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Duncan to Lead Linn County Sheriff’s Office
Will succeed retiring Sheriff Jim Yon

Linn County Undersheriff Michelle Duncan will have a new job title come January 1st.

Linn County Commissioners Roger Nyquist, Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker agreed that Duncan should succeed Sheriff Jim Yon, who recently announced his retirement as of the end of the year.

Duncan, 47, will become the first female sheriff in Linn County law enforcement history, as she completes the final year of Yon’s four-year term of office.

The commissioners indicated strong support for Duncan, who has held numerous leadership posts within the Sheriff’s Office, starting as a resident deputy in Mill City for seven years.

She has also been a detective, worked narcotics, was patrol sergeant and worked with mountain patrols, was a lieutenant dealing with contract cities and was a Field Training Coordinator. In 2019, Duncan was promoted to Patrol Captain and earlier this year, she was promoted to Undersheriff.

Duncan has said previously that she and Sheriff Yon share the same command philosophy and that is teamwork is vital to success of any organization. She also believes strongly in the value of training and valuing the work of all departments within the LCSO equally.

Duncan grew up in Linn County and in California. She has a degree in criminal justice from San Jose Community College.

She is married and has a son and a daughter. She enjoys hiking, fishing, yard and garden work and football.

The LCSO employs 190 people when at full strength and has an annual budget of about $36 million.

Commissioner Tucker said he has always been impressed with Duncan’s professionalism and dedication to the job.

He added she has succeeded at every level of command leading up to the top job.

Commissioner Sprenger agreed and said she first met Duncan at a meeting in Crabtree at which people were angry. Sprenger said Duncan truly listened to the people and cared about their issues.

Yon told the commissioners, “You will not be disappointed.”

Duncan will stand for election in 2022.

LCSO Deputy John Raymond has also filed to run for sheriff as well.

If there are only two candidates, their names will appear on the November 2022 ballot. If more than two candidates file, their names will appear on the May 2022 primary ballot.

The names of the two candidates who receive the highest number of votes will be on the November ballot. If one of the candidates receives 50% of the primary vote tally — plus one vote — that candidate would be the lone name on the November ballot.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-12-05 12:50:02Last Update: 2021-12-05 15:48:50



Cancel Culture Comes to the South Coast
“His messages and behaviors harm all of us”

In a bold case of cancel culture, a local organization called Southern Oregon Coast Pride has posted a petition online to have local political talk show host Rob Taylor removed from the air.

The petition wording ironically calls out Taylor for "his efforts to organize local opposition to the values of inclusion and acceptance." According to the group,

We ask that our allies, local community organizations, and businesses who believe that LGBTQIA+ people deserve to live and belong in our area without fear of harm or harassment to join us in rejecting the messages and behaviors of hatred and bigotry that Rob Taylor espouses. We ask that you join us in contacting Bicoastal Media and requesting that they remove the Rob Taylor Report from their station.

For transphobic, homophobic, and racist comments on his radio show, at public events, and on social media, Southern Oregon Coast Pride takes an unprecedented action to denounce Rob Taylor and the Rob Taylor Report. His messages and behaviors harm all of us and hinder the well-being and prosperity of our community. That they are given a platform that reaches a wider audience and that they are part of his efforts to organize local opposition to the values of inclusion and acceptance of the diversity within our community makes this denouncement urgent and necessary.

Southern Oregon Coast Pride knows how important it is to advocate and create safe spaces for trans identifying individuals in our communities. Sadly, 2021 has already seen at least 45 transgender or gender non-conforming people fatally shot or killed by other violent means. We say at least because too often these stories go unreported -- or misreported. In this and previous years, the majority of these people were Black and Latinx transgender women.

Taylor responded to the intolerance. "It is sad to see so many Americans buy into this “cancel culture” mentality. It is not good enough to turn the dial or change the channel, anyone in the public spotlight who makes any off-color remarks will be removed.

"The communist Chinese Government made the tennis star Peng Shuai disappear, and that seems to be the direction the left wants to take the rest of us. When the mob rules only the sanctioned rhetoric of the collectivist mind will be allowed because there is no debate and there is no freedom of expression in the world of the thought police."

The Rob Taylor Report airs weekly on KWRO Radio on 101.1 FM in Coos County each Monday from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. His topics, which can also be heard via podcast include a unique perspective on local, state and national issues.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-12-04 14:58:53Last Update: 2021-12-04 18:17:48



Interstate 5 Bridge Hearing Upcoming
“It is setting a very high bar by centering equity and climate”

As long as there is deterioration in this world the Interstate 5 Bridge Project will remain on the to-do-list.

The Joint Interim Committee on the Interstate 5 Bridge, chaired by Senator Lee Beyer and Representative Susan McLain, will meet on December 6, 2021 at 9am, with the Washington State Legislature’s Joint Legislative Action Committee regarding the construction of a new Interstate 5 Bridge. The meeting will be live-streamed and the public will have 20 minutes to give comment.

Greg Johnson, Program Administrator, Interstate Bridge Replacement (IBR) Program will provide an update and discuss the next steps. In the IBR 2021 Progress Report, Johnson states, “The Interstate Bridge is ranked as the worst bottleneck in Oregon and Washington and the 23rd worst bottleneck in the nation (ATRI 2021). The corridor experiences crash rates over three times higher than statewide averages for comparable facilities. With one bridge span now 104 years old, it is at risk for collapse in the event of a major earthquake and no longer satisfies the needs of modern commerce and travel. Replacing the aging Interstate Bridge across the Columbia River with a seismically resilient, multimodal structure that provides improved mobility and reliability for people, goods, and services is a high priority for Oregon and Washington.”

What can we expect from the meeting? Johnson says “the program has a dedicated principal equity officer working in tandem with the Equity Advisory Group and spearheading what we consider to be nationally significant equity-focused community outreach. The program also has a dedicated principal climate officer who is working shoulder-to-shoulder with partner agencies and stakeholders to help guide the program in designing a bridge that works toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and planning for climate resilience issues...it is setting a very high bar for infrastructure programs across the country by centering equity and climate, which is a departure from the historical way of building infrastructure.”

The IBR program is using previous planning work to maximize the current investment and support efficient decision-making, to not repeat the same work means the program will be able to take advantage of federal funding opportunities. By using prior Columbia River Crossing work, federal agencies will accept updates to prior data, which means a high-speed rail or a third bridge is out of this project, but may be planned for a future project.

The opposition has been unfairly identified as “do nothing” and stop planning. Perhaps if IBR were listening to stakeholders in opposition as much as it does to communities of color and reducing greenhouse gases, they may learn there is little opposition to a safer seismic tolerant bridge. The opposition had a lot to do with the extravagant design including high-speed rail, and in manipulating funds to deceive the public.

Currently Oregon has committed $45 million and Washington has committed a total of $133 million that includes improvements on their interchange. Federal competitive grant funding could potentially support the IBR program. A preliminary IBR Toll Rate Schedule has been developed by the IBR program and the Oregon Toll Program to be used by both the IBR and Oregon’s Regional Mobility Pricing Project (RMPP) traffic modeling teams for their preliminary analyses. And what of the $5.3 billion Oregon will receive and $8.6 billion Washington will receive from federal infrastructure funding? Is there a need to slow traffic for tolling?

Next steps will involve outlining a more detailed path forward, including key stakeholder and community engagement, and schedule of milestones for pursuing the implementation of highway tolling on the Interstate Bridge. The “equity” process prioritizes access, influence, and decision-making power for underserved communities throughout the program in establishing objectives, design, implementation, and evaluation of success. One could ask if these are the primary users of the I-5 bridge that warrants prioritizing their input. Climate goal is to overcome the limited capacity for low-emissions travel (e.g., walking, biking and rolling), constrained transit options, and significant congestion resulting in idling vehicles contributing to GHG emissions. Impaired freight movement is of major concern.

The basic design has three options: A curved twin span is the preferred option 1; a straight twin span; or a stacked alignment, with an upper deck and a lower deck carrying traffic in opposite directions.

Early work on the bridge project estimated $3-$5 billion needed. One thing is for sure, the longer the planning process, the more expensive the project. You can receive monthly updates by subscribing to the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-12-04 12:36:30Last Update: 2021-12-04 12:45:36



Taher to Run for US Senate as Republican
Former nominee of the Pacific Green Party

Eugene resident Ibra Taher has announced a run for United States Senate as a Republican.

Taher was born in Eugene, Oregon in 1989 to two immigrant parents. His father was a computer science student at U of O. His mother was a housewife who took care of him and his siblings.

Before high school, Ibra moved with his Persian mom to Kuwait where he discovered that they have free education from kindergarten to Ph.D. He went to Kuwait University from which he got his B.A. in Philosophy. Then after, he moved back to his hometown (Eugene) to pursue higher education. He was then a teacher in Kuwait, which led him to get his Master’s in Philosophy.

In 2016, Ibra moved to Rochester, MN to get specialized medical attention for cancer. After a successful long treatment, he moved back to Eugene where he lives now with his wife and two kids.

Taher says he is interested in areas in Philosophy that are related to the people and society like ethics, critical thinking, and philosophy of social science. "Politics," says Taher, "which is a social behavior, is broken, corrupted, and the main obstacle that prevents us from having ethical societies where justice, morality, and peace thrive."

In 2018, Taher became a member of the Pacific Green Party of Oregon, which he emphasizes was an outlet for his interest in peace activism. He ran in 2020 for the US Senate seat on the party ticket with being co-nominated by the Progressive Party of Oregon.

Taher says that there were major disagreements with the Pacific Green Party and their refusal to stand up for the people and against what he saw as repression in how the government of Oregon was responding to COVID.

Taher became a member of the Republican Party of Oregon which he sees as a more effective vehicle for political activism.

Taher claims he was the first candidate in Oregon to call out the corruption of the medical establishment concerning the COVID response. He published his first article regarding COVID on March 26th, 2020, titled “COVID19: A Pretext For Authoritarianism”.

Taher also co-founded a national group ‘Greens and Allies Against COVID Repression’ in July of 2020.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-12-03 10:48:46Last Update: 2021-12-03 12:11:15



DeFazio Retirement Opens Opportunities
“I would’ve defeated him”

After 36 years in Congress -- a virtual poster child for term limits -- Oregon's 4th district Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) has announced his retirement leaving an open seat in the newly minted district.

In a facebook post, DeFazio praised his own accomplishments and promised to stay engaged. "This was a very difficult decision at a difficult time for our nation, but I’m ready to pass the baton to the next generation so I can prioritize my personal health and well-being. I’m so proud of what we accomplished together. I will continue to remain active and dedicated; there is a lot of work that I intend to accomplish before my term ends and in the future."

Presumed front-runner on the Republican side, Alek Skarlatos responded:

“As I travel the district, voters have consistently told me that Congressman Peter DeFazio lost touch with Oregon’s 4th Congressional District, because he supported defunding the police, the Green New Deal, more spending that resulted in record inflation, and I have no doubt I would’ve defeated him." Skarlatos fell just 5.3 percentage points short of defeating DeFazio in the fall of 2020.

Skarlatos continued, “While our opponent has changed, my vision of securing our border, standing with law enforcement, fixing this inflation crisis, and most importantly holding Joe Biden accountable remains as strong as ever, and I’m thankful to have the support of our next Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-12-03 06:34:24Last Update: 2021-12-02 20:35:23



Realtor John Velez Announces Senate Candidacy
“Government overreach from Governor Brown and others must stop”

Local businessman and Realtor John Velez has announced his intention to run for the Republican nomination in the new Senate District 13 that stretches from Tigard to Wilsonville.

Velez was born in Puerto Rico, moving to Oregon in 1991.

He has been working in his real estate and general contracting businesses with his husband John. Velez commented, “I am excited to step up and help change the direction the state is headed. I talk to many frustrated parents and business owners every day about the increasing frustration with state government. It is time for me to do something.”

John Velez says he is focused on bringing local control back to the communities of Tigard, King City, Sherwood, and Wilsonville. “It is important for local parents to have more control in the education of their kids. Parents are the vital link between the home and the school their children attend. Government over reach from Governor Brown and state agencies must stop.”

Velez says he looks forward to a spirited conversations with parents, business owners and community leaders in 2022.

SD 13 incumbent Senator Kim Thatcher (R)Keizer will be running for Senate District 11, due to redistricting.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-12-02 16:50:06Last Update: 2021-12-02 20:36:30



Housing Chairs Defend Special Session
Oregon’s unemployment rate was never as low as 4.4%

Earlier this year, in the regular session, the Legislature passed SB 278 to create what proponents call a 60-day safe harbor for tenants who were waiting in line for rental assistance after the statewide eviction moratorium expired. Application processing times at many local community action agencies have been significantly longer than expected back in June.

This means more than 10,000 Oregon households are at risk of timing out of their safe harbor protections and facing eviction for nonpayment simply because of administrative delays in processing their applications. Other states facing this problem, like Minnesota and Nevada, have passed bipartisan legislation to create safe harbor policies for tenants with pending applications. This is expected to be the subject of the special session called by Governor Brown to be held on December 13.

Additionally, nearly all federal rental assistance has been committed to tenants in need, even as the pandemic continues.

In response to these developments, Representative Julie Fahey (D-Eugene) and Senator Kayse Jama (D-Portland), the chairs of the legislature’s housing committees, issued the following statement:

“No Oregonian should be evicted while rental assistance is on the way. A special session is the only way to prevent this. Thanks to Governor Brown, the legislature is officially on track to fulfill our promise to Oregon renters.

“After months of work, we have developed a proposal to extend the state’s bipartisan safe harbor protections and provide additional funds for direct rent assistance that will benefit both tenants and housing providers. As we head into the holiday season and the coldest winter months, this special session package will prevent heartbreaking evictions and support small housing providers who have made major sacrifices throughout the pandemic.”

According to the Oregon Employment Department which reports statistics on unemployment, "Oregon's unemployment rate dropped to 4.4% in October, down from 4.7% in September. This is an unusually low unemployment rate for Oregon. Since 1976, when comparable records began, through October 2016, Oregon's unemployment rate was never as low as 4.4%. However, during the economic expansion just prior to the pandemic recession, Oregon's unemployment rate was 4.4% or lower for the 41 consecutive months from November 2016 through March 2020. Oregon's unemployment rate reached a record low of 3.3% in November and December 2019."

It would seem that the economy itself has created a remedy for eviction: Jobs.

While Republicans have questioned the need for a special session, Jama and Fahey point out that “Extending these protections...can only be done during a special session -- the Emergency Board does not have the authority to extend these protections and keep people housed.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-12-02 14:11:28Last Update: 2021-12-02 14:34:24



YamCo Commissioner Race Heats Up
Harden-Moore presents her activist style to the voters of Yamhill County

Tai Harden-Moore, a government employed diversity and inclusion consultant, is running for Yamhill County Commissioner in the open seat created by the planned departure of Progressive Yamhill’s Casey Kulla.

Harden-Moore made her debut in a failed run for Newberg School Board in 2020. She decries the current situation with the elected School Board banning Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ banners from inside the school rooms. Harden-Moore is part of the group using personal destruction tactics against those Board members. Schools Superintendent Joe Morelock was fired in mid November for not following School Board instructions. Apparently he is out to prove them right. He refuses to step down and is acting like a Superintendent by engaging with parents, students and administrators sympathetic to him and shared causes. Harden-Moore supports his defiant actions.

Ten million students have switched from public schools to private school, charter school or home school this year. Governor-elect Younkin of Virginia won primarily because of his insistence that parents and not the Teachers Union through their in-house operatives should decide the curriculum and learning environment.

Harden-Moore presents her activist style to the voters of Yamhill County. According to one local analyst, the race will be a test of whether or not the public desires to take the turmoil and the tactic of personal destruction now engulfing Newberg and expand it to the rest of the County.


--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-12-02 13:50:21Last Update: 2021-12-02 14:11:28



Farmworkers Sue for Overtime Protection
“Driving up costs to family farms could be devastating to Oregon’s ag economy”

The Oregon Law Center has filed a lawsuit naming the Bureau of Labor and Industries asking that the courts to force an overtime policy on Oregon agriculture that some say ignores the realities of the industry and threatens its future in the state.

In 2017, the Oregon Legislature passed HB 3458 neatly along party lines in the House and, puzzlingly, unanimously in the Senate after being amended. The House overwhelmingly concurred in the Senate version, which was signed into law, by Governor Kate Brown.

This legislation directs employers in manufacturing and food processing sectors to pay the greater of daily or weekly overtime when employee is eligible for both in same workweek and declares employers compliant with certain overtime laws by doing so and prohibits employer from requiring manufacturing and food processing employees to work more than 55 hours in workweek. At issue is an existing law that exempts agriculture from the policy.

According to the lawsuit, Oregon has more than 86,000 agricultural workers. The agricultural worker population is overwhelmingly Hispanic. According to the most recent relevant data, more than 88% of Northwest region agricultural workers identify as Hispanic.

The lawsuit connects this to the equality clause of the Oregon Constitution to create an alleged act of racial discrimination. Article I, Section 20 of the Oregon Constitution prohibits laws “granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges or immunities, which upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.” This provision protects against disparate treatment of “suspect true classes” of citizens, even by laws that are facially neutral. It does not require proof of intentional discrimination.

“Attorneys are attempting to circumvent a legislative process already underway by forcing a deeply partisan and costly overtime policy on Oregon’s farm and ranch families,” said Representative Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles). “Their intention to expand a 2017 manufacture overtime bill is completely disconnected with the intention of this original legislation that has nothing to do with agriculture production. Oregon’s family farms are already suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, market and shipping disruptions and extreme weather events. Despite these struggles, the Oregon Law Center is pushing an agenda that could be the final nail in the coffin for countless Oregon families and local producers.”

“This unnecessary action sidelines an inclusive legislative process on agriculture overtime,” added Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany). “Capping the hours of employees working in agriculture and driving up costs to family farms could be devastating to Oregon’s ag economy with negative consequences. That’s why this is a very complex process that needs a careful approach with everyone’s input. This lawsuit takes a sledgehammer to the conversations underway and forces a one-size-fits-all solution for the entire industry in the state with little care for how it will negatively impact our local farms and families.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-12-02 06:33:49Last Update: 2021-12-01 18:50:21



Democrat Selected for SD 18 Appointment
Two nominees dropped out of the running

Multnomah County’s Board of Commissioners joined commissioners from Washington County in selecting Akasha Lawrence-Spence to fill the vacant seat for State Senate District 18 at a Nov. 29 public hearing.

Commissioners present voted unanimously to appoint Lawrence-Spence to fill the term of former State Senator Ginny Burdick, who resigned at the end of October to take a position on the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, after being appointed by Governor Kate Brown.

District 18 includes portions of west Portland and Tigard. The district includes parts of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties. Oregon law requires that a legislative vacancy be filled by county commissioners representing the district in which the vacancy exists.

Clackamas County commissioners were invited but did not attend the hearing.

Lawrence-Spence is the founder and principal designer of Fifth Element, a real estate development firm. She has served as an interim State Representative for House District 36 (January 17, 2020 to January 11, 2021) and on the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission.

The process for appointing a replacement for a state legislator is for the former legislator’s political party to nominate three to five candidates that county commissioners select from. The state Democratic Party nominated Lawrence-Spence and two nominees who later dropped out of the running. At the Nov. 29 hearing, Lawrence-Spence made an opening statement and answered questions from county commissioners before commissioners voted.

Lawrence-Spence will serve through 2022. The May 2022 primary election and November 2022 general election will be held to fill the 2023-2027 term for District 18.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-12-01 17:39:24Last Update: 2021-12-01 18:27:12



DeFazio to Retire From Congress
Opens a Window for Party Flip

In what is being described as another blow to Democrat hopes in the 2022 mid-terms, Oregon's 4th District Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) has told Politico that he will be retiring in order to “focus on my health and well-being.”

DeFazio's departure leaves an uncertain future for Democrats who have lorded over Southern Oregon for nearly four decades from a safe Lane County roost. DeFazio defeated Republican rival Alek Skarlatos by a mere 5.3 points in the last election and a new Democratic challenger may struggle without incumbency and DeFazio's substantial war chest.

"After 36 years of failure--burning forests, poorest congressional district in the state, partisan policies that have destroyed southwest Oregon--and turning his back on the people he was elected to serve Peter DeFazio is retiring," said Skarlatos.



The newly redistricted 4th Congressional District contains the counties of Lincoln, Benton, Lane, parts of Douglas, Coos and Curry.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-12-01 13:51:06Last Update: 2021-12-01 17:32:34



Portland Teachers Ask for Changes
Educators are stretched beyond capacity trying to fill the gaps

The Portland Association of Teachers, the Union represents more than 4500 professional educators in the Portland Public School system, met with district administration to bargain for what they say is "immediate and much needed workload relief that centers student safety and social-emotional needs, and that directs the District resources where they are needed the most, into the classroom and for wrap-around supports." PAT President is Elizabeth Thiel.

According to the union, "For a year and a half, the ongoing pandemic has disrupted our school system and our entire community. This year, students at every grade level need so much more from our public schools, both academically and in terms of social-emotional support. Additionally, we are seeing more students impacted by trauma and in need of intensive support than ever before.

"We are facing an historic staffing shortage, and hundreds of crucial positions in our schools remain unfilled. Educators are stretched beyond capacity trying to fill the gaps. For example, our counselors, social workers, and academic support teachers are frequently being assigned to cover classes, rather than providing specific supports for students that are so urgently needed.

"Educators are working every day to connect with students from behind masks, to teach over the noise of air purifiers, to establish classroom climate that meets all students’ social and emotional learning needs, to adapt to the absence of students and colleagues who are out due to COVID, all while working to keep up with curricular goals."

The union wants to focus on what they say students and educators need most in this moment, which includes the following:

Students deserve classroom instruction that meets their current needs Students deserve all available PPS resources directly addressing their needs Students deserve schools that are safe, secure, and that focus on the whole child. According to a letter to members sent by the PAT Bargaining team, "we are looking to have all “non-essential” activities stop. That means fewer committee meetings, fewer staff meetings, suspending/postponing many educator-evaluations, and removing busy-work from PLC meetings.

Secondly, we are looking to restructure elements of the work week so that professional educators can focus on meeting student and family needs: at the Elementary and Middle School levels, we proposed a weekly early-release; for High Schools, we proposed converting 8-period “skinny days” to become days for Flex-time/office hours and asynchronous learning. We also proposed converting a few days to professional development days focused on school climate, and additional planning days so that professional educators can adapt curriculum to meet the needs of students.

Clearly, public schools -- including Portland Public Schools, the state's largest school district -- are in disarray.

The union is hopeful that these changes will be implemented immediately after winter break. Some of these proposed changes will surely cost money.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-30 18:12:26Last Update: 2021-12-01 13:51:06



Breese-Iverson Named Oregon House Republican Leader
Drazan steps down. To run for Governor?

In a move that insiders read as an announcement of a Gubernatorial bid, Oregon Representative Christine Drazan (R-Canby) has stepped down from the role of Oregon House Republican Caucus Leader. Representative Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) was selected by House Republicans to serve as its new Leader.

Representative Drazan served as Caucus Leader since 2019.

“It has been a privilege to serve as Republican Leader in the Oregon House during these challenging times,” said Representative Drazan. “Today I stepped down from this role to focus my efforts on preparations to serve our state in a new way. I have enjoyed working alongside my Republican colleagues who have been committed to amplifying the voices of tens of thousands of Oregonians that feel unheard by our current state leadership.”

“It’s an honor to be chosen by my friends and colleagues for this role,” said Leader Breese-Iverson. “I’m proud of the work that this Caucus has achieved together in recent years, standing up to the one-party dominance that controls this state. The size of state government has ballooned after a decade of Democrats’ liberal agenda-driven focus and as a result made Oregon more expensive for everyone. I look forward to continuing our work in this new role to fight for much-needed balance. House Republicans will not stop pushing for solutions that focus on the actual needs of Oregonians.”

Representative Breese-Iverson first began serving as a State Legislator in 2019.

Without hardly stopping to catch her breath, Breese-Iverson issued a statement in response to calls from Democrats for a special session to extend pandemic-related housing policies.

“We must allow our economy to return to normal,” said newly minted House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson. “Our unemployment level, jobless claims, and job openings have returned to pre-pandemic years. A special session is unnecessary. After back-to-back years of record state revenue, the Emergency Board has the ability to allocate funds to support those already in line to receive rent assistance.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-30 17:54:27Last Update: 2021-11-30 18:09:06



Oregon Senator Speaks Out Against Vaccine Passports
OHA wants to implement digital vaccine records

Tuesday, November 30th marks the final day for public input on the Oregon Health Authority’s digital vaccine record program.

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

“Kate Brown and her administration rely on edicts, unconstitutional mandates, and brute force. They have tossed aside normal democratic processes in favor of gross government overreach through the tyrannical rule of one person."

“The OHA has no businesses creating a system that enables private businesses to discriminate based on a person’s private medical decisions."

"No Oregonian should be coerced into any medical procedures just to live in this otherwise beautiful state and participate in everyday activities."

“Will an Oregonian be able to shop at the mall, eat at their favorite restaurant, ride public transit, attend classes at the local college, or visit the grocery store without their passport? This is just one more step toward giving the unelected bureaucrats the power to decide who is worthy to participate in society."

“This absurd, un-American, and unconstitutional plan is not about public health but about instituting state control over every detail of life.”

The Oregon Legislature's House Interim Special Committee on COVID-19 Response intends for the Digital Vaccine Records Project to be implemented, as quickly as possible, and some observers are suggesting that they are trying doing so as quietly as possible, as to avoid public resistance.

Development and testing of the project is said to be within a six month period, with March 8th, 2022 expected to be the official launch date.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-30 14:19:52Last Update: 2021-11-30 14:43:09



Special Session to be Held on Evictions
Courtney: “I hope we will be ready.”

Governor Kate Brown has announced that she will be calling the Legislature into special session on December 13 to address eviction protections for renters.

“As we enter our coldest months, it is absolutely essential that we take action to ensure no additional Oregon families are evicted when rental assistance is on the way,” said Governor Brown. “I have spoken directly with Oregon renters in recent weeks about the pain and hardship their families have faced due to the economic impacts of the pandemic. We must take legislative action now to approve additional state funding for rental assistance, and to extend eviction protections for Oregonians who have applied for assistance.

According to many experts, the COVID-19 outbreak itself has been less responsible for the social and economic havoc of the last two years than the government response to the outbreak. According to economist Eric Fruits, Ph.D. with the Cascade Policy Institute, "Both the U.S. and the Oregon constitutions forbid any laws “impairing the obligation of contracts.” Rental agreements are contracts. So are arrangements with utilities and student loan providers. Neither the federal government nor state or local governments can simply “wipe out” the payment provisions of these contracts."

“Our federal funds for rental assistance will be nearly spent on December 1. I am continuing to work with federal officials at U.S. Treasury and the White House to secure additional federal emergency rental assistance funding for Oregon, but it is clear that a state solution is needed to address the urgent and immediate needs of Oregon renters. And, we must begin laying the groundwork now for the transition to local eviction prevention services after federal pandemic emergency programs draw to an end.”

Oregon Housing and Community Services received $289 million in federal rental assistance funds to help Oregon renters impacted by COVID-19. As of last week, OHCS and their local partners had paid out close to $150 million in federal emergency rental assistance to over 22,000 households –– with Oregon ranking eighth in the nation for federal funds paid or obligated. OHCS and its partners have received more than 25,000 additional applications and continue to review and approve thousands of those applications each week. Nearly $20 million was paid to renters over the previous two weeks. OHCS has calculated that all remaining federal rental assistance funds will have been requested by December 1.

After conversations with legislative leaders, stakeholders, landlord associations, and housing advocates, the Governor is proposing the following framework to prevent further evictions: The package would address the immediate needs of Oregon renters through the winter months. Legislators may also be asked to take on additional time-sensitive issues during the special session that require action before February 2022.

Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) issued a statement on the special session that cast doubt on the ability of the legislature to effectively execute such an emergency session. “The Governor has called us in on December 13. That’s two weeks from today. Special sessions are the most difficult of all sessions. Everything must be carefully planned. We have a lot of work to do. I hope we will be ready.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-30 13:10:20Last Update: 2021-11-30 13:52:47



Beaverton Mayor Comments on Rittenhouse
Oregon politician wanted to fan the flames

The Mayor of Beaverton, Oregon has released a statement in response to the recent Kyle Rittenhouse verdict. It can be seen here:

Dear Neighbors,

On August 25, 2020, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch, Illinois drove to Kenosha, Wisconsin with the stated intention of providing medical aid and protecting property in the midst of demonstrations that had turned violent. On that night, Rittenhouse shot and killed two people and wounded another at demonstrations over the shooting of Jacob Blake.

What I want us to focus on, and have a community dialogue about, is the proliferation of violence that is plaguing our country. There seems to be a pervasive belief that the way for voices to be heard, the way to protect the country or the community, is to use violence. As a veteran who served in combat, I can attest to the devastating effects of violence on all involved parties, however well-intended or justified.

Sometimes, our criminal justice system works as intended: offenders are caught, charged, proven guilty, and sentenced. Other times, there are breakdowns in the system where technicalities or outright fraud result in the guilty going free, or the innocent being wrongly convicted. In this case as in so many, the verdict is insufficient, and the system seems to work only for those for whom it was built. We cannot ignore the role of race in this trial.

The not guilty verdict does not mean Rittenhouse is innocent. He remains responsible for the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and for the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz. A white male (Rittenhouse) drove across state lines to attend a demonstration over the police shooting of a black man (Jacob Blake). His stated intention was not support of Jacob Blake or the Black Community, but rather to preserve property and provide medical aid. Instead of providing life-saving assistance, he took two lives and injured a third, with repercussions felt throughout those families, communities, and indeed the entire country.

I want to echo a statement released by John Huber and Karen Bloom, parents of Anthony Huber, about the verdict: “It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street. We hope that decent people will join us in forcefully rejecting that message and demanding more of our laws, our officials, and our justice system." I stand with them. People should be able to peacefully protest without the threat of violence.

As a community, let’s take some time to process this. Then we have to get to work. City Council has heard recommendations related to public safety from our Human Rights Advisory Commission. We still need to talk more about those recommendations and take action. We are in a joint process with Beaverton School District related to School Resource Officers. Kenosha may be over 2,000 miles away but we have work to do right here in Beaverton.

Now that the trial has concluded and a verdict has been reached, I urge everyone to stay in this conversation. Your voice is needed, and I encourage you to have your voice heard through whatever channel you feel is best. If you would like to meet with me, please grab a time. I look forward to hearing from you, and to opportunities for community conversations.

In solidarity,

Lacey Beaty

Mayor of Beaverton


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-29 16:38:34Last Update: 2021-11-29 16:47:40



Portland Traffic Deaths Rise
“Vision Zero” plan may not be working

In 2016 the City of Portland created the Zero Vision Traffic Plan to reduce traffic fatalities. At the time, Commissioner Steven Novick said “Other cities across the nation have implemented their own Vision Zero Act Plans and have seen a reduction in traffic deaths.” New York was the earliest adoption and experienced a 22% reduction in three years. Portland’s goal was to eliminate deaths and serious injuries for all who share Portland streets by 2025.

The project started with a survey asking 895 people their top three road safety tips. Eighty-five percent supported using automated cameras to ticket people who run red lights, and 71 percent supported automated cameras to ticket people who speed.

For a few years it improved hitting a low of 34 in 2018. Then it creeped up to 50, then 59 setting a new record in 2020. Now, five years into the project, they are on the verge of setting a record for the most traffic deaths ever. On Thanksgiving eve, deaths reach 61 passing the record of 2020.

Portland has spent more than $120 million on the Zero Vision Traffic Plan that hasn’t changed even the most dangerous streets identified in the Plan. Six speed safety cameras were installed on the most dangerous streets and added street lighting at high crash crossings.

They installed city trucks with side guards that are risks to pedestrians. Speed limits were reduced citywide and enforced with speed cameras. With the lowering of speed limits, in July they added how to resolve a citation in five languages on the Vision Zero website.

An education campaign called ‘Struck’ launched a Vision Zero dashboard with an interactive map and videos. To ensure safe driving is on the mind of Portlanders, free Vision Zero pins, stickers, brochures and fliers are available.

The Vision Zero Task Force was dissolved on January 25, 2021, that oversaw the implementation. Does that mean the project is on auto-pilot? In June, Portland Bureau of Transportation announced $80 million towards a $185 million plan to transform 82nd Avenue, one of many high-risk areas. What of the other high-risk areas?

According to the Portland Traffic Fatality Tracker, only two of the 61 accidents this year took place on 82nd Avenue compared to six on Marine Drive or four on Powell.

It’s clear that five years has not produced any progress to eliminate fatalities. Another challenge lurks when ODOT implements tolling moving more traffic onto now busy streets where pedestrians and bikers travel.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-11-29 15:27:16Last Update: 2021-11-29 16:00:29



Car Repair Shops Now Must File Bond with DMV
It may become harder to be a mechanic in Oregon

The 2021 Oregon Legislature passed a law to create some financial stipulations for disputes over payment for car repairs under House Bill 2311. The new law will take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Car owners don’t need to do anything, but automobile repair businesses need to prepare.

Under current Oregon law, if an auto repair business does not receive payment for repairs to a vehicle, it has the right to apply for a possessory lien through DMV and to sell the vehicle to recover its costs. This “mechanic’s lien” is based on Oregon Revised Statute 87.152.

Under HB 2311, as of Jan. 1, 2022, auto mechanics must first have a surety bond or an irrevocable letter of credit in the amount of $20,000 filed with DMV before they can apply for a mechanic’s lien.

The chief sponsor of HB 2311 was Representative Paul Evans (D-Monmouth).

As of Jan. 1, DMV will not accept mechanic’s lien applications without the bond or letter on file first unless the claimant also: Those required to file a surety bond or letter of credit must certify to DMV every year, in writing, that the bond or letter remains in effect.

If you are a mechanic or own an independent auto repair shop and need more information about filing a mechanic’s lien from DMV, please call DMV Customer Assistance at 503-945-5000 or 503-299-9999 in the Portland Metro Area.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-29 10:15:22Last Update: 2021-11-29 10:29:45



TriMet Ridership Hit Hard by COVID-19, Crime
Tranist may have a diminished role in the new normal

Since March of 2020, COVID-19 has been impacting TriMet ridership, and since late May of 2020 riots have added their impact. Even if COVID-19 were to have a minimized impact as an active outbreak, patterns of work-at-home and a lingering comfort in social distancing for some are likely to continue, and these will impact ridership.

When the stay-at-home order was announced by Governor Brown in March 2020, the first social distancing restrictions were put in place and many people began working from home. Weekly TriMet ridership dropped from February levels by around 60% by the end of March 2020. Ridership has continued to stay well below 2019’s numbers throughout the rest of the year, impacted not only by the initial surge of the pandemic, but by the dramatic rise in the state’s positive COVID cases in November and December, the wildfire smoke in September and our Steel Bridge MAX Improvements project in August 2020.

TriMet has required employees and riders to wear face coverings on board since May 2020. They have distributed more than 3.7 million disposable masks since May 2020.

According to TriMet, "From the start of the pandemic, TriMet quickly made changes to help keep our riders and employees safe. While we had cleaned our vehicles to some degree nightly, in March we began disinfecting all buses, MAX trains, WES trains and LIFT paratransit vehicles every night. We hired more than 150 people to help with the elevated cleaning efforts and purchased equipment such as electrostatic sprayers and fogging machines to help us do this more effectively and efficiently."




--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-28 14:55:43Last Update: 2021-11-28 15:29:59



Holiday Gas Prices Remain High
Democrat policies add to national and international woes

According to AAA/Oregon, Thanksgiving travelers will find gas prices holding relatively steady this week. Averages in 43 states including Oregon have changed by three cents or less. Lower crude oil prices are helping to put downward pressure on pump prices. For the week, the national average for regular slips a penny to $3.40 a gallon. The Oregon average remains at $3.78.

The Oregon average is the highest it’s ever been for Thanksgiving. The national average is the highest for the holiday since 2012. The expensive gas prices won’t keep people from traveling over Thanksgiving. AAA projects 53.4 million Americans including 746,000 Oregonians will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from 2020. About 90% will drive to their destinations.

After adopting notorious gas-price-raising policies, President Biden has announced that the U.S. and other countries would release strategic crude oil reserves in an effort to increase supply and put downward pressure on gas prices. The U.S. will release 50 million barrels and will be joined by China, India, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

Under Governors Kulongoski and Brown, Oregon lawmakers have also created policies that have contributed to higher fuel prices. Greenhouse gas emissions were regulated in 2009 and the low carbon fuel standard was implemented in 2015.

Crude oil prices moved lower in the last week, partly in anticipation of the release. For the first time since Oct. 11, crude oil prices have fallen below $80 per barrel and have remained in the mid-to upper $70 range for the last week. Fears of slowing economic activity in the U.S. and Europe due to a resurgence of COVID-19, along with the release of stockpiled oil are driving the lower prices.

“Falling crude oil prices normally translates into cheaper pump prices for drivers because the price of crude oil accounts for 50% to 60% of what consumers pay at the pumps,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho. “However, until global oil production ramps back up to pre-pandemic levels, the dip in crude prices may only be temporary.”

Here in the U.S. about 5% of the nation’s refineries shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic as people stayed home. And the cartel OPEC+ has not significantly boosted production. The result has been tight supplies and high prices as demand has climbed back up to pre-pandemic levels but production has not.

For the second week in a row, California continues to set new record high prices for gasoline. Today’s average is $4.705. Monday’s average was $4.706 and Sunday’s was $4.704. California’s previous record high price was $4.671 in October 2012. Severe rainstorms in Northern California impacted oil refineries in the area, leading to reduced production which has created supply issues.

The cheapest gas in the nation is in Oklahoma ($2.97) and Texas ($3.00) and. For the 46th week in a row, no state has an average below $2 a gallon.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-27 14:29:24Last Update: 2021-11-27 14:59:20



How to End a Mask Mandate
She’s done it before. She can do it again.

On June 25, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order 21-15 which ended masking, distancing and capacity limits. It cites "declining rates of COVID-19" and "widespread availability and adoption of safe and effective vaccines." According to the Governor's order:

Throughout this pandemic, I have followed science and data and the advice of doctors and health experts to guide my decisions. Right now, in Oregon, we are quickly approaching the point where 70 percent of Oregon's adult population will have received at least a first dose of vaccine. We are also seeing declining rates of Covid-19, driven by the widespread availability and adoption of safe and effective vaccines. As a result of these developments, I find that statewide restrictions to control the spread of Covid-19 will no longer be necessary at the end of this month. Accordingly, this Executive Order provides that, not later than June 30, the executive orders that required health and safety restrictions to keep Oregon safe for the past year shall be lifted. This includes the complete rescission of Executive Order 20-66, the successor of my original "Stay Home, Save Lives" and "Safe and Strong Oregon" orders, which contains the authorities for the county risk level framework, statewide mask mandate, and business and other sector capacity and physical distancing restrictions, among other pandemic-related restrictions.

She concludes by ending the "mask mandate...capacity limits and physical distancing requirements."

To be clear, in this new phase of our response, statutory emergency authorities will be used at the state level for the limited purpose of resilience and recovery, not to impose or renew statewide pandemic restrictions.

For the reasons described above, I find that it is no longer necessary or advisable for me to use my emergency authorities to impose mandatory public health restrictions, such as statewide mask mandates or state-mandated capacity limits and physical distancing requirements for gatherings, businesses, and other sectors.

In seeming contradiction to that order, the Oregon Health Authority made its own “rule” on July 27, 2021, with Kate Brown giving a verbal pronouncement for everyone to mask up, ““Wearing a mask should give you confidence that you are not infecting others,” said Governor Brown. “Masks are also our best bet at keeping our schools and businesses open.”

Many Oregon parents will not forget the trauma done to their children, their families, their businesses, their lost ability to recreate, to socialize, to get health care as they’ve come to realize that the governor never had a right under ORS 401.165(5) to close down all of Oregon -- including the Pacific Ocean -- since her first of many executive orders that closed down the lives of Oregonians and business owners and employees starting in March 2020.

Some say that the Oregon emergency law that Kate Brown cited in March 2020 noted the governor never had the legal authority to shut down every square inch of Oregon including the Pacific Ocean per ORS 401.165 (5):

“Any proclamation of a state of emergency must specify the geographical area covered by the proclamation. Such area shall be no larger than necessary to effectively respond to the emergency.

Governor Brown has not issued another executive order since June 25, 2021 and her executive orders issued since March 2020 are now numbering up into the 40+ range. With so many Oregonians having obeyed her orders previously many have wondered now, if perhaps the governor now prefers just giving verbal commands and that her administrative state apparatus government agencies such as Oregon Health Authority would then carry out her orders.

A poll showed Governor Brown to be the 47th most popular governor in the United States of America.

Many in Oregon agree with that sentiment, want to go back to living and to having a very Merry Christmas.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-26 15:34:28Last Update: 2021-11-29 01:10:20



Christmas Tree Cutting Permits Available
Kids, go ahead and try this at home. It may be your only chance at logging.

Christmas tree permits for the Mt. Hood National Forest are now available to purchase at local vendors and online through Recreation.gov where one may purchase a permit, download cutting area maps, and find tree cutting tips. Permits are $5 per tree with a limit of 5 permits per household. Recreation.gov charges an additional $2.50 service fee per order.

Finding and cutting a Christmas tree is a long-standing tradition and a way to spend time with family and friends on national forest lands. When following regulations and guidelines, Christmas tree cutting can also improve forest health in dense stands of small-diameter trees.

Tree cutting is prohibited along Highways 26, 35, and 216, in Wilderness, in the Bull Run Watershed and The Dalles Watershed, fire closure areas, Camp Baldwin, and other areas closed to public entry.

Forest offices remain closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Christmas tree permits are available in person for $5 at many local businesses.

Winter weather in the forest can change rapidly. Most forest roads are not maintained for winter driving. Forest staff recommend bringing traction devices and a shovel, extra food, drinking water, winter clothing, blankets, a flashlight, and a first aid kit. Don’t forget a tool for cutting the tree and a rope or cord to secure it to vehicles. Tree cutting and travel may take longer than anticipated, so let a friend or family member know where you’re going, get an early start, and leave the woods well before dark.

Photo by Taylor Friehl on Unsplash


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-26 15:21:32Last Update: 2021-11-26 15:34:28



Oregon Energy Policy Flashback
Fracking is banned in Oregon

Almost two and a half years ago, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law HB 2632, a ban on hydraulic fracturing -- known as "fracking." The bill, passed largely on party lines and when gas prices were just a little over $2.50 per gallon, was widely regarded as a symbolic measure.

Prior to the ban in Oregon, hydraulic fracturing required a permit and was regulated by the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Department of Environmental Quality, and the Water Resources Department. Oregon has few petroleum resources, so fracking is not commonly used in Oregon.

introduced by Representatives Julie Fahey (D-Eugene), Ken Helm (D-Beaverton) and Senator James Manning, Jr. (D-Eugene), the bill was a response to the transient uproar in the media over fracking.

At the time Meredith Connolly Oregon State Director of Climate Solutions called the bill "a straightforward bill that reflects Oregon’s priorities to combat climate change and wean our economy off fossil fuels. The devastating impacts of fracturing on numerous communities around the country further demonstrates the foolhardiness of expanding fractured gas exploration and production."

That kind of hyperbolic talk is no longer popular.

According to Brian Doherty, on behalf of the Western States Petroleum Association, "The facts are hydraulic fracturing has been demonstrated, across multiple state and federal jurisdictions, to be a safe and effective technology that can be used to increase the recovery of hydrocarbons and deliver significant benefits, without adverse environmental effects.

Contrary to persistent, unsubstantiated claims, hydraulic fracturing has been safely used for over 60 years, has not contaminated drinking water, does not use excessive amounts of water, and is comprehensively regulated in Oregon."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-25 18:39:26Last Update: 2021-11-25 19:27:20



County Leaders Disappointed with Kate Brown
Issue statement on prison sentencing decision

Polk County Public Safety Leaders, which include the County Commissioners, as well as the County District Attorney, and Sheriff, have issued a statement regarding Governor Kate Brown's recent decision to essentially pardon 75 violent offenders due to their juvenile status.

The letter, which expresses deep dismay, can be read here:

As elected Commissioners and public safety leaders in Polk County, we are expressing our deep disappointment and dismay with Governor Brown’s decision to use her clemency authority to unilaterally change the prison sentences of 75 individuals throughout Oregon. As has been reported, these are individuals serving adult sentences for violent crimes committed when they were between the ages of 15 to 17 years old.

Four of the 75 were convicted in Polk County. Among the crimes committed by these four are murder, forcible rape, and sexual abuse against children as young as 10. Clearly, these sentences have been reserved for the rarest of cases and imposed against the most extremely violent offenders.

We are also appalled at the breathtaking lack of regard for the rights of crime victims evident in the process surrounding the Governor’s decision. No victims or their families were consulted or even warned that blanket commutations were going to be issued by the Governor. Instead, District Attorneys and many victims found out from the media. The Governor’s Office’s ensuing attempts at back peddling and blaming others for their missteps has been unconvincing at best. To not recognize and take responsibility for the trauma this decision created for crime victims throughout Oregon is simply unacceptable.

Polk County has long supported the value of redemptive juvenile justice. Generations of County Commissioners, District Attorneys, Sheriffs, and Juvenile Department Officers have advocated through budgets, programs, and individual decisions for juvenile offenders to receive a second chance. This includes juveniles that have committed property offenses, drug offenses, and even person crimes. Alternative programs such as probation, diversion, sanction courts, and treatment opportunities have been the hallmark of Polk County’s commitment to reformative juvenile justice.

It has always been understood, however, in the most extremely violent cases, adult length sentences are appropriate for accountability and community safety. The cases on the list from Polk County are there because the facts of the case and the individual circumstances were carefully weighed before going forward. The Governor’s order does none of that. Rather, it abandons the practices of past Oregon governors in applying the extraordinary power of executive clemency in rarest of cases and applies it in a broad brush manner that Oregonians should find very unsettling. We urge the Governor to reconsider her decision.



Oregon Court Denies Partisanship in Redistricting Plan
Testimony was limited, because Covid

In light of the Oregon Supreme Court's dismissal of Sheehan v. Oregon Legislative Assembly which questioned the legality of Oregon's legislative districts, Legislative leaders from both parties sounded off on the decision. The Court opinion said, in part,

With respect to the Sheehan petition, the Court explained that the facts alleged by petitioners -- particularly, that the SB 882 reapportionment plan used many of the same district boundaries as exist in current law, and that oral public testimony had been subject to certain limitations -- were insufficient to permit a conclusion that the Legislative Assembly had created the entire statewide reapportionment plan for a partisan or otherwise improper purpose.

Oregon House Republican Leader and rumored Gubernatorial candidate Christine Drazan (R-Canby) claimed that the Congressional redistricting map upheld protects incumbents. She used the occasion to call for moving the redistricting process out of the legislature. “This gerrymandered congressional redistricting map is an incumbent protection plan that Democrats desperately fought to keep. Rather than serve the interests of Oregonians, they have served themselves. This is why we need an independent redistricting commission to take this job away from politicians.”

Oregon House Speaker and Gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek (D-Portland) and Oregon House Democratic Leader Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland) praised the court's decisions calling the maps ‘fair, legal, and constitutional,’ as a special five-judge panel dismissed a petition against the legislatively adopted congressional maps enacted by SB 881 during a September special session. This follows a Monday decision by the Oregon Supreme Court to dismiss two petitions challenging the reapportionment of Oregon's legislative districts enacted by SB 882.

In response to these dismissals, Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and Oregon House Democratic Leader Barbara Smith Warner issued the following joint statement: “These decisions affirm that the Legislature passed maps that are fair, legal, and constitutional. It was a tremendous challenge to complete this Constitutional duty in a very condensed timeline, and we appreciate the legislators who worked to get the job done for the people of Oregon.”

Insiders note that Democrats may need some extra help this cycle, due to what many perceive is failure of Democratic policy on a national and state levels.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-24 17:01:01Last Update: 2021-11-24 17:42:32



Man Evades Police Driving Stolen Backhoe
Told deputies he was lost

Clackamas County Sheriff deputies stopped a man driving a stolen backhoe after the suspect was spotted driving it on the wrong side of the road.

Shortly after midnight on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, an Oregon State Police trooper reported spotting a backhoe driving in the area of I-205 and Hwy. 213 in Clackamas County. The trooper initiated a traffic stop. However, the backhoe turned up the wrong way on the on-ramp from Hwy. 213; by the time the trooper looped back around, the backhoe had disappeared.

Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Patrol deputies began searching for the backhoe. Around 12:40 a.m., a resident reported seeing the backhoe near Holly Lane and Redland Road.

A CCSO deputy spotted the backhoe shortly after 1 a.m., driving on S. Fischers Mill Road. The backhoe was straddling the double yellow line at times, driving on the wrong side of the road, at speeds estimated at 10-20 mph.

The deputy initiated a traffic stop just west of Hattan Road. Because the backhoe had refused to stop for OSP troopers earlier that night, the deputy called for backup.

The suspect driver was identified as Mitchell Ray Johnston, 39, of Aloha. His driver's license was felony revoked. He initially told deputies he was "lost," but soon admitted he'd stolen the backhoe from a lot at 141st and TV Highway in Beaverton.

Johnston had driven the backhoe nearly 30 miles from its original location -- on a slow-moving route from TV Highway to Highway 217 to I-5 to I-205 -- before being spotted by the state trooper.

The owners of the backhoe responded to the scene to retrieve their stolen construction equipment.

Mitchell Johnston was arrested on charges including Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle and Driving While Suspended. His bail was set at $50,000.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-23 21:15:27Last Update: 2021-11-23 21:30:05



Analysis: Salem Climate Action Plan Part of a Larger Agenda
The SCAP will begin by banning any new natural gas hookups

The Salem Climate Action Plan, SCAP, recently adopted by Salem City Council -- including councilor Vanessa Nordyke -- was a generation in the making. The groundwork began shortly after a 1995 Presidential Executive Order called for adopting Agenda 21, now Agenda 2030, to be implemented in every Federal, State, County and City including Salem. Salem Futures under mayor Mike Swaim quickly followed. Only a few noticed the United Nations flag flying at City Hall and even fewer understood Salem was under UN rule.

Twenty two years before that the Oregon Legislature had adopted SB 100, the most restrictive land use laws in the nation. Few were aware that someday SB 100 would cause an imbalance between supply and demand so great that fewer than 50% of Oregonians would be able to buy a home. The average Salem citizen was equally unaware of Agenda 21 as City staff were groomed for Smart Growth and Going Green. Salem’s new Department of Sustainable Development under the direction of Vicki Harden Woods created a home and legitimized new prescriptive solutions for claimed environmental anomalies in all divisions of City government.

The City found eager co-sponsors within the business community. Day long conventions with workshops were an opportunity for community leaders to be seen showing their compassion for the planet. Group think was alive and well. The one day affairs were a hit, heavily attended -- at taxpayer expense -- planned and executed by over two dozen public officials whose full time jobs no longer were concerned with public safety, just in shrinking everyone’s carbon footprint. Chief among many of the practices called unsustainable was the need to stop anthropogenic global warming. If not, it was claimed, we only had a few years left before we would all go up in a cloud of blue steam.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claimed CO2 was a greenhouse gas and that our output of CO2 must be greatly diminished. To do that we would have to find substitutes for fossil fuels. Community leaders, uninformed and concerned with face saving, knew Salem’s economy would falter without abundant and affordable energy. Some say they were silent then and unfortunately still are. In the 1990’s Earth’s CO2 level went from 280 ppm to 420 ppm primarily due to volcanic activity. The IPCC funded 102 computer models showing Earth’s Global Average Steady Temperature, GAST, would rise quickly and uncontrollably starting around the year 2000. The premise for that prediction was that the rise in CO2 correlates to a rise in GAST. Except it didn’t happen.

It's becoming clear that there is no correlation between CO2 levels and GAST. After being caught in a coverup of their failure the IPCC continued their work opaquely. They insisted that 97% of the world’s scientists believed global warming was caused by humans. Recently, the founder of the Weather Channel was interviewed by a CNN anchor that looks like the fictional George Costanza of Seinfeld fame. He explained that science is not done by consensus and that those scientists are all paid to arrive at a predetermined conclusion. Salem became a United Nations International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives city in 2019. The bankruptcy of 100+ ICLEI cities in the 1990’s was a lesson ignored by bureaucrats and eagerly overlooked by Salem leaders as was the bankruptcy of Spain occurring between 2004-2008 when they adopted a green jobs economy.

The SCAP will begin by banning any new natural gas hookups. Switching to 100% electric energy is the stated goal. Electricity is generated outside the Salem UGB but natural gas is combusted inside the UGB. The SCAP doesn’t concern itself with emissions beyond its ‘city walls’. The SCAP claims stable pricing for electricity while hoping no one knows legislative mandates will double the cost to consumers, adjusted for and added to inflation, from 2013 to 2033.

The US Green Building Council has developed a set of standards called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which they claim provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. LEED Silver requirements will be mandated for all new construction. The LEED program was shown to be a failure in a study conducted on its 10th anniversary in 2006 by Henry Gifford. Gifford studied the 500 LEED buildings in existence and found they had 29% greater energy use than their counterparts of equal size and function in similar climates.

The SCAP bases its action Scenarios I & II on temperature projections modeled after the failed, unsuccessfully covered up and disgraced IPCC claims from 2009 depicted in the previous graph. Climate change is blamed for wildfires in areas where forestry best practices have been abandoned and even blamed for causing ice storms. It even evokes fears over earthquakes to justify climate remedies. As dozens of new coal fired electric generating facilities are being built in China and India, Salem attempts to influence global temperatures from an insignificant pinpoint on the world map with economy killing measures that are symbolic only.

Racial equity is to be enhanced by the SCAP. Consumerism is attacked and a list of SCAP preferred vendors will help lead intimidation and virtue signaling. Tracking progress toward artificial goals will encourage neighbor to neighbor shaming. NW Natural Gas lost all gains in future business in Salem. They offered three different remediations for their emissions, but to no avail. Still they embrace the SCAP, believing being bullied by a City Council comprised of only one man capable of starting and running a business is a sensible way to negotiate the terms of what will be a slow and painful surrender.


--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-11-22 16:38:10Last Update: 2021-11-22 18:42:14



Oregon Redistricting Upheld
May predetermine election results for the next decade

The Oregon Supreme Court has announced that the legal challenges of recent redistricting decisions have been dismissed and that the newly created district boundaries will be upheld. Two different challenges were dismissed.

Super-minority Republicans in the state have expressed dissatisfaction with the results, after House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) reneged on a deal made with the Republicans earlier in the year, which would have allowed equal representation on the Redistricting Committee.

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) released the following statement in response to the court decision to deny petitions against the legislative redistricting map passed by House and Senate Democrats on party lines.

“This court decision approves a legislative redistricting map that predetermines election results for the next decade. Democrats have significantly reduced competition by picking which party will represent most House or Senate districts. That’s not a real choice for Oregonians. That’s gerrymandering.”



Democrats have also weighed in on the decision:

“I am pleased that the Oregon Supreme Court has found that the Legislature’s redistricting maps meet all legal standards,” said Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland), who served as chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee. “The Senate Redistricting Committee worked tirelessly to gather input from Oregonians across the state and use the 2020 Census data to create fair districts, all under an incredibly compressed timeline. The Legislative Assembly has once again succeeded in delivering on its constitutional duty of redistricting.”

“Today’s decision shows that Senate Democrats get things done, and that the Oregon Legislature takes its responsibilities very seriously,” said Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego). “I commend the tireless efforts of Senator Taylor, the redistricting committee members, and all of my colleagues who made significant contributions to get their constituents involved in the process.”

The legislative redistricting plan will take effect on January 1, 2022.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-22 13:48:18Last Update: 2021-11-22 16:38:10



ODE Workgroup Assessments
Activist criticizes education in Oregon

Oregon State Board Assessment Workgroup claims they are addressing what matters to you, and what is that? They say you care most about “ODE’s vision and values for statewide assessment systems.” Those values they say are “holding space for multiple truths.” Those truths are identified in “the legacy of high-stakes, standardized assessments.”

SB 744, passed in 2021, exposes the “legacy” as having stakes too high. SB 744 suspended proficiency in Essential Learning Skills for earning a high school diploma.

Jeanette Schade, school board activist, says, “the damage of that and identity politics is having on our schools is actually making our schools less of educational facilities where children are challenged to learn the basics, they need to be knowledgeable and contributing citizens.”

Assessment #1 is that history of standardized testing is founded in white supremacy causing harm to underserved students by the educational system. Oregon’s assessment system has been imbalanced and ODE wants to increase the formative footprint and reduce the summative footprint exposing opportunity gaps for policy changes.

Assessment #2 is the removal of practices that are complicit with racist policies. The report quotes from 2019, Ibram X. Kendi, whom made his fame as an “anti-racist activist, by arguing that America is a systemically racist country and that all White Americans are complicit. However, it says more about how racist the workgroup is as he recently outed himself that his work is false and filled with inaccuracies. They quote: “Anti-racist actions must remove racist policies, which serve the self- interests of those in power.” What that means is ODE aims to adopt standards that cut scores in achievement levels in science, math, English language arts, and social sciences.

To accomplish these “multiple truths,” ODE proposes: The effects of rehumanizing practices can be seen in schools where students have discovered the rules no longer apply and are freely protesting and fighting forcing the school to close. Where did education go with student-centered assessments listed such as positioning students as sense-makers, identify and challenge inequities, support student identity and collaborative structures?

A balanced and coherent assessment is all about Student Educational Equity Development (SEED). Again, it putting the student in charge by incorporating student voices into the continuous improvement process, which seems to dwell around self-efficacy beliefs and a sense of belonging as the basis for the opportunity to learn.

Anti-racist efforts have their own assessment system, which incorporates critical race theory (CRT) through identity and diversity. When the focus is more about the pigment of the skin than character, we’ve lost sight of education.

Jeanette Schade commented, “ODE is throwing identity into everything they are doing rather than focusing on what matters in education and that is learning. Every child, regardless of race, sex, socioeconomic status, or ability can and will learn at their level and pace…and with the right encouragement will learn and reach the goal post. We should not be hyper focused on immutable qualities that have nothing to do with a person’s ability to learn. What ODE is doing is actually very divisive and racist as they are lowering the standards.”

What matters does not seem to include every student or parents, but that the Governor’s equity agenda be carried into all aspects of education.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-11-21 16:38:25Last Update: 2021-11-21 17:04:18



Riots Erupt in Portland Over Rittenhouse Verdicts
The crowd launched urine, alcoholic beverages, water bottles and batteries at deputies

In the wake of the non-guilty verdicts in the case of Kenosha, Wisconsin shooter, Kyle Rittenhouse, riots erupted in Portland, According to the Multnomah County Sheriff's office, around 8:45 p.m., Friday, November 19, demonstrators attending a protest in Downtown Portland focused their attention on one of the vehicle roll-up gates at the Justice Center on SW 2nd Avenue. At the time, a couple dozen people gathered in front of the gate. Some individuals in the crowd were heard saying “burn it down," referring to the Justice Center.

The Multnomah County Sheriff's office is reporting that individuals were observed tampering with the gate prior to its opening. An estimated 10 to 20 protesters entered and began moving down the ramp in the direction of the jail entrance and the building’s critical infrastructure. Individuals also placed large tree branches to prevent the gate from closing. Deputies met the trespassers on the ramp to prevent entry and began instructing them to exit.

The crowd, which was described as hostile, launched urine, alcoholic beverages, water bottles and batteries at deputies during the event. Because a large group of people were engaging in tumultuous and violent conduct, and further entry into the building would have posed significant implications and grave risk of causing public alarm, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office declared a riot. MCSO directed the Portland Police Bureau incident command to communicate the riot declaration and force warnings to the demonstrators using the mobile Sound Truck. Portland Police issued the declarations and force warnings several times.

Even as deputies instructed people to leave, deputies continued to take projectiles and were subjected to hostile behavior. Demonstrators then stood at the garage exit, repeatedly preventing the gate from closing by pushing on it. Again, deputies asked the crowd to step away. Demonstrators ignored the repeated requests and continued blocking the gate. Deputies swiftly moved toward the demonstrators that were preventing the gate from closing to allow space for the gate to close properly. Deputies retreated inside and eventually were able to re-secure the gate. No arrests were made.

Vandals broke the windows of the city print shop on Southwest Madison Street between Southwest 2nd Avenue and Southwest 1st Avenue. A patrol sergeant vehicle's rear hatch window was shattered at Southwest 1st Avenue and Southwest Madison Street. Additional vandalism was done to the Justice Center building.

One arrest was made for a warrant. Another person was criminally cited. Officers also stopped vehicles associated with the group. Five citations and 17 warnings were issued.

The Multnomah County Sheriff's office is reviewing video of the event. They are asking that individuals who would like to share any video or photos with us can contact us by sending an email to IAU@mcso.us.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-20 09:23:24Last Update: 2021-11-20 17:06:02



Oregon Pols React to Rittenhouse Verdict
Responses differ from the left and right

Representative Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has released a statement on the Kyle Rittenhouse trial verdict, in which Rittenhouse was vindicated as acting in self-defense.

"The Rittenhouse verdict is not surprising to the Black community, "said Bynum We are intimately familiar with both the lingering possibility of and the plain reality of vigilantism."

"Today, the Wisconsin justice system sent a message that it will not hold to account a person who killed innocent people. It sent the message that exercising your first amendment rights is reserved for a precious few. Oregonians should look inward and continue our resolve to never let this version of reality take hold in our state.

"Our drive and call is justice, because justice creates order. Justice should not be a goal that we yearn performatively for; it must be something that we see in all systems within America. We should find it in our schools, our courts, and on our streets. We must remain steadfast in this pursuit and never waver in our commitment to this dream."

House Speaker and Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Tina Kotek (D-Portland) also couldn't resist making a statement:

"A white teen, Kyle Rittenhouse, armed himself, crossed state lines, and killed two people. I’m outraged by this verdict and deeply concerned about the dangerous precedent it perpetuates for our country."

On the other side of the aisle, Baker City Mayor and Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Kerry McQuisten released a statement saying, "Kyle Rittenhouse shouldn't have been charged with any crime to begin with, much less placed on trial, but at least the verdict was just. Make no mistake about it, this was an assault on the basic right to self-defense. What do you think the verdict would have been in Oregon?"

Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) said, “There is a narrative that has been promoted that our institutions are irredeemably unjust if the verdict does not agree with the far-left progressive narrative. When Democrat politicians denounce decisions made by juries of peers, it emboldens those who wish to do violence and greenlights their activity. It is shameful.

“When the Democrats’ extreme base of supporters are convinced that institutions are unable to be reformed, even by the Democratic Party, which completely controls government, they consistently turn to violence as their course of action. When the national media and elected officials delegitimize the American jury system, violent people committing criminal acts are emboldened. Democrats' response to the violence has been mostly silent. Their response lacks courage and is shameful.

“Even President Joe Biden initially had the decency to acknowledge, “the jury system works and we have to abide by it.” Oregon Democrats, including candidates for governor, instead chose to give cover to those who wish to do criminal acts against the people and our Constitution. Oregonians are fed up with Democratic politicians pandering to those who commit violence. Our justice system had a full airing of this case at trial and the jury made a decision based on the evidence presented.

“This violence against the people of Portland must stop. The vandalism, the attacks on law enforcement and journalists are criminal acts that must be denounced and prosecuted. I am concerned the violence and chaos will continue until Democrats join Republicans in standing up to condemn it. For over a year now, Democrats have refused to stand with Republicans in a unified voice to condemn these riots that have besieged Portland and its citizens.”


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-20 08:31:42Last Update: 2021-11-20 20:12:40



Smart Health Cards Planned
Digitizing vaccine passports in Oregon

The House Interim Special Committee on COVID-19 meeting November 17 exposed how serious Oregon is being affected, not from COVID, but from state policies. Oregon Education Association spent their time identifying the lack of funds to fill vacated positions and the amount of training it takes to replace staff and bus drivers. Director Patrick Allen, Oregon Health Authority said Oregon ranks the fourth lowest in cases and sixth lowest in deaths in the nation. When asked why we still need to wear masks, Allen responded that it’s cautionary not to think the pandemic is over too soon.

The Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division (OHA) and the American Immunization Registry Association reported on the development of the Digital Vaccine Records Project where individuals use an Immunization Information System (IIS) to consolidate their vaccine data in one place on a Smart Health card. The card has a unique QR code and can be accessed on a smart phone with permission. What is the need for a centralized data base? Allen said 81.5% adults have been vaccinated, and 40% of those over 60 have had a booster, but that is where we see the breakthrough cases. Was he saying those with the booster are more likely to get the Delta variant?

OHA is in Phase II involving demonstrations, community testing and feedback. The project timeline includes updating rules to address the definition of proof of vaccination. CDC changed the definition in September from a vaccine that stimulates the immune system to produce immunity against a specific disease. Now they’re saying a vaccine doesn’t produce immunity but will “produce protection.”

The Project aims to develop the website and database in December and then do testing in January and start media messaging to get communities and business engaged for the rollout in Phase III in March.

Immunization Information System is an open-source way for sharing vaccination records. Security and privacy are major issues. What is the benefit of a centralized open-source data base? The individual member has control of whether to share with family, employer, dentists, for travel, and other situations. However, the state also has control allowing access to accumulate nonspecific data, but what will stop them from accessing individual records to target unvaccinated individuals?

Oregon is in the planning stage where twenty other states or jurisdiction have implemented a Smart Health Card. What’s next? According to Allen, it’s behavior forecasting. Analyzing the effect of fear and isolation vs people going back to normal socializing that may boost a new breakout.

On the initial announcement, 40,000 kids received the vaccine ages 5-11. For ages 12-17, 65% are vaccinated. Colt Gill, Director, Oregon Department of Education, reported three systems for screening in schools: ODE is not seeing a spread during the school day, it’s after school activities and large gatherings. They are working on a “test-to-stay” model to reduce quarantine time that students miss school. Vaccinated students won’t need to quarantine when exposed. They are also hiring nurses to do contact tracing.

OAR 333-003-5000, scheduled to expire November 22, 2021, upon renewal changes COVID-19 vaccines for ages 15-17 without parental consent. From Smart Health Cards to forecasting to test-to-stay in school, the pandemic is being prolonged at the expense of logic.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-11-19 12:30:57Last Update: 2021-11-20 11:41:55



Oregon’s Congressional Delegation Splits on Build Back Better
Democrats vote for the massive spending measure

After a record-long nine-hour speech by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, President Joe Biden's Build Back Better legislation passed the US House of Representatives 220-213, with the votes of all Democratic members of Oregon's Congressional delegation. Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader all voted yes, while Oregon's lone Republican, Cliff Bentz voted against the bill.

Lori Chavez-DeRemer, candidate for Oregon's 5th Congressional District called the measure a "socialist spending package" and called out her opponent, six-term incumbent, Democrat Kurt Schrader.

“In the midst of record inflation and an ongoing supply chain crisis, Kurt Schrader voted for a Socialist boondoggle that will cripple our economy. Congressman Schrader constantly describes himself as a ‘Moderate’, but his voting record proves otherwise, and today is no different.

“Schrader incentivized the rich elite in New York and California while working families here in Oregon pay the price. Oregon’s 5th Congressional district deserves a consistent voice for sanity in Washington D.C and not someone who will cave to the pressure of Nancy Pelosi.”

The $1.9 trillion bill now goes to the US Senate for a possible vote where its fate is less certain.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-19 08:05:25Last Update: 2021-11-19 09:23:24



Pandemic Proves Lucrative For State
While Oregonians struggle with inflation, Republicans offer relief

Every single revenue forecast since the pandemic began has exceeded expectations. The current revenue forecast is more of the same, but now state government coffers are being padded by inflation. The revenue forecast acknowledges that inflation is increasing the cost of living for Oregonians.

“Inflation is devastating for working families, but pads the pockets of government,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). “Blowout spending from federal government borrowing has given us more money than we know what to do with at the same time most working people have gotten effective pay cuts because everything is more expensive. Yet, Democrats’ vision continues to be tax, borrow, and spend. It’s time to give working Oregonians some relief in their family budget.”

The Legislative Revenue Office projected a personal kicker of $558.3 million for 2023 in their summary of the Revenue Forecast based in part on these observations: Oregon Democrats have consistently rejected tax relief measures that would have put more money in the pockets of working Oregonians. This year, they voted to tax stimulus checks and basic necessities, denied relief to those struggling with student loans, and denied property tax relief for veterans.

“The state continues to get bigger budgets, but working families are struggling to make ends meet because of inflation,” said Senator Lynn Findley (R-Vale), member of the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee. “Oregon Democrats have refused every opportunity to give working families a break. I will be reintroducing legislation to cut taxes for everyday necessities on working families. Prescription drugs, diapers, and feminine hygiene products should not be taxed.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-18 10:44:02Last Update: 2021-11-18 10:04:19



Brown Appointments to Parole Board Opposed
Senate Republicans Vote Against Governor’s Parole Board Nominees

Oregon's Senate Republicans, along with one Democrat, Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose), have voted against the Governor’s nominees to the Parole Board. In a floor vote, both John Bailey and James Taylor had their re-appointment to the Oregon Board of Probation and Post Prison Supervision. Both were confirmed by a vote of 16-9 with four Senators excused.

Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) questioned the Governor's new policies.

“Given the Governor’s new commutation plan, the Legislature must apply new scrutiny to these nominees. They will be making decisions about which violent criminals will be allowed to be released from prison. When questioned in committee, I did not believe they were sufficiently committed to protecting victims and their families.”

Senator Fred Girod (R-Lyons), a member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Appointments, said:

“I do not believe rapists and murders should be let out of prison, especially by a handful of unelected bureaucrats like the Parole Board. The idea that people under 18 cannot comprehend that rape and murder are wrong, is extreme. It is also insulting to victims and their families. The Governor’s directive to consider these crimes as eligible for early release disrespects our system of justice and the safety of all Oregonians.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-17 20:22:15Last Update: 2021-11-17 20:51:35



Multnomah County Hiring Four New Prosecutors
Gun violence is the problem with Portland, says DA Schmidt

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt has announced that he has hired four new prosecutors to add capacity to investigating and resolving cases involving a firearm — particularly homicides.

The new hires come just weeks after the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office (MCDA) received temporary funding from the County for this explicit purpose following a joint announcement with county leaders. The $1 million investment adds 4 prosecutors and 2 investigators to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. The search for the added investigator positions is still underway.

The volume of homicides this year has quickly outweighed the resources that the DA office has to handle resolving them.

“The families and loved ones of those we’ve lost over the last three years simply cannot wait for progress any longer. "DA Mike Schmidt said. "Our office, in partnership with the County, has met this need with urgency. Help is on the way.”

In addition to added prosecutorial and investigative capacity, DA Schmidt and the County have emphasized an all-hands-on-deck approach, declaring the surge in community violence as a public health crisis.

Recently, DA Mike Schmidt has declared that he will avoid prosecuting many far-left AntiFa rioters, so the anouncement of these hirings seems like putting the cart before the horse to some observers.

The County has added two new deputies to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office focusing on family protection orders and dispossession of firearms and ammunition when court-ordered.

“I’ve been to seven call-outs this year. Our escalating caseloads are also compounded by court backlogs due to the pandemic. New prosecutors mean more time can be devoted to individual cases and means more people who can be called upon to help when a life is lost,” said MCDA prosecutor Kate Molina.

All four new prosecutors will start full-time by early December.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-16 16:40:51Last Update: 2021-11-16 17:10:00



Oregon Job Growth Projected
Assuming COVID restrictions come to an end

Oregon's total employment is projected to grow by 317,600 jobs between 2020 and 2030, according to new projections from the Oregon Employment Department.

The projections point to historically high job growth between 2020 and 2030 and accounts for recovery from low employment levels in 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdowns and the associated recession.

The Employment Department states that many of these job openings are expected due to the need to replace workers who leave their occupations.

In 2020, there were 1,998,400 jobs in Oregon. The projected 16% increase in employment between 2020 and 2030 includes private-sector gains of 283,500 jobs, growth of 25,700 jobs in government, and an additional 8,300 self-employed Oregonians.

Beyond gains associated with the economic recovery from the COVID-19 lockdown recession and anticipated economic growth, another 2,197,200 job openings will be created by 2030 to replace workers who retire, leave the labor force for other reasons, or make a major occupational change. Together, the number of job openings due to economic recovery, job growth, and replacements will total 2,514,800.

All sectors in Oregon are expected to add jobs by 2030. Leisure and hospitality is projected to increase the fastest and add the largest number of jobs. The projected gain of 73,800 jobs (46% growth) in leisure and hospitality is mainly driven by the recovery from the COVID lockdowns, as restaurants, hotels, and arts, cultural, and recreational establishments are expected to see increased demand as in-person and recreational activities resume.

Because of the loss of jobs in leisure and hospitality in 2020, many of the fastest-growing occupations are associated with jobs in this industry. In fact, 10 of the top 20 fastest-growing occupations are in leisure and hospitality. They include cooks, chefs, bartenders, waiters and waitresses, fast food workers, exercise trainers and fitness instructors, and amusement and recreation attendants.

The private health care and social assistance sector is projected to add the second-largest number of jobs, with 51,000 jobs (19% growth) over the 10-year period. This growth is attributed to the aging of the state's population, longer life expectancies, and continued population growth. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and massage therapists are among the fastest-growing occupations statewide.

A broad variety of career opportunities will be available across all sectors, as well as all job types. One-third of all job openings will require education or training beyond high school at the typical entry-level education. To meet more competitive education requirements, more than half of job openings require at least some training beyond high school.

Occupations with the most job openings, typically requiring a high school diploma or less, include fast food workers, retail salespersons, cashiers, stockers, and order fillers. Those requiring a postsecondary certification or associate's degree include truck drivers, bookkeepers, and medical and nursing assistants. Occupations with the most total openings requiring at least a bachelor's degree vary from general and operations managers to registered nurses, software developers, and accountants.

All areas of Oregon expect to see job opportunities due to both economic recovery and growth, and to replace workers leaving the labor force in the coming years. The two regions projected to grow at the fastest rates are Central Oregon (18%) and the Portland area (17%). Northwest Oregon is projected to grow at the same rate as Oregon statewide – 16%. All other areas are projected to have slower growth.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-16 13:16:27Last Update: 2021-11-17 20:22:15



Sudafed Rules Out Soon
Just in time for cold season

A little known fact to most: A bill does not necessarily become effective as it’s written. The state agency tasked with the rulemaking for a bill, actually writes how the bill will be implemented.

In this case the agency is the Board of Pharmacy. November 23rd is the date that the Board meets to finalize the language for this new statute. It is online, so one can attend virtually.

Representative Bill Post (R-Keizer) has given an update on the bill.

"As you most likely know by now, since I was first elected to the Oregon Legislature in 2015, one of my passions has been to remove the prescription requirement to purchase pseudoephedrine (pse or sudafed type products)", said Representative Post, "Behind the counter with a photo ID as is the case in over 40 states in the US. As you may also know, finally in 2021, we were able to pass HB 2648 and the behind the counter sales starting January 1, 2022. BUT as always, nothing is easy in Oregon."

As you can see from the summary on the front page of the bill, the purchase involves gathering information to make sure that the buyer isn’t “over purchasing” pse products.

“Requires pharmacist or pharmacy technician, prior to transfer, to submit specified information into electronic system designed to prevent illegal transfer of drugs containing pseudoephedrine. Requires pharmacist or pharmacy technician to record specified information about transfer of drug containing pseudoephedrine. Specifies maximum amount of pseudoephedrine that person may receive without prescription.”

The idea is that the pharmacist or tech would “swipe” your driver’s license or other appropriate photo ID and get your name and address to make sure that you are not purchasing more pse than allowed by law. This was to discourage “smurfing” where meth manufacturers send people out to buy sudafed products to make meth.

"We addressed this in testimony before the committees in both the House and Senate and in debate on the House floor." Representative Post continued, "We made it clear that Oregon would be joining at least 40 other states in the nPLEX electronic tracking system."

You can read the testimony from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which is the company that operates nPLEX here.

"We made it very clear in testimony that we would be joining the nPLEX system." Post continued, "I begged the drafter of the language to include that, as Mississippi did in their bill that passed earlier this year, but was told that Oregon law prohibits using “brand names” in a bill. Sigh. As you can see, it’s a very simple system to implement. It’s quite efficient, I’ve used it myself in many other states. Here was my testimony in the House Health Care Committee. The problem is that we did not apparently look at ALL of the laws in Oregon. You see, when the Legislature passes 500-800 new laws every other year, there are a lot of laws to watch out for. It was brought to my attention by a representative of a large chain pharmacy that we cannot “swipe” the ID’s in Oregon because of ORS 807.750 Now I believe that the original drafter of the bill, the Legislative Counsel writer, should have caught this. Still, I am the chief sponsor of the bill and I should have done a deeper dive into the laws. So what does this mean for Sudafed on January 1st?"

The law will go into effect and you will be able to purchase without a prescription but, the larger chain pharmacies may not want to allow this if it means entering the information manually which can take up to 3 minutes. With the shortage of pharmacists and techs, this seems to present a problem. A “new exemption in ORS 807.750 must be added that allows swiping drivers licenses / ID cards and the sharing of that data (with NPLEX) within the guidelines established in HB 2648” as a bill to amend that statute.

Since Representative Post only has until the end of November left as State Representative and won’t be in office when the short session of 2022 takes place, he is having a draft written that he hopes his successor or another legislator will drop as a bill in 2022 and make it retroactive to January 1.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-15 18:25:20Last Update: 2021-11-15 18:51:07



Facing a Labor Shortage, Governor Calls for More Rental Assistance
Why does any employable Oregonian need rental assistance?

Despite very low unemployment, Governor Kate Brown has "engaged in conversations with legislative leaders and housing advocates to find a path forward for a legislative solution that involves updates to current tenant protections in state law, including the extension of current safe harbor protections for Oregonians who have applied for rental assistance, as well as using state resources to continue assistance at the state and local levels."

Her actions beg the question, why does any employable Oregonian need rental assistance? According to the Oregon Employment Department, "Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.7% in September from 5.0%, as revised, in August." That was even better than the national rate where the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4.8% in September from 5.2% in August. Additionally, the Employment Department is projecting job increases through the year 2030.

Oregon Housing and Community Services has announced that nearly all federal rental assistance funding in Oregon has been allocated to or requested by applicants, and that the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program will pause accepting new applications starting on Wednesday, December 1.

According to Governor Brown, “Since March 2020, Oregon has distributed historic amounts of rental assistance to meet the unprecedented need created by the pandemic. Every Oregonian deserves a warm, safe, dry place to call home––and during a public health crisis it has been critical to ensure that Oregonians stay housed. That is why I have worked closely with the Oregon Legislature since the beginning of this pandemic to provide a range of resources to support both renters and their landlords.

“Because of the work of Oregon Housing and Community Services and community-based partners, Oregon is currently ranked 7th in the nation for the distribution of rental assistance and has remained in the top ten nationally for more than a month. However, thousands of Oregon households remain at risk of eviction and need assistance as quickly as possible. Disproportionately, due to systemic disparities in Oregon housing, this burden has fallen to Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and people of color.

“To be clear: Oregon has sufficient federal resources to help all eligible households who have applied to date. OHCS and its partners continue to process every complete application quickly, prioritizing those outside of current safe harbor protections. But with nearly all remaining federal funding requested by existing applicants, it was critical for OHCS to give Oregon families ample notice today that, without additional funding, the program will soon need to pause taking new applications.

“We know that the need for this critical assistance continues. Additional funding is needed urgently to ensure Oregon’s rental assistance program can meet the ongoing need––an ask I have made directly to U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo, who administers the federal rental assistance program. It is not likely, however, that the U.S. Treasury will be able to deploy additional resources for rental assistance immediately.

“It will be impossible to serve every Oregon family that is struggling with rent with state resources alone. Those conversations will continue, with the goal of bringing forward a proposal for the Legislature to consider in a special session in the upcoming weeks.” It is not clear if the Governor is seeking additional federal funds or a change in laws that requires housing providers to support non-paying tenants.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-15 11:23:43Last Update: 2021-11-15 12:09:08



Analysis: Beaverton’s Southridge High and Student Sexualization
“I just need you to put a shirt on”

How well did students survive one year of online school in their pajamas? What did one year of unstructured learning actually teach kids? Now the ugly head of “comprehensive sexuality education” has emerged in the form of Rape Culture. Oregon Department of Education’s Sexuality Education Newsletter, November 5, 2021, sent to colleagues’ states, “Each month offers us opportunities to build allyship and support for all students, through K-12 comprehensive sexuality education.”

They list eight events from October 20 to November 20 and closed with, “Each of these markers in time asks us to hold space for the sorrows and joys of students with system-impacted identities past and present, while reinforcing our commitment to education equality for all Oregon students.”. When has education supported so much activity on non-basic curriculum that schools are rated on? Southridge High School parents are finding out their students have become overly conscience of sexuality that lacks social responsibilities resulting in improper behaviors.

At a November 2 staff meeting, teachers at Southridge High School, Beaverton, were given a philosophical story of diverting a water leak with metal spouts but never fixed the leak as a comparison to Rape Culture. It defines the culture as acts of sexual assault and harassment that are enabled and normalized by a metal spout. Then teachers were asked: How can we take time to educate ourselves on the impact of the sexualization of students?

Why were they asked to rationalize a rape culture? Girls at Southridge High devised a protest where they sexualize themselves by wearing lingerie that shows their nipples among other things and writing "tame your boys" and "rape culture" across their chest. When a male teacher told a girl she needed to put on a shirt, she accused the teacher of sexualizing her. His response was, “no, I just need you to put a shirt on.” When the harasser claims to be the victim, there is something wrong.

In an email, Principal David Nieslanik, acknowledges the incident did occur and gave the responsibility to the assistant principal. He mentions that “a small group of students met with him that felt targeted by some staff based on their gender and perceived sexualization of their gender. The conversation was on entry points to conversations about sexualization.” Nieslanik explains that no mention was made of sexual comprehensive education or dress code. Subsequent to their meeting several students that were in the meeting, who identify as femme presenting and feminine protested sparsely dressed.

When questioned, Principal Nieslanik said he immediately talked with the girls about how they present the purpose of their protest, which has turned to the dress code. His approach is education for staff and students around what really is the issue. Change how they protest away from little clothing to make a point to a more inclusive, thoughtful way; and have a conversation at the November staff meeting about where staff is in this broader conversation of living and teaching in a sexualized western culture to help navigate supporting students in a healthy way around students’ voice.

A staff meeting was called November 2 that expressly said focus would be around the theme of sexualization of students within the community. An attendee revealed that instead of how to enforce the district’s dress code, the teachers were reprimanded for speaking to the girls. They commented, “If a picture was taken by anyone in the school and sent around it would be considered distributing child pornography, but they were allowed to walk around school basically naked and that’s ok.”

Code 11, Disruptive Appearance/Student Dress, states: “students may be directed to change dress or grooming if it interferes with the learning process or school climate, is unclean, or threatens the health or safety of the student or others…Immodest attire may be disruptive. When immodest attire is considered disruptive, the student will be expected to alter the mode of dress.”

Another teacher who was present, said the girls who were protesting were at the staff meeting and basically told the staff they will dress how they want and they have to deal with it. They commented on how bold she was, and the principal appears to not be moving to enforce the dress code. The School Resource Officer confirmed that the principal does not appear to be doing anything about it.

Subsequently, Northwest Observer has learned that there has been another event. It is thought by teachers that the lack of addressing dress code limits has exhilarated protests.

Parents have not been notified of the incidents that are still happening on campus. Rick Puente, Beaverton School District Safety Administrator, was asked to comment and he had no idea these incidents have occurred.

Freedoms should go hand-in-hand with responsibility. But students are being confused between responsibility and rights. Oregon Department of Education pushes Critical Race Theory, inclusive and diversity, and that is being manipulated by such organizations as Center for Equity and Inclusion, which ultimately takes away the freedoms students think they are fighting for. When kids are allowed to run the school, what can we expect from education?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-11-14 15:27:42Last Update: 2021-11-14 15:38:45



Death Row Inmate Has Sentence Reversed
“Conduct that is not punishable by death under SB 1013 would be disproportionate”

The Oregon Supreme Court has reversed the death sentence imposed on defendant Dayton Leroy Rogers and remanded the case to the Clackamas County Circuit Court for resentencing. Rogers' modus operandi was to pick up prostitutes and take them to secluded areas. He took at least six of them into the forest where he tied them up and killed them.

The court, in an opinion authored by Associate Justice Adrienne Nelson, concluded as it did in Oregon v. David Ray Bartol that since the rules for aggravated murder had changed, it was disproportionate, and reversed and remanded the conviction. It is likely that a lower court will sentence Dayton to a lengthy sentence, instead of death.

While defendant's appeal was pending, the legislature enacted SB 1013, which amended the death penalty statutes such that, among other things, all of the forms of murder that previously had constituted aggravated murder -- including the theories of

aggravated murder under which defendant had been convicted -- were reclassified as murder in the first degree and were no longer subject to the death penalty

In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Adrienne C. Nelson, the Supreme Court reversed defendant's sentence of death, concluding that, in light of the Court's recent decision in Bartol, maintaining defendant's death sentence for conduct that is not punishable by death under SB 1013 would be disproportionate and, thus, would violate Article I, section 16

Article I, Section 16 of the Oregon Constitution says that "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed. Cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted, but all penalties shall be proportioned to the offense.—In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law, and the facts under the direction of the Court as to the law, and the right of new trial, as in civil cases."

SB 1013 redefined aggravated murder to just a few extreme cases in Oregon. According to the new law, aggravated murder -- eligible for the death penalty -- is limited to the following:

1) Criminal homicide of two or more persons that is premeditated and committed intentionally [under, or accompanied by, any of the following circumstances] and with the intent to:
a) Intimidate, injure or coerce a civilian population
b) Influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion or
c) Affect the conduct of a government through destruction of property, murder, kidnapping or aircraft piracy or
2) Murder in the second degree, as defined in ORS 163.115, that is:
a) A) Committed while the defendant was confined in a state, county or municipal penal or correctional facility or was otherwise in custody and
B) Committed after the defendant was previously convicted in any jurisdiction of any homicide, the elements of which constitute the crime of aggravated murder under this section or murder in the first degree under section 3 of this 2019 Act
b) Premeditated and committed intentionally against a person under 14 years of age
c) Premeditated, committed intentionally against a police officer as defined in ORS 801.395, and related to the performance of the victim’s official duties or
d) Premeditated, committed intentionally against a correctional, parole and probation officer or other person charged with the duty of custody, control or supervision of convicted persons, and related to the performance of the victim’s official duties.

SB 1013 was passed mostly along party lines during the 2019 session. Republican Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) joined House Republicans Ron Noble (R-McMinnville) and Duane Stark (R-Grants Pass). Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) was the only Democrat to vote against the bill. The bill was put forward as a committee bill from the Senate Committee on Judiciary, and as such, has no named sponsor, though Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) chaired the committee at the time the bill was introduced.

According to some insiders, this decision not only reverses the death penalty in this case, but imperils the entire Oregon Constitution where any provision of the Constitution can be redefined by merely redefining the terms.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-13 06:45:19Last Update: 2021-11-12 17:08:40



Republicans Question Enviro Nominee
Governor Called to Rescind EQC Pick Over Ethical Concerns

The Oregon Senate is set to vote soon on the Governor’s most recent nominees to various boards and commissions. The Governor has nominated Amelia Schlusser, a staff attorney for a green energy advocacy organization, to sit on the Environmental Quality Commission.

According to the Senate Republican Caucus, the nature of Ms. Schlusser’s work for an organization that promotes policies the EQC has jurisdiction over raises serious ethical concerns.

They contend that in her position at the Green Energy Institute (GEI), Schussler advances their goals to pursue 100% decarbonized energy, taxing industries that use energy that emits carbon, and opposes the use of fossil fuels. She has admitted that she “regularly communicates with policymakers” and “participates in regulatory proceedings convened by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality,” the Department which is overseen by the EQC.

“This nomination from the Governor is a power-grab that raises serious ethical questions,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). “Getting paid to advocate for government policies that she would directly oversee if confirmed is the clearest conflict of interest I can imagine. The Governor should immediately rescind this nomination. If the Governor fails, the Senate should not vote to confirm.”

“We cannot ignore this obvious conflict of interest that would permanently damage the credibility of the Environmental Quality Commission,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby). “The Governor should rescind this nomination of Ms. Schlusser, who works for an advocacy group that regularly lobbies this commission. Giving any organization that kind of direct influence would be clear favoritism. We must hold our state to higher ethical standards than this.”

“This kind of nomination by the Governor destroys the public’s trust in our government,” said Senator Fred Girod (R-Lyons) who sits on the Senate Rules Committee with Senator Knopp. ”There are more ethical ways for the Governor to stack these commissions with extreme environmentalists, but the Governor opted to nominate someone with a clear conflict of interest.”

Oregon law currently does not have any qualifications for appointment to the Environmental Quality Commission. An initiative petition to create regional and professional criteria is currently being circulated for the 2022 ballot. The Senate Rules Committee will take up the nomination on Monday, November 15 at 12:45pm.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-12 15:47:31Last Update: 2021-11-12 16:01:31



Non-Profit Group Celebrates Union Freedom
“This is a great day for individual liberty in America”

The Freedom Foundation celebrated a major milestone this week as it assisted its 100,000th public employee in opting out of union membership.

Because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Harris v. Quinn and its 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, no public employee in the country can be compelled to pay union dues just to keep their jobs.

Following the rulings, the Freedom Foundation launched a massive educational outreach and public interest litigation program to inform public employees about their First Amendment right to stop unions from seizing dues from their paychecks and to help them overcome hurdles put in place by unions and state officials to thwart employees from cancelling the deductions.

“We know from experience that public employees are eager for information about their rights and don’t want to subsidize the extreme agenda of government union bosses,” said Freedom Foundation CEO Aaron Withe.

“This is a great day for individual liberty in America and a major accomplishment for the Freedom Foundation, but we won’t stop until we empower every public employee in the country with the ability to make an informed decision about union membership.”

The Freedom Foundation was founded 30 years ago in Olympia, Wash., with a mission to promote individual liberty, free enterprise and limited, accountable government. In 2014, the organization realized that unions representing public employees were the single biggest opponent to these ideals and focused its energy on ending the stranglehold they have on the policymaking process at every level of government.

“Over the years, government unions have seized billions of dollars in dues from the paychecks of people who had no choice in the matter and used it to corrupt politicians who make the whole enterprise legal,” explained Withe.

While the Freedom Foundation’s efforts began in Washington, they steadily expanded to Oregon, California, Ohio and Pennsylvania. This summer, the Freedom Foundation broadened its activities to all 50 states and has quickly become the nation’s recognized leader in the fight against government unions’ oppression.

Already, the Freedom Foundation has sent millions of pieces of mail and emails to public employees, utilized digital advertising and traditional media, and even deployed an army of paid staff to visit public employees at their homes and workplaces to inform them about their rights.

Government unions not only fail to inform public employees of their First Amendment rights but have actively worked to thwart their rights by implementing practices and backing state policies making it easy for unions to sign people up for membership but exceedingly difficult for employees to cancel the deduction of dues from their paychecks.

At their most extreme, some unions have even resorted to forging employees’ signatures on union membership forms, a practice the Freedom Foundation continues to expose and dismantle through multiple federal lawsuits.

“We knew government unions weren’t going to walk away from their coercive dues collection practices on their own, but helping 100,000 public employees escape union exploitation proves we know how to fight back and that we’re on the right track,” said Withe.

In total, the Freedom Foundation estimates that the resignations have already cost government unions a whopping $150 million in lost dues revenue, money that cannot be used to corrupt politicians and advance unions’ job-killing, high-tax, socialist agenda.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-12 10:49:57Last Update: 2021-11-12 10:57:27



Inflation and Higher Taxes Loom
There is simply no bar to a variety of tax increases

The Consumer Price Index experienced its largest 12-month increase in 30 years, evidence of rising inflation.

In the face of record revenue, the Oregon Legislature raised or created several taxes during the 2021 session, led by House Speaker Tina Kotek. With a Democrat supermajority in both chambers and a Democratic governor, there is simply no bar to a variety of tax increases. This was on the heels of the crushing Corporate Activities Tax, which raises over $1 billion annually.

Ahead of the upcoming 2022 Legislative Session, House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) is warning against policies that will increase the cost of living in Oregon.

“Rising inflation will hurt Oregonians,” said Leader Drazan. “Our state budget is a runaway train, doubling in 10 years while raising the cost of living. With the shocking rise in inflation, I will oppose any bills that increase costs for Oregon families. Fiscal policies that dig into their pocketbooks to fill state coffers are going to push people out of their homes and out of our state. We should do everything we can to eliminate regulations that raise costs so families can keep their homes and jobs.”

In its September Economic Forecast the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis indicated that persistent inflation is a risk, and looks for help from federal monetary policy:

"In recent months inflation is running hot. Much of this can be explicitly tied to reopening sectors of the economy, or shortages in the automobile industry. However, even stripping away these likely temporary issues, the risk remains that underlying inflationary pressures will remain above the Federal Reserve’s target moving forward. Therefore the risks are not whether inflation will be above target or not – it already is – but what exactly the Fed is going to do about it."


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-12 10:30:04Last Update: 2021-11-12 10:32:37



Portland to Force Volunteers, Vendors to Vaccinate
Also, wear a mask

Beginning Jan. 3, 2022, the City of Portland will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all vendors, consultants, contractors, volunteers and grantees who perform in-person work for at least 15 minutes at the City’s indoor facilities. Between Nov. 8 and Jan. 3, all who perform in-person work for at least 15 minutes at the City’s indoor facilities will be required to wear a KN95 face covering.

Allegedly to protect community and employee health and safety, this new policy follows the City’s recent vaccination requirement for employees. Recommendations were developed by a city workgroup.

“We’re committed to helping Portland recover from this pandemic by making City worksites as safe as possible,” said Biko Taylor, the City’s chief procurement officer. “We’re also committed to making this policy as simple as possible for local businesses and volunteers, who are essential to our city’s economic health and vitality.”

The new policy was issued by the City's Chief Administrative Officer in coordination with the City's Procurement Services team.

Vendors, consultants and contractors with active contracts must complete the “Attestation Questions” in their profile on the City’s BuySpeed vendor portal by Jan. 3, 2022. The questions document if a vendor, consultant or contractor has workers or subcontractors subject to this requirement; and if so, that they comply or have a medical or religious exception verified by their employer.

Workers with medical or religious exceptions approved by their employers will be required to comply with following regulations when performing work inside a City worksite for more than 15 minutes: Approximately 2,500 vendors, contractors and consultants will be impacted by the City’s policy. They perform a wide range of jobs, from construction projects to custodial services to equipment and product supply.

The process will be slightly different for the City’s volunteers and grant recipients, a group that includes everybody from advisory committee members, to volunteers with Portland Parks & Recreation's No Ivy League and the Bureau of Emergency Management's Neighborhood Emergency Teams, to Civic Life grantees. Adults spending more than 15 minutes inside a City worksite will be asked to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to the activity, working directly with their City of Portland liaison. Volunteer and grantee information will be reviewed for verification only.

Out of respect for privacy, no copies will be taken.

Without satisfying one of these two requirements, volunteers and grant recipients will not be able to participate in their scheduled in-person activity.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-11 18:23:15Last Update: 2021-11-11 18:37:25



Congressional Republicans Recognize Oregon Candidate
“The most impressive and diverse group of rising stars we’ve ever seen”

5th Congressional District Candidate Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-Happy Valley) is celebrating being named to the 2021-2022 E-PAC “Women to Watch” list.

House Republican Caucus Chair Elise Stefanik says this group is “the most impressive and diverse group of rising stars we’ve ever seen,” and that we “will be Majority Makers!”

Chavez-DeRemer reacted to the news:

"I feel incredibly honored to have been included on this list of spectacular candidates, but none of this would be possible without your support. Chair Stefanik is working hard to make sure Republicans take back the House next fall and restore our economy and our freedom in America.

"Our campaign cannot slow down. We must move full steam ahead and keep speaking out against the Biden Administration and it’s unconstitutional and harmful policies that are hurting Oregonian’s ability to fill their gas tanks, heat their homes, and put food on their table."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-11 10:24:12Last Update: 2021-11-11 10:54:14



YamCo Commissioner Recall Fails
Berschauer will continue to lead the county

Progressive Yamhill, Save Yamhill County, AFSCME, The Yamhill County Democratic Party, lame duck Commissioner Casey Kulla and the Recall PAC were all disappointed when the County Clerk declared their petition to recall County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer short of the required amount of verified signatures after 5 pm. on Wednesday. Over 8,000 signatures were turned in but enough were disqualified leaving the petition short of the required 6875 signatures.

Volunteers from the groups list above, with a dozen Yamhill Republican Party members representing Berschauer’s interest, observed the signature verification process over six days. Normally petitions with over 4000 signatures are sampled rather than having each signature inspected. The sampling method quickly threw out over 1500 signatures bringing loud protests from the petitioners. In this instance the County Clerk decided that due to the presence of attorneys for both sides and the high profile nature of the recall attempt, each signature would be verified.

The signature gathering process involved numerous $18 an hour individuals from the Metro area who may have lacked familiarity with proper procedure. Some signatures contained a happy face, unlike the signature as it appears on a drivers license. Few signers read the charges against Berschauer that were listed. Those charges included false statements. False statements are allowed on recall petitions due to the political nature of the initiative. Several refused to sign stating that disagreements on policy choices of elected officials should be decided when they run for re-election.

The disgruntled vowed to make another attempt at recall. The names and addresses of all who signed the petition are now public record. Because recalls are rare in Yamhill County the Secretary of State’s office was asked to offer guidance. Even with full oversight, Save Yamhill County questioned The County Clerk’s integrity in spite of his impeccable record of fair and impartial public service spanning more than a decade. Numerous complaints against Save Yamhill County involving improper reporting of expenditures starting in August are outstanding. A recall election would have cost the County $90,000.


--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-11-11 09:44:25Last Update: 2021-11-11 09:54:03



Multnomah County to Spend $30 Million Surplus
Hazard pay for County employees, because Covid

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Nov. 9, approved immediately investing more than $30.4 million in homelessness services, behavioral health and public safety, using a mid-year surplus to address the community's most pressing issues.

The county says this is in response to community needs exacerbated by the COVID-19 lockdowns and sets aside hazard pay for eligible County employees who continued to serve the public during the lockdowns.

Highlights from the budget include additional shelter beds and street outreach teams, new investments in behavioral health supports, increased capacity for vector control, and additional measures to address criminal justice reform and prevent gun violence.

“A surplus that comes at this size is rare,” Chair Deborah Kafoury said. “A surplus that arrives at such a critical, trying time in our community’s story is even more rare. And with the help of staff who have dedicated their careers to serving our community, we readily identify multiple areas where a surge of funding could help us to meaningfully improve the lives of the people who have been disproportionately harmed by this pandemic.”

The surplus was the result of the Board both increasing the business income tax rate in 2020 and extending the tax filing deadline to May 2021, and a stronger than expected economic recovery. Final tax collections — which came in after the Fiscal Year 2021-22 Budget was adopted — were more than $30.4 million above what was forecasted in May 2021.

Typically, the County would incorporate such revenue into its next budget, for FY 2023. But, the county says that because of the magnitude of the issues facing the community, the Board decided to spend it immediately.

“We want to make sure we’re responding to the most urgent needs in our community, specifically those that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Budget Director Christian Elkin. “We want to center our investments on the County’s role as the safety net government and Local Public and Mental Health Authority.”


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-10 18:28:08Last Update: 2021-11-10 18:50:35



Oregon Increasing Vehicle Fees
Vehicle tags, trip permits and titles

Oregonians will see fees rise about 3% when they renew their vehicle tags, get a trip permit or apply for a vehicle title next year.

The fee increase will take effect Jan. 1, 2022, and is the third of four scheduled fee changes under Oregon’s historic House Bill 2017 transportation investment package. The final fee increase will start in January 2024.

Supposedly, these improvements are to include hundreds of millions in improved city streets, updated sidewalks and bicycle routes in school neighborhoods, reinforced bridges and roadways to withstand earthquakes.

DMV is starting to mail vehicle registration renewal reminders with the updated fees for tags expiring after the first of the year. If your tags expire in January or later, you will need to pay the new fee even if you renew before the end of 2021 – whether online, by mail or in person.

The vehicle fees most Oregonians are familiar with are passenger car registration and titles.

Under Keep Oregon Moving, passenger car tags and title fees are based on a vehicle’s fuel efficiency rating. Drivers of electric vehicles or vehicles that are rated at more than 40 mpg can pay the full fee for two or four years up front, or they can pay a lower fee and a monthly per-mile charge for miles driven in Oregon if they join OReGO.

Passenger vehicle registration fees cover two-year periods, except for new vehicles, which begin with a four-year registration.

The registration fee for electric passenger vehicles enrolled in OReGO remains unchanged at $172 every two years.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-11-09 17:46:16Last Update: 2021-11-09 21:23:26



Kaiser Nurses Set to Strike
“The challenge we are trying to address is the increasingly unaffordable cost of health care”

As if dealing with government regulations regarding COVID-19 and continual upward pressure on healthcare costs weren't bad enough, Health Maintenance Organization Kaiser Permanente in Oregon and Southwest Washington is engaged in labor negotiations with its nurses union -- which may result in a strike if a resolution is not reached by November 15.

According to the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, "[n]early 3,400 workers from Kaiser Permanente in Oregon have voted to authorize a strike. With a staggering 90% participation rate, the vote count was to strike by 96%, meaning of those who voted, 96% voted Yes. This is an unprecedented strike authorization vote, showing total unity amongst Kaiser workers to stage a strike over issues like safe staffing, patient care, and a fair contract."

The dispute seems centered over wages. Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president of human resources at Kaiser Permanente says that "On November 2, Kaiser Permanente offered Alliance leaders an updated economic proposal that provides Alliance-represented employees as much as 4% a year in pay increases, with no takeaways to the market-leading benefits and retirement programs. The proposed wage increases are on top of the already market-leading pay and benefits our employees receive, as confirmed by independent wage surveys and the government’s own data compiled by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services." According to the union, "Kaiser has made inaccurate claims that its workers are paid above market rate, but in reality their current offers amount to a pay cut that would pull them below the market average."

Kaiser calls out wages in a statement on the current negotiations. "The challenge we are trying to address in partnership with our unions is the increasingly unaffordable cost of health care. And the fact is wages and benefits account for half of Kaiser Permanente’s operational costs.

"We remain committed to working together with labor for the benefit of our workforce, members, and the communities that rely on us. We believe we can reach an agreement with the Alliance that meets our shared interests and avoids an unnecessary and harmful strike, especially as we continue to battle this pandemic.

"If a strike actually occurs, our facilities will be staffed by our trained and experienced managers and the contingency staff we will bring in as needed, and our physicians will continue to be available to care for patients."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-09 09:23:09Last Update: 2021-11-09 10:02:59



Exposed – Power Hungry Public School District Superintendents
Little Known Associations Move to Take Away the Power of Elected Board Members

Former elected Portland Public School Board member Steve Buel's advice to parents and other concerned community members is “pressure…. only pressure works”. Even sitting on the board as an elected member, the former member had to employ that strategy. He said, “…a school board is only interested in themselves and how it affects them.”

One year in, and failing to get the board to make a move about protecting a single child in one school, he finally enacted change when the agenda included “evaluating the superintendent”. He remarked once with a comment of “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a superintendent who doesn’t want to kill children?” A solution to the problem was quickly developed and implemented after.

The Clackamas County Commissioners’ Facilities Director made a statement to NW Observer that ‘the commissioners can make any order they want as a government building is now “like your private home.”’ The Portland Public School District did not employ that tactic, did not call the police to arrest mask free citizens, and just 29 seconds into the open public meeting, Chair DePass “adjourned” the October 26th meeting. Once a government meeting is “adjourned” that’s it. The government entity cannot then meet somewhere else and start a new meeting.

The latest strategy to further expose the real power dynamic on public school boards is elected representatives to the board do not hold power over superintendents, but inversely, superintendents hold power over the board. Some school boards recently fired their superintendents who wanted children masked up. Now some superintendents have made a move to consolidate their power. Jim Green, director, Coalition of Oregon School Administrators made a statement, “No one thought you’d be fired for following the law…”. Oregon has no mask or vaccination law. Countless requests for such a law has only produced silence from a number of administrative state government agencies as well as county government agencies. Thus, the Portland Public School District Board had no one arrested for not wearing a mask at the board meeting on October 26, 2021.

Krista Parent, the coalition’s Director of Executive Leadership said, “The board is their boss, and their board directs them to violate the law, and if they knowingly violate the law, they’ll lose their license,” she said. Both leaders did not cite law.

The Oregon School Boards Association plans to introduce a superintendents’ contract rights bill in the legislative session in January that would stop school boards from firing superintendents “…for following the law.” Some including former school board members see it as superintendents consolidating their power over school boards elected by the parents of children who are in those public schools. Spencer Gordon with the North Bend School District said, “Before, we couldn’t get 200 people to show up to a meeting if we tried.” Rather than being happy about increased parental interest and involvement it looks like to many, that superintendents have had free wheeling reign to implement whatever they wanted with no regard to parents’ rights and concerns.

Many Oregon citizens are speaking up about the unintended consequences, the wake-up call that Governor Kate Brown’s endless, erratic, chaotic, confusing, gaslighting edicts produced, including parents self-educating on law as they watched seemingly endless numbers of state administrative agencies, associations and government contracted groups, who seem to be going about Willy Nilly, putting into place a myriad of personal wants and desires, onto the entire population of Oregon children without regard to the children themselves and their parents.

Parents with no political leanings, Constitutional conservative groups and patriots suddenly find themselves motivated, active, and unknowingly they now use the tried-and-true tactics of Martin Luther King, Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, and Sal Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. Or as General George S. Patton said on the battlefield as he defeated German Field Marshall Rommel’s battalion, “Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I READ YOUR BOOK!!”

Oregonians are self-educating.


--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-11-08 16:23:34Last Update: 2021-11-08 19:24:21



Pharma Giant Juices House Candidates
Three get $1,000 from "the world’s largest and most broadly based healthcare company"

Vaccine Manufacturer Johnson & Johnson has quietly made $1,000 donations to three Oregon House members. The company has not made any donations to Oregon Legislators since immediately prior to the the 2020 elections, in October of that year.

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby), Representatives Raquel Moore-Green (R-Salem) and Rob Nosse (D-Portland) all reported receiving contributions of $1,000 from "the world’s largest and most broadly based healthcare company" as it describes itself on its website

Representative Moore-Green is a member of the House Interim Committee On Health Care and the House Interim Special Committee On COVID-19 Response. Friends of Raquel Moore-Green reported a contribution from Johnson & Johnson of $1,000 on November 3.

Representative Nosse is the Co-Chair of the Joint Interim Committee On Ways and Means Interim Subcommittee on Human Services, which oversees the performance and budget of many agencies, including the Oregon Health Authority. In addition to his legislative duties, Representative Nosse works at the Oregon Nurses Association. Friends of Rob Nosse reported a contribution from Johnson & Johnson of $1,000 on November 1.

Representative Drazan has served in the past on the House Committee on Health Care, but no longer serves on that committee. She is rumored to be mulling a run for Governor. Friends of Christine Drazan reported a contribution from Johnson & Johnson of $1,000 on November 3.

Many insiders regard Johnson & Johnson's early entry into the political race as a hedge on possible legislation having to do with vaccines in the upcoming short session, scheduled to begin February 1.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-08 09:32:28Last Update: 2021-11-08 10:23:09



Students and Parents Yearn for Accountablity
“Engaging anti-racist literature and consultants to inform our thinking and policies”

In less than two years what started as a protest against police brutality in the case of George Floyd and racism has touched every aspect of our lives. First, it was to defund the police and remove them from schools. The Legislature responded with a special session that severely limited enforcement responses.

Since then, Governor Brown has helped drive agenda on equity transforming the constitutional language of equality to equity. A reversal of the constitution from an opportunity-based approach to a results or outcome requirement. We all want equal freedoms under the law. But equity actually takes away freedoms. Anyone that is “more advantaged” is suppressed under equity. Equity showed up in some form in many bills in the 2021 session.

Since the Governor is the Superintendent of Public Instruction and an agency director, Colt Gill, administers the Oregon Department of Education, the equity agenda quickly translated into Critical Race Theory in schools. The ODE education equity stance reads: “Education equity is the equitable implementation of policy, practices, procedures, and legislation that translates into resource allocation, education rigor, and opportunities for historically and currently marginalized youth, students, and families including civil rights protected classes. This means the restructuring and dismantling of systems and institutions that create the dichotomy of beneficiaries and the oppressed and marginalized.”

On September 7, ODE State Board held a Workgroup on Equitable and Racially Responsive Balanced Assessment in order to begin the process of evaluating current Oregon assessments and strategizing a path forward to achieve “equitable and racially responsive balanced assessments.”

The presentation included a slide on "Anti-racist Efforts in Oregon’s State Assessment System" which included such points as The Oregon Department of Education’s Vision and Values for Assessment align to Critical Race Theory, as seen in the Workgroup’s Core Values: (1) Rehumanizing assessment, (2) balanced and coherent assessments and (3) infusing anti-racist assessment practices.

The Oregon State Board Assessment Workgroup is comprised of the Oregon Department of Education Assessment Director Dan Farley, ODE State Board Members and ODE Curriculum Specialists. Where is input from stakeholders, those at the receiving end? What these bureaucrats decide and adopt are distributed as law to school districts and then boards are expected to adopt at the bottom level. Parents are left out of the conversation until it surfaces at the board level creating a conflict between boards and parents.

In the past the Superintendent was elected for a term of four years. However, this changed in 2011 by a Constitutional amendment as part of Gov. John Kitzhaber's reorganization of the entire state education system. It now reads:

Article VIII, Section 1. Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Governor shall be superintendent of public instruction, and his powers, and duties in that capacity shall be such as may be prescribed by law; but after the term of five years from the adoption of this Constitution, it shall be competent for the Legislative Assembly to provide by law for the election of a superintendent, to provide for his compensation, and prescribe his powers and duties.

It appears since 2016, the legislature has been derelict in providing for the election of a Superintendent of Public Instruction. In 2021, SJR 2 was proposed to remove Article VIII, Section 1, but never received a hearing. Senator Lew Frederick (D-Portland) also realized the neglect and introduced SB 601 to provide for the election of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

As an elected position, the superintendent is accountable to the public that elects them. Accountability has disappeared. Voters were unhappy with Oregon’s rating at 36th in the nation in 2010. Convinced that a governor led department would perform better, voters passed a constitutional change. They never envisioned a Governor eliminating essential skills test in reading and math proficiency to obtain a high school diploma.

Depending on the source, Oregon education now ranks 40 to 50 among states. In 2010 Oregon ranked 36, and 41 for per student funding. That statistic helped to pass Measures 66 and 67 to tax businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression up to that time. The added funding has had the opposite effect, but the lower the rating the more the legislature tries to buy their way out. They again hit businesses with the worst tax ever in a corporate excise tax in 2019. It appears money will not buy accountable leadership.

Parents are again in a quandary seeing education decline while having more money than ever that is funding a curriculum many find questionable. How do we bring accountability back to our education system?


--Donna Bleler

Post Date: 2021-11-08 08:53:38Last Update: 2021-11-08 09:32:28



Portland Police Association Gets a New President
The police bureau has 99 vacancies

Sgt. Aaron Schmautz was sworn in as president of the Portland Police Association on November 5.

“Our officers have faced something that no other police agency has faced,” new Portland Police Association President Aaron Schmautz said. “I don’t know that people truly understand the amount of trauma that has come from really just being in that daily crush of violence for over 180 days.”

The police bureau has 99 vacancies. 57 are in training. Training takes 18 months, thus only 21 have been hired in 2021.

“Sgt. Schmautz is a second-generation Portland Police officer and a 17-year veteran of the Police Bureau. He began his career as a uniform patrol officer and was promoted to Sergeant in 2015.

In 2009, he was elected to the PPA Executive Board and has served continuously in the role of Vice President, making him one of the longest-serving Board members. He has been a member of two collective bargaining teams, including the current contract negation mediation, and worked with the Oregon Coalition of Police & Sheriffs at the state level representing law enforcement in Oregon.

“Effective leadership requires commitment and dedication to the safety of our officers and our community members,” said Daryl Turner, Portland Police Association Executive Director. “I’ve worked alongside Sgt. Schmautz closely for the past 12 years as he’s served on the PPA Executive Board. He is uniquely qualified to represent and advocate for PPA members. and I’m confident that he is the right person for the job.”

Turner was involved in the successful transition of the Wapato Facility to the Bybee Lakes Hope Center which opened in October 2020 and to-date 500 formerly homeless citizens have successfully gone through the center’s program described as “Creating access to trauma-informed, data-driven, person-centered homeless services for the Portland Metro Area.”

From the Hope Center website: “Helping Hands provides services to those experiencing homelessness who are ready to make sustainable changes to achieve self-sufficiency. Referrals to the Hope Center are accepted from registered community partners, listed below. Referrals are welcome 7 days a week between 8am to 8pm, for same-day placement to the shelter when capacity allows.

The Hope Center serves homeless men, women, and families with children. Participants must be ready to be clean and sober (even if today is day one!) and must not be registered sex offenders of any class since we serve children.”

Many Portlanders are grateful for this type of partnering between the police and the community.


--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-11-08 08:15:16Last Update: 2021-11-08 10:21:06



Managed Camps for Homeless in Bend
24/7 services to be provided

At their meeting on November 3rd, Bend City Councilors supported a scope of work to design and operate outdoor shelters (also referred to as “managed camps”) that are intended to provide safe places for people to reside and services to assist residents with transitioning to permanent housing.

The scope of work will be part of a formal request for proposals for service providers interested in operating outdoor shelters in Bend. The request for proposals is expected to be released in mid-November.

“We have community members who need a safe place to call home,” said Bend City Councilor Megan Perkins. “They need a place where they can be treated with respect and dignity as they access the services and support they need to transition into stable housing. Outdoor shelters will help us provide that for our community.”

As potential sites are identified, the City will work with the highest scoring proposers to match their proposals with the site or sites throughout the City that best fit their proposals.

A map of City-owned properties that was shared with Council Wednesday is available online. Before being considered as a potential outdoor shelter site, any of the City-owned properties on the map would need to be reviewed to consider: existing uses on those sites, additional criteria for outdoor shelters and compatibility with submitted proposals. In addition to City-owned properties on the map, there may be other publicly- or privately-owned properties that are geographically dispersed throughout Bend that could be considered.

The scope of work reviewed by Councilors says that outdoor shelters will provide individual shelters and 24-hour on-site management seven days a week. They would also have full fencing with gate access, trash enclosures, a pet relief area, and office space for on-site management.

The scope of work for operating the outdoor shelter also includes providing essential services and supportive services, including but not limited to: The scope of work also requires a Comprehensive Management Plan. The plan will address the safety of clients, the neighborhood and the outdoor shelter site. It will also include outreach plans for shelter residents and the surrounding neighborhood.

“City Council has set a clear goal of serving some of our most vulnerable community members by providing more of the shelter space that we desperately need,” said Bend City Councilor Melanie Kebler. “Now is the time for the Bend community to support our unhoused neighbors with outdoor shelter solutions that have been proven successful in other cities.”

Councilors also expressed interest in fast-tracking a Safe Parking program site and other support services on City-owned land in Juniper Ridge.

According to the January 2021 point in time count, there are 1,099 adults and children experiencing homelessness in Central Oregon.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-11-07 09:45:36Last Update: 2021-11-07 10:10:11



“Protective Hairstyles” in Oregon
Where is Constitutional Equality?

Did you know that Oregon Department of Education is proposing administrative rules on how to talk about someone’s hair? It’s the Crown Act Administrative Rules adopting HB 2935 sponsored by Representative Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas), Senator Lew Frederick (D-Portland) and Senator James Manning Jr (D-Eugene).

The rule is aimed at limiting discrimination and establishing equity focused policies. OAR 581-021-0045 and 0046. Section (1) (d) is practically a direct quote from HB 2935, Section 1 (10) that reads: “Protective hairstyle” means a hairstyle, hair color, or manner of wearing hair that includes, but is not limited to, locs, twists, and braids, regardless of whether the braids are created with extensions or styled with adornments.”

The Rule also defines “Race” to include “physical characteristics that are historically associated with race, that includes, but is not limited to, any natural hair, hair texture, hair type, or protective hairstyle associated with race.” This definition is in HB 2935, Section 3, however, what isn’t there and questionable whether it is constitutional, is the application only to protected classes of “ Black, African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, other protected class races, and multiracial individuals.”

It could almost be laughable, except that dress code and policies are also extended to not have disproportionate, no matter how slight, adverse impact on members of a protected class, including age, disability, national origin, race, color, marital status, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, to a greater extent than the policy impacts persons generally.

Incorporated in the Crown Act rules, but not part of the Act, is HB 3041 on gender identity sponsored by Representative Karin Power (D-Milwaukie) and Senator Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton). Sexual orientation carves out “gender identity” with its own definition meaning an individual’s gender-related identity, appearance, expression or behavior, regardless of whether the identity, appearance, expression, or behavior differs from that associated with the gender assigned to the individual at birth. Separating self-assigned gender identity from sexual preferences has the effect of separating the desired gender of an individual as not being defined by their sexual orientation. The Bill and now the Rule does not provide any new protections to the 2007 Oregon Equality Act. It simply gives LGBTQ clarity that they regard as important.

The entire rule applies to school districts, and a new section applies the same rule to agreements entered into with voluntary organizations. It seems to be aimed at “white” student behaviors and speech, as if the schools do not teach behavior manners and social graces the minute they enter school. What about these rules should not apply to every child equally?

By identifying policies that segregate, it saps the life out of education with a negative message to everyone. Teachers and coaches are always looking for fault or get sanctioned, “white” students are intimidated, while minorities sharpen their sensitivities. It can’t be denied that there has been some discrimination against people based on hairstyle or race, but it seems we may now have a school system that cares more about discriminating against dread locks than educating students to be successful.

With so much light on discrimination, especially when protests broke out turning to riots, legislative sessions turned into special sessions to address minority issues. You’d think that all that attention, there would be some improvements in the last four years. Still testimony that moved legislation on hairstyles sites cases and data prior to 2017.

”Equity” policies are re-inviting the wedge of segregation. The rule imposes discord by a notification they call a survey that encourages whistleblowing. School districts are to “Perform an annual survey of students and their parents to understand and respond to potential violations of equity focused policies adopted under this rule or violations of OAR 581-021-0045, 581-021-0046, or 581-021-0047.”

Apart from content, it is sad and laughable how poorly the rule is written. And we wonder why our students rank so poorly. Attend the Administrative Rules Hearing on November 23, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. Information on providing public comment is available on the State Board webpage. Submit your comments in writing to the ODE Rules Coordinator.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-11-07 08:46:00Last Update: 2021-11-07 09:11:28



Diverse Populations in Oregon to Receive Rural Entrepreneurship Funding
20 Oregon communities to receive funding

Business Oregon has selected 20 Oregon communities to receive a total of approximately $1,609,200 in funding from the Rural Opportunity Initiative (ROI) program.

The Rural Opportunity Initiative (ROI) is Business Oregon’s strategic effort to empower rural communities to support entrepreneurs and small business growth. That support comes through financing, innovative partnerships, network expansion, capacity support, and access to business development resources. The ROI's goal is allegedly to strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems within and across Oregon’s rural communities with a particular emphasis on diverse populations and low-income households.

Business Oregon claims that the ROI is an investment in the vision of rural communities and aligns with Business Oregon’s strategic plan to innovate Oregon’s economy, grow local businesses, cultivate rural economic stability, and champion opportunity for underrepresented people.

Business Oregon received many applications and they were allegedly reviewed, discussed, and scored by an evaluation committee prior to a final award decision. Listed below are the 20 selected recipients of 2021 ROI funding with a brief description of each community’s project.

Here are the 2021 ROI Funding Recipients and their supposed functions, as stated by Business Oregon:

A Greater Applegate (AGA) – AGA will enhance coordination, marketing, and distribution channels within its food and farm system to better integrate farmers, ranchers, and consumers and improve opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Aprovecho – Aprovecho will engage local stakeholders, assess the regional restoration forestry entrepreneurial ecosystem, and design a Reforestation Forestry Entrepreneurial Boot Camp to prepare enterprising individuals to establish businesses in this emerging field.

Bohemia Food Hub (BFH) – BFH will continue to support low-barrier access to food-based entrepreneurship for underrepresented people, enhance organizational capacity, and build and strengthen partnerships to improve cohesiveness among resource providers.

CCD Business Development – CCD will coordinate a streamlined process to help entrepreneurs and small businesses access technical assistance, financial resources, and communication networks while reducing inefficiencies in the ecosystem.

Condon Chamber of Commerce – Condon Chamber will increase collaboration between 11 frontier communities across three rural counties, map the local ecosystem, and cultivate stakeholder support for a strategic plan for entrepreneur driven economic development.

High Desert Partnership (HDP) – HDP will continue building the ‘Idea to Ownership’ pipeline, cultivating opportunities for entrepreneurs in emerging natural resource industries, strengthening culturally specific programs, and developing a place-based branding campaign.

Indy Idea Hub – Indy Idea Hub will partner with other rural Polk Co. communities to build a cohesive regional ecosystem and provide ongoing entrepreneurial support services, with a particular focus on food-based business recovery and resiliency.

Keep it Local Columbia Co. – Keep it Local will upgrade its countywide business directory website and provide marketing and web training to small businesses to increase their capture of local consumer spending.

Klamath IDEA – Klamath IDEA will leverage the infrastructure it has built to increase the number of direct service providers, engage frontier entrepreneurs in the ecosystem, encourage broader community engagement, and strengthen its sustainability.

La Grande – La Grande will assess opportunities and gaps in its local ecosystem, broaden community engagement and stakeholder support, and enhance existing programming and resources for entrepreneurs.

Economic Development Alliance of Lincoln Co. – EDA Lincoln Co. will create a coalition of partners to build the ecosystem ‘scaffolding,’ including growing entrepreneurial networks and providing technical assistance and other resources with a specific focus on food sector businesses.

Launch Pad Baker (LPB) – LPB will solidify its placed-based entrepreneurial ecosystem by completing its online business wayfinding system, increase staff capacity for direct entrepreneurial support, and hire a social media navigator to offer additional, high-demand, resources to the community.

Maupin Works – Maupin Works will launch an entrepreneurial hub, offering co-working space, community building events, and co-located resources to small businesses and entrepreneurs in South Wasco Co.

Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD) – MCEDD will continue to expand its ecosystem mapping efforts, increase connectivity and accessibility to small business resources, and develop an inclusive entrepreneurial culture that is welcoming to all members of the community.

Mid-Valley Partnership – The eight-city Mid-Valley Partnership will contract with RAIN to enhance the local ecosystem using a Venture Catalyst and Entrepreneur-in-Community to connect entrepreneurs to the people, programs, physical assets, and capital they need to start and grow businesses.

NE Oregon Economic Development District (NEOEDD) – NEOEDD will continue supporting entrepreneurs with business resources, convene entrepreneurs to identify needs, and assess the viability of adopting a countywide Main Street organization.

North Marion Co. Partnership – North Marion Co. Partners will assess the region’s ecosystem with a particular emphasis on Spanish- and Russian-speaking entrepreneurs, develop an action plan, and build stakeholder support for entrepreneur-led economic development.

Reedsport – Reedsport will work with public and private partners to assess its local ecosystem, develop an entrepreneur-driven strategic plan, and prepare to launch a place-based hub to support new and existing small businesses.

Tillamook Coast Visitors Association (TCVA) – TCVA will build upon its support for small farmers, fishers, and other food-based entrepreneurs while developing a business plan and implementation strategy for creating a Food Innovation Hub.

Veneta – Veneta will support value-added, food-based entrepreneurship by investing in a new culinary lab and providing business coaching and mentorship, as well as access to markets and events to stimulate demand for local products.

Business Oregon says to address capacity issues, the ROI aims to provide each community access to a program consultant to support their entrepreneurial ecosystem building goals.

Business Oregon says they will be developing Regional Innovation Hubs over the next couple of years to propel region-specific innovation and entrepreneurshipand that those Hubs will be focused on supporting traded sector, innovation-based, early stage companies within a regional ecosystem, and will enhance access to resources and technical expertise as well as providing a gateway to other state-funded programs.

Sophorn Cheang is the Director of Business Oregon as of March 2021. Prior to that, Cheang served as the Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Governor Kate Brown. Cheang also co-coordinated the Governor's Racial Justice Council.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-11-06 21:20:40Last Update: 2021-11-06 22:10:41



ODOT Mobility Pricing Is Coming
You may want to check out Eugene Airport as a viable option to traveling I-205

If you live in the mid-valley and fly out of Portland or have reason to travel to Washington, your trip will get more expensive and time consuming. What you've heard is true. Congestion pricing is coming to I-5 and I-205. ODOT has two toll projects underway in the Portland metro area -- the I-205 Toll Project and the Regional Mobility Pricing Project -- to manage traffic on I-205 and I-5 in a way that is equitable and addresses climate change while providing needed funding for critical infrastructure and safety improvements. While separate projects, they update each other. Toll prices will be higher at peak traffic times, a concept known as “variable pricing.” Both projects have concluded: The Regional Mobility Pricing Project will apply congestion pricing -- using variable-rate tolls -- on all lanes of I-5 and I-205 in the Portland metro area to manage traffic congestion and raise revenue for priority transportation projects.

The I-205 Toll Project will use variable-rate tolls on the Abernethy and Tualatin River Bridges to raise revenue to complete the I-205 Improvement Project and manage congestion. Toll revenue is needed to complete construction of the remaining phases of the I-205 Improvement Project, designed to address the bottleneck caused by the last remaining two-lane section of I-205. Without the completion, it is believed that diversion to local streets will increase when the interstate has stop-and-go traffic.

ODOT has worked with the community since 2017 to design the project and received support for construction. ODOT completed the environmental review of the I-205 Improvement Project in 2018. Construction is estimated to cost about $700 million. Over the past three years, ODOT explored state and federal funding sources and determined other funding, even from the $5.3 billion Transportation Infrastructure Bill is not available to complete the project.

If you live in mid-valley, you may want to check out Eugene Airport as a viable option to traveling I-205, especially if you can travel during the week and are a little flexible on days. The costs are very comparable with Portland without the hassle of tolls along I-205. Another influencing factor is that Portland airport lost paramedics and firefighters due to the mandates. The more Eugene Airport is utilized, the more flights can be scheduled. It could mean a downward trend for Portland to relieve traffic congestion.

Oregon Department of Transportation will hold Regional Mobility Pricing Project workshops focused on finding solutions to managing congestion in a way that is equitable and addresses climate change while providing needed funding for critical infrastructure and safety improvements. A workshop is scheduled for November 9 and 10 that will be available to livestream and participate in an online survey throughout the meeting.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-11-06 20:58:07Last Update: 2021-11-06 22:15:16



Senate Republicans Sign Education Freedom Pledge
They have consistently prioritized students over a failing education system

The Senate Republican Caucus came together in unison to fight for Oregon’s students and parents. The Education Freedom Pledge, put together by the non-partisan American Federation for Children, promotes policies that support educational opportunities and parental rights in education, including having their voices heard at school board meetings.

“Senate Republicans are unified in our support of parents and students in education,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). “Education is about them and their needs – not the government. All students, regardless of ZIP code, should have access to a learning environment that works for them. Parents should have a say in how their children are taught. That is not controversial, and as a caucus, we won’t shy away from advocating for bold, real education reform in Oregon.”

Senate Republicans were the first legislators in Oregon to publicly sign the pledge. As a caucus, they have consistently introduced legislation to prioritize students over a failing education system in Oregon.

Last session, Senate Republicans introduced legislation to increase the number of students who legally could attend virtual charter schools, in addition to a suite of other school choice measures. They voted to abolish school district boundaries, which would allow children to choose any public school in the state that best meets their needs.

The pledge is one simple paragraph. It reads:

“I pledge to support policies that promote parental rights in education and educational freedom. This includes the right of parents to voice their opinions at school board meetings and to take their children's taxpayer-funded education dollars to the education providers of their choosing - whether it be a public, private, charter, or home school.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-05 11:20:29Last Update: 2021-11-05 12:15:21



Brown to Attend Climate Summit in Scotland
“We ensure that communities hit by climate change due to structural racism are not left behind”

Governor Kate Brown Outlines Goals for 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties Governor Kate Brown will travel to Glasgow, Scotland for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties. In a press release, she said that the reason for her attendance is "to discuss the impacts of climate change on Oregonians, as well as to highlight the actions Oregon has taken to reduce carbon emissions, transition to clean energy, and ensure that Oregonians disproportionately impacted by climate change are not left behind."

“I have been Governor since 2015, and it was about that time that Oregon took a front row seat to climate change,” said Governor Brown. “Nearly every year the extreme weather has been worse than the last. We are a warning for the rest of the world.

“We must continue to move urgently and with focus -- and we can tackle climate change and grow our economy at the same time. These goals are not mutually exclusive. Oregon is a shining example of how it can be done.

“What is clear is we cannot leave behind our historically underserved communities. In Oregon, we have worked to ensure that our communities hardest hit by climate change due to structural racism and systemic disparities are not left behind.

“Future generations will judge us not on the fact of climate change, but on what we have done to tackle it. The time is now, we can’t afford to wait.”

In addition to Governor Brown, State Representative Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) is already at the convention. He sent out an email describing the work of the conference.

I'm here with a delegation of U.S. elected officials across the country to show the importance of America leading the world to protect our communities and nation from the climate emergency.

I'm writing to you because next week we will deliver a letter from more than 350 state and local elected officials from dozens of states calling for a federal climate emergency declaration and plan.

For the health, security, and prosperity of Oregon, our country, and our planet, we must take urgent action to address the climate crisis.

Congress passing the Build Back Better Act and President Biden declaring a Climate Emergency is a vital first step to address what President Biden described as an "existential threat" at COP26 and Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as an imminent danger that is "one minute to midnight."

Both officials are attending at taxpayer expense.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-05 10:54:52Last Update: 2021-11-05 11:20:29



Teachers’ Union Sues Newberg School District
Does flagrant political indoctrination belong in the classroom?

The teachers' union for the Newberg School District, the Newberg Education Association has filed a lawsuit against the school district claiming that the banning of Black Lives Matter and Pride flags has violated teachers' rights of self-expression as described in the Oregon and US Constitutions.

The suit names the school district and the School Board members who personally participated in the adoption of the resolution at issue in this case, David Brown, Brian Shannon, Renee Powell, and Trever DeHart.

According to the complaint, filed in Yamhill County Circuit Court:

On or about August 10, 2021, at the next District Board meeting, Board members and individual defendants Brown, Shannon, DeHart, and Powell voted to: “direct the Superintendent to remove all Black Lives Matter (a.k.a. BLM) signs, flags, placards, apparel, buttons, and all other modes of display, and all instances of the symbol known as the Pride flag from District facilities immediately, and direct the Policy Committee to draft policy language prohibiting the display of political signs, flags, apparel, buttons, and placards, and all other modes of display from District facilities, with the sole exception of the American flag and the Oregon state flag, with exemptions as it sees proper. The language contained in this directive shall only apply to District staff and faculty while in the performance of their official duties as District employees.” District Superintendent Joe Morelock indicated that he would need guidance from legal counsel before implementing the directive.

The teachers' union sets up the complaint by describing the political landscape.

In May of 2020, the killing of George Floyd by police, caught on video, sparked outrage throughout the country, prompting many, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, to take to the streets in protest and to issue public statements both acknowledging the harm caused by systemic racism and calling for the education necessary to combat racism in all its forms. Statements acknowledging the public importance of the issue were published not just by private corporate entities, but also by public agencies, including the Oregon Supreme Court.

The complaint asserts that teachers "displayed BLM posters and Pride flags, and/or other paraphernalia without disruption to the education environment and in support of and in solidarity with fellow teachers and students who are Black and/or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Questioning (“LGBTQIA+)."

In the complaint, the plaintiffs maintain that the policy violates their rights under Article I, Sections 8 and 20 of the Oregon Constitution and the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Article 1, Section 8 is the free speech guarantee of the Oregon Constitution. It says, "No law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print freely on any subject whatever; but every person shall be responsible for the abuse of this right."

Article 1, Section 20 is the equality guarantee of the Oregon Constitution. It says "No law shall be passed granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges, or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens." For some, this allegation is interesting and ironic, as many of the objectionable issues involve violations of equality -- favoring minority and non-traditional gender identity students over others.

According to the complaint:

The District policy prohibiting plaintiff Association members from “hang[ing], post[ing], erect[ing], or otherwise display[ing] any posters, signs, flags, banners, pictures or other digital or physical image that depicts support or opposition relating to a political, quasi-political, or controversial topic,” is vague and overbroad in its scope, leaving Association members without guidance as to what speech is prohibited and potentially a violation of District policy leading to potential discipline by the District and/or their licensing through the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (“TSPC”) in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of due process of law.

If nothing else, this suit will shine a light on public schools and make a statement about whether they exist for the students or for the teachers and whether flagrant political indoctrination belongs in the classroom.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-05 10:09:53Last Update: 2021-11-05 10:54:52



Drazan: Governor Traumatizes Victims
Democrats bumble juvenile crime policy during a crime wave

It started in 2019 -- a session where if one didn't know any better, they might think that the criminals had some powerful lobbyists. Among other bills, the legislature passed SB 1008 including sentence reductions for some juvenile crimes, which -- under Measure 11, the mandatory sentencing rule -- required a two-thirds majority to pass.

Though Democrat Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) voted against it, two Senate Republicans -- Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) and Dallas Heard (R-Winston) voted for it, passing it with exactly two-thirds.

It needed all the Democrat votes plus two Republican votes to pass the House. In the end, four House Republicans joined the Democrat caucus -- Representatives Lynn Findley (R-Vale), E. Werner Reschke(R-Klamath Falls), Greg Smith (R-Heppner) and David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford).

It was widely understood that the bill was not retroactive. Testimony on the floor of the House assured that. Even Representative David Brock Smith issued a vote explanation following his yes vote, noting that the bill "is not retroactive, applies only to sentences imposed after January 1, 2020, and no currently incarcerated youth offenders will be released by its passage."

The Oregon District Attorneys' Association begged for a no vote, saying,

"SB 1008 makes sweeping changes to Oregon's juvenile justice system, including removing mandatory sentences for 15, 16, and 17 year-olds who hurt others with guns, commit violet rape, and commit aggravated murder.

While ODAA agrees that Oregon's juvenile justice system needs improvement, overriding a ballot initiative with a legislative super-majority is not the answer. Legislative amendments to a criminal justice ballot initiative...

Recently, Governor Brown announced her intention to commute the sentences of several Measure 11 felons -- most now adults -- who were sentenced under the old Measure 11 sentences for violent crimes as youths a move that many read as contradicting the promise that SB 1008 would not be retroactive.

This week Governor Brown’s commutation list for prison sentences was made available to the media before victims were notified, prioritizing violent offenders and harming victims and their families.

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) released the following statement in response to Governor Kate Brown’s commutation of sentences:

“The Governor continues to abuse executive power and is now minimizing the voices of victims. Voters passed Measure 11 to give victims of violent crimes the security of justice and safety with truth in sentencing. The Governor is circumventing voters and the Legislature to clear the path for these violent offenders to be released, despite the trauma it causes victims and their families as they’re forced to relive these crimes.”

The Department of Corrections said it has identified a total of 248 people who meet the governor’s criteria for commutation.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-04 20:45:01Last Update: 2021-11-04 20:58:07



Oregon Provides Free Well Testing
Low income and communities of color will be prioritized

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is offering free domestic well water testing to about 2,000 households affected by wildfire that rely on wells for drinking water.

The Oregon Legislature allocated funds for free well testing in response to the devastating wildfires of 2020. Many communities and households were still digging out from ash and debris when the original program’s funding expired in June 2021.

Oregon Health Authority states that people with low income and communities of color will be prioritized.

Well users whose properties were affected by wildfires can find steps needed to access the funds, which became available Nov. 1st. Well owners will find guidance on how to assess damage, take action to protect their well, and test their well water to confirm it is safe to drink.

Curtis Cude, manager of the Oregon Health Authority’s Domestic Well Safety Program, urges well owners to “follow recommendations in the well damage assessment.”

“Make sure you know what work you are authorized to do and when you need to hire a licensed professional,” Cude said.

Actions may include: OHA will provide testing vouchers to well users through May 15, 2023. To ensure that all 2020 wildfire-affected domestic well users can receive free testing, OHA can offer one voucher per affected well.

Well users can select from a list of approved environmental laboratories in Oregon that will honor the vouchers for testing services. The tests will look for presence of bacteria, nitrates, arsenic, lead and chemicals that are hazardous by-products of fire.

Applications can be found online.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-11-04 16:34:41Last Update: 2021-11-04 16:48:45



Oregon Kids Can Get the Vax
“It is completely normal for parents and kids to have questions about vaccines”

In the wake of CDC suddenly changing the definition of vaccine, Governor Brown endorses the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup’s conclusion to vaccinate 5- to 11-year-olds. In an effort to change how we understand the concept of vaccines, the CDC changed their definition to “A preparation that is used to stimulate the body’s immune response against diseases.” Previously, it read, “A product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease.” It is no longer a preventative but a stimulating agent that doesn’t produce immunity.

Governor Brown ignored these implications in her announcement. “This is great news for Oregon children, parents, and families. Vaccination is the best tool we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones. With today’s review by leading doctors, pediatricians, and health experts, Oregon parents and children can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 5-to-11-year-olds. It is completely normal for parents and kids to have questions about vaccines -- I urge you to reach out to your family doctor, health care provider, or pharmacist and get your questions answered today.”

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup is made up of 18 medical personnel from four states: 12 from California and two from Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The workgroup was formed to review the federal process for recommendations to ensure safety of the COVID-19 vaccinations. They independently review the safety and efficacy of any vaccine approved by the FDA for distribution.

Governor Kate Brown said, “The independent review conducted by this panel of doctors, scientists, and health experts will ensure that a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is available to everyone, especially communities that have been disproportionately impacted by this disease.”

In the November 3 report, the workgroup concluded that a thorough review of the evidence presented to the FDA by Pfizer from their clinical trial in children ages 5-11 years of age was 90% safe for that age group, and therefore, they deem it safe. How did they come to that conclusion?

The Workgroup carefully assessed the safety data for the vaccine, including the absence of any severe adverse events among vaccine recipients in the clinical trial. Reactions were mild, self-limited, similar to those seen in adolescents and adults and with other vaccines routinely recommended for children and were less common in those ages 5-11 years than in those 16-25 years. Based on the substantial experience in older children and adolescents, the Workgroup concluded that the risk of myocarditis following receipt of the lower dose vaccine in children 5-11 years of age is likely to be low. How likely?

Pfizer’s website says, “The landmark Pfizer-BioNTech Phase 3 clinical trial began in late July 2020, recruiting participants aged 12 and over. Close to three thousand participants were adolescents: 2,259 participants were between the ages of 12-15 and 754 participants were 16 and 17 years old. In March 2021, Pfizer and BioNTech dosed the first healthy children in a global Phase 1/2/3 continuous study to learn if the vaccine can produce an immune response against COVID-19, and if it is safe, in children aged 6 months to 11 years.” It appears they never did tests on children under 12, but if they did, however many healthy children they tested, it was only a six-month study.

Oregon is one of a few states that is below 10% likelihood that your kids will get COVID-19, and since September the cases have been dropping for kids nationwide, according to NBC News. Those getting COVID-19 have reported flu-like symptoms. Governor Brown would have you think otherwise.

“The Workgroup concluded the vaccine is safe and effective in this age group, because substantial numbers of children of this age remain at risk of COVID-19 illness and its complications, including hospitalization and death, the Workgroup is confident that the benefits of this vaccine for children ages 5-11 years substantially outweigh any known or likely risks. Therefore, the Workgroup supports its use under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as a two-dose series of 10 μg per dose given three weeks apart.”

The take away is verification that 17 out of 18 medical professionals on the workforce can read FDA documents. It is baffling why these four state governors question the FDA findings when the workforce looks no deeper than the FDA, and then publishes uncommittable recommendations.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-03 18:51:10Last Update: 2021-11-03 21:20:08



Rose Quarter Vaccine Mandates Vary
It depends on the event

The two Rose Quarter venues -- both the Moda Center and the Veterans Memorial Coliseum -- home to the Portland Trailblazers basketball team of the NBA and the Portland Winterhawks of the Canadian Hockey League -- has differing policies requiring proof of vaccination to attend some events, including some concerts. For instance, an upcoming Andrea Bocelli concert describes these requirements:

Rose Quarter requires all guests ages 12 and up are required to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the event or a negative lab-based rapid test within 48 hours of the event.

Acceptable as proof of vaccination:

Acceptable as proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or lab-based rapid test:

The Ticketmaster link for Blazer basketball games has a notice which reads: "The Event Organizer is requiring proof of a negative test or COVID-19 vaccination to attend this event. Please check their website for details."

The Portland Winterhawks hockey team does not seem to require vaccines.




--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-03 11:03:22Last Update: 2021-11-03 10:40:51



Negotiations and Threats Produce Forest Deal
Look for legislation in the 2022

Governor Kate Brown -- trained as an environmental lawyer -- has announced that nearly ten months of negotiations between private forestry representatives, small forestland owners, conservation leaders, and fishing organizations has resulted in a historic proposal for new regulations on over 10 million acres of forestland in Oregon. The proposal seeks to meet the federal standards for a statewide Habitat Conservation Plan. The changes to the Forest Practices Act agreed to by the parties will be brought before the Legislature.

In 2019, environmental groups created pressure by filing three ballot measures each of which increased the regulatory scope of the Oregon Forest Practices Act. IP 35 increased regulations on logging and aerial spraying near waterways. IP 36 and IP 37 each increased regulations on clearcuts and made changes to the Oregon Board of Forestry. These ballot measures brought the timber industry to the table and talks resulted in an agreement between environmentalists and the timber industry which resulted in the Oregon Legislature passed SB 1602 during the first special session of 2020.

Governor Brown made this statement:

“Today’s historic agreement is a perfect example of the Oregon Way -- coming together at the table to find common ground, to the mutual benefit of us all,” said Governor Brown. “Together, this agreement will help to ensure that Oregon continues to have healthy forests, fish, and wildlife, as well as economic growth for our forest industry and rural communities, for generations to come. I would like to thank everyone involved for their role in making this agreement a reality today.”

The parties agreed on a framework for: On January 12, the parties began a series of meetings in which they discussed proposed changes to forest practices, pursuing a statewide Habitat Conservation Plan from federal agencies for threatened and endangered species, which would provide more regulatory certainty for landowners and long-term conservation benefits to designated wildlife species. The parties worked intensively throughout the year towards formalizing an agreement to bring before the Legislature.

Legislation will be brought forward to the Oregon Legislature to solidify the Private Forest Accords in statute. The State will bring forward the proposal for consideration by NOAA Fisheries and the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a Habitat Conservation Plan.

These deals come at a time when lumber prices are at historic highs and housing availability is in crisis, and these regulations will surely put more pressure on these factors.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-03 10:40:04Last Update: 2021-11-03 10:25:17



Nothing to See Here. Move Along.
Courts are likely to approve of the Oregon redistricting plan

The challenge to the validity of the Oregon Congressional redistricting map -- including the new 6th congressional district -- as described in SB 881 has received a hearing. Martha Walters, the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court has appointed a Special Judicial Panel to hear the petition. The redistricting plan was created in part by Representative Andrea Salinas, who chaired the House Special Committee On Congressional Redistricting and drew herself into the newly created 6th district -- which has no incumbent -- and has since announced a run for that district.

The Special Judicial Panel, in turn and pursuant, requested and received appointment of a Special Master, Henry Breithaupt, Senior Judge, to receive evidence and to prepare recommended findings of fact in this case. It is considered to be predictive of how the case will be decided.

The report focuses on the requirements for the creation of a congressional district. It notes that they are contiguous, contain very nearly equal population and notes that "each district utilizes existing geographic or political boundaries. The districts utilize boundaries including county lines, city lines, state borders, highways rivers, shorelines, and the boundaries of the Warm Springs Reservation."

It considers split counties. The report says that "According to the statutory references to “portion[s]” of counties, there are 11 counties that fall within two or more districts" and concludes that "the vast majority of the lines that SB 881 draws across Oregon follow existing geographic or political boundaries.

Districts are not permitted to divide "communities of common interest", though this is not defined in statute. Most of the 78-page report is recounting testimony of witnesses who described how the proposed boundaries impact communities of common interest.

Likewise, Oregon law provides that "each district, as nearly as practicable, shall be connected by transportation links," and the report concludes that the proposed map complies.

The report considers whether or not the proposed redistricting plan favors "any political party, incumbent legislator or any other person."

Some Service Employees International Union Local 503 members testified before the legislature in connection with congressional redistricting. There was also an ongoing conversation between SEIU and particular legislators about redistricting that included Portland, the largest city in Oregon.

The Executive Director of SEIU Local 503, Melissa Unger, had ongoing conversations with two members of Democratic Leadership, Representative Salinas and Speaker Kotek, along with a chief of staff for Speaker Kotek, Lindsey O’Brien, during the weekend before the vote on SB 881-A that were focused on whether the map could pass through the representative legislative process, with a particular focus on drawing a map that Republicans would show up to vote on (as opposed to denying a quorum), which was SEIU’s primary interest.

According to testimony from Unger, “I was not involved in the details of the map, the actual, like, districts. I was involved in the strategy of which map would be acceptable to get the Republicans to show up and vote for it.”

Expert testimony from various academics with credentials in political science were considered.

In expert testimony, Dr. Jonathan Katz, a professor of social sciences and statistics at the California Institute of Technology who holds a Ph.D. in political science, countered Petitioners’ assertion that the Enacted Map contains five Democratic seats and one Republican seat, emphasizing that “this is not how we should think about fairness, which should be based on partisan symmetry” rather than proportionality, and determining that “it is not an accurate assessment of the map” since “Democrats are expected to win [on average] 3.85 seats assuming all seats were open.”

Similarly, Dr. Devin Caughey, a tenured professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who holds a PhD in political science from the University of California–Berkeley said, “There is, in short, little compelling evidence that the Oregon districting plan substantially favors the Democratic Party.”

On the contrary, Dr. Thomas Brunell, a Professor of Political Science and the Program Head for Political Science at the University of Texas at Dallas was dismissed by the report when he "reported that Democrats are “likely” to win in five of the six congressional districts under the Enacted Map, but he could not describe with any specificity or confidence how likely such a scenario would be."

The report concludes,

"No person testified to the legislature or has asserted in this proceeding that they are denied the privilege of voting for a Representative in Congress based on an immutable characteristic.

"No person testified to the legislature or has asserted in this proceeding that SB 881 prevents them from uttering and publishing their views on candidates for office in any of the Congressional districts created under SB 881.

No person testified to the legislature or has asserted in this proceeding that SB 881 prevents them from assembling with others, petitioning their representatives for redress of grievances, or instructing their representatives.

If this report is any harbinger, the congressional redistricting plan will be approved by the courts.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-02 17:46:42Last Update: 2021-11-02 22:12:47



Umatilla National Forest Wildfire Restoration Update
2021 wildfire interactive story map provided

As the smoke clears from the unprecedented wildfire activity on the Umatilla National Forest this year, Forest officials will be considering several options to restore the landscape within the burned areas moving forward. Fires burn at different intensities in different areas, so specific actions will vary.

Three large wildfires burned more than 150,000 acres total and approximately 105,000 acres on the Umatilla National Forest this summer. While all the fires are now contained, some hazards may still exist including burned or dead trees, stump holes, loose rocks or logs, or isolated areas of burning material.

After any major wildfire, the landscape is transformed from the soil up to the tree canopy. Post-fire recovery work and timelines are greatly influenced by the size and severity of the wildfire. Some activities, such as suppression repair, occur prior to containment to restore impacts from suppression operations, including rehabilitating hand and dozer fire lines, roads, trails, staging areas, safety zones, and drop points. Additionally, erosion control measures are implemented during suppression repair, such as constructing water bars (angled trenches) to route water and planting native seed.

Forest Service officials also assess hazards that remain in burned areas after fire, such as fire-weakened trees, rock fall, and areas of high erosion potential that can lead to landslides. These assessments are completed by a Burned Area Emergency Response Team (BAER) that comes in to evaluate imminent post-wildfire threats to life, safety, property and critical natural or cultural resource needs. BAER Teams have assessed and identified emergency treatments on the Lick Creek, Green Ridge and Elbow Creek fires that burned on the Pomeroy and Walla Walla Ranger Districts. Over the next several months, Forest staff will conduct emergency treatments, which include placement of roadside and recreation safety signs, replacement of damaged boundary and travel signs, repair of road and trail drainage structures, seeding around threatened and endangered species, and treatment of noxious invasive plant species.

In addition to these efforts, the Forest is developing long-term restoration strategies to help the landscape recover and become more resilient to future disturbances. Scientists and other specialists assisted Umatilla National Forest staff in identifying the ecological damage and making recommendations on specific actions that could help the area rebound naturally. Additionally, Forest staff are developing proposals for potential areas to conduct salvage harvest and replanting. Since the fire has burned in a mosaic pattern, there may be very different biodiversity impacts at different locations and elevations.

The Forest is also evaluating infrastructure damage from this summer’s wildfires, including campgrounds, day-use areas, bridges, roads and trails. The most significant impacts identified are to the numerous trail systems within the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. Trail maintenance and reconstruction, as well as removal of fallen trees, will be a recurring need for several years following the wildfires. This type of work will be part of the Forest’s long-term post-wildfire restoration strategy. Falling trees and unstable trail surface are currently potential hazards in the burned areas and the public should use caution when recreating in areas that have recently burned.

To keep the public updated on post-fire recovery and long-term restoration, the Umatilla National Forest has developed an interactive story map.

Updates on fire-related projects and restoration will be posted on the story map as they are developed. The story map also provides a summary of the 2021 wildfire season, interactive maps highlighting this year’s wildfire activity, photos and maps on treatments that aided in firefighting efforts, and continued restoration activities moving forward.

Some roads remain closed. Umatilla National Forest officials are evaluating fire closures regularly and will modify or lift closures as soon as it is safe to do so based on fire activity and suppression operations. Sites directly impacted by wildfire may remain closed after fire activity has subsided while the Forest assesses hazards. Falling snags and limbs, stump holes, unstable ground, rock falls, downed trees, debris flows, and landslides can all occur in a post-fire landscape.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-01 13:46:22Last Update: 2021-11-01 16:35:49



Low Barrier Shelters in Oregon
Eliminating barriers such as sobriety standards

There are homeless and then there are unsheltered. In 2020, Oregon reported a total of 14,655 homeless, a decline of about 1200 from 2019. Out of the total, there are 4,123 whom are chronically homeless individuals, and 35-40 percent of homeless suffer from some form of mental illness. While national homeless numbers increased by 2%, Oregon saw an 8% decrease. Since 2020, Oregon has taken significant steps to further help the homeless.

The Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) established goals in 2019 for ending homelessness that includes encouraging low-barrier, safe and housing-focused shelters. A “low-barrier” center operates 24/7, and provides intensive case management to connect people to public benefits, health services, and permanent housing, through a Housing First philosophy. Shelters ensure immediate access by lowering or eliminating barriers such as sobriety standards, pet restrictions, restrictions based on identification, income, background checks, and requirements for participation in programs. Storage is required for weapons and drugs, however, they can be retrieved upon exiting the shelter. When they show up, the doors are open providing a safe, warm place for those who may not have other options.

In 2021 session, Speaker Kotek passed HB 2004, which appropriates $7 million in General Fund to OHCS, and $2 million for technical assistance for low-barrier emergency shelters or transitional housing to accommodate the unhoused from wildfires. Moneys went to establish navigation centers in the following jurisdictions: $1.5 million to the City of McMinnville; $1.5 million to the City of Roseburg, $2.5 million to the City of Bend; $2.5 million to the City of Medford; $5 million to the City of Salem; and $5 million to Lane County for a navigation center in the City of Eugene. Navigation centers are defined as low-barrier emergency shelters open seven days per week with the purpose of connecting homeless individuals and families with health services, permanent housing, and public benefits.

Many cities have also received funding from the federal COVID-19 relief funds received last year. It has provided startup and maybe the first-year operations, but various options for long-term funding is still on the table.

Salem opened Tanner House as their first low-barrier veterans housing project. Tanner House offers mental health support, peer support, and drug and alcohol case management. A front office accommodates veterans that walk in off the street that need linked to services.

The City of Bend converted their winter shelter into a year-round low-barrier homeless shelter. As with most cities, a nonprofit runs the 70-bed shelter. The nonprofit, Shepherd’s House Ministries, also provides case management and supportive services. The Council’s goal is to expand to 500 beds in a three-year action plan. There are nearly 1,000 homeless in Central Oregon reported in 2020.

Outside of Portland, Eugene may have the next biggest issue with homeless camps. When City of Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis was asked about street camps, she told Northwest Observer, “The folks who are disaffected from society and unwilling to change their transient lifestyle are much harder to persuade to move into any kind of shelter or managed site – and I don’t imagine hotels are any better for them than any number of other options, but I could be wrong. They really present our biggest problem.”

Mayor Vinis describes the type of homeless that low-barrier shelters are meant to accommodate. The chronically homeless with physical and mental needs that are not likely to ever be transitioned back into society or a productive life style. They are not suited for micro-shelters or villages. The question is, will low-barrier centers provide a safe shelter and encourage treatment, or will it be a protected drug haven?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-10-31 09:36:55Last Update: 2021-10-30 15:09:57



Governor Brown Gets the Booster Jab
“All three of the vaccines are safe, and incredibly effective”

Governor Kate Brown today issued the following statement after receiving her COVID-19 booster shot and flu vaccine at Salem Health’s Edgewater Clinic:

"I am extremely grateful for the protection the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has given me. All three of the vaccines are safe, and incredibly effective at protecting against hospitalization and death. And now, I am grateful to have received extra protection against both COVID-19 and the flu with the Moderna booster shot and the flu shot.

"Many Oregonians are now eligible for a booster -- I encourage you to have conversations with your health care provider, like I have with my doctor, Dr. Yates, to learn more about the extra protection a booster can offer you. Vaccinations are our way out of this pandemic. If you still have questions about getting vaccinated, call your doctor or health care provider today to get your questions answered."

“The COVID-19 booster is safe and effective in prolonging protection against severe illness. The vaccine remains our only path out of the pandemic and my colleagues and I encourage everyone to get the booster when eligible,” said Dr. Ralph Yates, Chief Medical Officer, Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics. “Flu vaccines are another important way to protect one another, especially as we head into the winter months. An increase in flu cases is anticipated this year, but flu shots can help. Flu shots can be given at the same time as the booster.”

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared their recommendation for recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. The Western States Scientific Safety Workgroup followed with their recommendations, which align with the federal guidance, and which Oregon will be following. All Oregonians 18 years of age or older who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine should receive a booster dose two months after their first shot.

The FDA and CDC also approved the “mix-and-match” strategy. This allows anyone qualifying for a booster to receive any of the FDA-approved vaccines. Individuals may receive either the same or a different COVID-19 vaccine, depending on advice from a health care provider, individual preference, availability or convenience.

These groups of Oregonians who received the Moderna vaccine at least 6 months ago are now eligible and recommended to receive a booster shot: All Oregonians 18 years of age or older who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine should receive a booster dose two months after their first shot.

Additionally, the following group of Oregonians who received the Moderna vaccine may also receive a booster dose after six months:

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-30 10:26:54Last Update: 2021-10-30 11:03:22



Canby Ferry to Re-Open
It has been in operation for over a century, except in 1946 when heavy flooding swept the ferry and its moorings down river

The Canby Ferry will be open to the traveling public at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30. The ferry was previously closed due to staffing constraints.

The Canby Ferry, located at 4116 North Locust Street, crosses the Willamette River between Canby and Wilsonville.

The ferry accommodates cars, bikes and pedestrians, and runs seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. except on major holidays and when the water level rises to 70 feet or higher, or during inclement weather.

The ferry has been in operation for over a century, opening in 1914. It has operated more or less continuously since then except when it closed in 1946 when heavy flooding swept the ferry and its moorings down river, part of which went over Willamette Falls. With community encouragement, service was restored in 1953.

The Canby Ferry is the northernmost of the three still-operating Willamette River Ferries including the Wheatland Ferry and the Buena-Vista Ferry. Many have proposed that the ferries -- while they serve nostalgic roots -- may be replaced by bridges which provide cheaper, more-reliable and more environmentally sound transportation infrastructure.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-30 10:09:29Last Update: 2021-10-30 10:12:58



Oregon DMV Moratorium Ending Soon
Reminder to renew before end of the year

The Oregon law enforcement moratorium for expired vehicle registration, driver licenses and ID cards will end Dec. 31. If you need to renew, you may want to do it as soon as you can – before an expected rush at the end of the year.

Starting in November, DMV will mail about 300,000 Oregon residents who have expired vehicle registrations, urging them to renew before the end of the year. This mailing is in addition to the regular reminder DMV sends a few weeks before your vehicle’s tags expire.

DMV will not also send a second reminder for expired licenses, permits and ID cards, so you may want to check your card to make sure it’s still valid.

“You might receive a reminder in the mail even if it doesn’t seem to apply to you,” DMV Administrator Amy Joyce said. “Did you sell your car? If you didn’t notify DMV, we might still show you as the owner. Protect yourself from parking tickets and towing charges: go on-line and notify us of the sale.”

The current moratorium, passed by the 2021 Legislature, is the last of a series of grace periods giving Oregonians more time to renew at DMV during COVID-19 restrictions.

“To help Oregonians get DMV services during the pandemic, we’ve added many new online options,” Joyce said. “We have caught up with the COVID-19 backlog enough that about half our visits to field offices are by appointment, and the other half are standby.” <

Before you go to a DMV office, visit DMV2U to see if you can get your service online – or make sure you have what you need to bring to an office.

“Going forward, customers will continue to have the option of making an appointment online through DMV2U or dropping by, as well as more choices online,” Joyce said. “Anytime you need a DMV service, check DMV2U first and see if you can save yourself time and a trip.”

If you need to visit a DMV in person – especially to renew your license or ID card – it might be a good time to get the Real ID option.

Starting in May 2023, you will need a federally acceptable form of identification to fly– most common are a passport or the Real ID version of a DMV credential.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-10-29 16:11:10Last Update: 2021-10-29 18:48:33



Grants Pass Mayor Seeks to Increase Vaccinations
Discussion based on soundbites and headlines is causing confusion and distrust

Grants Pass Mayor Sara Bristol is proposing a plan, including $300,000 spending to increase COVID-19 vaccinations in the city. As reported by the Josephine County Eagle Mayor Bristol sent an email to the Josephine County Commissioners with a detailed proposal for encouraging residents to get the vaccine. It's not clear from the proposal where the funding would come from.

In her email, she outlines what she calls a draft of a proposal:

Thankfully, Covid-19 case numbers in Josephine County and throughout Oregon have dropped dramatically since the peak just before Labor Day. And yet the county’s infection rate is still higher than it’s been for much of the past 19 months. Here in Josephine County, just 50% of our total population is vaccinated. We're not out of the woods yet.

Our local businesses, our children, our mental health and our quality of life have been deeply adversely affected by this pandemic. We need to get back to normal. Let’s work together to end Covid-19 in Josephine County.

The proposal has three parts.

The first part, proposed to cost $75,000, includes the creation of a "positive marketing campaign" and using that marketing theme, which she calls "JoCo Cares" and calls for providing "signs and banners featuring JoCo Cares theme, including pins and stickers that individuals can wear to show support, host[ing] a panel discussion with medical providers, city and county leaders to answer Covid-19 vaccine questions, [and] media interviews with the media and/or paid ads sharing “why I got vaccinated” stories."

The second part, also proposed to cost $75,000, seeks to "coordinate with medical providers and other community efforts to maximize resources." In addition to "direct contact from local doctors" it suggests connecting with "providers to encourage a call/text message campaign to their patients" and to "produce and provide informational flyers through social service partners, food banks, schools, etc. to help educate residents on the facts of the virus and its implications in our community." It proposes "outreach to underserved communities: homeless population, migrant labor, marijuana industry, etc."

Part three is merely to "provide a $100 Visa gift card incentive, first-come-first-served while supplies last. The goal is to encourage persons who “just haven’t gotten around to it” to make the effort to get vaccinated. The current incentive of $25 is likely not enough to motivate people to take action."

According to Josephine County Eagle Editor Richard Emmons, "42% of Josephine County adults have said no to the vaccination. More advertising won’t change a lot of minds. If parents want to pay their kids a dollar to eat their broccoli, that’s up to the parents. We shouldn’t bribe adults to take a medical treatment.

"Positive test results (aka “cases”) have declined for 7 of the last 8 weeks in Josephine County. We've gone from 900 positive test results in one week to about 150. That's an amazing turnaround and suggests the pandemic is behind us."

In a reply to Mayor Bristol's email City Councilor Rob Pell -- who also owns Sunshine Natural Foods -- outlined five objections to her proposals, saying, "After reading your extensive proposal I feel it is missing the most critical aspects of the Covid discussion that may help our fellow citizens make well-informed decisions on this subject. It seems to me that basic Covid education would do more good than the financial schemes and incentives you propose. So the commissioners and my fellow councilors are clear, IMO the following 5 points need to be better understood by many and unfortunately you didn't touch on any of them."

Councilor Pell concludes:

Discussion based on soundbites and headlines rather than discussion that is based on clear and objective data is causing confusion and distrust across many demographics in JoCo. The mandate of vaccines by school districts and Asante for the Covid recovered is baseless (see the 15 studies that address this concept in #3) and possibly more than any other single thing has seriously eroded credibility of the OHA and healthcare providers who continue to promote it - rightly so. Simply clarifying the 5 points I've presented will help our citizens have a better understanding of Covid-19 and what the vaccines can reasonably be expected to do so they can make informed decisions. I find the monetary incentives to be particularly gross. Since the vaccine only provides biological benefit to the recipient why would incentives be appropriate? At the end of the day I would hope we can agree that the public making more informed decisions would be a good thing.

Richard Emmons contributed to this article. He is the publisher and editor of the Josephine County Eagle.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-28 19:48:33Last Update: 2021-10-29 09:00:11



Legionnaires’ Disease Reported In Washington County
Murrayhill-area residents put on alert

Washington County Public Health is investigating six cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the Murrayhill area of Beaverton. The cases were reported within the last week in people who live within two miles of Murray Boulevard and Scholls Ferry Road. The people range in age from late 40s to early 80s; four have been hospitalized.

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious type of pneumonia (lung infection) caused by the Legionella bacteria that is found naturally in the environment and grows best in warm conditions. Common sources include hot tubs, hot water tanks, large air conditioning and plumbing systems, fountains and water bodies.

The county has not identified the source of the cluster and is alerting the public so people in the area can be proactive in identifying cases quickly and get treatment.

“People with Legionnaires’ disease may have flu-like symptoms including fever, tiredness, muscle aches and headaches, that often progress to coughing and shortness of breath. Nausea, diarrhea and confusion are also possible symptoms,” said Dr. Christina Baumann, Washington County health officer. “If you live in or frequent the affected area and experience these symptoms, please contact your health provider right away so they can determine if you have Legionnaires and provide treatment.”

The disease, which got its name from a 1976 outbreak at an American Legion convention, can be successfully treated with antibiotics. While most people make a full recovery, many need to be hospitalized. One in 10 people with the disease will die.

People are generally infected with the disease by breathing in droplets from a contaminated water source.

Most people with healthy immune systems will not get Legionnaires’ disease, even after breathing in the bacteria. Older adults, those who smoke, and those who already have lung disease or a compromised immune system are at higher risk and more likely to become seriously ill.

Washington County Public Health is interviewing people diagnosed with the disease and employees of local businesses and housing complexes to try and determine if there is a common point of exposure. Public Health is also working with Oregon Health Authority and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to collect samples and perform testing to link the cases to each other and to possible exposure sources.

Because the bacteria are so common in the environment, these investigations are difficult and time consuming. Washington County will provide updates as more information becomes available.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-10-28 19:17:36Last Update: 2021-10-28 19:35:07



Congressional Candidate Comments on Illegal Immigration
“President Trump’s policies were working”

A recent report revealed that illegal immigration arrests have dropped to their lowest level in over a decade, which is a direct result of President Joe Biden’s open border immigration policy. Congressional Candidate Alek Skarlatos had this to say about the report.

“Once Democrats took control of Washington, Joe Biden paused on deporting illegal immigrants, now illegal immigration arrests have dropped to a record low and every town in America, including communities in Oregon, are border towns,” said former Oregon National Guard soldier Alek Skarlatos. “President Trump’s policies were working and this report is more proof that we need leaders like myself, who will stand with him in building a wall along our Mexican border and deporting those who illegally enter our country.”

The Washington Post reports that “Immigration arrests in the interior of the United States fell in fiscal 2021 to the lowest level in more than a decade — roughly half the annual totals recorded during the Trump administration, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement data obtained by The Washington Post. Officers working for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) made about 72,000 administrative arrests during the fiscal year that ended in September, down from 104,000 during the 2020 fiscal year and an average of 148,000 annually from 2017 through 2019. ERO administrative arrest data is considered one of the best gauges of ICE activity because interior enforcement is entirely under the agency’s control, unlike deportations and other metrics that rise and fall with migration trends at the Mexico border. ICE arrests in the interior plunged after President Biden took office and set new limits on immigration enforcement, including a 100-day “pause” on most deportations.”

Skarlatos is a former Oregon National Guardsman, who served in Afghanistan and a candidate for Oregon's 4th Congressional District, running as a Republican against incumbent Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield). In 2015, while traveling on a train bound for Paris, Skarlatos, along with four others, jumped into action to stop an Islamic Terrorist who tried to open fire on a passenger train. His heroism earned him several awards and medals around the world including, the United States' Soldier’s Medal.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-27 12:38:10Last Update: 2021-10-27 22:47:23



Portland Public School Board Meeting Adjourns in 29 Seconds
Board Files Out Before the Unmasked Masses

After Chair Michelle De Pass sternly warned the crowd, they had two minutes to put masks on or she would suspend the board meeting and the board would leave and reconvene virtually in another room. But then 29 seconds into the meeting, DePass “adjourned” the meeting, and the PPS board members fled the in-person board meeting. One audience member commented the chair must be a product of Common Core Math learning.

The media including KGW valiantly tries to keep the spin going by describing maskless participants as that they “tried to refuse” to wear masks. They didn’t try, they simply walked in past security folks mask free. Later inside when mask free participants were approached to again wear masks, they politely said “no” and security politely went away.

The security folks at the Portland Public School District board meeting have always been friendly and non-threatening at board meetings. At least one participant said that security knows there is no mask law and that is the reason the school board did not call for the police.

The crowd found it humorous that a slender person dressed all in black Antifa type wannabe young person with their arms held high crossed in a X shape seemingly pretend he/she was keeping back the large crowd of patriots as though he/she was protecting the board members filing out who were in no danger from the maskless crowd who had started calling out “there is no mask law.”

Time and time again across all forms of communication, whether verbally or in written form, to the many and various state government agencies, the administrative state government agents, and the governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, none, to date, will address the fact that there is no mask law.

Mask rules, guidance, policy, requirements, mandates, orders, and suggestions are not law, and -- according to some -- they in fact violate law, thus they are moot and thus the fact that no person in the state of Oregon has ever been arrested for not wearing a mask.

The fiction created by Kate Brown and her administrative state continues to fall apart.


--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-10-27 10:45:34Last Update: 2021-10-27 22:47:57



Student Athletes Used to Virtue Signal
Now fans are required to share their private medical information

“Beginning this week, all visitors to Portland Public Schools Campuses will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours. This applies to sporting events, both indoor and outdoor. The procedures were created under state guidelines as best practices to keep students and staff safe from COVID-19”. This is the statement on the Ida B Wells Site (formerly Wilson HS) website. It is also echoed on other PPS websites such as Roosevelt High School and Lincoln High School.

Student athletes had their entire previous football season condensed into a short Spring season in 2021 at the height of COVID without this requirement. Then in September they returned to the gridiron, the pitch and the gyms under somewhat normal rules. However, for some reason this week the rules changed. Now fans are required to share their private medical information in order to watch and cheer on these hard-working student athletes. Why?

The broad-brush statement of, “the procedures were created under state guidelines as best practices to keep students and staff safe from COVID-19” seems to provide cover and anonymity to the actual decision makers. When following the links in one PPS school statement where it says that it was “created under state guidelines”, it redirects readers to a document created by PPS “Visitors to PPS School Campuses COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures”. No names as to who made the decision, who voted on it, etc.

Within the “PPS School Campuses COVID-19 SOP, it states that “these operating procedures have been developed in alignment with the “Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework for the 2021-22 School Year”. This is the most current version of the Oregon Department of Education Ready Schools, Safe Learners document. that document has been in place since September and has not changed. PPS made the proof of vaccination status decision this week based on no changes to this document.

Fall sports have been happening throughout the PPS region since late August/early September and just now some unknown group within PPS has decided that vaccine passports and personal medical information is a requirement to attend high school sporting events.

What is evident is this decision was not tied to the “Ready School, Safe learners Resiliency”. This action was not the result of an Executive Order by Governor Brown. It was not an Emergency Administrative Rule issued by the Oregon Department of Education. It was also not a voted on by the PPS board. The PPS Board held a Regular Board meeting on October 21 but the agenda did not include a discussion or a vote about vaccine status for spectators. The PPS policy committee met on October 19. Again, no committee or board action was taken to make this a PPS wide mandate or a public policy decision. It is completely unclear as to who made the decision to put the procedure in place and what authority that person has to make such a decision.

Statewide tax dollars pay for Oregon public education and local taxpayer bonds often pay for school facilities including athletic facilities. PPS has NO legal authority to shut parents and the public out of supporting their student athletes based on a requirement to show private medical information.

Ironically, this segregationist tactic flies in the face of other PPS actions. Last year PPS renamed Wilson High School to Ida B Wells because Woodrow Wilson was seen as a racist due to segregation actions taken while he was in office. Today’s segregation is not as “black and white” as American’s past. It has taken on a new form that has nothing to do with skin color or race or religion, and everything to do with your private medical information. “Show me your papers” is the modern-day version of segregation.


--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-10-26 11:11:02Last Update: 2021-10-27 22:48:33



Local Farmer Announces for YamCo Commission
“I’m excited at the opportunity to contribute to our county”

Kit Johnston, a Yamhill County farmer and businessman has announced his candidacy for Yamhill County Commissioner. The position currently filled by Casey Kulla will have a new commissioner in 2023. Commissioner Kulla has filed to run for Governor on the Democratic ticket. Article II, Section 10 of the Oregon Constitution says that "No person holding a lucrative office, or appointment under the United States, or under this State, shall be eligible to a seat in the Legislative Assembly, nor shall any person hold more than one lucrative office at the same time, except as in this Constition [sic] expressly permitted."

Johnston is a fifth generation Oregonian who grew up in St. Paul, Newberg, and Dayton. He's been a farmer in Yamhill County for over 25 years. Johnston is also a businessperson, entrepreneur, and father, raising two daughters with his wife Caralee.

Yamhill County has mostly good problems associated with healthy economic growth requiring solid management experience at the Board of Commissioners. Johnston’s track record of success in business and his commitment to livability for future generations caused supporters to ask him to seek this office.

“I'm excited at the opportunity to contribute to our county. The way things have been going in recent years, I believe that now is the time I can give back to my community in a positive and productive way. With my diverse background in business and farming, I have the mindset and work ethic to be a good addition to the Board of Commissioners."

He can be found on Facebook at @KitforYamhill


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-26 11:05:27Last Update: 2021-10-27 10:45:34



Human Trafficking in Oregon?
Massage parlor raided in Grants Pass

An ongoing Grants Pass Police Department (GPPD) investigation involving commercial sexual solicitation at a local massage parlor resulted in several arrests during a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement operation.

The operation was a cooperative effort between GPPD Detectives, the Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) and the Rogue Area Drug Enforcement team (RADE). Human trafficking concerns were further developed during this ongoing criminal investigation at the Silk Road Massage parlor located on the 1500 block of NE Seventh Street in Grants Pass.

Arrested during the raid was Wei Zhang, 58 of Grants Pass, charged with promoting prostitution. Kul Assavaphoom, 41 also of Grants pass was cited and released for prostitution. During the raid a customer, Yhang Zhao, 52 was found with a US Marshal warrant out of Virginia and was lodged in the Josephine County Jail. The business was owned by Min Zhang, 48 of Grants Pass.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department says they greatly value community partnerships and they would like to thank the Women’s Crisis Support Team in Grants Pass who assisted with victim advocacy.

SOCET is a joint inter-agency task force that started in June of 2020 to combat child exploitation and human trafficking. The task force consists of investigators from Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO), Medford Police Department (MPD), GPPD, Oregon State Police (OSP), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and prosecutors from our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in Jackson and Josephine County.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-10-25 13:12:01Last Update: 2021-10-25 13:19:39



At Least 19 Shootings in Portland Over the Weekend
PPB are investigating

Portland Police Enhanced Community Safety Team (ECST) is tracking nineteen (19) total verified shootings beginning Friday October 22nd through the early morning of Sunday October 24th. At least 95 cartridge casings have been recovered connected to these incidents. Several injuries, several arrests, and the recovery of several firearms occurred.

Friday 10/22 12:39a.m. - East Precinct officers responded to a shooting at Northeast 162nd Avenue and Northeast Halsey Street. Reports of a male firing a handgun. Officers located a male matching the description of the suspect, detained him, and recovered a 10mm pistol concealed on his person (photo). Officers discovered a crime scene consisting of several cartridge casings. No known victims however this is an ongoing investigation. Nathan D. Isenberg, 18, of Portland was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) on charges of Discharging a Firearm in the City Limits (x5) and Unlawful Possession of a Loaded Firearm in Public (City Code) and Reckless Endangering. Case #21-295060

Friday 10/22 at 1:52a.m. – Central Precinct officers responded to a shots call in the area of Southwest Bertha Boulevard and Southwest 26th Avenue. Officers arrived and located a crime scene consisting of numerous cartridge casings. No known injuries. Need video and tips. ECST following up. Case #21-295105

Friday 10/22 at 2:00a.m. – East Precinct officers responded to 2600 block of Southeast 168th Avenue on the report of an occupied building struck by gunfire. No injuries. Related shots call not found. Need tips. Ongoing investigation. Case #21-295356

Friday 10/22 at 7:22a.m. – East Precinct officers responded to a shots fired call in the 7900 block of Southeast Powell Boulevard. Officers located numerous casings and believe a vehicle may have been struck, but left the scene prior to the arrival of officers. No known victims. Need video and tips. ECST following up. Case #21-295272

Friday 10/22 at 2:41p.m. – East Precinct officers responded to a disturbance with shots fired call in the 100 block of Southeast 97th Avenue. Officers arrived and located a crime scene. No known injuries and this incident is an ongoing investigation. Case #21-295634

Friday 10/22 @ 8:48p.m. – East Precinct officers responded to Southeast 162nd Avenue and Southeast Division Street on the report of a shooting. Officers arrived and located a crime scene which consisted of numerous cartridge casings and an occupied vehicle struck multiple times by gunfire. The occupant of the vehicle was not injured and investigators do not believe that they were the intended target of this shooting. Ongoing investigation. Need video and tips. Case #21-295915

Friday 10/22 at 10:55p.m. – East Precinct officers responded to 3300 Block of Northeast 82nd Avenue on the report of a shooting. Officers responded an located a crime scene consisting of several cartridge casings. No known injuries. Ongoing investigation. Need tips and video. Case #21-296017

Saturday 10/23 at 12:00a.m. – North Precinct officers responded to a drive by shooting in the 3800 Block of North Haight Avenue. Officers located a crime scene consisting of numerous cartridge casings two unoccupied vehicles and an occupied home struck by gunfire. No known injuries. Ongoing investigation. Need tips and video. Case #21-296143

Saturday 10/23 at 2:43a.m. – Central Precinct officers heard shots fired in the area of Southwest 5th Avenue and Southwest Harvey Milk Street. Officers located a crime scene consisting of numerous cartridge casings. A short time later a shooting victim arrived via private vehicle at an area hospital suffering from a serious, but non-life threatening injury. Officers determined that the male was injured as a result of this shooting. Ongoing investigation. Need tips and video. Case #21-296178

Saturday 10/23 at 2:47a.m. – East Precinct officers responded to the area of Southeast 122nd Avenue and Southeast Stark Street on the report of a disturbance and shooting. Officers arrived and located a crime scene consisting of numerous cartridge casings. No known injuries. Ongoing investigation. Need tips and video. Case #21-296183

Saturday 10/23 at 3:29a.m. – East Precinct officers on scene at the shooting at Southeast 122nd Avenue and Southeast Stark Street heard numerous shots fired to the west of them. Officers responded to the area of Southeast 119th Avenue and, after speaking to witnesses, were able to determine someone was firing shots from what was described as a white SUV (possibly a Toyota 4Runner). No known injuries. Need tips and video. #21-296209

Saturday 10/23 at7:46p.m. – North Precinct officers responded to shots fired in the 200 block of Northeast Ivy Street. Officers located a crime scene consisting of several cartridge casings. No known injuries. Need tips and video. Case # 21-296957

Saturday 10/23 at 9:25p.m. – North Precinct officers responded to the 1800 block of North Willis Boulevard on a report of a shooting. Officers spoke to witnesses who provided information leading them to believe a shooting occurred at this location, however the individuals involved had left the area prior to the arrival of officers. There were no known injuries and this is an ongoing investigation. Case #21-297043

Sunday 10/24 at 12:39a.m. – East Precinct officers responded to the area of Southeast 153rd Avenue and Southeast Stark Street on the report of a shooting. Officers located a crime scene and determined that a neighborhood resident confronted a suspected car prowler who fired at least one shot when challenged. The suspect ran off prior to the arrival of officers and was not located. No injuries. Ongoing investigation and tips/video needed. #21-297229

Sunday 10/24 at 1:38a.m. – North Precinct officers responded to the 400 block of Northeast Columbia Boulevard on the report of a shooting. Officers located a crime scene and one area business was struck by gunfire (photo). Initial information suggests this incident was an exchange of gunfire between the occupants of at least two vehicles. No known injuries. Ongoing investigation. Need tips and video. Case # 21-297220

Sunday 10/24 at 2:10a.m. – East Precinct officers were on scene at an unrelated call when they heard shots fired in the area of Southeast 157th Avenue and East Burnside Street. A vehicle was observed leaving the area at a high rate of speed. Officers were able to conduct a stop on the vehicle at Southeast 182nd Avenue and Southeast Division Street where they contacted the occupants. A subsequent investigation resulted in the recovery of a semi-automatic pistol (photo) and the arrest of two of the occupants. Julian Guarneros, 18, of Gresham was booked into MCDC for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Possession of a Loaded Firearm in Public (city code), Discharging a Firearm in the City (city code), Reckless Endangering, Reckless Driving, Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, Driving while Suspended or Revoked-Misdemeanor. Max Anderson, 22, of Anaheim, California, was booked into MCDC for Unlawful Possession of a Loaded Firearm in Public (city code), Unlawful Possession of Firearms, Reckless Endangering. No known injuries. Case # 21-297236

Sunday 10/24 at 2:53a.m. – East Precinct officers responded to a shooting in the 12100 block of Southeast Bush Street. Officers arrived and located several cartridge casings and an occupied residence struck by gunfire. No injuries. Ongoing investigation. Tips and video needed. Case #21-297256

Sunday 10/24 at 3:07a.m. – East Precinct officers responded to Portland Adventist hospital on the report of an individual who self-transported with a non-life threatening gunshot wound. The individual was not cooperative and it is unknown where the victim was injured by gunfire. Ongoing investigation. Need tips. Case # 21-297264

Sunday 10/24 at 6:25a.m. – Double murder 300 block of Northwest 6th Avenue (see other press release).

These shootings are being actively investigated by the ECST and Homicide Detectives. Witnesses or individuals with information are encouraged to contact the police.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-10-25 12:59:48Last Update: 2021-10-25 13:06:00



We Spend a Lot on Homelessness. How Are We Doing?
Though the data is certainly had to collect, some more exact numbers would be more useful

The 2021 Session was Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek's chance to take a stab at homelessness, which she did with HB 2006. It was a bold step, not only in terms of spending, but in terms of imposing policy on cities and counties.

HB 2004 from the 2021 Session was the funding part. It allocated over $46 million to Housing and Community Services Department to award grants and provide technical assistance for emergency shelters and appropriated funds to Department Administrative Services to distribute to cities and counties to develop navigation centers. The measure appropriates a total of $47.0 million toward homelessness, but only $29 million will be used for actual sheltering of homeless people. The rest -- about 30% -- is for "navigation centers," which are "low-barrier emergency shelters open seven days per week with the purpose of connecting homeless individuals and families with health services, permanent housing, and public benefits."

The spending breaks down like this: The fact that virtually everyone has compassion for someone living on the streets makes accountability difficult. Nonetheless, and despite the fact that policymakers deliberately make the numbers elusive, both the human cost at stake and the enormous dollar amounts being spent make accountability imperative.

The study sidesteps the actual number:

Nationally, Hawaii, California, and Oregon had the highest rates of individuals experiencing homelessness, with 50 or more individuals experiencing homelessness per 10,000 individuals. According to HUD’s 2018 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report, Oregon is one of four states in which more than half (61 percent) of all people experiencing homelessness were found in unsheltered locations.

Though the data is certainly hard to collect, some more exact numbers would be more useful. 50 per 10,000 is 0.5%, so that means that 21,500 of Oregon's 4.3 million residents are "homeless," but that's maybe not what people think of when they think of homeless. Of these, 61% or a little over 13,000 are "unsheltered." Divide the $46 million by this and you add another $3,500 per person to the wave of cash being spent on the homeless.

Even many of the stingiest taxpayers would pay whatever it takes to truly rescue any number of homeless people, but one can't help but wonder if the money actually helps desperate human beings, or goes to sustain a bureaucracy.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-24 14:24:26Last Update: 2021-10-25 15:10:30



No Vax, No Vino?
“I heard Oregon is requiring vaccine passports, is this true?”

Recently Oregon Department of Agriculture released their 2021 Oregon Ag statistics for the 2020 growing season. Included in that are the top agricultural commodities. Oregon wine grapes ranked #8 at $157,900,000 as estimated by the Oregon Wine Board. What this does not take into consideration is all the peripheral industries that also benefit and contribute to the economic engine of Oregon’s wine industry. People come to Oregon from all over US and the world to enjoy the wine but then also spend money at local restaurants, hotels, rental car companies, gas station, etc. The spending power of the Oregon wine industry is much broader than the raw numbers in the report.

However, a new question looms over Oregon wineries and Oregon agritourism. Could the segregation of the COVID vaccinated vs. unvaccinated have an effect on the tourism Industry? It appears that some local wineries are not waiting for the State to follow other progressive locations such as LA and NY. They are taking the chance that mandating vaccine passports for entry on their own will be seen as a positive step for their business, employees and customers.

A few of the Oregon wineries that have taken these steps are: Many out of state tourists are coming from states that have no vaccine mandates in place. So, in an effort to warn potential travelers, Travel Oregon has proactively addressed the issue on their web site stating,

“I heard Oregon is requiring vaccine passports, is this true? No. Though, some businesses or attractions may ask to see proof of your vaccination status...If showing your vaccine card makes you uncomfortable, please have a backup plan ready”.

Realistically, however, how many non-vaccinated travelers wishing to visit Oregon would be willing to have a back up plan ready and what exactly is that? A negative at home COVID test done in a hotel room 72 hours prior to going wine tasting? If the visitor is here for 10 days, do they test multiple times or make sure that they have a detailed plan for which days they want to visit vax passport wineries vs. non-vax requirement wineries? Or do they just choose to take their tourism dollars to another state?

The good news is that Oregon has so many wineries, large and small. Many of which are open for business and do not require visitors to share private medical information. A few of those are: As Governor Brown continues to push the COVID vaccine mandate for state workers, and the Federal Government works through how to enforce the Presidents statement that every business in the US with 100 or more employees will require vaccinations, it will undoubtedly lead to more people acquiring a vaccine passport whether they want to or not. However, for those that value their medical freedom and medical privacy they may need to adjust expectations on their ability to enjoy Oregon’s beautiful wine country.


--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-10-24 10:14:27Last Update: 2021-10-24 14:12:33



Are Taxes Driving Business Out of Oregon?
“Our tax policies are driving away Oregon’s businesses and job creators.”

Due to recently passed new taxes and increases of existing taxes, at both the state and local levels, a stunning number of Oregon businesses are now giving serious consideration to leaving Oregon according to findings from a survey of nearly 500 business CPAs and local chamber of commerce leaders.

The survey, sponsored by Oregon Business & Industry and conducted in the spring and summer of 2021, shows the roster of new local and statewide taxes imposed in Oregon over the last three years have created a negative perception of the cumulative impact of these taxes on business owners and employers. As a result, most report that they have clients or members who are considering leaving the Portland region – or the state altogether, while others are considering pulling back on future Oregon investments, including restricting new hiring.

“The results of this survey should give state lawmakers and local elected leaders pause,” said OBI President and CEO Angela Wilhelms. “Our tax policies, especially recent new taxes and local tax increases, are driving away Oregon’s businesses and job creators.”

Key survey findings include:

“Taxes in Oregon at both the statewide and local levels are negatively impacting our business communities,” Wilhelms said. “These Oregon employers, the backbone of our economy, see recent tax increases as harmful to their ability to grow, hire, compete and succeed; and they are now clearly beginning to vote with their feet.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-23 10:26:10Last Update: 2021-10-23 10:14:27



How Columbia County Spends Tax Dollars
Highlighting a county government’s expenditures

Property taxes pay for a number of critical services. These include public safety (law enforcement, fire and emergency services), parks, schools, public transportation, public defense, elections, community justice, and a host of other important municipal services. As an example, the Northwest Observer presents the following information about how Columbia County Oregon spends the taxes collected from businesses and homeowners:

Columbia County will collect $86,053,943 in taxes from both businesses and private landowners this year. But the majority of that amount doesn’t stay in county coffers – only 9.64 percent, or roughly $8.3 million, goes into the county’s general fund. An additional 3.95 percent, or $3.4 million, goes to the Jail Operation Fund from the local option levy approved by county voters.

General fund dollars largely pay for county law enforcement and public safety, including Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, jail operations, and the district attorney’s office. The remainder pays for general county administration, including the assessor’s office, land development services, juvenile services, and the county commission. More than 85 percent of property tax funds collected are distributed to local schools, cities, and special districts, such as those that manage 911 services or soil and water conservation, to name a few.

Here’s the breakdown: TOTAL: $86,053,943

There was one new voter-approved local option levy for the Rainier Cemetery District. Those with properties within that district will see a line item of $.05 per thousand of assessed value on their tax statement.

Another local option levy to note is that of the Scappoose Rural Fire Department. Voters within this district approved an increase of $.75 to the district. This brings their rate from $1.24 per thousand of assessed value to $1.99 per thousand of assessed value.

Columbia County has 91 tax code areas that are comprised of various combinations of taxing districts that serve that area. Therefore, where your property is located dictates the rate and type of taxes you pay. City dwellers can often pay more than rural property owners because of local taxes that go to parks, libraries, or local voter-approved bonds, among other benefits.

On the top left of your property tax statement is your code number. To see the exact charges for your specific code, go to the county Assessor’s webpage at columbiacountyor.gov and open the 2021-22 Summary of Assessment & Tax Roll. The document contains a list of all agencies in the county that receive the taxes.

The vast majority of taxes – 46 percent – goes towards education, including five school districts, one educational service district, and Portland Community College.

Fire districts receive more than 19 percent of the total. These districts cover the entire county, from Vernonia to Clatskanie to Scappoose.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-10-23 10:12:39Last Update: 2021-10-23 12:34:41



Beaverton School District Under Fire
A formal complaint has been submitted to the Beaverton School Board

School districts and boards are being targeted by CEI, Center for Equity & Inclusion, promoting equity and inclusion, another name for Critical Race Theory that markets their services to train and control the content and decisions once contracted. The contracts allow unelected personnel to make local decisions avoiding public input. Multnomah Education Service District, and Gresham-Barlow and Beaverton School Boards have contracted with CEI.

Beaverton parents are not happy with CRT being the approach to Equity and Inclusion, and how contracting was left to Pat McCreery, the Equity and Inclusion Administrator for Beaverton School District and his selection of CEI. McCreery seemed not to have given due diligence to other offers before committing to CEI. In a public record request, two emails McCreery sent shows an illegal commitment.

He wrote district executive members – Don Grotting, Mike Scofield and David Williams on November 15, 2020, trying to avoid a Request for Proposal, regarding the legal/ethical obligations and limitations in terms of engaging with CEI for such a large contract. He suggested the use of Student Investment Account funds or use staff PD/tuition reimbursement funds to cover costs. The same day McCreery wrote CEI on avoiding a RFP process required for contracts over $50,000 -- not to mention the contracting process -- is required prior to committing to a vendor.

Where is the impartial treatment? He suggested spreading costs over fiscal years allowing parts of the partnership written into the Student Investment Account using classroom funds. Split or not, it should be a concern to spend $384,660, billing up to $420 per hour for a single CEI staff member, to do equity training on a criterion that hasn’t been vetted nor had any best practices been applied. Even the board’s vice chair, Becky Tymchuk, said regarding Critical Race Theory, “how can we have data if we’ve not tried it yet,” admitting there is no evidence this Critical Race Theory based approach will address student achievement and disciplinary gaps. The kids are effectively being used as an experiment.

Jeff Myers, life resident and parent in Beaverton, filed a formal complaint to the Beaverton School Board, and a report filed with the Secretary of State Audits Division. They have directed the issue to an outside auditing firm that has worked with the Beaverton School District in the past. He says district and board members are always polite even though public comments against the lens of CRT and antiracism movement far outnumber 10:1 comment in support. In an email from Pat McCreery to Don Grotting he sums up their defiance against the well of the people: "Amid my concern over the feedback we're getting, I kept reminding myself that this feedback "noise" is a reminder that we're doing good work..." At board meetings they try to quiet the opposition by telling parents such things as, "Just as there are people like you against our Antiracism approach, there are people voicing their support who I also must listen to." The people in support McCreery revealed in an email as people offering their services, such as a lawyer, Beaverton Human Rights Commission, community advocate and Oregon Center for Education Equity. He pits them against hundreds of parents.

Myers told the Northwest Observer what motivates him is his son. “He's seeing fights and outbursts nearly every day. They took all the soap dispensers out of the boys' bathrooms, in the midst of a pandemic no less, because they can't control the students and refuse to discipline them in the name of "equity". They point to a TikTok challenge to steal stuff from school and make a video of it. And somehow getting rid of Student Resource Officers, who are the only people left in schools who can intervene to help kids from getting hurt, is part of the "solution".

Myers says, “The truly sad part about what the Beaverton School District is doing is that none of this new, radicalized version of Equity and Inclusion is proven to address any of the current and historical gaps in student outcomes we have in K-12 education.”

He challenges others, “My eyes were opened when I started reading what Critical Race Theory was about, and I began to see what the Beaverton School Board was doing and began asking questions, gathering data and setting up meetings. The board’s admission that there is no evidence supporting this radical direction is key to getting the district to take guidance from the board. The challenge is, how can we help more people see what school boards are doing?”


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-10-22 15:57:19Last Update: 2021-10-23 10:08:18



Senator Tim Knopp Elected Republican Leader
“Republicans have an opportunity to showcase our ideas as an alternative to failed Democratic leadership”

Senator Fred Girod (R-Lyons) has voluntarily stepped down as Republican Leader for health reasons. The caucus elected Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) as the new Republican leader. The rest of the leadership team remained unchanged.

Newly-elected Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp released the following statement:

“I want to thank Senator Girod for his leadership over the last year and a half. He has been a strong conservative champion for Oregon Republicans. He will be missed in leadership, but he is doing what he believes is best for his health, and I support him. Republicans have a great opportunity to showcase our ideas and vision as a viable alternative to decades of failed Democratic leadership in Oregon. I look forward to serving this caucus to do just that.”

Senator Knopp is widely regarded as a moderate Republican. The Senate Republican caucus has been divided for the last few session. Two of its former members now caucus as independents -- Senators Brian Boquist (I-Dallas) and Art Robinson (R-Cave Junction).

Senator Knopp was a member of the Oregon House from 1998 to 2005 and was House Republican Leader in 2003. He was elected to the Oregon Senate in 2012. He represents Senate District 27 which is the Bend area.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-22 10:21:14Last Update: 2021-10-22 12:07:32



Technical Error Prompts State to Count Additional COVID Deaths
550 deaths will be added in coming weeks

Over the coming weeks, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will begin reporting approximately 550 deaths among people who died with COVID-19 but whose deaths only became recently known to state epidemiologists due to a technical computer error. Most of these deaths occurred between May 2021 and August 2021.

The deaths will be reviewed during the data reconciliation process over the next month. People who have died and meet the COVID-19 death definition based on death certificates will reported on the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 dashboards and its daily COVID-19 media releases. As a result, daily reported COVID-19-related deaths will be higher than usual until the backlog is resolved. Details of all deaths will be listed in OHA’s daily COVID-19 media release, which is published weekdays.

OHA’s reporting of COVID-19 deaths involves reconciling death records to case records, which is done manually. OHA has been working to automate the process but that has led to periodic backlogs, such as what is being reported today.

“We are taking steps to ensure that our reporting is comprehensive and transparent,” said OHA Director Patrick Allen. “We deeply regret the pain this disclosure may cause.”

The additional deaths will affect Oregon’s national standing in COVID-19 death rates. Presently, Oregon has the 6th lowest death rate in the nation. The newly reported deaths are expected to push Oregon’s death rate past one or two other states. However, Oregon’s death rate will remain well below the national average and the fatality rates of most other states.

State health officials estimate that if Oregon’s death rate matched the national average, another 4,000 or more Oregonians would have died from COVID-19.

Death is a lagging indicator and generally follows a surge in cases. In addition, there is often a delay in reporting as OHA epidemiologists review death certificates.

OHA expects that reported deaths may continue to be high even as daily case counts decrease.

The newly enhanced COVID-19 Case Severity dashboard visualizes the time lag between when case onset and dates of death.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-10-21 20:26:26Last Update: 2021-10-21 20:44:21



Analysis: Deciding With Whom You Associate
Even Oath Keepers have the right to freedom of association

Every Individual of the age of consent has the authority and right to decide for himself or herself whether to associate or not to associate.

In his majority opinion for the Supreme Court case of the NAACP v. Alabama (1958), Justice John Marshall Harlan II wrote, “It is beyond debate that freedom to engage in association for the advancement of beliefs and ideas is an inseparable aspect of the ‘liberty’ assured by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which embraces freedom of speech.”

The court ruled that the individual members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have the right to associate together free from the undue interference of the state. The members of the NAACP have a right to expressive association, which refers to the right of people to associate together for expressive political purposes. Unfortunately, today, the Biden Administration and others in the US Government are undermining and attacking the right to the freedom of association.

Their ultimate goal is to purge their ranks and society overall from what they deem as right-wing militia groups when in reality they are trying to silence the debate and dissent of their political adversaries.

The Oath Keepers are now in the sights of the feds because some of their members entered the US Capitol on January 6th in the so-called insurrection. Even though the organization was already under the scrutiny of the feds, their investigations have immensely intensified with the new administration, which is making difficulties for members of the Oath Keepers who currently serve in law enforcement.

There was a recent hit piece released by the taxpayer-funded Oregon Public Broadcasting titled, Dozens of Oregon law enforcement officers have been members of the far-right Oath Keepers militia.” In the article, they do their best to impugn the reputation of several police officers because of their membership and association with the Oath Keepers organization without taking into consideration that these officers have the right to associate or not associate with whomever they choose.

OPB took data that was illegally hacked from the Oath Keepers databases and crossed referenced it against public records, social media, and state law enforcement certification information for verification. They soon found out that there were dozens of current law enforcement officers who are members of the organization all across the US. Some of those officers are serving the public here in the state of Oregon. Remember, the name of this group is Oath Keepers, so it would only be reasonable to think that some of their members might be cops who are currently on the beat because cops have rights too.

Most citizens want the police to be dedicated to their oath, so it should not matter that they would belong to a group that celebrates fidelity to duty. Loyalty to the US Constitution seems to be a quality missing in government. Many could very well claim that today’s politicians are oath breakers not oath keepers, so it is refreshing to see such patriotism in people assigned to uphold the laws of our country.

The Oath Keeper’s website states:

“Oath Keepers is a nonpartisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” That oath, mandated by Article VI of the Constitution itself, is to the Constitution, not to the politicians, and Oath Keepers declare that they will not obey unconstitutional orders, such as orders to disarm the American people, to conduct warrantless searches, or to detain Americans as “enemy combatants” in violation of their ancient right to jury trial.”

OPB also makes the mistake of labeling the Oath Keepers as an antigovernment, anti-immigrant extremist group, which could not be further from the truth as an organization. Public Broadcasting is a known tool of the establishment, so their reporting is an extension of the government's McCarthy-style witch-hunt against anyone opposed to the Marxist reset.

Most members of Oath Keepers believe in a constitutionally limited government that delivers maximum liberty and minimal authority. It is what oath-keeping is all about. Many members support legal immigration, but they are opposed to the government allowing illegal aliens to violate US immigration laws.

The organization is fervently opposed to communism, fascism, white supremacy, or racial superiority. There are members of Oath Keepers who are first-generation immigrants who have faithfully served this country, there are members of many different ethnicities involved with the group and the one common denominator between these people is their belief in the American way. There are no disqualifications for membership based on race, or sex meaning they do not discriminate based on a person’s immutable qualities. Those beliefs are not extreme.

What is extreme? Those who are promoting open borders, big government with unchecked powers, and the elimination of the US Constitution because of the belief that it is inherently racist. During the Oregon 2021 Legislative Session, Representative Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas) and Senator James Manning, Jr. (D-Eugene) introduced HB 2936, which states “membership or participation in hate groups, racial supremacist organizations or militant groups erodes public trust in law enforcement officers and community safety.”

Signed by Governor Kate Brown, the new law HB 2936 is another way the Oregon legislators can virtue signal to the “woke” while simultaneously restricting the voices of anyone who disagrees with their agenda. Moreover, it helps them purge the ranks of the police of people who have other beliefs.

The problem with HB 2936 arises with a basic question.

Who gets to make the decision on which groups are hate groups, or are racial supremacist organizations, or even which group is militant? It is a lot of power for any one person or group of people and with the ever-changing contemporary meanings of words with definitions so broad and so vague, the courts could label anything and everything as hateful or racist.

Is a shooting club militant? Is the NAACP a racial supremacist organization? Are the Girl Scouts a hate group? Who gets to decide? What about government officials who belong, donate, and sponsor Antifa, Black Lives Matter, or even the Communist Party? Some would say that all three organizations are hate groups yet their members make up a good portion of the base of the Democratic Party.

Another problem arises from the new authority that the legislators created in HB 2936. The law may violate the Oregon and US Constitutions. Article 1, Section 8 of the Oregon State Constitution states that "No law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print freely on any subject whatever; but every person shall be responsible for the abuse of this right."

HB 2936 restrains free expression of opinion, it restricts the right to speak, write, or print freely on any subject and it makes someone else responsible for deciding if speech and association with others is a crime. It is a clear violation of the rights of people serving in law enforcement.

Every organization is going to have good and bad members and the law should not judge a group by the actions and words of others. The government should punish people who commit crimes, but the government should never deny a right to one individual based on the actions of another individual, or groups of individuals. The law has to make a judgment based on the merits and actions of the individual no matter how extreme their beliefs are or whom they associate with, and before anyone makes that judgment they had better remember even Jesus associated with lepers, prostitutes, and thieves.

Editor's note: The author, Rob Taylor is a radio show host on www.KWRO.com in Coos County Oregon and you can hear his podcasts at www.RobTaylorReport.com. Rob has never been a member of the Oath Keepers and he does not belong to any political party.


--Rob Taylor

Post Date: 2021-10-21 07:13:52Last Update: 2021-10-21 09:57:19



Full Forensic Audit Requested by Oregon Republican
Representative asks Secretary of State to affirm election integrity

Oregon's House District 55 Representative Vikki Breese lverson (R-Prineville) has sent a letter to the Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, requesting a full forensic audit of the state's voting systems.

Representative Breese Iverson sets out the case for a full forensic audit of Oregon's election system:

"Trust in government institutions is at an all time low for Americans and Oregonians. Voters across Oregon continue to hear news story after news story about potential voter fraud, miss- steps, irregularities, multiple voters, and more. My office has received hundreds of emails and voicemails from voters across the state with regard to voter fraud on some level."

"In Oregon, vote by mail has been occurring for over 20 years. We have experienced success over the years, but with today's climate it is the right time to review and analyze the systems in place across the state."

"I am requesting a full forensic audit of 2020 elections across all 36 counties to ensure Our voting system has the integrity Oregonians deserve and to provide confidence in your office for the 2022 elections."

The office of the Secretary of State is responsible for auditing state government. Representative Breese Iverson lists several of the election sub-systems she would like the Secretary to consider:

"While I know this is a large request, statewide and agency audits are the responsibility of your office. At this time in the interest of all Oregonians, an audit of our election systems would be time and energy well-spent."

"Oregonians, regardless of political affiliation, need to know there is some continuity in processes across the state. Processes to include but not limited to: counting of ballots, machine counting versus hand counting; ballot security; recount process; ballot drop box security; voter ID requirements; signature verifying measures; are processes statewide or vary based on county, if they vary, why; and all the other processes in assuring Oregon elections are above fraud. Are there ways we can improve security and integrity in Oregon to make Oregonians feel secure in their election?"

"I had conversations with County Clerks within my House District and while they are confident in their local processes, they are unsure about processes across the state. With all the media concern causing voter insecurity, an audit of the statewide processes would provide real response to Oregonians."

Except for a two-year period in which Republican Dennis Richardson served as Secretary of State, Democrats have held the office for the entire period of evolution from polling places to vote-by-mail. Some political observers in Oregon have proposed that the Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, a Democrat, will either not acknowledge, or disregard the request for the audit.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-20 17:10:27Last Update: 2021-10-21 11:56:28



Yamhelas Trail Summary Created
This saga doesn’t rise to the level of an Agatha Christie novel, but it’s a beauty

A 24 page tell-all booklet, The Truth About The Trail showed up in mailboxes throughout Yamhill County on Friday.

The booklet listed dozens of never before printed emails obtained through public records requests bringing transparency to what some are calling a conspiracy. Published by Oregon Family Farm Association of Tigard, the booklet shines a light on individual elected and paid staff at the top of Yamhill County government and the private citizens who succeeded in exploiting those officials weaknesses. As the booklet demonstrates, the aforementioned knowingly broke the rules and ignored the law in a display of arrogance not normally found in this county still dominated by heartland values.

The contest between bureaucrats hell bent on building a bike path through farmland and plaintiff farmers protecting their property rights has played out in the Land Use Board of Appeals five times since the first appeal was filed in June of 2018. The county lost every legal action, repeatedly ignoring LUBA rulings using tax dollars to cover their legal fees while hoping to exhaust farmers legal funds. When the fifth and decisive action in June of 2020 required the County to permanently ceased activity and cover the plaintiff’s legal fees of $48k the legal game was over.

What sets this booklet apart from previous articles calling attention to the conflict is the detail of emails obtained through public records requests. The quantity and character of these emails demonstrates an intricate web of elected officials and non-elected leaders in league with Friends of the Yamhelas-Westsider trail plotting one extreme measure after another in a near fanatical defiance of the rule of law, or toward the destruction of individual business owners. As they racked up loss upon loss, Trail proponents resorted to character assassination and political retaliation.

The farmers were painted as a small and extreme special interest group. There are over 37,000 farms and ranches in Oregon. They make up a large primary industry that not only brings in outside dollars to Oregon, but aids in the U.S. balance of payments. We need more ‘small special interest’ groups like that.

County Counsel Todd Sadlo, who misrepresented too many details to higher authority was the first casualty. He took early retirement after a complaint filed with the Oregon Bar has morphed into an investigation. Sadlo asked County Grants Administrator Carrie Martin to get an engineer’s statement stating the Trail bridge could hold a fire truck as he sought to sidestep a LUBA remand requirement.

Martin, panicked by an ODOT letter warning of grant termination was caught misrepresenting vital details of construction of that bridge. Her angst manifest itself in unauthorized overtime expenditures intended to cover up differing claims of completion dates. Rather than show contrition, she sued the commissioner making her misdeeds known by claiming harassment. That suit subsequently ended in a full exoneration of the commissioner. Martin’s shield was temporary. Misinformed citizens caught up in the emotion of it all are attempting to recall the commissioner. As their effort stumbles they have begun paying people to seek signatures on a petition.

This saga doesn’t rise to the level of an Agatha Christie novel, but it’s a beauty. People only learn from their mistakes if they first acknowledge them. With the vindictive recall effort of the exonerated commissioner still in play it is doubtful that any such acknowledgement is in the cards any time soon.


--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-10-20 16:38:30Last Update: 2021-10-20 17:06:47



Brown Thanks the Vaxxed
She might not be the right cheerleader to encourage Oregonians

Amid her own echos, a maskless Oregon Governor Kate Brown thanked Oregonians for getting the vaccine and encouraged those who have not, to get more information and get vaccinated. In previous video appearances, the Governor has made a point of appearing on camera first wearing a mask and then removing it as she began to speak.

As if you credit herself for her mandates on educators, health care workers and state employees, she called them out by name.

"I want to take a moment to thank all the Oregonians who took the time to get vaccinated. By taking this step, you are protecting yourself your co-workers and your communities.

From health care workers to K through 12 educators to first responders and state employees, thousands more Oregonians have been vaccinated to protect against COVID-19 over the last several weeks."



Some pundits and insiders have pointed out that Kate Brown has very low approval ratings and might not be the right cheerleader to encourage Oregonians -- many of whom are tired of the mask and vaccine mandates and the lockdowns -- to get the vaccine. She plead with the unvaccinated:

"If you are not yet vaccinated please call your doctor or health care provider to get your questions answered. Ask a friend who's been vaccinated about their experience and why they got the shot. Vaccines are safe, effective and it's never been easier to get an appointment."

2,603,408 people in Oregon have been vaccinated, which is 76.5% of the 3,403,051 people in Oregon who are 18+ years of age.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-20 10:56:22Last Update: 2021-10-21 10:57:48



Salem Hangs Out the ‘You’re Not Welcome’ Sign
It should give pause to other cities

Cities are looking at new legislation and looking over their shoulders at Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-04 of 45% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2035, and 80% by 2050. HB 2021 then enshrined the goals into law for retail electricity providers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers to 80% below baseline emissions levels by 2030, 90% below baseline emissions levels by 2035, and 100% below baseline emissions levels by 2040. HB 2062 establishes new energy efficiency standards for appliances and certain water fixtures, and HB 2180 requires certain newly constructed buildings to be electric vehicle ready.

What the city of Salem -- run by Mayor Chuck Bennett -- is doing should give pause to other cities. Salem unveiled its Climate Action Plan after a year-long process by a 35 member task force. They started by collecting residents’ vision for a climate-smart city of the future by 2050. A vision of utopia gave way to recommendations to tackle climate change locally by proposing major changes in how we travel, design neighborhoods, and use energy, among other approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prepare the community for impacts, and ensure a transition to an equitable and climate-smart future. The plan is a roadmap to exceed Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-04 to reduce community-wide GHG emissions by 50% by 2035 (from the baseline year of 2016) and to be carbon neutral by 2050.

To measure the impact of local GHG reduction efforts, the plan forecasts future emissions with and without local action. Changing the American Dream into the American Nightmare takes drastic action. There are a few good ideas, like carbon sequestration of plants and trees. Of course, onsite solar and halt growth in natural gas is what HB 2021 is all about. But no thought is given to how this will impact business and discourage new startups and thus affect growth.

How long have we heard walk or bike more and drive less? The goal is to increase walkways, and bike paths. Then double electric vehicles and quadruple transit ridership on electric buses to reduce traffic in Salem by 10 percent. Traffic measurements are taken from before the pandemic in 2016, so there should have already been a reduction through working from home and lockdowns. While you’re limited from using your vehicle, don’t invite out-of-town guests or hold business conferences. The goal is a 40 percent reduction in traffic coming into and out of Salem. Businesses that depend on tourism will have a harder time staying afloat.

All those goals are only halfway to the target. To meet the remainder, they propose halting all combustion engine traffic, remove all fossil fuel-derived from natural gas in existing homes and buildings, and ensure a 100% renewables-only electricity grid. Achieve a zero waste through circular economy, compost and recycling, including capture of wastewater emissions and halt septic emissions by joining wastewater treatment.

Financing proposed will assess as many areas as the goals – parking fees, gas tax, and residential energy audits are at the top of the list. They also propose a trip reduction ordinance for employers to reduce single-occupancy trips. Revise land use plans to allow for more dense development promoting walkable neighborhoods. Implement a reward system that requires property owners to improve low-performing buildings.

If you envision the city plan on a smaller scale one could visualize a gated community where only one electric vehicle is permitted per house and there is a checkpoint at the gate to limit those coming and going. Each vehicle is monitored for use. The houses would be on an electric grid with limited watt and water use. Waste water and garbage monitored for what you are consuming. The behavior change will get you to compete at reducing your emissions, which means your every move will be tracked. If you don’t go along, there are programs to change your behavior. The new behavior is to buy less stuff or buy second-hand. Actions for individuals are to reduce driving trips and avoid unnecessary air travel, eat a plant-based diet, conserve energy and water and reduce waste. And while you’re feeling confined, like a slave, they suggest you pursue actions that address intersectionality and integrate social justice into your environmental work and daily actions.

The work was done using Verdis Group, out of Omaha, Nebraska. It is curious why the URL reads “California.” Is this simply a rewrite changing a few details? They use the EPA’s Local Greenhouse Gas Inventory Tool to gather inventory from the 2016 calendar year. It seems that gains Salem has made already during the pandemic aren’t being measured, perhaps to give a more compelling picture? They also use U.N. models for climate change, which may explain the more than 100% jump in warming from 2040 through 2069. How free can you be when every move is measured?

The public comment period is open until November 5, 2021, at 5 p.m. Comments will be accepted online at the Salem Climate Action Plan website.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-10-20 06:46:59Last Update: 2021-10-20 10:05:27



Girod Blasts Data Leak
“The failures under Kate Brown’s leadership continue to stack up”

On Monday night, Kate Brown’s Department of Administrative Services sent detailed vaccination statuses of tens of thousands of state workers to reporters from the Salem Statesman Journal and the Portland Oregonian.

The Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) released the following statement:

“I have been opposed to this overreach since the day Kate Brown announced it. Government should never coerce people into having medical procedures let alone keep track of this information. It proves to Oregonians they should not trust the government with their private health information or with this much power over their day-to-day lives.

“The impacts of Kate Brown’s overreaches are proving to be severe. Staffing shortages across the state in essential services, like police, teachers, and hospital staff are going to have enduring negative consequences on the safety of Oregonians. Now, citizens must worry if their private medical history will become public. This kind of breach of trust will further erode the public’s faith in government.

“The failures under Kate Brown’s leadership continue to stack up. Oregonians deserve better.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-19 17:17:55Last Update: 2021-10-19 17:42:29



Northwest Rolling Blackouts
Why should California get to have all the fun?

There are two sides to every scale. On one side you have uninterrupted electricity covering all situations. On the other side are customers that want to pay as little as possible for their electricity needs. The balancing act in the past has been the job of utilities monitored by Public Utilities Commission as an arm for customers. Over the last few legislative sessions, the PUC seems to have turned into the Political Utilities Commission reducing the consumer protection arm.

Rolling blackouts has been publicized as a risk of HB 2021, a bill introduced in the last legislative session by Representatives Pam Marsh (D-Ashland), Khanh Pham (D-Portland), Senators Lee Beyer (D-Eugene), and Michael Dembrow (D-Portland). Seemingly every virtue-signaling Democrat jumped in as a co-sponsor. The bill sets a path for electricity providers to reduce emissions to 100% (80% by 2030, 90% by 2035 and 100% by 2040) below baseline by 2040, with intermediate targets. That goal is along with requirements for electric companies to develop a Clean Energy Plan meeting supply mix standard. The two together will not only drive-up costs, but make it more difficult for power companies to provide reliable energy in peak seasons.

Our neighbors to the south received their second taste of rolling blackouts this summer. The California Energy Commission laid blame in three main areas: The first rolling blackouts took place in 2001, which almost affected the entire northwest. It was cause by drought conditions that reduced hydropower causing BPA to force 5,000 aluminum workers out of work to preserve power – an economic blow to the northwest. Oregon is currently struggling with the effects of drought delivering water to Klamath County experiencing dry wells. Proposed dam removals further threaten their source of water and power.

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council, authorized by Congress in 1980 under the Northwest Power Act, gives northwest states a voice in energy plans while protecting fish and wildlife resources. The Council has done an about face going from power plans driven largely by least-cost energy efficiency with only a modest development of renewable power in 2016 to clean-energy policies as a result of the aggressive pursuit of the Green New Deal and the climate change agenda. That resulted in the retirement of coal-fired generators, uncertainty about the role of new natural gas-fired generation, and a decrease in cost of utility-scale solar and wind generators. However, the Act directs the Council to give priority to cost effective energy efficiency, followed by cost-effective renewable resources. Not so easy when forces are mandating a zero-emission plan that we see in HB 2021.

The Council acknowledges, “Increasing our dependence on sunshine and wind to make electricity has risks – primarily the risk of reduced output when the sun goes down and the wind stops blowing. Maintaining an adequate and reliable power supply will be challenging.” The Council’s 2021 Northwest Power Plan draft is available for comment by November 19, 2021. The draft plan incorporates the results of several energy models, recently enacted public policies, advances in technology, and a blend of climate change assumptions and economics in preparing the 20-year plan and its action plan, which covers 2022 through 2027.

Will Oregon see rolling blackouts? Not if the Council’s suggestions are followed by increasing each utility acquisition to between 750 and 1,000 average megawatts by the end of 2027 and a minimum of 2,400 average megawatts by 2041, and the region needs to acquire 3,500 megawatts of renewable resources by 2027. That could be a tall order considering the restrictions in HB 2021, and Governor Brown taking steps against it.

Governor Brown filed a preliminary injunction with the U.S. District Court over the management of the Federal Columbia River System. If the court approves her injunction, it would require lower Snake River dams and Columbia dams to spill water, which will significantly impact the hydroelectric power. The first spill is projected to cost more than $100 million a year resulting in a 5% increase in rates by Bonneville Power Administration. Additional spills will substantially increase greenhouse gas emissions putting a heavier burned on all utilities to meet the goals of HB 2021 to be 100 percent carbon-free electricity below baseline emissions by 2040. What is hidden in the bill is the ban on expanding or constructing power plants that burn natural gas or fossil fuels, which makes up 21.1 percent of electric energy consumption in Oregon.

In the past year cities around the state have experienced power outages for various reasons including extreme weather and public safety power shutoffs. It is not hard to see why Oregonians are thinking rolling blackouts are inevitable. And it doesn’t take much to see that HB 20211 can easily overload the grid without reliable backup systems. Will Oregonians be willing to pay more for less reliable electricity?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-10-19 06:01:33Last Update: 2021-10-18 10:58:44



Oregon’s Top 20 Agricultural Commodities for 2020
Cherries and hazelnuts crack the top 10

The 2020 crop year is a result of the 37,200 farms and ranches that make up Oregon’s agricultural community. Oregon is home to more than 225 commodities, everything from cattle to cherries to hazelnuts and hay. The ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns presented several new challenges to agriculture statewide. Growers and producers responded and adapted quickly to meet the needs of Oregonians, despite mandates issued from the state government.

Oregon’s greenhouse and nursery industry experienced a boon with value of production topping one billion dollars for a second year in a row. Industry experts say that people taking up gardening and landscaping boosted sales nationwide. Historically, greenhouse and nursery and cattle and calves remain two of the top commodities by value in production.

New to Oregon’s top 10 are cherries and hazelnuts. Cherries experienced a 78 percent increase in the value of production. High demand for Oregon cherries meant higher prices for growers in 2020. Oregon is currently the third largest producer of cherries in the nation, supplying 17 percent of the U.S. market.

Hazelnuts had a record year with a nearly 24 percent increase in production and a nearly 57 percent increase in value of production. Hazelnut acreage has grown over the past ten years from about 30,000 acres to over 80,000 acres. Nearly 100 percent of the hazelnuts produced commercially in the U.S. are grown in the Willamette Valley.

Oregon’s top 10 valued commodities by value for the 2020 crop year are: A majority of Oregon’s agricultural commodities in the top twenty saw an increase in value of production including eggs (+29%), onions (+9%), potatoes (9%), sweet corn (+8%), Dungeness crab (+7%), hops (+4%), Christmas trees (+2%), apples (+1%), and milk (+1%).

On the downside, grapes for wine experienced a decrease of 34%, while hay (-16%), blueberries (-11%), grass seed (-11%), pears (-10%), cattle & calves (-6%), and wheat (-3%) also recorded production value decreases. Rounding out the top twenty ag and fisheries commodities by value of production: These newly released statistics are primarily from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) compiled in collaboration with Dave Losh, Oregon State Statistician. Estimates were also provided by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Oregon State University, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Oregon Wine Board.

Industry insiders noted that hemp is not included in the agricultural commodities list. Beginning in October, NASS will begin collecting information on the acreage, yield, production, price, and value of hemp in the United States. Results will be available in 2022.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-10-19 01:33:32Last Update: 2021-10-19 19:46:59



Skarlatos Reports Successful Fundraising
“Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi will do anything to advance their liberal agenda”

Former Oregon National Guard soldier and U.S. Congressional Candidate for the 4th Congressional District Alek Skarlatos announced he raised over $512,000 for the third quarter, which is his first full fundraising quarter of the campaign, outpacing his presumed opponent long-time incumbent, Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield).

This news follows the recent announcement by the National Republican Congressional Committee that Alek Skarlatos was named as one of their top candidates for their 2022 Young Guns recruitment program.

“I am incredibly thankful to have the support of so many people, as Southwest Oregon deserves conservative leaders who will fight for them,” said Skarlatos. “Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi will do anything to advance their liberal agenda - which includes deliberately ignoring the crisis along our Mexican border and this $3.5 trillion tax and spend infrastructure bill championed by Peter DeFazio - and this is just the start of a long campaign to stop their far-left agenda.”

Skarlatos is a former Oregon National Guardsman, who served in Afghanistan. In 2015, while traveling on a train bound for Paris, Alek, along with four others, jumped into action to stop an Islamic Terrorist who tried to open fire on a passenger train. His heroism earned him several awards and medals around the world including, the United States' Soldier’s Medal. Skarlatos was defeated by multi-decade incumbent Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) in the 2020 election.

Oregon's 4th Congressional district changed mostly on the Northern counties. The loss of Linn County and the addition of Lincoln County turned the district slightly more liberal and Democratic than the previous 4th Congressional district.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-18 12:01:21Last Update: 2021-10-18 19:17:55



It’s Mandate Monday
Much of the work that the state does, it has to be staffed in an immediate and on-going basis

With the announcement of Executive Order 21-29 came Oregon's vaccine mandate for all state employees, contractors and volunteers. Any employee who fails to provide proof of vaccination "will face personnel consequences up to and including separation from employment." Mandates for health care workers and educators are also in place.

Legal challenges still loom. Though the company continues to dispute it, vaccine mandates brought Southwest Airlines to it's knees as they cancelled flights and scrambled to get back to a normal operating level, and have arguably driven staffing shortages in Oregon medical facilities as many health care workers refuse the vaccine, the state pushes forward with it's mandate.

There has been some speculation that the vaccination mandate is more about power than about preventing disease. Many state workers still work from home. Many work in non-public facing jobs. Yet, the mandate makes no distinction. Some have wondered if the mandate is targeted at anti-vaxxers -- Trump supporters and religious nuts -- who need to be driven from state government. In fact, we'll probably never know, because the Governor's COVID Council has a very poor track record with transparency.

Governor Brown's announcement of the mandate on August 13 appeared to drive a small blip on the graph of vaccine administrations driving speculation that while some prefer to not take the vaccine, their careers as state workers outweighed these concerns. In a meeting of the Oregon Health Policy Board, OHA Director Pat Allen appeared to soften the mandate, telling state agencies not to fire employees over the deadline, but to keep them away from public-facing work.

Much of what the state does is necessary, but can be allowed to backlog, and for this kind of work, the state can absorb even a sizeable worker shortage. But for much of the work that the state does, it has to be staffed in an immediate and on-going basis.

For this kind of work, the state cannot understaff. This would be true of law enforcement, including corrections employees, state health care and mental health workers and care workers and contractors. It remains to be seen if there will be a problem in these fields and if so, how the state will respond. The Oregon National Guard has already been called out to fill gaps in the health care system. Perhaps they will be used to fill gaps in state government, but they can only go so far.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-18 09:41:54Last Update: 2021-10-18 12:25:54



Mask Mandates in Clackamas County
This building is now the “same as your private home”

Without comment or answer to the Northwest Observer’s questions, it appears due to the September 29, 2021, decision by the Appeals Court related to mask wearing as “nonmandatory recommendations”, the Facility Director, Jeff Jorgensen, captured the reason for any order given to the citizens by Clackamas County Commissioners and their legal counsel, Steve Markour, in this building, is that this building is now the “same as your private home”.

This government building houses or at least use to house hundreds of government employees. Many government employees continue to stay at home while now elected government officials call these government buildings “home” and their “private property”, now the move is to claim they can eject anyone they want without reason, cause, or law?

October 14, 2021, the Northwest Observer sat for 45 minutes in front of commissioners Tootie Smith, Mark Shull, Paul Savas, counsel Steve Markour during the Clackamas County Commission’s meeting mask free until the moment the public comment session began. Jorgensen approached the reporter holding in his hand what looked like some head gear contraption from 2001 Space Odessy. Because of the appeals court decision is that the reason Jorgensen never mentioned the “deadly virus” or the “emergency” or “the pandemic” and had no qualms with shaking the reporter’s hand? Now the issue has become simply that these buildings are the same as “your private home”?

The Northwest Observer's questions not answered by Chair, Tootie Smith, commissioners Mark Schull, Paul Savas and county counsel Steve Markour submitted via email include as follows: On November 19, 2020 Clackamas County Commissioner Tootie Smith said, ”How dare Governor Brown think she’s going to come out, she’s going to send the police into people’s homes and arrest them and fine them for having a Thanksgiving meal with their family, while at same time she lets rioters and anarchists destroy downtown in the city of Portland. That’s hypocrisy.”

On July 28, 2021, Commissioner Smith continued her defiance. “As the Delta variant continues to rise in Oregon, Clackamas County chair remains staunch in her defiance of virus restrictions”

And on August 12, 2021 Commissioner Smith continued to uphold her consistent stance. “This week, Governor Brown issued a mask mandate to all indoor buildings yet said local authorities would not be charged with enforcement. My question to her is this: if it’s not enforced, how is it a mandate?” Smith asked.”

Oregonians know more and more now after a year and a half of listening to Governor Kate Brown’s pinball edicts on television that Kate Brown’s, OHA’s and OSHA’s “rules cannot violate law”, and more and more citizens wonder when their elected officials will also learn that civics lesson.


--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-10-17 11:13:57Last Update: 2021-10-17 11:38:30



Stay on Vaccine Mandates Denied
“It’s not a mandate, you just can’t work”

Free Oregon’s Emergency Motion for Stay against the Oregon Health Authority and the State of Oregon for OAR’s 333-019-1010 and 1030, was denied by Appellate Court Commissioner Theresa Kidd. The Commissioner’s job is to determine a case’s merit and likelihood of success prior to being presented to a judge.

According to the suit,

The issues presented in this case turn on what are arguably some of the most impactful and harmful temporary administrative rules that have ever been adopted by an agency because they force potentially hundreds of thousands of individuals to undergo a medical treatment against their wishes or else be deprived by a state actor of their job, their income, and their very means of livelihood. A failure to stay these Rules will leave Petitioners and those individuals without the ability to provide for their families. The Petitioners have filed an emergency motion because Petitioners, together with hundreds if not tens of thousands of other Oregonians, will be imminently terminated from their public and private employment in their chosen professions unless they subject themselves to the false choice of succumbing to an unwanted, intrinsically coercive, unreasonable medical intervention with unknown long-term risks, that is likely in violation of state and federal law, the Oregon Constitution, and the United States Constitution. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that a “forcible injection … into a nonconsenting person’s body represents a substantial interference with that person’s liberty[.]”

Ben Edtl, director of Free Oregon, the organization which supported the lawsuit said, "We argued that the COVID-19 vaccines are experimental and not FDA approved and, therefore cannot be mandated according to the Emergency Use Authorization. We even provided the court with the actual FDA “approval” of the Comirnaty vaccine, to prove our point, alongside the federal government’s EUA. She says the State isn’t mandating which vaccines are to be taken, just that nurses, teachers and government workers must be vaccinated against Covid-19."

In what some are calling a circular argument justifying the decision that was identical to the State lawyers’ positions that on the one hand this is not a mandate while on the other hand we are experiencing a state of emergency, due to the pandemic, and that the State of Oregon has every legal right to mandate experimental vaccines. The determination of Commissioner Kidd was that the State would be likely to prevail.

The likelihood of success factor, together with the risk of harm to the public if a stay is granted, dispositively weighs against granting a stay in this case. Even assuming that petitioners have made a sufficient showing that they will be harmed if a stay is denied, and despite petitioners' urging that the public will be harmed by the vaccine mandate itself, the court agrees with the state that a stay would be harmful to the public. As all involved are aware, this case arises during a pandemic. Since its emergence, the coronavirus has spread throughout the world and COVID-19 has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in this country. As the rules themselves state, healthcare workers generally have contact with many patients, including those who are "more likely than the general public to have conditions that put them at risk for complications due to COVID-19," and "[c]hildren are required to attend school, which is a congregate setting where COVID-19 can spread easily if precautions are not taken."



According to OHA, requiring workers in healthcare settings and schools to be vaccinated is an effective way to increase vaccination rates and thereby help control COVID-19 and protect the citizens of this state. The state clearly has a strong interest in protecting the general public from the spread of COvID-19, and the rules in question are directly aimed at accomplishing that goal. As the Supreme Court said much earlier in the course of the pandemic in Elkhorn Baptist Church v. Brown, although there "have been and will continue to be debates about how best to respond to the threat posed by the coronavirus," to "the extent that those debates concern policy choices they are properly for policymakers." The executive branch is "uniquely situated, and duty bound, to protect the public in emergency situations and to determine, in such emergencies, where the public interest lies. Given the public interests at stake, and the seriousness of the harm caused by the spread of the virus, the court determines that the risk of harm to the public if a stay is granted is significant.

Ben Edtl mocked the decision. "It’s not a mandate, you just can’t work. It’s not a mandate, you just can’t go to the grocery store. It’s not a mandate, you just have to stay in your house. It’s not a mandate, you just can’t leave the government internment camp." Edtl assures that "Our case will continue to a judge with a reconsideration filing, but based on this decision by Kidd it will be heard after Monday’s October 18, 2021 deadline."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-17 11:11:21Last Update: 2021-10-17 12:01:33



Looming Blackouts? What About Offshore Wind?
Biden is pushing a green militia

Are you expecting blackouts this winter? Opponents of HB 2021 -- which requires retail electricity providers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers -- have warned of potential blackouts from an overloaded electric grid, but that is in the making of bad policy and shifting to fast to an electric grid without the infrastructure to handle the load.

Green energy is popular in the legislature, and looks to continue to be so, despite the consequences. HB 2021 was introduced by Representatives Pam Marsh (D-Ashland), Khanh Pham (D-Portland), Senators Lee Beyer (D-Eugene), and Michael Dembrow (D-Portland). A seemingly endless list of Democrats jumped in as co-sponsors.

As we get rid of our coal and natural resources for energy to appease the climate change agenda, the Chinese Communist Party, the biggest polluter in the world, is one of the leading movers behind the U.S. Climate Change Activism Conference. They are mobilizing schools and campuses through the United States Exchange Foundation to co-op potential opposition and influence government to take action supporting Beijing.

President Biden is pushing the 2030 net zero initiative putting $8 billion into a green militia called the Climate Corp, part of the Green New Deal. They are activist going door-to-door to enforce climate change policies. Part of their message for zero emissions is offshore wind turbines.

The Department of Interior has laid out plans to build offshore wind farms in international waters off the east coast, Gulf of Mexico, California and Oregon to meet the Biden’s energy goals of 2030. To supplement, the department has also partnered with other federal agencies for renewable energy production on public lands, with the goal of producing at least 25 gigawatts of onshore renewable energy over the next five years.

Offshore wind farms are not a new subject for Oregon. A few years ago legislators balked at the cost of offshore wind farms, due in part to the cost of anchoring them to the deep ocean floor, but floating technology will likely be used on the West Coast due to the steep drop-off of the continental shelf. Tourism trades claimed the unsightly seascape would threaten tourism, the largest of which are taller than the Statue of Liberty and the Washington Monument at more than 850 feet — not to mention the span of the whirling blades — which can be longer than a football field. Then there is the ever-present issue of birds.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife reports the most comprehensive and statistically sound estimates show that bird deaths from turbine collisions are between 140,000 and 500,000 birds per year. As wind energy capacity increases under the DOE’s mandate (a six-fold increase from current levels), statistical models predict that means bird deaths resulting in collisions with turbines could reach 1.4 million birds per year.

In 2020, Oregon with the Bureau of Energy Management initiated an offshore wind energy plan beginning with a mass data collection phase including potential human and environmental impacts and natural disaster risks. On average, data shows offshore wind speeds are 15 miles per hour with Southern Oregon at 22-23 miles per hour. As a point of reference, the first offshore wind farm with five turbines in Rhode Island produces enough power for 17,000 homes.

Representative David Brock-Smith sponsored HB 3375 that went into effect September 25, 2021, but not without opposition from many of his fellow Legislators. It is aimed at establishing three Gigawatts of commercial scale floating offshore wind energy projects within federal waters off the Oregon Coast by 2030.

BOEM Oregon Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force will hold a webinar meeting to provide updates on offshore wind energy planning and studies, and discuss next steps. Details for meeting, October 21, 2021, 8:30am to 4pm.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-10-17 10:42:49Last Update: 2021-10-17 11:11:33



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