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On this day, December 8, 2005, federal prosecutors announced six arrests of eco-sabotage suspects following a nine-year investigation in four arson cases in Oregon dating to 1998 and 2001 and a toppled power line in Bend, Oregon in 1999.

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Wes Knodel Gun Show
Saturday, December 9, 2023 at 10:00 am
Wes Knodel Guns Show
December 9th-10th
Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center 3800 SW Airport Wy Redmond, Oregon

Washington County GOP 3rd Annual Christmas Party
Thursday, December 14, 2023 at 6:00 pm
Washington County GOP 3rd Annual Christmas Party The deadline to purchase tickets is 12/6!!
King City, OR

Christmas Day
Monday, December 25, 2023 at 11:59 pm
Christmas Day
Merry Christmas Oregon

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Monday, January 1, 2024 at 12:00 am
New Year's Day

Oregon Legislative Committee Days
Wednesday, January 10, 2024 at 8:00 am
Oregon Legislative Committee Days January 10th-12th
Salem, Oregon

Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Monday, January 15, 2024 at 12:00 am
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Federal holiday

WLN's Fourteenth Annual "TAKE THE OFFENSIVE!" Leadership and Activist Training Conference
Saturday, February 3, 2024 at 9:00 am
"TAKE THE OFFENSIVE!" Leadership and Activist Training Conference
Portland, Oregon

Oregon 2024 Legislative Short Session
Monday, February 5, 2024 at 8:00 am
Oregon 2024 Legislative Short Session February 5th-March 11th, 2024
Salem, OR

Oregon March for Life
Thursday, February 8, 2024 at 9:00 am
Oregon March for Life
Salem, OR

Portland International Auto Show
Thursday, February 22, 2024 at 10:00 am
Portland International Auto Show February 22nd-25th
Portland, OR

Oregon Festivals & Events Association Annual Conference
Thursday, February 29, 2024 at 10:00 am
Oregon Festivals & Events Association Annual Conference
February 29 - March 2, 2024
Seaside, OR

ORTL Together We Advocate Conference
Saturday, March 2, 2024 at 8:00 am
ORTL Together We Advocate Conference
Tualatin, OR

Last day for major party or nonpartisan candidate to file declaration of candidacy or nominating petition.
Tuesday, March 12, 2024 at 5:00 pm
Last day for major party or nonpartisan candidate to file declaration of candidacy or nominating petition

Dorchester Conference 2024
Friday, April 26, 2024 at 5:00 pm
Dorchester Conference 2024 April 26th-28th
Welches, Oregon

Memorial Day
Monday, May 27, 2024 at 11:00 am
Memorial Day
A federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the U.S. military personnel who died while serving.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at 12:00 am
Celebrated on the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when in the wake of the American Civil War, Major General Gordon Granger ordered the final enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas.

Independence Day
Thursday, July 4, 2024 at 11:59 pm
Independence Day

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Governor Kotek’s Budget Priorities for 2024 Session
Housing production takes the biggest chunk

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek laid out some of her budget priorities during a press conference looking forward to the February legislative short session. In a short 35-days, they are expected to take up legislation on housing, homelessness, addiction and public safety as top priorities.

Governor Kotek continues making affordable housing and homelessness the biggest spending program in known history. After Governors Brown and Kotek spent $1.3 billion since COVID on homeless programs, Oregon’s homeless increased 22% compare to a .3% national increase. In 2022 there were 17,959 homeless according to the 2023 US Department of Housing and Urban Development report. Oregon is now ranked fourth in the nation for homelessness, and recognized for free handouts and subsidies that draws the homeless from other states.

What started as $200 million this biennium has grown to over $450 million for the housing and homeless program. Now the Governor is requesting another $600 million tied to housing production. She set a goal of building 36,000 homes each year, nearly double the average number of homes built in Oregon in recent years. The state reports a need to build more than 550,000 homes in the next 20 years to make up for years of underbuilding and keep pace with population growth. However, Oregon’s population is shrinking at a rate of -0.38% growth rate due to outmigration of families and businesses, and deaths out rank births. That could have a dramatic effect on the economy.

The revenue forecast gave the Legislature $218 million more to spend, but according to the state economist, there is a short-term uncertain future of the nationwide economic expansion, which will derail expected tax collections in Oregon. But, never mind the details, Governor Kotek goes full steam ahead requesting legislation for more than $847.2 million that includes:



In addition, Governor Kotek issued new remission orders that remove existing fines for more than 10,000 additional Oregonians who were omitted from Governor Brown’s 2022 remission orders. According to DMV Public Information Officer, the 2022 remissions order totaled $6 million from circuit court cases in Oregon. The total amount of unpaid fines and fees that was remitted from cases in Oregon municipal and justice courts is unknown because neither DMV nor Oregon Judicial Department has access to this information. These Oregonians now have no consequences for their misbehavior and what about the responsible citizens that paid their fines? To cover costs, will fees and fines be raised for those that do pay? How many won't pay in the future waiting for another remission order?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-12-07 10:40:53Last Update: 2023-12-06 18:01:55

Oregon State Police Investigating Vehicle Shootings in Linn County
Seeking public assistance to locate shooter

There is nothing more alarming than a shooting spree that has no reason for the acts. Over the last month, that appears to be happening in Linn County. Could it be in protest against Judge Robert Raschio ruling declaring Measure 114 “facially unconstitutional by a finding of clear and convincing evidence…”

On Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, the Oregon State Police (OSP), Albany Area Command, received a report of a vehicle struck by a bullet. On Tues., Dec. 5, 2023, OSP (Albany) received a second report in a similar area to the Dec. 1 incident. OSP Major Crimes Section detectives immediately began investigating these as possibly connected incidents and now have enough information to believe these shooting incidents are likely connected.

The investigation revealed two other incidents reported to the Albany Police Department and the OSP Salem Area Command prior to Dec. 6. This morning, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office cross-reported another incident in the area of Highway 20 and Highway 226.

The Oregon State Police is actively investigating these random acts of shooting at moving vehicles. All of the victims were driving along highways at the time of the incidents and some reported hearing a “pop.” The dates, times, and locations of each incident are: At this time, no victims have been injured. However, investigators have confirmed the damage to vehicles was caused by a firearm.

The Oregon State Police is adding extra patrols in the area of these incidents to enhance public safety.



OSP is seeking public assistance in identifying potential suspects or suspect vehicles; including any unreported incidents. If you have any information related to these incidents, please contact the Oregon State Police immediately at 1-800-442-2068 or *OSP (*677) on a mobile device.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-12-06 10:53:41Last Update: 2023-12-06 16:38:37

Kotek Forgives Fines and Fees for Traffic Offenders
“Debt-based driver’s license suspensions disproportionately impact rural and low-income Oregonians”

Governor Tina Kotek has issued new remission orders forgiving unpaid traffic fines and fees to include individuals who were inadvertently omitted in the previous 2022 remissions orders.

Governor Kotek’s new remission orders remove existing fines for more than 10,000 additional Oregonians who should have been included in the 2022 remission orders. These Oregonians now have their fines and fees forgiven and have the opportunity to restore their licenses.

“Debt-based driver’s license suspensions disproportionately impact rural and low-income Oregonians,” Governor Kotek said. “For families who are already struggling to make ends meet, these orders seek to remove one more barrier to financial stability.”

Prior to the 2020 passage of HB 4210, driver’s licenses could be suspended if a person was unable to pay the fine they received because of a minor traffic violation. The new law prohibited most license suspensions for nonpayment of traffic fines going forward, but individuals with debt-based license suspensions already on their record could not reinstate their driver’s licenses.

In December 2022, former Governor Kate Brown remitted the fines and fees associated with years-old traffic violations imposed on Oregonians who were unable to pay their fines or did not appear in court to remedy their fines, thus causing the suspension of their driver’s licenses. The initial orders impacted approximately 7,000 people.

Over the last year, Oregon’s Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division (DMV) discovered that not all individuals who met the criteria in the original 2022 remission orders were included in the released lists.

Governor Kotek’s orders do not alter the original criteria from the 2022 remission orders. Her orders instead ensure that those who met the original criteria are identified. The remission orders forgive fines and fees related only to traffic violations. The orders do not forgive fines and fees related to traffic crimes, such as misdemeanors and felonies, or public safety-related sanctions, like other criminal convictions. Much of the debt forgiven by the Governor’s remission orders has remained unpaid for three or more years and, as a result, is considered uncollectible.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-12-05 14:56:58Last Update: 2023-12-05 16:07:02

BLM Asks for Help in Assessing Removal of Dead Douglas Firs
Treatment aimed at areas having the biggest impact on public and firefighter safety

The Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is preparing an Environmental Assessment of Strategic Operations for Safety – Salvage and Removal of Dead and Dying Conifers (SOS EA). BLM is soliciting input on the potential issues, impacts, and the alternatives they should address in their environmental assessment.

As part of a public scoping process, BLM wants input to assist in developing proposed actions and draw attention to issues or information that may indicate a potential for significant effects. People place a wide range of values on various resource uses of public lands they want to assess. The BLM is mandated by federal law to manage the lands it administers in the planning area according to the current Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the area and the O&C Act of 1937.

This environmental assessment will not amend or modify any current RMPs. Opinions agreeing or disagreeing with current laws, policies, or decisions already established in land use plans do not help in refining actions or analysis for this environmental assessment. In addition to the input requested, the BLM is interested in responses to the following questions: Depending on public response and interest, the BLM may hold public meetings, field trips, and/or provide additional public comment opportunities prior to releasing a decision on the proposed actions.



Kyle Sullivan, the BLM public affairs specialist, told Channel 12 Newswatch, “We want to make sure that we're doing treatments and locations where they're going to have the biggest impact on public and firefighter safety. So, we want to know what roads are you seeing a lot of dying trees on.”

For more information concerning the Strategic Operations for Safety – Salvage and Removal of Dead and Dying Conifers Project, you may contact personnel on their website, or submit written comments to email: BLM_OR_MD_Safety_EA @blm.gov. Input will be accepted through Sunday, January 7, 2024.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-12-05 09:39:15Last Update: 2023-12-05 01:55:02

Republicans Blast M110 Committee
“Drug addiction thrives in an environment with no obstacles”

House Republicans Rep. Kevin Mannix (R-Salem) Rep. Christine Goodwin (R-Canyonville) and Republican Leader Jeff Helfrich (R-Hood River) issued a statement critical of today’s meeting of the Joint Interim Committee on Addiction and Community Safety Response on Measure 110. Mannix and Goodwin serve on the committee.

“What has become abundantly clear is that Measure 110 needs dramatic revisions. On the one hand, people need to be held accountable for their abuse of street drugs, which leads so many of them to commit crimes to feed their addictions. On the other hand, we need to dramatically reform our drug rehabilitation delivery system so that those who are addicted can promptly receive comprehensive treatment which will put them on the road to recovery,” said Mannix.

“Drug addiction thrives in an environment with no obstacles. M110 has decriminalized all dangerous drugs and in so doing has exacerbated a growing drug addiction epidemic in our state. Too many dangerous drugs remain legal, cheap and plentiful on our streets. We need a fresh start to build back bridges to recovery,” said Goodwin. “We need to return the tools to law enforcement to support recovery and build out evidence-based treatment facilities. The state investments in treatment programs need to be accountable for success in ending the suffering of drug addiction. We have chaos in our communities and the public is fed up!”

"Today, we heard more of the same from radical special interests who benefit from the status quo. We also heard heartbreaking stories from people living with the consequences of Measure 110's failure, and they are begging for change. The majority party only wants to talk; Republicans want action. Our caucus has put forward ideas to get addiction, homelessness, and crime under control, and we urge the majority to work with us to implement these solutions in the next session,” said Helfrich.

House Republicans have offered solutions to the failures of Measure 110 that include repealing failed and ineffective aspects of the law and instituting actions widely supported by the people of Oregon, including banning the public use of hard drugs, instituting penalties for those who possess deadly drugs like fentanyl, making treatment mandatory for those arrested on drug-related crimes in order to avoid jail, and directing resources to the county level so local entities can better address areas of acute need.

Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) said, “There are two stories about Measure 110 on the ground. The one in our communities and filling up legislative inboxes is a demand for repealing and replacing this failed ballot measure. The version presented in committee today was primarily special interest activists defending the measure they funded with the goal of spreading this disaster to every state in the nation. At the end of the day, Oregon voters know that they were sold a bill of goods with Measure 110. They know that we need to start fresh, and we had better do it now.

“Senate Republicans have asked Democrats for a special session on Measure 110. We are disappointed in their slow response given the magnitude of the situation.

“In the upcoming session, we have got to recriminalize dealing, possessing, and publicly using deadly drugs, give law enforcement the tools they need to provide accountability that will require treatment for addiction, and allow counties to address needs at the local level. Anything short of that would be failure.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-12-04 14:24:15Last Update: 2023-12-04 16:31:35

OHA Proceed with Sustainable Health Care Cost Growth Target Program
Seeking committee members to develop administrative rules

The Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 889 (2019 Laws) and House Bill 2081 (2021 Laws) establishing the Sustainable Health Care Cost Growth Target Program within the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) that would apply to insurance companies, hospitals and health care providers, so that health care costs do not outpace wages or the state’s economy.

In 2022, Oregon voters were convinced to make healthcare a human right. The Ballot Measure 111 was and remains to be controversial over increasing payroll and personal income taxes to implement “socialized medicine.” Now the Oregon government website admits to what voters were warned about. “The cost of health care in Oregon has grown and is projected to grow faster than both the state economy and Oregonians’ wages.”

Under Oregon’s proposed plan, every person who lives in Oregon, as well as many of those who work in the state but live elsewhere, would be eligible for comprehensive healthcare coverage without having to make a contribution to the cost of care, at the time of treatment regardless of pre-existing conditions. Patients may also choose any state certified practitioner or specialist without going through a primary care provider.

At the time of voting, it was about providing healthcare for 423,000 Oregonians lacking health insurance of which 70,000 were children. This was after a survey in 2017 indicated many of the uninsured were eligible for the Oregon Health Plan (OHP). Twenty-one percent choose not to enroll over concerns about quality of care. Currently, about 243,000 remain uninsured. If 80 percent of those who lack health coverage made use of OHP or the subsidies available through the marketplace, the number of Oregonians who are uninsured would drop to 34,000. That would boost Oregon’s health coverage rate to 99 percent (excluding adults ineligible due to undocumented immigration status). “The survey reveals positive progress, but more work is needed to address issues like the number of people who are underinsured,” said Andrew Stolfi, insurance commissioner.

OHA continues to rely on data from the 2017 survey to determine gaps in coverage and impact on the Oregon’s health system reforms. If the state hasn’t progressed since 2017, was Measure 111 fairly presented as transparent information. If OHA has made an effort to reduce uninsured to one percent, what point is there for Oregonians to be swept into a universal socialized plan that appears to be unpopular.

OHA is to identify opportunities to reduce waste and inefficiency, resulting in better care at a lower cost. The health care cost growth target is a target for the annual per capita rate of growth of total health care spending in the state. Cost increases of health insurance companies and health care provider organizations will be compared to the growth target each year. The program evaluates and annually reports on cost increases and drivers of health care costs. In 2023, HB 2045 already started to break down what constitutes reasonable factors by specifying that a provider [organization] shall not be accountable for cost growth resulting from total compensation provided to frontline workers.



OHA adopted a statistical testing method used to assess health insurers and provider organizations against the health care cost growth target of 3.4 percent. How reasonable is the “reasonableness” process when conversations and data are selective and goals are not obtainable, which may be why the controversy continues over funding. On a per person per year basis, total health care expenditures increased 3.5% between 2020-2021. This points towards controlled utilization since cost growth for the commercial market was 12.1%, compared to 6.5% for Medicare and -2.1% for Medicaid. The plan is reported to increase premiums by $4,800 a year for a lower-middle class family. As reference, in 2021 total health care spending in Oregon totaled $31.07 billion dollars.

Timelines and Rulemaking have been rescheduled, and after consideration of macro-economic factors including inflation and labor market trends the Performance Improvement Plans (accountability) was delayed for one year.

OHA is taking applications for a Rules Advisory Committee (RAC) for the Sustainable Health Care Cost Growth Target Program starting in January 2024. They are extending an opportunity to be a RAC member to develop administrative rules that govern the program. A flyer outlines the time commitment and meeting goals. RAC Member Application Form can be downloaded and submit it to HealthCare.CostTarget@oha.oregon.gov by December 29, 2023.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-12-04 10:10:21Last Update: 2023-12-04 01:09:19

Auto Dealers Protest Electric Vehicle Mandate
Request time for demand to catch up with supply

Forty-eight Oregon auto dealers joined 3,882 dealerships across the United State call on the President to tap the brakes on the proposed Electric Vehicle Mandate. Despite all the tens of billions of dollars of bribes/enticements the government is dangling in front of car buyers, millions are saying “no thanks” to EVs.

A reason for consumer avoidance is reflected in the Consumer Reports’ newly released annual car reliability survey. The survey reveals that, on average, EVs from the past three model years had 79 percent more problems than conventional cars. Based on 330,000 vehicles, owners responding covers 20 potential problem areas, including engine, transmission, electric motors, leaks, and infotainment systems.

Now EVs are piling up on dealer lots and auto dealers around the country are revolting, urging the Biden administration to stop forcing EVs on them, which they can’t sell. The Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) claims their rules aren't a mandate even though it is in the title. They don't force anyone to sell or buy an EV, but the agency didn't specify what automakers and dealers need to do to satisfy the EPA. Under the regulations proposed, the majority of new vehicle purchases are to be electric within a decade.



Below is the letter and the list of dealerships that signed is available for download.

Dear Mr. President,

We are auto dealers from across the country who collectively sell every major brand in the U.S. We are small businesses employing thousands of Americans. We are deeply committed to the customers we serve and the communities where we operate, which is why we are asking you to slow down your proposed regulations mandating battery electric vehicle (BEV) production and distribution.

Your Administration has proposed regulations that would essentially mandate a dramatic shift to battery electric vehicles (BEVs), increasing year after year until 2032, when two out of every three vehicles sold in America would have to be battery electric.

Currently, there are many excellent battery electric vehicles available for consumers to purchase. These vehicles are ideal for many people, and we believe their appeal will grow over time. The reality, however, is that electric vehicle demand today is not keeping up with the large influx of BEVs arriving at our dealerships prompted by the current regulations. BEVs are stacking up on our lots.

Last year, there was a lot of hope and hype about EVs. Early adopters formed an initial line and were ready to buy these vehicles as soon as we had them to sell. But that enthusiasm has stalled. Today, the supply of unsold BEVs is surging, as they are not selling nearly as fast as they are arriving at our dealerships -- even with deep price cuts, manufacturer incentives, and generous government incentives.

While the goals of the regulations are admirable, they require consumer acceptance to become a reality. With each passing day, it becomes more apparent that this attempted electric vehicle mandate is unrealistic based on current and forecasted customer demand. Already, electric vehicles are stacking up on our lots which is our best indicator of customer demand in the marketplace.

Mr. President, no government agency, no think tank, and no polling firm knows more about the automobile customer than us. We talk to customers every day. As retail automotive dealerships, we are agnostic as to what we sell. Our business is to provide customers with vehicles that meet the needs of their budgets and lifestyles.

Some customers are in the market for electric vehicles, and we are thrilled to sell them. But the majority of customers are simply not ready to make the change. They are concerned about BEVs being unaffordable. Many do not have garages for home charging or easy access to public charging stations. Customers are also concerned about the loss of driving range in cold or hot weather. Some have long daily commutes and don’t have the extra time to charge the battery. Truck buyers are especially put off by the dramatic loss of range when towing. Today’s current technology is not adequate to support the needs of the majority of our consumers.

Many of these challenges can and will be addressed by our manufacturers, but many of these challenges are outside of their control. Reliable charging networks, electric grid stability, sourcing of materials, and many other issues need time to resolve. And finally, many people just want to make their own choice about what vehicle is right for them.

Mr. President, it is time to tap the brakes on the unrealistic government electric vehicle mandate. Allow time for the battery technology to advance. Allow time to make BEVs more affordable. Allow time to develop domestic sources for the minerals to make batteries. Allow time for the charging infrastructure to be built and prove reliable. And most of all, allow time for the American consumer to get comfortable with the technology and make the choice to buy an electric vehicle.

Sincerely, Supporting Dealerships

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-12-02 10:25:40Last Update: 2023-12-01 17:16:40

Oregon Statewide Report Card Released
Clearly the results show we have more work to do to set Oregon’s students up for success.

The 2022-23 edition of the Oregon Statewide Report Card is now available on the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) website. This annual look at Oregon’s kindergarten through grade 12 education system includes key data on students, teachers and schools.

“Academic excellence for students in Oregon remains the top priority for our agency. I took this role to make a difference, and we need to see what the data are telling us and be responsive to that,” Oregon Department of Education Director Dr. Charlene Williams said. “Clearly the results show we have more work to do to set Oregon’s students up for success. I care deeply about helping each and every scholar, and know that through centering their needs, aspirations and talents, we can prepare every student for their future.”

“Learning from this report helps us build a stronger education system that serves every student. Moving forward I’m focused on three areas that are central to student success: The Oregon Statewide Report Card includes new and returning data, most of which has already been released in the last year. Take aways from the report: Probably the most disturbing numbers are for high school. These students have less time to make up where Oregon has previously failed them, and they will soon be competing in the world market for higher education or employment.



Oregon has some of the most demanding graduation requirements in the country, as measured by course credit requirements. The subject-area credit requirements are listed on the Oregon Diploma webpage. The passage of Senate Bill 744 (2021) suspended the Assessment of Essential Skills policy through the 2023-24 school year. Oregon continues to administer statewide summative tests; however, these tests are not designed to determine if a student should graduate from high school.

ODE has not eliminated state tests of proficiency for Oregon students. Oregon’s state summative tests in language arts, mathematics, and science are required by both state and federal law. Students are expected to take Oregon’s state summative tests. The only change made thus far is to eliminate a duplicative testing requirement, which evidence has shown was not working. The Assessment of Essential Skills policy suspension was recently extended through the 2027-28 school year by the Oregon State Board of Education; however, the nine essential skills have not been eliminated. Students continue to receive instruction and are assessed on these essential skills in classrooms, including those who graduated in 2023.

The report clearly points towards the need for middle school reforms. ODE changes over the past few years have impacted middle schoolers the most, and perhaps the failure of those changes should be analyzed for a more successful high school experience.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-12-01 10:38:43Last Update: 2023-12-01 17:18:17

Trump Will Appear on Primary Ballot
The Secretary lacks the authority to disqualify a candidate

Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade has announced she will follow the usual procedure for Oregon presidential primaries and not remove Donald Trump from the ballot for the Oregon Republican Party primary. The former President’s qualification has been a major topic in national media, and the Secretary’s office has received significant voter contact on this issue.

In a letter from the Oregon Department of Justice, she was warned, "In recent months, scholars and advocates have argued that, as a result of his role in the January 6 insurrection, Donald Trump is barred from serving as President under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In light of this controversy, you ask whether you should omit him from the upcoming presidential primary ballot. We conclude that Oregon law does not charge the Secretary of State with determining whether a major party candidate in a residential primary election will be qualified to serve as President if ultimately elected."

“Oregon law does not give me the authority to determine the qualifications of candidates in a presidential primary,” said Secretary Griffin-Valade. “I will follow our usual process and expect to put Donald Trump on the primary ballot unless a court directs me otherwise.”

State law treats presidential primary elections differently than other elections where the Secretary has the authority to disqualify a candidate. In a presidential primary, voters are not deciding who will hold office or even who will go on the general election ballot. Instead, they are communicating their preference to party delegates who choose a nominee at the party’s nominating convention.



Legal advice from the Oregon Department of Justice concluded the Secretary lacks the authority to disqualify a candidate in a presidential primary election because there is no set of qualifications for who can be considered at a party nominating convention.

The Secretary’s decision applies only to the primary election, not the November general election.

“I understand that people want to skip to the end of this story. But right now, we don’t even know who the nominee will be,” said Secretary Griffin-Valade. “When the general election comes, we’ll follow the law and be completely transparent with our reasoning.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-11-30 17:36:41Last Update: 2023-11-30 17:45:38

Oregon Joint Committee Responds to the Drug Crisis
Hearing will give Oregonians an opportunity to comment

The Joint Interim Committee on Addiction and Community Safety Response announced the agenda for its third meeting scheduled for December 4th at 9:00 AM.

Since Governor Tina Kotek has indicated she rejects Oregonians desire to repeal M110, she is standing firm in her decision and ignoring reports that thousands of Oregonians are losing their lives to drug addiction every day. She openly admits that she doesn’t think that a full repeal is the answer and that she would rather continue exploring avenues that hasn't proven to help young lives at risk.

Lawmakers continue to hold hearings on effective ways to treat drug addiction and build on drug treatment programs inside and outside of jails. However, this does not address the availability of lethal drugs and how they are entering the state.

The committee's meeting December 4 will allow public comments on solutions to solve the drug crisis Oregonians want to see the state pursue in their communities. Legislators say they will carefully consider these ideas as they continue their work to build a response to the drug crisis attempting to save lives and keep our streets clean and communities safe.

You can register to give public comments scheduled for 11am to 1pm online or call 833-588-4500.



During the committee’s first two meetings in October and November, legislators dug into the current public health and public safety responses to the drug crisis, hearing from treatment providers, law enforcement experts, and more about programs that are working and problems that need to be solved.

The Joint Interim Committee on Addiction and Community Safety Response is co-chaired by Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber (D – Beaverton & SW Portland) and Representative Jason Kropf (D – Bend). The joint committee serves as the legislative hub for the coordination of an urgent public health and safety response to the drug crisis. Through the 2024 session and beyond, this bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators will provide oversight of state programs and funding, while seeking short and long-term solutions to the drug crisis.

Oregon Push Back has put forth the need to again fund the $21 million passed in 2021 in SB 893 that has closed down illegal pot farms, stopped illegal drugs and slave trafficking. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle called the proliferation of cannabis growing operations run by foreign cartels a humanitarian, environmental and public safety crisis. Without a repeal, this funding gets to the source of Measure 110.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-11-30 11:42:48Last Update: 2023-11-30 16:34:56

Governor Kotek Establishes Oregon State Government AI Advisory Council
The Council will develop a framework for use of AI

In response to the growing role that generative artificial intelligence is playing in society, Governor Tina Kotek issued Executive Order 23-26, which creates the Oregon State Government AI Advisory Council to develop recommendations for its utilization across state government.

“Artificial intelligence is an important new frontier, bringing the potential for substantial benefits to our society, as well as risks we must prepare for,” Governor Kotek said. “This rapidly developing technological landscape leads to questions that we must take head on, including concerns regarding ethics, privacy, equity, security, and social change. It has never been more essential to ensure the safe and beneficial use of artificial intelligence – and I look forward to seeing the work this council produces. We want to continue to foster an environment for innovation while also protecting individual and civil rights.”

The Council will provide a recommended action plan framework to the Governor’s Office no later than six months from the date of its first convening and a final recommended action plan no later than 12 months from its first convening.

The action plan will aim to maximize potential benefits of ethical and effective artificial intelligence implementation and adoption, along with thoughtful governance and standards to mitigate risk and address privacy, ethics, and equity. The goal will be to ensure Oregon has clear usage policies that outline the acceptable use of AI tools, providing transparency, uplifting diversity, equity, and inclusion, and protecting personally identifiable information and other sensitive information.

The Council will consist of no more than 15 members, all of whom must have a commitment to data ethics and data equity. Council structure seems to be aimed at promoting the majority party’s agenda with members from the Oregon State Chief Information Officer (who will chair the council), the Oregon State Chief Data Officer, a representative from the Governor’s Racial Justice Council, the Department of Administrative Services Cultural Change Officer, and an additional agency representative to be appointed by the Governor.

Governor Kotek will also appoint up to eight additional members, which may include community organizations with demonstrated expertise in data justice, artificial intelligence experts from Oregon universities, and representatives from local governments. Additionally, the President of the Senate shall appoint one member of the Oregon State Senate and the Speaker of the House shall appoint one member of the Oregon House of Representatives.



Last year, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy published the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights. The document is a non-binding ‘white paper’ intended to support the development of policies and practices that protect civil rights and promote democratic values in the building, deployment, and governance of automated systems. It lays out five principles centered on the need for ethical and equitable principles that should guide the design, use, and deployment of automated systems to protect the American public in the age of artificial intelligence.

While the Governor and the ‘white paper’ both lay out specific data privacy practices, it seems contrary to the Secretary of State’s pilot project gathering information and the plans to develop spying software.

Full membership and meeting times will be announced at a later date.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-11-30 10:19:31Last Update: 2023-11-30 00:37:41

Lathrop Files for Attorney General
Rosenblum will not seek re-election in 2024

Newberg human rights attorney, Will Lathrop (R-Newberg), has filed to become Oregon’s next Attorney General. Lathrop began campaigning on January 2nd of this year. Lathrop has raised $300,000, campaigned in 25 of Oregon’s 36 counties, and earned endorsements from over 70 elected leaders and law enforcement members from every corner of the state. The current Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D-Portland) has said that she will not seek re-election.

“I am running for attorney general because I have the vision and experience to lead our state towards a future with safe, healthy, and thriving communities,” said Lathrop. “It’s painful for me to watch the state that I love suffer. Oregon is a wounded beauty – a beautiful state marred by crime and addiction. I represent a dawn of new leadership that will bring lasting change and ensure a safer, healthier future for Oregonians.”

According to a statement from his campaign, Lathrop is a sixth generation Oregonian who has spent his career fighting for victims of crime and abuse, rebuilding criminal justice systems, and taking on corrupt politicians and governments. As a prosecutor in Yamhill County and child-abuse prosecutor in Marion County, Lathrop worked on protecting victims from violence. In Northern Uganda, Lathrop fought violent land grabbers and returned land to widows and orphans after a 21 year civil war in the region. In Ghana, Lathrop rescued victims of child trafficking and forced labor, and successfully prosecuted slave traders and masters in his project area.

“As Oregon’s next attorney general I’ll focus on reducing crime and restoring safety in our communities, limit harmful government overreach by ensuring state agencies follow the law, and restore trust in our government institutions by enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for public corruption,” added Lathrop.



Notable supporters include U.S. Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (OR-05) and 2022 Republican nominee for Governor, Christine Drazan.

“I’m proud to endorse Will Lathrop to be Oregon’s next attorney general, who I trust to combat drug trafficking, stand up for crime victims, and restore peace and safety in our communities. Will’s vast experience, from his work protecting victims at the county level in Oregon to the world stage as a human rights attorney, makes him uniquely qualified to serve Oregonians as our next attorney general,” said Rep. Chavez De Remer.

“Oregon needs new and inspiring public safety leadership that isn’t driven by political agendas and partisan politics. Salem politicians have failed to repeal Measure 110 and have sided with defund-the-police radicals over the men and women in law enforcement,” said Drazan. “Will Lathrop is an experienced public servant who Oregonians can trust to stand up for victims of crime, work with law enforcement to protect our neighborhoods, and hold agencies and public officials accountable to the law.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-11-29 10:53:18Last Update: 2023-11-29 11:14:18

Portland Teachers Speak for Oregon
Governor Kotek outlines next steps following PPS strike

All eyes have been on the teacher’s strike at Portland Public Schools and, at last, they have reached a tentative agreement. The minute Governor Tina Kotek involved herself in the strike, it indicated there would be statewide implications. Governor Kotek has now announced the next steps she will lead to address core issues that educators have raised to improve outcomes for students across Oregon.

“The strike was a reflection of larger challenges that districts across the state are facing,” Governor Kotek said. “From salaries not staying competitive with the market, to backlogs in facility maintenance, to classroom disruptions related to the behavioral health needs of students, we clearly have work to do.

“I commit to continuing the work. As your Governor and the Superintendent of Public Instruction, I commit to partnering with educators across the state to tackle the systemic issues that contributed to this strike. We all have an opportunity to do our part to ensure our schools are safe, successful places for students, teachers, and school employees.”

To address many of the underlying structural needs facing our schools, Governor Kotek will take the following steps:
  1. Develop a statewide action plan, with the help of a multidisciplinary group of leaders, to support the social-emotional health needs of students in school settings and strengthen resources and capacity of school staff to meet these needs.

  2. Partner with the legislature on their work to establish minimum teacher salaries and review funding for schools.

    Salary Schedules: The Governor will closely monitor and review the recommendations of the legislature’s Task Force on Statewide Educator Salaries. She wants to see a proposal for minimum teacher salary schedules that make Oregon competitive with our neighboring states, mitigate competition between neighboring districts, and reflect local cost of living. She also wants to see a plan to fund that proposal over the next several years.

    Funding: While the legislature ultimately adopts the budget, the Governor’s office must be a partner to ensure the methodology makes sense for today’s realities. The Governor will direct the Chief Financial Officer and the Oregon Department of Education to partner with the legislature and education stakeholders to review and revise the methodology for school funding.

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

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

  3. Create the Office of Transparency within the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to make budget information that the State already collects from districts more accessible and easier to understand. This is intended to ensure labor and district partners and the public have the same budget information that the State does and strengthen transparency and improve customer service to Oregonians. ODE will include data about future estimated revenues that districts may have, the share of district funding that comes from State sources compared to local sources, and the share of district expenditures spent on administration. This work will draw from the work of states such as Arizona, Illinois and Michigan, and from ODE’s ESSER dashboard.
A full document outlining Governor Kotek's commitments can be found on the government webpage.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-11-28 16:58:22Last Update: 2023-11-28 17:41:02

Letter Asks to Disqualify Trump From Oregon Ballot
Sets Oregon up for a lawsuit

Free Speech For People, a national nonpartisan legal advocacy group, has spearheaded the nationwide effort to “hold insurrectionists accountable for their role in the violent assault on American democracy” that took place on January 6th, 2021. Despite release of videos proving Trump supporters were not the instigators of January 6, FSFP along with Mi Familia Vota (TrumpIsDisqualified.org), are calling on Secretaries of States and top election officials across the country to apply Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment against Donald Trump, and all other elected officials who participated in what they call an insurrection, from running on any future ballot. They have sent letters to secretary of states and chief election officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits anyone who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” after taking an oath to support the Constitution from again holding public office.

The letter states, “Pursuant to ORS 183.410 and OAR 137-001-0080, we request that you issue a temporary rule (and subsequent declaratory ruling) that Mr. Trump is constitutionally ineligible to appear on any Oregon future ballot for nomination of election to federal office. Due to the urgency involved in this determination and the time required for probable judicial review before the printing of Oregon’s 2024 primary election ballots, we request a response to this request by December 1, 2023.”

After several pages trying to convict President Trump in their narrative, they suggest if he is innocent, he should still be denied to run even though the Senate failed to convict Mr. Trump in his impeachment trial. They claim it is irrelevant. After all, Mr. Trump still has due process of law.



This is an out-of-state organization attempting to put a bigger wedge of distrust between the Secretary of State and voters. They are suggesting Oregon taxpayers can foot the bill when Donald Trump takes on the state in a court challenge, which many observers predict that the state will lose according to recent video releases of January 6 events.

Many Oregonians think that Oregon’s Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade has already insulted voters with her intentions to spy on communications in search of what she classifies as misinformation. Restricting a key candidate on the Presidential Ballot will further insult voters intelligence and charge taxpayers.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-11-25 10:02:19Last Update: 2023-11-27 17:09:12

Hindman-Allen to Run for Clackamas County Commission
“Fresh perspective is needed in a long held incumbent seat”

Dana Hindman-Allen has filed to run for Clackamas County Commissioner for the seat currently held by Martha Schrader. She is a Realtor, business owner, and fifth generation Oregonian, who is currently serving on the Clackamas County Parks Advisory Board since 2021.

“I believe that we have to take meaningful action to protect quality of life, public safety and livability throughout Clackamas County, we don’t want failed Portland policies imported to our County.” Hindman-Allen said.

She added, “All over the metro area, residents have witnessed businesses suffering due to crime and cost of living spiraling out of control. As a Realtor for the last 11 years, I have worked with clients who expressed the resounding sentiment of wanting to relocate to neighboring Clackamas County because of the lower property taxes and fiscally conservative County operations.” “However, we cannot stay idle because our communities are fragile and need efficient, professional leadership to maintain and support thriving Communities. In Oregon we have seen how quickly bad decisions in Government have consequences on us all.” Furthermore, “Fresh perspective is needed in a long held incumbent seat, and I believe I have the foresight and business competency to improve efficiency and create dynamic successful relationships with community partners and elected officials to keep Clackamas County from being derailed. I will also welcome businesses seeking a new home and advocate for businesses that are overburdened by oppressive taxes, regulations that suppress innovation and make it hard to maintain a quality work force.”

Hindman-Allen was an Educational Assistant for the Oregon Trail School District for over 10 years, she even launched a volunteer-run theater program there where she produced and directed full-scale theatre productions for the Oregon Trail Academy. She also was a licensed residential Mortgage Broker and understands fiscal strategies and accountability. It is essential for public participation in your government. I will welcome all the community members.



Hindman-Allen said, “Everyone has been impacted by forest fires, we need to partner with our Forestry Management leadership and firefighters to work on sustainable Forest management practices, while making sure our Fire Fighters have enough resources to fight the fires swiftly and efficiently before they get out of hand. My main frustration is with politicians serving their political careers rather than their constituents, and lack of true collaboration with citizens is the driving force behind the desire to serve. When the citizens make it clear to the government that they are opposed to a particular policy and the government continues to steam roll the public, we have problems. One such example is the tolling proposal of Interstate 205, which I do not support. It is just another tax that residents don’t want, another short-sighted policy that will have lasting consequences for citizens who live, work, and travel throughout the area.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-11-24 18:29:40Last Update: 2023-11-25 09:57:05

Revenue Reminds Ag Employers to File for Overtime Tax Credit
Overtime tax credit shifts the burden to taxpayers

The Oregon Department of Revenue is reminding taxpayers who plan to apply for the new Agriculture Employer Overtime Tax Credit that they need to set up a Revenue Online account soon.

Taxpayers who want to apply for the tax credit need to have a Revenue Online account prior to filling out an application. Applications must be filed electronically and will be available by January 1, 2024. No paper applications will be accepted. The application window closes January 31, 2024.

The Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 4002 in 2022 along party lines. The measure requires agricultural employers to pay certain workers for overtime hours worked, and creates a refundable personal or corporate income tax credit for employers for a percentage of wages paid as overtime pay, starting with the 2023 tax year.

The bill was passed despite a year-long workgroup saying they could not find a viable compromise that didn’t harm agriculture. Representative Anna Scharf (R-Polk) said, “this bill will only harm the workers that the supporters of the bill said it was designed to help. Farms cannot afford the overtime costs associated with this bill and will cut workers hours, cut positions, and automate additional processes eliminating jobs permanently. Tax credits take years to get, if they are received at all.”



This tax credit shifts the burden onto taxpayers for up to $55 million when Oregon is already one of the highest taxed states. The tax credit table is designed to hit employers that employ over 25 the hardest. The bill also specifies the hour threshold at which overtime is paid for different years, industries, and number of employees. Dairies that employ not more than 25 can apply for 100% overtime over 55 hours, while nondairy can claim 90% for 2023 then 80% for two years reducing to 60%. Employers over 50 are eligible for somewhat less graduating down to a 40-hour threshold and a 15% credit.

The department provides a video about how to set up and log in to a Revenue Online account.

If Ballot Initiative 3 is successful, which criminalizes breeding practices, labor cost will be the least of Oregonian’s worries.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-11-22 10:22:14Last Update: 2023-11-22 15:50:41

Kotek Announces Tribal Affairs Director
Radford served as advisor to Senator Ron Wyden

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has announced that Shana McConville Radford has joined the administration as her Tribal Affairs Director. Radford has recently served as the deputy executive director of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

“Communication and transparency are cornerstone to the state’s relationship with Oregon’s nine sovereign Tribes,” Governor Kotek said. “Shana McConville Radford has extensive experience in Tribal matters, policies, and government-to-government relations through a career of promoting Tribal sovereignty, fostering positive relationships, and advancing the interests of Oregon's Tribal nations.”

Shana McConville Radford brings over 15 years of Tribal relations, policy, Tribal facilitation, negotiation, and intergovernmental relations experience to the role. Outside of her role with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Radford previously served as the Superintendent of the Flathead Agency in Montana for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, has also worked with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and served as a Tribal consultant on energy, education, and health. During the 2020 Decennial Census, Radford played an instrumental role with the U.S. Census Bureau as the Tribal and Congressional lead in ensuring that Oregon and Idaho’s historically undercounted Tribal nations were meaningfully and accurately counted.



Radford is a former American Australian Association Education Fellow and holds a postgraduate degree in international law and international relations from the University of New South Wales. Radford is also a former Mark O. Hatfield Congressional Fellow, where she served as a Tribal legislative liaison and advisor to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden.

“It is with great honor and humility that I step into public service as Tribal Affairs Director for Governor Tina Kotek’s Office on behalf of Oregon’s Tribal nations and the state of Oregon to foster collaboration and cooperation that is respectful of the unique Tribal cultural and historical perspectives, values, sovereignty, and self-governance," Radford said. "I will promote and practice transparent and integrous policy design and implementation by centering true collaboration through curiosity, empathy, candor, and reciprocity. As a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and an Oregonian, I bring with me a deep sense of pride and commitment to our shared values of connection, history, collaboration, and gratitude for the community that raised me.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-11-22 10:07:04Last Update: 2023-11-22 15:51:39

Air Force Colonel to Run for 4th Congressional District
“Economic uncertainty, community safety concerns, our education system are pressing”

Retired Air Force Colonel Monique DeSpain has announced her candidacy for the 4th Congressional District in Oregon. Oregon's 4th Congressional District is the Southwest part of Oregon, going as far north as Eugene. The seat is currently held by Val Hoyle (D-Eugene).

"As a mother, I understand the hopes and dreams we hold for our children," Said DeSpain. "As a retired Air Force Colonel, I've seen the impact that strong leadership and a commitment to service can have on a community. And as an advocate for transparency and accountability, I firmly believe that our government should work for us, the people."

DeSpain served our nation for 30 years in the United States Air Force, the Air Force Reserve, and the Oregon Air National Guard, retiring with the rank of Colonel. For 20 of those years, she served as a lawyer with the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in various locations and deployments, including Singapore, Bosnia, Kosovo, Cypress, Italy, the Pentagon, and Oregon, developing policy, handling investigations, managing litigation, and advising senior commanders on military justice and ethics. Concurrent with her military service, DeSpain worked as a legal consultant for a full spectrum of business and family matters including policy development, Veterans' affairs, litigation, and alternative dispute resolution. She volunteered for ten years as a Board Member, President, and Mediator with the Center for Dialogue & Resolution in Eugene, Oregon.

DeSpain was clear on her focus. "Our current challenges -- economic uncertainty, community safety concerns, and the state of our education system -- are pressing. Our children deserve an environment that nurtures their potential and prepares them for the future. I am determined to make this a reality."



"Together, we can tackle issues such as the lack of transparency and accountability in government, ensuring that our elected officials prioritize the needs of their constituents over special interests," DeSpain continued. "It's time for a representative who is ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work."

Following her retirement from the military in 2019, DeSpain joined the Kevin Mannix Law Firm and pursued legal causes fighting for the rights of crime victims, business owners, and other Oregonians. Kevin Mannix (R-Salem) currently serves in the Oregon Legislature. In 2022, she joined the non-profit Common Sense for Oregon, where she worked to formulate policies that would better serve Oregonians and improve public policies to address rampant homelessness, addiction, and crime in Oregon communities.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-11-16 15:24:50Last Update: 2023-11-17 21:05:17

Southern Oregon Joint Operation Disrupts Drug Trafficking Organization
Investigation spotlights what can be done with the means

The Oregon State Police, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Grants Pass Police Department, and multiple local interagency drug teams concluded an 18-month investigation November 14 when nine search warrants were served in southern Oregon resulting in 23 arrests.

They were able to seizure 37 firearms and 33,000 dollars in cash as the culmination of a local drug trafficking organization. Additionally, the search warrants resulted in 2,000 grams of methamphetamine, 636g of fentanyl pills, 52g of fentanyl powder, 58g of cocaine, 250 pounds of marijuana, and ¾ of a pound of illegal mushrooms. The investigation had already yielded 40 pounds of methamphetamine, 9.25 pounds of fentanyl, 3 pounds of cocaine, and ½ a pound of heroin over the course of 18 months. These quantities are significant and their removal from the distribution chain is a significant outcome.

Nine years after Oregon voters passed a ballot measure legalizing the recreational use of marijuana and its regulated cultivation and sale, the state is grappling with an explosion of illegal marijuana farms that have brazenly cropped up, primarily in Southern Oregon. There are four countries reporting cartels with slave camps in Oregon as a result of legalizing drugs and defunding police. The public is still mostly unaware that Oregon is a target for slave camps.

In the Second Special Session in 2021, SB 893 was passed dedicating $21 million to help police, sheriff's offices and community organizations in 14 counties paying for costs of cracking down on the thousands of industrial-scale, illegal pot farms, and trafficking of illegal drugs and slaves. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle called the proliferation of cannabis growing operations run by foreign cartels a humanitarian, environmental and public safety crisis.



This investigation has put a spotlight on what enforcement can do with funding. As legislators talk of a special session to repeal Measure 110, legislation to extend funding investigations is also of importance. Apprehending cartel doesn’t just cut off the supply chain for illegal drugs, but it curtails trafficking of slaves. Reports include abuse, rape, and two girls were recently shot by cartels. These victims won’t talk to police because they’ve been told they will be deported.

Captain Kyle Kennedy told local communities; “we need your help. You are the eyes and ears of everything that happens in your neighborhoods. We ask you to report any suspected criminal activity to local law enforcement. We can work together in the disruption of these drug trafficking organizations.”

The Oregon State Police continues to work in collaboration with local interagency drug teams around the state in order to deter and disrupt the flow of illegal drugs into Oregon communities.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-11-16 11:56:19Last Update: 2023-11-16 00:02:10

Representatives to Pursue Legislation Limiting Teacher Union Walkouts
Prevent using students as a bargaining chip

Oregon Representatives Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville), Jami Cate (R-Lebanon), and Christine Goodwin (R-Canyonville) announced they will pursue legislation in 2024 session to limit teacher union members from walking off the job on school days.

“Oregon students are all too familiar with school closures and learning losses. In Portland, union bosses are using nearly 44,000 students as bargaining chips in their negotiations, causing irreparable harm to Portland families,” said Representative Vikki Breese-Iverson. “Portland Public Schools are the gold standard for how not to run a school district despite record investments from the state. It is time that they be held accountable.”

Thirty-seven states including Washington and Idaho have laws prohibiting teachers from striking. California and Oregon currently have no such law.

“I am saddened for the students whose school districts are run by far-left activists repeatedly putting politics first and students last. Teacher unions hold tremendous power, but instead of using it to prioritize the needs of students, they are making themselves part of the problem rather than the solution,” Representative Jami Cate added.

Portland Public Schools has seen dramatic enrollment declines while having some of the highest salaries in the state, averaging in the mid-$80,000s.



“Working parents and students are hurting right now. The teacher union and PPS had all summer to negotiate before school was in session. Instead, parents have had to find ways to support their children during the eight hours per day they should be in school for nearly two weeks,” said Representative Christine Goodwin.

The representatives are exploring ways they can compel the teachers back into the classroom with minimal harm on students while allowing the two sides to negotiate. Using students as a bargaining chip is nothing less than child abuse. What students suffer have life-time consequences for struggling students, which according to school reports, it is the majority.

“Teacher unions must stop using vulnerable students as pawns in a political game,” Goodwin concluded.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-11-15 18:53:53Last Update: 2023-11-15 19:11:22

Former State Rep. to Join Law Practice
She will focus on health law, government accountability, and civil rights

The law firm of Kell, Alterman, and Runstein, L.L.P., announced that the firm has hired former state representative Julie Parrish as an associate attorney to help expand the firm’s practice expertise in the areas of Health, Government, Elections, Civil Rights, and Constitutional law, as well as business litigation and transactions.

Parrish, a former four-term Oregon lawmaker, recently graduated from Willamette University College of Law and was admitted to the Oregon Bar on October 5th, 2023. In addition to her Juris Doctorate degree, Parrish earned area of legal concentration certificates in Health Law and Government Law, and was awarded the Roy Lockenour Award for Professional Responsibility. The American Bar Association also peer-reviewed and published three articles Parrish wrote dealing with the intersection of government and health policy. She also has an MBA from Marylhurst University, and a Communications Bachelor’s degree from Southern Oregon University, with a minor concentration in hospitality management.

“We are excited to welcome Julie into the firm,” stated Tom Rask, the firm’s managing partner. “For nearly 100 years, Kell, Alterman and Runstein has retained some of the brightest minds in the legal profession to serve the legal needs of our clients. We’ve been able to serve people across areas like business and corporate law, commercial and personal litigation, family law, and tax and estate planning. Bringing in Julie’s passion for government accountability, fixing our health care system, and fair elections will allow us to expand the firm’s ability to help people when they come to us with problems and concerns.”

Rask further explained that Parrish’s deep understanding of the legislative process, her ability to get legislation passed, and her knowledge of how state agencies work bring a unique skill set to help clients when their legal needs are rooted in statutory or regulatory matters.



Though Parrish had always wanted to go to law school, it wasn’t until after serving in the legislature and after the passing of one of her mentors, the late Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, a trial attorney, that she found the right time to pursue a lifelong goal.

“When Dennis Richardson died, I realized we’d lost a really great legal mind who believed that the law was a social equalizer, someone who understood the law should work fairly for everyone,” Parrish said. “I recognized that though I had passed really important legislation during my time in Salem, some of the biggest challenges I couldn’t get resolved in the legislature – like improving our public education system – could be accomplished in a court room. And after writing laws for eight years, it made sense to go practice law.”

As Parrish works to build legal practice areas with Kell, Alterman, and Runstein, she will continue to provide policy support to Senator Cedric Hayden (R-Fall Creek) and be involved in ballot measure work and political consulting, including working for measures to let voters vote on freeway tolls (Initiative Petition 4) and helping bring down the high cost of property taxes for seniors.

“As this new opportunity unfolds, I’m grateful that I can still keep a foot in both the legislative and political arenas to support good candidates and ideas to help make Oregon a better place while working to build a law practice that extends those efforts into a courtroom,” said Parrish. “The ability to practice law is a new tool in the toolbox, and I’m excited to get started using it to make a difference in my community.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-11-15 15:07:52Last Update: 2023-11-15 15:19:55

FBI Encourages Reporting Federal Hate Crimes
Most hate crimes take place in homes

The Portland Division of the FBI is joining the FBI’s nationwide efforts to increase awareness about hate crimes and have instigated an advertising campaign across Oregon to encourage reporting hate incidents. The campaign, which began on November 6, includes billboards in Medford, Eugene, Corvallis, as well as static and digital displays at Portland International Airport.

Hate crimes are the highest priority of the FBI’s civil rights program because of the devastating impact they have on families and communities. The FBI defines a hate crime as a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.

The FBI is the lead investigative agency for criminal violations of federal civil rights statutes and works closely with local, state, tribal, and other law enforcement partners in many of these cases, even when federal charges are not pursued. This Oregon effort ties with a national FBI awareness campaign that hopes to drive education efforts and increase reporting: “Protecting Our Communities Together: Report Hate Crimes”.

There are a number of federal laws that give the FBI the ability to investigate hate crimes. Those laws generally require some kind of criminal act and a finding that the person committing the act did so because he/she was motivated by bias. The criminal act can include offenses such as murder, assault, arson, and it generally requires the use or threat of force or violence. For an incident to qualify as a federal hate crime, the subject(s) must have acted wholly or in part based on the victim’s actual or perceived status. This is generally consistent with state law.

“Violent acts motivated by hate are unacceptable in our communities. Sadly though, the amount of hate crimes reported here in Oregon has doubled from what it was just five years ago. Even still, the vast majority of these crimes are going underreported and that needs to change. That’s why we are spreading the word with this campaign,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Portland Field Office. “The FBI serves to safeguard against hate and violence, but we can only do so if we know about any such threats or violent actions. Every person has the right to live without fear of violence or intimidation. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to hold those accountable whose hate-filled aggression violates the civil rights of others.”

The FBI recently released the 2022 Hate Crime Report as part of its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. In Oregon, 212 of 236 agencies voluntarily submitted data for this current 2022 report. The UCR program specifically defines a hate crime as a criminal offense motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias or biases against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.

In Oregon, there were 290 single bias incidents reported, and 428 reported victims in 2022. (Note: These victim numbers include both single bias and multiple bias incidents.) Nationally, there were over 11,000 single-bias hate crime incidents involving 13,278 victims and 346 multiple-bias hate crime incidents that involved 433 victims. In 2022, the top three bias categories in single-bias incidents were race/ethnicity/ancestry, religion, and sexual-orientation. The top bias types within those bias categories by volume of reported hate crime incidents is Anti-Black or African American for race/ethnicity/ancestry bias, Anti-Jewish for religious bias, and Anti-Gay (male) for sexual-orientation bias.



The bias motivator in about 60% of Oregon incidents were race/ethnicity/ancestry. Victims perceived as Black were the racial group targeted most frequently. Religion was the motivator in about 10% of cases. Victims perceived as Jewish were the religious group targeted most frequently. Sexual orientation was the motivator in about 18% of reported Oregon incidents. Raw UCR reporting is available on FBI.gov and through the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer.

Portland has pictured Oregon as violence in the streets, but highway/alley/street/sidewalks is where 18 percent of hate crimes took place. Most hate crimes in Oregon, 25 percent, took place in homes. Parks and playgrounds saw 7 percent as did parking lots and garages.

Anyone who has information about or believes they are a victim of a federal hate crime should contact the FBI by phone at 1-800-CALL-FBI or report online.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-11-14 20:17:01Last Update: 2023-11-14 20:50:03

House GOP Proposes Addiction Solutions
“Oregon is in crisis because Measure 110 has failed”

Oregon House Republicans have sent a letter to Governor Tina Kotek, Senate President Rob Wagner, and Speaker Dan Rayfield with proposals for policy needed to end the addiction, crime, and homeless epidemics that they say have been exacerbated by the failure of Measure 110.

“Oregon is in crisis because Measure 110 has failed. House Republicans have diligently assembled proposals for legislation needed to effect meaningful change to end the addiction, crime, and homelessness that plague our state,” said House Republican Leader Jeff Helfrich. “It is time for the majority party to put partisanship and special interests aside and work with Republicans to implement these desperately needed solutions so that our state can begin to heal.”

House Republican proposals include:



House Republicans believe the following actions must be taken to alleviate the suffering caused by Measure 110 so Oregon can begin to heal:

1. Rehabilitate those struggling with addiction. Measure 110 promised treatment but it instead has enabled addiction. The House Republican plan will not leave people without the support they need to recover. Treatment should be a requirement, not a suggestion, for those who commit crimes to fuel their habits. We can achieve this by mandating treatment, instituting welfare holds for intoxicated individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others, and creating conditional discharge diversion procedures for those charged with drug possession. We support expunging drug possession criminal records for those who successfully undergo treatment.

2. Restore criminal justice accountability by reinstituting penalties for possession of deadly fentanyl, meth, and heroin. Additionally, the public use of drugs should be prohibited consistent with the laws regulating alcohol and marijuana use.

3. Reinvest funding to address acute needs. Fund county probation departments to supervise misdemeanor theft and property crime cases where defendants are dealing with addiction, and prioritize adequate and stable funding for Oregon’s Specialty Courts. Create adequate stabilization, detoxification and treatment capacity in jurisdictions throughout Oregon by making sustainable investments in sobering center/stabilization and treatment bed capacity for adults and youth. The state should use bonds to make capital investments for treatment and recovery infrastructure.



4. Repeal other failed aspects of Measure 110 to improve efficiency at delivering life-saving resources. This includes abolishing the ineffective, activist-led Oversight and Accountability Council. Ensure that counties actually get the funding needed to implement prevention, treatment, recovery support, community harm reduction, and enforcement services. Direct the Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission to conduct a gaps analysis and advise counties and the legislature on budgeting and best practices for addressing substance use.

The letter goes on to say:

Each day that this horrendous policy remains in place creates more opportunity for drug dealers to take advantage of vulnerable Oregonians. It’s another day that struggling addicts are unable to receive the treatment promised to them when the policy was enacted. It’s another day that Oregonians live in fear of falling victim to crime as desperate people look for ways to feed their habits. It’s another day that the homeless crisis worsens.

Failure to act is to embrace the status quo of death, overdoses, crime, and suffering. Enough is enough. House Republicans are willing to work with you on tangible solutions to solve these crises. Stand with us and let’s get this done for the people that we serve.

Many Democrats supported the passage of Measure 110. Governor Kotek has not taken a clear stand on the repeal of Measure 110.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-11-14 15:12:34Last Update: 2023-11-14 15:38:47

Changes in Oregon State Treasury Department
Jaime Alvarez named as the new Director of Debt Management

The Oregon State Treasury has announced that Jaime Alvarez is the new Director of Debt Management in Oregon. In his new role, Jaime will oversee the statewide program responsible for issuing all State of Oregon bonds and managing the state’s outstanding debt.

Jaime was promoted to the Director position after serving as the Deputy Director and Senior Debt Program Manager of Treasury’s Debt Management Division since 2021.

“Jaime has been a valuable member of our bonding program since joining Treasury and I am excited to announce his appointment as the new Director of the Debt Management Division,” said Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read. “I have confidence in Jaime’s ability to lead and advance the program’s efforts to build a better Oregon through bonds and careful management of our state’s debt.”



In his new role, Jaime leads a team that works closely with partners from across state government, regional and local governments, nonprofits, and the financial industry to provide financing assistance. Put another way: when governing bodies across Oregon need to finance capital projects like affordable housing or retrofit a school facility with seismic upgrades, Jaime and his team make it happen.

He will also serve as Treasurer Read’s designee on the Oregon Private Activity Bond Committee and the Oregon Municipal Debt Advisory Committee.

Prior to joining Treasury, Jaime worked for the City of Houston, Texas, as the Division Manager of the Capital Management and Debt Management Division of the Finance Department. In his capacity as Division Manager for the City of Houston, Jaime worked on bond issuances for General Obligation, Combined Utility System, Airport and Convention and Entertainment credits. Jaime’s prior experience also includes financial positions at The Bank of New York and JP Morgan Chase Bank.

Jaime holds an M.B.A. in Energy Finance from Texas Southern University and a B.B.A. in Finance from the University of Houston.

Appointed in mid-October, Jaime succeeds Jacqueline Knights, who accepted a senior position with the United States Department of Treasury.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-11-13 17:39:19Last Update: 2023-11-13 20:17:33

Representative Morgan to Resign in December
“I will truly miss being an advocate for my community”

One of Oregon's Republican state legislators, Representative Lily Morgan has now announced her resignation from her position as Representative for the people of House District 3. She has released the following statement:

"It is with mixed emotions that I am announcing that I am stepping down from my role as Representative for Oregon House District 3. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the community that I grew up in. I have thanked God every day for being blessed with this opportunity.

"I have truly loved being your voice in Salem and have appreciated getting to know the ins and outs of the issues we face as Oregonians from a broader perspective. The issues we face here at home when it comes to opioid addiction and homelessness are problems we are seeing across the whole state, and getting to work with my colleagues to try and find sound solutions to these problems over the last few years has been a pleasure."

"I have been given the opportunity to continue to serve Southern Oregon a little closer to home. This opportunity would allow me to spend more time with my family, and to continue that mission of service. I will truly miss being an advocate for my community and our values in Salem, but ultimately, I must do what is best for myself and my family."

"I thank the voters who elevated me to this position. I trust the Commissioners will appoint a replacement that exemplifies what the people voted for in November of 2022. I have had a long road in public services, and while it is taking me away from the Legislature for now, I would be remiss if I did not admit that I hope it one day will bring me back to Salem as your advocate."



Representative Morgan steps away from the legislature having championed pressing issues in Southern Oregon, including cannabis, illicit drugs, addressing human trafficking and foster care.

She was a leading voice on the passage of HB 3000 (2021), which passed with broad bipartisan support and overhauled cannabis regulations in Oregon. More recently, she passed HB 2645 (2023), which gave law enforcement more tools to crack down on fentanyl use. HB 4074 and SB 1052 both addressed the human trafficking issues to create mandatory reporting on cannabis farms and increase penalties for trafficking across Oregon. In her three years in the State House, Representative Morgan was chief sponsor of 23 bills that passed into law.

Representative Morgan has taken a position with the City of Gold Hill as the city manager. Her resignation will be effective on December 3rd at 11:59pm.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-11-11 17:54:34Last Update: 2023-11-11 18:09:17

Oregon U.S. Senators Announce $5.1 Million to Improve Air Quality in Oregon
Electrify is Federal answer to air quality

Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced that Klamath County Public Health and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation have secured a combined $5.1 million in federal funds for air quality. This follows a $1 million grant received in August 2022 to Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls to monitor air quality and improve health outcomes in wildfire-prone Southern Oregon. Now the move is to align with the Green New Deal and electrify homes that are heating with free wood.

The $4.67 million from the Environmental Protection Agency will go to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to partner with Klamath County Public Health, allowing the two agencies to change out around 300 woodstoves and weatherize 100 houses in Klamath County, with a focus on improving services to underserved populations who rely on wood for heat. As part of the $4.67 million, $323,630 in utility assistance will be granted to low-income applicants who change out their woodstoves through the program.

An additional $451,250 in EPA funding will go to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation for air quality monitoring.

“This federal investment packs a one-two punch because it improves overall air quality and helps Oregonians get efficient heat sources to replace their wood-burning units,” Wyden said. “That adds up to a huge win for quality of life in Klamath County as well as for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.”

“These critical investments will be used to help ensure folks in Klamath County and on the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation have the support and innovation to better monitor and improve air quality,” said Senator Merkley. “Air pollution often goes unnoticed, but can contribute greatly to chronic health conditions. This funding will help improve health outcomes and quality of life for thousands of Oregonians."



“Air quality is an area of public health that requires our constant attention and intention,” said Jennifer Little, director of Klamath County Public Health. “We’ve had two diligent partners in working toward better air for everyone in the DEQ and South Central Oregon Economic Development District. This grant also includes a new element with Klamath Lake Community Action Services, which is an exciting addition to the ongoing work. Our community is better for the work of each and our continued partnership.”

Removing woodburning stoves may contribute to air quality in the winter, but the greatest impact is summer wildfires and federal prescribed burns in the heat.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-11-08 23:41:11Last Update: 2023-11-08 23:54:13

Republicans Blast Oregon SOS for Surveilling Citizens
“We urge the Secretary of State’s Office to halt implementation now!”

Several Republican legislators in Oregon are now blasting Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade for steps taken by the agency recently that enables to state of Oregon to constantly surveil, track, and attempt to suppress or manipulate the free speech of Oregon’s citizens. They have bicamerally penned a letter, it reads as follows:

We call on you and your office to immediately halt implementation of the "Misinformation, Disinformation, and Mal-information (MDM) Analysis Platform Services" Contract (IT Services Contract per Bid Solicitation S-16500-00007470). We have learned that the purpose of this system is to continually monitor and actively manipulate the free speech of Oregonians. We believe that this system as described in the Request for Proposal (RFP) violates Oregonians' First Amendment rights.

Logically (logically.ai), a UK-based company, was awarded the MDM contract last month. As detailed in the RFP (link here), the system will "…identify and mitigate harmful information online as it relates to elections (mis-, dis-, and mal- information, or “MDM”).” The Logically system will monitor Oregonians’ social media posts for MDM on a nonstop basis and use artificial intelligence to “identify perceived threats” and “recommend countermeasures”, including promoting an AI-generated counter-narrative to Oregonians’ speech. The system will also report anything it determines is a possible threat or constitutes speech that “violates community guidelines and/or policies” of different sites to those social media platforms. It will report "urgent information" to the FBI and State Police.

The problem is that the state will determine which content is labeled MDM. Also concerning is how such determinations will be made and by whom. These terms and processes are not defined either in the contract or in any Oregon statute. Instead of focusing on the primary role of ensuring confidence and transparency in Oregon’s elections, the Secretary of State’s Office has chosen to monitor and encourage the censoring of citizens who voice legitimate concerns, some of which may question government practices or policies, on public platforms such as social media.

We reject the idea that any elected official or agency has the authority to constantly surveil, track, and attempt to suppress or manipulate the free speech of Oregon’s citizens. We urge the Secretary of State’s Office to halt implementation now and we call on the Legislature to address this pressing Constitutional issue during the 2024 session. Oregonians deserve a transparent government that prioritizes service to its people. Our government should never use secretive processes and AI programs to tip the scales by suppressing some citizens and augmenting only those who voice consensus with the state. Using artificial intelligence in this manner does nothing to improve confidence or security in our elections; instead, it will deepen the ongoing divide we are all working to heal.

We look forward to your reply.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-11-08 16:20:46Last Update: 2023-11-08 18:10:37

ORP Releases Platform, Looks to Incentivize Volunteers
“We’re thrilled to roll out the new PCP Initiative”

The Oregon Republican Party has now released it's official platform, numerating the issue positions agreed upon within the party. You can read the ORP Platform , and find out how to get involved in the party on the ORP website.

The Preamble of the 2023 Platform reads as follows:

We, the Republican Party of Oregon, stand for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We seek to ensure justice, order, and domestic tranquility, as one nation under God, our Creator. Without restrictive government, as free people, all Oregonians have the opportunity, through hard work and perseverance, to build a more prosperous future for themselves, their families, and their communities. We believe each generation should teach, proclaim, promote, and defend the essential civic Virtues of our founding. We encourage all citizens to work with us to elect ethical and accountable candidates who align with our ideals. This platform outlines our guiding principles, and our vision of the role and scope of our Constitutional Republic, the protection of individual rights, and the responsibilities we have to ourselves, each other, and our Country. We are committed to securing these ideals for future generations.

The ORP is also announcing an incentive program designed to engage and challenge PCPs (Precinct-Committee-Persons) to help with canvassing, door knocking, phone banking, letter writing, voter registration drives and community engagement events.

Precinct Committee Persons (or PCPs) are the entry-level officials of the Oregon Republican Party (ORP.) They represent the people that live within their precinct to their county Republican Party. Each PCP is a voting member of the Central Committee in their county party. You can find out how to become a PCP on the Oregon Republican Party website.

The ORP says PCPs with the greatest number of verified volunteer hours win prizes. Hours will be sent to the ORP PCP chair at the end of each quarter by the designated county verifier.

Rewards may change from time to time. First quarter prizes are: The ORP says that the PCP who banks the most hours will select between the first two prizes. The PCP who banks the second most hours will receive the prize not selected by the winner. All other PCPs who have banked at least 5 verified hours will be eligible to enter a drawing for a $25 gift card.

"We’re thrilled to roll out the new PCP Initiative to help PCP’s engage in GOTV activities in their county and our state party", said PCP Organization Chair Jessica Davidson. "We have some wonderful prizes in store and hope you’re all excited to get to work helping get Republicans elected at every level."



The ORP says eligible activities include: voter registration drives, ballot collection activities, canvassing, phone banking, volunteering in a county or ORP office, volunteering at a fair or community event that includes voter registration, writing pro-Republican letters to the editor (approved by the county chair/county PCP chair).

Activities that are NOT eligible for this initiative include: attending or volunteering at rallies or conferences, attending or volunteering at Central Committee meetings or other regular county or Republican events or meetings, signature gathering for petitions (unless the event also focuses on voter registration).

In May 1856, the first Republican meeting in Oregon was held in Jackson County to nominate county officers and adopt a strong platform declaring freedom throughout the United States, and the Oregon Republican Party was officially organized in Albany just three months later.

By December of that same year, the Oregonian newspaper stated that almost every county had held a Republican convention and adopted a ‘free state platform’, in favor of the admission of Oregon to the Union as a free state.

The first nominating convention of the Oregon Republican Party was held in Salem on April 21, 1859. Delegates supported William Seward, who was in favor of Oregon’s statehood, and was noted for his strong position against slavery.

The current Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party is businessman, Justin Hwang.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-11-07 15:19:41Last Update: 2023-11-07 19:46:24

Legislators in Oregon and Washington Propose Year-Round Standard Time
Congress has authorized states selecting permanent standard time

As people across America adjust to this past weekend’s switch from daylight saving time to standard time, Oregon Senator Kim Thatcher and Washington Senator Mike Padden are planning to introduce bills early next year to put their states on standard time year-round. This isn't the first time lawmakers have sought to end the switch.

"I introduced Senate Bill 320 in 2019 that would change Oregon to permanent daylight saving time,” said Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, who serves Oregon's District 11. “Even though the bill passed it was contingent on Washington and California passing a similar bill and then all the states seeking permission from the federal government. Washington passed a bill but California never did, though their people overwhelmingly passed a proposition in 2018 to ditch the switch."

In 2019, Sen. Mike Padden, who serves Washington’s 4th District, supported the passage of a state law in Washington calling for year-round daylight saving time, which will not take effect until the federal government approves the same change.

“If there is one issue most people agree on, it’s the dislike of moving their clocks from standard time to daylight saving time in the spring and then back to standard time in the fall,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley, who will introduce his year-round standard-time bill when Washington’s 2024 session begins Jan. 8.

“It confuses and annoys many people, and it causes health problems for some. That’s why Senator Thatcher and I are working together to see if our respective legislatures can keep our clocks on standard time year-round,” added Padden.

In 2022, Padden co-sponsored Senate Bill 5511, a bipartisan measure that would have exempted Washington from observing daylight saving time until the state could move to Pacific Daylight Time year-round. SB 5511 was not approved by the Senate.



During Oregon’s 2023 legislative session Thatcher introduced Senate Bill 1090, a bipartisan bill that would have kept Oregon on standard time year-round and halted the state’s annual switch from standard time to daylight saving time.

Thatcher and Padden said they have contacted legislators in California, Idaho and Nevada to see if they will introduce similar bills in those states.

Arizona and Hawaii are the only states on permanent standard time. Because Congress has already decided states may be on permanent standard time if they choose, Oregon and Washington would not need the federal government to pass a bill authorizing the two states to be on year-round standard time.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-11-07 12:37:39Last Update: 2023-11-07 00:03:45

Dr. Sejal Hathi Appointed to Direct the Oregon Health Authority
National eyes are on Oregon to expand health coverage

Governor Tina Kotek appointed nationally known Dr. Sejal Hathi as the director of the Oregon Health Authority as of January 16. Dr. Hathi brings over a decade of experience in medicine, health policy and education, and non-profit development. On the line is the implementation of universal health care with the passing of Measure 111, and obtain HIPPA exemption allowing health providers to register voters.

“The Oregon Health Authority has a critical role in ensuring equitable access to health care in Oregon and for stewarding our behavioral and public health systems in every part of the state,” Governor Kotek said. “This work must be carried out with transparency, accountability, urgency, and an infallible commitment to customer service. Dr. Hathi brings a rare combination of extraordinary qualifications to this role – from frontline experience as a physician, to shaping policy in the White House, to founding two non-profits focused on women and girls leadership. I am grateful she is bringing her experience and talent to serve Oregonians.”

Before joining the Oregon Health Authority, Dr. Hathi served as New Jersey's deputy health commissioner for public health services and designated state health officer. Prior to that, she served for two years as the White House’s Senior Policy Advisor for Public Health, where she led various Administration priorities for the Domestic Policy Council. A board-certified attending physician, she also held joint faculty appointments as an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“I’m both excited and humbled to be a part of the ground-breaking advances in health care access that are happening in Oregon," Dr. Hathi said. "At the national level, all eyes are on Oregon and the steps this state is taking to expand health coverage and tackle root cause issues, such as the social determinants of health. I look forward to continuing this proud tradition and working with the team to make every community in the state a healthier place to live.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic Dr. Hathi served as host and producer of CivicRx, a podcast on health equity and social justice. She interviewed doctors on subjects such as: climate change is a public health emergency; calling for federal action against gun violence; unvaccinated pulled us back into a war against the coronavirus; “vaccine passports” debate; and more.



Dr. Hathi cared for COVID-19 patients as a resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and a clinical fellow on faculty at Harvard Medical School, where she also launched and led a voter education and mobilization initiative for providers and their patients. She has served on numerous national boards related to public service and public health. She served as a health policy advisor to Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, and today, she maintains a role as a founding board member of Indiaspora. Dr. Hathi has spoken at TEDWomen, the World Health Assembly, and the United Nations, among other venues.

Early in her career, Dr. Hathi founded and led two, award-winning social enterprises, each building community and advancing women’s and girls’ leadership around the world. In 2013, Dr. Hathi was appointed as 1 of 9 public health leaders to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s expert advisory group on women’s & children’s health, charged with evaluating and reporting global progress against maternal and child mortality. Dr. Hathi holds a B.S. with honors from Yale University and an M.D./M.B.A. from Stanford University.

Interim Director Dave Baden will continue his work at OHA, and will serve in a deputy director role, overseeing major programs and policy initiatives. Kris Kautz will continue as a deputy director overseeing agency operations.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-11-06 19:24:20Last Update: 2023-11-06 20:48:00

Oregon Summit Focuses on Youth Substance Disorders
Youth suffer from failing behavioral health system

Charlie Conrad (R-Eastern Lane County) convened a summit of statewide experts at the University of Oregon to discuss opportunities and challenges for fixing the state's youth behavioral health system. Those in attendance included behavioral health leaders from the Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Health Sciences University, Oregon Department of Education, University of Oregon, and other state departments and programs along with behavioral health experts representing providers from all areas of the state.

Oregon has an estimated 24,000 youth suffering from substance youth disorders, one of the highest rates in the United States, and has one of the lowest rates of access to care for youth. According to a 2023 study by Mental Health America, Oregon ranks 51st among all states and the District of Columbia for providing access to behavioral health care to youth.

"Oregon's youth are in crisis, and we must do better. This is not a partisan issue: we need urgent action across parties and at all levels of the system," said Representative Conrad.

Those who attended the summit describe the current youth behavioral health system as "neglected", "morally unacceptable", and "a desert with a corn maze in the middle." The highest priorities identified by the group include:



While the summit dwelled on administrative and structural changes that would add government support and increase funding, Measure 110 remains the source behind substance disorders that Democrats don’t want to discuss repealing. Teenagers with substance disorders get more satisfaction from the substance and are more likely to become addicted says clinical expert Sarper Taskiran MD, at Child Mind Institute. Kids with negative thoughts will turn to a substance and half will end up with a substance use disorder making it harder to treat mental health issues.

At the close of the summit Conrad stated, "I will work closely with agency leaders, care providers, researchers, youth, and families across the state with the goal of introducing legislation in the 2025 session that will have a significant impact on our youth SUD prevention and treatment services."

Conrad is attempting to regain his credibility after the ORTL PAC asked him to step down and announced a campaign to defeat him due to his support for what ORTL says was dangerous abortion and assisted suicide legislation. Representative Conrad voted to pass House Bill 2002 seriously damaging children and weaken the parent-child relationship removing parental consent. They also objected to him voting for House Bill 2279 in the 2023 legislative session opening up assisted suicide to out-of-state access.

--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2023-11-05 18:10:06Last Update: 2023-11-07 15:00:28

Hieb Appointed to Willamette Falls Locks Authority
Authority scheduled to take ownership in 2026

Speaker of the house Dan Rayfield has appointed Representative James Hieb (R-Canby) as a non-voting advisor to the 11-member Willamette Falls Locks Authority.

In 2021, HB 2564 established the Willamette Falls Locks Authority as “a public corporation with the mission to establish ownership, oversight, and management of the Willamette Falls Locks project for the purposes of enhancing the economic vitality of Oregon through facilitating the resiliency and navigability of the Willamette River and repairing, maintaining, upgrading and operating the Willamette Falls Locks project…for commercial, transportation, recreational, cultural, history, heritage and tourism purposes.“ The 11-member Authority will assume ownership of the locks after the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) completes necessary repairs.

USACE will continue to oversees the locks until seismic repairs are completed. The official transfer of ownership to the Willamette Falls Locks Authority is expected to be in 2026. This will allow time to perform geotechnical explorations involving drilling a series of holes to investigate the systems substructure and ensure seismic anchors installed throughout the repairs have been properly designed.



The Willamette Falls Locks Authority will oversee the ongoing refurbishments and preserve the water table for renewable energy generation at PGE’s Sullivan Power Plant. Steelhead and salmon habitat upriver will also benefit from repairing the locks.

--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2023-11-05 12:41:39Last Update: 2023-11-07 15:19:41

Climate Friendly Areas to Be Implemented in Bend
The public has been invited to give input

The Growth Management Division at the City of Bend says that they want to hear from the community about where to locate areas where people can live, work, and play without requiring a car.

This concept is called a Climate Friendly Area. City staff are in the phase of analyzing locations throughout the city to designate as Climate Friendly Areas in a multi-year project driven by the state of Oregon.

As a part of this phase, the community is invited to the Climate Friendly Areas Community Open House on Nov. 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. It will be held in the Audubon Room at the Environmental Center at 16 NW Kansas Ave. An online open house will also be available at the City of Bend: Climate Friendly Areas website.

Climate Friendly Areas are part of the Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities rules required by the state of Oregon that intend to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by changing land use patterns. Bend says the end result will involve designating walkable, connected areas that provide a mix of businesses, housing and amenities such as parks and schools through code and policy amendments.



The City of Bend says the process of adopting these changes is supportive of many Bend City Council goals, policies and plans already underway related to climate, equity, housing and transportation.

"It’s vital that we plan for a sustainable future", said Bend Mayor Melanie Kebler. "One where everyone in Bend has the chance to thrive, with a place to live that they can afford, a job that pays the bills, and a community where they feel welcome and safe."

Those interested can visit the City of Bend: Climate Friendly Areas website for an online open house and opportunity to comment.

The City of Bend says that the Environmental Center is not sponsoring this event.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-11-04 12:19:08Last Update: 2023-11-04 13:10:14

Oregon Spending $2.25 million on Ukraine Refugees
Estimated upwards of 4,500 Ukrainians settled in Oregon

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) Refugee Program has announced that it invites community agencies to apply for a portion of $2.25 million in funding that is available to provide services and support to certain individuals from Ukraine or those who entered through the Uniting for Ukraine program.

The application to apply for funding can be found online, the deadline to apply is Nov. 24. ODHS will be hosting an informational session for organizations who are interested in applying for this funding on Nov. 17. This session is to provide information on this funding and provide an opportunity for session attendees to ask questions before they apply for the funding. Details on how to join the learning session are available in the application that can be found online.

The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) is operated by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) through contracts with national non-profit organizations called Resettlement Agencies. These organizations have local affiliate offices throughout the nation.

The ODHS Refugee Program is responsible for some of the services that are outside of initial resettlement provided by Resettlement Agencies.

The ODHS Refugee Program administers refugee cash and refugee medical benefits. Additionally, the ODHS Refugee Program contracts with Community-Based Organizations and Resettlement Agencies to provide culturally responsive services for populations deemed eligible by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Since February 2022, it is estimated that upwards of 4,500 individuals from Ukraine have resettled in Oregon.



The Department says that the purpose of this request is to ask for applications from culturally or linguistically responsive organizations who provide services to immigrants or refugees (and those eligible for refugee services) to increase services and supports. estimated that upwards of 4,500 individuals

ODHS says that funding is available to support: ODHS says organizations may express interest in supporting more than one service area. The application for this funding, and additional information regarding the ODHS Refugee Program can be found on the Oregon Refugee Services website.

The Oregon Department of Human Services says that their mission is to help Oregonians in their own communities achieve wellbeing and independence through opportunities that protect, empower, respect choice and preserve dignity.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-11-03 11:16:59Last Update: 2023-11-03 11:54:42

Oregon Democrat Legislators Travel to the White House
Boosting of Oregon’s achievements using federal funds

Eight Democrat Oregon Legislators travel to Washington DC to boost about why Oregon is one of the highest taxed states in the nation. They joined state leaders across the country at the White House to discuss how federal dollars are being put to good use. Because of historic legislation like the American Rescue Plan Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act, and the CHIPS & Science Act, Oregon legislators have been able to create more good paying jobs, strengthen the state’s infrastructure, support small businesses.

Representative David Gomberg (D-Lincoln & Western Benton/Lane Counties) gives credit to Oregon’s recovery to federal dollars “helping us build back better and stronger. Projects in rural and coastal Oregon like the replacement of the Newport Dam in my district are going to revitalize our infrastructure, create jobs, and keep our economy strong.”

Senator Wlnsvey Campos (D-Aloha, Beaverton & South Hillsboro) says partnering with the Biden-Harris Administration is “empowering Oregonians to be more competitive in the 21st Century economy with access to broadband, expansion in the semiconductor industry, opportunity in green energy, and support for our small businesses.”

Does Campos not remember passing HB 4092 (2022) costing Oregonians $200 million in order to receive $100 million in federal help from the American Rescue Plan Act? And, in a special session, SB 1603 (2020) transferred $5 million from the Oregon Business Development Department each year to develope rural broadband. It passed without a 2/3 vote adding a tax surcharge to cell phone bills after the Emergency Board allocated $20 million to broadband.

House Bill 3201 enabled Oregon to receive an award of over $156 million to expand broadband infrastructure across the state through the American Rescue Plan Act Capital Projects Fund. This will secure high-speed internet access to an estimated 17,000+ new locations in the state, helping to connect rural and low-income communities with critical services like telehealth, jobs, education, and more. Criticism of the bill exposed the lack of funds being distributed equitably to rural areas having conflicting maps. Representative Anna Scharf (R-Polk) says “federal maps are based on carrier information not independent research, and the State of Oregon map is based on a survey.” Some local counties have done their own mapping. “This bill excludes locally collected data, which is the most accurate data available.”



The semiconductor bill, SB 4 Oregon CHIPS Act, allocated $210 million. The biggest share, $190 million, pays for grants and loans for semiconductor companies competing for $53 billion in federal funding to expand in Oregon. Added to that, Governor Kotek provided $1 million to help small and mid-size firms prepare applications for federal funding. Oregon already employs 40,000 in the semiconductor industry, third in the nation with 15% of the nation’s semiconductor workforce. Oregonians should anticipate more legislation for companies to conduct research and development.

The group also praised $500 million available to K-12 schools to upgrade their HVAC systems, assess ventilation systems, place carbon dioxide monitors in each classroom, and submit a report on ventilation and carbon dioxide levels to a mechanical engineer for review. Districts will then implement any improvements recommended by the engineer. However, the legislature passed HB 3031 despite disagreement with unions on making it a fair process for HVAC businesses. The requirement for trained agents in order to contract directs the business to metropolitan areas and makes it difficult, if not impossible, for rural contractors to bid on projects in their own area, said Representative Lucetta Elmer (R-McMinnville).

Recently, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association’s PNWH2 Hub was selected as one of the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs following a competitive nationwide process. The PNWH2 Hub will span across Oregon, Washington, and Montana, and will leverage the abundant clean power and innovative technology companies in the Pacific Northwest to accelerate the transition to clean hydrogen production and use. The hub’s projects will drive economic opportunity and are expected to create over 10,000 good paying jobs. No study has been made on the cost to residence to convert away from natural gas and fossil fuels. But if the federal government is providing fund, then surely it be good.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-11-02 17:29:31Last Update: 2023-11-02 18:37:43

State Representative Christine Goodwin to Run for State Senate
The district is currently held by Art Robinson

State Representative Christine Goodwin (R-Canyonville) announced her decision to run for the Republican nomination for the Oregon State Senate. Oregon Senate District 2 is comprised of great communities in Josephine, Southern Douglas, and Northern Jackson Counties.

“I am running for Senate to continue my fight to protect Southern Oregon values. Serving others has always been a passion for me, but my time in Salem has taught me just how crucial it is that we have experienced, conservative leaders fighting back against the radical agenda of Portland Democrats that has been ruining our great state for over a decade. Doing so is the only way we can meet the needs of our communities and ensure our voice gets heard in our State Capitol. The more our values were attacked and ignored in Salem, the more my constituents asked me to speak for them. I will be that energetic voice in the Senate refusing to give up."

Representative Goodwin has a lengthy history of public service outside of being a current State Representative: School Board Chairman, Urban Renewal Board member, Parks Advisory Board member, Douglas County Planning Commission member, and later as a Douglas County Commissioner.

She served Southern Oregon as a State Representative for House District 2 before being elected by an overwhelming majority to represent the people of House District 4 in 2022 after redistricting.



“The more our values were attacked and ignored in Salem, the more my constituents asked me to speak for them," said Goodwin. "I will be that energetic voice in the Senate refusing to give up pushing for real solutions for our failing schools, out-of-control homelessness, rampant drug crisis and the surge in crime it brings with it. Now is a time for leadership in the State Senate, and I am up for the challenge.”

Goodwin is a former school teacher, successful owner of multiple small businesses, and was named Woman of the Year by Myrtle Creek/Tri City Chamber of Commerce. She is also a proud wife, mother, and grandmother.

The primary election will be held on May 21, 2024. State Senate District 2 is currently held by Art Robinson, whose eligibility for re-election remains uncertain at this time. Robinson, and other Senators await an Oregon Supreme Court opinion on the unclear language of Measure 113, scheduled to begin proceedings on December 14th. Art Robinson's son, Noah, has also filed to run for the position.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-11-02 08:57:28Last Update: 2023-11-02 09:24:34

Kotek Names Mike Reese Director of Corrections for Oregon
Reese was recently the Sheriff of Multnomah County

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has announced that she has appointed Mike Reese to head the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC). Reese has worked in public safety in the region for 30 years. Most recently, he was the Multnomah County Sheriff.

“I am grateful to Acting Director Heidi Steward stepping up to lead and staying the course through the pandemic,” Governor Kotek said. “I have confidence in incoming Director Reese’s ability to bring a clear vision and advance the organizational and cultural changes needed to bring forward the next chapter at DOC. He has an unparalleled record within the public safety sector for being a collaborator and a problem solver, guided by justice, equity, and a commitment to uphold the public’s trust.”

Incoming Director Reese began his career in law enforcement over 30 years ago as a deputy for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in 1989. Five years later, he joined the Portland Police Bureau and rose through the ranks to serve as one of the longest-standing police chiefs in the City in recent history. In 2016, he was elected Multnomah County Sheriff where he managed a $175 million dollar budget and 800 employees and the largest jail system in Oregon. He served until 2022 when he retired from the office.



Incoming Director Reese holds two degrees from Portland State University including a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and an Executive Master’s in Public Administration. He also attended the DEA Drug Unit Commanders Academy and the FBI National Executive Institute.

Reese has also held paid and volunteer positions for non-profits, including working as a counselor, director and later serving as a board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Portland. He has also served as a board member of Transition Projects, the Irvington Community Association and the First Christian Church.

“As DOC Director, I will do my very best to lead this department, our staff, and adults in custody towards better outcomes. The Department of Corrections is a core pillar of our public safety system. Our ability to adequately rehabilitate adults in custody and recruit, train and retain a skilled workforce driven by accountability, integrity and professionalism has a direct impact on Oregon communities and I am resolved to ensure these standards are met.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-10-30 12:04:44Last Update: 2023-10-30 18:01:18

Oregon Surgeon Exposed by Speaker Johnson
OHSU is performing gender altering surgeries

In a recently resurfaced video of a Congressional hearing, newly elected US House Speaker Mike Johnson objected to excluding parents from making decisions for their children. To the left, he said, they are the state’s children. Even a parent has no constitutional right to transition a child. “Whether it’s by scalpel or social coercion, it’s an aggressive attempt to transition the young people of our country. There is something deeply wrong…The coverup is extreme.”

While stating his views on LGBTQ issues in a hearing, Speaker Johnson revealed a deleted blog of Oregon Dr. Blare Peters, Oregon Health Science University. Dr. Peters is a double fellowship-trained plastic and reconstructive surgeon who specializes in gender-affirming surgery and peripheral nerve surgery.

Speaker Johnson summarized his criticism in his speech.

"...We see adults inflicting unspeakable harms on helpless children to affirm the adults' own worldview: that gender is somehow fluid, that sex can be surgically altered, that there are no lasting consequences of all this madness as the result of the sex-change procedures. What is even more alarming is that the central tenet of the trans-gender movement and its allies is to exclude parents as much as possible from making decisions about the health of their own children. Medical professionals and schools increasingly see parents as "trans-phobic bullies who must be prevented from standing in the way of a medical sexual transition of their own kids."

Speaker Johnson states that Dr. Peters calls himself the ‘Queer surgeon’ and he boosts about the shocking, fully experimental, irreversible and life-altering invasive procedures that he and others are performing on children to surgically modify their genitals. He admits that no one has published any studies on these procedures. They are “just kind of learning and figuring out what works,” rearranging anatomy and they know nothing regarding the outcome.

During the interview, which is embedded in the video below, Dr. Peters says:

"The one thing that is very new is genital surgery in someone who has underwent pubertal suppression. [It is] not so much an issue in someone with assigned female at birth anatomy that undergoes a phalloplasty because we're crating something new with a free tissue transfer -- a flap anyway, but a much bigger issue for a person undergoing a penile inversion vaginalplasty because we use all that tissue to create the vulva as well as lining the internal vaginal canal and as a specialty those of us who do a fairly high volume of genital gender-affirming surgery -- we've maybe done a couple, a handful, of fully purebertally suppressed adolescents as the field and no one's published on it yet, OHSU is still just putting our first series together as we're kind of learning and figuring out what works."

Long before HB 2002 was passed in June, OHSU was given research authority in 2001 under ORS 353.556. MEAWW News reported last July that Dr. Peters has been performing gender altering surgery for some time. They exposed a deleted video in which a surgeon going by the name "Dr Frankenstein," spoke openly about the drawbacks of performing genital reshaping procedures on transgender children and adults. They report that in the video, Dr Peters, a self-described "queer surgeon" with pink hair, who uses "he/they" pronouns, and has a "passion" for genital procedures, claims that patients must deal with lifetime post-operative difficulties related to fertility, sexual satisfaction, and other issues.



Empower Physiotherapy in Seattle produced the 37-minute interview with Dr Peters, during which he made the confession to the comparison to another doctor, the fictitious researcher who creates a monster out of body parts in Mary Shelley's 1818 novel, Frankenstein.

In the video, Dr Peters discusses developments in phalloplasties and vaginoplasties, such as the use of a robot operated by a second surgeon to create a 'neo-vagina' from tissue taken from the penis and scrotum. He also discusses "nullification," a growingly common treatment that involves the total removal of genitalia from non-binary individuals. He controversially refers to the 'puberty-suppressed teenagers' having genital surgery at OHSU - young people who have used drugs to postpone puberty.

Dr Peters stated, "We're kind of learning and figuring out what works." After surgery, patients commonly experience issues, and says they might have "rectal injury and urinary incompetence." Some people find it difficult to get "sexual satisfaction" from changed bodily parts, and their odds of "future childbearing" are worse.

Some of them require "really demanding post-operative care." Over time nearly every patient who has had male-to-female genital surgery just aren't able to have sex, and they will lose a lot of depth.

As more Americans, both young and old, choose to have genital surgery, Dr Peters claims his methods and success rates will increase. However, there is still much to learn in this developing field of medicine. He said, "We're going to learn a lot more about it in the next five to 10 years as we're doing increasing numbers of these cases."

It appears that the initial video was posted and then removed last year, and recently found in an archive and reposted on social media. Speaker Johnson says he wants to shed light on what this problem is and how we can address it.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-10-29 19:36:20Last Update: 2023-10-30 12:12:34

Oregon Secretary of State Set to Seek and Destroy Opposing Speech
Ben Edtl exposes plans to surveil, compile and “mitigate” the speech of Oregonians

The Oregon Secretary of State completed a Request for Proposals seeking the development of software to “identify and mitigate harmful information online as it relates to elections (misinformation, disinformation, and mal-information or MDM).” Negotiations for the RFP is scheduled to execute October 27th, 2023, in time for the 2024 election season.

The RFP refers to a “significant increase in burdensome public records requests over the past two years seemingly fueled by MDM on social media.” It refers to MDM as “threats” throughout the RFP.

The purpose states, “In order to effectively promote accurate information regarding election administration and combat MDM, the OED and CC must have the capability to detect and analyze MDM. OED and CC currently do not have capacity or technology support to track, follow, and trace all of the threats.”

“The only way I can comprehend the SoS’s reference to threats is because the speech targeted by the SoS to ‘mitigate’ is confirmable truth,” states Ben Edtl. Edtl is a plaintiff in the lawsuit Thielman v. Fagan which claims there is a “crisis in confidence” in Oregon’s election system and challenging the legality of Vote by Mail. The case is now in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and was victoriously awarded expedition based on the timing of the upcoming General Election and the merit of evidence.

This past July Democrat House Speaker Dan Rayfield, who is now running for Oregon Attorney General, along with the Secretary of State’s Office conspired with Meta and USA Today to censor one of Edtl’s Instagram reels and suppress his account. In the video on X, Edtl discusses the evidence brought against the Secretary of State in Theilman v Fagan. Evidence obtained by those “burdensome public records requests,” which is now the last remaining channel for citizens to provide oversight on the integrity of State managed elections.

BREAKING NEWS: Hey @OregonSOS I'm sure you've heard the news. See you in the #9thcircuit. #Election2024 #orpol #pdx #Oregon #BreakingNews pic.twitter.com/UbYGCUOGtJ

— Ben Edtl (@benedtl) July 27, 2023

“This is extraordinarily scary,” states Edtl about the RFP. “Rather than address the blatant election security issues and the ever-increasing removal of transparency, the State is cracking down on the most basic of Civil Rights: Free Speech.”

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Brandenburg v. Ohio, established that speech advocating illegal conduct is protected under the First Amendment unless it is likely to incite "imminent lawless action." Brandenburg was convicted for a speech at a Klan rally advocating violence under the Ohio Criminal Syndicalism Statute. The syndicalism law made it illegal to advocate "crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform." The court found that the Ohio law violated Brandenburg's right to free speech and ignored whether or not the advocacy it criminalized actually led to imminent lawless action, rendering the law overly broad and in violation of the Constitution. If this case was unconstitutional, it will be impossible for Oregon to not violate free speech in this RFP in its attempt to limit speech.

Under Section 1.5.2 the RFP lists one of its primary objectives as sharing information with the FBI and State Police. The RFP also asks for reports to social media platforms that censors accounts sharing information opposed by the Secretary of State. The Minimum Solution Requirements are: The Secretary of State is using procurement statutes under ORS 279A.050(4) as the authority for contracting with a vendor to administer a censorship program. The Secretary of State's office did not respond to a request for a comment.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-10-28 12:29:48Last Update: 2023-10-28 19:21:49

Bruce Starr Announces State Senate Campaign
“I feel an immense call right now to step up and serve my community”

Bruce Starr, a current city councilor and former State Senator, filed and announced that he is running again to serve in the Oregon Senate. Starr, a conservative Republican, served in the State House and Senate from 1999 to 2014.

Starr and his wife, Rebecca, currently reside in Dundee. Since leaving the legislature, Starr cofounded a Christian preschool company which partners with local churches in several states offering quality private-education. Starr also continues to farm his family’s nearly-60-year-old Hillsboro farm and run Bulldog Fence Company which he founded in 2018. He and Rebecca have a strong Christian faith and attend Living Hope Fellowship.

“I feel an immense call right now to step up and serve my community,” said Starr. “These last 10 years in the private sector, both as a contractor and founder of a Christian preschool, has really sharpened my perspective and given me greater strength.”

Sen. Bruce Starr was known in the legislature as a transportation expert. One of his key accomplishments was securing funding and groundbreaking for the Newberg-Dundee Bypass.

“Senator Starr was key in helping us get the Newberg bypass approved. His knowledge and persistence were critical,” said Sen. Larry George, who served with Starr and says he will be supporting him.

Starr says he is waiting to hear the outcome of incumbent Senator Brian Boquist’s ability to run for reelection. Boquist, who Starr once served with, is one of the senators who helped deny quorum as Democrats pushed what Starr calls the most extreme abortion and transgender agenda in the United States.

“I 100% support Sen. Boquist and have utmost respect for him. The decision by the Republican senators using tools available to them to best-represent voters was correct,” said Starr. “I will continue serving Senate District 12 with effective, conservative leadership much like Senator Boquist’s nearly-two-decades example.”

Bill Rosacker, Mayor of Newberg, said: “Bruce’s past accomplishments securing road infrastructure speak for themselves. Having him in the Senate fighting for our community’s needs will be quite an asset for us.”



"Starr's record on protecting victims is stellar, from championing Jessica's Law to never wavering on support for Measure 11, I look forward to working with him again in the Oregon Senate,” said Steve Doell, who is the President of Oregon Crime Victims United.

Dave Brown, former Newberg School District Board Chair, said: “I’m excited at how driven Bruce Starr is to influence positive change in Oregon’s failing public education system.”

“Bruce Starr has a great record of fighting tax increases,” said Jason Williams, who is the President of the Oregon Taxpayers’ Association.

Lois Anderson, Executive Director of Oregon Right to Life, said: “Bruce is a tried and true pro life leader, which is exactly what is needed in the Oregon Legislature.”

“Bruce Starr’s depth of knowledge and work ethic make him a perfect fit to represent us in the Legislature at such a critical time,” said Chris Chenowith, who is a McMinnville City Councilor.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-10-28 10:41:40Last Update: 2023-10-28 16:23:17

Goodwin Wants Full Repeal of Measure 110
“The overwhelming majority of the state wants change”

Through Measure 110, Oregon was the first state in the nation to decriminalize possession of drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and fentanyl. Funding was shifted away from public safety, schools, cities, and counties and redirected to the Oregon Health Authority to implement Measure 110. Representative Christine Goodwin (HD-4), a Republican serving in the House Chamber of the Oregon Legislature, says that the results have been atrocious and that Measure 110 policies have failed Oregonians miserably.

Goodwin says that the overwhelming majority of the state wants change that and many are calling for full repeal. Representative Christine Goodwin (R-Canyonville) has been appointed to the Joint Committee on Addiction and Community Safety Response and calls for a repeal of Measure 110 to restore protections for our communities. She says Oregon needs to give law enforcement the tools they need.

"Measure 110 is a failed experiment. The decriminalization of drug possession and lack of required treatment has led to dramatic increases in drug addiction, open drug use in public spaces, homelessness, and crime. We have reduced the deterrent effect of law enforcement and taken away their ability to arrest, which has compromised community safety. Oregonians are fed up and demand action," said Representative Goodwin.



Goodwin points out that CDC data indisputably shows that drug overdoses from drugs like heroin and fentanyl have tripled in Oregon and that of the 5,000 citations for drug possession, only 120 called the treatment referral hotline, and 60% of those ticketed never paid their fines.

Oregon is #1 in the nation for meth use and #4 for opioid use. Overall, we have the 2nd highest addiction rate in the country. Yet, our state ranks last in the nation in providing treatment options.

The Douglas, Josephine, and Jackson County Commissioners, District Attorneys, and Sheriffs are passing resolutions requesting the Governor and/or the Oregon Legislature repeal Measure 110. "I strongly support those requests and will work diligently with my county governments to return public safety to our communities," concluded Goodwin.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-10-28 10:11:57Last Update: 2023-10-28 16:16:51

Judge Jessica Meyer to Serve Dual Judicial Role
She will serve Linn County and the City of Albany

In an unusually brief meeting, Linn County Commissioners Roger Nyquist and Sherrie Sprenger approved an agreement with the city of Albany, that supports county Justice of the Peace Jessica Meyer also serving as Albany’s Municipal Court judge.

Commissioner Will Tucker was not present.

Commissioner Sprenger said she strongly supports this agreement, calling it a “great partnership” and an “opportunity for Linn County and Albany to do something together.”

Judge Meyer is a partner in the Morley Thomas Law firm in Lebanon.

She was Linn County Justice of the Peace pro-tempore from 2012 to 2018 and has been Justice of the Peace since 2018. She also prosecuted cases for the city of Lebanon.

Judge Meyer has a degree in horticulture and business management from Brigham Young University. She earned her Doctor of Juris Prudence degree from the Willamette University School of Law in 2005 and joined what was then the Morley, Thomas and McHill Law firm in 2006. She became a partner in 2011.

While at Willamette, she served as an editor of Willamette Law Online and was a member of the Willamette Law Review.



Judge Meyer will succeed Municipal Court Judge Forrest Reid.

The Linn County Justice Court and the Albany Municipal Court have similar responsibilities. The Justice Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanor crimes and other offenses committed in Linn County such as traffic, boating, wildlife and other county offenses.

In addition to county issues, the Justice Court handles similar issues for the cities of Brownsville, Halsey, Lyons, Millersburg, Sodaville, Tangent and Waterloo.

The Albany Municipal Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanors committed within the city limits of Albany.

Away from work, Judge Meyer serves on the boards of the Lebanon Community Hospital Foundation and the Oregon Justice of the Peace Association.

According to her law firm website, Judge Meyer enjoys, “running, skiing and spending time with her busy family.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-10-28 09:39:53Last Update: 2023-10-28 16:17:03

Douglas County Leadership Calls for Repeal of Measure 110
“Unintended consequences are wreaking havoc and destroying our communities”

The Douglas County Oregon Board of Commissioners Tom Kress, Chris Boice, and Tim Freeman in conjunction with Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin and Douglas County District Attorney Rick Wesenberg have joined forces to send a clear message to Salem asking for the repeal of the 2020 Oregon Ballot Measure 110 (aka Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act) and a return to the enforcement of Federal Drug Laws.

“In our humble opinion, Measure 110 was touted, promoted, and sold to Oregonians in 2020 as a supposed ‘humane solution’ for Oregon’s growing drug epidemic and overcrowded prisons," said Board Chair, Commissioner Tom Kress. "However, well-intended the measure was, it has not held up to the promises made, and far more serious are the unintended consequences that are wreaking havoc and destroying our communities and our families. The limitations placed on law enforcement and the DA because of Measure 110 have made it impossible for them to effectively control drug use in our County. It has created a society without penalties.”

A letter was sent by the Commissioners to Governor Kotek, Members of the Legislative Assembly, US Attorney Wight, and Former US Attorney Billy Williams. Douglas COunty says the letter comes in response to several outcries from the citizens of Douglas County who are concerned with the huge increase and rampant drug use, drug crimes, and drug related deaths in their communities.

“The promise of Measure 110 was treatment not punishment," said Commissioner Tim Freeman. "But that has turned into a failed promise and even more importantly the lack of legal consequences has proven disastrous for our citizens and communities. The frustration we hear from our citizens about rampant drug use and punishment are the same frustrations that we share. We feel the decisions being made [in Salem] are creating this systemic problem. Something has got to change! From our standpoint as Commissioners, one of the roles we have is making sure that the Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, and DINT all have the resources they need to do their jobs. Of the counties that are small timber receipt counties like Douglas County, we are one of the last counties that still does 24/7 patrols, we are one of the last that still prosecutes all crimes, and that’s because the Commissioners and the budget committee make public safety a priority. I wanted to let you know that we are doing everything we can to combat drugs, but unless Measure 110 is repealed, our hands are tied.”

Additionally, in response to community concerns, the quintet of Douglas County Officials, along with DINT Commander Rick McArthur agreed to be part of a panel discussion during a special Town Hall Meeting in Yoncalla on Tuesday, October 10, 2023. The Yoncalla Town Hall Meeting was held prior to the Yoncalla City Council Meeting and offered an opportunity for Yoncalla area residents to speak openly and share their concerns with elected officials about the ongoing drug epidemic.

“What has turned out to be fishy about Measure 110 is that the out of state measure financiers sold the voters on the promise that, ‘We are not going to put people in prison for minor drug possession charges", District Attorney Rick Wesenberg said. "Because it’s not going to be illegal anymore. This will decrease drug use and crime because everyone that needs it, is now going to get treatment.’ But, what they didn’t tell everybody was that the treatment beds do not exist, the treatment programs do not exist, and more importantly now there was no motivation or consequences to get addicts into treatment. Because now it is essentially just a traffic ticket. For example, an open container of alcohol in a vehicle is currently around a $400- $500 ticket. While possession of a personal amount of methamphetamine is less than a $100 ticket. According to law enforcement, most people just crumble up the ticket and forget about it. Now there is a phone number on the ticket for treatment, but statistics on that statewide show that of the people given tickets for drug possession only a small percentage even call the treatment number and even less actually get treatment. The percentage is so small that it is in the single digits and doesn’t even register. Sadly, what this has done is make Oregon essentially a free-for-all. It’s absolutely terrifying.”



Amidst answering questions and responding to comments made by the citizens, the panel reinforced their stance about the use, misuse, sale, and distribution of illegal drugs. They firmly believe that possession or sales need be considered a criminal offense and prosecuted as such. Discussion between citizens and the panel centered around the following points: “Through state grant programs we received funding to support our Local Public Safety Coordinating Council through our Justice Reinvestment Committee," explained Commissioner Chris Boice. "We utilize this funding to support a local program in our jail called RSAT (Residential Substance Abuse Treatment). This program allows the opportunity for jail inmates convicted of drug crimes to complete this program instead of serving time in prison. With this program they would stay in the local jail and receive substance abuse treatment while serving their sentence. Up until Measure 110 was passed, we were seeing significant success in this program and subsequent drug rehabilitation after-care programs that were giving people a second chance to learn to live drug free, pay off their debts, be productive members of society and reunite with their families. But Measure 110 has all but killed that program. We are having a hard time filling those RSAT spots now, because no one is getting sent to prison for drugs anymore.”

On the law enforcement side of Measure 110, the situation is pretty grim as well. “This drug problem affects us all. Me included," said Sheriff John Hanlin. "For any of you that have loved ones affected by drug problems, I feel your pain. But, it’s important for citizens to continue to be vigilant in reporting crimes, all crimes. You’ve got to call dispatch when you see these problems happening. When you get frustrated because an arrest wasn’t made, don’t get frustrated with us (law enforcement) because we are just as frustrated that we can’t do anything. You need to get frustrated with the state legislature and with the Governor and with our society that has made this drug problem unpardonable to everyone. Your frustrations are exactly our frustrations. You say we aren’t doing our job, and you know what? We’re not doing our job and you know why? Because the state has taken away our ability to do our job!”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-10-28 07:06:39Last Update: 2023-10-28 16:17:18

Kotek Names Colonel Gronewold as Adjutant General
Oregon National Guard sees change in leadership

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has announced that she has appointed Colonel Alan R. Gronewold as The Adjutant General (TAG) of the Oregon National Guard. Outgoing TAG Major General Michael Stencel will retire after a 39-year-long military career and eight years in his TAG position in November.

“With new beginnings comes an appreciation for how we got here,” Governor Kotek said. “Outgoing Adjutant General Stencel led with integrity and rigor. I am grateful for his lifetime of public service, the rewards of which are felt across the Oregon National Guard membership, state, and nation.

“Alan Gronewold is a tested leader, known for building a positive organizational culture by centering dignity and respect. He brings the experience and character this position calls for, and I am honored to name him as our next Adjutant General.”

Kotek points out that Gronewold is a proven senior executive and decorated combat veteran with demonstrated success leading multifunctional teams of up to 5,000 employees across wide geographic areas to exceed organizational goals.



Gronewold holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. He has dedicated 27 years of his life to service, including deployments to Kuwait, Germany, Afghanistan, and Iraq, while acquiring increasing levels of responsibility on each operation, earning the rank of Colonel and is currently in process for promotion to Brigadier General.

Prior to his appointment, Gronewold served as the Oregon Army National Guard Land Component Commander. In addition to his deployments, Gronewold has held a number of leadership positions, including commanding the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the 40th Combat Aviation Brigade, along with serving as the State Army Aviation Officer and Division Chief of the Joint Forces Headquarters.

An investiture date is scheduled to be announced.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-10-22 19:26:09Last Update: 2023-10-22 19:45:15

Analysis: Douglas County “Hand Count” Petition Denied
One County’s tale of fighting the machine

Douglas County Clerk Dan Loomis has denied six “Prospective Initiative Petitions” that would allow petitioners to have the formal petitions needed to gather signatures for getting “hand counting of the ballots” on the Douglas County ballot for the 2024 primary. The unofficial citizens petitions signed at the fair are being used as evidence and to inform Douglas County Clerk Dan Loomis and County Commissioners Tim Freeman, Chris Boice and Tom Kress, that their constituents want ballots hand counted.

The six denied prospective initiative petitions were to create a Douglas County ordinance for restricting official counting of ballots in Douglas County to the method of a hand count. The petitions relied on ORS 254.485 Tally of ballots (1) “Ballots may be tallied by a vote tally system or by a counting board. A counting board may tally ballots at the precinct or in the office of the county clerk. In any event, the ballots shall be tallied and returned by precinct.”

The petitions were denied by County Clerk Dan Loomis because they were “not a matter of county concern” and “not legislative”. Petitioners asked for more information so that they could fix whatever was wrong with the petitions. One answer from Dan Loomis stated. “My obligation is to review the submitted ‘text to determine whether the prospective initiative petition complies with constitutional requirements’. ORS 250.168 (3) simply requires me to notify the petitioner of my determination. The statute to (sic) does not require me to state why I’ve made the determination that I did, but simply to state my conclusion, which I have done... Kind Regards, Dan”.

During the four days of the Douglas County Fair, the Republican Party Booth offered the public a citizens petition to sign in support of hand counting ballots within the county. The volunteers manning the booth reported that about 90% of the fair goers that stopped at the booth also signed the petition. There were 372 total signatures, mostly from the fair booth. An associated list kept of people who would be willing to volunteer on the counting board received 90 signatures. It appears that fairgoers are confirming that the people of Douglas County want their ballots counted by humans, not machines.



For a year Dan Loomis never mentioned the Directive, even when he was asked why the petitions were being denied just a few weeks after the directive was issued. Not until October 6th did he mention it as the reason that if we were able to pass hand counting as a measure, the Secretary of State would not certify the votes counted by hand in Douglas County.

“Not Legislative” is based on case law. ”The crucial test for determining that which is legislative and that which is administrative is whether the proposed measure makes law or executes a law already in existence.” Monahan v. Funk. The caselaw supports the petitioners assertion that the petition for hand counting ballots in Douglas County is legislative.

Logic tells petitioners that when the Douglas County Code is amended to add a new ordinance it is of “county concern”. The ordinance would command that “all ballots in Douglas County shall be tallied by a counting board”. Electors all claim Douglas County as their legal residence. All the candidates run for positions that are in the jurisdiction of Douglas County. Douglas County elections are conducted at the county level by the County Clerk with an exception vaguely referred to in ORS 246.200 “County clerk to conduct elections”. The statute states; “...Except as otherwise provided by law...”. That phrase allows the Clerk’s control over elections to become influenced by the Secretary of State through directives. Directive 2022-4, “Tally of Ballots”, dated September 2, 2022 might be changing the “method of counting the votes” from a “county concern” to a “state concern”.

The directive states: “To ensure the uniform and accurate tally of all valid ballots cast, election officials in a jurisdiction where, on the 45th day before an election, the number of active registered voters eligible to vote in the election exceeds 500, must count all valid ballots cast in the election using a voting machine or vote tally system, that is approved for use under Oregon law.”

There are no counties in Oregon with 500 or fewer registered voters. Therefore, Directive 2022-04 disallows all hand counting in Oregon. With this directive, the Secretary of State has created a “rule” that has jurisdiction over all counties. When a state office has jurisdiction, then it is no longer decided at a county level. Therefore jurisdiction changes it from a “county concern” to a “state concern”? Before September 2, 2022, the County Clerks had the authority to switch from tally machines to hand counting of ballots. Two petitions were filed before this time. However, Douglas County Clerk Dan Loomis and County Commissioners Tim Freeman, Chris Boice and Tom Kress stood firm on being against the hand counting of ballots. Being elected officials, they trust the machines to count the votes that put them in office. Incumbent Dan Loomis has recently announced he is running for another term as County Clerk during the May 2024 primary. The petitioners deny that the directive is valid due to a conflict of law between the directive and a statute of superior legal force, ORS 254.485 Tally of ballots. Quoted earlier in this article, it gives a choice between tallying by machines or by hand counting.

The directive is being used to void a statute passed by legislation. The directive was signed by then Elections Director Deborah Scroggin, who has since resigned her position effective January 20, 2023. Her supervisor at that time was Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, who resigned in disgrace on May 8, 2023 over her acceptance of $10,000 per month as a consultant for the cannabis dispensary chain La Mota. Fagan’s office was auditing the state’s cannabis regulations.

An ordinary directive is not enforceable by law. However, Directive 2022-4 is because "ORS 246.120 Directives, instructions and assistance to county clerks" broadens the authority of the Secretary of State’s office. The statute states:

“The Secretary of State shall prepare and distribute to each county clerk detailed and comprehensive written directives, and shall assist, advise and instruct each county clerk, on registration of electors and election procedures which are under the direction and control of the county clerk. The directives and instructions shall include relevant sample forms of ballots, documents, records and other materials and supplies required by the election laws. A county clerk affected thereby shall comply with the directives or instructions.”

The Secretary of State now has the statutory authority to write law by directives and thus compel County Clerks to follow the directives. However, in this instance, a directive was written that clearly conflicts with a statute. ORS 254.485 Tally of ballots is the superior law. Directive 2022-4 can be challenged and judged null and void when the Clerks denial of the initiative petition is appealed. If successful, choosing the method of counting the ballots will again be “of county concern”.



The statute "ORS 246.120 Directives, instructions and assistance to county clerks", should be revised to clarify that directives and instructions issued by the Secretary of State shall not conflict with laws passed by legislation or the Oregon Constitution.

USlegal states “Administrative agencies can make rules only when rulemaking power is delegated to them by statute or constitution. If an agency exceeds the power conferred by a legislature in making a rule, the rule made will be considered void. The fact that regulations made by an agency are reasonable does not prevent them from being deemed invalid.”

To appeal a County Clerk’s denial of a “Prospective Initiative Petition”, the petitioners must file a complaint (petition) with the circuit court of that county. Appeals could fall under two different statutes: ORS 250.168 Determination of compliance with constitutional provisions or ORS 246.910 Appeal from Secretary of State, county clerk or other elections official to courts.

Anyone that would like to assist the effort to return to hand counting of ballots can contact the author of this article at terrynoonkester@gmail.com

--Terry Noonkester

Post Date: 2023-10-21 06:54:54Last Update: 2023-10-20 20:17:23

Scharf Calls for Immediate Repeal of M110
“Oregonians from all corners of the state want action now”

The Oregon Legislature has now convened a Measure 110 bipartisan workgroup to try to figure out how to solve the ever-growing drug problem in the state. Many observers are saying that the committee exists mostly for show. Representative Anna Scharf (R-Amity), a Republican in Oregon, has now pointed out that it seems some politicians may be using it just to build campaign talking points for the upcoming 2024 election. She says that this committee is driven by the majority Democrat party that refused to have bi-partisan conversations during the 2023 Legislative session.

Representative E. Werner Reshke (R-Klamath Falls) and Senator David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) have both recently called for Measure 110 to be overturned.

Now, less than 4 months after the end of that session, many Oregonians are insisting that the drug abuse epidemic they are witnessing is an emergency that needs a bipartisan package solution before the February 2024 short legislative session.

In November of 2020, Oregon had been in lockdown for over six months when voters went to the polls. It was a contentious Presidential election year and Measure 110 passed is a divisive manner as well with only 58% of voters supporting it. The result, Oregon became the first state in the nation to make personal possession of a controlled substance no more than a Class E violation (max fine of $100 fine). In comparison, a Class C traffic violation, going 11-20 miles per hour over the speed limit, carries a $165 fine.

"The voter’s pamphlet in 2020 was, at best, misleading to the average voter." says Representative Anna Scharf (R-Amity).

The Secretary of State ‘s approved Ballot title was presented as follows:

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

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

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

There were 18 pages of YES on Measure 110 information. To the average voter, it would appear that more people favored this measure, and who wouldn’t, after all it was going to “provide addiction recovery centers /services”.

Measure 110 was supported by large one-time Political Action Committees (PAC): A More Humane Approach, Yes on 110 Committee, More Treatment for a Better Oregon, and Washington County Justice Initiative.

$6M dollars was received by these various PACs from the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) out of New York. This out of state organizations mission is “working to end the drug war, repair its harms, and build a non-punitive, equitable, and regulated drug market. We envision a world that embraces the full humanity of people, regardless of their relationship to drugs”.



The statements in the voters’ pamphlet statements also appeared to come from credible and well known organizations: Oregon Nurses Association, Oregon Academy of Family Physicians, a wide variety of faith organizations, Oregon ALF-CIO, AFSCME 75, IBEW Local 48 and other union organizations, organizations representing underserved communities such as Hacienda CDC and Latino Health Coalition, multiple addiction and diversion counselors alongside Oregon School Social Workers Association and Oregon School Psychologists’ Association and pages from individual Oregonians.

In contrast, the NO on Measure 110 campaign had one PAC fighting the measure, the No on Measure 110 committee, and they raised a total of $167,000. Add to that the mere 7 pages of opposition, and it seems the argument paled in comparison and organizational backing. There was a lone doctor and registered nurse, a candidate for State Representative who lost her election, a single recovery treatment provider, a sitting Senator from rural Eastern Oregon, a school district superintendent, who would later run for Governor and lose in the primary and a few dozen citizens. The backing was lackluster at best.

However, it was opposed by 25 of the 36 Count District Attorneys from across the state.

"Measure 110 failed to do what the voters thought it would do which was to increase access to treatment by creating more treatment options and access," explained Representative Scharf. "Instead, it decriminalized heroin, meth, cocaine, oxycodone and fentanyl and eliminated the legal options for lifesaving interventions and mandatory treatment. It tied the hands of law enforcement and District Attorneys and portrayed individuals with active addictions as rational actors who would naturally seek out and accept treatment for their condition willingly. A person with an addiction does not make rational decisions. They are either led to it or forced into it. Measure 110 did neither. It gave permission to use drugs and the State funded the ongoing addiction through a network of Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) who provided tents, food, clean needles, money and very little treatment. Remember, the treatment is voluntary."

Scharf points out that there are multiple polls recently showing that Oregonians want a repeal of Measure 110 .

August 23, 2023 Oregon Live “Emerson College Polling, a leading pollster, conducted the survey this month, finding 56% of Oregonians support a total repeal of Measure 110, with 64% saying they support repealing parts of the law.

September 27, 2023 OPB “An April poll by DHM Research found that 63% of voters support bringing back criminal penalties for drug possession”.



DHM Research surveys (they are an independent research firm that specializes in measuring the values and priorities that drive public opinion). April 24, 2023 – Oregon Voter Survey; 6 in 10 voters think Measure 110 has made drug addiction, homelessness, and crime worse. May 12, 2023 - 63% of Oregon Voters support brining back criminal penalties for drug possession.

Scharf says that unlike previous short sessions, the Democrats are face to face with a real public opinion shift. She says that they simply can’t do nothing, but they don’t want to do repeal Measure 110 and take all that money away from the CBO’s that facilitate the drug use in order to gain the funding from the marijuana tax.

"No addiction crisis, no money for them," said Scharf. "That was clear in the first meeting of the Joint Committee on Addiction and Community Safety Response.

"They need more support to maintain and expand this work,” said Representative Jason Kropf (D-Bend), co-chair of the Joint Committee. This despite the Oregon Health Authority ending Measure 110 grants over misuse of funds to three addiction providers in September for failure to provide services for the grant funds they received.

"Democrats need to do something in order to appease voters and retain control of the House and the Senate," said Scharf. "Oregonians from all corners of the state see the failure of Measure 110 and they want action now. They must come up with something that appeals to voters and makes them feel like change is coming, without actually doing anything. Remember, the major supporters of Measure 110 in 2020 were Unions, Oregon ALF-CIO, AFSCME 75, IBEW Local 48, etc., and other special interest groups who financially back the campaigns of Democrats. They need those backers and their money to stay in control and they need the voters to think change is coming down the road as long as they stay in charge."

The Democratic Party of Oregon official statement in the 2020 Voters' Pamphlet indicated that the party supported a yes vote on Measure 110.

Representative Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) has filled to run for the open Attorney General seat. Scharf points out that the last thing he needs going into the 2024 campaign is a Democrat policy that failed under his watch, a weak solution that failed to listen to voters across the state.

"Instead of facilitating a committee to make the Democrats look like they care about bi-partisan legislation and that they are listening to the majority or Oregonians, Republicans should be demanding a complete repeal," says Representative Scharf. "Re-installation of the criminalization of drug possession and a commitment to a comprehensive rehabilitation plan that includes mandatory drug treatment, long-term support and funding accountability by all CBOs that receive money to help treat drug addiction. Now is not the time to continue down the road of Measure 110 or wait for it to get better. November 2024 is the time to change the course of Oregon completely and eliminate the one-party control that got Oregon into this addiction crisis."

Representative Anna Scharf is a Republican representing Oregon's House District 23, which is comprised of most of Polk and parts of Yamhill Counties, including the communities of Dallas, Dayton, Dundee, Falls City and Newberg.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-10-20 16:36:58Last Update: 2023-10-20 18:46:27

Essential Skills Requirement Suspended Again
“It’s not extreme or bigoted to hold students to high standards”

After pulling the item off last month’s meeting agenda following backlash from parents, the Oregon State Board of Education, chaired by Guadalupe Martinez Zapata, has again proposed suspending graduation standards for the next four years of high school seniors.

“Our students deserve rigorous standards to ensure they are well-prepared for the challenges of the real world -- to allow them to achieve their hopes and dreams for a bright future,” former Oregon Republican gubernatorial nominee Christine Drazan said. “I am calling on the Board of Education to indefinitely table this proposal and work to identify how they plan to improve educational outcomes for Oregon students.”

“I found Board Chair Martinez Zapata’s comments last month extremely offensive to parents who want to ensure a high-quality education for their kids. Her dismissive tone and condescending attitude toward those who disagree with her were beyond the pale. That same approach is again on full display by resurrecting this proposal. It’s not extreme or bigoted to believe that Oregon’s education system should hold students to high standards and give them the support they need to achieve them.”

While Oregon graduation rates slowly climb, there is a corresponding decline in achievement.

The Legislature suspended the Essential Learning assessments in 2021 with no signs of better results for students. The proposal on tomorrow’s agenda would suspend the assessments through the 2027-2028 school year. According to the Oregon Department of Education Website, the assessment of the Essential Skills is suspended as a requirement for receiving a high school diploma during the 2021-22, 2022-23, and 2023-24 school years

Since running for Governor in 2022, Christine Drazan has founded A New Direction – a 501(c)4 non-profit organization, described as "dedicated to connecting Oregonians with each other to advance policies and ideas that make Oregon a safer, more affordable place to live and raise a family, strengthen checks and balances."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-10-20 14:31:13Last Update: 2023-10-19 11:51:46

Calls to Repeal Measure 110 Snowball
“Oregon was 49th in the nation for access to treatment and now Oregon is 50th”

Senator David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) has joined Representative E. Werner Reschke in calling for a Special Legislative Session to protect the residents of our communities and give our public safety officers the tools they need to do so by repealing Measure 110.

“Measure 110 has failed Oregonians and the overwhelming majority want change,” said Senator Brock Smith. “The decriminalization of drug possession, the lack of incarceration and required treatment has caused a dramatic increase in drug use and addiction, increased homelessness, open drug use in our communities, and increases in overall property and other crimes. Measure 110 has ultimately compromised the safety of our residents by reducing the deterrent effect of law enforcement, taking away their ability for arrest.”

A recent poll found that 64% of Oregonians think parts of Measure 110 should be repealed.

Oregon was the first state in the nation to decriminalize possession of certain drugs through Measure 110, and the majority shifted funds away from public safety, schools, cities, and counties to the Oregon Health Authority for its dismal implementation. CDC data clearly shows that drug overdoses from drugs like heroin and fentanyl have tripled in Oregon. Additionally, more than three fifths of those ticketed never paid their fine. Despite over 5,000 receiving a ticket, fewer than 120 called the treatment referral hotline.

“Not only has Measure 110’s policies failed Oregonians, OHA’s implementation has done so as well. Prior to the passage of Measure 110, Oregon was 49th in the nation for access to treatment and now Oregon is 50th. After sitting through the Joint Interim Committee on Addiction and Community Safety Response yesterday, I was shocked at some of the figures presented and answers given by OHA personnel. Their presentation only showed data through 2021, however CDC data is readily available through October 1st, 2023. I’m disappointed with the perception by the department to not present the most recent data available to the public, as it shows the dramatic increase in drug overdose deaths since the passage of Measure 110.

In the summer of 2021, the Oregon Legislature passed SB 755 which established Behavioral Health Resource Networks. A BHRN is an entity or group of entities working together to provide comprehensive, community-based services and supports to people with substance use disorders or harmful substance use. SB 755 allocated $265 million in grants to BHRNs

“Measure 110 is a failure. More lives are lost every day. Our law enforcement officers are put at greater risk and without the necessary tools to protect our citizens and their communities. I appreciate and thank the Douglas, Coos, and Curry County Commissioners for recently passing resolutions requesting the Governor and/or Oregon Legislature to repeal Measure 110. I also appreciate the support of our County Sheriffs and District Attorneys on these county resolution requests.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-10-19 08:18:52Last Update: 2023-10-19 09:24:09

Willamette NF to Begin Road Repair in Detroit District
Much-needed road reconstruction projects will extend into 2024

The Willamette National Forest will begin much-needed road reconstruction projects this month to remove hazards and repair portions of the transit system damaged in recent years by wildfires. The multi-phase emergency response project in the Detroit Ranger District will extend into 2024 and will repair sections of Forest Service Road (FR) 46, French Creek Road (FR 2223) and Whitewater Road (FR 2243), among others.

The 2020 Beachie Creek and Lionshead fires burned approximately 40% of the Detroit Ranger District and left nearly 200 miles of fire-damaged roads in need of major repairs. The first phase of the disaster-recovery project will include road work along 36 miles of the Detroit Ranger District transit system. FR 46, part of the West Cascades National Scenic Byway, will have periodic delays later this fall. The Forest Service will provide public notice of any delay or closure on FR 46 two weeks in advance. The French Creek and Whitewater repair projects will be in an existing closure area.

Disaster response crews and heavy equipment operators will work to reduce the risks of hazardous fuels, as well as overhead and up-slope hazards that have fallen across roadways or remain standing along important travel routes. The extensive roads project will include risk-mitigation of fire-damaged trees, roadside fuel reduction, and essential maintenance and road reconstruction so that access to and through the fire-burned areas can be safely restored.



Forest Service crews also continue to mitigate safety hazards at fire-impacted recreational sites and trails as the Detroit Ranger District brings in advanced tree fallers from other Forest Service units to help remove dead and damaged trees in recreational areas.

“We understand that people are eager to visit their favorite places,” said Detroit District Ranger Michelle King. “These major improvement projects will help us provide workers and visitors with safe access to our forest roads and recreation sites into the future.”

Areas that will remain closed this year include McCoy Road (FR 2233), Boulder Road (FR 2231), South Breitenbush Road (FR 4685), and Opal Creek (FR 2209 and FR 2207).

Visitors are encouraged to Know Before You Go and exercise caution on nearby roadways that may have heavy truck and equipment traffic. To check the status of a location before entering the Forest, please visit the Willamette National Forest - Alerts & Notices.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-10-18 10:55:37Last Update: 2023-10-18 11:21:51

OHA Releases Measure 110 Report and Dashboard
Providers report increased use

In November 2020, Oregon voters passed Measure 110, the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act of 2020, to better serve people actively using substances or diagnosed with a substance use disorder. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) says Measure 110 was in response to the high rate of drug addiction and overdoses in Oregon, and the disproportionate impact of those outcomes on Oregon’s communities of color. However, the ballot title was Drug Decriminalization and Addiction Treatment Initiative.

OHA says the goal for Measure 110 was to establish a more equitable health-based and effective approach to substance use disorder. Did voters know that was the goal of Measure 110 when treatment was not the sponsor's goal? Treatment was added as a cleanup for the decriminalization goal - moving convicted drug users into treatment centers, not to mention the additional addicted users due to the free movement of drugs. So, treatment providers must show an increase to just maintain the status quo of the number of untreated prior to Measure 110.

OHA recently released Measure 110 providers report on the first three quarters ending March 31, 2023, showing a continued increase in the number of clients served statewide in all seven network service areas. Overdose prevention and peer support services accounted for the largest client gains in the quarterly report. “It’s encouraging to see the reported client gains by Measure 110 service providers. It’s another sign that the statewide networks are taking hold and more people are getting treatment along with critically needed services and supports,” said OHA Behavioral Health Director Ebony Clarke.

OHA has developed a comprehensive Measure 110 data reporting dashboard that includes quarterly data, expenditures, key demographic information, and aggregated narrative summaries for the 42 statewide service networks.

Also starting this reporting period, the dashboard will contain stories of how Measure 110 is working to save lives, support people in recovery, stabilize youth and families and help people find housing and employment.



The third quarter reporting shows that investments are trending away from the emphasis on capital expenditures and toward sustained treatment and recovery services.

The Measure 110 program continues to refine service data collection for communities of color and other disproportionately affected communities, as the networks transition toward implementing Race Ethnicity and Language Disability (REALD) standards in their data collection.

Providers report that even with expanded services, they have decreased wait times for accessing treatment. But, nearly 40 percent cited staff retention and recruiting as an ongoing challenge.

One provider cited an example of decreased wait times: “Our transitional home was opened, and we had immediate placement of one family, including a mother and her infant.”

The deadline for the next round of reporting due October 16 will cover the time between April through June 30, 2023. Hopefully in time for legislative review.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-10-15 21:14:21Last Update: 2023-10-14 23:02:09

Oregon Supreme Court Ruled Against Attempted Crime
A case for a special session

In the wake of Representative Reschke (R-Crater Lake) urging Oregon Governor Kotek to call a special session to address fentanyl deaths and overdose events brought on my Measure 110, the Oregon Supreme Court intensifies the need.

In the criminal case of Oregon v. Hubbell, a trial court convicted defendant Brian Hubbell of delivery under a prohibited act in ORS 475.752 based on evidence that defendant’s extended-stay hotel room contained a large quantity of fentanyl, a portion of which was packaged in a manner consistent with an intent to sell it to individual users or dealers.

Hubbell was arrested after three people overdosed from the fentanyl found in his hotel room. Hubbell was in police custody at the time and told detectives that he obtained the tub of fentanyl from an ex-girlfriend whose associate in the military had obtained it “through the dark web from China.” He had not distributed any as he knew the dangers and it had been in the tub since he obtained it.

The arguments in the case were around the exception under ORS 475.005(8), “Deliver” or “delivery” means the actual, constructive or attempted transfer, other than by administering or dispensing, from one person to another of a controlled substance, whether or not there is an agency relationship.

Over defendant’s objection, the trial court ruled that evidence was sufficient to convict him of delivery under Oregon v. Boyd, 756 P2d 1276 (1988). In Boyd, the Court of Appeals interpreted the phrase “attempted transfer” in ORS 475.005(8) by applying principles of liability for the undefined crime of attempt. Boyd used ORS 161.405(1), whereby a person who intentionally takes a “substantial step” toward committing a crime is liable for attempting the crime.

Boyd held that possessing a controlled substance in a quantity too large to be consistent with personal use, combined with evidence of an intent to transfer that substance, constitutes a substantial step toward transferring it and was sufficient to show an “attempted transfer.”



On appeal in this case, defendant argued that evidence was insufficient to show delivery even under Boyd. The Court of Appeal, on its own, re-examined Boyd and overruled it, holding that possession plus an intent to deliver, without more, was insufficient to show an “attempted transfer” for purposes of the completed crime of delivery of controlled substances. It could, however, establish a “substantial step” for purposes of the undefined crime of attempt. They determined that their ruling had been counter to the intent of the legislature in adopting the criminal code and providing for a hierarchy of completed versus attempted crimes.

Since Boyd has set the standard for other cases, the reversal of the Court of Appeals, and now confirmation by the Oregon Supreme Court, may have consequences for Oregonians who have been charged with and convicted of the completed crime of delivery on the Boyd theory.

What will that do to an already drug addicted Oregon to have dealers and drug traffickers released who were convicted using Boyd? Will a special session help to tighten the statutes so enforcement can rid Oregon of deadly drugs?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-10-14 21:53:00Last Update: 2023-10-14 23:01:41

Fishing Disaster Declared in Oregon
“This determination is incredible news for commercial fishers”

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has announced that the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo has determined that a commercial fishery failure occurred during 2018, 2019 and 2020 due to a fishery resource disaster, affecting Oregon Chinook Salmon Fisheries. This determination is in response to a request from Governor Kate Brown in October 2021.

Approved fishery disaster determinations make these fisheries eligible for funding from current fishery disaster appropriations to aid in the recovery of affected communities, restore the fishery, and/or prevent future disasters.

“This determination is incredible news for commercial fishers who have been waiting for years to find out whether or not they can receive support from the federal government,” Governor Kotek said. “This is a result of the work of Governor Brown and our congressional delegation to recognize and advocate for Oregon’s commercial fisheries. I am also hopeful for a future determination for our recent fisheries disaster declaration request.”



NOAA Fisheries, the federal agency in charge of the stewardship of U.S. national marine resources, will notify award recipients of their eligibility for funding and provide guidance on the development of applications for federal financial assistance (also known as spend plans) in the coming weeks.

In April 2023, Governor Tina Kotek requested that the U.S. Department of Commerce make an expedited declaration of a federal fishery resource disaster for ocean commercial salmon fisheries for 2023. That request is still active and has not yet been determined. The press release with that announcement can be found online.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-10-14 19:39:08Last Update: 2023-10-14 19:56:40

Pacific Northwest Selected for Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub
Oregon joins the PNWH2 Hub

Oregon has rejected hydrogen power, but now that there is federal money available, will Oregon Governor Kotek seriously bring hydrogen to the state? The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) established grants in 2022 to develop Hydrogen Hubs across the country. The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association’s PNWH2 Hub has been selected as one of the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs that is eligible to receive $1 billion in federal funds.

Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association has already established private-public partnership with Washington State to jumpstart the state’s transition to clean hydrogen, particularly to decarbonize sectors such as maritime, aviation, and heavy industry. Washington Green Hydrogen Alliance, Washington State University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and many private corporations have joined in partnerships.

The PNWH2 Hub will span across Washington, Oregon, and Montana, and will leverage the clean power and innovative technology companies in the Pacific Northwest to accelerate the transition to clean hydrogen production and use. The Washington hub will focus on decarbonizing the region’s hard-to-electrify heavy-duty transportation, long-duration energy storage, ports, agriculture and industrial operations.

Hydrogen atoms are contained in water, plants, animals and, of course, humans. But while it’s present in nearly all molecules in living things, it’s very scarce as a gas – less than one part per million by volume. The draw is that burning hydrogen does not release carbon dioxide. Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of resources, such as natural gas, nuclear power, biogas and renewable power. The challenge is harnessing hydrogen as a gas on a large scale to fuel homes and businesses. Hydrogen is also a lightweight fuel option for road, air and shipping transportation.

The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association brings together key players in the industry to respond to the opportunity, build the infrastructure necessary to form such a hub and integrate it into the state’s clean energy portfolio, eliminate fossil fuels from its electricity generation portfolio by 2045 and adopt a 100% clean electricity standard as well as net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050,



“Oregon has long been a leader in clean, renewable energy production,” said Governor Tina Kotek. “This transformational opportunity to accelerate development of the nation’s clean energy economy is tailor-made for the Pacific Northwest, where a proud tradition of technological innovation and collaboration in taking on bold challenges is in our nature. I am grateful for this exciting investment from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Biden Administration.”

“With this investment, the Pacific Northwest will be able to develop a new clean hydrogen economy that will create local jobs and build on the region’s long history of supporting clean energy resources,” said Oregon Department of Energy Director and PNWH2 Board Vice Chair Janine Benner. “We can seize this opportunity to ensure an equitable clean energy transition that invests in local communities across the region.”

Founded with unions, environmental groups, and tribal representatives, the PNWH2 Hub includes representation from these groups on its Community Benefits Plan governing board. The hub has also committed to negotiating Project Labor Agreements for all projects over $1 million and anticipates creating more than 10,000 direct jobs.

The PNWH2 Hub is eligible to receive up to $1 billion in federal funding over four DOE-defined development phases spanning nine years, with $20 million allocated for Phase 1. DOE will evaluate the hub’s activities and deliver go/no-go decisions at each phase.

Can and will Oregon shift its agenda and stop the attack against natural gas and fossil fuels so its abundance can be used to produce clean hydrogen energy?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-10-13 16:25:55Last Update: 2023-10-13 17:37:19

State Courts Asking Oregonians for Input
How can we make the state courts better?

Oregon State courts are asking Oregonians for ideas about how to improve. Oregon Judicial Department, which runs the state circuit courts, says that it invites all Oregonians to an online community conversation to provide ideas and feedback about how to make the courts better.

The conversation is happening Monday, Oct. 30, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. OJD says that they especially want to hear from people who have used, interacted with, or helped someone else interact with the state courts in the past year.

Topics will include how to make courthouses safer and more welcoming, how to make it easier to do business with the courts, how to make jury duty better, and how the courts can do a better job talking to and listening to the community.

Spanish interpreters will be available. Those interested can request ADA accommodations via email. Find the link to join the conversations on the OJD Community Conversations website



OJD outlines the following topics that may be covered:
--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-10-13 12:15:18Last Update: 2023-10-13 12:43:42

Kotek Appoints New Head of Agriculture Department
“Oregon faces complex natural resources challenges”

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has appointed Lisa Charpilloz Hanson, executive director of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, to lead the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The Oregon Senate will take up her confirmation as permanent director in November.

“Oregon faces complex natural resources challenges across our state that require data-driven, resilient solutions,” Governor Kotek said. “Lisa Charpilloz Hanson brings decades of experience working with natural resource communities to meet the needs of Oregonians across the state. I look forward to seeing her great work and leadership at the agency.”

Kotek says that Lisa Charpilloz Hanson brings two decades of leadership, policy direction, and program administration to the role, including 15 years as deputy director at ODA. Kotek insists that Charpilloz Hanson has experience leading, developing, and directing the budget requests and legislative agendas of both ODA and OWEB. Charpilloz Hanson also serves on the Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences Leadership Academy Advisory Board.



“It is an honor to return to the Department of Agriculture and serve Oregonians,” Lisa Charpilloz Hanson said. “Oregon’s diverse agricultural and food sectors have changing needs in our changing environment. I am excited to work with the team at the department to enhance the natural environment and the value of working lands. I look forward to working with food and ag producers, strengthening existing partnerships and building new ones, while celebrating the diversity of Oregon agriculture and continuing to introduce customers in Oregon, the US and around the world to Oregon’s high-quality products.”

Charpilloz Hanson’s start date is December 1st, 2023. Bill Ryan will continue as acting director of ODA until then.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-10-12 06:25:54Last Update: 2023-10-12 06:46:25

OHA Launches Data Dashboard for Transportation Injuries
“These dashboards make it easy for people to view injury and fatality data”

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has now announced that they are unveiling another interactive data dashboard to help people more easily track state, county and demographic trends in deaths and hospital visits related to a range of transportation-related injuries.

The Oregon Transportation Safety Dashboard, developed by the Injury and Violence Prevention Program at the OHA Public Health Division, improves access to the data among the public, state and local agencies, and community organizations that work to reduce incidence of transportation-related injuries and deaths.

“These dashboards make it easy for people to view injury and fatality data,” said Dagan Wright, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., senior injury epidemiologist and informaticist at the Public Health Division. “The transportation dashboard will help people understand transportation-related injury trends over time, characteristics of who is getting injured and by what types of transportation.”



The dashboard includes mortality, emergency department discharge and hospital discharge data in nine transportation categories, such as motorcycle, motor vehicle occupant, pedal cyclist and pedestrian. Data are aggregated for annual statewide trends, as well as a four-year average for county-level and demographic trends.

The new dashboard affirms trends that have made headlines in recent months:

Overall, fatalities for transportation are increasing, specifically for motorcycles, pedal cyclists and pedestrians.

OHA says that an increased focus on emerging transportation modes that cause injury is necessary in order to get a full picture of changing trends. The dashboard includes a “pedestrian-involving wheeled device” category to capture popular new transportation modes like e-scooters.

“What we have seen in both non-fatal transportation injuries and deaths needs attention from our communities, especially for more vulnerable users,” Wright said. “Data dashboards like these help us monitor trends and better anticipate where to direct resources so we can reduce the burden of these injuries on individuals, communities and agencies.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-10-11 13:49:46Last Update: 2023-10-11 14:09:54

Understanding Oregon’s Kicker
Tax-hungry Democrats have been proposing to divert kicker funds away from taxpayers

Imagine if you went to your favorite fast food restaurant and ordered the cheeseburger combo with fries and a drink for $12.99 and handed the cashier a $20 bill. Suppose, instead of handing you back $7.01 in change, they added items to your order to use up the $20, figuring you needed a larger drink, some chicken nuggets, or a piece of pie for desert. You'd be puzzled, if not outraged.

Oregon's kicker law keeps state government from doing the equivalent -- except instead of a $20 bill, we're talking millions or even billions of dollars.

The 2% surplus kicker gives taxpayers an income tax credit if actual revenues for the biennium are more than 2% higher than forecast at the time the budget was adopted. When the law was first enacted, the Oregon Department of Revenue sent kicker checks to taxpayers. In 2011, the Oregon Legislature changed the law so that the kicker refund appeared as a credit on the next year's taxes. It is estimated that the distribution via check cost the taxpayers an additional $1M per kicker year.

Personal Income Kicker History
in $M
The kicker law divides all General Fund money into two pots: (1) corporate taxes; and (2) personal income taxes plus all other revenues. At the end of each biennium, if the actual collections in either of these two pots are more than 2% higher than was forecast at the close of the regular session, then a refund or credit must be paid. If a kicker is triggered in a pot, then all the money in that pot in excess of the close of session forecast, including the 2%, is returned to taxpayers.

In 1990 the legislature suspended the potential $246 million kicker because of budget problems arising from the implementation of Ballot Measure 5's property tax reform.

In 2012, voters changed the kicker law so that surpluses in the corporate pot fund a K through 12 public education. Most experts agree that this has the practical effect of diverting the money into the general fund, as this money displaces what were formerly general fund allocations to education.

The amount refunded in the case of the individual taxpayers or allocated to the general fund for public education is an identical proportion of each taxpayer’s personal income tax liability for the prior year. For example, if the kicker refund is 5% and the taxpayer had a liability of $1,000, he or she would receive a refund of $50. The estimate upon which the kicker calculation is based can be increased, thereby reducing or eliminating the kicker refund/credit, on a one-time basis if an emergency is declared and approved by a 2/3 vote in each chamber of the Legislative Assembly.

Over the years, tax-hungry Democrats have been proposing to divert kicker funds away from the taxpayers who paid them. In the 2023 session, Senator Jeff Golden (D-Ashland) propsosed changing the kicker distribution from a payment proportional to the amount paid by the taxpayer to an equal distribution to all personal income taxpayers. The bill found little support and died in the Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue. This proposal echoed nearly identical proposals by Representative Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene) in 2016 and 2017

Senator James Manning, Jr. (D-Eugene) proposed an amendment to the Oregon Constitution in 2017 and 2019 which would have diverted the individual kicker into education.

The "Kicker" law can be found in the Oregon Constitution:

Article IX, Section 14. Revenue estimate; retention of excess corporate tax revenue in General Fund for public education funding; return of other excess revenue to taxpayers; legislative increase in estimate. (1) As soon as is practicable after adjournment sine die of an odd-numbered year regular session of the Legislative Assembly, the Governor shall cause an estimate to be prepared of revenues that will be received by the General Fund for the biennium beginning July 1. The estimated revenues from corporate income and excise taxes shall be separately stated from the estimated revenues from other General Fund sources.
(2) As soon as is practicable after the end of the biennium, the Governor shall cause actual collections of revenues received by the General Fund for that biennium to be determined. The revenues received from corporate income and excise taxes shall be determined separately from the revenues received from other General Fund sources.
(3) If the revenues received by the General Fund from corporate income and excise taxes during the biennium exceed the amount estimated to be received from corporate income and excise taxes for the biennium, by two percent or more, the total amount of the excess shall be retained in the General Fund and used to provide additional funding for public education, kindergarten through twelfth grade.
(4) If the revenues received from General Fund revenue sources, exclusive of those described in subsection (3) of this section, during the biennium exceed the amount estimated to be received from such sources for the biennium, by two percent or more, the total amount of the excess shall be returned to personal income taxpayers.
(5) The Legislative Assembly may enact laws:
(a) Establishing a tax credit, refund payment or other mechanism by which the excess revenues are returned to taxpayers, and establishing administrative procedures connected therewith.
(b) Allowing the excess revenues to be reduced by administrative costs associated with returning the excess revenues.
(c) Permitting a taxpayer's share of the excess revenues not to be returned to the taxpayer if the taxpayer's share is less than a de minimis amount identified by the Legislative Assembly.
(d) Permitting a taxpayer's share of excess revenues to be offset by any liability of the taxpayer for which the state is authorized to undertake collection efforts.
(6)(a) Prior to the close of a biennium for which an estimate described in subsection (1) of this section has been made, the Legislative Assembly, by a two-thirds majority vote of all members elected to each House, may enact legislation declaring an emergency and increasing the amount of the estimate prepared pursuant to subsection (1) of this section.
(b) The prohibition against declaring an emergency in an act regulating taxation or exemption in section 1a, Article IX of this Constitution, does not apply to legislation enacted pursuant to this subsection.
(7) This section does not apply:
(a) If, for a biennium or any portion of a biennium, a state tax is not imposed on or measured by the income of individuals.
(b) To revenues derived from any minimum tax imposed on corporations for the privilege of carrying on or doing business in this state that is imposed as a fixed amount and that is nonapportioned (except for changes of accounting periods).
(c) To biennia beginning before July 1, 2001. [Created through H.J.R. 17, 1999, and adopted by the people Nov. 7, 2000; Amendment proposed by S.J.R. 41, 2010, and adopted by the people Nov. 2, 2010; Amendment proposed by initiative petition filed Dec. 7, 2011, and adopted by the people Nov. 6, 2012]

Editor's note: We gratefully acknowledge documents produced by the Legislative Revenue Office and the Oregon Department of Revenue for their contributions to this article

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-10-11 09:40:02Last Update: 2023-10-11 09:44:55

Republicans in Oregon Condemn Hamas Terrorist Attacks
“We mourn the tragic loss of hundreds of innocent civilian lives”

In recognition of the thousands wounded and held hostage, and more than 1,100 innocent lives lost to Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel, Oregon House Republican Leader Jeff Helfrich (R-Hood River) is asking Oregon Governor Kotek to immediately order all flags to fly at half-staff.

“We cannot ignore the atrocities that have been committed against the Israeli people and the Jewish community at large," stated Helfrich. "Blood thirsty Hamas terrorists have murdered more than 1,100 innocent men, women, and children, and held hostage hundreds of others – including Americans. All statements dismissing these atrocities are disgraceful. “As a military veteran who has served overseas, it is clear that this war has worldwide impacts. Now is the time to recognize the evil in front of us and denounce Hamas, a terrorist organization whose intention is to eradicate the State of Israel and Jewish people around the world."

“There must be no doubt that the State of Oregon stands firm with Israel and Oregon’s Jewish communities in their time of need."



Senate Democratic Leader Kate Lieber and Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp released the following joint statement:

“We unequivocally stand with our ally Israel and affirm their right to defend themselves from the brutal terrorist acts perpetrated by Iranian-backed Hamas. We mourn the tragic loss of hundreds of innocent civilian lives." “This violence and chaos must end. The terrorists responsible for the heinous attack must face severe consequences, and we call on Hamas to release all hostages immediately.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-10-10 14:37:50Last Update: 2023-10-10 16:45:08

Representative Reschke Calls for Special Session
“Now is the time to repeal Measure 110”

Oregon State Representative E. Werner Reschke has now urged Governor Tina Kotek to call a special session of the Oregon Legislature for the sole purpose of repealing Measure 110. Representative Reschke, who is a Republican representing Oregon's House District 55, cited the worsening addiction crisis, which recently saw a mass overdose event in the streets of Portland, as well as public opinion polling showing Oregonians want the measure repealed in urging the governor to take action.

“Every day Ballot Measure 110 remains in place, more addicts are created and more people die", said Reschke. "The evidence is clearly seen by the explosion of homelessness and despair throughout the state. It’s obvious to most that Measure 110 has been an abject policy failure."

He continued, “With due respect to my legislative colleagues, we cannot wait until February for a new committee to deliberate and decide. Oregonians want to see immediate action, that’s why a special session, now, is imperative. Every day that goes by, more of our neighbors succumb to addiction, and recovery takes time, is expensive and difficult. Now, not in several months, is the time to repeal Measure 110.”

Representative Reschke went on to point out that Ballot Measure 110 took state funding dedicated to schools, police, cities, and counties and shifted it to the Oregon Health Authority to set up addiction recovery services. At the same time, the measure decriminalized all street drugs.



During the 2023 Legislative session several bills were introduced by Republican legislators to wind back the harmful effects Measure 110. All were rejected by the majority of Democrat legislators.

“Just a week ago, we saw a mass overdose event involving young adults in Portland," Reschke stated. "It’s such a tragedy — even our kids aren’t safe from this deadly policy. Each day we wait, more harm is done; Measure 110 has cost people their lives; it has failed. Oregonians recognize it, too, with a majority of them supporting outright repeal. By delaying any further, the state’s enabling of addiction is cruel and immoral. We have the power to take action now, to make things right and repeal Measure 110. At the same time, I reaffirm my commitment to ensuring the Oregonians who need help recovering from addiction get the help they need. We must hold state agencies accountable for their failures to deliver promised services and put a real plan of action in place to assist those who are struggling. However, I firmly reject the idea that we must embrace decriminalization to deliver effective addiction recovery services. We’ve already seen that model play-out, and the consequences have been deadly.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-10-09 14:13:59Last Update: 2023-10-09 14:58:57

$5.61 Billion State Revenue Surplus Kicks the Kicker
Taxpayers will receive record kicker credit on returns next year

The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis has confirmed a more than $5.61 billion revenue surplus in the 2021-2023 biennium, triggering a tax surplus credit, or “kicker,” for the 2023 tax year.

The surplus -- the largest in state history -- will be returned to taxpayers through a credit on their 2023 state personal income tax returns filed in 2024. The credit is based on tax liability for the 2022 tax year. Taxpayers who have not yet filed a 2022 tax return, should file now so they can claim their kicker credit when they file their 2023 tax return.

The surplus leaves some asking, "Why are we still raising taxes and proposing removing the cap on property taxes when we have such lopsided surpluses?"

To calculate the amount of their credit, taxpayers can multiply their 2022 tax liability before any credits -- line 22 on the 2022 Form OR-40 -- by 44.28 percent. This percentage is determined and certified by OEA. Taxpayers who claimed a credit for tax paid to another state would need to subtract the credit amount from their liability before calculating the credit.



Personal income taxpayers can also determine the amount of their kicker using a What’s My Kicker? Calculator available on Revenue Online. To use the calculator, taxpayers will need to enter their name, Social Security Number, and filing status for 2022 and 2023.

Personal Income Kicker History
in $M
Taxpayers are eligible to claim the kicker if they filed a 2022 tax return and had tax due before credits. Even taxpayers who don't have a filing obligation for 2023, still must file a 2023 tax return to claim their credit. The 2023 Oregon personal income tax return instructions will include detailed information on how to claim the credit on Form OR-40 for full-year Oregon residents, Form OR-40-P for part-year residents, and Form OR-40-N for nonresidents. Composite and fiduciary-income tax return filers are also eligible.

Taxpayers should keep in mind that the state may use all or part of their kicker to pay any state debt they owe, such as tax due for other years, child support, court fines, or school loans.

Taxpayers can donate their kicker with a checkbox on their tax return to the Oregon State School Fund for K-12 public education, but they must donate the entire amount. The donation is permanent and cannot be taken back.

Taxpayers also have the option of donating part or all of their refund to any or all of the 29 charities approved by the Charitable Checkoff Commission. Taxpayers use Form OR-DONATE to designate any amount or all of their refund to donate to charity.

Free tax preparation services are available for both federal and Oregon tax returns. Some software companies offer free software use and e-filing for eligible taxpayers. Visit the Department of Revenue website to take advantage of the software and free offers and get more information about free tax preparation services.

For more information, go to the Oregon surplus “kicker” credit page of the Department of Revenue website.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-10-09 11:23:57Last Update: 2023-10-09 14:07:08

Rule Change for Cars on the Beach in Lincoln City
Fire and rescue crews encouraged the changes for public safety

The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission -- chaired by Jennifer Allen -- voted to allow beach driving to continue in fall, winter, and spring at one access point in Lincoln City and to prohibit it year-round at the other starting Oct. 1 due to ongoing safety issues.

The new rules were adopted September 20 in cooperation with Lincoln City Council, which voted earlier to support the proposal based on its staff recommendations. Fire and rescue crews encouraged the city and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to make the changes for public safety.

“I’m grateful for our partners in Lincoln City and around Oregon who voiced their concerns and helped find a solution that balances the needs of our visitors at the Oregon Coast. This rule change provides a safer experience at the beach access points in Lincoln City,” said Central Coast District Manager Preson Phillips.

Motor vehicles will be allowed to access the ocean shore at NW 15th Street, and drive 150 feet in either direction from Oct. 1 to April 30. Motor vehicles are prohibited at all other times except for emergency vehicles.

Motor vehicles will be prohibited year-round from driving on the ocean shore at NW 34th Street in Lincoln City. Safety concerns included crowding, a lack of separation of pedestrians and vehicles and the risk of injury to visitors playing in the stream directly below the access point.



OPRD will install signs that communicate the rule changes to the public. It will also work to improve signage and communication around both access locations regarding where individuals with disabilities can access the ocean shore.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-10-09 10:33:10Last Update: 2023-10-09 11:40:47

Rogue-Umpqua Resource Advisory Committee Seeks Applicants
Applications are due by Friday, October 13th

Umpqua National Forest is seeking applicants to fill 15 positions on the Rogue-Umpqua Resource Advisory Committee (RAC). As reauthorized under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act in Public Law 115-141, RAC members participate in collaborative decision making and recommend distribution of Title II funding for projects to improve forest health, watersheds, roads and facilities on, or adjacent to, the Umpqua and Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forests.

The Rogue-Umpqua RAC represents Lane, Douglas, Jackson, and Klamath counties and includes the Umpqua and Rogue River-Siskiyou national forests. RAC members must be a resident of Oregon and reside in one of these four counties. Applications are due to the Supervisor's Office in Roseburg by Friday, October 13, 2023. More information and application forms can be found on the website.

Past projects include noxious weed control, road realignment, trail construction and improvement, timber sale preparation, and the restoration of fish passages to restore native species.

The volunteer positions are unpaid; however, travel costs may be covered by the agency. The committee typically has one full day meeting each year in Roseburg.



RAC committee members will be officially appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture for a term of up to four years. RAC committees are to be balanced and diverse with equal representation from industry, environmental groups, recreation groups, elected officials, and local residents.

Applicants will be evaluated based on their training and experience working in the interest group they represent, their demonstrated commitment to collaborative decision-making, and their contribution to the balance and diversity of the RAC.

Each nominee is required to submit an application to Misti-Kae Bucich, RAC Coordinator, by Friday, October 13, 2023. If you are interested in serving on the Rogue-Umpqua RAC, please visit the Umpqua National Forest website or you can email Misti-Kae Bucich, Partnership/RAC/Volunteer Coordinator for the Umpqua National Forest.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-10-08 11:29:15Last Update: 2023-10-08 16:29:58

ODOT to Pause Tolling Program
“We face the need to manage spending more conservatively”

Amidst declining gas tax revenues, the Oregon Transportation Commission -- the policy setting board for the Oregon Department of Transportation -- has decided to scale back several projects in its Urban Mobility Plan, including tolling on parts of I-205 and I-5. ODOT still plans to toll the section of the Abernathy Bridge, located where I-205 crosses the Willamette River, when that part of the project is complete.

In 2017, then Governor Kate Brown signed HB 2017, known as Keep Oregon Moving. The new law directed the Oregon Transportation Commission to establish a congestion relief program, to seek federal approval to implement value pricing and to implement pricing on specific facilities. These provisions and others, including amendments made in 2021 by HB 3055, reside at Chapter 383 of Oregon Revised Statutes. Since 2017, ODOT has taken steps to establish a tolling program and to prepare to implement tolling on Interstates 5 and 205, as prescribed by statute. In January, 2023, the OTC adopted an amendment to Oregon Highway Plan Goal 6 Tolling and Pricing to modernize policy.

Urban Mobility Strategy Projects include:

In late June, the Oregon Transportation Commission held a special meeting to discuss their draft finance plan for major Portland region projects such as the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project, I-205 Improvements Project and the Oregon Toll Program. The commission approved the plan and the agency sent this plan to Governor Kotek for her review.

This finance plan was requested by Gov. Tina Kotek , she directed to delay toll collection until 2026, recognizing that projects that were meant to be funded by toll revenue would be impacted by this delay.



The Transportation Commission says that tolling was always a central component of paying for these projects. They state that With tolling revenue now delayed, they face the need to manage spending more conservatively.

The Commission has said that there is still commitment to the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project and the Historic Albina community. The commission advised ODOT staff to move forward with the baseline which will provide roughly $40 million in further funding to bring the project to a higher level of design, making it more competitive for future funding opportunities. I-205 Improvements Project includes proposed two options regarding the I-205 Improvements Project. The baseline includes indefinitely postponing the second phase of construction, which includes adding a missing third lane and seismic upgrades to a total of eight bridges. Construction on the Abernethy Bridge would continue, and tolls would begin in 2026 to repay the costs of the bridge. The alternative option envisions doing the above but would also include additional funding to replace the Tualatin River Bridge to make it earthquake ready.

The commission advised ODOT staff to move forward with the baseline option of finishing construction on the Abernethy Bridge, tolling at the bridge to repay the cost of construction, and indefinitely postponing phase two of the project.

“This is how we’re going to move forward for the time being unless given different direction. If the direction is that we’re not going to toll at all, then we’re going to have to pivot hard and make really difficult decisions,” Chair Julie Brown shared.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-10-07 17:05:36Last Update: 2023-10-07 19:17:46

FBI Arrest Five in Portland in Multi-State Takedown
FBI seized 25 guns and nine kilos of cocaine

Five people were arrested in the Portland metro area on Wednesday in a large-scale drug and gun bust throughout three states.

During the operation – which involved over 150 officers, agents and personnel from federal, state and local agencies – law enforcement seized nearly nine kilos of cocaine, 25 firearms (11 from one location), nearly $50,000 in cash and thousands of suspected fentanyl pills.

“The amount of suspected fentanyl alone that we seized in this operation will make a difference in our communities. 25 guns now off the streets, kilos of drugs out of circulation, that’s an impact,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Portland Field Office. “In a coordinated effort across three states the FBI and our partners, worked seamlessly to cut into the capabilities of these criminal enterprises and we are working hard to put the most violent offenders and facilitators behind bars for as long as we possibly can.”

The five people arrested were on a complaint of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. A complaint is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Additional charges could follow.



The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Portland Field Office and the Portland Police Bureau conducted the operation with the assistance of the FBI Seattle, FBI Los Angeles, HSI, IRS, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Gresham Police Department, Vancouver Police Department, Oregon State Police, Washington State Department of Corrections, Port of Portland, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the United States Marshals Service.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-10-06 19:17:43Last Update: 2023-10-06 20:32:55

Oregon DMV Testing Now Available Online
You can take your DMV knowledge test anywhere that has reliable internet

The Oregon Department of Transportation has now announced that customers can take their DMV knowledge test anywhere that has reliable internet. There is now no need to go into a local DMV office to take those tests. You can test online instead with a computer that has a webcam, keyboard and mouse.

Online knowledge testing is now part of DMV’s expanding menu of online services at DMV2U. By going online, customers can take their test at a time that works best for them. No waiting in line at the office, or for appointments to become available.

“We hope customers embrace this new way to take their knowledge test,” said DMV Administrator Amy Joyce. “It is an easy and convenient option that we are proud to offer to Oregonians.”

The online test closely mirrors the testing screens shown in a DMV field office, so customers can expect a similar experience. There is no cost difference to use online testing.

Teens under 18, DMV’s largest group of testing customers, need an adult 21 years or older to supervise their test as they take it.

The Class C (regular driver) knowledge test and motorcycle endorsement test are available online in English and Spanish. DMV plans to add additional languages in the future to serve even more customers.



“Testing online allows customers the chance to know that they have passed their exam before coming into the DMV office. This can save some people multiple trips into the office if they don’t pass the first time,” said Joyce. “You don’t need an appointment to come in once you pass online, but do come prepared with all the documentation you need to make sure it is a smooth visit.”

After customers pass their test online, they will need to come into the office with their identity documents, and pass a vision screening. Then they will be issued a permit or be eligible to schedule a drive test, depending on their age.

DMV partnered with an expert in the online testing industry, Intellectual Technologies Inc., to develop the new service. Their online testing platform is already used in other states. Proven identity verification and anti-cheating features protect the safety purpose of the knowledge test.

Learn more about online testing at the DMV2U Online Service Center website.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-10-04 13:46:16Last Update: 2023-10-04 14:37:37

Thacker Pass Lithium Mine Brings Controversy
“It will wallop struggling wildlife populations, causing new declines.”

What could be the largest lithium deposit in the world may pit one camp of environmentalists against others environmentalists as the element used to make batteries for electric cars is being mined just outside the Oregon border in Nevada.

The Thacker Pass Project is located within an extinct 25 by 19 mile supervolcano named McDermitt Caldera that sits on the Oregon-Nevada border -- though the mine pit will be only in Nevada. The caldera was formed approximately 16.3 million years ago as part of a hotspot currently underneath the Yellowstone Plateau.

Following an initial eruption and concurrent collapse of the McDermitt Caldera, a large lake formed in the caldera basin. This lake water was extremely enriched in lithium and resulted in the accumulation of lithium-rich clays. Late volcanic activity uplifted the caldera, draining the lake and bringing the lithium-rich moat sediments to the surface resulting in the near-surface lithium deposit called Thacker Pass.

According to the mine owner Lithium Americas, the open pit mine will cost $2.2 billion to develop and will produce 80,000 tons of lithium per year over its 40-year life.

“The Montana Mountains landscape has long been identified as a key area for biodiversity protection in Nevada,” said Katie Fite, Public Lands Director for Wildlands Defense. “Along with adjacent Oregon wild lands, it constitutes one of the last big blocks of the sagebrush sea free of development. Pygmy rabbits, migratory birds and other wildlife suffered a major blow from wildfire a decade ago and habitat has not yet recovered. Now this mega-mine will obliterate vital remaining sagebrush. The mine’s regional disturbance footprint will wallop struggling wildlife populations, causing new declines.”

The Nevada Department of Environmental Protection sees it differently. According to its website, "Approval for these permits comes after an extensive application review and revision process, as well as months of public engagement with the Orovada community and the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribes. All three permits, which are required for Lithium Nevada to start construction and operate the mine, come after NDEP determined the project can operate in a way that protects public health and the environment.

The Trump administration provided federal approval near the end of his term and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to vacate that approval, meaning that the mining activity can proceed.

The world is currently not producing enough of it to keep up with demand produced by the sale of electric vehicles. This could be a major bottleneck this decade.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-10-02 11:14:14Last Update: 2023-10-02 12:16:45

ORTL Endorses Harbick in Primary Challenge to Conrad
“Darin Harbick is a committed pro-life candidate”

Oregon Right to Life, a PAC that focuses on electing pro-life officials in the state of Oregon, has now announced their endorsement of Darin Harbick. Harbick is challenging the incumbent, Representative Charlie Conrad (R-Dexter), in the 2024 Republican primary election for House District 12.

“Darin Harbick is a committed pro-life candidate,” said ORTL executive director Lois Anderson. “He has deep roots in the district, years of community involvement and business experience that will provide what he needs to be an excellent representative. I’m confident Darin Harbick will represent the values of the citizens of HD 12, and I’m proud to express my support.”

Earlier this year, ORTL PAC announced a campaign to defeat Representative Conrad due to his support for what ORTL says was dangerous abortion and assisted suicide legislation. Representative Conrad voted to pass House Bill 2002 and House Bill 2279 in the 2023 Oregon state legislative session.



ORTL points out that as introduced, HB 2002 was a dramatic expansion of abortion in Oregon, going as far as making it illegal to notify parents if an abortion is performed on their child unless the child provides explicit written permission. Although the most extreme aspects of HB 2002 were removed following the Republican Senate walkout protest negotiations, ORTL says the bill that Conrad voted for and helped pass still weakens the parent-child relationship and creates virtual immunity for abortion providers who violate the laws of other states.

HB 2279 repealed the residency requirement for physician-assisted suicide in Oregon, making lethal prescriptions available regardless of where a person lives.

“Charlie Conrad’s votes on these bills are dangerous to vulnerable Oregonians,” continued Anderson. “A vote for Darin Harbick is a vote to protect the most vulnerable members of our society—unborn children and those who are pressured to end their own lives.”

According to Harbick's campaign website, he has successfully built, purchased, and founded several businesses located in the Upper McKenzie Valley. While managing his businesses and he served 14 years on the McKenzie School board, the Lane County Tourism board, and coached high school and college women’s basketball.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-09-30 08:38:09Last Update: 2023-09-30 09:53:34

Portland Central City Task Force Requests Public Input
What would bring you to downtown Portland?

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek and Portland Central City Task Force Co-Chair Dan McMillan, president and CEO of The Standard, have now announced the launch of a Portland Central City Task Force (PCCTF) website, which features a public survey soliciting input.

Kotek says that the website also features more information about the task force, a page for progress updates from each committee as the work advances, news highlights and more.

“I want to hear from everyone,” Governor Kotek said. “When you have lots of folks weighing in, even if we don’t agree, I believe it helps us get better outcomes. We’re not leaving any stone unturned when it comes to solutions. So, Oregon, tell us what you think.”

“Between the full task force and five committees, we have brought together the collective experience and energy of over 120 people committed to implementing solutions. We intend to move with urgency, and welcome all actionable ideas to reimagine and revitalize Portland’s Central City,” Co-Chair Dan McMillan said.

The survey, which is anonymous, asks participants to name what they value most about the Portland area, what would bring them downtown more often, and for solutions to the challenges facing Portland’s Central City. The survey takes no more than 15 minutes. A summary of the results will be made public at a later date.



The full PCCTF will meet Tuesday, September 26, and provide an after-action press release to the public following the meeting. The five committees, which include task force members and additional subject matter experts and community leaders, have started their work and will continue to meet regularly between task force meetings.

. Those who are interested in participating in the survey can find it online.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-09-30 06:39:59Last Update: 2023-09-29 15:46:22

Buyer’s Remorse: “Refer Measure 110 to Voters”
“The Democrats chosen for this committee are the same ones who refused to hear Republican solutions”

Oregon’s drug decriminalization experiment known as Ballot Measure 110, passed by the voters in 2020, has failed to address our state’s drug addiction crisis. Since its implementation, overdoses have skyrocketed and deadly drug use has increased. Meanwhile, according to some observers, law enforcement has felt alienated, and addicts haven’t sought the treatment they desperately need.

“Oregonians have spoken clearly. They don’t feel they were told the whole truth about Measure 110. Now it is the Legislature’s job to hear voters and respond to their concerns,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). “Communities across Oregon feel the drug addiction crisis worsening. We need a solution, and we need it now. The Senate Republican Caucus will ask the newly formed Joint Addiction and Community Safety Response Committee to consider a bill referring Measure 110 back to Oregon voters.”

Legislative Democrat leaders have created a Joint Interim Committee on Addiction and Community Safety. Senator Tim Knopp will represent the voice of Senate Republicans on the committee.

According to recent polls: House Republicans put out a statement saying that they "remain dedicated to advancing solutions to the crisis created by Measure 110. With the announcement of the Joint Addiction and Community Safety Response Committee, the Legislature will soon begin to create legislation meant to deal with the crisis. The same Democrat leaders and committee chairs who chose not to advance bills in the last legislative session to address Oregon’s drug and crime crisis are finally willing to deal with the pleas of desperate Oregonians. Ironically, the Democrats chosen to serve on this committee are the same members who refused to hear Republican solutions in their committees as chairs. While Republicans are happy to see movement on the issue, they are concerned it may too little, too late."

“The Democrat majority has allowed the drug crisis to worsen each day by ignoring nearly every opportunity to fix Measure 110 when we had the chance. I am relieved that Democrat leaders have finally recognized the responsibility we have to address a problem exacerbated by their failed policies and prolonged by their inaction. However, the same people who helped create the problem and continue to perpetuate the problem will not solve the problem. House Republicans are committed to hearing all potential solutions to fix Measure 110 and urge Democrats to do the same,” said House Republican Leader Jeff Helfrich (R-Hood River).

In 2020, Oregonians approved Ballot Measure 110, bought and sold to voters as an experiment to address drug addiction from a public health approach instead of criminalization. It has had deadly consequences. Measure 110’s shortcomings have fallen most heavily on drug users in every community across Oregon. Since its implementation, overdoses rose 61% compared to 13% nationally. On average, 3 Oregonians die each day from unintentional drug overdose.



Fentanyl, a drug that is 50 times stronger than heroin, has surpassed methamphetamine as the most frequent drug involved in overdose deaths in Oregon. For all ages, fentanyl overdoses surged nearly 600% between 2019 and 2021. And it kills Oregon’s teenagers at a rate higher than any other state. The Oregon Health Authority reports that the amount of seized fentanyl in Oregon's high intensity drug trafficking areas increased from 690 counterfeit pills in 2018 to more than 2 million in 2022.

Recognizing the urgent need to solve Oregon’s drug crisis, last session House Republicans proposed several measures fixing or reversing the most ineffective portions of Measure 110. They included:

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-09-29 16:19:04Last Update: 2023-09-29 17:01:26

Study Shows Oregon Overspends on DEI Programs
DEI programs raise tuition costs

Going into an election year, the conversation is all about uniting – uniting the party, uniting the country, uniting the state, uniting the legislature. While they are busy campaigning for unity, bills are passed that do the opposite with a big price tag. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a money guzzler that drives a wedge to divide.

Of deep concern is the amount of education funds that are spent on DEI. The Heritage Foundation has just published a study measuring how many Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) “instructors” there are at major public state universities. The analysts measured the size of DEI bureaucracies in the 65 universities that were members of one of the Power 5 athletic conferences (the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pac-12, the Southeastern Conference, and the Atlantic Coast Conference) in 2021.

The study reported that DEI staff and departments urge students to embrace radical leftwing ideologies, including that people should be treated differently due to their race. Ideological indoctrination is utterly unacceptable at taxpayer-funded universities and the DEI bureaucracy should be abolished in state-funded schools.

DEI bureaucracies are better understood as an academic version of a political commissariat that articulates and enforces an ideological orthodoxy on campus. That orthodoxy tends to make many groups of people feel unwelcome, promotes division, and encourages conformity rather than diversity on various social and political issues.

Heritage analysts found that surveys of students reported worse campus climates—measured, for example, by how accepted or respected students feel at the campus—at universities with larger DEI bureaucracies than at those with smaller DEI staff.

The worst state is Virginia with 6.5 average DEI personnel for every 100 faculty members on the payroll that the researchers could identify. Oregon came in second with an average 4.6. However, University of Oregon exceeded all but the top two universities in Virginia at 6.2 DEI ratio. Oregon State University in the Power 5 conferences in 2021, has much smaller DEI bureaucracies pulling down the average with a 3.0 DEI. Both schools exceeds UCLA at 2.8 and U of O exceeds Cal Berkeley at 6.1 DEI.

For the academic year 2021-2022, the average undergraduate tuition & fees of 4-year Oregon colleges is $12,907 for in-state and $31,542 for out-of-state. Its tuition & fees are higher than the national average, which is $6,979 for in-state students and $12,905 for out-of-state students. Both Oregon State University and University of Oregon's undergraduate tuition and fees for the academic year 2022-2023 raised to $15,054 for Oregon residents and $41,700 for out-of-state students,

It isn’t enough that the University of Oregon provides services to help the underserved manage their way through college, but it operates five units in the DEI Division with 24 staff and 10 student staff. It runs a multicultural center and sponsors events and activities. It funds units and groups that offer grant opportunities to staff for professional development and external mentoring along with financial sponsorships for DEI programs.



U of O operates DEI websites and working groups with resources that doesn’t have a uniting theme or scholarly benefit and are indoctrinating in general. For instant, the Deconstructing Whiteness Working Group (DWWG) consists of a number of employees who lead monthly self-work meetings to reflect on their complicity in white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and racism. In previous years, the group has facilitated a "What's Up With Whiteness?" retreat that aims to help participants find their place in conversations around race and systemic injustice in their own lives.

Then there are DEI groups with a philosophical bent: L.A.C.E. (Love, Authenticity, Courage, Empathy) embodies the universal tenets of Love, Authenticity, Courage and Empathy. These interlocking values represent the being and doing of individuals and the institutions in which they engage. Other strategies groups interact and advocates for issues within the community, which may be helpful if it’s a supporting role. But to often it is the opposite.

The Heritage study suggests that rather than raise tuition next year, states should defund DEI programs that drain resources from classrooms and instructions.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-09-29 13:15:27Last Update: 2023-09-29 00:05:38

Analysis: Legislature Pumps More Money into Higher Education
“If you are able to pay more, suppliers will charge more”

Oregon Democrats are crowing about making attending college easier and more affordable for Oregonians, but the reality may be that more funding creates more unfairness. And while getting a college education may mean more opportunities for some, it may mean more opportunities for failure for others.

In a recent press release, the Democratic Legislative offices said, "With many Oregon college and university students returning to school, Democrats today are reflecting on the 2023 legislative session’s higher education investments. Democrats passed critical legislation that will make it easier for low-income and historically underserved Oregonians to pursue higher education through financial support, including tuition relief and grant opportunities. With these investments, legislators are working to ensure more Oregon students have greater career opportunities and high paying jobs out of college."

"Education — from early learning, to K-12, to higher education and vocational training -- is the best way people can improve their lives and the lives of their families," said Senate President Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego). "I am proud the Legislature is stepping up to meet our obligation as a state to see that our education system is accessible by all and prepares our students for their futures."

“This is how we make sure Oregon’s economy stays competitive in the 21st century and help students gain the skills they need for good paying jobs without having to go into crippling debt,” said Representative Ricki Ruiz (D - Gresham), vice chair of the House Committee on Higher Education.

These efforts complement the Legislature's historic funding for K-12 classrooms and child care services for toddlers and infants signed into law last week by Governor Tina Kotek. Oregon’s Higher Education Opportunity Budget invests more than $3.7 billion responding to the college affordability crisis. It includes: Many analysts say that Oregon is using taxpayer money -- potentially from taxpayers who never had the opportunity themselves to attend college -- to provide opportunity for students who failed to achieve enough academically in public schools to be able to succeed at college. They say that Oregon Public Colleges are too focused on "junk" degrees and not on knowledge that is useful for creating wealth in the real world.

Even as the legislature pumps more and more money into higher education, tuition rates have outpaced inflation. According to analysts, part of this unsustainable upward tuition spiral is caused by the legislature increasing funding for higher education. Simply put, if you are able to pay more for something, suppliers will charge more, and this is what is happening. $1 billion was allocated for the Public University Support Fund, supporting university operational expenses -- according to the release -- "with the goal of making sure students have what they need to get through school."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-09-29 12:54:36Last Update: 2023-09-29 15:42:09

Helfrich Selected as New Caucus Leader
Mark Owens selected as Deputy Leader and Kim Wallan as Whip

Representative Jeff Helfrich (R-Hood River) was selected by House Republicans to serve as their new Leader. Also elected to the leadership team were Representative Mark Owens (R-Crane) as Deputy Leader and Kim Wallan (R-Medford) as Whip.

“It is both an honor and privilege to be chosen to lead our caucus,” said Leader Helfrich. “Oregon is in crisis. Residents are leaving because they can’t afford housing, they feel unsafe on our city streets and their taxes keep increasing. Inaction or failed action only makes the situation worse. The status quo must change.”

“Politics is a team sport, and our caucus looks forward to working together to bring forward new ideas and solutions to help everyday Oregonians.”

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Representatives Helfrich, Owens and Wallan for a while now and am excited for the future of Republicans in Oregon. Each of these representatives hail from different regions of the state and will represent us well in leadership,” stated Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville). “I am confident in Leader Helfrich’s ability to continue advocating for the interests of all Oregonians and look forward to his thoughtful leadership of our caucus moving forward.”



“It is an honor to be chosen by my colleagues for this leadership role. I look forward to working with all of our caucus members for the benefit of all Oregonians.” stated Rep. Owens.

According to his bio, Representative Helfrich has been a public servant his entire adult life. He proudly served in the United States Air Force during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm before spending 25 years as a sergeant with the Portland Police Bureau. He and his wife are raising their two children in Hood River.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-09-29 11:33:21Last Update: 2023-09-29 15:42:51

Equitable Access to Trees and Nature in Oregon
More than $1 billion to be spent through the federal program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has now announced the USDA Forest Service is to spend more than $1 billion in nearly 400 grant awards nationwide. They say that is intended to to increase access to trees and the social, health, and economic benefits they provide.

Of the total funding, the Forest Service awarded over $94 million to community-based organizations, tribes, municipal and state governments, non-profit partners, universities, and other eligible entities across the Pacific Northwest Region. The US Forest Service says that these investments will plant and maintain trees in disadvantaged urban communities, tackle the climate crisis, and support jobs and workforce development.

The funding, through President Biden's controversial Inflation Reduction Act, is part of a $1.5 billion investment in the Forest Service's Urban and Community Forestry Program. The US Forest Service insists that this funding supports local communities and the organizations that serve them as they work to increase tree cover in disadvantaged spaces and boost equitable access to nature.

"These investments arrive as cities across the country experience record-breaking heatwaves that have grave impacts on public health, energy consumption, and overall well-being," said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. "Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are supporting communities in becoming more resilient to climate change and combatting extreme heat with the cooling effects of increased urban tree canopy, while also supporting employment opportunities and professional training that will strengthen local economies."

Projects in Oregon: Total spending in Oregon: $58,198,031

"These investments will not only contribute to the planting and maintenance of trees in disadvantaged urban communities, but they also assist with tackling the climate crisis and supporting jobs and workforce development,” said Chad Davis, Regional Director for State, Private and Tribal Forestry for the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest and Alaska Regions. “This funding will help create more vibrant and healthy urban communities across the Pacific Northwest and the entire country.”



The Urban and Community Forestry Program supports the Justice40 Initiative, which intends to ensure that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and lack access to trees and nature.

The US Forest Service says that all grant funding will flow to disadvantaged communities thanks to the applicant tool, which used the White House Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) to identify eligible communities. CEJST is a geospatial mapping tool that identifies communities faced with significant burdens, such as climate change, energy, health, housing, legacy pollution, transportation, water and wastewater, and workforce development.

The Forest Service says it supports vibrant and healthy urban communities through supporting healthy urban forests. More information about the funded proposals, as well as announcements about the grant program, is available on the Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program website.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-09-24 11:58:26Last Update: 2023-09-25 11:41:47

School Board Stipend Law Creates Confusion
“Voting on the stipends creates an actual conflict of interest...”

The Oregon Government Ethics Commission has now issued its opinion on school board stipends and it has apparently prompted some complicated philosophical issues for school board members serving in the state of Oregon.

Representative Ben Bowman, a Democrat and a former Tigard-Tualatin School Board member, sponsored a bill in the 2023 Legislature to allow compensation for school board members. Bowman said the time demands of school board service are preventing some community members from volunteering. He said the new law’s goal is intended to lessen the financial barriers and draw a more diverse pool of potential board members.

House Bill 2753 was passed into law on July 18th and removed the Oregon prohibition on school board compensation and allowed school board members to award themselves a stipend of up to $500 a month that would grow with inflation. Bowman apparently worked closely with OSBA to amend the bill to address the prohibition as well as a rule against paid district employees serving on their school board, but they are still problems with the new law.

According to Article II, Section 10 of the Oregon constitution, individuals are prohibited from holding more than one "lucrative" office at a time. As one example, this means that you can't be a legislator and a school board member.

HB 2753 allows a stipend as part of a school board member’s compensation package, but it does not address the conflict of interest disclosure requirements. Voting on a pay package is an “actual” conflict of interest according to Oregon statute, the commission opinion says, and thus school board members can’t participate in a vote on their own stipends.



The commission proposed some workarounds, but OSBA leadership said they appear unworkable.

“We don’t see these suggested solutions as practicable,” OSBA Executive Director Jim Green said. “Instead, we will be working on a legislative solution in the short 2024 session. In the meantime, we are strongly urging that school boards hold off on considering the stipend issue.”

OSBA says they now encourage school boards to delay any votes on stipends, however the law, allowing school board members to receive a stipend up to $500 a month, went into effect July 18 and some school boards have already taken votes either accepting a stipend or saying no to it..

School boards that passed a stipend without using one of these methods may be violating Oregon statute and open to an ethics complaint investigation, the commission said. OSBA Policy Services Director Spencer Lewis plans to meet with commission staff to clarify the details and options. OSBA will issue guidance to help school board members sort it out, Lewis said.

Lewis recommended that boards that have already voted on stipends contact legal counsel or OSBA to consider their options. The ethics commission typically does not advise on past actions and contacting them could open an investigation, Lewis said.

OSBA Executive Director Jim Green said OSBA will talk with Bowman about a possible legislative fix.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-09-23 11:41:28Last Update: 2023-09-23 13:57:02

Oregon Supreme Court Poised for Big Election
Five out of seven position on the ballot in 2024

The past two years has brought a makeover of new faces to the Oregon Supreme Court. As of the 2020 election, all seven justices on the Oregon Supreme Court have been appointed by Democratic governors. The Oregon Constitution establishes nonpartisan election as the mode of selection for state court justices. In the event of vacancies, justices are appointed by the governor until the next general election.

Nonpartisan candidates in a contested primary win outright if they receive over 50 percent of the vote in the primary. Justices of the Supreme Court serve six-year terms upon election, with two positions expiring each general election. Resignations have added three positions to the ballot joining the two expiring seats.

The two expiring positions are Rebecca A. Duncan and Meagan A. Flynn. Summaries of these justices are only a representation of their experiences and contributions.

Judge Duncan was appointed by Governor Kate Brown in 2017. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Justice Duncan served on the Oregon Court of Appeals from 2010 to 2017, including as Presiding Judge of Department Three from 2014-2017. She frequently presents at continuing legal education programs on topics including appeals, constitutional law, criminal law, evidence, and family law. Justice Duncan lives in Salem with her family, and she volunteers with Backpack Buddies, a hunger relief program for elementary school children, and Oregon Battle of the Books, a literacy program.

Judge Flynn serves as Chief Justice, elected by her colleagues. She was initially appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Kate Brown in April 2017, Before her appointment, she served on the Oregon Court of Appeals since November 2014. Her current extracurricular activities include serving as a member of the board of the Classroom Law Project and as a coach for the We the People team at Franklin High School in Portland and as a regular speaker on issues of professionalism for the Oregon Bench & Bar Commission on Professionalism.

Governor Tina Kotek appointed Stephen K. Bushong and Bronson D. James in January 2023, and Aruna A. Masih in September 2023. These positions will be voted on at the first general election - November 2024.

Justice Bushong was a Circuit Court Judge in Multnomah County from 2008 through 2022, including six years as Chief Civil Judge and four years as Presiding Judge. Justice Bushong serves on the Oregon Law Commission and has served on the Uniform Trial Court Rules Committee, the Oregon State Bar’s Uniform Civil Jury Instruction committee, and the executive committees of the OSB’s Litigation and Government Law sections. He authored chapters in the OSB publications on Civil Pleading and Practice (2012) and Oregon Constitutional Law (2022), and regularly submits articles on “Recent Significant Oregon Cases” featured in the OSB’s Litigation Journal.

Justice James operated his own law firm for six years, focusing on federal and state criminal defense, federal immigration representation, and civil rights litigation. He began his judicial career on the trial bench, at the Multnomah County Circuit Court. In 2017 he was appointed to the Oregon Court of Appeals. He currently chairs the Oregon Supreme Court Council on Inclusion and Fairness, sits on Oregon’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative Grant Review Committee, and is an adjunct professor at both Willamette University College of Law and Lewis and Clark Law School, where he teaches evidence. He volunteers with Classroom Law Project as a high school mock trial coach. Justice James is a frequent presenter on issues of digital privacy, search and seizure, and constitutional law.



Justice Masih is the only Supreme Court appointee without prior justice experience. She worked for over 25 years in a variety of areas of civil law, including civil rights, employment, labor, professional licensure, contract, pension, elections, and constitutional law. She was a partner in the law firm of Bennett Hartman, LLP and served as an associate in the law firm of McKanna Bishop Joffe, LLP. Her work included appearances in state and federal courts, and before the legislature and administrative agencies. Masih serves on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Women Lawyers Foundation and is the founding member of the South Asian Bar Association of Oregon. She also coaches the McDaniel High School Constitution Team, and previously chaired the Oregon State Bar’s Labor and Employment Section and Advisory Committee for Diversity and Inclusion and received the Multnomah Bar Association’s inaugural Diversity Award in 2017.

Voters often have no choice in electing judges because they're routinely appointed by the governor and then run for election uncontested. Generally speaking, incumbents are reelected in Oregon. Many believe it is a contributing factor to when judges resign or retire deliberately creating the opportunity for a Governor appointee.

It’s really important that voters recognize how significant it is when there is a competitive race. A county judge can have a significant effect on individual cases, and an appellate court judge can have a significant effect on the law for years to come. Judges have some of the longest terms of any of the elected offices in the state. So it’s important voters do something more than just trusting your gut, or voting for the most appealing name. Voters can find candidate information at Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Project.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-09-22 12:30:23Last Update: 2023-09-22 17:01:46

Oregon Governor Kotek Navigating Setback to Housing Plans
Housing Production Advisory Council report is not promising

In a reverse turn of events, Governor Tina Kotek finds her agenda on the wrong side of her party. The Governor requested HB 3414, requiring local governments to approve certain adjustments to land use regulations for housing development within urban growth boundary. The bill was like a hot potatoe bouncing from committee to committee in the House ending up in Ways and Means where it was appropriated $10 million towards the $16.3 million needed, going straight through a work session forgoing a public hearing, then passing the House floor. In their rush, the Senate neglected to hold a public hearing and went straight to the floor where it failed.

In anticipation of a cooperative legislature, Governor Kotek issued Executive Order 23-04 on January 10, 2023, which outlined her plans to increase housing and established the Governor’s Housing Production Advisory Council. The Council was instructed to provide a framework April 1 from findings for policy changes and investments to meet the governor’s targets. Final report is due no later than December 31, 2023.

Considering the setback from HB 3414 failure, the Council identified many barriers that would lead to Oregon building fewer homes than needed to keep pace with growth, leading to higher rent and mortgage costs and more homelessness. They recommended cities expand their growth boundary once every ten years without going through the expansion process. Even if the Governor found a way to by-pass the legislature, the Council reported there aren’t enough construction workers to build the needed homes, cumbersome permit requirements make projects take longer and cost more and the state doesn’t have enough land ready for homebuilding.

Senator Findley and Representative Owen co-sponsored SB 70, which passed allowing Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Region to modify requirements for residential rezoning of lands.



Bend seems to have found enough land using the 2021 law that allowed Bend to take in a 260-acre expansion as a model for statewide policies.

"Housing supply, not land supply, is at the crux of Metro’s housing crisis," said Metro's Legislative Affairs Manager Anneliese Koehler in testimony before the House Committee on Rules last summer.

There seems to be a cross-over between homeless and affordable housing that some see as the Governor flipping back and forth to manipulate her agenda.

The Council continues to meet twice-a-month by virtual webinar. Next meeting is September 29, 2023, at 1:30pm. Interested persons can register for upcoming meetings or view recordings.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-09-21 12:05:59Last Update: 2023-09-21 02:21:38

Statewide Financial Audits Question Costs at Agencies
Serious control weaknesses found with programs receiving federal funds

State auditors found millions of dollars in questioned costs and serious control weaknesses at a number of programs receiving federal funds, according to a report released by the Oregon Secretary of State's Audits Division.

Every year, the division conducts two major financial audits: the 285 page Annual Comprehensive Financial Report and Statewide Single Audit. Auditors also draft and release a report summarizing both of these audits. The summary report for fiscal year 2022, called Keeping Oregon Accountable, has now been released.

The federal government requires audits of the state’s financial statements and compliance with federal program requirements for Oregon to continue receiving federal assistance. In the past, this funding has usually ranged from $11 to $12 billion each year. Since the pandemic, federal funding has ballooned — in fiscal year 2022, Oregon received $21 billion in federal aid.

“Our financial audits are a critical part of keeping Oregon government accountable to its people,” said Audits Director Kip Memmott. “This year’s statewide audits found some significant issues that we think are important to bring to the attention of Oregonians, the Governor, and the Legislature.”



According to the Secretary of State's office, the audits are noteworthy for two reasons: more questioned costs, and far more modified opinions.

Questioned costs has a very specific meaning for auditors. It’s a term required by the federal Office of Management and Budget; when auditors question costs, they are referring to program costs that may or may not be allowed to be paid with federal funds.

“It serves as a flag for federal funding agencies to review the findings and then decide whether the costs are allowable,” said Tracey Gates, a principal auditor with the division.

In fiscal year 2021, auditors identified $10 million in questioned costs. For fiscal year 2022, questioned costs increased by more than $20 million, totaling $35.2 million at 10 programs in five agencies. Of that amount, $9.1 million were directly identifiable costs, while the remainder were likely errors, based on sample testing.

And then there are the modified opinions, several of which were issued in this year’s audits. “When an audit shows controls are sufficient and the program is generally in compliance with federal requirements, we issue what’s called an unmodified, or clean, opinion,” Gates said. “An unmodified opinion is a good thing. But if we have concerns about the quality of internal controls, we have to issue modified opinions.”

An adverse opinion was issued for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program at Oregon Housing and Community Services under the direction of Andrea Bell, meaning control weaknesses were pervasive enough that the controls would not prevent, or even detect, significant noncompliance.

Additionally, a disclaimer of opinion was issued for the Emergency Solutions Grant Program, also at OHCS. A disclaimer of opinion means there was not sufficient, appropriate evidence for auditors to even issue an opinion on program compliance.

Qualified opinions are less severe but indicate that internal controls are still inadequate to prevent or detect significant noncompliance. Auditors issued qualified opinions for five programs at three agencies: OHCS, DHS, and the Oregon Health Authority. Two of these programs -- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program -- have been issued qualified opinions for several years now.

What will happen as a result of these opinions?

“It’s up to the federal granting agencies,” Gates said. “They are responsible for following up on our findings and only they have the authority to enforce grant requirements. This could include sanctions or a change in future funding, but it could also result in a clarifying change to the requirements.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-09-20 11:57:55Last Update: 2023-09-20 15:45:07

Elliott State Research Forest Holds Listening Sessions
Secures Shutter Creek for research headquaters

The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) and Oregon State University are working collaboratively to transform the Elliott State Forest into a publicly owned state research forest. The Elliott State Research Forest is poised to be the nation’s largest research forest at 91,000 acres – a place where scientists and managers work with Tribal partners to explore forestry’s role in addressing climate change impacts, restoring habitat and endangered species, and advancing responsible active management including timber and other forest products.

The State Land Board's vision for the Elliott is a public forest that has completed its obligation to funding schools, but will continue to contribute to conservation, recreation, education, local economies, and more as a research forest.

The Oregon Legislature in 2022 passed SB 1546, which established an independent public agency to oversee the forest, decoupling the forest from Oregon’s Common School Fund and prospectively appointing the first board of directors for the Elliott State Research Forest Authority, the new public agency that will be established in 2024 to oversee the research forest in collaboration with OSU.

The agency sets expectations for public accountability and transparency, and locks in the Elliott’s ongoing contributions to conservation, economic growth, recreation, education, and forest research. SB 161 passed in 2023 to updated the deadlines to 2024.

OSU continues to refine its draft of the Elliott State Research Forest Management Plan based on input from the Elliott State Research Forest Authority prospective board, government-to-government relationships with local Tribes, public input, and updates to the Habitat Conservation Plan.

The public can join an upcoming virtual listening session on September 21 from 6pm tp 7:30pm, to hear updates on the forest management planning process and learn more about the research design, followed by a forum to share input. Zoom links to join the listening sessions and more information about the forest management planning process can be found on the OSU College of Forestry website. September 22 the prospective board will hold a zoom meeting, 10am to 3pm, and meeting materials can be found here.

The prospective boards are completing final steps to create the research forest, including submission of a habitat conservation plan (HCP) to federal agencies, approval of a forest management plan, and approval of participation by OSU’s Board of Trustees. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently concluded a public comment period on the draft environmental impact statement for the draft Elliott State Research Forest HCP. The plan balances forest research and management activities with the conservation of rare species and their habitat in the Elliott State Forest.

The purpose of an HCP is to establish clear boundaries for management and harvest on the forest in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and to ensure conservation of at-risk species such as salmon, spotted owls, and marbled murrelet.



Operation headquarters for the Elliot State Research Forest will be based at the former site of Shutter Creek Correctional Institution. The 49-acre proposed headquarters site will include laboratory, classroom, dormitory and office spaces and may also house potential partnerships with local and Tribal entities.

“The Elliott is about to begin a new chapter as a world-class research forest, which created this opportunity for Shutter Creek to have a new beginning as well,” said DSL Director Vicki L. Walker. “I’m excited Shutter Creek will continue to contribute to the local area and economy through its connection to the nation’s largest research forest, right here on Oregon’s South Coast.”

Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Ron Wyden secured $4 million for site renovations and rehabilitation in Congress’s fiscal year 2023 omnibus appropriations package. The site is a former federal property previously deeded to Oregon Department of Corrections by the U.S. General Services Administration at no cost for correctional uses through the federal Public Benefits Conveyance Program (PCB). The State identified another qualifying PCB use for the property requesting a PCB program change of use from corrections to wildlife conservation.

Shutter Creek is within the traditional lands of the hanis (Coos) people. The Elliott State Research Forest is within the traditional lands of the hanis (Coos) and quuiich (Lower Umpqua) peoples. Descendants of the hanis and quuiich peoples are enrolled in the federally recognized sovereign nations of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians and Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.

Walker noted there is also potential for additional future partnerships on the site recognizing the history and future opportunity associated with this site.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-09-20 03:00:21Last Update: 2023-09-20 01:33:23

Cramer Defends Graduation Requirements
“We see a dramatic decline in academic achievement”

State Representative Tracy Cramer (R-Gervais) is calling on the State Board of Education to remove consideration of suspending the Essential Skills Learning requirement for another four years. In a letter to the Board, Cramer outlined concerns about public input, lack of accountability, and using the consent calendar to rush through such a controversial policy.

Item 3A on the Board’s September 21, 2023 agenda fast-tracks the suspension of the Essential Learning Skills assessments through the 2027-2028 school year. These assessments measure students’ ability to read, write, and do math before graduation.

“At the same time we see graduation rates inching up, we see a dramatic decline in academic achievement,” Representative Cramer said. “Our schools should be educating our kids, not just credentialing them without setting them up for future success. What good is a diploma if you can’t read at grade level? Repealing graduation standards was a disservice to students in 2021, and it still is today. Parents are already pulling their kid public schools at a record pace, and these kinds of back-room decisions continue to erode their trust.”



In 2021, SB 744 suspended the Essential Skills Learning Requirement through the end of this school year. It also gave the Oregon Board of Education the unilateral authority to suspend them in the future or even require them at all.

The State Board’s Policy Manual states that “items may be placed on the consent agenda upon the recommendation of the superintendent.” The Governor is the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The staff summary of item 3A acknowledges that the move to suspend graduation requirements for another four years “may also result in less student accessibility, public transparency, and comparability.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-09-18 18:26:31Last Update: 2023-09-18 18:39:10

Is Wind Energy Coming to Oregon Coast?
Public opportunity for comment

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is taking public comment on two BOEM wind energy projects the federal government wants to install off the coast of Southern Oregon on the outer continental shelf.

According to the Department of Energy, in order to capture the abundant wind resources available offshore, offshore turbines need to be one-and-a-half times the height of the Washington Monument, with blades the length of a football field.

Oregon uses over 48 million megawatt-hours (MWh) per year of electricity, which comes from a combination of hydroelectric (40%), coal (32%), natural gas (17%), land-based wind (7%), nuclear (3%), and other sources (1%). Oregon’s offshore wind farms are projected to produce 2.6 gigawatts (2,600 MWh) requiring 18 wind turbines and foundations, 6,800 miles of cable, and dozens of specialized vessels. For so little, how much will this cost in consumer electric bills, not to mention the maintenance and repairs?

It is not possible to have an accurate environmental risk assessment or estimated production output of these wind farms due to the lack of long-term studies on floating wind farms. There have only been a handful of 5-year studies using prototypes and some of those prototypes were disassembled and recycled after 5 years of use. All prototypes are estimated to have a life span of only 15 years.



The Pacific Ocean is the most powerful of all open oceans and the most destructive. When considering the breakdowns, failures, and fluid leaks that occur within the lifespan of a wind turbine, there is a high probability of environmental damage requiring high maintenance, and failures and leaks will be significant if there is a viable turbine able to withstand the Pacific Ocean for any period.

Some studies show wind turbines in the summer only produce 17% of what they produce in the winter. That means Oregon can only rely on 17% of the actual maximum output or be subject to rolling blackouts every summer.

Oregon offshore wind visual simulations are prepared for six key observation points that illustrate hypothetical wind projects using hypothetical model of a total of 262 20-MW turbines for a total generating capacity of approximately 5,240 MW of renewable energy. The 20MW turbines that are still in the conceptual stage and not commercially available. The simulations are designed to represent a commercially scaled, maximum density, and technically feasible scenario that is consistent with industry trends for operating capacity, wind turbine size, spacing and configuration.

BOEM used a comprehensive process to identify the potential offshore locations that appear most suitable for floating offshore wind energy leasing and potential development, taking into consideration possible impacts to local coastal and marine resources and ocean users.

This project is far reaching, 22% of Oregon’s food supply comes from the ocean. The fishing fleets, which are security for the state, have been sent to California to make room for these wind projects. Diane Rich of Oregon Natural Resource Industries (ONRI) discussed wind turbines on the Rob Taylor Show, says they are going to be assembled in California by Chinese technicians using materials from China. No part of this project benefits Oregon’s economy, and most of the energy escapes when capturing it from the turbines.

Rich asks, why would we spend money to enhance another country and pursue something that will fail? The east coast has had nothing but problem and wants them gone. The noise vibrating into the water has caused 60 dead whales and are killing the birds.

BOEM will accept comments through 11:59 p.m. ET on October 16, 2023. Public meetings will be held in Gold Beach September 26, Coos Bay September 27, and Brookings September 28 from 4 pm to 8 pm. Registration, location and maps. The meeting topics include:
--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-09-18 15:49:23Last Update: 2023-09-18 18:11:45

PPB Hires New Public Information Manager
Benner is the first civilian to serve as Public Information Manager

The Portland Oregon Police Bureau has hired Mike Benner as its new Public Information Manager. PPB says that Benner has approximately 20 years of experience in communications, spending the last 15 years as a reporter at KGW-TV, often reporting on law enforcement-related matters across the metro area. Prior to joining KGW, the Indiana University graduate was a reporter at WGBA-TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and an anchor at WJFW-TV in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

“We are pleased to welcome Mike to the Portland Police Bureau,” said Chief Chuck Lovell. “Our sworn Public Information Officers do incredible work in a challenging job, but they also eventually move to different assignments. My goal is to build consistency in our communications—which is so critical in maintaining transparency and trust within the community.”

Benner is the first civilian to serve as Public Information Manager at PPB.

He will oversee the Portland Police Bureau’s Strategic Communications Unit, which is responsible for informing the public of information that is critical to life safety, informs community members of public safety issues of concern, may involve the need for disclosure of activities at the Bureau, or may increase community trust and transparency. The unit provides information through multiple venues, including: news releases, press conferences, social media, interviews, website, podcasts and videos. The unit is also tasked with internal communications within PPB and collaborates with the Personnel Division’s recruiting team.



“I am beyond thrilled to be joining the Portland Police Bureau,” Benner said. “Providing accurate and timely information to the community, including matters involving public safety, is a task I do not take lightly. Our community relies on us to share critical public safety information and the important work being done by members of the PPB for the diverse communities we serve.”

In addition to Benner, the Strategic Communications Unit consists of a sworn Public Information Officer (PIO), a non-sworn PIO, two multi-media specialists and officers who work as PIOs on a detached basis. The unit also has an employee from the Bureau of Technology Services that provides web design, social media, and programming support.

More information about the Strategic Communications Unit is available on the website.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-09-18 14:55:31Last Update: 2023-09-18 15:08:40

Legislative Referrals Scheduled For November 2024 Ballot
Referendum 401 introduces the impeachment process in Oregon

Editors note: This is the third in a three-part series on legislative referendums scheduled for the November 2024 election

The 2023 Oregon Legislative Session was considered by many Oregonians to be a controversial session, involving a walkout by Republican legislators over highly partisan politics. The resulting laws from the session were amended after walkout negotiations upon the Republican Senate return, but still largely catered to the majority Democrat agenda.

To many observers, HJR 16 seems to be some of the more reasonable, bi-partisan legislation resulting from the session, a bill that many political insiders in Oregon say was long overdue, with Oregon being the only state in the nation without the legislative power to impeach a state official.

This proposed amendment has been referred to the voters of Oregon through Referral 401. If approved by the Oregon voters, it will amend the Oregon Constitution to vest power of impeachment of statewide elected Executive Branch officials in House of Representatives and power to try impeachments in Senate. Requires three-fifths] two-thirds majority vote of House of Representatives to deliver impeachment resolution to Senate and two-thirds majority vote of Senate for conviction.

Currently, Oregon only allows the removal of an undesirable state official through the recall process, which is known to be difficult, and time consuming. It is possible that Oregon never bothered to implement the impeachment process due it having a smaller population in it's earlier days.



The corruption and resignation of former Democrat Governor John Kitzhaber brought the subject to the forefront, as well as the recently disgraced former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, who resigned after being caught moonlighting for a Cannabis company.

House Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany) and others have pressed throughout the last several years for this ability in the legislature.

"Recent events illustrate, yet again, the importance of having an impeachment procedure on the books as a check against negligence and abuse of power by public officials," said Representative Boshart Davis. "The Legislature must have the ability to remove a statewide elected official when necessary"

The 2024 Oregon General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 5th next year.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-09-17 06:58:01Last Update: 2023-09-16 21:59:04

Oregon Leads Appeal Defending Title IX
Case intends to prevent religious colleges from using financial aid

Oregon college enrollment has dropped 19% in the past ten years. So why is Oregon’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum leading a 19-state coalition to appeal Hunter v. US Department of Education to prohibit low-income students from receiving financial aid if attending a religious college. Among all Oregon residents enrolled in college, 16% attend private colleges, and 21.2% leave the state to attend college.

Rosenblum announced that on August 29, 2023, an amicus (also known as a friend of the court) brief was filed with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the class-action case.

The lawsuit was first filed in Oregon federal district court on March 29, 2021, by The Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP) on behalf of 46 current and former LGBTQ+ students at more than 20 Christian colleges and universities, arguing that the government cannot make an exemption to Title IX for any institution receiving federal funds, regardless of religious status.

The suit, filed by a LGBTQ+ activist group is challenging the constitutionality of a provision in Title IX intending to prevent any students from using tuition grants, student loans, and any other federal financial assistance at schools that operate according to Christian beliefs on gender or sexual morality. The lawsuit seeks to strip longstanding religious protections from Title IX, a law that has promoted diversity in higher education for nearly 50 years. Among other things, Title IX allows students to use federal financial aid at private religious schools that operate according to their beliefs.

The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), an international higher education association of more than 180 Christian institutions, filed a motion to be an official participant in the case so it can defend Title IX’s religious protections. In October 2021, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the three schools—Corban University, William Jessup University, and Phoenix Seminary joined the suit to defend students receiving federal financial aid.

Judge Ann Aiken, U.S. District Court dismissed the case and denied the motion for preliminary injunction on January 12, 2023.



Should Oregon Attorney General spend taxpayer funds to appeal a case that will hinder college attendance and drive more students to out-of-state colleges? There is a clear question involving political bias. In Rosenblum’s announcement she blames the Trump administration using rulemaking to expand Title IX’s narrow religious exemption. The rule she refers to was adopted August 2020, which she claims “makes it more difficult for prospective students to tell which schools are claiming a religious exception. The DOE eliminated the requirement that educational institutions advise the Office for Civil Rights in writing if they wanted to invoke a religious exemption… Students ought to know before they get to campuses whether their academic institutions will protect their rights or undermine them.”

Is this a rerun of Sweet Cakes case that deliberately targets religious entities? What college age student hasn’t thoroughly searched out the college website before spending $50 (average) to apply?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-09-17 04:45:26Last Update: 2023-09-17 22:52:43

Oregon Right to Life Sues Oregon
ORTL asks to be treated as a religious employer

Oregon legislature passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), HB 3391, in 2017. The law requires every private insurer to cover reproductive health services, including contraceptives, at no cost to patients. All but one insurer, Providence Health Plan, must also cover abortion services.

The 2023 session passed HB 2002, among other controversial issues, it closed the gap to exclusions for health insurance from being required to pay for abortions. The way that exemption was originally written, it ended up being broader than it was intended, and HB 2002 closes that language to clarify that it only applies to insurance carriers, and not, for example, local and county government plans.

Oregon Right to Life (ORTL) found their organizational structure as a prolife-issue-advocacy, nonprofit, Oregon corporation, was left out of the exclusions. They have filed a lawsuit against Andrew R. Stolfi, as Director of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services and Oregon Insurance Commissioner, seeking to be treated as the mandate treats “religious employers.”

The complaint reads, “Though ORTL objects on religious grounds to providing insurance coverage in its health-benefit plan for abortion (except to save the mother’s life) and “contraceptives” that act as abortifacients, it doesn’t fit the “religious employer” definition because (though it is nonprofit and its employees share its religious views) its purpose is prolife advocacy, not inculcating religious values, and it doesn’t primarily serve persons sharing its religious tenets.”



Oregon law requires insurance companies to cover abortion and contraceptives: “The suit seeks a federal ruling ordering the state to make an exception for Oregon Right to Life, requiring any insurance company that provides a health plan to the organization to accommodate the organization’s religious beliefs... The complaint also asks for a ruling blocking the state from enforcing its mandate on any insurer, and such a ruling could clear the way for other companies to block coverage for abortion and some contraception on health insurance plans.”

To make their point, ORTL points to their mission to advocate for the most vulnerable human beings whose right to life is denied or abridged under current law. It works to reestablish protection for all innocent human life from conception to natural death. ORTL believes individual human life begins at conception, i.e., at fertilization (not implantation or any other time after fertilization). However, they take no position on birth control methods that prohibit the sperm and egg from uniting, but once united, a new human life begins and ORTL opposes any drug, device, or procedure which destroys the new human life.

The complaint includes 22 pages of supporting cases. The case is in the U.S. District Court in Eugene.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-09-16 12:11:13Last Update: 2023-09-16 12:07:26

Oregonian Bitten by Rabid Bat
Bat tests positive for rabies after biting Wallowa County resident

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has confirmed that a Wallowa County resident was bitten by a bat that later tested positive for rabies. The Enterprise, Oregon resident was bitten Tuesday, Sept. 5. Winding Waters Clinic, which provides public health services in Wallowa County in partnership with OHA, was informed of the incident the same day. The bat was safely euthanized and sent to the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, which confirmed Thursday the bat tested positive for rabies.

The Wallowa County resident who was bitten has begun post-exposure rabies prophylaxis, which involves an initial dose of rabies immune globulin and a rabies vaccine, as well as three subsequent vaccines at Days 3, 7 and 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and OHA.

Bats are the most common carriers of rabies in Oregon. Between 5% and 10% of bats tested for rabies are positive every year. The last time a Wallowa County animal tested positive for rabies was in 2017, when a skunk was found to have rabies.



Authorities emphasize that the main protection for humans is making sure pets are vaccinated against rabies, and to avoid contact with stray animals and wildlife.

“All pet owners should make certain that their dogs and cats are vaccinated against rabies. Protecting pets from rabies can provide a buffer zone of immune animals between humans and rabid wild animals such as bats,” said Emilio DeBess, D.V.M., state public health veterinarian at OHA’s Public Health Division.

Rabies symptoms in wildlife can include lethargy, walking in circles, loss of muscular coordination, convulsions, irritability, aggressiveness, disorientation, excessive drooling and showing no fear of humans. Sick bats may be seen flopping around on the ground or otherwise acting unusual. If you see animals displaying these behaviors, do not approach or handle them, and immediately contact animal control or wildlife authorities at Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) . People who find a sick bat or other sick wildlife should take children and pets indoors or into a vehicle.

Individuals who have been exposed to a bat or any animal suspected of having rabies – such as from a scratch, bite or exposure to saliva – should immediately clean the wound with soap and water and seek medical attention. Report the incident to the local Public Health department. If the bat or other animal has been captured, try not to damage the bat or animal. Keep the animal as intact as possible so it can be tested for rabies, which will help people avoid needing post-exposure rabies shots.

Public health officials advise against handling any bat or other wildlife. If it is necessary to pick up a bat or other wildlife, it is best to wear heavy gloves, use a shovel or other tools, or both.

If a pet has encountered a bat or been bitten by a wild animal, contact your veterinarian immediately or call ODFW at 541-426-3279.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-09-15 13:09:06Last Update: 2023-09-14 16:26:57

Does Oregon AG Have A Case Against Fox News?
State Treasurer is responsible to safeguard retirement investments

As reported August 31, 2023, Tobias Read, State Treasurer and Secretary of State candidate, is responsible for the Oregon Public Employee Retirement Fund (OPERF) investing approximately $5.2 million in 150,146 shares of Fox Class A stock and 76,169 shares of Fox Class B stock. A joint Oregon Department of Justice / Oregon Treasurer’s Office investigation launched earlier this year found that Fox’s management on behalf of the company harmed investors.

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a stockholder derivative lawsuit against the board of directors of Fox Corporation, the corporate parent of Fox News, for breach of fiduciary duty. She claims, “The board of Fox Corporation took a massive risk in pursuing profits by perpetuating and peddling known falsehoods. The directors’ choices exposed themselves and the company to liability and exposed their shareholders to significant risks.”

Read told the House Committee on Emergency Management, General Government, and Veterans in February, that OPERF was the “#1 performing fund in fiscal year 2022” and over the past 20 years. How did OPERF out perform the market? Divest Oregon reported that the industry publication, Pensions and Investments states, “OPERF did better while other state funds had negative returns, not because of doing better in publicly traded equities (stocks), which lost money even for OPERF (-13.3%) -- but because of its relative overweight of high risk “alternative” funds. 60% of OPERF is now held through alternative private contracts, such as investments in private equity, hedge funds, commodities, and real estate / infrastructure, with only around a quarter in lower risk publicly traded equities. This level of high-risk private investment is almost twice as high as most other state pension plans (34%%).” What happened to fiduciary responsibility?

Rosenblum says, "Fox News pushed narratives that appealed to their audience regardless of the facts, Fox’s Board should have been especially sensitive to risks of defamation. Yet, Fox’s business model is to promote false claims, including that murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich provided hacked emails to WikiLeaks, and continuing through false claims that election technology companies U.S. Dominion, Inc. and Smartmatic USA Corp. rigged the 2020 presidential election."

And what does controversial reporting have to do with investment decisions? Seth Rich truth still isn’t settled with Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh claiming Rich was the source of DNC emails for Wikileaks. Fox News did settle a lawsuit for alleged defamation against Dominion for $787 million, somewhat short of the $1.6 billion case. That was in April 2023, but Read should have been investigating Fox returns and volatility prior to its major stock drop in May 2022.



The lawsuit, to which the New York City Pension Funds is co-plaintiff, also alleges that Fox made no good-faith efforts to monitor for or mitigate defamation risk, unlike effectively every other major media organization in the country.

“Our responsibility to safeguard the retirement investments of Oregon’s public servants is of the utmost importance,” said Treasurer Tobias Read, who is a member of the Oregon Investment Council, which sets state investment policy. “We aim to hold Fox’s board of directors, including Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, accountable for their decisions. We believe that this action is necessary in fulfilling our obligation to our beneficiaries.”

Likewise, it is the voter’s responsibility in November 2024, to investigate and hold Tobias Read accountable for his fiduciary duty.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-09-15 12:11:13Last Update: 2023-09-14 16:19:30

Legislative Referrals Scheduled For November 2024 Ballot
Referendum 403 converts Oregon to Ranked Choice Voting

Editors note: This is the second in a three-part series on legislative referendums scheduled for the November 2024 election

Speaker of the House Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) was chief sponsor of HB 2004 that is now Referendum 403 on the November 2024 ballot. The referendum establishes in Oregon Revised Statutes, ranked choice voting as the statewide voting method for selecting winners of federal, state and local elections. There are currently no official titles for the 2024 referendums pending action from a legislative committee.

Rank-choice voting is an instant runoff system that can neutralize the people's will. The process is for the ballots to be recounted in rounds, eliminating the lowest candidate until one candidate has the majority of votes. Each round is a new count substituting second and third choices, so the winning candidate in round one can be overridden in subsequent rounds when second and third choices are added into the count. Too many choices distorts the method and may not reflect the voters' choice. In Oregon’s governor race, each party had over 10 choices, the process does not provide for how to limit the number of candidates, except to adopt rules.

Some say it incentivizes candidates to appeal to a broader base of voters, but it has been shown to reduce voting by demanding voters think beyond their first choice. That causes a strategy in voting that is complicated.

Crafters of HB 2004 admit this process is so confusing they provided for a program to educate voters about how ranked choice voting will be conducted in elections. This bill is hard to decipher, but appears to allow two tally methods. It requires major political parties to use ranked choice voting for the primary and the general election only for federal offices, Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Attorney General, and nonpartisan BOLI office. Other nonpartisan offices, state and local, may, but not required to use ranked choice voting to determine the winners in the primary – in the manner they do now. The Secretary of State may tally all ballots cast using ranked choice voting. What’s missing from the list of mandated offices required to use rank choice voting are State Senators and State Representatives.

Should voters add a process that is so confusing that it requires the expense of an ongoing education program for voters, new and old, to understand? That is the basis behind Marc Theilman’s lawsuit, Theilman vs. Fagan, which has advanced to the 9th Circuit Court. It challenges voter laws as being the cause that people have lost confidence in our elections. It is a constitutional requirement for government to maintain the confidence of the people. His remedy is to go back to one-day voting, presenting ID, signature matching, and count ballots by hand.

Janice Dysinger, Oregonians for Fair Elections, says, “Ranked choice voting will further alienate the people of Oregon who want to have a fair and accountable system they can observe in the election process. Ranked choice voting totally relies on computer programming and tabulators without a way to audit the results. Any recount efforts would be a rerun of the same program. We have seen other states with systems that are not different from ours that have their count corrupted by people who just program the count for a different outcome than the one the people voted for through back doors in the machine systems. We need to return to an accountable system that the people can observe and verify in the process.”

In 2019 the Oregon Legislature passed the National Popular Vote for presidential contests. It passed based on the premise that every vote counts because the vote of each voter in the U.S. carries equal weight. Equal weight does not produce fair representation when small states are lumped into a compact with larger states – it’s the rural/metro scenario on a larger scale. Small states lose their voice. The Electoral College weighs every vote so smaller states are weighted more than larger populated states giving Oregonians a 1.3 vote value compared to California or New York's 1.0 vote value. Oregonians would forfeit vote value, which takes away voter sovereignty when yielding to the popular votes of more populated states.

HB 2004 incorporates the use of ranked choice voting if the National Popular Vote is triggered. Since the National Popular Vote compact was never voted on by voters, a vote for ranked choice voting simultaneously may also be a vote of approval for the National Popular Vote.



“Every vote counts” is even less true for ranked choice voting. As the ballots continue to be recounted in each round, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, but so are voters whose choices are eliminated. The final tally will only count ballots that voted for the candidates left in the running, allowing their ballots to be counted more times than those eliminated, whom have no vote in the final decision. So, if your candidate didn’t win, it's possible that your vote wasn’t counted in the winning tally. No ballot should be counted more than one time to be equitable.

Representative E. Werner Reschke (R-Crater Lake) asks,” how many more voters will incorrectly fill out their ballot? How many voters will know voting for their second choice or third choice could accidentally knock out their first choice — their real choice — from the winner’s circle?... Why would we want to make the ballot even longer and more complicated with more choices? Ranked Choice voting could very well discourage voting because ballots could end up being multiple pages long… Ranked Choice voting’s complexity can and will only delay election results on more races and therefore bring further confusion and doubt to the integrity of our system.”

Reschke also asked about equipment to handle a new system that can tabulate ranked choice votes. What is the need for more trained staff and will the state dedicate tax payer funding to cover costs? “Overall, I believe Ranked Choice voting treats Oregonians like children who can’t decide who they want to win for a particular race. I much rather regard my fellow citizens, 18 and older, as adults. Our most important laws certainly do, and so ought our election process.”

If passed, ranked choice voting would apply to elections and nominations occurring on or after January 1, 2028. A lot of effort is going into exposing the vulnerability of the use of internet tabulators and the possible presence of fraud. Referendum 403 may be viewed as having to many risks until voter confidence is regained.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-09-15 10:18:35Last Update: 2023-09-14 16:23:23

Analysis: School Safety is About More Than Guns
One rural school district’s refusal to protect students from potential predators

Editor’s note: Due to the employment at the same school district of another Ms. Hill the author has used the first name of a person frequently mentioned in this article.

School safety plans mostly allude to threats of explicit violence in schools, such as mass shootings and bomb threats. Schools have written ample policies and its employee unions are some of the most ardent opponents of the 2nd Amendment. However, a more likely danger to student safety is the presence of child predators in schools. Surprisingly, Oregon law and school policy can be unbelievable inept in protecting children. This is not only an issue for large urban districts, but small rural districts, such as Nestucca Valley School District in Tillamook County.

In April 2023, Jessica Starr obtained a stalking order against Special Education Teacher Chelsea Hill for grooming her 12-year-old daughter, Bridget. According to testimony by the student’s mother, Jessica Starr, Chelsea Hill sustained a relationship with her daughter Bridget through her employment at Nestucca Valley School District and through secret messages sent to Bridget’s phone under an alias. The copies of these messages show frequent offers of special food and treats; solicitation of information about the activities, locations, and future plans of Bridget, her family, and extended family members, and videos sent from Chelsea Hill to Bridget about narcissistic mothers.

Despite the evidence and the court order, Nestucca Valley School District not only retained Chelsea Hill as an employee in close proximity to Bridget, but also developed a plan that would not guarantee elements of the stalking order be enforced. While the school plan did attempt to keep Chelsea Hill from being “knowingly within 150 feet” and to have no contact “via electronic communications” from the girl, it still maintained that there would be possible visual contact. Under Oregon law stalking order requires the that the stalker not knowingly come into visual contact or be outside the school of the victim. The school’s failure to fully implement the stalking order forced, Bridget’s mother to pull her from Nestucca and be placed in a local private school.



To be fair the matter is complicated, given that Jessica Starr is the fiancée of Jason Hill, Chelsea Hill’s ex-husband, of whom they share a son. This son, up until the time of the stalking order, had regular court ordered parenting time with Mr. Hill. He was sometimes with Bridget when messages were being exchanged, but they were on Bridget’s phone not the son’s. Since the stalking order, Chelsea Hill has refused to follow the parenting time agreement with Mr. Hill and has recently been redirected by a judge to follow the previous order. At the time of this publication Chelsea Hill has refused to submit a comment.

Furthering Nestucca’s entanglement with Chelsea Hill’s legal issues, at the September 1st hearing concerning maintaining the stalking order two school employees, including the Special Programs Director, were in attendance during normal working hours to aid Chelsea Hill in her defense. Chelsea Hill has refused counsel in her legal defense. The Special Programs Director refused to comment at the time of the publication of this article on her attendance or whether she was receiving pay from the school during this trial. Nestucca Superintendent Misty Wharton, did respond to these questions, stating, “the district does not provide comment about personnel.” The stalking order hearing will continue on October 13, 2023.

August 10th brought more disturbing news for Nestucca Valley School District: Former Nestucca school teacher and recent Nestucca Valley School District Board candidate, Russ Sanders, was charged and arrested for Sex Abuse -- Rape and a Fugitive for another state. The charge has been downgraded to Sex Abuse I -- Incest, and Russ Sanders has been released to the other state’s jurisdiction.

Russ Sanders told voters during the election that he had worked in the last school year with the Nestucca Valley Smart Reading program. The Smart Reading program is a state wide program that brings volunteers into the school to read and distribute books to students. The organization requires volunteers to be “culturally affirming” and submit to a background check. Under Oregon state law (Required Background Checks by Education Providers ORS 339.374 and Background Check Policy for Volunteers ORS 326 607) schools may utilize a state or national background check. In Russ Sanders' case, this is a concern because his out of state charges mean there is no documentation of his alleged criminal behavior in Oregon.

Russ Sanders was endorsed by both the Tillamook County Democrat Central Committee and TREAT, Tillamook Retired Educators and Teachers during his bid for the Nestucca Valley School Board and ran with current school board members Joseph Boyd, Diane Boisa, and Wally Nelson. He lost to Zachary Best by only 5 votes. Nestucca has not released a public statement about Russ Sanders’ arrest despite his previous work in the school district with vulnerable students, including nonverbal, disabled students.

What was the response when Nestucca school board was asked why they had not notified the public of this incident? Joseph Boyd, Vice Chair of the NVSD Board stated, “We are not responding to the charges against Mr. Sanders because they happened out of state.”

Their response to why they retained employment and did not notify the public of the stalking order for grooming a student attending Nestucca K8 (grade school) was, “We do not discuss employee issues.” This was as they gaveled out the speaker for asking these questions during public comment at the August 2023 school board meeting. The board had previously denied both Jessica Starr and Jason Hill their free speech rights during public comment at a May special school board meeting when they filed a complaint against Superintendent Wharton for her handling of the stalking order against Chelsea Hill. The Nestucca Board concluded that Superintendent Wharton “followed the law” and would not be referred for discipline. Amidst these controversies Nestucca Valley School Board is preparing to appoint a new school board member after the resignation of Board Chair Shane Stuart.



However, Nestucca has both commented on former employees who have been charged with sex crimes outside the district and notified the public. Although the Facebook post has been removed, the arrest of former Nestucca teacher David Michael Brandon was publicly acknowledged by the district. David Michael Brandon was arrested for sodomy and supplying minors with marijuana in Clatsop county. David Michael Brandon has been convicted and served his 90 days in jail for this crime.

Nestucca Valley School District has since been asked what their policy was concerning retaining an employee or volunteer standing trial for allegedly harming a child and notifying parents of students of such an accusation? Their response was that they were following policy, but no specific policy was cited and the link sent was to the entire policy manual of the district.

Those who defend gender ideology being taught and promoted in our schools are sometimes labeled groomers. There is no doubt that there is amble opportunity to groom students in all kinds of ideology in the classroom: While it may be an unacceptable ideology or tactic it is a predictable outcome. However, one would hope all taxpayers would agree that actually grooming children for exploitation emotionally and physically should be totally unacceptable. Oregon law and schools must place the safety of children as its highest priority, and school shootings are less probable than abuse by an adult.

Since publication, Superintendent Wharton of Nestucca Valley School District has informed the public that the date of the trial mentioned in this article was not a “regular, work day.”

--April Bailey

Post Date: 2023-09-15 06:22:59Last Update: 2023-10-19 07:20:37

Senator Tim Knopp Files for Re-Election
“The clear language of Measure 113 allows me to run one more time”

Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) has filed for re-election to Senate District 27, the seat he has held since 2012. “The clear language of Measure 113 allows me to run one more time.” Knopp said. “Oregonians are fed up with the ‘tyranny of the majority’ over the past decades."

According to Senator Knopp, "Senate President Rob Wagner drove the 2023 session into the ditch. He led the Senate Majority in breaking the Senate rules, breaking Oregon law and ignoring the Oregon Constitution. Wagner left Senate Republicans no choice but to stand for principle and rule of law. In response, Wagner in an arbitrary and capricious manner retaliated by assigning us unexcused absences. While senators continued to perform their duties of their offices at the Capitol, the denial of quorum brought this lawlessness to an end.”

The exact language of Measure 113 in the voters pamphlet was:

Amends Oregon Constitution to add language prescribing consequences for unexcused absences by legislators from floor sessions. Currently, Senators and Representatives may be 'punished' or, by the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senator’s or Representative’s chamber, 'expelled' for 'disorderly behavior,' but law does not define 'disorderly behavior.' Additionally, absent legislators may be 'compelled' to attend legislative floor sessions, but current law does not specify consequences for unexcused absences. Measure specifies that 'disorderly behavior' includes legislator’s failure to attend ten or more legislative floor sessions during a regular or special legislative session without permission or excuse. Under measure, legislator who engages in 'disorderly behavior' through unexcused absences is disqualified from serving as a Senator or Representative for the term following the end of the legislator’s current term.



Senator Knopp concluded, “Cities have failed to address homelessness and housing affordability across Oregon. Senate Republicans will be bringing these issues back to the 2024 session, since Senate Democrats failed to pass these needed changes in the 2023 session.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-09-14 16:48:08Last Update: 2023-09-14 16:57:47

Kotek Announces Homelessness Spending
Another $26.1 million to be spent on homelessness in Oregon

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has now announced spending allocations to counties within Oregon's Balance of State Continuum of Care as part of her homelessness state of emergency, as well as the specific outcomes attached to these emergency dollars.

The funding comes from House Bill 5019, approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Kotek in response to her homelessness state of emergency. The bill, among other allocations, included $26.1 million to rehouse people experiencing homelessness and expand shelter capacity in the 26 rural counties that make up the Balance of State Continuum of Care.

Kotek says that this funding aims to reduce the number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness by adding at least 100 new shelter beds and rehousing at least 450 households by June 30, 2025.

“Homelessness is a crisis in both urban and rural communities throughout Oregon,” Governor Kotek said. “In many conversations during my 36-county listening tour, Oregonians have repeatedly emphasized the need for more shelter capacity and rehousing services in their communities. This funding, tied to specific outcomes, will make a measurable impact in addressing this crisis in rural Oregon. And we can’t stop here – I will keep pushing for concrete solutions that will support community needs going forward.”



The following funding amounts are based on many factors, including the appropriation made available by the Legislature, detailed plans that local communities submitted, and a distribution formula developed by the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department: Communities established 16 Local Planning Groups with designated leads to coordinate and create a plan to achieve the outcomes.Kotek says that the local Planning Groups are made up of experts from local governments, non-profits, and people with "lived experience" of homelessness. She says that these groups will be responsible for the implementation of funds to help move individuals and families into housing stability.

Kotek says that local Planning Groups submitted 29 shelter projects for consideration, with a total request of over $37 million

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-09-14 11:10:08Last Update: 2023-09-14 16:20:34

Legislative Referrals Scheduled For November 2024 Ballot
Referendum 402 creates a commission to determine top public official salaries

Editors note: This is the first in a three-part series on legislative referendums scheduled for the November 2024 election

Three Legislative measures will be referred to the people of the State of Oregon in the November 2024 Election -- in addition to whatever the citizens' initiative process will produce. SJR 34 amends the Oregon Constitution to establish an Independent Public Service Compensation Commission; HJR 16 adds an impeachment process to the Oregon Constitution; and HB 2004 establishes ranked choice voting as the statewide voting method for selecting winner of federal, state and local elections.

The statutory ballot title process was supplanted by the 2023 Legislature by passing SB 28, which creates a joint legislative committee to prepare the ballot titles and explanatory statements for referendums referred to the ballot during 2023 regular session. Senate President Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) is to appoint three legislative members and Speaker Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) three. The committee has until March 12, 2024 to complete the process giving the electors time to petition the Supreme Court with any objects on how the title or explanation is written. Deadlines associated with the ballot title and explanatory statement will be drafted in Administrative Rule. In the meantime, there are no official titles for these three Referendums.

This article is the first in a three-part series that examines SJR 34, Referendum 402, which proposes amending the Oregon Constitution to create the Independent Public Service Compensation Commission giving it authority to decide salaries for the listed public officials paid from the General Fund.

The commission would establish salaries for the following officials:
  1. Governor
  2. Secretary of State
  3. State Treasurer
  4. Attorney General
  5. Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries or any successor agency
  6. Judges of the Supreme Court
  7. Judges of other courts under the administration of the judicial branch of state government
  8. State Senator
  9. State Representative
  10. District attorneys
Upon the commission’s adoption of its determinations, the state is then obligated to budget moneys from the General Fund sufficient to pay the salaries determined by the commission as they deemed to be appropriate.

Prior to 1956, salaries for the Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, and Supreme Court Judges were stated in Article XIII of the Oregon Constitution and it took a vote of the people to change their salaries prior to its repeal.

This isn’t the first time a commission has been proposed to determine state salaries. It was used twice before to review and make recommendations to the Legislature on salaries for certain state public officials. The ideology is a separation of compensation from political pressures will produce a fair approach.

Oregon's previous version of a Public Officials Compensation Commission was first established by legislation in 1983, but all positions became vacant in 2000. Legislation was again enacted in 2007 to revitalize the Commission with new membership and a revised scope of work. The Commission’s 2008 recommendations were introduced amidst the Great Recession, and the Legislature ultimately declined to increase compensation for public officials. The Commission went unfunded after 2008 and was eliminated in 2017 along with other state boards and commissions identified as inactive or obsolete.

By making the commission a constitutional mandate, it removes the latitude of the legislature to respond to economic abnormalities. To avoid the delay or final approval by the legislature, the commission is given full authority to implement salaries they deem appropriate. That puts a lot of weight on selecting nonpartisan members that have an understanding of the salaries they implement has on the economy and state budget.

Unfortunately, SJR 34 and Referendum 402 does not define how the committee is selected. It only prohibits state employees or officers or family members, and lobbyists or family members from serving, and allows the legislature to add other classes of individuals.



Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, Meagan Flynn, claims it “will help ensure that we can attract and retain highly qualified people to those offices of public service.”

The National Conference on State Legislatures (NCSL) found that 21 states set compensation for lawmakers with input from an independent commission, as Oregon has done in the past. Certain states also rely on independent commissions in setting compensation or benefits for selected other statewide officials, which may include members of the executive or judicial branches.

However, what is appropriate compensation may have the consequence of reducing other services or raising taxes when fixed outside of the budget process. We see a form of this when teacher salaries are lobbied by unions and set prior to school districts knowing what the legislative budget will give them. That sometimes means cutting staff. Voters are given the task to decide if they want to give up their voice when it comes to salaries for the highest officers in the state.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-09-14 10:19:16Last Update: 2023-09-14 16:22:55

Marion County Files Lawsuit Against State of Oregon
“We have been trying to solve these issues for a long time”

On September 12, 2023, Marion County filed a lawsuit against the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon State Hospital in Marion County Circuit Court. The County is asking the Court to order the State to comply with its statutory obligation to evaluate and treat individuals with pending criminal charges unable to aid and assist in their own defense and who require behavioral health restoration services at the State Hospital.

“This action is not something that we take lightly,” said Commissioner Colm Willis. “We have been trying to solve these issues for a long time. The State needs to fulfill their responsibilities to the individuals needing critical treatment and to the citizens that are paying taxes for them to do the job that the law says is their responsibility.”

The Marion County Commissioners say that for too long, the State has failed to meet its legal obligation to fund, build, and staff sufficient beds for the growing number of Oregonians who need inpatient behavioral health restoration services. By Oregon law, only the State can provide or contract for this inpatient hospital level of restoration care. The Commissioners point out that it has failed to do so. Instead, sicker and more violent people are being pushed out into the community where their behavioral health restoration needs simply cannot be met. The State's failure to provide sufficient inpatient capacity has had severe, devastating impacts on livability and public safety in the county.



“Local governments and communities are feeling and seeing the negative impact of the choices being made at the state level and are bearing the brunt of the State’s inability or unwillingness to do what it is legally required to do,” said Commissioner Danielle Bethell.

The Marion Commissioners are saying that they will now seek a court order to require the State to fulfill its legal responsibility to provide sufficient staff, facilities, and other resources required for inpatient restoration to assist individuals in their own defense, as well as an order for the State to procure theose resources.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-09-14 06:05:11Last Update: 2023-09-14 16:21:07

Kotek Declares Drought Emergencies
She has made drought declarations in 12 counties this calendar year

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has declared a drought in Gilliam, Douglas and Lincoln Counties through Executive Order 23-20 and Executive Order 23-22, and directed state agencies to coordinate and prioritize assistance to the regions.

Drought conditions are variable throughout Gilliam County, ranging from abnormally dry to severe drought. Moderate drought conditions have continued to spread across the county since the beginning of water year 2023. Precipitation since the beginning of the water year on October 1, 2022, has been well below average, with most of the county receiving less than 75% of usual precipitation to this point in the year.

Douglas County is experiencing below to well below average streamflows, with some streams measuring record low flows. The reservoir storage in the Rogue River Basin Project is also measuring below average. The county has experienced below to well below average precipitation over the water year and over the past 90 days, with May through July being the sixth-driest period on record.

Lincoln County has experienced a significant deficit in precipitation over the past 90 days compared to historical norms. Streams in Lincoln County are measuring below to well below average flows, and several streams have measured record low streamflows for extended periods of time. Drought signals indicate short-term drought conditions equivalent to exceptional drought due to warm, dry conditions.

Drought is likely to have a significant economic impact on the farm, ranch, recreation, tourism and natural resources sectors. Drought also impacts drinking water, fish and wildlife, and important minimum flows for public instream uses and other natural resources dependent on adequate precipitation, stored water, and streamflow in these areas.



Extreme conditions are expected to affect local growers and livestock, increase the potential for wildfire fire, shorten the growing season, and decrease water supplies.

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

The Oregon Drought Readiness Council, a standing body composed of natural resource, public health, and emergency response agencies, received requests from the Boards of Commissioners in Douglas, Gilliam and Lincoln counties requesting the Governor’s drought declarations.

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

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

Governor Kotek has now made drought declarations in 12 counties this calendar year.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-09-10 22:40:09Last Update: 2023-09-10 22:51:44

Habitat Conservation Plan Under Consideration
Timberlands are being closed down in case the spotted owl comes back some day

Editor’s note: This is the third in a multi-part series on the Oregon Department of Forestry's Habitat Conservation Plan and how it impacts wildlife and communities

The Oregon Department of Forestry's Habitat Conservation Plan is on the verge of being adopted and will impact Oregon forest management. Covered species -- those for which an incidental take permit will be needed -- are those species for which USFWS and NOAA Fisheries will provide take authorization to the Oregon Department of Forestry to authorize take that may occur during the implementation of covered activities. Species were selected for coverage if all four of the following criteria were met:
  1. The species range overlaps with the permit area.
  2. The species is currently listed under the ESA or is likely to become listed during the permit term.
  3. The species is likely to be impacted by covered activities.
  4. There is enough data available to adequately assess the potential for covered activities to impact the species and to create a conservation strategy for the species that will adequately avoid, minimize, and mitigate the impact of any taking of the species that occurs from covered activities.
Oregon Coast coho
Oregon Coast spring-run chinook
Lower Columbia River chinook
Lower Columbia River coho
Columbia River chum
Upper Willamette River spring-run chinook
Upper Willamette River winter steelhead
Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast coho
Southern Oregon/Northern California Coastal
spring-run chinook
Northern spotted owl
Marbled murrelet
Oregon slender salamander
Columbia torrent salamander
Cascade torrent salamander
Coastal marten
Red tree vole, North Oregon Coast population
Covered activity categories include: There are 17 species -- plus another 60 plus non-listed species -- proposed for coverage in the draft Habitat Conservation Plan: 10 fish, 2 birds, 3 salamanders, and 2 mammals.

The Executive Summary of the Habitat Conservation Plan describes a conservation strategy [which] will result in an increase in habitat for all of the terrestrial covered species, but other factors may remain that limit the ability of covered species to take advantage of the new habitat and for populations to increase. Clatsop County has not seen a spotted owl in almost a decade, but the Endangered Species Act says that a protected species does not have to occupy habitat for it to be deemed critical habitat. So, Clatsop County’s timberlands are being closed down in case the spotted owl comes back some day.

The Conservation Fund, described in Chapter 9 [of the Endangered Species Act], Costs and Funding, will provide funding on an annual basis to address these limiting factors. The priorities for how the Conservation Fund is used will change during the permit term, but ODF will work with species experts and other state and federal partners to identify where and how Conservation Fund monies are spent. Conservation Fund monies will be derived from ODF’s share of timber sale revenues, at a rate of $5 per thousand board feet harvested.

The HCP includes a monitoring program to demonstrate that ODF is operating in compliance with the commitments made in the HCP and associated incidental take permits. The monitoring program also helps to assess whether the conservation strategy is performing as expected. Compliance monitoring will focus on whether the HCP is being implemented properly and as required by the permits. Compliance monitoring results will be summarized in an annual report to USFWS and NOAA Fisheries. Effectiveness monitoring will be completed to track progress towards the biological goals and objectives. Effectiveness monitoring will include validation of habitat development as estimated by species habitat models and species response to changes in habitat quality

The end product will be approved by the Oregon Department of Forestry and become a part of Oregon Administrative Rules.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-09-09 06:18:06Last Update: 2023-09-06 21:03:49

OHA Released The Public Health Response Report
Outlines resiliency for responding to future public health emergencies

The World Health Organization (WHO) Director, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus is saying COVID is here to stay promoting wearing masks and to get booster shots. Ask any Oregon legislator about the current COVID warnings, and they have a universal answer as if scripted, “I am unaware of any upcoming mask mandates, plans for vaccine passports, or social distancing orders.”

The executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, Dr. Michael Ryan, used the emergence of COVID-19 cases to advocate for the controversial “pandemic treaty,” which, if accepted, would give WHO the power to directly impose restrictions on countries during a pandemic, allowing him to determine what constitutes a “pandemic.” The Biden Administration ended the COVID public health emergency, but supports WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme.

The Oregon legislature passed SB 1554 in 2022 for a comprehensive study done by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), which is titled Public Health Response To The COVID-19 Pandemic In Oregon. The report was to outline recommendations for improving and strengthening Oregon’s public health system capacity and resiliency for responding to future public health emergencies.

The final evaluation, findings and recommendations was released September 1, 2023, produced by Rede Group, a social impact company through an allocated $899,573. What did ‘We the People’ get for our money? We didn’t get a seat at the table. The 728 participants all represented groups related to managing or providing aspects of health care engaged in responding. Some areas appear to be a self-evaluation. There were no interviews or surveys provided to those on the receiving end - no patients, no parents, no seniors, no individual interviews or surveys were included.

The report is broken down into the legislation subject areas with findings and recommendations:

Resources – Oregon’s public health system was underfunded and needs an additional $143,000,000 annual funding to rebuild and keep the public health system modernized. That's on top of the $21 billion a year new taxes needed for universal health care to be paid by employers and individuals, in place of existing health insurance premiums.

Health Equity - It is evident that COVID-19 exacerbated already existing health inequities in the state. In particular, Tribal Nations and Communities of Color were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately in comparison to White communities. This is attributable to systemic inequities that influence the Social Determinants of Health, rather than personal choices related to virus protection. To resolve inequities, they suggest: Emergency Management + Coordination - lacked role clarity causing confusion affecting overall responses. Recommended: Enforcement of Public Health Mandates – found to be inconsistent and a widespread misinformation campaign marred compliance, or was it really misinformation as the truth is still coming out. The report suggests that local and state agency partners convene to determine if the enforcement mechanisms used to protect the public's health from COVID-19 in 2020-2022 are the best fit for Oregon. If changes are necessary by OHA, the Oregon State Legislature should work to enact necessary statutory or regulatory changes.



Secondary findings attributed to increased strain on hospitals and health system caused disparities in health care equity. There were other side effects to the strain on the health care system, such as: The majority of School Districts and Education Service Districts reported their districts were highly or moderately prepared to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a third of the School Districts reported their districts were minimally or not at all prepared to respond. At the school level, results were less positive. Principals felt their schools were unprepared having outdated or non-existent Emergency Operations Plans. The recommendations are for training, partnerships, funding for emergency operations, involve schools in mandate decisions, coordinated messaging, and accessibility.

Other non-government community recommendations suggest funding and flexibility of funding, and prioritize public health emergency responses to equity practices. The report also included similar recommendations for Tribal Nations, migrants and seasonal farmworkers. The COVID pandemic was the first time that government considered farmworkers as essential workers growing and processing food.

Hospitals and long-term care facilities are recommended to develop guidance and maintain relationships. The public health workforce needs better plans and protocols for a surge that is large scale and long-term. Cooperation with city and county emergency programs. Improve epidemiological data systems with sustainable capacity and develop standards that can support multiple counties.

The report is superficial on some of the areas the study is required to cover in SB 1554, but it is heavy on equity. It documented what most of us already know, and lacks contribution from end-users impacted by critical decisions. It did, however, accomplish the legislature’s goal of having enough information to justify spending more taxpayer dollars in the name of preparedness and universal health care.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-09-08 17:30:04Last Update: 2023-09-08 21:33:49

Analysis: Restoring the Scientific Method and Saving Civilization
“The blending of science into politics and religion is a throwback to the Dark Ages”

Editor's note: This article first appeared in RealClear Energy. It has been republished here with the permission of the author.

Scientists are worried, as well they should be.

The latest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, John Clauser warns that climate science has become pseudoscience. Meanwhile, Jim Skea, the new Chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change criticizes climate hyperbole as his boss UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres promotes “Global Boiling.” Additionally, high profile billionaires from Bezos and Soros to Zuckerberg and Gates throw their wealth into climate alarm. Mainstream media outlets are recruiting highly politicized young journalists to promote hysteria.

The fate of science is at stake, and consequently the fate of the civilization it supports.

The problems are not limited to climate science, where they are most obvious but affect many other areas where politics and careerism drive many to do sloppy or dishonest work. Pressure to succeed has driven scientists to stray from the strictly objective requirements of science to Faustian Bargains that promise fame and fortune to those who bend or break the rules.



When the Climategate email scandal erupted more than a decade ago, revealing how prominent scientists were gaming the publications system to promote their ideas over competitors, we caught a glimpse of what was happening. A group, calling themselves “climate scientists,” were profoundly cheating.

While the scientific community was deeply concerned about the corruption, many “climate scientists” were perfectly happy to continue receiving government grants that made their lifestyles possible. And the public was largely unaware.

Then the editor-in-chief, Richard Horton, of the British medical journal, The Lancet, complained that perhaps half of the peer-reviewed papers he publishes cannot be replicated, meaning that they are wrong. Hence, any medical practice derived from those articles is suspect.

Stanley Young, a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, pointed out that the situation is worse in epidemiology where 90% of published papers cannot be replicated.

UCLA epidemiologist James Enstrom challenged a heavily flawed report on the effects of diesel smoke on human health. Yet, the California Air Resources Board used it as a basis for regulating diesel trucks. The president of Stanford University, neuroscientist Marc Tessier-Lavigne, recently resigned after an investigation showed that scientific papers he supervised contained evidence of fabrication and other scientific malpractice. One of those was touted as a breakthrough in Alzheimer's research.



University of Delaware marine ecologist, Danielle Dixson, was caught fabricating data about the behavior of fish inhabiting coral reefs to show that they were suffering ill effects from carbon dioxide. They were not. The journal Science retracted her paper.

As the respected British journalist Matt Ridley reports, “Outright fraud is but the tip of the iceberg. Exaggerating results is a far commoner reason why scientific publications cannot be treated as holy writ.”

Much tighter standards and better training are obviously necessary to combat this epidemic of bad science.

Yet many educators who teach young people the basics of science are moving in the opposite direction, dropping any requirement for teaching the Scientific Method. In almost every state, children no longer learn what separates science from all other human endeavors, namely rigorous objectivity and what the great physicist Richard Feynman called “utter honesty.”

The blending of science into politics and religion should alarm everyone because it is a throwback to the Dark Ages.

Science surely involves the uncertainty of guessing what might explain something. But it so much more than a good story. It has to be a true story. The Scientific Method involves painstaking and honest investigation of an hypothesis by gathering data to evaluate it. The agreement of one's peers is helpful but proves nothing. As Albert Einstein said, “One man can prove me wrong.”

The use of elaborate computer models or complex mathematics is not proof unless the models can be verified against real world data. And scientific results are always subject to reevaluation as better evidence becomes available. Those claiming that “the science is settled” are politicians and journalists, not scientists.

Students need to learn and appreciate the Scientific Method as the very foundation of science. Exaggeration, fabrication, and fraud are not science and will not sustain civilization.

Gordon J. Fulks has a Ph.D. in physics from the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research at the University of Chicago. He is a director of the CO2 Coalition in Arlington, Virginia, and chairman of its education committee.

--Gordon Fulks

Post Date: 2023-09-08 06:33:45Last Update: 2023-09-08 21:33:26

Oregon to Leverage Medicaid Benefits for Social Needs
Will prevent homelessness, support behavioral health services, and mitigate the impacts of climate change

The Oregon Health Authority, in collaboration with Oregon Housing and Community Services, announced proposed timelines to begin offering new Medicaid benefits that eligible Oregon Health Plan (OHP/Medicaid) members would receive under Oregon’s ground-breaking 1115 Medicaid waiver agreement with the federal government. If the federal government agrees to the proposal, eligible OHP members would start receiving benefits for climate-related supports in January 2024, housing insecurity in November 2024, and food insecurity in January 2025.

Oregon would be the first state in the nation to gain federal approval to offer six months of temporary rent assistance as a medically necessary Medicaid benefit. These benefits would first roll-out to people who are at risk of losing their current housing, beginning on Nov. 1, 2024, if the federal government approves the plan.

In lockstep with Governor Tina Kotek’s priority to reduce homelessness, state health officials have determined that the most immediate and effective way to implement Oregon’s new short-term Medicaid housing benefit is to help people who are medically and economically vulnerable avoid becoming homeless in the first place.

According to state housing experts, the rate of Oregonians losing housing is increasing faster than state and local programs can rehouse them, due to a critical statewide shortage in affordable housing. The short-term Medicaid rent assistance benefit will help prevent people from losing housing due to a health issue that disrupts their ability to stay current on their housing payments, or because they need to be connected to mental health or substance use services to maintain stable housing. This preventive approach should help slow the rate of growth in the homeless population.



State officials estimate approximately 125,000 OHP members currently meet the federal housing definition of “at risk for homelessness” and could be eligible for the short-term housing benefit if they have health and housing needs that would require up to six months of rent assistance or other housing supports. While assuring that these benefits help keep people housed, OHA will continue to have a strong focus on assisting OHP members that have a significant mental health or substance use disorder that exacerbates their housing insecurity.

OHA’s interim director Dave Baden said, “As a first step, we want to use these new and innovative Medicaid housing benefits to make sure that someone with a health problem stays in stable housing. We can’t let more people wind up on the streets, where their health issues will worsen and get harder to treat, making sustainable, long-term housing harder to find, especially given the lack of affordable housing across the state.”

Medically necessary temporary rent assistance and other housing supports would become available to other OHP members, including people who are already homeless, later in the state’s five-year waiver implementation. That date has not been specified as state health and housing officials continue to work with federal partners to address barriers to housing access and other questions.

Input from housing providers, coordinated care organizations (CCOs) and other community voices informed the state’s strategy to focus on preventing homelessness in this first phase.

Andrea Bell, director at OHCS, said, “Today’s actions build upon a longstanding commitment to addressing the social determinants of health in action. This historic rent assistance provision is a tangible pathway to deliver rent assistance as a health intervention. Housing and health barriers are connected. The solutions should be reflective of that reality.”

State officials also announced that climate-related supports for some OHP members will become available starting Jan. 1, 2024, if federal officials approve the proposed timelines. Under this benefit, eligible OHP members could qualify to receive air conditioners to help reduce health risks during extreme heat emergencies (if medically necessary) or air filters to protect from the respiratory effects of wildfire smoke.

Nutrition benefits, such as medically tailored meals, would become available starting Jan. 1, 2025.

Oregon’s five-year 1115 Medicaid waiver provides OHP coverage and more than $1 billion in federal funding to address the health-related social needs (HRSN) of people whose health is affected by the most pressing problems affecting Oregon communities, including homelessness, climate change and poverty. Under the state’s agreement with CMS, Oregon is required to begin making health-related social needs benefits available no later than Jan. 1, 2025.



1115 Medicaid waivers allow states flexibility to test new ways to deliver and pay for Medicaid benefits. A state must receive CMS approval to implement a waiver.

Medicaid provides health coverage to income-eligible people. Currently, more than 1.4 million Oregonians – or 1 in 3 state residents – are covered by OHP. Most people who qualify for Medicaid in Oregon are covered by OHP. Approximately nine in 10 OHP members have their care coordinated through one of 16 CCOs which operate in defined regions across the state.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-09-08 06:23:25Last Update: 2023-09-08 21:34:30

Habitat Conservation Plan Under Consideration
“Oregon will have the most unmanaged timberland in state history”

Editor’s note: This is the second in a multi-part series on the Oregon Department of Forestry's Habitat Conservation Plan and how it impacts wildlife and communities

Not everyone is a fan of the 1,132 page Western Oregon State Forest Habitat Conservation Plan. According to Oregon Natural Resources Industries President Jen Hamaker this HCP invites the Federal Government, through NOAA and USFW, to guide management of our state forestlands. "We all know how the Fed’s manage their land. They don’t." said Hamaker.

Hamaker puts the changes in historical perspective. "Between 1952-1987, when forests were managed in Oregon, we experienced only one forest fire in excess of 10,000 acres. Since then, Oregon experiences on average 500,000 acres burned annually. Millions of acres have been set aside to protect wildlife, this strategy has proven to kill wildlife, fill our air with months of smoke, extend fire season, contribute to catastrophic fires -- fires over 100,000 acres -- pollute waterways, and devastate communities. This HCP shuts down 53% of our state forests for 70 years.



"This HCP is not just a 70 year conservation plan, it's an economic and community plan too," continued Hamaker. "Over 220 public services that rely on timber harvest revenue will lose critical funding, such as local fire departments, emergency response services, 911 communications, libraries, schools, 4H, ports, transportation, etc. 512 special taxing districts are within this HCP, which almost entirely depend on property tax and timber harvest revenue to operate will be crippled beyond repair. The tax base within the 15 counties and taxing districts will feel the loss of thousands of family wage jobs which contribute to their local tax base. This HCP goes far beyond what is required by NOAA and USFW to obtain incidental take permits. This HCP is not necessary nor viable. ODF will lose critical funding to operate.

ODF generates its own revenue by timber harvest -- and if there's no harvest, there's no revenue. ODF will be operating in the red by $24 million or more every biennium. This means increased taxes and bonds levies on taxpayers to cover what was once generated by sustainably harvesting our timberland. Couple this loss of managed timberland with the Private Forest Accords HCP on private timberland, Oregon will have the most unmanaged timberland in Oregon’s history.

According to the Executive Summary of the Habitat Conservation Plan, the conservation strategy includes measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the impact of the taking on covered species from covered activities. The conservation strategy relies on (1) implementing best management practices when conducting covered activities to minimize effects on covered species, (2) designating areas on the landscape that will be managed for the benefit of covered species, and (3) creating a Conservation Fund that would be used to implement species and habitat management activities that would directly benefit covered species during the permit term

Hamaker calls out the Oregon Department of Forestry on their science. "Models and projections rely on accurate numbers and criteria. ODF has failed to provide both. ODF’s timber harvest volumes are inaccurate as proven by the report released early this year that showed a 34% decrease in timber harvest than what was projected."

The projected impact on communities is also questioned by Hamaker. "Several of ODF’s socioeconomic projections are also inaccurate. They used 2-3 jobs per million board feet harvested when industry uses 11-13 jobs per million board feet harvested, when bidding for timber sales. ODF did not include 512 special taxing districts within the HCP area that rely almost entirely on timber harvest revenue and property taxes to operate. The economic ripple effects of this HCP are not captured within the EIS. AND the EIS has not been updated to reflect the report showing a 34% reduction in timber harvest levels."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-09-08 06:06:21Last Update: 2023-09-16 16:23:13

Habitat Conservation Plan Under Consideration
The assumption behind all of this is that harvesting timber destroys habitat

Editor’s note: This is the first in a multi-part series on the Oregon Department of Forestry's Habitat Conservation Plan and how it impacts wildlife and communities

The Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan has been developed by the Oregon Department of Forestry -- under the direction of State Forester Cal Mukumoto -- to support applications for federal Endangered Species Act incidental take permits from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This HCP describes potential effects on a suite of 17 federally listed species -- and at least 60 non-listed species -- potentially at-risk from ODF’s forest management activities, including timber harvest, stand management, habitat restoration, and construction and maintenance of recreation facilities over a 70-year permit term. The HCP also describes a conservation strategy to avoid, minimize, and mitigate any effects from those activities during that timeframe.

Of course, the list of species is not without controversy. Coho Salmon is at historic abundance levels in Tillamook and Clatsop counties, this is a benchmark for delisting in these areas. They are in such abundance they are issuing permits to fish for them. The Red Tree Vole was to be delisted until environmental groups stopped the delisting so they can use the Endangered Species Act to shut down habitat. On October 19, US Fish And Wildlife Service issued a notice that it will withdraw its December 19, 2019 “not warranted” finding for the red tree vole north Oregon coast district population segment, returning the species to the USFWS’s candidate species list.

The assumption behind all of this is that harvesting timber from a forest destroys the habitat of federally listed endangered species and that in order to harvest the timber, one would have to apply for an "incidental take permit" to be allowed to impact the species by harvesting the timber. The best known example of such a species is the northern spotted owl. Ironically -- or maybe by design -- the Spotted Owl’s population continues to decline, but not because of the lack of habitat. Its two greater threats are forest fire and the barred owl which is its cousin. The barred owl is more aggressive and competes for the same food and eats spotted owls. The HCP has no plan to mitigate either.



The Public Draft of the Western Oregon State Forest Habitat Conservation Plan is a back-breaking 1,132 page document. Even the Executive Summary of the Habitat Conservation Plan is 14 pages. Not to be outdone, NOAA has published an 1,850 page Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-09-06 20:17:59Last Update: 2023-09-06 20:59:45

Another Look At Oregon’s Forecast
What legislators didn’t tell you about the forecast

Oregon State Economist Josh Lehner, one of the presenters of the September 2023 Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast, writes, “Right now we know the economy remains strong and the labor market is tight. But trying to gauge whether things are strengthening or slowing is a bit harder to do. The Federal Reserve (and most forecasters) are expecting the economy to slow down and inflation to cool.”

However, Lehner points out that data for a soft landing is also consistent for a hard landing. Despite his 50/50 outlook and emerging signs that the economy is reaccelerating, which means inflation could re-heat at some point in the quarters ahead, legislators have ignored the risk level and are broadcasting only the positive side.

At the forecast hearing, economists testified, "The stability over the past three months is not a guarantee of what’s to come. The numbers haven’t changed much showing stability, yet there is a high degree of uncertainty. The economic outlook is adhering to the soft landing the federal government is trying to engineer. The Federal Reserve has taken inflation out of its baseline, but they will keep rates higher for a little longer, which is a concern."

On the positive side, Lehner says, “[A]s inflation slows, income gains are once again outpacing price increases, leading to rising living standards. With the economy nearly at full employment, future growth will come from labor force gains driven by a return of positive net migration in the years ahead, along with productivity gains driven by capital investment.”



Oregon’s growth rate was 1.22% compared to the national gross domestic product (GDP) at 2.1%. Inflation is at 3.2%, which still means if what we purchase doesn’t equal GDP, then the economy is still shrinking and inflation is still the driving force. Couple that with Forbes reporting that oil will go to $300 a barrel and gas prices will triple by the end of October.

The forecast report says the Oregon government will have plenty to spend on public services based on corporate tax collections projected from a negative $4 million this biennium to $321 million in the 2023-25 biennium. They credit it to increase in small businesses, more federal funding for construction of roads, broadband, and semiconductors that will boost productivity.

All expectations come from corporate taxes. Corporate taxes tracked with corporate profits until 2016 when taxes made a jump over profits and the gap has steadily increased until now when taxes are more than double the profits. Economists claim and blame this on federal tax policy making it more competitive to realize profits in the U.S., and Oregon uses the federal tax forms, which makes Oregon corporate taxes look extreme. The information on corporate profits comes from national data until they are actually filed and realized.

Lehner told Northwest Observer that the Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) interplay could have an impact on corporate taxes, but they are based on sales and companies are able to subtract a portion. The CAT tax is currently at $3 million expected to go to $24 million in the 2025-27 biennium, and gradually return to $3 million in 2030.

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.7% in February to 3.40% July 31. Oregon is showing productivity growth, rather than population growth. Demographic data show deaths outnumber births and expect that to continue. Oregon ranks 44th highest (7th lowest) when it comes to the proportion of state population between the ages 0 and 17. This skews our state population older as a result. However, Oregon ranks higher in other generations and 8th largest in Millennial generation population. The population growth comes from migration, which remains consistent. Estimates on change of address shows people leaving Portland seems to have bottomed out, which supports stability.



The seeding of projects takes time to hit the economy and we may not see results until 2026. Semiconductor manufacturing will create about 3,000 jobs and 1,000 temporary construction jobs. They project that Oregon has the available workforce as number 4 in the country. Oregon is overall 1.5% of the U.S., but possesses 17% of the tech jobs.

The total General Fund resources in 2023-25 reports an increase of $437 million that is slightly misleading since it includes a balance carryover of $148 million. Meanwhile, legislators are busy putting in their bid on what it should be spent on. And, after four kickers, there is still no talk of reducing taxes.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-09-06 18:09:57Last Update: 2023-09-16 16:23:58

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