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House Candidate Hires Sex Offender
“I made the decision to hire an individual who deserved a chance at meaningful employment”

The Statesman Journal is reporting that Democrat candidate for state House District 21 R.J. Navarro knowingly hired a registered sex offender, convicted of sexually abusing a child younger than 14, on his campaign.

Democrat Ramiro “RJ” Navarro has made no secret of his felony drug conviction 11 years ago, going so far as to call himself “the second chance candidate.” Navarro put that philosophy into action this summer when he hired a field director with a 2007 conviction for sexually abusing a child to work on his campaign for House District 21. But several people who formerly worked or volunteered on the campaign say Navarro kept them in the dark about the nature of the conviction.

Navarro’s reaction in response to concerns from others caused his second campaign manager to quit and at least one volunteer to leave. A contractor decided not to seek another contract with Navarro.

"I made the decision to hire an individual who paid his debt to society and deserved a chance at meaningful employment," Navarro said in a statement to the Statesman Journal. "I recognize that this was upsetting..." Navarro said he told his then-campaign manager about the field director's past on her first day in the job in early August, but did not inform other staffers or volunteers of the man's conviction. Two former staffers, however, said the former campaign manager did not know the nature of the field director’s conviction until later that month.

Navarro said in an interview he met the field director while they were both students at Chemeketa Community College in about 2013. Court records show the man was convicted in 2007 of one count of sexual abuse, a felony, and sentenced to six years and three months in prison, with an expected release date of 2013. The victim, who was known to the man, was younger than 14 years old when the abuse occurred, according to court records.

"Let's hope no one was harmed because of Navarro's reckless judgement," said Republican State Leadership Committee Spokesman Zach Kraft. "Navarro's unfathomable decision making shows he doesn’t take public safety seriously and has no business representing Oregonians in Salem. He must be asked if there was ever a time during this man's employment when he was around minors. All Democrat candidates for state House, especially candidate for state House District 22 Anthony Medina who posts on instagram with Navarro, must be asked if they support hiring registered sex offenders convicted of abusing young children."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-07 11:10:42Last Update: 2022-10-07 12:07:59

Meet the 2022 Candidates for Oregon Senate District 10
SD 10 race between Deb Patterson v Raquel Moore-Green

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

Incumbent Deb Patterson had a rocky start in Senate District 10, barely defeating Denyc Boles, the incumbent, in a recount in 2020. Patterson previously lost to Jackie Winters. Now she faces Representative Raquel Moore-Green after the redistricting put her in Senate District 10. The voters in parts of Marion and Polk counties have two candidates with voting records to give a clear indication on how they stand.

Moore-Green is a small business owner and served her community as a member of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, the Latino Business Alliance, Union Gospel Mission, and the Salem Police Foundation to name a few. Her goal is to bring balance to the senate and ensure legislation that will improve educational standards, support law enforcement, and reduce the tax and regulation burdens placed on our businesses. She is running for the Republican and Libertarian parties.

Deb Patterson earned a master's degree in music, and in health administration from Washington University School of Medicine, and a master's degree and doctorate from Eden Theological Seminary. Her experience includes working as a healthcare administrator and executive director, and the executive director of Northwest Parish Ministries. She has served as a member of the Salem Rotary Club, Healthcare for All Oregon, and SEIU 503. She is running for the Democrat and Independent parties.

Moore-Green believes in accountability, and wants to ensure that future Governors will not have the ability to exclude the legislature’s active participation during states of emergency. Oregon has forced legislative fiscal accountability by passing the tax kicker, which refunds excess forecasted funds to taxpayers. Moore-Green voted not to lower the kicker by rewriting prior budgets to reduce the amount of the kicker. Patterson voted to reduce the kicker, voting for SB 846.



Moore-Green believes public safety means funding of law enforcement and supporting services to address mental health issues, alcohol abuse and drug addiction, as well as provide job skill training. She voted against HB 3265 restricting law enforcement and courts from inquiring about immigration status, and voted against SB 554, that locks up firearms to make them inaccessible.

Patterson supports common sense gun safety laws like universal background checks and safe storage voting for SB 554, which makes it virtually impossible to defend yourself from murderers and criminals. She also voted to restrict law enforcement and courts from asking about immigration status.

Moore-Green says, “Our students deserve to compete nationally, but Oregon’s recent lower graduation standards fail to equip them for the real world. We need comprehensive education that’s rigorous, transparent, and inclusive of parental input.” She voted against eliminating the essential skills test for a high school diploma (SB 744), and voted against HB 2166 enacting a social emotional learning framework establishing an early childhood suspension prevention program.

Patterson says, “I know that we must do more to give our children a head start, to support strong community schools that respect and reflect the diversity of Oregon and to make college and vocational training more accessible for everyone.” She voted in support of eliminating the essential skills test for a high school diploma (SB 744), and voted for HB 2166 enacting a social emotional learning framework establishing an early childhood suspension prevention program.

Moore-Green wants greater access to patient care and wants to see local county initiatives promoting healthy diets, exercise and lifestyle choices. She voted against HB 3057, vaccine mandates for attending school, work or travel. She says she values life and voted to require ‘care of life’ if a child is born alive after attempted abortion.



Patterson says, “I support access to the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare…I opposed legislation that infringed on one’s right to choose and will continue to stand up for reproductive rights for everyone.” Except when it comes to mandating vaccines, she voted for HB 3057 mandating vaccination for attending school, work or travel. She also voted against requiring ‘care of life’ if a child is born alive after attempted abortion.

Patterson supported legislation to bring Oregon to 100% clean energy by 2040 voting for HB 2021 that has no structure to insure adequate power. “We can build a clean energy economy that protects our environment and invests in our workers and our economy and we must start now,” Patterson said. She also voted for HB 2290, to spend taxpayer dollars installing public electric vehicle charging stations, and HB 2165 establishing a rebate program for electric vehicles.

Moore-Green says “we must protect our small/private farms, fisheries, and dairies from continued regulation. They are excellent stewards of their resources – providing jobs, food, and services for nearly 4 million Oregonians.” She voted against bills intending to convert to electric vehicles, and voted against reducing emissions 100% below baseline emissions by 2040, with no structure to insure adequate power.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-07 06:17:13Last Update: 2022-10-05 10:57:27

Meet the 2022 Candidates for Oregon House District 21
Kevin Mannix v Ramiro Navarro, Jr.

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

Kevin Mannix is a practicing business law attorney representing small businesses, churches, private schools, and non-profit agencies. He served as a state legislator for 10 years. He became Oregon’s leading crime victim advocate, authoring Measure 11 and Measure 73 in 2010. which formed mandatory minimum sentences for violent crimes. He has successfully stood up to a government run wild, including fighting Governor Brown's punishing mandates and successfully defeating the largest tax increase in Oregon history. He also backs law enforcement, fully funding police, and restoring the criminal justice system with prevention, accountability and rehabilitation.

Challenger Ramiro Navarro went from taking the United States oath at 18, to an Army Veteran, worked as a Veteran’s Representative at Chemeketa Community College and Project ABLE supporting veterans with mental health services, to a business owner of Oregon’s Finest Automotive, and now running for Senate District 21. He says “I will legislate not from a position of authority, but as a person who knows the issues impacting the most vulnerable in our community.” He currently serves on the Cherriots Board advocating for public transportation, and recently spoke during a virtual forum with the Marion County Democratic Party where he expressed a top priority will be to eliminate gas cars to clear the way for electric cars. He says, “I’ve advocated for investing in cleaner public transit to support the mobility of low-income Oregonians and protect our environment.”

Navarro says, “We need to make major investments in affordable housing to support working families and take transformative steps to make healthcare more affordable. Focusing on these policies will help everyone by stimulating our economy.” He showed his passion in the Marion County Democratic Party meeting using strong language to show his support for universal health care and to raise taxes to fund it.

Mannix says, “the homelessness problem is actually a symptom of the failure to address a number of issues. The state needs to develop a comprehensive backstop system for counties, cities, non-governmental organizations, and churches to be able to better address homelessness issues. He proposes strengthening the capability to require drug-addicted and alcohol-addicted persons to enter treatment facilities, staffing and training for facilities, work programs for homeless, and research what’s working across the nation.



Mannix has dedicated much of his life to promoting school choice and parental rights in our kids’ education. Mannix founded Blanchet Catholic School in Salem and will fight to stop the one-size-fits all policies putting a barrier between parents and curriculum in the classroom. He sees a need to expand school choice, provide a voucher program for parents of children with disabilities, a tax credit for businesses sponsoring scholarships, and grants to help private schools expand their capabilities in certain academic areas.

Navarro sees a “need to prioritize child care so working families can get a leg up and build a better life for their children.” His focus is on more funding for education and head start programs so our children have the support they need to thrive.

Mannix wants to keep taxes low making Oregon more affordable for working families. He says, “We need a comprehensive review of Oregon’s tax system so as to enhance business development and employment growth, while lowering taxes and fees for working Oregonians.” He proposes removing the Oregon death tax and the CAP system, establish caps on income taxes, and clarifying exemptions from personal property taxes.

Navarro says he will always protect your bodily autonomy, your right to medical privacy and ability to access an abortion. He says that is why he is the only candidate endorsed by Planned Parenthood and Pro Choice Oregon.

Mannix believes he can represent minorities from spending many years of his childhood in Latin America living in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Panama while his father served in the Foreign Service. While in Latin America, Kevin attended private Spanish immersion schools and is fluent in Spanish. He serves as President of the Salem Catholic Schools Foundation and founded Blanchet Catholic School serving on the Board. He says, “I believe that life begins at conception and public policy should be designed to support life. I am endorsed by Oregon Right to Life.”

The two are challenged by Michael Morrow running for the Libertarian Party. His responses to the OAA questionnaire places him as a moderate candidate.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-06 08:16:35Last Update: 2022-10-05 10:05:03

ODOT Requests Comments on Zero Emissions Vehicles Plan
The U.S. will need between $100 billion and $166 billion in charging infrastructure

At the direction of the Oregon Legislature, the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality have produced a report analyzing existing incentives available to support the transition to Zero Emission Vehicles for Medium- and Heavy-Duty transportation fleets. The agencies were further directed to research incentives offered in other states and to provide recommendations on expanding or creating incentives to support Oregon businesses in the transition. This report includes analyses on incentives for both vehicles and electric charging or other fuel infrastructure

Two listening sessions were held to provide space for comments and feedback from stakeholders on the MHD ZEV incentive Report. May 31 and September 27, 2022.

In 2021, Governor Kate Brown stated that Oregon has experienced more extreme weather events, chronic heat and drought, flooding and more intense wildfires as a result of climate change. The Governor also acknowledged and supported Oregon’s efforts on addressing climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Oregon Global Warming Commission, state-wide emissions must be reduced by over 50 percent to meet Oregon’s 2035 GHG reduction goal.

Political experts have noted a pattern of politicians setting high goals in the future -- when they may no longer expect to be in office -- and then failing to meet them.



The report, entitled Incentives to Support the Transition to Zero Emissions for Medium-and Heavy-duty Sectors in Oregon identifies the significant bottleneck to advancement of these initiatives: Electric Charging Infrastructure. Zero emission vehicle adoption for Medium- and Heavy-Duty is only possible if the infrastructure needed to charge or refuel electric vehicles exists. This is a key barrier to both battery and fuel cell electric vehicle adoption, particularly in the medium- and heavy-duty sectors.

According to Atlas Public Policy, the U.S. will need between $100 billion and $166 billion in charging infrastructure investment this decade to support 100% electric truck sales by 2040. There are many types of medium- and heavy-duty battery electric vehicles, and each vehicle type will have different charging needs based on vehicle size, usage schedule and application. The primary EV chargers utilized in the Medium- and Heavy-Duty sector are Level 2 chargers and Direct Current Fast Chargers.

According to the report, many stakeholders brought up the issue that for some sectors, specifically non-road and long haul vehicles, technology does not exist right now for them to adopt ZEV vehicles. Whether the vehicles are not made for the application, the load, or the range it will limit who the early adaptor sectors and use cases are for incentives.

Comments on the draft report are due Oct. 10 at noon. The report is due by Dec. 1, 2022.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-06 06:50:51Last Update: 2022-10-05 12:55:53

Electric Vehicle Charging Company Fined by DEQ
Company Sold Fraudulent Clean Fuel Credits

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality today issued its largest penalty to date against Thompson Technical Services, of Lincoln City, for selling nearly $2 million in fraudulent credits through DEQ's Clean Fuels Program. The $2,723,895 penalty surpasses the $2.1 million enforcement action last year against Herbert Malarkey Roofing for air quality violations.

The action against Thompson Technical Services, which goes by TTS Charging, came after DEQ discovered the company had illegitimately claimed 16,089 in Clean Fuel Program credits for operating three electric vehicle charging stations in Sheridan. TTS then sold most of those credits to Elbow River Marketing for nearly $1.8 million.

At the time the company claimed and sold the credits, the three charging stations had not been installed and had not dispensed any electricity to vehicles.

"This is an egregious violation of a program that is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change," said Leah Feldon, interim director of DEQ. "The Clean Fuels Program has been highly successful, but selling fraudulent credits seriously undermines the program's environmental benefits. This penalty is intended to encourage the violator to return legitimate credits to the market and should serve as a deterrent to anyone considering similar fraudulent behavior."

The Clean Fuels Program, which has been in place since 2016, provides incentives to companies that develop transportation fuels with lower carbon intensity, such as electricity or biofuels. The incentives come in the form of credits that can be sold to other companies as a way to comply with state rules requiring reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Each credit is equal to 1 ton of reduced emissions. To date, the program has helped reduce emissions by 7.6 million tons and has displaced nearly 1.5 billion gallons of fossil fuels with cleaner ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel, electricity and renewable forms of natural gas and propane.

On June 10, TTS used the Oregon Fuels Reporting System to falsely claim it had dispensed 14.9 million kilowatt hours of electricity from the three non-working charging stations during the first three months of 2022. The false reporting generated 16,089 credits in the reporting system. On June 27, TTS transferred most of the credits to Elbow River Marketing. The total sales price of the credits was $1,788,000.

DEQ's order: If TTS complies with the order and purchases credits to offset the illegitimate ones, DEQ will reduce the size of the penalty accordingly. TTS has 20 days to request a hearing to appeal the penalty.

"This enforcement action demonstrates DEQ's commitment to maintaining the integrity of the Clean Fuels Program and our willingness to act swiftly when anyone violates the program's rules," Feldon said.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-06 06:17:48Last Update: 2022-10-05 10:06:29

Senator Golden Used N Word Multiple Times in Book
Golden uses the word several times in his memoir

Fox News is reporting that Oregon State Senator Jeff Golden (D-Ashland) repeatedly used the word "n-----" in a book he wrote.

Senator Golden published "Watermelon Summer" in 1971 about his experience spending a summer on a Georgia sharecropper farm.

Golden is currently running for re-election against Republican Medford Mayor Randy Sparacino.

Golden uses the word "n-----" several times in the book: Democrat Gubernatorial Candidate and former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek has been endorsed by Senator Golden. The Northwest Observer has reached out to her campaign for a comment, but has not yet received a reply.

"Jeff Golden's words are despicable and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms," said Republican State Leadership Committee Spokesman Zach Kraft. "Jeff Golden owes voters a serious apology and every Democrat candidate for state Senate should condemn Jeff Golden's shameful behavior.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-05 14:48:35Last Update: 2022-10-05 15:41:32

Oregon Employment Department to Reconsider Benefit Rules
"Equity and good conscience" as defined by the Internal Revenue Service

The Oregon Employment Department is proposing changes to its Oregon Administrative Rules. They have filed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with the Secretary of State to amend OARs 471-030-0017 and 471-030-0053, and promulgate 471-030-0320. They say that these rule changes are necessary to extend the provisions of SB 172 from the 2021 Legislative Session.

SB 172 had an operative date of June 23, 2021. It allowed recipients to deduct all or part of unemployment insurance benefit overpayments against future weekly benefits within five years following final decision for overpayments that were the claimant's fault, but not because of willful misrepresentation by the claimant.

471-030-0017 defines when wages are reportable to the Oregon Employment Department for unemployment insurance. This proposed rule will change reporting requirements for individuals receiving back pay while claiming unemployment insurance benefits. Before SB 172, a worker could not report wages from previous weeks. SB 172 allows a claimant to report retroactive pay when it is paid to them, unless it is awarded after a shutdown due to a lapse in federal funding. In that case, the payment must be allocated equally to the weeks of the shutdown.



The Employment Department also proposing a new administrative rule, 471-030-0320. This rule addresses the percentage of future weekly benefits that may be offset according to Oregon Revised Statute 657.215, 657.310, and 657.315. It clarifies that when a decision is issued under ORS 657.306, the five-year time limit called for in SB 172 begins immediately following the week that the decision establishing an overpayment became final. The percentage of future weekly benefits offset will be determined based on whether the overpayment recovery would go against "equity and good conscience" as defined by the Internal Revenue Service.

Lastly, they are proposing AOR 471-030-0053 be permanently amended to make it consistent with the amended ORS 657.317. Currently, a waiver is defined as a temporary, renewable hardship deferral. Under SB 172, a waiver removes all responsibility for repayment for eligible individuals.

These proposed changes may have a fiscal and economic impact to employers, including reimbursing employers and those who pay into the Oregon Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. This may include small businesses, state agencies, and units of local government.

--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2022-10-05 09:41:43Last Update: 2022-10-05 10:54:29

Meet the 2022 Candidates for Oregon Senate District 8
Sara Gelser Blouin v Valerie Draper Woldeit

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

Valerie Draper Woldeit is challenging the veteran legislator Sara Gelser Blouin for Senate District 8, which covers northwestern Linn County and northeastern Benton County, centered around Albany and Corvallis.

Draper Woldeit has been a school teacher since 1980 and seen firsthand the short comings of Oregon’s education system. She says, “politicians continually lower standards and then make excuses for the failing government school system. Government keeps pushing extreme agendas in the classroom, pushing mandates and closures.” She wants to get schools back to the basics to prepare students for the real world.

Gelser Blouin’s idea for improving the high school graduation rate is to “empower youth to direct their own services and protecting their right to speak publicly about their own experiences.” Her voting record supports lowering the high school diploma standards due to inequities and disparities. Gelser Blouin carried HB 2023 for a floor vote in 2019 that required all curriculum content include instruction on history, contributions and perspective of minorities including refugees, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.

In 2018, Gelser Blouin also proposed an amendment to SB 1540 that would have lowered the sexual consent age to 12 allowing 13-year-olds to engage in legal sexual activity with adults. Her education focus seems to be on minorities, eliminating discriminatory barriers particularly for Black, Indigenous and students of color, immigrants and gender identity students.



Gelser Blouin wants to expand access to life-saving mental health treatment. She has trouble walking the talk. She was accused in 2020 for treating her chief of staff harshly for taking leave for mental health reasons. That occurred after she led the charge against the Republican Senators walking-out, and she refused to show up for floor votes, claiming she felt in danger, until another Senator was removed for saying threats against the State Police if they had been deployed during the walk out. Gelser Blouin said, “the situation shows that the Legislature had learned little from a sexual harassment suit she had brought the prior year.”

Gelser Blouin has a narrow focus platform discussing every issue from the point of tackling longstanding disparities for BIPOC communities in health care and stopping any efforts to roll back equal rights for the LGBTQIA+ community. She opposes any effort to restrict women’s access to abortion.

Draper Woldeit believes Oregon has failed at nearly every level at honoring the dignity of life. “Every life has value, regardless of age. I will be a strong advocate for our most vulnerable, from the unborn, to foster youth, and the elderly.” She wants to go to Salem to be a check and balance on government power and overreach so shut downs and mandates never happen again.

Gelser Blouin’s stance on the economy is to continue to pass legislation to reduce carbon emissions, invest in communities impacted by the effects of climate change, and make transportation investments and policies that reduce reliance on fossil fuels. She voted to allow tolling, and supports the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain.

Draper Woldeit pledges to be a strong supporter of law enforcement and thinks Oregon can do better to provide a safe and prosperous place to live, curb inflation and stop government from constantly raising taxes with nothing to show for it. She believes in reviving our culture of constitutional rights and liberties. She says, “it’s time to change course by reforming taxes and cutting red tape to make our beautiful state more affordable and unleash Oregon every Oregonian has the opportunity to realize their full potential.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-05 09:16:15Last Update: 2022-10-05 16:20:17

Balmer to Retire from State High Court
He served as Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court

Governor Kate Brown announced today she is accepting applications to fill a vacancy on the Oregon Supreme Court created by the upcoming retirement of Justice Thomas Balmer. The Governor thanked Justice Balmer for his dedicated judicial service. The retirement of Justice Balmer is effective December 31, 2022, and the appointee will begin service immediately thereafter.

Balmer served as Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court from May 1, 2012, replacing Paul De Muniz. Martha Lee Walters succeeded Balmer as Chief Justice on July 1, 2018, although Balmer has continued to serve as an associate justice.

Last year there were vacancies on the Oregon Supreme Court and Oregon Court of Appeals, for which candidates were interviewed and vetted by the Governor’s Office and the Oregon State Bar in a combined appellate judicial appointment process. Applicants who already submitted interest forms as part of last year’s appointment process will be considered for Justice Balmer’s position and need not apply again. A list of previous applicants can be found here, and the Oregon State Bar’s recommendations from that applicant pool can be found here.

ORS 2.020 provides that a judge of the Supreme Court must be a citizen of the United States, have resided in Oregon for at least three years before their appointment, and have been admitted to practice in Oregon before standing for election.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-04 06:32:41Last Update: 2022-10-05 13:57:57

Temporary Food Plaza to Become Safe Space
It will also create active, green public space

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has announced that federal funding will help create permanent plazas downtown, including a segment of the future Green Loop. The Pride Plaza at SW 12th Ave and Harvey Milk Street is an example of a Portland Public Street Plaza that provides outdoor gathering space, with restaurants operating outdoors. Thanks to a federal grant, the plaza will have permanent improvements next year.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced that the Portland Bureau of Transportation will receive a $1.2 million federal grant to create 32,000 square feet of street plazas to promote tourism and the economic recovery of downtown. The grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

The federal investment will make permanent improvements for Pride Plaza, at SW 12th and Harvey Milk Street, where a temporary plaza was created during the pandemic to create safe space for community gatherings, business use and public art. It will also create active, green public space to connect the Cart Blocks food cart pods at Ankeny Park West to O'Bryant Square Park.

Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty thanked the Biden Administration and U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici for their support of the grant application.

"During this pandemic, we learned how important it is to use our outdoor public space for community members to come together," Hardesty said. "We are so grateful to the Biden Administration and our Congressional delegation members for this federal support. Last year, I directed PBOT to make our street plazas and outdoor dining programs permanent. Plazas like these downtown will help us make Portland a more inclusive, equitable place, and help grow our small businesses and cultural destinations."



Planning and community involvement in the design of the Harvey Milk Plaza improvements will start in early 2023, with construction by the fall. One former legislator who declined to be identified said, "It seems odd that a transportation bureau would celebrate the removal of transportation infrastructure and the use of transportation dollars on items not related to transportation in a city choked by congestion."

The plaza connection to the Cart Blocks will build a segment of the future Green Loop, a concept for a 6-mile linear park with leafy green canopy, urban pedestrian plazas and engaged adjacent development that unites Portland's Central City neighborhoods. Construction will happen soonest near the food cart pods, and in subsequent years on the other sections. Sections adjacent to O' Bryant Square Park will be coordinated with the redevelopment of the park, which is closed due to structural issues with an underground parking garage.

Map of destinations near the street plazas funded by commerce department. This map shows the approximate locations of plazas that will benefit from federal funding. The Harvey Milk Plaza goes from West Burnside to SW 11th Avenue. The segment of the Green Loop connects the Cart Blocks at West Burnside and Park Avenue to O'Bryant Square, which is planned for redevelopment.

According to a press release, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is the steward of the city's transportation system and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage, and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-03 09:51:34Last Update: 2022-10-04 08:02:37

TriMet Invites Feedback on Expansion
TriMet begins online, in-person and virtual public outreach

TriMet would like to expand service by as much as 30% in the coming years, but what that could look like is much different today than before the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Forward Together” concept helps connect the dots. Early community engagement found broad support for two key goals: focusing on ridership and improving connections to destinations for people with low and limited incomes. The map (below) presents one idea of how these priorities could look, in terms of our service.

According to their website, TriMet says that "COVID-19 changed where people go and how they get there. At TriMet, we recognize that we may need to make big changes as a result. As we come out of the pandemic, we want to make sure that our transit service reflects the current needs of the community. We’re launching a new phase of community engagement around changes to TriMet bus service that we’re thinking about as part of a much bigger transit concept we call Forward Together."

As part of “Forward Together,” TriMet took the most in-depth and comprehensive look at our bus network ever. We’ve now developed a service concept that would be a sweeping re-envisioning of our bus network and would give more people access to our services, to reach more jobs and places.

TriMet conducted an initial survey in spring 2022. Based on feedback from 5,500 riders, stakeholders and community members, we’ve developed a draft concept that would change more than 80% of our bus service. It would also:



On their website, TriMet asks, "What do you think? Are we headed in the right direction? Let us know by weighing in at Responses will be accepted through October 31. Along with the online survey, we’re hosting open houses in person and virtually."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-03 06:17:26Last Update: 2022-10-02 11:26:51

Medford Certified in Fentanyl Detection
K-9 Nacho and K-9 Max completed the certification process

In an effort to combat the rise in fentanyl use and overdoses in our community, the Medford, Oregon Police K-9 team has now partnered with the California Narcotic Canine Association (CNCA) to safely train and certify K-9’s and handling officers in fentanyl detection.

In August, MPD K-9 Nacho and K-9 Max completed the certification process becoming the first two police service dogs in Oregon to be certified by a police K-9 association to detect fentanyl.

“This innovative effort was led by K-9 Officer Havice.

"It’s thanks to his diligent work and extensive research that we were able to connect with CNCA and complete this impactful K-9 training.” said Lieutenant Mark Cromwell.



Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement (MADGE) has seen an extreme increase in powdered fentanyl which poses a significant risk of exposure to Officers and K-9’s. Safety measures are in place for all responders and service dogs which includes having Narcan on hand to deploy if necessary.

K-9 Max has already been deployed and successfully detected fentanyl – which led to the seizure of more than 6 ounces of powdered fentanyl.

The recent certification of K-9 Nacho and K-9 Max will help in efforts to save lives and limit the amount of fentanyl in the community.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-10-02 09:33:47Last Update: 2022-10-03 12:07:14

All Razor Clamming Closed in Oregon
From the Columbia River to the California border

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announce razor clams are closed to all harvesting from the Columbia River to the California border. Recent lab results indicate the marine biotoxin domoic acid has exceeded the closure limit along the entire coastline.

Mussel harvesting is closed from the Columbia River to the north side of the Yachats River for elevated levels of the marine biotoxin paralytic shellfish poison. Mussel harvesting remains open from the south side of the Yachats River to the California border.

Recreational bay clam and crab harvesting remain open along the entire Oregon coast. ODA will continue to test for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides and weather permit.



Reopening an area closed for biotoxins requires two consecutive tests with results below the closure limit. Contact ODFW for recreational license requirements, permits, rules and limits.

For more information call ODA’s shellfish biotoxin safety hotline at (800) 448-2474, the Food Safety Division at (503) 986-4720, or visit the ODA recreational shellfish biotoxin closures webpage.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-10-02 09:18:15Last Update: 2022-10-02 09:32:19

Brown Visits Renewable Energy Sites
“I firmly believe we can move to 100% clean electricity sources”

Governor Kate Brown this week visited wind and solar energy sites that are putting Oregon on track to having 100% clean electricity, reducing carbon emissions, and growing Oregon’s clean energy economy.

"Under my administration, Oregon has taken a comprehensive approach to reducing our carbon emissions and moving Oregon towards 100% clean energy on one of the most ambitious timelines in the nation," said Governor Brown. "I firmly believe we can move to 100% clean electricity sources and create good-paying jobs in rural Oregon at the same time.

"The urgency of getting clean energy projects online could not be clearer. Extreme heat, wildfires, drought, and winter storms -- we are seeing the impacts of climate change in Oregon, with some of the biggest impacts in rural Oregon. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, we now have the opportunity to pursue federal funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act to create clean energy jobs throughout the state."

On Tuesday, Governor Brown visited the Golden Hills wind farm and the Montague solar farm operated by Avangrid Renewables. She also visited Sherman County, where she viewed an electric tractor demonstration at the Sherman County Fairgrounds and a solar-powered broadband trailer to extend high-speed internet service in the county.



On Wednesday, Governor Brown joined Portland General Electric and NextEra Energy Resources for the ribbon-cutting of their Wheatridge facility -- the first renewable energy site in the nation to combine wind power, solar power, and battery storage in one facility.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-01 06:40:30Last Update: 2022-09-30 10:51:11

Ninth US Circuit Upholds Homeless Law
Effectively requires the City of Grants Pass to allow all of its parks to be used as homeless encampments

The US Ninth Circuit continued to uphold the restriction on municipal anti-camping ordinances articulated in the landmark Martin v. City of Boise decision by striking down a slate of ordinances in Grants Pass. The case involved challenges to five provisions of the Grants Pass Municipal Code. The provisions can be described as an “anti-sleeping” ordinance, two “anticamping” ordinances, a “park exclusion” ordinance, and a “park exclusion appeals” ordinance.

In September 2018, a three-judge panel issued Martin v. City of Boise, holding “the Eighth Amendment prohibits the imposition of criminal penalties for sitting, sleeping, or lying outside on public property for homeless individuals who cannot obtain shelter.” The concept created by the court was that it was "cruel and unusual punishment" to impose penalties on persons for camping on city property if they have no other place to go. The formula established in Martin is that the government cannot prosecute homeless people for sleeping in public if there “is a greater number of homeless individuals in [a jurisdiction] than the number of available” shelter spaces.

According to the majority opinion written by Judge Roslyn O. Silver of the Arizona District in Johnson v. Grants Pass, the City's ordinances are invalid.

At least fifty, and perhaps as many as 600, homeless persons live in the City. And the number of homeless persons outnumber the available shelter beds. In other words, homeless persons have nowhere to shelter and sleep in the City other than on the streets or in parks. Nonetheless, City ordinances preclude homeless persons from using a blanket, a pillow, or a cardboard box for protection from the elements while sleeping within the City’s limits. The ordinances result in civil fines up to several hundred dollars per violation and persons found to violate ordinances multiple times can be barred from all City property. And if a homeless person is found on City property after receiving an exclusion order, they are subject to criminal prosecution for trespass.

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Daniel P. Collins -- a Trump appointee -- scolded the majority,

In Martin v. City of Boise, we held that “the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment bars a city from prosecuting people criminally for sleeping outside on public property when those people have no home or other shelter to go to.” Even assuming that Martin remains good law, today’s decision—which both misreads and greatly expands Martin’s holding—is egregiously wrong. To make things worse, the majority opinion then combines its gross misreading of Martin with a flagrant disregard of settled class-certification principles. The end result of this amalgamation of error is that the majority validates the core aspects of the district court’s extraordinary injunction in this case, which effectively requires the City of Grants Pass to allow all but one of its public parks to be used as homeless encampments. I respectfully dissent.

In a footnote, Collins also took on the Martin v. City of Boise decision, saying, "The majority’s decision is all the more troubling because, in truth, the foundation on which it is built is deeply flawed: Martin seriously misconstrued the Eighth Amendment and the Supreme Court’s caselaw construing it. But I am bound by Martin, and -- unlike the majority -- I faithfully apply it here."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-30 08:47:06Last Update: 2022-09-30 13:43:07

Opioid Overdoses Increased in 2021
Fentanyl and methamphetamine help fuel rise in deaths and hospitalizations

Methamphetamines and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl helped drive an increase in opioid overdoses and related deaths in 2021, according to a new Oregon Health Authority report. The report, Opioids and the Ongoing Drug Overdose Crisis in Oregon, shows that overdoses involving multiple drugs – known as polysubstance overdoses – also rose during 2021 and now account for more than half of all fatal overdoses. In addition, hospitalizations increased in 2021 following decreases between 2018 and 2020. Charges for drug overdose-related hospitalizations reached $170 million and overdose-related emergency room charges reached $50 million.

"What this report tells us is that, even as prescription opioids were on the decline in Oregon over the last decade, misuse of synthetic and prescription opioids and other drugs continues to take a heavy toll on everyone in our state," said Tom Jeanne, M.D., M.P.H., deputy health officer and deputy state epidemiologist at OHA's Public Health Division, who served as an advisor on the report. "We need to continue our efforts focused on enhanced prevention across the continuum of drug use."

The report also describes those at highest risk for unintentional drug overdose death in 2021, which were non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaska Natives, non-Hispanic Blacks, and males. At lowest risk were people of Hispanic ethnicity and non-Hispanic Asians and Pacific Islanders.

"These are populations that have been unfairly affected by systemic racism, socioeconomic and political injustices and bias, which through multiple pathways can worsen health outcomes and increase the risk of experiencing a drug overdose," Jeanne said.

The report noted some trends that presented opportunities for intervention with those at risk of overdoses.



For one, emergency medical services (EMS) personnel administered naloxone, a drug that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose, during 5,556 encounters in 2021, which is up from 3,758 encounters in 2019. In most of these cases the patient was transferred to a medical care facility for treatment.

In addition, there were almost 73,000 emergency department visits and more than 17,000 hospitalizations related to substance use disorder or intoxication issues other than an overdose in 2021. Such health care interactions represent opportunities to connect patients to treatment, prescribe naloxone – a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose – and provide other supports to reduce their risk for experiencing future overdoses, the report explains.

Providing comprehensive, non-stigmatizing harm-reduction services for people who use drugs is among a number of response strategies the report points to. Others include education for people who have never used drugs; resilience building and support to strengthen protective factors among those at higher risk for drug use and for developing substance use disorder; ensuring universal access to culturally sensitive treatment; and maintaining strong support for people in recovery, including peer support workers.

"Each non-fatal overdose and medical or behavioral health care visit has the potential to be a touch point with prevention, treatment and recovery services to support recovery and reduce the risk of a future fatal overdose," according to the report.

An overdose is always a medical emergency. Individuals should call 911 before administering naloxone. Oregon's Good Samaritan Law protects the caller and the person who has overdosed against possession and paraphernalia charges.



OHA's Naloxone Rescue for Opioid Overdose webpage contains naloxone frequently asked questions and a map showing Oregon pharmacies that distribute the medicine. In Oregon, naloxone is available without a prescription. Anyone actively using opioids, or other illicit substances, can get naloxone and other harm-reduction materials at no cost through syringe service programs. Syringe service programs are available to anyone who uses drugs, regardless of whether they inject them. Here is OHA's list of syringe and needle exchange services available in Oregon.

OHA has developed the following guidance for people who use drugs:
--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-30 06:23:54Last Update: 2022-09-29 14:47:06

Mannix Remarks on Work to Hold Criminals Accountable
“Every once in a while, we get to celebrate when justice is served”

After the recent resentencing of John Rideout, Oregonians celebrate efforts that advocate for crime victims and hold sex felons accountable. In a recent decision by Judge Thomas Hart, Rideout was found guilty of first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The judgement and sentencing were based on ORS 137.690, which convicted Rideout of a major felony sex crime. This “major felony sex crime” means that any person that has a prior conviction of a major felony sex crime and is charged again will serve a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 25 years.

This Oregon Statue came from Measure 73, the Oregon Minimum Criminal Sentence Increase, a citizen-initiated ballot measure statute authored by Kevin Mannix in 2010.

Kevin Mannix, author of Measure 73, reflected on the success of this measure: “For all the hard work we’re doing in fighting crime, every once in a while, we get to celebrate the results of our work when justice is served.”

“This statute was a direct result of the voters holding criminals accountable. Society will be better protected with this criminal away and justice served for the victims,” added Mannix.

The jury unanimously determined that Rideout was guilty, and the case Prosecutor Brendan Murphy argued that Rideout showed a pattern of targeting and harming women. This judgment ensures victims’ safety and prevents these crimes from happening again, a win for public safety in Oregon.

Kevin Mannix, a former Oregon state legislator, is running for State Representative to serve House District 21 (Keizer and Central Salem) as a Republican. Mannix has run his own Salem law firm since 1986 and has passed more legislation than any other person in Oregon history. Mannix is well known in Oregon political and legal circles as a crime victim advocate and the father of Measure 11, the popular ballot measure that instituted mandatory minimum sentencing for violent crimes.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-29 11:15:14Last Update: 2022-09-29 12:33:15

Advanced Clean Cars II Rulemaking Comments Invited
DEQ to adopt and implement California emission standards

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality invites public input on a proposed new rule and rule amendments to chapter 340 of the Oregon Administrative Rules to adopt and implement California's latest vehicle emission standards for light-duty vehicles and trucks, the Advanced Clean Cars II standards. Rachel Sakata, a Senior Air Quality Planner with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is managing the process.

The proposed rules would reduce light-duty passenger car, truck and SUV emissions. It requires vehicle manufacturers to sell an increasing number of zero emission vehicles starting with the 2026 model year and by 2035, 100% of all new cars and light trucks sold must be ZEV. In addition to the ZEV sales requirement, the proposed rules also require manufacturers to meet minimum technology requirements including a minimum range, parts and battery warranty, data standardization, battery labeling, charging cord and durability requirements. The proposed rules also provide flexibilities for manufacturers to comply with the ZEV sales percentages mandates.

The proposed rules also include Low Emission Vehicle requirements to ensure new gasoline vehicles sold up until 2035 are as clean as possible. These changes clarify both existing definitions and testing requirements and reduce cold-start emissions and lowers the maximum exhaust and evaporative emission rates.

DEQ is asking for public comment on the proposed rules. Anyone can submit comments and questions about this rulemaking. A person can submit comments by email, regular mail or at the public hearing.

--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2022-09-29 10:08:43Last Update: 2022-09-29 13:06:44

Report on Universal Health Care Released
The Plan will not require patients to pay when receiving care

The Oregon Legislature's Joint Task Force On Universal Health Care has released its Report of the Joint Task Force on Universal Health Care. The Task Force -- chaired by former director of failed "Cover Oregon" released its 225-page report during the interim session of the legislature.

Supporters of single-payer health care in Oregon urged the creation of the Task Force in 2019, when the Legislature created the Joint Task Force on Universal Health Care with the passage of SB 770. The introduced version of the bill included a plan to establish a single-payer health care system in Oregon and was watered down through negotiations to the establishment of a task force.

In a letter to the Legislature included in the report, the Task Force describes its goal as "establishing the first state single-payer system in the country." The letter continues:

Sadly, our current health care system is financially unsustainable, harmfully complex, and socially unjust. Health care in Oregon is inequitably delivered. Too many Oregonians, because of their race, age, income, geography, or insurance, endure vastly different health care access, varied health care quality, and wide-ranging health outcomes.

To address that, the Task Force’s plan provides a universal set of health care benefits to all Oregonians that includes behavioral, vision, hearing, and dental care. It eliminates the need for premiums and out of pocket costs such as deductibles and co-pays and allows providers to bill only one entity thereby dramatically reducing administrative costs. Under the Task Force’s plan Oregonians can seek services from any provider in the state. And by establishing a single payment system it promotes equitable access to care by putting an end to a structurally inequitable payment system in which provider payments were based on the source of payment.

The plan proposes to establish a governance board in 2023 in order to to implement the plan in 2026-2027. The recommended implementation includes the following key elements: The release of the report coincides with the upcoming statewide vote on Measure 111, which proposes to establish health care as a fundamental right, placed on the ballot by the Oregon Legislature during the 2021 Regular Session by SJR 12

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-29 05:56:05Last Update: 2022-09-28 13:17:56

Oregon Gas Prices Spike
Taxes, Regulations Cited

This past week, gas prices across Oregon increased by over $0.50, the fastest increase in America, with the average cost of a gallon rising to $5.14. Oregon now has the 3rd most expensive gas in the country with a gallon costing $1.39 more than the national average.

Why is gas more expensive in Oregon compared to the rest of the country? For starters, Oregon has one the highest gas taxes in America. Second, Salem Democrats have piled on unnecessary fuel standards that further raise prices instead of working to find ways to save Oregonians money.

"Oregonians continue to pay a very steep price because Salem Democrats chose their radical liberal agenda over commonsense solutions," said Republican State Leadership Committee Spokesman Zach Kraft. "Oregon's sky-high gas prices are a microcosm of its overall failing economy which one party rule has destroyed with high taxes and burdensome regulations.”

The Oregon Legislature has been aggressive in regulating carbon intensity of fuels. In 2009, the Oregon Legislature passed the first Low Carbon Fuel Standards in HB 2186 and then in 2015 repealed the sunsets on this act through SB 324.



In 2020, in response to a Republican House walkout during the 2019 Session to prevent the passage of HB 2020, a heavy-handed climate change bill, Governor Kate Brown signed an executive order applying the proposed standards to state agencies.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-28 13:17:56Last Update: 2022-09-28 16:53:34

Oregon to Receive First-in-Nation Medicaid Funding
$1.1 billion in new federal funding to address social determinants of health

Governor Kate Brown has joined the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to announce that Oregon will receive $1.1 billion in new federal funds to address the health-related social needs of Oregonians through the federal approval to pilot first-in-the-nation changes to the state’s Medicaid program.

Under the new medicaid waiver, Oregon is the first state in the nation to receive federal approval for continuous health coverage for children under six years old. Additionally, all Oregon Health Plan members aged six and older will have two years of continuous OHP enrollment, ensuring continuous coverage and consistent access to health, dental and behavioral health care. The waiver will also expand health-related social needs coverage for certain food assistance and housing support -- as well as invest in resources that will help mitigate the health risks of climate change, serving as the first state in the country to use medicaid funding for climate-related health needs.

“Health care does not occur in a vacuum –– it’s clear that we must look beyond a traditional, siloed approach to truly meet the needs of people, particularly those experiencing complex challenges,” said Governor Brown. “With the approval of our Medicaid waiver, we will be taking an innovative, holistic approach to closing equity gaps by addressing health-related social needs –– such as housing, nutrition, and support for extreme climate events.



“This transformational agreement injects new resources into our health care system to help Oregon families and communities tackle the housing and food insecurity problems that can undermine good health and quality of life. I appreciate the Biden-Harris administration’s partnership and their support to allow Oregon to once again break new ground in advancing the health and well-being of people in our state.”

Oregon has received federal approval to pilot first-in-the-nation changes to the state's Medicaid program over the next five years. Under the agreement, Oregon would receive $1.1 billion in new federal funds to address inadequate food, housing and other root-cause issues that lead to poor health for people and families struggling to make ends meet. As part of the agreement, the federal government also approved expanded Oregon Health Plan coverage for young children, as well as extended eligibility for youth and adults.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-28 10:58:13Last Update: 2022-09-28 16:47:10

Analysis: Slavery in Oregon
The greatest deterrent to slavery is self-sufficiency

With the passage of SB 683 in 2021, our schools would teach a curriculum of history based on racism. Much of the curriculum comes from the 1619 Project which celebrates the arrival of the first slaves in North America.

Why don’t they teach a true history of racism? Why don't they begin with the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabic lands, India, isolated empirical China and Japan then follow it to its expansion into the America’s with some historical context? Historically speaking slavery would have been impossible for expansion into the Americas in 1619 without the current practices of the time that had the Dutch as primary merchants and Muslims as their primary supplier.

Why would the curriculum begin near the historical end of slavery in 1619 and not include 5500 years of activity that set the stage? Some say that the reason is political.

Revised History by omission. Slavery didn’t start in the U.S. It all but ended here. In Oregon the native tribes held rendezvous at Celilo Falls and Willamette Falls into the time of the white man’s arrival. The Modoc tribe would sell Paiute prisoners into slavery at those annual gathering. One slave could be had for a horse or three blankets. In our time, Mexican cartels sell young girls into slavery currently and that sex trade has accelerated with more border crossings facilitated under our new administration.



In many Muslim countries today, women are second class citizens living lives tantamount to slavery. China has slave labor camps to reprogram nonconforming religious and dissident citizens. We are told those are OK because it is a cultural thing.

The industrial Revolution did more to end slavery than any other single event. When machines were invented that did more work of a reliable quality than humans could do the economic necessity for slavery was gone. Why don’t schools teach our kids that the Pilgrims banned slavery in the Mayflower Compact of 1620. Or teach that it was President Thomas Jefferson who banned the importation of slaves in 1807?

Maybe the course should examine the slavish controls on the actions of people once they are made to be economically and psychologically dependent on government. The greatest deterrent to slavery is a population that believes in the pursuit of self-sufficiency. What are we doing to teach self-sufficiency?

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2022-09-26 08:43:54Last Update: 2022-09-26 20:11:49

Timber Contract Lawsuit Heads to Legislature
“We must force continued public conversation about this issue”

A decision by the Oregon Supreme Court’s decision to not accept the appeal of a $1 billion breach of contract lawsuit brought by 13 counties and numerous taxing districts against the Oregon Department of Forestry, will ultimately result in more wildfires and poorly managed state forest lands, Linn County Commissioner Roger Nyquist said Tuesday morning.

Commissioners Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker concurred with the board chairman’s comments.

Linn County took the lead in a class action lawsuit that was announced in 2016 and was heard in Linn County Circuit Court over 21 days in October and November 2019.

The court ruled in favor of the class members which included fire and library districts among others, who argued that in the 1930s and 40s the state had taken over control of more than 700,000 acres of mostly cut-over timber lands in numerous counties with a contractual promise to manage those lands with the “greatest permanent value” as a priority. The class members argued that for decades that meant timber harvesting and reforestation that provided income to the counties and taxing districts.

A jury found in favor of the litigants, but in April 2022 the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed that decision. The class members hoped the Supreme Court would hear the case.



“This is about more than just money,” Nyquist said, “If the state does not change its direction in terms of forest management, we will likely see more wildfires. The forests produce flammable materials two to three times their rate of removal. That program will undoubtedly lead to more catastrophic wildfires.”

Nyquist said the state will also likely see more pre-emptive power shutdowns like the mid-valley experienced a week ago. Power companies, fearing high winds would down power lines, shut off electricity for nearly 24 hours in some parts of Marion and Linn counties.

“Taxpayers may also see a small portion of the income taxes taken out of their paychecks to build homes (habitat) for spotted owls that will never show up,” Nyquist said. “It’s not in the best interests of the citizens of Linn County.”

Nyquist said class members — especially county commissioners — will now need to move the issue to the State Legislature which will convene in February and into the new governor’s office, in January.

“We must force continued public conversation about this issue,” Nyquist said.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-09-25 15:26:32Last Update: 2022-09-25 15:35:02

A Look at the 1st Congressional District Race
Suzanne Bonamici v Christopher A Mann

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

Veteran Christopher Mann takes on Suzanne Bonamici for one of the most left lending congressional districts in Oregon. The district is located in the northwest corner of Oregon with the majority of white-collar workers and only 13.35% rural. It includes Clatsop, Columbia, Washington, and Yamhill counties, and a portion of southwest Multnomah County in Portland stretching from Portland's western suburbs and exurbs, to parts of the Oregon coast. The district includes the principal cities of Beaverton, Hillsboro, and Tigard.

Bonamici won a special election in 2012 to replace David Wu after he resigned. She was a State Representative, and State Senator. In Congress she is one of nine Democrats serving on the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, which developed a Climate Action Plan for Congress to embrace much of the Green New Deal. She endorses rebuilding America’s infrastructure; prioritizing investment in rural and deindustrialized areas, low-income communities, and communities of color; and repairing the economic and racial inequality of low-income workers and communities of color exposed to pollution and more vulnerable to the costs and impacts of climate change.

Mann, born and raised in Portland, is a 21-year veteran that served abroad in Panama, Germany, Iraq, Kuwait, and Qatar, while the rest of his Military time was spent in the United States. He has a Bachelor’s in psychology and an MBA. He has dedicated the past nine years as Executive Director of The Oregon Military Support Network. Mann sees the primary issue in his district as well as other places as rising costs and the need for energy efficiency. Our grids are not prepared for electric cars. He does not believe we are in a climate emergency and doesn’t think the Green New Deal will ever lead to American energy independence.

Bonamici blasted the proposal to limit abortions to 15 weeks, when the baby feels pain. Her truth is, “Here's the truth: If this bill becomes law, millions of women will no longer have the freedom to decide when or whether to bear a child. More women will die. And many more women and children will live in poverty.”

Mann coaches’ youth and values life. He does not view abortion as essential and does not support the Women’s Health Protection Act. He supports a doctor’s choice to not perform an abortion, and supports cutting federal funds to Planned Parenthood or other organizations that performs abortions.



Mann has a strong stance on education. He does not believe the federal government has constitutional authority to regulate schools. He says, “parents should be the ones to decide what their children are taught in school, as well as choosing the school their children attend. Schools should not be withholding information from the parents.” He also says, “teaching of any form of CRT or sexuality in grades K through 8 is not the role of the school system. More time needs to be spent on the core subjects to prepare our youth for success in the future.” He also doesn’t agree with biological males who identify as women be allowed to compete in women’s sports.

Bonamici comes from an opposing view working for more government involvement expanding early learning for pre-kindergarten, addressing resource inequities in K-12, and wants to expand aid to make college more affordable. She claims success in helping to write The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and created the Congressional STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Caucus.

Bonamici says, “Oregon has been a national leader in enacting meaningful gun violence prevention laws, and those measures have saved lives. It is past time for the federal government to enact similar laws to protect people across the country…. I helped the House pass historic legislation to require universal background checks and close the loopholes that make it easier for dangerous people to access firearms. I support getting assault weapons off our streets.”

Mann supports the right of an American citizen to keep and bear arms as stated in the Second Amendment. He wants to see the demonizing of police stopped. He proposes body cam programs, more annual training for the officers and public education. He hopes to be a part of a police reform bill that will be successful nationwide.



Bonamici thinks government should be in the business of health care and says we need Medicare for all. She says, “I'm working to increase vaccination rates in our communities, strengthen and improve the Affordable Care Act while advancing universal health care, and provide support for frontline workers.” She supports robust funding for our public health infrastructure and preventing future global health pandemics.

Mann sees divisiveness as the cause of many problems. COVID has ruined our skills to communicate and has also deepen the homeless and mental illness problems. He says, “there is a need to reopen mental health hospitals with drug rehabilitation. It is unacceptable to have camps all over our cities. Those camps have resulted in a rise in crime, damage to the city and businesses to close or move elsewhere.”

Mann is also an advocate for veterans and will fight to fill the areas that are lacking for our service members. He responded in an interview that Jesus was his hero. “He washed the feet of those he served.” Christopher Mann’s questionnaire can be viewed on the Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Project website.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-09-25 14:13:15Last Update: 2022-09-25 15:30:20

Help Requested for City of Wallowa
This community has been left reeling from this severe hailstorm

Governor Kate Brown today requested that the Legislature approve $2 million to help the residents of the City of Wallowa recover from damage sustained in August's devastating hailstorm.

"This community has been left reeling from this severe hailstorm, and I hope that we can come together to help address this emergency," said Governor Brown in a letter addressed to Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Dan Rayfield. "I have heard firsthand from residents within the community, met with the mayor of Wallowa, and talked with county leadership about the tremendous damage that was sustained during this severe storm.

"As the storm traveled from the mountains toward the community, the west-facing side of nearly every home and car became damaged. In the community today, almost every home and business that faces west has windows that are boarded up and siding and roofs that are left in disrepair. The City of Wallowa is a small, remote rural community with many low-income community members that live on fixed incomes, and many are either uninsured or underinsured."



While the City of Wallowa has declared a local emergency, the damage sustained would not make the City eligible for federal disaster relief. However, the Oregon Department of Emergency Management has determined that Wallowa County is a qualified recipient that would be eligible for a grant award under the Oregon Local Disaster Assistance Loan and Grant Account if state funding is made available. The disaster assistance account is identified in ORS 401.536(2)(c) as a potential funding source for these qualified recipients in response to localized events that do not meet the threshold of a federally declared event.

--Ryan Bannister

Post Date: 2022-09-25 13:48:35Last Update: 2022-09-25 15:31:16

Leadership to Change at Oregon DEQ
EQC Appoints Leah Feldon to Interim Director

TThe Oregon Environmental Quality Commission appointed Leah Feldon to be Interim Director of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality at their meeting Friday, Sept. 23. Feldon, who has been DEQ Deputy Director since 2016, will lead the agency as it continues a nationwide search for a permanent director. Her new role takes effect on Sept. 30. Current Director Richard Whitman submitted a resignation and retirement letter to EQC Chair Kathleen George stating that he had moved his retirement date up from end of the year to Sept. 30, citing personal reasons.

"I have complete confidence in Leah's ability to lead DEQ as we pursue our search for a permanent director," said EQC Chair Kathleen George. "She has a wealth of experience and has been a steady and critical partner in setting DEQ's course since she was named deputy director in 2016."

Feldon entered public service at DEQ in the Office of Compliance and Enforcement in 2005 and became manager of that office in 2009. She served in several other positions at the agency, including as Special Advisor leading the development of Oregon's Cleaner Air Oregon program, before being named deputy. She earned her Juris Doctor (JD) degree from Lewis and Clark Law School in 2004 and her Bachelor of Arts from University of Dayton in Ohio. She is a member of the Oregon State Bar and has served on several non-profit boards.



"I am honored and excited to take on this role as we search for a director," Feldon said. "DEQ is a great agency with a lot of talented people who care deeply about Oregon's environment. I look forward to carrying on this critically important work."

About Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality protects human health and the environment by controlling air and water pollution, reducing the impacts of manufactured products and cleaning up contaminated properties. DEQ engages the public in decision-making and helps communities solve problems in ways that are economically and environmentally sustainable.

--Ryan Bannister

Post Date: 2022-09-24 15:16:27Last Update: 2022-09-24 18:35:36

Senate Republicans Call for DEQ Audit
“The Air Quality Permitting Program remains a complete mess”

Senate Republicans and Independents together have sent a letter to Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and the audits division requesting an audit of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

According to the letter, "DEQ has long lacked accountability and is frankly a broken agency. These problems have not only persisted but grown worse. The majority party in the Oregon Legislature, the Governor, and multiple agency heads who should be holding DEQ to account have instead aggressively expanded the size, scope, and powers of this unaccountable agency."

The letter points out that "DEQ is significantly overdue for an audit" And that the only audit during the past decade was a 2018 Air Quality Permitting Process Audit.

"No doubt you are aware that earlier this week the director of the agency abruptly resigned. The agency appears poised to perform a national search for a new director without the input of a new governor who will take office in four short months. Last wee, the agency continued to move forward with a rule that would ulitimately ban the sale of gas powered cars used by millions of Oregonians. Business leaders report to us that despite the 2018 audit, the Air Quality Permitting Program remains a complete mess."



The 2018 Audit found three major issues that were asked to be addressed to relieve the "significant backlog in air quality permit renewals."
  1. 43% (106 out of 246) of DEQ’s largest and most complex federal and state air quality permit renewals are overdue for renewal. Additionally, more than 40% of the most complex permits issued from 2007 to 2017 exceeded timeframes established by DEQ or the Clean Air Act, some by several years.
  2. DEQ struggles to issue timely permits and renewals due to a variety of factors, including competing priorities, vacancies, and position cuts that have created unmanageable workloads. Other factors include inconsistent support and guidance for staff; a lack of clear, accessible guidance for applicants; and increased time for the public engagement process.
  3. Untimely permits, combined with a current backlog of inspections, endanger the state’s air quality and the health of Oregonians. For example, when DEQ does not issue permit renewals on time, businesses may not provide DEQ with data showing they are complying with new or updated rules.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-23 14:59:16Last Update: 2022-09-23 16:56:38

Nevada Joins Oregon and Washington in Drug Program
Welcome Nevadans to the ArrayRx family

Nevada has just joined Oregon and Washington in offering the ArrayRx card, a state-backed program that can save individuals up to 80% for generic drugs and 20% for brand-name drugs. The ArrayRx Card, formerly known as Oregon/Washington Prescription Discount Card, has helped more than 550,000 participants in both states save money on needed prescription drugs for nearly two decades.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak received his prescription discount card Sept. 22 to celebrate the state's participation in the ArrayRx pharmacy discount program. "Since 2003, Oregonians have been able to access our state sponsored pharmacy discount card, and today we welcome Nevadans to the ArrayRx family," said Trevor Douglass, M.D., pharmacy purchasing director at Oregon Health Authority. "Oregon and Washington have a rich history of collaborating on the pharmacy purchasing front."

By implementing the ArrayRx Card program, Nevada will be able to offer the same savings that people in Oregon and Washington have enjoyed, thanks to the expansion of the ArrayRx pooled purchasing potential.

For people interested in using ArrayRx, the enrollment process is simple and free, and there no age or income restrictions. For those who have insurance, they can choose to use the ArrayRx Card or their pharmacy benefit at the point of sale, whichever provides a better price. All U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs prescribed by a licensed provider are eligible for a discount. Mail-order and specialty drugs are also available.



"The ArrayRx card was supportive to many Oregonians during the historic wildfires that broke out during Labor Day weekend 2020," said Heidi Murphy, pharmacy purchasing program and ArrayRx operations manager at OHA. "Evacuees were able to contact ArrayRx and quickly get discounted medications to replace those they had to leave behind when fleeing the fires. Receiving their needed medications helped provide some stability in an otherwise stressful and difficult situation."

Donna Sullivan, chief pharmacy officer for the Washington Health Care Authority, ArrayRx offers pharmacy benefit management services for local government, private sector businesses, labor organizations and individuals. "Between 2003 and 2022, 1.2 million participants in Oregon and Washington benefitted from the ArrayRx services," Sullivan said. "We welcome the residents of Nevada to receive the same prescription drug discounts through the ArrayRx Card."

--Ryan Bannister

Post Date: 2022-09-23 14:07:26Last Update: 2022-09-23 14:59:16

ODE Concludes Assesment of Group Learning Outcomes
“Every student deserves the chance to graduate from school prepared for lifelong success”

Following two years of disruption caused by the global COVID-19 outbreak, the Oregon Department of Education has released results from the Oregon Statewide Assessment System's spring 2022 summative assessments. These results will be the baseline by which future progress will be measured and should call on us all to redouble our efforts to help our students thrive.

"The assessment results are a call to action for Oregon to keep advancing the programs we know meet our students' needs," ODE Director Colt Gill said. "As expected, the pandemic had an impact on learning in Oregon and across the country. Thanks to lawmakers passing the Student Success Act, and the agency's implementation of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund, additional mental health and wellbeing supports, summer learning and other crucial programs providing engaging instruction and boosting mental health have been implemented. We believe the framework is in place to be able to help Oregon's students achieve. Oregon's students of color, tribal citizens, students who experience disability, students navigating poverty and rural students were disproportionately impacted and investments to renew and accelerate learning need to focus on these communities. We stand with our districts as they move forward with the plans they created with local community input to address the needs they see in their schools."

"Every student deserves the chance to graduate from school prepared for lifelong success," said Governor Kate Brown. "As our schools, students and families continue to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, we must continue to accelerate state and federal investments in high-quality instruction and strategies that support academic success, student mental health and other student needs, with a particular focus on equity and helping the students who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic."

State summative assessments are designed to identify differences in student group outcomes and help improve the education system over time. These assessments do not measure the breadth of academic learning of any individual student. They are limited to three academic subject areas. They do not name all the strengths, talents, gifts or needs of any individual. And, they do not describe the full context of what a school is providing socially or academically to students.



Statewide annual assessment results are one of several important measures of school performance and progress. These results are easily accessed and quantified and receive attention, in part, because they are easily communicated. Our schools also provide hot meals to nourish our children; warm hugs and high expectations from caring educators; counseling and support; access to support for students who find themselves houseless; hands-on career training and experiences; college credits at little or no cost; and clubs, sports and activities that offer connection and relevance for students. There is so much we are not able to measure on a state scale and all of it impacts our children's success.

However, the results hold value by informing education planning and decision making in critical ways. The information from these assessments help evaluate academic programs across districts and schools and boost school districts' ability to prioritize additional funds, resources and supports to the schools, educators and students who need them most.

State test results are most useful when participation thresholds are met, so participation is central to their role in helping improve outcomes for all of Oregon's students. Any comparisons made with prior years' data should be made with caution and focused on identifying strengths and accelerating student growth, not enacting deficit frames for Oregon's schools.

Assessment data should be used constructively—to help inform parents and families about their students' schools and to ensure schools receive the necessary resources to help support students. Oregon can make significant gains in outcomes through transparent, well-resourced and sustained efforts like the Student Success Act. As the Secretary of State's Systemic Risk Report explained, previous efforts in Oregon have shown that short lived reforms, constant change, underfunded efforts and punitive measures do not help us tap into the strengths of our education professionals and school systems to reach our goals for student success. Coming out of the pandemic, we need to align, focus on system strengths and provide consistency for programs that meet the needs of all students.

The results are a snapshot in time and reflect how student groups performed in three content areas: English language arts (ELA), mathematics and science. The ELA and mathematics assessments are given in grades 3-8 plus 11th grade; science assessments are given in grades 5, 8 and 11. The table below shows the percentage of students who were proficient in Spring 2022. The term "proficient" refers to the achievement level that students achieve and whether they are on track to be college and career ready once they graduate from high school. Students are considered proficient if they are at Level 3 or Level 4 on the English language arts (ELA), mathematics or science assessments.

Assessment results table The high school results shared above should not be compared across schools or districts, nor with prior year results, unless those local areas had substantial participation rates in the time periods referenced (Oregon's Technical Advisory Committee has recommended at least 80% participation to support systems level uses). The participation of students on Oregon's high school assessments was too low to support typical comparisons or uses.



The results do include some bright spots around the state, with several districts supporting student academic growth during the pandemic in specific areas. For example, some districts with high participation rates saw substantial academic growth for all students, students experiencing disabilities, students experiencing mobility and students who are federally identified as American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African-American or Hispanic/Latino/a/x, in elementary mathematics between 2019 and 2022. Connecting with these districts, developing understanding of how they are supporting these outcomes and then sharing those practices with other like districts will drive continuous improvement.

These assessment results should serve as a continued call to action to accelerate investments like the Student Success Act, the High School Success program, equitable expenditure of the State School Fund and federal investments in high-quality instruction and other strategies that support academic acceleration, student mental health and other needs. These investments must support all students, but specifically target resources on students who have experienced the most disruption in their education and have the fewest opportunities for success. Everyone was impacted by this global pandemic, including our educator workforce. We must also invest to better support teachers, support staff and school leaders, including by bringing more diverse, highly qualified and caring adults into the education profession.

"While current generations in our country have not experienced learning disruptions on the scale of a global pandemic, previous generations have," Gill said. "School has been significantly disrupted by disease, natural disaster, war and other events for people in this country and others throughout history. We are resilient, if nothing else. Our students will succeed. And our teachers, counselors, bus drivers and others will be there to ensure they do. We have already seen assessment scores rising for students who have had more time back in onsite learning. With the right support, caring educators and deep partnerships with families and community, our students will thrive."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-20 11:11:44Last Update: 2022-09-22 11:41:40

Election SQL Database is Target of Trial
The case is set for Sept 20th and 21st at the Washington County Courthouse

Through a public records request, Tim Sippel sought the ballot database for a public test of the Washington County election system. The County denied the request. The Washington County District Attorney then ordered the County to produce the database. In response, Washington County filed a lawsuit in the Washington County Circuit Court seeking a declaration that it does not have to produce the database. Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan has now intervened, joining the case against Mr. Sippel. In the motion to intervene, the case is presented that “The Secretary of State is the chief elections officer of this state, and it is the secretary’s responsibility to obtain and maintain uniformity in the application, operation and interpretation of the election laws.”

Through a separate approved public records request, Janice Dysinger of Clean Voter Rolls, sought among other things the ballot images from the November 2020 Election. The request did not include a SQL data base.

Clean Voter Rolls is a Political Action Committee that promotes accurate Oregon voter rolls, which are necessary for fair elections. Dysinger asked Mr. Sippel to pick up the records for her because Mr. Sippel was close to the office. Among the documents provided by the County was a backup of the SQL database for the November 2020 Election, not just the public test.

The county contends it did not intend to produce the database. When Washington County learned that Mr. Sippel had the copy of the 2020 Election Database produced by Washington County, they sought and were granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing Mr. Sippel from copying or disseminating the database. Washington County and Oregon claimed that it would be irreparably harmed if Mr. Sippel distributed the database because it would present some unspecified security risk to the election system in Washington County and 14 other Oregon counties.

The case Washington County v Tim Sippel, is set for Sept 20th and 21st at the Washington County Courthouse at 150 N. First Ave in Hillsboro from 9:00am-5:00pm. The pubic may attend.



Expert, national known witnesses scheduled to testify are election data analyst Dr. Douglas G. Frank, and cyber security expert Mark Cook. Mr. Sippel contends the ballot database is a public record, he is entitled to possess it, and that the County has no grounds to contend that dissemination of the database to the public would be a security risk. The Washington County DA agreed and ordered the data released to Mr. Sippel. The County Elections disagreed and sued Mr. Sippel and the Secretary of State intervened, joining in the lawsuit against Mr. Sippel.

In defense of the Secretary of State, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum argued:

“Even when systems are not directly connected to networks, they are vulnerable to attack through physical or wireless access.” Oregon election officials have stated for years that the tabulators are not connected to the internet. They are "air gapped". Public interest in election policies has heightened after the release of recent information surrounding the 2020 election from various sources.

Legal fees for Mr. Sippel are being provided by Free Oregon. Donations are being accepted at the Free Oregon link, according to Ben Edtl, CEO of Free Oregon and State Senate Candidate in District 19 who is challenging democrat Senate Leader Rob Wagner. Rep Rob Wagner has been a leader for the recent 2021 Legislative bills that weaken Oregon’s elections, including carrying the HB2681 to the House floor for a vote. HB 2681 keeps inactive electors on the voter rolls bloating the voter rolls forever and Wagner also was the Chief sponsor for HB3291 that allow ballots to be accepted 7 days after election day, even without a postal indicator pointed on them.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-20 10:10:10Last Update: 2022-09-20 10:32:51

Washington County Vape Ban Struck Down
“The decision must come from the state”

In what many consider to be a victory for personal liberty and limited government, a Washington County Circuit Court Judge has declared Washington County's ban on flavored vaping products to be "preempted by state law and therefore unenforceable." the case was brought by Jordan Schwartz and Jonathan Moran owners of Serenity Vapors, Torched Illusions, Belal Yahya owner of King's Hookah Lounge -- all of which "invested substantial time and resources into growing their respective businesses," according to the complaint.

During the 2021 Session, the Legislature passed SB 587 which, among other things, allows a local public health authority -- usually a county -- to enforce local standards for regulation of sale of tobacco products and inhalant delivery systems or enforce state standards for the regulation of sale of tobacco products and inhalant delivery systems. This legislation became effective on September 25, 2021.

Washington County rushed to enact Ordinance 878 which said that "No person shall sell, offer for sale, or otherwise distribute any flavored tobacco product or flavored synthetic nicotine product." Despite not being effective until September, the County held its first hearing on the ordinance on August 24.

In striking down the ban, Washington County Circuit Court Judge Andrew R. Ervin laid out his reasons for striking down the ban.

This is the flaw in the County's interpretation. Their ordinance does not seek to enforce these standards and/or any additional standards, nor does it seek to establish "additional" local qualifications before a retailer may sell flavored tobacco products. Instead, it deletes these standards and qualifications by enacting a blanket prohibition on retail sale of flavored tobacco and nicotine products in Washington County. The County argues that this provision, "grants local authorities' broad power to enact standards regulating tobacco sales." Thus, the County equates "regulating the sale of tobacco products" with prohibiting the sale of otherwise licensed tobacco products. But during oral argument when the Court asked County Counsel whether such standards to regulate gave the County authority to prohibit the sale of all tobacco (flavored or otherwise), the County conceded it did not. Presumably, the County recognizes that the State licensing scheme preempts them from a total ban, but it's hard to understand how that same licensing scheme would in turn authorize a partial ban when those products have been duly licensed by the same legislative scheme that would prevent a complete ban.



Concluding his decision, Judge Ervin said, "I neither smoke nor use tobacco products and recognize the great personal health hazards that attach to the ingestion of tobacco related products. But the decision to disallow licensed retail sale of such products must come from the state, not county by county. Certainly, the county has broad power to regulate how sales are made, but they cannot bar them entirely."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-20 09:15:06Last Update: 2022-09-20 11:11:44

Leaders Denounce Bigoted Chant at Ducks Game
“Religious bigotry is unacceptable in any form”

During a September 17th college football game hosted by the University of Oregon, video evidence surfaced of profane chants made by some attendees sitting in the student section. The chants appeared to reference Brigham Young University’s status as a privately held university sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“There is no place for hate, bias or bigotry at the University of Oregon, said Kris Winter, the university's interim vice president for the Division of Student Life. "These actions are simply unacceptable. We will investigate, and we call on our students and campus community to refuse to accept or tolerate this type of behavior.”

The chant was reportedly "F the Mormons."

Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp released the following statement, “Religious bigotry is unacceptable in any form. I condemn these hateful chants, and apologize to the players, coaches, staff, and fans who had to endure them, as well as Oregonians and Utahns who have read or heard about them. University of Oregon students who participated in the chants should face appropriate discipline.”

The University of Oregon Student Conduct Code prohibits harassment, and disruptive behavior at university sponsored activities.

The University of Oregon Ducks beat the visiting Brigham Young Cougars by a score of 41-20 on Saturday at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-19 14:50:46Last Update: 2022-09-19 16:18:26

GOP Chair Calls Out Media
“It’s a disgusting use of power in the cynical times we are in”

The Chair of the Oregon Republican Party has issued a statement to counter a story that they expect will be published soon. In an email to State Central Committee members, Party Chair Justin Hwang said,

It has come to my attention that a premiere media outlet in Oregon is getting ready to publish a story regarding GOP apathy and division leading up to the 2022 midterms. This is a brazen attempt by the liberal media to suppress GOP turnout because they know that if we show up in droves, we win BIG!

Insiders have identified that Democrats have several challenges in Oregon this political cycle: Hwang continued,

It seems that given the awful record of Kate Brown and her accomplices in the legislature, Betsy Johnson and Tina Kotek, they are using their allies in the media to suppress our vote with false narratives and salacious gossip.

It's a disgusting use of power in the cynical times we are in but not the least bit surprising. Folks in the media are terrified about losing power and the influence they hold over leftist politicians. They know that Christine Drazan, Cheri Helt, and our slate of candidates running for Congress and in the legislature will be leaders who follow truth and prosperity, not the woke and broke policies that have failed us in Oregon for decades.



Name a single issue they have improved? You can’t!

The same folks running under claims that they'll fix homelessness created this humanitarian crisis. These same folks who defunded our police officers are now promising to restore order. These same politicians that ended educational requirements and left our kids behind want to lead our state into a more disastrous future, but we are not going to let that happen. Not this year, not this time.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-19 12:52:31Last Update: 2022-09-19 16:22:22

OHA Expands Eligibility Criteria for Monkeypox Vaccine
We want these events to feel more like a health fair

Oregon Health Authority has expanded its eligibility criteria for the monkeypox vaccine. It now includes "anyone who anticipates having or has had recent direct skin-to-skin contact with at least one other person AND who knows other people in their social circles or communities who have had monkeypox."

The new interim monkeypox vaccination guidance for use of the JYNNEOS vaccine was developed with extensive input from community partners, local public health authorities, health care providers and Tribal health organizations, said Tim Menza, M.D., Ph.D., senior health adviser for OHA's monkeypox response.

"It was a community-based process," Menza said. "We heard loud and clear that if we wanted to get people in the door to get vaccinated against monkeypox, we needed to rethink how we talked about who is at greatest risk of infection."

In its vaccine eligibility criteria, the vaccination guidance no longer refers to sexual orientation or gender identity – cisgender men, transgender men, transgender women, and non-binary people who have sex with men – which may have been a barrier for people seeking vaccinations, Menza said. The guidance also clearly states what is known as the most common route of transmission: direct, skin-to-skin contact.

The guidance "no longer calls out specific populations defined by sexual orientation or gender identity. Instead, it calls out the most common route of transmission," Menza explained. "In doing so, we hope to reduce the stigma associated with eligibility for monkeypox vaccination."

In addition to encouraging JYNNEOS vaccination for anyone who anticipates having or has had recent skin-to-skin contact with others and shares a social circle or community with someone who had the virus, the guidance continues to recommend the vaccine for other high-risk persons: anyone who had close contact with someone with monkeypox or who local public health staff identified as being a contact of someone with the virus; laboratory workers who routinely perform monkeypox virus testing; and clinicians who had a high-risk occupational exposure, such as from examining monkeypox lesions or collecting monkeypox specimens without using recommended personal protective equipment.



The guidance also encourages vaccine providers to "think creatively" in planning vaccine events, Menza said. For example, it recommends providers work in partnership with community-based organizations or local businesses to offer "venue-based vaccine events" that prioritize communities most affected by monkeypox, which will make vaccines more accessible and acceptable. Venue-based vaccine clinics are those that occur in spaces or at events frequented by people from communities most affected by monkeypox. For example, OHA and partners have been offering vaccines at large community events, nightclubs and bathhouses.

Anyone who requests the vaccine at community-based vaccine events, should receive it, the guidance states. When possible, vaccine providers should integrate monkeypox vaccine administration with the influenza vaccine, COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, COVID-19 testing, HIV/STI testing, HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) information and referrals, and harm-reduction education and outreach. Combining services will reduce stigma related to receiving a monkeypox vaccine "in that people could come to a vaccine event for one of several services," according to the guidance.

"We want these events to feel more like a health fair," Menza explained.

Menza believes the expanded monkeypox vaccination guidance represents a new phase in the state's response to the outbreak.

"Initially, folks were stepping forward, and we had a lot of demand for the vaccine up front," he said. "In the last four weeks, since mid-August, we've seen a steep drop-off in demand. Wait lists have dropped to zero, and available slots are not being filled. We need to reinvigorate our vaccination campaign and find new ways to get the vaccine to people who most need it."

--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2022-09-19 11:48:41Last Update: 2022-09-19 12:24:58

Oregon Health Insurance Rates to Increase
Medical costs are rising due to inflation

People who purchase their own health insurance, as well as those in the small group market, can view the final rate decisions for the 2023 health insurance plans, which have been released by the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation. The division reviews and approves rates through a detailed and transparent process before they can be charged to policyholders.

The division conducted a review, holding public hearings and taking public comments, to reach the final decisions. The division published preliminary decisions in July before the public hearings. In the public hearings, members of the public, health insurance companies, and the division have the opportunity to further review and analyze the preliminary decisions.

“While medical costs are rising due to inflation and the increased use and cost of specialized prescription drugs, people throughout Oregon continue to benefit from the Oregon Reinsurance Program," said Andrew Stolfi, insurance commissioner and Department of Consumer and Business Services director. “All Oregon counties now have at least four health plan options in the individual market from which people can choose.”

Individual market The division has issued final decisions for six companies in the individual market with average rate changes ranging from a 2.3 percent increase to a 12.6 percent increase for an average increase of 6.7 percent. Under the decisions, Silver Standard Plan premiums for a 40-year-old in Portland would range from $451 to $507 a month.



Small group market In the small group market, the division issued final decisions for nine companies with average rate increases ranging from 3.4 percent to 10.6 percent, for a weighted average increase of 7.8 percent. Under the decisions, Silver Standard Plan premiums for a 40-year-old in Portland would range from $355 to $428 a month.

The 2023 health insurance rate request is available online.

Medical costs continue to rise due to inflation, increased use and the cost of new specialized prescription drugs.

Final decisions for each carrier can be found online. Statewide premium comparison tables for ages 21, 40, and 60 will be posted online later this month.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-09-17 21:09:31Last Update: 2022-09-17 21:42:31

State Board of Education Rule Challenged
Sanitary Pads Cause for Special Meeting

Eagle Point School Board Director, Cherylene Stritenberg, has petitioned the Oregon State Board of Education to amend the rules requiring all public education provider to install sanitary menstrual dispensers in every student bathroom.

On June 23rd, 2022, the Oregon Department of Education received their petition to amend two administrative rules: OAR 581-021-0587 Menstrual Dignity for Students: Definitions, and OAR 581-021-0590 Menstrual Dignity for Students: Requirements.

The petition reads:

3. Under OAR 581-021-0590, petitioners’ schools are required to provide dispensers, products and educational services to all student bathrooms regardless of having the biological capability of menstruating. Under OAR 581-021-0587 student bathroom includes designated males which is biologically impossible. 4. Petitioner asserts that the mandatory requirement for all education providers to install at least one dispenser in “EVERY” student bathroom is unnecessary, a mismanagement of public finances, as well as creating an additional financial burden not only upfront but future misuse and waste of products (i.e., clogging toilets and vandalism). Petitioner contends that the original proposal of providing these products in at least 2 bathrooms but not limited to is sufficient to meet the needs of menstruating students without unnecessary requirements. Males DO NOT menstruate and should not be included in the definition for student bathroom inclusion when providing feminine hygiene products for menstruating females.

They propose amending the rule definition of “Student bathroom” to mean a bathroom that is accessible by students, including a gender-neutral bathroom, and any bathroom designated for females. And, maximum mandatory dispensers to two for each education provider.

The petition also stated:

8. Petitioner has knowledge of persons who may have a particular interest in the proposed amendment of OAR 581-021-0587 and OAR 581-021-0590. This petition is not to be denied without Oregon Department of Education and or Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission inviting public comment upon the rule based on OAR 137-001-0070.

The administrative rules were adopted by the State Board of Education in March 2022 in order to implement ORS 326.545, “(2) Each public education provider shall ensure that both tampons and sanitary pads are available at no cost to students through dispensers located in every student bathroom of every public school building.”

The Department responded that written public comment on the proposed amendments were invited, including whether options existed for achieving the rule’s substantive goals in a way that reduces negative economic impact on businesses. This public comment period closed on July 20, 2022, and comments received during that time will be presented to the State Board of Education by Department staff. No additional public comments will be accepted for this meeting.



The petitioner requested that education providers should have the ability to pause any further implementation until the outcome of this proceeding has been re-evaluated and proceedings are determined.

The Department received the petition within the comment period, and still implemented the rule, and waited until schools have started to review the petition leaving schools in a quandary to overspend or be out of compliance.

The petitioner stated, the “requirement goes above and beyond a reasonable accommodation. Our Secretary of State report recently spoke to oversight, accountability on school spending and performance. We must evaluate how requiring a funding priority of installing dispensers for menstruating females in male bathrooms is beneficial to our student’s success.”

Oregon State Board of Education will hold a Special Meeting on Monday, September 19, 2022 at 7:00 AM to decide whether to deny the petition or to initiate rulemaking proceedings. In making their decision, the Board must consider the continued need for the rule, the nature of comments received from the public (over two-thirds of 244 comments supported this petition), the complexity of the rule, overlaps or conflicts with other regulations, changes in technology or economic conditions, and the legal basis for the rule. The public may watch the meeting via livestream.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-09-16 16:33:02Last Update: 2022-09-16 16:41:53

Meet the 2022 Candidates for Congressional District 4
Alek Skarlatos v Val Hoyle

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

When Peter DeFazio announced his retirement from Congressional District 4, it opened the door to a new slate of candidates. Val Hoyle, Oregon’s Labor Commissioner, hopes to fill in where DeFazio left off. But she faces a stiff challenger in Alek Skarlatos. Skarlatos first ran in 2020 and made a good dent in DeFazio’s base.

Alek Skarlatos lives the American dream. He went from local Roseburg boy to Oregon National Guardsman to international hero that catapult him into politics. Skarlatos’ strong belief in service to his community won him the Republican nomination. He advocates for responsible forest management in Southern Oregon and supports the bipartisan trillion trees initiative to plant more trees to reduce carbon from our air. He wants to reduce wasteful spending and policies that are causing inflation. He says, “We need legislation that finds the balance of protecting our environment, while also using our natural resources, so we can lower the price of gas and become less dependent on foreign energy.” He stands for strong law enforcement, and wants to prevent unions from running our schools to allow parents and teachers to do what is best for students.

Val Hoyle grew up in a family with union roots for three generations that she used in the outdoor industry for 25 years focusing on retail sales and international trade. As Labor Commissioner, her focus is on settlements for victims of discrimination and is tough on employers who exploit their workers and compete unfairly with responsible businesses.

During Hoyle’s tenure as House Majority Leader, she takes credit for Oregon having one of the highest minimum wage laws in the nation, mandating paid sick leave, expanding Oregon’s clean fuels program to reduce carbon emissions, requiring universal background checks for firearm purchases, and passage of “Motor Voter” law. Her priority is to take all these to the federal level.



Hoyle’s wants to move America to a 100% clean electricity standard, fight for major investments in new public housing in hard hit communities, increase the federal minimum wage, universal preschool, passage of the PRO Act to make it easier for workers to form unions, and provide universal health care for all. She wants to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore provisions the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional and give federal authority over state elections.

Scarlatos is hoping his reputation and enthusiasm will connect with voters looking for relief. He states, “I’m running for Congress to provide balance to some of the crazy policies and fight inflation, support economic initiatives that will create good paying jobs, along with solutions to reduce the cost of healthcare and drug prices. As a veteran, I have always put our country first, and will work with anyone who shares my vision to improve the lives of hard-working families in Western Oregon and the coast.”

Also nominated for Congressional District 4 are:
  • Jim Howard of the Constitution Party, former Dean and professor at Bushnell University and school superintendent in North Bend, McKenzie and Pleasant Hill. He received his Masters in Education at UofO.
  • Levi Leatherberry of the Independent Party, a farmer and International Development Programmer. He received his Masters in Global Governance from University College London, and Bachelors in Political Science from University of Hawaii at Hilo.
  • Mike Beilstein representing the Pacific Green and Progressive Parties is a retired research chemist. He received his Masters in Human Nutrition from OSU. Beilstein has responded to the Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Project and agrees with most of Hoyle’s Democrat positions.

    Five candidates are competing to represent the southern half of Oregon’s coastal counties, including Coos, Curry, Douglas, Lane and Benton counties and most of Linn and Josephine counties. It is centered around two state college towns, Eugene and Corvallis.

    --Donna Bleiler

    Post Date: 2022-09-16 12:11:23Last Update: 2022-09-16 13:05:17

  • Meet the 2022 Candidates for Oregon Senate District 19
    Ben Edtl v Rob Wagner

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

    There is a clear distinction between the two candidates running for Oregon Senate District 19, which covers parts of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties. It is currently represented by Majority Leader Rob Wagner of Lake Oswego. Challenging him is Ben Edtl of Tualatin who is making sure voters are clear on the sides.

    Wagner wrote in an editorial, “communities need police to be able to focus on preventing solving crimes…we passed legislation to improve law enforcement best practices and distribute funding to culturally specific, community-based organizations…[that] will promote racial equity and reduce racial disparities.” How that plays out is that he voted to pass HB 2928 called "Restorative Justice" preventing police officers from using safe and non-lethal riot control tactics, refusing to hold and prosecute violent criminals and defunded critical police units that took illegal guns off the streets, and gave victims’ rights to criminals.

    Edtl wants to end “Restorative Justice” policies and force District Attorneys to prosecute criminals, and allow police to enforce laws and put a stop to the violent crime wave in the Portland metro area.

    Wagner also voted for SB 554, the safe storage of firearms bill, which makes it virtually impossible to defend yourself from murderers and criminals.

    Edtl says, “I am the complete opposite of Rob Wagner. Public Safety will always be my number one priority as your State Senator.” It is statistically proven that increased gun control only increases the gun violence, and he wants to work to repeal SB 554 and other legislation passed to disarm law abiding citizens or prevent legally acquiring firearms. “Gun control and gun free zones are not the answer to reducing gun violence,” Edtl says. He also opposes all red flag laws and will fight to defend Due Process for all Oregonians, under every circumstance.

    Homelessness and the lack of affordable housing are issues that affects nearly every Oregon community. Wagner passed two bills to supersede local law and allow homeless people to camp on public sidewalks. The first bill HB 3115/a> overturns local public camping laws. Then he followed up with a second bill HB 3124 that gives the homeless rights to an extended stay. Integrate that with Measure 110 contributing with drug addiction and crime.

    Edtl wants to stop the humanitarian crisis by repealing the failed Measure 110, increase funding for treatment and financially punish cities, like Portland, that refuse to enforce public camping laws and encourage the infringement of private property rights.

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

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

    Wagner started his career advocating for Oregon’s teachers, faculty, health care workers, and academic support workers at the American Federation of Teachers-Oregon. He worked on outreach at Portland Community College and served on the Lake Oswego School Board. He liked seeing the educational growth of students as a ladder to success. Still, he led the majority party to change the state curriculum to focus on race division and sexual indoctrination of our kids and eliminated Oregon’s graduation standards. As a result, parents are pulling their students from public schools and enrollment is at historic lows. Oregon ranks 47th in the nation in education and among the top for per student funding, but Wagner claims our public schools are at risk of financial collapse.

    Wagner also led his majority party to pass HB 1521 that restricts school district control over superintendents, restricts parent’s input and centralizes power to the Oregon Department of Education.

    Edtl says, “I will fight to return democratic control of schools to the parents and taxpayers, fight for school choice, ban CRT and CSE curriculum and diminish the power of the Oregon Department of Education. I will restore testing and graduation standards and eliminate indoctrinative racial and sexualized curriculum. Our schools should be focused on uniting our children regardless of their differences and focusing on basic education like math, reading and writing.”

    Edtl is a Portland native. He is constitutionally conservative and socially liberal. He is an activist and also opposes Wagner by opposing tolling, the CAT tax, return to single family zoning, supports First Amendment religious and medical freedom, ban abortion after 12 weeks and repeal public paid abortions. Two clear opposing sides for voters to choose.

    --Donna Bleiler

    Post Date: 2022-09-14 16:42:53Last Update: 2022-09-14 16:56:08

    Meet the 2022 Candidates: US Senate
    Jo Rae Perkins v Ron Wyden

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

    Candidate for U.S. Senate Jo Rae Perkins is running against incumbent Ron Wyden. Perkins ran against Merkley in 2020 and made a good showing after several attempts at Congressman Peter DeFazio’s seat. She has been called out for being outspoken on issues, that just may be playing in her favor at long last. Her new platform, A Better Oregon, A Better America exemplifies an Oregon with less crime, less homelessness, where inflation is controlled, growth is supported and the American dream thrives.

    Government’s only mandate is security. When you look at what is happening in Portland spreading to other parts of the state, security is what voters are looking for. Perkins’ view of the Portland scene is she is incensed over the violence and will make public safety a top priority. She supports local, state and federal law enforcement officers that uphold the U.S. and Oregon Constitutions, and securing borders from criminal elements to keep us safe.

    Perkins’ Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Project questionnaire supports her longtime belief that the federal government needs to be dramatically reduced in scope. She’s insistent that both the state and federal governments have been overreaching impacting the economy. Perkins says she will vote against raising the debt ceiling, and says she will vote to end the Fed and insist the Treasury takes charge according to the U.S. Constitution.

    Wyden focuses his efforts in a reactive direction. He has stood for National Guard veterans needing adequate medical care after dangerous deployments. Inspired by the death of a 15-year-old girl in Portland, Wyden was able to pass a law declassifying evidence so the Saudi government cannot protect Saudi nationals accused of serious crimes in the United States and flee the country before facing justice.

    Wyden authored parts of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on clean energy, which trashes the tax code and says the more you reduce your carbon footprint, the bigger savings you get. The IRA approved hundreds of billions in spending to combat climate change, lower drug prices and take on tax cheats funding 87,000 IRS agents. Wyden sees Oregon benefiting as a leader in climate change and renewable energy program, but who will pay for the billions?

    Perkins points out the original name of the Inflation Reduction Act was the Build Back Better Plan and it is fraught with waste and more spending than it saves. She questions the billions spent to combat climate change with its focus on ‘green energy’. She says, “electric vehicles ignore the costs, the pollutants and the dangers of mining lithium. In addition, our electric grids are not sufficient to charge all the electric vehicles, which is evident with the rolling brown outs in several states.” Perkins sees natural resources are best controlled by those in the region that can best manage it and removed federal management.

    Wyden claims he worked hard to replace No Child Left Behind with a better approach that empowers parents, teachers and schools. Still, he voted no twice on an Educational Savings Account bill and no on school vouchers that would have helped parents. He voted no on allowing more flexibility in federal school rules, no on funding for abstinence education to help reduce teenage pregnancy, and voted yes to fund student testing to determine student achievement instead of allowing under-performing schools to use public funds for private tutors.

    Contrary to Wyden’s voting record, Perkins wants to “push politics out of our classrooms.” She opposes the teaching of Critical Race Theory and Gender Identity. She says, “such issues are designed to further divide us.” She supports school choice and the right of Parents to be involved, and believes tax dollars for education must follow the student. Perkins sees mandates as unlawful and schools, businesses or governments have no right to mandate what you put in or on your body.

    Perkins also supports law enforcement to end human trafficking and homelessness. She says “murder is up 83% [in Portland] of which some is due to the homeless epidemic.” She is also actively involved with various Election Integrity groups to ensure votes are counted as intended and 100% safe and secure.

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

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

    Wyden joined Governor Brown praising the funding for the community-based mobile crises intervention program, which will allow the Oregon Health Authority to work with community partners to provide health crisis 24-7, 365 days per year. Perkins sees the value for intervention and need for behavioral health responses, but we need to address the mental health crises proactively instead of reactively. She questions whether mobile treatment will lead to long term treatment and stability.

    Running for the Pacific Green Party is Dan Puiju. His platform is to end the forever wars by dismantling the military-industrial complex, dismantle and prosecute the national security state and calls for a mutual non-encroachment treaty between world powers. Pulju submitted the Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Project questionnaire, that reflects the rebranding of the Pacific Green Party platform to steer away from the progressive movement.

    Running for the Progressive Party is Chris Henry in the trucking industry. Henry is not a new name on the ballot. He ran for State Treasurer for the Independent Party, and the Oregon Labor Commissioner in the May Primary running on worker’s rights to unionize and education for a stronger workforce.

    --Donna Bleiler

    Post Date: 2022-09-13 14:49:53Last Update: 2022-09-14 08:42:37

    ODA Denies Weather Modification Applications
    Those seeking to modify weather should apply for a license

    The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) received two Weather Modification License applications from Alexander Jenkins III of Salem, Oregon, on August 1, 2022. Jenkins proposed to build and operate a device called the Aquaelicium to be used in Curry County and Klamath County. Jenkin’s proposal also says the machine with accompanying systems would be used to adjust weather and hydrological, and environmental conditions.

    As per Oregon statute, ODA hosted a public hearing for each application. Both hearings were held in person and virtual on August 22, 2022. The first was in Klamath County, where four people, including the applicant, gave public comments. No written comments were received. In Curry County, 12 people, including the applicant, gave public comments, and ten submitted written comments.

    Upon review by ODA and consideration of the public comment, ODA concludes there was insufficient evidence to support granting licenses for weather modification in both Curry and Klamath Counties requested under state law ORS 558.060.

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

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

    There was insufficient evidence to address potential adverse effects on agriculture, forestry, and public health or safety.

    Oregon law requires those seeking to modify weather to apply for a license with ODA. The department must decide on the proposal within 30 days of receiving the application. Applicants may petition for reconsideration with ODA within 60 days of the department’s decision.

    --Ben Fisher

    Post Date: 2022-09-12 19:53:07Last Update: 2022-09-12 20:16:53

    Oregon State Hospital Cited for OSHA Violations
    “Members of our hospital staff are getting injured while caring for patients, and that is not acceptable”

    The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division has notified Oregon State Hospital Hospital that the hospital will be cited with three violations related to workplace violence and injuries in the areas of documentation, thorough investigation and response. Oregon-OSHA also warned the hospital of three additional issues on the same topics that could become a problem in the future if not addressed.

    "One of our guiding principles at the hospital is to ensure the safety of both our patients and our staff," stated OSH Superintendent Dolly Matteucci. "Our staff deserve to come to work each day without the fear of being hurt. We know we have more work to do, and we know more thorough investigation of incidents will help us learn from what happened and prevent future occurrences."

    Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen echoed Superintendent Matteucci's statement about the importance of staff and patient safety. "Members of our hospital staff are getting injured while caring for patients, and that is not acceptable. Period. We must do better, and we will do better. We appreciate what the Oregon-OSHA violations bring to light, we will continue to partner with our hospital staff to find additional ways to prevent workplace violence."

    Prior to the Oregon-OSHA investigation, OSH had started making proactive and operational changes to reduce workplace violence. Here is some of the work that is underway:

    SAIF Corporation has hired a workplace violence prevention consultant to work with OSH. That consultation began last month. The work is expected to lead to more recommendations to reduce workplace violence and improve staff safety. Broset Violence Checklist Implementation The BVC is an evidence-based risk assessment tool that assists in identifying patients at high risk for aggressive behavior within the next 24 hours.

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

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

    The Safe Together team is improving access for staff to attend drills, training opportunities and consultation. One factor contributing to changes at OSH is a recent shift in the patient population. There has been an increase in "Aid and Assist" patients who are more likely to pose behavioral challenges until medication and other treatment has a chance to work. In addition, staff and patients have coped with inconsistent staffing, Covid-19 restrictions and other external demands.

    OSH is expected to receive the official Oregon-OSHA report in the next 2-3 weeks

    --Ritch Hanneman

    Post Date: 2022-09-11 20:48:34Last Update: 2022-09-11 22:47:44

    A Look at the 3rd Congressional District Race
    Joanna Harbour is fighting a giant

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

    Candidate Joanna Harbour is making her second run against incumbent Earl Blumenauer for U.S. Congressional District 3. In a very Democrat district, Blumenauer covers his bases with two websites, one significantly more “radical” than the other, labeled “Earl Radically Effective Blumenauer.” Harbour garnered about one-third the votes that Blumenauer received in 2020 matching the percentage of register Republican voters to Democrat. Since then, this Portland district lost 108,145 voters – 23% were Democrat, 19% Republican and 0.09% Nonaffiliate. Nonaffiliates make up 33% of total voters – not the highest bracket for registered voters, but could pose a threat. Harbour testified at the Redistricting Hearing in defense of rural portions of District 3 being significantly out number and unfair to them.

    Congressman Blumenauer is an original co-sponsor and co-author of the Green New Deal. He has authored and supported many policies that could accomplish Green New Deal goals and, since its introduction, has been working to make the Green New Deal vision a reality, including fighting to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, increase wilderness lands and supporting Agenda 2030.

    Harbour does not support the Green New Deal or Agenda 2030 and further says we need energy independence, to balance the budget, get out of debt, bring down inflation, prioritize water to our farmers and ranchers, and fix our supply lines.

    Harbour wants to end the practice of “let it burn” forest management that has allowed forest fires to go unchecked threatening the lives of our citizens, their livestock and land, and to open up the national forest land to logging and other practices that reduce the risk of forest fires while maintaining the forest for everyone to enjoy for generations to come. Her vision is to bring back Oregon’s forests to local control.

    When you look at what is happening in Portland spreading to other parts of the state, security is what voters are looking for. Harbour says crime and homelessness should be resolved at a local level, but she would help to bring federal funding and other resources to curb criminal activity. She received a 69% rating from Oregon Firearms Federation and 92% by NRA. She supports border security to prevent illegal aliens, illegal drugs, and sex and human trafficking from entering the U.S. Her position on border security is to immediately return those who cross illegally to their country of origin. She supports requiring proof that immigration laws are being enforced before considering amnesty laws. “There are several steps that would need to be completed before citizenship is an option.”

    Congressman Blumenauer released a statement against border security measures and says a wall is not necessary, and fights for amnesty in the DACA program. He sees security through the lens of partnering with those who serve the global community. His answer to violence is universal background checks, banning high-capacity magazines and assault weapons, and allow health care providers to discuss gun ownership with patients. He thinks illegal drugs should be legalize by developing a legislative framework that accounts for the inevitable transition of marijuana policy that is already well under way.

    Harbour said, “I am running to bring common sense and actual citizen representation back to this district.” An advocate for the Second Amendment, term limits, Right-to-Life, religious freedom, and a supporter of the Constitution makes her a clear contrast to incumbent Blumenauer.

    Blumenauer is a strong advocate for human rights and democracy (verses a republic). He views gun violence as a crisis that threatens the well-being and peace of mind of urban and rural communities that needs addressing. He has regularly led the charge to close down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    Blumenauer co-chairs a Congressional Neuroscience Caucus to build awareness of the intrinsic role brain research plays in understanding ourselves and our society, and promote changes in federal policies to support neuroscience research. Is that code for mind control?

    Harbour advocates for medical freedom, school choice with money following the student, resources for mental illness and drug addictions causing homelessness. She also believes congress should have the same retirement and health coverages as private citizens. She wants to make the tax cuts permanent.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-09-10 06:08:57Last Update: 2022-09-09 12:55:17

    A Look at Oregon’s BOLI Commissioner Race
    Democrat Christina Stephenson faces Republican Cheri Helt in a non-partisan race

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

    The race for Commissioner of Bureau of Labor and Industries is in default mode. If one of the seven candidates running in the Primary would have received over 50 percent of the votes, the race would be over. Since none received the required 50 percent, the top two candidates are now in a run-off in the General Election. The office ensures lawful and fair practices in employment and housing, develops trade skills training and handles complaints on unfair practices and safety. Christina Stephenson, a civil rights attorney, is competing against Cheri Helt, a restaurant business owner in the run-off race.

    Stephenson received her Bachelor’s degree in International Politics from American University where she was a facilitator in the Office of Community Action and Social Justice. She moved from California in 2011 to get her Doctoral degree and Public Interest Certificate from University of Oregon School of Law. She joined with Robert Meyer to open Meyer Stephenson law firm. She is a board member of the Multnomah County Commission on Economic Dignity.

    As an attorney Stephenson has worked with people of all types all across the state to help them enforce their civil rights. Stephenson worked with the Oregon AFL-CIO union in passing Oregon's Workplace Fairness Act, which imposed sweeping new requirements on Oregon employers in response to the #MeToo movement, and outlawed non-disclosure and non-competing agreements. As Commissioner, she says she knows that businesses that don't play by the rules shouldn't have a competitive advantage and will “invest in the technical assistance Oregon businesses need to stay compliant with Oregon laws.”

    Stephenson has also advocated and testified for the Equal Pay Act in Oregon, bereavement leave to be added to the Oregon Family Leave Act, whistleblower protections under state law, and elevate apprenticeships to be a key part of our transition to a climate-resilient economy. Stephenson promises to “ensure that BOLI's actions align with our climate goals. This includes reducing waste, making climate-sensitive procurement decisions, and investing in sustainable infrastructure.”

    Stephenson’s focus on discrimination has made her an advocate for LGBTQ workers facing challenges, including not being allowed to use the restroom that aligns with their gender, being harassed or fired because of gender identity or sexual orientation, and not being addressed by the correct name or pronouns. She says, “Your employer should never discriminate against you because of your gender or sexual identity, and it is illegal if they do. As Labor Commissioner, [I] will protect queer and trans workers by helping LGBTQ workers know their rights; enforcing non-discrimination laws; and making sure that employers follow the rules.”

    Cheri Helt is co-owner with husband Steve of Zydeco Kitchen & Cocktails Restaurant and Bistro 28. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Michigan State University. She served on the Bend-LaPine School Board for nine years and State Representative for two years. She says, “I bring 18 years of firsthand knowledge of the impacts rules and regulations have on employees and employers. Oregon needs balanced policies and systems we can count on.” She decided to run after experiencing the strains of the COVID-19 pandemic on her small business and losing a third of their workers. “I’m really excited about the issues the office works on, creating more job opportunities and increasing career and technical training to build a good future for Oregon,” Helt said in an interview.

    Cheri and Steve Helt walk their talk. As Representative, she voted for family medical leave, and now they support 60 employees with 100% employer-paid health benefits and generous retirement benefits. She knows how policies affect businesses. When it comes to leadership and policy, Helt considers herself a public servant, not an active partisan. She rejects the rigid left-right extremes that too often define politics today and believes the best solutions are found when people come together and find common ground.

    Since Helt’s leaving office, she has remained involved in legislative issues around housing, education and supported a pilot for homeless youth. Helt’s platform is to lead the fight an be a trusted ally of Oregon working families. She states she will “vigorously defend workers’ civil rights and right to receive fair pay for their hard work, and partner with employers, employees and homebuilders to create more affordable workforce housing,” which she sought solutions for in the legislature. She would like to “strengthen and expand access to apprenticeship programs,” and “position Oregon’s workforce and small businesses to propel a growing and sustainable Oregon economy that benefits all workers.”

    The new Commissioner will face challenging changes in employment as more workers have moved to work from home, which is largely unregulated. There will no doubt be more cases between religious business owners and what LGBTQ view as their equal rights among other controversial issues. The two candidates have two different perspectives to address issues, which makes the race unpredictable.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-09-09 11:03:28Last Update: 2022-09-09 11:16:52

    Oregon Approves Measure 110 Funding in All Counties
    Gubernatorial Candidates differ on resolution

    Many Oregon voters feel deceived for voting in Measure 91 to legalize recreational use of marijuana in 2014 convinced it would eliminate or reduce criminal activities and sales of illegal drugs. To put a band-aid on the rising convictions for possession, voters passed Measure 110, the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, on November 3, 2020. The law was designed to open up more money for treatment while decriminalizing possession of some small amounts of drugs.

    Those found in possession will get a citation and could face a $100 fine. While people caught with small amounts of these drugs can complete a health assessment to avoid paying the fine by calling the Addiction Recovery Center Hotline. The vote meant law enforcement officers in Oregon could no longer arrest someone for possession of small amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, oxycodone, and other drugs.

    Measure 110, required the Oregon Health Authority to establish at least one Behavioral Health Resource Network in each Oregon county. Senate Bill 755, passed in 2021, defined these county cooperative networks as BHRNs. The Oversight and Accountability Council has approved the final county, Jackson County, for drug treatment and recovery services funding. In total, the council has approved 44 BHRNs in Oregon's 36 counties, and some counties are served by more than one network.

    "Oregon has, for far too long, ranked near the bottom of states in providing services to help people suffering from addiction, even while having some of the highest addiction rates,” said the council's tri-chair Ron Williams in a statement to KATU.

    Measure 110 redirected millions of dollars in tax revenue from the state's legal marijuana industry to treatment. The Act’s grant program funded $264 million for BHRN addiction recovery centers. Top award went to Multnomah County for more than $58 million, more than $20 million went to Washington County, and more than $14 million to Clackamas County.

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

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

    Drug treatment is a priority issue for all the governor candidates claiming they can bring Oregon from near bottom ranking.

    Tina Kotek defends her time as Majority Leader, “When someone is ready to seek help for a mental health concern or substance use, that help should be easy to find and available – no matter where you live or what you can afford.” She claims to have invested nearly $500 million to expand access to mental health care, and $25 million in emergency funds to improve behavioral health services.

    Did she not know that in 2019 the National Institute on Drug Abuse established clinical research centers in networks around the country to improve opioid addiction treatment and address gaps in accessing high-quality care. Each center worked with five or more communities with organizations in justice settings and service providers. Oregon was granted one of the centers.

    In 2020, there were 247 treatment facilities in Oregon, and 8 percent are paid through Medicaid and Medicare. Others will be paid by private or state health insurance, federally-funded military insurance, and Indian Health Service. Other facilities provide treatment on a sliding scale.

    Betsy Johnson says, “I believe the state of Oregon should declare a state of emergency to address our crisis of addiction and mental health. We need to rebuild partnerships with all of our county health departments and provide staffing and resources for both inpatient and outpatient care. We need to demand that counties provide a greater focus on short-term shelter with access to life-saving services while longer-term solutions are ramping up.”

    Christine Drazan says she will “maintain and expand investments in addiction and mental health supports and services, including providing reimbursement rates that protect and expand access.” But she goes a step further and promises to work to repeal Measure 110, which decriminalized hard drugs like methamphetamine and heroin.

    Now with 44 new state BHRN centers, should the state throw more tax dollars at the problem, declare an emergency, or eliminate the source?

    --Donna Bleiler

    Post Date: 2022-09-08 11:13:23Last Update: 2022-09-08 13:49:56

    Portland Raises Parking Rates for Event District
    It’s less expensive to pay for a round-trip fare on public transit

    The Portland Bureau of Transportation, in partnership with Lloyd area businesses and residents, will begin implementing new rates for on-street parking during large-scale events to encourage public transit and biking, and reduce congestion and pollution in the Lloyd Event District.

    Starting Friday, Sept. 9, on-street parking will cost $3 an hour, up from $1 an hour, with meter hours operating until 10 p.m. The new rate will be in effect all day, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., this Friday through Sunday. The all-day rate will be in effect on three other days through the end of the year. On 24 other days, it will be in effect only from 5 to 10 p.m.

    The new rate is expected to relieve pressure on people who live or work in the Lloyd and Rose Quarter area, reducing traffic, and making it easier for residents and other visitors to find on-street parking.​

    According to PBOT, when people attend conventions and pro sports games in the busy neighborhood, it's less expensive for them to drive and park their cars in public, on-street parking spaces than it is to pay the $5 for a round-trip fare on public transit. This creates severe parking shortages, as parking occupancy jumps from about 30 percent normally to more than 90 percent during event days. With nine out of 10 spaces occupied, people drive in circles in the area to find parking, driving while distracted and creating congestion and delays for bus service and local residents and businesses.

    The event district for the Lloyd area was approved by City Council in April. It allows PBOT to charge $3 an hour during the 90 events a year that draw more than 10,000 visitors, mostly during evening hours. On-street parking will be affected at the 1,250 spaces in the area, where parking has historically been free or $1 an hour.

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

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

    Event parking districts using higher meter rates and extended hours of enforcement have been successful in managing parking impacts to event areas in other cities and in Southwest Portland near Providence Park Stadium.

    The district implements several policies passed by the city council over many years. In 2018, council passed an ordinance for the Performance Based Parking Management Manual, which outlines how and where to establish Event Parking Districts. It is consistent with the report and recommendations by the Pricing Options for Equitable Mobility Task Force, which were accepted by council last year.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-09-08 06:44:05Last Update: 2022-09-07 15:00:04

    OHA Shifts COVID-19 Reporting
    The changes do not mean the pandemic is over

    The Oregon Health Authority has announced changes to its reporting of COVID-19 data and provided an update on the new bivalent COVID-19 boosters. State health officials also gave an update on monkeypox in Oregon, including new demographic data and recommendations for monkeypox vaccines.

    OHA Director Patrick Allen said COVID-19 data reporting is changing next week, with the COVID-19 Data Update moving to a weekly schedule and other data moving to a monthly cycle. "Shifting our reporting to match where we are in the pandemic will also allow us to free up resources that can be used for responding to other public health events that are equally important," Allen said.

    Dean Sidelinger, M.D. MSEd, health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA, said the state has recorded fewer COVID-19-related cases and hospitalizations, but still has high levels of circulation based on wastewater and testing results.

    Sidelinger encouraged all eligible Oregonians to get a newly approved COVID-19 booster as soon as they can. "As we head into fall, as more of us spend time indoors, the updated booster will be the best way to protect ourselves and those around us from severe illness and hospitalization caused by the predominant BA.5 and BA.4 COVID-19 subvariants," he said.

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

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

    Sidelinger also said OHA has counted 179 presumptive and confirmed cases of monkeypox as of today. He said Oregon has distributed, or is in the process of distributing, more than 40,080 doses of the Jynneos vaccine and 263 courses of the investigational antiviral drug known as tecovirimat — or TPOXX — since June 20. He encouraged people to talk to their providers about testing if they have symptoms of monkeypox. Providers should test their patients for the virus, even if it's only suspected, based on a patient's symptoms, he said.

    New dashboard focuses on cases, hospitalizations and deaths by vaccination status The new dashboard will display information previously available in the Breakthrough Case Report and will highlight trends in cases, hospitalizations and deaths by vaccination status over time. Data are available at state and county levels. The updated dashboard aligns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) COVID-19 hospitalizations by vaccination status dashboard.

    According to the OHA new dashboard data demonstrate that COVID-19 vaccines are very effective at protecting people from developing severe illness, being hospitalized and dying. COVID-19 vaccines are widely available and free to everyone in Oregon.

    The new dashboard will replace the monthly Breakthrough Case Report, which will no longer be updated. The dashboard will be published for the first time on Sept. 8 and published on the second Wednesday of the month.

    The changes do not mean the pandemic is over. OHA will continue to monitor and report cases, deaths, hospitalizations, variants, vaccination and booster rates and other developments. These monitoring efforts include analyzing wastewater samples across the state to track COVID-19 spread.

    --Ritch Hanneman

    Post Date: 2022-09-07 18:47:03Last Update: 2022-09-07 19:30:03

    OHA Reporting Sexual Orientation Data for Monkeypox
    It will support data justice in communities most affected by health disparities

    The Oregon Health Authority has begun publishing monthly reports of monkeypox case data by sexual orientation or gender identity, and by expanded categories of race and ethnicity. According to the OHA, publication of the data, in consultation with OHA's Equity and Inclusion Division, will help the agency better understand the diversity of the people living in Oregon, which will help it identify and address health disparities and support data justice in communities most affected by health disparities.

    The monkeypox outbreak is the first communicable disease outbreak for which OHA is publicly reporting sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) data, and data from expanded race and ethnicity categories found in REALD, or race and ethnicity, language or disability. The data will be reported each month on OHA's monkeypox (hMPXV) website.

    "OHA has established a strategic goal to achieve health equity by 2030," said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA. "A critical component to meeting this goal is ensuring meaningful access to services for everyone in Oregon, regardless of their race, ethnicity, language, disability, or sexual orientation and gender identity. The REALD and SOGI data will help guide OHA and its partners in an equitable response to the monkeypox outbreak."

    In 2021, the Oregon Legislature passed HB 3159, which charged OHA with drafting and adding SOGI questions to the current data collection standards in OHA Oregon Administrative Rules, building a data collection system for both REALD and SOGI, and developing and implementing reporting requirements.

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

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

    In 2018, OHA's Equity and Inclusion Division convened a Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data Collection Committee. The group consists of internal and external stakeholders who interact with the LGBTQ+ community and health systems, many of whom identify as LGBTQ+ themselves.

    The Oregon Legislature passed HB 3159 in 2021, charging OHA with drafting and adding SOGI questions to the current data collection standards in OHA Oregon Administrative Rules, building a data collection system for both REALD and SOGI and developing and implementing reporting requirements. The SOGI Data Collection Committee draft data collection standards have been implemented in Oregon's public health communicable disease data collection system known as Orpheus.

    OHA and local public health partners have been collecting SOGI information from people diagnosed with monkeypox since the start of the outbreak in Oregon.

    While the narrative of monkeypox in the United States has centered on cisgender gay men as the population most affected by the virus, this narrative does not reflect the full spectrum of people who have been affected by monkeypox. The SOGI will help illuminate the experiences of people with other gender identities and sexual orientations in the Oregon outbreak of monkeypox, Sidelinger said.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-09-07 12:01:08Last Update: 2022-09-07 12:43:36

    Democrats Take Credit for Fiscal State
    “Thanks to the fiscally responsible decisions, we are well positioned”

    As the state released its quarterly economic forecast, and despite massive infusions of federal dollars for COVID relief as well as enormous federal borrowing to buoy a fragile economy and stave off economic downturn, Governor Brown took credit for whatever positive was in the economic forecast.

    “Thanks to the fiscally responsible decisions the State of Oregon has made over the last several years, we are well positioned with significant reserves to weather any economic challenges that lie ahead. Now, we must continue to make investments to benefit Oregon’s working families, so that all Oregonians can feel the benefits of our strong economic recovery.

    “With rising costs of living continuing to impact Oregon families and businesses, the Legislature can, in the budget for the next biennium, build on the investments we made in the last session -- particularly in housing, workforce development, behavioral health, and child care. “And, thanks to the work of Oregon’s congressional delegation and the Biden-Harris administration to pass the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can continue to invest federal dollars to lower costs and create jobs for working families.”

    “Oregon’s economy is still strong. Oregon Senate Democrats’ investments in housing, education and childcare are showing results. The market is stabilizing and our budgets continue to reflect our success. We are driving down costs for everyday Oregonians and providing investments and opportunity for every community around the state," said Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego). "The responsible and fiscally smart leadership of Oregon Democrats have left us with the largest budget reserves in Oregon state history,” failing to recognize the impact of massive federal spending. Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) took a more sobering line. “Our economists say Oregon is doing well. Not all Oregonians feel the same way. We should invest in our communities carefully… and stay on our toes. If there is a downturn, Oregon will be ready.”

    Oregon House Speaker Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) issued a rosy statement. “The Oregon economy continues to be fundamentally strong. Hiring has increased, our unemployment rate is near its lowest level on record, and we hold record reserves following years of sound fiscal management by Democratic leadership. After a session in which we made critical one-time investments in all corners of the state, we’ll keep prioritizing the issues Oregonians care most about like housing, behavioral health support, abortion access and more.”

    House Majority Leader Julie Fahey (D-Eugene) used the occasion to take a swipe at Oregon producers. “Today’s revenue forecast demonstrates steady growth in our economy and shows why we must continue to invest in working and low-income Oregonians, as well as small businesses, which make up 99.4% of all businesses in the state. When corporations and the wealthiest of Americans are raking in the largest profit margins since the 1950s and have received generous tax break handouts, it’s past time we build an economy that works for everyone -- not just those at the top. [[ADS_SLUG4]] “That means focusing our investments on driving down cost of living, addressing the ongoing affordable housing crisis, creating stronger schools, improving our childcare infrastructure, and supporting small businesses. These investments will help all Oregonians prosper, not just now but in the years to come. Because we know that when everyone has economic opportunity and the resources they need to thrive, we are all stronger and better for it.”

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-09-07 11:40:44Last Update: 2022-09-07 18:37:01

    Transportation Commission to Meet on Tolling
    Commenters providing testimony for the first time will be given priority

    The Oregon Transportation Commission will meet Thursday, Sept. 13, at 9:00am in the Gail Achterman Conference Room of the Transportation Building, 355 Capitol Street N.E., in Salem. A remote option for participating in the meeting is available.

    Items on the agenda include: You can join the meeting in-person, join via YouTube Livestream: (closed captioning provided), or listen only by phone at 1-346-248-7799 or 1-669-900-6833 — Webinar ID: 829 7831 6786

    According to ODOT, members of the public are asked to submit written comment in advance of the Sept. 13 meeting and sign up for real-time virtual oral public comment. To sign up, please complete the comment form and RSVP by Friday, Sept. 9 at 3 p.m. The form is available on our website at

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

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

    ODOT reminds participants that participation will be limited to one representative per organization. Additionally, commenters (and organizations) who are providing oral testimony to the OTC for the first time will be given priority for the limited available testimony spots.

    To submit written testimony or comment electronically, please use the submission form on the OTC website by Friday, Sept. 9 at 3 p.m. to guarantee inclusion in the meeting packet. Comments not included in the meeting packet will be shared with commissioners after the meeting. Email written comments to

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-09-06 13:14:23Last Update: 2022-09-06 13:28:05

    Fires Rage in Eastern Oregon
    Fire is burning 22,000 acres in Wallowa County

    Governor Kate Brown has invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act in response to the Double Creek Fire burning near the community of Imnaha and the Sturgill Fire burning south of the community of Lostine -- both in Wallowa County. This declaration allows the Office of the State Fire Marshal to take unified command today. The fires are estimated to be 10,000 and 12,000 acres respectively in size, and the Wallowa County Sheriff's Office has issued Level 3, Level 2, and Level 1 evacuation orders for homes near the fires.

    "The Double Creek Fire grew rapidly overnight, requiring additional resources to battle the fire and support the state's response. The Sturgill Fire grew rapidly and has the potential for further growth in the coming days, which requires additional resources to support response efforts," said Governor Brown. "With many fires actively burning across the state and several weeks of peak fire season ahead of us, I am urging all Oregonians to be prepared. Please continue to follow local and statewide fire prevention regulations and share what you know with others. Every fire we prevent helps keep our communities and firefighters safe, and our natural resources protected."

    In accordance with ORS 476.510-476.610, Governor Brown determined that a threat to life, safety, and property exists due to the fire, and the threat exceeds the firefighting capabilities of local firefighting personnel and equipment. The Governor's declaration cleared the way for the State Fire Marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment to assist local resources battling the fire and further support a coordinated response.

    Currently, local mutual aid and federal resources are on scene working to slow the fire's progress. An OSFM Incident Management Team will be briefed and will assume unified command today with federal partners. OSFM will bring in four additional task forces through the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System from Lane, Clatsop, Washington, and Yamhill Counties to assist in the response.

    With forecasted winds and multiple lightning-caused fires already burning near communities in Oregon, OSFM will remain vigilant with response efforts. An OSFM Incident Management Team is already mobilized and will remain in place to assume unified command of the Sturgill Fire. OSFM will assess response needs with the forecasted weather and fire conditions and bring in additional task forces through the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System as needed.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-09-06 12:46:08Last Update: 2022-09-06 13:14:23

    Hoyle Called Out for Tax Increases
    Her decision to tax hospitals and nursing homes hurts seniors

    In 2013, Val Hoyle voted to raise taxes on hospitals and nursing homes. According to a press release from the Alec Skarlatos Campaign, "Val Hoyle failed to realize that these costs would be passed to seniors and families across Oregon, and today the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs has steadily increased, with prices expected to rise again in 2023." Skarlatos is running against Hoyle to replace Peter DeFazio in Congressional District 2 in Southern Oregon.

    “It was shortsighted for Val Hoyle to raise taxes on Oregon’s hospitals and nursing homes because now these costs have been passed along through higher healthcare costs to seniors and families across Oregon,” said Oregon National Guard Veteran Alek Skarlatos. “I’m running for Congress to offer fresh ideas and new solutions, and it starts by lowering the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, which Joe Biden, Val Hoyle, and the Democrats who run Washington have failed to accomplish.”

    On May 14, 2013, Val Hoyle voted for HB 2216 that would extend the sunset on a collection of hospital assessment.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-09-06 11:53:41Last Update: 2022-09-06 16:29:19

    Political Event Focuses on Elections
    Marc Thielman announced he intends to run for Secretary of State

    The Gathering of Eagles and Oregon Liberty Coalition’s Rally Around the Flag held their fifth event since joining forces. It was filled with evidence from groups and individual seeking justice in Oregon’s election system.

    Two counties, Coos and Lane, told of their efforts filing public records requests and in Coos County the hard drive “crashed” destroying all records causing the county clerk to resign. Rod Taylor presented information on how your party can be identified in the numbering on the envelope. The Legislature authorized counties to do away with security sleeves exposing the ballot number through the envelope window.

    Paul Metzler from Lane County provided information that Lane County has a large number of people registered in vacant lots. Through canvassing teams, they are finding people registered in homes that don’t live there to the tune of 11,823 more adults on the voter roll than the U.S. Census. Their teams are also monitoring drop boxes and they follow the ballot pickup. They are recognized as a great roadmap for other counties.

    Attorney Stephen Joncus told the audience that lawsuits are showing “extreme” levels of fraud in the election system. On September 20-21 the Tim Sippel case will be heard in Washington County to determine if the public has a right to public records. The Oregon Secretary of State has inserted itself into the case and Attorney General Rosenbaum put on record that the “election tabulators are subject to physical and wireless attacks and if the information is released, it would cause irreparable harm to Oregon’s election system.” Admitting the election machines are accessible to manipulation Joncus said will carry weight in lawsuits. The Secretary of State is telling county clerks not to respond to records requests and upping the charges. They are working to get court intervention.

    Joncus is working with Marc Thielman using the case of Brown v Board of Education, which founded that separate but equal was unconstitutional. The court said the case is not determined on casual factors, we’re not going to measure whether black and white schools are technically equal in what they provide to students. It’s more intangible factors that separates children by race and creates a sense of inequality, inferiority or a crisis of confidence. The court said, of course it exists, so they overturned the case that said, separate but equal was constitutional. Applied to our elections, we have a crisis of confidence in our election system.

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

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

    Thielman explained how he is attempting to get conservatives to work together in a PAC called He is taking a reverse tactic filing suit to prove there is no election fraud. He told how conservative voters holding their votes to the last day influenced Arizona overwhelming the algorithms that caused what Mei Wong’s race experienced in Clackamas County.

    Clackamas County could not explain to Mei Wong why her election numbers went down election night and the week following. Mei Wong and Dana Hindman have formed the Justice League of Oregon to raise funds to file a lawsuit and merge with other lawsuits. They will have a follow up with an election integrity symposium on September 24.

    Marc Thielman wowed the audience when he announced he intends to run for Secretary of State and continue the fight against election fraud.

    Janice Dysinger, Oregonians for Fair Election, told of Clean Voter Rolls and how you can check who is registered at your address on She employed everyone to please pray for all the activities against voter fraud. Dysinger told of the Secretary of State’s attempt to silence her by telling her to preface her speeches by quoting statutes.

    Richard Burke trained on how to canvass – what to do and what not to do. He encouraged everyone to get active and he makes it sound easy and doable for anyone. He offers training for anyone running for county clerk or any office.

    John Tamny, Director of FreedomWorks Center for Economic Freedom, spoke by livestream and answered questions from the audience regarding the economy. He points out that the people are the economy and it’s unfair of politicians to claim they control the economy. When responding about companies, he said, “Never, ever bet against the United States.” He closed with the economy is still experiencing the effects of when they had us locked in our homes.

    Dr. Douglas Frank, known for his scientific modeling of the U.S. elections was the keynote speaker. He has a 92-99 percent predictability from his algorithms and data. Oregon has 107 percent more registered voters than eligible voters. The Secretary of State website says there are 7,236 more people voted than the 2020 voter history. He illustrated that Lane County had 652 more register voters than eligible voters, and Coos County had 153. Every county in Oregon, Frank said, cannot reconcile their numbers.

    Motor voter has smoothed out the algorithms so every county has the same 83 numbers sequencing. That’s why once one county’s codes are established it can be repeated for every county. It can predict the vote for every age and party. The random voting disappears when there is centralized control by the state. He exposed 300 missing ballots in Lane County for them to pursue. His work has revealed that county clerks do not have the technical training to know how to back up their data. Education is key, but the fix is local. It starts from the bottom up – that means canvassing your neighborhoods. Dr. Frank’s work can be found on rumble.

    Tina Peters also presented by livestream because the judge wouldn’t authorize her to travel. She is the Colorado election clerk arrested for doing her job and making a forensic copy of her county’s election data. To close the day, the movie, Selection Code, was shown that tells her story. It is based on the Mesa III Report and how the machines are manipulating the votes.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-09-05 16:29:55Last Update: 2022-09-07 15:23:21

    Recalls Filed for Salem-Keizer School District
    "Schools should be free from the political or personal agendas of the adults

    On August 23, 2022 chief petitioner and parent activist Casity Trout submitted the recall paperwork to recall Salem Keizer school board members Karina Guzman-Ortiz, Ashley Carson-Cottingham, and Osvaldo Avila. According to the group Salem-Keizer Education First, "Parents and concerned citizens across the Salem Keizer School District will no longer sit idly by while they witness public education continue putting the futures of their children on the backburner as they indoctrinate young minds and negate to provide them with a rigorous academic experience. The reasons for recall petitions are cited below:


    Karina Guzman Ortiz does not prioritize academics for students in the Salem Keizer school district, her top priority is board policies with a focus on "accepting and confirming BIPOC and marginalized student voices and increasing culturally responsive school leadership, teaching and curriculum." She believes white supremacy is a structural and systemic issue, and believes white people are privileged and cannot experience racism. She is quoted saying " ... racism operates at the systemic institutional level and we understand that marginalized communities and oppressed communities do not benefit off the structural support and structural benefits or privileges that many white people do." She strongly supports students expressing their gender at school and "in due time they might be able to share that with family members". She has supported putting a ban on expulsion and suspension for students despite the growing number of disciplinary incidents occurring in our schools since the cancelation of School Resource Officers. She has supported spending taxpayer funds on feminine hygiene products in every boy’s bathroom including at the elementary level. Student safety is at risk; she supported the removal of SRO's when data included 170+ interactions involving weapons. She voted to ban concealed carry while on district grounds.

    Zone 3

    Former Board chair, Osvaldo Avila, labels parents whose values differ from his own with divisive rhetoric and slander to dismiss their concerns; even referring to them as "book burners," while supporting books that illustrate with pictures, in detail, teen's giving oral sex and having intercourse. He's supported special interest groups who use hate speech to intimidate parents; calling them "white supremacists," "racists," and "transphobic." Avila has given preferred treatment to these groups with early entry to board meetings, permitting them to hide their identity when giving public comment, and allowing them to harass parents through physical posturing, name calling and threatening behavior. These same groups have harassed board members with opposing views at their homes and places of work to intimidate them. Avila's bias against parents was further illustrated when he stated "the primary onus is the educators, are the ones responsible for the education" Indicating parents' rights are less than educators. Student safety is at risk; he supported the discontinuation of student safety data collection that previously included reports of over 11,000 disciplinary incidents students were involved in. He supported the removal of SRO's when data included 170+ interactions involving weapons. He voted to ban lawful background checked concealed carry.

    Zone 1

    Ashley Carson-Cottingham does not prioritize student academics and education according to her strategic goals for 2022/2023. In outlining HER goals, she stated "I'm really interested in school-based health centers (SBHC)". SBHC will allow minors to seek medical care, to include for conditions as serious as HIV, without parental consent or knowledge per ORS 109.640. Her chosen priority ignores the fact that less than half of all third graders are not meeting reading proficiency goals. She has not maintained order in the boardroom as outlined in Board Chairs Role policy, allowing for hate speech, intimidation and race-baiting from special interest groups who contributed to her campaign. This creates safety concerns for attendees. Parents feel intimidated, as though they have no participation rights in the education of their student while having forced differing ideologies taught to their children. Years of research have highlighted the importance of parent involvement in student success. Ashley is in support of graphic books in the district libraries that portray teenagers giving and receiving oral sex and having intercourse. She voted to ban concealed carry-on district grounds, is against renewing the SRO contract, and is in favor of the transgender policies that were created without parent input.

    According to Salem-Keizer Education First, "Several groups in the Salem Keizer School District community make up several thousand individuals who demand that the classrooms are a neutral, safe, welcoming and inclusive place for all students." Chief petitioner, Casity Troutt commented on the book Gender Queer, stating that “the objection and outrage over the inappropriate and pornographic materials is not at all an attack on LGTBQIA+ students or the BIPOC students. Parents would equally object to any book as graphic and sexually explicit if it were about a heterosexual person. There is no objection to teaching about the horrors of racism, it must be done so we can continue to grow and move on from such an ugly part of history but only with telling the truth and not in glorifying an institution that seeks to breed division. We want all students to be welcomed, safe, happy, healthy and to receive an excellent education so they can have a promising future”.

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

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

    "Schools should be free from the political or personal agendas of the adults and are conducive to thinking and learning critically. They demand that students are once again taught the fundamentals like reading, writing, math, history and science. Parents are saying no to indoctrination and that they have every right to have a decision in what their child is being exposed to in schools because parenting doesn't end when the bell rings," according to the group Salem-Keizer Education First.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-09-02 06:54:47Last Update: 2022-09-02 16:28:37

    Equitable Diplomas Report Released by ODE
    The bill was panned for eliminating much of the requirements for graduation

    Following an extensive community engagement process, the Oregon Department of Education has released a report to the Oregon Legislature and State Board of Education titled, "Community-Informed Recommendations for Equitable Graduation Outcomes: Senate Bill 744 Report." When the Oregon Legislature passed SB 744, it directed the Department of Education to review state requirements for high school diploma and to make recommendations related to requirements. At the time, the bill was panned for eliminating much of the requirements for graduation.

    The report, developed by the Oregon Department of Education in response to legislative request, contains a summary of the department's engagement process and feedback, a review of current Oregon diploma requirements, a review of graduation data and essential skills, a scan of nationwide diploma requirements and trends, and determinations and recommendations for the Oregon Legislature and State Board of Education to consider and inform future graduation policy decisions. Oregon's graduation requirements were last reviewed in 2007 and updated in 2008 and phased in through 2013.

    The Oregon Department of Education, Oregon retains stringent requirements for teaching and assessment of reading, writing, math and all other content areas within high school courses, as the number of high school credits required has not changed and remains as rigorous as any in the nation. To earn a diploma in Oregon, students must earn passing grades in 24 high school credits, including four years of language arts and three years of math.

    To develop the recommendations, ODE coordinated extensive statewide engagement, involving more than 3,500 diverse students, community members, families, educators, and representatives of higher education and workforce and industry. ODE also conducted an in-depth review of Oregon graduation data by investigating inequities and disparities, exploring diploma policies in other states and comparing Oregon diploma policies with national trends.

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

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

    Statewide, local, and regional engagement was hosted by both ODE and Oregon's Kitchen Table to gather feedback from a diverse variety of community members. Participants were asked what they value in education and what a diploma means to them, their family, and their community.

    "Oregon is fortunate to have so many diverse community members from throughout the state deeply committed to informing future graduation policies," said Colt Gill, Director of Oregon Department of Education. "Their contributions enabled the Oregon Department of Education to perform a deep, equity-based review of diploma policies to help prepare Oregon's students for a productive and opportunity-filled future. Thank you to everyone who participated in this necessary review."

    The report includes two determinations in response to questions posed by SB 744, which ODE was entrusted with addressing. The report does not recommend changing diploma requirements in basic academic skills. Determination #1 addresses the question, "of whether the skills and knowledge expected to be attained by persons who earn high school diplomas in this state... align with the requirements for high school diplomas in this state." Determination #2 addresses the question, "of whether the requirements for high school diplomas in this state have been applied inequitably to different student populations."

    ODE developed final recommendations by following the principles listed below when synthesizing the information gathered from the review and engagement process:

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

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

    These recommendations are intended to make Oregon's diploma requirements more equitable, accessible, and inclusive for all students. The recommendations do not stand alone and should not be implemented independently. If the State Board of Education and/or Legislature consider implementation of any of the recommendations they should be implemented in a coordinated fashion that is further informed by active and robust community engagement.

    The final report and supporting appendices can be accessed online. The process and report offer an opportunity for the Legislature and State Board of Education to review Oregon's diploma requirements and consider updates to better serve all of our youth. This report shows that Oregon has a chance to reimagine and rebuild our education system in a way that more equitably serves Oregon's students. This report in and of itself does not direct any action on Oregon's diploma requirements, any action based on these requirements would be signaled by future direction from the Oregon Legislature or State Board of Education.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-09-01 11:21:20Last Update: 2022-09-01 13:54:47

    Secretary of State Recognizes Constitution Party Leadership
    Elections are nearing

    In a letter to Constitution Party Leadership the Election Division of the Oregon Secretary of State, "hereby determines that Jack Brown is the recognized chair of the [Constitution] Party. Accordingly, the Elections Division will only accept Candidate Filing -- Minor Political Party forms (SEL 110) certified by party officers that Roger Shipman notified the Division of on August 8, 2022, which are: The letter summarized the internal party dispute. "In June 2022 the Division received a written complaint against three members of the Party’s leadership including Jack Brown. The complaint alleged that the Party violated Oregon election law by not providing proper notice regarding nominating conventions and committee meetings. The Division opened an investigation into the allegations. On August 4, 2022, the Division issued its determination that the Party violated Oregon election law by failing to provide sufficient and timely notice of a nominating convention. Accordingly, the Division advised the Party to update its bylaws to comply with ORS 248.009(1) and to schedule another nominating convention or delegate selecting convention to appropriately nominate candidates to the 2022 general election.

    "On August 8, 2022, Roger Shipman filed an updated list of Party officers with the Division as required by ORS 248.009(2). On August 12, 2022 Jack Brown filed updated Party bylaws with the Division as required by ORS 248.009(1)."

    The party held a second convention in late August.

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

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

    After the Division issued a decision in the investigation discussed above, a group of Party members attempted to become the recognized Party leadership (“Blansett’s group”). Blansett’s group purported to hold a nominating convention to nominate candidates and update the Party’s bylaws. On August 22, 2022 Lucian Blansett filed bylaws reportedly adopted by party members the previous day. Blansett also filed three SEL 110 forms indicating that the group nominated Michael Stettler to the office of US Senator, Paul Romero to the office of Governor, and Caleb Abel to the office of State Representative, District 1. On August 29, 2022, the Division received an SEL 110 indicating that Blansett’s group nominated Thomas Zoll to the office of US Representative, 4th District.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-31 06:21:12Last Update: 2022-08-30 16:06:15

    Ethics Complaint Filed Against Senator Lawrence Spence
    “I find it hard to imagine she wouldn’t put in for the state money”

    During the 2022 Legislative Session, the Legislature passed SB 1579 which directs the Oregon Business Development Department to develop and implement Economic Equity Investment Program to award grants to organizations that provide culturally responsive services to support economic stability, self-sufficiency, wealth building and economic equity among disadvantaged individuals, families, businesses and communities in Oregon.

    An ethics complaint has been filed against Senator Akasha Lawrence Spence (D-Portland) by Gary Hughes and Gabriel Buehler both of Tigard. According to the complaint, "Lawrence Spence is the Founder and Principal of Fifth Element LLC. According to business filings with the Secretary of State, Fifth Element's primary business activity is "conscientious real estate development." Fifth Element's website provides more information about what that means with statements like, "We provide the vehicle for these small business owners to diversify their businesses and build wealth through commercial property ownership," "Helping small businesses achieve ownership is only the first step," and "fortifying small businesses through property ownership."

    The complaint continues, "As we read SB 1579, under the Economic Equity Investment Program, taxpayer dollars will now be distributed to organizations to improve "economic equity." Section 2(3) defines measurements of "economic equity," the first being the ownership of real property. This is an explicit business activity of Fifth Element. It appears that Senator Lawrence Spence’s business, Fifth Element, would be eligible for grant money through the Economic Equity Investment Program and, if awarded, she would receive pecuniary benefits from the passage of SB 1579."

    In a hearing before the Oregon Senate Committee on Conduct, Legislative Counsel weighed in, saying "we believe it is more likely than not that Senator Lawrence Spence violated ORS 244.120 and Senate Rule 3.33 by failing to declare a potential conflict of interest before voting on SB 1579. Lawrence Spence not only voted for the bill on the Senate Floor, but was a chief sponsor of the bill.

    Through her attorney, Clifford S. Davidson with Portland-based law firm Snell & Wilmer, Senator Lawrence Spence responded to the committee. According to testimony, "Prior to voting, and when she voted, on SB 1579, Senator Lawrence Spence had no intention of applying for a grant created by SB 1579."

    One staffer who is familiar with the case said, "I find it hard to imagine she wouldn't put in for the state money that her bill provided."

    The Senate Committee on Conduct was deadlocked 2-2 on a motion that Senator Lawrence Spence violated ORS 244.120 and Senate Rule 3.33, and then voted to take no further action. The vote was a clean party-line split with Senators Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River) and Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) voting yes and Senators Fred Girod (R-Stayton) and Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland) voting no.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-30 10:38:56Last Update: 2022-08-30 11:53:41

    Shooting in Bend Safeway Leaves Three Dead
    Surrett engaged with the shooter and attempted to disarm him

    At approximately 7:04 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28, Bend Police responded to multiple 911 calls reporting shots fired at the Forum Shopping Center in northeast Bend. Those calls included information that at least one person was shooting in the parking lot of Costco and Big Lots before entering the west entrance of Safeway. The shooter has been identified as Ethan Blair Miller of Bend.

    Bend Police officers arrived on scene within two to three minutes of the dispatched call. They could hear gunfire coming from the Safeway. Officers simultaneously entered the store from different entrances, running toward the shooter as shots were still being fired. Four minutes elapsed from the time of the first dispatch until officers reported to dispatch that the suspected shooter was down.

    One person, identified as 84-year-old Glenn Edward Bennett, a former medic in the Korean War, was shot inside the west entrance. Officers and medics with Bend Fire & Rescue rendered aid at the scene. Medics transported Bennett, but he did not survive his injuries.

    The shooter continued firing as he moved through the store before encountering Safeway employee and Army Veteran Donald Ray Surrett, Jr., a 66-year-old Bend resident, in the produce section of the store. Police believe Surrett engaged with the shooter and attempted to disarm him, potentially helping to save additional lives. Surrett was shot and died from his injuries at the scene.

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

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

    The shooter was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the scene. Bend Police did not fire any shots. Police also received reports of at least two people who sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

    Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a statement, saying “Last night’s shooting was one of several in Oregon just this weekend. The families of these victims will forever be impacted by these senseless acts. All Oregonians deserve to be safe from gun violence.”

    The Bend City Council also spoke. “We are devastated that Bend has become the latest community to experience a mass shooting aimed at causing fear. As leaders at the local level, we pledge to do everything in our power to advocate for the policies we need as a state and a country to curb gun violence and end the epidemic of mass shootings that plagues our communities. Everyone deserves to feel safe from gun violence in our community."

    Law enforcement teams continue to investigate information the shooter may have posted online, which Bend Police learned about after the shooting took place. The shooter had no criminal history in the area and Bend Police have no evidence of prior threats from him. Bend Police are partnering with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to determine how the shooter accessed the firearms used in the shooting.

    The families of the victims have asked for privacy at this time. We ask that you honor their request.

    Bend Police have set up a tip line. If you have any information you believe investigators should know about this incident, please call 541-322-6380. We also have officers at Micks Drive in the shopping center to allow people to collect property and vehicles left at the scene. Mental health counselors will also be at that location.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-30 10:23:36Last Update: 2022-08-30 11:43:49

    Meet the 2022 Candidates for Oregon Congressional District 6
    The race for CD6 is Mike Erickson v Andrea Salinas

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

    Mike Erickson (R-Tigard) and Representative Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswgo) are competing for the new Congressional District 6. The district is carved out of the mid-valley. The district comprises Yamhill and Polk Counties, the western part of Marion County, including Salem and the I- 5 corridor and reaches up into the Southwest Portland area. It also includes parts of Clackamas and Washington counties.

    Salinas was the Chair of the House Special Committee On Congressional Redistricting that drew the lines for the new district, which conveniently carved out the predominantly Democrat area in Southwest Portland that might give her an edge. The polls are currently telling a different outcome and has the attention of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

    Prior to serving in the legislature, Salinas worked as a lobbyist for the government employee union SEIU Local 503 where she says that she worked to "help provide Oregon families with a fair shot by increasing the minimum wage, fighting climate change, and providing comprehensive reproductive health care coverage to all Oregon women." She served as House Majority Whip while representing House District 38. She has a BA in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.

    While Salinas’ career has been focused on spending taxpayer money, Erickson assists companies and organizations on how to save money as Founder and CEO of AFMS. They help companies of all sizes with supply chain solutions. Erickson has been involved in the transportation- logistics industry for over three decades. His work was recognized by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) as a voice for small businesses. Erickson graduated from Portland State University in business.

    Erickson has had a lot to say about the newly passed Inflation Reduction Act – it will do nothing to reduce inflation, but it will grow government. “The Act is absolutely counter to what people say they want from their lawmakers,” Erickson said. “The bill does nothing to help financially struggling Americans or protect our communities. Even the United States Committee on Finance, chaired by Oregon’s Ron Wyden, published a news release stating that citizens making under $400,000 a year would experience tax hikes… What is supposed to relieve the financial pressure on Americans has become a way to push through costly tax measures inconsistent with the title of the new law.”

    Salinas sees inflation through the equity lens. In Congress, she intends to fight for a $15 minimum wage, paid family and medical leave, and an even bigger social safety net for our communities. She will also work to win overtime pay for workers that aren’t currently eligible under the Fair Labor Standards Act and will be focused on creating a path to citizenship. She wants to ensure that marginalized communities are provided with opportunities to prosper in a new, clean energy economy by taking bold steps, and not further harm or marginalize by the impacts of climate change.

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

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

    Contrary to Salinas, Erickson sees energy independence as a way to make everyone thrive and grow the economy. He refers to a recent report that found Oregon gas prices remain almost $1 per gallon above the national average. “We must focus on infrastructure development and improving job opportunities and growth for Oregonians,” Erickson said.

    Erickson is critical of the Biden administration and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ decision to lift Title 42 restrictions on immigration due to health concerns. He sees securing the border to stop illegal immigration going hand-in-hand with fighting crime to increase public safety. He added that he has no confidence in Secretary Mayorkas and will be an ardent supporter of border security and common-sense immigration policies.

    Erickson wants to see Oregon’s Ballot Measure 110 reversed – it has backfired on Oregonians. He makes the point on Facebook that “the radical left must be held accountable for the decriminalization of hard drugs that has allowed crime to run rampant through our communities… I know that if we’re going to make Oregon safe, our brave police officers need to be invigorated, supported, and provided with all necessary resources!”

    Erickson believes we need a new approach to improve education – one that prepares students for the jobs of today, not for whatever racial standards politicians approve of at any given moment.

    Salinas reiterates the Democrat agenda to pass what she calls common sense gun legislation like implementing universal background checks on gun sales, enacting a red flag law, disarming domestic abusers, reducing police violence, focusing on decreasing city gun violence, and holding the gun lobby accountable. Additionally, she supports Medicare for all and a single-payer system, she is an abortion and reproductive rights champion, and wants to take her bill that recognized racism as a public health crisis to congress.

    Salinas says she will focus on our democratic institutions to ensure that we continue to build a diverse, inclusive and representative democracy, and proud to be endorsed by organization aimed at building a democracy that is inclusive of all people. She says she is ready to head to Congress to fight for all people and provide progressive representation. What will her answer be if she is to take the oath of office to our Republic Constitution?

    Salinas and Erickson are joined by Larry McFarland, the Constitution Party nominee. McFarland is a retired contractor and project manager for 41 years. He served in the Navy six years and received a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Chemeketa Community College.

    --Donna Bleiler

    Post Date: 2022-08-29 18:53:42Last Update: 2022-08-29 19:25:56

    Kate Brown Declares State of Emergency Due to Wildfires
    “Be prepared for the ones we can’t prevent”

    Oregon's Governor Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency due to the imminent threat of wildfire across Oregon. Much of the state continues to experience high temperatures, wind, storms with dry lightning, and persistent drought. With the extended forecast in Oregon calling for continued warm and dry conditions—and with many parts of the state in drought emergencies—the threat of wildfire in Oregon is imminent.

    "With wildfire behavior increasing across the state, and with the threat of fire not likely to recede in the near future, it is imperative that we act now to prevent further loss—of life, property, business, and our natural resources," said Governor Kate Brown. "I issued this emergency declaration to ensure every resource is made available for firefighting efforts and to the crews striving to protect our state.

    "It is equally important that each of us do our part to prevent wildfires and to be prepared for the ones we can’t prevent. I am urging Oregonians to take charge in preventing human-caused fires by being safe, responsible, and aware. I am also encouraging individuals and families to be prepared by making an emergency plan and to follow all evacuation orders should they occur in areas of active wildfire."

    Pursuant to ORS 401.165 et seq, Governor Brown determined that a threat to life, safety, and property exists due to the imminent threat of wildfire.

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

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

    The Governor's declaration authorizes the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Office of the State Fire Marshal, in coordination with the Oregon Department 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.

    This emergency 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 throughout this season. When state and national resources are limited, the Oregon National Guard will deploy firefighting resources in accordance with Operations Plan Smokey 2022.

    --Ben Fisher

    Post Date: 2022-08-28 18:13:12Last Update: 2022-08-28 18:26:00

    Meet the 2022 Candidates for Oregon Congressional District 5
    Where do they stand on the issues?

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

    Two Candidates are competing for Oregon's 5th Congressional District, Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer and Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

    Congressional District 5 may be the most nonsensical and carved out district in the shape of a person holding a firearm. The gerrymandering of the newly created district was criticized by many.

    Lori Chavez-DeRemer served as the mayor of Happy Valley, Oregon from 2010 to 2018, after serving on the Happy Valley City Council. Her mayoral election was historic, as she became the first female and first Latina elected to this office. Lori and her husband founded Anesthesia Associates Northwest, and today run several medical clinics throughout the Pacific Northwest. Lori received her Bachelor’s in Business Administration Management from California State University, Fresno.

    Jamie McLeod-Skinner lives with her wife in Central Oregon where they raise dogs, goats, and chickens. She claims to be a small business owner and emergency response coordinator that supposedly focuses on communities and protecting natural resources.

    McLeod-Skinner is a former union member, she says that she is an outspoken advocate for Oregon’s working people and farm workers.

    McLeod-Skinner began her public service managing the repairs of schools and hospitals in Bosnia and Kosovo before returning to the U.S. to manage refugee resettlement programs, work in city and regional planning, and serve on a city council. Jamie holds a Master’s in Regional Planning, and a law degree with a focus on Natural Resources Law.

    Chavez-DeRemer sees the homeless crisis affecting cities, towns and communities which she points out raises safety concerns for families and businesses.

    Drugs pouring across our southern border are impacting homelessness. Chavez-DeRemer declares, “We must secure the border to stop the influx of crime and drugs.” She sees inflation as a contributor. “With inflation hitting a 40 year high, it has gotten progressively harder to financially get by. This is why we must stand up against the Left’s agenda with Conservative leadership to get our economy back on track and make our country affordable again.”

    She continues, “Congress has spent our country into oblivion with record deficit spending. As your Congresswoman, I will always support lower taxes and reigning in spending.”

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

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

    McLeod-Skinner follows in the footsteps of the rest of the Democrat Party, making the climate crisis, environment, families and democracy her priorities. “We must set policies and create incentives to change this trajectory as well as improve our responses to the resulting disasters.” As for families and economic recovery, she says, “People are struggling with both a health pandemic and an inequity pandemic. We need a responsive government that provides critical physical AND social infrastructure.”

    McLeod-Skinner proposes spending more taxpayer dollars in affordable housing, healthcare, homecare, childcare, special and early childhood education, debt-free community college and trade program.

    Oregon kids are struggling to catch up from school closures and are now divisive and politically charged issues are being forced into the classroom. Lori Chavez-DeRemer firmly believes Oregon Parents deserve a say in what their children are taught, which is why she supports a Parental Bill of Rights that ensures transparency for school curriculums and protects the rights of parents.

    Chavez-DeRemer says, “We must ban the teaching of critical race theory in our schools. Our students should not be learning regressive ideologies that discourage achievements and divides.”

    Jamie McLeod-Skinner says that she believes in investing public money.

    Investing in protecting our democracy is how we invest in our future and in future generations. She said, congress must step up to protect women’s rights where the Supreme Court has failed. “When in Congress, I will work to codify and protect a woman’s right to choose.”

    Chavez-DeRemer stands for protecting the unborn, She states, “A vast majority of Americans want restrictions on abortion and I would be in favor of passing legislation like the heartbeat bill.”

    There is a clear difference between these two candidates, and most notable is their understanding of the Constitution. Chavez-DeRemer seems to affirm our Republic form of government in the U.S. Constitution, the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights. McLeod-Skinner describes “protecting our democracy” as wealth redistribution, stating “our fundamental decency is rightfully questioned when we leave this undone and leave people behind.”

    --Donna Bleiler

    Post Date: 2022-08-27 12:14:10Last Update: 2022-08-27 12:40:49

    Klamath Dam Removal Project Moves Forward
    FERC is likely to make a final decision later this fall

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has released a Final Environmental Impact Statement that recommends approval to remove four dams on the Klamath River. The recommendation by FERC staff is another key milestone in progress toward restoring the Klamath to its former free-flowing condition, work that has been undertaken collectively by PacifiCorp, which owns the dams, Oregon, California and the Klamath River Renewal Corporation. FERC is likely to make a final decision later this fall.

    "This is an encouraging step forward. DEQ appreciates the thorough and comprehensive review by FERC staff," said Director of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Richard Whitman. "Along with significant federal funding for agricultural infrastructure and habitat improvement provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the recent Inflation Reduction Act, these actions set the stage for addressing many of the underlying causes of conflict over water, water quality, and fisheries in the Klamath. We look forward to working with all of our partners to help put resource management back on a sustainable footing."

    The Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement between PacifiCorp and the federal government was signed in 2010. The report focuses on events that occurred June 1, 2014 through June 30, 2018.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-26 14:27:35Last Update: 2022-08-26 17:04:05

    Democrat Leaders Express Support for Abortion
    “Oregon will always be a safe and welcoming place for all people seeking an abortion”

    Governor Kate Brown, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-Portland), and State Representative Andrea Valderrama (D-Portland) visited an abortion facility operated by Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette as the state of Idaho’s trigger law banning abortion has taken effect. Abortion remains legal in the state of Oregon at all stages of fetal development. Governor Brown, Congresswoman Bonamici, and Representative Valderrama discussed their commitment to ensuring that all patients seeking abortions in Oregon have access, regardless of where they come from.

    In the 2022 Session, Section 368 of HB 5202 allocated an extra $15 million "for distribution to Seeding Justice for advancing reproductive health equity." This was done to provide funding to women from other states seeking abortions in Oregon -- mostly expected from Idaho.

    “Oregon will always be a safe and welcoming place for all people seeking reproductive care, and for all people seeking an abortion,” said Governor Brown. “Oregon has joined Washington and California to form the West Coast Offense, to protect abortion access on the West Coast, protect people seeking an abortion in our states, and to protect providers from prosecution in other states for providing medical care. I’d like to thank the health care workers of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, who are on the front lines of providing patient care to everyone who comes through their doors.”

    “We will never stop fighting to protect, restore, and expand access to abortion care,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “We must stand together in opposition to the recent attacks on reproductive rights, including the trigger law going into place in our neighboring state, Idaho. Here in Oregon we are committed to providing the care people need, whether they are Oregonians or traveling from nearby states. I am deeply grateful for the Planned Parenthood staff we met with today who are providing needed care, and to the many reproductive health care workers throughout our state.”

    “Reproductive justice is racial justice. This means if we aren’t addressing health disparities that continue to impact Black and Brown communities, we aren’t going far enough,” said Representative Andrea Valderrama. “While the right to abortion is protected under Oregon law and we’ve worked hard to expand access, we know that coverage and access gaps persist. That’s why I support the Hillman Clinic and efforts to address and eliminate barriers in the 2023 session."

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

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

    “Idaho’s abortion ban is devastating and cruel, and it puts physicians in an impossible position: having to choose between upholding their oath, or risk criminalization and jail time,” said Anne Udall, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette. “The chaos, confusion and devastation we are now seeing on the ground is exactly the environment politicians opposed to reproductive rights have worked for decades to create. Banning abortion does not stop people from needing abortions. It only puts more people’s lives in danger.

    “Here in Oregon and Southwest Washington, where our health centers are located, our doors are open and we will do what we can to connect people who come to us seeking abortions with the care they need — regardless of where they live.”

    “Anti-abortion politicians have been systematically stripping access to abortion one state at a time. Against the will of the American people, the Supreme Court handed away our bodily autonomy and removed the bulwark against politicians having free rein in our personal medical decisions,” said An Do, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon. “I am proud to live in a state with leadership that believes abortion is health care and that health care is a human right.

    “We are so grateful for the leadership of Governor Brown, Congresswoman Bonamici and Representative Valderrama for taking bold and necessary action in recent months to try to protect abortion access. We need everyone -- at every level of government -- to continue using every tool in their toolboxes to protect access to abortion.”

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-26 11:23:25Last Update: 2022-08-26 14:27:35

    Independent Redistricting Initiative Proposed
    “Oregonians deserve to have their districts decided by citizens, not political partisans”

    People Not Politicians announced that they have filed with the Oregon Secretary of State a proposed initiative petition for the November 2024 ballot to reform Oregon’s redistricting process -- which some have called dysfunctional and partisan -- and to replace it with an independent citizens’ commission. The initiative has been filed by Gary Wilhelms of Portland, Eric Richardson of Eugene, and Chris Telfer, Bend.

    Currently, Oregon legislators are incentivized to gerrymander voting districts to re-elect incumbents in safe districts, thereby reducing political competition. This results in incumbents who are not accountable to voters. The Princeton Gerrymandering Project gave the 2021 congressional map, passed by the Oregon legislature along party-line majority, an “F” grade for its lack of competitive races.

    “Oregonians deserve to have their legislative and congressional districts decided by citizens, not political partisans who are all too often beholden to monied interests. Our state and our nation are already far too divided, and intense partisanship around these boundary lines is a major factor in making this situation even worse. Let’s give some power back to the people,” said Phil Keisling, former Oregon Secretary of State.

    The March 2022 voter registration report of the Secretary of State shows that, for the first time in state history, the largest single group of Oregon voters is not affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican parties – yet that group of non-affiliated voters are mostly shut out of the redistricting process.

    Creating an independent redistricting commission has been a consistent goal of reform-minded organizations who stand by the principle that legislators have a direct conflict of interest in drawing electoral lines that benefit incumbents.

    The PNP coalition filed its previous initiative measure (IP 34) in April 2021 in the hopes of making the November 2022 election. However, legal challenges from allies of the elected officials of the state’s majority party kept the initiative tied up in court until it was too late for this year.

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

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

    Supporters are more energized than ever. “The fact that certain interests went to great lengths to stop Oregonians from having a say in this fundamental democratic process is just another sign that partisan politics have gotten way off track. Let's come together and do what's right for the people of Oregon,” said Eric Richardson, former Executive Director of the Eugene Springfield National Association For the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and one of the initiative's three chief petitioners.

    People Not Politicians filed Petition 2024-013 to amend the Oregon Constitution repealing sections 6 and 7, Article IV, and adopting a new section 6 and 7 establishing the Citizens Redistricting Commission of twelve members. It authorizes the Secretary of State to adopt rules to facilitate the maximum degree of correctness, impartiality and efficiency in selection of members. Secretary of State randomly selects by lot, six member commissioners meeting a criterion. Those six shall review the remaining names in the sub-pool and select the remaining six commissioners. It creates a Review Panel reflecting the diversity of this state consisting of administrative law judges or tribal court judges. Commissioners will hold at least 10 public hearings and approval final maps. The Oregon Supreme Court will review redistricting maps if any registered voter files a petition for review.

    Petitioners anticipate that the initial qualification process could be completed as soon as January. The campaign can then begin in earnest to gather some 150,000 required valid voter signatures. They will have nearly a year and a half to accomplish this signature-gathering phase of the campaign.

    People Not Politicians is a diverse coalition that has included the League of Women Voters of Oregon, Common Cause Oregon, Oregon State Chamber of Commerce, Oregon Farm Bureau, Independent Party of Oregon, OSPIRG, NAACP, Oregon Home Builders Association, Oregon Association of Nurseries, and The Klamath Tribal Council.

    --Donna Bleiler

    Post Date: 2022-08-25 11:35:55Last Update: 2022-08-25 12:08:57

    Constitution Party Holds Second Convention
    Donice Smith adds her name to four other women running for governor

    A complaint resulted in Secretary of State Shemia Fagan rejecting the Constitution Party nominees. Paul Romero, Jr. was hoping to take advantage of a second convention and add a male to the governor’s race. However, the support wasn’t there, and after the proper 10-day notice, the Constitution Party re-nominated its slate of candidates and added two more for a total of nine candidates. Donice Smith adds her name to four other women running for governor. Three have legislative backgrounds, which could give her a few votes considering the climate of distrust of government. Smith has a background that more than qualifies her.

    Smith earned several secondary degrees, including a Bachelor of Arts in History and the Constitution from Eastern Oregon University and continued to advance her education taking courses where ever she went.

    Smith isn’t just educated -- her experience matches her training. She attained the rank of Master Sergeant (E8) over thirty-five years in the military, ten active. During her service, she earned multiple medals. She was also a teacher, a published journalist for forty-six years in and out of the military, an author, and a talk show host for twenty-six years.

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

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

    Smith says her top priorities for Oregon will be to fix our broken election process, eliminate medical tyranny and limit the scope of government overreach. She wants to restore small and family-owned businesses. Parents, not government, know what is best for their families in education, and strongly opposes critical race theory, and supports alternatives to the public school system.

    As governor, Smith says she will appoint leaders who are committed to reducing the power of government to its prescribed limits. Her biggest challenge will be competing with women who have millions to make themselves visible.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-24 15:48:34Last Update: 2022-08-24 15:56:36

    Oregon Moms Union to Host Parents Matter Summit
    Parents are waking up to the problems associated with our public schools’ curriculum

    On Friday September 16 and Saturday September 17, The Oregon Moms Union will be hosting their First Annual Parents Matter Summit, a two-day educational event with prominent school choice and parental rights advocates including Rebecca Freidrichs, Dr. Carol Swain, Lance Izumi, Corey DeAngelis, Marcus Brandon, and Mark Siegel.

    “We are so proud of the progress that Oregon Moms Union has made over the last year and the impact it has made on parents and children throughout the state,” said MacKensey Pulliam, President of the Oregon Mom’s Union. “This event is a testament to how much progress we have made through our grassroots efforts in the school choice and parents’ rights movement in a state that is severely lacking in academic performance in the public school system. Parents are waking up to the problems associated with our public schools’ curriculum and are looking for solutions, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic.”

    “The Parents Matter Summit is going to be a critically important event that will shed light on the issues that are students continue to face and the solutions we can adapt to initiate the change we need to positively shape our children’s future.” Pulliam added.

    The two-day event will consist of: Members of the press interested in attending can sign up using the form on the website.

    Oregon Moms Union, formed in early 2021 in the wake of COVID-19 school shutdowns and distance learning, seeks to empower parents to advocate for a student-first K-12 education system. It currently has more than 90 volunteer School District Captains serving in more than 75 school districts.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-24 11:37:14Last Update: 2022-08-24 12:11:06

    Draft Ballot Title for Tolling Measure Prepared
    ODOT has already begun the process

    Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has prepared a draft ballot title for Initiative Petition 4 and is inviting public comment on it. Comments are due bu September 6 and they can be submitted via email to or mailed to the Secretary of State at 255 Capitol St NE Ste 126, Salem OR 97310.

    Comments should be regarding the legality or constitutionality of the title, and not on the content of the proposed ballot measure. A "title" contains four parts: A caption, Result of a Yes vote, Result of a No vote, and a Summary.

    Amends Constitution: Prohibits “highway” (defined) fees/tolls after December 31, 2017, unless voters in nearby counties approve

    Result of “Yes” Vote:
    “Yes” vote amends constitution. After 2017, new “highway” (defined) fees/tolls require voter approval in counties within 15 miles, including planned tolls on I-5, I-205.

    Result of “No” Vote:
    “No” vote retains current law allowing public bodies to collect fees/tolls without voter approval, including planned tolls on I-5, I-205.

    Amends Constitution. Currently, public bodies may collect fees and tolls without voter approval; current law requires tolls be collected on certain sections of I-205 and I-5 in Portland metro area. Measure prohibits public bodies from assessing “any fee or charge for the use of a highway,” unless referred for approval or rejection to the electors in each county with a border within a 15-mile radius of any section of “highway” proposed to be tolled and approved by majority of votes cast. Definition of “highway” includes “every public way, road, street, thoroughfare and place, including bridges, viaducts and other structures.” “Vehicles” include devices propelled/powered by any means, including bicycles. Measure applies to tolls established after December 31, 2017, including forthcoming I-205 and 1-5 tolls.

    The Oregon Department of Transportation has already begun the process of developing a tolling system and has received approval to toll from the Oregon Legislature in 2017 through HB 2017

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-23 15:04:46Last Update: 2022-08-23 15:36:55

    Johnson Campaign Delivers Signatures to Qualify for Ballot
    “I hope to be your next governor”

    The Betsy Johnson campaign has delivered signature sheets to the office of the Secretary of State in order to have her name placed on the November ballot for the office of Governor as a non-affiliated candidate. She is required to turn in 23,744 valid signatures to qualify.

    According to Johnson, "Today, we made history. Together with Betsy Brigade members, I delivered 48,214 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office, more than double the number of signatures that I need to qualify for the ballot in November. By delivering more than twice the number of signatures needed to qualify, we’ve made it very difficult for the political establishment to imagine ways to keep me off the ballot. I will be on the ballot in November, and I hope to be your next governor."

    According to the State Candidates Manual on the Secretary of State's website, "Candidates who are not members of any political party may file for partisan office in a general or special election in two ways: (1) by submitting a completed Individual Electors nominating petition containing the required number of valid signatures, or (2) by holding an Assembly of Electors and filing the assembly minutes that contain the required number of valid signatures of active Oregon voters. Nonaffiliated candidates for partisan office do not appear on the primary election ballot.

    "The name of a candidate nominated to the ballot through either the Individual Electors or Assembly of Electors process will appear on the general or special election ballot with the designation of nonaffiliated."

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

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

    Johnson characterized her achievement, "Coming onto the ballot through the power of people’s signatures is one of the most meaningful -- and foundational -- elements of my campaign. As I’ve been traveling the state talking to Oregonians, it has been very clear that they are ready for a real change, and there’s no bigger change than electing an independent governor loyal only to the people of Oregon."

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-23 12:52:48Last Update: 2022-08-23 15:36:01

    Supreme Court Challenge Filed Against Brown
    Mannix files challenge to abuse of clemency power

    Kevin Mannix, representing Linn County District Attorney Douglas Marteeny, Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow and several crime victims, have filed a Petition for Review in the Oregon Supreme Court. The Petition challenges the Oregon Court of Appeals decision made regarding the Clemency Process.

    The Petitioners seek to maintain the Marion County Circuit Court’s decision that declared the Board of Parole’s newly established “Juvenile Review Hearing” process illegal, preventing the Parole Board from carrying out any further early release of convicted felons.

    Petitioners also challenge the refusal of Governor Kate Brown to follow the clemency process laws which have existed in Oregon since the early years of the state. Those clemency process laws require notice to the District Attorney in each case where clemency is under consideration. The District Attorney then notifies the crime victim so that both the District Attorney and the crime victim have the opportunity to be heard as to the proposed clemency action.

    Kevin Mannix stated: “Governor Brown has refused to be bound by this process. She takes the position that she can devise her own clemency process. We are challenging this in court because the process laws should apply in every case and every victim should have a right to be heard.

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

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

    ”Mannix added: “Oregon’s carefully crafted clemency process was established to ensure that the Governor is fully informed as to the concerns of crime victims and District Attorneys when making clemency decisions. This Governor’s refusal to follow this process is an insult to those who have been victimized by crime. I hope the Supreme Court will require the Governor to follow the law as to the clemency process.”

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-23 09:36:32Last Update: 2022-08-23 15:37:14

    Search and Rescue Missions See Less Work
    “Oregon is known for year-round outdoor recreation”

    “Over the last decade, a staggering 99% of people needing Search and Rescue assistance in Oregon lived outside the county where they were rescued -- underscoring that people exploring the state may be inexperienced, unprepared or exploring unfamiliar terrain when heading out to adventure." This is an important point according to State of Oregon Search and Rescue Coordinator Scott Lucas. "Summer is always a busy time for Oregon's SAR program, and 2022 has been no exception. The good news is, SAR missions are down 22% from this time last year. The flip side is injuries are up 35% -- so fewer missions but greater injuries. We're especially seeing an increase in alpine rescues – rescues in mountainous regions at 5,000 feet and above.

    "On average over the past decade, alpine rescues are up 100%; 19% over the last year alone. Climbing injuries are up 26%, owing to people not knowing the area, proper routes or their own limits. These increases have led to more extreme lifesaving helicopter missions, up 41% over last year. Our SAR teams have already performed 596 missions to date this year, most of those attending to hiking injuries for people who were ill-prepared for their adventure."

    Lucas continued, "Oregon is known for year-round outdoor recreation. This week, archery hunting season opens, and Oregon's new rules of drawing tags means many hunters will be in new and unfamiliar locations. That, combined with folks looking to squeeze in the last bit of summer, may escalate the risk and resulting SAR missions. There's also a greater risk of human-caused fires as we hit the height of wildfire season."

    Lucas points out that "one positive upward trend is the use of GPS tracking devices. This tells us that people are starting to pay greater attention to our SAR messaging and understand the importance of being prepared. Having a plan helps prepare explorers for any Oregon adventure – as those of us in emergency management know all too well. Now is a critical time to remind our audiences of best safety practices when heading outdoors, including getting familiar with the area they're heading, bringing printed maps, checking local fire restrictions, packing appropriately, traveling with a companion, and always letting someone know where they're going and when they'll be back.

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

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

    Lucas reminds outdoor enthusiasts that "people should always know their physical limits and plan for activities that won't exceed their experience to avoid becoming a search and rescue statistic."

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-23 06:40:34Last Update: 2022-08-23 11:48:19

    Clatsop County Gets New Emergency Management Director
    Justin Gibbs to head new department-level office

    Clatsop County Oregon is welcoming Justin Gibbs as the new Emergency Management Director.

    Gibbs brings more than 14 years in emergency management and public administration to the position. A native of North Carolina, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Master’s Level Certificate in Community Preparedness and Disaster Management.

    “Having been born and raised on the coast of North Carolina, I very much feel at home,” Gibbs said. “I look forward to learning, growing and becoming a member of the community and serving its members with integrity.”

    Gibbs’ background includes more than 13 years with Hyde County, North Carolina, where he served as 9-1-1 database administrator before being selected as emergency services director. His tenure included response to multiple hurricanes, storms and wildfires, as well as an assignment to Puerto Rico as a planning section chief for the Hurricane Maria response in 2017.

    Prior to joining Clatsop County Gibbs served with Multnomah County for two years, most recently as Interim Division Chief of Planning with the county’s Emergency Management Planning Section.

    “My focus will be to develop strong relationships with the cities to ensure they are supported across all phases of Emergency Management, as well as concurrently making sure that Clatsop County is operationally ready to respond to disasters that will inevitably impact unincorporated areas of the jurisdiction,” he said.

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

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

    Gibbs’s arrival comes as the county has elevated Emergency Management to a department-level office within the county organization, in recognition of the vital role it plays not only in disaster planning and response but also policies such as the government responnse to diseases like COVID-19.

    . Located at Camp Rilea, Emergency Management maintains responsibility for a breadth of planning efforts, facilitation of various appointed and volunteer committees, all-hazards public outreach and education, grant management and operating the County Emergency Operations Center at Rilea’s Warrior Hall.

    The department partners with other county offices as well as local cities, fire districts and Medix ambulance service, community groups, schools, water districts and state and federal agencies on emergency training, preparedness and response.

    It coordinates amateur radio operator, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and other volunteer organizations, and manages the county’s ClatsopAlerts communications system.

    --Ben Fisher

    Post Date: 2022-08-22 20:52:14Last Update: 2022-08-22 21:05:07

    Jason Harvey Selected as Corvallis Police Chief
    Public reception with the community is planned for early 2023

    Jason Harvey has been appointed as the next Chief of Police for the Corvallis Police Department. He will succeed outgoing Chief Nick Hurley upon his retirement on December 30, 2022.

    During the interim period, Harvey will work closely with Hurley, the Police Department, and the Corvallis community to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

    Harvey is a 25-year veteran of the Corvallis Police Department and has worked in virtually every role at the department, from patrol officer to detective to K-9 handler. He currently holds the rank of Captain at CPD, where he oversees a division responsible for uniformed patrol, detective investigations, crime analysis, and traffic enforcement.

    Harvey holds a degree in criminology and criminal justice from Portland State University. He graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia in 2017. He is also a graduate of the International Public Safety Leadership and Ethics Institute and holds an Executive Certification from the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.

    Outside of work, Harvey enjoys spending time with his family, camping, and endurance sports such as cycling and long-distance running.

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

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

    “I am honored and excited to be appointed the next Chief of Police for the City of Corvallis,” Harvey said. “Serving this community is a true privilege, and I am committed to working with Chief Hurley over the next few months as we coordinate the handover of responsibilities to ensure a smooth transition for the department and the community.”

    The leadership transition comes a few months after the Corvallis Police Department was re-accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). CPD has the distinction of being the longest-tenured CALEA-accredited law enforcement agency in Oregon.

    The appointment was made by City Manager Mark Shepard.

    “Captain Harvey is an accomplished law enforcement professional and a true community ambassador for Corvallis,” Shepard said. “I am excited to work closely with Jason to maintain the high levels of service that the community has come to expect from its Police Department.”

    Harvey will assume his duties as Police Chief on December 30. A public reception with the community is planned for early 2023.

    --Ben Fisher

    Post Date: 2022-08-21 11:22:03Last Update: 2022-08-21 11:33:52

    Housing Director Defends Efforts to Address Housing, Homelessness in Oregon
    OHCS insists that progress has been made

    In a panel discussion on homelessness with local leaders on Friday, August 10, Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) Director Andrea Bell outlined and defended what the state is doing to prevent and end homelessness.

    “We are continuing to focus on supply, supply, supply—supply of affordable housing,” she said at the annual Oregon Mayors Association Summer Conference. “We don’t have enough affordable housing and haven’t had enough for a very long time. We also need to open up that stock of affordable housing by opening up pathways to homeownership. At the same time, we need to focus on preservation of affordable housing.”

    Accompanied on the panel by North Bend Mayor Jessica Engelke and Gresham Mayor Travis Stovall, who provided their own cities’ experiences and efforts, Bell emphasized the importance of partnership between leaders on the state and local level.

    “We’ve been able to make some collective strides,” Bell said. “It’s not just because of the state. It is primarily because of the partnerships we have with leaders, with leaders like yourselves, with leaders of these communities who are actually doing this work on the ground.”

    Permanent supportive housing is one area where OHCS says that progress is being made. In 2019, OHCS set out to increase the number of new units by 1,000 by 2023.

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

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

    "Working with local governments to fund and build navigation centers is another way these partnerships have worked to get things done. It is these innovative solutions that have proven to be—and will continue to be—real solutions and pathways to help get people out of unsheltered homelessness and into permanent homeownership", Bell said.

    Although the Oregon Housing and Community Services agency insists that progress has been made, critics are saying there is still much to be done.

    “We are here today because we do not accept homelessness is a fact of life; we do not accept housing instability as a fact of life,” Bell said. “And so that’s great.”

    In addition to preparing to ask the Legislature for $800 million in funding for the 2023-25 biennium to sustain homeless services and eviction prevention, among its other programs, OHCS says they will continue to listen for feedback from local governments. Observers of the situation remain skeptical of the efforts.

    “The reality is that at the end of the day, our job, our responsibility is to the people of Oregon and to all of you to have what you need from us.”, stated Director Bell, who was appointed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown.

    --Ben Fisher

    Post Date: 2022-08-20 17:26:27Last Update: 2022-08-20 17:56:15

    OLCC Commissioners Voice Concerns
    “Consumers have to be one hundred percent sure”

    The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission again expressed displeasure with badly behaving cannabis businesses, signaling a desire to sideline marijuana licensees unable to follow common business practices. Last month, the Commission indicated its frustration with licensees that break the law or don't follow OLCC rules and as a settlement are required to surrender their license; many licensees in this position are able to monetize the soon-to-be surrendered license through the sale of their cannabis business. Commissioners want to close that loophole.

    At the Commission's regularly scheduled monthly meeting on August 18 Commissioners made clear that they don't want industry poor performers to jeopardize consumer confidence in the regulated recreational marijuana market. The Commissioners also approved stipulated settlement agreements, renewed 12 liquor store agent contracts and appointed two new agents to run independently operated liquor stores.

    While discussing cannabis stipulated settlement agreements, Commission Chair Paul Rosenbaum voiced concern about a settlement with a lab that had a faulty testing process. The result is that improperly tested products were approved and eventually sold to consumers.

    "Consumers in this state have to be one hundred percent sure that we're complying and doing it [testing] safely," said Rosenbaum.

    Other concerns are the frequency of packaging and labeling mistakes, and licensees not following the proper process and protocols for testing. OLCC Compliance Director Jason Hanson told the Commission there has been a rise in issues that could lead to product recalls.

    According to Hanson problems have included: licensees adding ingredients to marijuana products after final testing and not re-testing; licensees not following requirements for non-cannabis additives when making flavored vapes; and licensees not understanding changes to OLCC rules before continuing to manufacture and distribute products for sale.

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

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

    "What worse violation can you think of then getting approval to go to the market, then changing the product?" said Rosenbaum.

    On August 18, 2022, OLCC issued a product advisory after finding that a THC vaping product containing a banned ingredient was sold at two licensed cannabis retailers in Eastern Oregon. Commission staff worked with the licensees who voluntarily removed the products from their shelves in early July, 2022.

    The Commission also expressed a desire to work with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) on a joint campaign to address excessive alcohol consumption. That interest came after OHA shared with Commissioners a new public awareness campaign "Re-think the Drink" to raise awareness about the impacts of over consumption of alcohol. The campaign asks Oregonians to reflect on and then reconsider their alcohol consumption while pointing out the impacts of over consumption.

    A joint campaign might better highlight the value of the OLCC and the control state system according to Commissioner Matt Maletis.

    "This agency is one of the lead funders of addiction treatment services, cities, counties and health programs," said Maletis. "I think that is something people forget that we are partners with slightly different missions, but really we don't because we're on the same team."

    The OLCC's Distilled Spirits division reported to the Commission that although liquor sales revenue has grown 5.2%, the volume of liquor sold is down 1.5% from the same period last year. This shows a continued trend of Oregonians moving up-the-shelf and purchasing higher price point liquor products. The revenue growth is attributed to Oregon's continued population growth and the hospitality industry's re-emergence from the pandemic.

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

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

    In other business, Commissioners renewed 12 independently owned liquor store contracts because of their operational success. The Commission also appointed Angela Smeulders to operate a Tualatin liquor store located at 19265 SW Martinazzi Ave. Smeulders has acted as the temporary agent since September of 2021 due to her father's retirement as the previous agent. Commissioners also appointed Robert Babin to operate the Jantzen Beach Store located at 11980 N Jantzen Dr. Babin has been the store manager for the past 12 years and took over the Jantzen Beach store due to his father's retirement.

    The Commissioners also ratified the following stipulated settlement agreements (detailed information on specific cases can be found on the OLCC website):

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-19 13:37:26Last Update: 2022-08-19 16:19:53

    Elections Worker Addresses Exempt from Disclosure
    The rule is being enacted as an emergency rule

    The Election Division has provided notice of a temporary administrative order for OAR 165-005-0130. The rule provides a new restriction on the disclosure of the addresses of election workers. This temporary rule went into effect on August 16, 2022 and will end on February 10, 2023 or upon adoption of a permanent administrative order.

    The rule is being driven by HB 4144 which was passed in the 2022 session and it defines elections workers and requires an exemption for residential address disclosure. In enacting HB 4144 the Legislative Assembly directed the Secretary of State to adopt a rule. This rule is needed to define electors qualified for residential address exemption in certain elections public records.

    The rule is being enacted as an emergency rule. According to The Secretary of State "failure to act promptly will result in serious prejudice to the public interest of protecting elections workers as authorized in HB 4144. Defining the term Elections Worker is required to implement provisions of the law in a timely manner prior to the November 2022 General Election."

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

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

    Tyler Janzen of the Oregon Association of County Clerks offered testimony during the hearing for HB 4144. He said, "This bill does two things to protect those election workers. First, it allows election workers to exempt their residential address from public records disclosure, lessening the threat of hostile behavior occurring at their private residences. Second, it makes the crime of harassment or aggravated harassment against an election worker a Class C felony, deterring would-be harassers from inappropriate actions."

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-19 11:39:19Last Update: 2022-08-19 12:52:48

    Racial Disparity in Home Ownership
    Many of the first task force recommendations appear to have no impact

    The Oregon Joint Task Force on Addressing Racial Disparities in Home Ownership is a legislatively appointed body that is developing solutions to address conditions that reduce or prevent homeownership among people of color in Oregon. The task force has been examining racial disparities for four years. It is currently Co-Chaired by Senator James Manning Jr. (D-Eugene) and Representative Ricki Ruiz (D-Gresham).

    In past meetings, the task force has discussed challenges to borrowing despite programs to assist in becoming eligible and closing a home purchase. Banks have taken action expanding educational programs on how to increase credit scores and boost home ownership rates among people of color.

    Many of the first task force recommendations were adopted in 2021 and 2022, which appear to have no impact. The task force was restarted in May 2022 with a recommitment to make new investments in financial services and other support services to address the disparities in homeownership.

    The task force has been charged with examining twelve separate policy proposals related to funding and organizational capacity; institutional and regulatory measures; and models for asset building. However, resolving racial disparities involves reducing the wealth gap, which involves a redistribution of wealth, or requiring Oregon to go down a socialism path, which may be why the first task force had no impact. The twelve policy proposals gouge taxpayers with $332.4 million, some amounts are repeating.

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

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

    The public may provide feedback on any or all the proposals from August 18 through September 2, 2022. Members of the public are invited to submit written comment on the twelve separate policy proposals. To submit written comments, email to Testimony submitted to this email address will be posted on the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS).

    After the “love letter” law, passed in 2021, was ruled in violation of the First Amendment restricting free speech, the task force took another route. Proponents claimed discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. Instead, the task force proposes to enforce through BOLI and the Fair Housing Council of Oregon and recommends $5 million of taxpayer funds to work on violations of housing discrimination.

    Many of the proposals provide for assistance and education, all of which should be taught in high school along with maintenance and upkeep of a home.

    --Donna Bleiler

    Post Date: 2022-08-18 13:59:32Last Update: 2022-08-19 13:36:33

    Oregon Still Below Pre-Pandemic Jobs Levels
    “Why the massive discrepancy across the Idaho/Oregon line?”

    The Republican State Leadership Committee has issued a commentary on Oregon's employment recovery -- or lack thereof. "While dozens of states across the country have blown past pre-pandemic job levels, including neighboring Idaho who has gained over 150% of jobs lost during COVID, Oregon still has not returned to pre-pandemic job levels." according to new data released by the Oregon Employment Department Wednesday.

    RSLC Spokesman Zach Kraft asks "Why the massive discrepancy across the Idaho/Oregon line? Lockdowns, taxes, and regulations."

    According to Kraft, "Look no further than recent reporting from the Oregonian describing three potential businesses who would make an $8 billion investment in Oregon, but are hesitant because of Oregon's high taxes and burdensome regulations. Oregon's Democrat leadership has made life tough for small businesses and dissuaded new entrepreneurs from starting businesses and bringing jobs to the state."

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

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

    "Four decades of Democrat control in Salem has caused the economy to sputter, jobs to disappear, and businesses to flee" said Kraft. "When Republicans retake the legislature, they will get the economy back on track and put more money in Oregonians' pockets. It's long past time Oregon had leaders working to make life easier for them, not harder."

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-18 13:45:39Last Update: 2022-08-18 13:59:32

    Regional Approval for Tolls Initiative Moves Forward
    149,360 signatures are needed to place the initiative on the November 2024 ballot

    According to a release by the Oregon Secretary of State, "On August 17, 2022, the Elections Division determined Initiative Petition 2024-004, proposed for the November 5, 2024 General Election, contained the required number of sponsorship signatures, and has requested the Attorney General draft a ballot title." The number of signatures required is 1,000, but the Secretary of State will accept up to 2,000 in case of failures.

    The subject provided by Chief Petitioners for the proposed initiative is, "New tolls require regional voter approval" and the initiative requires three things before a toll can be imposed:

    (A) A toll is proposed by a public body
    (B) The toll proposed by the public body is referred for approval or rejection to the electors of each county in this state that has a county border within a 15-mile radius of any section of highway proposed to be tolled, and
    (C) The toll proposed by the public body is approved by a majority of the total votes cast in the referral

    The Chief Petitioners for the initiative are Dean Suhr of West Linn and Lorely Miller of Oregon City -- both residents of the southwest section of I-205, where tolling is scheduled to be implemented. According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, "With a toll, ODOT helps meet the goal of improved travel by managing traffic flow and helping to raise revenue for infrastructure improvements."

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

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

    The ODOT webpage says that the Keep Oregon Moving legislation HB 2017 from the 2017 Session established a Congestion Relief Fund, which would receive any net proceeds from tolls.

    Next, the Oregon Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum will create a draft ballot title for the next phase of signature gathering. The draft ballot title is due from Attorney General on August 25. The petitioners now must gather a total of 149,360 signatures to place the initiative on the November 2024 ballot.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-18 12:36:55Last Update: 2022-08-18 13:20:23

    First Pediatric Monkeypox Case Identified in Oregon
    OHA says child case is linked to previously confirmed case

    The Oregon Health Authority is confirming the state's first pediatric case of monkeypox virus. The OHA and county public health officials say the case is linked to an adult monkeypox infection that was confirmed last month.

    "We have a known connection to a previously diagnosed case," said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA. "This child did not get the virus at school, child care or another community setting."

    To protect patient confidentiality, OHA is not disclosing the child's sex, age, county of residence or how the child is connected to the previously diagnosed case.

    The pediatric case is one of 116 presumptive and confirmed cases of monkeypox in Oregon, which also includes 112 men and four women. Illness onset ranges from June 7 to Aug. 9. The cases are in seven counties: four in Clackamas, one in Columbia, one in Coos, 20 in Lane, one in Marion, 73 in Multnomah and 16 in Washington. About 27.6% of cases identify as Hispanic/Latino.

    Nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are nearly 12,700 cases in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. They are among more than 38,000 cases in 93 countries.

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

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

    The Oregon child was tested for monkeypox Aug. 11, and the test results were reported to public health Aug. 15. Since receiving test results, the local public health authority, with support from OHA, has been conducting a case investigation and contact tracing to determine whether there are other exposures. During these investigations, public health provides guidance on how to avoid spreading the virus to others and offers vaccines to close contacts.

    Sidelinger acknowledged concerns of parents who are preparing to send their students back to school in the coming weeks, as monkeypox cases continue to rise in Oregon and other states. But he emphasized that risk of monkeypox spreading in school settings is low, since the most common means of person-to-person transmission is direct contact with the rash, scabs or body fluids of a person with the virus.

    "Monkeypox is not COVID-19. This virus is not easily spread unless you have that prolonged, close, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person," Sidelinger said.

    Symptoms of the virus can include fever, swollen lymph nodes, chills, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. Not everyone will have these symptoms, but everyone will experience a rash or sores. The rash can affect the skin of the face, arms, legs and torso, as well as the genitals, in and/or around the anus (butthole), or in the mouth.

    Initially, the rash can look like a pimple with an area of red skin underneath it. From there, the pimples can get a little bigger, form indentations, and fill with fluid or pus. Typically, they then scab. It usually takes two to four weeks to heal over with fresh skin.

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

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

    OHA recommends people who test positive for monkeypox or who are awaiting test results isolate at home to avoid spread of infection to others. There are additional precautions they and household members can take to further reduce transmission risk that can be found on OHA's If a clinician recommends that you receive an Orthopoxvirus test page. The CDC also has information on its Preventing Spread to Others page.

    People who suspect they have monkeypox should contact their health care provider to let them know before going in to be seen. Those who don't have a health care provider can call 2-1-1 to get help finding a clinic or health care provider, or reach out to their local public health authority to find a clinic or provider.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-17 12:19:08Last Update: 2022-08-17 12:24:25

    Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee Seeking New Members
    ODOT wants someone with different cultural or ethnic approaches

    Oregon's Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee says that they have identified expertise and experience that is missing in the current committee and is looking to add 3-4 new members.

    The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is stating that their idea of ideal candidates are younger people (ages 16 – 24), a person with a disability and/or someone with different cultural or ethnic approaches, and/or perspective as someone in the health field.

    Timeline and process: The application will be open through September 15. Staff will follow up with applicants in September. A sub-committee of the Safe Routes to School Advisory committee will recommend 3-4 new members to ODOT’s director in October. New members will begin their term in January of 2023.

    You can access the application in English and in Spanish online.

    ODOT has an equitable engagement compensation policy that offers payment for time spent engaging with the agency and it's programs for those who qualify.

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

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

    The SRAC recommends which grants to fund for ODOT’s Safe Routes to School Construction and Education programs. The SRAC is advisory to Oregon Department of Transportation, the Oregon Transportation Commission, and consultants with the Oregon Transportation Safety Committee. The SRAC’s charge is outlined in Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 737-025.

    New SRAC members should attend and fully participate in six 3-hour meetings annually (generally every other month) starting in January 2023.

    Meetings may be held online, in-person or as hybrid options. Accommodations to participate in meetings are available, such as material in alternate formats.

    The SRAC determines the priorities for the SRTS program, provide feedback to staff for program implementation, and makes recommendations for grant funding.

    --Ben Fisher

    Post Date: 2022-08-14 15:07:09Last Update: 2022-08-14 17:26:02

    Brown Signs Pact on Abortion
    Is this a real problem ?

    Saying "We will not stand on the sidelines as these attacks mount," Oregon Governor Kate Brown joined the governors of Washington and California in signing a Multi-State Commitment to Reproductive Freedom.

    According to the letter, "The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn half a century of settled precedent and rescind the U.S. Constitution’s protection of reproductive freedom jeopardizes safe access to reproductive healthcare across the United States." The letter includes a commitment to the following:

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

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

    --Ryan Bannister

    Post Date: 2022-08-13 06:12:11Last Update: 2022-08-15 15:27:06

    Brown Wins Appeal in Release of Felons
    The power to pardon has always been controversial

    The Oregon Court of Appeals has sided with Governor Brown in the case of Marteeny v. Brown in which Linn County District Attorney Douglas R. Marteeny and Lane County District Attorney Patricia W. Perlow asked the Court to reverse a decision of the lower court and keep the Governor from granting clemency to 1,073 felons.

    The actions of Governor Brown were affirmed by a three-judge panel from the Oregon Court of Appeals which included judges, Bronson D. James, Robyn Aoyagi, and Ramón A. Pagán. According to an opinion of the Court, "The grants of clemency at issue in this case were a lawful exercise of the Governor’s power under Article V, section 14."

    In 2020 and 2021, Oregon Governor Kate Brown granted clemency to approximately 1,026 convicted felons, comprising three groups: (1) individuals “vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19,” (2) individuals who had fought “the historic wildfires that ravaged the state around Labor Day 2020,” and (3) 73 individuals who were sentenced as juveniles before the passage of SB 1008 in 2019.

    According to the Court, the power of the Governor to pardon is enshrined in the Oregon Constitution. Article V, section 14 provides: “[The Governor] shall have power to grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons, after conviction, for all offences except treason, subject to such regulations as may be provided by law. Upon conviction for treason he shall have power to suspend the execution of the sentence until the case shall be reported to the Legislative Assembly, at its next meeting, when the Legislative Assembly shall either grant a pardon, commute the sentence, direct the execution of the sentence, or grant a farther reprieve.”

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

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

    SB 1008 made substantial changes to the prosecution and sentencing of juvenile offenders, including providing for early release hearings, conducted by the Board of Parole and Post-Prison supervision, after 15 years of incarceration. The legislature did not make SB 1008 retroactive. The effect of the Governor's commutation order for these 73 individuals was to afford them the same procedure, under ORS 144.397, that would be afforded to a juvenile offender convicted today. Four family members of victims of the crimes of which some of the youth prisoners were convicted petitioned the Marion County Circuit Court for a writ of mandamus directing the Governor, the Department of Corrections, the Oregon Youth Authority, and the Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision "to honor and follow all procedural and substantive provisions of Oregon law." In their legal arguments, they argue that the commutations here were procedurally flawed, and unlawful for a variety of reasons. According to a media release by the Oregon Court of Appeals, "underlying those technical arguments exists a palpable emotion that deserves acknowledgement: they feel that they have been denied justice."

    The Court of Appeals explained that clemency power of presidents and governors traces its origins to the earliest days of English common law. The arguments and emotions present in this case echo through the centuries. The power to pardon, sitting within a singular executive -- be they monarch, president, or governor -- has always been controversial, seemingly at odds with legislative determination and judicial decision-making. Whenever it has been used, it has been lauded by some, and condemned by others.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-12 16:06:19Last Update: 2022-08-12 16:43:50

    CHIPS and Science Act will Benefit Oregon
    How will she use the federal funds to grow and flourish Silicon Forest?

    Oregon Governor Kate Brown praised the signing of the CHIPS and Science Act trying to regain some trust with Intel. Intel has rejected Oregon for new plants several times and most recently it chose to move part of its operations to Ohio. In the first governor’s debate, Betsy Johnson called out Brown when she said she knew why Intel left Oregon “because I talked with Intel executives and the answer was answering that damn phone. Nobody in the governor’s office saw the warning signals or reached out to Intel when the tallest tree in our Silicon Forest is headed out the door to Ohio. There were plenty of warning signs. And because Kate Brown has not been tuned into the economic development, allowed Intel’s needs to go unheard.”

    Perhaps Johnson is right seeing that Intel spent $20 billion to build two new chip plants in Arizona last year. However, Oregon has 30 viable semiconductor companies in Portland alone, and 25 cities with businesses in the semiconductor or related devices category. The industrial corridor between Beaverton and Hillsboro with a cluster of high-tech companies has been nicknamed Silicon Forest. That is what the Governor was referring to when she said, “In Oregon, we are known as the Silicon Forest, having one of the densest concentrations of semiconductor activity in the country, which has spurred career opportunities and significant economic growth. The CHIPS Act will help ensure Oregon remains a leader in the semiconductor industry, allowing us to develop further technological innovations and grow our high-tech workforce.”

    Brown stated, “The passage of the CHIPS and Science Act is a monumental step towards ensuring the U.S. continues to lead the way in technology and manufacturing. This legislation represents $280 million of investments that will expand domestic semiconductor manufacturing and grow our high-tech workforce, which is critical for our businesses and working families.”

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

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

    The United States ranks fourth in silicon production, behind China, Russia and India. Intel Corp. in Hillsboro ranked first in the nation in 2021 employing 19,300 employees, and second in market cap of $414.20 billion. Google thought so highly of Oregon’s technological possibilities that it ran their high-speed fiber optic network through Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham, Lake Oswego, and Tigard.

    However, the source mines for silicon in Oregon are lacking with only 13 mine prospects, one silica mine plant and 24 silicon producers.

    “Not only can we leverage these investments to advance technology and manufacturing,” Brown continues, “but we can also create living wage jobs with career pathways that will open the door of opportunity to many families who have been left behind.”

    For the Silicon Forest to continue to stay on top, the Governor needs to realize that Oregon is competing for distribution channels for a high-demand product. So, how will she use the federal funds to grow and flourish Silicon Forest?

    --Donna Bleiler

    Post Date: 2022-08-12 10:26:02Last Update: 2022-08-12 10:32:04

    Constitution Party Nominees Rejected by Secretary of State
    “The intent of the statute is to provide notice specific to each nominating convention”

    Due to a failure to provide adequate notice to its members of its nominating convention, the Oregon Secretary of State has rejected all nominees from the Constitution Party of Oregon. The move was based on a complaint filed June 10. The party expects to hold a new nominating convention on August 21st -- just 79 days before the general election will be held.

    In a letter to the Constitution Party of Oregon Chair Jack Brown, Jr., Elections Program Manager Alma Whalen at the office of the Oregon Secretary of State describes the violations of Oregon election law:

    ORS 248.009 requires a party to provide all registered party members within the electoral district an equal opportunity to make nominations or to select delegates who will make nominations. Further, the statute requires the party to provide specific notice of the place of the convention, the time of the convention, and the office(s) for which nominations will be made. This requirement makes clear that the intent of the statute is to provide notice specific to each nominating convention, and in a time frame within reasonable proximity to the election to allow all party members to participate meaningfully.

    In this matter, the Party provided two kinds of notices: notice of the Steering Committee meetings at which the candidates received the Party’s nomination, and notice (in 2020) that the membership could elect precinct committeepeople. Both notices were insufficient to meet the requirements of ORS 248.009.

    The Constitution Party of Oregon has been racked by factional fights. Party registration in Oregon is 3,842 as of August 2022, according to the Secretary of State's website.

    Whalen concluded, "Because the Party did not comply with ORS 248.009(1) and (3) in any of its nominations this year, the Division is rejecting the candidate filings (SEL 110s) for all candidates nominated by the Constitution Party of Oregon for the 2022 general election."

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-12 09:30:46Last Update: 2022-08-12 10:16:29

    Ashland School District Bans Firearms
    The district will post clearly visible sign(s) at all normal points of entry

    Ahe Ashland School District has banned members of the public -- even those with a concealed handgun license -- from bearing arms on its property.

    According to the district, Oregon law has allowed members of the public possessing a concealed carry license to carry firearms on district property in accordance with ORS 166.370(3)(g). SB 554 from the 2021 Session allows districts to prohibit even those with concealed carry licenses from carrying firearms by adopting a policy and posting notice at entry points.

    The Oregon School Board Association considers this policy to be conditionally required because if the district wants to prohibit concealed carry licensees from carrying firearms on district property, the district must adopt a policy. If the district does not want to limit concealed carry licensees, the district does not need to adopt this policy.

    The policy, which was presented by Superintendent Samuel Bogdanove to the Ashland School District Board of Directors School Board Chaired by Victor Chang, reads:

    No person on grounds of the schools controlled by the Board (including in school buildings), will possess any firearm, except when said firearm is possessed by a person who is not otherwise prohibited from possessing the firearm, and is unloaded and locked in a motor vehicle. The exception provided in Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 166.370(3)(g) for concealed carry licensees (see ORS 166.291 and 166.292) does not apply to the possession of firearms on grounds of the schools controlled by the Board.

    Firearms under the control of law enforcement personnel are permitted. The superintendent may authorize other persons to possess weapons for courses, programs and activities when in compliance with law and board policy. Any person violating or threatening to violate the above rules, as determined by the district, may be issued a trespass citation, ejected from the premises and referred to law enforcement officials.

    The district will post clearly visible sign(s) at all normal points of entry to the school grounds subject to this policy indicating that the affirmative defense described in ORS 166.370(3)(g) does not apply. The district will post on the district’s web pages designated for school board operations, identifying designated school grounds that are subject to this policy.

    Kevin Starrett, the Director of the Oregon Firearms Federation noted "Ashland joins Salem- Keizer and other left leaning school boards in banning the most law abiding and responsible people from their property. Now, lawfully armed parents may not even drop off or pick up their kids from the schools they pay for let alone attend a sporting event or school function. These schools boards have advertised a giant bull’s eye on the backs of the kids they are supposed to be caring for. Especially ironic so soon after we have learned that you cannot rely on responding police to stop a mass murderer.”

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-11 06:31:26Last Update: 2022-08-10 20:06:50

    Forest Management Issues at Stake in the Douglas-Fir National Monument
    The Monument mostly includes Willamette National Forest

    Oregonians sighed relief when President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13792 directing a review of the Antiquities law and its uses. That act protected the Cascade peaks from federal grab. But the proposed Douglas-fir National Monument is again being pushed by a Springfield based nonprofit under the Antiquities Act of 1906. The Antiquities Act gives the President authority to, by presidential proclamation, create national monuments from federal land to protect significant natural, cultural, or scientific features.

    Douglas-fir National Monument proposes to cover more than 530,000 acres that includes parts of Linn, Marion and Jefferson counties. It would be the largest national monument in Oregon, and 14th largest in the nation.

    The Monument mostly includes Willamette National Forest in the Cascade foothills consisting of wilderness areas. However, of concern is the 44,000 acres of private forest, which appears to not be qualified for inclusion.

    It’s the age-old argument of the best way to manage forests. Two sides claiming the same outcome. On one side, they claim federal protection ensures that trees mature, burn, and fall as they would naturally. They claim mature Douglas fir stabilizes soil, shades streams, scrubs and sequesters carbon from the air and has the potential to act as a balm on a warming climate.

    On the other side, forest management is needed to physically restore forest, reduce wildfires, protect mature growth, foster recreation, and increase carbon sequester with new growth.

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

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

    The Good Neighbor Authority Agreement was first passed in 2016 as a step for Oregon to enter into cooperative agreements with the United States Forest Service that allows the state to perform forest management and watershed restoration services on National Forest System lands. Jeff Burns, Program Director, said in 2021 that 92-93% of all burned acres were on federal lands, which accounts for 60% of forested lands in Oregon. “Any efforts to reduce wildfire risks in Oregon, must involve federal lands in a meaningful way.”

    Designating the Douglas-fir National Monument that would leave the land dormant is not the federal involvement needed to reduce wildfires or preserve mature growths. As director Burns reported, since 2016, significant progress has been made in wildfire risk reduction on federal lands through fuels reduction and forest thinning projects. These kind of results take action.

    Officials in Linn County are seeking intervention from Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Representative Peter DeFazio. Considering Wyden is in a tight race for reelection, it may not be wise to disappoint voters.

    --Donna Bleiler

    Post Date: 2022-08-10 10:53:30Last Update: 2022-08-10 13:04:18

    Golden Pressured on Wildfire Maps by Republicans
    “The current map is simply unacceptable”

    After last week’s inelegant display of the Wildfire Maps and the subsequent “pulling” of the maps by Oregon State Forester, and former Democrat House Candidate Cal Mukamoto, Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) pushed for more clarification.

    “Oregonians are fed up with Democrats continued assault on rural Oregon. These maps were rushed out the door, championed by Senator Jeff Golden (D-Ashland), then after 1200 people in his own district area stood up against the maps, they were yanked back.” Senator Knopp said. “Southern Oregonians deserve better representation than Senator Golden, even in his own district he was not aware of the effect these maps would have on his constituents.”

    It is important to note the quote from ODF Spokesperson Derek Gasperini "I don't think that we anticipated the amount of response about the downstream implications,” he then went on to finish “While we'll have some minor adjustments, the map is not gonna look drastically different than it looks currently.”

    Senator Knopp finished, “It is not going away, it will just get repackaged and sent back out again.”

    Other quotes and statements from Mayors, Representatives, Senators across Oregon echoed last week.

    House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) - “State and federal land mismanagement are the driving force behind our wildfire issues, not private land, but these maps leave most of the burden on private land owners,”

    House Deputy Republican Leader Kim Wallan (R-Medford) - “Having experienced the tragedy of the arson-caused Labor Day 2020 fires, as well as the devastating smoke that we live with year after year, I am beyond frustrated that this bill and these maps are the way our state has decided to respond to the need for more and better forest management,”

    “I listened to the whole thing, and there wasn’t anybody on there who was happy. Not one person said ‘this is a good idea,’”

    Senator Lynn Findley (R-Vale) - “The intent behind SB 762 was to mitigate future significant loss, lack of preparedness and financial hardship in future wildfires, among many other things. Oregonians have been handed anything but that through the new map.”

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

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

    Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) - “The growing outrage over high risk classifications of primarily rural property threatens to overwhelm the Oregon Department of Forestry with thousands of appeals that the agency will be unable to handle.”

    “Ultimately, we need better management of our public forests at the state and federal levels so that we can begin to reduce the dangers of wildfire for rural and urban Oregonians alike.”

    Representative Mark Owens (R-Crane) - “The map as it stands has no credibility and the Oregon Department of Forestry needs to take ownership and leadership and reevaluate immediately. This map serves as an ill-informed, unreviewed, and dangerous and divisive product pitting homeowners against the state of Oregon.”

    Representative Lily Morgan (R-Grants Pass) - “The current map is simply unacceptable. I am disheartened that my constituents will have to spend their time and energy submitting appeals for an inaccurate map,” said Representative Morgan. “This just isn’t right.”

    Mayor Randy Sparacino (R-Medford) - "Like many Southern Oregonians, I am relieved that our voices were finally heard and the proposed map was withdrawn. However, although the maps have been withdrawn, more rule making is still to come and will need to be addressed. The fight is not over!”

    “The bill IS the problem, and I am committing to fixing it. Landowners should not be required to shoulder the burden of fire protection while government lands go unmanaged and pose the greatest threat.”

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-10 09:27:14Last Update: 2022-08-10 10:26:13

    Analysis: The “Science” of Gender Identity
    “Gender is like outer space”

    For complete understanding, “science” has historically been a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts systematically arranged in the form of testable explanations showing the operation of general laws in the physical world.

    The word “transgender” gained widespread popularity in the 1990s as an umbrella term to describe people who cross over -- or trans -- traditional gender roles. Currently, transgender is generally understood to be a broad category encompassing many gender identities and expressions, including transsexual, genderqueer and cross-dresser, among many others. Adults can’t settle on what the word transgender means.

    However, the Oregon Department of Education, has settled the science for kindergarten through fifth grade. Empowered by Governor Brown, Rob Wagner and Tina Kotek, transgender science has been institutionalized, and is sexual and phycological abuse of young children in our public schools.

    Portland Public Schools have adopted a 198 slide lesson curriculum for the fall, targeting Kindergarteners through fifth graders, titled "Understanding our Bodies - Kindergarten Health Scientists."

    Under “Kindergarten Health – Unit 5 (page 17), it states “Gender is like outer space because there are as many ways to be different genders as there are stars in the Sky! Each person is different and that is cool.” The curriculum was developed by trans people as “very intentional” and teachers are asked to “use the wording written on the slides.” (page 26)

    Second grade students are forced to ingest the idea that “Gender is Colonized.” “When the United States was colonized by white settlers, their views around gender were forced upon the people already living here” (page 89), and (page 90) it states “Other cultures around the world, especially Black, Indigenous, and Brown cultures and people, view gender in different ways and use different words.”

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

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

    The science gets real fuzzy presenting sex and gender as an assigned option that the student has the right to choose. At birth, doctors and adults assign gender based on physical appearance, but they don’t really know the child’s gender because they can’t ask the baby. (page 40)

    Starting in Kindergarten the students learn about private parts that are of two kinds. From there the science goes down hill fast. God created male and female. He also created each as unique individuals with special gifts or aptitudes, which doesn’t include nonbinary or LBGTQ+. The two-spirit message presented (page 105) as some spiritual indicator of two gender spirits is a better confirmation that we all have masculine and feminine traits. Neuroscientist Lise Eliot, Chicago Medical School, says brains are a unisex organ.

    Because we are a social culture and our brains are formed within a culture, our way of viewing ourselves as men and women is imprinted by the cultural environment we grew up in. The cultural definitions of which traits are appropriate for men and women influence the personality characteristics that boys and girls develop. Such a curriculum is intended to influence your child’s cultural environment.

    Research, reported by Popular Science, shows that culture’s "Big Five" personality traits of psychology -- openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism -- do not categorically vary between men and women. The curriculum is aimed at arousing emotional responses, intensifying undeveloped brain activity hindering aspects of normal development – in all aspects it is abusive.

    Now our school system wants to confuse students, too young to know who they are, and question their God given birth gender. They are being abused for having normal feelings for both genders. According to Psychology Today, they should be encouraged to accept themself with all of their different characteristics and personality traits as who they are. It isn’t sexual or gender identity that causes difficulties, it’s human character.

    Ben Edtl, candidate for SD19, wrote in his newsletter of the Portland School curriculum: “I believe that educating children that Black, Indigenous and Brown people viewed gender in different ways until the white Europeans showed up is completely senseless and blatantly racist to every person mentioned. Our schools should be focused on uniting our children regardless of their differences and focusing on basic education like math, reading and writing.”

    --Donna Bleiler

    Post Date: 2022-08-10 06:54:21Last Update: 2022-08-10 10:33:19

    Proposed Initiatives Create STAR Voting
    Supporters say we could skip the primary and just vote in November

    Two initiative petitions proposed for the November 2024 election have been filed with the Oregon Secretary of State to significantly change the way Oregonians vote. Initiative Petitions 11 and 12 are the same, except that the former contains a provision for presidential elections.

    Chief Petitioners for the initiatives are Deanna Kallen and Bryan Lewis of Portland and Zach Hudson of Troutdale.

    The text of the initiatives describes how the process works:

    For each seat up for election by means of STAR Voting, votes shall be tallied using a two-round process which consists of a scoring round and an automatic runoff round. The scoring round shall calculate the sum total of the scores received by each candidate and determine the two candidates who received the greatest total scores. Those two candidates shall be the finalists and shall advance to the automatic runoff round, where the finalist preferred by more voters wins.

    According to the website, "In STAR Voting, voters fill in the bubbles to score candidates from zero up to five stars. Voters give their favorite(s) five stars, their last choice(s) zero stars, and score other candidates as they like. The five-star ballot allows voters to show their preference order and indicate their level of support for all of the candidates. Voters are allowed to give candidates the same score, if they support them equally. Candidates left blank receive zero stars.

    "With STAR Voting we could skip the low-turnout primary and just vote once in November. STAR Voting eliminates vote splitting and the spoiler effect, so it’s highly accurate with any number of candidates in the race. Skipping the primary would save taxpayers money, would save voters time, and the shorter campaign season would make it much more accessible for grassroots candidates to run for office.

    "For situations where a primary is needed, such as partisan primaries or the presidential primary, STAR Voting can be used for either or both elections."

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-09 11:04:28Last Update: 2022-08-09 13:24:14

    Skarlatos Calls Out Hoyle
    She backs Biden’s bill to hire 87,000 IRS agents

    Oregon 4th Congressional District candidate Alek Skarlatos is calling out his opponent, Val Hoyle for backing a bill that will pack the Internal Revenue Service with thousands of new agents.

    According to Skarlatos, “Oregon Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle has always stood with the extreme wing of the Democratic Party, and it’s no surprise that she voiced her support for Joe Biden’s so-called Inflation Reduction Act that will hire 87,000 new IRS agents. For context, Autzen Stadium can only hold 54,000 people, and Reser Stadium can only hold 26,400, which combined is less people than the 87,000 new IRS agents that Joe Biden and Val Hoyle are going to hire to audit your taxes.

    “Oregon’s 4th Congressional District is the poorest in the state, nobody feels the pain of inflation and high gas prices more than us, and Val Hoyle’s response is to support Joe Biden’s decision to hire 87,000 new IRS agents to audit small businesses and families in Oregon,” said Oregon National Guard Veteran Alek Skarlatos. “While large corporations have an army of lawyers to deal with the IRS, that’s not the case for small business owners and is further proof why Val Hoyle’s extreme idea to hire 87,000 new IRS agents is bad for small businesses, farmers, fishermen, timber workers and families in Oregon.”

    According to the Washington Times "The reconciliation bill Democrats rushed through congress calls for $80 billion in new IRS funding so the agency can hire as many as 87,000 new agents and auditors. Democrats are doubling the size of the IRS, with most of the new money going into its enforcement arm. The bill provides 14 times as much funding for “enforcement” -- what some are calling fishing expedition audits -- than it does for “taxpayer services” such as answering the phone. It is dangerous to give an unaccountable and incompetent agency this much power over families and small businesses.” (The Washington Times, 08/08/22)

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-09 09:55:22Last Update: 2022-08-09 11:04:28

    GOP Voters Vent in Washington CD3 Primary
    Kent is a conservative endorsed by former President Donald Trump

    Voters in Washington state participated in a primary on Tuesday, August 2 and in at least one race, the result is too close to call. The State of Washington has a "Top 2" primary system for choosing who advances to the general election and incumbent CD3 Congressional Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler is in danger of being knocked out in the primary by challenger Joe Kent. The results have not yet been certified.

    Kent or Buetler will almost certainly face left-leaning Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, a graduate of Reed College in Portland and an owner of an independent auto-repair shop. Kent grew up in Portland and is an Army veteran and a Gold Star husband, having lost his wife Shannon in Afghanistan. Kent is an unabashed conservative who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

    According to the Washington Secretary of State, "The Washington Top 2 Primary allows voters to choose among all candidates running for each office. Voters do not have to declare a party affiliation to vote in the primary.

    Marie Gluesenkamp Perez(Prefers Democratic Party)64,71830.97%
    Joe Kent(Prefers Republican Party)47,62322.79%
    Jaime Herrera Beutler(Prefers Republican Party)46,66322.33%
    Heidi St. John(Prefers Republican Party)33,52516.04%
    Vicki Kraft(Prefers Republican Party)6,6043.16%
    Davy Ray(Prefers Democratic Party)4,6392.22%
    Chris Byrd(Prefers None / Independent Party)3,6061.73%
    Leslie L. French(Prefers Republican Party)1,0370.5%
    Oliver Black(Prefers Am. Solidarity Party)4330.21%
    Total Votes208,993
    "Candidates for partisan office may state a preference for a political party, which is listed on the ballot. The two candidates who receive the most votes in the Primary Election qualify for the General Election. Candidates must also receive at least 1% of the votes cast in that race to advance to the General Election."

    Herrera Buetler has been under criticism by conservative Republicans for, among other things voting to impeach then President Trump. Many experts consider this primary result as a bellwether of GOP anger.

    Washington's 3rd congressional district encompasses the southernmost portion of western and central Washington. It includes the counties of Lewis, Pacific, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Clark, Skamania, part of Thurston, and Klickitat.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-09 09:40:49Last Update: 2022-08-09 11:01:21

    Gubernatorial Candidates Raise Big Cash
    As if we didn't know, the race is going to be a tight battle

    If campaign cash was the only thing determining the outcome of elections, both the Democrat and Republican parties would find themselves on the outside looking in this Fall. Betsy Johnson (I-Scappoose) is leading the pack, while Tina Kotek (D-Portland) and Christine Drazan (R-Portland) have similar financial performance. Drazan has raised a little less and spent a little more than Kotek.

    Johnson has collected some large checks from some big names, including Phil Knight of Nike fame, Tim Boyle of Columbia Sportswear, Sidney DeBoer of Lithia Motors in Southern Oregon and timber giant Robert Freres, Jr., as well as from a diverse array of industry, including the heavy equipment supplier, Eugene-based Pape Group, and lumber producer Sierra Pacific Industries and Portland's Schnitzer Properties.

    Interestingly, the Association of General Contractors -- the road building industry -- has hedged their bets in a large way, sending $100,000 to both Johnson and Drazan, and nothing to Kotek -- perhaps indicating that they don't trust her to effectively spend money on large transportation projects.

    Kotek is heavily dependent on labor money, especially government employee unions. Among her largest contributors is the Service Employees International Union, representing most state workers, and the Oregon Education Association, representing public school teachers.

    As if we didn't know, Oregon's gubernatorial race is going to be a tight battle. Both the National Democratic and Republican Governor's associations have taken notice. The Democratic Governor's Association has donated $878,850 to Kotek, while the Republican Governor's Association has propped up Drazan to the tune of over half a million dollars.

    Johnson leads the cash race by a 2:1 margin over Kotek and Drazan with a little over $10 million, but she has a way to go to beat Republican Knute Buehler's record haul of $19,382,866.93 in the 2018 Oregon Governor's race.

    Cash on Hand$1,393,296$1,713,603$4,532,864
    Total Raised$5,519,184$5,001,293$10,101,016

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-08 10:11:55Last Update: 2022-08-08 11:56:27

    CD 6 Republicans Elect State GOP Officers
    Salinas drew the district to include her and then filed to run

    In a convention that included all Precinct Committee Persons in Oregon's 6th Congressional District, Republicans have elected officers to serve in the State GOP Executive Committee. Voters will remember the process which some considered tainted in which then Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek reneged on a pledge to include Republicans in equal numbers on the redistricting committee.

    ChairDavid HillYamhill
    Vice ChairJames GoingsYamhill
    Don PowersClackamas
    Vice Chair
    Carla ParadineMarion
    SecretarySatya ChandragiriMarion
    TreasurerNan CramerWashington
    During the redistricting process, Kotek appointed then Representative Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego) to Chair the House Committee on Redistricting, upon which she drew the new, vacant district -- Oregon's 6th Congressional District -- to include her and then filed to run for the seat herself. The new district includes the Western part of Marion County, Polk and Yamhill Counties and the Southern part of Clackamas County -- reaching just enough into the Portland Metro Region to include Lake Oswego, where Salinas lives.

    The officers of this new GOP CD 6 Committee will help elect GOP nominee Mike Erickson. According to many PCPs, the new elected officers bring new vitality and energy to this new district.

    --Ritch Hanneman

    Post Date: 2022-08-07 19:34:21Last Update: 2022-08-09 07:17:06

    SoS Adopting Changes to Candidate, Political Party and Recall Manuals
    The Elections Division has held public hearings

    The Election Division of the Secretary of State's office has provided notice of two permanent administrative orders for OAR 165-010-0005 and 165-014-0005. Prior to the effective date of the administrative rules, the Elections Division held public hearings and allowed time for public comments to be submitted.

    OAR 165-010-0005

    RULE TITLE: Designating the Candidate's Manual, Minor Political Party Manual and Forms

    FILING CAPTION: Updates filing deadlines and implements legislative changes regarding candidate, and political party manuals and forms.

    RULE SUMMARY: The changes to this rule and the associated manuals and forms update the write-in notification and acceptance deadlines for the 2022 election period required by Senate Bill 1527 (2022). Further, it modifies the formula for determining if a party can maintain its minor party status. Additional changes were made throughout the manual to provide clarity for the various processes related to candidacy filings.

    OAR 165-014-0005

    RULE TITLE: Designating the State and Local Initiative, Referendum, Referral and Recall Manuals and Forms

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

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

    FILING CAPTION: Updates signature verification deadlines and implements required legislative changes to the Recall Manual.

    RULE SUMMARY: The changes to this rule and associated Recall Manual and forms include update of recall petition signature verification deadlines required by Senate Bill 1527 (2022). Additional changes were made throughout the manual to provide clarity for filing deadline time.

    --Ritch Hanneman

    Post Date: 2022-08-07 16:44:03Last Update: 2022-08-07 17:08:53

    Money for Afghan Refugees in Oregon
    $2.8 million in funding made available

    The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Refugee Program is inviting community partners to apply for a portion of $2.8 million in funding that is available to provide services and support to Afghans.

    The deadline to apply is Aug. 25 and the application can be found online.

    The U.S. Resettlement Program is operated by the U.S. Department of State through contracts with national non-profit organizations called resettlement agencies. These organizations have local affiliate offices throughout the nation.

    The ODHS Refugee Program is responsible for some of the services that are outside of the initial resettlement provided by the resettlement agencies.

    The Refugee Program provides cash, medical, employment, and acculturation services to refugees (and those eligible for refugee services) who are within 60 months of gaining their eligible immigration status.

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

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

    Since August 2021, nearly 800 Afghan individuals have resettled in Oregon.

    ODHS says that the purpose of the request is to get applications from culturally and/or linguistically responsive organizations who provide services to immigrants or refugees (and those eligible for refugee services) to increase services and supports.

    Funding is available to support: Organizations may express interest in supporting more than one service area.

    Community organizations are eligible to submit proposals for the funding if the organization can demonstrate they are:
    --Ben Fisher

    Post Date: 2022-08-07 08:31:02Last Update: 2022-08-07 16:40:28

    State Wildfire Map Withdrawn After Outcry
    “We know how important it is to get this right ”

    Cal Mukumoto, Oregon State Forester and Director of the Oregon Department of Forestry has ordered the State Wildfire Risk map withdrawn after the initial draft caused an outcry among impacted parties.

    Mukumoto released a statement saying that "Oregon’s wildfire environment has changed significantly in the past decade. Climate change is bringing us hotter, drier summers and historic levels of drought, resulting in severe wildfire conditions and longer, more complex and more expensive fire seasons. We find ourselves at a critical juncture when it comes to wildfire and need to take bold action to mitigate further catastrophic impacts to Oregonians, communities and our state’s natural resources."

    State Representative David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) shot back. "Hypocrisy is alive and well with the majority party in this area. As they push their climate change agenda, they fail to address and even push back on positive ways to manage our carbon sequestering forest resources, as they are beholden to the environmental groups that oppose any best management practices for the forest resources within our state."

    In addition to writing the rules for map development and maintenance with a rules advisory committee, we were also tasked with defining the wildland-urban interface and assigning a risk classification at the property ownership level (1.8 million tax lots across Oregon). This work had to be completed by June 30, 2022, less than a year after the bill was adopted. We knew the first iteration of an undertaking of this scale and complexity wouldn’t be perfect, but we have been and continue to be committed to improving the map and our processes related to it. At the same time, our partner agencies are working to collect input as they develop the new codes for defensible space (Office of the State Fire Marshal) and home hardening (Building Codes Division) and address concerns related to homeowner’s insurance (Division of Financial Regulation).

    According to Mukumoto, "We’ve been soliciting and collecting questions, concerns, and other input since the statewide wildfire risk map was released just over a month ago. We’ve received specific feedback from nearly 2,000 Oregonians that has helped us understand the key areas of concern related to risk classification. We have a window of opportunity before the new codes go into effect to take some immediate steps toward addressing those concerns, and we will be taking full advantage of the opportunity."

    Mukumoto continued, "As required by SB 762, we posted a wildfire risk map on the Oregon Explorer on June 30, 2022 and sent notifications to property owners in the extreme and high risk classifications shortly after. In response to input received since posting, we have decided to remove the current iteration of the wildfire risk map from the Oregon Explorer and withdraw the notices sent. We will immediately begin working with Oregon State University on some refinements to improve the accuracy of risk classification assignments based on what we’ve heard from property owners thus far.

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

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

    Mukumoto addressed those who had filed appeals. "Since we are withdrawing the initial map and notifications, the current appeals process will end and any appeals filed will become moot. For those who did submit an appeal, we will be reviewing the information submitted and using it to identify any additional areas where we may need to take a closer look at the data. Please note, this decision does not impact the code development and adoption processes currently underway through Office of the State Fire Marshal for defensible space or Building Codes Division for home hardening."

    Mukumoto concluded, "We know how important it is to get this right, and we’re fully committed to continuing to work with the Governor’s Office, legislators, our partner agencies, local governments, and Oregonians to do just that."

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-05 11:17:41Last Update: 2022-08-05 12:46:24

    Forestry Department to Hold Wildfire Risk Meetings
    Time will be available to address questions from community members

    The Oregon Department of Forestry -- under the watch of State Forester Cal Mukumoto -- is holding a series of community information sessions in eastern and central Oregon Aug. 2, 3 and 10. Each session will include a presentation about the Oregon Wildfire Risk Map’s function and purpose, how wildfire risk is assessed, and how property owners may appeal their assigned risk class. Time will be available to address questions from community members.

    The wildland-urban interface and Oregon Wildfire Risk Map available through the Oregon Explorer is a tool to help inform decision making and planning related to mitigating wildfire risk for communities throughout Oregon. Representatives from Oregon State University who produced the map based on rules adopted by the Board of Forestry will also attend the sessions.

    All meetings will start at 7 p.m. Dates and locations for each community meetings are: Those wishing to file an appeal, may consult the agency's appeals page.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-04 16:47:05Last Update: 2022-08-04 16:58:49

    Property Tax Relief for Seniors Proposed
    Give seniors a break on property taxes

    A now proposed initiative in Oregon is aiming to amend the Oregon Constitution to in order to provide relief to seniors and freeze their property taxes.

    “The ability to age safely in place is the number one concern I hear from senior citizens in my community,” said Senator Kennemer. “Making these matters worse, are the realities and the impact of the pandemic and skyrocketing inflation. And with many of our seniors on fixed incomes, freezing senior property taxes will empower many seniors to retain their independence and their cherished family home.”

    In 2019, House Joint Resolution 25 (HJR 25) was sponsored by Representative Hayden, now PAC director for the Committee to Pass the Oregon Senior Property Tax Freeze Act. It was part of a larger tax package drafted by Senate and House Republicans aimed at bringing down the high cost of living for working families and small business owners. “In 2019, we were thinking further out about what Oregon would look like when the next recession hits and how could we help families in anticipation of such an event,” Hayden stated. “Covid and supply chain and inflation issues created a situation that has devastated working Oregonians and seniors, particularly those on fixed incomes. HJR 25 was blocked by the majority party, so we’re going to find another way to get this to the people of Oregon on their ballots.”

    Rep. Moore-Green said HJR 25 was brought to the floor for consideration 2019 but the bill died on a party-line vote. “When I think about how seniors’ buying power for food, prescription drugs, and everyday necessities has been dramatically compromised, this is something we can do to help keep people aging at home.” Moore-Green, who serves on the House Health Care Committee, said her interest in petitioning the measure stems from worry that there are not enough senior long-term care facilities and the cost to move people into those facilities, when space is available, is much more expensive for taxpayers than freezing property taxes. “We know it much less expensive for the state to invest in programs like Oregon Project Independence and other social service supports that keep people at home. But those are left behind in every budget cycle. This measure will permanently prioritize the security of seniors in Oregon."

    However, Senator Kim Thatcher said for her, the measure boils town to fairness. “At what point has a senior, who is of Medicare age, not paid their fair share,” Thatcher asked. “We’ve talked for years about the need for a homestead exemption for seniors because they are getting gouged in retirement with high income taxes, gas taxes and surcharges, and now they’re stuck paying the cost of the CAT tax at a time when they have higher medical bills and prescription drug costs. And every year, as their retirement income dwindles, their property taxes keep climbing. It’s simply unfair,” said Thatcher.

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

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

    To qualify for a ballot title, the petitioners must submit 1,000 valid signatures and go through the ballot titling process with the Secretary of State’s Elections Division. Upon achieving a ballot title, the measure will need valid signatures equaling eight percent of the total ballots cast in the upcoming 2022 gubernatorial election to qualify the measure for voter consideration in 2024. Signatures needed to qualify a constitutional measure for the 2022 general election was 149,360; petitioners believe the number will be just slightly higher than that next cycle given the likely increase in voter participation anticipated this November.

    “Regardless of that the count needed is, we’re going to go chase those signatures,” said Rep. Hayden. “When we polled this issue in 2019, 79% of Oregonians – a majority of all age groups and all political parties – stated that they would support this measure. If the legislature won’t get it done, then we’ll use the power of the initiative system to get this to the people for a vote.”

    The Committee expects to turn in the signatures to qualify for the title later this fall so that the petitioners can have a full ballot title ready for signature gathering in early 2023.

    According to the text of the initiative, "A home is eligible for property tax relief in this section for any property tax year when at least one person is 65 years of age or older on or before April 15 immediately preceding the beginning of the property tax year and, either individually or jointly, owns and occupies the home as their primary residence."

    Another thing the initiative does for seniors is enforce simplicity. It says that "Each county must have a simple and easily understandable process allowing persons to enroll their home for the property tax relief in this section. Property tax relief starts in the tax year after enrollment."

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-04 06:28:34Last Update: 2022-08-03 11:52:40

    Medford Mayor Calls for Special Session on Wildfires
    “We can do better than this. It doesn’t have to be this way”

    Randy Sparacino, Mayor of Medford and candidate for Oregon State Senate District 3, calls on Governor Brown to convene a Special Session of the State Legislature to fix SB 762, “The Wildfire Bill” which was passed in the 2021 session of the Oregon Legislature. In a released statement, Sparacino expressed profound disappointment in the bill as written and his dedication to advancing meaningful and reasonable fire mitigation policies.

    "The consequences of this bill outweigh the good it attempts to do. We are all aware that the vast majority of fires and smoke we endure every summer are burning on government owned land—homeowners are not the problem, and the burden should not be on homeowners to solve it. The Wildland-Urban Interface Map and the underlying bill must be fixed immediately, and I am calling on Governor Brown to convene a special session of the Oregon Legislature before any more property owners receive notices of canceled insurance and increased rates in the midst of ongoing economic challenges.

    Southern Oregonians were recently notified via mail of Oregon’s new WUI map, which was created as a result of SB 762. This letter notified many of us that our homes or properties have been designated as a “high” or “extreme” wildfire risk according to this new map.

    Because of the “Wildfire Bill” and the WUI map, many have also received notices from insurance companies informing them of drastic increases in rates or providers declining to renew home policies at their next scheduled renewal.

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

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

    In Southern Oregon, we know how important fire readiness is, and our neighbors, cities, and counties have adopted fire-wise programs and worked diligently for many years to effectively manage our land and watersheds.

    I support efforts to mitigate the impact of wildfires on our communities and ways we can protect our region from fire, but we can do better than this. It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Randy Sparacino is the current Mayor of Medford and is running to represent Oregon’s 3rd State Senate district.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-03 15:14:50Last Update: 2022-08-03 15:51:57

    Brown Issues Order for Equity in State Contracting
    Based on recommendations from the Racial Justice Council

    Governor Kate Brown has issued Executive Order 22-15, which directs state agencies to take specific steps, over several years, to improve equity in state procurement and contracting. The Executive Order is a result of proposals from the Racial Justice Council’s Procurement and Contracting Equity Workgroup, aimed at embedding equity into state procurement and contracting processes.

    “Despite previous work to promote diversity and inclusion in state procurement practices, there continues to be gaps and barriers for businesses owned by people of color, women, and veterans, as well as emerging small businesses,” said Governor Brown. “With this order, we will take further steps to promote greater equity in state contracting. I’d like to thank the members of the RJC for their work on developing thoughtful proposals to help us root equity in state procurement and create economic prosperity for all Oregonians.”

    “The RJC Procurement and Contracting Equity Workgroup proposals push state procurement of goods and services beyond spending by supporting opportunities to narrow the racial wealth gap,” said Jan Mason, co-chair of the workgroup. “This Executive Order is a tremendous step towards ensuring our state investments enable equitable opportunities towards wealth mobility, particularly for economically disadvantaged and underrepresented minority-owned businesses.”

    Executive Order 22-15 includes directives to all state agencies regarding: In addition, the Executive Order includes directives to specific state agencies, including Business Oregon, regarding business support and capacity building; the Oregon Department of Transportation, regarding public works project planning, procurement equity, and contract compliance; and the Department of Administrative Services, regarding an agency-led Procurement Equity Workgroup.

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

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

    Executive Order 22-15 rescinds and replaces Executive Order 18-03.

    In 2020, Governor Brown convened the Racial Justice Council to center the perspectives of Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, Native American, Tribal, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and communities of color into state government policies, budget processes, workforce, and structures. In 2021, the Governor signed HB 2167, which codified the RJC and its focus on equity and racial justice into Oregon law — the first state in the country to have such a council. The RJC is focused on six key areas: criminal justice reform and police accountability, housing and homelessness, economic opportunity, health equity, environmental equity, and education recovery.

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-03 14:50:41Last Update: 2022-08-03 15:14:50

    Audit on Right Wing Violence Wins Award
    The report was widely panned as politically motivated

    The National Conference of State Legislators has presented the Oregon Audits Division with its Notable Document Award for the 2022 Advisory Report: Oregon Can Do More to Mitigate the Alarming Risk of Domestic Terrorism and Violent Extremist Attacks. At the time, the report was widely panned as politically motivated -- notably for downplaying the left-wing violence that has overrun Portland, while focusing on a nearly non-existent "right-wing" threat.

    NCSL presented the award for Notable Document in the category of Public Safety to principal auditor Casey Kopcho and Deputy Secretary of State Cheryl Myers on Tuesday, August 2, at the NCSL Legislative Summit in Denver, Colorado. The NCSL is widely regarded as a left-leaning organization.

    “I believe Oregon can be an inclusive democracy where all people live free from fear,” said Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. “Domestic terrorism is an immediate threat to that vision and we cannot simply wait for the next incident to occur. We must do more to prevent individuals from escalating down the pathway to violence.”

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

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

    The advisory report — the first state report looking directly at this subject — found that Oregon has one of the highest rates of domestic terrorism and violent extremist attacks in the country, but the state lacks a clear definition of these acts. The Oregon Homeland Security Council can do more to protect Oregonians by establishing a data-driven, statewide strategy to combat domestic violent extremist attacks.

    “I’m proud of the work that Casey and the rest of the team did on this important report,” said Kip Memmott, director of the Audits Division. “Recent events have highlighted domestic terrorism and violent extremism as a growing risk, both nationwide and in Oregon. The Audits Division is uniquely positioned to analyze these risks and suggest real changes that Oregon’s leaders can take to mitigate this threat and better protect all Oregonians.”

    --Staff Reports

    Post Date: 2022-08-03 11:32:54Last Update: 2022-08-03 11:44:28

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