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Umatilla County Fair
Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at 10:00 am
Umatilla County Fair Aug. 10th-13th, 2022
1705 E. Airport Rd. PO Box 94 Hermiston, OR 97838



Tillamook County Fair
Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at 10:00 am
www.tillamookfair.com August 10-13 PignFord races, pari-mutual horse racing, destruction derby, nightly entertainment included in entry fee.
4603 Third St, Tillamook, Oregon 97141



CLACKAMAS COUNTY FAIR & RODEO
Tuesday, August 16, 2022 at 10:00 am
CLACKAMAS COUNTY FAIR & RODEO August 16-20, 2022 10am - 10pm
Clackamas County Events Center 694 NE 4th Ave. Canby, OR 97013



Oregon State Fair
Friday, August 26, 2022 at 10:00 am
Which part of the Oregon State Fair are you most excited for? We'll keep adding to the fun all summer long!
Salem, Or



Washington County Candidate Meet and Greet
Wednesday, August 31, 2022 at 6:30 pm
Join our Washington County State House and Senate Candidates and Oregon State and National Candidates to discuss issues that are important to you, your family, and your community. Refreshments provided.
King City Clubhouse 15245 SW 116th Ave. King City, Oregon 97224



Linn County GOP Gala and Auction
Saturday, September 10, 2022 at 5:00 pm
Keynote Speaker Dave Sanderson, 2009 "Miracle on the Hudson" survivor.

linngop.com/galatickets
Linn County Expo Center



Washington County GOP Reagan Dinner
Saturday, September 17, 2022 at 6:00 pm
Tickets for Reagan Dinner 2022 in Hillsboro September 17th, now on sale at www.washco.gop, featuring former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.



Oregon General Election
Tuesday, November 8, 2022 at 8:00 pm
Statewide


View All Calendar Events


Proposed Initiatives Create STAR Voting
Supporters say we could skip the primary and just vote in November

Two initiative petitions proposed for the November 2024 election have been filed with the Oregon Secretary of State to significantly change the way Oregonians vote. Initiative Petitions 11 and 12 are the same, except that the former contains a provision for presidential elections.

Chief Petitioners for the initiatives are Deanna Kallen and Bryan Lewis of Portland and Zach Hudson of Troutdale.

The text of the initiatives describes how the process works:

For each seat up for election by means of STAR Voting, votes shall be tallied using a two-round process which consists of a scoring round and an automatic runoff round. The scoring round shall calculate the sum total of the scores received by each candidate and determine the two candidates who received the greatest total scores. Those two candidates shall be the finalists and shall advance to the automatic runoff round, where the finalist preferred by more voters wins.

According to the website, starvoting.us "In STAR Voting, voters fill in the bubbles to score candidates from zero up to five stars. Voters give their favorite(s) five stars, their last choice(s) zero stars, and score other candidates as they like. The five-star ballot allows voters to show their preference order and indicate their level of support for all of the candidates. Voters are allowed to give candidates the same score, if they support them equally. Candidates left blank receive zero stars.

"With STAR Voting we could skip the low-turnout primary and just vote once in November. STAR Voting eliminates vote splitting and the spoiler effect, so it’s highly accurate with any number of candidates in the race. Skipping the primary would save taxpayers money, would save voters time, and the shorter campaign season would make it much more accessible for grassroots candidates to run for office.

"For situations where a primary is needed, such as partisan primaries or the presidential primary, STAR Voting can be used for either or both elections."




--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-08-09 11:04:28Last Update: 2022-08-09 13:24:14



Skarlatos Calls Out Hoyle
She backs Biden’s bill to hire 87,000 IRS agents

Oregon 4th Congressional District candidate Alek Skarlatos is calling out his opponent, Val Hoyle for backing a bill that will pack the Internal Revenue Service with thousands of new agents.

According to Skarlatos, “Oregon Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle has always stood with the extreme wing of the Democratic Party, and it’s no surprise that she voiced her support for Joe Biden’s so-called Inflation Reduction Act that will hire 87,000 new IRS agents. For context, Autzen Stadium can only hold 54,000 people, and Reser Stadium can only hold 26,400, which combined is less people than the 87,000 new IRS agents that Joe Biden and Val Hoyle are going to hire to audit your taxes.

“Oregon’s 4th Congressional District is the poorest in the state, nobody feels the pain of inflation and high gas prices more than us, and Val Hoyle’s response is to support Joe Biden’s decision to hire 87,000 new IRS agents to audit small businesses and families in Oregon,” said Oregon National Guard Veteran Alek Skarlatos. “While large corporations have an army of lawyers to deal with the IRS, that’s not the case for small business owners and is further proof why Val Hoyle’s extreme idea to hire 87,000 new IRS agents is bad for small businesses, farmers, fishermen, timber workers and families in Oregon.”

According to the Washington Times "The reconciliation bill Democrats rushed through congress calls for $80 billion in new IRS funding so the agency can hire as many as 87,000 new agents and auditors. Democrats are doubling the size of the IRS, with most of the new money going into its enforcement arm. The bill provides 14 times as much funding for “enforcement” -- what some are calling fishing expedition audits -- than it does for “taxpayer services” such as answering the phone. It is dangerous to give an unaccountable and incompetent agency this much power over families and small businesses.” (The Washington Times, 08/08/22)


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-08-09 09:55:22Last Update: 2022-08-09 11:04:28



GOP Voters Vent in Washington CD3 Primary
Kent is a conservative endorsed by former President Donald Trump

Voters in Washington state participated in a primary on Tuesday, August 2 and in at least one race, the result is too close to call. The State of Washington has a "Top 2" primary system for choosing who advances to the general election and incumbent CD3 Congressional Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler is in danger of being knocked out in the primary by challenger Joe Kent. The results have not yet been certified.

Kent or Buetler will almost certainly face left-leaning Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, a graduate of Reed College in Portland and an owner of an independent auto-repair shop. Kent grew up in Portland and is an Army veteran and a Gold Star husband, having lost his wife Shannon in Afghanistan. Kent is an unabashed conservative who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

According to the Washington Secretary of State, "The Washington Top 2 Primary allows voters to choose among all candidates running for each office. Voters do not have to declare a party affiliation to vote in the primary.

Marie Gluesenkamp Perez(Prefers Democratic Party)64,71830.97%
Joe Kent(Prefers Republican Party)47,62322.79%
Jaime Herrera Beutler(Prefers Republican Party)46,66322.33%
Heidi St. John(Prefers Republican Party)33,52516.04%
Vicki Kraft(Prefers Republican Party)6,6043.16%
Davy Ray(Prefers Democratic Party)4,6392.22%
Chris Byrd(Prefers None / Independent Party)3,6061.73%
Leslie L. French(Prefers Republican Party)1,0370.5%
Oliver Black(Prefers Am. Solidarity Party)4330.21%
WRITE-IN1450.07%
Total Votes208,993
"Candidates for partisan office may state a preference for a political party, which is listed on the ballot. The two candidates who receive the most votes in the Primary Election qualify for the General Election. Candidates must also receive at least 1% of the votes cast in that race to advance to the General Election."

Herrera Buetler has been under criticism by conservative Republicans for, among other things voting to impeach then President Trump. Many experts consider this primary result as a bellwether of GOP anger.

Washington's 3rd congressional district encompasses the southernmost portion of western and central Washington. It includes the counties of Lewis, Pacific, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Clark, Skamania, part of Thurston, and Klickitat.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-08-09 09:40:49Last Update: 2022-08-09 11:01:21



Gubernatorial Candidates Raise Big Cash
As if we didn't know, the race is going to be a tight battle

If campaign cash was the only thing determining the outcome of elections, both the Democrat and Republican parties would find themselves on the outside looking in this Fall. Betsy Johnson (I-Scappoose) is leading the pack, while Tina Kotek (D-Portland) and Christine Drazan (R-Portland) have similar financial performance. Drazan has raised a little less and spent a little more than Kotek.

Johnson has collected some large checks from some big names, including Phil Knight of Nike fame, Tim Boyle of Columbia Sportswear, Sidney DeBoer of Lithia Motors in Southern Oregon and timber giant Robert Freres, Jr., as well as from a diverse array of industry, including the heavy equipment supplier, Eugene-based Pape Group, and lumber producer Sierra Pacific Industries and Portland's Schnitzer Properties.

Interestingly, the Association of General Contractors -- the road building industry -- has hedged their bets in a large way, sending $100,000 to both Johnson and Drazan, and nothing to Kotek -- perhaps indicating that they don't trust her to effectively spend money on large transportation projects.

Kotek is heavily dependent on labor money, especially government employee unions. Among her largest contributors is the Service Employees International Union, representing most state workers, and the Oregon Education Association, representing public school teachers.

As if we didn't know, Oregon's gubernatorial race is going to be a tight battle. Both the National Democratic and Republican Governor's associations have taken notice. The Democratic Governor's Association has donated $878,850 to Kotek, while the Republican Governor's Association has propped up Drazan to the tune of over half a million dollars.

Johnson leads the cash race by a 2:1 margin over Kotek and Drazan with a little over $10 million, but she has a way to go to beat Republican Knute Buehler's record haul of $19,382,866.93 in the 2018 Oregon Governor's race.

KotekDrazenJohnson
Cash on Hand$1,393,296$1,713,603$4,532,864
Spent$4,125,888$3,287,689$5,568,153
Total Raised$5,519,184$5,001,293$10,101,016



--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-08-08 10:11:55Last Update: 2022-08-08 11:56:27



CD 6 Republicans Elect State GOP Officers
Salinas drew the district to include her and then filed to run

In a convention that included all Precinct Committee Persons in Oregon's 6th Congressional District, Republicans have elected officers to serve in the State GOP Executive Committee. Voters will remember the process which some considered tainted in which then Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek reneged on a pledge to include Republicans in equal numbers on the redistricting committee.

ChairDavid HillYamhill
Vice ChairJames GoingsYamhill
Alternate
Chair
Don PowersClackamas
Alternate
Vice Chair
Carla ParadineMarion
SecretarySatya ChandragiriMarion
TreasurerNan CramerWashington
During the redistricting process, Kotek appointed then Representative Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego) to Chair the House Committee on Redistricting, upon which she drew the new, vacant district -- Oregon's 6th Congressional District -- to include her and then filed to run for the seat herself. The new district includes the Western part of Marion County, Polk and Yamhill Counties and the Southern part of Clackamas County -- reaching just enough into the Portland Metro Region to include Lake Oswego, where Salinas lives.

The officers of this new GOP CD 6 Committee will help elect GOP nominee Mike Erickson. According to many PCPs, the new elected officers bring new vitality and energy to this new district.


--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2022-08-07 19:34:21Last Update: 2022-08-09 07:17:06



SoS Adopting Changes to Candidate, Political Party and Recall Manuals
The Elections Division has held public hearings

The Election Division of the Secretary of State's office has provided notice of two permanent administrative orders for OAR 165-010-0005 and 165-014-0005. Prior to the effective date of the administrative rules, the Elections Division held public hearings and allowed time for public comments to be submitted.

OAR 165-010-0005

RULE TITLE: Designating the Candidate's Manual, Minor Political Party Manual and Forms

FILING CAPTION: Updates filing deadlines and implements legislative changes regarding candidate, and political party manuals and forms.

RULE SUMMARY: The changes to this rule and the associated manuals and forms update the write-in notification and acceptance deadlines for the 2022 election period required by Senate Bill 1527 (2022). Further, it modifies the formula for determining if a party can maintain its minor party status. Additional changes were made throughout the manual to provide clarity for the various processes related to candidacy filings.

OAR 165-014-0005

RULE TITLE: Designating the State and Local Initiative, Referendum, Referral and Recall Manuals and Forms

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

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

FILING CAPTION: Updates signature verification deadlines and implements required legislative changes to the Recall Manual.

RULE SUMMARY: The changes to this rule and associated Recall Manual and forms include update of recall petition signature verification deadlines required by Senate Bill 1527 (2022). Additional changes were made throughout the manual to provide clarity for filing deadline time.


--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2022-08-07 16:44:03Last Update: 2022-08-07 17:08:53



Money for Afghan Refugees in Oregon
$2.8 million in funding made available

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Refugee Program is inviting community partners to apply for a portion of $2.8 million in funding that is available to provide services and support to Afghans.

The deadline to apply is Aug. 25 and the application can be found online.

The U.S. Resettlement Program is operated by the U.S. Department of State through contracts with national non-profit organizations called resettlement agencies. These organizations have local affiliate offices throughout the nation.

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

The Refugee Program provides cash, medical, employment, and acculturation services to refugees (and those eligible for refugee services) who are within 60 months of gaining their eligible immigration status.

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

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

Since August 2021, nearly 800 Afghan individuals have resettled in Oregon.

ODHS says that the purpose of the request is to get applications from culturally and/or linguistically responsive organizations who provide services to immigrants or refugees (and those eligible for refugee services) to increase services and supports.

Funding is available to support: Organizations may express interest in supporting more than one service area.

Community organizations are eligible to submit proposals for the funding if the organization can demonstrate they are:
--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-08-07 08:31:02Last Update: 2022-08-07 16:40:28



State Wildfire Map Withdrawn After Outcry
“We know how important it is to get this right ”

Cal Mukumoto, Oregon State Forester and Director of the Oregon Department of Forestry has ordered the State Wildfire Risk map withdrawn after the initial draft caused an outcry among impacted parties.

Mukumoto released a statement saying that "Oregon’s wildfire environment has changed significantly in the past decade. Climate change is bringing us hotter, drier summers and historic levels of drought, resulting in severe wildfire conditions and longer, more complex and more expensive fire seasons. We find ourselves at a critical juncture when it comes to wildfire and need to take bold action to mitigate further catastrophic impacts to Oregonians, communities and our state’s natural resources."

State Representative David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) shot back. "Hypocrisy is alive and well with the majority party in this area. As they push their climate change agenda, they fail to address and even push back on positive ways to manage our carbon sequestering forest resources, as they are beholden to the environmental groups that oppose any best management practices for the forest resources within our state."

In addition to writing the rules for map development and maintenance with a rules advisory committee, we were also tasked with defining the wildland-urban interface and assigning a risk classification at the property ownership level (1.8 million tax lots across Oregon). This work had to be completed by June 30, 2022, less than a year after the bill was adopted. We knew the first iteration of an undertaking of this scale and complexity wouldn’t be perfect, but we have been and continue to be committed to improving the map and our processes related to it. At the same time, our partner agencies are working to collect input as they develop the new codes for defensible space (Office of the State Fire Marshal) and home hardening (Building Codes Division) and address concerns related to homeowner’s insurance (Division of Financial Regulation).

According to Mukumoto, "We’ve been soliciting and collecting questions, concerns, and other input since the statewide wildfire risk map was released just over a month ago. We’ve received specific feedback from nearly 2,000 Oregonians that has helped us understand the key areas of concern related to risk classification. We have a window of opportunity before the new codes go into effect to take some immediate steps toward addressing those concerns, and we will be taking full advantage of the opportunity."

Mukumoto continued, "As required by SB 762, we posted a wildfire risk map on the Oregon Explorer on June 30, 2022 and sent notifications to property owners in the extreme and high risk classifications shortly after. In response to input received since posting, we have decided to remove the current iteration of the wildfire risk map from the Oregon Explorer and withdraw the notices sent. We will immediately begin working with Oregon State University on some refinements to improve the accuracy of risk classification assignments based on what we’ve heard from property owners thus far.

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

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

Mukumoto addressed those who had filed appeals. "Since we are withdrawing the initial map and notifications, the current appeals process will end and any appeals filed will become moot. For those who did submit an appeal, we will be reviewing the information submitted and using it to identify any additional areas where we may need to take a closer look at the data. Please note, this decision does not impact the code development and adoption processes currently underway through Office of the State Fire Marshal for defensible space or Building Codes Division for home hardening."

Mukumoto concluded, "We know how important it is to get this right, and we’re fully committed to continuing to work with the Governor’s Office, legislators, our partner agencies, local governments, and Oregonians to do just that."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-08-05 11:17:41Last Update: 2022-08-05 12:46:24



Forestry Department to Hold Wildfire Risk Meetings
Time will be available to address questions from community members

The Oregon Department of Forestry -- under the watch of State Forester Cal Mukumoto -- is holding a series of community information sessions in eastern and central Oregon Aug. 2, 3 and 10. Each session will include a presentation about the Oregon Wildfire Risk Map’s function and purpose, how wildfire risk is assessed, and how property owners may appeal their assigned risk class. Time will be available to address questions from community members.

The wildland-urban interface and Oregon Wildfire Risk Map available through the Oregon Explorer is a tool to help inform decision making and planning related to mitigating wildfire risk for communities throughout Oregon. Representatives from Oregon State University who produced the map based on rules adopted by the Board of Forestry will also attend the sessions.

All meetings will start at 7 p.m. Dates and locations for each community meetings are: Those wishing to file an appeal, may consult the agency's appeals page.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-08-04 16:47:05Last Update: 2022-08-04 16:58:49



Property Tax Relief for Seniors Proposed
Give seniors a break on property taxes

A now proposed initiative in Oregon is aiming to amend the Oregon Constitution to in order to provide relief to seniors and freeze their property taxes.

“The ability to age safely in place is the number one concern I hear from senior citizens in my community,” said Senator Kennemer. “Making these matters worse, are the realities and the impact of the pandemic and skyrocketing inflation. And with many of our seniors on fixed incomes, freezing senior property taxes will empower many seniors to retain their independence and their cherished family home.”

In 2019, House Joint Resolution 25 (HJR 25) was sponsored by Representative Hayden, now PAC director for the Committee to Pass the Oregon Senior Property Tax Freeze Act. It was part of a larger tax package drafted by Senate and House Republicans aimed at bringing down the high cost of living for working families and small business owners. “In 2019, we were thinking further out about what Oregon would look like when the next recession hits and how could we help families in anticipation of such an event,” Hayden stated. “Covid and supply chain and inflation issues created a situation that has devastated working Oregonians and seniors, particularly those on fixed incomes. HJR 25 was blocked by the majority party, so we’re going to find another way to get this to the people of Oregon on their ballots.”

Rep. Moore-Green said HJR 25 was brought to the floor for consideration 2019 but the bill died on a party-line vote. “When I think about how seniors’ buying power for food, prescription drugs, and everyday necessities has been dramatically compromised, this is something we can do to help keep people aging at home.” Moore-Green, who serves on the House Health Care Committee, said her interest in petitioning the measure stems from worry that there are not enough senior long-term care facilities and the cost to move people into those facilities, when space is available, is much more expensive for taxpayers than freezing property taxes. “We know it much less expensive for the state to invest in programs like Oregon Project Independence and other social service supports that keep people at home. But those are left behind in every budget cycle. This measure will permanently prioritize the security of seniors in Oregon."

However, Senator Kim Thatcher said for her, the measure boils town to fairness. “At what point has a senior, who is of Medicare age, not paid their fair share,” Thatcher asked. “We’ve talked for years about the need for a homestead exemption for seniors because they are getting gouged in retirement with high income taxes, gas taxes and surcharges, and now they’re stuck paying the cost of the CAT tax at a time when they have higher medical bills and prescription drug costs. And every year, as their retirement income dwindles, their property taxes keep climbing. It’s simply unfair,” said Thatcher.

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

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

To qualify for a ballot title, the petitioners must submit 1,000 valid signatures and go through the ballot titling process with the Secretary of State’s Elections Division. Upon achieving a ballot title, the measure will need valid signatures equaling eight percent of the total ballots cast in the upcoming 2022 gubernatorial election to qualify the measure for voter consideration in 2024. Signatures needed to qualify a constitutional measure for the 2022 general election was 149,360; petitioners believe the number will be just slightly higher than that next cycle given the likely increase in voter participation anticipated this November.

“Regardless of that the count needed is, we’re going to go chase those signatures,” said Rep. Hayden. “When we polled this issue in 2019, 79% of Oregonians – a majority of all age groups and all political parties – stated that they would support this measure. If the legislature won’t get it done, then we’ll use the power of the initiative system to get this to the people for a vote.”

The Committee expects to turn in the signatures to qualify for the title later this fall so that the petitioners can have a full ballot title ready for signature gathering in early 2023.

According to the text of the initiative, "A home is eligible for property tax relief in this section for any property tax year when at least one person is 65 years of age or older on or before April 15 immediately preceding the beginning of the property tax year and, either individually or jointly, owns and occupies the home as their primary residence."

Another thing the initiative does for seniors is enforce simplicity. It says that "Each county must have a simple and easily understandable process allowing persons to enroll their home for the property tax relief in this section. Property tax relief starts in the tax year after enrollment."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-08-04 06:28:34Last Update: 2022-08-03 11:52:40



Medford Mayor Calls for Special Session on Wildfires
“We can do better than this. It doesn’t have to be this way”

Randy Sparacino, Mayor of Medford and candidate for Oregon State Senate District 3, calls on Governor Brown to convene a Special Session of the State Legislature to fix SB 762, “The Wildfire Bill” which was passed in the 2021 session of the Oregon Legislature. In a released statement, Sparacino expressed profound disappointment in the bill as written and his dedication to advancing meaningful and reasonable fire mitigation policies.

"The consequences of this bill outweigh the good it attempts to do. We are all aware that the vast majority of fires and smoke we endure every summer are burning on government owned land—homeowners are not the problem, and the burden should not be on homeowners to solve it. The Wildland-Urban Interface Map and the underlying bill must be fixed immediately, and I am calling on Governor Brown to convene a special session of the Oregon Legislature before any more property owners receive notices of canceled insurance and increased rates in the midst of ongoing economic challenges.

Southern Oregonians were recently notified via mail of Oregon’s new WUI map, which was created as a result of SB 762. This letter notified many of us that our homes or properties have been designated as a “high” or “extreme” wildfire risk according to this new map.

Because of the “Wildfire Bill” and the WUI map, many have also received notices from insurance companies informing them of drastic increases in rates or providers declining to renew home policies at their next scheduled renewal.

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

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

In Southern Oregon, we know how important fire readiness is, and our neighbors, cities, and counties have adopted fire-wise programs and worked diligently for many years to effectively manage our land and watersheds.

I support efforts to mitigate the impact of wildfires on our communities and ways we can protect our region from fire, but we can do better than this. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Randy Sparacino is the current Mayor of Medford and is running to represent Oregon’s 3rd State Senate district.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-08-03 15:14:50Last Update: 2022-08-03 15:51:57



Brown Issues Order for Equity in State Contracting
Based on recommendations from the Racial Justice Council

Governor Kate Brown has issued Executive Order 22-15, which directs state agencies to take specific steps, over several years, to improve equity in state procurement and contracting. The Executive Order is a result of proposals from the Racial Justice Council’s Procurement and Contracting Equity Workgroup, aimed at embedding equity into state procurement and contracting processes.

“Despite previous work to promote diversity and inclusion in state procurement practices, there continues to be gaps and barriers for businesses owned by people of color, women, and veterans, as well as emerging small businesses,” said Governor Brown. “With this order, we will take further steps to promote greater equity in state contracting. I’d like to thank the members of the RJC for their work on developing thoughtful proposals to help us root equity in state procurement and create economic prosperity for all Oregonians.”

“The RJC Procurement and Contracting Equity Workgroup proposals push state procurement of goods and services beyond spending by supporting opportunities to narrow the racial wealth gap,” said Jan Mason, co-chair of the workgroup. “This Executive Order is a tremendous step towards ensuring our state investments enable equitable opportunities towards wealth mobility, particularly for economically disadvantaged and underrepresented minority-owned businesses.”

Executive Order 22-15 includes directives to all state agencies regarding: In addition, the Executive Order includes directives to specific state agencies, including Business Oregon, regarding business support and capacity building; the Oregon Department of Transportation, regarding public works project planning, procurement equity, and contract compliance; and the Department of Administrative Services, regarding an agency-led Procurement Equity Workgroup.

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

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

Executive Order 22-15 rescinds and replaces Executive Order 18-03.

In 2020, Governor Brown convened the Racial Justice Council to center the perspectives of Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, Native American, Tribal, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and communities of color into state government policies, budget processes, workforce, and structures. In 2021, the Governor signed HB 2167, which codified the RJC and its focus on equity and racial justice into Oregon law — the first state in the country to have such a council. The RJC is focused on six key areas: criminal justice reform and police accountability, housing and homelessness, economic opportunity, health equity, environmental equity, and education recovery.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-08-03 14:50:41Last Update: 2022-08-03 15:14:50



Audit on Right Wing Violence Wins Award
The report was widely panned as politically motivated

The National Conference of State Legislators has presented the Oregon Audits Division with its Notable Document Award for the 2022 Advisory Report: Oregon Can Do More to Mitigate the Alarming Risk of Domestic Terrorism and Violent Extremist Attacks. At the time, the report was widely panned as politically motivated -- notably for downplaying the left-wing violence that has overrun Portland, while focusing on a nearly non-existent "right-wing" threat.

NCSL presented the award for Notable Document in the category of Public Safety to principal auditor Casey Kopcho and Deputy Secretary of State Cheryl Myers on Tuesday, August 2, at the NCSL Legislative Summit in Denver, Colorado. The NCSL is widely regarded as a left-leaning organization.

“I believe Oregon can be an inclusive democracy where all people live free from fear,” said Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. “Domestic terrorism is an immediate threat to that vision and we cannot simply wait for the next incident to occur. We must do more to prevent individuals from escalating down the pathway to violence.”

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

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

The advisory report — the first state report looking directly at this subject — found that Oregon has one of the highest rates of domestic terrorism and violent extremist attacks in the country, but the state lacks a clear definition of these acts. The Oregon Homeland Security Council can do more to protect Oregonians by establishing a data-driven, statewide strategy to combat domestic violent extremist attacks.

“I’m proud of the work that Casey and the rest of the team did on this important report,” said Kip Memmott, director of the Audits Division. “Recent events have highlighted domestic terrorism and violent extremism as a growing risk, both nationwide and in Oregon. The Audits Division is uniquely positioned to analyze these risks and suggest real changes that Oregon’s leaders can take to mitigate this threat and better protect all Oregonians.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-08-03 11:32:54Last Update: 2022-08-03 11:44:28



Reps Morgan and Wallan Call for Revised Wildfire Risk Map
“The current map is simply unacceptable”

State Representatives Lily Morgan (R-Grants Pass) and Kim Wallan (R-Medford) have sent a letter to the Governor’s Office and the Department of Forestry calling for a revised wildfire risk map after hearing complaints from their constituents about the current map.

“The current map is simply unacceptable. I am disheartened that my constituents will have to spend their time and energy submitting appeals for an inaccurate map,” said Representative Morgan. “This just isn’t right.”

In the letter, the Representatives describe the concerns of our constituents: The Sourtheast Oregon Representatives had some specific criticisms. They point out, for example, one individual has a home in Jacksonville which was labeled "extreme" risk while their cabin in the Winema-Fremont National Forest was merely "moderate" risk. A second example arose where one half of a duplex was labeled "extreme" risk while the other half of the duplex was not. According to Wallan and Morgan, this is so logically flawed that it calls into question the veracity of the entire exercise of creating these maps.

“Having experienced the tragedy of the arson-caused Labor Day 2020 fires, as well as the devastating smoke that we live with year after year, I am beyond frustrated that this bill and these maps are the way our state has decided to respond to the need for more and better forest management,” said Representative Wallan.

Individuals who believe they have an improper risk level on their property currently have until September 21st to submit an appeal to the Oregon Department of Forestry.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-08-03 07:44:45Last Update: 2022-08-03 11:52:28



Government Unions Get Tangled Up in Forgery Scandal
“SEIU is blatantly attempting to intimidate employees who seek to enforce their rights”

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

The Freedom Foundation is reporting that Staci Trees, an employee of Oregon Department of Transportation, resigned her union membership in December 2020, only to learn that SEIU intended to keep deducting regular dues from paychecks, claiming she had signed a membership agreement authorizing it to do so. The three member Employment Relations Board is made up of Board Chair Adam L. Rhynard, and Board members Lisa M. Umscheid and Shirin Khosravi.

When Trees asked to see the document, however, it was so obviously a forgery that even SEIU couldn’t defend its authenticity.

Furious, Trees brought suit in Federal Court against SEIU and the state of Oregon for what amounts to state-facilitated forgery. In addition to First and 14th Amendment claims, the lawsuit included claims for violation state and federal Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organization -- known as RICO -- statutes.

Trees is the fifth public-sector employee in Oregon alone that the Freedom Foundation has represented in a forgery case against SEIU for unauthorized dues deductions.

SEIU has responded to this lawsuit by suing Trees at the Oregon Employment Relations Board, alleging she committed an unfair labor practice for filing a lawsuit in which she alleged the invalidity of a membership card.

At a July 8 hearing, SEIU attorneys asked the ERB to rule that any claim of invalidity regarding an authorization for deduction of union dues must be filed at the ERB, to the exclusion of any other court, and that Trees’ filing a federal lawsuit is itself an Unfair Labor Practice.

“SEIU is blatantly attempting to intimidate employees who seek to enforce their rights in federal court,” noted Rebekah Millard, an attorney with the Freedom Foundation, which is representing Trees. “The claims are a last-ditch effort to avoid having SEIU’s criminal behavior adjudicated in federal court, where there are vigorous discovery mechanisms and the right to trial by jury.”

The unprecedented question of whether Oregon can force public employees to air all disputes over the validity of dues authorizations before one state agency, to the exclusion of federal courts, will now be decided by the ERB -- all of whose members have been appointed by Governor Kate Brown.

Although recused from Trees’ case, the newest member of the ERB, Shirin Khosravi, was formerly the in-house counsel for SEIU and, in fact, filed the ULP against Trees.

“This case is a textbook example of why we need federal courts,” Millard said. “It’s far too easy for any government to rubber stamp its own conduct to the violation of individuals’ civil rights.”

She continued, “The Supreme Court has firmly rejected the idea that the state can restrict an individual’s access to federal court in the context of civil rights claims, but the ERB appears poised to perpetuate that injustice for public employees in Oregon.

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“Freedom Foundation,” Millard said, “is prepared to represent Ms. Trees in every court, or board, or tribunal necessary to preserve her rights and validate her claim.”


--Grace Helland

Post Date: 2022-08-02 18:37:47Last Update: 2022-08-02 19:16:14



Oregon State Police Make Illegal Marijuana Bust
3,114 marijuana plants destroyed

On July 27, 2022, the Oregon State Police’s Southwest Region Drug Enforcement Section team served an illegal marijuana search warrant in Grants Pass, Josephine County.

As a result, 3,114 illegal marijuana plants contained in five large greenhouses were seized, and ultimately destroyed. Three individuals were detained at the scene; one adult male and two juveniles, all of whom have permanent addresses in New York.

Seized during the investigation was one semi-automatic firearm with no serial number.

Additionally, the property is subject to multiple code violations through Josephine County Code Enforcement for human waste, unpermitted structures (greenhouses), and dangerous excavation.

Josephine County say they will move forward with enforcement action against the property owner which could result in the property's closure for one calendar year (illegal drug cultivation) and possible civil forfeiture.

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This was after Jackson County Sheriffs and Medford Police busted a black-market marijuana grow seizing approximately 2,748 illegal cannabis plants in seven greenhouses, and 1,000 pounds of processed black-market marijuana. Seven firearms were seized, one having no serial number.

It seems that illegal growers have not been scared out of the state after the 2021 concentration on raids. The December Special Session passed SB 893 and SB 5561 to provide more financial assistance to local law enforcement agencies to address the problem of illegal cannabis.

In 2021, Police in four Southern counties raided illegal marijuana grows uncovering 1,793,029 marijuana plants and 988,768 pounds of processed marijuana with a black market value estimated at $2.78 billion. Compare this with nearly $1.2 billion legally sold marijuana in shops for the entire state in 2021.

Police believe the 2021 busts were only a fraction of the illegal marijuana grows across Southern Oregon. These busts also included confiscating at least 315 guns in Jackson and Josephine counties. In Jackson County, sheriffs found enough fentanyl to kill 16,000 people. Fentanyl is being added to drugs and pain killers. Sheriffs also discovered 134 pounds of butane honey oil, a substance extracted from cannabis through a highly volatile process that started numerous fires in 2021.

The investigation is more difficult because the criminal organizations that are growing illegally are not selling it locally. Most, if not all, are transporting the marijuana to various locations back east where they get a higher profit margin, which makes them dedicated, hardened folks, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous.

Counties report that investigations are open and ongoing with detectives working additional leads.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-07-31 06:57:54Last Update: 2022-07-31 07:23:14



Record Fine Issued
Air quality violations spanning 10 years

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality under the direction of Richard Whitman has settled the largest fine in agency history on Wednesday with Herbert Malarkey Roofing Co. in north Portland for air quality violations spanning 10 years. According to DEQ, this settlement helps ensure compliance and secure tangible environmental benefits for the community.

The signed settlement agreement, officially called a Mutual Agreement and Final Order, lays out corrective actions to support both short- and long-term environmental compliance. The agreement requires Malarkey to submit an Operation, Maintenance and Monitoring Plan for pollution controls that were installed in 2020 within 45 days to DEQ for approval. In addition, Malarkey must report to DEQ monthly to confirm the pollution controls are operating effectively. Both the plan and the monthly reporting requirements will be rolled into Malarkey's updated air quality permit.

Additionally, the agreement directs Malarkey to consider paying up to $1.16 million of the final $1.45 million penalty towards DEQ-approved projects -- known as supplemental environmental projects -- that provide air quality benefits to the surrounding community. The final penalty was reduced from $2.1 million after Malarkey demonstrated fewer avoided costs from the violation.

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"Supplemental environmental projects are a critical remedy for the communities harmed by environmental violations," said Kieran O'Donnell, DEQ Office of Compliance and Enforcement Manager. "This agreement puts Malarkey on track for compliance and gives the company the opportunity to engage with the surrounding community to rectify the violations."

If the company is not able to identify projects that meet DEQ requirements, it must pay the remaining 1.16 million penalty to the State.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-30 06:31:52Last Update: 2022-07-30 09:49:37



USDA Approves Oregon Meat Inspection Program
Will ensure compliance with construction, sanitation, and regulations

Oregon has become the first state on the West Coast approved to operate a state meat inspection program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service just finalized a cooperative agreement with the Oregon Department of Agriculture to launch the program aimed at providing economic opportunity and resilience for Oregon's livestock producers. The agreement grants ODA the authority to inspect meat products produced for shipment within the state. Under the agreement, Oregon's program must develop, administer, and enforce requirements "at least equal to" those imposed under the Federal Meat Inspection Act.

"I am so proud of our state, our partners, and the many ODA staff that helped make Oregon's State Meat Inspection Program a reality," said ODA Director Alexis Taylor. "Two years ago, in the middle of the pandemic, Oregonians and the ag industry came to us when they couldn't move their meat products due to a shortage of inspection services. After much hard work, collaboration, and determination, we designed a program that creates additional opportunities for producers and processors to grow and satisfy local demand."

Federal law requires that meat sold for retail/wholesale markets be processed at a federal or equivalent state inspected facility. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, federally inspected facilities were booked months or years out, meaning Oregon meat producers couldn't get their products into the market. Oregon's cooperative agreement with USDA FSIS will give ODA the authority to inspect with oversight by USDA FSIS. Like the USDA, an ODA inspection will ensure compliance with construction, sanitation, food safety, and humane handling regulations.

The state's program is not meant to compete with USDA. Instead, it complements the federal program and increases the state's capacity by supporting smaller, local businesses to enable them to produce, process and ship statewide. Existing USDA inspected facilities may choose to stay with the federal inspection program or enroll in Oregon's program if it is beneficial to the business. ODA continues to work to serve the changing needs of Oregon's diverse agricultural and food sectors.

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Oregon producers can apply to the State Meat Inspection Program by visiting ODA's State Meat Inspection Program web page or emailing StateMeatInspection@oda.oregon.gov. According to the cooperative agreement, USDA will reimburse the state 50 percent of the program costs. Inspections during normal business hours will be conducted free of charge. Please visit ODA online for more information on Oregon's state meat inspection program and answers to frequently asked questions.

With the addition of Oregon, 28 states now have state meat inspection programs and for more information about state inspection programs nationwide, please visit.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-30 06:20:56Last Update: 2022-07-30 09:53:22



Unclaimed Property Marks One Year with Oregon State Treasury
“These programs are vital to reuniting Oregonians with their property and assets”

In July 2021 -- one year ago -- the Oregon State Treasury completed the successful transition of Oregon's Unclaimed Property and Estates programs from the Department of State Lands.

The transfer, initiated by SB 454 and approved by the Oregon Legislature in June 2019, moved oversight of the two programs to Treasury while continuing to protect Oregonians' assets. Oregon's Unclaimed Property Program holds more than $880 million in unclaimed funds and other property for owners to claim in perpetuity. The Estates Administration Program safeguards personal estates when Oregonians die without a will and known heirs.

Since the transfer to Treasury, the program has: "These programs are vital to reuniting Oregonians with their property and assets, and I am proud of the team at Treasury that works diligently every day to make this a smooth and effective program," said Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read. "I encourage all Oregonians to go online and check to see if Oregon is holding money that belongs to them, because we want to return every dollar to its rightful owner as quickly and efficiently as possible."

Each fall, companies, nonprofits, and government agencies across the state must report and remit unclaimed property to Oregon State Treasury. During the 2021 reporting period last October -- the first since the program moved to Treasury -- a record $80.8 million was reported, representing property such as uncashed checks, unreturned deposits, forgotten bank accounts, and abandoned safe deposit boxes.

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"The Unclaimed Property and Estates team is here to help reunite people with their assets. We are excited that we have been able to expand our capacity and streamline service for people who file claims with us. I encourage people to search if they have unclaimed property that we are holding for them," said Claudia Ciobanu, Trust Property Director at Treasury.

Oregonians who want to see if the state is holding unclaimed property on their behalf can visit unclaimed.oregon.gov and search their name.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-29 13:14:30Last Update: 2022-07-28 16:52:54



AntiFa Camp in PDX For Kids
Indoctrinating youth through social justice summer camp

An extremist training camp for kids named 'Budding Roses' is back this summer holding their Social Justice Summer Camp, August 12-23 at St. Peter & Paul Church at 247 SE 82nd Ave, Portland. It’s directed to youth entering 4th through 8th grades.

They explicitly state they are a non-religious organization despite the venue. However, the church caters to such leftist organizations.

Social justice refers to a political and philosophical theory that focuses on the concept of equity between individuals in society, including equal access to wealth, opportunities, and social privileges.

Budding Roses Camp is aimed at low income and youth of color whose perspectives are discounted and supposedly not taken seriously. The Budding Roses website states that the camp is a democratic educational space, where campers identify topics they are interested in learning about, set community ground rules, use restorative justice to resolve conflicts, and lead their own workshops to teach their peers.

Camps during the pandemic were conducted through activity kits focused on teaching students the art of processing and raising their voices to promote collective problem solving on issues developed by local radical organizations. Kits included activities from Black Lives Matter, As Black As Resistance, Prison Industrial Complex from Critical Resistance, Walking Tour of Radical Portland, What is Police Abolition, Tear Gas for Portlanders, Transformative Justice Zine, White Supremacy Reflection, and Why Writing People in Prisons and Jails Matter. It is unclear whether these kits will be used this year to explore “social justice issues, youth leadership, arts activism, games and more.”

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Community organizing for social justice is a collective action through community organizing that can generate the power to overcome social justice issues and achieve changes that furthers democracy. Most community-organizing work follows Sal Alinsky, which is conducted through task-oriented groups that enable organizational activists to engage directly in collective action for social change with the objective towards socialism.

This idea of "Social justice" is wrapped around Governor Kate Brown’s changes from constitutional equality to social justice equity.

Social justice initiatives are pursued through government programs via wealth and income redistribution, government subsidies, protected legal status in employment, and even legalized discrimination against privileged groups through fines and taxes or even through purges historically.

Training middle school children the basics for community organizing for social justice is a form of propaganda encouraging them to advocate for dismantling ideas of individual liberty from the U.S. Constitution and the founding of this country as a Republic.

Budding Rose states, “We organize camp as a democratic educational space.” The very idea of a ‘democratic educational space’ seems to be a negative concept to teach minorities, keeping them dependent on government. Add social justice and it wipes out 157 years of overcoming slavery and 235 years of our Republic Constitution.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-07-29 12:04:37Last Update: 2022-07-28 13:43:09



Car Free Bridge to Open in Portland
“This bridge is a dream come true”

More than 50 community organizations and local businesses will come together in five block parties this Sunday for an all-day celebration of Portland's newest car-free bridge, the Congressman Earl Blumenauer Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge.

The Blumenauer Bridge will provide a vital connection for pedestrians and people biking between two of Portland's fastest growing neighborhoods—Lloyd and the Central Eastside—and beyond.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is building the Blumenauer Bridge to serve as a vital connection for pedestrians and people biking between two of Portland's fastest growing neighborhoods—Lloyd and the Central Eastside—and beyond.

In the spirit of how this bridge will bring us together, on Sunday July 31, the Portland Bureau of Transportation will host a community gathering to celebrate the formal opening of the new crossing.

Streets just north and south of the bridge will be closed on Sunday for block parties hosting local food and beverage vendors and community groups. The Central Eastside Industrial Council and Go Lloyd, along with The Street Trust and Friends of the Green Loop, are organizing the celebration with PBOT. There will also be an opening ceremony at noon in the South Plaza just south of the bridge, where local leaders, including Congressman Blumenauer and Portland Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty will speak.

In all, five block parties are planned as part of a full day of celebration. More than 50 local food vendors, community groups and musicians have signed up for the north and south plazas closest to the bridge. More musicians, vendors, and family friendly activities are planned at three other pop-up block parties that day. Most activity will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the opening ceremony at noon. In case of extreme heat, water, snacks, canopies for shade and water misters for cooling will be provided.

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For full details about Sunday's opening day events, which go from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., see the PBOT website for the Opening Day Celebration for the Congressman Earl Blumenauer Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge.

"This bridge is a dream come true, and it's a beautiful addition to Portland's network of infrastructure for biking and walking," Rep. Blumenauer said. "This bridge will make it more comfortable for people to bike and walk between the Lloyd and the Central Eastside, and it will make it easier for people all over Portland to get where they need to go by burning calories instead of carbon. I hope to see thousands of people joining my family and me at the bridge on Sunday to celebrate this amazing accomplishment for our community and inspire the next generation to continue Portland's leadership in creating sustainable transportation options for everyone."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-28 14:48:28Last Update: 2022-07-28 13:11:24



ODOT Seeks Input on Hwy 101 Slides
Landslides have been a problem for decades

The Oregon Department of Transportation is looking at options to help keep our south coast highways open in areas that are vulnerable to landslides. As part of this process, they would like to hear from impacted citizens. Following the 2019 Hooskanaden Slide, which closed U.S. 101 between Gold Beach and Brookings for two weeks, ODOT began studying several options to keep highway traffic moving between Port Orford and Brookings.

ODOT will host an online open house from July 26 to August 12 where we will discuss these options and offer visitors a chance to provide feedback and share their perspectives.

Landslides and road failures along the southern Oregon coast have been a problem for decades. According to ODOT, these incidents disrupt the local economy, strain emergency services and make it difficult for people to reach essential services. Repairs can be costly and traffic impacts can linger for weeks or months.

This study will identify technically feasible and cost-effective projects and strategies to stabilize potential landslide areas, improve safety and operations along detour routes, and facilitate travel in the aftermath of a landslide.

For more information, visit the South Coast Slides Study project website.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-28 11:54:45Last Update: 2022-07-27 13:59:38



Unemployment Department Audit Finds Flaws
“Real people were hurt by these delays”

According to an audit report released today by the Secretary of State, the sudden and drastic increase in unemployment claims brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic strained an antiquated unemployment system, creating financial hardships for many Oregonians whose eligible benefits were delayed several months or longer. The findings are outlined in the report entitled "The Pandemic's Effects on Oregonians Exposed Risks and Highlighted the Need to Modernize Oregon's Unemployment Insurance System."

"The goal of a safety net is for it to be there when you need it," said Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. "This audit helps explain why Oregon's unemployment insurance program failed when it was needed most and identifies actionable steps OED can take to make sure help is always available when Oregonians need it most."

In looking back at 2020, the audit finds several key factors that led to a breakdown in the systems of the Oregon Employment Department -- headed by director David Gerstenfeld. OED has addressed some of these shortcomings and had one of the lowest unemployment fraud levels in 2020. Other areas are still in need of improvement.

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The audit's recommendations focus on areas where the OED can improve systems ahead of future surges in unemployment. Key recommendations include: "Real people were hurt by these delays," said Secretary Fagan. "Without an ombuds office, people struggling to navigate a complex system had no one to advocate for them. Creating an ombuds office is a practical recommendation to fix a gap in services and help build trust in state government. Ombuds programs currently fill important roles in state government, such as the Office of Small Business Assistance here at the Secretary of State's office."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-28 06:18:10Last Update: 2022-07-27 11:54:45



DEQ Issues Air Quality Advisory for Portland and the Valley
Pollution levels could be unhealthy for sensitive groups

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Southwest Clean Air Agency, and Lane Region Air Protection Agency issued an air quality advisory Tuesday for the Portland/Vancouver metro areas and Willamette Valley due to elevated levels of ozone pollution, or smog.

DEQ expects ozone pollution to reach levels this afternoon that could be unhealthy for sensitive groups, including children, people over 65, pregnant women and people with heart disease or respiratory conditions. Health officials recommend sensitive groups limit outdoor activity when pollution levels are high.

DEQ expects the air quality advisory to last until Saturday night.

DEQ urges residents to protect their health and limit activities that cause pollution during the heat wave. Recommendations include:

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Smog irritates the eyes, nose and lungs, and contributes to breathing problems. Ozone forms when hot temperatures and low winds combine with pollution from cars, gas-powered engines and chemicals in paints and aerosols. These air pollutants react with sunlight and heat to produce ozone and haze.

Ozone pollution increases throughout the day with exposure to sunlight, so pollution levels tend to be highest during afternoons and early evenings. Air quality monitors may show good air quality in the morning, then quickly jump to unhealthy levels later in the day.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-27 14:20:34Last Update: 2022-07-27 14:34:57



Governors Call for Congress to Pass Semiconductor Industry Bill
Say it will expand domestic manufacturing, grow high-tech workforce

Oregon Governor Kate Brown, joined by a bipartisan group of Western state governors, has called on Congress to stay in session as long as is necessary to immediately pass the CHIPS Act, which would expand semiconductor manufacturing in the United States.

"Oregon is a leader in semiconductor development, and we need Congress to act now to ensure the United States continues to lead the way in technology and manufacturing," said Governor Kate Brown. "Every state in the nation is impacted by the semiconductor shortage. The investments made by the CHIPS Act will expand domestic semiconductor manufacturing and grow our high-tech workforce, which is critical for our businesses and working families."

Western states represent over half of the top 15 semiconductor workforces in the United States. Joining Governor Brown in submitting the letter to Congress were Idaho Governor Brad Little, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-27 10:28:06Last Update: 2022-07-26 10:34:41



Prescription Drug Affordability Board to Meet
The Board was created to protect against the high costs of prescription drugs

The Prescription Drug Affordability Board will meet on August 3 at 9:30am to consider several items.

The Prescription Drug Affordability Board consists of five members and three alternates appointed by the governor. The Board was created by SB 844 during the 2021 regular session to protect Oregon residents, state and local governments, commercial health plans, health care providers, pharmacies, and other stakeholders in the health care system in Oregon from the high costs of prescription drugs.​ The board includes Akil Patterson, Chair, Shelley Bailey, Vice Chair, Daniel Hartung, and Richard Bruno. Persons wishing to participate should register in advance.

To sign up for public comment, email your request to Prescription Drug Affordability Board at
pdab@dcbs.oregon.gov 24 hours before the meeting. Include your name, organization, and the related agenda item. Written comments need to be provided 72 hours prior to scheduled meeting. Any written comments after 72 hours will be included for board consideration at the next meeting. Send comments to pdab@dcbs.oregon.gov and include your name, organization, and the related agenda item.

Among the items to be considered is distinguishing between recommendations in Sections 5 and 7 in SB 844

SECTION 5. No later than December 31 of each year, the Prescription Drug Affordability Board shall report to the Health Care Cost Growth Target program established in ORS 442.386 and to the interim committees of the Legislative Assembly related to health, in the manner provided in ORS 192.245, the following information:
(1) Price trends for the list of prescription drugs provided to the board by the Department of Consumer and Business Services under section 2 (1) of this 2021 Act;
(2) The prescription drugs that were reviewed under section 2 of this 2021 Act; and
(3) Recommendations, if any, for legislative changes necessary to make prescription drug products more affordable in this state


SECTION 7. (1) The Prescription Drug Affordability Board shall study the entire prescription drug distribution and payment system in this state and polices adopted by other states and countries that are designed to lower the list price of prescription drugs including but not limited to the following options: (a) Establishing upper payment limits for all financial transactions in this state involving a drug and specifying the methodology used to determine the upper payment limit that does not undermine the viability of any part of the prescription drug supply chain;
(b) Using a reverse auction marketplace for the purchase of prescription drugs by state and local governments; and
(c) Implementing a bulk purchasing process for state and local governments to purchase prescription drugs.
(2) No later than December 31, 2022, the board shall complete the study described in subsection (1) of this section and report to the interim committees of the Legislative Assembly related to health in the manner provided in ORS 192.245:
(a) The board’s findings including findings for each option described in subsection (1) of this section; and
(b) Recommendations for policies to lower the list prices of prescription drugs sold in this state and for legislative changes necessary to implement the policies.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-27 07:07:07Last Update: 2022-07-26 18:06:03



Anti-Gun Initiative Moves to November Ballot
There are very few facilities in Oregon for live fire training

Initiative Petition 17 -- now ballot measure 114 -- recently approved to appear on the ballot in November, has been described as “the most extreme” gun control measure in the country. While the media has portrayed the measure simply about “large capacity magazines” and “permits to purchase” it, in fact, goes much further than that. The Chief Petitioners are Walter John Knutson, III, Michael Z. Cahana, and Marilyn Keller.

Before a person can get a “permit” to purchase -- not carry, or bear -- a firearm they will be required to take a class from police, or someone approved by police. Firearms instructors who teach concealed handgun license classes will not be eligible. In addition to gun safety, the class must include instruction on storage and transportation, state and federal laws, and the impacts of homicide and suicide.

Furthermore, the class must include live fire. There are very few facilities in Oregon for live fire training and most of them are private organizations not open to the public. The measure does not require that these classes be made available by law enforcement and has no provision for funding them. There are no caps on the fees that may be charged for the classes should anyone actually provide them.

After a person completes the required class -- and there are no exceptions for police or even firearms dealers -- they may then apply to the local police or sheriff for a permit to purchase.

Once the application has been made, the Oregon State Police must conduct a background check on the applicant. There is no time limit on how long the OSP can take to complete the check. Current wait times for gun purchase background checks have exceeded two years for some applicants.

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If the background check clears the applicant, the sheriff or chief of police has 30 days to issue or deny a permit to purchase. The State Police and the local police may conduct any investigation they want to on the applicant. There are no limits to what they can ask or demand personal information on. That would include your social media accounts, information on your friends and family or your financial records.

If, after 30 days, you are approved, the permit does NOT allow you to buy a firearm. It just allows you to submit to a second background check from the Oregon State Police, which, once again, can take as long as the police choose to take. These background checks can take literarily forever. The fee for the permit is $65.00 and it must be renewed every 5 years.

The measure also calls for a public database of anyone attempting to get a permit which can include any personal information such as home address and phone number.

The measure also bans most firearms ammunition magazines. Any magazine over 10 rounds (the most common modern magazines) will be banned from future sales. Any that are already owned will be restricted to your home or trips to approved places like shooting ranges. The magazines cannot be loaded and must be transported locked up. You will not be allowed to transfer any existing magazines except upon your death.

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The magazine ban will effectively ban most sporting shotguns since their tubular magazines are capable of holding more than ten rounds of certain shotgun shells.

Sheriffs around the state have reported that they have neither the manpower nor facilities to provide the required training. Currently no local police departments have any kind of process for providing the required permits. The Oregon State Sheriff’s Association has estimated the first year costs of the program will be 40 million dollars with subsequent years costing nearly as much. The sponsors of the measure have stated that they have no plans for determine where the funds to administer the program will come from.

A Colorado judge recently issued a temporary restraining order against a magazine ban in Boulder County.


--Emil Sanders

Post Date: 2022-07-26 11:37:52Last Update: 2022-07-26 20:57:41



Kate Brown Declares Heat Emergency
Emergency declaration applies to 25 Oregon counties through July 31

Governor Kate Brown today declared a state of emergency in 25 Oregon counties, from July 25 through July 31, to ensure additional resources are available to respond to forecasted excessively high temperatures. Multiple days of extreme heat with little or no cooling overnight may also impact critical infrastructure, causing utility outages and transportation disruptions.

"With many parts of Oregon facing a high heat wave, it is critical that every level of government has the resources they need to help keep Oregonians safe and healthy," said Governor Brown. "I encourage everyone to take proactive steps to keep themselves and their families safe, including drinking plenty of fluids, taking advantage of cooling centers, and checking in on neighbors, friends, and loved ones."

The Governor has directed the Oregon Department of Emergency Management (OEM) to activate the state's Emergency Coordination Center to coordinate essential protective measures. She has also directed state agencies to provide any assistance requested by OEM to support response efforts.

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Heat-related illnesses are preventable — all Oregonians are encouraged to learn the symptoms of heat stroke, heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses. Oregonians who do not have air conditioning in their homes are strongly encouraged to make a plan today to find a cool location they can access during the heat wave. To find cooling centers in Oregon, call 211, which will be operating 24/7 during the heat wave, or visit their website.

Additionally, all Oregonians are asked to check in on vulnerable friends, family, and neighbors who may be susceptible to extreme heat to help them access ways to stay safe.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-26 09:21:30Last Update: 2022-07-26 11:37:52



Marbled Murrelet to Impact State Agencies
The Fish and Wildlife Commission determined that ten state agencies can play a role

In July 2021, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission reclassified the Marbled Murrelet from threatened to endangered under the Oregon Endangered Species Act. The purpose of this agenda item is for the Commission to determine the role of Department-owned lands in the conservation of Marbled Murrelets. Agency staff will also provide an update on the determinations of roles by other state land owning and managing agencies in the conservation of the Marbled Murrelet.

The most direct effect of listing a species as threatened or endangered under the OESA is through management decisions on state-owned, managed, or leased lands. The OESA requires that state agencies comply with survival guidelines adopted by the Commission (or alternative process as described in ORS 496.182(3)) and requires particular state agencies to develop plans for the management and protection of endangered species (ORS 496.182(8), OAR 635-100-0140(6)). Survival guidelines are quantifiable and measurable guidelines necessary to ensure the survival of individual members of the species (OAR 635-100-0100(13)). Survival guidelines serve as interim protection measures until endangered species management plans are developed, completed, and approved by applicable state agencies (required within 18 months of uplisting) and then subsequently reviewed and approved by the Commission (required within 24 months of uplisting) (ORS 496.182(8)(a)(C), (D)).

The OESA and administrative rules require that within four months of the listing decision, the Commission, in consultation and cooperation with the state land owning and managing agencies, determines which land owning or managing agencies can play a role in conservation of the species (ORS 496.182(8)(a)). In November 2021, the Commission determined that ten state agencies that that own, manage or lease lands, can play a role in the conservation of the Marbled Murrelet on their respective state lands and subsequently notified those agencies of their obligation to develop endangered species management plans. The agencies and a summary of efforts to date are: Following the Commission’s determination of the agencies that can play a role in the conservation of the Marbled Murrelet, each agency is required to determine the role its state land will serve in the conservation of the Marbled Murrelet. An agency’s role may include, but is not limited to: In making their role determinations, each state agency needs to balance each of the following: The agencies must balance these five factors consistent with the biological aspects of the Marbled Murrelet biology identified by the Department (ODFW 2021), and the statutory or constitutional obligations of each of the agencies (including the land’s statutory purpose).


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-25 12:24:41Last Update: 2022-07-25 13:01:32



Wheeler Declares Gun Violence Emergency
The majority of gun homicides are related to group/network involved individuals

Despite enabling the "Defund the Police" movement, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has now issued an Emergency Declaration on Gun Violence to address the mounting problem of gun violence in Portland.

In his declaration, Wheeler has tasked various city departments with measures aimed at curbing gun-related violence. Critics noted that Wheeler, who ended the Gang Enforcement Task Force, euphemistically targets gangs by noting that "research shows that the majority of gun homicides and shootings in Portland are related to group/network involved individuals." The phrase "Group/Network" indicates gang activity, according to experts.

In his declaration, he calls out the Portland Bureau of Transportation, asking them "to help address gun violence hot spots in the public right-of-way, including but not limited to and in coordination with the Commissioner-in-Charge, expedited permitting for community events identified by the Incident Commander related to gun violence, place-based interventions like modification of traffic flow, and increased lighting in areas within PBOT’s control."

Wheeler called on Portland Parks and Recreation, to take measures "as to management of parks, including but not limited to and in coordination with the Commissioner-in-Charge expedited permitting for community and Parks events identified by the Incident Commander related to gun violence, park staffing, and hours of operation. "

He has even tasked Safer Summer PDX 2022 to "coordinate relevant City services to combine resources and personnel necessary to address gun violence through a variety of approaches, including outreach to individuals most at risk of being victimized by or perpetrating gun violence, procurement of services and issuance of grants to aid in the prevention of and response to gun violence."

Kevin Starrett, the director of the Oregon Firearms Federation commented "Ted Wheeler has promised to address skyrocketing crime by offering the most violent offenders 'life coaches.' We think the millions wasted on that would be better spent helping the law abiding to protect themselves. Because clearly the Portland Police can't."

According to the document, "from January 1, 2022 to June 30, 2022, there were 673 shooting incidents in the City of Portland."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-24 15:32:21Last Update: 2022-07-24 20:35:58



Clatsop County Reports Surge in Marriages
The county’s many scenic attractions provide a suitable backdrop

A growing number of matrimony-minded couples are tying the knot on the North Coast of Oregon – according to the Clatsop County Clerk’s Office, whose many duties include issuing marriage licenses.

County Clerk Tracie Krevanko said her office is processing more and more marriage licenses – about two dozen each week, or roughly triple the usual number, from couples from all over the United States who’ve decided that Clatsop County’s many scenic attractions provide a suitable backdrop for their exchanges of vows.

“When you add up the local people wanting to get married with out-of-state couples, we are having a lot of people wanting to get a license. If your wedding date is getting close, there are a few things we want engaged couples to know,” Krevanko said.

“A marriage license must be obtained at least three business days before the wedding and with this wedding rush, we strongly encourage people to go online to make their appointment,” she said.

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If wedding bells are in your future, be aware that while the Clatsop Clerk’s Office currently is not performing wedding ceremonies, it does offers a list of officiants on it's webpage.

REQUIREMENTS FOR A MARRIAGE LICENSE: WAITING PERIOD COST of LICENSE Marriage parties will need to identify on the application the legal names they will take after the ceremony.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-07-24 09:24:30Last Update: 2022-07-24 09:59:12



Hearings for 2023 Oregon Health Insurance Rates
Public comment from Oregonians to be heard

Oregonians can see and comment on the state’s preliminary rate decisions for 2023 individual and small employer health insurance plans. The Division of Financial Regulation has released the preliminary rate decisions and virtual public hearing schedule.

The preliminary decisions will go through continued review and discussion during a series of virtual public hearings on July 27-28.

At the hearings, each insurance company will provide a brief presentation about its rate requests, answer questions from the division, and hear public comment from Oregonians.

For the individual market, six companies were issued preliminary decisions with an average rate increase from 2.3 percent to 12.6 percent for an overall average increase of 6.7 percent.

In the small group market, the division issued preliminary decisions for nine companies ranging from a 3.4 percent increase to 11.6 percent increase for an average overall average increase of 7.8 percent.

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Common trends that affect rates include: Oregonians are encouraged to participate in the virtual hearings.

Visit the division’s rate filings page to review requested rates.

Visit the public hearings page for time, date, and instructions on how to participate in each insurer’s rate hearing. Final decisions are expected to be announced in late August.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-07-23 09:01:07Last Update: 2022-07-23 13:09:00



More Bird Flu in Oregon
Another expansion of the quarantine zone required

On July 19, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) confirmed Oregon’s ninth detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a non-commercial flock in Deschutes County.

The flock of approximately 40 birds, is a mix of chickens and ducks. Like the previous three Deschutes County cases, this farm sold eggs and is classified as poultry by federal definitions and will require another expansion of the quarantine zone.

The latest confirmed case of HPAI in the Bend area will expand the existing quarantine area by approximately seven miles running right through the middle of Redmond, including the fairgrounds.

The Deschutes County Fair and Rodeo begins August 3 and runs through August 7. ODA’s State Veterinarian, Dr. Ryan Scholz says surveillance will not be done before the county fair begins but he is working with Deschutes County 4-H on a plan that will allow participants to exhibit and sell market birds but a show for breeding birds it is not possible during fair this year.

The regional quarantine encompasses the city of Bend and much of the surrounding area. ODA provides an online map of the quarantined sites in Oregon.

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People may also enter their address using the online tool to determine whether their property is included in the quarantine area.

The purpose of the quarantine is to prevent the movement of poultry and poultry products from within the affected area giving state and federal officials time to conduct surveillance to ensure no additional cases of HPAI exist. The quarantine also applies to importing all birds from states where a state or federal quarantine is in place.

In partnership with ODA, the USDA humanely euthanized the chickens and ducks on the property to prevent the spread of the disease.

Birds from the flock will not enter the food system. There is no immediate public concern due to the avian influenza virus detection. Avian influenza does not affect poultry meat or egg products, which remain safe to eat. As always, both wild and domestic poultry should be adequately prepared and cooked.

ODA advises commercial poultry farmers and backyard flock owners to be vigilant with biosecurity measures and surveillance. Preventing contact between wild birds and domestic flocks is the best way to protect domestic birds from this disease.

It only takes a tiny bit of contact to transfer HPAI. Death or illness among domestic birds should be reported as ODA. Please report by calling 503-986-4711 (Alt Phone: 1-800-347-7028).


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-07-22 21:04:43Last Update: 2022-07-22 21:16:59



Portland Housing Bureau Director Resigns
The housing crisis rages on

Shannon Callahan, the Director of the Portland Housing Bureau, has announced her resignation. Since joining the Portland Housing Bureau in 2017, Director Callahan has overseen the bureau’s highest affordable housing production to date. During her tenure, the bureau has opened and is developing 5,948 new units of affordable housing: these units aim to house more than 10,900 Portlanders.

Callahan's farewell speech barely acknowledged the housing crisis in Portland that she leaves behind.

In 2017, I was asked to join the Housing Bureau with the goal of increasing the supply of affordable housing and to successfully implement the Portland Housing Bond. I chose to join the bureau because of my passion and commitment to deliver on our promises to the voters with the Portland Housing Bond and because I knew I would get to work with an amazing top-notch team at the bureau. As I reflect on the last five years, I am proud and honored to have been able to work with you on the singular purpose to provide Portlanders safe, stable and affordable housing. It has been an absolute privilege to work with the dedicated, passionate and exceptional team of public servants at the bureau. The time has come, though, for me to move on to new challenges and opportunities. Quite simply, I have accomplished what I set out to in my time at the bureau.

I can truly say that the work the Portland Housing Bureau does with our community and jurisdictional partners changes lives for the better. Thank you for your support of our shared vision of a city where every neighborhood has affordable housing, and every Portlander has the safety, security and sense of belonging that an affordable home provides.

Director Callahan implemented the first two voter-approved initiatives for affordable housing in the state, including Portland’s first affordable housing bond. Currently, Portland’s Housing Bond is set to exceed the promised number of units by 43%. This includes more deeply affordable units, more family-sized units, and more supportive housing units for Portlanders who have experienced chronic homelessness.

Director Callahan led the implementation of the City’s ten-year goal to create 2,000 new units of supportive housing for people exiting homelessness. In partnership with the Joint Office of Homeless Services, after four years, 1,915 units are open or under development. She also oversaw the expansion of bureau programs, including the creation of the Rental Services Office which provides housing providers and tenants with technical assistance, guidance, and resources.

“I want to thank Director Callahan for her service, and particularly for exceeding our commitments to voters with the Portland Housing Bond,” stated Mayor Wheeler, who appointed Director Callahan. “We are grateful for her leadership.”

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Director Callahan prioritized equity in the bureau’s work, significantly expanding the bureau’s culturally specific partnerships, ensuring culturally appropriate services in PHB-funded projects, and increasing equitable access to housing resources for Portland’s Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Additionally, she repositioned the N/NE Housing Strategy to reach and exceed its goals for assisting Portlanders displaced from historically Black neighborhoods to become new homeowners.

Director Callahan led with racial equity while implementing the City’s COVID relief programs. Under her leadership, the bureau provided cash assistance to more than 30,000 families to help meet basic needs. In addition, the bureau–along with its jurisdictional and community partners–served more than 20,000 households with critical rent assistance since 2020–more than 70% served have been BIPOC households.

“It has been my distinct honor to serve as the Director of the Portland Housing Bureau. I can truly say that the work we do at Portland Housing Bureau, alongside our community partners and jurisdictional partners, changes lives for the better,” said Portland Housing Bureau Director Shannon Callahan. “It has been a privilege to work with the dedicated, passionate, and exceptional team of public servants at the bureau. After five years, though, it is time for me to move on to other opportunities and challenges.”

“Director Callahan has worked on behalf of the Portland Housing Bureau and the people of Portland, and we are grateful for her service. Through partnerships with numerous community-serving organizations, Home Forward, and Multnomah County, the City was able to avoid a wave of evictions seen in other parts of the nation,” said Commissioner Dan Ryan. “The health of our housing ecosystem is vital now more than ever, and I am committed to a national search to find the right person. I’m looking forward to working with the dedicated employees of the Portland Housing Bureau as we make a smooth, successful transition to build our housing future.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-21 18:05:46Last Update: 2022-07-21 21:24:29



Aggressive Deer Reported in Jackson, Josephine counties
Does raising fawns will protect them against people, dogs, and other threats

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is getting reports of aggressive deer in Jackson and Josephine counties with most reports coming from Ashland. In Gold Hill, a dog was killed by a doe earlier this month. At this time of year in the Rogue Valley, black-tailed does are raising their fawns and will protect them against dogs, people, or other perceived threats.

Bucks, more likely to be aggressive during the rut in October-November, can be aggressive all year when they are being fed.

Wildlife biologist Mathew Vargas says many Ashland area residents enjoy the urban deer population and tolerate deer eating their landscaping until deer get aggressive. Vargas advises dog owners to consider not walking their dogs for a few weeks in areas where aggressive deer are being reported.

In Ashland, the problem areas are between North Mountain Ave. and Oak St. north of Highway 99, and the area immediately surrounding Southern Oregon University. Other aggressive deer were reported in east Medford, Eagle Point, and Grants Pass. ODFW recommends residents in these areas to take the following steps: Report any aggressive deer behavior to ODFW's Central Point office, 541-826-8774. If you find that you are a victim of aggressive deer, you can always get back at them in the fall.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-20 18:35:54Last Update: 2022-07-20 18:49:22



Amendment on Tolling Still Open for Comment
Public input will inform potential revisions

The Oregon Department of Transportation is extending the deadline to comment on the draft amendment to the Oregon Highway Plan that will guide the state in using tolling as a way to raise funds for transportation system improvements. The comment period is open until September 15.

The Oregon Highway Plan has an existing policy section on tolling. This draft policy amendment proposes an update to that section, which is "Goal No. 6: Tolling." The draft amendment is intended to modernize the state's pricing and tolling policy. It defines terms, such as congestion pricing, and it offers guidance for the use of revenue and setting rates (but it does not set rates). It also provides the Oregon Transportation Commission with clearer direction for decision making. There are 15 policies in the draft amendment, each with actions to guide implementing the policy.

According to ODOT, this amendment is not about whether or not the state should toll roads. Instead, it provides guidance for doing so if the state decides to use tolling. Public input will inform potential revisions to the plan amendment. The goal is to have a final version ready for adoption later this year.

The Oregon Highway Plan is the state's primary highway guide, establishing a 20-year vision and strategic framework for Oregon's road system. The current plan was approved by the commission in 1999 and has been modified numerous times, including in 2012 to add the current section on tolling.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-20 18:18:45Last Update: 2022-07-20 18:35:54



Oregon Health Care Costs Have Significantly Risen
Budgets of families and businesses squeezed

According to a new Oregon Health Authority (OHA) report, health care costs grew at least 49% per person across insurance markets between 2013-2019 in Oregon, outpacing national health care cost growth during the same time period. By market, Medicare costs per person grew 58%, commercial market costs per person grew 45%, and Medicaid costs per person grew the slowest at 32%.

Rising prescription drug costs and the cost of professional services were stated as some of the primary factors driving health care cost increases, according to the OHA.

Between 2013-2019, Oregon’s health care costs grew faster than income. While per person health care costs grew 49%, per person income grew 31.5% and average wages grew 21.6%.

The report shows that for people in Oregon with commercial, employer-sponsored insurance, the cost of the average annual deductible and insurance premiums combined in 2019 was 10.1% of median income.

OHA Director Patrick Allen said, “The effects of rising health costs have a direct impact on the well-being of people, families and our communities. When health care costs grow faster than income and the cost of living, they squeeze the budgets of families and businesses”.

The report documents cost growth across six major service categories and identifies which types of services are responsible for most of the cost growth in each market. Between 2013 and 2019, per person pharmacy costs grew the most (116%).

Inpatient services have the highest per person costs and grew by 22% over the six years.

In the commercial market, professional services contributed the most to overall cost growth between 2013 and 2019. Pharmacy, emergency department, professional services and outpatient services grew by more than 60% from 2013 to 2019, with pharmacy costs growing the most at 93%.

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In the Medicare market, pharmacy costs grew by 185% from 2013 to 2019, far outpacing any other service category in any of the three markets. Pharmacy costs were the main driver of Medicare cost growth in this time period, increasing from $794 to $2,261 per person.

In the Medicaid market, professional services and pharmacy contributed the most to overall cost growth between 2013 and 2019. The Medicaid market saw less growth across service categories compared to the commercial market. Service categories in the Medicaid market also had lower per person costs, with the exception of inpatient services.

Between 2012-2017, Oregon costs under section 1115 Medicaid waiver agreement with the federal government were at a rate of growth of 3.4%.

The cost categories measured under Oregon’s 1115 waiver are a subset of the costs included in the 2013-2019 health cost growth report.

Oregon’s 1115 waiver supposedly focuses on limiting cost inflation for core Medicaid benefits paid by federal and state governments.

The calculation of cost growth under the waiver does not include categories such as increases in payments to hospitals for uncompensated care, graduate medical education, emergency care for non-citizens, the cost of behavioral health prescription medication and other costs.

State health officials released a fact sheet that outlines different types of health cost calculations.

This shows that While Medicaid costs per person grew by 32%, between 2013-2019, Medicare costs per person grew 58%, nearly double.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-07-19 09:30:17Last Update: 2022-07-19 10:46:50



DMV to Hold Job Fair on Friday
For mid-valley office openings

People who are looking for a job that provides vital community services and offers a competitive salary and benefits, can visit the DMV job fair at our DMV Headquarters in Salem this Friday, July 22.

This event will feature openings at these DMV offices: The fair will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at DMV Headquarters, 1905 Lana Ave. NE.

This is an opportunity to ask current employees questions about a career at DMV and its potential for advancement. Computers will be available at the fair to fill out an application in Workday.

Applicants who don't already have a Workday account need to be sure to bring a resume so they can complete a job application.

Applicants can also find and apply for DMV jobs anytime from anywhere at www.odotjobs.com – at the top of the page, click Company and Department of Transportation to see all ODOT job listings. Check for jobs regularly. The DMV staggers job postings, plus staff retire or move to different offices, so new openings are posted frequently.

"DMV helps nearly every Oregonian," DMV Administrator Amy Joyce said. "Join us in serving your neighbors and your community."

DMV will hold more job fairs across Oregon this summer as part of efforts to speed the hiring process amid a statewide staffing shortage.

They seek people who we are looking for DMV is a division of the Oregon Department of Transportation, and ODOT embraces diversity and inclusion through our values, strategic planning, and actions. We believe that by welcoming differences, encouraging new ideas and views, listening to and learning from each other, and providing opportunities for professional enrichment, we are better able to serve those around us.

The DMV offers their employees work/life balance, comprehensive medical, dental and vision plan options, retirement benefits, continued professional development and training, and more.

"DMV is more than driver licenses and car registration," Joyce said. "We are integral to the voter registration process, we help raise millions of dollars for veterans and nonprofits through special license plates, and nearly every person who signed up as a potential organ donor got there through the DMV."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-18 20:07:43Last Update: 2022-07-18 20:33:45



Baker County Considering Ban on Magic Mushrooms
Members of the public can join the meeting

The Baker County Oregon Board of Commissioners and the City of Unity City Council will be meeting for Commission Session on July 20, 2022 and August 3, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. in the Commission Chambers of the Courthouse at 1995 Third Street, Baker City, Oregon.

There will be a public hearing to receive testimony on the proposed County Ordinance No. 2022-04: An Ordinance Declaring a Ban on Psilocybin Product Manufacturers and Psilocybin Service Center Operators within Unincorporated Baker County, with Referral to Electors.

The Commissioners, siting as the City Council for the City of Unity will also receive testimony on the proposed City of Unity Ordinance No. 2022-02 An Ordinance Declaring a Ban on Psilocybin Product Manufacturers and Psilocybin Service Center Operators within the City of Unity, with Referral to Electors

A copy of the proposed ordinances can be found online or by contacting the Commissioners’ Office at 541-523-8200.

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Members of the public can join the meeting in person or by using the link provided on the County’s website.

A complete agenda will be posted on the County’s website.

Baker County operates under an EEO policy and complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act..


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-07-18 20:05:52Last Update: 2022-07-18 20:16:33



Salem to Relocate ‘Village of Hope’
Micro-Shelter Community Moving to Center Street

Salem, Oregon's plan to relocate 40 micro-shelters to 1210 Center St. from its current location on Portland Road, will move forward after the Marion County Circuit Court signed a judgment of dismissal in the Writ of Review. This means the City will now prepare the vacant lot for the transitional housing development.

“We are very pleased to see this next phase of the Center Street location moving forward,” said Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett “Micro-shelters, like this one, are key to getting people into long-term, stable housing. It’s this transitional period that we, and our community partners, have found tremendous success in getting people the assistance they need.”

Micro-shelter sites supposedly provide temporary and secure housing with 24-hour security, on-site staff, restrooms, meals, peer support, trash services, and connections to local service providers and programs.

On-site staff assist with medical needs, job applications, and searches for long-term housing.

The new “Village of Hope” location will be managed by the nonprofit partner organization, Church at the Park, which currently manages the Portland Road location.

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"I'm beyond thrilled that the ‘Village of Hope’ will be relocating to the Center Street location,” said Salem City Councilor Virginia Stapleton, who represents Ward 1 in Salem. “The citizens of Salem have repeatedly told us that addressing homelessness is the top priority."

There are already two micro-shelter sites located throughout the city, with two more locations in consideration for future use.

You can learn more about micro-shelters online, or you can contact Gretchen Bennett, Salem's Unsheltered Residents and Houselessness Liaison at 503-540-2371.

The City of Salem says that they encourage anyone experiencing housing issues to contact social service providers to help identify any available resources and housing solutions in the community.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-07-17 10:03:16Last Update: 2022-07-17 10:25:59



City of Gresham Pauses School Resource Officer Program
City will explore “interim violence prevention strategies”

The City of Gresham, Oregon's police department, faced with significant staff shortages, has made what they are calling a difficult decision to pause the School Resource Officer (SRO) program with Centennial, Gresham-Barlow and Reynolds school districts.

Gresham Police is working to fill 19 sworn officer vacancies and plans to re-deploy officers currently assigned to the SRO program to patrol positions.

"While this was a very difficult decision because we understand the value of our school resource officers to the community, it is what’s necessary at this time to increase our ability to respond to emergencies,” said Police Chief Travis Gullberg. “Knowing it takes upwards of 18 months to onboard a new officer, we need to be realistic about our ability to fulfill our contracts with our school partners. Recruiting and retaining officers is a top priority, and we hope to announce the return of the SRO program as soon as staffing allows.”

The City currently receives grant funding from the State of Oregon to help operate a new Youth Services division, which contracts with local, culturally competent community based organizations (CBOs) for outreach, intervention and youth violence prevention efforts.

The city says that while the Youth Services team can’t offer security services, they are working with school district partners to help provide outreach services for students.

For districts that are interested, the City will begin discussions with CBOs and school district partners to explore creative strategies as they continue to focus on violence prevention.

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Gresham says that When Gresham Police staffing stabilizes, the City plans to work with districts to reinstate the SRO program.

Gresham City Council already invested $5.2 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds in the police department to provide hiring bonuses, training, add non-sworn staff to assist with officer workload, and launch a pilot Community Service Specialist program to handle non-emergent calls.

With part of that funding, the police department is hiring a dedicated emergency services recruiter, offering referral bonuses, and working with the state of Oregon to try to reduce some of the onboarding barriers faced when hiring new officers.

In August, Gresham City Council will consider the adoption of a three-year City financial plan that includes an additional $6 million investment in the police department.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-07-16 15:59:10Last Update: 2022-07-16 16:17:32



988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Opens
The 988 Lifeline is an alternative to both 911 and the existing 1-800 number

A new universal three-digit dialing code for suicide prevention and mental health crisis — 988 — is now live after taking effect nationwide on Saturday, July 16, 2022. SAMSHA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) will administer the new "988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline," according to an announcement put out by the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs, directed by Kelly Fitzpatrick.

The previous toll-free number 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) will remain also active and will connect callers to the new 988 Lifeline.

The 988 Lifeline is designed to become a simple alternative to both 911 and the existing 1-800 number. One of the goals of the new number is to reduce the use of 911 for suicide and mental health crises because it can result in inadequate or inappropriate intervention by police, or unnecessary hospitalization or incarceration. Calling 988 instead will direct the caller to representatives specifically trained in the management of suicide risk and other mental health crises.

This new, simplified tool is critical for the support networks and caregivers of veterans and service members, who experience higher rates of suicide across all ages and demographics than the civilian population. To reach the Veterans Crisis Line, dial 988 and press "1" to be routed to that resource.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing can access TTY by dialing 711 then 1-800-273-8255 or using their preferred relay service. Lifeline is in the process of expanding to video phone service. Interpretation through Language Line Solutions is also available in over 250 languages. Lifeline also offers services through chat and text (in English only).

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For more information, please see the following resources: Formerly the Mental Health Association of New York City Vibrant Emotional Health, through a special funding opportunity, seeks to collaborate with public health and mental health agencies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to plan for the development of appropriate infrastructure and operations necessary for the full implementation of 988. Vibrant runs innovative community programs for people at all stages of life, and state-of-the-art crisis lines.

In July 2022, 988 will become the national three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, replacing the current phone number of 1-800-283-TALK (8255). As the administrator of the Lifeline since its inception in 2005, Vibrant Emotional Health knows that a national three-digit phone number can improve access to vital crisis services, improve the efficacy of suicide prevention efforts, and reduce the stigma about mental health and getting help.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-16 09:50:31Last Update: 2022-07-16 10:20:13



Federal River Democracy Act Mired in Lawsuit
Something Amiss in River City

In the middle of his campaign for reelection, Senator Ron Wyden may find himself defending the River Democracy Act, the subject of a lawsuit. Senator Wyden introduced S. 192, known as the “River Democracy Act” with Senator Jeff Merkley. The legislation designated nearly 4,700 miles of rivers, streams, creeks, gulches, draws and unnamed tributaries in Oregon as “wild and scenic.”

On June 22, 2022, Western Resources Legal Center filed a Civil Right - Freedom Of Information Act lawsuit against United States Department of Agriculture. Federal land managers are being accused of failing to release documents about the controversial River Democracy Act violating the Freedom of Information Act.

The controversial land grab applies to half-mile buffer zones along designated segments. It could impact public access, water resource management, forest and vegetation management, ranching and grazing, mining and other uses on an estimated 3 million acres of public lands.

It is Western Resources Legal Center’s intent to provide farmers and ranchers that rely on public land for their livelihood, with information to better explain the River Democracy Act.

The WRLC requested information backing government official’s testimony at the hearing on S. 192. The lawsuit indicates testimony included that the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management had documents analyzing potential impacts of the added waterways, the river miles and acres, and effect and methods of enforcement. They suggested a comprehensive river management plan for implementation.

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After eight months of delay, exceeding all legally mandated deadlines, WRLC concluded they believe the government is seeking to hide records from the public and question where the information came from used in their testimony. Prior to the passage of S. 192, Senator Merkley was asked about streams flowing through highly mineralized areas by Ken Alexander of Unity. Merkley said, “What that does is it prevents any future mining or prospecting on those rivers and I’m concerned about the process going ahead of how you’re going to investigate what rivers really belong in this bill.”

Merkley passed the buck claiming Wyden compiled the areas based on nominations he received from residents across the state. It seems that the commercial river guides and stewards promoted some 15,000 river nominations. They state on their website, “The River Democracy Act includes many important tributaries of the Wild and Scenic Illinois River, acknowledging its significance as a botanical and wild fish stronghold. It furthers this long-term effort by withdrawing the delicate serpentine source wetlands surrounding the Illinois from mining.”

What isn’t clear is whether all these miles qualify as a National Wild and Scenic River. To qualify, waterways must be within public land, free-flowing and contain noteworthy characteristics that make them unique. The Wild and Scenic Act thus labels these traits “Outstanding and Remarkable Values” that can include cultural history, geology, recreation, botany, water quality, etc. It is further classified in degrees of accessibility on foot and primitive. The River Democracy Act goes beyond preservation by enhancing Southern Oregon’s river productivity, encourages restoration projects and land acquisitions by doubling the protection zone around river segments to a half-mile impacting public access.

Environmentalist have been at odds with miners for decades. The River Democracy Act takes Oregon’s battle to the federal level. It isn’t that Wyden and Merkley were not aware their bill prohibits future mining within these zones. Oregon is the only producer of emery in the U.S. and a major producer of diatomite, perlite, bentonite, gemstones, and zeolites. Oregon’s mineral industries provide essential goods and services, from the construction materials needed to build and maintain our communities and roads to energy sources that power our day‐to‐day lives.

What information did Wyden and Merkley authorize to pass the River Democracy Act? Why does it take a court case to find out? The case was filed in U.S. District Courts, Oregon District Court. The Judge overseeing this case is Jeffrey Armistead. The case status is Pending.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-15 14:52:26Last Update: 2022-07-15 17:39:43



Measure Explanatory Committees to Meet
Two referrals by the legislature and two measures by citizens

The measures to be voted on in the November election have been determined. They include two referrals by the legislature and two measures placed on the ballot by citizens' initiative. As provided by the Oregon Constitution, committees are being formed to create explanatory statements.

Initial appointments have been made to the explanatory statement committees for ballot measures to be voted on at the General Election. Chief petitioners appointed two members to the committee and the Secretary of State appointed two other committee members. The four appointees are responsible for selecting a fifth committee member.

For each ballot measure to be voted on at the General Election, the explanatory statement committee is responsible for preparing an impartial, simple, and understandable statement explaining the measure, not to exceed 500 words. Upon completion of this task the statement is filed with the Secretary of State Elections Division, so that a public hearing on the statement may be scheduled. If a statement receives comments during the public hearing, the explanatory statement committee must meet to review comments and consider revisions to the statement.

The Legislative Policy and Research Office staff will conduct remote meetings with the explanatory statement committee to select fifth members, and subsequently hold meetings with the committee to write and possibly revise statements. You may observe the committee deliberations live via the Oregon State legislative website.

The committee is not required to take public testimony at each meeting, but the Secretary of State’s Office will hold a public comment meeting on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, from 1 - 3 p.m.

Initiative 14 - Amends Constitution: Legislators with ten unexcused absences from floor sessions disqualified from holding next term of office
Members: Sen. Dennis Linthicum, Joe Baessler, Bruce Gilley, Tan Perkins
Meeting to Elect Fifth Member: 10:30-11:00a.m., Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Initiative 17 - Requires permit to acquire firearms; police maintain permit/firearm database; criminally prohibits certain ammunition magazines
Members: Elizabeth McKanna, Margaret Olney, Leonard Williamson, HK Kahng
Meeting to Elect Fifth Member: 2:00-2:30 p.m., Monday, July 18, 2022
Drafting meeting: 3:00-5:00 p.m., Tuesday, July 26, 2022
Reconsideration meeting: 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m., Friday, August 5, 2022

Referral 401 - Amends Constitution: State must ensure affordable healthcare access, balanced against requirement to fund schools, other essential services
Members: Sen. Tim Knopp, Sen. Rob Wagner, Rep. Raquel Moore-Green, Rep. Barbara Smith Warner

Referral 402 - Amends Constitution: Removes language allowing slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for crime
Members: Sen. Rob Wagner, Rep. Barbara Smith Warner, David Wall



--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-15 13:53:15Last Update: 2022-07-15 14:52:26



Public Hearing for Tolling in Oregon to be Held
Sign up ahead of time to make comments

The Oregon public is invited to attend a virtual hearing on the draft amendment to the Oregon Highway Plan that the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) says will guide the state in using tolling as a way to raise funds for transportation system improvements.

ODOT has provided some details for the hearing, which include: The comment period is open until August 1.

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The Oregon Highway Plan has an existing policy section on tolling.

This draft policy amendment proposes an update to that section, which is "Goal No. 6: Tolling." ODOT says that the draft amendment is intended to modernize the state’s pricing and tolling policy.

They say it defines terms, such as congestion pricing, and it offers guidance for the use of revenue and setting rates (but it does not set rates). It also supposedly provides the Oregon Transportation Commission with clearer direction for decision making. There are 15 policies in the draft amendment, each with actions to guide implementing the policy.

ODOT insists that this amendment is not about whether or not the state should toll roads, and that it will provide guidance for doing so if the state decides to use tolling.

Public input will inform potential revisions to the plan amendment.

ODOT says that their goal is to have a final version ready for adoption later this year.

The Oregon Highway Plan is the state’s primary highway guide, establishing a 20-year vision and strategic framework for Oregon’s road system. The current plan was approved by the commission in 1999 and has been modified numerous times, including in 2012 to add the current section on tolling.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-07-13 20:51:50Last Update: 2022-07-13 21:24:29



Is Salem-Keizer Using Porn as Curriculum?
Educators are not meant to be teaching kids to learn about sexual pleasure

Some parents in the Salem-Keizer School District are asking why The District's Director of Strategic Initiatives Suzanne West is hiding behind a secret committee with regards to refusing to rid schools in the district of the explicit and pornography-laden book, Gender Queer?

According to some parents, there has been an alarming trend to sever parent child relationships within Oregon schools such as Salem-Keizer district. Parents have been trying to have the book, Gender Queer removed from schools to no avail. After requests are received a committee is supposed to be made up of school librarian, parents, school administration and teachers are required to decide as was the case when controversial ‘anti racism’ book “Stamped,” was kept on the shelves.

With Gender Queer West held a secret meeting with a secret committee and decided to ignore parents who were actively trying to be a part of the process and Suzanne made the decision to retain Gender Queer in their school libraries. Why did Suzanne exclude the parents paying for these books, through tax dollars, from the book reconsideration process?

The root of the problem is not books or free speech. To say kids should be allowed to read any books at school is unjustifiable. Parents in Salem-Keizer are not trying to stop books from being read by kids, they are simply trying to protect kids from harmful hyper-sexualized content.

For many parents this shows a deep lack of responsibility and care concerning our children who deserve a real education that focuses on reading, writing and math. Oregon education is at the bottom of the nation despite all the policies of inclusivity. Want to be an inclusive school? Teach kids how to excel in reading.

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The question is not whether books like Gender Queer have literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. The issue is that parents should have the right to prevent their kids from being exposed to obscene materials. Legal sources have said it could be a Class A misdemeanor if obscene materials like Gender Queer is presented to a minor outside of school. Educators are not meant to be teaching and forcing kids to learn about sexual pleasure which is what books like Gender Queer does.


--LaRissa Burke

Post Date: 2022-07-12 08:58:23Last Update: 2022-07-12 17:06:05



Emerald Ash Borers Discovered in Forest Grove
It is considered the most destructive forest pest in North America

On June 30, Dominic Maze, an invasive species biologist for the City of Portland, happened to discover an emerald ash borer. Maze's discovery of an emerald ash borer in a parking lot in Forest Grove is the first known sighting on the West Coast. Maze was familiar with EAB and signs of it in ash trees through educational materials federal and state agencies have been providing to Portland and other Oregon cities. He immediately called the Oregon Department of Forestry's Forest Health Unit to report the emerald ash borer sighting.

ODF Forest Entomologist Christine Buhl drove to the site that same day and identified an adult EAB, known for their metallic, shiny green color. She then alerted the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Her identification was verified later by two additional invasive species specialists – Max Ragozzino with ODA and Wyatt Williams with ODF.

State officials are asking the public to learn what an emerald ash borer looks like and to report any sightings online at the Oregon Invasive Species Council hotline. This will help the state know how far and how fast this destructive insect is spreading in Oregon.

The emerald ash borer is native to eastern Asia and has spread to about three dozen states since its first detection in Michigan two decades ago. The emerald ash borer is now considered the most destructive forest pest in North America. Although harmless to people, pets, and animals, it has proven deadly to all ash species in North American and Europe, including the native Oregon ash. The emerald ash borer can also infest American fringe trees and European olive trees.

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The infested ash trees in Forest Grove were cut down and chipped within 48 hours of discovery. ODF and ODA are now working closely with industry partners, including urban foresters and nursery producers, to provide information and resources as Oregon launches a response to the discovery of the emerald ash borer.

The state is using the Emerald Ash Borer Readiness and Response Plan for Oregon as a guide in its response. The plan was finalized in March 2021 and created through the collaborative efforts of a diverse group of stakeholders and state agencies. The state will be consulting with local and federal governments and providing updates to the public and industry as it moves through its response efforts.

To report sightings of emerald ash borer please make a report online at the Oregon Invasive Species Council hotline. For more information about the emerald ash borer please visit ODA's Emerald Ash Borer webpage.

For more information about impacts of the emerald ash borer to Oregon's urban forests and the risks to native ash trees please visit ODF's Forest Health page.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-11 08:59:43Last Update: 2022-07-11 09:16:13



Three Sides to the Vaccine Coin
Controversial vaccine mandate enforced for Oregon National Guard

The Oregon National Guard buckled down this week barring members who have not followed orders to be vaccinated against COVID-19 from taking part in military duties.

The order comes in response to the Department of Defense’s August 2021 order that all military personnel be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The order is aimed at around 240 Guard members out of 8,000. Service members have the option to qualify for a permanent medical exemption or religious accommodation, and if denied they have the right to appeal that decision within 30 days. The urgency came now when the U.S. Army announced plans to enforce the vaccination deadline for the mandatory two-week summer training.

That new mandate came at the same time that the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released June’s report that 56.5% of COVID-19 cases were vaccinated and 41.1% of them were fully vaccinated with boosters. Observers should also keep in mind that the vaccinated cases are only counted if contracted more than two weeks after being vaccinated. If contracted within two weeks, they are counted as unvaccinated.

Flip the coin and American cardiologist, Dr. Peter McCullough, shared that “This month the World Council for Health (WCH) which represents 70 bodies worldwide has called for a global recall of all vaccines.”

The World Council for Health points to 40,000 deaths from the vaccine, when they suggest that the standard for pulling a vaccine off the market is 50 deaths. According to the WCH,the CDC admitted on December 10, 2021, that 79% of omicron patients were fully vaccinated. Despite the large number of deaths and the recall from the World Council For Health, Oregon keeps pushing the narrative to encourage as many people as possible to get the controversial vaccine.

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On June 30, 2021, Governor Kate Brown rescinded Executive Order 20- 66 and many other executive orders that directed OHA to issue enforceable guidance for various sectors of the state regarding COVID- 19 restrictions. Still, entities continue to follow those directives as if they are federal or state statutes, regulations and rules, or local ordinances.

Despite building evidence that the COVID vaccine is ineffective and the death rate is growing, OHA continues to say: “COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at protecting people from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized and dying. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a COVID-19 primary series vaccines for everyone ages 6 months and older, and COVID-19 boosters for everyone ages 5 years and older, if eligible.”

OHA now shows the number of people who died with COVID-19 that had underlying conditions. They range from 88% to 100%. They say as a takeaway, “The majority of people who died with COVID-19 had an underlying condition, at a consistent 90% or more across all time periods of the pandemic.”Critics are saying that the OHA neatly avoids reporting how many deaths were vaccinated.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-07-10 16:13:26Last Update: 2022-07-10 17:39:07



Oregon GOP Questions Johnson’s Ethics
Johnson admitted to the ethics violations and was fined $600

According to the Oregon Republican Party, independent gubernatorial candidate and former State Senator Betsy Johnson claims she wants to ‘hold government accountable,’ but Oregonians must hold her accountable for past actions during her term of public office, including ethics violations, an FBI criminal investigation, and the attempt to use “legislative immunity” to escape accountability for injuries caused by her actions in a car crash.

“In a time when the public’s trust in government officials is alarmingly low, Oregon citizens need to know that those in public office have integrity and an unwavering commitment to personal ethics and accountability. Oregonians are tired of ‘rules for thee, but not for me.’” Oregon Republican Party Chairman Justin Hwang responded to these revelations.

In 2007, Johnson admitted to ethics violations after she failed to report profits from a land sale. The Government Standards and Practices Commission investigated whether “Johnson failed to report her profits from a property sale that has been linked to legislation that she sponsored. The parcel next to the Scappoose airport was sold three months after purchase for a $119,000 increase in value. The legislation she sponsored gave special access to landowners with property next to airports. Johnson admitted to the ethics violations and was fined $600.

In 2008, Betsy was under criminal investigation by the FBI after admitting to violation of state ethics laws. "Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, who admitted to violating state ethics laws earlier this year, is now under a criminal investigation by the local FBI office. Three sources who have been interviewed by investigators say the FBI since last summer has been looking into business dealings by the Democratic senator." No action was taken as a result of this investigation.

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Johnson used legislative immunity to fight a lawsuit for a traffic accident she was part of in 2013. "In 2013, according to court records, then-state Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) rear-ended a driver stopped at a red light in her hometown. But the crash was also significant for the way that Johnson attempted to fight off the lawsuit filed by the woman in the other car. Melissa Gallentine, 42, says Johnson tried to avoid taking any responsibility for her injuries—by claiming she was performing legislative duties driving to the Capitol." All parties were covered by insurance and compensated.

More than one insider found it interesting that the Oregon Republican Party has taken to attacking the independent candidate Betsy Johnson, while ignoring the Democratic Nominee, Tina Kotek, a move that some say shows that Johnson is finding support within the Republican Party.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-09 09:22:42Last Update: 2022-07-09 10:11:49



Brown’s Clemency Process Criticized
Brown has created her own clemency process outside of the law

Linn County District Attorney Douglas Marteeny, Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow, and Salem attorney Kevin Mannix, have joined in criticism of Governor Kate Brown’s July 1 action to create a Clemency Review Process of her own. The Governor’s new Clemency Review Process is designed to be an alternative to the statutory clemency review process, based on a letter from Governor Brown to the Oregon District Attorneys Association.

District Attorneys Marteeny and Perlow are represented by Kevin Mannix in a lawsuit challenging the process used by the Governor as to clemency cases. Their challenge is before the Oregon Court of Appeals and arguments in the case were presented to the Court on June 23, 2022.

Mannix describes the legal action taken against Governor Brown. “We are in Court challenging the assertion by the Governor that she is not obligated to follow the specific legal process for cases where an application for clemency has been presented to the Governor. The Governor, in this litigation, has asserted that she is free to create her own clemency process which is outside the process required by law. Her own clemency process, before July 1, was informal and failed to meet the legal requirements that the Governor notify each District Attorney of the case where the Governor is considering a clemency application, and then allows crime victims to present their perspective to the Governor.”

Mannix also pointed out that, “In a letter to Oregon's District Attorneys, the Governor has now fortified her position by appointing her own victim impact liaison and by asserting that she will be in a position to decide whether or not crime victims will have an opportunity to express their views to the Governor. This process is in direct violation of the process required by law. As I pointed out to the Court of Appeals in my argument on June 23, the Governor seems to believe that she is in an alternative universe where she can create her own clemency process outside of the law. Her July 1 announcement expands this bizarre proposition by creating this alternative process where the Governor and her representatives get to decide whether or not crime victims will be given an opportunity to be heard in regard to clemency applications by the criminals who harmed the victims.”

Linn County District Attorney Douglas Marteeny weighed in, saying, “The Governor’s recent statements emphasizing her concern for crime victims in the commutation process seem disingenuous at best. Just two weeks ago she advocated before the Appellate Court to interpret the law in a way that reduces a victim’s voice. The Governor fought to be able to sidestep victim protections found in ORS 144.650.

Marteeny continued, “If the Governor’s position and concern for victims have changed in the past two weeks, then I call upon her to revoke all her previous victim-silenced commutations where she didn’t follow ORS 144.650. I further ask the Governor to join me in working to mold the law, through legislation or legal interpretation, in a manner that will require herself and all future Governors to first hear from victims before commutation decisions are made.”

“It is disappointing, to say the least,” said Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow, “that as we await the Court of Appeals decision, Governor Brown continues to create chaos and instability in our criminal justice system. As district attorneys across the state struggle to apply limited resources intended to prosecute criminals and enforce the rule of law, this Governor, and her cohort Professor Aliza Kaplan, are creating the ‘crisis’ of unprecedented numbers of felons applying for early release consideration. I object to the creation of yet another ‘alternative’ process and the appointment of a Victim Impact Liaison on the Governor’s staff. This merely continues to distance the Governor from the victim and the cold hard facts that she wants to ignore.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-09 08:59:52Last Update: 2022-07-09 10:10:33



Prosecutor Quits Multnomah County DA Office
“You ran a campaign opposed to Ballot Measure 11”

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt's office was rocked when an attorney in the office, Amber Kinney a level 3 Child Abuse Prosecutor in the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, resigned and sent an open letter to the Oregonian blasting Schmidt's management of the office.

In the letter, Kinney cited increased workloads and how they disproportionately impact women as well as "the lack of leadership opportunities for women," saying this was the reason "we have lost so many experienced and talented female attorneys. Since you took office in August 2020, we have lost eight career prosecutors -- seven of the eight are women. I am the ninth. And I will not be the last."



Kinney continued:

"Our caseloads are unreasonably high due also (and in large part) to mismanagement within our office. And that is your fault. The cases I handle are almost entirely comprised of Ballot Measure 11 (mandatory minimum) felonies, many subject to laws requiring a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison (Ballot Measure 73 and Jessica’s Law). As you are keenly aware, you ran a campaign opposed to Ballot Measure 11 and mandatory minimum prison sentences. However, since taking office 18 months ago, you have not provided any new policies or direction to the DDAs about how we should handle mandatory minimum cases: whether we should resolve them differently, or whether we should issue them differently.

Kinney concluded, "There is no transparency. I don’t know whether the lack of transparency is due to your intentional desire to prevent scrutiny, or perhaps a genuine absence of structure and coherent decision making."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-08 16:04:32Last Update: 2022-07-08 16:45:12



Johnson Campaign Releases Gubernatorial Poll
“The primary honeymoon is over for party nominees”

Gubernatorial candidate Betsy Johnson's campaign has released a poll that shows her neck-and-neck with former Oregon House Speaker and Democrat nominee Tina Kotek. GS Strategy Group -- a national polling company -- was engaged by the Johnson campaign to conduct a poll on the Oregon Governor's race.

According to the polling company, "As the Oregon Gubernatorial election enters the summer, it’s clear that Betsy Johnson has gained the upper hand on the field. As voters increasingly tune in to their choices, she is personally viewed most positively, and the idea of an independent governor drives undecideds to her. The primary honeymoon is over for party nominees, the two major party candidates are narrowly confined to their ideological bases, and Betsy Johnson is well positioned to win remaining undecideds."

"Betsy Johnson has significant room to grow as voters learn about her independent candidacy, while Kotek and Drazan are limited by unfavorable images and narrow appeal to ideological extremes," concluded a poll memo that contained poll results.

GS Strategy Group conducted a poll on behalf of Run Betsy Run. The telephone survey was conducted June 23-29, 2022, among 600 likely November 2022 voters in Oregon. Respondents were randomly selected from the voter file and the survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percent at the 95% confidence level. Surveys were conducted using live interviewers, with 70% conducted by cell phone and 30% by landline.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-08 06:08:24Last Update: 2022-07-08 08:29:40



Deschutes County to Hold Meeting on Magic Mushrooms
Psilocybin product manufacturing and service centers in rural County

The Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, July 13, to receive testimony and consider whether to refer an ordinance to voters in November that would prohibit psilocybin product manufacturing and the establishment of psilocybin service centers in the unincorporated County.

The hearing will begin at 2 p.m. and will be reconvened at 5:30 p.m. at the Deschutes Services Building, located at 1300 NW Wall Street in Bend.

Virtual participation will also be available. Residents who wish to participate virtually can access log in information online.

Participants will have three minutes to provide testimony.

With the passage of Ballot Measure 109 in 2020, a statewide program exists to permit licensed manufacturers to cultivate and process psilocybin-producing mushrooms and fungi and for licensed service providers to administer psilocybin-producing mushroom and fungi products to adults 21 and older.

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Unless a jurisdiction opts out through a local ballot measure in the next general election, Oregon Health Authority (OHA), which administers the psilocybin program, will begin accepting applications for licenses on January 2, 2023.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-07-07 12:44:55Last Update: 2022-07-07 18:08:24



Oregon Republicans Claim Early Lead in Polls
Red wave or anti-blue wave? Experts differ.

Oregon House and Senate Republican caucus leaders are releasing statewide polling that shows that Oregonians desperately want change. The poll -- conducted by the national firm Cygnal -- of likely general election voters view elected Democrats in the legislature unfavorably by 13.6%.

57% think Oregon is headed in the wrong direction and likely voters say they prefer the generic Republican candidate by 4.6%. Christine Drazan leads the gubernatorial ballot by a point.

“Tina Kotek and House Democrats have been responsible for the last decade of Oregon decline,” House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson said. “Their status quo has led to Oregonians struggling under an extra layer of inflation, with higher gas prices and higher costs of living than other parts of the country. We have a chance to balance Oregon this year and Republican candidates are running on that message. Change will only happen in Oregon if Republicans are put in the Governor’s mansion and legislature.”

According to the pollster, Cygnal, Democrats from Salem to Washington, DC are drowning in the polls. Things have never looked worse for Democrats in Oregon. Even in the wake of Dobbs, Democrats at every level of government are taking the full brunt of voter’s frustrations. Joe Biden remains incredibly unpopular with a net favorability of -17%. Nearly every demographic has a net unfavorable view of the President with more than 2/3 of NAVs dissatisfied with Biden (53% very unfavorable).

They say that Tina Kotek is even more unpopular than Joe Biden with a net favorability of -18%. With confidence in the direction of the state dismal, voters are turning to the GOP. Among their findings: “It’s clear that Oregonians want change and balance,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp. “They are fed up with higher prices, lower standards of living, and rampant homelessness and crime. Democrat leadership has made all these issues worse over the last decade of one-party rule. Our candidates are going to press these issues with common sense solutions.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-07 11:56:43Last Update: 2022-07-07 16:35:44



Urban Development Planned for McMinnville
Aspires to steer much of that growth in a positive direction

McMinnville has an exciting opportunity to develop more than 200 acres of highly visible parcels near the existing hospital, airport and Air Museum. The Three Mile Area Plan, 3MLAP, is within the Urban Growth Boundary relieving the City of Department of Land Conservation and Development regulatory hurdles. Downtown McMinnville, centered on Third Street is one of Oregon’s most picturesque main streets. Growing interest in the state’s wine country is a major economic force changing the nature of downtown McMinnville. 3MLAP aspires to steer much of that growth in a positive direction.

One challenge involving the new area is connecting 3MLAP with existing McMinnville without impeding the flow of transit traffic on Highway 18 that separates portions of the two. The Highway 18 by-pass has successfully routed through traffic around and not through McMinnville for decades with minimal interruptions to highway speed expectations. 3MLAP will enjoy high visibility to this major arterial, stimulating demand for a variety of high end uses for the land.

Citizen input, led by Heather Richards, McMinnville City Planning Director, has evolved a plan recognizing the many needs likely to emerge in the next generation of community growth. Originally thought to be primarily for airport related industrial use, the parcels can exploit nearby transportation and relieve downtown growing pains by offering office, commercial, and residential opportunities in addition to industrial use.

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One of several keys to success is vehicular transportation improvements that utilize improved frontage roads and roundabouts to isolate through traffic on Highway 18 from a certain large increase in local traffic. Another key is creating an aesthetic that yields both an attractive place to live and work plus one that easily draws patrons. McMinnville, like most densely populated areas in Oregon, has a severe housing shortage with resulting home prices that threaten affordability for many. 3MLAP can offer some relief. Another key is numerous parcels of “fresh canvas” for planners to work with, allowing a genuine opportunity for meaningful impact, an incentive for developers. One measure of long term success will be whether or not 3MLAP helps the average income for local residents to rise faster than the cost of living.

The plan states, “The Area Plan envisions land uses that are different than what is currently planned for on the City’s Comprehensive Plan map. To allow for the area to develop consistent with the vision for the Three Mile Lane Area, the City will need to change the Comprehensive Plan Land Use Map. The predominant change is from an Industrial designation to a Commercial designation for 40 acres south of Highway 18. The other change south of the highway, west of Norton Lane, is from Industrial to Commercial and Residential. The needed amendment north of the highway and west of Norton Lane changes Industrial designated land to Commercial and Residential designations to enable the subject properties to develop as a mixed-use area”.


--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2022-07-07 11:30:26Last Update: 2022-07-07 11:56:43



Justin Hwang Named Oregon Republican Party Chair
“I’m excited to bring a fresh voice and years of experience as a small business owner”

The Oregon Republican Party has announced that Justin Hwang will step in to become the new Chairman to fill a vacancy after Herman Baertschiger stepped down. Hwang served as Vice-Chair before Herman Baertschiger submitted his letter of resignation. Chairman Hwang released the following statement on his new role leading the state party:

“I am humbled and honored to step in as Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party. I want to thank Herman Baertschiger for his service as our chair and years of public service. He is a friend and mentor and someone who I will always lean on for advice. I also want to thank the ORP delegates for previously electing me as Vice-Chair and trusting me to lead our party.

I’m excited to bring a fresh voice and years of experience as a small business owner. My colleagues and I are ready to get to work and we only have one vision in mind for 2022- elect more Republicans to office. We are facing record inflation, rampant homelessness, and serious lack of leadership from Kate Brown and Joe Biden. Oregonians are fed up and a red wave will happen in November. We will knock doors and fundraise for our candidates. There are strong Republicans running up and down the ballot this year and I’m excited to work with all of them!”

Hwang is a small business owner with more than 30 restaurants across the Portland-metro area and a former state legislative candidate.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-06 08:57:16Last Update: 2022-07-06 09:30:26



Oregon Democrats Respond to High Court EPA Smackdown
The Supreme Court sent a message to big-government regulators

In its recent decision, West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency the US Supreme Court sent a message to big-government regulators that it will not tolerate over-reach by government bureaucrats. At issue was the Clean Power Plan, passed during the Obama administration which called on the Federal Environmental Protection Agency to develop rules that would require the "best system of emissions reduction" for each energy sector. The problem arose when the EPA drew up rules that would effectively put the coal sector out of business -- which was not the intent of Congress.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the 6-3 majority said, "The only question before the Court is more narrow: whether the “best system of emission reduction” identified by EPA in the Clean Power Plan was within the authority granted to the Agency in Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. For the reasons given, the answer is no.

State Representatives Khanh Pham (D-Portland), Pam Marsh (D-Ashland), Zach Hudson (D-Troutdale), Ken Helm (D-Washington County), Andrea Valderrama (D-Portland), and Jason Kropf (D-Bend) have issued a joint statement to denounce the decision, which they claim "strip[s] the Environmental Protection Agency of its power, granted by Congress, to tackle the most pressing environmental issue of our lifetime: the climate crisis."

"The decision makes sense in that the EPA has a myopic mandate, which is to protect the environment. They have no authority or mandate to provide safe, low-cost, reliable energy sources to consumers or businesses. The decision to weigh these factors against each other does and should lie with a democratically-elected, accountable body such as Congress," said one former Oregon State Representative. He noted that the high court had not ruled out the mandates -- just that the EPA did not have the authority to enact them.

The House Democrats countered,

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling will give corporations and special fossil fuel interests even more power to determine our future and survival as a planet, despite decades of precedent and the many climate scientists repeatedly sounding the alarm that we face even more catastrophic disasters as greenhouse gas emissions rise.

“This will be detrimental to our health, safety, and well-being, as communities across the planet face disasters like wildfires, ice storms, drought, flooding, and extreme temperatures.

“We know low-income, rural, BIPOC, youth, women, LGBTQIA+, immigrant and refugee communities are hit hardest by these climate disasters. In fact, studies show BIPOC communities experience disparate health outcomes from increasing environmental hazards that impact reproductive health. Years of redlining and racial discrimination have displaced communities of color into neighborhoods with low tree canopies and contaminated water and air. This means the need for environmental and reproductive justice is urgent in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling last week on Dobbs v. Jackson.

Expressing frustration with judicial dismantling of big-government, Oregon House Democrats said it is the "responsibility of the Biden administration and Congress to use the power voters have clearly given them to put a check on the judicial branch."

Not to be outdone, Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) “Today’s ruling...reflects a huge step backwards in our national fight for clean air and environmental sustainability. This is yet another extreme decision from a U.S. Supreme Court stacked with conservative judges handpicked by corporate special interests. Now more than ever before, Democratic leadership at the state level stands as a critical line of defense against our hijacked federal judicial branch.”

“The scientific community has been clear: we are running out of time to combat the climate crisis,” said Senator Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton), Chair of the Senate Interim Committee on Energy and Environment. “We have made meaningful progress here in Oregon, including passage of Oregon’s historic Coal to Clean Act. In the face of this decision, action from Oregon and other states will be even more important. We need to call on Congress to pass clean energy legislation and move the needle forward nationally.”

Oregon Democrats have a track record of symbolic hostility to fossil fuels, enacting a ban on "fracking" in 2019 with HB 2623. Oregon has few fossil fuel reserves and no hydraulic fracturing -- "fracking" -- has ever been used in Oregon.

Fundamentally, today’s decision demonstrates a shift towards broad deregulation. The dangerous consequences of deregulation could range from worsening air pollution to declining civil rights and housing protections. “Today’s decision creates immediate and devastating consequences in the EPA’s ability to effectively regulate polluters and fight climate change,” said Senator Kayse Jama (D-Portland). “Unfortunately, the Court’s shift towards deregulation has the potential to undermine the work of other federal agencies we count on to protect our civil rights and public health. In Oregon, we have a duty to protect those who are bound to feel these devastating consequences.”


--Donna Bleiler and Staff Reporters

Post Date: 2022-07-06 05:40:04Last Update: 2022-07-05 19:57:16



Union Squeeze Leads Causa to Dissolve
Long time supporter of illegal aliens in Oregon will cease

Citing fundraising troubles, staff turnover and inability to finalize a contract with the labor union which represents their staff, the left-wing organization Causa which has focused on supporting illegal aliens and their causes, will dissolve as an organization effective July 31 after 27 years. According to a post on their website, their financial status was "not sustainable for the organization."

Adriana Miranda, former staffer for former State Representative Diego Hernandez, was recently the Executive Director of Causa

According to the group's website, "Causa’s board members are proud to support labor unions and to be a nonprofit with union staff members, and voluntarily recognized the union two years ago. But unfortunately, union leadership has been unwilling to enter mediation or put a fair contract offer to a vote, focusing instead on a damaging public pressure campaign. Our most recent attempt to finalize a contract has gone without a response from the union for nearly 8 weeks."

Though the website boasted that the group "won a long fought victory, the culmination of over 10 years of struggle to secure Driver’s Licenses for all undocumented communities in Oregon," they were unable to do that with popular support, losing the fight to issue drivers licenses to illegal aliens in 2014. They were later successful in a Democrat-dominated legislature.

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In 2017, Causa supported the work to pass 17 sanctuary city resolutions to restrict local police from collaborating with ICE, tying the hands of local police departments who are now unable to hand over criminal illegal aliens to federal authorities. During the pandemic, Causa co-led the effort to secure relief funds for illegal aliens in Oregon who were excluded from unemployment benefits.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-05 17:04:30Last Update: 2022-07-05 17:38:56



Battle Continues in Yamhill County
They created a temporary camp site for homeless next to a school

For many residents in Yamhill County the tide has turned in the fight for the hearts and souls of Newberg’s school kids. The challenge to an education first majority on the school board, in the form of two recall efforts failed. The dismissal of a superintendent who would not remove politics from the classroom occurred. The hiring of a new superintendent to accomplish the task of returning academics to the classroom is underway. The resignation of one progressive school board member in March was followed by the recent resignations of two more like minded members who found their approach no longer in favor.

Progressive Yamhill is a group which describes itself as "made up of engaged residents and friends of Yamhill Valley who believe in developing a community that both respects and creates equity, inclusion, safety and freedom from fear and hate for all. Our purpose is to educate & inform, and to actively participate in the creation of a local climate in support of these beliefs." They are behind much of the left wing activity in Yamhill County and according to some, they are on their heels.

In March the Newberg City Council, with a progressive majority, was faced with a laundry list of generational projects with which to apply American Rescue Plan Act funds. Normally those would include projects that might justify 20-30 year bonds in conventional financing. The Council chose instead to spend the money to create a temporary camp site for homeless next to a school, ignoring other more suitable camp sites.

Parents have responded with a petition that bans public funding for homeless camps within 1500 feet of a school. Robyn Wheatley, Jenn Sahli and Bill Rosacker are chief petitioners and are actively collecting signatures. The petition is patterned after a similar petition crafted in Bend. Additionally, it would require any homeless camp, funded with tax dollars, to be approved only after a public vote. 2,500 signatures must be gathered in a little less than a month for this petition to be on the November ballot.

This is the latest in a series of contests pitting the anger of the entrenched left against the parents many of whom are fighting back. Progressives have not only quit the school board, progressive resignations from City Council bode well for community members who wish for what they regard as common sense, as the pendulum swings.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-05 09:17:20Last Update: 2022-07-05 09:04:37



Kate Brown Appoints Nickleberry Rogers to Oregon Housing Stability Council
“She has a passion for serving communities facing barriers to housing access”

The Oregon Housing and Community Services has announced that Sharon Nickleberry Rogers, CPA, is newly appointed by Governor Kate Brown to serve on the Oregon Housing Stability Council. The council says that they work to establish OHCS’ strategic direction to meet the housing and services needs of low and moderate-income Oregonians, as well as reviews and sets policy for the development and financing of affordable housing in the state.

“Councilmember Nickleberry Rogers brings impressive professional experience and a passion for serving communities facing barriers to housing access,” said OHCS Director Andrea Bell. “We need voices like Sharon’s in our council to support our mission of building and preserving affordable housing in all forms, shapes and sizes for Oregon renters and homeowners.”

Sharon Nickleberry Rogers is a Portland resident.

“My compassion for housing stems from my childhood when my parents provided housing for family members relocating to Portland,” Nickleberry Rogers said. “I recognized early on the importance of housing and knew having a safe place to call home was special. My parents’ commitment to helping others ignited my interest in helping others.”

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Sharon Nickleberry Rogers is employed as a financial analyst with the City of Portland and she has also worked for the Internal Revenue Service.

Nickleberry Rogers received her undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon and two master’s degrees from Portland State University in business and taxation. She lives in northeast Portland with her husband and has a daughter attending college.

Nickleberry Rogers will serve a three-year term and will have the option to serve additional terms. Housing Stability Council meetings are held on the first Friday of the month with additional meetings as needed.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-07-05 09:13:07Last Update: 2022-07-05 09:45:59



Analysis: Will High Court Decision Impact Initiative 17?
“...no more than 10 rounds will promote the public health and safety...”

In light of the US Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen experts are taking a fresh look at Oregon's Initiative 17, a ballot measure being circulated by the left-wing group, Lift Every Voice Oregon.

The so-called Reduction of Gun Violence Act is 12 pages of regulations on firearm acquisition.

OPB is reporting that the initiative is likely to qualify for the ballot. If it qualifies, it may not pass constitutional muster -- at least now based on the new decision.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion, saying, "In this case, petitioners and respondents agree that ordinary, law-abiding citizens have a similar right to carry handguns publicly for their self-defense. We too agree, and now hold, consistent with Heller and McDonald, that the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home."

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Thomas summarized, "Because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution."

Initiative 17 seems to go a direction that the court doesn't want to go. From the initiative text, "The People of the State of Oregon find and declare that regulation of sale, purchase and otherwise transferring of all firearms and restriction of the manufacture, import, sale, purchase, transfer, use and possession of ammunition magazines to those that hold no more than 10 rounds will promote the public health and safety of the residents of this state and this Act shall be known as the Reduction of Gun Violence Act."

Kevin Starrett of Oregon Firearms Federation noted, "This measure is about a lot more than 10 round magazines. It creates a new requirement that you get permission from your sheriff before you can even ask for permission from the State Police to buy a gun.

“We think most people who signed the petitions don’t understand the extreme nature of IP 17. We do know paid signature gatherers are promoting it by saying it’s about “background checks.” Something we’ve had for decades.

“We believe when people find out they won’t be able to even buy a firearm to protect themselves unless they have taken a class from police, which the police are not even obligated to give and may not be able to give, they’ll have second thoughts."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-03 21:56:41Last Update: 2022-07-04 09:17:20



Voters to Get a Look at Integrity Database
Oregon People’s Vote Utilizes National Database to Aid Oregonians in Voter Roll Clean-up

Oregon People’s Vote, a Marion County, non-partisan, election integrity group will be at the Marion County Fair July 8, 9 and 10. OPV members will be available to share resources and to demonstrate to the public the use of the VoteRef website.

According to the website, VoteRef.com is a national database with the purpose of providing public access to official government data pertaining to elections, including voter registration rolls and is dedicated to ensuring transparent, accurate and fair elections within the United States.

According to spokesman, Ian Watts, A common concern with U.S. elections is the problem of inflated and inaccurate voter rolls. He says that this assumption is supported by the well known scientist, physicist, and mathematician Dr. Douglas Frank who is best known for his scientific modeling of U.S. elections.

The goal of OPV is to inform and empower all Oregonians with tools and resources regarding local voting laws and practices, and to raise awareness of possible issues. For example, in Oregon, HB 2681 -- sponsored by current House Speaker Dan Rayfield and passed during the 2021 session -- prohibits moving a voter to "inactive" status if they do not vote, and/or if they have never updated their voter registration. Voters who haven't voted in years are still labeled in the system as “active” and, according to Watts, leave our election system open to abuse by allowing the mailing of unused and unverified ballots that are vulnerable to harvesting and manipulation. Since Oregon currently allows ballot harvesting by law, this situation is ripe for exploitation.

OPV encourages Oregonians to drop by our booth in the Jackman Long Building at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Salem Oregon to learn how you can take positive action towards safeguarding Oregon's voting integrity.

Oregon People’s Vote will be at the Marion County Fair on July 8th, 9th and 10th, the Philomath Frolic on July 7-9, the Linn County Fair on July 14-16, and the Benton County Fair on August 2-7.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-02 11:12:22Last Update: 2022-07-03 00:56:41



Baertschiger Steps Down as Chair of ORP
“I will still be involved in making Oregon a better place”

Effective July 5, Oregon Republican Party Chair Herman Baertschiger will be stepping down as ORP Chair. Baertschiger took over the Chair when Dallas Heard resigned on March 11. In a letter to ORP members, Baertschiger sent a farewell message.

As many of you already know I have never intended to be the Chairman of the ORP, however it has been an honor. I ran as Vice-Chair, a supporting role within the leadership of the ORP. With Chair Heard stepping down I ascended to the position of Chairman of the ORP. I knew I had to lead the Party forward uninterrupted in its mission and create as smooth of a transition as possible. I also knew we have several open seats including the Vice-Chair position, all which needed to be filled. I think I have accomplished these things and now need to step away and let these new folks take the reins.

We are so fortunate to have so many wonderful people dedicated to the Republican Party here in Oregon. I am proud of them all and have enjoyed leading them through these times of transition. It is time to pass the torch. I am sure they will do a great job for the party as well as for Oregon.

I am not saying good-bye as I will still be involved in making Oregon a better place for us and our families. I am just saying my job in a leadership position has come to an end and I am very happy on what we have accomplished in these last few months. What great people I have met along the way. I look forward in seeing you again as a Republican.

Oregon Republican Party Vice-Chair Justin Hwang will be the new Chair.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-01 11:50:26Last Update: 2022-07-01 12:01:05



OHA: Climate Change Impacting Youth Mental Health
“They understand climate change as closely linked with systemic racism and oppression”

The Oregon Health Authority has issued a report claiming that “The mental health effects of climate change include those directly related to the physical and traumatic consequences of severe weather events, as well as anxiety, fear and distress associated with slower-moving stressors, perceptions and attempts to understand and respond appropriately to climate change and its implications.” In response to Governor Kate Brown's Executive Order 20-04, the OHA has also released a report describing the impact of Climate Change on Youth Mental Health.

According to this report, "As the effects of climate change grow, researchers and experts have become more concerned about how it will affect our mental health. Mental health impacts on youth are of particular concern as there is a growing youth mental health crisis in the United States.”

The Executive Summary of the Research is showing three main pathways climate change adversely affects our mental health: Study participants reported significant distress consistent with what youth across the globe are reporting. Youth in this study reported experiencing a range of feelings:

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One former legislator was critical of the report, calling into question the finding that youth “understand climate change as closely linked with systemic racism and oppression.” “I don't see kids making this connection. If anything, I think that kids have been driven to mental instability by disruption of their schooling patterns by government action in response to COVID. Government does more harm than climate” said the former legislator, who asked not to be identified.

Youth and key participants identified these strategies for nurturing hope and resilience: Decision-makers, educators, mental health professionals and environmental professionals support youth mental health and resilience in the face of climate change when they:
--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-01 06:01:44Last Update: 2022-06-30 10:38:04



COVID Rule Changes Proposed for Labor Housing
The comment period closes on August 12

Oregon OSHA, under the direction of acting administrator Renee Stapleton, is proposing to roll back COVID era restrictions on Employer Provided workplace housing and is asking that persons who wish to participate in the virtual meeting to register for Adjustments to COVID-19 Workplace Requirements for Employer-Provided Labor Housing on July 26, 2022 at 3:00pm

After registering for a webinar, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. In order to ensure as many people as possible are able to testify, Oregon OSHA reserves the right to restrict testimony to no more than 5 minutes.

The rule changes have been summarized by Oregon OSHA:

Due to reduced COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Oregon OSHA is proposing to make substantive changes to OAR 437-004-1115: COVID-19 Workplace Requirements for Employer-Provided Labor Housing to remove provisions no longer appropriate to this stage of the pandemic. These changes are in response to Governor Brown's announcement of updated health guidance on February 28, 2022 and direction from the Oregon Health Authority.

These proposed changes have been in effect as temporary amendments since April 13, 2022 and are set to expire on October 9, 2022. If these rulemaking adjustments are not made, the rule will revert to the stricter requirements in Administrative Order 15-2021 adopted on December 21, 2021.

Major proposed changes include the removal of several sections of the rule, including (3) Ventilation, (5) Physical distancing monitor, (7) Cleaning and sanitation, and (9) Non-employer-provided transportation for labor housing. In addition, the (2) Definitions section is greatly simplified.

The proposed amendments will remove the requirement for the use of the Air Purification Method or the Capacity Reduction Method to calculate the square footage of spaces where people sleep. However, if air purifiers were provided by the operator as part of this provision, occupants must be allowed to continue to use the air purifier at no cost including the maintenance of the equipment. If occupants choose to use their own air purifier, they must be allowed to do so but they are responsible for the maintenance of it.

As was the case before these adjustments, the proposed rule maintains language that an employee who chooses to wear a mask, face shield, or face covering, even when it is not required, must be allowed to do so.

These proposed adjustments represent a significant removal of COVID-19 requirements, and are a major step forward towards the full repeal of the rule. As stated in the rule, Oregon OSHA will repeal the rule when it is no longer necessary to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Because it is not possible to assign a specific time for that decision, Oregon OSHA will consult with the Oregon OSHA Partnership Committee, the Oregon Health Authority, and other stakeholders as circumstances change to determine when all or parts of the rule can be appropriately repealed.

The comment period closes on August 12. Adoption tentatively will be in September 2022.

To comment:

Department of Consumer and Business Services/Oregon OSHA
PO BOX 14480
Salem OR 97309-0405
Email – OSHA.rulemaking@dcbs.oregon.gov


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-30 10:38:04Last Update: 2022-06-30 11:27:25



OHA Lacks Follow Through on SOS Audit
"The opioid crisis is a grave threat both in Oregon”

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and the Oregon Audits Division released a follow-up report today to the 2018 audit of Oregon Health Authority's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Auditors found that only four of 12 recommendations from the original audit have been fully implemented under the direction of OHA Director Pat Allen.

Despite criticizing her predecessor, Dennis Richardson, for doing "Gotcha" audits, Fagan was publicly and vocally critical of the OHA in the audit.

"The opioid crisis is a grave threat both in Oregon and the around the county," Secretary Fagan said. "This report includes specific actions we can take to improve outcomes in our communities. State legislators and the Oregon Health Authority should implement them as soon as possible."

Auditors focused on the status of 12 recommendations made in 2018. Auditors found four recommendations were fully implemented and three recommendations were partially implemented. Our follow-up work indicates Oregon could do more to promote and enhance the use of PDMP as a tool to help combat drug epidemics. However, legislative changes are needed to fully implement most of the outstanding recommendations. Those recommendations include areas such as data sharing, using the PDMP database, and collecting further information.

The misuse and abuse of opioids and risk of overdose remain a health threat nationally and in Oregon. This involves both prescription opioid pain medications and illicit opioids. Oregon has the highest rate of misuse of prescription opioids in the nation. Oregon's PDMP is an important tool to help address prescription drug abuse and misuse, including opioids, and improve health outcomes. Oregon is still one of the few states not requiring prescribers or pharmacists to use the PDMP database before certain prescriptions are written or dispensed.

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The 2018 Prescription Drug Monitoring Program audit won the National Association of State Auditors Excellence in Accountability award and influenced several other states to audit their PDMP program.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-30 08:45:01Last Update: 2022-06-30 09:01:44



DEQ Announces Rulemaking for Clean Fuels Program Expansion
Public Hearing to be Held July 19

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is proposing that the Environmental Quality Commission approve updates and revisions to the Clean Fuels Program rules. The policy objective of the Clean Fuels Program Expansion 2022 Rulemaking is to expand the program's carbon intensity reduction requirements beyond the currently adopted 10 percent reduction in average carbon intensity by 2025. The new long-term targets will create certainty for investment in and deployment of lower-, zero-, and negative-carbon transportation fuels that are necessary to decarbonize Oregon's transportation sector.

In addition to proposing new carbon intensity reduction requirements, DEQ is also proposing changes to Division 12 and Division 253 to: 1) support the expansion of the program, 2) make the program's rules clearer and more efficient, and 3) ensure that participants in the program are complying with all its requirements.

DEQ is asking for public comment on the proposed rules. Anyone can submit comments and questions about this rulemaking. A person can submit comments by email, regular mail or at the public hearing. DEQ will only consider comments on the proposed rules that DEQ receives by 4 p.m., on Thursday, July 21, 2022.

Interested persons may submit comment by email to:

CFP.2022@deq.oregon.gov

By mail
Oregon DEQ
Attn: Cory-Ann Wind
700 NE Multnomah St., Suite 600
Portland, OR 97232-4100

DEQ plans to hold one public hearing. Anyone can attend this hearing by webinar. The public hearing is online only on July 19, 2022 starting at 9:00am.

To view copies of the notice documents, learn more about this rulemaking, and how to submit comments, you can view the rulemaking web page.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-29 18:09:28Last Update: 2022-06-29 20:50:49



Secretary Fagan Completes Transit Redistricting
Directs Districts to Focus on Equity and Accessibility

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan announced the adoption of new mass transit maps today, completing the transit district redistricting process that occurs after each new census.

"Transit boards give the public a voice in how buses, trains and other transportation services operate in their communities," said Secretary Fagan. "The transit redistricting process takes place only once every 10 years and requires a great deal of cooperation. I want to thank Oregon's three mass transit districts for their partnership in this process, particularly their work to meet the public engagement requirements and diversity, equity, and inclusion values required by my office."

New districts maps are available on the Secretary of State's website.

ORS 267.090​  requires the Secretary of State to establish the process for creating and approving revised Mass Transit Redistricting Maps. These maps are redrawn every 10 years following the census. There are currently three Mass Transit Districts in Oregon: TriMet, Cherriots, and Lane Transit District. Members of the districts are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. 

In order to comply with ORS 267.090, the Secretary of State adopted 165-008-0150 Mass Transit District Reapportionment Process. This rule outlines the process mass transit districts must use for drawing new districts following the census. 


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-28 17:45:18Last Update: 2022-06-28 18:09:28



Coastwide Late Berry Crop Leads to Problem Bears
Bear season opens August 1 statewide

A late salmonberry crop means hungry black bears are a problem for many of Oregon's coastal communities.

Salmonberries are typically ripe in May but the extended cool, wet spring on the Oregon coast slowed or disrupted that process. In many areas, the berries still have not ripened, and in some areas the pollination seems to have failed resulting in few berries available. Thimbleberries are behind schedule on the north coast although if forecasted clear weather occurs there may be hope for the upcoming huckleberry and blackberry crops.

Hungry bears, determined to eat are digging into residences' garbage, bird feeders, BBQ grills, pet food, chicken and livestock feed and in some instances, killing livestock. Bears attracted to humans for food can become a safety concern when they attempt to break into homes or approach people.

ODFW wildlife biologists coastwide have their hands full with bear complaints.

They say the best remedy is prevention and urge coastal residents to secure food, garbage, and recycling.

Help keep bears wild by following these BearWise tips: Use bearproof garbage cans if they are available from local waste management or keep garbage and recycling secure until collection day. Electric fencing is also an effective deterrent.

A bear habituated to human foods and other attractants may become extremely aggressive defending those food sources and pose a threat to human safety. When prevention measures fail to deter these bears, they are humanely euthanized, and the meat donated to charities.

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Securing attractants around your property is vital to keeping Oregon's bears safe and where they belong—in the wild.

Those who would like to help can purchase black bear tags at sporting goods stores. Bear season opens August 1 statewide.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-28 17:27:40Last Update: 2022-06-28 17:45:18



Mostly Peaceful March Turns Destructive Again
Portland Police Bureau is asking for assistance

On Sunday, June 26, 2022, at 8:12p.m., Central Precinct officers responded to a group of people marching through Southeast Portland, near the areas of Southeast Belmont Street and Southeast Hawthorne Street. The march was a splinter group of a larger, mostly peaceful "demonstration" which took place within Laurelhurst Park.

Officers were made aware of vandalism by this group of marchers to local businesses in the area. When officers responded, the crowd began throwing projectiles at officers, including commercial-grade fireworks, paint balloons and large rocks. Officers were able to recover a commercial-grade firework which did not seem to successfully detonate along the march route.

At one point during the event, Central Precinct officers attempted a traffic stop on a vehicle which had been observed to be involved in the march, impeding traffic along major roads.

During the traffic stop, a group rushed toward officers, throwing fireworks and rocks at them and their vehicles. One rock made contact with a patrol vehicle, shattering the windshield.

Based on the limited number of officers available citywide and the fact that police response to emergency calls for service was being significantly impacted, officers left the area and continued to monitor the situation.

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PPB says that individuals who engage in violent activity or property destruction will be investigated and are subject to arrest and prosecution.

Arrests do not always happen. PPB will continue to conduct follow-up investigations, supposedly make arrests, and forward cases to the Multnomah County District Attorney for prosecution.

The Portland Police Bureau is asking businesses and community members who have surveillance cameras to review footage to see if they captured any evidence that may assist with the investigations. If anyone has useful footage, they're asked to e-mail PPB and reference case number 22-170640.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-06-27 20:15:59Last Update: 2022-06-27 20:26:38



Portland Leftists Cause Destruction Over Abortion Roadblocks
PPB did not have resources to intervene

A destructive group of leftist "protesters" caused damage to numerous businesses during a march through the Hollywood District in Portland, Oregon. On Saturday, June 25, 2022 at about 10:00p.m., a group of over 60 people marched out of Grant Park, Northeast 33rd Avenue and U.S. Grant Place. Participants, most dressed in all black, began breaking windows and scrawling graffiti.

Officers were monitoring the crowd, but did not have resources to intervene. At the time of this event, there was an injury shooting and a stabbing in East Precinct, and a felony assault in Central Precinct. Additionally, a community festival in North Precinct was underway, an impromptu "dance party" drew approximately 1000 people to Irving Park, and they held a march and blocked traffic. There were also calls about speed racers doing stunts in various parts of Portland.

The group supposedly left the area by 10:45p.m. Since then Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers have been taking reports of the damage. They have confirmed that several banks and coffee shops had broken windows.

A van belonging to Portland Public Schools was damaged, broken windows and tagged with paint.

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A pregnancy resource center was also vandalized.

PPB says that officers are working to contact affected business owners and assist with arrangements to secure the buildings. Efforts are already underway to get graffiti removed.

Individuals who engage in violent activity or property destruction will be investigated and are subject to arrest and prosecution. PPB says that does not always happen in the moment. PPB says they will continue to conduct follow-up investigations, make arrests, and forward cases to the Multnomah County District Attorney for prosecution if DA Mike Schmidt will do so. Schmidt has neglected to prosecute many such cases. PPB says that just because arrests are not made at the scene does not mean that people are not being charged with crimes later.

The Portland Police Bureau is asking businesses and community members who have surveillance cameras to review footage to see if they captured any evidence that may assist with the investigations. The bulk of the damage took place between 10:06p.m. and 10:40p.m. If anyone has useful footage, they're asked to e-mail them to the police. crimetips@portlandoregon.gov and reference case number 22-169901.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-06-26 09:04:34Last Update: 2022-06-26 09:43:04



Oregon Democrats Respond to Pro-Life News
Legislators release fury over abortion roadblocks

Anticipating the overturn of Roe v. Wade, in May Oregon House Majority Leader Julie Fahey (D-West Eugene) and Representative Andrea Valderrama (D-East Portland) met with White House officials and state legislators from California, Washington, Illinois, Maryland, New York and Connecticut to discuss preparations and legislation to protect and expand abortion access.

Now their worst fears are materializing as some states across the country are proposing to ban abortion. Democrat legislators were falling all over themselves rushing to issue statements. Without exception, they all expressed an outrage at this decision to put the power in states to save innocent lives.

Representative Fahey stated: “We are prepared for this moment in Oregon because for the last decade, Oregonians have elected Democratic majorities to our Legislature. During my first term in 2017, I was proud to chief sponsor the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), one of the strongest abortion access laws in the country. RHEA codified the right to an abortion in state law and made the full range of reproductive health care services more affordable and accessible for all Oregonians. And this year we’ve taken even more action to close existing gaps, expand provider capacity and support for patients traveling to the state for care.”

House Speaker Dan Rayfield offered his conflicting statement after voting to mandate vaccinations. “This decision takes away the ability of Americans to control their own bodies and lives, and turns that power over to politicians. All individuals should have the right to make the most personal and private decisions that affect their lives, their health, and their families.”

Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) stated that “Pro-Choice states like Oregon are now the last line of defense to protect abortion and reproductive health care rights. It’s more important than ever to elect leaders that will protect abortion and reproductive health care. Our Democratic majority is the dividing line.”

Senator Akasha Lawrence Spence (D-Portland) said “The impact of overturning Roe will be felt largely by Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people, youth of color under 25, disabled people, immigrants, people living with low incomes, and people in rural areas— communities who have long faced barriers to abortion access due to systemic barriers and discrimination.”

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As part of a statement for the BIPOC Caucus (Legislative Black, Indigenous, People of Color), Co-Vice Chair Representative Andrea Valderrama (D-Portland) said, “With over 530 abortion restrictions introduced in states this year, fighting to make abortion care accessible to our most directly impacted pregnant people in Oregon and in neighboring states with active bans is a critical step towards dismantling systems of white supremacy and patriarchy.”

Representative Travis Nelson (D-Portland) declared that “At a time when the Black maternal mortality rate is nearly three times higher than the general population, the conservative majority of the Supreme Court is placing their extreme agenda over the lives of communities who already face systemic barriers to critical and essential care.”

Senate President Pro Tempore James Manning (D-Eugene) must have forgot his push for people to vaccinate when he stated, “Abortion bans disproportionately harm Black, Latino, Indigenous, and other people of color. We must continue to develop Oregon’s reproductive health care infrastructure and build on Oregon’s legacy of abortion access to ensure every Oregonian controls their body and their future.”

Senator Kayse Jama (D-Portland) stated, “Not only does this action set our nation back almost 50 years, from abortion to voting rights to gun control to the criminal justice system, this far-right Court has made it increasingly clear that the rights once thought fundamental to our Democracy are merely an illusory set of freedoms that can be removed by the stroke of a pen.”

Senator Deb Patterson (D-Salem), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Care said, “I remember how terrifying it was for women to seek abortions before Roe v. Wade. We cannot go back.”

Democrat governor candidate, Tina Kotek, also conflicted her actions in the legislature supporting mandatory vaccines by her statement, “Our right to control our own bodies and futures has been gutted. I’m furious. I’m deeply concerned for women around the country.”

Unaffilated candidate Betsy Johnson stated, “I am pro-choice. This is a bedrock issue for me, and frankly, for Oregon. A fundamental right.”

Republican governor candidate Christine Drazan then pointed out that “Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, Oregon will continue to have among the most extreme abortion laws in the country and around the world. As governor, I will stand up for life by vetoing legislation designed to push Oregon further outside the mainstream.”


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-06-26 06:43:34Last Update: 2022-06-25 17:19:47



New Funding for “Community-Focused Attorneys”
“Revamping how we respond to safety”

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt has announced the Multnomah County Commission approved funding for a new pilot program comprised of two attorneys, a victim advocate, and a legal assistant in the 2023 fiscal year.

Multnomah County says that the proposal, called the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office Access Attorney Program (MAAP), is a values-driven program centering equity, safety, and accountability through local partnerships and on-the-ground community engagement. They say that it seeks to address two key issues: public safety and community trust.

“Revamping how we respond to safety by moving away from a punishment paradigm to care-based supports for individual and community health is my vision of community safety. This proposal can be one tool to help support that shift. And as a local policy maker, I will work in collaboration with community partners to ensure that these types of advancements don’t repeat and maintain historic and current harms from the legal system,” Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal stated.

Instead of operating out of police precincts like other neighborhood prosecution programs, MAAP attorneys will co-locate with community-based organizations.

The MAAP pilot will target two key regions in Multnomah County.

Multnomah County states that the ability to co-locate will hinge upon agreements between participating organizations and the DAs office. They say they want to ensure adequate equity and cultural competency training for attorneys prior to setting foot in a community space along with shared values, goals, and performance metrics.

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“MAAP will take attorneys out of the courthouse and put them into the community to help address local safety issues driven by local priorities, incorporating non-carceral solutions such as diversion programs, treatment, and restorative justice where possible, while pursuing accountability for high volume systems users. Putting our prosecutors out in the field also means reducing barriers to the system which often discourages disenfranchised communities from reporting crime in the first place.” DA Mike Schmidt stated.

“Community prosecutors get to know neighborhood residents. They attend community meetings, give presentations at schools and civic group meetings, encourage involvement and—most importantly—listen to what the community needs and then work collaboratively to find solutions.” Congressman Earl Blumenauer, representing Oregon’s 3rd congressional district stated.

MAAP attorneys would be tasked with attending and hosting community events, canvassing neighbors and businesses, and managing caseloads specific to the discrete area they serve.

These attorneys would also "work to lower barriers to success for justice-involved individuals" by delivering access to expungement, fine, and fee reduction to the communities most impacted.

MAAP is an expansion of the existing Strategic Prosecution and Services Unit within the DAs office, which focuses on “high volume systems users” for whom traditional criminal interventions repeatedly fail and who might benefit from a continuum of services and treatment to change their behavior and become contributing members of society.

“We need to completely reimagine how to keep our communities safe. Legal system partners inside communities that don’t rely on hyper-criminalization and instead lead with community engagement and supports to resolve legal system impacts can help fuel that connection. We welcome these types of efforts and will ensure that they make our communities truly safe and healthy,” Unite Oregon’s Executive Director Khanh Le stated.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-06-26 06:01:06Last Update: 2022-06-25 16:19:11



Government Schools Sexualizing Children
An attack on public education

The biggest question facing parents this summer is not whether or not to homeschool, but how to make it happen. It has taken Democrat leadership sixteen years to establish a curriculum around pornography that is causing extreme dislike. It started with the passing of the 2007 Oregon Equality Act making it illegal to discriminate based specifically on the term “sexual orientation.”

Also in 2007, HB 2843 was passed making it a misdemeanor to lure a minor with sexually explicit material to address crimes of pornography predictors. The bill included an “affirmative defense” when the sexually explicit material was furnished, or the viewing was permitted, solely for the purpose of sex education, art education or psychological treatment and was furnished or permitted by the child′s parent or legal guardian, by an educator or treatment provider or by another person acting on behalf of the parent, legal guardian, educator or treatment provider. Little did they know how this would be used in 2022.

Two years later, in 2009, Oregon passed the Human Sexuality Education Law (ORS 336.455), which requires that each school district provide age-appropriate human sexuality education courses in all public elementary and secondary schools. This law also states that information is to be medically accurate, promote abstinence and mutually monogamous relationships and encourage family communication and involvement to help students learn to make responsible decisions.

This later became a step toward student autonomy preventing parent access and the right to know.

HB 4077 (ORS 339.366) was passed in 2012 as the Healthy Teens Relationships Act mandating each school district adopt a policy addressing teen dating violence.

Building on that law, in 2015, SB 856, the Child Sex Abuse Prevention (Erin’s) Law passed, which requires school districts to adopt a child sexual abuse prevention instructional program to help students, teachers and parents in recognizing child abuse (OAR 581-022-1440). These two laws were later used in developing the Comprehensive Sexual Education Act to require recognition of a child’s sexuality of choice as affirmation of their identity.

In 2017, HB 2845 passed on party lines that directed the State Board of Education to adopt ethnic studies standards into existing social studies standards for K-12 with the intent of teaching more robust historical narratives that includes the histories, contributions, and perspectives of traditionally marginalized communities.

The passage of HB 2845 opened the door in 2019 to what Colt Gill, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction, called the next step. HB 2023, carried by Senator Sara Gelser Blouin (D-Corvallis/Albany), directed the State Board of Education to ensure that content standards for history, geography, economics, and civics include instruction on the histories, contributions, and perspectives of individuals who are Native American; of African, Asian, Pacific Island, Chicano, Latino or Middle Eastern descent; women; immigrants or refugees; lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender; or have disabilities by school year 2024, but allows instruction prior to the required date. The focus of discussion was on bullying and feeling unsafe of minorities, growing diversity and the equity lens. “Traditionally marginalized communities” took on a new definition mandating classroom instruction on homosexuals, lesbians and transgenders throughout all school subjects that is instigating a pushback.

HB 2023 passed despite testimony from Dr. Bruce Gilley, President of Oregon Association of Scholars warning against politicizing and contributing to the decay of public education. John Oakley Beahrs, retired psychiatry professor stated HB 2023 mandated coercive indoctrination into identity politics under the false guise of liberal education. It “replaces actual history with indoctrination that grossly alters it, and coercively mandates instructing in but one viewpoint – one that’s favored in today’s Oregon, but neither universal nor necessarily in the public interest. In other words, LGBTQ figures are featured because of their sexual preference and gender identity, not their relation to the subject being taught. Because the subject matter is part of every subject, the law implies parents cannot opt their children out.”

A turn of events in 2021, HB 3041 separated the definitions of gender identity and sexual orientation, and adds “gender identity” to all laws referencing sexual orientation amending the 2007 Oregon Equality Act making it illegal to discriminate based on gender identity along with sexual orientation. The bill didn’t get attention outside of LGBTQ activists claiming the law needed clarification to also give gender identity the same protections against discrimination.

Senator Sara Gelser Blouin (D- Corvallis/Albany) defended that bill, “The only thing that this bill does is eliminate an ambiguity and recognize how far we’ve come in terms of really recognizing the importance of identifying gender identity.” It gave way to a sensitivity of being called by a preferred pronoun. Courts have ruled against such requirements.

The stage was set when the State Board of Education in 2016, approved the Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) creating standards by combining the Human Sexuality Education Law (2009), the Healthy Teen Relationship Act (2012), the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Law (2015), and taking advantage of other laws. It requires replacing the model of abstinence-only education, failing to recognize a belief system forcing an opt-out method as the only option. However, in order to graduate, the student is still expected to know sexual education. The Board claims “the standards do not promote sexuality or impose a set of values, but they do admit they empower students to recognize, communicate, and advocate for their own health and boundaries.”

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Whether we are at this point by design or ignorance, parents are protesting over the position their elected representatives have put them in.

Conrad Woodall, a forensic psychologist takes the position that adults in schools may be taking advantage of vulnerable minors by teaching them pornography. He points out that the instructions in the classroom are identical to molesters pre-grooming, taking away the innocence of the child.

Woodall says he has statistical evidence that teachers and coaches are molesting students, stating that one molestation case that involved 73 student victims. There seem to be cases in which law enforcement may not prosecute them, so they just move to another school.

Kristin Stevens from Oregon City was recently on Fox News talking about finding 187 pornography books in school libraries. They range from teaching how to masturbate to performing gay sex acts. Some have been banned in other states. She did a FOIA request on who put the books in the library and who paid for them. The response was, “no record.”

The Education Action Committee in Tualatin says the truth about Comprehensive Sex Education is a secret. Parents aren’t permitted to see what their children are seeing in school without their knowledge. They’d be surprised that 10-year-olds can check out books such as one titled "Perfectly Normal" that illustrates group masturbation.

Suzanne Gallagher, Parents’ Rights in Education, confirmed a parent’s experience that in Oregon, if you object to a school talking to your child about their sexual identity, the school can report you to child services and they will remove your child from your home because you aren’t affirming their identity. If you remove them from school, they will still report you. The only recourse is to kidnap your child and flee the state.

Young students seem to be traumatized when told they can change their sex.

Where are public schools getting off track?

Oregon schools are required to teach sexual identity education and provides counseling over confusion. American Government was established to be neutral, but Oregon’s education system is anything but neutral or fact based. School board elections are in May 2023.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-06-25 12:55:32Last Update: 2022-06-25 13:50:16



Eugene Riot Prompts Multiple-Agency Response
Non-emergencies were placed on hold or not responded to

On June 24, Eugene Police began receiving reports of a group publicizing on social media for people to come to a “Night of Rage” in the wake of an opinion by the Supreme Court of the United States, Dobbs v. Jackson (related to Roe v. Wade). The group’s stated meeting point was Dove Medical Center, 487 E. 11th Avenue, for around 10 p.m..

Due to the potential for property damage toward a business located in Eugene, as well as the general safety and security of the other businesses and residents downtown, Eugene Police monitored the situation.

Around 9:21 p.m. people began arrived to the area wearing all black clothing with masks and hoods. Many also had backpacks that appeared to contain unknown objects. The crowd started growing and moved toward the medical building. Eugene Police’s Mobile Response Team arrived in the area to block the building using its vehicles and officers to surround the building.

The crowd continued to grow and began blocking E. 11th Avenue by standing in the roadway. Some people were observed picking up rocks and several began putting on gas masks. One female had a chemical pump sprayer and she was pumping it up. Additional EPD Patrol resources were then called in.

An officer used a public address system to admonish the group of more than 75 people that they were committing disorderly conduct and were subject to arrest. This had no effect on the crowd and they advanced closer to officers.

Unknown people in the crowd threw smoke bombs at officers along with several filled water bottles. EPD’s Crisis Negotiation Team eventually used their sound truck, which has an LRAD system on their truck, to provide louder volumes to the admonishments so those could be hear over the crowd noise.

Those who remained in the roadway were subject to arrest. The crowd did not comply.

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After the first arrest, the crowd became extremely loud and verbally hostile toward the officers and tried to get through the line.

At this point, EPD called in additional resources including Springfield Police Department and Department of Homeland Security.

The incident forced EPD’s operations to go into what is termed ‘priority calls,’ where much of the rest of the community’s individual calls for service, if they are not immediate life-safety emergencies, to be placed on hold or not responded to. Springfield Police provided mutual aid for priority one calls. At one point, the crowd moved to the roadway at Ferry Street Bridge, which is an essential route for medical and fire personnel to local hospitals. Blocking it creates a dangerous life and safety issue for all residents and visitors to Eugene. Eugene Police provided more admonishments and arrests were made, with people fighting with officers and not complying with lawful orders, leading to inert pepperballs (pepper balls with no chemical munitions) being deployed in a few cases at people’s feet and legs. At that point the crowd size decreased.

Some officers suffered minor injuries during the event, which lasted about five hours.

Arrestsinclude: The incident is referred to by EPD as Case 22-09584.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-06-25 11:01:46Last Update: 2022-06-25 11:28:50



Oregon Democrats Want Expanded Abortion and “Gender-Affirming Care”
Oregon already does not have any major restrictions

The West Coast States have once again united in a dogma that abortion is reproductive freedom. In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s finalizing their decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, governors of California, Oregon and Washington issued a Multi-State Commitment to defend access to reproductive health care, including abortion and contraceptives, and committed to protecting patients and doctors against efforts by other states to enforce their abortion bans in our states.

Governor Kate Brown commented, “Abortion is health care, and no matter who you are or where you come from, Oregon doesn’t turn away anyone seeking health care. Period. Let me be clear: You cannot ban abortion, you can only ban safe abortions — and this disgraceful Supreme Court decision will undoubtedly put many people’s lives at risk, in addition to stripping away a constitutional right that disproportionately affects women and has been settled law for most of our lifetimes.” She goes on to claim “the fight is not over.”

Oregon House Democrats want to make sure Oregonians know there are strong pro-choice leaders in the Legislature and the Oregon Governor’s office. They are now touting the strongest abortion access laws in the country and have issued a statement titled Fact Sheet: Actions to expand abortion access in Oregon.

The first mentioned fact is that Oregon does not have any of the major types of abortion restrictions—such as waiting periods, mandated parental involvement or limitations on publicly funded abortions—often found in other states.

That’s right parents, your daughter can obtain an abortion and your medical insurance could pay for it without your knowledge.

Now that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, they want Oregonians to know they are committed to further expand access to cover a potential 234% increase in people traveling to the state. A jump from the 9.5% that OHA reports.

What does that mean for Oregon taxpayers? In 2022, Oregon Democrats establish the Reproductive Health Equity Fund, a $15 million bill to expand provider network capacity and address urgent patient care for abortion and practical needs, like travel and lodging, in preparation for an increase of people seeking abortions.

Planned Parenthood promoted the Reproductive Health Equity Fund and has leased medical office space in Ontario, Oregon, on the border of Idaho, to capitalize on Idaho passing a restriction on abortions.

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The number of abortions reported in Oregon in 2020 and 2021 were the lowest of any years that OHA has tracked.

The abortion rate has been declining for decades. In the early 1990s they were at 24,000 and by 2011, they dropped to an estimated 14,000 induced abortions performed each year.

Now, the annual number is less than half of that. Preliminary data from 2021 shows about 6,577 abortions were carried out last year.

But with the predicted increase from outside the state, mostly from Idaho, the annual rate will again more than double at around 15,400.

The new movement in Portland, Stop Having Kids, failed to read the CDC report which details that both births and abortions decreased during the coronavirus pandemic. The abortion rate is certainly more than a religious concern. The birth rate to have a sustainable population is 2.1 per woman. In the U.S. that has dropped to 1.6, the lowest rate on record.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-06-24 16:11:26Last Update: 2022-06-24 17:03:57



Deschutes-Ochoco Resource Advisory Committee Seeks Members
Members will review proposed land management projects and funding

The Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Crooked River National Grassland are seeking nominees to fill vacancies on the 15-member Deschutes-Ochoco Resource Advisory Committee (RAC).

RACs are chartered under the Secure Rural Schools & Community Self Determination Act, which was recently extended until 2023. This extension authorizes “Title II” payments for protection, restoration and enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat, and other natural resource objectives on Federal land and adjacent non-Federal lands.

The Forest Service seeks committee members committed to collaboratively working with other interests for the benefit of National Forest System lands. RAC members review proposed projects on or adjacent to national forest lands in Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, Klamath, Grant, Wheeler and Harney Counties. The RAC then makes recommendations to the Forest Service on which projects should be funded.

Committee members are nominated by the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Crooked River National Grassland and are approved by the Secretary of Agriculture. Members serve a four-year term without compensation, with a time commitment of one or two one-day meetings per year, and travel expenses may be reimbursed.

The makeup of the advisory committee is diverse, with representation from industry, environmental groups, elected officials, forest-user groups, and the public at large.

The Act encourages the representation of minorities, women, and people with disabilities. Members must reside within the state in which the RAC is located, and, preferably, within the RAC boundary. The committee consists of 15 members and each member is assigned to one of three categories:

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To be considered for nomination, interested participants should submit the required AD-755 application form, available on the Deschutes National Forest’s website. Letters of support may be added to the application package but are not required. Nominees will be evaluated based on their education, training and experience working within the interest area they represent.

Consideration is also made for their knowledge of the geographic area covered by the RAC, demonstrated commitment to collaborative resource decision-making, and contribution to the balance and diversity of the RAC. Applications are accepted year-round, but to be considered for placement in the next year, applications are requested by September 1, 2022.

For more information you can visit the Deschutes National Forest’s website or email the Deschutes National Forest’s Partnership Program Manager, Alex Enn.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-06-23 15:02:22Last Update: 2022-06-23 15:21:07



TriMet Operator Shortage Forces Reduced Service Levels
Who wants to drive bus in Portland?

TriMet is now adjusting service on 10 bus lines this fall as they reduce service levels based on available workforce. This comes amid the largest operator shortage in their agency's history. Most of the affected lines currently see low ridership anyways.

TriMet is now saying that they took an approach with an eye on preserving service in areas with high concentrations of people with low-incomes and communities of color.

This additional reduced service will take affect starting on September 18, 2022. TriMet hopes to begin adding back the service hours in 2023 if they can get the operator ranks to increase.

“We would much rather be expanding our transit service. But by reducing our service levels, we increase our schedule reliability so riders experience fewer canceled or late buses,” said TriMet General Manager Sam Desue, Jr. “While rebounding from this historic operator shortage will take some time, TriMet is committed to hiring scores of new operators to meet the needs of our community.”

Beginning with the fall service change in September, TriMet will shift, reduce or cancel some service, with a focus on low ridership lines and times. TriMet will also be making some slight adjustments with the TriMet FX (Frequent Express) bus service launching on Sept. 18. The new service along Division Street will supposedly give riders a faster and more convenient way to travel between Gresham and Downtown Portland.

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Buses on the FX 2-Division line will run every 12 minutes for the majority of the day with only a couple of buses added during commuting hours. The Line 2 is being replaced by the FX 2-Division and the Line 10-Harold St route will still change.

TriMet says they will not be able to add buses during the weekdays as they had once planned.

TriMet released the following statement:

"The trickle-down effects of our operator shortage can cause frustration despite our best efforts. In short: it’s been a challenge to hire and train enough operators to replace those lost to retirement and attrition. And we’re not alone. Because our operator shortage is part of a larger trend affecting transit agencies and industries nationwide, we’ve taken unprecedented actions to recruit and retain the talented workforce on which our riders rely. We’ve bumped up the starting pay to $25.24, boosted our hiring bonus to $7,500 and begun looking outside state lines to bring in new operators. When we do grow our operator ranks and start adding back service, we want to make sure we are serving the needs of our community. With the COVID-19 pandemic changing the way people travel, TriMet has launched Forward Together, a comprehensive service analysis and community engagement effort to determine a better bus system."




--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-06-22 12:23:58Last Update: 2022-06-22 15:50:33



Oregon Mandates New Child Care Rates
Provider reimbursements to increase with new law

Child care reimbursement rates are increasing for providers caring for children of families who receive support with child care expenses through the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS).

ODHS pays child care providers for child care provided to families receiving child care assistance through the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs.

The new child care reimbursement rates are effective June 1, 2022 and increasing due to the passage of House Bill 4005 of the 2022 Oregon State Legislative Session.

HB 4005 was passed at the request of Representative Karin Power, a Democrat from Portland. It passed through the super-majority Democrat legislature in Oregon by declaration of an emergency.

Representative Power has since said that she will not run again for her position at the state legislature, citing too low of pay.

The average monthly reimbursement rates for full-time care are increasing by: “For many families the cost of child care can be a barrier to meeting their goals and entering and staying in the workforce,” said Claire Seguin, deputy director of the ODHS Self-Sufficiency Programs. “These reimbursement rate increases will ensure families have equal access to quality child care.”

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“As our child care system continues to struggle with staffing shortages and lack of child care supply, this is an important first step to ensure our child care providers are paid a fair wage,” said Oregon Early Learning System Director Alyssa Chatterjee. “I appreciate the Legislature’s investment in our system.”

Actual child care reimbursement rates vary depending on provider type, child age and what community the provider is in.

A complete list of reimbursement rates can be found online.

ERDC helps eligible families pay for work-related child care expenses, including registration and enrollment fees. ERDC is a subsidy program, which means some families, depending on their income, may be required to pay a copay.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-06-21 11:47:11Last Update: 2022-06-21 20:20:09



6-Month-Old Babies Can Now Receive Covid Vaccines
Is this an objective decison, or political?

Oregon’s Governor Brown released a statement on the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup’s unanimous decision to affirm the federal process that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid vaccines are supposedly safe and effective for children as young as 6 months old.

Governor Brown stated, “This is a long-awaited moment for so many families. With today’s review by leading doctors, pediatricians, and health experts, Oregon parents and children can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for children as young as 6 months old. It is completely normal for parents and kids to have questions about vaccines––I urge you to reach out to your family doctor, health care provider, or pharmacist and get your questions answered today.”

On Friday, June 17, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of the Moderna two-dose vaccine series and the Pfizer three-dose vaccine series are now available to children as young as 6 months old, and the CDC affirmed that decision on Saturday. The Workgroup reviewed safety and efficacy data for the vaccines and affirmed the federal decisions also on Saturday.

The Oregon Health Authority will inform health care providers that vaccinations for children as young as 6 months old can begin in Oregon as soon as Monday.

The Workgroup concluded that the benefits of completing either vaccine series outweigh any known or likely risks.

Immunization can be expected to reduce the numbers of COVID-19- related serious illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths in young children while facilitating their participation in normal educational, social and recreational activities.

The Workgroup provided its confirmation to the Governors of California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, who assembled the panel of experts passed off as scientists. Expert opinion, while it may be useful, is what philosophers call “appeal to authority,” and not "appeal to science".

Indeed, when controversial policy decisions are at stake, hand-picked experts may be assembled to achieve the desired result. That process is politics, not science.

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The science that they want shoved under the rug is in plain sight for those looking. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) data for 5- to 11-year-olds indicates that 117 kids were killed as a result of taking the covid vaccine.

CDC says the COVID-19 vaccine is “safe and effective,” and that “severe reactions are rare.” Is that actually true?

One of the world’s top pathologists and chief pathologist at the University of Heidelberg, Dr. Peter Schirmacher, performed autopsies on 40 people who died within two weeks of receiving the vaccine. Risking his reputation and threats on his family, he reported that a minimum of 30% to 40% died from the vaccine.

German scientists have verified his study with an even higher percentage.

The FDA approved the vaccine anyway, even after Pfizer reports that trials were stopped because the animals kept dying. It certainly should give parents pause before enlisting their children to a trial vaccine.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-06-20 08:26:08Last Update: 2022-06-20 08:49:01



ODF Updates Seasonal Climate Forecast
La Nina may weaken this summer but continue through the year

Oregon Department of Forestry Lead Meteorologist Pete Parsons has released the current Seasonal Climate Forecast which documents the El Niño Southern Oscillation and its impacts on Oregon. Parsons notes that this forecast is not associated with NOAA’s CPC nor the official CPC “Three-Month Outlooks.”




--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-19 11:29:54Last Update: 2022-06-19 18:52:01



Oregon Task Force Busts Black-Market Marijuana Grow
12,000 plants seized in Jackson County

Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team (IMET) detectives along with Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies served a search warrant on a marijuana grow site in rural Eagle Point at 6:45 on Thursday, June 16. The property, located on the 1500 block of Old Dry Creek Road in Eagle Point, contained approximately 12,287 illegal cannabis plants in 32 greenhouses, and 3,000 lbs. of processed black-market marijuana. On the property seven workers were detained, interviewed, and released.

This case was the result of a month-long investigation of an illegal/black market marijuana grow site. There was no licensing for any type of cannabis growing, handling, or processing at this location.

The primary suspect has been identified. Investigators from the Oregon State Police Southwest Region Drug Enforcement Section team, Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET) from Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, and Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement (MADGE) assisted with the operation.

In addition to the criminal investigation, Jackson County Code Enforcement and Oregon Water Resources Department District 13 Watermasters responded to the scene to conduct independent investigations.

Each agency identified multiple violations that will be addressed by enforcing penalties and fines.

Code Enforcement issued citations totaling $67,000 for unapproved greenhouse structures, unapproved marijuana production, and unpermitted electrical installations.

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Watermasters observed a complex array of water infrastructure. While the property does have water rights conveyed through the Medford Irrigation District canal, well water use for the irrigation of a commercial crop was observed. The well use is not part of the water right.

The unauthorized use of water from the well is subject to both civil and criminal penalties.

While regulatory agencies investigate permitted cannabis operations, IMET is focusing on the black-market marijuana trade in the Rogue Valley. IMET is a multi-agency task force funded by a grant from the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission. The task force includes personnel from JCSO, Medford Police Department, and the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office.

Investigations are open and ongoing with detectives working additional leads. No further information is currently available for release.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-06-18 13:14:47Last Update: 2022-06-18 14:46:21



DEQ Increases Port of Morrow Fine to $2.1 Million
For additional nitrate violations in Eastern Oregon

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued a revised penalty to the Port of Morrow for additional violations involving overapplication of wastewater containing nitrogen to agricultural fields in the Lower Umatilla Basin, an area with longstanding groundwater contamination. DEQ issued the original penalty in January. The additional violations increase the fine by $800,000, from $1.3 million to $2.1 million.

The Port of Morrow is one of many sources contributing to nitrate contamination in northern Morrow and Umatilla counties—an area known as the Lower Umatilla Basin Groundwater Management Area. The primary source of contamination in the area (about 70%) is from fertilizer use on irrigated farmland, according to the LUBGWMA Action Plan. Additional contributors are dairy and cattle farms (about 20%), food processing facilities like the Port of Morrow that reuse wastewater to irrigate fields (about 5%), and residential septic systems and other sources (about 5%).

The Port of Morrow collects wastewater from food processors, storage facilities and data centers in its industrial park outside Boardman. The port has a DEQ water quality permit that allows it to use the nitrogen-rich wastewater for irrigation on nearby farms, but the permit includes limits on how much nitrogen can be applied to the farmland and how much nitrate and moisture can be present in soil prior to applications.

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The amended notice cites the port for additional occurrences of applying wastewater containing nitrogen to fields that already had too much existing nitrate or moisture in the soil. Having too much nitrate or moisture in the soil when applying wastewater increases the likelihood of nitrates flowing down into the groundwater rather than remaining in the soil for crops to use.

The port documented additional violations to DEQ in its annual report and in email and phone reports of non-compliance. The additional violations occurred between November 2020 to February 2021 and November 2021 to February 2022.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-17 09:58:43Last Update: 2022-06-17 11:29:54



State Historic Preservation Office to Hold Virtual Meetings
Includes museums, governments, cemeteries, archaeology, archives, historic trails, and other heritage-related interests

As part of its mission, the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office in partnership with the public and their partners has created a statewide historic preservation plan to identify what is special about Oregon and how best to preserve it for future generations. The plan addresses identifying and preserving historic places, collections, and traditional practices, educating the public about the State’s history, and building support for the organizations that curate our state’s cultural legacy.

This summer and fall the Oregon SHPO is asking Oregonians how Oregon’s heritage is special to them in a series of 90-minute virtual public meetings. Meetings will focus on a region or topic, but all are welcome to attend one or more of the events. At the regional meetings participants will identify what issues matter most, how to best preserve the state’s history, and what government agencies, cultural institutions, and each Oregonian can do.

Topic-based meetings will discuss how the heritage community can better address diversity, equity, and inclusion in cultural resource programs, disaster preparedness and response, and planning for cultural resources in development and infrastructure projects. The meetings will be held Wednesday evenings from 6:30pm to 8:00pm, June through September by Zoom video and teleconference. Meeting details will be published on the project website. The information from the meetings will be used to create the 2024-2029 Oregon Historic Preservation Plan that will be published in early 2024.

Meeting dates are:

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Those interested in or associated with local historic preservation efforts, museums, governments, cemeteries, archaeology, archives, historic trails, and other heritage-related interests are encouraged to attend.

Oregon Heritage, a Division of Oregon State Parks, includes the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office. The Oregon SHPO locally administers National Park Service programs created by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, including the identification and designation of historic properties and archaeological sites; tax and grant programs; and the Certified Local Government Program, a partnership program between local jurisdictions and the state and federal government. The SHPO office is funded in part through a grant from NPS. The SHPO also coordinates closely with Oregon Heritage programs, including the Oregon Heritage Commission and Main Street program, Cemetery Commission, and various grant and technical assistance programs. See the current 2018-2023 Oregon Historic Preservation Plan.




--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-16 08:41:35Last Update: 2022-06-16 09:58:43



Mining Permit Sought in Malheur County
DOGAMI’s mission is to provide regulation to make Oregon safe and prosperous.

Calico Resources USA Corporation is proposing to construct an underground gold mine and an indoor processing facility on a site in Malheur County about 22 miles south-southeast of Vale. The site includes both private and public lands managed by the US Bureau of Land Management.

Oregon's Chemical Mining Rules apply to this project because cyanide is proposed for processing the gold. The processed tailings will be placed in a tailings disposal facility. This facility must be lined, capped and designed to avoid any discharge to groundwater or surface waters. The impoundment will be capped and sealed upon completion. The overall project is being designed to avoid any discharge to surface or ground waters.

Under state law, The Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, under the direction of Dr. Ruarri Day-Stirrat, manages the consolidated application process for chemical mining permits. DOGAMI mission is to provide earth science information and regulation to make Oregon safe and prosperous.

Permitting agencies involved in the consolidated application process include DOGAMI, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Water Resources Department. Depending on specific details related to mine construction and operation, permits from the Department of State Lands or the Oregon Health Authority may also be required. Other federal, state, or local regulations are also required, including local land use permitting.

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Oregon law provides environmental performance standards that guide agencies' reviews. The intent is to minimize environmental damage through use of best available, practicable, and necessary technology and provide protection measures that are consistent with polices of the permitting agencies.

A wildlife protection plan will be required to ensure no overall loss of wildlife habitat and to meet the State requirement of an objective of zero wildlife mortality.

If the application is considered complete by the reviewing agencies, DOGAMI will issue a Notice to Proceed, beginning the State permitting process. State agencies will then prepare draft permits for public input, followed by the development of final permits.

The permitting process provides multiple opportunities for the public and interested stakeholders to participate in reviewing and commenting on Calico's application and the consolidated permit requirements.

The Technical Review Team -- composed of various state agencies -- will meet by teleconference on Thursday June 30, 2022 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. PST. The public and media can listen to the meetings by joining the Zoom Meeting online, or by phone. For further information, contact the DOGAMI Albany office at (541) 967-2083 or email: information.grassymtn@dogami.oregon.gov.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-16 08:01:42Last Update: 2022-06-16 08:41:35



New Rules for Oregon Health Care Providers
Mandatory interpreting services to begin in July

New rules in Oregon that go into effect on July 1st will mandate health care providers reimbursed with public funds to work with credentialed health care interpreters qualified or certified by Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

The rules drafted by OHA reflect changes in the requirement for health care interpreting services in Oregon that were made by the state Legislature’s passage of HB 2359 during the 2021 session.

HB 2359 was chiefly sponsored by Representative Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego), Representative Ricki Ruiz (D-Portland), and Senator Lew Frederick (D-Portland).

These new rules mandate that people for whom English is a second language (those with limited English proficiency) or who use sign language can access more health care.

In addition to requiring publicly reimbursed health care providers to work with a qualified or certified health care interpreter listed on OHA’s 900-plus-member central registry, the law outlines recordkeeping requirements for health care providers and interpreting service companies when they work with a health care interpreter. Among the requirements are that they document the interpreter’s name, central registry number and language interpreted.

The law also requires health care providers to supply appropriate personal protective equipment, or PPE, at no cost to a health care interpreter for onsite interpreting services. And it directs OHA to develop policies and processes to improve the quality, consistency, availability and affordability of training, and qualification and certification standards, for health care interpreters, as well as accuracy and usability of the OHA central registry.

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In addition, OHA – and state boards that license and certify health care professionals – must develop rules to enforce the new requirements for health care interpreting services.

“We are pleased we received participation and input from community partners and pleased that this legislation strengthens and supports language interpretation services in Oregon,” said Leann Johnson, director of the Equity and Inclusion Division at OHA.

One of the organizations OHA is partnering with to eliminate barriers that prevent access to health care interpreter services is Pueblo Unido PDX. The Portland-based nonprofit connects individuals with a vulnerable immigration status in the Pacific Northwest with legal, social and Indigenous language interpretation services.

“Pueblo Unido PDX and the Collective of Indigenous Interpreters of Oregon (CIIO) are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with OHA to identify and address barriers to healthcare interpreter credentialing for Indigenous language interpreters,” said Cam Coval, executive director of Pueblo Unido PDX.

He said OHA’s Equity and Inclusion Division staff actively listened to feedback from Pueblo Unido and CIIO and “did not hesitate to implement our suggested changes, including eliminating the background check requirement and creating an exception to the GED or educational equivalency requirement for health care interpreters.”

House Bill 2359 allows some exceptions for health care providers in working with a health care interpreter, including that: For more information about HB 2359, OHA’s central registry or health care interpreter services, visit the Health Care Interpreter Program website.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-06-15 17:32:59Last Update: 2022-06-15 17:59:23



Corvallis Adopts $242 Million Budget for Fiscal Year 2023
The City is not immune from inflation-driven cost increases

The Corvallis City Council has now voted to approve an annual budget totaling $242,677,700 for Fiscal Year 2023. Council’s action was the final step in the City’s annual budget process, which began in May with a series of Budget Commission meetings and included deliberations, analysis, and public input.

The new budget goes into effect on July 1, when the City of Corvallis begins its new fiscal year.

The new budget takes a cautious approach to City finances, following a tumultuous year that saw the COVID-19 restrictions lead to inflation concerns and supply shortages that impacted all sectors of the economy. As a full-service municipality, the City is not immune from inflation-driven cost increases.

The FY 2023 budget includes relatively few new full-time employees across the organization. Four new positions were created in the Public Works Department to expand infrastructure maintenance, and one existing position at the Library was augmented to create a new Spanish Outreach Coordinator position.

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Requests from various departments to fund seven (7) additional staff positions were not approved due to concerns about ongoing personnel costs.

“We’re entering a new fiscal year with more uncertainty on the horizon,” said City Manager Mark Shepard. “As careful stewards of community resources, it is our obligation to adopt a balanced budget that keeps costs contained as much as possible. As always, we will continually strive to find new resources to continue delivering the many high-quality services that the Corvallis community expects.”


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-06-13 22:57:53Last Update: 2022-06-14 08:37:21



Amendment to Oregon Tolling Policy Ready for Public Review
Guidance for tolling if the state decides to use it for more revenue

The public is invited to review a draft amendment to the Oregon Highway Plan that will guide the state in using tolling as a way to raise funds for transportation system improvements. The comment period is open until August 1st.

An informational webinar about the draft amendment is scheduled for June 30, and a public hearing will be held on July 20 at 1 p.m. Information on how to access these events will be posted on the website when details are available.

What is it?

The Oregon Highway Plan has an existing policy section on tolling. This draft policy amendment proposes an update to that section, which is "Goal No. 6: Tolling." The draft amendment is intended to modernize the state’s pricing and tolling policy. It defines terms, such as congestion pricing, and it offers guidance for the use of revenue and setting rates (but it does not set rates). It also provides the Oregon Transportation Commission with clearer direction for decision making. There are 15 policies in the draft amendment, each with actions to guide implementing the policy.

Note: This amendment is not about whether or not the state should toll roads; instead, it provides guidance for doing so if the state decides to use tolling.

Public input will inform potential revisions to the plan amendment. ODOT says that their goal is to have a final version ready for adoption later this year. If you would like to comment, please review the draft amendment. You may also want to attend the webinar and hearing scheduled for later.

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An online comment card on the website will be available soon to submit comments. You can also send an email with comments.

Background

The Oregon Highway Plan is the state’s primary highway guide, establishing a 20-year vision and strategic framework for Oregon’s road system. The current plan was approved by the commission in 1999 and has been modified numerous times, including in 2012 to add the current section on tolling.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-06-13 16:56:22Last Update: 2022-06-13 17:15:53



Washington County Centered on Racial Equity
Should government base decisions on skin color?

Washington County Oregon has begun a multi-year process for re-envisioning the county’s program of Community Participation Organizations (CPOs) and the Committee for Community Involvement (CCI). The process received direction from the Board of County Commissioners in December 2021.

The CPOs and CCI have served as public involvement venues for the county since the 1970s in support of Goal 1 Citizen Involvement under Oregon’s land use planning system. The county now says that the program’s mission has expanded.

“We hear loud and clear the desire for greater programmatic support from the volunteers serving within the CPOs and CCI. We also know that the traditional pathways for the community to engage with their county government can feel more like obstacles. Our ongoing equity work involves building truly accessible platforms and pathways so that we include all voices in our community engagement programs, especially those who have been the least included over time,” said Chief Officer of Equity and Inclusion Latricia Tillman.

The county quotes a Boston University study published in 2018 found that civic engagement structures have historically amplified the voices of those who are “older, male, longtime residents, voters in local elections, and homeowners” and may bias policy discussions in favor of an unrepresentative group of individuals. Washington County has now indicated that they would consider racial equity policies in order to intentionally change this.

“This re-envisioning process will help us align the Community Engagement program with Washington County’s growing and diverse population. By working with the community to establish the foundation and shape of this process now, we can make the current Community Engagement Program even more welcoming to everyone in our Washington County community. We also seek to better align the Community Engagement program with the work to revise the organization’s decades-old community strategic plan,” said Board of County Commissioners Chair Kathryn Harrington.

In presenting the proposed scope of re-envisioning work for the Community Engagement program, county staff identified four work areas: According to Washington County, the next steps for the process will include developing a project team that consists of internal and external partners, conducting further demographic analysis of current CPO boundaries and creating a project plan and timeline for the process.

More information will be available soon. In the meantime, a brief overview of the process for re-envisioning can be found on the Washington County webpage.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-06-12 09:32:50Last Update: 2022-06-15 11:07:36



Oregon State Treasury Completes Bond Sales
Oregon State Lottery, General Obligation and Housing Single-Family Mortgage Program

Affordable housing, drinking water improvements, schools, and earthquake readiness are just a few of the projects that will be funded thanks to Oregon State Treasury's recent $418 million General Obligation (GO) bond sale on behalf of the state. The recovery of Lottery sales permitted a long-awaited sale of $218 million bonds for the state's Lottery Program, which will fund a variety of projects including park improvements, building renovations and veteran housing programs. Lasty, an $85 million bond sale for the Oregon Housing Single-Family Mortgage Program will provide support for existing and newly originated Mortgage Loans.

"Bonds are an effective tool that we use to support critical capital projects and invest in Oregon," said Treasurer Tobias Read. "Bond funded projects encourage economic development, enhance sustainability, address critical needs including better access to education, housing and services for wellness and preserve our environment. Our strong stewardship of financial resources permits us to invest in building stronger and healthier communities for Oregonians over the long-run, and that is good for everyone."

Treasury's Debt Management team wrapped up the spring general obligation bond sale in the middle of May after securing low-cost financing in a volatile market environment. The sale includes approximately $200 million in tax-exempt general obligation bond proceeds for approximately twenty-one projects from ten different state government entities. Projects include capital improvements at the Oregon School for the Deaf, improvements to Salem's drinking water system, renovations and accessibility improvements to judicial buildings and the state capitol, and upgrades to various information systems. Additionally, $66 million will fund grant program bonds for implementing seismic upgrades for school districts and emergency services buildings.

Another $175 million of taxable Sustainability Bonds will fund affordable and permanent supportive housing throughout the state, including new home construction and housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness. This was the sixth issuance of sustainability bonds by Oregon Treasury with proceeds dedicated to affordable housing.

The Lottery Bond transaction was priced on April 12, 2022 and was officially closed on May 10, 2022. The sale included approximately $94 million in tax-exempt bonds and $124 million in taxable bonds. The projects funded included upgrades to the Eugene Family YMCA facility, Sherwood Pedestrian/Bike Bridge, Gradin Community Sports Park and various building renovations.

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"The market continues to evolve as the pandemic wanes. With the rise in interest rates as the Federal Reserve seeks to curb inflation, Treasury staff must remain diligent to ensure that the state maintains its high credit profile and broaden its investor outreach to achieve favorable financing results," said Jacqueline Knights, Director of Debt Management at Oregon State Treasury. "Despite record withdrawal of funds from the municipal market, the State's bonds saw significant investor demand, which translates to better pricing – even under volatile market conditions."

In advance of the spring bond sales, Oregon Treasury received updated General Obligation bond ratings from Standard and Poor's, Fitch Ratings, and Moody's Investors Services. In reports published by the three firms, Oregon maintained its respective AA+/AA+/Aa1 ratings along with a stable outlook – a welcome confirmation of the state's fiscal management. Additionally, the State's Lottery Program received a confirmation of stability from Moody's Investors Services and Standard and Poor's, with ratings of Aa2/AAA respectively. Lastly, Oregon Housing and Community Services Department received a rating of Aa2 for the Single-Family Mortgage Revenue Bonds. Moody's also maintains the Aa2 ratings on all outstanding long-term parity debt issued under the Mortgage Revenue Bond Indenture with a stable rating outlook.

The Single-Family Mortgage Bonds transaction was priced on April 5, 2022 and was officially closed on April 27,2022. The sale included approximately $78 million in tax-exempt bonds and $7 million taxable bonds. The proceeds will be used to refund outstanding Oregon Housing and Community Services Department Mortgage Revenue bonds leading to a decrease in department costs. They will also be used to purchase mortgage loans that provide financing for existing, or newly constructed single-family residences.

Treasury has been active in issuing debt for developers who create affordable housing statewide as well as non-profits such as health care institutions. For the calendar year to date, Treasury has worked with our Oregon Housing partners and developers to close fifteen deals totaling $256 million for affordable housing projects across the State.

New Projects Funded by Recently-Sold State Lottery Bonds
SeriesProject Agency/GranteeProject SummaryEstimated Bond Proceeds
2022 ADept of Admin. ServicesCenter for Hope and Safety Hope Plaza$7,500,000
2022 A Dept of Admin. ServicesGradin Community Sports Park2,000,000
2022 A Dept of Admin. ServicesOregon Coast Aquarium Indoor Gallery Improvements5,000,000
2022 ADept of Admin. ServicesParrott Creek Child & Family Services Building Renovation3,500,000
2022 A Dept of Admin. ServicesPhoenix Government and Public Safety Center13,600,000
2022 A Dept of Admin. ServicesPort of Cascade Locks Business Park Expansion2,400,000
2022 A Dept of Admin. ServicesJefferson County Health and Wellness Center5,400,000
2022 A Business OregonCounty Fair Capital Improvements5,000,000
2022 A Dept of Transportation Sherwood Pedestrian/Bike Bridge4,000,000
2022 ADept of Veteran AffairsYMCA Veterans' Affordable Housing 6,000,000
2022 A Parks & Recreation Dept.Main Street Revitalization Grant Program5,000,000
2022 A Water Resources Dept.Deschutes Basin Board of Control Piping10,000,000
2022 AWater Resources Dept.Wallowa Lake Dam Rehabilitation14,000,000
2022 A Water Resources Dept. Water Development Projects15,000,000
2022 A Water Resources Dept.Big Creek Dams Replacement 4,000,000
2022A Total $102,400,000
2022 BDept of Admin. ServicesEugene Family YMCA Facility$15,000,000
2022 B Business OregonLevee Grant Program15,000,000
2022 B Business OregonBrownfields Redevelopment Fund10,000,000
2022 BBusiness OregonSpecial Public Works Fund50,000,000
2022 BHousing & Comm. ServicesWildfire Affordable Housing Supply & Land Acquisition25,000,000
2022B Total $115,000,000
TOTAL $217,400,000


New Projects Funded by Recently-Sold State GO Bonds
SeriesProject AgencyProject NameAmount of Bond Proceeds
2022 Series ADept. of Administrative ServicesExecutive Building Interior & Seismic Renovations$16,000,000
2022 Series ADept. of Administrative ServicesNorth Valley Complex Infrastructure Upgrades/Tenant Improvement30,000,000
2022 Series ADept. of Administrative ServicesPortland State Office Building Improvements3,500,000
2022 Series ADept. of RevenueElectronic Valuation Information System (ELVIS)2,000,000
2022 Series AOregon Military DepartmentResiliency Grant Fund5,000,000
2022 Series AOregon State PoliceCentral Point Office Expansion23,772,889
2022 Series AOregon Youth AuthorityCamp Riverbend Dorm Renovation1,500,000
2022 Series AOregon Youth AuthorityControl Room Renovations895,000
2022 Series AOregon Youth AuthorityJJIS IT System Modernization4,756,531
2022 Series AOregon Youth AuthorityMacLaren Infirmary and Pharmacy Renovation & Expansion979,000
2022 Series AOregon Youth AuthorityMacLaren West Cottages Renovations4,937,800
2022 Series AOregon Youth AuthorityRogue Valley Facility Improvements2,443,900
2022 Series AOregon Youth AuthorityTillamook Dorm Renovation2,000,000
2022 Series AOregon Health AuthorityOSH Salem Well Water Treatment Facility2,395,650
2022 Series ADept. of EducationOregon School for the Deaf ADA Restrooms1,024,625
2022 Series ADept. of EducationOregon School for the Deaf Fire Alarm System Replacement3,091,923
2022 Series ADept. of EducationOregon School for the Deaf Windows Upgrade1,383,452
2022 Series AOregon Parks & Recreation DepartmentState Parks Capital Improvement and Renewal25,000,000
2022 Series ADept. of Fish and WildlifeCapital Improvement and Renewal5,000,000
2022 Series AOregon Liquor Control CommissionLiquor Warehouse Land & Building52,537,265
2022 Series AOregon Liquor Control CommissionLiquor Warehouse Management IT System8,500,000
2022 Series BOregon Housing and Community Services DepartmentLIFT/Permanent Supportive Housing Programs175,000,000
TOTAL $371,718,035
2022 Series COregon Business Development DepartmentSeismic Rehabilitation Grants – Schools55,000,000
2022 Series COregon Business Development DepartmentSeismic Rehabilitation Grants – Emergency Services Buildings20,825,000
TOTAL $75,825,000
TOTAL $447,543,035


New Projects Funded by Recently-Sold Conduit Revenue Bonds
SeriesProject AgencyProject NameAmount of Bond Proceeds
2022AHousing & Community Services Dept.Fremont Manor Apartments$5,400,000
2022BHousing & Community Services Dept.Kentonwood Dimensions Apartments4,037,000
2022CHousing & Community Services Dept.Stillwater Crossing Apartments3,900,000
2022DHousing & Community Services Dept.The Canopy Apartments at Powell36,500,000
2022EHousing & Community Services Dept.Garden Grove Apartments6,330,000
2022FHousing & Community Services Dept.Aloha Family Housing Project16,680,000
2022GHousing & Community Services Dept.Nueva Esperanza Apartments26,359,717
2022HHousing & Community Services Dept.Good Shepherd Village31,425,000
2022IHousing & Community Services Dept.Oregon 4 Apartment Projects23,895,104
2022JHousing & Community Services Dept.Minnesota Place Apartments Project12,987,074
2022KHousing & Community Services Dept.Moorehouse Apartments Project7,870,000
2022LHousing & Community Services Dept.Tigard Senior Housing13,890,000
2022MHousing & Community Services Dept.148th Apartments15,500,000
2022OHousing & Community Services Dept.Shore Pines at Munsel Creek Apartments14,302,000
2022QHousing & Community Services Dept.Maple Apartments37,000,000
TOTAL $256,075,895


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-11 09:08:15Last Update: 2022-06-11 09:45:47



Putting Safety Resource Officers Back in Oregon Schools
“Making sure that kids will remain a protected class”

Salem parents are fighting back against the removal of Safety Resource Officers (SRO) from public schools. Dustin Caldwell, self-employed entrepreneur, father of four, has started a petition. "Put School Resource Officers Back In Our Schools" can be signed online.

“I am just making sure that kids will remain a protected class," said Caldwell. "I want to make sure all children are safe and sound while in our public school system.”

Linda Farrington, a concerned citizen who is helping to promote the campaign says, “last spring many people conflated national concerns about officers in schools that were not true for Salem-Keizer School District officers. Prior to removing officers, Salem-Keizer assessment team was nationally acclaimed, working across many disciplines to coordinate care and work together to de-escalate issues at schools. There was no school to prison pipeline. No evidence of disproportionate arrests per police data—the school district didn’t even keep any data.”

Now, safety is a big issue all year and has only become worse. Teachers are leaving because they don’t feel safe. Kids depression rates have doubled since the onset of the Covid restrictions, and students have more PTSD, higher rates of anxiety, more gender confusion, and higher rates of suicide.

Going back into a social environment is more of a challenge than many suspected as kids acted out bullying, more violence, with less discipline and no SRO available for control.

This new environment has left the more vulnerable to seek acceptance for safety from groups that ploy with identity that leads to confusion and more violence. Oregon is in the lowest group of states for care available to students, and the care that is available often leads them down a dark path. With the lack of concern for the mental health of our students, SROs are needed more than ever.

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Caldwell states, “The district made a political decision to remove officers from our schools and in doing so sacrificed the safety of our youth. We have to hold our public officials accountable for their actions and when it comes to the safety of our kids we have to act fast and hard. I encourage taxpayers and parents to email the district and let their voices be heard.”

The Oregon Department of Education, State Board of Education will hold its meeting on June 16 at 9 AM, by video conference livestream.

The Board will only accept written public comments for this meeting, but claims they will consider all public comments. Submit written comments or testimony by email or by physical mail addressed to: Clearly label the subject line as: “Public comment” or “Testimony” and include the topic. Example: “Public Comment: School Safety.”

All written public comment will be posted to Boardbook, where you can view the agenda and materials.

Let the Oregon State Board know of your concerns over student safety for the state, and contact your local school board and superintendent.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-06-10 09:40:57Last Update: 2022-06-10 10:40:29



Multnomah County Roads Littered with Human Poop
Perennial pooper still tossing bags of human waste along East County roads

New neighbors are moving in next door on Corbett’s S.E. Curtis Drive, and Lisa Kinney is worried.

She is fairly sure the new arrivals haven’t yet been warned to watch out for the poop-filled shopping bags that appear along their road from time to time, placed every few feet, along the fog line. Even though County health officials are able to scoop up many, others get snatched by passing dogs or smashed by passing cars.

It’s happened for nearly five years now. Sometimes it’s like clockwork, with the bags dropped regularly on Sunday nights. Other times, months might go by, and then six or seven bags will appear, on Curtis Drive or some other east County road. Kinney wishes the perpetrator would reach out for help. It’s a plea County health officials share.

“I think they are in a situation where maybe we could help them,” Kinney said. “I don’t imagine someone who has a bathroom would do something like this.”

Multnomah County Code Enforcement is seeking the public’s help identifying whoever is responsible for disposing of the bags, filled with human poop and kitty litter, along rural roads like Kinney’s near Troutdale, Springdale and Corbett.

The bags, often plastic shopping bags from Wal-Mart or Dollar Tree, have been dumped at nearly 500 sites since late 2018, usually during early morning hours, primarily along the following stretches of road: ​Multnomah County Code Enforcement handles illegal dumping in unincorporated areas of Multnomah County. A majority of illegal dumps are large household garbage. But over the past five years, Enforcement Officer Dave Thomson has picked up hundreds of bags of human waste dumped on local roadways.

Enforcement Officer Dave Thomson has worked long and late hours trying to stop someone disposing of human waste along County roads.

Some bags have remained intact, but some have been ripped open and splattered by passing cars, with poop left to wash into the drainage ditch. And that’s a problem: Human feces can carry diseases, and when that poop washes into drainage ditches, it can contaminate waterways where people spend time.

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Thomson does his best to recover bags promptly, but doody duty competes with his many other roles.

“I have a million other functions,” he said.

According to the county, on any given day Thomson might inspect a business that fails to adhere to clean air laws, investigate illegal dumping of a couch and fridge, levy fines for illegal livestock in the City of Portland or for a junk car in Maywood Park, chase down any of the County’s 3,000 facilities that might fail to renew their licenses, or post a closure notice to a business that refuses to cooperate with Public Health.

“Your eyes would glaze if you knew everything on my plate. That’s why I can’t afford to spend my time scooping up poop,” he said. “There’s nothing in my job description that requires me to clean up human poop, but it's such an unsanitary thing. The community doesn’t deserve this.”

Thomson urges whoever is dumping the poop to either stop or to reach out for help.

“We want to understand why the person might be doing this,” Thomson said. “Perhaps this person doesn’t have a bathroom or another way of disposing of their waste. We’re not interested in punishment. We want to help them get the support they need.”

If you spot someone in the act of illegal dumping, Thomson asks that you don’t try and stop the person. Instead, get a license plate number and vehicle description, and dial 9-1-1.

If you spot these bags or any other illegally disposed materials in unincorporated Multnomah County, call Environmental Health at 503-988-3464 or email them.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-06-09 18:01:44Last Update: 2022-06-09 18:23:30



USS Oregon Officially Commissioned
The third U.S. Navy ship launched to bear the name Oregon

Oregon is honored with a third commissioned ship. This one is a nuclear-powered attack submarine named USS Oregon. On May 28, the Navy commissioned the fast-attack submarine USS Oregon (SSN 793) in a traditional ceremony at Naval Submarine Base New London, Connecticut.

USS Oregon is the third U.S. Navy ship launched to bear the name Oregon, but first in more than a century. The first was named after the Oregon Territory before Oregon became a state. It was a brigantine in service from 1841-1845 and served in explorations.

The second was an Indiana-class battleship commissioned in 1896 and ultimately decommissioned for the final time in 1919. She served as a vessel and later as an Indiana-class battleship. The Oregon served in the Spanish-American War and helped destroy the famous fleet of Spanish Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete.

Oregon again presents her flag in a Memorial Day event as the USS Oregon. It was the first commissioning ceremony in three years due to COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings.

The submarine Oregon was previously christened in a traditional ceremony at General Dynamics Corp.’s Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, on Oct. 5, 2019.

The commissioning ceremonies of the USS Vermont and USS Delaware were also delayed and will be held retroactively.

“Oregonians are deeply honored that the 20th Virginia-class submarine will bear the name of our state,” said Governor Kate Brown in her keynote speech.

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Commanding officer of USS Oregon, Commander Lacy Lodmell said, “The passion, grit and enthusiasm of Oregon’s crew has carried the ship to sea and were vital to the completion of construction and testing. This is without a doubt the finest crew I have ever had the pleasure to serve with.”

Dana L. Richardson, the wife of former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson of Corvallis, is the ship sponsor.

During the commissioning event, Dana Richardson gave the crew the traditional order to “man our ship and bring her to life,” after which Oregon’s sailors ceremonially ran aboard the submarine.

The commissioning is just in time as news creeps out that we are in need of national defense along our shores.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-06-08 09:42:46Last Update: 2022-06-08 09:58:58



$15.9 Million Project Aims to Reduce Portland-Area Congestion
“Variable Message” sign to be installed on area freeways

New technology to help traffic flow smoother is coming to several busy sections of Interstate 5, Interstate 84 and U.S 26 in the next several years in the Portland area. The $15.9 million effort is one of eight projects selected for the 2024-2027 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program's "Enhance" funding. Projects in this category are aimed at improving safety and reducing congestion on some of Oregon's busiest roadways.

Critics have voiced concerns that the money would be better spent on road improvements and that messaging technology often creates more congestion than it resolves.

In Portland, traffic management systems will be added to I-5 between Southwest Capitol Highway and OR 217, I-84 westbound between Troutdale and Interstate 205, and U.S. 26 westbound from Sylvan to Cornelius Pass Road. These systems include variable advisory speed signs, advanced directional signage and more.

Reducing congestion - and greenhouse gas emissions - is a goal in ODOT's 2021-2023 Strategic Action Plan. See a drone video of traffic congestion on I-205. Learn more about traffic management systems, known as Intelligent Transportation Systems or ITS, and the work involved in this video.

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The Statewide Transportation Improvement Program is the state's regular project identification and funding program. Last year, the Oregon Transportation Commission allocated $65 million for the "Enhance" part of the 2024-2027 STIP, which will fund a total of $2.2 billion in projects. The commission required several factors to be considered in selecting projects, including those that improve safety, support multimodal accessibility, are equitable and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The commission also required at least 30 percent of the projects selected to be located outside of a Metropolitan Planning Organization boundary, recognizing the need to serve highway users in non-urban areas.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-08 09:37:47Last Update: 2022-06-08 09:58:03



ODA Lifts Bird Quarantine in Lane County
A highly pathogenic avian influenza was detected in a backyard flock

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a request by Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Alexis Taylor to lift a regional quarantine in Lane County. ODA first executed the quarantine on May 17 after confirming highly pathogenic avian influenza in a backyard flock. HPAI is an infectious and deadly disease in birds.

Due to federal and international disease control requirements, after a confirmed case of HPAI in a poultry flock, a regional quarantine for all avian species and vehicle traffic involved with avian species (under the authority of (ORS 596.402) must be issued for an area extending a minimum of 10 kilometers around the infected property. The purpose of the quarantine is to prevent the movement of poultry from within the affected area giving state and federal officials time to conduct surveillance to ensure no additional cases of HPAI exist. The quarantine also applies to importing all birds from states where a state or federal quarantine is in place.

To be eligible for a quarantine release, the USDA required ODA to complete two rounds of surveillance in the affected area, with a minimum of 14 days between, starting after the completion of the humane euthanasia and disposal of the infected birds. ODA completed the work in 20 days following strict biosecurity practices. Biosecurity is a set of practices designed to reduce the risk of spreading disease from sick birds and birds carrying the virus to healthy ones.

If you have domesticated backyard birds such as poultry, please increase your biosecurity and keep your birds separated from wild birds, especially waterfowl. The risk of HPAI to human health is low, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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If you have poultry that appears sick or has died of respiratory or neurological disease, please call 503-986-4711 (Alt Phone: 1-800-347-7028) or email AHHotline@oda.oregon.gov.

If you see sick or dead wild birds, do not collect, or handle them but report the incident directly to ODFW at 866-968-2600 or Wildlife.Health@odfw.oregon.gov.

For more information about HPAI, please visit ODA's Avian Influenza web pages.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-08 09:26:12Last Update: 2022-06-08 09:37:47



Kate Brown Appoints Judges to Douglas County
Judge Marshall and Judge Burge are retiring

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has announced that she will appoint Steve Hoddle and Robert Johnson to the Douglas County Circuit Court. Hoddle will fill Position 2, replacing Judge William Marshall, and Johnson will fill Position 4, replacing Judge Frances Burge.

Brown congratulated Judge Marshall and Judge Burge on their planned retirements, and thanked them for their service. Hoddle and Johnson’s appointments are effective immediately.

Last month, Hoddle and Johnson each won a majority of votes in their judicial elections in Douglas County. The Governor’s appointments will allow both to begin their judicial service before the start of their elected terms on the Douglas County bench.

“Steve Hoddle and Robert Johnson have earned the support of Douglas County voters to become the newest judges on the trial court bench,” said Governor Brown. “I look forward to seeing how both of these skilled lawyers use their experience to serve the people of Douglas County, while continuing to build on the strength of our justice system.”

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Hoddle has been a prosecutor with the Douglas County District Attorney’s office since 2008 and, for 15 months before that, was a deputy district attorney for the Coos County District Attorney’s office. He grew up in Sherwood and is a graduate of Oregon State University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 2002, and Willamette University College of Law, where he obtained his law degree in 2006.

Johnson was raised in Oregon and, after attending Umpqua Community College, graduated from Portland State University with his bachelor’s degree in 2011. He obtained his law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2014. After law school, Johnson served as a law clerk with the Douglas County Circuit Court before starting as an attorney at Douglas County Law in Roseburg in 2016. Since 2018, he has been an attorney at the law firm of Dole Coalwell, where he is currently a partner. Johnson is also a board member of the Umpqua Community College Foundation, the Douglas County Parks Advisory Board, and CASA of Douglas County, and a member of the Oregon Government Ethics Commission.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-06-07 18:26:32Last Update: 2022-06-07 18:35:33



Red Flag Law in Oregon
More gun laws will not stop the illegal use of weapons

The law is nicknamed “Red Flag Law” for when a person exhibits a ‘red flag’ or other indicator that they may be a harm to themselves, or others. They can be reported to quickly remove a weapon from somebody who is at risk.

In the wake of shootings, Mr. Biden used his address to reassure the nation urging congress to pass a national red flag gun law. In his speech, he says, “According to new data just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, guns are the No. 1 killer of children in the United States of America.” Searching for confirmation, CDC’s site says, “Injury is the leading cause of death for children and adults between the ages of 1 and 45.” No separations for guns, but despite what Biden said, it is not firearms that is the most danger to children. Accidents, overdosing and suicide are the top major causes.

The latest data CDC sites is 2020. Oregon ranks in the second to lowest out of five categories for firearm deaths and 16 th in the nations based on population. Oregon statistics reveal that 13 out of 100,000 were from firearms. To put it in perspective, the leading cause of death in Oregon is cancer followed by heart disease and third is accidents. At number seven is 27 out of 100,000 died of Covid-19, 19 out of 100,000 overdosed, and 4 out of 100,000 were homicide victims. Suicide is ninth in causes of death. Firearms is not listed in the top 10 causes of death.

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum put out a statement reminding Oregonians that in 2017 the extreme risk protection order (ERPO) was passed by a narrow margin.

"Many of us are asking how we can better keep Oregonians safe and keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people. While there is still a lot of work to do, Oregon has made significant gains to strengthen our gun safety laws…. the “Extreme Risk Protection Order” or “Red Flag Law,” allowing courts to take weapons away from people who are at risk as a danger to themselves or others. It is my hope that all Oregonians know about these laws so we can get guns and other weapons away from people who shouldn’t have them."



Oregon’s Red Flag law limits who can make a request to a concerned family member, household member, or law enforcement officer. It involves asking the court for an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), which will remove a weapon, or a concealed handgun license, from an individual who is at risk for suicide or is a danger to others. An Order also prevents the person from buying additional guns for a one-year period.

The court must hold a hearing typically the same day or within 24- hours. The person who requests the petition must appear in person or by video at the hearing. If the person who is at risk requests a hearing, then the court must hold an additional hearing within 21 days. If the judge agrees, all weapons and concealed handgun permits must be surrendered within 24-hours of issuing the Order. The court must hold a hearing typically the same day or within 24-hours. The person who requests the petition must appear in person or by video at the hearing.

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If the person who is at risk requests a hearing, then the court must hold an additional hearing within 21 days, and the Order is usually effective for one year.

Thirteen states have adopted forms of red flag laws. Provisions vary by state on matters such as who can initiate the process, if a warrant is required, what factors are considered for the firearms to be removed from possession, how long the guns are restricted, and the process by which the individual may regain access to the guns. The length of time that guns are restricted under these extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) depends on the circumstances and can usually be extended.

States with red flag laws are claiming a reduction in suicides (by firearms). In 2013 guns were used in Oregon suicides twice as often as poison, the second most popular method. The rate of suicide has not changed per population, but last year, non-medical drugs were listed as the highest impact on suicide.

What opponents of red flag laws fear is the “foot-in-the-door.” Oregon’s law is restrictive, but as Rosenblum says, “there is still a lot of work to do.” Governor Brown is famous for saying, “we can do better.”

What does that really mean? More gun laws will not stop the illegal use of weapons.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-06-06 23:42:14Last Update: 2022-06-08 09:01:41



Hillsboro Committee Votes to Raise Pay for City Council
They want to attract a “diverse set of candidates”

The Hillsboro City Council will consider a recommendation from the Hillsboro Budget Committee’s non-Council members to increase monthly service stipends for the Mayor, Council President, and other Councilors.

Public members of the Budget Committee members discussed the stipends during the Fiscal Year 2022-23 Budget meetings. The remaining Budget Committee members unanimously recommended the following changes: If approved by the Council, the Budget Committee’s recommendation to increase the stipends would take effect on June 24, 2022, the first day of the first pay period in 2022-2023.

Stipend Recommendation Basis

Serving on the Hillsboro City Council includes City Council meetings, and committee meetings, as well as periodic meetings with staff. Meetings with constituents and attending community events is also expected of those elected to represent the city.

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According to the city, the Budget Committee’s recommendation to increase the stipends in 2022 is based on factors that include: The City of Hillsboro has now stated that increased stipends will likely create greater opportunities for a more diverse set of people to seek and hold local elected office.

Monthly stipends for the Mayor and Council members are set by resolution and require a Council vote for any adjustment. To avoid conflicts of interest and voting on increases for their respective positions, the Council members will need to vote on whether to approve the recommended service stipend adjustments in two separate resolutions.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-06-05 10:16:03Last Update: 2022-06-05 10:43:07



Masking of Overdoses in Oregon
Decriminalizing drugs has failed and overdoses are skyrocketing

Ballot Measure 110 was the hot topic in Oregon’s House Committee on Behavior Health last week. In 2020, voters were convinced to decriminalize drugs and encourage self-help instead of incarceration, the first in the nation. Then Governor Brown and the Oregon Health Authority took health decisions away from Oregonians by mandating masks and vaccinations in the name of the supposed Coronavirus pandemic.

It seems that neither strategy is working out. Testimony from state officials admitted that decriminalizing drugs has failed and overdoses are skyrocketing while appropriated funds remain unspent. According to the Oregon Health Authority, $40 million has been spent and $265 million remains unspent. The Health Justice Recovery Alliance reported that hundreds of providers, which screen for needs, offer case management, treatment, housing and other services are waiting for funds to service 9,200 active methadone patients receiving opioid treatment from providers.

Oregon’s behavioral health director, Steve Allen, was playing the waiting game insisting it has strong potential, but the committee wasn’t buying it, especially with Representative Lily Morgan (R-Grants Pass). Her community in Oregon House District 3 has seen 700% increase in overdoses and a 120% increase in deaths.

Oregon went from 280 Opioid deaths in 2019 to 472 in 2020 to 607 in 2021, and 2022 is exceeding 20% higher every month than last year.

Allen also took a whipping from Secretary of State Shemia Fagan claiming the change of policy was to improve lives and improve communities, and instead problems with drug addictions have gotten worse.

From the hearing materials, one thing is evident – there wasn’t one report on the treatment of individuals. Every report was on handling funds. What results are taxpayers getting for their money?

Dr. Reginald Richardson, Executive Director of the Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission (ADPC) reported that Oregon is in the top 10 states for misuse of drugs, being number one in methamphetamine and Rx pain drugs, and dead last in access to treatment.

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Developing subcommittees has been slow and it seems non-productive. ADPC is working on a pilot with Salem-Keizer School District.

Is it a coincident that overdose deaths have increased over 60% over the course of the pandemic? Even kids depression rates have doubled since the onset of the pandemic, and kids have more PTSD, higher rates of anxiety, more gender confusion, and higher rates of suicide.

Returning to a social environment has seen these kids acting out through bullying, more violence, with less discipline. Oregon is also in the lowest group of states for care available to students, and the care that is available often leads them down a dark path.

Are we looking at the source for solutions or masking the problem with money? Voters and parents need to seriously consider what kind of solution will bring permanent results.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-06-05 08:32:33Last Update: 2022-06-05 09:09:09



Center for Gender Diverse Individuals and Women Opens in Medford
A combined effort between ODHS, Jackson County, others

The Collaborative, a center for transformation and collaboration in service of women and gender diverse individuals, opened its doors in Medford, Oregon this past month. It is a combined effort between the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) Child Welfare Division and Self Sufficiency Programs, Jackson County Community Justice (JCCJ) and The Pathfinder Network (TPN). These three agencies will now be housed together with the effort.

"It is inspiring to see the missions of all three agencies coming together to cultivate such a needed, intentional and innovative impact in this community. I am so proud of The Collaborative," says Leticia Longoria-Navarro, Executive Director of the Pathfinder Network.

The Collaborative says that it's vision is to co-create holistic pathways to integrated and responsive services and supports. Efforts will focus on: The Collaborative focused on redesigning the center to foster a safe space for women and "gender diverse individuals".

ODHS states that the voices of individuals who would use the space led the redesign. Former and current participants describe the environment as "safe".

"The Collaborative is a great example of how we are putting the Child Welfare Division Vision for Transformation into action by creating a space where children and families are supported holistically across systems," says Kimberlee Whitney, Child Welfare District Manager. "Thank you to our partners within ODHS, Pathfinder Network and Jackson County for making this effort come to life."

Team members from all three agencies will support participants in their engagement with parole and probation and ODHS through a trauma, gender and culturally responsive approach and provide peer support in a safe space created to provide services and support.

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Individuals are welcomed in by team members into the "living room" and are connected to staff in the building to assess their needs, connect them to resources, make referrals to other community resources, sign them up for group services and events at the center and provide on the spot peer support.

The Collaborative says they are a one stop shop for services that are working toward eliminating the barriers of access to services by working to stabilize families during stressful times. The goal is to see better outcomes by providing evidence-based support and services.

"By putting people first, the outcomes will follow. We know that relationships, connections and focusing on strengths lead to people being successful,” says Eric Guyer, Director of Jackson County Community Justice. “To do this work in partnership with professionals with lived experience is truly innovative.”

About the ODHS Child Welfare Division

The Oregon Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Division is committed to transforming itself to better support the individual needs of families and to best serve Oregon’s children and young people.

You can report child abuse to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233). This toll-free number allows you to report abuse of any child or adult to the Oregon Department of Human Services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.

About Jackson County Community Justice

Jackson County Community Justice says their mission is to enhance community safety by creating lasting behavior change in individuals on community supervision. The Parole and Probation Officers in the Gender-Responsive Unit use practices and programs designed to change criminal beliefs and behaviors.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-06-04 10:19:06Last Update: 2022-06-04 11:09:59



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