of grant money. Ultimately, he told the Land Use Board of Appeals one thing and the Oregon Bar another.

The County must repay over $1 million grant money to ODOT and remove the partially completed but illegal bridge. It is not known if Sadlo will be personally charged with willful and wanton waste of public funds under ORS 294.100 which describes a "public official expending money in excess of amount or for different purpose than provided by law". Carrie Martin, grants administrator, facilitated the illegal actions but has not been charged as of this writing. Public records requests obtained through public records requests, include Martin emails showing duplicity. She runs a consulting business separate from her job with the County. Her clients include vendors to the County whose work is funded with grants. An audit of her activities could reveal more as several grants over several years were the subject of controversy.

The Yamhelas Westsider Trail episode began when the 2012 Yamhill County Commissioners were told farmers had no objection to a Trail. That caused the 2012 Commissioners to include the Trail in the Transportation Study Plan. Next, the Mid-Willamette Valley Area Commission on Transportation was told farmers had no objections to the Trail and the first of many grants was obtained. These false statements, verified false by 2012 Commissioner Kathy George, were the base upon which Trail advocates built a plan to realize their goal. Continued inappropriate manipulation of the public process was necessary for them to move forward. County authorities, including retired Administrator Tschabold, were enticed to participate and they, along with Sadlo, even encouraged some past and one present commissioner to shortcut due process.

Farmers who had been deliberately kept in the dark learned of the threat to their farming practices and sought legal redress through LUBA. LUBA ruled for the farmers in five of five cases, even awarding them attorney’s fees on the matter of the bridge. Conspirators have resorted to attacks on the newest Commissioner, Berschauer, as an outlet for their confused frustration. A solution to this conflict among cyclists and farmers will require compromise and perhaps painful acknowledgements of wrong thinking.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-08-11 12:57:27Last Update: 2021-08-11 15:03:25

Oregon Republicans Speak Out Against Mask Mandates
Drazan and Linthicum criticize Governor Brown

Governor Brown has issued two new mask mandates just weeks after lifting them. This time, for K-12 students – the group least likely to become seriously ill, be hospitalized, pass the virus to others, or die from COVID-19 – and state employees.

The death rate for children is lower than that of seasonal flu, for which the Governor failed to implement mask mandates in years prior. The new K-12 mask mandate requires everyone, regardless of vaccination status or natural immunity, to wear a mask at school.

Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) issued the following statement:

“The Governor and her administration have a responsibility to cut through the panic and provide the evidence, datum, and succinct scientific analysis that tells Oregonians what they can expect. Instead, OHA, like the CDC, have constantly shifted goalposts and undermined Oregonians' faith in our public health institutions."

“Schools have been shown to have lower case rates than the broader community, yet the message from the Governor is that our schools are one of the most dangerous places for them to be. That is an unsound and anti-scientific view. Many Oregon schools have been operating all summer with no masks and no significant outbreaks."

“All teachers, staff members, families, and students over 12 have had ample time to choose to get vaccinated. Moms and dads, families, and individuals all have a right to choose which medical procedures they engage in and to force kids needlessly into masks is abusive."

“Oregonians are tired of these dictatorial mandates from the Governor. One moment, she is pro-local control. Next, she puts forward unfounded and anti-scientific decrees like these. These newest mandates come with no limiting principle. COVID’s death rate is the lowest it has ever been thanks to the ever-growing herd immunity of Oregon’s population. Does the Governor expect Oregonians to take on and off the masks as she says until we have zero cases?

If so, this proves the Governor has an unrealistic mindset based on nothing but myths and fairy-tales.”

Oregon House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) also made a statement criticizing the Governor:

“The Governor has no business mandating COVID-19 vaccines for anybody", Drazan said. "Running over free will is not leadership. We would be the only state in the nation forcing these vaccines on people like this. I trust Oregonians even if the Governor doesn’t. She shouldn’t be trying to control every aspect of their lives with mask and vaccine mandates.”

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-11 11:55:46Last Update: 2021-08-11 12:10:58

Kate Brown Says Masks Mandated Statewide Again
Oregonians are tired of her restrictions

Governor Kate Brown has announced she will be issuing new health and safety measures to address the spread of the COVID Delta variant: a vaccination requirement for state employees and statewide indoor mask requirements.

The governor's office says that new modeling from the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) projects that, without new health and safety interventions in place, COVID-19 hospitalizations will far exceed Oregon’s health system capacity in the next several weeks. According to modeling from OHSU, without these additional mitigation measures, Oregon could be as many as 500 staffed hospital beds short of what will be needed to treat patients hospitalized for any reason by September.

“Oregon is facing a spike in COVID-19,” said Governor Brown.

She continued, "If we all do our part, we can beat COVID-19 once and for all, keep our economy open and thriving, and return our kids to the classroom with minimal disruptions in a few weeks.” Some observers are noting the governor sounds earily like a broken record.

All State of Oregon executive branch employees required to be fully vaccinated according to Kate Brown.

Governor Brown announced that all State of Oregon executive branch employees will be required to be fully vaccinated on or before October 18, or six weeks after a COVID-19 vaccine receives full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, whichever is later.

The requirement will apply to all executive branch employees, including employees working for all Oregon state agencies, and in consultation with Oregon’s statewide elected officials, employees of the Oregon State Treasury and the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office, as well as employees of the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries and the Oregon Department of Justice.

Employees will be required to show proof of vaccination by the deadline.

Individuals unable to be vaccinated due to disability or sincerely held religious belief may be able to qualify for an exception, as required by state and federal law.

State of Oregon employees will not have the option of weekly testing instead of showing proof of vaccination.

“I am taking action to help ensure State of Oregon workplaces are safe for employees and customers alike", said Brown. "I am strongly encouraging all public and private employers to follow suit by requiring vaccination for their employees. The only way we can stop the spread of COVID-19 for good is through vaccination.”

The vaccination requirement does not apply to employees of Oregon’s legislative and judicial branches of government, though the Governor is encouraging the leadership of both branches to consider a similar requirement.

“The latest science is clear: both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can spread the Delta variant. After a year and a half of this pandemic, I know Oregonians are tired of health and safety restrictions. This new mask requirement will not last forever... It will help to protect all of us, including people who are immunocompromised, and our children under 12 who are not yet eligible to get vaccinated. Masks are a simple and effective tool that will keep our schools, businesses, and communities open.”

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-10 15:07:40Last Update: 2021-08-10 15:27:39

Emergency Declared Due to Heat
When is Oregon not in an emergency?

Governor Kate Brown has now declared a state of emergency in Oregon supposedly to ensure additional resources are available to respond to forecasted excessively high temperatures.

The governor's office says the emergency declaration was triggered by the need for state agencies to assist local and Tribal jurisdictions in providing for the health and safety of their residents. Multiple days of extreme heat with little or no cooling overnight may also impact critical infrastructure, causing utility outages and transportation disruptions.

"Oregon is facing yet another extreme heat wave, and it is critical that every level of government has the resources they need to help keep Oregonians safe and healthy," said Governor Brown. "I encourage Oregonians to take proactive steps to keep themselves and their families safe, including drinking plenty of fluids, taking advantage of cooling centers, and checking in on neighbors, friends, and loved ones."

The Governor has directed the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to activate the state's Emergency Coordination Center to coordinate essential protective measures. She has also directed state agencies to provide any assistance requested by OEM to support response efforts.

Heat-related illnesses are preventable — all Oregonians are encouraged to learn the symptoms of heat stroke, heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses. Oregonians who do not have air conditioning in their homes are strongly encouraged to make a plan today to find a cool location they can access during the heat wave. Additionally, all Oregonians are asked to check in on vulnerable friends, family, and neighbors who may be susceptible to extreme heat.

A full copy of the emergency declaration, Executive Order 21-27, is available here.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-10 14:05:42Last Update: 2021-08-10 14:31:01

“Swiss Cheese Layered Plan” Proposed for PPS COVID-19 Plan
Young children staying three feet away from each other, “doesn’t work.”

After Portland Public Schools Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero read his opening script text for the camera, he introduced Dani Ledesma who read her prepared script. Dani’s role was not identified. Dani then introduced the five-member panel of “public health experts.” Two are from Washington, D.C. Jessica Guernsey, Health Director for Multnomah County, then read her prepared script to announce the “Swiss Cheese Layered Plan”.

The public health experts looked happy, had big smiles and cheery looks on their faces as they opined about masking, distancing, and getting children, parents and school employees vaccinated through their “Swiss Cheese Layered Plan” for the school year. One expert wasn’t identified, only a phone number appeared on the screen. Dr. Tress Goodwin gave an explanation of the "Swiss Cheese Layered Plan” in the accompanying video that lasts 2:40.

Contrasted to the experts’ big happy smiles were the concerned somber elected school board directors such as Julia Brim-Edwards who shared she has never had so many emails as she did at the very moment the work session meeting was in progress. Brim-Edwards’ repeated attempts to get clarity on demographics and data related to Portland Public Schools was met with “...don’t know...” and vagueness.

Board director and chair Michelle DePass’ on-the-ground question for schools was “...what about lunch time for those under 4th grade?” Expert Lisa Ferguson responded, “That’s a hot topic for state and local about masks on, three feet distancing, about how to implement that.” Board director Gary Hollands was direct about young children staying three feet away from each other, “doesn’t work.”

Hollands as well had concerns about special education children around the masking up protocol. The public health expert’s response was, “It’s called vaccines.” At that point Dani cut him off which led to Lisa Ferguson stating she was “going off script” and saying she was “really fearful about the mental health” of the children and “it is really going to be scary for some kids.” For indoor sports, the experts want them wearing masks.

At one point superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero intervened to stop board directors from getting “into the nitty gritty of the operational aspects” and made a statement of assurance that all questions would be answered elsewhere other than the work session, “hopefully we can answer all questions parents might have, please know we want to hear all your questions, we want to offer a most thorough response.” Board director Andrew Scott weighed in for all the questions to be put on-line.

School board director, Lowery, attempted to follow up with DePass’ question of how to get children to mask up. Dr. Joelle Simpson from Washington D.C. where right now 11-year-old children can get the vaccine without parental consent or parental knowledge said, “Modeling, kids will do what parents do.” She said to get some “cartoon masks.”

School board director Scott asked when it might be that the mask wearing will stop? To which Dr. Loeffler said, “I could talk a super long time about that, but I would like to think about this as we still need to protect children…we can’t have kids bringing it home to families or the community.”

The pediatric experts, well into the work session, gave their expertise statement that children dying from the virus is “rare” and so are hospitalizations. An expert mentioned there was one child death in “…New Orleans.” In the Portland area there have been no child deaths from COVID-19. No homeless deaths from COVID-19 either, a population not following any of the public health experts’ advice or protocols.

At an hour and a half into the work session during the “lightning action round of one question each” Chair DePass made another valiant try to report to the superintendent and these health care “experts” that PPS parents per the many emails she received, parents want data and that “Most emails tonight parents want operational details, data, more info...what is the most important data to provide to the parents?”

Then there was a long pause. Silence from the panel of five experts on public health. Dani finally popped in and asked DePass who she was directing her question to. DePass said, “Anyone who feels qualified to answer.” Jessica spoke up and said, “I’ll take a stab at it.” Her answer to the data question was, “More parents need to get vaccinated. The vaccine is the most important layer.” Jessica had a big smile on her face as she did not answer the question DePass asked.

Jessica was also the one that said, “The virus changed, we knew they would, they are sneaky.” Some of the experts claimed they were working on this “…night and day.” And to “trust the science.”

In response to a question asymptomatic are not being tested because to find even one positive out of that population the cost is $10,000.00. To the topic of testing children brought a response that included the health industry does not have enough employees to do that kind of coverage. Getting a “political” campaign going to encourage the public to obey was mentioned.

The board meeting was not open to the public to meet in person, nor could the parents/public directly ask questions to experts. The compelling visual of the work session was seeing happy smiles on some of the public health experts’ faces as they talked about the pandemic as opposed to those who were there representing the parents of the Portland Public School District.

PPS school board director Julia Brim-Edwards ended the work session noting how important it was to answer the parents’ questions as people are deciding what to do.”

--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-08-09 20:28:11Last Update: 2021-08-09 21:02:40

Oregon DMV Says Facemasks Required
Policy applies regardless of vaccination status

When you go to an Oregon DMV office, be aware that the Department of Motor Vehicles has proclaimed that masks are now required inside the DMV offices and during drive tests conducted by DMV, regardless of vaccination status.

Within a recent announcement, the DMV claims that all state offices with any public contact resumed this safety precaution July 30 due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Oregon this summer. These state offices claim they are following the latest Oregon Health Authority guidelines.

To avoid visiting the DMV physically, you can check DMV2U.Oregon.gov whenever you need a DMV service.

DMV has added over 20 new on-line services to the DMV2U online processes, including driver license renewal. You also can make an appointment for services that must be done in person – such as applying for a new license or the Real ID option for air travel. And you can see the most current COVID-19 safety requirements, location and hours of DMV offices near you.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-09 14:06:43Last Update: 2021-08-09 14:25:38

Analysis: Why Can’t PDX Pickleball Club Fix Tennis Courts?
Does that change the way you feel about them?

In a recent Oregon Catalyst article by Stew Robertson, the fecklessness of Portland Parks and Rec is underscored by the story of the local pickleball organization's inability to work on unusable tennis courts and convert them to pickleball use -- a game which resembles tennis, but on a shorter court with less responsive paddles and balls, so as to be playable by the less-athletic. The article says:

Fed up with only half of Sellwood Park’s tennis courts being usable, the retirees of the PDX Pickleball Club raised $9,000 of their own money to repair the courts and, in alignment with Parks and Rec’s eventual plans for the property, convert them to pickleball courts.

Two weeks into their work, Parks and Rec ordered them to stop. They were told they would need to pay $1,000 to apply for a permit and then an additional $2,500 per week in rent while the repairs were being undertaken.

What the article doesn't say -- and might be regarded as so universally true as to be axiomatic -- is that you get the government that you vote for, and when you vote for Democrats year-in and year-out, this is the government you get is as responsive as this. There's only one party in Portland. It's the Democrats.

After reading the Catalyst article, you might be just a little bit outraged at the Government of the City of Portland and you might just as strongly feel sorry for Pickleball PDX, the group that may not be a bunch of leftist agitators or socialist warriors, but just a group that wants places to play pickleball.

The entire board of Pickleball PDX is registered as Democrats. Does that change the way you feel about them? Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is a Democrat. Portland City Commissioner Carmen Rubio -- in charge of Parks and Rec -- is a Democrat. Each and every board member of Pickleball PDX is a Democrat.

Nothing gets done.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-09 10:55:00Last Update: 2021-08-09 22:28:18

Suit Filed Against Unionization of Legislative Staff
“The only entity this agreement would benefit is the unions”

The Freedom Foundation has filed suit on behalf of several plaintiffs outraged by the unconstitutional effort to make the state of Oregon the first in the nation to unionize its legislative staff.

On June 8, the Oregon Employment Relations Board certified a bargaining unit made up of Oregon legislative assistants, to be represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 89.

Currently, no other state permits its legislative employees to organize, and the Oregon State Constitution includes language clearly discouraging such an arrangement.

“The idea of a union is fundamentally incompatible with the work of the legislature,” said Jason Dudash, Oregon director of the Freedom Foundation. “Unionizing legislative assistants will compromise the integrity of the legislative branch and erode trust by the people toward their elected lawmakers,” continued Dudash.

“There’s a serious separation of powers issue when unionizing subjects the legislative branch to the Employment Relations Board, an executive branch agency,” said Rebekah Millard, Freedom Foundation litigation attorney. “Unionizing legislative staff upends the concept of three co-equal branches of government as promised in the Oregon Constitution.”

“There’s a reason why no other state — including many where the influence of organized labor is even more pervasive than it is here — has taken this reckless step,” continued Dudash. “It puts the ultimate authority over important operational questions into the hands of an executive agency, which undermines the integrity and independence of the legislative branch. Unions have tried to organize legislative staffers in other states, such as Delaware and California, and they’ve failed for the same reasons.”

In addition to diluting Oregon’s separation of powers by putting legislative employees under the authority of an agency within the executive branch, there’s also the problem that Oregon’s Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act does not define the legislative branch as a “public employer.”

“It’s a stretch, at best, to fit legislative branch employees into the current statutory scheme, yet the ERB ruled that this was the intent of the legislature,” Millard said. “If the legislative branch wants to authorize unionization of its staffers at this level, it can always pass a law to that effect. But allowing an executive branch agency to make the decision is to throw away the privileges and duties of the legislative branch.”

Months prior to the election, on Dec. 29, the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) submitted to ERB its written objections on behalf of the Oregon Legislative Assembly to unionizing legislative employees. Those objections asserted that: The IBEW withdrew its petition, but re-filed an amended version shortly thereafter with a different description of the proposed bargaining unit, but none of the Legislative Assembly’s constitutional objections have yet been resolved.

“The only entity this agreement would benefit is the unions,” Dudash concluded. “And they wield far too much power in this state as it is.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-09 10:23:17Last Update: 2021-08-09 10:55:00

Nominees Chosen to Fill Leif’s Seat

Republican Precinct Committee Persons from three counties -- mostly Douglas, but also Jackson and Josephine -- met in a convention to nominate persons wanting to fill the 2nd House District seat which covers interstate 5 from Roseburg to just north of Grants Pass. According to state law.

The nominees will be Steve Loosley, Elias LaLande and Christine Goodwin and they will be presented to a panel of County Commissioners who will appoint one of them as the next State Representative. Their votes are weighted in proportion to population, so the Douglas County Commissioners have a decisive vote.

Valynn Currie, the chair of the Douglas County Republican Central and Committee Rosburg Mayor Larry Rich were considered for the nomination, but not chosen. Neither were Avann Weber, nor Patrick Lewandowski. One name not in the mix is Virgle Osborne, who has already announced that hew would be running for the seat in 2022, but currently does not live in the district. District boundaries will change in the fall once the Legislature completes the redistricting process.

Goodwin, from Myrtle Creek, is a member of the Douglas County Planning Commission, was interim Douglas County Commissioner for a few months in 2018. She is rumored to be the favored candidate of the Douglas County Commissioners and may not run in 2022. Some insiders say that she is a placeholder for Osborne. LaLande, from Roseburg, has been working on the Congressional Campaign of Alex Skarlatos, who is running to defeat Peter Defazio. Looseley, also from Roseburg, is on the Umpqua Community College Board of Directors.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-07 21:52:09Last Update: 2021-08-08 11:49:15

OLCC Changes Its Name
It will now be known as Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission

On August 2nd, the OLCC became the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission, dropping the word “Control” that had defined the agency’s original post-Prohibition mission. Previously referred to as the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the agency began regulating recreational marijuana after voters approved Measure 91 in November, 2014.

This change comes five years after voters passed Measure 91 which directed the agency to establish a framework for regulating Oregon’s recreational marijuana marketplace. While the change updates the agency’s name to better reflect its mission, the OLCC acronym will remain the same.

“The industries we regulate matter, they matter a lot to the state of Oregon’s economy,” said Paul Rosenbaum, Chair of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission. “The cannabis industry in Oregon has become a billion dollar business and changing our agency name reflects our role in generating revenue to fund state programs.”

Newly issued alcohol and marijuana licenses, and alcohol server and marijuana worker permits, will be modified to include the new name and logo. Existing versions of these official documents continue to be valid with the agency’s previous name and logo, and will be replaced when the licensee or permit holder renews them.

The OLCC will make minor public facing adjustments to reflect the name change. The modifications will have a minimal cost. Exterior signage at OLCC headquarters and regional offices will gradually be brought up-to-date. Documents on the agency website will continue to be updated with the new OLCC logo. The agency will deplete its existing stock of paper documents branded with the agency’s old name and logo. These items will be replenished with the new name and logo when existing supplies are exhausted. The OLCC was originally created in 1933, in the wake of national alcohol prohibition being repealed by the adoption of the 21st amendment to the US Constitution. At that time, America was laboring to rise out of the “Great Depression” and the world stage was being set for the start of World War II. In 1933, Oregon’s Liquor Control Act became law and directed the OLCC to sell distilled spirits and to license businesses to sell beer and wine.

Agency name changes occur as their mission evolves; however, it’s not common. According to information provided by the State Library of Oregon, during the past 30 years there have been about 10 Oregon agencies that have changed their name. The most recent change was when the State Library itself changed its name in 2017 to clarify that it wasn’t affiliated with Oregon State University.

Now 88 years later, the OLCCs mission has grown to include managing compliance with Oregon’s Bottle Bill, marijuana regulation and oversight of specific aspects of the state’s hemp market. Historically, the OLCC has and continues to play a vital role generating funding for schools, public safety and health programs. In recent years, combined sales from its alcohol and marijuana programs contribute $400 million annually to those vital programs. The success of Oregon’s cannabis market can be measured in the adult-use marijuana market becoming a $1 billion industry in 2020 and projected to continue at that level in 2021.

While establishing a regulated cannabis market has required the investment of financial and personnel resources, the agency has remained committed to supporting bars and restaurants through sensible upgrades to Oregon’s alcohol regulatory environment balanced with public safety protections.

“Our name may have changed, but our mission to serve the businesses we license, the consumers we protect, and the communities we support by generating revenue for the state – all of those things remain the same,” said Steve Marks, OLCC Executive Director. “For the next two years we’re going to concentrate on helping the cannabis and hospitality industries re-establish and grow their business, while ensuring revenue stability for the state. That’s the immediate focus of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission. The COVID-19 pandemic uniquely challenged Oregon’s hospitality industry requiring businesses and the agency to innovate to keep businesses open, while constrained by public health guidelines designed to limit the spread of the virus. Agency staff worked directly with licensees, public safety groups and elected officials to find solutions for long-standing challenges. This included: creating an option for cocktails-to-go, while modifying rules to allow for curbside delivery, and enabling businesses to expand outdoor seating.

During the remainder of 2021, the OLCC will be working through other legislative changes to help the alcohol and cannabis industries build back their business. This will include reviewing existing policies and working with partners to cut red-tape and find operational efficiencies while continuing to generate vital revenue for the state of Oregon.

Licensees and others doing business with the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission should still make their payments out to the “OLCC.” So even as the OLCC continues to evolve to better serve Oregon, the acronym will remain the same.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-07 09:43:43Last Update: 2021-08-07 21:52:09

Newport Restricts Water Usage
Siletz river levels are following historic norms

The City of Newport has adopted an Alert Stage 2 Water Curtailment restrictions effective until further notice.
  1. No use of irrigation systems.
  2. No vehicle washing.
  3. No filling of swimming pools or spas, fountains or waterfalls.
  4. Hotels/motels must post water conservation notices.
  5. Commercial laundry operations must be delayed as much as is possible.
  6. Discontinue scheduled flushing of water lines and fire-fighting drills involving water consumption.
  7. Suspend any planned expansions of water system, including the addition of new connections.
All residents and businesses are required to fully participate in curtailing water use pursuant to the provisions noted above.

On June 28, 2021, the city issued notice of an Alert Stage 1 Water Curtailment. This was done in conjunction with the Lincoln County Commissioner’s declaration of a countywide drought. This was a water system advisory which informed the community of the situation and recommended voluntary water conservation.

The city claims that "At that time, the Siletz River, which is the main supply for the Big Creek Reservoir, had been experiencing declining flows. Siletz River flows continue to decline." The graph from the US Geological Survey shows that Siletz river levels are following historic norms.

The Mid-Coast Water Conservation Consortium, and its member organizations, including the City of Newport, recommended its members adopt an Alert Stage 2 Water Curtailment.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-06 12:11:17Last Update: 2021-08-06 12:37:09

Critical Race Theory Being Pushed by Real Estate Agency
Real estate agent blows the whistle on racism

Critcal Race Theory is invading many aspects of life and governance in Oregon. Senator Lew Frederick (D-Portland) even introduced a bill during the 2021 legislative session that would have used state funds to pay reparations to Black Oregonians with SB 619.

That bill failed to pass and was stalled in a committee, however the racial division seems to continue through other state agencies.

A caller named Heather Davidson who called into the Lars Larson Radio Show has blown the whistle on the Oregon Real Estate Association pushing Critical Race Theory (CRT) racism in their approved licensing exams.

Screenshots with excerpts from the real estate licensing test read as follows:

"In May 2020, the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police tore off a scab that has been festering in the United States for decades. The cry of Black Lives Matter (BLM) has focused the nation's attention once again on the inequities that persist in Blacks and other minority groups' ability to obtain housing opportunities that are available to individuals who are not members of specific minority communities."

"The law and REALTOR code of ethics prohibit discrimination based on the seven protected classes of individuals identified under the federal fair housing and additional anti-discrimination laws enacted at the state level. However, regardless of the prohibition against discrimination, the barriers to equity remain..."

Another screenshot reads:

"On the other hand, racism is the systemic subordination of members of a racial group that have relatively little social power. Racism is based on the power to change the law. In this context, a white American cannot be the target of racism because white Americans control a majority vote and can change any laws that harm them. Anyone can be the target of racial prejudice, however, only minority or socially vulnerable groups can be the target of racism. If a law is offensive to the group that holds social or political power, that group can change the law. The same opportunity to change racist laws is not available to minority groups. As we will see later in this course, some laws, such as Fair Housing Laws, have been put in place to help minority populations bridge the power gap and protect against racist laws."

Observers may wonder why the Oregon Real Estate Board thought that having these racist statements on the re-licensing exam was a good idea.

The Oregon Real Estate Board consists of 7 industry members and 2 public members. ​

Board members are appointed by the Governor. Most terms are between 2-4 years, and all Board members are subject to a 2-term limit.

The Oregon Real Estate Board duties include: Judging people by the color of their skin seems to be absent from their list of duties.

Any board member can be reached by e-mail at orea.board@oregon.gov

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-06 08:53:18Last Update: 2021-08-06 08:54:05

Oregon Attorney General Joins Suit Against Google
Lawsuit Says Google Illegally Maintains App Store Monopoly

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and 36 other Attorneys General have filed a lawsuit against Google in California, alleging exclusionary conduct relating to the Google Play Store for Android mobile devices and Google Billing. The Attorneys General also accuse Google of using its dominance to unfairly restrict competition with the Google Play Store, harming consumers by limiting choice and driving up app prices.

“Over time, Google’s anti-competitive behavior has gotten worse,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “There is no doubt that how we interact with our smartphones is ingrained in every aspect of our lives. It impacts our well-being, our children’s education, our everyday lives. Today’s filing is about ensuring one of the biggest tech powers behind our screens plays by the rules.”

The lawsuit follows on the heels of former President Donald Trump's lawsuit against the major tech giants for monopoly behavior in molding public opinion.

The heart of the lawsuit centers on Google’s exclusionary conduct, which shuts out competing app distribution channels. The AGs also allege in the lawsuit that: In addition to Oregon, this multi-state lawsuit is joined by Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-05 22:17:18Last Update: 2021-08-05 22:28:27

YamCo Commissioners Back Schools on Mask Free Education
Amity School Superintendent Jeff Clark made the case for mask-free, in-person classes

In a 2-1 vote today, the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners approved a letter to Governor Brown supporting local decision-making for Yamhill County schools. The letter recognizes the importance of parents, superintendents and school boards when it comes to making decisions about their individual school districts.

Amity School Superintendent Jeff Clark made the case for mask-free, in-person classes pointing out the Governor’s latest mask mandate for K-12 children is unnecessary and harmful for students. Clark told the Board the smaller, rural schools were taking the lead in Yamhill County and across Oregon by pushing back against mask mandates for children.

Ongoing conversations with the State saw mounting frustration on the part of superintendents after they were threatened with fines and civil actions by the Oregon Department of Education if they violated the mask mandate.

Yamhill County superintendents from Sheridan and Willamina were also in support of a letter opposing mask mandates. Dayton’s superintendent expressed support pending approval from his school board.

Conversations with McMinnville and Newberg superintendents were still ongoing.

The letter read:

The Yamhill County Board of Commissioners supports our county school districts, superintendents, parents and teachers in advocating for local decision making regarding COVID-19 mitigation measures, including whether to require children attending K-12 in-person classes to wear masks during the school day.

Governor, we appreciate your decision in June to shift from a state-centric model and acknowledge that each local school district is guided by a superintendent, school board, parents and advocates who understand and can address the unique circumstances and are uniquely positioned to address the health and well-being of their students.

Superintendents in Yamhill County have asked for a continuation of this community-focused approach and the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners has confidence in their ability tp make reasoned and informed decisions regarding, among other considerations, the masking of children during school hours.

Commissioners Mary Starrett and Lindsay Berschauer voted to approve the letter supporting local decision- making. Commissioner Casey Kulla voted “No”.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-05 21:49:05Last Update: 2021-08-05 22:07:18

People’s Commission on Legislative Redistricting Announced
Commission will be advisory only

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan has announced that she is inviting Oregonians -- even illegal aliens -- to apply to serve on the Oregon People’s Commission on Redistricting. Like her predecessors, Secretary Fagan is preparing for redistricting in case she is needed. The People’s Commission will convene only if the Legislature misses its September 27 deadline, and the Oregon Constitution requires Secretary Fagan to conduct redistricting. If convened, the Commissioners will advise Secretary Fagan and her staff as they conduct public hearings and fulfill the Secretary of State’s constitutional duty in legislative redistricting.

“Today, redistricting is the Legislature’s job. While I am optimistic they will pass a redistricting bill by the September 27 deadline, I owe it to Oregonians to be ready to go if they don’t,” said Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. “I made a commitment to Oregonians to convene a People’s Commission to advise me on redistricting and that is exactly what I am preparing to do.”

The People’s Commission provides an opportunity for Oregonians, including those with experience working in historically excluded communities, to play a key role in advising Secretary Fagan if the Oregon Constitution requires that she perform legislative redistricting. If convened, the Commissioners will work directly with Secretary Fagan on her commitment to an open public process, including engaging with Oregonians in public hearings and other public education and community engagement opportunities. The Commissioners will attend all public hearings, hear testimony from Oregonians, and advise Secretary Fagan and her staff on redistricting.

Oregonians seeking to serve on Oregon’s People’s Commission must complete the application at the Oregon Secretary of State’s website by September 2nd. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age and must be an Oregon resident since at least April 1, 2020.

“Redistricting matters because representation that reflects you, your family, and your community is the foundation of our democracy.” said Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. The Oregon Secretary of State’s mission is to build trust so that Oregonians trust the public services that can make a difference in their everyday lives. The People’s Commission is central to a robust public process that gives Oregonians opportunities to be heard. If redistricting falls to the Secretary of State, we expect orientation for the People’s Commissioners to be September 29th. Public hearings would be held on the following days:

October 6 – evening hearing in Oregon Congressional District 4
October 7 – evening hearing in Oregon Congressional District 2
October 8 – evening hearing in Oregon Congressional District 5
October 9 – hearing in Oregon Congressional District 1
October 9 – hearing in Oregon Congressional District 3
October 12 – Commission debrief meeting

Additional information and the application for Oregon‘s People’s Commission can be found on the Secretary of State's Website

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-05 14:40:56Last Update: 2021-08-05 14:55:33

Kate Brown Mandates New COVID Rules for Healthcare Workers
Be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing

Governor Kate Brown has announced that she has directed the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to issue a rule outlining new, required health and safety measures for personnel in health care settings.

The rule requires weekly COVID-19 testing for personnel in health care settings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in health care settings, which can be waived with a proof of vaccination. The new rule will be issued this week and the requirement to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing will apply starting September 30th.

“The more contagious Delta variant has changed everything. This new safety measure is necessary to stop Delta from causing severe illness among our first line of defense: our doctors, nurses, medical students, and frontline health care workers. Protecting our frontline health care workers through vaccination will also enhance the safety of the patients in their care,” said Governor Brown. “Severe illness from COVID-19 is now largely preventable, and vaccination is clearly our best defense. Vaccination and weekly testing ensure Oregonians can safely access health care and employees can go to work in an environment that maximizes health and safety measures for COVID-19.”

The new rule applies to personnel in health care settings who have direct or indirect contact with patients or infectious materials. The Governor’s Office claims that Kate Brown continues to look at additional health and safety options to protect Oregonians against the Delta variant, including vaccination and testing policies for state workers, with conversations continuing with stakeholders about how similar protective measures can be implemented in various state workplaces.

Governor Brown called on other public and private employers in Oregon to consider measures to facilitate their employees’ access to vaccines: “As we have throughout this pandemic, we are learning to adapt to the new reality the Delta variant has created. I am encouraging Oregon cities, counties, businesses, and employers to think creatively, and to consider measures such as paid time off for vaccination, and incentives for employees, in addition to instituting masking requirements and other health and safety measures in the workplace. I am doing the same with the State of Oregon’s workforce.”

State law currently prohibits employers from independently mandating vaccines for certain limited categories of workers, including health care workers, an issue the Governor claims she intends to work with stakeholders and legislators to address in the February 2022 session.

A video statement from Governor Brown is available here.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-04 14:14:02Last Update: 2021-08-04 15:28:02

The State of Discrimination in Salem
“Respondents to the survey were not a random or representative sampling”

The City of Salem reported on a community survey developed by the City of Salem Human Rights Commission in partnership with Western Oregon University students as offering insight into Salem residents' experiences of discrimination. But, does it?

This year, 835 respondents completed the survey – about 3.8 times the number of respondents to the previous survey in 2017. Of those, 247 respondents came through the City of Salem's Facebook page, 222 came through a community organization, 87 came through friends or family, and 209 of Salem's unsheltered residents filled out paper surveys collected by students and community volunteers.

That may sound like a good representation, but is it a fair representation? Salem’s news release says: “Respondents to the survey were not a random or representative sampling of the community, so the voluntary responses suggest some level of interest in the topic.” The report says: “The result is a non-probability judgment sample... The data in aggregate is not representative of the City of Salem overall…Historically marginalized groups are over-represented in this data set.”

The idea that the conclusion that 26% of respondents said Salem had quite a bit of discrimination and another 30% said Salem has a lot of discrimination, can only be directly related to the 835 respondents and not the City of Salem. Even then, the report included those that “heard about” a discrimination experience. The survey does not define what constitutes a discrimination experience. However, 85% indicated discrimination over housing status, which was collected via paper survey of homeless. Next is 22% over race, which compared to the demographics showing 25% indicating a BIPOC race or ethnicity. Twenty-three percent responding identified as LGBTQIA+ and 18% reported discrimination over gender. Other categories were less than eight percent.

There are some hidden gems in the report. Respondents were given an opportunity to comment, which poses the question, did these samples of 12% actually experience discrimination or is it a taught feeling. "I routinely see discrimination both what appears intentional and more systemic or unintentional on a race basis by both private sector businesses and city government and local regional governing personnel, including the police." Additionally, another respondent stated they have a "Big concern about police & those in leadership, especially the school board. New to Oregon & shocked at its history of discrimination."

Another 17% commented mentioned "hate groups" and "white supremacy" when asked about their grade. For example, one respondent wrote, “We have a Proud Boys problem. I think many come from out of town to bully and intimidate people who don’t look or think as they do.” Another wrote, "White supremacy, overt and covert, is extremely prevalent in Salem. The area is conservative.” Which is it? Most of Salem residents probably think rioters come from out of town to cause problems, but does this qualify for a discrimination act?

The Commission said they stand ready to help with experiences of discrimination to provide feedback to the city. Can a commission “with experiences of discrimination” truly provide objective insights. They want to use their insights to improve outreach to the community and increase understanding of the perceptions of Salem residents. Their own report admits a bias that skews the data. It certainly does not indicate that residents of Salem lack an understanding or perception of discrimination among the unsheltered or otherwise.

One thing the report does expose is that 209 unsheltered people are not utilizing the Turnkey Project or nonprofit assistance. And perhaps the residents of Salem deserve an unbiased professional survey if the city is going to give creditability to the results.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-08-04 10:07:17Last Update: 2021-08-04 17:14:35

Endangered Species Suffering from Forest Mismanagement
Reduced logging sees wildfires abound

The decimation of the timber industry in Oregon seems to negatively affect many in Oregon, sadly, and this includes endangered animal species such as the Northern Spotted Owl, which makes it's habitat in Oregon, California, and Washington.

According to a video produced by the Congressional Western Caucus,who claim to be a voice for rural America, the industry has seen lost revenue in the figure of several millions, and killed countless jobs. And that is only part of the problem that comes from the lack of proper forest timber management.

Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and Rep. Cliff Bentz (OR-02) hosted the virtual forum to highlight the mismanagement of the Northern Spotted Owl in the Pacific Northwest.

The video forum featured three panelists who spoke on the impacts of the protections and restrictions imposed by the Endangered Species Act: It turns out that the same forces that are driving the industry to neglect the harvesting of timber resources may be resulting in some unintended consequences, such as threats to a beloved environmental causes such as endangered species habitat preservation. Proper stewardship of public land is something that elected leaders of Oregon seem to be failing at for some time, if one considers the devastation and loss caused by wildfires in recent years. Elected leaders seem to be failing to protect the mentioned habitat by letting it burn instead of harvesting the precious resource. The Democrat party who alleges to "care about the environment" seems to be dropping the ball in actually doing so.

The video points out that the Endangered Species Act of 1973 may be in need of modernization, as the recovery rate of identified species is only 3 percent. The Trump administration did make efforts to do so, but efforts by the Biden/Harris administration are working to stall those efforts.

The Endangered Species Act seems to have been weaponized over the years by "environmental justice" warriors, yet justice through losing life and property to wildfires may not be what activists actually want. Political balance in Oregon offers some hope of policy change in this area.

"The weaponized concept could not be clearer or more accurate as to what's happened", said Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman. "The constant protest and litigation and stopping of any sort of reasonable or practical forest management has really become the normal"

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-03 16:15:01Last Update: 2021-08-03 18:11:01

Klamath River Drought Relief Announced
The block grant will provide payments to reduce irrigation demand

Governor Kate Brown has issued the following statement about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement of a $15 million drought pilot for agricultural producers in the Klamath Basin:

“The Klamath Basin is facing historic challenges from drought conditions that are creating hardships for the people, farms, ranches, communities, and ecosystems of the region. Today’s announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is a great step to help agricultural producers in the region. I appreciate the partnership of Secretary Vilsack and the Biden-Harris administration in helping to relieve hardship in the region, both through this new pilot and ongoing programs.

“What is clear is that, because of the ongoing impacts of climate change on the region, the Klamath Basin will continue to face too many demands for a limited and decreasing supply of water. We must continue to work towards a long-term drought solution for the region, and today’s relief efforts are a down payment toward that goal.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $15 million for a new drought pilot to assist agricultural producers impacted by worsening drought conditions to provide relief to impacted California and Oregon producers in the Klamath River Basin. The announcement comes as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture will travel to the state for events focused on drought and wildfire resiliency on Tuesday. At issue is the survival of the Lost River sucker and shortnose sucker which live in Klamath Lake and whose existence is reportedly threatened by low water levels in the lake.

“As ongoing drought conditions in the West continue to worsen, we need to find ways to do things differently in order to provide help and assistance to producers, Tribes, and communities,” said Gloria Montaño Greene, USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “We recognize that current USDA programs and services are not enough to meet this historic challenge, and this pilot will help us find more tools to add to our toolbox.”

The Klamath Project’s “A” Canal will remain closed this year because of a lack of water supply. The canal, a major component of the Klamath Project, typically provides access to Upper Klamath Lake, supplying water for over 200,000 acres of farmland.

The block grant to the Klamath River Drought Response Agency will provide payments to producers to reduce irrigation demand. This will assist in allowing the limited supply of water to be used for other practices that are vital to the region’s food supply and to reduce adverse impacts to producers in the region and supply and distribution chains. Producers will apply for funding through the Klamath Drought Response Agency.

USDA will evaluate the outcomes to help inform future program design and will continue to monitor basins and drought conditions to determine where additional may best provide immediate economic support and relief to producers.

The strategy of the federal government curtailing the use of natural resources by historic users based on claims of environmentalists and then compensating harmed users, programs and jurisdictions has met with limited success, according to some observers. In the case of the northern spotted owl and other threatened species, compensating former users works only for a limited time, and after awhile, the payouts compete with other budget priorities and the exit strategy is to abandon the communities that have historically depended on the use of natural resources.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-02 17:49:22Last Update: 2021-08-02 19:50:47

Wear a Mask to the Portland Public School District Board Meeting
At the actual board meeting, “Oh, never mind”

Parents in Portland, Oregon feel they and their children lived and still live in a nightmare.

Since March 2020. Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s gaslighting rule making pronouncements have parents feeling like pinballs bouncing around, back, and forth in some weird pinball machine of existence in Multnomah County. Wear masks don’t wear masks, wear masks, don’t wear masks.

Parents came to the meeting not wearing masks, so the board changed the rule to parents don’t have to wear masks. How do you report on a meeting where the superintendent, Guadalupe Guerrero, and his administrative staff speak bureaucratic jargon full of repetitive phrasing that you begin to feel like Charlie Brown and his friends at school listening to the teacher? “Wah, wah, wah, wah...”

Much of all communication is non-verbal. With all the board members and the superintendent and his assistants all masked up it was a challenge to discern the communication. Between garbled communication then vague communication when the numbers conversation popped in some wondered if Common Core Math was somehow a factor in not understanding what the superintendent was saying about the 15,000-student number, then the 1000-student number, then the 500-student number and finally the 750-student number.

Some audience members felt like sleight of hand was in motion even as a few of the elected board members attempted to search for numbers and demographic clarity themselves.

Mathematically 15,000 students who did some version of on-line learning represents about 32% of the student population of PPS. That is quite a sizable piece of the pie.

500 to 750 were the numbers the superintendent announced for an on-line learning academy the district had developed, but then it was stated it was only for students who were medically or mental health-wise affected by COVID-19. It will be done by lottery and parents will have to submit medical documentation to have their child on this on-line academy. Except: if the applications for the Academy are under 500 then medical documentation is not required. That brought quizzical looks to the faces of audience members attempting to follow the conversation at their seats as masked up board members spoke.

PPS contacted all 15,000 at the end of June by letter and then called 1000 of those identified 15,000. Audience members wondered why PPS does not already know if any student or how many students are medically or mental health-wise fragile due to COVID-19. A records request was sent to PPS to get a copy of the report generated from talking to the 1000 parents that would have been sent to the superintendent to review.

With the information from the superintendent that the deadline to apply for the 500-750 slots was July 30, 2021, board member Mr. Gary Hollands said that was a short deadline as well as noting the website to apply for the lottery was not user friendly. Board member Julia Brim-Edwards comment on the 15,000 or the 1000 population was “Some people don’t want to mask or take precautions.”

Board chair Michelle DePass asked for demographic data on the 1000 and valiantly attempted to get feedback to have some assurance that single working mothers were given due consideration and support. After some starts, sputters, stammers and what seemed like a-go-around-the-bureaucratic-mulberry-bush jargon, the answer seemed to be moms’ babysitters would have to be the “home coaches”. For older students the answer seemed to be they could be left alone with the on-line academy. It felt like for those kids it was, “You’re on your own Spartacus.”

Board member and vice-chair, Andrew Scott took exception to an audience member’s teaching on the history of the government compulsory public school education system created by the 1854 Democratic Congress with its primary intention to indoctrinate. Scott stated public education is “…not to indoctrinate, it is to educate and make well-rounded individual whole citizens, residents of the community”. One parent who watched on-line commented on social media later what board member Scott said was “indoctrination”.

Board member Brim-Edwards took exception to an audience member’s noticing that in the discussion related to the new Mission Statement the word “parents” was never used and she stated, “Board members are parents” and that the district’s “…sole focus was on the students, that is what we are about.” She added that their mission statement would produce “…joyful, love to come to school…” students.

There was an endless repetition that the board would be guided by “local, state and federal public health experts.” Those public health experts are to weigh in at the August 4, 2021, board meeting. 6pm at 501 Dixon. There was no mask discussion. No comment was made by anyone about the mask boxes advising all who read the box that masks are not for viruses. At an hour and sixteen minutes into the board meeting there was one quick comment about students who have “...depression and suicide ideation...”

Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero stated that “...a majority of the students will return in the fall...” and reiterated that all is “...on track...”

--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-08-02 16:56:29Last Update: 2021-08-02 17:49:22

Oregon Administrative Rules: How to get Heard
Keep in mind that “rules” is a very broad term.

Editor's note: This is the third of a multi-part series on Administrative Law in Oregon

There are about 100 state agencies, and from time to time they publish notices of proposed rulemaking. Most rulemaking activity will have a hearing and a opportunity for public comment. The best way to stay on top of this is to go to the agency website and subscribe to their notifications.

Once you have the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, it will have instructions on how to submit comments or how to testify. While the agencies are required to go through a process of making public their proposed rules and taking public input, they have no obligation to integrate any of the public's input or concerns.

Keep in mind that "rules" is a very broad term. An agency handbook, implementation of legislation passed by the legislature, or compliance information all can be considered rules and are subject to the process. For instance, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife fishing and hunting manuals go through the same rulemaking process.

You can search the database of Oregon Administrative Rules on the website of the Oregon Secretary of State to look up existing rules.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-08-01 12:48:45Last Update: 2021-08-01 12:53:19

Kate Brown Intends to Veto Two Bills
State legislation conflicts with federal

Governor Kate Brown has provided notice that she intends to veto two bills passed during the 2021 Legislative Session.

Under Article 5, Section 15 of the Oregon Constitution, the Governor must provide at least five days' notice before vetoing a bill after the legislature adjourns sine die. The Governor issued the following statement:

“I want to thank legislators for a successful and productive session that addressed the key challenges... and taking steps to end systemic racism and address racial disparities in Oregon," said Governor Brown.

She continued, “This session was a turning point for Oregon. We worked together to build a safer, stronger, more equitable, and more resilient state––a state that provides for Oregonians' basic needs, where we are all committed to dismantling systems of racism and addressing the racial disparities they've caused, and where the economy creates opportunities for working families and businesses.

“Since the close of session, my office has reviewed and carefully considered hundreds of bills enacted during the final few days of the session. This included a review of feedback from legislators, constituents, and other stakeholders on the efficacy of the new policies passed, as well as a legal review of those policies. Upon review, there were two bills with technical issues that I intend to return unsigned and disapproved. While I appreciate the goals of both bills, portions of both unfortunately come into conflict with federal regulations or federal authority.”

Senate Bill 721

As written,Senate Bill 721 would place the state in conflict with federal Medicaid law, which requires a single state Medicaid agency and prohibits the Oregon Health Authority from delegating its authority over Medicaid policies.

Governor Brown added, “I understand that supporters of SB 721 intend to re-submit a similar bill in the future with a modification to avoid the federal law conflict. I look forward to those efforts.".”

House Bill 2646

House Bill 2646 would bar Oregonians under the age of 21 from purchasing kratom.

However, the portion of this bill that creates a regulatory function at the Oregon Department of Agriculture is problematic. As is the case with other potentially harmful drugs. The federal Food and Drug Administration is the appropriate regulatory body to oversee the importation and use of this product.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-08-01 12:12:40Last Update: 2021-08-01 15:10:10

Tolling Planned for I-205
The tolling strategy is expected to be determined in the year 2023

Enacted as part of the 2017 Transportation Package passed by the Oregon Legislature, the I-205 Toll Project will use variable-rate tolls to manage congestion and raise revenue. The idea is to charge more during peak times as a disincentive to reduce congestion.

The Oregon Department of Transportation is investing in transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities and changing how we manage roads for safety and traffic flow. According to ODOT, tolling is another necessary tool to fix our transportation system. They say that tolls bring more reliable trips and address congestion in the metro region, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and fund bottleneck relief projects. We know Oregonians across the state need to get to and through the Metro region. While there's no doubt that delay and congestion come at a high cost to individuals, businesses, and communities, congestion itself is a deterrent.

ODOT engineers point out that in 2020, the traffic counts declined with the COVID-19 pandemic but are now back to about 90% of pre-pandemic levels and expected to return to 2019 levels as the economy improves.

ODOT maintains that tolls can help manage congestion and provide a more reliable trip by encouraging drivers to consider other travel options -- including detouring through neighborhoods to avoid the toll -- or times of travel. They say that a large change in trip making isn't needed for significant benefits. Even a small decrease in the number of people trying to get on the highway will have travel time benefits for those who can't modify their trip.

In addition, funding for seismic, safety, climate and congestion improvements has not kept pace with inflation. This is largely due to the "per gallon" tax on fuel to fund roads. Gallons increase as miles increase, but the tax collected doesn't keep pace with inflation.

Tolling on I-205 would consist of an all-electronic system that would automatically collect tolls from vehicles traveling on the corridor. Drivers will not stop to pay a toll. A transponder, a small sticker placed on the windshield, is read and connected to a pre-paid account. If a vehicle doesn't have a transponder, a camera captures the car's license plate, and the registered owner is billed.

ODOT is analyzing three alternatives as part of the formal environmental review. Three other alternatives were considered in 2020 and found to provide fewer benefits. They were dropped from the analysis.

Alternatives currently under review include:

Alternative 3: Bridge Tolls on the Abernethy Bridge and Tualatin River Bridges

Alternative 4: Segment-Based Tolls between Stafford Road and OR 213 No Action Alternative: No toll would be applied ODOT is in the environmental review phase, which began in 2020. Following a public comment period in summer-fall 2020, the I-205 Toll Project is moving forward with an analysis of the three alternatives. This phase will include: The ODOT project team has summarized all the public comments in a report and responded to the concerns, ideas and recommendations provided. In 2023, the Federal Highway Administration, in cooperation with ODOT, is expected to decide which alternative to implement based on the analysis conducted, existing policy and guidance, and community and stakeholder feedback.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-31 10:57:35Last Update: 2021-07-31 11:40:15

Informed Consent Missing from Franklin High Vaccine Clinic
A concerned citizen asking for the COVID-19 fact sheet was told to leave

In a free vaccine clinic event that lasted for four and a half hours at Franklin High School in Portland, Oregon on July 30, 2021, only 15 students presented themselves to get the a vaccine. Additionally, another 15 adults received the vaccine.

Jake Dornblaser with the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management produced a copy of the Portland Fire & Rescue COVID-19 Vaccine Minor Informed Consent Form when asked what kind of informed consent fact sheet identifying possible side effects was given to students who came to Franklin High to get the “vaccination”.

Dornblaser advised if someone pulls up their sleeve to get the vaccination “that was giving informed consent”.

Dornblaser was informed the reason for requesting the fact sheet was to know what students were told about the possible side effects of the Pfizer vaccine, for their protection and well-being. At that moment the concerned citizen was told to leave. The video camera was turned on, Dornblaser asked for it to be turned off and to leave. Dornblaser was advised Franklin High School is a public building, a government building and, two, he was not a school administrator to tell anyone to leave the school.

A Portland Public School administrator announced at the Portland Public School Board meeting, July 27, 2021, that Franklin High School was going to vaccinate “...folks over the age of twelve on Friday...” July 30th. When did the public-school start calling children “...folks...”? In the future the board intends to have children under the age of twelve vaccinated.

The low turnout at Franklin High School on July 30th raises questions. Is the Portland Public School Board not cognizant of the fact that parents and children do not want medical intervention in their lives?

--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-07-31 10:25:52Last Update: 2021-08-01 09:55:20

Oregon Administrative Rules: How they get Made
There are more rules than laws. Let that sink in.

Editor's note: This is the second of a multi-part series on Administrative Law in Oregon

Oregon law defines "rule" as "any agency directive, standard, regulation or statement of general applicability that implements, interprets or prescribes law or policy, or policy, or describes the procedure or practice requirements of any agency." Agencies may adopt, amend, repeal or renumber rules, permanently or temporarily (up to 180 days), using the procedures outlined in the Oregon Attorney General's Administrative Law Manual.

The Oregon Attorney General has developed models for creation and amendment of Administrative Rules. Administrative rules are created for and by executive branch agencies.

​​Administrative Rules are created by most agencies and some boards and commissions to implement and interpret their statutory authority. Agencies may adopt, amend, repeal or renumber rules, permanently or temporarily​(for up to 180 days).

Every OAR uses the same numbering sequence of a three-digit chapter number followed by a three-digit division number and a four-digit rule number. For example, Oregon Administrative Rules, chapter 166, division 500, rule 0020 is cited as OAR 166-500-0020.

Administrative rules are kept on a website by the Archives Division of the Office of the Oregon Secretary of State

The Administrative Rules Unit in the Archives Division within the Secretary of State assist agencies with the notification, filing and publication requirements of the administrative rules process. Every Administrative Rule uses the same numbering sequence of a three-digit agency chapter number followed by a three-digit division number and ending with a four-digit rule number (000-000-0000).

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-30 12:13:23Last Update: 2021-07-30 09:21:07

Kate Brown Mandates Masks Inside State Buildings
Announces new mask guidance for state agencies

Governor Kate Brown has announced new mask guidance for Executive Branch state agencies in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recently updated guidance, and based on the spread of the Delta variant.

The new guidance requires all state employees (regardless of vaccination status) in any indoor state agency space to wear face coverings; the requirement also applies to visitors and customers who enter state agency indoor spaces.

"The science and data are clear: the Delta variant is spreading in our communities and is more contagious," said Governor Brown. "This mask requirement will protect Oregonians, many of whom have been on the frontlines of the pandemic and who continue to provide essential services to Oregonians. We also must protect everyone—both agency employees and community members who visit state agencies for information, services, and resources. This new guidance accomplishes both."

Governor Brown announced that the state agency mask guidance is effective immediately.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-30 12:07:11Last Update: 2021-07-30 12:20:08

Dumpster Fires in Eugene
Man Arrested for Arson

A portable bathroom in Eugene, Oregon was reported on fire on July 30 at 3:25 a.m. located near West 7th Aly and Lawrence. The structure was up against the building, Growler Guys, 472 W. 7th Avenue.

A caller heard an explosion near W. 7th Aly. Callers reported the fire was going up the building and onto power poles. Eugene Springfield Fire responded and gained access to the building.

Meanwhile, there were other fires being reported in the area, including two additional fully-involved dumpster fires started at apartments in the area reported at 3:58 a.m. Eugene Police was responding during these calls as well.

Community members and Eugene Springfield Fire were providing tips regarding subjects in the area as police searched.

Eugene Police took a person into custody at 4:24 a.m. and he was identified as Daniel David Moore, who had a warrant. He was taken to the Lane County Jail on charges of Arson in the Second Degree, five counts of Reckless Burning, Menacing, Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-30 11:44:31Last Update: 2021-07-30 12:07:11

Prineville Mayor Announces for US Senate
Jason Beebe will run in the Republican primary hoping to meet Ron Wyden in the Fall

Jason Beebe, the Mayor of Prineville and an Iraq War veteran has announced his candidacy for United States Senate for the seat currently held by Ron Wyden.

"The battle for the future of our republic has to start from the ballot box. We have real problems that President Biden is making worse, the only way to fix that is in Congress. What if, Oregon surprised the country and we reject the extreme leftist policy of Ron Wyden for a patriot, a warrior, a true neighbor?

"We need to send someone through the primary that can give Wyden a real fight. We need someone that will bring true values that every American and every Oregonian shares.

"Border security, strong national defense, pro-life, 2nd amendment rights and strong protection for our liberty, and a government that needs to get the hell out of the way versus shutting down our economies locally and nationally."

Beebe is married with five children ranging in age from mid 20's and younger twins. He has worked as a data center contractor.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-30 08:10:34Last Update: 2021-07-30 08:49:06

Kate Brown to Align K-12 Mask Guidance with CDC Recommendations
Requires masks indoors for K-12 schools statewide

Governor Kate Brown has directed the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education to create a rule to require masks indoors for K-12 schools statewide for the 2021-22 school year, in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recently updated guidance, and based on the spread of the Delta variant.

“The science and data are clear: the Delta variant is in our communities, and it is more contagious,” said Governor Brown. “My priority is to ensure our kids are able to safely return to full-time in-person learning this fall, five days per week and with minimal disruptions. With many children still ineligible to be vaccinated, masks are an effective way to help keep our kids safe in the classroom, the learning environment we know serves them best.

She continued, “In the meantime, as we ask Oregonians statewide to mask up in public indoor spaces, we will continue working hard to vaccinate more people so we can finally beat this virus once and for all. Vaccines remain the most effective and best way to protect ourselves and our families.”

Critics are noting the lack of precise scientific considerations in such a statewide mandate, considering also that school children have been found to not be "super-spreaders" of the disease. Critics also wonder if the Kate Brown administration simply has trouble letting go of governmental powers it has acquired during the era of COVID-19 restrictions.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-29 15:27:30Last Update: 2021-07-29 15:42:07

Project Turnkey Buys Motels For Homeless
Intended to Reduce Homelessness in Oregon

Homelessness has been an increasing topic when so many were left homeless from wildfires last summer.

The Oregon Legislature created Project Turnkey as a program to reduce homelessness by acquiring motels and hotels to serve as temporary housing. In November 2020, the Oregon Legislature allocated $65 million initially for Project Turnkey. An additional $9.7 million was allocated in late June 2021 to fund additional projects. Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) was selected to administer funds with guidance from an Advisory Committee of state, local, and community stakeholders.

Project Turnkey has generally been seen as a success to some, but other House legislators were concerned that the rollout didn’t go as smooth as it could have, and suggested that if the program is to continue long term, that the Oregon Community Foundation might not be best suited to administer it.

Project Turnkey increased the state’s supply of emergent housing by 20 percent through acquisitions of shelter properties in 19 Oregon communities across 13 counties. Each Project Turnkey operation is locally created and operated by local government and/or nonprofit community partners, and each is designed to meet the needs of its community’s populations, ranging from fire survivors to domestic violence survivors to Veterans and also to people experiencing chronic homelessness.

Long term, most units supposedly will be converted to transitional or permanent supportive housing, and some will remain shelters. Most Turnkey projects plan on paying for operation costs through a combination of state and federal resources and fundraising dollars.

“Often, government says ‘We know the solution.’ In truth, the community living the experience and walking through it daily know best what is needed,” said Will Miller, Government Affairs Manager, Native American Youth and Family Center, and Project Turnkey Advisory Committee member.

Oregon Community Foundation offers support for Oregon’s housing needs along a continuum — from shelter to supportive housing to affordable housing to equitable home ownership — through a variety of tools, including research, grants, advocacy, and low-interest loans. OCF’s administration of Project Turnkey is one example of an approach launched to help more Oregonians find stable, affordable housing.

Outside of Portland, Eugene may have the next biggest issue with homeless camps. When City of Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis was asked if Project Turnkey had reduced the street camps, she replied, “We don’t have enough experience with Project Turnkey to know. On the face of it, it is an excellent way to stabilize people who want and need shelter and services. The folks who are disaffected from society and unwilling to change their transient lifestyle are much harder to persuade to move into any kind of shelter or managed site – and I don’t imagine hotels are any better for them than any number of other options, but I could be wrong. They really present our biggest problem.”

It seems that the street campers create the most buzz with their unsightly make-shift shelters, unclean habits, and concern for their warmth in winter. The question remains, when it gets towards freezing this winter, will Turnkey hotel and motels shelter this segment of homeless that prefer camping outdoors?

The Project Turnkey Community Advisory Committee will officially conclude the project with a review of insights and key lessons in a comprehensive report that OCF will deliver to the Oregon Legislature in early August, 2021.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-07-29 14:58:37Last Update: 2021-07-29 15:21:23

Pulliam Wants a Home for Vandalized Statues
Offers to relocate statues in the city of Sandy

Sandy Mayor and Oregon Gubernatorial candidate Stan Pulliam has announced that he wants to make Sandy the new home to the statues of three American presidents that were horribly vandalized and torn down by violent rioters in Portland last year.

In a press release containing an eight minute video link, the mayor flanked by city councilors Laurie Smallwood and Carl Exner, said

The destruction of our cherished monuments was heartbreaking to watch, but what’s even more frustrating is the City of Portland’s acquiescence to the left-wing mob. City leaders refused to refurbish these statues and put them back up on display. An unconscionable decision.

Statues are chiseled from rock for a reason. They are there to remind us of where we came from, not where we are. They should inform with inspiration the great things accomplished, and welcome discussion of the great things done since.

That is why on Monday I will meet with Sandy City Council to make Sandy a sanctuary for memorials that represent the best of Oregon and American ideals.

Venerating our history allows us to celebrate the things that should be celebrated, like American exceptionalism and liberty. It also allows us to learn from our past in order to foster a better future. I will fight to bring these statues to their new home in Sandy where they will stand for generations to come.

If you agree that our freedom in America is under attack as long as the cancel mob is able to destroy statues of our nation’s heroes and silence speech that they don’t agree with.

Pulliam specifically referenced the statues of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-28 13:49:00Last Update: 2021-07-28 14:06:01

Pressure on Small Business Grows
This is really just continued income confiscation

Recent attacks on small business reveal more than just ignorance on the part of those removing tax incentives for owners making over $400k annually. Why set the arbitrary level of annual income at $400k?

Small business owners do different things with their income. They don’t all buy luxury second homes as lawmakers playing the class envy card are claiming. Most reinvest in their companies. They care for their employees and hope a family member may go into the business someday. They reinvest if for no other reason than to stay competitive or be swallowed up. Their reinvestment plans are as individual as there are companies. The reinvestment may be a few thousand or many millions. Guess what, small businesses are not all alike.

For government to decide how best to use the income for millions of self-employed with one size fits all rules is ridiculous. Reinvestment for someone at the lowest income level and the highest income level may be equally risky. The economy depends on taking a risk with innovation. Why penalize just one income level? Lawmakers favoring this legislation for the most part are the ones who have never been employers. Some may know a lot about selling to government, but what’s their experience working in the free market? Often revealing is where their campaign contributions come from.

This is really just continued income confiscation. Tax and spend legislators shift their focus to different targets each session. Large Corporations learn to adjust to tax rules. Small businesses not so much. Plus, if you add up all the millions of small businesses to tax you can confiscate equal or greater funds for government spending than could be gained with another assault on large corporations. Regulations and fees are a way for the unelected to raise additional government revenue.

Oregon’s senior Senator has finally arrived. He is chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Not surprisingly, lobbyists shower most of their donations on committee chairs. Ron Wyden is famous for visiting each of Oregon’s counties each year, even Wheeler County with less than 2000 people. That’s good optics for the Senator who has lived on the affluent upper east side of Manhattan for decades. He is releasing a bill that will increase taxes on small business owners. Of course he has never signed the front of a paycheck in his life. He only knows what lobbyists tell him. Harming small business, the engine of our economy, must not go unnoticed.

In Oregon we had a similar and equally misguided event with the passage of SB 139. It will remove about $30 million from the private economy each year with government centric advocacy replacing reinvestment for economic growth of the private sector. Oregon’s Grand Bargain under Kitzhaber raised taxes on the large Corporations and did no harm to small business. If that was good policy, why suddenly turn the tables and go after the small businesses?

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-07-28 09:33:16Last Update: 2021-07-28 10:10:34

OHA Now Recommending Mask Use Indoors
Regardless of vaccination status

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is now recommending mask use in all indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status, and some critics are pointing out that Governor Brown may issue a new statewide mandate in the near future.

OHA issued the following statement on July 27th:

In responses to a large jump in cases and hospitalizations and new national guidance calling for masking measures to prevent the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the Oregon Health Authority today is recommending universal mask use in public indoor settings throughout the state to protect Oregonians from COVID-19.

“Today’s reported sharp rise in cases and hospitalizations in Oregon are sobering reminders that the pandemic is not over, especially for Oregonians who remain unvaccinated,” said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state epidemiologist and state health officer.

“The highly contagious Delta variant has increased tenfold in the past two weeks in Oregon, and it is now estimated to be associated with 80% of the new cases in Oregon. The use of face masks provides significant protection for individuals who are unvaccinated as well as an additional level protection from a small but known risk of infection by the virus for persons who have already been vaccinated.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who are vaccinated with currently available vaccines are protected from the virus and the circulating variants, including the Delta variant that is now seen in the majority of Oregon’s new cases.

OHA’s recommendation aligns with the CDC’s new guidance issued today that everyone, including fully vaccinated persons, wear a mask in public indoor settings. OHA’s recommendation applies statewide, and not just areas with higher infections and high transmission, as cases have increased across the state in recent weeks due to the Delta variant.

OHA is continuing to call on local community and public health leaders, and businesses, to encourage vaccination and masking to prevent new outbreaks in areas of substantial and high transmission.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-27 17:27:00Last Update: 2021-07-27 20:51:21

Brown Mandates Renewable Energy by 2040
Suggests climate change is racist

Governor Kate Brown has signed into law a controversial energy bill package. She did so July 27th, at 11:15 a.m. at Daimler Truck North America and Portland General Electric’s Electric Island commercial vehicle charging center in Portland.

House Bill 2021 sets the most aggressive timeline in the country for moving to 100% renewable electricity sources, by 2040.

House Bill 2021, House Bill 2165, House Bill 2475, and House Bill 3141 were also passed allegedly to "center the needs of Oregon’s most vulnerable communities".

“With these policies, we will create jobs", said Governor Brown. “We will reduce carbon emissions. And, we will make sure the economic, environmental, and health benefits of our energy economy reach all Oregonians, especially those who have been disproportionately impacted by climate change and pollution."

She continued, “I have continued to make climate action an urgent priority as Oregon continues to grapple with repeated climate disasters, the impacts of which are felt disproportionately by Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, communities of color, low income, and rural communities."

A recording of that bill signing —with an American Sign Language simulcast—will be available for the public on YouTube. A copy of the Governor's prepared remarks from the bill signing is available here. Photos of the event can be found here.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-27 14:57:10Last Update: 2021-07-27 15:38:52

A Season of Subsidies for Electric Vehicles
These programs need an exit strategy

For some, Electric Vehicles are the future, able to be powered by non-fossil fuels. For others, they are a fairy tale that will never pencil out, create fiscal inequity and cause more problems than they solve. The Oregon Legislature has been creating a regime of subsidy and regulation to support these modes of transportation, led by Eugene Democrat Representative Marty Wilde.

During the recently concluded session, HB 2290, introduced by Representative Marty Wilde (D-Eugene) which requires State Parks and Recreation Department to allow for installation and service of public electric vehicle charging stations in parking spaces that are part of facilities of state park system. It also, authorizes the Oregon Public Utility Commission to allow electric companies to recover costs from retail electricity consumers for prudent infrastructure measures to support transportation electrification.

The Legislature also passed HB 2165 which requires electric companies that make sales of electricity to 25,000 or more retail electricity consumers to collect an amount from all retail electricity consumers, to be expended to support transportation electrification pursuant to plan accepted by Public Utility Commission. It authorizes the commission to allow electric companies to recover costs from retail electricity consumers for prudent infrastructure measures to support transportation electrification if certain criteria are met. The bill was requested by Governor Kate Brown.

Rachel Dawson of Cascade Policy Institute opposed the bill, saying, "Utilities should not be allowed to use ratepayer funds to own and operate electric vehicle chargers, nor should they be allowed to recover costs for electric vehicle infrastructure measures from all ratepayers." She makes the point that,

"Low-income ratepayers and those living in rural areas should not be subsidizing infrastructure or vehicle rebates for those living in more urban areas with the means to purchase an EV on their own dime. This bill will force everyone to pay for a luxury service that very few will use.

"Perhaps instead we should follow in Kentucky’s footsteps. Kentucky utilities are allowed to build and operate EV infrastructure, but only customers who use them are charged for the service. Utilities recoup costs by charging customers a small hourly fee. Electricity customers who do not and will not utilize this infrastructure should not pay for its implementation."

On the regulation front, the Legislature also passed HB 2180, introduced by Representatives Marty Wilde (D-Eugene) and David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford). which requires the Department of Consumer and Business Services to amend state building code to require that new construction include provisions for electrical service capacity for specified percentage of parking spaces -- even allowing a municipality to adopt local percentage of parking space requirements higher than state building code requirements. The code amendments will become effective on July 1, 2022.

While these are some of the larger requirements and regulations just from the last legislative session, the steady annual drip of these proposals is a hallmark of each legislative session. If the environmentalists and the electric car enthusiasts get their way and more and more cars become electric, sooner or later, the subsidies will become overbearing. Perhaps it's time to develop an exit strategy.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-26 21:23:59Last Update: 2021-07-26 22:35:45

Oregon to Spend on Mental Health Following Drug Decriminalization
Responsive to people of color and people of lived experience

Oregon will soon be spending at least $350 million to try to address behavioral health problems across the state. This may be considered an insincere effort to truly fix the problem according to some observers who criticize some of Oregon's latest political moves, including the recent decriminalization of all drugs in the state.

HB 2086 is awaiting Governor Kate Brown's signature. The legislation would supposedly work to coordinate mental health care systems around the state of Oregon, and it seems to also implement some collectivist notions based on skin color.

HB 2086 will appropriate public money to do the following: This bill, HB 2086, was drafted at the request of Governor Kate Brown for Oregon Health Authority, along with a declared emergency, which makes the law effective upon passage.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-26 12:33:27Last Update: 2021-07-26 20:42:23

Environmental Commission Concludes Meeting
The DEQ is celebrating a bloated budget and “environmental justice”

The Environmental Quality Commission -- the board that oversees the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, directed by Richard Whitman, met for the first time since the close of the 2021 Legislative session and at times, their meeting seemed to be a celebration of their "gains" during the session.

For starters, their over-half-billion budget increased by 26.2% over the previous biennium -- certainly enough to keep pace with inflation and population growth. They will be adding over 39 new positions, a significant increase.

They noted the passage of SCR 17 which makes the claim that "environmental and climate solutions must address structural socioeconomic inequalities built by a history of economic and social inequality" and that "frontline communities are Black, Native American, Indigenous and People of Color communities and immigrant and low-income communities that historically and presently experience the brunt of health, economic and ecological impacts and have been made more vulnerable to the consequences of climate change because of these factors."

During the meeting the Commission looked forward to the next legislative session in which they could further increase staff to address issues of environmental justice, as well as the creation of a mapping tool -- presumably to identify areas in which people of color are being impacted by environmental issues.

In other items, the Commission heard a presentation on the implementation of diesel emissions standards enacted by HB 2007, which passed in 2019. This bill is focused on the tri-county area and will certainly have an impact on business and prices as it goes into effect.

Interestingly, the Commission was presented with the concept of "exporting" emissions -- the idea is that even when we don't produce the emissions through our industry, we are responsible for emissions created in other states or nations that produce them to meet our demand. It doesn't seem to include the offset that our large forests produce by consuming and sequestering the carbon produced by other states and nations.

The commission also heard a presentation on the State of the Environment which emphasized the progress being made on brownfields cleanups, diesel emissions, and greenhouse gasses.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-25 14:09:39Last Update: 2021-07-25 14:44:28

Oregon Administrative Law: How Administrative Hearings Work
“No man can be the judge in his own cause”

Editor's note: This is the first of a multi-part series on Administrative Law in Oregon

The concept of Administrative Hearings goes all the way back to the 1600s when Dr. Thomas Bonham, an English Physician was ordered by the Royal College of Physicians to cease practicing medicine and when he refused, was imprisoned. He appealed, but his appeal was heard by the very same Royal College of Physicians who had imprisoned him in the first place.

Chief Justice of the Common Pleas Sir Edward Coke at that time decided that the College was too invested in the outcome, commenting "No man can be the judge in his own cause." The effect can be the same, when an agency makes a decision that impacts a citizen and then is the judge of its own case. How could any citizen win?

Because of this, the Office of Administrative Hearings was created by HB 2525 in 1999 to provide an independent and impartial forum for citizens and businesses to dispute state agency actions. A Chief Administrative Law Judge is appointed by the governor and has independent statutory authority to manage the office. Fifty-nine professional administrative law judges hold more than 24,000 hearings a year for approximately 70 state agencies.

By statute, all administrative law judges are required to be “impartial in the performance of [their] duties and shall remain fair in all hearings.” Oregon is one of 22 states with an independent central panel of administrative law judges. The current Chief Administrative Law Judge is John Mann. There are several Administrative Law Regional Offices around the state.

If you've had a decision that impacts you made by a state agency, such as the Employment Department, the Department of Revenue or any other agency, you can request a hearingg. You can represent yourself at an administrative hearing.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-25 11:12:28Last Update: 2021-07-25 12:11:25

More Ways To Treat COVID-19
Monoclonal antibody treatment authorized for emergency use

Since the COVID outbreak began, more treatments have become available to reduce the severity of COVID-19 in those who have become infected.

Monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatments are one such form of treatment that have been authorized for emergency use in the United States. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has stated that it is indeed a valid treatment.

What is a monoclonal antibody?

An antibody is a protein that our bodies naturally create to fight off infection. Monoclonal antibodies are proteins developed in a lab in order to fight off infections that our bodies aren’t familiar with, like COVID-19.

mAb treatment

Early evidence suggests that mAbs administered by an infusion or an injection can reduce the amount of COVID-19 virus present in someone infected with COVID-19. By doing so, mAbs can prevent hospitalization due to COVID-19 and prevent the disease from progressing any further in those treated.

It’s important to note that mAbs can only treat an existing COVID-19 infection.

If you have concerns or questions about this treatment, your health care provider can answer your questions.

You can read more about mAB treatment on the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) blog.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-24 15:19:45Last Update: 2021-07-24 15:32:30

Portland Police, FBI to Increase Presence Downtown
People don’t feel safe in Oregon’s largest city

The Portland Police Bureau will be adding resources to the downtown area this weekend following a tragic shooting on July 17th in which 18-year-old Makayla Maree Harris was killed and six people were injured.

The Enhanced Community Safety Team (ECST) will have investigators on duty and in uniform and working with FBI Agents throughout the coming weekend.

They'll act as a high visibility presence in the community, aimed at deterring those who are considering committing crimes. They will coordinate with on-scene supervisors to respond to crimes, gather information, witness statements, and evidence, and immediately follow-up on leads.

The FBI will provide investigative support and look for any appropriate nexus to federal crimes.

In addition, during early morning hours, officers from the North and East Precinct will be reassigned to Central Precinct to provide additional resources.

According to PPB, calls to 911 in those precincts will be prioritized for ones that present a danger to life safety. Lower priority calls may not be answered until resources are available.

The PPB released a statement asking the community if possible, to report incidents online, or, try calling at a later time.

"Last week's tragic shooting reverberated throughout the community," said Chief Chuck Lovell. "We are seeing almost nightly violence, but as things open up, we want people to feel safe, as they come downtown and gather in the Entertainment District. We are trying to use our resources effectively in order to accomplish this while also responding to 911 calls.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-23 11:21:15Last Update: 2021-07-23 11:33:45

Election Questions Remain
For some, there is a trust issue

A Marion County woman exposed an election problem in Marion County. Marion County Elections never answered her question as to why she kept getting sent ballots to vote when she was not a US citizen. Legal immigrants come to this country understanding the value and strength in the United States Constitution that generations of Americans do not know now due to the government public school system run by the teachers’ unions. This story is valuable because this woman has documents, it is not just her word.

2021 is the year United States citizens and legal immigrants across the nation peer into the election process that probably has not happened in one hundred years. Oregonians are meeting, talking, they are on social media including platforms that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube CEOs cannot take down. The more corporate Tech America and mass media America (six corporations own most of the media companies) attack Americans and legal immigrants the more determined constitutional justice warriors get.

Most concerning in Oregon’s Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s run for this office which morally and constitutionally should be managed in a non-partisan manner, but her campaign doorhanger made it look like she was running against the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

What many found appalling was the lie on Fagan’s doorhanger, that in spite of the numerous rallies Trump held that turned out hundreds of thousands of citizens from all political parties and legal immigrants, Shemia’s doorhanger said Trump did not want Americans to vote. Much of the funding for her campaign was provided by public employee unions, such as SEIU 503. Many have a question in Oregon whether unions like SEIU and PAT, the Portland Association for Teachers, are the real candidates and not the candidates themselves.

For some, there is a trust issue with Oregon state government that must be resolved before the 2022 election.

--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-07-23 08:54:49Last Update: 2021-07-21 21:15:12

Representative Gary Leif Passes
A convention of Precinct Committeepersons will be called

State Representative Gary Leif (R-Roseburg) died today after a battle with cancer.

Oregon House Republican Leader Christine Drazan released the following statement following the news of Oregon Representative Gary Leif’s passing:

“I am deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of our friend and colleague Gary Leif. Gary’s sense of humor, his commitment to bipartisanship and his love of family and community marked his service in the Oregon Legislature.

I am grateful for my time working directly with Gary. His energy and enthusiasm accomplished great work for his district, and he will be sorely missed.

Not only was he a valued colleague, but he was also a mentor and supporter within our caucus. He would frequently check on members to see how they were doing and provide helpful advice. His patient and humble demeanor was a constant and positive presence, especially for freshmen legislators looking for guidance in their new roles.

On behalf of the House Republican Caucus, we send our deepest condolences to Gary’s wife Carol and his family.”

Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) issued the following statement:

“It was an honor and a privilege to work with Representative Leif over the last several years. It was a pleasure to serve with him on the Ways and Means committee this last session. He was an honest and hard-working representative for the people of Southern Oregon. His common-sense approach to issues was a bright spot in the legislature, one that will not be easily filled. I am praying for his wife, family, and friends during this difficult time.”

A convention of the Republican Precinct Committeepersons living in House District 2 from the counties of Douglas, Jackson and Josephine will be called by the Oregon Republican Party to nominate between three and five nominees to present to those county commissioners for the appointment of his successor.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-22 15:20:53Last Update: 2021-07-22 15:46:07

Oregon Forestry Resources Institute Attacked in Audit
This is the latest in an attempt to turn an industry advocate into an environmental group

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan has released an audit of the Oregon Forestry Resources Institute. The Secretary of State has been criticized by many for putting her partisan thumb on the scales and this audit is seen by them as a partisan attack on the industry.

OFRI has been targeted with increasing scrutiny in recent years from a coordinated effort by political interests seeking to abolish or seize control of the forest industry in Oregon. The audit incorrectly characterized OFRI as a government agency rather than what it is: a body funded by private landowner dollars created to educate the public on the responsible management of Oregon’s largest renewable natural resource.

OFRI provides vital services for the forestry industry, just like other commodity commissions. Included in the audit are overreaching recommendations for legislative changes which exceed the appropriate scope of the Secretary of State’s audit function. These include stacking OFRI’s membership with environmentalists that lack knowledge of practical forestry, limiting the number of people with working experience.

“This audit is just another attempt to give a patina of legitimacy to efforts to remake OFRI into another taxpayer-funded environmental advocacy group,” said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons). “All one has to do to see through that is read the report. The Secretary of State uses debate around legal language to justify completely reclassifying OFRI as a government agency. That’s simply a power play to get more control over the forest products industry. I will be introducing legislation in the 2022 short session to clarify OFRI’s purpose and ensure that they are treated the same as any other commodities commission. Oregon’s economy depends on a vibrant forestry industry.”

“OFRI promotes the responsible management of Oregon’s forests in order to support 50,000 family-wage jobs while reducing the potential for catastrophic wildfires,” added House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby). “This audit is another attempt in a coordinated effort by political interests who want to end the timber products industry in Oregon. They are fundamentally opposed to continuing our legacy as a global leader in sustainable forestry practices. This will put more families and communities at risk from unnaturally large wildfires. Turning our backs on our natural environment by neglecting our forests is not an Oregon value. In fact, it’s the worst thing we could do.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-21 18:44:08Last Update: 2021-07-22 09:52:47

Governor Race is on an Interesting Roll
Does Oregon have a candidate not easily labeled?

For parents interested in the protection of their children from child sex trafficking, with their concerns about the Oregon public schools and the teachers’ unions, parents may be interested in the breaking news that Nicholas Kristof, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist with the New York Times, is considering running for governor of Oregon. Parents might want to make a summer reading program out of reading his books. Who is he really?

In 2013 Kristof was named an International Freedom Conductor by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center for his work exposing human trafficking and linking it to modern slavery.

In a 2021 New York Times essay, Kristof wrote he favors education reform more than teachers’ unions do, although he expressed some of the best states with good public schools were because of their teachers’ unions. Given that Oregon has one of the worst public-school systems in the nation, how will Kristof speak to that in Oregon?

Kristof who is a self-described Progressive, citizens will want to look at who he associates with and what he writes about which can be illuminating as to whether Oregon citizens might consider him to be a good or not good choice for all the citizens of Oregon. Will Kristof bring his international human trafficking journalistic investigation skills to Portland, Oregon? That would be a story worth following.

Kristof’s newest book Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope had one reviewer commenting,

“In short, one has one very good book powerfully evoking the lives of the desperate poor together with a boring book of rather tired and banal policy recommendations that could be pulled verbatim from the Democratic 2020 platform.”

With President Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, and Bill Clinton’s video The Man from Hope, some may see Kristof’s book as a kind of strategy for a bigger office as sthe repeat pattern is recognizable as the usual Democratic pattern of the use of hope.

Given that some of Kristof’s focus, his work, his books coincide with President Donald J. Trump’s executive orders and work on child sex trafficking, human trafficking, the working class, and illegal immigration it will be interesting to see how the Democratic National Central Committee reacts to Kristof “considering” a run for governor in Oregon.

Nicholas grew up on a sheep and Cherry farm in Yamhill, Oregon and has been back in Oregon for a few years. Their farm is now a vineyard.

With 38% of Oregonians registered as non-affiliated for voting purposes will the major and minor political parties and candidates do anything different next year to draw those voters to their candidates? Or will the usual playbooks be brought out and repeated?

--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-07-20 20:46:43Last Update: 2021-07-20 21:31:26

Oregon State Capitol Opens
For now, at least

The Oregon State Capitol has been closed for 16 months under safety measure against COVID-19. Now, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek are trying to justify the closure.

“Last March, we consulted with infectious disease doctors and public health officials about what changes were needed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the Capitol. In the end, we made the very difficult decision to limit Capitol entry to legislators, essential staff, and members of the press.”

But what has changed? Last March 31 there were 67 COVID-19 cases and 17 hospitalized. On July 12, the day of their statement, there were 251 cases and 97 hospitalized. Have their experts changed their position after 16 months of viewing other states fairing better with no closures?

They seem to be relying on a vaccine to stop the spread, even though there is developing evidence that the vaccine doesn’t prevent a person from getting COVID-19. Still Senate Courtney and Representative Kotek say: “Over 70% of Oregonians 18 and older are now vaccinated against COVID-19 and community spread has reduced considerably. We are extremely grateful to Oregonians for stepping up to help beat this pandemic. With new guidance from the Oregon Health Authority and the lifting of county risk levels, we are excited to expand entry to the Capitol today to include members of the public.”

Oregonians are to be congratulated for enduring the lose of life, jobs, homes, and a good education for their children. And please don’t look at us for your lose. “The last year has been extremely hard on our state. Oregonians have suffered devastating wildfires, an ice storm, a historic heatwave, and extreme drought. Through it all, we have battled a global pandemic that has dramatically changed our daily lives,” say Courtney and Kotek.

Due to the ongoing Capitol Accessibility, Maintenance and Safety project, certain areas in the Capitol will continue to be under construction during the coming months. Access to the Senate and House wings will be limited to construction personnel only until December 2021. The State Street entrances and front steps will also be temporarily closed for construction. Visitors can use the North ADA entrances to enter the building.

The Oregon State Capitol Visitor Services staff will be bringing back many of the services they provide for visitors over the next few weeks: With such a promise, and without another ‘emergency’, we can look forward to full access for the 2022 legislative session.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-07-20 18:15:21Last Update: 2021-07-20 18:22:58

City of Eugene Identifying “Safe Sleep Sites”
Up to 60 vehicles and 40 tents per site

The City of Eugene has been working on identifying and creating new, temporary managed homeless zones across the city where people who identify as homeless can park their vehicles or sleep in tents.

The City and Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce staff have been working the last few months on outreach to those neighborhoods and adjacent property and business owners around potential sites to gather input on those possible locations.

On April 28, the City Council approved an ordinance that allows “Safe Sleep Sites” to accommodate more tents or vehicles than previously allowed by City Code, up to 60 vehicles and 40 tents per site.

Working with Lane County and the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Eugene staff have been conducting a comprehensive review of potential locations for sites including publicly owned property and private land.

In all, staff have reviewed more than 300 potential locations. Potential locations were generated by reviewing properties currently owned by the city and county, properties listed for sale or lease on public real estate sites and submissions from community members and elected officials. Criteria including accessibility, site size, shape, natural features, proximity to social services, public transit and other community resources were used to narrow the sites to the most suitable. A list of 12 privately owned sites was further refined based on the criteria. Locations currently being considered include: The City is also considering sites on publicly owned land including Chase Commons Park at Garden Way and Commons Drive, 2nd and Garfield, and River Road Station at River Rd. and Beltline. Additional sites will continue to be vetted.

With the outreach phase having begun, staff have collecting additional information on these sites from the community. Working with the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, the City will continue reaching out for input from adjacent neighbors and businesses, service providers, and neighborhood associations. More information on the Safe Sleeping sites is available on the City’s website. There is also an email address, unhousedservices@eugene-or.gov where community members can share their input on the pros and cons of potential sites.

City staff have held a series of meetings and work sessions with social service providers to discuss site management, site amenities and layout, referral processes, and services for new sites. The Eugene City Council on Monday, April 26, unanimously approved a plan and strategies to address vehicle camping through parking restrictions in commercial/industrial areas.

Once Council approves a site, another round of outreach will be conducted to share information with neighbors and stakeholders on the site’s selection, its management plan, steps being taken to address concerns heard from the community, and contact information for the site.

Currently, the City anticipates opening the safe sleep sites by fall 2021. People staying at the two large temporary camps, 13th Avenue and at Washington Jefferson Park, will be prioritized and have the option to move into the new safe tent sites once they’re established. People living in their cars in industrial areas will have the opportunity to move into the safe vehicle sites.

Through the City’s partnership with Lane County, a number of other actions are also underway, including expanding rapid rehousing programs, and tenancy supports.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-20 15:42:47Last Update: 2021-07-20 16:17:10

Cannabis Regulations in Oregon
OLCC to implement new regulatory responsibilities

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) has approved penalties in several stipulated settlements for violations committed by recreational marijuana licensees, placed restrictions on three recreational marijuana licenses, and approved a temporary rule adjusting a Cannabis Tracking System requirement.

Oregon lawmakers approved a series of bills that will continue the transformation of the OLCC’s regulatory responsibilities from an agency focused on oversight of the alcohol industry to a regulator engaged in consumer protection of alcohol and cannabis products, control of adult intoxicants, and upholding public health and safety laws.

The agency’s evolving mission is reflected in a law changing the agency’s name to the Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission that takes effect August 2, 2021.

The OLCC also provided technical support to legislators working to curb illegal hemp and marijuana production and bring hemp produced intoxicating products under stricter control.

Currently Delta-8-THC, which is chemically extracted from hemp, can be sold to anyone regardless of age at neighborhood convenience stores.

House Bill 3000 requires the OLCC to keep THC products away from kids. HB 3000 also directs OLCC to work the Oregon Department of Agriculture and other state and local government agencies to crack down on illegal cannabis grows.

“What’s going on in southern Oregon with the cartel takeover of cannabis growing through the guise of hemp and our role in being able to enforce that is all incredibly important,” said OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks. “We and our partners are poised to begin eradicating this illegal activity, to bring stability to disrupted communities starting in Jackson and Josephine counties, and to ensure that our legal, licensed, tax-paying cannabis licensees aren’t being undermined by illegal market activity.”

The legislature approved the OLCC’s plan to modernize its licensing system and alcohol distribution and tracking infrastructure, approving funding for information technology upgrades and a new consolidated warehouse. Even before the pandemic distilled spirits sales have grown steadily year-over-year straining the existing capacity at OLCC’s two warehouses. The OLCC has been laying the groundwork to acquire a new warehouse for more than a year.

”Where this agency has to go, we really have to help all of our licensees,” said Marks. “The hospitality industry, alcohol and cannabis move on to post-Covid recovery. We’ve got a lot of challenges there for the industry next two years. To make sure Oregon’s economy is strong and we do our part with that with the resources given to us.”

Commissioners ratified the following violation fines and suspensions based on stipulated settlements (detailed information on specific cases can be found on the OLCC website).

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-19 12:52:28Last Update: 2021-07-19 13:06:40

Warm Springs Reservation and BLM Trade Land
Confederated Tribes and Federal government working together

After twelve years of collaboration, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has completed a land exchange with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon (CTWSRO), with support from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). The Pine Creek/Spring Basin Land Exchange was authorized in the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, to consolidate both tribal and Federal lands.

As part of the exchange, the BLM conveyed approximately 4,200 acres to the CTWSRO. The BLM acquired roughly 4,500 acres, adding over 2,700 acres to federal ownership within the Spring Basin Wilderness Area (SBWA) and over 2.25 miles of federally managed river frontage along the John Day River.

The CTWSRO owns and manages the 34,012-acre Pine Creek Conservation Area (PCCA) adjacent to the newly designated SBWA. The Federal lands being conveyed to the CTWSRO are within the 10 million acres ceded to the United States by the CTWSRO in their 1855 Treaty. With this exchange, the CTWSRO will be able to incorporate the BLM parcels, currently scattered throughout the PCCA, into their conservation area and manage them for fish, wildlife, and watershed mitigation purposes in collaboration with the BPA under an approved conservation easement and management plan.

The completion of this exchange seems to show a coordinated effort by the BLM, the CTWSRO, and the BPA to work together toward the goal of providing for more efficient land management for all agencies and an increased benefit to the public who enjoys these lands.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-19 10:08:31Last Update: 2021-07-19 10:39:08

Fagan Dismayed by the Supreme Court’s Decision in Brnovich vs. DNC
The result should make it harder for Democrats to bring knee-jerk lawsuits

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan released an emotional audio statement on the official Secretary of State website where she decried the US Supreme Court’s decision without citing what Brnovich vs DNC entailed. The National Review presented some details on what the decision entails:

“The decision is a positive step for the rule of law and a setback for lawsuits that hamstring states from running efficient elections.”

“The two Arizona laws were challenged under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, 52 U.S.C. § 10301, and under the 15th Amendment’s ban on intentional race discrimination in voting. The result should make it harder for Democrats to bring knee-jerk lawsuits over every change in voting laws without showing that they present a genuinely discriminatory obstacle to the overall opportunity to vote. The Court also made clear that a Section 2 case cannot be based on attacks on the purpose or intent of the legislators without showing that there was, in fact, a discriminatory effect on the opportunity to vote.”

The Legal Information Institute at the Cornell Law School notes the gains made by the State of Arizona:

“Helen Purcell, in support of Arizona, argues that over the years Arizona has taken considerable steps in their voting rights laws to assure ease of voting and equal opportunity for all citizens. From absentee voting, early voting, accommodations for those with disabilities, and emergency voting, Purcell maintains that Arizona has done its duty to assure accessible voting for all its citizens. The Republican Governors Public Policy Committee, in support of Arizona, agrees that Arizona’s laws serve to make voting easier and secure, and do not result in discrimination of any particular racial group. Indeed, RPPC claims that as Arizona’s population has increased, its voter turnout has steadily kept pace which shows that voter disenfranchisement is not an issue. But allowing third-parties to collect votes, RPPC contends, would take away the integrity of secure voting and serve to devalue the system”

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s passionate statement gave no details as to how this US Supreme Court decision effects or impacts citizens voting in Oregon. Some citizens believe the Secretary of State’s office should not be a partisan office but should be managed for the benefit and rights of all Oregonians.

Oregon counties have yet to weigh in as to how this will affect or will not affect how each county runs their elections.

--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-07-19 09:13:18Last Update: 2021-07-19 09:35:27

Oregon Passes Sanctuary Promise Act
As of the end of 2020, there were 636,000 active recipients

Oregon again swims upstream passing the Sanctuary Promise Act. In its wake, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled in favor of nine states against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Judge Hanen said President Barack Obama exceeded his authority when he created the program without providing a pathway to citizenship. The DACA 2012 memo enables certain young immigrants who are in the country illegally and were brought to the U.S. as children to live and work in the country for two-year periods and allows renewal. The ruling halted new applicants but allows immigrants currently protected to keep their status allowing DACA renewals while the case goes through the appeals process. As of the end of 2020, there were 636,000 active recipients. That doesn’t nearly cover the fate of 11 million undocumented people. Plaintiff states were able to successfully prove that the DACA program has increased states’ costs associated with health care, education and law enforcement.

The Sanctuary Promise Act, HB 3265 waiting for the Governor’s signature, ensures public bodies and Oregon law enforcement agencies cannot deny services, benefits and other opportunities due to immigration status or federal immigration action, or inquire about one’s immigration status, unless a criminal investigation is ongoing. The bill clarifies guidelines around Oregon’s interaction with federal documentation requirements in order to improve access to public entities and social services.

The Department of Justice estimates the need of $905,074 of General Funds. The Department of Corrections indicates that the provisions of this bill may endanger the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program grants. The grant funds are intended to partially offset the cost of incarceration relative to the actual undocumented population in the prison system. DOC estimates the grants at $2.5 million Federal Funds per biennium. The grants require that certain information be provided to the U.S. Department of Justice concerning adults in custody and it would appear this measure would prohibit disclosing this information. This may put in jeopardy the Department of Correction’s ability to apply for these grants.

HB 3265 prohibits local law enforcement and other public entities from gathering and sharing immigration information with federal immigration authorities or otherwise assisting immigration law enforcement. The bill also ensures that immigration detention centers cannot operate in Oregon and prohibits federal immigration authorities from carrying out warrantless arrests in Oregon’s courthouses and their vicinities. House Bill 3265 also provides an option to hold accountable individuals and entities that violate this policy.

Senator Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale), co-sponsor stated, “Oregonians value fairness and recognize an individual’s humanity is above documentation status. It’s on us to change our systems and prove that every one of us deserves equal treatment under the law.” Which laws might he be referring to?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-07-19 08:55:20Last Update: 2021-07-19 09:13:18

Prison Population Forecasting Gets Tough
Criminal justice system practices have a significant effect

Twice each year the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis produces the Oregon Corrections Population Forecast which provides projections of the offender populations supervised by the Oregon Department of Corrections. The Department is mandated to use the forecast for budgeting and policy development where the inmate population is concerned.

The report chronicles a steep decline -- based on the reduced ability of the criminal justice system to function due to COVID-19 -- followed by a predicted return to normal, based on normalization of society.

The Covid-19 pandemic is causing dramatic upheaval in the state’s prison system. From April 2020 to February 2021, intakes to prison are 140 intakes below pre-pandemic averages on a monthly basis. This has caused the prison population to drop well below the prior forecast. This forecast assumes that intakes continue to fall short of normal levels, albeit at a decreasing rate, until October 2021. At that point, the criminal justice system is expected to resume functioning in a normal manner. The accuracy of the forecast presented herein is critically dependent on these assumptions and will deteriorate if any or all of them fail to hold.

The report acknowledges that changes in the law and practices within the criminal justice system can impact prison population, but doesn't factor the criminal justice reform bills of the first special session of June 2020 into its forecast:

Criminal justice system practices have a significant effect on the flow of individuals through the court system and into the prisons. Emphasis on specific criminal activity and plea practices, for example, can change based on law enforcement policy and prosecutorial discretion. The amount of discretion in the corrections system, in particular with respect to prosecution of crimes and punishments sought, introduces a considerable degree of uncertainty to the forecast. Even if there was never a change in criminal activity or laws in Oregon, the prison population could vary considerably based on administrative procedures, policies, and individual discretion exercised in law enforcement, prosecution, plea bargaining, and sentencing by judges.

On the heels of the death -- adjudicated to be a murder -- of George Floyd in Minnesota, the following bills were championed by State Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Portland), passed in June 2020 and have been signed into law by Governor Brown: None of these so-called reforms will drive a spike in prison population, but collectively they could drive an increase, especially if backed by the winds of political forces.

Meanwhile, as crime increases -- especially in the Metro area -- the Mill Creek Correctional Facility near Salem and Shutter Creek Correctional Institution in North Bend are both going to be closed within the next six months, marking a loss of over 300 beds. Prior to COVID-19, the ongoing riots and basic lawlessness in the Metro area, and the prison reform bills of the 2020 First Special Session, prison forecasting was easier. We will have to see how the forecasts turn out in the next few years.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-18 16:22:33Last Update: 2021-07-18 17:04:20

Grants Pass School District Termination Hearings
Staff terminated for speaking out against transgender bathrooms

Editor's Note: This story is shared from the Josephine County Eagle Forum.

On July 15th, the Grants Pass School District 7 Pre-Termination held hearings for North Middle School Assistant Principal Rachel Damiano and science teacher Katie Medart following comments made in a video which asserted that students should use sex appropriate bath-rooms, and discouraged cross-gender bathroom usage. The comments made months ago caused some political correct outrage, and calls for their termination.

The board was split because both motions to support the superintendent’s recommendation to terminate passed by 4 to 3 votes.

The “yes” votes were cast by Board chair Scott Nelson, Brian DeLaGrange, Cliff Kuhlman and Debbie Kuhlman.

The “no” votes were cast by Gary Richardson, Casey Durbin and Todd Neville.

While true, there is a lot more to this story which needs to be to told.

The hearing began with the school district attorney Nancy Hungerford explaining the basis of the allegations. The allegations were supported by a report prepared by former Grants Pass Police Chief Bill Landiss who now operates Pacific Consulting and Investigations.

Next, Damiano delivered her answer to allegations. She went through the allegations point-by-point. We heard how the Oregon Revised Statutes define political activity and how her video did not constitute political activity as defined by state law.

We also learned about the “Heckler’s Veto” which the First Amendment Center defines as, “A heckler’s veto occurs when the government accepts restrictions on speech because of the anticipated or actual reactions of opponents of the speech.”

In this case, what we learned was that the commotion occurred a week after the "I Resolve" video was posted, which proposed that school bathrooms and locker rooms be segregated based on the students’ anatomy. The commotion was caused in part by the superintendent who sent out an email asking to hear from anyone who had been offended by the video.

The board members had an opportunity to question Damiano as well as the district’s attorney. Richardson asked, “What is the district’s policy for putting teachers on paid administrative leave?” The attorney answered that the district has no written policy or procedure to follow. Under Oregon law, the superintendent makes the decision, and the employee is placed on paid administrative leave.

A motion was made to support the superintendent’s recommendation to terminate Damiano. The motion was followed by a brief discussion. To summarize, Richardson pointed out errors in the private investigator’s report and concluded no violations of school policy occurred.

DeLaGrange said that our “top priority is to make all students feel as safe as possible.”

Board member Todd Neville said that “due process was not followed because no attempt was made to resolve the situation at the lowest level.”

Following the discussion, the board had a rollcall vote. Each board member had to state “yes” or “no” to cast their vote. When it came to Kuhlman, he held up a document he wanted to discuss. Nelson pointed out to him that it was time to vote.

The district’s counsel Bill Ransom spoke to him briefly away from the group. When he came back, he cast the deciding “yes” vote.

Rachel Damiano had been officially fired.

There was a 30-minute break before the next hearing began. The audience was visibly upset with some mad, some in tears, and some livid. Observers noted that someone said: “they’ll never pass a school bond after this.”

At 5pm began Katie Medart’s termination hearing. She was represented by a union attorney because she was a teacher. Katie also presented a well-crafted response to the district’s allegations.

Katie’s attorney elaborated on Katie’s testimony and offered a mini-course on free speech protection for school teachers. He summarized past district behavior when it had attempted to restrict the speech of Ryan Clark. He closed with strong words to the board about the consequences of supporting the superintendent’s recommendation to terminate.

During the question and answer period, Neville asked the district attorney, “Do teachers have first amendment rights?” The answer was “not in the classroom.” None of the allegations said that the educators mentioned anything to violate district policy while in the classroom.

The hearing officially ended and it was time for the board to take action via a motion. In a surprising twist, Richardson made a motion to “not support” the superintendent’s recommendation to terminate Katie. This meant that a “yes” vote would reject the termination of Katie. Board member Kuhlman asked at this point, “Is this situation different from the first situation?” Following a brief discussion, Neville seconded the motion and a discussed ensued.

To summarize the discussion, Richardson stated that any violations of school policy were too minor to warrant termination. Board member Debbie Brownell stated that, “I believe the investigator. At least 5 different reasons to terminate. Exhibits show this and she agrees to it.”

Richardson then asked Brownell, “You accept as true which has been shown today to be false. Why” Brownell’s response was, “This is not a debate. I won’t respond.”

Richardson then pointed out that the “district’s 2008 policy was bathrooms will be segregated by gender.” In 2009, the policy changed to the district will maintain “separate male and female bathrooms and locker rooms.” He then asked, “Why is it suddenly disruptive in our schools when Rachel and Katie support a policy which goes back to 2008?”

There was dead silence in the room.

Nelson broke the silence by asking, “Are there any other questions?”

Richardson then pointed out that 4 of the 5 teachers who complained about Rachel and Katie’s video were not employees of North Middle School. He concluded by saying that “Freedom of speech should be called freedom to offend.”

The motion was explained to Kuhlman. He stated, “I am trying to figure out free speech and how it fits into this case.”

The rollcall vote commenced, and Kuhlman voted to “abstain.” Nelson pointed out to him members need to vote “yes” or “no” on this type of matter. He voted “No” to vote against the motion to not support the superintendent. The motion failed and the meeting continued.

Next there was a motion made by Brownell to support the superintendent’s position to terminate Katie.

At this point, there was little more to be discussed. Katie was fired by a 4 to 3 vote.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-18 11:22:52Last Update: 2021-07-18 19:09:36

Suspected Arsonist Arrested in Eugene
Taser was used to take her into custody

A woman has been arrested after reports that she had maliciously set a brush fire in Eugene.

At 2:09 p.m., Eugene Police received a report of a woman, later identified as Natasha Ann Anderson, age 35, who set some bushes on the west side of the former Shopko property, which was also near a construction office trailer in the area of Chad Drive and Coburg Road, and then left the scene.

Eugene Springfield Fire responded to address the fire and Eugene Police began searching for Anderson. She was located in the 2800 block of Crescent and then going south on Shadowview, south of Crescent.

She had a baseball bat attached to her backpack and a taser was used to take her into custody at around 2:23 p.m. Anderson was lodged at the Lane County Jail on charges of Reckless Burning and Interfering with Peace Officer. It is case number 21-10862, and incident number 21179307.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-17 19:58:59Last Update: 2021-07-17 20:35:55

Fireworks Ban Proposed for Salem
“Soft power is the ability to get people to do what you want, just by asking."

The Salem City Council is poised to create a fireworks ban. Councilors Vanessa Nordyke and Trevor Phillips proposed the ban, which was introduced by Coundilor Nordyke, who said. "I move to direct staff to draft an ordinance prohibiting the sale and use of fireworks in the event of hazardous conditions during the Fourth of July holiday weekend."

Councilor Phillips gave a lengthy speech in favor of the ban. He said, "I'm of the opinion it's just easier and better if we take a simple stance of communicating what we want our residents to do...Our police and fire department have no way to enforce the ban, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't do it...Sometimes we forget that soft power is power and that's the ability to get people to do what you want, just by asking."

He also took occasion to link the proposed fireworks ban to global climate change saying, "This June was the hottest June in Oregon that humans have ever recorded. And that we have to get used to the fact that the rate of change is increasing so when you get these climate crisis events they're just going to get more frequent and more unpredictable."

Salem Fire Chief Mike Niblock was invited to give his thoughts on the matter, which amounted to schooling the council on law, history, power and science:

"When we talk about the legal fireworks...anything that file in the air has been illegal in Oregon for years. You only have to drive across the border into Washington or any Indian reservation to be able to purchase these fireworks. Many people do purchase them, and that's the main issue we have is the illegal fireworks that are already illegal that are being lit off."

"Our conditions here in Salem -- while we do have some drought conditions -- were minimal for large fire risk. This is from the national Pacific Northwest significant fire potential forecast. So, we look at the science, every year. I can show you a ten-year history of firework related fires in our town, and I think the largest year's loss we had was $7,000. This year we had five fires related to fireworks -- about $3,000 in property loss. So, the issue of fireworks are causing a lot of fires simply is not the case in Salem."

"What we don't do is look at global warming as a reason to do a firework ban. We look at actual weather forecasts in the city."

In the end, the Council voted to study the issue.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-17 18:34:42Last Update: 2021-07-18 16:14:23

3 Positions Open on Policy Coordinating Committee
Will advise Oregon Transportation Commission

Want to make a difference in transportation in Oregon?

The state's most comprehensive transportation planning document, the Oregon Transportation Plan, is getting an update, and one of the key committees is seeking three at-large members.

The goal is to have a wide variety of interests and experience reflected in the 20+ person Policy Coordinating Committee, with at-large members possibly representing youth, seniors or young families, or any other unique perspective. The committee will help advise the project team and the Oregon Transportation Commission.

“We’ll have a core membership representing the geographic and social diversity of Oregon, as well as a cross-section of interests such as active transportation, freight mobility, and climate,” said Amanda Pietz, ODOT’s Policy, Data and Analysis administrator. “We hope our at-large members will further broaden the lived experiences and diverse perspectives at the table.”

To express interest in the position:

It is due by 5 p.m., Friday, July 30.

For questions, contact Stacy Thomas at stacy.thomas@hdrinc.com or 503-784-2691.

A broad, overarching policy plan, the Oregon Transportation Plan gets updated every 15-20 years to reflect the latest trends and needs of the state's different transportation system users. The plan, also known as the OTP, sets priorities that can be influential in making investment decisions, and the update can include changes to the long-range vision, goals, policies and strategies that shape Oregon’s multimodal transportation system through 2050.

For a quick overview of the previous plan, see the Executive Summary of the 2006 OTP. To learn more about the process going forward, visit the OTP Update website.

NOTE: If selected for the Policy Coordinating Committee, ODOT will work with each member to determine eligibility and appropriate compensation in accordance with the agency’s new Equitable Engagement Compensation Policy.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-16 16:37:28Last Update: 2021-07-16 16:53:47

Trail Wars Escalate in Yamhill County
The deep state is seen circling the wagons

In an ongoing saga, the failed development of the Yamhelas-Westsider bike and pedestrian trail in Yamhill county has taken a political turn. A series of public records requests have revealed what both elected and non-elected officials have done to manipulate public opinion and sabotage the legal process in attempting to build a bike path at public expense through Exclusive Farm Use zoning without a Conditional Use Permit.

Over the course of the project, the State Land Use Board of Appeals has ruled five out of five times that this was an illegal action. They even awarded attorney’s fees on the fifth and final defeat handed the County. Feeling they can ignore the law, Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail, actively working with elected and non-elected County officials have continued to attempt to spend public dollars in a quest for a bike path.

A professionally written, misleading article by freelance writer Leah Sotille -- more a hit piece, than actual reporting -- appeared in Colorado-headquartered High Country Magazine highly critical of Commissioner Berschauer’s role in presiding over the last days of the trail. The problem with the article was all the pertinent facts were left out to mislead the reader.

A new player has emerged in the person of Phillip Higgins, a real estate broker from Newberg. Recent public records show that prior to February 3, 2021, he contacted a leftist freelance journalist named Leah Sotille to write a hit piece on County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer. Her crime? She’s favorable to Timber Unity, an Oregon-based natural resource and agricultural activist group.

Sottile emailed back to Higgins stating she knew little about the Trail controversy and asked him for information. Higgins emailed Sottile to engage her on the project. In a later email, Higgins told Sottile that the best source of information on the Trail was Carrie Martin, Grants Administrator. Higgins became part of the Trail group as an addition to emails, also obtained by FOIA, as early as 11/23/20. He was one of a group led by Commissioner Casey Kulla plotting to move a County leased property away from a private party to gain control of what they hoped would be a Trailhead.

The plot was thwarted through legal means. County Grants Administrator Carrie Martin had the idea “floated by” her in that email. Separately, Martin was caught speaking out of both sides of her mouth about timelines to complete a Trail bridge being built illegally with ODOT grant money.

In an email to ODOT on June 17, 2020 she stated it would be 15 days to completion. That was in response to an email concerning a Oregon Department of Justice finding that the County was in breach of the terms of the grant, the basis for termination. The Oregon Department of Justice and the Oregon Department of Transportation killed the Trail, but Martin was apparently trying to save it.

In another email to Commissioner Berschauer dated February 3, 2021, Martin stated it was 10 days to completion, but on that same day, she was in possession of a letter from the contractor, Farline, stating they were 70 days from completion. It was time for the Trail proponents, which includes County officials, to circle the wagons around Carrie Martin.

Back to Phillip Higgins. In a January 19, 2021 email to carriemartinconsulting and others he suggested a “strategy session” about “real honest war”. Higgins also suggested campaign ideas to use against the Commissioners who opposed the trail.

Commissioner Kulla stoked the fire stating that the use of publicly requested emails -- inferring it was the Carrie Martin emails -- was harassment. Apparently it’s just not fair to know what County officials are plotting to do with your tax dollars. The plan to beat up on Berschauer was hatched. She knew too much and had to be silenced. The High Country piece was heavy on details of Berschauer’s private life but totally lacking in substantive matters leading to the Trail’s demise through the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals.

Knowing that the author confessed to little knowledge of the Trail controversy and that she was told Carrie Martin was the best source of information on the subject it is quite possible that Martin is the one working hardest to circle the wagons around herself. Her consulting business works with firms who are vendors contracting to Yamhill County on projects involving grant money. She has more to lose than just her job. County Counsel Todd Sadlo is under investigation by the Oregon Bar for his role in advising the County to continue spending grant money on a project deemed illegal as long ago as three years. He too has more to lose than just his job. Both are potentially liable personally for violating ORS 294.100 regarding wanton and willful wasting of public funds.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-07-15 20:49:34Last Update: 2021-07-15 21:20:38

City of Portland Taking Control of 82nd Avenue
The road seems to be in a constant state of disrepair

The Oregon Legislature has approved $80 million in funding to the Oregon Department of Transportation for safety projects on 82nd avenue.

This funding also secures a future transfer of the highway from state to the local city government.

In a May 2021 agreement, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) agreed to a $185 million funding framework for eventual transfer of the roadway from state jurisdiction to local control under the city of Portland.

To address the safety issues described, roughly $95 million of the $185 million would be allocated directly toward safety improvements.

With the $80 million allocation from the legislature, ODOT and PBOT commit to making the additional investments necessary to reach the full cost to transfer. The agreement is slated to be finalized via Intergovernmental Agreement by January 2022.

“This historic funding and agreement brings real change for the thousands of residents that rely on this street. As a community organizer, I have spent the last 5+ years working on this issue." said Representative Khanh Pham (D-Portland).

82nd Avenue, also known as State Highway OR-213, is a defining roadway in Portland, however, it is also a dangerous road.

16 traffic-related deaths occurred on 82nd Avenue between 2007 and 2018. As recently as April 2021, two pedestrians were killed on 82nd Avenue.

Destinations like the Jade District and Montavilla are part of 82nd Avenue.

The road seems to be in a constant state of disrepair.

The ODOT/PBOT agreement would include the cost of bringing signals, lighting, ADA ramps (total $95 million), pavement ($78 million), and stormwater ($12 million) to state of good repair, and addressing some of the most urgent deficiencies in sidewalks and pedestrian crossings.

"Oregon Walks is dedicated to ensuring equitable outcomes along this road, not just in active transportation but also housing, economic development, place making, and safe access to schools and parks.” said Ashton Simpson, Executive Director at Oregon Walks

“This funding will transform 82nd Avenue from a dangerous dividing line into a safe, community-focused bridge,” said Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Portland).

This funding is within HB 5006, which already passed the the Oregon legislature and awaits Governor Kate Brown's signature. Once signed by the Governor, ODOT will begin implementation fall 2021.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-15 17:34:00Last Update: 2021-07-15 17:56:15

Salem Declares Health Care A Human Right
Designed to address only local actions that the Council can take

The Salem City Council has declared through a resolution passed unanimously that health care is a fundamental right. This occurred at their July 12 meeting.

The resolution declares that "individual wellbeing and public health both benefit when all members of a community have real, meaningful access to health care."

It commits the City Council to: The resolution is designed to address only local actions that the Council can take.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-14 17:58:05Last Update: 2021-07-14 21:34:38

Portland Winterhawks Rebrand
“We are so proud to finally have our own identity”

The Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, have revealed a new brand identity, including a new primary, secondary and wordmark logos, as well as a revised color scheme.

“We are so proud to finally have our own identity,” began Michael Kramer of Winterhawks Sports Group, owner and managing partner of the franchise. “We feel our new look is fresh and unique, one that we are excited about and believe our community will be as well.”

The club’s new primary logo, a right-facing hawk featured with a predominantly white head, also carries the tradition of former colors black and red. The new scheme adds “celly gold” and also squall gray, a color distinct to the new Winterhawks brand. The palette comes together on the bird to take place of an existing emblem that began representing the organization after being loaned in 1976.

Also featured on the bird head are two feathers, carrying the legacy of the franchise’s roots and serving as a subtle nod to the feathers in the previous logo. The bottom of the hawk’s head includes Mount Hood in the aforementioned new squall gray, an iconic mountain from the Cascade Range synonymous with the Portland area. Located within the Mount Hood figure are also the letters “W” and “H”, for further characterization of Winterhawks. The previous logo was the same one used by the Chicago Blackhawks.

“Under a new ownership group led by Michael Kramer and Kerry Preete, the Portland Winterhawks are embarking on a new chapter in franchise history, so it is only fitting they do so with a new primary logo design that truly represents Portland, the Pacific Northwest and its great fanbase,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “The Winterhawks have a long history of success in the Portland market and I am confident their passionate fans will embrace this fresh approach and unique design when the WHL Regular Season opens in October.”

The new brand identity was created in collaboration with Portland Gear, a local Portland-based company and designed by Brian Gundell, a University of Oregon graduate that has created work for NHL, MLB, NFL, MLS, MiLB, Adidas and Under Armour.

“We are very excited to played a role in the creation of a new identity for one of the Portland’s four major sports teams,” Marcus Harvey, owner of Portland Gear remarked. “This project was many months in the making and we’re thrilled to finally be able to showcase it.”

The refreshed color scheme can also be seen in the club’s new secondary logo, which features a revitalized edition of the “Portland P” that the team has utilized in the past. The logo will be worn on the team’s jerseys as a shoulder patch, with the P being in gold font at the forefront of two hockey sticks in squall gray. “Est. 1976” – a nod to the 45-year success of the franchise in The Rose City, one of the longest tenured in the WHL, is also included on the patch. “Winterhawks” can be seen hung in a banner atop the logo.

The team’s new identity goes into place effective immediately.

New Winterhawks brand gear is currently available for purchase at ShopWinterhawks.com

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-14 17:16:13Last Update: 2021-07-14 18:10:21

Kate Brown Appoints Klamath County Judge
Her appointment is effective immediately

Governor Kate Brown announced today that she will appoint Kelly Kritzer to the Klamath County Circuit Court to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Cameron Wogan. Kritzer currently serves as the probate commissioner and law clerk for the Klamath and Lake County Circuit Courts.

Her appointment is effective immediately.

“Kelly Kritzer’s experience has given her a deep familiarity with the varied work of the Klamath County Circuit Court, and will enable her to hit the ground running immediately,” said Governor Brown. “I am pleased to appoint her to the bench.”

Kritzer grew up in Michigan and earned her bachelor’s degree in 1991 from the University of Michigan.

Kritzer went to law school at Willamette University. After graduating in 2003, Kritzer served as a law clerk for the Klamath County Circuit Court for three years and then as a Klamath County Deputy District Attorney. After leaving the DA’s office, Kritzer went into private practice from 2008 to 2016. In 2017, she was hired into her current role as probate commissioner and law clerk, where she provides legal research and writing support for judges in Klamath and Lake Counties.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-14 17:11:53Last Update: 2021-07-14 17:43:51

Second Amendment Sanctuary Movement Spreads
Since 2015, more counties and cities have taken action

The Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance was a campaign drive in Oregon spearheaded by Rob Taylor that now encompasses 23 counties. He led a movement to get counties to adopt a Second Amendment sanctuary resolution in 2013-2015. It was the same Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance volunteers put on the ballot starting in 2018 using the initiative process.

The initial counties are Baker, Columbia, Coos, Curry, Douglas, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Linn, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa and Wheeler counties. Crook County was actually the first to release a Second Amendment Proclamation on May 15, 2013. It all started to come together in 2015 with eight additional counties passing various Second Amendment protections: Since 2015, more counties and cities have taken action. Supporters believe they have a legal defense against the state and federal government in the Constitution. The supporters of gun control laws argue that cities and counties cannot override state laws. But Rob Taylor says the current Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance was crafted by legal minds to withstand a court challenge. In two counties, Lincoln and Jackson, the voters rejected the initiative on the ballot last November.

Rob Taylor is hopeful of covering the state with Second Amendment protections that will have the effect of killing bills in the legislature.

It seems like the Portland riots have had more than one impact on the state.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-07-14 17:04:23Last Update: 2021-07-14 17:16:13

Small Explosions in Portland
Book exchange finally has books flying off the shelf...

On July 10, 2021 at about 11:33 p.m., Portland Police officers responded to the sound of a loud explosion in the area of Northeast 87th Avenue and Northeast Fremont Street.

Officers arrived and found a book exchange box had been destroyed.

There was debris of wood and books spread around the scene. Flying debris appeared to have caused minor damage to at least two residences, but nobody was injured.

On July 12, 2021 at about 1:18 a.m., officers responded to the sound of a loud explosion on Northeast 148th Avenue. When they arrived they found a brick mailbox enclosure and a mailbox near Northeast 148th Avenue and East Burnside Street had been destroyed. Debris landed up to one hundred feet away. Nobody was injured.

These incidents are under investigation by the Metropolitan Explosives Disposal Unit (EDU) and the Portland Fire Arson Investigations Unit.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-13 19:04:53Last Update: 2021-07-13 19:26:12

Kate Brown Invokes Emergency Conflagration Act
In response to Grandview Fire

Governor Kate Brown has announced that she has invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act in response to the Grandview Fire that broke out in Jefferson County on the afternoon of Sunday, July 11th.

The fire is estimated to be 2,000 acres in size and is located near Culver, where there are Level 3 evacuations in place.

The fire is threatening structures in Jefferson and Deschutes Counties. The Office of the State Fire Marshal Red Incident Management Team will assume unified command with the Oregon Department of Forestry, and will work to bring resources from counties around Oregon to assist in the response.

“With several large fires burning throughout Oregon, I want to reiterate how important it is for all Oregonians to be prepared and to remain vigilant about fire prevention, especially with activities that could spark fires," said Governor Brown.

In accordance with ORS 476.510-476.610, the Governor determined that a threat to life, safety, and property exist due to the fire, and the threat exceeds the firefighting capabilities of local firefighting personnel and equipment.

The Governor's declaration cleared the way for the State Fire Marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment to assist local resources battling the fire.

The Office of the State Marshal has mobilized a task-force from Marion County to address the immediate need on the Grandview Fire.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal’s Red Incident Management Team was also mobilized, along with three additional task-forces to support the protection of life and structures. OSFM personnel responded with a Communications Unit and a cache trailer loaded with incident support supplies, tools to enhance defensible space around structures, and other provisions firefighters need to inhabit a fire camp.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-12 18:55:34Last Update: 2021-07-12 19:08:17

State Epidemiologist is not an Epidemiologist
This doesn’t build confidence in their science

Epidemiology -- a field we hear a lot about these days -- is "the study and analysis of the distribution, patterns and determinants of health and disease conditions in defined populations." You might be surprised to find out that the State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger -- the one who Governor Kate Brown often turns to during press conferences, etc. -- is not, in fact, an epidemiologist. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Epidemiologists typically need at least a master’s degree. The degree may be in a range of fields or specializations, although a master’s degree in public health with an emphasis in epidemiology is common. Epidemiologists who direct research projects—including those who work as postsecondary teachers in colleges and universities—often have a Ph.D. or medical degree in their chosen field.

Dr. Sidelinger's official bio lists his current position with the state of Oregon, his professional experience, and his education, but no ties to the field of epidemiology:

Dean Sidelinger, MD, MSEd, FAAP is the Health Officer and State Epidemiologist for the Oregon Public Health Division. In this role he supports public health practice, programs, and staff.

Prior to joining the Oregon Health Authority, Dr. Sidelinger served as the Child Health Medical Officer and Interim Deputy Public Health Officer for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). In this role, he helped provide strategic direction for HHSA programs that impacted children and public health through the County’s vision, Live Well San Diego, to help all County residents be healthy, be safe, and thrive. He worked across programs in behavioral health, child welfare, early childhood, eligibility operations, and public health. In addition, Dr. Sidelinger worked with multiple partners in the community from the education, health, and social service sectors.

Dr. Sidelinger obtained his undergraduate degree in chemistry and medical degree from Georgetown University. He completed his pediatric internship and residency at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and a fellowship in Community Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego. He also has a Master’s in Education from the University of Southern California.

Sidelinger has been all over the place with his epidemiological conclusions. As an example, with regards to schools being the source of infection, he's quickly flip-flopped. In April, KATU News in Portland quoted Dr. Sidelinger, saying:

"Studies from around the world and experience throughout the country shows schools are not a driver of COVID-19 transmission," Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the state health officer and state epidemiologist for Oregon, said.

A few weeks later, in early May, KBND News, in Bend reported

Oregon State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger says most of the recent spike in Covid cases statewide can be traced to kids returning to school. He says only three percent of Covid cases are tied to restaurants and bars in the state - despite the tighter dining restrictions imposed by the Governor. Of the 257 new outbreaks during the last week in Oregon, Dr. Sidelinger says 30 percent were attributed to single case outbreaks associated with schools, 12 percent were attributed to two or more case outbreaks associated with schools, and four and a half percent of cases were attributed to recreational sports and sports teams.

This is surprising, as much of the epidemiological evidence indicates that the source of infections has not been schools. Perhaps the teachers' unions got to him.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-11 09:22:37Last Update: 2021-07-11 10:03:03

Is Lack of Information, Misinformation?
Lack of information tells a bigger story

As Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen handed over a $1,000,000.00 check to McMinnville resident Chloe Zinda as the winner of the Take Your Shot, Oregon campaign to increase COVID-19 vaccination participation, the state has been largely silent on the possible effects of taking the vaccine.

With thirty-one data dashboards on OHA website devoted to COVID-19, not one dashboard devoted adverse side effects -- including death data. More young people have died from the vaccine than the virus in Oregon, but not a mention of that on state government websites.

You can find graphs and charts for a myriad of data, including Lineage Prevalence Over Time -- where a curious citizen can follow the rise and fall of the Delta variant -- on the OHA site, but nothing that would help a concerned Oregonian make an informed decision about whether or not to get the vaccine, by presenting data about the risks, including death data.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services operates a database of Adverse Events that correlate to vaccine administration. This database lists 4,465 reports of adverse events following administration of a COVID vaccine -- 45 of which resulted in death. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, known as VAERS, by it's own admission doesn't even have reports for all events. "VAERS is a passive reporting system, meaning that reports about adverse events are not automatically collected, but require a report to be filed to VAERS. 'Underreporting' is one of the main limitations of passive surveillance systems, including VAERS. The term, underreporting refers to the fact that VAERS receives reports for only a small fraction of actual adverse events."

State and federal governments have access to the most complete set of data on any health related issue, including adverse vaccine events. For some citizens making decisions, it is incumbent on these governments to provide as honest and complete picture of what "taking the shot" truly means. Such data might be worth -- who knows -- a million dollars.

--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-07-10 19:28:14Last Update: 2021-07-10 19:42:55

COVID Vaccines Coming to Oregon Schools
Parent permission may not be required

According to documents recently released by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), vaccine clinics and mask wearing will remain a significant part of Oregon school-children's daily lives.

This is despite the state's Governor recently announcing that Oregon is "fully open".

Bureaucratic restrictions supposedly to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 are having a hard time going away.

It remains to be seen how motivated the state teacher's union will be in getting the teachers back to actually teaching in classrooms, the Oregon Education Association has been hesitant to return to normal, and Oregon has much slack to pick up regarding education rates. Some parents of those school children are quickly losing faith in the public education system.

The recently released "Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework for the 2021-22 School Year" lays out that there will be an aggressive agenda continuing into Fall of 2021 and possibly beyond, to vaccinate school children.

It is stated within the document that under OHA guidance, 15, 16, and 17 year old children do not need their parent's permission to get the experimental Covid-19 vaccine.

Parental or guardian consent is required to vaccinate people 12-14 years old, but the parental or guardian consent requirement does not necessarily mean a parent or guardian must go with the youth to receive the vaccination. Written consent may be obtained in advance.

Mask wearing will also be heavily promoted. The language describing the policy reads as follows:

"OHA and ODE strongly advise face coverings for all students in grades kindergarten and up, and all staff when students are inside the building. Certain accommodations for medical needs or disability may be necessary."

"When students falter in adhering to your district’s or school’s face covering policy, center grace and patience and reteach the expectation. Refrain from implementing consequences that deny access to instruction as a result of these challenges. Schools and teams should continually provide instruction and positive reinforcement to help all students adapt to the changes in school facilities while ensuring punitive measures are not the methodology to remind, motivate and reinforce healthy practices."

"Per OHA guidance, it is acceptable for both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people to be outdoors without a face covering."

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-10 14:25:48Last Update: 2021-07-11 09:07:30

Oregon Health Authority Numbers Game
CDC “estimates” flu and COVID-19 death statistics

Photo documentation daily in the first three weeks of Governor Kate Brown’s March 2020 shutdown showed Portland/Vancouver metro area Emergency Rooms, Urgent Care, MASH tents and COVID-19 test sites were empty with at times one, two, three cars at a test site. A neighbor at Providence Hospital test site confirmed the test site consistently looked like this in the photo. The number of people in Emergency Rooms and Urgent Cares followed the same pattern. MASH tent pattern showed only empty MASH tents.

Even less busy was the Oregon Convention Center COVID-19 test site even though it had three electronic signs telling the public they were a test site. The local news reported this test site was only for OSHU employees. Some folks wonder why OSHU employees would have to drive down the hill to get a test. The day vaccinations started in February 2021, the test site closed permanently.

Some Oregonians have a question as to where in Multnomah County did 1,240,299 people go to get tested? Where did over a million people go to get the reported number of tests, given the documentation that test sites were few to none getting tested?

The CDC “estimates” the number of flu and COVID-10 deaths on their website. CDC reports that 95% of COVID-19 deaths had comorbidity issues and the other 5% comorbidity was not mentioned but CDC assumes those 5% had comorbidity as well. Did mainstream media look at these numbers on the CDC website? Why did 274,485 flu and pneumonia deaths not make the news?

--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-07-09 20:20:07Last Update: 2021-07-10 07:58:25

Scharf to be Sworn In
She will join a long list of appointed leaders

This week, a near-unanimous decision from County Commissioners for Benton, Marion, Polk and Yamhill Counties selected Anna Scharf to fill the vacant position as Representative of House District 23. She will be officially sworn in as the newest State Representative July 12 at 11:00am in the Chamber of the House of Representatives.

“It’s an honor to be selected to represent my friends and neighbors of House District 23,” said Representative-designee Anna Scharf. “I look forward to continuing my service for these communities, now as their State Representative, and working with people across the district to empower their voices in Salem.”

Anna Scharf previously worked as a policy analyst in the office of District 23, working on behalf of constituents on a variety of legislative issues. Scharf works for Scharf Farms in Polk County, owned by her husband’s family.

Of the current sitting members, 13 -- including Scharf -- were originally appointed to their seats, which is 21.6%. With over 1/5 of the current members being appointed by county commissioners and then able to run as incumbents, some observers see this as a significant gap in accountability to actual voters.

RepresentativeAppointment Date
Representative Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles)2017-11-28
Representative Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville)2019-08-13
Representative Paul Holvey (D-Eugene)2004-01-23
Representative Gary Leif (R-Roseburg)2018-05-09
Representative Rick Lewis (R-Silverton)2017-02-23
Representative Raquel Moore-Green (R-Salem)2019-07-25
Representative Rob Nosse (D-Portland)2014-07-07
Representative Mark Owens (R-Crane)2020-01-30
Representative Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego)2017-09-18
Representative Anna Scharf (R-Amity)2021-06-06
Representative Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland)2014-01-15
Representative Andrea Valderrama (D-Portland) 2021-04-01
Representative Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie)2005-01-27
*In 2016, Rep. Gail Whitsett effectively created an appointment when she filed for re-election, withdrew at the last
minute and E. Werner Reschke filed for her seat, again, at the last minute.

For Republicans, who serve in the minority and are probably more prone to get frustrated and leave (or be subject to expulsion) seven out of 23, or 30.4% were originally appointed.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-09 09:54:16Last Update: 2021-07-09 10:34:17

Cautionary Tale Regarding Improvised Fireworks
Man loses fingers in Eugene

On July 5, near midnight, there was an explosion at a residence in the 1300 block of Chambers Street in Eugene, Oregon.

Eugene Police Fireworks Patrol and Eugene Springfield Fire responded. An adult male was immediately transported, and EPD fireworks patrol conducted a welfare check for other victims. No other victims were located.

The man had improvised fireworks using Tannerite powder. He had just mixed it and moments later it exploded, tearing off some fingers and seriously injuring his hand.

Each year, there are hand injuries and trips to the emergency room. This incident is a good reminder about how dangerous fireworks and explosives can be.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-09 06:06:08Last Update: 2021-07-08 19:27:09

Portland is Getting More Dangerous
Number of Shootings Continues to Escalate in Portland

Portland Police officers responded to at least four shootings through the morning hours of July 8, 2021.

Among the shooting incidents, one person was shot, and residences were struck by bullets.

At about 2:55 a.m., officers heard gunshots in the Hazelwood neighborhood near Northeast 102nd Avenue and East Burnside Street (case 21-185779). They went into the area and found that an apartment on Northeast 102nd Avenue had been hit. There was nobody inside when officers arrived and nobody appeared to have been injured. Officers found more than 10 cartridge casings at the scene.

At about 4:04 a.m., officers responded to the report of shots fired in the Centennial neighborhood, near the 16000 block of Southeast Alder Street (case 21-185801). They arrived to find that two separate apartments had been struck by bullets, although nobody was injured. Officers found more than 10 cartridge casings at the scene.

At about 4: 52 a.m., officers responded to the report of shots in the Montavilla neighborhood, near Southeast 89th Avenue and Southeast Hawthorne Street (21-185814). Officers arrived and found that a residence and a vehicle had been hit by bullets, but nobody was injured. Officers found at least 20 cartridge casings at the scene.

At about 7:09 a.m., officers responded to the report of shots in the Reed neighborhood, near Southeast 28th Avenue and Southeast Holgate Boulevard (case 21-185866). Officers arrived and found a person at the gas station suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. That victim was transported by ambulance to the hospital. Officers secured the crime scene and searched the area for a suspect. The Enhanced Community Safety Team (ECST) responded to investigate.

Just days before, over 80 shots were fired in a Saturday night shooting with local apartments and cars hit by bullets.

Each of these cases is an open investigation and any additional information will be released at the direction of the investigators.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-08 16:44:22Last Update: 2021-07-08 16:53:18

Kate Brown Joins Biden’s Council of Governors
Council addresses matters pertaining to national defense

The Biden-Harris administration has named Governor Kate Brown to the President’s Council of Governors.

The Council of Governors) was created by the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 and formally established by Executive Order 13528, issued on January 11, 2010 by the Obama administration.

The Council is intended to serve as a mechanism for governors and key federal officials to address matters pertaining to the National Guard, homeland defense and defense support to civil authorities.

The Council consists of 10 governors appointed by the President – five from each party – with two governors serving as co-chairs. The Executive Order specifically names a number of federal participants in the Council, including the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, the President’s Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, the Commander of U.S. Northern Command and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, among others.

“I would like to thank President Biden for appointing me to this council,” said Governor Brown. “Oregon, like other states, has faced a growing list of unprecedented challenges in the last 18 months, and strong state-federal partnerships are critical for our preparedness and response efforts. I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow governors to bring forward issues of mutual concern, and ensure that we are working together in a bipartisan way to solve challenges and advance innovative solutions in the interest of national security.”

President’s Council of Governors will now consist of the following members: Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s term expires in 2022.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-08 14:05:38Last Update: 2021-07-08 14:31:53

Oregon Spends $2.97 million on Homelessness in Bend
Project Turnkey costs $65 million overall

The Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) has announced that the City of Bend was awarded $2.97 million in state funding from Project Turnkey to purchase a motel property and remodel it for use as a managed transitional shelter. Located at 2346 NE Division St., the City officially closed on the property on July 7. The City will open the shelter after remodeling the 8,895 square-foot building and making improvements to the property. Once remodeled, Project Turnkey-Bend will provide 28 rooms for shelter use.

“We are thrilled to receive Project Turnkey funding through OCF,” said Bend City Councilor Megan Perkins.

The City will work with people currently residing at the property to ensure they maintain stable housing while the property is being remodeled. The City is working with NeighborImpact to provide case management for any of the current residents who would like support services.

Beginning on July 8, City staff will visit nearby businesses and residences to share information about Project Turnkey-Bend.

A community open house will be held in July and include an overview of Project Turnkey-Bend, what the City’s plans are for remodeling and improving the property, information on how the shelter will be managed, an overview of the services that may be offered at the shelter, and an opportunity to ask City staff questions about the new shelter. The date, time and location for the open house will be announced later this month and posted on the City’s Project Turnkey webpage.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-08 12:46:37Last Update: 2021-07-08 13:03:28

City of Salem Lifting Restrictions
In-person services resume

​With Oregon's recent announcement lifting all Coronavirus restrictions, the City of Salem will open all in-person services July 19, 2021. City buildings, previously closed or modified, will re- open to the public on or before July 19, 2021, including Salem's Civic Center, Municipal Court lobby, Salem Police Department lobby, Center 50 + and the Salem Public Library.

Per the Governor's executive order rescinding the wearing of masks and social distancing, all City employees and guests, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, are free to remove their facial coverings in City buildings. Hand sanitizer will be available. Employees and guests should continue to self-monitor regularly for signs of illness. Some city departments, including, Public Works, Fire, and Public Safety had provided some in-person services throughout the lock-down, other staff and programs delivered services only virtually.

"After 15 months, it is my pleasure to welcome everyone back to City Hall on-site and in- person." said City Manager Steve Powers.

The City of Salem will continue to maintain online access to information and services.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-08 10:41:55Last Update: 2021-07-08 11:13:09

Commissioner Berschauer’s Statement on the Vacancy Appointment
“I do not believe that Mike Nearman has a mean bone in his body.”

Eidtor's note: The following statement was delivered by Yamhill County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer at the joint meeting of the HD 23 commissioners to appoint a replacement to fill the vacancy in the district

“[Polk County] Chair Pope and fellow Commissioners,

This is a very tough decision for us to make. I have supported Mike Nearman in the past and appreciate his dedication to conservative values. He thrives when he is able to empower Oregonians to be directly involved in their government whether it be ballot measures, analyzing campaign data, or training folks to be better candidates at all levels. He helped with my election for county commissioner. And I am thankful for his service to our state. I am committed to helping him get Referendum 301 on the ballot so voters can repeal Senate Bill 554 and stand up for the rights of lawfully abiding firearm owners and carriers. I believe Mike Nearman has a significant role to play in the future.

I do not agree with the decision he made on that fateful day. We have all been frustrated with the Capitol closure over the past year. Citizens were shut out of the process and even as Commissioners it was difficult to navigate tracking bills or providing testimony. On several occasions, my testimony was deleted from the online archive only days after providing it. I watched Democratic legislators prioritize the testimony of lobbyists and friendly groups over opposition and cut off access before testimony was complete. To be blunt, this last legislative session was a sham devoid of fair and direct public input and Oregonians should hold House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senate President Peter Courtney responsible for rigging the process. Taxes on small businesses, ridiculous firearms restrictions and damaging natural resource policies all passed and Oregonians were kept in the dark. I hope I never see another legislative session like this again.

I made it a priority to attend the House District 23 PCP nominating meeting. I wanted to listen and feel the emotion and frustration of the PCPs in that room. I know that emotion well. Mike Nearman received the most votes that night and is number one on the list for appointment. The emails that have followed have been immense. Thousands of people have weighed in. And we’ve done our best to sort through the feedback and process what’s in front of us.

To answer the question: Should the voters in HD 23 have been in control of Rep. Nearman’s fate? The answer is yes. However, the political reality of that building has landed us here. I contacted some of Mike Nearman’s colleagues to make sure I understood the reasons behind their unanimous vote to expel him from the legislature. They were upset about the incident and felt that Mike was not forthcoming with information that affects them too. They felt they had no choice but to vote to expel since the trust relationship had been broken. I am not passing judgment on this either way, I just think the story of what happened from the caucus’ perspective is relevant in this decision.

Worth noting is that 6 of the 10 candidates for this position stated during the PCP meeting that they would have voted to expel Mike Nearman. While this question was a tough one, I appreciated seeing the honesty and empathy in the responses. Particularly, Anna Scharf impressed me when she was honest about her disagreement with Mike’s decisions and after the questioning was over she had a tearful exchange with Debby Nearman because she loves and cares about them. This is what I look for in a leader. Someone who sticks to their principles even when it puts them at odds with their friends, but maintains decency and respect. While I like Mike Nearman and his wife Debby immensely, I cannot vote to reappoint Mike.

On a basic level, the job of a State Representative is to work to further the goals of the district and help protect against harmful legislation. It means you are the conduit between the State and main street. I do not believe that Mike Nearman will be in a position to effectively do this job, should he be reappointed. He may not be allowed to caucus with his colleagues, Tina Kotek will not allow him to serve on committee assignments, or allow him to further his own bills. A vote to send Nearman back to Salem is effectively saying “we don’t care that HD 23 won’t have active representation”. It’s a vote that says “it’s okay for a legislator to not have a seat at the table and for Tina Kotek to punish this district over her disdain for Mike Nearman”. Colleagues, that rationale would never be acceptable for any of us in our positions.

At the end of the day, I do not believe that Mike Nearman has a mean bone in his body. I do not believe that he ever intended for people to be harmed. But we have to consider the political reality in front of us. Mike is still facing criminal proceedings and the consequence of sending him back to Salem means a diminished capacity to do his job. Tina Kotek will make this community suffer, and I’m not okay with that.

I have narrowed my focus to two candidates, Anna Scharf and John Swanson. Ultimately, Anna Scharf was the only candidate to mention Timber Unity in her speech. That tells me she understands grassroots frustration, their importance, the policies that intersect with working families and knows how to navigate the pressure points inside and outside the Capitol. I believe she will serve HD 23 very well.”

--Yamhill County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer

Post Date: 2021-07-08 06:54:21Last Update: 2021-07-06 22:41:59

Governor Kate Brown’s Words
The Governor needs to learn we the people’s approval is required

Through the accelerated learning process in the last year-and-a-half by citizens and by businesses Kate Brown may soon learn that we the people approval is not only needed but required.

Through the on-going years the increasing word mash from government has smashed and bashed American citizens including Oregonians bringing on cognitive dissonance as elected and unelected government officials violated the Oregon Constitution including Section 21 that is a “shall” that “...acts are plainly worded...”.

On June 25, the Governor gave Oregonians her next Executive Order, nine more pages of her words. Nine pages and none are searchable using the control-F feature and there is no index. This is a longstanding pattern for state governments whether in Oregon or Washington State.

It brings such cognitive dissonance to Oregonians, such confusion that one business owner was asked how the state of Oregon, the governor and or administrative agencies contacted him, how did he know what the “rules” were for his restaurant? The owner said that he had no contact from any of them directly. And nothing in the mail. Their obedience to the governor came from watching the news. On page nine, her last page of her EO Kate Brown added:

Legal Effect. This Executive Order is issued under the authority conferred to the Governor by ORS 401.236, and, pursuant to ORS 401.192, has the full force and effect of law.

In all the governor’s executive orders she never copies into the body of the Executive Order the actual laws of Oregon including this most imperative, vital and is a “must” and “shall” section of the law, ORS 401.165:

Any proclamation of a state of emergency must specify the geographical area covered by the proclamation. Such area shall be no larger than necessary to effectively respond to the emergency.

A county is not a geographical area, counties are man-made political areas.

The governor never addresses ORS 401.165(5) subsection of the law. Governors whether in Oregon or Jay Inslee in Washington State hope citizens do not go look up the laws. Repeatedly thrown at the citizen are the words rules, guidance, suggestions, mandates, requirements, policies etc. But if any of those violate law, they are null and void.

Restore Washington took Governor Jay Inslee to court with the outcome being in July of 2020:

“The Governor finally admitted what we have always known: he doesn’t have the authority to enforce these so-called mandates. If businesses or individuals like his recommendations, they can comply, but as he told the United States District Court, he can’t make you follow his foolish edicts. After this ruling from the Court, Governor Inslee has to publicly admit what he has told the Courts over and over: his Proclamations are suggestions only.”

Why then did OSHA in Oregon and Labor and Industries in Washington State continue to contact businesses and issue them fines?

--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-07-07 15:42:41Last Update: 2021-07-07 16:09:59

BLM Imposes Fire Restrictions in Washington
Prohibits all campfires and target shooting

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Spokane District will increase fire restrictions on public lands administered by the BLM and the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) in eastern Washington. The fire restrictions order has been modified to prohibit the building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, including charcoal briquette fires, even when contained within provided metal rings.

The temporary ban will take effect July 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. in the following counties: Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman, and Yakima.

The new restrictions are expected to be in effect until fire conditions change. The agency is encouraging target shooters to visit local private and public target range facilities during this time.

In addition to prohibiting all campfires and target shooting, restrictions on the use of off-road vehicles, and smoking are also prohibited on public lands administered by the BLM and the BOR in eastern Washington. The complete modified fire restriction order can be found online here.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-07 14:28:10Last Update: 2021-07-07 15:07:10

Local Farmer Appointed to Succeed Nearman
Anna Scharf was also his policy analyst.

Polk County Farmer Anna Scharf has been appointed to fill the seat to replace expelled State Representative Mike Nearman in House District 23. She has worked in the past as a policy analyst for Nearman

Scharf was the overwhelming choice of the eleven County Commissioners from the counties that House District 23 spans. She garnered support from a wide range of ideological and regional diversity.

The vote by the commissioners was seen by some as a rejection of the will of the people who voted four times to put Nearman in office and supported his nomination by a large margin at the convention of precinct committee persons, who put his name at the top of a list of nominees from which the commissioners picked.

"While I know this is a blow to many who supported me, I'm happy with the choice made by the commissioners," said Nearman. "She knows this district well and above all, she's a principled person who will reflect the values of the West Willamette Valley." Mike Nearman and John Swanson each received the vote of one commissioner. Scharf received the rest of the votes from participating commissioners.

It is most likely that her first official duties as State Representative will come in an expected special session in late September to vote on redistricting.

CommissionerVoted For
Benton County Commissioner Xan AugerotJohn Swanson
Benton County Commissioner Pat MaloneAnna Scharf
Benton County Commissioner Nancy WyseAnna Scharf
Marion County Commissioner Danielle BethelAnna Scharf
Marion County Commissioner Colm Willisabsent
Marion County Commissioner Kevin CameronAnna Scharf
Polk County Commissioner Mike AinsworthAnna Scharf
Polk County Commissioner Craig PopeAnna Scharf
Polk County Commissioner Lyle MordhorstAnna Scharf
Yamhill County Commissioner Mary StarrettMike Nearman
Yamhill County Commissioner Lindsay BerschauerAnna Scharf
Yamhill County Commissioner Casey KullaAnna Scharf

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-06 17:11:29Last Update: 2021-07-07 20:20:07

New Dental Director in Oregon
Will focus on inequities

The Oregon Health Authority’s Health Policy and Analytics Division has a new dental director who joined the agency on July 6.

Dr. Kaz Rafia has dental experience with Partnership for International Medical Access-Northwest, academics at OHSU, private practice, and leadership at Permanente Dental Associates.

“I am pleased to have Dr. Rafia join our team and know that he will serve an important role as we work towards eliminating health inequities in Oregon,” said Dana Hargunani, MD, MPH, OHA’s Chief Medical Officer. “Further integrating oral health into our health care system is a high priority, and we believe he will bring great knowledge and passion to that work.”

Dr. Rafia gave the following statement:

“I am honored to be joining the OHA policy team and very much look forward to applying all that I’ve learned over my career towards advancing oral health policy on behalf of all people in Oregon,” he said. “We know that good oral health care is largely synonymous with good overall health care, and the inequities that we see in this area must also be tackled with diligence and passion.”

As OHA Dental Director, Dr. Rafia will be responsible for: Dr. Rafia is a graduate of the Ohio State University College of Dentistry, OHSU hospital dental residency, and the MBA program at University of Illinois. He claims he will earn his MPH from Johns Hopkins University in early 2022.

The OHA claims it's focus will be on the root causes of health inequities. Dr. Rafia will lead this effort and will also work with the Oregon Legislature to pass more laws.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-06 15:03:47Last Update: 2021-07-06 18:36:42

Kate Brown Appoints Clackamas County Judge
Judge Douglas Van Dyk is retiring

Governor Kate Brown has announced that she will appoint Cody Weston to the Clackamas County Circuit Court to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Douglas Van Dyk.

“Cody Weston brings an incredible depth of experience in both public service and private practice, and I am pleased to appoint him to join the Clackamas County bench” said Governor Brown.

Weston grew up in Dallas, Oregon. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 1991, he joined the Marines as an infantry officer and served as a platoon commander. While in the Marines, Weston obtained his law degree from the University of Oregon. As a military lawyer, he first served as a JAG prosecutor handling criminal matters, and then as a staff judge advocate, advising deployed Marines on a wide variety of civil legal issues, including family law, consumer law, wills, and trusts. He authored and co-authored a number of publications about military justice and other military legal issues. After separating from the Marines in 2004 with an honorable discharge, Weston returned home to Oregon with his family, settling in Clackamas County. He joined the law firm of Perkins Coie in Portland, rising to lead the national firm’s business litigation group. Weston’s practice at Perkins Coie has focused primarily on commercial civil litigation, but he has also earned recognition for his work representing a Guantanamo detainee.

Weston’s appointment is effective immediately.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-07-06 13:39:40Last Update: 2021-07-06 13:53:06

OSHA’s Top 25 Fines, Year-to-Date
A whopping $444,400 for willful violations

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration -- known as Oregon OSHA -- lists the top 25 standards violations for 2021 so far and -- surprise -- the top violation listed is OAR 437-001-0744(3), which are the COVID-19 Requirements for All Workplaces.

OSHA's top 25 lists a total of $469,765 for COVID-19 workplace violations for 2021 with $24,125 of those levied as serious fines, $1,240 as repeat fines and a whopping $444,400 as willful violations. No other violation listed in OSHA's top 25 has any fines levied for willful violations, including fall protection, ladder use, and minimum supplies for a first-aid kit, to name just a few.

For over a year, Oregon OSHA has been the Governor's enforcement team, and at times it seemed that as the science was weak and the arm of the government was strong, the punitive regime seemed to reflect more of a desire to consolidate power than to promote safety. If we were "all in this together" OSHA seemed to not be part of the "we."

SB 738 was introduced in the Senate by Senators Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and Bill Hansel (R-Athena) which would have prohibited the assessment of a civil penalty or fine for a violation of state occupational or health measure if no disease outbreak of COVID-19 occurred as result of the violation and rescinded such civil penalties and fines assessed against employers. It did not get a hearing.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-05 07:06:28Last Update: 2021-07-03 21:52:33

Dirty Voter Rolls
“Of the 56 known bugs or problems, eight have been completed”

Janice Dysinger, President of Oregonians for Fair Elections, is a member of the newly formed Clean Voter Rolls Petition Committee that has filed Referendum 302 which would veto HB 2681, introduced by Representative Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis). Their website, CleanVoterRolls.com, provides a printable petition and explains why a referendum is needed:

Oregon voter rolls will become dirty and bloated if we allow recently passed Legislative House Bill 2681 to go into effect. No one will be taken off the active voter rolls even if their address is wrong or they have not voted for any period of time, that is, 10, 20, 30 years or more. It will be easier to cheat with dirty voter rolls. Clean voter rolls are the hallmark of good elections.

The US Election Assistance Commission answers the question, “Why is voter registration list maintenance important?”

“Maintaining accurate voter registration lists is essential to protecting election integrity. Americans deserve an election system that produces an accurate result based on each eligible voter casting a single ballot in their proper jurisdiction. Maintaining an accurate voting roll enfranchises voters because it lowers the likelihood of lines at the polls, reduces voter confusion and decreases the number of provisional ballots. Updated records also allow election administrators to plan, to better manage their budget and poll workers, and to improve voter experience.”

Oregon has gone from a 5-year maintenance plan to 10 years allowing inactivity before removing an inactive voter. The NVRA suggests a 4-year cycle and then names should be removed. HB 2681 will remove the 10-year safeguard. Students that registered at local colleges and universities will never have their voter record updated from the dorms. Apartment dwellers and others will have numerous ballots delivered to them from the previous residents, and adult care centers will get flooded with ballots every election.

Dysinger has worked on election integrity issues since 2014, and notes that people often do not notify the Elections Division when they move out of state. New people at that address rarely notify the Elections Division that the person is no longer living there.

She sees HB 2681 as costing taxpayers a lot more to send out ballots to addresses that are no longer accurate for that voter. But mostly, she sees an increase in facilitating voter fraud opportunities. It compromises protected voter status by delivering mail to an address that is no longer, but once was a valid address.

Voters have shown that they want clean voter rolls by supporting voter ID. A Rasmussen Poll from a national telephone and online survey finds that 75% of likely U.S. voters believe voters should be required to show photo identification such as a driver’s license before being allowed to vote. Only 21% are opposed to such a requirement. “It is seldom that we find this much agreement by so many American people,” Dysinger said.

Is our Secretary of State internet system technology producing fair and honest elections? Former Election Director, Steve Trout’s letter to both SOS candidates last election cycle brought Oregon’s election security system vulnerability into question. Then, the Elections Division Transition Document identified major technology challenges in elections from old and out of date systems that are no longer supported.

“Of the 56 known bugs or problems, eight have been completed, eight have failed leaving 40 not done. Many of these projects have been talked about and/or worked on for years but never finished. Most of the projects that have been completed in the past couple of years have had to be undone because there were changes made that resulted in breaking other things. Elections Division staff has a lack of confidence in IT services and is frustrated that whenever a project is undertaken it often makes things worse.”

What is the real reason for HB 2681? Whatever it is, political or technical, it won’t make voters feel more confident in election results.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-07-04 08:02:09Last Update: 2021-07-03 21:15:59

Meet DiDi Ride Sharing of China
A sliding scale of rates based on loyalty to party policies

During the 2020 session, the Oregon Legislature failed to pass HB 4068, a which would have required that the Department of Consumer and Business Services amend the state building code to require that new construction of certain buildings include electrical service capacity for a specified percentage of parking spaces. It passed the House, but never made it to the Senate floor for a vote as the short session ended. Though it failed, it reveals the appetite that state government has for manipulating our transportation choices.

A continent away, DiDi ride sharing of China was pleased with the successful IPO launch that brought in $70 billion this past week, mostly from U.S. investors seeking investments in green corporations.

This massive infusion of cash enables the company to realize many of its policies immediately. The Harmony Program presents users with a sliding scale of rates based on loyalty to party policies. The greater the loyalty to Party goals the lower the rate. When more than one person occupies the vehicle, the rate will reflect that assigned the least loyal of the passengers. Face recognition will register each passenger automatically eliminating time consuming paperwork and expedite billing. Tipping is forbidden. Onboard cameras and recording devices will assure passengers of harmonious relations with their driver.

As the fleet moves quickly to 100% Autonomous Vehicle, stress in relating to drivers will be eliminated. When most citizens are relieved of mastering driving skills, new efficiencies may be pursued in endeavors more critical than personal mobility. The 100% AV Didi fleet will then join the national fleet of all electric vehicles by 2030. Vehicles requiring human drivers will file simple trip plans using GPS coordinates that manage potential congestion. Assuring congestion free travel is easy as any vehicle straying from its trip plan route will be guided to a nearby quarantine site and then lose power. Vehicles with records of responsible use will recharge at official stations that read vehicle codes via satellite.

From weekly travel plans filed its easy to determine allowable travel distance remaining until recharging then calculate time to recharge and schedule a visit to the nearest available charging station.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-07-04 06:53:29Last Update: 2021-07-03 19:31:00

The Oregon Wizard of Oz
Businesses always had the power

Some Oregon businesses remained open throughout 2020-2021 by taking their rights of due process without taking OSHA or Oregon governor Kate “The Wizard of Oz” Brown to court.

Throughout Brown’s many television appearance edicts that violated the Oregon emergency law, ORS 401.165(5), she acted as though Oregonians would obey her words. Some Oregon businesses kept it simple, business owners who knew their rights, and owners did so without going to court and it cost them no money. As the Good Witch said in the Wizard of Oz, “You always had the power my dear.”

Some businesses strategically learned; it is not required to immediately answer a state government employee’s email question about a complaint allegation. The OSHA complaint allegation put to one business was “Are you open?” The business owner’s response was to thank OSHA for their email then to request this information from OSHA:

“To respond comprehensively, cogently, and cooperatively I request documents to review, consider, evaluate, and analyze regarding Complaint #______.

Please send hard copies of the following & specifically highlight subsections of these laws you deem applicable to #________ and highlight them in yellow:

  1. The United States Constitution
  2. The Oregon Constitution
  3. Federal Civil Rights laws
  4. Oregon State Law

Hard copies are necessary if by chance the state of Oregon issues to me some other legal document then you and I both have hard copies of the same document where both documents, the original to me; and the copy that stays with you then we both have the same highlighted sections/subsections of law showing your decision as an Oregon government worker the legal decision you made that applied to this complaint allegation.

Please consult with your attorney before sending the materials. I could locate no information as to who the OSHA attorneys are that provided you legal advice prior to you as a government worker taking this action of contacting me about a complaint”.

That business owner never heard from OSHA again. Eight months now and OSHA has been quiet as a mouse. A template was created from that success and shared with other businesses and citizens to share far and wide in meetings and on social media that American citizens have foundational rights, that a “rule” shall not violate law and a business can take their God given rights without spending money or going to court.

State government agencies only have the trappings, the illusion of power and state government employees fervently hope businesses and citizens will go along with that illusion, and not pull back that Wizard of Oz curtain and know, “You had the power all along, my dear.”

Given the accelerated learning of businesses in 2021 that their due process rights can be used without stepping into a courtroom and with zero cost to the business owner, some consider it unwise for the governor to get on television again to verbally order any more shutdowns of businesses, the masking of adults and particularly egregious the masking of children.

Kate Brown’s governing 2020 theme was “Revenge is a dish best served cold and slowly” as she violated ORS 401.165(5), the emergency law that was a shall that she could not shutdown every square inch of Oregon including the Pacific Ocean.

The curtain has been pulled back and Oregonians foundational rights via the Creator, the U.S. Constitution, the Oregon Constitution, Federal Civil Rights laws, and Oregon laws are in her face now per the many Oregonians who never gave up their rights, who knew they “…had the power all along…”.

--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-07-03 12:35:35Last Update: 2021-07-03 12:56:19

Sunset Valley Fire Burns Near The Dalles
Fire burned an estimated 987 acres on Thursday evening

Governor Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act yesterday in response to the Sunset Valley Fire that broke out in Wasco County Thursday evening. The fire temporarily closed Highway 197 on Thursday and there are level 1 and 2 evacuations in place. The Office of the State Fire Marshal assumed command at 7 a.m. today and will work to bring resources from counties around Oregon to assist in the response.

“This year’s fire season is already proving to be serious, as I have invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act for the second time this week to make more state resources available to the fire crews on the front lines in Wasco County at the Wrentham Market Fire, and now, the Sunset Valley Fire,” Governor Brown said. "As we head into the 4th of July weekend, it is imperative that all Oregonians remain mindful of fire safety and prevention. Please remember to be prepared, responsible, and to honor all burn bans."

In accordance with ORS 476.510-476.610, Governor Brown determined that a threat to life, safety, and property exist due to the fire, and the threat exceeds the firefighting capabilities of local firefighting personnel and equipment. The Governor's declaration cleared the way for the State Fire Marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment to assist local resources battling the fire.

The Office of the State Marshal’s Red Incident Management Team has been mobilized. In addition, the responding agencies include Mid-Columbia Fire, Dallesport Fire, Dufur Fire, and Mosier Fire; taskforces from Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, and Hood River Counties; the Bureau of Land Management; and the U.S. Forest Service. OSFM personnel responded with a Communications Unit and a cache trailer loaded with incident support supplies, including COVID-19 PPE, tools to enhance defensible space around structures, and other provisions firefighters need to inhabit a fire camp.

According to the Oregon Fire Marshal the Sunset Valley Fire burned an estimated 987 acres on Thursday evening. The fire was first reported around 3:45 p.m. on the 3100 block of Valley View Drive near The Dalles. Strong winds pushed the fire, which was burning in mostly brush and wheat, in a southeast direction, forcing evacuations and road closures. The fire damaged one barn, several outtbuildings, multiple vehicles and a portion of a local cherry orchard. Firefighters were able to protect the homes in the area and no injuries have been reported.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal temporarily reassigned task forces from the Wrentham Market Fire while coordinating air attack from Oregon Department of Forestry resources. This decision, along with mutual aid from neighboring fire districts, was critical in stopping the rapidly advancing fire.

"Without the resources we had today, including the three additional task forces and air support from OSFM, we would not have stopped it as quickly and the fire would have grown much larger," said Chief Robert Palmer. "What the state is doing is working. We were able to better protect properties with their assistance and support."

Parts of Highway 197 were closed Thursday evening, but are now back open.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-03 08:56:25Last Update: 2021-07-03 09:35:15

Ballot Harvesting Bans OKed By High Court
The Arizona case seems to put a wrinkle in HR 1

In a high-stakes electoral integrity case, the US Supreme Court has decided in favor of Arizona ballot-harvesting ban and that doesn’t violate the federal Voting Rights Act. Arizona has mail-in voting or in-person for nearly a month in advance of election day with two restrictions. The Supreme Court upheld the two restrictions requiring in-person ballots cast on election day be done in their precinct, and mail-in ballots cannot be collected by anyone other than an election official, a mail carrier or family member or caregiver.

Oregon Secretary of State, Shemia Fagan, said “The Supreme Court has kicked away the foundation of the Voting Rights Act, effectively allowing the disenfranchisement of American voters, especially those who’ve historically been prevented from exercising this sacred right.” She continues by saying, “Oregon continues to lead by breaking down barriers to voting, while many other states continue to make it harder to vote. Congress must pass the For the People Act (HR 1) to strengthen voting rights and access for all Americans.” Is the Secretary of State referring to this constitutional nation?

FreedomWorks Consultant, Mike Melillo, describes HR 1 as an attempt to federalize elections taking away voter ID state laws, requires states to have voter rolls ready six-months prior to election day, engages a three-judge panel in DC to review redistricting with overruling powers, no state control over eligibility to register to vote, and restricts states from making rules about mailing out ballots. It’s designed to censor speech requiring organizations to report donor names, and prohibits organizations from contacting their representatives by broadening the definition of lobbying. It also adds DC as a state in regards to representation in Congress. Melillo states, “It is unconstitutional for the federal government to mandate states on elections.”

Janice Dysinger, President of Oregonians for Fair Elections, sees them trying to break HR 1 into smaller bills since there is resistance in the Democrat Party in DC. She draws attention to the Oregon legislature, “Democrats put forward several bills in the 2021 Legislature each of which were components of HR-1. These included ballot harvesting, same day voter registration, allowing late voting, allowing inaccurate voter registrations to stay on the voter rolls, allowing our ballots to be opened as soon as they are returned back from the voter which is nearly 3 weeks ahead of the election day, allow Department of Revenue to submit taxpayers to register voters automatically, allow felons to register and vote from Prison, allow 16 and 17 year-olds to vote, and rank choice voting options (which is weighted ballot counting).”

Dysinger is encouraged, “out of these terrible ideas, only two bills passed. HB2681, which will allow voters to stay on the active voter rolls even if their address is wrong and they haven't voted for any length of time. It used to be 5 years and then it was extended to 10 years, now it is forever. The other bill is HB3291 which allows ballots to come in by mail up to 7 days after the election. It says in the beginning of the bill that they need to have a postal indicator on them, but if you look further in the bill it says it will be assumed that they were mailed by election day if they come in by the 7th day after the election.”

Oregon also had a case of ballot-harvesting gone awry when Defend Oregon (connected to Our Oregon) collected ballots from voters on Election Day but didn’t turn in 97 ballots on time. They received a $94,750 penalty for mishandling ballots though they claimed they made an honest mistake. The group is required to submit their procedures for collecting ballots and track and store them, and how they train volunteers.

The Arizona case seems to put a wrinkle in HR 1 by supporting state laws on elections. But Oregon continues to make voter fraud a challenge that is hard to overcome.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-07-03 07:50:37Last Update: 2021-07-03 09:35:35

Drones on the Road
AV technology could spur an economic revolution

Automated Vehicles use sensors and computer systems to drive themselves. Often called "self-driving" cars, AVs partially or entirely remove the need for a driver to control the vehicle. In 2018, the Oregon Legislature designated the Oregon Department of Transportation to be the lead agency coordinating autonomous vehicle programs and policies in Oregon.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 94 percent of vehicle crashes are caused by human error. The majority of crashes are caused by 1) recognition errors, where drivers are not paying attention to the road or the vehicles around them; and, 2) decision errors, such as speeding, performing illegal maneuvers and misjudging gaps between vehicles or others’ speed. Automated vehicles could eliminate the majority of these crashes.

While automated vehicle systems require much more testing and validation before they are ready for commercial deployment, engineers are working to ensure they drive safely, closely follow traffic laws, and respond appropriately to changing road conditions. Automated vehicles do not get distracted and can monitor their environment in 360-degree, high-precision 3D, unlike a human.

Automated vehicles can also provide increased mobility to seniors, children, people with disabilities and others who are unable or choose not to drive. They could operate more efficiently than conventional vehicles, reducing congestion and emissions.

Oregon does not currently regulate AV testing, but the voluntary notification process allows ODOT to provide safety information to interested companies on work zones and lane closures on proposed test routes and dates. It also enables us to solicit feedback from AV system developers on how to engage the industry, and to track the progress of AV testing in the state.

The development of AV technology could spur an economic revolution on the scale of the invention of the internal combustion engine or the invention of the personal computer. AVs could free up resources in the economy currently used by drivers and law enforcemnt ("send my speeding ticket to Google -- I was asleep") as well as reduce insurance premiums. Also, by making driving more efficient, incrmental gains can be made in reducing the cost of shipping.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-02 17:00:42Last Update: 2021-07-02 17:00:45

Lane County Seeks Climate Plan Input
There are multiple ways to get involved this summer

Beginning June 28, Lane County will collect input and feedback from community members to help guide the development of the Lane County Climate Action Plan.

There are multiple ways to get involved this summer, including an online open house, survey, and virtual meetings. Lane County will also conducting stakeholder interviews with residents in historically marginalized communities who experience greater barriers to participation in public engagement.

Online Open House and Survey

Starting June 28, learn more about the project and share your ideas about the draft plan framework using our online survey. The open house and survey will remain available through July 31.

Virtual Public Meetings

Join one of five virtual meetings that will focus on the following elements: transportation, energy used in buildings/renewable energy production, consumption (the stuff we buy and use), coastal communities, and foothills communities.

MeetingDate and TimeLink
Meeting 1 – TransportationJune 30, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.Register here
Meeting 2 – Energy Used in Buildings and RenewablesJuly 13, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.Register here
Meeting 3 – Consumption: stuff we buy and use, including food, agriculture, and forestry productsJuly 21, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.Register here
Meeting 4 – Florence and CoastJuly 27, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.Register here
Meeting 5 – East County FoothillsJuly 29, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.Register here

For more information about the project, people can visit www.lanecountyor.gov/climateplan.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-07-02 09:29:06Last Update: 2021-07-02 09:50:37

Secretary Fagan Speaks Out on Ballot Harvesting
She supports it, as local election officials welcome trunks full of ballots

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan (D-Portland) has issued a breathless press release regarding the US Supreme Court's recent decision Brnovich v. DNC. At issue is an Arizona law passed as Arizona HB 2023 in 2016, which made it a felony for anyone other than an election official or a family member or caregiver to handle or collect a completed early voting or absentee ballot, thereby banning "ballot harvesting."

While political operatives in Arizona working with data to direct them to harvest only ballots which support their candidates are committing a felony, in Oregon, local election officials welcome trunks full of ballots arriving at 7:59pm or even later.

According to Secretary Fagan:

“The Supreme Court’s decision today is a catastrophic outcome for voting rights across our country. As Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her dissent, 'The Voting Rights Act is ambitious, in both goal and scope. When President Lyndon Johnson sent the bill to Congress, ten days after John Lewis led marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, he explained that it was ‘carefully drafted to meet its objective—the end of discrimination in voting in America’.

This stands in contrast to Oregon who has continued make it easier for Oregonians to cast their ballot by breaking down barriers to voting. From accepting ballots postmarked on Election Day to providing election information in multiple languages to making it simple and easy to register, Oregon continues to lead the way.

The Supreme Court has kicked away the foundation of the Voting Rights Act, effectively allowing the disenfranchisement of American voters, especially those who’ve historically been prevented from exercising this sacred right. To again quote the dissent by Justice Elena Kagan, 'What is tragic here is that the Court has (yet again) rewritten—in order to weaken—a statute that stands as a monument to America’s greatness, and protects against its basest impulses. What is tragic is that the Court has damaged a statute designed to bring about the end of discrimination in voting.'"

As Oregon effectively forces voter registration on voters through Motor Voter -- and now Welfare Voter and Medicaid Voter -- the number of ballots in the hands of low-interest voters is higher than ever and a clever ballot harvesting scheme can easily tip the election in favor of those who aren't inclined by their own will to actually cast a ballot.

Many observers agree that banning ballot harvesting is a far cry from a "catastrophic outcome" and that ballot harvesting is as much an influence on elections as poll taxes or literacy tests. Though this ruling doesn't directly impact Oregon -- ballot harvesting will still be legal -- it shows that the court is inclined to consider such practices as shady and worthy of banning and a tactic that one can't help but think that Secretary Fagan may be hoping to use in a future run for Governor.

--Mike Nearman

Post Date: 2021-07-01 10:34:02Last Update: 2021-07-06 19:51:20

Talk to the Mask
The simplest explanation may be the most accurate explanation

In the year plus of going around the merry-go-round about masks with this, that, and the other experts weighing in, some conclude Occam’s Razor applies appropriately to the mask question. The simplest explanation may be the most accurate explanation. Mask boxes and packages made in Communist Party China warn consumers masks are not for viruses. Some directly read “...not for coronaviruses...”

Are any more words necessary? For those needing a a fuller explanation listen to OSHA experts.

How does the state of Oregon know an emergency is in play? An emergency according to the dictionary is “...a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action.” Governor Kate Brown in all her Executive Orders made no mention of the following section of the Oregon emergency law ORS 401.165(5):

“(5) Any proclamation of a state of emergency must specify the geographical area covered by the proclamation. Such area shall be no larger than necessary to effectively respond to the emergency.”

A shall and a must are imperative in law. Subsection (5) of the emergency law advised and directed the governor and her administrative entities that every square inch of Oregon including the Pacific Ocean could not be shutdown. There are counties in Oregon with no deaths attributed to COVID-19.

The Oregonian in March 2020 per Oregon Sciences and Health University in an article declared the homeless the most vulnerable because of their chronic health issues and they would die. Not one COVID-19 death in the homeless community in Portland, Oregon.

Recently a study by OHSU testing a portion of the Portland homeless produced all negative test results for COVID-19. As well in Portland no child has died from COVID-19. The most compelling issue thus for parents and other professionals working with children is why the governor gave an illegal order to mask children up then in each succeeding order made the age of masking children up younger and younger?

The Constitution of the United States of America and the Oregon Constitution are foundational documents that must be adhered to by the Oregon legislature, by the governor and by the courts in conducting the business of we the people in Oregon.

In the Oregon legislature we have citizen legislators elected by we the people. New legislators can be at a disadvantage by when and how they learn the ropes of writing and passing legislation as well as navigating seemingly entrenched bureaucratic agencies. Getting back to Occam’s Razor this section of the Oregon Constitution might be most helpful to the duties of the legislature, the governor, secretary of state and we the people:

“Section 21, Acts to be plainly worded. Every act, and joint resolution shall be plainly worded, avoiding as far as practicable the use of technical terms.“

If it can’t pass the “...plainly worded...” test such laws are in violation of the Oregon Constitution.

Of concern to many citizens is the locking down of the state Capitol building in Salem, Oregon. Did the locking down and locking out of the citizens of Oregon make the legislative session just ended null and void?

The shutdown of the state of Oregon, its people, its children, its businesses have most citizens looking at the very structure of Oregon state leadership, and these citizens wonder why Communist Party China was the one to tell all citizens masks do not work for viruses. Yet the governor of Oregon went on television repeatedly with her words to Oregonians to “mask up”. Masks from the beginning were not and are not for viruses.

--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-07-01 09:43:19Last Update: 2021-07-01 09:48:46

63 Heat Related Deaths in Oregon
Preliminary investigation suggests was from recent heatwave

As of June 30, 2021 the State Medical Examiner’s Office has received reports of 63 deaths that preliminary investigations are suggesting likely to be associated with the Pacific Northwest heatwave.

This number may change in either direction as more information or reports are received from each County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Again, these are preliminary numbers as some investigations are still in progress and final causes of death have not yet been determined.

The following is the current breakdown by county of heat related deaths.
--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-30 16:34:13Last Update: 2021-06-30 16:59:01

Governor Brown Declares Another Emergency
Temporarily suspends rules that impair response to wildfires

Governor Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency due to the imminent threat of wildfire across Oregon.

On the heels of record-breaking high temperatures, much of the state is in high or extreme fire danger with red flag warnings in effect for hot, dry, windy conditions and dry thunderstorms. With the extended forecast in Oregon calling for unseasonably high temperatures with no rain in the forecast—and with 19 counties already in declared drought emergencies—the threat of wildfire in Oregon is imminent.

"Oregon is still recovering from the devastation of last year’s wildfires, which resulted in nine Oregonians losing their lives and thousands more losing their homes,” said Governor Brown. “With wildfires already sparking this year, it is imperative that we act now to prevent further loss—of life, property, business, and our natural resources.

“I issued this emergency declaration to ensure every resource is made available for firefighting efforts and to the crews striving to protect our state. With fire seasons increasingly starting earlier and lasting longer, it is up to each of us to do our part to prevent wildfires and be prepared for the ones we can’t prevent. I am urging Oregonians to take charge in preventing human-caused fires by being prepared, safe, responsible, and aware."

Firefighters and first responders face a number of additional complexities this year including active wildfire recovery operations such as hazard tree removal and rebuilding that impact roadways and access points. Extreme heat adds to the already challenging firefighting landscape.

Pursuant to ORS 401.165, 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 declaration allows state agencies to temporarily suspend any rules that impair the response to wildfires, if needed, and also allows the state to request assistance from other states through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact if necessary. The emergency declaration is focused on helping to ensure that the state is prepared to marshal all available and necessary resources as quickly as possible as wildfires arise during this wildfire season.

When state and national resources are limited, the Oregon National Guard will deploy firefighting resources in accordance with Operations Plan Smokey 2021, an agreement between the National Guard and Oregon Department of Forestry.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-30 11:17:53Last Update: 2021-06-30 11:33:30

BLEXIT in Oregon
They are one hundred percent against Critical Race Theory

In 2018, Candace Owens said she wanted to “free” black voters from the decades-long grip of the Democratic Party and started her own WalkAway urging Blacks and Latinos to support a new movement she is calling “Blexit.”

Candace teamed up with Brandon Tatum, a communications specialist and popular social media personality, to change the narrative that surrounds American minority communities and particularly African-Americans. Their primary goal is “to educate minorities across America about the history of our great country by highlighting the principles of the Constitution of the United States and the importance of self-reliance.” The two believe that change will come by building strong families in the minority communities that value the life and the sanctity of every individual.

The Blexit Foundation’s vision is focused, but not limited to, low-income and minorities by advocating for school choice and alternative educational opportunities, promoting criminal justice reform by developing educational programs to help communities avoid incarceration, championing entrepreneurship as the antidote to poverty, developing history programs that will inspire success, and present the message through evocative visual art and compelling live experiences.

Oregon’s Blexit Chapter’s Executive Director, Janira Brannigan, spoke at Western Liberty Network Zoom training on their plans in Oregon. Brannigan started by saying the organization is primarily designed to promote free thinkers. “In Oregon, we don’t just want to empower minorities, it’s for anyone. No matter how you look at it there will always be more of one color than another. We are not about race.”

Their number one goal is advocating for school choice. They are working to empower parents to be activists, particularly in public schools. She told Northwest Observer that they are one hundred percent against Critical Race Theory. “We believe that we live in a world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive - all you need is the determination and to put in the hard work. Not the color of our skin. I am a 1st generation American from legal immigrant parents from Mexico. I was taught by my parents that the American Dream was at my fingertips but I had to go get it. They taught me that nothing is free in this world, that it all comes at a price. I see kids wanting to make a change but they are only being told one side, so their hunger isn’t being filled.”

What is CRT? Senator Ted Cruz explains on his podcast, June 17, 2021, “CRT explains everything in the world through the lens of racial oppression, and all white people are inherently racist. You can never change your status no matter what you do. CRT is against competing on merit. It’s designed to criticize with the goal of totally dismantling the system… CRT teaches that the entire system is inherently racists and embodied in the 1619 project taught in our schools. It is Marxism combined with intense racism.”

Blexit - Oregon is helping parents unenroll their children from public school. “Our goal is to see a 30% drop in public-school enrollment statewide,” Brannigan said. “We will not allow our children to be indoctrinated with such CRT evil. We help parents with resources to homeschool groups, co-ops, curriculum with the unaltered history, etc.”

She also spoke on ways they want to bring the community into the educational process and mentor on entrepreneur strategies teaching young people how to become and plan for business ownership.

When asked how their program fits with the BIPOC Caucus (Black, Indigenous and People of Color), Branningan said, “I don't know much about them except that they are an organization based in self-segregation that see government as their savior. We don't stand under that banner. We are inclusive as long as potential members stand and support our mission and the five pillars.”

Brannigan is a strong advocate of learning English. “If you don’t know the English language,” she says, “things can get lost in translation. How do you know the government is telling you the truth?” You can see her out in the community walking her talk. “Our priority isn’t the political realm, change comes from the community, concentrating on kids empowering parents to fulfill dreams. We need to teach people they have a choice. If you don’t like your party, leave, whatever that party is. We need to remove government dependence to build free thinkers.”

You can find them at the July 4th event in Creswell handing out resources for parents.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-06-29 21:00:00Last Update: 2021-06-29 21:27:12

McQuisten Enters Gubernatorial Race
Baker City Mayor enters a crowded field

Seventh generation Oregonian and Baker City Mayor Kerry McQuisten has declared for the Republican nomination for Oregon Governor, joining a field of Republicans from a variety of regions and viewpoints. McQuisten is widely regarded as a conservative.

McQuisten describes her decision:

"In 2020 and 2021, like many Oregonians, I was in a 'fight or flight' pattern, trying to decide whether to move out of the state due to Kate Brown's draconian lockdowns, or stay and try to create change. After driving through most of the western half of the United States, it became clear to me that those states still felt like Oregon had felt when I was growing up here. Freedom, hope, and common sense still existed elsewhere.

I discovered that Oregon and our governor had become a running joke across the country, a testament to failed leadership. I was saddened and embarrassed. I was also angry. 'Fight' prevailed. I did the best I could to stand up for my people as mayor, but I knew that wasn't enough. COVID lockdowns would come to an end eventually, I knew, but Oregon needs so much of a course correction that the only way I could see to help in the way I wanted to help, was to run for higher office. After two months of calls from all across Oregon asking me to run for governor, I knew what I needed to do. I didn't make this decision lightly."

McQuisten has been involved in the publishing business much of her adult life. She founded Black Lyon Publishing, and on her website, describes herself as "an entrepeneur, not a politician."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-29 20:10:36Last Update: 2021-06-29 21:41:45

College Athlete Compensation Bill Signed into Law
Twenty different states will begin the practice

Oregon's Governor Kate Brown has now signed Senate Bill 5 into law.

This will allow college athletes at Oregon’s public and private universities to receive compensation for use of their name, image, and likeness.

The bill was sponsored by Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) and Senator James Manning, Jr (D-Eugene).

“This bill is historic... I wish Oregon was the first to do it,” said Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem). “Our college athletes have not been treated fairly. They sacrifice everything for their universities...their bodies, their relationships, their academics. Meanwhile, the NCAA and universities are making millions off their hard work... from tickets, merchandise, and concessions, all the way to college enrollment. “We are giving our athletes back what is rightfully theirs: their name, their image, their likeness. This should have been done a long time ago. It should have come from the NCAA and our universities. This is just the beginning. We must keep working to make sure our college athletes are treated fairly.”

Beginning July 1st of this year, college athletes are given the right to sign contracts that provide compensation for use of their name, image, and likeness, including through endorsement deals and appearance fees.

College athletes will also be allowed to retain professional representation, increasing fairness during contract negotiations.

Oregon joins 7 other states on July 1st in being the first to enact name, image, likeness laws in the country. An additional 13 states have passed similar legislation that will take effect soon after.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-29 13:16:13Last Update: 2021-06-29 13:26:12

Mask Requirements For Drive Tests in Oregon
Bureaucrats are struggling to loosen mask mandates

If you choose to drop by your local Oregon DMV office to see if you can get standby service, many offices have a modern version of “take a number” – a “virtual lobby” that will text you when your turn at the counter is coming up. The DMV says people are to wait in your car or nearby the DMV.

“If you visit without an appointment, there is a chance the office won’t have the capacity to serve all customers that day, and you may need to visit another day,” DMV Administrator Amy Joyce said. “That’s why we recommend appointments – to save you from waiting with no guarantee that office has capacity that day.”

When COVID-19 restrictions end this week, no later than June 30, DMV offices will no longer require masks or physical distancing, or pandemic-related capacity limits on indoor waiting areas.

However, it seems that the Oregon DMV will continue to require masks during drive tests for both customers and drive test examiners.

Some DMV services require an in-person visit – such as issuance of your first Oregon permit or license, testing, or adding the Real ID option or a motorcycle endorsement, and the demand for those services remain very high. There are some services available online.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-29 12:40:44Last Update: 2021-06-29 13:02:36

Oregon Government Finds More Revenue to Spend
Many Oregonians are tapped out from taxation

A tactic meant to raise revenue for the Oregon government through more taxation on the people of Oregon has now passed through both chambers of the Oregon legislature and is awaiting Governor Kate Brown's signature.

SB 139 has just passed (32-26) in the House chamber mostly on party lines, but with some opposition from a few Democrat legislators.

Former Republican Senator Brian Boquist (I-Dallas) supported the legislation and voted yes on SB 139. The Senator has been known to be a somewhat controversial legislator, he has previously drawn the ire of his former party affiliates by helping to pass infringements on the Second Amendment in recent years.

Two Democrats in both the Senate and the House voted “NO” on Senate Bill 139, a bill that will generate over $40 million in new revenue for the State of Oregon off of the backs of Oregon businesses. In fact, representatives from many Oregon industries and businesses submitted digital testimony, as lobbying in-person at the capitol building was still banned due to supposed covid restrictions. However, much of the digitally submitted testimony seems to have been routinely ignored by the legislators, instead choosing to rush through the process, and especially in the last days of the legislative session.

Adair Village Mayor, small business owner and former Chair of the Oregon Republican Party Bill Currier wrote this column about how bad this bill is in a recent edition of the Oregon Catalyst.

No Republicans voted “YES” on SB 139 since Senator Boquist is no longer a Republican.

Meanwhile, numerous Republicans spoke forcefully against this attack on business in Oregon including Rep. Bill Post (R-Keizer) as seen in this video: Representative Bill Post on SB 139.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-28 14:38:48Last Update: 2021-06-28 14:42:22

Oregon Fire Marshal Allows Gas Station Self-Service During Heat Wave
Suspension will be in place for 48 hours

With the current and fore-casted heat in Oregon, the Office of State Fire Marshal is suspending regulations that prohibit the self-serve of gasoline at retail gasoline service stations.

Governor Brown’s Office approved the suspension of the regulations. The suspension will be in place for 48 hours, until the evening of Tuesday, June 29th, 2021.

This suspension of the self-service regulations does not affect areas of the state or time frames that are already authorized for self-service refueling under Oregon law. Information about the rules suspension for self-service gasoline can be found on the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) website.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-27 21:25:03Last Update: 2021-06-27 22:25:27

Controversial Legislative Session Ends
People of Oregon were banned from capitol

The 2021 Oregon Legislative Session has officially adjourned, marking an end to a sadly controversial legislative session for Oregonians. The public had been banned from attending to the businesses of their own governance at the Salem capitol building, with only one Republican Representative strongly advocating for their attendance. That Representative was Mike Nearman, of Independence, Oregon, and he was expelled by his fellow legislators for opening a door for the common people.

Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) and House Speaker Representative Tina Kotek (D-Portland) made the call to exclude the people of Oregon from attending legislative functions at the capitol building. This seems to have accelerated the passage of many policy bills, which would have likely been halted from public input and participation.

Since January, although they were in the minority, House Republicans called for this year’s session to concentrate on relief for Oregonians negatively affected by the pandemic, natural disasters, address learning losses and protect jobs.

While harmful legislation was still passed on party lines, Republicans were able to weaken or eliminate some of the worst offenders.

At the same time, Republican caucus members celebrated several wins such as better protections for students, a common-sense solution to lower the cost of cold medicine, relief for property owners, and more.

“I’m proud of the work we accomplished for our communities and for Oregonians across the state this session. From the start, we called for a focus on pandemic recovery, returning students to school and assistance to wildfire impacted communities,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby). “As the legislative session progressed, it was clear transparency suffered as public policy was rushed through behind closed doors. This harmed communities, businesses and families. As the Oregon economy recovers, businesses reopen and students return to school, we must ensure the policy making process also returns to normal, which must include reopening Capitol to the voices of Oregonians.”

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-27 09:50:04Last Update: 2021-06-27 13:00:56

Government Meddling in Child Care
More bureaucracy on it’s way

A bill that would further impose governmental bureaucracy upon child care in Oregon is moving through the Oregon legislature.

HB 3073 has now passed through both the Oregon House and Senate chambers of the Oregon legislature and awaits being signed into law.

The bill was chiefly sponsored by Representative Karin Power (D-Portland), Representative Jack Zika (R-Redmond), Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland), Representative Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn), Cedric Hayden (R-Roseburg), Bobby Levy (R-Echo), Courtney Neron (D-Wilsonville), Greg Smith (R-Heppner), Senator Kayse Jama (D-Portland), and Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend).

The bill does a number of things to child care in Oregon, firstly, it will change the name of the Early Learning Division to Department of Early Learning and Care.

It will also establish the Department of Early Learning and Care as state agency that is separate from Department of Education and that functions under, and is coordinated by, the Early Learning Council. It will also revise the goals of statewide early learning system.

It prescribes expanded duties, functions and powers of Department of Early Learning and Care, including administration of Employment Related Day Care. It also modifies the requirements of employment related day-care.

Furthermore, it directs the Early Learning Division, Department of Education and the Department of Human Services to develop and implement plans for seamless transfer of relevant duties, functions and powers, and to report on plans to appropriate interim committees of Legislative Assembly.

It is yet another bill that has the emergency declaration attached, and is therefor effective on passage.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-27 09:06:19Last Update: 2021-06-27 21:28:26

2021 Spending Frenzy
“This is a historic investment”

As the 2021 Legislative Session comes to an end Senate President Peter Courtney and Speaker Tina Kotek were quick to send out a series of articles featuring how much of your money they spent.

Peter Courtney’s headlined three articles:

Lawmakers Pass Groundbreaking Package, Invest More Than $470 Million in Behavioral Health.

“The 81st session will be remembered as the one where we finally started making investments to bring about the promise of the deinstitutionalization of people with mental illness and started making community based treatment an actual reality,” said Representative Rob Nosse (D-Portland). Somewhat of a contraction since deinstitutionalization took place years ago with no help for communities faced with what to do for them.

“We must mainstream mental health. Until we treat mental health like we treat the rest of health care, we’re not doing enough,” said Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem). “This is a historic investment. It will save lives. We must help children and adults struggling with mental illnesses from falling through the cracks.”

Legislature invests over $600 million for wildfire recovery and prevention

“Last year’s fires were devastating. Oregon and her people are still recovering,” Senate President Peter Courtney said. “We made real progress this session to help our communities rebuild. We changed the way we respond to wildfires. The Legislature will help wildfire survivors get back on their feet.”

This allotment is mostly for infrastructure projects, grants and financial assistance along with $75 million for food and shelter for wildfire survivors and $23.2 million to reimburse counties for lost tax revenues.

$765 million in investments headlines legislative housing accomplishments

What became a crisis during the COVID-19 lockdown has been compensated for and then some. In the months leading up to the session, the Emergency Board approved more than $500 million in rental assistance and other housing supports. Speaker Tina Kotek published her own list that includes: The millions for building a strong economy recovery is more like recovery for pet projects. It includes grants for movie theaters and live events, investments in emerging business with a priority on the underrepresented, grants for Oregon Main Street Revitalization, rooftop solar rebates, and several bills funding various workforces and higher wages in the healthcare field.

There remains the questionable constitutionality of some of the seventeen categories that focus on racial equity after two federal judges ruled against using race or gender as a priority.

Keep in mind that all this spending doesn’t include state agency budgets. These expenses may not all come from General Funds, but even Other Funds comes from fee payers. Despite what President Courtney and Speaker Kotek tout as an accomplishment, the money comes from us one way or the other.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-06-26 18:18:32Last Update: 2021-06-27 21:24:11

Girod: 2021 Session Demonstrates Need for Balance
“Many critical issues were left ignored by the supermajority”

Today concluded the 2021 legislative session. For some, it was defined by not a single member of the public being allowed into the Capitol building, unprecedented in the history of Oregon. The House expelled a member, again, unprecedented.

Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) released the following statement:

“The best bill of the session is always sine die.

“Legislatures around the country found a way to allow citizens into their buildings to meaningfully participate in the legislative process. Not in Oregon. That was a travesty of democracy, transparency, and accountability.

“As much as we disagreed this session, Republicans and Democrats were still able to do some good things for Oregonians. We were able to make major investments in wildfire recovery. Bipartisan police reform was passed and Republicans were able to pass major bipartisan public safety reforms to protect vulnerable Oregonians.

“This session, Republicans lifted up the voices of students and parents by pushing for choice and opportunity in education. Republicans were strong supporters of getting kids back in school after a year of lost learning. We were able to kill some harmful tax increases and protected most of the Kicker. We also stopped harmful anti-public safety legislation.

“Unfortunately, Democrats advanced an extreme agenda that will continue to artificially depress Oregon’s potential. Many critical issues were left ignored by the supermajority, like reforming the Governor’s emergency powers. It’s now our job to educate Oregonians about these harmful policies and earn their trust to govern.”

The Oregon Legislature is expected to convene in September for a short special session to take up redistricting. It is next scheduled for a constitutional short session on February 1, 2022.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-26 17:54:23Last Update: 2021-06-26 18:18:32

Oregonians Will Pay More For Less Reliable Energy
California-style rolling blackouts and brownouts could result

As the 2021 legislative session comes to a close, Democrats are intent on finishing it in style by passing HB 2021. The bill would require the utility companies that power 61% of Oregonians to completely transition to unreliable energy sources. It was introduced by Representatives Pam Marsh (D-Ashland) Khanh Pham (D-Portland) and Senators Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) and Lee Beyer (D-Eugene).

The policy could result in California-style rolling blackouts and brownouts during times that the power grid is strained. Of course, Oregonians would be paying higher electric bills for that privilege. The bill would further hurt jobs and economic development as businesses’ energy costs would skyrocket.

“Hiking Oregonians’ energy costs during an economic recovery is one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard of,” said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons). “This kind of stupidity has become common in Oregon because of the majority party. This bill just adds insult to injury to the countless Oregonians who have endured massive hardship over the last year and a half.”

The bill lays out completely unattainable emissions reduction goals that even if reached, would deliver virtually nothing in measurable environmental benefits.

“This bill accomplishes nothing for our environment,” Senator Girod continued. “It is simply a bill to virtue signal to extreme environmentalist groups that will cause Oregonians to pay more for less reliable energy.”

HB 2021 passed the Senate over bipartisan opposition on a vote of 16-12 and now heads to the Governor’s desk.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-26 17:36:54Last Update: 2021-07-04 23:33:27

Nearman Nominated for House Seat
Among five candidates to be considered

The Oregon Republican Party held the House District 23 Nominating Convention on Friday, June 25th, and the eligible delegates of that district have chosen 5 contenders among the 10 candidates that were considered. Voting delegates of the convention were required to be Republican PCPs (Precinct Committee Persons) of HD 23, as per Oregon election law.

Mike Nearman received the most votes, and seemed to be the clear first choice of the voters.

Nearman gave the following statement after the convention:

"I'm humbled that my fellow Precinct Committee-persons voted overwhelmingly to return me to the House as their representative. The fact that they chose me shows that they value someone with courage and principles that will stand up to Democrats, the media and even their own party to do what is right."

Those considered at the convention were allowed time for candidate speeches and took turns answering questions for the voting delegates.

Those candidates were: The convention started off with discussion on whether 3, 4, or 5 nominees should be selected for county commissioner consideration. The voting body decided on 5 nominees.

After candidate speeches and three rounds of questions and answers, the body voted and the election results were announced.

The finalists chosen were in order of most votes received were: Those nominees will now be considered for appointment to be Representative of House District 23 in the Oregon legisalture by the Commissioners of Polk, Marion, Yamhill, and Benton counties. That process is expected to be concluded by July 9th, 2021.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-26 10:25:11Last Update: 2021-06-26 12:19:03

Oregon Will Fully Re-Open June 30
All remaining COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted

Governor Kate Brown has signed a recovery-focused executive order lifting all remaining COVID-19 health and safety restrictions issued under Oregon’s emergency statutes.

Restrictions will be lifted when Oregon achieves a 70% first dose adult vaccination rate or on Wednesday, June 30, whichever occurs soonest.

Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) countered:

“While there is really no need to wait until June 30, it’s great news that Oregonians will finally be able to get back to normal life. Businesses and customers won’t have to worry about vaccine passports anymore. Oregonians should not forget the gross abuse of power that has taken place by Democrats over the last year that locked kids out of the classroom, devastated small businesses, and threw people out of work.”

With restrictions lifted, the state will shift to a focus on helping Oregonians and communities recover from the impacts and the economic toll of the pandemic.

“I’m proud of our collective efforts to vaccinate more than 2.3 million Oregonians. It is because of this success that we can move Oregon forward, and into the next chapter of this pandemic. We are ready,” said Governor Brown.

The Governor signed the executive order on Friday in a press conference with Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen, state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger, and Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill.

The Governor’s recovery order rescinds Executive Order 20-66, the successor to her original “Stay Home, Save Lives” order and subsequent “Safe and Strong Oregon” orders, which authorized Oregon’s statewide mask mandate and the county risk level system, including restrictions on businesses and other sectors for physical distancing, capacity limits, closing times, and more. The recovery order also rescinds Executive Order Order 20-22 (Non-urgent Healthcare Procedures), Executive Order 21-06 (K-12 Schools), Executive Order 20-28 (Higher Education), and Executive Order 20-19 (Childcare Facilities).

With the repeal of the set of executive orders that placed COVID-19 related restrictions on Oregonians, the recovery order extends the emergency declaration for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor’s remaining emergency authority will be limited in focus to COVID-19 recovery efforts, similar to the recovery executive order currently in place for 2020 wildfire season recovery.

The recovery order does not provide authorization for agencies to renew restrictions based on emergency authorities.

Some statewide mask requirements may stay in place in specialized settings following federal guidance, including airports, public transit, and health care settings. The Governor’s recovery order will remain in effect until December 31, 2021, unless terminated earlier.

Rescinding the Governor’s executive orders for K-12 schools, higher education, and childcare will mean a shift to a more traditional, local decision-making model for communities when it comes to serving the health and safety needs of students and children.

In order to ensure a return to full-time, in-person instruction in the fall, the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority will be issuing updated, advisory guidance for the 2021-22 school year. Schools will still be expected to comply with longstanding regulations around the control of infectious diseases, and to have a communicable disease management plan.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-25 13:15:31Last Update: 2021-06-26 08:36:54

Oregon Schools to Open
Moving to an advisory framework for Covid restrictions

The Oregon Department of Education has now announced the Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework for the 2021-22 School Year.

The Resiliency Framework helps school districts prepare their staff and campuses for the next academic year. As Oregon enters the next chapter of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Resiliency Framework shifts public school districts to a more traditional, local decision-making model, so that communities can make the health and safety decisions that serve students best.

The framework also reflects Governor Kate Brown’s recent announcement of her order lifting all remaining COVID-19 health and safety restrictions issued under Oregon emergency statutes, including the executive order for K-12 schools.

“The path is clear for students to return to full time, in-person instruction next year. Working together, we can harness this opportunity to rekindle joy and learning in the classrooms, auditoriums, and playgrounds across Oregon,” said Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill. “Oregon schools are ready to once again be vibrant places for learners, staff, and their families.”

The key Resiliency Framework pillars are: “Schools have more than a year of practice on how to mitigate COVID-19 and create a welcoming and inclusive learning environment for students and staff,” Gill said. “Moving to an advisory framework is a logical progression from emergency state direction to local decision-making for keeping students and staff healthy within each school’s unique context.”

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-25 12:47:42Last Update: 2021-06-25 16:58:21

Republicans Fight for Those Wrongfully Convicted
Effort Blocked by Senate Democrats

The Oregon Senate Republicans attempted to force debate on Senate Bill 499, legislation that would compensate those wrongfully convicted for their years of lost freedom.

Senator Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer), the bill’s author, made a motion on the floor to withdraw SB 499 from the Ways and Means Committee to debate and vote on it. Senate Democrats shot down the motion.

“Everyday this bill gets delayed, is another day justice is denied for these Oregonians,” Senator Thatcher said. “I agreed to send this bill to Ways and Means because as a matter of principle, we should have accurate and thorough accounting of how much things cost. The analysis should have been simple, but instead,it got killed in committee. This isn’t a partisan issue, it simply attempts to right a wrong.”

According to the National Register for Exonerations, there have been 21 exonerations in Oregon since 1991, many of which have been proven innocent.

Those who have been found innocent are eligible for compensation under SB 499.These individuals have lost large parts of their lives in prison and/or with a permanent record for a crime they didn’t commit. The process to get exonerated is complicated and can take years to resolve. In most cases, wrongfully incarcerated individuals are continuing to serve time in prison during this process. After being found innocent, those individuals now have to put their lives back together. It is no surprise that those who spent years behind bars for a crime they didn’t commit struggle when they re-enter the community. Compensation and services will help exonerees rebuild their lives, while also sending the message that the state is taking responsibility for a mistake that resulted in the exoneree losing years of their freedom.

Oregon is only one of 14 states that do not provide compensation to wrongfully convicted individuals.

Idaho just signed this program into law this year.

“Senate Bill 499 would have established a common-sense process by which to compensate those who have been wrongfully convicted,” Senator Thatcher said.“It’s a good bill, it wouldn’t cost very much. It should have gotten its day here on the floor. It is unfortunate that it couldn’t be today.”Senate Bill 499 has bipartisan support,but the motion to debate SB 499 failed by a vote of 12-17, along party lines.

The bill will remain in the Ways and Means Committee, where it will likely die upon sine die.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-24 15:28:18Last Update: 2021-06-24 15:39:33

Racism Crisis
How many laws does Oregon have that can be challenged by the constitution?

With a few days left in the Legislative session, Representative Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego) and Representative Courtney Neron (D-Wilsonville) introduced HR 6 in a last-ditch effort. House Resolution 6 declares racism to be a public health crisis in this state.

Following the misleading of 209 county, state, and local leaders who have declared racism as a public health crisis or emergency as a step to advance racial equity and justice in the allocation of resources and strategic action.

A New Kind of Hate? Equity is the opposite of equal opportunity. Equity demands an equal outcome and that only happens when you gerrymander to favor one group or another. At the turn of the century the Democrat leadership was pushing tolerance. We passed legislation against bullying, harassment, abuse. Where has the party of tolerance gone?

The unconstitutionality of equity favoring race or gender has been ruled by two federal judges: First U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, and federal Judge William Griesbach in Wisconsin.

Even the Oregon Constitution demand equal treatment, not equal outcome, especially Section 20.

Oregon Constitution Article I, Section 1. Natural rights inherent in people. We declare that all men, when they form a social compact are equal in right: that all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; and they have at all times a right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.

Section 20. Equality of privileges and immunities of citizens. No law shall be passed granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges, or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.

How many laws does Oregon have in statute, or has passed this session that can be challenged by the constitution and federal court rulings? HB 3353 is waiting Governor’s signature that requires coordinated care organizations to increase spending on services and programs that advance health equity to socially disadvantaged.

Equity looks at the color of your skin when determining service, the deepest form of racism.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-06-24 13:50:50Last Update: 2021-06-25 09:27:52

Senate Republicans Attempt Last Ditch Effort to Fix Democrats’ Loose Voting Law
Unpostmarked ballots are counted up to 7 days after election day

Democrats are charging forward with a bill that would open our election up to more possibilities of fraud with HB 3291, introduced by Representative Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) and Senator Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego).

At issue in HB 3291 are two key provisions. The first would require unpostmarked ballots to be counted as long as they arrive up to 7 days after election day. This would allow someone to mail ballots up to 7 days after the election, and if they didn’t receive a postmark, it would be presumed valid. It would also make it easier for late unpostmarked ballots to be counted if brought into an elections office.

The second would allow election officials to start counting ballots before election day. Politically motivated election officials could give candidates and campaigns running tallies on the vote count weeks before election day, giving favored campaigns and candidates an advantage in get-out-the-vote efforts.

“The longer and more drawn out the process, the greater chance for bad actors to tamper with votes,” Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons). “There are decent parts in this bill, but these two provisions provide a freeway to fraud. How many letters does each of us get in the mail with a missing postmark? It's not an insignificant number. We need to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. This bill makes it easier to cheat.”

Despite Republican objections in committee, Senate Democrats refused to tighten up the bill’s language. Senate Republicans introduced a minority report on the Senate floor that would have fixed the two provisions and given the bill bipartisan support. Instead, Democrats rejected the changes along party lines on a vote of 12-17.

The Republican changes would have made unpostmarked ballots received after election day be marked as “challenged,” giving voters the opportunity to prove they mailed it before election day. It would also have disallowed county clerks to start counting ballots before election day.

Senate Republican Tim Knopp (R-Bend) authored SB 694 which would have extended the date in which voters can put their ballot in the mail to be counted. It would have also banned ballot harvesting, a process by which political operatives can deny equal access to the ballot box by collecting ballots from preferred voters.

“Coupled with ballot harvesting, this bill will make our election system ripe for bad actors,” Senator Knopp said. “I wrote SB 694 to allow Oregonians more time to get their ballot in, but the provisions in this bill will do nothing to promote confidence in our elections. The fixes Republicans proposed today are completely reasonable, and I fail to understand the Democrats' unwillingness to work with Republicans on the integrity of our elections.”

HB 3291 is also unclear how independent observers would be able to observe the counting of ballots by election officials if they can start counting as soon as they receive them.

HB 3291 narrowly passed the Senate with bipartisan opposition on a vote of 16-13, with the deciding Democrat Senator taking several seconds to decide how he wanted to vote. The bill will now head to the Governor’s desk for her signature.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-24 13:37:04Last Update: 2021-06-24 13:50:50

Numbers Speak Louder than Words
U.S. deaths from the COVID-19 vaccine is 5,888, and 25,359 injuries and counting

Governor Brown set a 70% vaccination goal along with Washington. Governor Inslee, who has called an end to his goal and will open Washington on June 30. Governor Brown has not followed suit. Her incentive programs have done well taking the number needed to be vaccinated down to only 38,143 away from the 70% goal. Oregon Health Authority states on their website that the “Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, under an Emergency Use Authorization to prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for use in individuals 12 and older for Pfizer, and 18 years of age and older for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. So far, they have not been approved or licensed by the FDA.”

A doctor’s testimony in Parliament points to disclosure, “We are not told that it is a human experiment when given the vaccine. A similar experiment in 2009, Pandemrix, was stopped with 32 less side effects than what we have now. Telling the public the vaccines are safe is intentionally committing crimes, the most serious being genocide.”

The CDC has received reports of more than 300 cases of heart inflammation in young people under age 30 after taking the COVID-19 vaccination, and teenagers under 20 account for half of the cases that are mostly male. That is three times the average.

U.S. deaths from the COVID-19 vaccine is 5,888, and 25,359 injuries and counting. Compared to Europe with 12,184 deaths and 1,196,190 reported injuries, and United Kingdom with 1,047 deaths and 725,079 injuries, makes it a worldwide issue. These aren’t auto accidents and they aren’t COVID-19 numbers. These are COVID-19 vaccine deaths and injuries from an unapproved experimental shot. Injuries leaving people paralyzed, numb hands and feet, pain and seizures making them unemployable.

If there were 5,888 deaths in any other medical trial, would there be a push for 70% participation? Would the government offer prizes? The CDC met last week to discuss the latest research and safety issues, but isn’t expected to make any changes except for monitoring reporting’s. That leaves the burden to make safe decisions on the public.

There is contradicting information about what is in the COVID-19 vaccines, and it usually boils down to what the spike proteins do. They penetrate cells to provoke virus-neutralizing antibodies that will trigger immunity. The problem occurs when spike protein triggers immunity against COVID-19 and strips it of immunity to everything else.

A new study is the first to directly show that the spike proteins themselves are able to cause harm to the host cells. If that is the case, then the vaccines are really no different than the disease. The study further shows that COVID-19 is primarily a vascular disease that damages blood vessel walls rather than a respiratory illness as previously thought. Now there is fear that the flu could be a serious problem this winter because as the vaccine works through the body, the vaccinated body won’t be able to defend itself. Are vaccinations creating another emergency?

British reports are calling for completely stopping the COVID-19 vaccinations. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency now has more than enough evidence to stop the vaccines that they say are toxic to humans. The World Health Organization is also recommending not vaccinating anyone under the age of 18.

Limiting Governor Brown’s stronghold during an emergency has not been lacking in this legislative session. There was even an attempt to terminate the state of emergency relating to COVID-19 with SR 2 by a floor motion to withdraw it from committee, which failed. However, if vaccinating individuals continue at the current pace, Governor Brown will be forced to open the state around July 1.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-06-24 07:57:04Last Update: 2021-06-23 22:19:31

Excessive Heat Warning in Oregon
Unprecedented heat expected this weekend

Strong high pressure over the Pacific Northwest will bring a stretch of unseasonably hot weather to much of southwest Washington and northwest Oregon.

Temperatures will already be in the low to mid 90s beginning Friday, but increase further to dangerous levels Saturday through Monday. High temperatures will run 20 to 30 degrees above normal for late June at many locations, putting numerous daily, monthly and possible all-time high temperature records in jeopardy.

Overnight lows will also be unseasonably warm, limiting the amount of relief from the heat and contributing to increased risk of heat related illnesses. The heat is expected to peak Sunday, then gradually trending downward towards the middle of next week. However even next week will be 10 to 20 degrees above normal.

Dangerously hot conditions with temperatures between 100 and 108. Highest temperatures are expected on Sunday. Overnight lows remaining in the upper 60s to low 70s.

Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities.

The hot daytime temperatures, combined with warm overnight lows, will result in high heat risk and heat related stress.

Smoke from wildfires may also affect the situation.

Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.

Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments.

Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency, call 911 if needed.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-23 18:21:24Last Update: 2021-06-23 18:45:58

Despite Surplus, State Seeks Revenue
Despite record revenue, Legislature will collect another $30 million from businesses per year

The House Committee on Revenue has passed a bill that would increase taxes on businesses.

SB 139 narrows the scope of which businesses can qualify for a reduced tax rate, and will raise more than $30 million a year for the state. There’s no identified objective for this money. Instead, it simply raises revenue.

In May, it was announced that Oregon is set to have a tax revenue over $1 billion more than projected.

“We should be doing everything we can to support businesses and main streets so we can restore jobs,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby). “Increasing taxes will threaten the ability of our communities to bounce back from the pandemic. The state does not need this money, so we shouldn’t be taking it from Oregonians.”

“We’re seeing far too many proposals this session to increase taxes simply for the sake of raising state revenue,” added Representative E. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath Falls), who raised serious concerns regarding SB 139 A during Revenue Committee. “The state has more money than ever, but Oregonians and businesses don’t. This bill will simply make life harder for people.”

Though the Oregon Constitution requires that bills for raising revenue originate in the House, this bill comes from the Senate, and apparently, Legislators, under the guidance of Legislative Counsel have determined that this bill is not subject to the requirements of Article IV, Section 18:

Where bills to originate. Bills may originate in either house, but may be amended, or rejected in the other; except that bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.

SB 139 passed out of the House Committee on Revenue on party lines (4-3) and will be third read on the House floor Thursday.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-23 15:01:57Last Update: 2021-06-23 15:08:08

Japanese Concerned For Their Safety in Oregon
Consulate has expressed concerns to Kate Brown

Oregon is getting to be well known around the world for all the wrong reasons these days, it seems.

Now, the Consular Office of Japan in Portland has issued a strongly worded letter directed at Oregon's Governor Kate Brown, expressing concern about it's people's safety in Oregon after a violent attack on two Japanese women near Tillamook, Oregon.

The letter was also directed to Oregon Department of Corrections Director, Colette Peters.

The two women were severely beaten by an inmate who had just fled a prisoner work crew nearby. The inmate then stole one of the victim's cars.

The letter reads as follows:

Dear Governor Brown,

I hope you are doing well in these difficult times. Unfortunately, today I am contacting you because I would like to raise some grave concerns about the serious injury to two Japanese women who were assaulted by a prisoner who fled the South Fork Forest Camp (SFFC) on April 14th, 2021.

The two Japanese women were hiking at Gales Creek Campground, Tillamook County, Oregon. At the same time, a work crew from SFFC was cleaning the campground area. One of the prisoners who was cleaning the Campground escaped from the work party and suddenly attacked the two Japanese women from behind, severely beating them with a large stick. Both women were seriously injured. The escaped prisoner stole one of their cars parked at the campsite and escaped.

The two Japanese women were urgently rushed to a hospital where one is still hospitalized due to skull injuries and cerebral hemorrhaging, and the other has undergone four surgeries to repair complicated fractures of her arm. We are shocked by this violence and I am deeply concerned to learn that prisoners under the control of DOC, whose mission is to promote and protect public safety, can easily escape and harm the general public.

In response to this incident, we will have to reconsider how we, the Japanese community, should think about safety in Oregon. Currently, there are about 9,000 Japanese people residing in this state, including permanent residents and expatriate families of Japanese companies. Their safety is one of the most important duties of the Consular Office. One of the victims of this crime is a member of a Japanese company expatriate family. We are concerned that such incidents will scare these people and companies and that they will hesitate to expand their economic activities here. We also expect that many students and tourists from Japan will return to Oregon when the pandemic ends. Outdoor activities in Oregon, with its rich and beautiful natural environment, are an aspect of life here that Japanese people love and one of the biggest attractions for Japanese tourists. Many people will be disappointed and reluctant to visit Oregon if it is seen as unsafe.

We would also like to take this opportunity to note that we are watching with concern the media reports on deteriorating security, such as increased violence and shootings in some areas, including in Portland. In order for us to provide timely information to our citizens in Oregon we would appreciate support from the state government, under your guidance, on the following points.

1. We ask the state government to provide as much support as possible to the victims of the incident mentioned above. Please let us know what kind of support is possible in such circumstances. We would also appreciate it if you could promptly report on any new information or developments related to this case and keep our office closely informed.

2. Please investigate how such an incident occurred and thoroughly implement measures to prevent similar failures from happening again. Please inform us of all of the locations where prisoners in DOC facilities are working in the field in Oregon so that we may advise our citizens and let us know what steps have been and will be taken in the wake of this incident.

3. In order to limit the upset within the Japanese community caused by this recent event, it would be desirable for the responsible authorities to make some statement showing their utmost commitment to ensuring the safety of public spaces in the state.

In addition to traditional trade relations between Oregon and Japan, active investment by Japanese companies in the high-tech industry in recent years has further strengthened the cooperative relationship between Japanese and US companies within the global supply chain, as well as providing many excellent jobs for Oregonians. We hope to continue to develop this kind of positive relationship that benefits both sides so much, and we look forward to the continued support and assistance of the Oregon State Government.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-23 12:07:09Last Update: 2021-06-23 17:20:48

Looming California-Style Blackouts
New proposal could hike electric bills and risk rolling blackouts

As the state of Oregon is looking at upcoming days with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees and the concurrent stress it will place on the energy grid, Legislators are considering legislation that may force Oregon into California-style blackouts.

HB 2021, introduced by Representative Pam Marsh (D-Ashland) and Khanh Pham (D-Portland), has moved through committees on party lines and will soon be considered on the House floor. The bill raises electricity costs for Oregonians and will likely make the state’s energy grid unreliable.

This session House Republicans have pushed for only focusing on bills that address immediate concerns related to the pandemic, natural disasters, education and restoring jobs. Raising the cost of living for people still struggling to recover is the wrong direction.

“We should not be raising electricity costs for Oregonians while making our energy grid less reliable,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby). “HB 2021 will hike electricity costs and expose Oregon families and businesses to rolling blackouts like we see in California. We shouldn’t be pushing this through a closed-door legislative session and ignore serious concerns from the public and key stakeholders. Oregonians cannot afford to pay more for less reliable electricity.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-22 16:23:19Last Update: 2021-06-22 16:48:32

Affordable Housing Segregation
Government policy has to get away from segregating neighborhoods

The term "ghetto" originated from the name of the Jewish quarter in Venice, Italy. Venetian authorities compelled the city's Jews to live in the quarter, which was established in 1516. The African-American ghetto is a creation of the twentieth century. Fifty years after the repeal of Jim Crow, many African-Americans still live in segregated ghettos in the country's metropolitan areas.

Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, has spent years studying the history of residential segregation in America. His assertion is that the government created the modern ghetto. “A ghetto is, as I define it, a neighborhood which is homogeneous and from which there are serious barriers to exit. That’s the technical definition of a ghetto.” He goes on to say that government policy has taken integrated neighborhoods and made them segregated.

Where public housing or subsidized housing is meant to provide affordable housing to a diversified class of citizens, it runs the risk of creating segregated communities that overflows into more segregated schools, higher unemployment, higher use of public health care, and more transportation needs. Under FDR the left started taking integrated neighborhoods and converting them into segregated neighborhoods under federal government policies of the New Deal. Are they again using diversity and equity to segregate for the purpose of providing benefits or is it for control?

Representative Mark Meek (D-Clackamas) wants $1 million to expand the accessory dwelling unit community pilot program for low-income rental homes. HB 3335 allocates funds to the Hacienda Community Development Corporation to assess suitable property for siting and construction of an Accessory Dwelling Unit in an area outside of Portland. For a homeowner to be eligible for an ADU construction, their income must be at or below the area median income. If a nonprofit organization owns a home, it must be rented to a household with an income at or below the area median income. HB 3335 requires the Hacienda Community Development Corporation provide professional property management services for the eligible homeowners receiving grants. If a homeowner submits to the project, they are micromanaged for upkeep and compliance for 10 years, or under penalty to repay grant monies.

HB 3335 passed out of the Full Ways and Means Committee headed to the House floor for a vote. Two other bills that have made it through the process: HB 2708 allows the Department of Land Conservation and Development to approve local governments' plans for urban growth boundary expansion areas if 30 percent is used for affordable housing for no less than 50 years. It died in committee.

How does a state provide affordable housing without creating class-based or segregated communities that turn into ghettos? Some bills offer grants to organizations providing assistance to find housing, including low-income, mentally disabled, and minorities. And, many bills that allowed tax credits for construction of affordable housing that would have integrated them throughout the community were turned down.

In order to get away from segregation, government policy has to get away from taking integrated neighborhoods and segregating them through policy.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-06-21 08:36:37Last Update: 2021-06-21 15:37:51

Remembering Those Who Fought in Vietnam
Nearly 50 years after the conflict ended

SB 319 dedicates a portion of State Capitol State Park to a Vietnam War memorial to be funded and constructed on the corner of Cottage and State Streets by a nonprofit corporation. Some think that it's about time, nearly 50 years after the conflict ended and when many who fought are no longer with us.

Vietnam was a different kind of war. Though it was fought for the undeniably noble cause of stopping the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia, the left so demonized the war that the hatred and discrimination that was directed at those who risked and even gave their lives during the war has resulted in the shameful, decades-long delay of the memorialization of these brave soldiers.

Nancy Menagh, the National President of the Gold Star Wives of America, left these thoughts with the House Committee on Rules, as they considered this bill.

When my late husband, Captain Philip Menagh, USMC, returned from Vietnam, he faced much derision and disrespect. Even when we were stationed at Camp Pendleton in the 1970’s, I felt the animosity when we would go into town -- with the tell-tale buzz cut, it was easy for anyone to spot a Marine.

My husband was killed on active duty in 1984, so he will not see this monument. But it will mean the world to me and to our children to see this monument come to fruition.

For some, the monument needs to memorialize not only the brave soldiers who fought to keep Southeast Asia free from Communist tyranny, but, to remember the victims of that conflict who were the Vietnamese people -- called the "boat people" in their day -- who fled the country in great numbers for the decades following the war.

The bill will likely pass on the floor of the House this week and be presented to Governor Brown for her signature.

--Mike Nearman

Post Date: 2021-06-20 17:02:23Last Update: 2021-07-06 19:54:21

Sandy Mayor Exploring Gubernatorial Run
Stan Pulliam has been making waves

Stan Pulliam was born and raised in the Sandy area and is now governing as Mayor, one of the fastest growing cities in Oregon. The Mayor made national news when he urged small businesses to open up for indoor service against Governor Brown’s risk-based rating counties on coronavirus safety measures. He stated, “a county’s smaller towns should not be held to the same standards as their urban counterparts.”

Mayor Stan, as he is called, says, ”I have had enough. My breaking point has been reached and that’s why I am exploring a gubernatorial run to bring real change and leadership to Oregon government. I’m the Mayor of Sandy—one of the fastest growing cities in Oregon. We do things differently here than what goes on in the Governor’s Mansion. We’ve found ways to get things done that help our working families without destroying our small businesses and watching our communities fall apart. As a non-partisan executive, I have experience overseeing law enforcement, infrastructure, tourism, and more. I’m ready to take this experience to the state level. But running for governor needs a commitment not just from me, but from you.”

Mayor Stan is on a statewide tour speaking with other mayors on unifying Oregon, combined with a statewide listening tour to form his gubernatorial campaign and get that commitment. He is outspoken in opposition to Governor Brown’s crippling regulations and thinks his pro-growth policies will resonate with Oregonians as a means to recover from the pandemic.

Mayor Stan says, “I am a pro-life, pro-gun, fiscal conservative Republican with a record of implementing real results for working families. I’m exploring a run for governor because I don’t want to give up on Oregon. I believe our best days are yet to come.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-06-20 15:13:55Last Update: 2021-06-18 15:17:09

Predatory Ed
Why do colleges have to be told to make school convenient?

If you've ever wondered if there was some vast conspiracy among institutions of higher education to suck students in, jump them though senseless hoops, all the while bleeding them of cash that they procure through mountains of debt (debt that will be tough to pay back if they pick a Mickey Mouse course of study or don't finish), you may be onto something.

Higher Education may be -- like much of government -- slow and clunky, but at the end of the day, they should have the student's best interests at heart. The long run objective should be to work hard to help all students achieve life-fulfilling learning. Higher Ed is about knowledge and the last thing Universities should have on their mind is money, especially tuition money, which is hard to come by for many students.

SB 233 might make you go back to being a conspiracy theorist. This bill requires schools to have a common system of course numbers and easy transfer policies for commonly transferred lower-division courses. Calculus is calculus, no matter where you take it. And after all, why wouldn't colleges want to support students on a path to success, at the very least by numbering courses and accepting transfer credits? Apparently, they need to be told by the Legislature. Emily Wanous, the Legislative Director for the Oregon Student's Association provided this testimony, during the committee hearing on SB 233:

According to the HECC report, approximately half of state public university students in Oregon have transferred from an Oregon community college each year. This work is urgent and necessary considering the number of students going through the transfer process every year who experience the myriad of issues when it comes to transferring their credits from one institution to another. Far too often, students are faced with the reality of retaking and repaying for courses they have already completed purely due to the lack of continuity between institutions. Transferring is often looked at on the campus level, which does little to increase the cohesion we need across institutions.

We recognize transfer has and continues to be an issue for many of our students. This bill would make the transfer work more intentional and guided for statewide success. A common course numbering system will not solve all issues in transfer, but it is a great step in making Oregon’s transfer system more efficient and most importantly: easier on students.

For Wanous, it's a shame that this issue (which is as old as some of the ivy-covered buildings at these institutions) is not resolved, and it's a shame that the Oregon Legislature has to tell them what to do, for some over a century after their founding.

The Legislature has had to take a similar tack with requiring colleges to let the students know the cost of a class before the student enrolls. In previous sessions, the legislature has had to prop up a program for modular, online, low-cost textbooks -- something that some think the colleges should have done long ago.

State legislators on Thursday also passed HB 2919 which will require the higher education institutions to clearly display the costs of course materials, such as textbooks, at the time students are registering for classes.

The House will most likely vote on the floor on SB 233 this week.

--Mike Nearman

Post Date: 2021-06-19 16:38:34Last Update: 2021-07-06 19:27:32

Closed Out of the Legislative Process
Virtual access isn’t cutting it

The end of the 2021 Legislative Session is a week away, and everything is in fast pace. The public has been locked out of the capitol for hearings, and technical issues have prevented many from testifying. But it goes deeper, procedures are set to determine the outcome halfway through the process. Bills that have a financial impact are sent to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means directly from the originating committee.

Before we go further, the process is for a bill to work through both Houses refining the policy issues, but there doesn’t seem to be any history of how a bill needing financial appropriations is allowed to interrupt that process. It has been done this way for the past 15 years -- as far back as OLIS records go.

There is bi-partisan questioning of this process. Senator Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale) and Senator Bill Hansell (R-Athena) were both concerned with the process and Gorsek stated “it’s unfortunately how these things are structured because subcommittees aren’t setup to deal with policy.” Hansell agreed and questioned having big package bills rushed through by the subcommittee and not given “due process” venting for policy.

When the originating committee completes its review on a bill that has a financial impact, they pass it out to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. There they are farmed out to subcommittees for a work session to chew over amendments for funding requests. This is done in a vacuum as if there were unlimited funds. The bill has not been fully vented by both houses, so in essence, their vote is based on their own agenda and moral views on what the bill does. The bill is then returned to the full Ways and Means committee, which takes the recommendation of the subcommittee and drills through our money like there is no tomorrow.

The Full Joint Committee on Ways and Means is simply a test of whether the bill will pass on the floor. There is no real discussion in work sessions. All the work is done behind closed doors balancing budget items within the statutory limits based on what the committee leaders want to see funded. That’s the only way that Ways and Means can possible get votes on 44 bills in 2-3 hours on the agenda this week. Included on the list are five full agency budgets. These bills are only heard in Ways and Means Subcommittees.

The Oregon State Legislature website says, “A bill may be introduced in either the Senate or the House with the exception of revenue bills which must originate in the House.” Still, three of the agency budget bills on the agenda were introduced and assigned by the President of the Senate.

What this process does, by going through Ways and Means before it goes to the second House, is it makes the second House simply a formality without meaning. By the time it reaches the second House everything is settled.

The process doesn’t just short cut the process, but it denies half of our representation. It also denies us the public hearing opportunity to be heard when it counts, prior to decisions made. Quite often a bill is heard in the first house before many are aware of its existence, and now the hearing in the second house has been rendered meaningless.

When one party controls both Houses and the Administration, it doesn’t leave any room for opposition.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-06-19 15:55:01Last Update: 2021-06-19 16:08:46

Flip-flopping Authority
The OHA lacks a cohesive strategic plan

The Oregon Legislative Assembly established the Housing for Mental Health Fund in 2015 when it dedicated $20 million in lottery bonds and housed the fund in the Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS). These funds were to provide financial assistance for the development, acquisition, renovation or improvement of affordable housing for Oregonians who have mental illnesses or addiction disorders.

In 2017, HB 3063 brings the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) in as collaborator on how to distribute the funds by convening an advisory group to make recommendations for the Housing for Mental Health Fun.

Fast forward to this session, Representative Andrea Salinas, (D-Lake Oswego) introduced HB 2316 transferring responsibility for administering the Housing for Mental Health Fund from HCSD to OHA and changes the name to the Behavioral Health Housing Incentive Fund. The directives stay the same carrying out provisions of ORS 458.385, so perhaps the name change is to appear more like a health issue rather than a housing issue, or maybe it’s an indication of more changes to the use of the funds.

What is puzzling about this bill is that when searching Oregon.gov, the Housing for Mental Health Fund isn’t found, except for this bill. OHCS lacks any reference to mental health housing needs. However, the bill may be codifying what is in practice since OHA, Behavioral Health Services, Affordable Housing unit provides an affordable housing inventory listing. But there is still no mention of the Housing for Mental Health Fund. It does beg the question as to how $20 million lottery funds were spent, and spent equitably when the fund can’t be searched.

Along with this bill, there are 172 bills introduced this legislative session aimed at adding more responsibility to the Oregon Health Authority, with little accountability. OHA Director, Pat Allen, has stood by Governor Brown’s decisions and supporting her “powers of persuasion” issuing Guidelines as though they were laws. Whatever the Governor wants proof for, he makes sure the numbers are there. Is there some kind of payback reflected in building an OHA empire?

Many of the 172 are studies aimed at the probability of new programs, some are collaboration with other agencies, some expand existing programs or give new direction, but sixteen are clearly new programs to the agency and two transfer the administration of a program from another agency to OHA. The Secretary of State’s audited Oregon’s Mental Health in 2020 indicating the statues do not fully support mental health service delivery. Oregon lacks a vision for behavioral health, OHA lacks a cohesive strategic plan with high turnover in staff affecting delivery of care, and accountability needs improving. This is the department we entrust care of our most vulnerable.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-06-18 22:42:04Last Update: 2021-06-18 22:46:49

Eviction Moratorium Extended
Property owners may have a chance to recover lost revenue

The Oregon House has passed SB 278 to extend eviction protections for tenants who applied for renters assistance. Added to the bill is an amendment negotiated by House Republicans that will allow property owners to seek the full amount of rent deferred by the COVID-19 emergency.

This part of the amendment reads:

The Housing and Community Services Department shall make distributions to adjust the compensation under section 2 (1), chapter 3, Oregon Laws 2020 (third special session), for landlords whose applications were approved before the effective date of this 2021 Act without requiring that the landlord submit an additional application.

A previous bill, HB 4401, required property owners to forgive 20 percent of rent when the state reopens. Now they will be able to get the full amount of rent lost in order to repay mortgage loans, cover deferred maintenance or necessary repairs, and pay for property taxes. The Oregon Legislature passed $150 million in compensation for housing providers, but that was not enough to cover the losses.

“It’s important that we help Oregonians recover, and that includes property owners who kept people housed during the pandemic,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby). “We have to make a promise that Oregon will continue to be a state with sensible housing policies that allow property owners to collect rent in order operate. We can’t afford an exodus of landlords which will exacerbate the housing crisis.”

Photo by Zachary Keimig on Unsplash

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-18 07:08:11Last Update: 2021-06-17 16:14:37

Nearman Files to be Appointed to His Former Seat
“Several people from my district have reached out to me”

State Representative Mike Nearman has ended speculation about whether he will try to regain his old office and has filed a form indicating his willingness to serve, if appointed. The Oregon Republican Party will host a House District 23 Nominating Convention on Friday, June 25, when -- according to Oregon law -- the Precinct Committeepersons from House District 23 will nominate between 3 and 5 persons to present to the county commissioners. The district includes parts of four counties: Polk, Yamhill, Marion and Benton.

Nearman was expelled from the Oregon House of Representatives on June 10 of this year by a vote of 59-1. He was first elected to the seat in 2014.

"Several people from my district have reached out to me and urged me to run," said Nearman. "I think many of them are upset that their choice for State Representative was removed by 59 people who don't live in the district." Nearman teased the idea on the Lars Larson show on June 11 and speculation has been rampant as to whether or not he was serious.

All of the votes, both from the Precinct Committeepersons and the County Commissioners are weighted so that they reflect the number of persons represented.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-17 16:14:37Last Update: 2021-06-17 18:29:29

Entire Portland Police Team Resigns
Primary role has been crowd events

On June 16, 2021, Portland Police Bureau employees serving as members of the Rapid Response Team (RRT) left their voluntary positions and no longer comprise a team. Its members were sworn employees of the Portland Police who served on RRT in addition to their daily assignment in the Bureau. Despite no longer serving on RRT, they will continue in their regular assignments. There were approximately 50 employees serving as RRT members.

The Rapid Response Team is an all-hazard incident response team that has received advanced specialized training to respond to incidents requiring higher levels of technical expertise including public order policing, natural or man-made disasters. The primary role has been to provide public safety at crowd events when there was a threat of harm to the community. All Rapid Response Team members are trained in advanced skills related to crowd management and crowd control including crowd psychology and behavior, team formations and movements, the use of enhanced personal protective equipment, use of force, de-escalation and arrests.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-17 10:59:11Last Update: 2021-06-17 11:11:45

Legislation Will Shield Public Records Advocate from Political Interference
The bill has broad support from journalists and advocates

The Oregon Senate passed SB 500, introduced by Senator Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) on a vote of 28-1. Under the legislation, the public records advocate will become an independent office, giving it separation from the Governor and political influence.

By creating an independent office, the public records advocate would be granted more autonomy, rather than the position and office being under the governor’s control.

“The public’s access to government records shouldn’t be political,” said Senator Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer), author of the legislation. “This bill will rebuild trust between Oregonians and their government. It will ensure more transparency and accountability in the handling of public records.”

Since 2019, two public records advocates appointed by the Governor have resigned. Ginger McCall had alleged political pressure from the Governor’s office in handling public records requests. Becky Chiao also resigned after concerns arose over her objection to making the office independent from politics.

The bill has broad support from journalists, advocates, and the current public records advocate, Todd Albert.

In written testimony in support of SB 500, Albert said that making the office independent would “focus its limited resources on continuing the day-to-day work of being an impartial, consistently reliable office that has become a trusted voice in the ongoing conversation about transparency and access to information in Oregon.”

The bill will now head to the House for consideration.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-16 11:34:49Last Update: 2021-06-18 15:13:55

Lane County Businessman Darin Harbick Announces for Governor
He says he understands budget, law, and most importantly how to listen

More and more people are thinking this state needs a business owner for governor to get us in the right direction. Darin Harbick thinks he has the experience, even though he isn’t political. He is selling his Takoda’s Restaurant to his daughter and son-in-law to give him the time to run for governor.

Darin Harbick has experienced first-hand the obstacles of building a business from the ground up and wants to help those Oregonians who have aspirations of owning a business. At one time Darin operated five businesses and managed over 100 employees. When he learned about the need in Oregon to help those with mental health problems, opioid addiction, and homelessness he and his wife, Kail, began a five-bed recovery center for those who are suffering.

Darin Harbick, born and raised in Lane County, has served 14 years on the McKenzie School Board, 15 years on the Chamber of Commerce Board and 3 years on Travel Lane County. At the same time, he owned and operated his businesses and served his local community. He coached a girls’ high school basketball team to State Championship. He also coached women’s basketball at a private college in Eugene.

He has a strong sense of community helping fire victims, moving logs and trees so people can rebuild their homes. He also owns and drives a log truck like his father before him.

From his fourteen years of experience on the school board, he says he understands budget, law, and most importantly how to support parents and listen carefully to their concerns about their children’s education. His friends say Darin is not one to see a problem and hope somebody else does something. He will get involved to help bring the change.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-06-15 20:21:03Last Update: 2021-06-16 01:16:27

Brown Urged to Fully Open the State
The state is getting close to the artificial threshold of 70%

In a letter to Governor Kate Brown House Republican Leader Christine Drazan scolded the Governor for the level of COVID-19 restrictions still in place in Oregon and asked her to consider easing restrictions, comparing Oregon to California and other states.

We urge you to join California today by reopening Oregon immediately and rescinding the COVID-19 emergency orders in the state. Oregon does not need to be the most restrictive state on the West Coast, or one of the last states to reopen nationwide. Oregonians have sacrificed so much during this pandemic. We should recognize their contributions by reopening the state at the same time as our neighbors.

Hospitals are much better equipped to treat COVID-19 patients, and vaccines have greatly reduced the potential for emergency room visits for our at-risk population. The effectiveness of natural immunity is very promising. If we include Oregonians with natural immunity, then we are well above the 70 percent threshold to reopen the state.

Oregonians have been through enough. They do not need to wait another day. Vaccines are readily available and individuals can still wear masks if they choose. It is time for the state to return to normal by lifting emergency orders now.

Oregon has failed to develop policies that address natural immunity that is acquired by persons who have had COVID-19 and recovered. About 5% of Oregon's population has natural immunity to COVID1-19 and some think that these should be classified with the vaccinated. The state is getting close to the artificial threshold of 70% but the rate of vaccinations is slowing, making that target ever elusive.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-15 12:45:36Last Update: 2021-06-15 16:21:03

Utopian Spending Mandates
Lots and lots of free stuff

The Oregon Legislature has passed SJR 12, which refers Measure 401 to the voters. If approved by the voters, it would add to the Oregon Constitution, a right of every Oregonian to receive health care and require the State of Oregon to fund this right.

Though Oregon is very close to having nearly all Oregonians with some kind of health care, the passage of this measure could be very expensive for the state. One can easily imagine what happens when an industry whose costs are spiraling out of control secures a mandate that government pay the bill. If you think there's little incentive for the health care industry to control costs now, wait until they can send unlimited invoices to the government, which is required to pay them.

This isn't the first time Oregonians have been presented with a chance to get the government to fully fund an industry. At the turn of the century, education activists -- driven by teachers' unions and spearheaded by then Governor John Kitzhaber -- proposed a ballot measure to change the Oregon Constitution which would require the state to fully fund education at levels to achieve goals set by Oregon law. The voters overwhelmingly approved it by a vote of 66%. Article VIII, Section 8 of the Oregon Constitution now reads:

Adequate and Equitable Funding. (1) 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.

Soon after, a lawsuit was filed, Pendleton School District v. State of Oregon, by 18 school districts and seven students demanding more funding based on this provision. The case made it's way to the Oregon Supreme Court where the court decided that, though the state was not adequately funding education, the voters did not intend for the courts to enforce it.

Might the same thing happen with health care funding? As with education funding, the voters are presented with an unarguable good -- then education, now health care -- that's hard to vote against. As with education, the state is merely required to fund it. No funding mechanism or revenue source is identified, making it easier for the voters to support. Like education funding, health care funding might find a similar fate, as idealists propose a utopian solution, and a sober state finds a way to not fund the dream.

--Mike Nearman

Post Date: 2021-06-14 15:33:11Last Update: 2021-07-06 19:28:02

House Republicans Push to Ban Vaccine Passports in Oregon
House Democrats unite to maintain controversial policy option

Oregon House Republicans have voted in favor of banning vaccine passports in Oregon. However, the motion to pull HB 3407, introduced by Mark Owens from the Speaker’s desk failed on party lines.

The requirement for businesses to check the vaccination status of customers before they can remove their mask has been the focus of criticism from Oregonians, labor groups and businesses.

This legislation would prevent any public body - state, local or special government body - from issuing a requirement for proof of vaccination through a vaccine passport from COVID-19 or variants of COVID-19.

“This bill protects Oregonians’ rights to privacy,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby). “We’ve already seen public opposition for the Governor’s vaccine verification executive order. We’re the only state in the country with this kind of mandate. People deserve the right to keep this confidential medical information private without a mask requirement.”

In order to prevent discriminatory actions and repercussions, the bill would prohibit a person or public body from being able to legally require an individual to state or document vaccine status against COVID-19 to access credit, insurance, education, facilities, medical services, housing or accommodations, travel, entry into this state, employment or purchase goods or services.

It would also prohibit these entities from being legally able to require an individual to wear a face covering if the individual does not wish to disclose vaccine status.

The bill applies only to the COVID-19 vaccinations.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-14 09:58:31Last Update: 2021-06-14 14:39:54

Brownfields are a Business Opportunity
Equal opportunity or Equity?

Two federal cases are redefining diversity policies according to the constitution and these might have an impact on Oregon.

First, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled to approve a temporary restraining order forbidding President Biden’s administration from giving out grants in a program aimed at prioritizing applicants due to their race and/or gender and told plaintiff, Philip Greer, he is likely to succeed. Greer prepared an application on behalf of his restaurant and is otherwise eligible to receive Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant, but for the allegedly unconstitutional prioritization scheme.

More recently federal Judge William Griesbach in Wisconsin sided with White farmers and ranchers, including Adam Faust, a double amputee and the owner of a dairy farm. The judge issued a temporary restraining order on the Department of Agriculture program that was to start paying out and forgive loans for Black and other minority farmers. The assistance program, which was passed by the Senate as part of the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion stimulus relief package, was intended to correct long-standing disadvantages faced by Black, Latino, and other minority farmers in getting loans from banks and the government. The plaintiffs argue the program is unconstitutional because it discriminates against them.

White farmers in other regions of the country are also suing the debt relief program. Adding to the constitutional issue is the prohibition by the Civil Rights Act of 1864. Loans based on race and sex are not allowable under Title VI.

COVID-19 has been used as an excuse for disproportionately affecting communities of color making it more difficult to access relief programs due to systemic racism and other issues. But judges aren’t buying the argument. Representative Ken Helm (D-Portland) and Senator Lew Frederick (D-Portland) are tempting Oregon businesses to join suits by introducing HB 2518. This bill establishes and allocates funding to the Oregon Brownfield Properties Revitalization Fund to support a forgivable loan program for owners or operators of brownfield properties that incur eligible costs in the recovery of the brownfield property. A brownfield is a former industrial site that is environmentally contaminated

HB 2518 runs into shady territory by requiring Business Oregon to develop the forgivable loan program for minority-owned and woman-owned businesses, and emerging small businesses controlled by socially disadvantaged individuals as defined in ORS 200.005. That definition identifies businesses owned and controlled by women, veterans, and people deemed “socially and economically disadvantaged.” A minority-owned business is at least 51 percent controlled by minority individuals, women or disabled veterans. Minority individuals are any race but White.

HB 2518 strays from its focus on restoring brownfields and obligates the state -- that is, the taxpayers -- to pay for the restoration so social disadvantaged can use it for businesses. It seems the legislators have been doing the two-step skirting around federal laws on a number of fronts. Governor Brown physically changed Oregon’s objective from equal to equity. Equity is the opposite of equal opportunity. Equity demands an equal outcome and that only happens when you gerrymander to favor one group over another.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-14 08:42:43Last Update: 2021-06-14 09:58:31

The Road to 70%
"Oregon is so close to more fully reopening our economy”

As Oregon limps toward a 70% vaccination rate, we're sitting within sight of the target and the rate at which people are being vaccinated is dropping seriously.

It's not hard to speculate as to why the rate of vaccination is dropping. Those willing to be vaccinated -- some people would have crawled across broken glass to get the vaccine -- have all been done. Large, easy to herd groups that would be considered low-hanging fruit by the number-counters have probably been done. These would be large employers, large living situations, etc.

What's left on the last few uphill miles on the road to 70% are people with medical issues who are reluctant to get the vaccine, and rural, hard-to-reach people who, in addition to being hard to get to, might not be so warm to getting the vaccine. Part of getting some people to get the vaccine involves trust and it seems that trust has been trampled on at nearly every turn by the Governor and the Oregon Health Authority.

"Oregon is so close to more fully reopening our economy, and I am grateful to everyone who has stepped up to get vaccinated. We will soon need to reach fewer than 100,000 Oregonians to achieve our statewide vaccination goal of 70% and lift the county risk level framework," said Governor Kate Brown.

Democrat Counties are doing better than rural ones. Washington and Hood River Counties lead with 71%, followed by Multnomah and Benton Counties with 70%. Vaccines seem not to be a priority in Lake County where scant more than a third of the residents have been vaccinated. Are the low numbers in Eastern Oregon due to an inability to overcome the logistical challenges of administering vaccines to a sparse population, or to the population's resistance to getting vaccinated -- perhaps driven by the sparseness of the population. Someone who lives 30 miles from the nearest town and 10 miles from the nearest neighbor might not see the need.

Though there doesn't seem to be any basis in science for the threshold of 70%, it's an important number. We're getting to the point where the continued COVID-19 regulations will have more than just economic consequences. They will have political consequences.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-13 20:37:24Last Update: 2021-06-14 08:42:43

Segregating Students
Studies that segregate are demoralizing the groups they are intended to benefit

If you are one of many that look at bill sponsors to give you an idea of which way the bill might be leaning, that all goes out the window when a bill is “gut-and-stuffed.” Take for example HB 2962. It was introduced with bi-partisan sponsors directing school districts to evaluate instructional needs of students as a result of school closures due to COVID-19 and to report summaries of evaluations to Department of Education. But, before the first hearing took place, one of the sponsors proposed a “gut-and-stuff” amendment changing the trajectory of the bill.

Representative Teresa Alonso León (D- Woodburn) cosponsored HB 2962, but turned on her cosponsors and submitted an amendment that now requires the Legislative Policy and Research Director to conduct a study based on disaggregated data of student groups, including students from racial or ethnic groups that have historically experienced academic disparities, students who have a disability, economically disadvantaged students, students from different geographic regions of this state, students who are parents and students who are English language learners -- now in the Ways & Means Committee.

Science News reports that education researchers have found major flaws in the education policy aiming to have ability groupings as the norm in key subjects. Two new separate studies show that sorting school children into sets is neither an accurate way of assessing ability, nor is it beneficial to their learning. The study, which analyzed the results of different methods of teaching math in three American high schools, found that an approach that involved students not being divided into ability groups, but being given a shared responsibility for each other's learning, led to a significant improvement in the achievements of high and low achieving students alike. The approach had further benefits in that it taught students to take responsibility for each other and to regard that responsibility as an important part of life.

Professor Jo Boaler, Stanford associate professor of education, states that her "recent study of a new system of grouping in the US showed that the system benefited students at high and low levels and the high attaining students were the most advantaged by the mixed ability grouping, because they had opportunities to learn work in greater depth."

Studies that segregate are demoralizing the groups they are intended to benefit by singling them out for specific help. The studies show that challenging students equally and together produces far higher results.

There are other useful research requirements in HB 2962, but it is now looking for one solution to fit the entire state and removes flexibility from school boards to adapt to their district’s own needs.

Other bills that tout this disaggregation of students into groups are: We all agree that student’s reaction to the lockdowns went unnoticed too long and now we need to open our schools and let them thrive.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-13 07:43:40Last Update: 2021-06-12 17:55:24

The Voice of Science in the Legislature
Much of what he has been saying over the years is becoming reality

Art Robinson is a biochemist and a longtime Southern Oregon resident and a Constitutional conservative. He has spent decades standing up to radical environmentalists who continue to threaten our most vital industries like logging, ranching, farming and mining. After repeated defeats for Peter DeFazio’s seat in Congress, he saw a win in replacing Senator Herman Baertschiger for State Senate District 2, which includes Josephine and Northern Jackson counties and the towns of Grants Pass, Central Point, Rogue River, Eagle Point, White City, Gold Hill and Cave Junction.

In 2020, after Robinson switched his race to the State Senate, Daily Kos labeled him as the Crazy/Stupid Republican of the Day for the seventh year in a row. Besides his repeated losses challenging Rep. Peter DeFazio, they labeled him as “the weirdest opinions on science of any member of the GOP we’ve ever profiled.” They weren’t the only ones making fun of Robinson’s scientific theories. If you’re not a scientist, it might be a little difficult to track Robinson’s theories, but much of what he has been saying over the years is becoming reality. After all, he was a professor of chemistry at the University of California until 1972.

Robison isn’t very popular with the Oregon leadership on his support to remove all taxes on energy, but they love tax credits. So, when Robinson sponsored SB 825 to create an income tax credit for energy production and establish a task force on free-market energy production, it was given a courtesy hearing. But that’s all it was, the bill died in committee.

That hasn’t stopped Senator Robinson from getting his message out. At almost every Senate floor session you can hear him deliver a two-minute speech about science. He starts by discussing how much of climate change is related to human activity. “Your carbon footprint is not causing the oceans to rise,” he said in March. Lately he’s been talking about various scientists and building blocks of science, including molecules and amino acids.

In 1980, he established the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. Of all the poking fun at his urine collection project, Robinson’s experiment is to catalogize patterns of health issues that could be used for diagnosing such things as early-stage breast cancer or an approaching heart attack. He aims for a cheap noninvasive test that will help a physician in the proper treatment. It is identified as quaky to some, but the potential could be lifesaving.

So, it’s no surprise that he is one of the sponsors for HB 2648, which allows pharmacist or pharmacy technician to sell drugs containing pseudoephedrine without prescription to person who is at least 18 years of age and presents person's valid government-issued photo identification. The bill goes to the Senate floor for its final vote.

For all the criticism thrown at Senator Robinson, he continues to try and break through the walls of consensus science ingrained in society and distribute a few facts, if only for two-minutes on the Senate floor.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-06-12 16:30:38Last Update: 2021-06-12 16:43:06

“Flag Called Freedom”
Give Paul a thumbs up.

January 6 has been engraved in American history as a day of revolt with a mob storming the United States Capitol. When President Trump invited everyone to come to their State Capitols and Washington DC, a big U.S. flag became the center of attention. There were several people hunting down the 30ft by 60ft “Flag Called Freedom” that had been seen at multiple events up and down the west coast. Last year the flag was seen at "We the People of Lane County" events in Springfield and Salem, the Dunes and Deplorables event at the coast, and the star of the Creswell 4th of July Parade.

The flag belongs to a man named Paul who lives south of Eugene. Ultimately, Paul, his brother and nephew drove the flag on a 42-hour drive to DC for the January 6 celebration. There were at least 20 people that traveled to DC from Oregon.

Once there, the morning of the 6th, the flag was released into the crowd at the Washington Monument where it “Patriot Surfed” through hundreds of thousands during President Trump’s speech. Then parading to the capitol steps, it crowd-surfed with just hands of everyone keeping it up. It was going well like a great celebration should. When the flag made its way to the front of the Capitol, where some scaffolding was standing, it was swept up in the emotion and someone climbed the scaffolding and lifted the “Flag Called Freedom” vertical for all to see, and where it stayed well after sundown.

What happened next has been the topic of the news for the past six months and we still don’t know the truth on what transpired. But the fate of the “Flag Called Freedom” ended up in the Capitol Police hands, when the area was closed off. Since then it has been held in an evidence locker pending an FBI investigation.

None of the people from Lane County are known to have entered the Capitol, but that hasn’t stopped the FBI from interviewing at least seven people from Oregon. So, when Paul was notified, he could have his flag back, it seems people in DC are afraid to retrieve the flag for Paul and send it to him.

Paul purchased his “Flag Called Freedom” as a way to share his love of this country. He has made a legacy of special value for the flag. He plans to get his flag back even if he has to fly to DC and get it himself. In the meantime, he is working several angles including attempting to get staff from Representative Cliff Benz’s office to ship it, whom also seems to be afraid of getting into a political mouse trap.

Paul says his plan for the “Flag Called Freedom” is to auction it off and give the proceeds to a nonprofit veterans group. That isn’t the end. Paul plans to buy another “Flag Called Liberty.” In the meantime, the “Flag Called Freedom” will again be at the Creswell 4th of July Parade, and if you see it there or the next time you attend a rally, look for the enormous “Flag Called Freedom” and give Paul a thumbs up.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-06-12 15:04:55Last Update: 2021-06-12 16:43:40

Protections For Babies
Pro-life legislation in Oregon

Oregon is out of step with an unprecedented wave of states passing pro-life laws preventing abortions after six or eight weeks. Nine states passed laws in 2019, and in 2021, 46 states introduced 536 pro-life bills with 61 new pro-life laws, many recognizing the civil rights of unborn children. In Oregon, six abortion bills were introduced, but none received a hearing.

Two bills in Oregon are aimed at live birth abortions that take place after a fetus is viable and would survive. HB 2699, and SB 586 requires health care practitioner to exercise proper degree of care to preserve health and life of child born alive after abortion or attempted abortion. It requires the health care practitioner to ensure a child born alive is transported to a hospital.

The bill defines “born alive” as the complete expulsion or extraction of a child from a person at any stage of the child’s development and after the expulsion or extraction, the child is breathing or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord or definite movement of voluntary muscles, whether the umbilical cord has been severed or not. Expulsion or extraction may occur by natural or induced labor, cesarean section or induced abortion.

On June 10, Senator Kim Thatcher moved to withdraw SB 586 from the Committee on Health Care for discussion on the floor. The motion to withdraw failed with 11 Ayes, and 18 Nays. The vote was along party line with Democrats voting Nay.

Senator Thatcher’s explanation was to “close a gap in Oregon law providing protection for a child. The Federal Born Alive Infants Act defines the infants as persons but there are no guarantees they are entitled to the same level of medical care as a baby born of the same age. This bill would have made it clear that a baby surviving a failed abortion receive the same medical care as a baby born of the same gestation age without the attempted abortion.”

Senator Thatcher goes on to describe that a “January 2020 survey shows there is strong bi-partisan support for this concept in Oregon. Seventy-eight percent of Oregonians believe that a baby that survives a failed abortion should be given the same level of medical care that a baby otherwise born of the same age. We always try and protect the most vulnerable among us and who is more vulnerable that this tiny little human. These babies should be given the same level of care regardless of how they are brought into this world.”

Senator Linthicum also made a vote explanation saying, “the issue isn’t whether it’s a failed abortion or not, the issue is worthy of debate because it would simply allow a live human being to be treated with the same level of care as any other live new born human being. This is worthy of debate on the Senate floor as an important ideological discussion.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-06-12 12:00:34Last Update: 2021-06-13 14:41:50

Gomez Announces for Governor
Former candidate for State Senate isn’t new to politics

Jessica Gomez wears many hats, but will put that all aside for a 2022 run for Oregon Governor. As CEO of Medford’s Rogue Valley Microdevices, she earned recognition by the Portland Business Journal on the 2021 list of “Women of Influence.” She currently serves as Chair of the Oregon Tech Board of Trustees. She has also been honored as Jackson County/Medford Chamber Member of the Year, most recognized speaker at MEMS World Summit, and selected as the first executive in Spotlight on SEMI Women.

Jessica moved to Oregon at age twelve. Her dad started a cabinetry making business right as the timber industry started declining. Watching her dad struggle impacted her on the plight of rural Oregon and the reliance on timber. After moving to Long Island to live with her grandmother, then moving to Los Angeles in 2000 to begin a career as programmer/analyst, she meant her husband. In 2003, the dot.com bubble burst and being out of work, they moved back to Oregon. Not finding jobs, they borrowed funding to start Rogue Valley Microdevices. They now employ 20 employees.

Jessica is “passionate about transforming the community and driving the technology industry into a new phase of innovation. I believe technology has limitless potential and impacts everything from farming, to the Internet to medical device manufacturing and much more.”

In her announcement to run for Governor, Jessica states, “It is time for Oregonians to work together to build a future in which we can all be proud. I firmly believe the strength of our state lies in our differences.”

In an interview with kdrv.com, she said Oregon hasn’t had a business owner for Governor for a very long time that understands the challenges of business. Coming out of the pandemic we need to focus on our businesses. Her priority is to work on key differences. We are a diverse state, which is our strength. Finding ways to support growth through broadband and water structures so all of Oregon can grow.

Jessica Gomez isn’t new to politics. She ran for Oregon State Senate to represent District 3 in 2018 and only lost by ten percent to her Democrat opponent, Jeff Golden.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-06-11 17:31:50Last Update: 2021-06-12 22:28:42

Veterans Were Left Out of Lottery
Vaccinated veterans need to take additional steps

The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is informing veterans, spouses, employees and others who received their COVID-19 vaccine through the Federal VA Health Care System, on Tribal lands or out of state, that they will need to take an additional steps to be entered in the state’s COVID-19 Lottery on June 28.

While most vaccinated Oregonians were entered in the state’s drawing automatically, those who received their shots at the VA or out of state were not, due to privacy laws that prevent federal agencies from sharing protected information with state partners. Therefore, the State of Oregon is offering the chance for those who were not entered automatically to voluntarily self-register at takeyourshot.oregon.gov.

The personal information submitted will supposedly be held securely by the Oregon Health Authority. It is only supposed to be used for this drawing. For those who wish to enter, please ensure that you submit your registration form by June 27.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-11 16:53:27Last Update: 2021-06-11 17:03:40

Reactions to Nearman Expulsion
Armed people are allowed in the Capitol

The expulsion of Mike Nearman from the Oregon House of Representatives has reached national news and is a call for everyone to opine on the issue. It's also an occasion to reflect on how others have been treated recently in the Capitol and how their treatment compares to Nearman's.

For instance, Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner issued a statement on Nearman's expulsion.

“I support and respect the vote the House of Representatives took this evening to expel Mike Nearman. His actions were abhorrent. On December 21, 2020, those who work in the State Capitol were rightfully afraid for their safety. Their loved ones at home were afraid for their safety.

“The individuals who trespassed the Oregon State Capitol, facilitated by now-former Representative Nearman, were intent on harm. They had ties to right wing extremism and white supremacist groups, and many were armed.

“His abhorrent actions warrant this historic response. It is right that he is being held accountable by his colleagues, and I hope he is also held accountable in the court of law.”

Senator Wagner forgets that -- at least now -- armed people are allowed in the Capitol. And as much as Senator Wagner tries to tie Nearman to "white supremacist groups," he has been accused of racism for his mishandling of a hazing incident directed toward a black student as chair of the Lake Oswego School District.

The harsh treatment of Nearman stands in contrast to the comparatively lack of any serious consequences for Representative Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie).

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-11 16:49:23Last Update: 2021-06-11 17:31:50

Bailey’s Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk
Increases penalties for teachers who sexually abuse students

The House of Representative unanimously passed SB 649. ‘Bailey’s Bill’ would close a loophole in state law that lets teachers off with lighter penalties than coaches for sexually abusing students.

“I am proud to have gotten this important legislation across the finish line, but the true champion is Bailey,” said Senator Bill Hansell (R-Athena), the author of the legislation. “Her courageous voice and strong advocacy made it possible. Thank you to my colleagues in the House for passing this important bill.”

Representative Bobby Levy (R-Echo) carried the bill on the House floor.

“Bailey’s advocacy will give other girls access to justice that she did not have access to,” Representative Levy said. “It’s been an honor to work with her to pass this bill in the Legislature. It will make our communities a little bit safer for young Oregonians. That is something I am extremely proud of.”

SB 649 now heads to the Governor’s desk for her signature.

The legislation is named after Bailey Munck, a student at Weston-McEwen High School in Athena. In 2019, she was sexually abused by her English teacher after a state playoff volleyball game in Coquille. The teacher was the scorekeeper for the volleyball team.

After pleading guilty to sexual harassment and touching, her abuser spent only 2 days in jail and 5 years of probation. He did not have to register as a sex offender. If he would have been Bailey’s coach, he would have been convicted of a Class C felony and received up to 5 years in jail and a $125,000 fine. Because he was Bailey’s teacher, he barely got a slap on the wrist. SB 649 would put teachers on the same level as coaches for penalties of crimes of sexual abuse in the second degree.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-11 16:43:29Last Update: 2021-06-11 16:49:23

Rep. Nearman Expelled from Legislature
“It’s June 10, we’re three weeks from the end and this building is still closed”

The Oregon House of Representatives has voted to expel Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence) for his December 21, 2020 exiting of the Capitol which allowed people into the building. Criminal charges have been filed against Nearman, who has maintained that the Capitol should be open during the legislative session. No legislator has ever been expelled from the body in the history of the State of Oregon.

The case has made national news as a video -- recently leaked from evidence in the trial against him -- has come to light showing him speaking to a group from Oregon Citizens Lobby about entering the Capitol during one of the 2020 special sessions.

Article IV, Section 15 of the Oregon Constitution describes expulsion from the Legislature. "Either house may punish its members for disorderly behavior, and may with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member; but not a second time for the same cause."

In his speech on the motion to expel him, Nearman read the portions of the Oregon Constitution which talk about the right of the people to instruct their legislators and the requirement that legislative deliberations be open to the public. He chided the assembly for keeping the Capitol closed:

"It’s June 10 and we’re three weeks from the end of the session and this building is still closed to the public. After the afternoon floor session this afternoon, we’re all going to go out to dinner, or stop at the grocery store, or tomorrow go shop for clothes or get our oil changed, because all of those places are open. But not this building."

Democrats brought the motion to expel Nearman in a surprise move just days before he was scheduled to appear before the House Committee on Conduct on a complaint that he created a hostile work environment. The expulsion vote required a 2/3 majority, so at least three Republicans were needed to vote to expel. The vote was unanimous, except for the vote of Nearman, who voted not to expel himself.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-10 20:01:34Last Update: 2021-06-10 20:58:21

The Homeless Money Pit
“It’s appalling, the lack of creativity that we have in finding solutions”

Homelessness is one of the hottest topics at all levels of government, but it seems that no matter how much is done or how much is spent, the problem never gets better. It always gets worse.

Now, the Oregon Legislature is considering HB 2004, introduced by House Speaker Tina Kotek. The bill allocates millions of dollars "to support emergency shelters through grants to local community organizations for the acquisition, retrofitting and operation of emergency shelters throughout this state."

The bill first was written to send the money to the Oregon Housing and Community Services Agency to provide funding for low-barrier housing. Low-barrier housing is housing that has fewer rules -- euphemistically known as barriers -- such as requirements that the resident be drug-free, sober, not have pets, etc. It has since been amended so that the nearly $10 million in grant money will be distributed by a non-profit organization, the Oregon Community Foundation.

It's worth asking why the money goes to a non-profit -- especially one where at least nine of the 15 board members are Democrats, and many of them high dollar donors to Kate Brown. Is it because if the money stays in a state agency, there is accountability and if it goes to the non-profit, the public loses the ability to watch the money.

One legislator had this to say, about the bill. "It's appalling, the lack of creativity that we have in finding solutions to the homeless problem. Sending $10 million dollar in a grant to a non-profit so that they can give out grants, doesn't seem like a solution."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-10 12:31:28Last Update: 2021-06-10 18:20:43

Paul Romero Announces for Governor
He was a Republican candidate for US Senate in 2020

Paul Romero, most recently a candidate for US Senate, has announced a run for the Republican nomination for Oregon Governor.

Growing up in Central Oregon, Romero's first venture into public service was as a Navy Enlisted man where he crossed Libya's Line-of-Death, traversed the Red Sea and Persian Gulf in support of Desert Shield, and Desert Storm.

Paul has created “The Contract With Oregon” to reflect the inspirations of Americans like Newt Gingrich and the impacts on the people of The United States of America.

Romero points out that Oregon has made national news regarding several issues including a continued lockdown disregarding CDC updated guidelines, a hard experimental vaccine push, and passing bills that could put an Oregonian with a Concealed Carry Permit into the category of felon.

Asked what makes him different, Romero stated, "I'm not a politician, I'm a pragmatist. A problem solver, problem fixer, and crisis manager. Oregon is in deep crisis. Portland's 800% crime rate increase is unacceptable. My personal goal is to become a true Statesman who represents the people's interest and wants to provide the safety and security each Oregonian deserves through law enforcement, removal of laws repugnant to the Constitutions, and an invigorated economy through lower taxes and eco-friendly industries."

Romero claims that after decades moving to the left, Oregonians are moving right. According to Gallup, Conservatives have a four-point advantage over Liberals in the Beaver state. This trend is especially obvious when we look at Tillamook and Columbia Counties. In 2008 Obama won Tillamook County with a 12.02% advantage over McCain, which was cut in half in 2012 when Romney challenged him. Trump received a 11.46% advantage over Clinton, a 23.48% flip in just eight years.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-10 10:06:58Last Update: 2021-06-10 12:31:28

Analysis: Taxes and Freedom
There’s a war on property ownership

Sometimes don’t you just want to cut through all the lawmaking and get to the point?

The IRS was founded in 1913, a little over 100 years ago. Besides raising revenue for public goods, taxes serve to control people. The state has record revenues right now and the Democrat run, public union controlled legislature is still raising our taxes. That doesn’t make any sense you say, that kills the goose that lays the egg. Well it makes sense if you understand the game. The more you’re taxed the less freedom you have and the easier it is to control you.

You don’t have the economic freedom to send your kids to a decent private school because you’re already paying big time for public schools. You are paying for colleges that tell your kids their parent’s world is wrong. Those schools must be the merchants of doom or lose their government grant money which you helped provide.

Your taxes subsidize the purchase of government approved hybrid cars which means the SUV you prefer costs more than it should to meet regulations. Instead of road improvements you are paying for bike lanes you’re not using with each gallon of gas you buy. You drive on deliberately congested roads as the government wages war on the automobile you depend on to live your life. The government solution - toll the roads. You’re paying for big busses and light rail to travel millions of miles with just a few people riding to limited destinations.

You’re paying for inefficient health care you’re not using. Do you know people go to foreign countries to get good health care for about 20% of what we pay in this country? That’s what it really costs when you strip away the bloated bureaucracy, bogus lawsuits, needless testing, over paid administrative staff and a government managed profit structure.

You’re paying to feed, house, clothe, treat and protect people who are in the country illegally. You’re paying to house people who don’t want to work. Both groups are future voters for big government.

The sky hasn’t been cleaner, nor the waters clearer for decades and still we pay a huge bureaucracy to increase regulations and fines, build inefficient windmill and solar farms with money confiscated from gas and electric ratepayers by the Governor appointed Public Utilities Commissioner. To satisfy Democrat voters, century old dams are breached ruining agriculture and eliminating efficient electricity generation.

You, the taxpayer and law abiding citizen aren’t trusted to own a gun, to speak up against tyrannical government, to visit your elected representative, or decide what your children will be taught in teachers' union -- government – public schools that you pay for.

Your minister is bullied about what to say or the church will lose its tax status. Government protected Facebook decides what you can say or they’ll cancel you. You’re paying an inefficient regulatory bureaucracy huge fees to be inefficient, to delay or deny your plans to build or remodel. You’re paying inspectors huge fees to shut down your business if you resist their politically motivated rules.

The war on property ownership has government increase its holdings of formerly private property to the point of grossly mismanaged forests, streams, parks and rangeland. The government is not harvesting trees that could give you relief from all the taxes you’re paying. You’re paying for district attorneys that don’t prosecute criminals, future voters for government that wants to control you. If you own a commercial building you are paying property taxes to a government that put your tenants out of business. Apartment owners house increasing numbers each year and are rewarded with huge penalties if they manage their property as a business. Do you sometimes think that it’s heads tyrannical government wins, tails you lose?

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-06-10 09:48:35Last Update: 2021-06-10 10:06:58

Witt Removed from Chair of Committee
The Democrat sent inappropriate texts to another member

Representative Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie) has been removed as Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources for his sending of texts to another member, Representative Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) seemingly asking for a date. Despite conclusions of an investigator to the contrary, local media attempted to cover for Representative Witt.

Representative Breese-Iverson was texting Representative Witt to ask for a vote, and he was responding with offers to "get a beer" and other requests.

Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) issued a letter to members of the House. “In my authority as Speaker, I am removing Representative Witt as chair of the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. I hold all chairs to a high standard of conduct, and Representative Witt failed to meet that standard.”

Freshman, Zach Hudson (D-Portland) has been named chair of the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-09 17:14:11Last Update: 2021-06-11 17:27:07

Senate Republicans Vote to Expand Opportunity in Education
Overall support for school choice is increasing

Senate Republicans proposed an addition to HB 2954 to allow more students options in their education.

The minority report, carried by Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River), mirrors the bill passed out of committee, but would also raise the decade-old arbitrary cap on virtual public charter school enrollment from three percent to four percent of the school district’s student population.

“The reality is, many students don’t thrive under traditional learning models,” said Senator Thomsen, the vice-chair of the Senate Education Committee. “Virtual public charter schools are a great option for many kids for many different reasons, whether it be bullying, the flexibility to learn at their own pace, or to accommodate mental and physical health conditions. The current cap is a cap on student potential. It doesn’t serve what should be the main goal of our education system: to serve Oregon students’ needs and set them up for future success.”

Despite overwhelming support from families and students to raise the cap, Democrats voted in lockstep to defeat the motion to include this provision.

“This is the time for real education reform,” said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons). “This session, the Democrats have lowered education standards and avoided meaningful reform by throwing more money at a failing system. School choice is fundamentally about giving students, regardless of wealth, the best education possible for them. Republicans will continue to be the party of educational opportunity and school choice.”

Increasing the cap on virtual charter schools would have been a small victory for those trapped in a system that doesn’t meet their needs. For communities of color and low-income households, too few education options exist. Without options, families will be stuck in a failing system that hinders upward mobility. Giving these families the freedom to choose an education that works for their students correlates with increased academic achievement.

Despite promising to promote “Access and Equity in Public Education,” Senate Democrats have blocked all school choice measures from advancing this session, including a measure that would have completely lifted the cap on virtual public charter school attendance. Senate Democrats held a public hearing for SB 240, but only after it was ‘dead’ due to legislative deadlines.

Public support for school choice has skyrocketed since the onset of the pandemic. Traditional, government-run public school models were no longer a viable option for many, including our most vulnerable populations. When Governor Brown shut down schools in the spring of 2020, students and parents flocked to virtual public charter schools. The current three percent cap on enrollment led to record transfer rejection numbers. Since July of 2020, the Oregon Department of Education has received at least 839 rejection appeals, the vast majority of which have been upheld without reasonable explanation as to why.

Yet, at least 41 school districts in Oregon have exceeded the three percent cap on virtual public charter school attendance, further demonstrating the demand for education alternatives. New data from Real Clear Opinion Research finds overall support for school choice is increasing as parents need more options than ever before: The minority report for HB 2954 was voted down by Democrats. The Senate passed the original bill that carries the same language but fails to provide necessary education options.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-09 10:38:04Last Update: 2021-06-09 12:19:58

Resolution Introduced to Censure Representative Witt
“I want victims to know that it is safe to come forward”

Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany) has introduced House Resolution 4 to formally censure Representative Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie).

The resolution was introduced following the failure of the House Committee on Conduct to agree on appropriate consequences for Representative Witt’s violation of sexual harassment rules.

“This response is necessary for us to take as a legislative body to declare that this kind of behavior has no place in our Capitol,” said Representative Boshart Davis. “This should have been recommended by the House Committee on Conduct, but unfortunately they failed to reach agreement. Furthermore, the announcement from the Speaker’s office that merely takes a gavel from someone who committed sexual harassment is an inadequate response to address a hostile work environment in the building. I want victims to know that it is safe to come forward, and this is the only way.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-08 20:02:49Last Update: 2021-06-08 20:17:47

Expulsion Resolution Introduced for Rep. Nearman
He would be the first to be expelled in the history of Oregon

The Oregon House of Representatives is poised to expel one of it's members. House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland), failing to get Representative Mike Nearman to resign his seat, has introduced HR 3 which would expel Representative Nearman from the Legislature.

Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Oregon:

That we, the members of the House of Representatives of the Eighty-first Legislative Assembly, find that Representative Mike Nearman has engaged in disorderly behavior within the meaning of Article IV, section 15, of the Oregon Constitution, and be it further

Resolved, That, with the concurrence of two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives, Representative Nearman be expelled from the House of Representatives and that Representative Nearman’s seat be considered vacant.

Speaker Kotek introduced the resolution to expel Nearman in a surprise move just two days before he was scheduled to appear before the House Committee on Conduct. That meeting has since been cancelled. Insiders are speculating that for some reason, Speaker Kotek and her fellow Democrats were afraid to let that process go forward, and chose instead just to bring an expulsion measure to the floor. The expulsion vote requires a 2/3 majority, so at least three Republicans were needed to vote to expel.

A special committee has been created to have a hearing on HR 3, The House Special Committee On December 21, 2020. The resolution will be heard Thursday afternoon at 3:00pm. For those wishing to submit testimony, a link has been provided on the Legislative website. The committee will also be taking live, virtual testimony from the public.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-08 07:36:39Last Update: 2021-06-08 20:02:49

Cold Medicine in Oregon Soon to be More Affordable
HB 2648 allows pseudoephedrine products to be sold

A proposal from Representative Bill Post (R-Keizer) to allow the sale of pseudoephedrine products without a prescription passed out of the Senate today and will be sent to the Governor’s desk.

This is the third attempt from Rep. Post to remove an unnecessary barrier for Oregonians that will lower their health care costs when purchasing pseudoephedrine products. Sudafed and other similar drugs will still be restricted to people who are at least 18 years of age with a valid ID under the proposal.

Currently, purchasing a pseudoephedrine product requires a visit to your doctor to receive a prescription, which comes with an expensive bill.

“Third time is the charm to pass this common-sense bill which will help Oregonians looking for a quick and affordable remedy for allergies and head colds,” said Rep. Post. “People shouldn’t be asked to visit a doctor to obtain a prescription for common cold medicine, especially when Oregon is the ONLY state requiring a prescription. We can trust Oregonians more than that.”

HB 2648 passed out of the Senate with bipartisan support.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-07 12:29:52Last Update: 2021-06-07 12:38:40

Kate Brown Likely to Maintain State of Emergency
Fully reopened doesn’t mean what you think

Oregon's Governor Kate Brown recently addressed the public in a press conference where she detailed what she intends for Oregon now that the Covid vaccination goal she set is about to be met. Brown has stated that when Oregon reaches 70% first dose vaccination rate for adults, most county and individual health and safety restrictions will lift. It seems that she knew that Oregonians want to hear her say that she will fully reopen Oregon's economy, so those are the exact words she used.

"What does fully reopen mean?", Brown said. "Masks will "largely" no longer be required in businesses and most other places, with the exception of public settings currently outlined by the CDC such as public transportation."

"No more physical distancing," Brown added."

In discerning what she really means by this, however, it seems that she very much intends on keeping as many restrictions in place as she can, even among school children.

As of June 3, Oregon had achieved a 66.2% vaccination rate for individuals 18 and older, with 127,308 more people needing to receive a first dose to reach 70%.

“I want to be very clear that we are able to reopen like this because of the efficacy of the vaccines. For those of you who are vaccinated, you’ve helped us reach this point — and you are protected from this virus,” said Governor Brown. “However, there are still Oregonians who need to take extra precautions to feel and stay safe. People battling cancer and immunocompromised Oregonians, to name a couple. There are also many Oregon kids who are not yet eligible for a vaccine.

“So, it will remain incredibly important for Oregonians to continue making smart choices. And, to respect the choices of others. Let’s respect one another as we prepare to make this transition.

“This has really become a tale of two pandemics. If you are vaccinated, then you’re safe, you can carry on safely without wearing a mask and social distancing.

“If you are not vaccinated, this virus still poses a very real threat.”

It seems that the OHA does not have any guidance on whether actual COVID survivors should be vaccinated, as they would likely already have natural immunity to the virus.

Details of the restrictions that will remain for school children were provided by Brown and outlined here: Skeptics of Brown's "reopening announcement" believe that she intends to keep these and other restrictions in place, as well as the continued state of emergency.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-07 09:39:58Last Update: 2021-06-07 10:28:53

Another Democrat Small Business Tax Proposal
Public hearing announced late

As if there weren't enough disincentives for business in Oregon with increasing taxation coming from the Kate Brown administration, more tax bills keep coming, with the intent of finding additional sources of revenue to cover the State's out of control spending habit.

There is yet another small business tax proposal from Oregon Democrats that is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Finance and Revenue hearing this Monday, June 7, at 1:00. It was only made public on late on Friday before the weekend so that people would not know about it until the last minute. You can find the link to that meeting by clicking here.

The bill is SB 139 and it will raise the tax rate for small businesses that are also known as pass-throughs income.

This tax only applies to small businesses.

Scott Bruun, Director of Tax and Fiscal Policy for Oregon Business and Industry gave the following testimony earlier this session:

"SB 139 would raise taxes on thousands of Oregon partnership businesses at a time when many of those businesses are still reeling from the economic effects of COVID. These businesses are not the euphemistic “large corporations,” they are small and medium-size businesses that operate in every corner of our state, and in every commercial business activity you could think of. These could be businesses with two employees, 20 employees, or even 200 employees, each with an interest in keeping those employees working and maintaining operations during perhaps the biggest economic challenge of our lifetime."

"There is no question that some Oregon businesses have done well during the current crisis. Some have even done exceptionally well. That’s actually great news! It’s something we should celebrate, not punish or lament. Those businesses, whether they employ 2 or 200, have kept Oregon moving forward. They’ve kept their people working; they have played by the rules; they’ve overcome hurdles; and they will pay the full taxes they owe under current statute - more than they would pay, of course, if they had not done as well."

"But we shouldn’t let success stories sidetrack us. The fact is most businesses have suffered and are behind where they would otherwise be if not for COVID. SB 139 would raise taxes on those businesses during this time of economic stress. These tax increases would make it harder for Oregon businesses to compete, harder for them to hire, harder for them to give raises, and maybe even harder for them to retain the people they currently employ."

"It is also important to remember, as we’ve discussed before, that every Oregon business, partnership or not, will already be experiencing a 41% increase in their overall tax burden by 2022 when tax measures approved in 2019 are fully implemented.

COVID notwithstanding, Oregon’s business tax burden has increased from 40th highest in the nation, to 19th highest in a very short period of time. Respectfully, the businesses which employ Oregonians are having a hard enough time swallowing that big pill, they are certainly not in a position to take on yet another tax increase.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-06 16:12:34Last Update: 2021-06-07 18:30:37

Hospitalizations Surging?
Has Governor Brown Reduced Bed Counts?

While other states continue to open and show a decrease in hospitalizations and COVID-19 cases, such as Texas, Oregon has remained locked down with excessive restrictions on severely struggling businesses.

Governor Kate Brown has now imposed a three-week lock-down, despite the minimal COVID impact Oregon has seen when measured against other state case and fatality data nationwide and worldwide.

The “two weeks to flatten the curve” lock-down measures she announced in March 2020 were meant to help our healthcare systems get through an additional surge. Yet Governor Brown has announced that 15 counties back into the “extreme high risk” category for COVID-19, and also re-instituting restrictions on other Oregon counties.

She claims that hospitals are beginning to overflow once again with COVID-19 patients. But is that really true?

According to the Oregon Health Authority, as of April 23rd, 2021, out of approximately 3.8 million residents, there are only 305 Oregonians currently hospitalized due to COVID, with 543 Adult non-ICU beds and 149 Adult ICU beds still available specifically for COVID-19 patients. This is a far cry from the winter peak of COVID-19 hospitalizations on December 14th, 2020, where 601 Oregonians were hospitalized due to COVID, while an additional 739 Adult non-ICU beds and 149 Adult ICU beds remained available for COVID-19 patients.

On December 14th, 2020, there were 1,489 total hospital beds allocated for COVID-19 patients, but that by April 23rd, 2021, it seems that number had been reduced to only 997 hospital beds.

We can all agree that, if this is still an emergency situation that hospital bed counts should be maintained at 1,489 until the crisis is over. That doesn't seem to be what has been happening, according to School Superintendent Marc Theilman, of the Alsea School District, who has been in weekly contact with hospitals to stay abreast of the situation after concluding he could not rely exclusively on Oregon Health Authority(OHA)data.

“You know, it’s been interesting because the information I’ve been getting from hospital staff hasn’t been that the situation is getting worse again, despite the concern over variants, a lack of preventative nutritional guidance issued or access to available medical treatments known to be effective that are separate from the vaccine rollout,” shared Thielman. “And, despite what Brown’s Friday meeting tried to paint a picture of, the current situation is not about those who are choosing to forgo receiving an experimental vaccine—the reality is that hospitals are removing available beds for COVID-19 patients, as it’s not economically feasible to keep so many beds empty. However, this is an easy data point to manipulate to use to tell the public that hospital capacity is getting maxed out,” he added. “In fact, I just spoke with a ranking member of the Oregon Nurses Association who gave me advanced warning about the political narrative being set forth,” said Theilman, “As one contact put it, ‘the reality is that bed use continues to dramatically decline’ and he told me, don’t believe the spin, he actually said we should be celebrating at the waning of this pandemic.”

“What hospital staff have been sharing with me is that they have been reducing their COVID bed counts due to lack of public need so they could make those beds available for people who actually are in need with other conditions,” Thielman noted. “I was told point blank that they’ve been in discussions with representatives from Governor Brown’s office and that she’s fully aware of these reductions. Personally, I think this is good news and should be openly discussed, not be a reason to consider going back into lockdowns,” he added. “Since there seems to be federal money for this very purpose, we should just increase bed counts again if necessary, without disrupting the lives of countless Oregonians, who have been great throughout this—that would make the most sense to me.”

Critics are wondering if Governor Brown may not be telling the public that she authorized the reduction in COVID bed counts.

In 2008, and quite possibly during other years as well, Oregon received Federal grants specifically to help build pandemic preparedness.

And here is a another newsletter statement, describing additional federal grant money:

With any previous federal funds and additional money in new federal aid that Oregon has received over the last year, it seems that Governor Brown could simply support hospitals financially, in the isolated counties where hospitalizations may be rising slightly, to increase their available bed counts once again.

Oregonians will definitely have to continue to pick up the pieces created not just by COVID, but by abysmal public health policies that sometimes create an illusion of responsible action, but in fact only hurt healthy residents ready to get on with their lives.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-06 11:59:50Last Update: 2021-06-06 12:01:34

What about the COVID survivors?
Do they have to wear a mask? Asking for a friend.

The Centers for Disease Control and the Oregon Health Authority have provided updated guidance on mask requirements for those with synthetic immunity -- from a vaccine -- but have failed to create guidance for those who have natural immunity from having had the disease.

The numbers are not large, but neither are they trivial. According to the OHA website, there have been 202,675 cases, which when spread among 4,300,000 means that about 4.7% of Oregonians have had a recorded case. This number needs some adjustment. Some unrecorded cases need to be added. Some 2,686 deaths need to be subtracted as do cases that were subsequently vaccinated, but a number of persons near 5% are COVID survivors.

The CDC suggests that COVID survivors get the vaccine, but candidly admits that it doesn't know.

Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Experts are still learning more about how long vaccines protect against COVID-19 in real-world conditions. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

The OHA does not have any guidance on whether COVID survivors should be vaccinated.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-05 21:22:53Last Update: 2021-06-06 09:12:15

COVID Exposure To Prompt Compensation
Proposal may further discourage commerce

There is a proposal in the Oregon legislature which would add the exposure to COVID-19 as a occupational hazard which may require the worker to be financially compensated by the employer.

SB 488 is sponsored by Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland) and currently sits in the Oregon legislature's Senate Committee On Labor and Business.

The bill includes the following details: As they often do, the Supermajority Democrats in the Oregon legislature attached the emergency clause to the bill, rendering it not able to be referred to the voter's of Oregon via citizen referendum.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-05 17:46:34Last Update: 2021-06-05 21:36:29

Irony in the Capitol...again
Is $9.3 Billion (with a B) enough for schools?

Another House floor session began with an attempt by House Republicans to bring a bill out of committee to an immediate vote on the floor. Rep. Breese-Iverson (R- Prineville) called for immediate consideration of HB 3399. It requires all Public Schools to be back to 5 day a week, face-to-face learning in the fall. On a party line the vote, the House Democrats unanimously disagreed and voted the motion down. It would give school districts the certainty they need to budget and plan for bringing all student back full-time in the fall. In a previous article, “Back to school in the fall...maybe”, HB 3399 was discussed in detail.

A similar attempt was made by the Senate Republicans late last month when they requested immediate consideration of the Senate version of HB 3399. Senator Anderson (R-Lincoln City) introduced the legislation reported on earlier in “Senate Republicans Support Teachers Union Effort to Fully Reopen Schools”. However, it was also voted down on a party line vote by the Democrats. Senate Republican Leader Girod (R-Lyons) commented on the bill saying,

“Republicans have been beating this drum for months. Now with the Democrat’s union on board, there is no excuse for them to sit back and allow the Governor to dictate if our kids will get a proper education next year. We need to give kids and parents assurance that they will return to the classroom.”

Today on the floor, after the Democrats denied the motion to vote on reopening schools to full-time, face-to-face learning in the fall they, ironically, took up debate on the State School Fund budget.

The House Republicans immediately made a motion to send the school budget back to committee to increase the amount from $9.3B to $9.6B before it passed. During the debate, House Republican Leader Drazen (R-Canby) stated, “We should not be moving forward with a budget that will harm our kids’ education in the long run. Schools tell us that $9.6 Billion is needed to avoid cuts next year, and we must believe them. Our state has more money than ever, and we’re committed to giving families the choice of in-person learning next fall. This is the wrong time to move forward with a ‘cuts’ budget. Our kids deserve better.”

The $9.6B came from a request by the Oregon School Employees Association, Oregon Education Association, and the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators. They testified earlier to the budget committee regarding the $9.6B and specifically to the need to invest and protect the needs of the students coming out of an unprecedented year of lost learning. They also spoke to the various funding for which they are restricted in use. Iton Udosenata, COSA President stated in written testimony that,

“Our funding is not interchangeable. The Student Investment Account is targeted toward equitable investments to better serve our students and their communities. It is meant to supplement the operational funding of school districts in the State School Fund. Federal funds (CARES ACT funding) are intended to provide schools the resources to safely reopen and address the added costs of operating our schools and supporting our students for the next three-plus years.

The State School Fund is still the primary source of funding for our school districts. A budget that does not meet our financial needs means we take a huge step backward in our ability to serve students.”

However, House Democrats again, unanimously opposed the motion.

They then moved on to debating the $9.3B budget proposal. Several Democrat House members spoke against the request for the additional $300M. They reminded the Republicans that there are other funding streams being fed into school budgets that will help schools meet the needs of “all students”.

However, most of that additional funding they mentioned is the funding that COSA spoke about in committee. The carrier of the bill, Rep. McLain (D - Hillsboro) summed up many of her Democratic colleagues’ comments in her closing remarks saying,

“This budget is a good solid investment and foundation for our schools in Oregon but it’s only one of the sources of funding that we are sending out to our schools. Please do not forget the Student Success Act, please do not forget that we are putting investments into our BIPOC diversity and inclusion programs. There will be millions more dollars going into those programs focused on development of inclusion and diversity to support all students”.

However, the reality is that the only current funding source that provides equal funding for all students is the State School Fund, and it is also the primary source of funding. The rest is volatile, limited duration, or grant based and not available to every school district.

The bill finally passed on a party line vote with the Supermajority Democrats once again voting to go against the Republicans, but this time they also voted against the wishes of the Teachers and School Administrators.

--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-06-04 10:44:57Last Update: 2021-06-04 11:49:47

Vaccine Passport Ban Proposed
“The Governor’s vaccine passport scheme is an extreme invasion of Oregonians’ privacy”

Senator Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) has introduced civil rights legislation to ban vaccine passports in Oregon.

SB 872 would prohibit public and private entities from conditioning service or employment opportunities based on vaccination status or the possession of a vaccine credential. The anti-discrimination legislation would also ban the government from preventing Oregonians from exercising first amendment rights because of COVID-19 risks.

“The Governor’s vaccine passport scheme is an extreme invasion of Oregonians’ privacy,” said Senator Thatcher. “No Oregonian should have to divulge medical information to participate in everyday life. This bill is about making clear Oregonians’ rights, which have been railroaded by the Governor during the pandemic. One person cannot and should not have this much power over Oregonians’ lives and livelihoods.”

Civil rights and business and labor groups agree that the move by the Governor to implement vaccine passports, contrary to the White House and CDC, is alarming.

According to news reports, a spokesperson for UFCW Local 555, which represents grocery store workers, said, “Telling essential employees to be the mask police and asking customers for their medical information puts them in harm’s way…”

A recent survey conducted by the local Chamber of Commerce in Medford found that 93% of businesses do not want to condition maskless service on asking customers for medical information. The ACLU has said that vaccine passports, “threaten to exacerbate racial disparities and harm the civil liberties of all.”

“Our local businesses have gone through a lot this year,” continued Sen. Thatcher. “The last thing we should be doing is making them play mask and vaccine cop. They have much more important things to do, like getting back to normal so Oregonians can earn a living.”

The legislation comes as Oregon approaches a 70% vaccination rate, the threshold the Governor has set to “fully reopen the economy,” although it is still unclear what that means given the Governor’s constant shifting of the goal-posts.

According to the New York Times, Oregon is one of 3 states in the nation that have refused to set a date for reopening. Oregon’s vaccine passport scheme runs contrary to the approaches taken by California and Washington, which have both opted to trust their residents.

SB 872 is waiting to be first read, after which it will be referred to a committee by the Senate President.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-04 10:40:06Last Update: 2021-06-04 11:59:12

St. Paul Rodeo is Returning
After hiatus, the tradition continues

The fun is about to break out of the chutes at the St. Paul Rodeo in St. Paul, Oregon!

For the 85th year, the Nation’s Greatest Rodeo will take place June 30-July 4, and tickets are on sale now!

The rodeo is the biggest event in the small town of St. Paul, Oregon and one of the top twenty largest rodeos in the nation.

Fans know it best for the fun it provides. Rodeo clown JJ Harrison will be on hand to provide the laughs, and the Full Throttle trick riders will entertain in flashy sequined costumes, while they do gymnastic stunts on the backs of galloping horses!

And the food! The St. Paul Rodeo is known for its homemade strawberry shortcake, complete with locally grown berries and a big dollop of whipped cream on top! Plus, there’s barbecue chicken, cotton candy, popcorn, and more!

It’s good to be able to rodeo and invite fans to return, said Cindy Schonholtz, general manager of the St. Paul Rodeo, who has an informal “theme” for this year’s rodeo: “More fun in ’21.”

“We are proud to be a family celebration where moms and dads, kids and grandkids, grandmas and granddads can get together, enjoy each other’s company, and celebrate Independence Day.”

Tickets range in price from $16 to $26, not including a convenience fee, and can be purchased online.

As Covid restrictions are lifted, more tickets will be released for sale.

“Come and celebrate with us at the St. Paul Rodeo,” Schonholtz said.

Rodeo performances are at 7:30 pm nightly, June 30-July 4, with a 1:30 pm matinee on July 4.

For more information, visit the rodeo’s website or call 800.237.5920. Covid guidelines will be in place during the rodeo. Tickets purchased earlier in the year will be honored.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-04 09:37:16Last Update: 2021-06-04 10:00:26

Bill Proposes Presumption of Discrimination
13,000 businesses closed spring of 2020

SB 483, by Senator Taylor is another attack on business owners. The bill creates a presumption that a person engaged in retaliation or discrimination against employee if person takes certain action against employee or prospective employee within 60 days after employee or prospective employee has engaged in certain protected activities -- such as filing a complaint.

Recent bills focus on jobs, not employers, not owners. The report out by State Economist Gail Krumenauer told us it must be favorable. That there was an increase in jobs. But under the surface the big producers of Gross Domestic Product in Oregon, privately owned, showed no recovery.

It seems that State Democrats want us to focus on already adequately protected employees instead of other things like the basic health of the economy? The Bureau of Labor and Industry only shows a business is closed permanently after four quarters of no reporting. The Secretary of State statistics don’t show a loss until the license is not renewed. We are sitting in a time spot where a lot of the loss of private business ownership is concealed.

The one report out was one reported by Small Business Association on Portland. They reported 19.4 percent of business district business is closed, in the first quarter of 2021. A 14.7 percent rate for the city overall. Jacob Pavlik, of Colliers Real Estate Research, reported 900,476 feet of unoccupied space for first quarter in the City of Portland.

Oregon Live.com said there were 13,000 businesses closed spring of 2020. This is the largest tally in 30 years and twice as much as any single quarter.

--Liz Turner

Post Date: 2021-06-03 22:05:56Last Update: 2021-06-03 23:24:15

Referendum Filed on Gun Restrictions
SB 554 may get a vote of the people

A referendum on SB 554 seeking to overturn the recently passed law has been filed by a handful of state legislators in Oregon.

State Representatives Mike Nearman (R-Independence), E. Werner Reschke (R-Malin) and David Brock Smith (R-Gold Beach) filed the referendum and now have about 4 months to gather 79,680 valid signatures. If they are successful in gathering these signatures, SB 554 will be presented to the voters in November 2022.

The referendum effort looks to capitalize on gathering signatures at events such as the State and county fairs that are aiming to have a big come-back after a year of Covid lock-downs. They have an online presence as well at www.ResponsibleResponse.com.

The bill as passed requires a person to secure a firearm with a trigger or cable lock, in a locked container or in a gun room, with violations punished by a maximum of $500 fine or maximum of $2,000 fine if a minor obtains an unsecured firearm as result of the violation.

It also requires a person to report the loss or theft of a firearm within 72 hours of the time the person knew or reasonably should have known of the loss or theft. Punishes violation of this requirement by maximum of $1,000 fine.

It also authorizes the boards of public universities, community colleges or school districts to adopt policies providing that affirmative defense for concealed handgun licensees possessing firearms on school grounds does not apply, effectively making these places gun-free zones.

Critics have been outspoken about SB 554 since it's inception, citing that it merely criminalizes some normal and legal behavior of responsible firearms owners, and does nothing to reduce societal violence. It makes criminals out of responsible citizens, and does not help improve public safety. It seems SB 554 also restricts one's ability to defend oneself at home.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-06-03 13:30:04Last Update: 2021-06-03 20:29:37

Annual Government Waste Hotline Report Released
Waste, inefficiency, and abuse

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and the Audits Division have now released the 2020 Government Waste Hotline Report, summarizing the activity of the Government Waste Hotline for 2020. The hotline received 273 initial reports in calendar year 2020, ranging from requests for information to reports that warranted further investigation.

The hotline is for members of the public and state employees to report alleged waste, inefficiency, or abuse of state funds or resources by state agencies, employees, or contractors. Tips and complaints to the hotline have steadily increased over time, from 149 ten years ago to 273 in 2020, an increase of nearly 85 percent. This year, reports to the hotline included:

“My mission as Oregon Secretary of State is to build trust with Oregonians so that public services can make a difference in their everyday lives,” Secretary Fagan said. “The Oregon Government Waste Hotline is one of many tools we use to build trust through transparency and accountability in state government. Anyone who has knowledge of or concerns about state government waste, inefficiency, or abuse can report this information confidentially to our hotline.”

Complaints include allegations of fraud, theft, unethical or improper workplace conduct, time theft, and misuse of state resources, such as state vehicles or other property. State law ensures confidentiality to every person making a report through the hotline.

Upon receiving a tip or complaint, the Audits Division conducts an initial investigation of the allegation to determine if the matter should be further investigated. The Audits Division is required to notify the Oregon Government Ethics Commission if potential violations of Oregon ethics laws are discovered. Law enforcement must be notified if potential criminal activity is discovered.

A 2020 study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that tips are consistently the most common fraud detection method. The study indicated organizations with a reporting hotline have a higher likelihood of fraud being reported and addressed than organizations without a hotline.

Oregonians and state employees concerned about government waste and inefficiency should contact the hotline at (800) 336-8218, or submit a report using the online form at the Secretary of State’s website.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-02 16:32:13Last Update: 2021-06-02 16:51:43

When Chambers don’t agree
Go ask your dad

Last week was one of the final deadlines as the 2021 Legislative session winds down. Bills must have been moved out of the committee in the second chamber to remain alive, with a few exceptions.

Bills that had been sent from the House to the Senate needed to be moved out of committee either to the floor or to a revenue, rules or ways and means committee. The same process applies for bills sent from the Senate to the House.

While there have been plenty of bills that have moved beyond this deadline, it is always interesting to see what the second chamber decided to kill. Here are a few of the highlights.

Senate bills killed by House committees House bills killed by Senate committees
--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-06-02 10:32:58Last Update: 2021-06-02 11:13:13

Democrats Block Effort to Reintroduce ‘Ezra’s’ Law
Would provide parity in sentencing for victims

Oregon House Democrats have opposed renewed efforts from Republicans to adopt HB 2339, otherwise known as ‘Ezra’s Law,’ a bill to allow for sentencing that better reflects the impacts of permanent injuries for victims.

The bill is named after Ezra Thomas who was just 2 years old when his mother’s boyfriend, Josue Mendoza-Melo, attacked him. Today, as a result of the injuries, Ezra cannot walk, talk or see. While Ezra’s injuries have given him a life sentence of disability, Josue will serve no more than 12 years in prison.

The proposed law would secure longer sentences for people who cause permanent physical injury to their victim.

“This is a very sensitive bill that provides parity in sentencing for victims,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby). “Consequences for violent person-on-person crimes should reflect the permanent damages that someone suffers as a direct result of a criminal’s actions."

"This bill should have bipartisan support this session and should not be a political issue.”

"It’s a terrible result for victims that this attempt was sidelined by partisan agendas," said Representative Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles), a chief sponsor of the original bill.

"We shouldn’t let politics get in the way of an issue as important as this." Earlier this session, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee refused to allow ‘Ezra’s Law’ to move to a work session. The scenario mirrors a similar situation that almost happened to ‘Bailey’s Bill,’ a proposal that protects victims of sex crimes with appropriate sentencing. This bill was also held hostage, and almost died, in favor of proposals that would reduce prison sentences for violent crimes.

“Ezra, and victims like him, should not have to wait for true justice,” said Representative Bonham.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-06-01 14:43:11Last Update: 2021-06-01 22:13:37

“Socially and Economically Disadvantaged”
Are they trying to hide the social justice agenda?

Recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor may impact the direction of many bills being considered by the Oregon Legislature. Judge O’Connor approved a temporary restraining order forbidding President Biden’s administration from giving out grants in a program aimed at prioritizing applicants due to their race and/or gender after he told plaintiff Philip Greer he is likely to succeed.

Greer prepared an application on behalf of his restaurant and is otherwise eligible to receive an RRF grant, but for the allegedly unconstitutional prioritization scheme.

At issue is the fact that the Biden administration directs prioritization of restaurants that are owned and controlled by women, veterans, and people deemed “socially and economically disadvantaged,” which includes those owned at least 51 percent by some Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. The lawsuit goes forward claiming “this is illegal, it is unconstitutional, it is wrong, and it must stop.”

Oregon’s leadership has been following the Biden administration in bills covering education, land use, energy, and business. These are a few examples of bills that could result in an unconstitutional law suit: Could it be that “socially and economically disadvantaged” is being used to pull on the heart-strings to hide the social justice agenda?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-06-01 11:08:11Last Update: 2021-06-01 12:30:17

State Employment Numbers Released
Jobs Don’t Equate Recovery To Business GDP

Numbers were recently released for Oregon jobs on May 18, 2021 by State Economist Gail Krumenauer on jobs, states a monthly gain in employment in the government sector and in leisure and hospitality. She states a 59% return of jobs that were lost between February and April 2020.

How do these numbers look as far as they impact the GDP -- the value of goods and services provided in one year -- in Oregon? First the section of measured economy for Leisure and Hospitality is only 4.4 percent of our GDP. Oregon statistics also cite that regular unemployment received; 100% replacement wage as unemployed, but those in the leisure and hospitality trade received 134% of their wage. Ironically those best off under unemployment now have more jobs.

Government and government enterprises has a 25.68 GDP. Krumenauer reports 2,300 more jobs in government. What are those? Are they new regulators, like OSHA inspectors? Government regulates, it legislates, it does not create anything.

An example of what that GDP translates into: Agriculture, has a 13.2% or 50 billion of all Oregon sales. 10.6% or 22.9 billion of Oregon's net product and 13.8% of part time and full time jobs. This information from Agricultural statistics State of Oregon. Now that your nearly asleep, why do all these numbers matter?

Jobs lost in Oregon; 46.9% were in the leisure or hospitality section. These were the highest paid under unemployment to the tune of 34% more. So, is a reduction in their unemployment really a win?

Industries still showing significant stress among those which are significantly affecting our GDP are manufacturing, metal machinery, wood, electric products, transportation and equipment, and other durables. These industries represent a large part of our GDP. They are all still underwater in April of 2021. Aerospace is in fact still going lower and timber or wood at levels of the 1920’s. Reality is these numbers show that private enterprise is still suffering or still declining. These sectors actually produce products. The example of agriculture above shows that production enterprises filter down through several parts and layers of our economy. Products equate to consumer spending. Consumer spending is the number one biggest component of GDP or 2/3 of GDP.

--Liz Turner

Post Date: 2021-06-01 07:05:54Last Update: 2021-06-01 08:25:15

The Cost of Free Money
The Federal government is shoveling out money

Governor Kate Brown’s state budget included a quarter billion-dollar tax increase on mostly small businesses. According to the Taxpayers Association of Oregon, Brown wants to gut the 2013 small business tax savings and raise $273 million by closing tax loopholes. If Governor Kate Brown gets her way, small family-owned businesses will be paying more taxes than big C-corporation businesses on the same level of revenue.

What should be a sign of relief to receive $1.4 billion from the federal relief bill passed in March, may be costly. There are strings attached to that windfall. If states accept the funds, they are restricted from lowering their taxes. Governor Brown’s push for new taxes is not what state governors are doing in states that are thriving. Oregon’s $1.4 billion is after Oregon received $1.1 billion for Oregon schools, and $155 million for capital projects, and $1.5 billion for county, city and other local governments. The numbers start whirling when you think that in 2020 Oregon received $1.8 billion designated for specific projects by the emergency board, and $499 million for schools from Congress’ December relief bill, and $2.45 billion from the CARES act earlier in 2020. How much did all this money prop up the rosy May forecast?

Why would we accept restricted conditions to not lower taxes when accepting additional funds? Not to speak of the begging and graveling the counties and cities need to do to get their share released. While the state is focused on relief from the impact of COVID-19, the priorities seem to go deeper.

Despite all that inflow of federal dollars, the legislature still wants our kicker refund. Some bills take advantage of the emergency to justify tax credits for undocumented without social security numbers, landlords, spouse seeking degree, teaching in rural schools, and increasing workforce. And more specifically, health bills such as HB 2337, introduced by Representatives Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego), Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn) and Courtney Neron (D-Wilsonville), are coming out of the legislative session in lock-step with federal requirements for funds. HB 2337 appropriates $2 million General Funds for two pilot mobile health units. The bill “declares racism a public health crisis; requires a study of the collection of information with respect to race, ethnicity, preferred spoken and written languages, and disability status; establishes grants to operate two mobile health units for underserved communities as a pilot program; and requires OHA to develop recommendations to fund culturally and linguistically specific intervention programs across all relevant state agencies.”

HB 2474 is another bill that will impact low-income families the most by the costs to businesses, stop production, and delay harvesting increasing food costs during an emergency. “During a public health emergency, the amount of time an employee must work for an employer before becoming eligible to take leave is reduced from 180 to 30 days and eligibility for employees can be reestablished if they separate and are reemployed by the same employer within 180 days or because of a temporary cessation of scheduled hours.”

The Federal government is shoveling out money rewarding states that made bad policies, and now enabling them to stick with those bad policies. Federal funds may not be the relief we hope for when it’s used for new projects that demands new taxes. What were policies to help the low income is having the reverse effect.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-05-31 20:02:07Last Update: 2021-05-31 20:04:03

COVID Cold War
Who is going to blink first?

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been the agency which has been responsible for fining businesses for non-compliance with COVID-19 regulations. The director, Michael Wood, appeared before the House Health Care SubCommittee on COVID-19 to answer various questions.

After Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen made it clear that businesses could not use an "honor system" to allow customers into their stores, State Representative Cedric Hayden asked Woods what the fine would be for a business using the honor system. Woods explained some less-than-relevant scenarios and then said:

If an employer refused to comply or simply said, "I'm going to use the honor system. I don't care what the State says." Well, the minimum penalty for a willful violation is $8,900.

At this point in time, it appears that many -- if not most -- businesses are not checking vaccination status at the door, and OSHA isn't doing anything about it.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-31 17:40:03Last Update: 2021-05-31 18:24:26

Veterans Memorial Wall Defaced
Wall of Honor Memorial in Eugene park

"I refuse to glorify imperialism" was found written in graffiti on a veterans Memorial Wall at Skinner Butte Park in Eugene, Oregon on May 30th, 2021.

On Sunday, May 30, at 9:20 a.m. Eugene Police received reports that someone had defaced the Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial wall, which is along the park’s bike path, and which includes the names of people who have died serving the country.

The 12-foot granite memorial wall is inscribed with the names of 451 Lane County veterans who were killed in the war from World War I through Operation Desert Storm. It was dedicated May 30, 1996 and again September 11, 2010. The base reads, “Many millions of men, women and children have perished in war. May there be an end to war.”

Included in the criminal mischief was an anarchy symbol.

When police arrived, an unknown person was cleaning most of the paint off of it.

Eugene Police has alerted staff to pay extra attention with patrol checks near the memorial this weekend. If anyone has tips in the case they are asked to report those to the Eugene Police Department.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-05-31 13:17:39Last Update: 2021-06-01 13:22:53

Pay Per-Mile Road Usage in Oregon
Republicans and others are opposing the bill

Recently passed out of Oregon's Joint Committee On Transportation, HB 2342 is a bill that will mandate a Road Usage Charge on Oregonians that would be paid per-mile driven.

The bill is sponsored by Representative John Lively (D-Springfield) and will be headed next to the Ways and Means Committee for further discussion. The language of the bill proposes the following: Republican legislators and others, including the company Tesla, are opposing the bill, citing several issues with it. Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany) has raised additional concerns about the privacy of Oregonians in the future during the Joint Committee On Transportation meeting on May 25th, 2021.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-05-31 11:43:03Last Update: 2021-06-05 17:46:34

Columbia County Tries to Weaken Sanctuary Ordinance
The 2nd Amendment initiative recently passed

The Columbia County Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance, recently adopted by the Columbia County Board of Commissioners is seen by many as an attempt to undermine the Sanctuary Ordinance initiative which was passed by the voters in November 2020.

Citizens of the county passed the “Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance” in 2018 and the “Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance” in 2020, and the county has now passed its own ordinance and the whole matter is in the hands of Circuit Court Judge Ted Grove for ‘Judicial Examination and Judgement of the Court as to the Regularity, Legality, Validity and Effect’ of the ordinance via a petition for validation of local government action.

Everytown For Gun Safety, a Bloomberg funded anti-gun-rights organization, has intervened in the case along with a New York law firm. While apparently Everytown knew this ordinance was going to be referred for review, and may have even requested the review, the chief petitioner for both initiatives, Chris Brumbles was never informed about this action. The county eliminated two Second Amendment ordinances passed by the people and created their own that stripped out important safeguards built into the ordinances. The Oregon Firearms Federation and Gun Owners of America have petitioned the court to intervene in the review. It may even be possible that the county commissioners actually violated the ordinance they were seeking to “review” just by demanding the review.

Under ORS 33.710, the Columbia County Circuit Court is authorized to conduct an examination of the ordinance and to provide a judgement as to the legality of the authority of a county governing body to enact the Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance.

Though the County claims they have filed the petition to clear up several important legal questions about what firearm regulations can be enforced in Columbia County, it is seen by many as an attempt by the County Commissioners to weaken -- and effectively eliminate -- the Sanctuary ordinances.

“To be clear, the County is not seeking to invalidate the Ordinance, only to get answers to the many legal questions raised by it,” County Counsel Sarah Hanson said. “As an example, Oregon law generally does not permit the County to regulate within the City limits without consent. We have asked the Court to inform us whether the cites have consented."

Hanson said this and many other questions arising from the two voter-passed initiatives and the Ordinance implementing them put the County and its residents in legal “limbo,” so the Ordinance has been put before the Court for answers. The statutory process will enable the County to get binding decisions from the Court which will allow the Ordinance to move forward in a form that is legal. It will provide the Sheriff and District Attorney with certainty as to what can and cannot be prosecuted.

“This proceeding will also inform residents of the County what firearm laws do apply to them so that no one is unwittingly found to violate a federal or state firearm law that they believe doesn’t apply because of the initiative measures,” Hanson said. “We don’t think anyone would want that result.”

The County expects a briefing schedule to be approved by the Court soon and hopes to have a hearing before the end of June, 2021.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-05-30 17:28:01Last Update: 2021-05-31 13:30:41

Kids in Control
Is there any relevance to best practices?

Involving kids into pollical decisions has been a priority for Governor Brown. So much so that HB 3363 establishes a Racial Equity and Justice Student Collaborative, which is directed by a work group of at least 6 students and 3 adults to filter prospective members of the Collaborative for the Governor’s selection. The majority of the members of the Collaborative must be students between the ages of 11 to 18. The Collaborative duties are to set goals, success criteria and progress measures related to student leadership and engagement in the policymaking process in this state.

The Collaborative gives students ages 11 to 18 a lot of power to be heard on policy for the state. But where they are considered an asset for their critical thinking, they aren’t trusted in other areas. Some laws proposed have a basis in the science of brain development and the permanent damage caused: Then there are those bills that take no account for brain development and the effect of real life experiences: Judicial treatment indicates a pattern of forgiveness: Consent and disclosure are at odds. SB 792 protects disclosing child’s identifiable information under 16 years of age when applying to State Fish and Wildlife Commission for license and tags.

However, parents should be aware of HB 3284, which allows 14-year-olds to give consent to collect, use or disclose personal health data. “Personal health data” is protected data and not for sharing without expressed consent, which your 14-year-old can give under this bill. This includes information that is collected to track, monitor or trace exposures to infections caused by or related to COVID-19 that can be used to identify a resident individual or others.

One thing seems clear, age is being used to the advantage of the issue at hand and has no relevance to best practices.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-05-30 12:05:20Last Update: 2021-05-30 17:40:03

Yamhill County Strikes at Gov. Brown
“Unsupported by science”

In a show of bipartisan unity, all three Yamhill County Commissioners prevailed upon Governor Brown to rescind her order to make vaccine police of those who operate places open to the public. The Board of Commissioners' letter opposes Governor driven mandates by Oregon Health Authority and Oregon OSHA requiring churches and businesses to verify vaccination for COVID-19, or require mask wearing before allowing entry. The mandate includes required training for employees in determining authenticity of medical records and knowing the protocols for the different vaccines available. Any mistakes by these employees could result in a fine. The other option is to require 100% wearing of masks until further notice.

In the letter, the commissioners point out that:

As a practical matter, requiring busine3sses and churches, and the employees of those businesses and churches, to verify a person's vaccine status is only going to lead to conflict between employees and customers...the last thing that any of these businesses and churches need is a yet another, unsupported by science, mandate from the State of Oregon that is only going to lead to conflict and these businesses and churches and their employees begin the long and arduous task of attempting to rebuild what they have lost.

This mandate is not supported by requirements from the White House, CDC or any federal agency. With both the federal government and Oregon’s Governor claiming the high ground in following the science on mask efficacy who’s right? A comparison to recent results in mask free Texas and Florida versus California ought to answer that one. Or is this not a matter of following the science but just a matter of exerting control over citizen’s lives? Oregon’s Governor has survived two recall efforts. Clearly there are many who question her judgement in balancing the needs of all citizens. The federal agencies stance may indicate a wish to avoid a challenge in court over violations of HIPPA laws.

According to many, Yamhill County Commissioner Kulla is a leader in Progressive Yamhill. He typically supports policies that favor Democrat control in all things regardless of Constitutionality. Fresh from his latest focus group, Kulla’s signature on this letter is significant in that it may signal even more progressive leaders and habitual critics of conservative commissioners, are becoming cautious of aligning with the Governor’s heavy-handed measures.

The deaths of six one hundredths of 1% of Oregonians have been attributed to COVID-19. The number of new cases reported nationally is at its lowest point since cases first rose in April of 2020. The curve has not only flattened, it is soon a candidate for the endangered species list. Maybe the Governor is concerned we’ve arrived at a point where Oregon’s counties may discontinue funding the salaries of hundreds of COVID-19 trackers.

Maybe she’s waiting for the teachers union to give her the green light.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-30 10:31:24Last Update: 2021-05-30 12:05:20

Another Government Employee Union
Just what Oregon needs

In a 75 to 31 vote (total eligible voters estimated at 180), Oregon Legislative staff -- the people who work for the State Senators and Representatives -- voted to unionize.

However, the union conversation is not new. SB 759 introduced by Senator Dembrow (D–Portland), Senator Gorsek (D–Portland) and Representative Wilde (D–Eugene) this session aimed to direct the Legislative Administrator to represent legislative departments in collective bargaining negotiations with legislative department employees, i.e., legislative employee unions.

However, after the bill passed the Senate on a party line vote, it was assigned to the House Rules committee where it has received just one hearing. This is possibly due to waiting for the outcome of the Legislative staff vote. During initial testimony on the bill, The Freedom Foundation testified that,

“Following recent attempts to organize a union of legislative employees, the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed multiple objections with the Employee Relations Board (ERB) on behalf of the Legislature arguing that such efforts would violate both the Oregon Constitution and the state’s collective bargaining laws.”

The pending outcome of the latest round of objections by Legislators themselves, however, did not stop a few other Legislators from continuing the conversation.

The union vote was organized by IBEW Local 89, located in Washington state. IBEW Local 89 represents workers in numerous industries including: Telecommunications Installation and Repair, Telecommunications Network Construction, Satellite installation and Repair, Warehouse and Logistics, Manufacturing, Clerical and Campaign workers. However, currently most state employees are unionized under SEIU 503. Staffers selected the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 89 to represent them, in part, because the IBEW does not actively lobby in state politics and SEIU 503 does.

In an email sent to Legislative staff from IBEW Local 89 they announced:

We are happy to announce the results of this morning’s union election. Through an overwhelming showing of bipartisan support, you and your coworkers have voted “UNION YES”!

This is a monumental win for every staffer in Oregon as well as those watching across the country. Through your solidarity, strength and determination, you all are leading the way for legislative staff everywhere to have a legitimate voice in their workplace and the power to make a difference.

What is interesting about the statement is that they said, “Through an overwhelming showing of bipartisan support”. However, the balloting process was portrayed to staff as a secret ballot. How does the IBEW know it was bipartisan?

The announcement from IBEW was quickly followed by a joint press release from House Speaker Kotek (D- Portland) and Senate President Courtney (D – Salem) saying:

“We are committed to supporting the needs of the Legislature’s dedicated staff. The people’s work could not be done without them. Today, Oregon legislative aides took the historic step of becoming the first union of legislative staff in the country. We respect their decision, hear their voices and look forward to bargaining in good faith with their new union.”

Several issues may still be unresolved even after the vote. Department of Justice lawyer Tessa Sugahara, was quoted in a February OPB article saying, “Legislative Branch employees are exempt from, and generally not subject to, the State Personnel Relations Law”. She went on to add “The collective bargaining policy objectives of the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act are irreconcilable with the policy objectives of the Oregon Legislative Assembly, and This situation raises both conflict and loyalty considerations that the PECBA policy did not anticipate.”

When the union movement gets to a point of actual negotiations, it may also be the solution to a bill that Rep. Wilde (D- Eugene) brought forth this session but that has yet to be heard in the House Rules Committee. HB 2220 removes the ability for member of Legislative Assembly to appoint or employ relatives or members of their household as their legislative staff unless relative or member of household serves as unpaid volunteer.

As most Legislators do not live in Salem year-round, they often employ their spouse or family member as a way to spend more time together and to supplement their legislative / household income. In addition, having a family member as their Chief of staff is often important to maintaining confidentiality and consistent communications with their constituents. After all, who know them better than their family. Also, many of the Legislative staff positions are limited duration positions, meaning they work only during the actual legislative session and not during the “off season”. By hiring family, the Legislator is also able to maintain some historical knowledge from session to session. This becomes even more important if they are a long serving member. Institutional knowledge of past legislation and actions can help make them more successful in the representation of their constituents.

One thing is certain, for better or worse, Oregon is once again a trailblazer in the political world as the first in the nation Legislative Staff union. However, there are still potential legal challenges surrounding the separation of powers clause in the Oregon Constitution, and unanswered questions about how the union will operate with the potential conflicts with the PECBA policy objectives. But what mostly remains is the potential problems that will arise when political leaders must bargain with the very employees who possibly share the same household with them.

--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-05-30 09:14:37Last Update: 2021-05-30 17:54:22

Oregon County Clerks Ask for a Piece of the Pie
“We believe these would be truly transformational investments”

The May 2021 revenue forecast was rosy, and with the influx of federal assistance, Oregon has an opportunity to make critical investments. Oregon Association of County Clerks is asking for $40 million to update and improve the aging election infrastructure.

They request consideration to fund targeted investments to help secure and improve our election systems that Oregonians rely upon: Bobbi A Childers, President of Oregon Association of County Clerks stated, “We believe these would be truly transformational investments and improvement to our election system across the state.”

Our county election officials are trying to do a good job. Still, No one can deny that there is a problem with election data being corrupted in our country. But Oregon still lacks an in-depth investigation into what types of voter fraud has taken place. Oregon received Election Security Funds from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to provide states with additional resources to secure and improve election systems. In 2018 Oregon received $380 million and in 2020 Oregon received $425 million, which doesn’t include funds to cover costs for the pandemic incurred by county election offices. Shouldn’t we ask them to account for these funds?

Janice Dysinger, Oregonians for Fair Election, is probably one of the most knowledgeable on Oregon’s voting systems. She says, “the weakest system in Oregon is the thumb drive transfer to the Election Night Reporting (ENR) system. Our data is obtained by querying the county election equipment tabulators and writing that information on a USB thumb drive then taking it out of the secure counting area and inserting it into another computer that is connected to the internet to send to the ENR system. A flaw in this system was recently reported in Douglas County in the May 18th, 2021, election which reported 5000 more voters than Douglas County sent.”

Until the investigation is completed over the 2020 election, new equipment from the same vendor connections with the same algorithms will solve nothing. Dysinger says, “Until we can see that there are no algorithms inserted into election tabulators and computers, that the programing is open source for all to see the computer's operations, by all parties and no interference with the data transfer routing through other countries to the Election ENR system, we need to hold off on spending more money on equipment. A more honest approach would be to fund a back-up plan to count ballots by hand in the precincts and posting the results with the signatures of witnesses at the precinct level and a second copy with real witness signatures sent with the ballots and posted in the county elections office window and on their website. Then securely faxing the results to the Secretary of State to post on their website. Until then the American people will not feel secure in the results."

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-05-29 21:52:46Last Update: 2021-05-29 22:11:07

Your Friendly Local Neighborhood Felon May be Voting
He’s still impacting your community

Senators Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis), Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), Chris Gorsek (D-Portland), Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton), Representatives Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas), Pam Marsh (D-Ashland), Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego) have sponsored SB 571, a simple bill which would let incarcerated felons vote from the comfort and safety of their own jail cell

The bill did not poll well.

Strongly Support 18%
Somewhat Support 18%
Somewhat Oppose 16%
Strongly Oppose 37%
Don't Know 10%

The bill provides that the incarcerated felon's place of residence -- for the purpose of identifying what districts they vote in -- will be their last voluntary residence. So, not only does the felon get to impact the community through crimes committed, but once incarcerated, they get to impact that same community through a vote:

Section 5, (2) The Secretary of State shall by rule establish a process for identifying, for an individual confined in a jail, prison or correctional facility, including a local correctional facility as defined in ORS 169.005 or youth correctional facility as defined in ORS 420.005, the last voluntary residence of the individual prior to the confinement for the purposes of the individual registering to vote or updating the individual’s voter registration.

The bill passed out of a Senate Committee on a partisan vote, and was sent to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, where it will most likely not be passed out.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-29 16:36:54Last Update: 2021-05-29 17:22:49

Gun Storage Bill Awaiting Brown’s Signature
SB 554 may be unenforceable

Currently awaiting the signature of Governor Kate Brown, Oregon seems about to adopt a very controversial and likely unenforceable law with SB 554. The bill has passed in both legislative chambers. It mandates gun storage requirements on all Oregonians.

Representative Boomer Wright (R-Coos Bay) made the following statement upon it's passage in the House:

SB 554 includes a mandatory storage component to hold victims of theft liable if their firearm is stolen and used in a crime before they can report it missing after a short time. In some parts of Oregon, reasonable access to a firearm is the only immediate form of defense that homeowners have against intruders, while it may take more than 30 minutes for law enforcement to arrive after a 911 call.

This proposal would criminalize law-abiding citizens by making it a felony for individuals with concealed carry permits to bring their form of protection to an area near a public building. SB 554 would make felons of responsible gun owners.

Meanwhile, suicidal ideation among children continues to climb, and numerous studies have tied this to distanced learning.

SB 554 does nothing to provide them with support and resources, failing to address the mental health issues that are often at the root of unwanted firearm usage. “This is certainly a bad bill for Oregonians, and I wish blocking this proposal was as simple as walking out,” said Representative Boomer Wright (R-Coos Bay.)

“This tool has been successfully used in the past to stop other harmful proposals and save Oregon nearly $1 billion. Unfortunately, walking out is not a realistic option to prevent SB 554 from passing."

Under the current “State of Emergency”, Governor Brown can (and will) issue an Executive Order in response to a walk out that would create a special session with NO quorum rules. If this occurs, the super-majority will pass anything they want.

The House Speaker enacted a $500 fine per day, per person for any unexcused absence. This money would be required to come out of each legislator’s own pocket, and could exceed $500,000 for all Republican members.

“Unfortunately, the supermajority has made it clear that they have zero regard for constitutional rights to personal safety,” added Representative Wright.

“This misguided proposal will make people less safe in their homes while criminalizing responsible and law-abiding gun owners. It does not address the root of the problem, but instead makes felons of responsible gun owners, levies misplaced accountability, and will have ZERO impact on criminal violence. We should be focusing on the root of the problem, not criminalizing citizens or putting them in danger.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-29 10:17:38Last Update: 2021-05-29 19:15:30

Vaccine Lottery In Oregon
To shoot or not to shoot?

Editor's note: A previous version of this article said that the Red Cross was not accepting blood donations from vaccinated people. This is untrue. We regret the error.

How much is your health worth? Would you play Russian roulette with your own health? There have been many concerns about the coronavirus, and now concerns have surfaced about the safety of the covid vaccines.

However, it seems Governor Kate Brown doesn’t care about the shortage of blood supply. She announced the launch of the Take Your Shot Oregon Campaign for all vaccinated Oregonians. Her aim is to get 70 percent of Oregonians vaccinated so it seems that leaves just 30 percent potential donors to give blood for surgeries and other situations where antibodies are needed in blood replacement.

It’s a double lottery one must play to win. Oregonian’s 18 and older will have the chance to win $1 million or one of 36 $10,000 prizes––with one winner in each county in Oregon. Oregonian’s age 12 to 17 will have a chance to win one of five $100,000 Oregon College Savings Plan scholarships. All Oregonians who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the draw date will be entered to win.

Who approved the $1.86 million used from the federal Coronavirus Relief Act funds Oregon received? Is this the best way for funds to be used for economic relief and recovery? How many having reactions to the shots will have a case to sue over manipulation? How many still-born babies will be casualties?

The lives of America’s youth may also now be at risk over an experimental injection for a virus which is 99.97% survivable and 99.998% for children 17 and under, and those number are before current medications have been proven effective. While all children are capable of getting the virus that causes COVID-19, they don't become sick as often as adults. Most children have mild symptoms or no symptoms, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association, and in the U.S. children represent only about 13% of all COVID-19 cases.

Children are not severely affected by COVID-19, so why should they receive an experimental vaccine? CDC admits that no completed experiments have been performed to know if there may be long term effects. Now our children are being pressured to take a shot in order to return to their old, normal lives (school, sports, friends).

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-05-28 14:20:23Last Update: 2021-05-29 21:52:46

Early Release For Prisoners
At the heart of the issue is recidivism

SB 819 is proposing prisoners serving time be allowed to go back to court and ask for a sentence reduction. This is another way to break Measure 11 sentencing.

This bill is designed to allow Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt -- known for his "catch-and-release" policies --, and one or two other District Attorneys of like mind, to get together with criminal defense attorneys and petition the county circuit courts to set aside Measure 11 convictions and sentences so as to allow lesser crimes of convictions and sentences -- with no mandatory minimum prison sentence -- to replace the original conviction.

Is this a solution to the Oregon's high prison population? During this time of a slowdown asked for by our head Supreme Court Justice led to 209,122 fewer criminal cases were filed in court statewide, from 2019 to 2020. More than a third lower. It adds cost at the county level by pushing even more cases on the court now -- which even at reduced numbers is 3% slower processing cases through the system. Sadly, it doesn’t equate to less crime -- but to more tickets. There are many crimes that cannot be given a ticket or violation resulted in jail because of COVID rules. We have more crime and less punishment. Less chance for those damaged to collect damages. More repeats.

At the heart of the issue is recidivism. How often do they repeat their crime? This is biggest impact on society. Looking at Oregon statistics showed that 41% committed a new crime within 3 years for a misdemeanor. Rate for felonies is higher, 55% committing new crimes within 3 years.

Thomas Paine, a founding father who wrote about effective government said: When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he doesn’t believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime.

Carolyn Leaf, PhD, brain expert and writer of Who Shut Off My Brain, exposes the real issue. Are we effectively changing the strongholds in the minds of those with a pattern of crime? The mind develops our response to any given situation by our past reaction. If we allow a certain response and act on it, it becomes a tree built in our mind. The next time the same situation comes up we do the same thing prompted by our mind.

Here’s some bright spots liberals ought to notice: Private rehab organizations have recidivism rates as low as 7%. Bridges for Change, SE Works, PEP, Prison Entrepreneurship, Delancey Street Foundation, Safer Foundation, and The Last Mile, are all examples. These programs show we do know what does work. Why are we ignoring this?

--Liz Turner

Post Date: 2021-05-28 09:46:41Last Update: 2021-05-30 10:22:52

Brown Vetos Motorcycle Bill
Bill approved limited lane splitting

Governor Kate Brown has vetoed SB 574, a bill that would allow motorcycle traffic to "filter" into traffic under certain conditions. As required by Article V of the Oregon Constitution, she notified both chambers of the legislature of her reasons for doing a veto.

This bill would allow a person operating a motorcycle to travel between lanes of traffic, under certain conditions and in specific circumstances. Some of the conditions set forth in the bill include the requirement that traffic is either stopped or has slowed to a speed of ten miles per hour or less, that the motorcyclist travels between lanes at no more than ten miles per hour above the speed of traffic, and that the motorcyclist does not impede normal movement of traffic. This practice, known as "lane filtering," is currently unlawful-as it is in many other states-due to legitimate public safety concerns.

While I appreciate that SB 574 is more tailored than previous attempts to legalize lane filtering, I have several concerns with the bill as currently drafted, particularly related to public safety and noncompliance with the proposed conditions, which prevent me from approving it. First, many stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies and members of the public, remain concerned that lane filtering is unsafe for both the motorcyclists and the drivers sharing the road, due to the serious injuries and death that commonly result from motorcycle-involved accidents. Second, although the bill proposes conditions with which a motorcyclist must comply (such as a maximum speed at which motorcyclists can travel between lanes), I remain worried that some will not adhere to these conditions.

Based on these concerns, I am returning SB 574 unsigned and disapproved.

According to the Oregon Constitution, if two-thirds of the members present in each chamber vote to override the veto, it becomes law, but most insiders think that this is unlikely, despite the fact that it passed by more than a two-thirds vote in the House, and might be expected to garner a two-thirds vote in the Senate, if all of the Republicans and Independents show.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-27 14:45:22Last Update: 2021-05-28 09:46:41

Jackson County Asks for Easing of COVID Restrictions
"This is the time to be easing restrictions"

The Jackson County Commissioners -- Rick Dyer, Dave Dotterrer and Colleen Roberts -- have sent a letter to Oregon Governor Kate Brown asking for COVID-19 restrictions to be eased, calling these restrictions "misguided" and saying that they "place unfair and undue responsibilities on local businesses and churches, and their employees and leaders."

The letter describes the burden on public establishments:

As a practical matter, requiring businesses and churches, and the employees of those businesses and churches, to verify a person's vaccine status is only going to lead to conflict between employees and customers. As Jackson County's restaurants, venues, churches, and other businesses have been devastated by shutdowns, restrictions, and limitations on their ability to provide service and function for over a year, the last thing any of these businesses and churches need is yet another, unsupported by science, mandate from the State of Oregon that is only going to lead to conflict as these businesses and churches and their employees begin the long and arduous task of attempting to rebuild what they have lost.

A de facto ethos seems to be evolving in the state in which public establishments ask patrons to be vaccinated or wear a mask, but fail to insist on proof of vaccination -- what amounts to an honor system. The commissioners closed by tying the availability of vaccines to the easing of restrictions:

Vaccines are readily accessible to any resident of Jackson County who wants to receive a vaccine. Any resident of Jackson County can walk up and obtain a vaccine without an appointment. This is the time to be easing restrictions, not creating new mandates in the guise of easing restrictions.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-27 13:48:01Last Update: 2021-05-27 14:45:22

Flags in School
More than just honoring our country

The Gresham-Barlow School District Board of Directors has had a busy month. They started out the month by accepting Superintendent Dr. A. Katrise Perera's letter of resignation, effective June 30, 2021, they saw 3 board seats changed in the election and 1 incumbent member drop out of the race, and this week they will vote on whether to change its flag display policy (Policy INDB). If approved, all schools in this district could display a Black Lives Matter (BLM) flag and a Progressive Pride flag, on school grounds and in all classrooms, along with the statutorily required American flag, Oregon flag, and POW/MIA flag as mandated in law by ORS 339.875 - Procurement, display and salute of flags. Which reads in part:

(1) Each district school board and public charter school governing body shall:
(a) Procure a United States flag and an Oregon State flag of suitable sizes and shall cause the flags to be displayed upon or near each school building under the control of the board or used by the governing body:
(A) During school hours, except in unsuitable weather; and
(B) At any other time the board or the governing body deems proper.
(b) Procure United States flags of a suitable size for classrooms and cause a flag to be displayed in each classroom in each school building under the control of the board or used by the governing body.
(c) Provide students with the opportunity to salute the United States flag at least once each week of the school year.

#BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s death. The flag used by the organization is an adaptation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) flag developed in the 1920’s to draw attention to lynching’s. 90 years later, Brooklyn-based artist and activist, Dread Scott, re-created the flag because he saw a parallel between the lynching’s and current day police killings and the Black Lives Matter flag was born.

The Progressive Pride flag is a take on the original rainbow Pride flag designed in 1978 by artist and gay rights activist Gilbert Baker. He came up with the design after prominent gay rights leader Harvey Milk urged him to create a new, positive symbol that the entire LGBTQIA+ community could rally behind. Today there are more than 20 different takes on the original design. However, the proposed change to the GBSD policy explicitly states the display of the Progressive Pride Flag. It was designed by Portland queer, non-binary demisexual designer, Daniel Quasar.

In addition to the flag discussion, the other change being considered is whether to expand the policies to give all students the time to learn and sing the Black National Anthem, adding to existing state statute requirement that public schools provide a weekly opportunity to recite the pledge of allegiance. The proposed policy change says: They (students) will also receive instruction on native land acknowledgements and have the opportunity to recite it at least once each week. Students shall learn the U.S. national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, AND the Black National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing.

The Black National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, was written as a poem by James Johnson. In 1919, the (NAACP) dubbed it "the Negro National Anthem" for its power in voicing a cry for liberation and affirmation for African-American people. The song is a prayer of thanksgiving for faithfulness and freedom, with imagery evoking the biblical Exodus from slavery to freedom. If you are interested in watching the District Board meeting live, it takes place on Thursday May 27 at 6:00pm Link to join the board meeting via zoom:

Meeting ID: 851 3968 6099
Passcode: 388656

Or join by phone:
Dial US: 1-253-215-8782

--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-05-27 09:27:18Last Update: 2021-06-01 09:32:07

Democrats Derail Business Protections
“This bill provides protections to keep our main streets open right now.

A bi-partisan coalition of Republicans and Democrats nearly approved common-sense liability protections for small businesses during the pandemic.

HB 2638 limits liability for certain claims for damages arising out of acts or omissions taken during COVID-19 emergency period in reasonable compliance with government guidance related to COVID-19. Oregon House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) made a motion to pull the bill from committee to the House floor for a vote.

Republicans and Democrats believe limited common-sense liability protections are needed to protect small businesses who follow the rules from bad actors trying to take advantage of the ongoing pandemic.

The motion narrowly failed, despite bipartisan support.

“COVID-19 health requirements for businesses have constantly evolved during the pandemic as circumstances have changed and we learn new information,” said Leader Drazan. “This bill simply provides better protections to keep our businesses and main streets open right now.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-26 14:40:33Last Update: 2021-05-26 17:51:11

Analysis: Maybe It’s Time for a Change
Let NAVs vote in the Republican Primary?

Instead of the constant drumbeat of "voter fraud" how about we tackle the real issue concerning elections in Oregon? Voter registration. These numbers are for real. No they didn't change 300,000 voter's registration. That is not happening. Not 300,000. Maybe a mistake here or there. Folks, we must focus on those NAV (non affiliated voters). I believe it's time for Oregon Republicans to change the state platform and allow NAV's to vote in our Primary. It's a fact that when "Bob" votes for "Bill" in a primary, he will very likely vote for "Bill" again in the General. I am not seeking an "open primary" which would let any registered voter in, just NAV's and Republicans. The Democrats hate this idea and will not adopt it.

I believe we can take this state in one election if we do this. Otherwise, we are stuck in the same holding pattern of losing due to the sheer numbers of Democrats now registered in Oregon. Instead of complaining about a "problem" that no one can really seem to prove, let's make something real happen. I know the "old dog" GOP will hate this idea....but it's time for fresh ideas and I am offering one.

One more note: it's not 6 or 7 counties that swing elections in Oregon anymore....count them...there are now thirteen!! That's one third of the state. Folks: we need to really come to grips with these numbers and change our approach.

Oregon Republicans: think about it.

The SOS site shows registration by county, representative, senate and Congressional districts as of April 2021. The numbers don't lie. I am open to ideas of how to overcome that 300,000 voter registration gap. Feel free to give your ideas in social media. I only see positives with letting NAV's into our primary.

--State Representative Bill Post

Post Date: 2021-05-26 13:42:34Last Update: 2021-05-26 14:08:22

Justice in Oregon
Facing your accuser is vital.

Founding Father James Madison said: “Justice is the end of the government. It is the end of civil society.” Justice is one of two, guaranteed in our pledge of allegiance, which ends with Justice and Liberty for all.

SB 296 is a request to continue to extend the time frames in court for any or all cases, based on a request from Chief Justice Marsha L. Walters. What might that mean to you personally?

Take a look at some statistics from the State of Oregon:

2019 saw 721,911 cases filed statewide. That includes all types of cases. 10% of those ran past the goal in time to be finished. 58% of the cases were done in 0-6 months.

In 2020 under our first agreement to allow the Chief Justice to extend time:

Cases filed 456,613 statewide. 13% ran past goal of time to be finished. 46.6 were complete in 0-6 months.

In the end, more than a quarter of a million fewer cases were filed. Even with 265,298 fewer cases filed to finish was 3% slower.

In Wasco County the main courtroom seats around 300. Isn’t it possible for a few people to have live court with that much distancing?? Facing your accuser is vital. Seeing the evidence, seeing the expressions, all are needed. Justice is for all.

--Liz Turner

Post Date: 2021-05-26 12:36:48Last Update: 2021-05-26 14:25:06

Linfield University and Stable Higher Education
President Davis is standing his ground

Linfield University is a small college located in McMinnville. big changes at a small University.

Miles Davis has been president of Linfield University since 2018. Enrollment at the University is up 40% since he took the helm. A black man from humble beginnings with no Ivy League credentials, he has offered buyouts to 13 professors in liberal-arts programs with shrinking enrollments. Most of the over 4600 institutions of higher learning in the U.S. are bleeding money. Quietly going broke would be a more direct way of stating their condition.

Students keep funding the economically unsound higher education system with ever larger government backed loans many hope they won’t have to repay. Miles Davis is trying to get out ahead of the unstable economic problem by returning to education that prepares students to make a living in a free market world in addition to gaining a well-rounded education. He is also concerned that “schools are failing to encourage open-mindedness”, with professors “coming into academia believing their narrow minded perspective is right.”

Linfield Trustees prepared to finalize a change to their governance that would give nursing and business programs equal representation to liberal-arts on Linfield’s board. Two thirds of Linfield’s graduates come from its nursing and business programs. A Jewish liberal-arts professor was the faculty representative designated by opposing viewpoints. Going beyond arguments concerned with a proper response to declining enrollments in liberal-arts, he cited past claims of sexual harassment against trustees on the board to discredit their decisions to elevate nursing and business representation on the board.

Miles Davis fought back claiming the professor was unfairly hurting the University for personal reasons. The professor was fired by his dean, provost and legal counsel not the board of trustees. 2000 professors nationwide have signed a letter in defense of this “whistleblower”. Claims of restricted free speech and threats to faculty governance are lead arguments in their May 17th announcement of an investigation into the firing. President Davis is standing his ground claiming change is necessary and not without challenges.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-05-26 11:46:45Last Update: 2021-05-26 12:01:18

Review: Climate Change: A Convenient Truth
So, in which group are you?

Finally, a book on climate that anyone can understand. If you master the forty-eight short chapters in this little book you will be well on your way to understanding the basics of climate change: Man’s part and Nature’s. This is a book that needs to be read more than once and then shared with your friends. Careful reading should convince you that even a majority can be wrong.

A lot has been written about global warming/climate change, especially in the last couple of years. We have been led to believe that if we do not take immediate, expensive and decisive action the world as we know it will come to a dramatic end.

But, is it true? Where is the evidence that man is the cause of this warming? Can we do anything about it, or do we just let nature have its way?

No-one can dispute the fact that the earth is warming. It has continued to warm since the end of the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago. At one time North Idaho was buried under a mile of ice.

But what is the evidence that man is the chief cause of this warming, or that we can stop a further increase in temperature simply by ending our use of all fossil fuels, (coal, oil, natural gas etc.)? This book was written for you. It is time that you had a chance to know the truth. The mainstream media wants to convince you that we are headed for a catastrophe if we simply do nothing. Twelve years ago we were told we only had ten years left, yet those ten years have come and gone without any change in our climate.

There are three types of people who consider climate change.
  1. The first is the government paid scientists and those associated with them who will not be convinced no matter what is said, because if they had to admit they were wrong it would end their employment.
  2. The second are those who only watch television, never pick up a book and really do not want to know the truth until their house goes dark and it is too late to do anything about it.
  3. The third group includes a large number of people who have received much conflicting information and still do not know the truth, yet they seek to understand it.
So, in which group are you? This book was written for the third group. It is written so you can understand climate change and how it affects you. You have to understand that the program of the first group has to do with a lot more than just climate. You can have no effect on them unless you know the truth.

There were some great principles in the founding of America, which allowed us to use our coal, oil and natural gas to make America the greatest nation in the world -- a nation that was ready and able to help other peoples when they had dire needs from floods, earthquakes, fires, and other calamities. If the program of the Green New Deal becomes the law of the land we may never be able to help the needy again.

The book is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-26 11:12:33Last Update: 2021-05-26 11:20:23

Vaccine Passports: Legal Action Taken
“This guidance puts Oregon at odds with the CDC, the White House, and nearly every other state in the country”

Oregon once again made national headlines last week for being the first state in the union to move forward with a vaccine verification system for its residents.

The May 18 Interim Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals, from the Oregon Health Authority, reads “a business, employer or faith institution that has a policy requesting and checking for proof of vaccination and requests and reviews proof of vaccination may permit fully vaccinated individuals with proof of vaccination to go without a mask, face covering or face shield, and does not need to enforce physical distancing requirements for such individuals”.

The Freedom Foundation quickly released a statement, condemning the guidance and compelling the governor to rescind the order.

“The Freedom Foundation was the first to sue Gov. Brown over her mask mandates last year and we’re prepared to fight her in court over this ludicrous vaccine passport, as well.

Today, The Freedom Foundation began making good on its promise to challenge Governor Kate Brown’s implementation of “vaccine passports” in Oregon.

A demand letter sent to Governor Brown and the Oregon Health Authority argues that the guidance violates the right to be free from compelled speech and association guaranteed by the First Amendment, the right to informational privacy guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, and the right to equal protection of the law, also guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

The letter gives the Governor three options – rescind the order entirely, provide Oregonians data to justify why the guidance is necessary, or expect the matter to be resolved in court.

“The fact that the Governor has not yet rescinded the order is laughable,” said Jason Dudash, Oregon Director of the Freedom Foundation.

Dudash continued, “This guidance puts Oregon’s Coronavirus response at odds with the CDC, the White House, and nearly every other state in the country, save our equally tyrannical governor to the north, Jay Inslee. Assuredly this is not because our Governor has a brilliant mind for public health policy; rather it’s because everyone else can recognize the glaring flaws and significant constitutional issues that exist in implementing a policy such as this”.

“At every step through this pandemic, Gov. Brown has showcased her disdain and her distrust of Oregonians. She needs to recognize that Oregonians from every walk of life have made immense sacrifices over the last year to get through the pandemic, and she should trust that we will continue to do the work to get to the finish line without the need for her regressive policymaking”.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-26 10:08:30Last Update: 2021-05-26 11:32:35

Republicans Demand End to Vaccine Passports
“We request that you end vaccine passport immediately”

In a letter to Governor Kate Brown Oregon House Republicans are requesting that the Governor end the vaccine passport system that is nominally in place in Oregon. Anecdotally, compliance with the decree -- at least in terms of retail establishments actually checking for proof of vaccination status -- has been spotty.

The letter describes policies in both Washington and California -- both of which are less strict than Oregon's and then goes on to make the case for Oregon:

Unlike Washington and California, Oregon’s response to the announcement from the White House and the CDC puts pressure on businesses and exposes front-line workers to confrontation. Patrons are required to either display proof of vaccination as a passport or continue to wear masks regardless of their vaccine or immunity status. Both options for businesses contradict CDC guidelines.

At the beginning of the pandemic Oregon committed to aligning regulations with Washington and California. We should not become an outlier now. We are reaching the end of the pandemic and should be lifting mandates, not adding new ones.

The letter concludes with the request that the Governor "end this vaccine passport/verification system immediately."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-25 16:03:39Last Update: 2021-05-26 08:27:18

Crater Lake Bill Signed by Governor
“This is something all Oregonians can take pride in”

In 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt set aside territory in south central Oregon to create Crater Lake National Park on May 22nd. This year, 119 years later, Crater Lake National Park gets its own official day in Oregon. State Representative E. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath Falls) introduced HB 3162 and teamed up with State Representative Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) to build a coalition of supporting legislators to shepherd the bill to passage.

“We were able to get support from urban legislators and rural legislators, Democrats and Republicans, Senators and Representatives to join us in designating May 22nd as Crater Lake National Park Day in Oregon,” said Representative Reschke. “Crater Lake National Park is Oregon’s only national park. It is a special place; it needed its own special day.”

Located in Klamath County, Crater Lake was formed by an eruption on Mount Mazama 7,700 years ago. Local Native Americans witnessed the collapse of Mount Mazama and kept the event alive in their legends. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and 9th deepest in the world. 750,000 people a year, from around the world visit Crater Lake National Park on an annual basis.

“Crater Lake National Park is renown for its pristine, deep blue water, and the amazing 360- degree bowl that majestically surrounds the lake. Crater Lake National Park is truly a national treasure located in Klamath County Oregon. We need to celebrate Oregon’s only national park and now we have a day to do just that. This is something all Oregonians can take pride in,” said Rep. Reschke.

Governor Brown signed HB 3162 into law on May 21, 2021.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-25 09:37:11Last Update: 2021-05-25 09:56:59

Complaint Filed Against Former Yamhill County Counsel
He and others used Yamhill County government to circumvent land use law.

On May 24th a complaint was filed with the Oregon State Bar against Yamhill County Chief Counsel Timothy “Todd” Sadlo. The Oregon State Bar Association is the disciplinary agency for lawyers in Oregon.

Yamhill County began to acquire property and started construction on a recreational trail in rural Yamhill County. Several residents objected and the Land Use Board of Appeals denied the County's request for variances.

The complaint was filed on behalf of farmers who have been plaintiffs in five actions against the County before the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals over a three year period. The County, with Sadlo as counsel, has lost those actions every time. The complaint alleges illegal activity that stemmed from County Counsel ignoring Land Use Board of Appeals directives while in remand.

Recently requested public records show Sadlo’s actions were a deliberate part of a strategy involving others inside and outside of Yamhill County government to circumvent land use law. His role in the matter has the County potentially liable for millions of dollars in grant money obtained through ODOT under false pretenses. A June 2020 email from ODOT warned the County its actions may have negative consequences. He could also be charged with violating ORS 294.100 which deals with government officials who willfully and wantonly squander public funds. That carries a high level of proof and a much higher penalty of personal financial liability.

Sadlo was named applicant for a pedestrian pathway on an abandoned rail right-of-way by the 2012 Board of Commissioners. The Commissioners acted on an official but false report that said farmers had no objection to the Trail. The Trail was to be a recreational facility inserted into exclusive farm use zoning. Under Oregon’s Land Use Law the pathway, named Yamhelas-Westsider Trail, would be a non-conforming use. To operate the non-conforming recreational pathway the County would need to obtain a Conditional Use Permit before proceeding. To receive such a permit the County would first have to pass an Agriculture Impact Study showing no substantial harm to farming practices.

The County failed to pass such a Study but proceeded to buy the abandoned right of way and begin construction of a bridge substantial enough to carry light rail. A change to the Board of Commissioners brought the improper actions to light and now Sadlo and other County staff complicit in the matter are likely to be held accountable. Improper actions also involved two past commissioners and one current commissioner who will face the voters in 2022.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-05-25 07:15:36Last Update: 2021-05-25 09:37:11

Land Use in Yamhill County
Is the system working?

The Department of Land Conservation and Development is responsible for land use policy in Oregon. Part of their mission is to balance 19 different goals intertwined with land use. Three of their many goals are the preservation of farmland, provide for housing and provide for commercial growth. Yamhill County has need for all three.

Agriculture built this county and is still the number one industry. Population growth has used up most of the inventory of buildable residential sites within the Urban Growth Boundaries of Yamhill County’s cities and towns.

Urban Growth Boundaries, used to reign in urban sprawl and define areas of buildable land, were established near 45 years ago. Since then they have expanded about 20% while the population has doubled. Originally land use planning was to have a 20 year supply of residential land in inventory. Oregon has not kept pace with that goal, putting a strain on housing and artificially increasing the price of an average home.

Yamhill County has many second and third generation residents, but will future generations find a home and job here, or will they have to move away.

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-05-24 18:38:05Last Update: 2021-05-24 18:55:03

Senator Heard Votes ‘Yes’
Only bills intended to restore freedom

Senator Dallas Heard (R-Roseburg) released the following statement:

“Today we as Senate Republicans pulled to the floor SB 867 which would have required public schools return to full-time and in-person classroom instruction during the 2021-2022 school year. For the first time this entire session I was able to vote yes on a measure.

Only bills intended to restore the freedoms stolen from our citizens during the past 14 months should be passing the Senate floor until the people of Oregon have been restored to their rightful place in the State Capitol building. Our children's education has suffered a great and lasting impact due to the reckless decisions made by Kate Brown and her supporters within the Democrat elected power base. If we, as Oregonians, hope to continue to be a prosperous and blessed people, we must restore our children to their rightful place in the classroom.

I am calling on the free people of Oregon to demand that their elected House and Senate members legislatively strip Kate Brown of her emergency powers that she has repeatedly used in an abusive, discriminatory, and tyrannical manner by passing SR 2.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-24 18:33:07Last Update: 2021-05-24 18:38:05

Segregation Returns to Oregon
If you’re not vaccinated, get ready to be a part of the “out” group

Today Governor Brown announced that “Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will be revising health and safety protocols for businesses in Lower Risk counties to allow for the option of creating vaccinated sections. Before this latest move of the goal posts, the following applied to the Low Risk categories:

Eating and Drinking Establishments: Indoor Recreational and Fitness Businesses (gyms, indoor K-12 sports and indoor recreation activities) Indoor & Outdoor Entertainment Establishments (aquariums, movie theaters, museums, concerts) Retail Stores / Indoor and Outdoor Shopping Centers / Malls Faith Institutions The change announced by Brown states that the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is updating the guidance for Lower Risk counties allowing the option for vaccinated sections for businesses, venues, and faith institutions. This means that: The press release also says that the Portland Trail Blazers drove the conversation to promote the changes. They will “be the first indoor sports venue in Oregon to welcome fans back to vaccinated sections this week” Governor Brown stated. The Portland Trail Blazers appear to be going against the recent movement by professional athletes and sports teams who have been speaking out against discrimination and lack of equity. The adoption of segregated seating sections may very well end up be discriminating and take the equity discussion in the opposite direction intended.

The Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities are one of the lowest vaccinated groups in Oregon, according to OHA data. Approximately 23% compared to the white population at 38% and the total population of almost 51%. Does this mean that the Moda Center will not only segregate vaccinated from unvaccinated, but inadvertently also separate Oregonians by race?

--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-05-24 13:52:54Last Update: 2021-05-24 14:10:54

Senate Republicans Vote to Get Kids Back in School
Democrats kill bill along party lines, continuing the Governor’s power to lock kids out of the classroom

Senate Republicans have attempted to pass SB 867, a bill that would reopen schools for full-time, in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 school year.

According to data, Governor Brown’s arbitrary COVID-19 metrics are putting Oregon third-worst in the country on school re-openings. Barely 1/3rd of Oregon schools are in “On-Site” instruction while the majority are in hybrid.

“Kids deserve to be in the classroom,” Senator Dick Anderson, chief sponsor of the legislation, said. “It’s past time to give students a guarantee that they will get a real education next year. This past year and a half has devastated learning for our kids and wreaked havoc for parents trying to make ends meet. This bill was about making a promise to Oregon students that their education matters.”

Recent scientific studies have shown that kids hospitalized for COVID have been overcounted, further quelling fears about COVID-19 in schools. Just over a week ago, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten came out in support of getting American students back into the classroom for full-time instruction:

"Given current circumstances, nothing should stand in the way of fully reopening our public schools this fall and keeping them open,” Weingarten said in a speech. "The United States will not be fully back until we are fully back in school. And my union is all in.”

“The evidence is overwhelming that schools are safe, but Democrats believe the science is different here in Oregon. Other states have returned kids to the classroom, but our students and families are still struggling with a Governor that doesn’t listen and an education system that isn't required to meet their needs,” Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) said.

Republicans have advocated to fully fund and fully reopen K-12 schools with school districts’ recommended budget of $9.6 billion. Senate Republicans have also put forward a robust education reform agenda this session that would have given kids and parents more control over their education. Democrats have blocked all but one of them.

SB 867 was blocked from consideration by Democrats along party lines, leaving in limbo another year of education for Oregon students.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-24 12:14:28Last Update: 2021-05-24 12:48:02

Let’s Make Slavery Illegal in Oregon
We may have become too sensitive

Senator James Manning Jr (D-Eugene), Senator Lew Frederick (D-Portland), and Senator Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) would like us to believe that Oregon was and is a slave state by what is written in the Oregon Constitution, Article I, Section 34. This is what that section reads on the Secretary of State’s website:

Section 34. Slavery or involuntary servitude. There shall be neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude in the State, otherwise than as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted. -- [Added to Bill of Rights as unnumbered section by vote of the people at time of adoption of the Oregon Constitution in accordance with section 4 of Article XVIII thereof]

These legislators have introduced SJR 10, which proposes to amend Section 34 “to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude in all circumstances.” There proposed revision would read: Sec. 34. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in this state. Deleting: [the State, otherwise than as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted].

Perhaps they didn’t see the reference to Article XVIII, Section 4, which references and repeats the same wording referring to Article I, Sec. 34. In 1925, Oregon voters repealed the constitutional provisions relating to the exclusion of African-Americans. However, the language relating to race remained in the Oregon Constitution. In 2002, SJR. 7, 2001, the voters passed Ballot Measure 14 removing historical race references. At that time, Section 34 did not trigger any connection between slavery as a race identification for the incarcerated.

We may have become too sensitive to now suggest actual circumstances would tie race together with slavery in the context of Section 34. Removing "otherwise than as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” was not meant to imply the incarcerated were slaves any more than anyone else. Prisons employ the incarcerated, whether voluntary or involuntary servitude, to maintain the facilities, clean our highways, make our license plate, among other things. If we remove the “involuntary” from chore assignment and discipline assignment, we have gutted the rehabilitation framework to incorporate them back into society.

If this bill is put to the voters, and we ignorantly pass it, how many people will the state need to employ, at taxpayer’s expense, to do the work that prisoners now do?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-05-24 11:52:34Last Update: 2021-05-24 12:14:28

Social Studies in Oregon
Amending the standards

SB 702, sponsored by Oregon Democrats, is an effort to establish a task force to review social studies that may work to exclude parents.

Currently, Oregon's content standards for K-12 schools are reviewed on a rotating basis by the State Board of Education. Notably, the Senate Committee on Education recently amended the bill SB 702 to direct the State Board of Education to review social studies standards.

Senator Knopp (R-Bend) submitted Amendment A-2, which was adopted by the committee, and that amendment at least added a parent to the list of contacts and the constitution as a point of instruction. It seems the original bill did not include that specific criteria.

What makes this bill of particular concern is the treatment of “standards,” which is supposed to incorporate research of social studies disciplines and best practices into a curriculum. The bill requires as a part of the review, the State Board of Education is to consult with any combination of the following but must include at least one person who is: It seems very notable that there are no experts in the discipline of social studies on that list.

ORS 329.045, requirements for review, specifically involves “teachers and other educators, parents of students and other citizens and shall provide ample opportunity for public comment.” One parent and one educator and no public comment does not seem to meet statutory requirements.

When conducting the review, the State Board of Education is also required to consider emphasizing civics education and making more accessible instruction related to: This raises a lot of questions. Do they intend to teach children a biased view of why violent riots in Portland or justify them as a social movement? Will that teaching include how violence is being condoned because it is associated with a social movement? Is this an attempt to incorporate Critical Race Theory into the curriculum?

How are Oregon students to achieve any success when they are not guided by best practices? Without public and parent input, how can parents stay involved in their children's lives.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-05-23 14:30:54Last Update: 2021-05-23 16:10:40

Suspected Sex Trafficker Wins Re-election
Oregon democrat Dave Hunt ran unopposed

Former Democrat Speaker of the House and current lobbyist Dave Hunt of Milwaukie, Oregon was just recently caught and charged in a sex trafficking sting operation, and now it seems that he has secured re-election to the Clackamas Community College Zone 3 Board Director position, running unopposed and getting 92 percent of the total vote.

The only other option for voter's on the ballot was for a write-in candidate, which is known to be nearly impossible. Write-in candidates received 230 votes, or 7.43 percent of the total vote.

Since his arrest, Hunt has taken a leave of absence from his board duties, and his continued service to the Clackamas Community College seems unlikely.

Hunt is the former Oregon Speaker of the House during the 2009-11 Oregon legislative session and the Democrat House Majority Leader from the 2007-2009. He also served as a representative in the Oregon state legislature for District 40, where he represented the Clackamas area. He served from 2003 to 2013.

Hunt helped to pass a bill criminalizing sex trafficking in 2007.

The Portland Police Bureau's Human Trafficking Unit cited 8 men total during the sting, including Hunt, conducted in April 2021. They were lured through known trafficking websites.

Hunt, along with others arrested apparently arranged payment for sexual acts. Hunt will be charged with at least Commercial Sexual Solicitation.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-05-23 14:13:14Last Update: 2021-05-23 15:49:54

Government Overcharging Itself for Labor
Because you have the votes?

Oregon is one of 29 states that has a prevailing wage law requiring that state and local governments pay a higher amount to workers on public projects than market-based wages. While these laws have the effect of raising wages of workers, they also make government more expensive and in some cases make public projects impossible.

SB 493, introduced by Senators Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) and Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland) is a proposal to make significant changes in how the wage is calculated. Currently, the employment department does a survey of relevant wages and presents them to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries who decides what the wage will be.

Now, SB 493 proposes that the prevailing wage be the highest wage on any collective bargaining agreement -- a move which will surely drive up most wages.

What will be the final effect? Many projects simply will not be undertaken. Projects that will be undertaken will be only the most necessary infrastructure projects, while leaving behind some of the less-necessary but more glamorous parks, paths and pools.

Representative Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles) led a Republican revolt against the bill. In his floor speech, he pondered, "Why are we doing this now? Why is this the right time? Because you have the votes?"

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-23 10:16:31Last Update: 2021-05-22 16:33:41

“Take your shot Oregon” at Winning the COVID Lottery
Nope. I want a dozen Krispy Kremes and a free tee shirt, too.

This week the Governor Brown announced the next plan for getting people past vaccine hesitancy, free money! During her press conference, Brown stated “If you've been waiting to get a vaccine or you just haven't gotten around to it yet, we're going to give you an extra incentive, how about a million dollars?"

So, if you are 18 years of age or older and still not vaccinated, here is your chance to be rich -- sort of. Oregonians 18 and over who receive at least one dose of the vaccine before June 27th will be entered into both a state wise lottery and an individual county drawing. Those ages 12-17, will not be left out of the game. It they also receive their first dose by June 27th, they will be entered into an Oregon Saves Scholarship drawing.

The statewide cash lottery winner will receive $1,000,000 and each county lottery winner will receive $10,000, before taxes. That’s right, lotter winning are considered ordinary taxable income for both federal and state tax purposes. That means winnings are taxed the same as wages or salary and the entire amount must be reported on the winners tax return.

If you’re the lucky statewide winner, you will have both the 8% state tax and 24% federal taxe withheld. So automatically, the $1,000.000 = $680,000 after taxes. Still not a bad deal for most working-class Oregonians. If you are the county winner, your $10,000 = $6,800 after tax obligation. There may also be additional tax implication depending on your current tax filing status. Only your accountant can answer specific tax questions.

The state will also offer five $100,000 scholarships through the Oregon College Savings Plan (OCSP). The OCSP allows for pre-tax contributions to be made to the state managed college savings accounts and students can then withdraw the funds for qualifying post-secondary education expenses.

While OCSP does not have the same income tax implications as the lottery winnings, there are still annual asset-based fee. These have varied historically between 0.25% and 0.72% depending on the types of investments the owner directs the funds to be places in. Theoretically, the $250 to $720 annual asset-based management fee charged by the state should be less than the earning of the investment. However, like the stock market, there is o guarantee on the investment.

So, for a minor intending to seek post-secondary education this might be better than winning the lottery. However, if the student choses to not attend a qualified post-secondary school option and withdraws the money for something other than education, there will be state and federal tax penalties taken out of the funds. Again, only your personal account can answer these detailed questions.

So, for the procrastinators of the world, this may be your chance to get rich if you chose to get vaccinated. For those that don’t chose to get the shot, the current Oregon Lotter jackpot is at $3, Megan Million is at $20M, and Powerball is at $218M, and every Casino in the state is up and running 7 days a week. Like they say, “you can’t win if you don’t play”. Which game you chose to play in this case is up to you.

--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-05-23 08:23:24Last Update: 2021-05-22 16:29:05

The Road to 70%
Are the goal posts going to move again?

Editor's note: A previous version of this article contained a math error. Thanks to a reader for pointing this out. It has been corrected below. Since her press conference in which Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced the target of 70% of the population vaccinated, Oregonians crave clarity on two basic issues.

When are we going to reach 70%?

The definition of who is vaccinated is not always made clear. Some reports show number of doses administered, and few count that as being vaccinated. Some count the administration of both doses -- in the case of the Moderna and Pfizer which need two doses -- which probably equals "vaccinated" for most, but the vaccines require that the subject wait two weeks for the vaccine to fully take effect, so for most, the safe definition of "vaccinated" is both doses plus two weeks.

Governor Brown's definition of vaccinated is, in her own words "the number of Oregonians age 16 and older that we need to reach with a first dose."

According to the Oregon Health Authority website as of this posting, 2,150,964 Oregonians have received at least one dose. The US Census Bureau estimates that 20.5% of the population is under 18, which means 17 and younger -- not quite an exact amount to subtract to get 16 and older, but very close. If the population of Oregon is about 4,300,000, that means that The target population is about 3,500,000 and that we are at about 61.4%.

This means we need another 299,036 people to get vaccinated to get to the golden 70%. The OHA reports that it is doing about 30,000 doses per day, and one could conservatively surmise that this number will slip due to the fact that the remaining unvaccinated people are fewer, harder to find, and in many cases harder to convince. If the OHA were to average 25,000 per day, they could get to 70% in a couple of weeks. Governor Brown is "confident we can get there in June."

What happens once we reach 70%?

Again, in Governor Brown's words, from her press conference, "Once we cross that statewide goal, yes, that means, no more county risk levels, and a lifting of most restrictions –– including capacity limits for venues and businesses, and limits on group sizes.

That sounds like good news, but she manages expectations.

Common sense safety measures, like wearing masks and physical distancing may remain in effect, in line with CDC guidance. We will continue to evaluate CDC’s recommendations on these measures and align them with Oregon’s needs. Public health will remain focused on testing, contact tracing, and continuing to monitor hospital admissions so we can do this safely. We still have some work to do to reach our 70% goal, but I am confident we can get there in June and return Oregon to a sense of normalcy.

Remember, though, this speech was delivered prior to the CDC's declaration that vaccinated persons no longer need to wear masks. Watch for the goal posts to be moved. In the little over a year that COVID-19 has been upon us, we've seen a slew of executive orders and retooling of information.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-22 17:01:23Last Update: 2021-05-23 12:57:35

Election Humor to be Restricted
No more joking about when to vote

Joking about elections in Oregon may about to become some real serious business.

Legislation is on the horizon which would make communicating false statements about an election illegal and punishable by a fine up to $10,000.

HB 2323 is a bill currently awaiting action in the Senate Committee On Rules. It has a public hearing scheduled on May 25th, although the public is currently not actually allowed to attend.

The legislation is summarized as follows:

Prohibits knowingly communicating materially false statement, including by electronic or telephonic means, with intent to mislead electors about date of election, deadline for delivering ballot, voter registration deadline, method of registering to vote, locations at which elector may deposit ballot, qualifications of electors or voter registration status within 30 days of primary election or special election or within 60 days of general election. Authorizes Attorney General] Secretary of State to prosecute violation and establishes civil penalty of up to $10,000 for violation. Expressly states that current prohibition on circulating materially false statement relating to candidate, political committee or measure includes circulation by electronic or telephonic means. Prohibits printing or circulation of imitation voters' pamphlet unless pamphlet is clearly marked as unofficial. Establishes fine of up to $10,000 for violation.

The bill has bi-partisan support, and is sponsored chiefly by Representative Julie Fahey (D-Eugene) Perhaps it is a good idea, perhaps not. Critics may note the potential for unequal and unequitable application of this law, and the possible danger of selective enforcement. The law may prove to be entirely unenforceable. It seems that Oregon legislators are willing to experiment with how to run the lives of Oregonians these days, so look for this bill to be passed into law in the near future.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-05-22 11:29:54Last Update: 2021-05-22 11:50:24

The OHA Has Your Vaccine Information. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
The state had a breach in health data a couple of years ago

As the debate over vaccine passports rages and a cold war between retail businesses and state COVID-19 enforcement officials brews, citizens -- even those who are grateful to get the vaccine -- are starting to question the need for the Oregon Health Authority to collect and store data on their vaccination status.

It's pretty clear from the form to request a duplicate vaccination status card that the OHA has collected information that could be a significant threat in the case of an identity theft incident.

Two years ago, the Department of Human Services had a breach in which hundreds of thousands of records containing highly sensitive identity information was compromised. The DHS released a statement, required by law, describing the breach.

On January 28, 2019 DHS and Enterprise Security Office Cyber Security team confirmed that a breach of regulated information had occurred. Nine individual employees opened a phishing email and clicked on a link that compromised their email mailboxes and allowed access to these employees’ email information. Current information indicates on January 8th, a spear phishing email was sent to DHS employees. Through our process of discovery, we learned that there were nearly 2 million emails in those email mailboxes.

The unauthorized access to the affected email mailboxes was successfully stopped. DHS is in the process of thoroughly reviewing the incident and the information involved. This investigation includes clarifying the number of impacted records that might contain personal information of clients receiving services from DHS.

Clients’ Protected Health Information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was accessible to an unauthorized person. Client information may include first and last names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, case number and other information used to administer DHS programs.

For some, this is just another argument against vaccine passports and the like, in which the government maintains control of the data.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-21 15:06:25Last Update: 2021-05-21 17:11:09

Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Indigenous People should be alarmed

Passed into law this week is a curious bill that pleads for explanation. HB 2526 passed mostly on party lines with Democrats carrying the torch for Indigenous people. But, do they?

The bill becomes very confusing as to what the real purpose is. The bill is summarized as, “Designates second Monday of October of each year as Indigenous Peoples' Day.” However, in 1971, the second Monday in October became Columbus Day, which was declared a federal holiday In 1937.

Oregon does not observe Columbus Day as a state holiday. So is this an excuse to celebrate the day with the rest of the nation? The bill doesn’t make Indigenous Peoples’ Day a holiday, so it has no more value than Columbus Day has. Or, is the bill using the Indigenous People as a tool to belittle and critic the founding of America? After all, the bill begins with “Whereas Christopher Columbus, a man who is known to have “discovered” the Americas, came upon land that was already inhabited by Indigenous People, his historically cited contributions being either inaccurate or facially not worthy of celebrating; and Whereas Columbus’ voyage to the Americas opened the door to heinous crimes against humanity, including but not limited to the introduction of transatlantic slavery and genocidal acts against Indigenous People.”

There is a lot to push back on those two statements that are now engrained into Oregon law. For instance, you can’t push the 1619 Project and say Columbus opened the door to heinous crimes against humanity. Even though Columbus has a history of dealing in slave traffic, the Mayflower did not bring slaves to Plymouth Rock.

Indigenous People should be alarmed at how the leadership in Oregon has continuously and slowly included them into Oregon laws and invading their sovereignty to provide services. Being a part of the “underserved” and “underrepresented” is endangering the sovereignty of tribal nations. Tribal nation is used as a tool to control, and given them a used holiday is throwing crumbs of disrespect. So, what was the real purpose of HB 2526?

Senator Boquist explains it this way: “HB 2526 replaces Columbus Day with Indigenous Day instead of giving true Native Americans their own holiday. Strange the virtue signally proponents inside the Legislative Assembly did not want to give indigenous people their own day. Instead, they want to revise history. It is inappropriate to only give the first people a ‘hand me down’ day. They deserve better...”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-20 10:02:01Last Update: 2021-05-20 10:42:23

Stan Pulliam Announces Federal Lawsuit Against Gov. Brown
“The constitution provides us specific guarantees of liberty”

Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam is announcing a lawsuit to be filed in Federal court on behalf of Heart of Main Street, the Oregon Mom’s Union, and several businesses and individuals. The lawsuit challenges Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s authority to continue using executive action to maintain a state of emergency.

“The constitution provides us specific guarantees of liberty,” stated Stan Pulliam. “The Governor’s broadly applied authority continues to be shrouded in opaque rationale, undisclosed science, and arbitrary metrics. After 14 months, it’s time to put an end to this and restore our constitutionally protected rights as Americans.”

The announcement will be made outside of Spud Monkeys, a Gresham restaurant and bar owned by Melissa Adams. Late last year, Spud Monkeys was visited by an Oregon Health Authority employee, who ordered a burger and a beer from her restaurant, and then cited her for illegally opening.

The lawsuit will be filed early this week in Federal court by Ed Trompke, an attorney with Portland law firm, Jordan Ramis, PC, seeking to restrain enforcement of the Governor’s order.

“The state of emergency was necessary when we didn’t know anything about the virus,” said Stan Pulliam. “But we now have a vaccine, we understand how it’s transmitted and how it’s not, and we don’t see any discernible difference in outcomes between states that are open and the increasingly few that aren’t.”

"Parents should not have to go to court to get their kids back to school," said MacKensey Pulliam, board member for the Oregon Moms Union. "We've been given hope time and time again and each time our leaders have broken their promises and failed to get our kids back to school. Parents and kids can wait no longer."

The discovery process of the lawsuit will force the Governor’s office to produce the scientific data Stan Pulliam and others have been demanding for several months, forcing Brown to prove why it has been necessary to lock down main street businesses while big-box stores remain open.

“A governor’s powers in a state of emergency must be narrowly defined and temporary. Instead, they have been broad and ceaseless. It’s clear Governor Brown has no intention of relinquishing this absolute power herself, so we are forced to petition our judiciary branch to do it for her,” concluded Stan Pulliam.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-19 18:40:01Last Update: 2021-05-19 18:49:25

“Swimming in Cash”
Republicans Set Priorities For Excess Tax Revenue

According to the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, Oregon is swimming in money. After devastating lockdowns that have resulted in the highest long-term unemployment rate in nine years, the state still brought in billions over projection, indicating that calls for federal bailouts for state governments were overblown

This will trigger one of the largest kicker refunds in state history at $1.4 billion. That’s enough to give every individual in Oregon $330, despite Democrat book cooking to keep some of the kicker.

“Money is coming out of our ears. This one-time dump of federal money needs to be used responsibly. We must first ensure taxpayers get their full Kicker. That money belongs to them, and there is no justification to take it from them,” Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) said.

After the kicker, the Legislature has a little over a month to appropriate an extra $1.182 billion this budget cycle. Today’s announcement also projects the state to bring in an extra $1.250 billion in the 2021-2023 biennium.

“This money should be directed to Oregonians' most pressing needs. We must fully fund and fully reopen our schools, invest in our workforce, and assist in wildfire recovery efforts,” Senator Girod said.

Senate Republicans are proposing the following allocations from excess revenue that has come into the state:

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-19 18:28:44Last Update: 2021-05-19 18:38:04

Why Bills Die
In this case, it’s unwanted and unneeded

On of the police reform bills introduced this session is a ban on police use of HB 2928 which regulates use of chemical incapacitants, kinetic impact projectiles, sound devices and strobe lights by law enforcement agencies.

Introduuced by Representative Bynum, the bill has been assigned to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, where no one seems to be paying attention to it. It's co-sponsored by a host of Democrats, including Representative Wlnsvey Campos(D-Aloha), Maxine Dexter(D-Portland), Khanh Pham (D-Portland), Karin Power (D-Portland), Lisa Reynolds (D-Portland, and Andrea Valderrama (D-Portland).

In a recent poll, some similar concepts did not do well. Whan asked if they would like to "prohibit police from using pepper spray except when riots are officially declared," Oregonians were tame to the idea.

Strongly Support23%
Somewhat Support21%
Somewhat Oppose17%
Strongly Oppose30%
Don't know8%

In the case of this bill, it passed out of the House Committee on Judiciary, Chaired by Representative Bynum, no less and has now spent more than a month in Ways & Means, where it seems destined to die.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-05-19 17:03:40Last Update: 2021-05-19 18:40:01

Government Meddling in Business
Mandated requirements for board directors

HB 3110 has passed in the Oregon House of Representatives on party lines and moves to the Senate for consideration. This bill requires board of directors of publicly traded corporation to have at least one female director and one director who is a member of an underrepresented community.

Board composition is ultimately up to a corporation's shareholders votes. Representative John Lively points out, “there is a great deal of evidence showing that these decisions are not always made fairly or with the financial health of the corporation in mind. There is quite a bit of data showing a certain percentage of a Board of Directors being composed of women results in greater profitability, for example, yet a surprisingly high number of Boards still do not include any women.” So, according to Representative Lively, it’s big government’s responsibility to force a more profitable scenario for a corporation.

Lively also says, “HB 3110 preserves the shareholders' choice in Board selection but levees a fine if they decide not to be inclusive in a few specific ways.” If no females run fo