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On this day, February 6, 2002, The Oregon Health Division released statistics on assisted suicides for the previous year. 44 people received prescriptions for lethal medication but only 21 actually took their lives.




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The Oregon Constitution
Wednesday, February 22, 2023 at 7:00 pm
First of a three part series presented by former State Representative Mike Nearman studying the Oregon Constitution.
The River Church 4675 Portland Rd NE Salem



The Oregon Constitution
Wednesday, March 1, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Second of a three part series presented by former State Representative Mike Nearman studying the Oregon Constitution.
The River Church 4675 Portland Rd NE Salem



The Oregon Constitution
Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Third of a three part series presented by former State Representative Mike Nearman studying the Oregon Constitution.
The River Church 4675 Portland Rd NE Salem



We Are Stronger Together
Monday, March 27, 2023 at 10:00 am
Oregon's Natural Resources & Industries (ONRI) is sponsoring the rally to meet legislators and influencers to bring light on legislation affecting natural resource industries, their families, and their communities. https://onri.us/events
Rally at the State Capitol, Salem.


View All Calendar Events


End to Oregon Motor Voter
Changes the opt-out process to opt-in

Oregon passed the nation’s first automatic voter registration law in 2015, and was in use for the 2016 elections. Representative Kevin Mannix (R-Salem) has introduced HB 2233 ending automatic voter registration through Oregon Motor Voter. It changes the opt-out process to an opt-in procedure. The bill reestablishes the process of registration at any office of the Department of Transportation where licenses or renewal applications can be purchased or received that existed prior to the enactment of Oregon Motor Voter.

HB 2233 removes electronic reporting to the Secretary of State of every name, age, signature, residence and citizenship information for the process of transferring it to county election clerks. Instead, DMV offices will make voter registration cards available and deliver them to the county election clerk in a timely manner.

Driver's license applications and renewal forms will contain a section to register to vote while applying or renewing a license, but they will not be automatically registered without their signature. Signatures are limited to only be used for voter registration purposes.

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The department’s procedures for voter registration applications are required to include a state identification card that allows an applicant to register to vote. The procedure must comply with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA).

NVRA is the national motor voter law, which lays out voter registration requirement for federal offices. Section 5 of the NVRA requires that States offer voter registration opportunities at State motor vehicle agencies when transacting other business, including by mail, phone or internet.

Section 6 of the NVRA requires that States offer voter registration opportunities by mail-in application. It also requires first time voters in a federal election provide identification, which can be a current and valid photo identification, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.

Section 8 of the NVRA contains requirements with respect to the administration of voter registration and requires states to implement procedures to maintain accurate and current voter registration lists. It prohibits removing registrants from the voter registration list solely because of a failure to vote, and restricts the timing on removals from the voter list based on a change of residence. However, if the registrant fails to respond to a notice and fails to vote in two federal general election, then the registrant can be removed from the voter registration list.

HB 2233 does not address Oregon’s lifetime retention issue, but the NVRA clearly indicates that eight years should be sufficient time for a person to affirm their civic duty.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-02-06 01:34:54Last Update: 2023-02-05 20:41:56



Updates to Pass-Through Entity Elective Tax
SALT deduction included in the 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

New updates about the Pass-Through Entity Elective (PTE-E) tax are available on the Oregon Department of Revenue website, including additional frequently asked questions, step-by-step examples of how to file PTE-E returns, and schedules that make filing easier and faster.

In July 2021, Oregon established a Pass-Through Entity Elective (PTE-E) Tax, a business alternative income tax in response to the $10,000 cap on the federal State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction included in the 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2022, entities taxed as S corporations and partnerships may elect annually to be subject to the PTE-E tax at a rate of 9 percent tax on the first $250,000 of distributive proceeds and 9.9 percent tax on any amount exceeding $250,000.

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The department's latest web updates answer the most common questions from tax preparers, who are starting to file PTE-E returns as the tax filing season begins.

The department provides an Excel spreadsheet that can be used to speed up filing of the OR-21. The data on the spreadsheet will populate to the OR-21-MD and the OR-21-MD-PT forms used in PTE-E tax filing.

The updates were posted this week on the department's PTE-E web page. For PTE-E questions contact: BusinessAlternative.IncomeTax@dor.oregon.gov.


--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2023-02-05 11:12:41Last Update: 2023-02-03 22:05:27



Statewide Housing Production Advisory Council
18 Members of the council to be appointed by the governor

Governor Tina Kotek is seeking a diverse membership to a statewide Housing Production Advisory Council. The Governor is accepting applications for her newly created Housing Production Advisory Council that she established through an executive order on January 10, the Governor's first full day in office.

The order established an annual housing production goal of 36,000 additional housing units at all levels of affordability across the state to address Oregon's current housing shortage and keep pace with projected population growth. That's an ambitious target – about an 80 percent increase over current construction trends – and would set Oregon on a path to build 360,000 additional homes over the next decade.

The Housing Production Advisory Council will be responsible for proposing an action plan to meet the state's housing production goals. It will be composed of 25 members, including the Governor or her designee, bipartisan members of the Oregon House and Senate, relevant state agency directors, and a Tribal member. The largest share of members (18) will be appointed by the Governor with the goal of assembling a highly effective, diverse and representative council, ready to get to work for Oregonians.

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The Governor is looking to appoint housing developers with expertise in permanent supportive, affordable, and market rate housing, representatives of rural and coastal communities, communities of color, local government representatives, and experts in land use, fair housing, permitting, workforce development, and construction. Oregonians interested in applying for the Council are encouraged to submit an application, found here. Applications are due February 15, 2023. Appointees will begin work on the Council in early March.

Moreover, the executive order dictates that two co-chairs be appointed, one living or working in an urban area and the other in a rural area. The Council is scheduled to provide a recommended framework for their action plan by April 1, 2023.


--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2023-02-04 12:21:29Last Update: 2023-02-03 21:31:54



Oregon Forests Are Carbon-Sequestering Sinks
The future of carbon credits in question

Oregon land is about 25 percent National Forests at 16 million acres. Add to that about 7.3 million acres of private timber land. These carbon-sequestering forests purify the air, filter water, prevent soil erosion, and act as an important buffer. That is nearly 50 percent of Oregon with a mixed variety of forests, making the state a large carbon sink.

According to Pete Stewart, CEO of ResourceWise, his research led him to “6 Predictions for 2023 Global Forest Industry,” he states, “we can likely expect the beginning of the end for carbon credits this year. Many critics often question the legitimacy of carbon credits altogether, wondering if companies merely use them as a veneer to conceal their ongoing pollution.” Forest2Market also predicts that 2023 will bring an end to carbon credits in general. “The world is coming around to the fact that carbon credits, of any kind, are just a license to pollute more.” In regards to forests, their research shows that “carbon is stored longer in the finished product, especially lumber and cross-laminated timber.”

Despite the national trend, Senator Jeff Golden (D-Ashland) chaired the 2021-2022 Senate Interim Committee on Natural Resources and Wildfire Recovery that introduced SB 88 to establish a state policy to increase net carbon sequestration and storage in natural and working lands. The bill requires certain agencies to monitor progress advancing state net carbon sequestration and storage policy and report their findings to the Oregon Global Warming Commission.

SB 88 directs Oregon Global Warming Commission with related agencies to develop natural and working lands net carbon sequestration and storage inventory using cap and trade methods for assessing greenhouse gas fluxes. Everything you do is now being measured to reduce carbon emissions and if reduction isn’t possible, then in increasing carbon storage.

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Companies will proudly announce their corporate aim toward reaching net zero for the benefit of clients, known as ‘greenwashing.’ Rather than reducing a company’s actual emissions, they buy credits from conserved forest land. However, Stewart’s study indicates companies have little intentions of actively reducing their carbon footprint. Instead, the push seems to be toward hitting those ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by purchasing offsets and passing the cost to consumers.

An investigation by The Guardian showed that up to 90% of the credits offered by one of the leaders in setting carbon standards were simply ‘phantom credits.’ There is no tangible substance and were not helping to offset carbon pollution beyond the numbers on a spreadsheet. That leaves the question of the purpose of carbon credits.

There needs to be a more accurate measurement for pollutants, better identification on how carbon is stored in wood beyond the forests, and improve measurements and reporting mechanisms, according to Stewart. A step in that direction may be in SB 724, introduced by Senator Fred Girod (R-Stayton). SB 724 adds to the calculation of greenhouse gas levels to include atmospheric carbon sequestered by lands and waters in determining progress towards greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.

No matter how you look at it, Oregon's sink is draining more than carbon.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-02-03 12:07:32Last Update: 2023-02-03 16:17:18



National Women Physicians Day
Elizabeth Blackwell celebrated as first female doctor

Today, Feb. 3, is National Women Physicians Day, and is also the birthday of Elizabeth Blackwell, born February 3, 1821. She became the first female medical doctor in the United States. The day honors the courage and accomplishments of female doctors who paved the way for so many, and who continue to set an example for younger generations. In 2017, for the first time in history, women made up more than half of all medical school students in the U.S.

Blackwell played an important role as a social awareness and moral reformer promoting education for women in medicine. She went from schoolteacher studying the anatomy to seeing the prejudice her sex endured receiving medical care, which inspired her to apply to medical school. She was only accepted by one, Geneva Medical College, where the male students voted to accept Blackwell. So, in 1847, she began her career in medicine.

Blackwell is known for her lectures to female audience on the importance of educating girls, and organized nurses during the American Civil War. Her name is still recognized on the Elizabeth Blackwell Medal, awarded annually to a woman who has made a significant contribution in medicine.

When you see a female physician, please remind her she's appreciated!


--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2023-02-03 11:45:44Last Update: 2023-02-03 17:23:02



Telework Travel Is On The Chopping Block For State Workers
Sponsored by all 30 Senators

Oregon Representative Anna Scharf (R-Amity) joined Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and Representative Vikki Breese Iverson (R-Prineville) as chief sponsors of Senate Bill 853 to ban taxpayer dollars from funding out-of-state travel reimbursements for state workers. This legislation has been sponsored by all 30 Senators and has bi-partisan support in the House. The idea even received a nod from State Treasurer Read.

This policy states that “employees who work under the full-time remote work model must be reimbursed by the agency for travel to and from the central workplace.” The policy allows state workers to work remotely from states with no income tax and have their travel to Oregon reimbursed using taxpayer dollars.

While businesses have ordered their workers back, thousands of state employees still work from home, and hundreds live and work out-of-state. When workers need to be at meetings or in the office for other reasons, Oregon taxpayers cover the cost for their commute.

By September 2021, roughly 7% of people who make their living in Oregon make their home in some other state. Most of them are crossing the Columbia or Snake Rivers, but there is a growing number of teleworking employees as far away as New York, Florida and Texas since the COVID-19 pandemic. According to KGW8, Oregon has 7,691 state employees teleworking, and 500 more work remotely out-of-state and 300 of them live in distant states. They report that Oregon Department of Human Services has spent $4,000 in the first 9 months of 2022 to bring their 157 workers in from another state.

In 2020, Oregon had the fourth largest net out - adjustment for residency of any state in the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’s calculation of per capita personal income (PCPI). It isn’t much of an expense as it is the policy of the state to be administered by people that choose not to live here.

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“It is wrong that my legislative staffers drive to the Capitol nearly every day from neighboring communities and cannot be reimbursed for their travel or expensive daily parking – while simultaneously, state workers living out-of-state, get paid for traveling back to Oregon for meetings or other tasks they can’t do remotely,” said Representative Scharf. “One of the House Republican Caucus’ top priorities this session is fiscal responsibility. I believe this starts by taking a close look at where our taxpayers hard-earned dollars are going.”

This is in line with Congress’ House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer’s bill to require all federal agencies to reinstitute their telework policies as they existed on December 31, 2019, with expanded remote work only for authorized projects. It was suggested that since few people are aware that federal workers aren’t at their job, they could be dismissed and nobody would notice.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-02-02 20:33:57Last Update: 2023-02-01 21:40:52



Secretary Fagan Appoints Molly Woon as Elections Director

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan has appointed Molly Woon to the role of Elections Director. Molly Woon has served as Interim Elections Director since December 2022.

Ms. Woon has over 15 years' experience in public service, working in the State Legislature, in city and county government, and in the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office for Secretary Fagan and former Secretary Jeanne Atkins.

In her previous role at the agency, she served as the primary liaison between the Secretary and the Oregon Association of County Clerks. Among other elections-related initiatives, Ms. Woon led the work to disburse $2 million in election modernization funds, she led several innovative projects to improve election administration, and she was responsible for day-to-day coordination between the Elections Division and the Secretary of State’s Executive Team during the November 2022 election. Ms. Woon has a B.A. in Political Science from Portland State University, where she later pursued a graduate degree in political philosophy and American Politics.

“Molly Woon is the perfect fit to lead the Elections Division,” said Secretary Fagan. “She has years of experience in public service and has served in two administrations at the Secretary of State’s Office. Her vision and leadership will allow Oregon to continue setting the gold-standard for free, fair, accessible and secure elections.”

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As Interim Director, Ms. Woon has overseen the rollout of new public education projects including campaign finance trainings for municipal candidates running in 2023 and the Oregon Republican Party. She has helped the Secretary and the Oregon Association of County Clerks develop parts of the Protect Our Democracy Agenda, which aims to improve elections administration in Oregon through targeted investments in investigations, public records, voting systems and public education.

“Molly’s energy and enthusiasm have been a great benefit to Oregon’s elections officials for the last two years,” said Derrin "Dag" Robinson, County Clerk, Harney County. “I am excited to see her take on this new role.”

“Molly brings with her years of experience and professionalism,” said Tassi O’Neil, County Clerk, Tillamook County. “She is an excellent choice for this position, and I look forward to working with her in this new role.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-02-02 12:05:37Last Update: 2023-02-03 02:27:20



District Attorney Claims Lack of Resources
Lane County DA sends letter dismissing cases.

Lane County takes over where Governor Kate Brown left off. During Governor Brown's last few months in office, she granted clemency to 17 persons on Oregon's death row. She issued an order that created a path for nearly 7,000 Oregonians to seek reinstatement of their suspended driver's licenses and removes the associated fines and fees worth approximately $1.8 million. That was after she commuted 1,204 sentences who demonstrated growth in rehabilitation, and removed 47,144 convictions of possession of marijuana forgiving $14million in fines and fees.

Earlier in 2022 Brown released 953 convicted felons including 70 that committed crimes as juveniles including murder. She justified these orders as being in response to legislation such as SB 2013 (2019) that narrows the definition of aggravated murder. Has the Oregon legislature gone too far?

Now counties are feeling empowered to ignore the constitutional obligation under Article I, Section 43 (5) directing the District Attorney to provide remedy by due course of law for violation of a right. Lane County District Attorney, Patricia W. Perlow, is responding to claims saying victims have no rights.

Perlow writes, “This letter is to inform you that your case has been dismissed due to the lack of resources at the District Attorney's Office.” She sites recruitment and retention issues and backlog of cases from Covid-19. Perlow goes on to say, “As a consequence, and effective immediately, the District Attorney's Office will be dismissing and not filing criminal charges in the foreseeable future on the following offenses:

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Criminal investigators are sworn police officers that give investigative and trial assistance to Oregon State prosecutors and district attorneys. District attorneys have an obligation to determine whether the case has any merit in review of relevant statutory and case law. Offenses against property are defined in Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 164 and penalties in Chapter 161. Courts and district attorneys don't have the authority to ignore victim rights. Refusing the case does not nullify the act, but it will attract predators to their county.

Some of the bills introduced into this 2023 legislative session may aggregate the issues Lane County is experiencing. Perlow doesn't say they have a funding issue, only staffing issues. One bill that has support of the Oregon State Bar is SB 306, which will modify statutes to allow for non-attorney associate members of the Oregon State Bar to practice law in certain scope of practice. However, the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association went on record opposing the adding of a class of legal practitioners who have not gone to law school or passed the bar. “It is modeled after a program in Washington state that was a failure and discontinued due to lack of interest.” They continue, “If the legislature decides to proceed with this program, we should make sure that Oregonians who might benefit from this type of legal service have rigorous consumer Protection…. This new type of practitioner can make a mistake as consequential as a mistake made by a lawyer... That means that harm caused by their negligence would be borne by their client. From a consumer protection perspective this makes absolutely no sense.” The bill is scheduled for a Work Session February 2.

After the Lane County DA issued her statement of no workers to develop cases, Lane County Circuit Judge Jay McAlpin submitted testimony on SB 235 to increase the number of circuit court judges by seven, one for Lane County.

Senator James Manning Jr. (D-Eugene) introduced SB 689, which directs the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to create a pilot grant program funding three coalitions for the creation of nonpolice responses to minor instances of crime. The program is geared towards responding to 9-1-1 or nonemergency police calls. The bill removes the pursuit of justice from the police force putting it in the hands of nonprofit organizations and county governments. It provides authority to address the commission of crimes of theft, trespass, littering, prostitution, possession of controlled substance or illegal drugs, interfering with public transportation, and an attempt to commit a crime providing services in a proactive manner. All the bills passed in the past several legislative sessions have been to reform police aggressiveness and would not apply to this second level of enforcement.

Some other bills introduced that may help or hinder counties in work load issues:
--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-02-01 02:56:50Last Update: 2023-02-02 07:55:35



Governors Budget Excludes Pulling Money From The Kicker
Budget is Mission Focused

Governor Tina Kotek released her proposed budget for the 2023-2025 biennium. She calls it a “Mission Focused” budget to build more housing, reduce homelessness, increase access to mental health and addiction services, and improve education outcomes. She says it “provides a roadmap for how we are going to reach our state’s long-term goals.”

In response, Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) stated, “According to the most recent revenue forecast, Oregon families will receive an average of $5,200 back on their taxes in the form of a surplus credit known as the “Kicker.” I’m relieved to see that the Governor’s proposed budget doesn’t pull money from the Kicker – it’s the right thing to do.”

However, Senators Lew Frederick (D-Portland) and Kayse Jama (D-Portland) seem to be on a quest of their own. On the radar for Oregon taxpayers is SB 774, which would allow the State to keep the tax "kicker" of overpaid taxes beyond what the State budgeted to collect, if SJR 26 is passed by voters to amend the Constitution.

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“The Republican Majority worked to enshrine the Kicker in Oregon’s Constitution in the 1990’s and we are still committed to protecting it today,” added Senator Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer).

The House Republican Caucus said they are optimistic the Governor’s budget does not call for tax increases, but remain concerned that Governor Kotek and her agencies will raise fees on hardworking Oregonians. While the Governor’s budget does not take the Kicker, they are committed to returning these hard earned dollars back to Oregon taxpayers.

Governor Kotek’s two-year budget proposal is a $32.1 billion request, which represents a 8.76% increase over the 2021-2023 legislatively approved budget.

Oregonians are experiencing an inflation rate over eight percent and economists are predicting a mild recession over the next year. The Governor’s budget reflects the financial vulnerability individuals are feeling on a daily basis. House Republicans believe the state budget should look more after Oregon families than our state bureaucracy, and are disappointed there was no initial mention of other crises impacting our state such as transportation backlogs, a severe drought impacting our agriculture industry, public safety in our communities, or Oregon’s severe public defender crisis.

Senator Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles) agrees, “Oregonians across the state feel the impacts of inflation and other rising costs. They deserve to spend their hard-earned money how they see fit – to plan for emergencies and spur the economy.”

Even though both houses see value in the budget, the House Caucus wants to see reforms to the Oregon Department of Education. They also point towards the Governor’s proposed homelessness initiative as not reaching beyond the urban centers of our state. “If Governor Kotek is going to stay “Mission Focused” on being a Governor for all of Oregon, this must start now.”

To overcome the predicted shortfall, Governor Kotek has recommended keeping the existing $2 billion of reserve funds in place, and redirect $765 million that would have been automatically added to these reserves into targeted investments aimed at better serving Oregonians in her focused areas.

The Governor's budget reflects the work of the Racial Justice Council on the development of state agency budgets as a strong, ongoing partnership in her administration. Thus, her Mission Focus, and so begins the battle for our pocketbooks.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-01-31 16:52:56Last Update: 2023-02-01 00:54:24



Guaranteed Opportunity Program Offers College Funding
Few guarantees with life-time repayment

Representative Paul Evans (D-Independence) introduced HB 2780, which creates the Guaranteed Opportunity Program to provide college funding by 2043. Under this bill, the State of Oregon would have 20 years to implement an in-state post-secondary education, training and workforce development loan program to qualified individuals. In exchange for the upfront payment of tuition and fees, textbooks, and housing costs by the State, a degree-seeking student would commit to repaying a set percentage of their post-education income to the program.

HB 2780 introduces a student and institutional funding system where high school graduates or resident taxpaying students attend higher education in a degree program and the state postpones the payment of costs of attendance, including tuition, housing, textbooks and fees, in exchange for payment of a set percentage of future salary. The percentage is based on the type of degree ranging from two to five percent of adjusted gross income with a payment period from three month after completing the degree to the later of age 65 or retirement.

Every two years the State Workforce and Talent Development Board will analyze the workforce and make adjustments to the percentages of future income that participants are required to pay. It places the cost of an education on the recipient and the amount of loan forgiveness at age 65 is based on the income level of the recipient. The bill allows the commission to engage a collection agency if failure to make payments occurs.

A Guaranteed Opportunity Program Implementation Fund is administered by the commission and funded by the legislature, the sale of bonds, and the repayment by participants. The cost to the state would be administration of the program and any unrepaid amounts at the participants retirement or age 65, whichever is later. The percentage of repayment is based on the level of degree obtain, not the amount of income, so repayment amounts will vary.

The Commission pointed out in testimony that the program is similar to a small pilot program proposed by the Office of Student Access and Completion 10 years ago. The complexity of this legislation requires that analysis be revisited to be able to provide information about potential program structures and costs. In addition to structures or costs, there is the question of repayment of individuals out-of-state or out-of-country, as required by the bill.

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Representative Evans states, “While 17 states have alternative student loan programs, the Guaranteed Opportunity Program is the first to have a fixed repayment agreement and term, which is desperately needed to balance the responsibility of repayment against the needs of the economy, the State and society at large. We can provide a way forward that works for everyone by implementing the Guaranteed Opportunity Program.”

However, the Commission suggests the bill is putting the cart before the horse. HECC recommends that, prior to convening a large public task force, or setting lifetime repayment rates and time periods in statute, that an actuarial analysis be conducted to determine potential program costs and returns based on a number of variables, including the repayment rates, enrollment projections, projected higher education costs, and wages. In particular, there may be a self-selection effect under the current payment details, where projected higher income earners do not enroll in the program, making the program more costly on a per capita basis. The bill calls for a task force to perform these functions without an actuarial analysis.

The program may not eliminate the life-time of education debt, but Evans claims the Guaranteed Opportunity Program ensures access to higher education for Oregon’s students. “We must support our economic and workforce needs while making it possible for them to buy homes and raise families." He contends it will create opportunities for non-traditional Oregonian students to access fair financing, balanced and simple repayment, and economic opportunities that are often attached to post-secondary education, training, and workforce development. This would make it possible for parents and mid-career professionals to go back to school for first time or additional academic programs.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-01-27 11:44:30Last Update: 2023-01-27 17:46:24



Will Oregon Legislature Give Prisoners the Vote?
This is an issue for voters

Senators Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis), Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), and Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) are chief sponsors of SB 579. They are again trying to bypass voters to restore the voting rights of incarcerated felons so they can register and vote while serving time in prison. Proponents say it will help connect the prisoners with the community.

People are in prison for violating other people’s rights and to protect society from harm they may perpetrate. It is the consequences they face. There has to be some justice for crime if we are to live in a just and peaceful society. Does the judicial system if convicted criminals face little consequences.

A person who has been lawfully convicted of a felony has forfeited their right to vote according to the Oregon Constitution, Article II Section 3, passed in 1944. Voters approved the phrase "unless otherwise provided by law," however, voters didn't really have a choice.

Voters originally rejected the measure in 1942, which used the words denying voting privilege to “any idiot or mentally-diseased person.” This language was already in question, and in 1944 mentally-diseased person was replaced with “insane person” Over the years idiot and insane person has taken on a number of meanings,

In 1980, voters passed another amendment. The ballot measure read:

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However, prior to 1980 there was no period (.) in Section 2, making the “unless otherwise provided by law” apply to the whole Section. But, in 1980, drafters inserted a period separating the “unless” statement to only apply to convicted criminals, deceiving voters. The majority of felons are in prison due to a lack of competency and no civil responsibility or respect. If Section 3 is meant to apply “unless otherwise provided by law” to incompetent persons as voters were told, then shouldn’t it apply both ways and require convicted persons also be required to pass a competency test?

Prison is a time of rehabilitation, to gain and learn what civil responsibility means. The bill also allows registration at the last address lived at, which can cause multiple unrelated people registered at one address that don’t all live there, and interfere with voter roll cleanup efforts.

In many states felons are not able to vote even after being released from prison. Oregon restores voting privileges once they have paid their debt to society. This is an issue for voters, not for a committee that is biased because they sponsored the bill.

The Senate Committee On Judiciary will have a public hearing on SB 579 on January 26 at 1:00 PM to hear testimony. Join the War Room at Ike Box and register to testify, or submit testimony by email.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-01-24 10:06:42Last Update: 2023-01-24 10:07:56



Democrats Commit to Advancing Reproductive Freedom
Honoring the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade

On the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision and six months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the decision, Oregon Senate Democrats are committing to advancing reproductive freedom in Oregon.

“Access to abortion and reproductive care are essential to the health, safety, and prosperity of our communities. With threats to these services being enacted around the country, Oregon must continue to be a leader for reproductive freedom,” said Senator Deb Patterson(D-Salem).

There is the perception that a baby that is miscarried is a human being, but if it is unwanted, it’s a fetus that ceases to be human, otherwise abortion rights could be compromised. In Oregon, an unborn baby is a person when a pregnant mother is murdered, but if you abort the baby willingly, it ceases to be a person.

Perhaps the Democrat caucus doesn’t care to share the real story of Jane Roe, a bi-sexual waitress named Norma McCorvey that had no abortions but three children placed for adoption. Then there is the case that she lied on the witness stand. The Atlantic reported that McCorvey believed that abortion ought to be legal for precisely three months after conception, a position she stated publicly after the Roe decision.

The Supreme Court opinion was mostly a doctor’s rights case -- a doctor’s right to prescribe what he thinks his patient needs. So how is it that Roe v. Wade is used to defend a woman’s right to abort an unwanted child up to time of birth, and after birth in a couple of states?

“Every Oregonian should get to choose when and how they start or grow their family,” said Majority Leader Kate Lieber. “The decision whether or not to have an abortion is deeply personal, and politicians have no right to make that choice for anyone.”

While abortion remains legal here in Oregon, restrictions in other states could send Americans with means fleeing to Oregon for reproductive health care. Twelve states, including Idaho, enacted bans immediately after the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, and state legislatures across the country are currently considering more anti-choice bills, including restrictions on contraception.

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Oregon legislators have introduced ten bills related to abortions. It will be up to the Democrat majority leaders which ones receive a hearing and whether McCorvey's beliefs are considered. In 2023, Senate Democrats wants to strive to follow up on the recommendations from the Reproductive Health and Access to Care Work Group, including efforts to improve access to care in medically underserved regions of the state; protect individuals located in Oregon from criminal and civil liability for receiving, supporting, or providing reproductive and gender-affirming care; protect Oregonians from misleading and biased medical claims by crisis pregnancy centers; and expand existing rights to access health services.

At the national level, Republicans in Congress are pursuing legislation protecting the rights of the unborn by proposing a 15-week abortion ban that would impact Oregonians.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-01-23 21:54:36Last Update: 2023-01-23 12:42:29



Republican Leaders Send Letter on Fiscal Responsibility of the Legislature
Revenues will be short $560M of expected government spending

On the first day of the 2023 Legislative Session, House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) and Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) sent a letter to Senate President Rob Wagner (D–Lake Oswego) and Speaker of the House Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) to address the legislature’s fiscal responsibility.

Even Senator Elizabeth Steiner (D-Beaverton) acknowledged in committee that windfalls of free moneys have been used to start programs with an ongoing expense. It is adding to the shortfall if they are to continue, which is projected to be $560 million to cover a $30.7 billion budget to simply maintain current levels of programs and services.

“In December of 2022, the Legislative Fiscal Office and the Chief Financial Office indicated revenues will be short about $560 million of expected government spending this upcoming fiscal biennium. When government spending gets out of hand, government should revisit its scope and size,” said the Republican Leaders in the letter. “Thus, we are requesting that the Legislative Assembly carry out its duty and obligation to fiscal responsibility in this Session. We request the Assembly exercise its authority and hold committee hearings which identify fiscal issues and solutions, ensuring that government spending is effectual.”

The Republican Leaders highlighted five areas of concern looking ahead to the Legislative Session:

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“These five areas are, perhaps, the most pressing. Yet they are not the only areas worth financial investigation at the state level. A general audit of government expenditures is prudent given the economic forecast of continued inflation, recession, and deficit spending. Oregon’s fiscal outlook is on the verge of a downward spiral. We must ensure that government spending is effective and that we eliminate any wasteful, ineffectual appropriations. To that end, we request a public and transparent committee process, early in the Session, to provide clear oversight from the Assembly, to further understand public expenditure, and to discuss the role and scope of government,” said the Republican Leaders in the letter.

Another area might be the Medicaid budget that will need an additional $700 million to cover the expiring temporary federal pandemic aid. The aid was to get states through extra expenses a pandemic would have, so now that the pandemic is over, shouldn’t those expenses go away and the funds returned to the Medicaid budget?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-01-23 06:36:49Last Update: 2023-01-22 12:39:38



DEQ Commission Names Two Finalists
The current interim director and a congressional candidate make the cut

After a seven-month national search, the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission has selected two candidates for the Department of Environmental Quality's director position. The finalists are Leah Feldon and Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

Commission Chair Kathleen George said, "Both finalists are extremely qualified to lead DEQ and chart a course for the agency's future."

Leah Feldon is currently the interim director at DEQ. She entered public service at DEQ in the Office of Compliance and Enforcement in 2005 and became manager of that office in 2009. She served in several other positions at the agency before being named deputy, including special advisor to the director for Cleaner Air Oregon, an initiative by Governor Kate Brown to overhaul air toxics regulations. In that role, she assembled and led a multi-faceted team to deliver Oregon's new air toxics program, legislation, rulemaking and implementation guidance. She earned her law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School in 2004 and her Bachelor of Arts from University of Dayton in Ohio. She is a member of the Oregon State Bar and has served on several non-profit boards.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner works as regional emergency coordinator with the Oregon Department of Human Services and is also founding partner and attorney with MS Sage Consulting in Central Oregon. She has 25 years of management experience in public, private and nonprofit sectors. She has a law degree from University of Oregon School of Law; a master's in regional planning from Cornell University; and a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She was a candidate for congress in Oregon's fifth district last year.

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The commission will hold a special meeting in February for the finalists to engage with them, as they move toward a final decision. This meeting also will be an opportunity for DEQ staff and the public to hear from both candidates.

Interim director Leah Feldon will remain in her role until a permanent director is appointed.


--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2023-01-22 11:58:08Last Update: 2023-01-22 12:35:43



Fagan Campaigns for Abortion
“If you don’t live in Oregon, you can travel here to get an abortion”

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan took the opportunity today's anniversary to promote abortion rights. “Today is the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It’s going to be a hard day for many of us. Last year, the Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to an abortion. That decision will have devastating impacts today and for many years to come. But we are in this together. I’ve been in this struggle to support access to abortion, and I won’t stop now, said Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan in a statement marking the 50th anniversary of the now-overturned US Supreme Court case.

According to one former legislator, the Secretary is mistaken. "The Supreme Court does not create rights, nor does it end them," said the former legislator who declined to be identified. "Rights are not just a power play, where ruling governments confer rights on subjects. They come from God and are inherent in our humanity."

Secretary Fagan used the anniversary and her office as an opportunity to campaign for access to abortion. “Let’s use this anniversary to take pride in what’s working well in Oregon. In Oregon, abortion is a right. In 2017 Oregon lawmakers passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act, one of the strongest abortion access laws in the country, codifying Roe v. Wade into state law and making the full range of reproductive health care services more accessible and affordable for all Oregonians. If you don’t live in Oregon, you can travel here to get an abortion if you need one.

“In response to the recent Supreme Court decision, I have directed the Audits Division to evaluate access to safe and legal abortions in Oregon. This new audit will be conducted in 2023. Oregon has made substantive investments in reproductive health care services and is now operating in a new landscape. The audit will examine the risks to Oregon’s sexual and reproductive health care services, with a focus on potential inequities and public health outcomes.

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“I believe the right to control your own body and future is fundamental to our freedom in America. That’s why I will fight to protect the laws we have in Oregon and undo the damage caused by last year’s Supreme Court ruling.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-01-21 11:53:19Last Update: 2023-01-22 12:23:17



Analysis: Oregonians Don’t Need Greater Idaho, We Need Lesser Portland
“Defiant leftists can still make their woke utopia work”

Editor's note: Andy Norris is a writer and filmmaker living in Tillamook County. Select writings can be found at https://smartfish.substack.com/

The Greater Idaho movement shows no signs of abating, and the democratic process of changing the borders of Oregon and Idaho took another step forward on Tuesday as Bill SJM2, sponsored by Dennis Linthicum, became public. Though the bill seems to simply invite the governors of Idaho and Oregon to meet and discuss the possibility of a Greater Idaho, if the meeting actually happens it would signal that the issue is indeed being taken seriously. That said, something tells me Governor Kotek would somehow miss that meeting.

The current rift between woke Oregon and conservative Oregon is wider and deeper than Hells Canyon. Indeed, conservative Oregon has watched Democrats, who exclusively govern Portland, destroy a world-class city in just a few short years. Portland is now known worldwide as a crime-ridden hell-hole run by tweakers and teenage gang members of color. Fifteen years ago, a friend of mine studied the success and livability of Portland in a civics class at an Australian university. Portland is now known worldwide as an absolute failure: The City That Works doesn’t work anymore.

I drove a taxi in Portland over the last seven years. I saw every ‘green’ demolition. Old Portland buildings turned to rubble so new buildings designed by and for Californians could be erected, most with no parking and a virtue-signaling solar pad on the roof. In Vietnam the mantra was ‘destroy the village to save the country’, in Portland the mantra is ‘destroy the city to save the polar bear.’ It’s part of that woke guilt thing -- all Americans are racist or otherwise bad and don’t deserve to live in livable cities. And indeed Portland has been and continues to be destroyed by Democrats. During my years in the taxi, driving all over that city every day, I saw every homeless camp erected, some of the areas packed with stolen cars, dozens of stolen bikes, as well as stolen and burned-out boats. There are areas of North Portland that rival the Bronx, N.Y. of my youth. I saw terrorists attempt to burn down the Portland Police Bureau headquarters nightly for an entire summer, the thugs being cheered on by Mayor Ted Wheeler and just about every Democrat in city, county and state government. Even the corrupt bio-tech priest Anthony Fauci encouraged the terrorists, and suggested they stand less than six-feet apart, that it was permissible to break quarantine, and that they should protest to their hearts content -- or at least until the election of Lyin’ Biden.

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Having lived back and forth between Tillamook County and Portland, I have also watched Portland advancing across the coast range. This trend of city folk bringing their Babylonian hell to the country is happening all over the American West, and the popularity of Kevin Costner’s ‘Yellowstone’, which sees Montana ranchers pitted against developers from the city, shows this phenomenon isn’t unique to Oregon. Developers and real estate agents have taken over the city government in Manzanita and are building three-hundred new, woke, ‘cluster housing’ units in what was once a small, cozy beach town. And a billionaire developer from California has reportedly bought two of the largest dairy farms in the Nehalem Valley. Look for more woke ‘cluster housing’ for leftist/communist Californians to move into. And if you go to Seaside keep your hands on your purse and keep your car doors locked. The tweaker crowd has arrived out of Portland and that city has an increasing number of abandoned RVs and drugged-out folks wandering along Highway 101.

And herein lies my problem with the Greater Idaho movement. Why the hell are ya’ll gonna abandoned the rest of us? That is not okay! Please don’t leave us, please hear me out first! I have an outstanding idea! Instead of Greater Idaho, how about Lesser Portland? Please?? Let me explain.

A separation of governance is clearly needed, and I think I figured out a way to make it happen. I’ve crafted this idea to make it most-favorable to the Democrats of Portland, so they can continue to destroy their former world-class city in rainbow-colored peace while leaving the rest of the state alone. My idea is modeled after the CHAZ movement up in Seattle. Did you hear about it, during the height of the domestic terrorist attacks from the Black Lives Matter communists and Antifa fascists? CHAZ was great! It was an area of Seattle up on Capitol Hill that was designated by the domestic terrorists as the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone. The first thing the anti-border crowd did was erect a border so only CHAZ sympathizers -- woke folk -- were allowed inside. Smart! Borders, great idea! Anyway, CHAZ was a riot -- excuse the pun -- with the then mayor of Seattle, Jenny Durkan, even likening the terrorist camp to the summer of love of 1969. But CHAZ only lasted a couple of weeks. The terrorists chased out the local police, leaving the precinct empty, and the crime and the murder and the rape and all that stuff quickly made the utopia unlivable. Four shootings later, one involving teenagers, the cops moved in and CHAZ was no more.

But I know the defiant leftists can still make their woke utopia work, and I have developed a potential framework. First, our new utopia needs a name. Personally, I like Wokeland. It just rolls off the tongue, like ‘Homeland’ of the Third Reich. And perhaps, one day, Wokeland will become the ‘progressive’ version of the mystical land of Thule. Second, like CHAZ, we need to erect borders around Wokeland. This wall will not be built to keep Portlanders inside Wokeland. They will still be free to leave their safe space and spend their tourist dollars in rural Oregon. The wall around Wokeland will be purposed to keep rural Oregonians out. Genius, right? Hell, most of us don’t go the hipster paradise anymore anyhow, let them wallow in their self-righteousness in peace. To keep Wokeland pure, they can scan QR codes on every phone of those wanting entry into Wokeland, and they can requiring a social credit score that nobody in rural Oregon could ever possibly achieve, in good conscience. Those running Wokeland can mask their children all day at school, they can require vaccines to play pickelball, they can ban the PPB’s gun task force and gang task force because they are racist, and then they can revel in their anti-cop quadrupled homicide rate. The woke folk can ban all cars, mandate more bike lanes that nobody uses because they are actually purposed for Big Tech droid delivery, and they can buy ten-thousand more tents for the tweakers that break into their houses and steal their cars, etc., etc.

The creation of Wokeland will allow woke folk to continue their ground-breaking experiment in civics without any encumbrance from the conservative minds to the east. As the ridiculous pro-gangster, pro-tweaker Measure 114 shows, there is a clear need to separate the governance of the woke form the governance of the conservative. The creation of Wokeland is an idea that should be explored, and at the very least an exploratory committee should be formed. Oregonians can come together and make Wokeland happen, we can do it, I know we can, and then the woke folk can continue down their spiraling drain of failed ideology without taking the rest of Oregon with them.


--Andy Norris

Post Date: 2023-01-21 11:25:22Last Update: 2023-01-21 11:51:46



Semiconductor Can Bring Jobs to Oregon
Committee faces challenges to compete for a share of $280B

Oregon is poised to be a leader in US semiconductor research, design, and production, and to reap historic benefits from the Biden-Harris-led CHIPS & Science Act, a $280 billion investment designed to advance U.S. global leadership in technology and supply chains.

The Oregon legislature is taking advantage by forming a special Joint Semiconductor Committee lead by co-chairs Senator Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro) and Representative Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas County), along with Vice Chairs Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and Representative Kim Wallan (R-Medford).

The Oregon Semiconductor Competitiveness Task Force reports that Oregon is third at 15 percent of the nation’s employment and first in workforce location quotients in the semiconductor industry. Senator Ron Wyden attributes success for the industry is in federal tax incentives. The credits the state has given to Intel has, in turn, helped Intel support more than 50 percent of small businesses in Oregon as their suppliers.

The task force presented a vision of securing Oregon’s position as a global capital of semiconductor Industry and provide opportunities to create more family wage jobs above the median wage and a stronger, more deliberately equitable statewide economy through the advanced manufacturing sector. New industry investments could broadly impact Oregonians across the state—expanding high-wage, equitable employment opportunities in all regions and creating significant new tax revenues for critical priorities like homelessness, affordable housing, and education.

“Semiconductors represent nearly half of Oregon’s exports by value,” said Senator Sollman. “While more than 37,000 Oregonians work directly in computer & electronics manufacturing, millions more benefit from the industry’s economic ripple effects and significant tax revenues.”

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The Committee is preparing to advance legislation, but is faced with two challenges: “Oregon has a generational opportunity to advance shared prosperity and opportunities for workers of all backgrounds,” said Representative Bynum. “Semiconductor jobs pay more than any other manufacturing sector, and nearly half of these jobs require an associate degree or less. By investing in industry growth and development of a diverse, talented workforce, we will change lives for the better.”

The joint committee meetings are scheduled for Monday and Wednesday at 5pm in room HR F in the state capitol.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-01-21 11:15:39Last Update: 2023-01-21 13:39:28



Analysis: Gender Indoctrination Comes to Tillamook County Schools
Your tax dollars at work

When shots are whizzing about your head you do not have time to think about the full scene of the battle, much less the state of the war. In the war for parental rights and childhood innocence the battleground is the government schools, and in Tillamook County the parents and the students are losing, according to some.

Shouldn’t locally funded schools reflect the values of their patrons? Yes, but herein lies the problem: Government schools are becoming less locally funded making them subject to the demands of the state and the federal government. Educrats (elected leaders and appointed bureaucrats) are issuing a multitude of policies to be implemented in local schools. And what is the focus of the state and federal policies? High levels of reading comprehension? Mathematical excellence? Scientific achievement? Nope, its gender expansiveness.

Gender expansive is the edusphere’s fancy way of saying LGBTQAI2S+ without fear of excluding some new gender, unless it is plain male and female. Oregon, who proudly leads the way in legalizing and legitimizing all things that are harmful and transgressive, has recently updated their Supporting Gender Expansive Students Guidance for Schools. 

The goal of these policies is that it “clarifies new and evolving laws and policies.” What new laws and policies? Here is a review of relevant federal and state laws and their funding.

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1. The Feds and the Biden Administration. During his presidential campaign, President Biden vowed to support transgender children. One way his administration followed through was the changing of TITLE IX language in June 2021 to require all federal funded programs to be “free” of discrimination of gender identity. In fact, the Biden Administration assigned the USDA Free Lunch Program as the enforcement agent of “prohibiting discrimination based on...gender identity.” Here discrimination includes discriminating against boys (or 18-year-old high school students) from using girls’ private spaces. Locally, Nestucca Valley School Superintendent stated in response to this concern that “there would be a lot of hungry kids” without the free lunch program. But the school administration never approached the local agricultural community it serves with this issue.

Of course, the TITLE IX language extends to sports. Protecting women’s sports was the original intent of TITLE IX. The TITLE IX change was its own controversy, as it received the most public comments ever on a proposed rule change, but somehow lost thousands of them. Presumably, because they did not have time to make the legally required responses to the public comments. 

2. Oregon Department of Education. If one finds the behavior of the Biden Administration contemptible, the Oregon Department of Education is intolerable. Oregon was one of the first states to pass “Comprehensive” Health Education in 2016. Following, Comprehensive Health was the appearance of School Based Health Clinics. These clinics are generally on school grounds and can offer services for elementary students with parental permission, mental health services without parental notification starting at 14, and all services to 15 year olds without parental notification. While these clinics cannot perform surgeries, they can administer vaccines and write prescriptions for antibiotics, birth control, hormones, etc. Neah-Kah-Nie already operates a school based health clinic, and Nestucca has agreed to work towards opening one within the district. Nationally, Planned Parenthood has also helped fund these clinics, as well as state “grants”.

The state heavily funds most schools in Oregon. There are a few exceptions, like Nestucca, that rely on timber sales for base funding. So, if a school is in non-compliance with ODE policy all funding could be threatened.

3. Local School District Personnel. While many government school staff members are not supporters of the gender expansive agenda, to speak out or refuse to promote gender expansiveness is to risk termination. Some schools and administrators give leeway to classroom teachers and aids. However, the unfortunate reality is that newly graduated teachers are products of 16 years of government indoctrination: A potent mix of Marxist anti-family and anti-capitalist views. Furthermore, teacher unions try to strong arm all teachers into membership and their prevailing doctrines. Compounding all these issues is the exodus of the boomer generation. Furthermore, highly educated school nurses and counselors may be more aggressive supporters of gender expansiveness than the educational staff members. 

School staff have also routinely thwarted laws requiring school based clubs to be student initiated, and started PRISM (formerly known as the Gay Straight Alliance, or GSA) Clubs. In the case of the Nestucca’s PRISM club, it was reportedly the school nurse that started the club. These clubs meet during the school day. School employees do not consider parental consent or notification of students in these clubs. But they do solicit the community to pay for their activities through fundraisers, like See’s Candy Sales. Nationally, these clubs have been prime instigators for convincing children as young as middle school to begin transitioning, without parental approval, and take field trips to Gay Pride parades. Some events attended by members of PRISM are not limited to minors. In other words, PRISM clubs have exposed children to sexually inappropriate materials and adults across the country.

Who is paying for that? Well, your donations, and to some extent tax dollars, as school property are used and school paid employees must be sponsors of these clubs. PRISM also holds pride events, such as was held in the commons area at Nestucca last June and special graduation events for Tillamook students. These events often force non-Prism club members to “celebrate” their LGBTQ+ friends via peer pressure. Individual students’ consciences and parental preference is not considered.

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School nurses can also aid students in finding resources to obtain hormones or receive necessary psychological evaluations for further procedures that can be performed on minors at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Tillamook County Health Department also recently hired a gender-affirming counselor. Local schools have a long history of transporting students to the Health Department for services. The state can legally pay for transgender surgeries of 15-year-olds. Which brings us back to the money.

It is very difficult to tally how much money this agenda is receiving from our tax dollars because there is no line item for Gender Expansive programs and the new guidance demands that these programs be cross-curricula. Simply stated, all funds are fungible and able to be leveraged toward this agenda. The USDA Federal Free Lunch Program and Planned Parenthood (they administer hormone treatments to suppress puberty) spent 15 billion in federal funds in 2019. In Oregon, the state spent $9.2 billion this last school year, or about 50% of tax revenues, on government schools. Obviously the majority of dollars are spent elsewhere, but it is easy to understand their financial advantage versus average median individual income in our county at $50,000 per year.

This well-funded ideological war against majority American parental values seems insurmountable. But Americans do not despair. At the Lexington Green on April 19, 1775 Captain John Parker and his 70 militia men faced approximately 1000 trained and armed British soldiers. Parker stood his ground. Soon other colonial militias joined and the patriots won their first battle against the British. Although the war was long and hard, we know who won.

We can either behave like Captain Parker or leave the children to the predations of this ideology. Many have wisely decided to take their children out of the line of fire by sheltering them in private or homeschools, but the adults must stay on the field. Do not cower to accusations of “transphobe” or “bigot,” the children (including the gender expansive children) deserve our protection. Refusing to speak in public against these policies only breeds more cowardice. Yes, they have money and possibly illegitimate “laws” on their side. Nazi Germany had plenty of laws to legitimize their crimes against the Jews. Insist that school boards refuse Gender Expansive policies and dare the state to deny our local public schools funding. File Title IX complaints against the schools for failing to protect female sports and private spaces. Obtain access to all learning materials. Demand for opt-in versus the antiquated opt-out for Marxist Queer indoctrination. Join with other community members and offer our local schools local solutions to reduced or free lunches.


--April Bailey

Post Date: 2023-01-19 05:12:43Last Update: 2023-01-19 09:31:23



Analysis: The Appointment of Senator Brock Smith
Shemia Fagan concluded that the candidates would have another qualification criteria

Representative David Brock Smith of Port Orford was appointed to his Oregon State Senate seat in Senate District 1 on Wednesday, January 11th at the Roseburg Courthouse. David Brock Smith’s ascent to the seat started on December 16th when Dallas Heard endorsed Smith as successor to his seat.

Members of the Oregon Republican Party had known that Dallas Heard was not planning on running for another term as Senator since March 9, 2022 when Heard stepped down from his position as ORP chair, but there had been no announcement of his intent to resign from the Senate until December 15th. His resignation became effective on January 1st.

The Senator’s two weeks notice during the holiday season gave the Republican Parties of Coos, Curry and Douglas Counties very little time to recruit, vet and promote candidates needed for a competitive special election. In late December the Special Election was scheduled for January 7th, with only a 13 day notice before the election date. This short notice of the meeting date caused the Douglas County Republican Party concern that a mandatory 14 day notice was not met and could allow the Special Election to be nullified.

Within the special election process, the Precinct Committee-person’s of the Republican Party, instead of the general population of voters, were entitled to vote. Each PCPs’ vote represents about 250 constituents within their precinct.

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The Douglas County Republican Party Executive Board managed to activate 5 candidates for the Special Election; Tim Allen, Tom Dole, Doug Mendenhall, Richard Vander Velden, and Todd Vaughn. Curry County had two candidates, David Brock Smith and a Mr. Avery who immediately stepped-down to endorse David Brock Smith. Coos County had no candidates.

The Special Election met in Coquille on January 7th. The meeting opened with an announcement that there was a possible change of the rules to qualify candidates. The Secretary of State, Shemia Fagan, had concluded that because SD1 was redistricted since Senator Heard took office, the candidates would have another qualification criteria added, not only would the candidates have to live within the current SD1 boundaries, by Fagan’s opinion they now needed to live in both the new and old SD1 boundaries. That new restriction would eliminate two of the Douglas County Candidates, Todd Vaughn and Richard Vander Velden.

The voting PCP’s were told that the Legislative Counsel did not agree with the Secretary of State’s interpretation of the Oregon Revised Statutes’ criteria for conducting the election. The PCP’s were instructed at the beginning of the meeting, that even if the two candidates who had been affected by the district boundary change were elected, they might be eliminated when the controversy between the Legislative Counsel and Fagan was settled. Many of the PCP’s present at the election reacted with suspicion that something nefarious was happening behind the scenes.

Before the PCP’s could vote for their choice of nominees, they must vote on how many nominees they will present to the Commissioners of the three counties. According to ORS 171.051(3), the failure of presenting the County Commissioners with the required minimum of three nominees would result in a failure of the Special Election and the choice of the next State Senator would then default to Governor Tina Kotek. With that to consider, many PCP’s changed their intended vote of presenting 3 nominees and instead voted to present 5 nominees. Todd’s and Richard’s precarious position as being subject to a possible elimination by Secretary of State Fagan may have influenced some PCP’s not to vote for them. The candidates then gave their speeches, were asked several written questions solicited from the PCP’s and the ballots were handed out and eventually tallied.

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In order of the highest number of votes, the winning nominees presented to the County Commissioners were: David Brock Smith at 16890.87, Tim Allen at 13385.82, Richard Vander Velden at 9975.45, Todd Vaughn at 8615.39 and Tomas Dole at 8508.38. When the Douglas County vote was separated out from the three counties, Tim Allen was in a decisive lead at 9715.87 over the next contender, David Brock Smith at 8030.29. Since the Douglas County Commissioners wielded 73.58 % of the vote by population, Tim Allen seemed to have the edge.

On January 11th, the County Commissioners met at the Douglas County Courthouse to appoint the nominee of their choice at the Senate District Meeting. The meeting was recorded on video on the Douglas County website.

At the Senate District Meeting the first order of business was to decide the controversy between the Legislative Counsel and Secretary of State, Fagan. Commissioner Tim Freeman and County Clerk Dan Loomis referred to the Oregon Constitution and ORS to support the Secretary of States’ position to eliminated Richard Vander Velden and Todd Vaughn. The Oregon Constitution Article IV 3(2)(c) and Section 6(6)(8)ORS 171.068(2) and ORS 171.060(1) were cited to determine if residency requirements were met.

Freeman also cited an email sent by the Secretary of State two days earlier on January 9 at 4:39 pm. The way Tim Freeman read the email, it relied on ORS 171.106, but that statute is not listed within ORS Chapter 171 on the Oregon Legislature’s website. Commissioner Tim Freeman referred to the conflicting decisions between the Legislative Counsel and Secretary of State Fagan as “what seemed to be contrary, really was not.” The Legislative Counsel had added two caveats that allowed for the qualification of the candidates under certain conditions. Commissioner Chris Boice motioned to “strike the two disqualified candidates from the slate and only hear from the 3 candidates who meet all three qualifications.” The motion passed unanimously.

The three remaining nominees gave five minute speeches and answered questions from the nine Commissioners. The Commissioners then voted unanimously for David Brock Smith.

Near the end of the proceeding, Tim Freeman did apologize for the confusion caused by the Secretary of State Fagan at both the Special Election and the Senate District Meeting. Tim Freeman stated that if they had not had the five nominees, the two nominees who were eliminated would have qualified under one of the caveats provided by the Legislative Counsel.

At the end of this Senate District Meeting, Tim Freeman stated that in the last 8 years, the Douglas County Commissioners have appointed 4 legislative positions, and 1 of each of the following; a clerk, a surveyor, an assessor, a treasurer and a commissioner for a total of nine positions. By the time the Commissioners appoint the vacant House of Representatives seat left by David Brock Smith, it will be 5 legislative seats and a total of 10 elective positions.

Resignation from elected positions can be timed to allow the election of a replacement through the general election, or the timing can result in the need for a special election. If endorsements, special elections and appointments are used as a political strategy to bypass an election by the people, it results in the disenfranchisement of other candidates and the voters.


--Terry Noonkester

Post Date: 2023-01-18 08:51:57Last Update: 2023-01-18 09:43:15



House Republican Leader Announces 2023 Caucus Priorities
“This is not the Oregon I was raised in, know, and love”

During a joint press conference with Speaker Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) and Majority Leader Julie Fahey (D-Eugene), House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) announced the 2023 House Republican Legislative Priorities.

Leader Breese-Iverson began by highlighting the current status of our state.

“It is no secret that Oregon is at a crossroad. Despite record funding for our public education system, we continue to rank near the bottom of the national average… Oregon farmers and ranchers produce over 13 percent of our Gross Domestic Product, and even though we continue to hear about food uncertainty for many Oregonians, these producers continue to be sent a message that their farms and ranches are not valued in our state. This is not the Oregon I was raised in, know, and love,” according to Leader Breese-Iverson’s remarks as prepared.

The Republican Leader identified four key priorities for the 2023 Legislative Session: “Although there are no shortage of issues to address, we are ready to get to work. Oregonians deserve nothing less,” according to Leader Breese-Iverson’s remarks as prepared.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-01-18 06:41:14Last Update: 2023-01-17 19:51:57



Bend-La Pine Schools to Lodge Students on Field Trips According to Gender Identity
“A parent’s only recourse is to remove their child from the activity”

On January 10, the Bend-LaPine School District, under the direction of Dr. Steve Cook, passed an Administrative Regulation regarding lodging arrangements for overnight field trips basing placement on gender identity.

Gender balance of staff / chaperones is highly encouraged on all excursions. For an overnight trip or camp, Bend-La Pine Schools shall assure that staff, chaperones and students are assigned to rooms or cabins that correspond to their gender identity. Staff shall determine placement of students, staff and chaperones based on the need for appropriate supervision and shall take into consideration the safety, security and wellbeing of all gender-conforming and nonconforming persons.

Supervisors(s) must have knowledge that students will not be permitted to leave the field trip group during the trip unless they are released to their parent/guardian.

One parent, who declined to be identified, summarized the policy as "students will be placed in cabins on overnight field trips (outdoor school etc.) according to their gender identity. This essentially means biological girls and boys will be "assigned" into cabins with members of the opposite sex and vice versa and a parent's only recourse as I understand it, is to remove their child from the activity. These assessments and placements will be made by staff (not parents)."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-01-17 06:11:49Last Update: 2023-01-16 15:49:16



State to Review Gold Mine Plan
It is a Technical Review Team meeting on a proposed gold mine in Malheur County

State agencies will meet by teleconference on February 2 on a proposed chemical process gold mine in Malheur County. Calico Resources has submitted a letter of intent to start mining for gold.

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' (DOGAMI) 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

The Technical Review Team will meet by teleconference on Thursday, February 2, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to noon PST. The public and media can listen to the meetings by joining the Zoom Meeting online, or by phone.

The Technical Review Team is an inter-disciplinary team of state agencies that reviews information and concerns related to a proposed mine during all phases of the application process, and ultimately develops consolidated permit conditions that conform to Oregon regulations.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-01-16 06:09:05Last Update: 2023-01-15 11:03:05



Oregon Campaign Contributions Under Investigation
FTX crypto scam builds

Oregon became familiar with the FTX crypto scam when a $500,000 contribution was made to Governor Tina Kotek’s campaign made in the name of the cryptocurrency startup Prime Trust based in Nevada. However, Epoch Times is reporting that Prime Trust was allegedly used as a “pass-through,” with the funds actually coming from Nishad Singh, former director of engineering at FTX, the now bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange run by Sam Bankman-Fried. The U.S. Department of Justice has charged Bankman-Fried with making millions of dollars in donations in other people’s names using cash from customers’ accounts at FTX.

As part of a widening investigation into Bankman-Fried and Singh, federal prosecutors are now looking into campaign donations to the Democratic Party of Oregon (DPO). But, Kotek’s contributions was peanuts compared to the $14 million that Democrat Carrick Flynn, running for the new 6th Congressional District, received from Prime Trust. It was later revealed that the funds were from Bankman-Fried ($13 million) and Singh ($1 million).

Epoch Times reports six opposing candidates for the 6th Congressional District released a joint statement in April decrying the move. Flynn reportedly received more than twice the outside spending of any other congressional candidate in the nation during the 2022 primary, due primarily to Bankman-Fried’s donation.

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan launched an investigation in November, after the election, to determine whether contributions were made under a false name by Singh, and whether the DPO broke a state law accepting political donations under a false name. Secretary Fagan refuses to release responses, and says they are trying to determine whether Singh misled members of the DPO when the donation was made, whether someone within the DPO posted the contribution fraudulently, or whether it was an honest mistake. Making a campaign contribution under a false name is a felony.

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Epoch Times reports that DPO denied any wrongdoing, “Based upon documentation received from our bank, the DPO reasonably believed that this contribution was, in fact, from Prime Trust LLC,” wrote DPO executive director Brad Martin in a recent statement.

Flynn is also reported to receive “dark-money” from the Guarding Against Pandemics group, run by Sam Bankman-Fried’s brother Gabe Bankman-Fried, which obscures its donors. According to a transcript of a May 14 interview, Flynn told Vox that he’s never met or talked with Sam but is friendly with Gabe Bankman-Fried. Flynn speculated that the support was based on their shared interest in preventing pandemics and the “effective altruism,” a philosophical and social movement to help “all humans, animals and people who are not born yet.”

Despite the unprecedented support, Flynn was defeated in the primary race by Democrat Andrea Salinas who went on to victory in the general election, becoming the first to represent Oregon’s new 6th district.

The bill to reform campaign contributions has again been Introduced by Speak Rayfield and other under HB 2003. However, it only applies to state candidates, but it would limit the governor’s campaign from accepting more than $30,000 in aggregate from a political party multicandidate committee.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-01-15 06:48:28Last Update: 2023-01-15 10:09:05



Oregon Detective Receives National Recognition
Matt Brassfield receives his third honor by NCFI

Receiving top honors for his work as a digital forensic examiner is Matt Brassfield, a tenured detective with the Salem Police Criminal Investigations Section.

On January 4, the US Secret Service’s National Computer Forensics Institute (NCFI) recognized Detective Matt Brassfield for being one of the nation’s top 50 examiners in the field of digital forensics in 2022. The veteran detective ranked 47th from amongst more than 1,500 participating examiners all across the country. The field of digital forensics involves the recovery and investigation of material found on a variety of digital devices, such as small digital storage container, mobile phones and records, computers, and network storage systems.

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“The use of digital technology in the commission of crimes continues to grow,” said Deputy Chief Jake Burke who oversees the Investigations Division. “Detective Brassfield’s skill and knowledge in the field of forensics is essential to the successful prosecution and closure of numerous persons and property crimes. We are very proud he is being recognized for his work and expertise.”

Brassfield, who has worked in the field of computer forensics for six years, was previously honored by NCFI in 2019 and 2020.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-01-14 16:41:16Last Update: 2023-01-14 22:15:58



Secretary Fagan Announces 2023 Protect Our Democracy Agenda
Calls on Legislators to Lead

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan has sent a letter to state legislators announcing her 2023 legislative agenda: the Protect Our Democracy agenda.

“Today I am sending you my 2023 Protect Our Democracy agenda, which calls for targeted investments in how we run elections to ensure that they remain free, fair and secure,” Secretary Fagan wrote in the letter. “As you weigh your choices and decide which priorities to focus on, please remember that without investments in our elections, we will not have the necessary public trust to address the challenges that Oregonians face today. This agenda is not in competition with other priorities. It is foundational to them.”

The Protect our Democracy Agenda includes five areas of focus where we can build on Oregon’s history as a pro-democracy state. They include:
  1. Investing in free, fair and secure elections
  2. Expanding access to our democracy
  3. Election security
  4. Successfully implementing campaign finance reform
  5. Updates to election laws
“The rising tide of anti-democracy forces in our country erodes trust and threatens our freedoms,” Secretary Fagan wrote. “Thanks to our track record of pro-democracy policy, Oregon is uniquely positioned to show the rest of the country a better way forward.”

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Chair of Oregonians for Free and Fair Elections Janice Dysinger sees the problems as coming from elsewhere. "It is easy to vote in Oregon," she said. "It is also an unprotected system and anyone willing to say that they are a citizen and of age can register here from anywhere in the world. No proof, no ID is necessary according to the instructions for the federal postcard application."

According to Dysinger, "the more phantom voters we get here the easier it is to manipulate the vote count. That has been a tactic in other states for manipulating the vote. We find out about these problems and ask questions and we are the bad guys according to Secretary Fagan. Checking the signatures is the only security we have in our election. The Election Observation process has been compromised. Also Ballot Harvesting is legal, unmonitored ballot boxes are not all collected at the close of election day, late arriving ballots without postmarks, and allowing voters to stay on the voter roll indefinitely even though they don't vote."

Secretary Fagan continued, "The 2023 Legislative Session convenes during a time of significant risks for American democracy, with states passing laws that restrict the right to vote or allow partisan interference in elections, falling public trust in democracy, and the continued threat of violent actions like the January 6 insurrection. Despite these headwinds, data show trust and participation in Oregon remains high."

"The 2023 Protect Our Democracy Agenda will ensure that remains a leader by ensuring that our elections remain free and fair," according to Fagan.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-01-13 04:22:54Last Update: 2023-01-13 04:26:00



David Brock Smith Appointed to State Senate Seat
Will fill vacancy left by retiring Dallas Heard

Coos, Curry, and Douglas County Commissioners met in a joint session to fill the vacancy in Senate District 1 created by the resignation of Dallas Heard (R-Roseburg). The commissioners voted unanimously to appoint State Representative David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford).

“I am humbled to be chosen to replace my friend and colleague Dallas Heard in the Oregon State Senate with this unanimous vote by the County Commissioners of our three counties,” said Representative Brock Smith. “I was honored by the overwhelming support of the Precinct Committee Person’s during Saturday’s Nomination Convention and I want to thank each and every one of them for their affirmation my work for them in the Oregon Legislature. I also want to thank Representative Osborne, Representative Goodwin, Representative Wright, Senator Anderson and so many other legislative colleagues, industry professionals and community leaders for their support and encouragement in moving forward in this process.”

Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) said, “On behalf of the entire Senate Republican Caucus, I want to extend a warm welcome to Senator-Designate David Brock Smith. We have full confidence that you will represent Senate District 1 well and look forward to adding your knowledge and experience to our Caucus.”

Senator-Designate Brock Smith has served in the House since 2017.

Representative Brock Smith has served in the Oregon House of Representatives since 2017, covering Curry and portions of Coos, Douglas and Josephine Counties. He has been an Assistant Leader in the House Republican Caucus and a champion for our natural resource industries and their economies.

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“The 82nd Legislative Session began on Monday and there is a lot of work to be done for our rural district,” said Rep. Brock Smith. “We have incredibly experienced and dedicated Sheriffs, County Commissioners, Police Chiefs, Mayors, School Board Members and Community Leaders in Douglas, Coos and Curry Counties. I look forward to working with them and my Senate and House colleagues to continue to bring our rural conservative values to Salem for our residents, their communities and the businesses that support them.”

Details about his swearing-in are to be announced.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-01-12 13:09:08Last Update: 2023-01-12 13:19:20



Oregon to Receive Millions from Feds for Broadband
Audit Finds State Needs More Assistance to Take Full Advantage

An audit of the Oregon Broadband Office released by Secretary of State Shemia Fagan found the office will likely be prepared to receive and facilitate upcoming federal infrastructure grant awards. However, the office will require more assistance, and federal funding specifically earmarked for broadband grant administration, to ensure Oregon receives all the available grant money and disburses it to communities with the most critical needs first.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get all Oregonians online,” said Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. “Access to affordable, high-speed broadband is a necessity. Without it, kids will struggle in school, adults will be disadvantaged in their careers, small businesses cannot reach their customers and communities will fall behind. I am calling on the Oregon Broadband Office to fully implement the findings of this audit to ensure federal money is used equitably in a way that serves disadvantaged communities first.”

As part of the new federal infrastructure bill which passed in 2021, Oregon may receive between $400 million and $1 billion over the course of the next several years to broaden access to broadband throughout the state and ensure all people of Oregon have access to this digital lifeline. This funding will largely come in the form of grants to be administered through the Oregon Broadband Office.

Auditors found the Oregon Broadband Office will need to focus additional efforts in the areas of strategic planning; documenting and distributing its processes, policies, and procedures, timelines, roadmaps, and milestones to its stakeholders to ensure transparency; and be more aggressive in removing barriers to broadband implementation.

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Auditors also note opportunities for the office to effectively monitor and improve broadband programs to close the known broadband gap. The office should pursue collaborative and unique ways of closing the digital divide through continued stakeholder engagement and by establishing dedicated funding for equitable broadband implementation in Oregon. The audit was critical of the office because they have "not yet established a diversity, equity, and inclusion plan, or assigned responsibility for this effort, even though underrepresented communities are most adversely affected by a lack of broadband access."

The audit focused on the Oregon Broadband Office’s 14 statutory requirements set in action by HB 2173 passed in 2019. The auditors made 10 recommendations in total addressed to the Oregon Broadband Office, with the assistance of the Oregon Business Development Department, and the Oregon Broadband Advisory Council.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-01-11 11:14:55Last Update: 2023-01-11 11:32:03



Incandescent Light Bulbs Are Now Illegal
CRI fluorescent lamp manufacturing banned

Power outages have already plagued the new year. Western Oregon and Washington are recovering from high tides and strong winds create monster waves leading to fatal crashes, power outages and flooded homes. More than 22,000 homes were reported without electricity from Portland to south Salem, and another 46,000 homes lacked power in the Astoria, Tillamook and Coos Bay areas.

When lights came on January 1, 2023, many were illegally using and holding fast to the old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs that we grew up with. The US Department of Energy has ruled that the old light bulbs use too much electricity.

In Biden’s effort to save the planet, he violates his own “pro-choice” health policy by avoiding the dangers claiming consumers will save hundreds of dollars a year by making the mandatory transition to LEDs. Biden can’t be totally blamed for this intrusive policy. It is connected to the law that dates back to the George W. Bush administration, who promoted and signed a law that mandated energy efficiency in virtually all household appliances.

Surprisingly, Oregon is behind other states. It had not passed restrictions on using incandescent light bulbs or high-CRI (color rendering index) linear fluorescent lamps. Oregon banned the sale of high-CRI fluorescent lamps with a manufacture date after January 1, 2023. CRI determines how accurately a light source portrays color. EISA excluded high CRI linear fluorescent lamps that has allowed states to push for the more energy efficient LEDs. Fluorescent lights can give people headaches and sometimes the flickering can affect nerves.

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The French health authority warned that the increased amount of blue light in LED lighting can damage the eye’s retina and disturb biological and sleep rhythms. They claim there is also a link to age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss among people over 50, causing damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina that’s needed for sharp central vision.

The French study was confirmed by an American study by Morehouse School of Medicine professor and chief scientific research officer Gianluca Tosini. He also added that some exposure to blue light in the middle of the day may have beneficial effects in that it increases alertness. A Columbia University professor of ophthalmic sciences, Janet Sparrow said that the exposure compounds with age and early evidence suggests that the light sensitivity may lead to unhealthy optical responses over the long term.

They seem to agree that protective eye wear would reduce exposure and use of only low-risk LED devices be available to consumers. That must be what they consider pro-choice when it comes to light bulbs.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-01-11 10:21:21Last Update: 2023-01-11 12:24:37



House Republican Caucus Sends Bi-Partisan Letter to Governor Kotek
Partisan divide is of no benefit to Oregonians

The Oregon House Republican Caucus made it clear to Governor Tina Kotek that they are ready to work in a bi-partisan way for the benefit of all Oregonians. Following the Governor’s inaugural ceremony, making her the 39th Governor of Oregon, the lawmakers addressed the deep partisan divide across the state in a letter.

“As exemplified by a trying campaign for both the Executive and Legislative branches, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans provides no benefit to the constituents that elected us,” said the House Republican Caucus. “The constituencies that our Caucus represent highlight the best that Oregon has to offer. Indeed, our Caucus provides valuable, real-world insight to a variety of policy debates, and by working together, we can solve the most pressing needs facing our State.”

The letter highlighted five urgent areas that both parties agree need urgent attention. The Oregon House Republicans said, “we agree that housing, homelessness, and a lack of economic opportunity continue to plague Oregon. Our goal is to expand housing opportunities by cutting regulatory red tape, promoting small business engagement and job growth, and working towards a sound, economically feasible solution to rising housing costs and affordability.”

Second, they identified the need for a responsible fiscal policy to help alleviate the rising costs that have far exceeded growth in wages. Oregon has experienced a year-over-year inflation rate of 8.1% and the Republican Caucus is committed to promoting proposals which reduce the overall economic burden on families, including a temporary reduction in income tax and a coinciding reduction in overall government spending. These incremental changes are a modest, simple way to provide everyday Oregonians with economic aid while larger, structural reforms can be debated by the Assembly.

Third, the caucus emphasized public safety through law enforcement and cease using them as pawns in political discourse. “While we are committed to developing policies which improve policing and community trust, we should also recognize that the men and women in law enforcement provide valuable and necessary protection and are selfless in their pursuit of serving their community.”

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Accentuating the Governor’s pre-inauguration tour of the state, they concur that all branches of government understand and appreciate that the laws enacted in Salem go far beyond the metropolitan areas. They write that “Oregon’s rural communities provide vital resources for our state and over-burdensome regulations negatively impact those who provide our state’s most critical commodities.”

Lastly, they called for agreement on policies which provide opportunity and government expenditures which benefit all, not just a chosen few. “To do so will require increased accountability to spending proposals and policymaking,” the Caucus said. “Oregon must position itself to allocate scarce resources and funding to the greatest benefit. This means continuing to monitor government waste and re-allocating monies for health care, education, agriculture, and housing.”

It is the Republican Caucus’ desire that policies empower parents to choose which school their children should attend irrespective of location or finances, reducing the regulation and opportunity cost for entrepreneurs to start businesses, and providing sound investment strategies to existing government programs to maximize efficiency and reliability.

The 2023 Legislative Session begins on Tuesday, January 17th.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-01-09 18:47:03Last Update: 2023-01-10 12:03:09



Kotek Sworn in as Oregon Governor
SoS Fagan Attends Remotely

Former House Speaker Tina Kotek has been sworn in as Oregon's 39th Governor. In her inaugural address she promised two things to happen immediately. First, she will issue an executive order on housing to increase the supply of government subsidized housing. As speaker, Kotek presided over an increasingly urgent shortage of housing. Second, she will declare a Homelessness State of Emergency.

As a new lawmaker in my first term, I sat in a roundtable in then Secretary of State Kate Brown’s office and helped map out a plan to pass Oregon’s groundbreaking automatic voter registration law. As Governor Kate Brown exits today, Oregon is celebrating the distinction of the highest voter turnout in the nation in the 2022 election. Governor Brown leaves a legacy of trailblazing and lifesaving, and I will miss her.

I am excited to celebrate another trailblazer today, Oregon’s new Governor, Tina Kotek. After serving with Governor-Elect Kotek in the Oregon House when she was the Speaker, I have no doubt that she is eager to cut through the ceremony and get back to work solving Oregon’s biggest challenges. I celebrate her today, not only because of her barrier-breaking accession to Oregon’s highest office, but because of how hard she will work for all of Oregon for the next four years.

Lastly, I want to congratulate all the new lawmakers in Salem today. It was not that long ago that I joined my family on the floor of the Oregon House and took my oath of office. I hope all the new and returning lawmakers take a moment to soak up the excitement and celebration today. Oregon is lucky to have you.

Kate Brown suffered from very low approval ratings at the end of her term, finally earning the dubious distinction of having the lowest rating of any governor in the nation in the fall of 2022.

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Governors Kotek and Brown have presided over decades-long declines in education, homelessness, public safety and prosperity.

Under the practice of limiting events where the Governor, Secretary of State and Treasurer are in the same high-profile location, Secretary Fagan will assume the role of “designated survivor” during today’s inauguration. Secretary Fagan will not attend the ceremony, and instead she will view Governor-Elect Kotek’s inauguration from an undisclosed location. Deputy Secretary of State Cheryl Myers will attend today's inauguration on behalf of the Secretary.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-01-09 12:58:49Last Update: 2023-01-09 22:36:16



School Choice Event Features “Miss Virginia”
True story starting a school choice movement

National School Choice Week event, hosted by Education Freedom for Oregon, will be held January 28, 2023, 12-3 pm at the Walters Cultural Arts Center, 527 East Main Street, Hillsboro. The event is free, but registration is required.

This event will be to educate families about what School Choice is and why it helps students. This free, fun, family-friendly event includes the showing of a movie about School Choice called "Miss Virginia." This movie is based on the true story of a mother who sacrifices everything to give her son a safe school environment and good education. Unwilling to allow her son to stay in a dangerous school, she launched a movement that helps thousands of families find the right school for their children so they receive a safe, wholesome education.

The event will include a livestream with Virginia Walden Ford, featured in the movie, to answer questions about her movie and her mission.

The movie demonstrates how it is possible for parents, grandparents, neighbors and other ordinary people can stand up for their children and give them the opportunity and financial means for a great education.

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This event is hosted by Education Freedom for Oregon, formed in September 2021 during the pandemic when parents became aware of the curriculum their children were being taught. Inspired by a June 2021 national poll showing 80 percent supporting parents’ ability to choose where their child is educated in K-12. Even Democrats polled at 70 percent. Parents came together to form the organization to promote school choice with the specific goal to have state school funds follow the student to customize education that meets the needs of the student. They have promoted school choice ever since through legislation and petitions.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-01-06 11:30:31Last Update: 2023-01-06 19:51:00



Radon Awareness Month
Best time to test is during the heating season

The best time to test for radon is during the heating season – the winter months – when windows and doors are closed tight. It's why Oregon Health Authority recognizes National Radon Action Month during January by encouraging people to test their homes for the odorless, tasteless, invisible gas.

Many parts of Oregon remain at risk of high radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes up from the ground and is drawn into buildings, where it can build up to dangerous levels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking, and it's the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. But people can take steps to reduce their exposure to radon by testing their homes for the gas and, if necessary, hiring a professional to reduce radon to a safe level.

"Now, more than ever, we are spending more time in our homes. That means more exposure to potentially high radon levels," said Jara Popinga, OHA's Radon Awareness Program coordinator. "The only way to know if you have a high radon level is to test. The best time to test for radon is during the heating season or colder months when the windows and doors are closed for long periods of time."

Many test kits are priced between $20 and $30 and can be found in most hardware stores or available for purchase from online retailers. High radon levels can be fixed by a certified radon professional for a cost similar to that of common home repairs ranging between $2,000 and $3,000, such as painting or having a new water heater installed.

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The Radon Awareness Program collects radon test data from test kit manufacturers to understand which areas of the state have the potential for high radon levels and to identify regions where educational outreach efforts need to be focused. The program is offering a free radon test kit to residents whose homes are in ZIP codes with fewer than 20 radon test results. Residents can learn more about the free radon test kit program and how to apply at www.healthoregon.org/radon. Free test kits are available while supplies last.

For more information on which areas of the state are at moderate to high risk of elevated radon levels, radon testing and mitigation or to order a test kit online, contact the Radon Awareness Program at radon.program@state.or.us or visit www.healthoregon.org/radon.


--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2023-01-06 11:25:44Last Update: 2023-01-06 11:55:23



ODE Releases Guidance for Schools Supporting Gender Expansive Students
“Empowering school districts, students and families to implement gender-affirming practices every day”

The Oregon Department of Education has announced that it is "proud to publish Supporting Gender Expansive Students: Guidance for Schools. This guidance is grounded in the recognition, respect, affirmation, friendship, joy, belonging, and safety every human deserves - including the students, staff, and families that make-up our school communities."

According to a news release from the ODE, “Gender expansive students are protected under federal and Oregon civil rights laws. School districts have a responsibility to provide a safe and affirming educational environment for all students, including gender expansive students,” Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill said. “Affirming and supportive educators, schools, families, friends, and communities are shown to increase academic success, feelings of belonging, and reduce negative mental health outcomes.”

"These gender-affirming best practices from the Oregon Department of Education will help our schools to build safe learning environments where gender expansive students feel welcome, accepted, and celebrated for who they are," said Governor Kate Brown. "It's critical that we continue to work towards ensuring that Oregon's gender expansive students have access to all the same opportunities for learning, achievement, and success as their peers––without fear of discrimination and harassment. If you are a gender expansive student in Oregon, please know this––you are seen, you are loved, and you will always have a place in Oregon's public schools."

The ODE describes the guidance as "developed with input from over 500 students, parents, community members, educators, district leaders, statewide education partners, LGBTQ2SIA+ community-based organizations, culturally-specific organizations, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), and ODE staff from many offices and teams. This updated guidance clarifies new and evolving laws and policies in order to address the diverse needs of a broad range of gender expansive students and the school districts who serve them."

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This guidance update replaces the previously released Guidance to School Districts: Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment for Transgender Students from 2016. ODE’s 2016 guidance was one of the first statewide guidance documents in the nation to assist K-12 schools to synthesize state law, federal law, and best practice in order to support transgender students.

Key Points In The Updated Guidance: Alongside the guidance, ODE is releasing a set of tools that offer districts best practices and recommendations to implement gender-affirming practices each day. At the request of students and community members, there are also student- and family-facing resource documents that outline the support that can be requested and affirmed within Oregon public schools and communities.

For School Districts: For Students and Families: The publication of this guidance comes during a tumultuous time for LGBTQ2SIA+ communities nationwide, as well as in Oregon. In the face of ongoing anger and violence, gender expansive students are resilient, as are the LGBTQ2SIA+ communities that lift them up all across Oregon. 8% of Oregon students who identify as transgender, questioning, or gender expansive are part of our communities and our classrooms, our school plays, our after school clubs, our bands and orchestras, our leadership programs, and our sports teams. LGBTQ2SIA+ youth report finding sources of joy in self-acceptance, supportive teachers, falling in love, playing sports, parental support, LGBTQ2SIA+ student clubs, and affirming friends, among others.

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As directed by the State Legislature in 2021, this guidance is one way ODE is prioritizing the LGBTQ2SIA+ Student Success Plan strategy which states, “ODE demonstrates leadership to districts, schools, and families by collecting and disseminating resources, providing guidance and coaching, addressing violations of policy in a timely manner, and proactively building districts’ capacity to create trusting, connected and inclusive environments.” (Student Success Plan Domain 3, Objective 2).

“It is our responsibility to move beyond mere tolerance and inclusion toward respectful, affirming, and celebratory school communities where all students belong and succeed,” Gill said. “Gender expansive students who are absent due to fear, or who spend their school day feeling unsafe, are prevented from accessing their right to an education. In partnership with each of our school districts, we can make 2023 a year of wraparound support for LGBTQ2SIA+ youth in Oregon.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-01-05 11:27:32Last Update: 2023-01-05 12:09:21



Next Multnomah County Sheriff Sworn In
First woman to hold the office

Nicole Morrisey O’Donnell was sworn in as Multnomah County Sheriff on Wednesday, Jan. 4, becoming the first woman to hold the post in the Sheriff’s Office’s nearly 170-year history.

Over 160 people — including former chiefs and captains, community leaders and newly sworn-in Chair Jessica Vega Pederson, alongside other County commissioners — filled the Multnomah Building’s boardroom for the swearing-in ceremony.  

Morrisey O’Donnell will lead Oregon’s largest Sheriff’s Office, whose 750-plus sworn and civilian employees provide services throughout the county, including in Maywood Park, Troutdale and Wood Village. Morrisey O’Donnell boasts more than 26 years of experience, rising in the ranks from deputy to lieutenant to captain, then to Chief Deputy and Undersheriff. She is one of only two Multnomah County sheriffs to hold dual certifications in both police and corrections disciplines. As Sheriff, she oversees a $184 million budget.

Speakers at Wednesday’s event included Musse Olol, president of the Somali American Council of Oregon, and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Chief of Business Services Erin Hubert.   

“I personally had the opportunity to meet her and have one-on-one conversations with her,” said Olol, pointing to Morrisey O’Donnell’s participation in large community celebration events, as well as smaller, more conversational ones. I’ve always noticed her level of humility and openness to learn from the community. This is the exact combination we need for the ideal sheriff of Multnomah County.”

Morrisey O’Donnell will lead the Sheriff’s Office with distinction, and will serve every community with honor and courage, said Olol.

Oregon Supreme Court Justice Adrienne Nelson issued the oath of office while Morrisey O’Donnell’s husband, retired Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputy Bob O’Donnell, pinned on her Sheriff’s badge.  

Morrisey O’Donnell earned her degree at the University of Portland and received subsequent training at the Oregon Executive Development Institute and Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association Command College. 

Morrisey O’Donnell acknowledged and thanked the wide array of community members, including friends, family members and fellow members of the Sheriff’s Office, as well as former Sheriff Mike Reese.  

“I will lead the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and serve our community with compassion, pride and unwavering resolve to building stronger communities because building stronger communities makes everyone safer,” Morrisey O’Donnell stated. “I am committed to listening to, and learning from all community members to build solutions together to meet the unique public safety needs of each community.” 

Morrisey O’Donnell emphasized reducing gun violence. 

“This stems from an early childhood incident when my father survived a shooting during an armed robbery at his business in our small town,” she shared. “My family and I experienced firsthand the impacts gun violence can have in our home and in our community.”

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Preventing violence in all forms remains a top priority, she stressed. 

“I will invest in initiatives focused on prevention, intervention and support services through building partnerships with community-based resources and investigative and enforcement efforts,” Morrisey O’Donnell said. 

“I will be a leader and develop collaborative strategies to break the cycle of violence, advocate for the voices of victims and survivors, and hold accountable those who do harm in our community.” 

Morrisey O’Donnell said that she would work with County health partners to develop an integrated public safety approach that would support a more efficient trauma-informed response to people experiencing behavioral and mental health challenges. That work, she said, would rest on continued partnerships with mental health providers, addiction specialists and social services, and an ongoing focus on outreach efforts, including access to safe housing education and job skills, and treatment opportunities. 

She then turned her attention to the employees she now oversees.

“The people who work at the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office are dedicated and extremely hard-working,” she said. “I care about our members and I admire their dedication to the work they do every day for the safety of our community and in service to others.”

Morrisey O’Donnell said that her interactions with people across the county made it clear to her that “we are united in our care and concern for our loved ones. And we want the same things for families, our friends and our neighbors: a safe community where everyone feels welcome.”

“I know this is a big task, and I am honored and encouraged by your trust in me to do this important work,” the new Sheriff said in closing. “I have a heart for service, a strong resolve and it is my life‘s calling.”

Sheriff Morrisey O'Donnell's swearing in was just one of several ceremonies for Multnomah County officials taking place this week. Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson was sworn in Tuesday evening, while Commissioner Diane Rosenbaum was sworn in Wednesday afternoon to represent District 3. Commissioner Susheela Jayapal and Auditor Jennifer McGuirk will be sworn in for their second four-year terms during the regular board meeting on Thursday, Jan. 5.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2023-01-04 20:53:35Last Update: 2023-01-04 21:16:14



State Court Upholds Restraining Order on Brown
“Today’s decision is very good news”

Judge Robert Raschio in Harney County issued a decision on the State of Oregon’s efforts to eliminate the three day safeguard rule, which requires law enforcement to report the results of a background check for firearms purchases or allow the transaction to proceed. Both state and federal law have safeguards built in to allow the transfer of a firearm to take place when the background check system fails.

Judge Raschio issued a two-page opinion focused on the severability issue. The text of Measure 114 contained a severability clause which said that "if any provision of this 2022 Act or its applications to any person or circumstance is held invalid", then the court determines if other portions of the law survive.

The language the defendants urge the court to use to sever is inexorably linked with the permit-to-purchase program. To find otherwise requires the court to ignore the operative language linking each provision on background checks to the permit-to-purchase program. The court would be separating sentences at commas and considering the phrase "permit holder" surplusage. It is not surplusage. The court declines the defendants' invitation to do so at this preliminary stage.

Oregon Firearms Federation Director Kevin Starrett says that "Today’s decision is very good news. The days ahead will tell what the state plans to do to reverse that good news but for now we have another victory for gun owners and common sense. But the federal case is continuing and the legal bills are larger than anything OFF has ever faced before."

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In addition to this case in state court, there are three cases -- now consolidated -- working their way through federal court.

According to Starrett, "It’s extremely likely that the state, under the direction of a militantly anti-gun Attorney General, will appeal Raschio’s rulings. AG Ellen Rosenblum has made it clear that she has no interest whatsoever in whether Measure 114 is constitutional. If there is a way to deny people’s 2nd Amendment rights, she is going to attempt it."

Starrett raised a further point. "But the great unknown is what happens to those cases if the legislature changes the law? Will the Democrats time any changes to assure the most costly outcome for gun owners? Probably. Remember, gun owners are not only paying the lawyers who are defending their rights, they are, whether they like it or not, paying the lawyers who are working to destroy those rights."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-01-04 11:44:26Last Update: 2023-01-04 23:42:21



Analysis: Does Vote by Mail Increase Turnout?
“All potential for dramatic corruption”

In 1998, after bits of experimentation and testing, Oregon Voters made Oregon a permanent vote by mail state by a margin of 69% to 31% through ballot measure 60. Just over two years prior, in March of 1996 Oregon held the country’s 2nd vote by mail presidential primary with 58% turnout -- edged out by the first vote presidential primary held by North Dakota, just a few weeks earlier.

One of the promises of vote by mail -- a promise that was held to be almost axiomatic by its supporters was that vote by mail would increase turnout. In fact, voter turnout is more a function of voter excitement or apathy and has more to do with whether an incumbent is running than whether voters can return ballots by mail.

A good example was the historic 2008 Democrat primary, featuring Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, coupled with an arguably nearly exciting Republican primary featuring John McCain, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul, all vying for an open seat. A more recent example was the 2016 Republican primary with Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich and a full slate of many others competing with Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, all also competing for an open seat. Both these contests had large turnouts.



As large as the draws of these contests were in an age of entrenched vote by mail, they were overshadowed by the dramatic turnouts of every presidential primary turnout from 1960 to 1976 -- even in years where there was an incumbent running for re-election to the White House.

The promises of increased voter turnout due to vote by mail were nearly universal. A sampling from the arguments in favor from the 1998 Voters Pamphlet reveals breathless predictions:

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Then State Representative Lynn Snodgrass, a Republican, penned these words in opposition to Measure 60 for the same Voters Pamphlet.

Intimidation, coercion, thousands of ballots sent from inaccurate and outdated registration lists, counties lacking the ability to daily and accurately exchange or compare data with each other, and lack of privacy all potential for dramatic corruption.

While some suggest that mandatory vote by mail will encourage voter participation, the fact is, the most responsible way to encourage voter participation is to deliver what was promised on the campaign trail. Mandatory vote by mail will not guarantee that result.

The prediction of corruption may have been prophetic.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-01-02 23:40:52Last Update: 2023-01-02 12:00:31



Families Lost Income in 2022
How will the Oregon legislature deal with a recession?

The average family lost $4,000 to $5,000 in real take home pay in 2022 according to the US Census, Department of Numbers. Oregon did somewhat better, losing an average of $973. That nearly $1000 taken from a medium family’s annual income doesn’t account for the inflation rate above 9% this past summer. For the year the CPI finished above 7%, which translated into the biggest annual rise in prices in four decades.

Oregon lagged behind the national average income until 2018 when family income took a whopping $2,000 jump and the national average only increased by $140. Oregon has kept that spread ever since. Oregon Office of Economic Analysis reported at that time, the gain was a result of years in the making that turned southern Oregon around from depending on forestry to strong income gains. The growth in Bend also contributed to the 2018 gains. The rest of the state stayed on course with a slight decline in the Salem area.

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

Some experts are surprised that Portland holds on after rioters destroyed the city. Since the current administration -- state and national -- has taken office, policies for defunding police, crippling energy standards and the diversity agenda has been instigated and Portland’s real median household income has dropped $1,040 and Eugene declined by $586. Corvallis has been on a steady decline since 2019. Salem’s real median household income took the biggest hit during shutdowns declining $3,949.

Josh Lehner, Oregon Economist, reports, “there is a difference between a strong and tight labor market and an overheating labor market. Given wage growth is clearly outstripping productivity gains, it is inflationary today. A slowing in wage growth (and an increase in business investment and productivity) is needed for underlying inflation to return to the Fed’s target as wage growth provides households their baseline ability to spend.” Oregon has typically experienced wage growth due to poaching, freeing lesser paying jobs for the unemployed. As the labor market slows down, so will wage growth that will slow inflation but likely to contribute to the feel of the coming recession.

Lehner says, Oregon’s new data shows that the income gaps across different races and ethnicities appears to be narrowing. “Median incomes, of those for the typical Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic household still lag behind their white, and Asian peers, but the gap has narrowed in recent years. What used to be gaps of 20-40% now appear to be more like 10-20%.”

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Even with the COVID pandemic finally over and businesses are operating as usual, instead of a year of prosperity and growth, we got the opposite. Oregon’s forecast is for further decline. State economist Mark McMullen predicts Oregon losing 24,000 jobs in a 2023 recession. He said the decline will show in housing and business investments due to high interest rates causing a dip in employment, but predicts a come back in 2024. If his assumption that employers won’t be quick to let workers go when sales slow, it will help slow the recession.

Then there was the stock market selloff that vaporized some $12 trillion of savings and wealth in 2022. A Committee to Unleash Prosperity report found that the typical 401k retirement plan lost more than $30,000. Adjusting for inflation, the Nasdaq fell by 34%, the S&P by nearly 25% and the Dow Jones by 6%, having an impact on retirements.

Next week the 2023 Oregon legislature will go on record. How will they deal with the predicted $3 billion less than they had during the current two-year budget cycle. Many Oregonians were forced to cash out capital gains in 2021 and federal stimulus checks increased the amount of state income taxes. Oregon has cash reserves of almost $1.8 billion in addition to rainy day funds. One thing is certain, a recession isn’t a time for new taxes or new programs.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2023-01-01 06:50:48Last Update: 2023-01-01 11:09:09



Top Ten Stories from 2022
The year in review from the Northwest Observer

Editor's note: These are the top 10 stories based on your clicks. Thank you for your support. Read on and see that the bar has been set pretty low for 2023. Have a great new year!

Republicans Scramble on Feminine Hygiene Products
Who is pulling the strings In the tampon war?
While the last several Oregon legislative sessions have seen an avalanche of agenda-driven bills, not many have gotten the attention of HB 3294. This bill, passed in 2021, required free tampons and sanitary pads in every...[READ MORE]
Monday, May 16

Oregon Ignores Public Input
OHA mandates made permanent
Oregon Health Authority marches forward with four permanent rules on mandates for masking and vaccinations. After an overwhelming number of Oregonians voiced opposition, OHA still filed the first rule with the Secretary of State’s office. This first rule makes...[READ MORE]
Sunday, January 30

Analysis: Republican Homeless Student Initiative Fails
Billions are available for student homelessness and others
On March 3, SB 1539 relating to homeless youth in Oregon schools, sponsored by Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) died quietly and was laid to rest on a strait party line vote. All nine republicans voted yes and 18 democrats...[READ MORE]
Tuesday, April 5

Kate Brown Delivers State of the State Address
Challenging times in Oregon’s history
Oregon's Governor Kate Brown has delivered her State of the State address. The Governor's speech highlighted what she would like to spend more taxpayer money on, including workforce development and career training, affordable housing, and child care. "I stand...[READ MORE]
Thursday, February 3

Bill Gives OHA Emergency Powers
The pandemic emergencies are still very raw to many
Less than half way through the Oregon Legislative Short Session and the trickery is starting to show up. With barely 24 hours notice, Senator Deb Patterson (D-Salem), chair of the Senate Committee on Health Care, rushed through a committee sponsored amendment to to SB 1529. What was a good bill that authorized pharmacy or pharmacy technician to swipe identification card or driver license of purchaser of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine, turned ugly....[READ MORE]
Sunday, February 13

Is the Oregon Legislature Fighting Inflation?
Cost of Living Relief for a Select Group
A recent press release from the House Speaker and Senate President is titled, “Cost of Living Relief Package Will Target Childcare Affordability and Support Working Families.” They say as the cost-of-living spikes across the...[READ MORE]
Wednesday, February 23

School Boards May Lose Control
Bill is proposed in the legislature
The Coalition of School Administrators have decided to double down on critical race theory and CSE indoctrination. This has created an uproar in a number of districts. The firing of five superintendents over the past year has not set...[READ MORE]
Wednesday, February 2

ODOT Studies Hydrogen Fuel Cells
There is interest in locally and renewably produced hydrogen
The Oregon Department of Transportation Climate Office has announced the release of a 50 page Hydrogen Pathway Study, in an effort to understand and prepare Oregon for...[READ MORE]
Thursday, May 19

Democrat Navarro’s Criminal History Revealed
A legacy of irresponsibility
In Oregon's upcoming Legislative House District 21 race covering Keizer and Central Salem, Democratic...[READ MORE]
Tuesday, October 18

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...[READ MORE]
Tuesday, August 9


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-01-01 00:00:03Last Update: 2022-12-28 13:27:06



Dr. Lynn Asked to Resign From Tigard Tualatin School Board
Replacement process will begin January 2

The Tigard Tualatin School Board will hold a special meeting January 2 at 7pm to accept the resignation of board member Dr. Marvin Lynn. It began with a movement in the Tigard Tualatin School District when it was discovered that Dr. Lynn lives in Colorado as a full-time resident holding a full-time position at the University of Colorado Denver as the Dean of the School of Education and Human Development.

Dr. Lynn ran for the Tigard Tualatin School Board in the May 2021 election, and notified the board in late spring 2022 that he had accepted the position at the University of Colorado Denver. He was appointed Dean effective July 1, 2022 to take over from two interim deans co-leading the prior year. Dr. Lynn identified himself as Dean as early as March 21, 2022 to the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education governance board as Secretary.

Dr. Lynn’s term on the school board runs to May of 2025. The opposition said, “Dr. Lynn cannot appropriately perform his board duties within the district for that duration while holding a full-time position in Colorado.” The board received numerous inquiries questioning how Dr. Lynn’s qualifies to continue his position on the board. The Tigard Tualatin community were asking the board to abide by their policy had Dr. Lynn not resigned.

The Tigard Tualatin School District has a policy that states, "The Board shall declare the office of a director vacant upon any of the following:" with item 2 stating, " When an incumbent ceases to be a resident of the district." Number 3 states, “When an incumbent ceases to discharge the duties of office for two consecutive months unless prevented by sickness or unavoidable cause.”

Dr. Lynn is also subject to ORS 332.018 and 332.030, which does not give allowance for a primary residence if the board member lives elsewhere the majority of the time. “No person shall be eligible to serve as director unless the person is an elector of the district and has resided therein for the period of one year immediately preceding the election or appointment.” Moving to Colorado in July means he has not resided [to live in a place@Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary] within Oregon for six months.

Dr. Lynn also holds positions on other Oregon boards that are also subject to ORS 332.018 and 332.030.

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When asked to resign his position on the Tigard Tualatin School Board, Dr. Lynn initially responded, “My family still lives in Oregon and my children still attend TTSD schools. We still own a home there. I still spend a significant amount of time there. Thank you.”

Ben Kibler, Political Director with Free Oregon said, “It is imperative to hold those in leadership accountable to their own policies as they expect us to respect their positions. Effective action requires everyone's participation.”

The Tigard Tualatin School Board will begin the process of filling Dr. Lynn’s position at the January 2 special meeting.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-12-31 06:32:54Last Update: 2022-12-30 23:21:18



Mannix Criticizes Brown on Clemency
Governor Kate Brown Continues to Fail to Follow the Clemency Law

Governor Kate Brown recently granted clemency to 17 persons on Oregon’s death row. These persons were sentenced to death under the Oregon State Constitution provision which authorizes the death penalty for aggravated murder.

Representative-Elect Kevin Mannix commented that, "There are two things that strike me about the governor’s decision to change the death penalty for 17 aggravated murderers, to a penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"First, the Governor has again failed and refused to follow the law in regard to notification of crime victims, giving crime victims an opportunity to be heard before the clemency decision is made. Unfortunately, the Oregon Supreme Court has allowed her to do this, despite the procedural law requiring notification and an opportunity to be heard.

"Second, the Governor has had years to propose a constitutional amendment to change the death penalty. She has not done this. Instead, she has waited until the end of her term in office to eliminate the death penalty for 17 aggravated murderers. This is a failure to connect in regard to the voters and to the legislature."

According to Mannix, all of this supports legislation which he will be introducing as a new State Representative:

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Mannix continued, "We need an overall restriction on the Governor’s clemency powers, so a Governor must always follow the legislative process and must get approval from the Senate for any clemency decision regarding someone convicted of a felony. This goes beyond the aggravated murder situation and covers all clemencies.

"The Governor’s actions simply remind us that victims need to be respected and heard, and that we need to change the law and constitution provisions to strengthen our justice system."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-12-30 11:26:33Last Update: 2022-12-30 11:34:34



Do Teacher Unions Care About Students?
OEA priorities don’t include students

The Oregon Education Association is governed by 44 teachers across the state that school boards have hired to teach students what the school board deems appropriate. OEA is losing strength as parents fight back against curriculums. Are teachers more invested in their union than teaching students?

OEA lists their priorities as: OEA focused on their own interests and supported the passage of SB 744 in 2021 that suspended essential skills graduation requirements through 2024. In 2022, they fought against two attempts at increasing enrollees for virtual charter schools, and fought against cuts to the Corporate Activities Tax raising the cost of living for all parents.

OEA supported an exemption and removal of federal minimum requirements of standardized testing contributing to Oregon ranking near the bottom. They supported removing safety officers out of schools, legal representation for families navigating the immigration system, increased health care benefit for part-time faculty, increased funding for grants, and purchase of Elliot Forest.

OEA has a coordinated system for teachers to address complaints from parents as harassment when it goes viral in the community over a lesson or homework assignment for its equity standards or social justice curriculum. They want to make this legislation.

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Nationally, a recent declaration by American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten during a virtual educator’s event, praised Joe Biden as a hero for schools. “What you have done for American education…has been more than any president - even FDR.”

The Associated Press reported Biden’s education results as: “Math and reading scores for 9-year-olds in the US fell between 2020 and 2022 by a level not seen in decades, a foreboding sign of the state of American education two years after the Covid-19 pandemic began.” The results were from the “Nation’s Report Card,” part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress long-term trend reading and math exams.

Biden seems to care more about the teacher unions, which donated more than $12 million to Biden and Democrats, than he does school children. Even though OEA dues does not support candidates, members have contributed $800,000 in each of the last two elections, and they endorse the Democrat ticket.

Seeing a visible attack against parents, Oregon Moms Union was founded in 2021 to help organize parents to fight for their kids’ right to a quality education. Their priority is to ensure school boards, school districts and elected officials are open and responsive to the voice of parents in their children’s education. Mobilizing parents to take an active role to ensure kids always come first.

Electing enough school board members that support these goals will roll up to OEA as their board is replaced with teachers that support their local school boards and parents. Teachers are not required to join OEA and OEA isn’t required to support the Oregon State Board of Education. However, both organizations seem to coordinate efforts that the Oregon Moms Union sees as needing reform.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-12-29 10:22:27Last Update: 2022-12-29 11:22:21



Oregon Decreases Population in 2022
U.S. shows increase in population growth

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2022 national and state population estimates an increase in change after a historically low rate between 2020 and 2021.

The primary driver of growth was the addition of 1,010,923 people migrating internationally into the U.S., representing 168.8% over 2021. “There was a sizeable uptick in population growth last year compared to the prior year’s historically low increase,” said Kristie Wilder, a demographer in the Population Division at the Census Bureau. “A rebound in net international migration, coupled with the largest year-over-year increase in total births since 2007, is behind this increase.”

The West experienced growth in 2022, second to the South having the highest resident population. The West gained 153,601 residents (0.2% total resident population) with Washington State and Arizona picking up the slack for losses in both Oregon and California losing -233,150 residents through net domestic migration. A natural increase of 154,405 largely accounted for the growth in the West.

In 2022, 26 states and the District of Columbia had births outnumbering deaths, with Texas (118,159), California (106,155) and New York (35,611) having the highest natural increase. The remaining 24 states experienced negative natural change, or natural decreases.

Where does Oregon stand? Oregon is sixth in numeric decline losing -16,164 (-0.4%) in 2022, including -5,089 less births than deaths. Domestic migration was a -17,331 but a positive 7,026 international migration for a net of -10,305. The biggest loser in the West was California losing -113,649, which is a -0.3% of residents.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia saw positive net international migration with California (125,715), Florida (125,629) and Texas (118,614) having the largest gains.

The biggest gains from net domestic migration last year were in Florida (318,855), Texas (230,961) and North Carolina (99,796), while the biggest losses were in California (-343,230), New York (-299,557) and Illinois (-141,656).

The Population Estimates Program uses current data on births, deaths and migration to calculate population change since the most recent decennial census date and produce a time series of estimates of population, demographic components of change, and housing units.

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The American Economic Review 2022, 112(11) reports that standard economic models show that growth is driven by people discovering new ideas, which is driven by the size of the population. A larger population means more researchers which in turn leads to more new ideas and to higher living standards. The negative natural and domestic growth in Oregon should be of primary concern for the 2023 legislative session.

When population growth is negative, models produce what is called the Empty Planet result. Knowledge and living standards stagnate and the population gradually vanishes. If the economy switches to an optimal growth pattern soon enough, it can become a balanced growth path with sustained exponential growth. An ever-increasing population benefits from ever-rising living standards. But if the economy waits too long to switch, even the optimal patterns can be trapped with negative population growth, and the flow of new ideas goes to zero, depreciation of knowledge leads to declining living standards, and an even a more dire outcome.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-12-28 10:09:08Last Update: 2022-12-28 11:55:38



Omnibus Appropriations Bill Impacts Oregon
Buried in 4000 pages is bad news for small businesses

The $1.7 trillion 2023 fiscal year Omnibus Appropriations bill is headed for the President’s signature. This bill makes the biggest federal changes to retirement savings since the 1980s. The pension “Reform” places a big burden on small businesses.

While the deficit continues to rise and America enters a recession, Representative Kurt Schrader claims, “This bipartisan, bicameral government funding package will create good-paying jobs, grow opportunities for the middle class and small businesses, and provide a lifeline for working families in Oregon.” Could he be referring to the boost in federal hiring in the bill? But he does claim to have secured over $33 million for 14 projects in his district.

However, buried in 4000 pages is bad news for small businesses. It forces employers in all states to automatically enroll new workers in a 401k plan, even an employer with as few as 11 employees will be required to shoulder the administrative burden only to allow employees to withdraw the money.

It might be good news for workers in that it also relaxes requirements for workers to access their money and reduces the excise taxes on those who don't follow the federal formula.

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The bill increases discretionary spending by $135 billion above 2022 spending levels for a total of $1.7 trillion with $772.5 billion headed to domestic agencies and $858 billion for defense. It provides $44.9 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine and NATO allies, and $40.6 billion in emergency funding to assist communities recovering from drought, hurricanes, flooding, wildfire, natural disasters and other disasters.

Will funding have positive returns and long-term impact on society, the environment and the performance of business to qualify as ESG-investing umbrella? It seems that a lot of horse-trading went on to reach an agreement so this congress could pass next year’s funding and block what the next congress might want or need to do.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-12-27 22:21:02Last Update: 2022-12-27 14:50:32



Balance Tilts on Newberg City Council
Newberg election clinches a majority for conservatives

In the Supplemental Election held December 20th a conservative block won control of the Newberg City Council defeating three incumbents. As with the last two school board elections, results show citizens saw the need for change.

The new City Councilors will join incumbent conservative Mike McBride to create a majority. In the November 8th General Election, Bill Rosacker defeated progressive incumbent mayor Rick Rogers. The combination of a new Mayor and a new majority on City Council portends substantial changes in policy. Handling of the homeless crisis and Urban Renewal work will be two visible actions.

The results were: On the ballot in the May 2023 election for Newberg will be five positions for Newberg School Board and three positions for the Chehalem Parks and Recreation Board. Campaigning began on December 21st with both conservatives and progressives working hard to get out the vote.


--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2022-12-27 10:54:53Last Update: 2022-12-27 14:52:53



ODOT Forecasts a Crisis in Funding
Nearly 80% of Oregonians oppose tolling

Assistant Director of the Oregon Department of Transportation Travis Brouwer presented the ODOT budget through the year 2029 at a recent meeting of the Mid-Willamette Valley Area Commission on Transportation. ODOT has two budgets. Transportation Projects and Maintenance and Operations. Transportation Projects are paid for primarily from grants. Maintenance and Operations relies on revenues from state sources. 5% of Maintenance and Operations comes from the Federal government “Fund Exchange Program”. Those are from IIJA Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act dollars. Currently all maintenance and operations are fully funded but that is expected to change soon.

ODOT projects a budget deficit starting in fiscal 2023-2024. By 2029 ODOT projects the accumulated deficit to be near $400 million. ODOT is exploring increases in fees coupled with diminishing Maintenance and Operations work on roadways. Brouwer says cities and counties will have to do the majority of work on their own roads in the future.

State government has doubled in size in the last 10 years while the population of Oregon has gained 10.6%. Portland is currently experiencing a net outflow of population. The number of roadways has remained constant to serve the increase in population. Projects have improved traffic flow on existing roadways. Maintenance and Operations dollars have maintained existing roadways with increased revenues going to implement policy favoring alternatives to automobiles and to fuels that address an unquantified need to address climate change assumed to be global warming. ODOT added social equity to Maintenance and Operations. ODOT has an inelastic response to projected changes in revenues. Layoffs haven’t been mentioned.

Tolling of I-5 and I-205 from south of Wilsonville to Vancouver may be on the November 2024 ballot if IP-4 gains the necessary 200,000 valid signatures by June of 2024. Polling on tolling found that nearly 80% of Oregonians oppose tolling. All 16 state representatives and senators with districts touching Clackamas County have spoken out against tolling. ODOT will not wait for the results of a vote on tolling to begin work on its implementation. If tolling is not permitted after November 2024 how much will ODOT have spent to develop the infrastructure necessary for tolling? How many will have been hired and trained to administer the program? How many planning dollars will have been spent to map out changes to 82nd and 122nd to make them more pedestrian friendly as an adjunct to tolling?

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Preliminary estimates were that 60% of revenues from tolling would go toward the expense of administering the program. Much of the balance would go to altering surface streets that might otherwise handle toll avoidance overflow. Consumer spending is the driver of our economy. No economic impact study has been attempted to determine the effects removing tolling dollars from consumer’s pockets will have on the economy. A 50 page report by ODOT details in percentages from 0-100% the sliding scale of toll rates that will apply to Oregonians of various income levels.

Brouwer claims that Portland is the last major metropolitan area not tolled. With the exception of some bridges and tunnels, that claim could easily be disputed. ODOT plans an additional lane each way on a two mile stretch of I-205 south of Oregon City as a benefit of tolling. That part of I-205 has not changed in the 50 year history of the freeway and has been a bottleneck for decades. Brouwer claims that resistance to tolling fades in time as citizens come to appreciate the positive effects it brings.

Since Portland area PERS employees are all permanently working from home now their 25,000 sq.ft. building on SW 72nd in Tigard is vacant. ODOT employees don’t feel safe working in downtown Portland. They will vacate their downtown Portland office and move into the former PERS space on SW 72nd soon. Even though the PERS building is not well served by mass transit it does have a large parking lot.


--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2022-12-24 06:44:19Last Update: 2022-12-23 21:36:25



Students participate in Transgender Awareness Week
Teachers respond negatively

Students across the state participated in programs for Transgender Awareness Week to help raise visibility and awareness about transgender people and address issues that they face. In the Tigard-Tualatin school district, the schedule and unit plan indicate this was more than educational information.

Parents were notified of Transgender Awareness Week in a newsletter posted, but it made no mention of the activities and lesson plans. Students only needed to have their teacher's permission to get out of class, a parent’s permission was not required even for activities after school hours for making signs to hang around schools.

A Watch Party of the TV Show titled “First Day” took place in which twelve-year-old Hannah Bradford adjusts to school while dealing with the pressures of her gender identity.

The initial presentation was “Talking About Pronouns” with 78 gender identities and experiences of transgender and non-binary folk. The five-lesson slide presentation focused on empathy over hate lessons:
  1. What is hate speech? What is empathy? Intent vs impact, stereotypes, and how hat speech has evolved over time.
  2. Empathy stories and compassionate empathy.
  3. Identities. What is my identity? Social vs self-construct vs genetics.
  4. What can I do? How to call out, call in, and interrupt.
  5. Activism choice project. Create a project that calls people into action.
Students in the “community” are asked to self-evaluate their feelings and suggest they take a risk and listen with empathy, acceptance, and nod and take note of what others have to say.

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They are taught that hate speech includes fearful attitudes against a particular group, race, religion or identity that is degrading. Exercises identified historical origination of race identifications that over time has taken on a derogatory connotation that has become a racist insult. To make it confusing, only members of those communities can say slur racist words without being hate speech.

The focus of the lesson appears to create empathy understanding and share the thoughts with compassion for underprivileged and transgender students that stirred them to take action. It might be a worthwhile lesson until the slide show identified the privilege as being “white, straight, wealthy man experiences more privilege than a black, trans woman.” The benefits a person gets is based on how close they are to this dominant culture. That lesson defines and asks the students to identify: The lesson concludes by encouraging students to be an advocate. “The world is a dangerous place to live. Not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” That is used to motivate students to report what they perceive as hate speech they hear even if not directed at them. Students are asked to pledge to be an advocate.

In classes, lessons on social justice are being passed off as social studies and language arts. Students identify injustices including white privilege and express what they learn in art and language forms. Classical reading has been replaced with readings like ‘On Cracking White City,’ ‘Member of the Club,’ and ‘For My People’ poem.

Reactions from teachers that reached out to Northwest Observer were negative. One said they wouldn’t teach the material because “It was very biased, not educational/researched based, and contradictory”. Another teacher felt “uncomfortable teaching the material due to religious beliefs.” And another said, “Students are struggling academically in Oregon. Teachers are working hard to catch students up after Covid. Having students pulled from classes to engage in non-research based, biased political documentary is concerning.”

Jeanette Schade, high school teacher and university adjunct professor, works with teachers nationally and says Oregon is the epicenter and they all agree Oregon is the worst. She summarized the issue by adding, “I was appalled that students would be missing valuable instructional time to attend a showing of ‘First Day’. I am seeing a huge decline in analytical reading and writing skills. We can blame it on things like COVID lockdowns where children were not allowed to step foot in their schools to learn, but it runs deeper than that. My high school classes are supposed to be sacred learning space to learn skills to do well in post-secondary education or their future career, but it is being hijacked to allow them to watch tv shows or movies on social and political issues of the day. Parents need to get more involved and understand that they have more power if they stand together with one voice. Parents need to say 'No, my child needs to learn how to read and write more than about social political issues' and not allow schools to take over their roles as parents. We are seeing massive decline in reading, writing, and arithmetic skills across the board. When will people wake up and understand we have an educationally declining country?”


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-12-24 06:20:18Last Update: 2022-12-25 14:27:23



Governor Brown Reinstates Suspended Driver’s License
Plus forgiveness of debt

Governor Kate Brown issued an order that remitted uncollected court fines and fees associated with certain traffic violation cases that resulted in debt-based driver’s license suspensions. This action creates a path for nearly 7,000 Oregonians to seek reinstatement of their suspended driver’s licenses through the DMV, and removes the associated collateral burdens that disproportionately impacted low-income Oregonians and people of color from a state statute that has since been rewritten.

Passed in the first Special Session in 2020, HB 4210 was sponsored by Governor-Elect Tina Kotek in an attempt to address protestors demand for police reform. The bill acknowledges that suspending driver’s licenses for nonpayment can set off a cascade of compounding harms impacting people’s lives and livelihoods, particularly for low-income Oregonians. While that legislation prohibited license suspensions for nonpayment of traffic fines moving forward, it left existing nonpayment-related license suspensions in place. Governor Brown’s action goes beyond reinstating driver’s license, she also granted these individuals forgiveness of the debt.

“The inability to pay a traffic fine should not deprive a person of the ability to lawfully drive to work, school, health care appointments, or other locations to meet their daily needs,” said Governor Brown. “We know that suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid traffic fines is bad public policy — it is inequitable, ineffective, and makes it harder for low-income Oregonians to get ahead. My action today will help alleviate the burden of legacy driver’s license suspensions imposed under a statutory scheme that the legislature has since overhauled.”

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Governor Brown’s remission order affects only those people who were sanctioned in traffic violation cases over two years ago, prior to the effective date of HB 4210. The order expressly excludes misdemeanor or felony traffic offense cases, and it does not forgive restitution and compensatory fines owed to victims. Beyond nonpayment-related sanctions, none of the affected individuals have suspended licenses due to public safety-related sanctions.

Approximately $1,800,000 was forgiven from circuit court cases in Oregon. The total amount of unpaid fines and fees that was remitted from cases in Oregon municipal and justice courts is unknown because neither the DMV nor the Oregon Judicial Department (OJD) has access to this information.

The vast majority of the fines and fees forgiven by the Governor’s order are considered uncollectible debt. According to OJD, about 84% of the liquidated debt on its books is uncollectible. Much of the debt forgiven by the Governor’s remission order is held by OJD. Their collections data show that most people who can afford to pay their violation fines do so right away, but for cases like those included in the Governor’s order, collections rates drop to roughly 10% in the second year of delinquency, and to 4% or lower in year three and beyond. Much of the debt forgiven by the Governor’s remission order has remained unpaid for three or more years and, as a result, is considered uncollectible.

If you believe that your driver’s license should be reinstated as a result of the Governor’s remission order, you may contact DMV at (503) 943-9000.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-12-23 16:40:05Last Update: 2022-12-23 18:12:38



Merry Christmas!
We appreciate our readers



Christmas is a time for love, hope, happiness and excitement. The Staff and Reporters at Northwest Observer send lots of PEACE and JOY to you, our readers, and your families.

Have a

Merry

Christmas!


--Staff Reporters

Post Date: 2022-12-23 16:30:43Last Update: 2022-12-23 18:09:03



Oregon SoS Offers Candidate Training
Considering running for office but don’t know where to start?

The Oregon Secretary of State is inviting people to join the Oregon Elections Division for a training on what it takes to get on the ballot, how to get in the voters’ pamphlet, and how to navigate all the ins-and-outs of campaign finance reporting.

Navigating Elections Filings
Virtual via Zoom
Part 1: January 11, 2022, 5:30 - 7 p.m.
Part 2: January 18, 2022, 5:30 - 7 p.m.

The next election is already around the corner, and deadlines are coming up fast. People are invited to join a training by the Secretary of State Elections Division on navigating election filings. This training is for anyone interested in running for office or being a part of a campaign, whether they’re looking for a refresher or this is their very first time. The Elections Division encourages candidates, fundraisers, treasurers, and anyone involved in campaigning to join.

Spots are limited so interested people are encouraged to be sure to sign up soon.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-12-23 06:37:56Last Update: 2022-12-23 17:28:21



Legislators Criticize DEQ’s Ban on Gas-Powered Vehicles
“Oregonians everywhere deserve better than big, blanket mandates from unelected bureaucrats”

Following California’s lead the Environmental Quality Commission adopted an Advanced Clean Cars II Rule, effectively banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035 and requiring manufacturers to follow suit.

Senator Fred Girod (R-Stayton) and Senator Lynn Findley (R-Vale) released the following statement:

“This action was taken covertly behind closed doors by administrative rule using the Governor’s executive order , usurping authority from the Legislature. It appears to be a clear violation of separation of powers. DEQ is an agency that has gone amuck and shows a desperate need for administrative oversight. Almost all states require legislative oversight of administrative rule. That’s why I’m prepared to introduce legislation in the upcoming session doing just that,” said Senator Girod.

“Additionally, we have so much forest set aside in Oregon that the amount of carbon being sequestered by our forests comes close to compensating for the carbon shortfall that this new rule is intended to address. I plan to introduce legislation which would mandate that the stored carbon in Oregon’s forests be included in carbon emissions calculations,” concluded Girod.

“Oregonians everywhere deserve better than big, blanket mandates from unelected bureaucrats and interim directors,” said Senator Findley, who sits on the Joint Committee on Transportation. “This is an issue that requires greater input from the public and legislative review before being acted upon. Taking that authority away only exacerbates distrust in our state agencies.”

The Environmental Quality Commission voted to approve the Advanced Clean Cars II Rule at a special meeting on Monday, December 19th. The rule is based on vehicle emissions standards adopted by California in August.

The ban will not affect cars already on the road or the purchase of used gas-powered cars but will require those interested in purchasing a new gas-powered vehicle to take their business outside of Oregon. This rule is based on vehicle emission standards adopted by the State of California in August.

“This is the latest out of touch example of what our state agencies and commissions have become,” said Leader Breese-Iverson. “Once again, as Governor Brown’s days in office are winding down, she is working to solidify her progressive legacy without being held accountable. While this decision will disproportionately hurt working-class Oregonians, it also ignores the unrealistic and short-sighted goals of the battery powered manufacturing industry.”

“Unelected bureaucrats should not be making decisions for everyday Oregonians,” said Representative Boshart Davis, Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation. “Governor Brown continues to be the least popular governor in America because she chooses to put her ideology over what is best for Oregon. The Oregon House Republicans will continue to be a voice for hardworking Oregonians who don’t feel as though they have one.”

In 2020, Governor Brown signed Executive Order 20-04 which directed state agencies to drastically reduce emissions by 2035. In 2021, Governor Brown set the most unrealistic timeline for moving to unreliable electricity sources in the United States -- driving up costs for low- and middle-class families.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-12-21 10:59:58Last Update: 2022-12-21 11:37:56



DEQ Announces Electric Vehicle Rules Update
Requires All New Vehicles to be Zero Emissions by 2035

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality under the direction of Interim Director Leah Feldon has announced its Advanced Clean Cars II Proposed Rule which center around making the sale of internal combustion engines illegal by the year 2035.

The newly proposed rules are an update to an existing rule containing a leviathan list of definitions.

In a presentation to the legislature, The DEQ says that "These rules are a critical component to achieving state’s GHG reduction goals" and that these rules are "Closely linked to other DEQ programs" including Climate Protection Program, Clean Fuels Program and Advanced Clean Trucks

According to the presentation, the rules can be summarized:

The proposed rule is merely an update of the list of definitions from the current rule as well as the "cut-and-paste" adoption of California Non-Methane Organic Gas Test Procedures. It will limit and ultimately ban the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles by the year 2035 -- a mere 12 years from now.

The included graph shows the expected decline in sales and "on-road" operation of internal combustion vehicles in Oregon in future years. Experts have questioned the expectations behind the graph and the resulting trends portrayed.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-12-21 06:36:47Last Update: 2022-12-20 15:51:59



Analysis: Why Do We Have the Secret Ballot?
If we have the Secret Ballot because we don’t trust the government, why do we trust the government to count our Secret Ballots?

Election fraud has been with us for a very long time. A hundred fifty years ago, a Democrat organization called Tammany Hall ran New York City with graft, fixed elections, and street power.  For almost a century, Tammany hand-picked the political leaders, with elections a mere formality.

In Georgia in 1962, Jimmy Carter struggled against widespread election fraud and the entrenched political machine. He proved his case in court and won a re-election.

The tricks for fixing elections are many: Artificial migration, disenfranchising voters through such devices as poll taxes and literacy tests, division of opposition support, intimidating voters, disinformation, vote buying and coercion, misleading or confusing ballot papers, ballot box stuffing, misrecording the votes, misuse of proxy votes, destruction or invalidation of ballots, electronic systems fraud, voter impersonation, ballot harvesting, registration of fake voters, ballot box stuffing--each a separate technique tuned to the times.

Many of those methods depend on a corrupt county organization: When the election staff is part of the government, anything can happen.

My wife and I spent some hours observing the County staff processing ballots during this election. We were lucky to be on a shift when temporary workers were being briefed and trained, so we could be trained in parallel.

This County usually receives more than a third of a million ballots by mail. That is a staggering number, easily said but difficult to comprehend. 333,000 inches is longer than five miles. 333,000 miles is the distance to the moon and halfway back. If one person tabulated that many ballots, one per minute, eight hours per day, he would finish the count in about two years.

How was ballot counting done before the age of computers?

The solution was borrowed from our friends, the ants. No single ant tries to dig a nest and build an anthill by herself. If the colony contains a million ants, half a million will undertake the project, one grain of sand at a time. The nest must be large to house many ants, but the size of the colony defines the workforce. The problem of providing for a large ant colony leads directly to the solution with a large supply of ant-power.

Similarly, before we had computers, no single person attempted to count all the ballots. The counties were divided into precincts, and each precinct had one or more polling stations. Each polling station was staffed with volunteers to manage the voting and count the ballots. The impossible anthill was manageable when undertaken by hundreds of willing hands, often producing an election result (in those distant times) within 12 hours.

I have observed a manual recount of ballots for selected precincts by a team of twelve workers with parity for opposing parties. On that scale, manual ballot counting for each position was 90 minutes of work.

The poll workers of old were comparable to jury members, drawn from the ordinary population, rather than government employees or teams of workers supervised by government employees. They were members of the community who came forward to enact the will of the community, where the majority of good will (hopefully) suppressed the minority of ill intent. The workers were paired from opposing parties so that no single individual need be trusted.

The station was set up in a public hall or a church. On entry, the voter was checked off on the voting list and issued a ballot. The voter went into a privacy stall, marked the ballot, dropped it in the sealed box, and left. Workers were stationed around the room to discourage funny business. In many localities, the pubs were closed to keep the voters sober. And as of 2014, seven states (Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia) still banned the sale of alcohol on election day.

When we say "secret ballot," we mean that no one knew how any particular voter marked his ballot. If a mobster attempted to bribe or intimidate a voter, the mobster could not verify that the voter followed through—because the voting was always done in the private booth (Secret A). And if a poll worker attempted to identify a ballot with a particular voter for later punishment or reward, identification was not possible because the ballots in the box were anonymous (Secret B).

With the small precinct and local workers, many of the voters were personally known to the workers and the chance of a voter registering to multiple precincts was reduced. It wasn't eliminated, but neither was any other form of secret double-dealing, such as bigamy.

Having hundreds of years of experience to draw on, the architects of our system knew that governments could not be trusted to conduct honest elections. When the mayor counts the ballots for the mayoral election, he enjoys a long and comfortable term of office and is rarely voted out.

In modern day, computers and "trust your government" propaganda have changed many things, and not all for the better. The mountains of ballots for all the precincts in the County are dumped into one office. They are zipped through high-speed sorting and computing machines operating on invisible instructions. Like a man at the carnival running a super pea-in-shell game, the size and speed of the operation defy meaningful observation.

The voter registration lists, though maintained by computer, are demonstrably error-prone. In one informal study conducted recently in Oregon, 26% to 30% of the households polled had "phantom" voters--names that were registered to those addresses even though no such persons were living there. An address within the County would enable a person to vote on a County ballot, but the voter may be out of state or even out of the country, as determined by a second address field in the registration. "One person, one vote" has become "One database entry, one vote." The integrity of that list is totally under the control of the government.

The voter completes the ballot at any time, anywhere. Sitting in the company of a mobster, the voter marks his only ballot, signs the envelope, and hands it over to be mailed by the mobster. Conversely, a group of workers meet their union boss in the pub with their ballots in hand, mark their ballots in company, sign the envelopes, and leave them with the boss to mail. Thus, Secrecy of the Ballot (Secret A) is lost.

At the other end of the process, we now trust the government to count our votes. The ballot contains the votes, and only the envelope contains the voter identification with the signature. Allegedly, once the ballot is removed from the envelope, the relationship is severed and the ballot becomes as anonymous as one dropped in the ballot box of an old-time voting station.

But the devil is in the details. Every ballot in our County has a unique number and bar code. The County Clerk explained to me that the number is generated by the Verity database and no one can map the number back to voter identity once the ballot is removed from the envelope. And even if that were true, I wonder. What prevents the County computer from recording the ballot number with the addressee when the envelope is originally assembled for mailing? We don't know.

Even more alarming, when the signature on the unopened envelope is verified by the elections worker, every state and County record going back decades is displayed for reference, from property records to political party affiliation and social credit score. At that point, a corrupt system could discard the voter's ballot and replace it with a pre-marked dummy to satisfy the audit. Who would know?

Thus, Secrecy of the Ballot (Secret B) is lost in the counting-house. Take note here that I do not accuse anyone of impropriety. But with all these "improvements," the people are obligated to trust the government, and that has rarely turned out well.

However, by maintaining the myth of the secret ballot, the processing is obscured beyond all tracking. Once the ballot is separated from the envelope, all hope of confirming that one's vote was correctly tabulated is also lost. The end-to-end process is concealed from the workers by highly specialized tasks. Observers are baffled by its complexity. The security of the bushels of ballots is guarded only by the lock on the office door—to which the County workers have weekend and midnight keys over the two weeks of processing and producing the election result. The internal operation of the computers is known only to the engineers, who are sworn to secrecy by non-disclosure agreements. The settings on the computers are known only by the technical staff. And the security on the computers is guarded only by the promise that they are not equipped with WiFi.

In Oregon, the whole process is so complex, the descriptive manual is 90 pages long (https://sos.oregon.gov/elections/documents/vbm_manual.pdf).

In simple terms, mail-in ballot elections rest on a fundamental contradiction: If we have the Secret Ballot because we don't trust the government, why do we trust the government to count our Secret Ballots?


--Mark DeCoursey

Post Date: 2022-12-21 06:29:46Last Update: 2022-12-21 11:17:08



Candidate Residency Questioned
“There is evidence to suggest that Hai Pham does not currently live inside House District 36”

A complaint has been filed with the Oregon Elections division. According to the complaint, "There is evidence to suggest that Hai Pham does not currently live inside House District 36. His social media posts and photos on his campaign website seems to indicate that he lives in a house outside of the district, while claiming residency on official election forms that he lives with his parents at a house his parents own inside District 36."

The complaint further alleges that "[e]ven if it is true that he does live with his parents, (while his wife and newborn child live in a home outside of the district, as shown on her voter registration) he would need to prove that he has lived there for at least a year as prescribed by the Oregon Constitution. Voter registration records seem to indicate he updated his registration January 26, 2022. If that is the date he moved back in with his parents, that would not be long enough to establish one year residency within the district as required by the Oregon Constitution."

The complaint references a document full of evidence supporting the claims.

The Washington County Republican Party has posted an alert on their website asking people to contact the Secretary of State regarding this complaint.

Currently the Secretary of State website lists Democrat Hai Pham as defeating Republican Greer Trice by 19,629 votes to 12,272

This isn't the first time during this election cycle that the Secretary of State has failed to take action in a residency case involving a Democratic candidate. During the primary, the residency of Brad Witt was questioned and the Secretary of State failed to take action.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-12-20 12:29:03Last Update: 2022-12-20 15:48:12



Kate Brown Appoints Jackson and Klamath Judges
Markiewicz and Hedlund will fill vacancies

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has announced that she will appoint judges to the Jackson and Klamath County Circuit Courts. Governor Brown will appoint Jeremy Markiewicz to the Jackson County Circuit Court to fill the vacancy created by Judge Lorenzo Mejia’s planned retirement, and will appoint Stephen Hedlund to the Klamath County Circuit Court to fill the vacancy created by the planned retirement of Judge Daniel Bunch.

Both appointments are effective on December 31, 2022.  

“Jeremy Markiewicz and Stephen Hedlund are talented lawyers, and are ready to make significant contributions to the trial court bench,” said Governor Brown. “Both will bring a passion for justice, devotion to their communities, and empathy for the litigants that will appear before them.”

Jeremy Markiewicz earned a bachelor’s degree from Willamette University, the first in his family to graduate college. He went on to earn his law degree from University of Colorado School of Law. After graduation, he moved to Southern Oregon, where his entire legal career was with the Jackson County District Attorney’s office, first as a deputy district attorney and, since 2013, as the Chief Deputy District Attorney. Markiewicz serves on the board of the Children’s Museum of Southern Oregon, the Southern Oregon Financial Fraud and Securities Team, and is a member of the Rotary Club of Medford. He also is active with the Southern Oregon Campaign for Equal Justice and the Classroom Law Project.  

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Stephen Hedlund graduated from Klamath Union High School and went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University, and his law degree from Willamette College of Law. Upon graduation, he moved back home to Klamath Falls and began his legal career with the Klamath County District Attorney’s office. He then transitioned into private practice, with a focus on indigent defense work, including criminal and juvenile dependency matters. He also provides legal representation for public entities and public officials. Hedlund serves as the defense attorney in Klamath County’s behavior intervention court and veterans treatment courts, and as a member of the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council. Since 2016, Hedlund has served as a pro tem judge for the City of Klamath Falls Municipal Court. He also serves as an arbitrator for the Oregon State Bar Fee Dispute Resolution Program.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-12-19 21:00:08Last Update: 2022-12-19 21:17:18



State Senator Dallas Heard Retires
“I hope to see a new generation of freedom loving men and women”

After over eight years of elected service the people of southwest Oregon, Senator Dallas Heard (R-Roseburg) announced he will be stepping down and retiring from his seat in the Oregon Senate effective January 1st, 2023. In a letter addressed "To the community I love" Senator Heard said,

After 8 years of serving as your voice and advocate in the State Legislature I have decided that I need to retire for now from this level of public service, until my children are at an age where they are more ready to face the world on their own.

This has proven to be the most difficult decision I have had to make. Ever since I was a child, I always dreamed of being your servant champion. Being a native son of the “Timber Capitol of the World” has always instilled tremendous pride in my soul for our community. You are a good, hard-working, and noble people. A people that I have always found easy to love with all my heart.

The past few years have been very hard on everyone. Thank you for being the kind of people who made it easy to stand up in Salem for the freedom and rights of all citizens during the COVID era. I never had to question if the overwhelming majority in my district was with me in standing up for the few, the weak, the poor, and the oppressed. I have wrestled with this decision for the past several months. In the end I decided that until my sons are several years older, they must be my full focus and priority. My family must have my undivided attention. I want to thank my bride Hannah for always being a true rock of love and support to our children and to me throughout the entirety of my time in Salem.

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The country as a whole has seen an ever-growing movement of evil rising that is determined to take our children’s hearts and minds away from their parents. I hope to see in the near future a new generation of freedom loving men and women rise and run for elected positions such as school boards and the legislature. If you can’t run for a position, please look for and support those who can. We have so many opportunities to do great acts of service for our children and neighbors, but it is going to take all of us doing our part to bring good things into reality. We have been losing this state and nation because collectively we are doing almost nothing to fight the good fight. Roughly 50% of conservative registered voters chose not to vote in this year’s Oregon General Election. We must do better than this if we hope to stand a chance. We can turn this culture around for the cause of freedom and what is good and right before God, but we must choose to care.”

Representative Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) has announced his plans to succeed Senator Heard after his retirement from the Oregon Legislature.

“It has been a privilege and honor to serve the people of House District 01 in the Oregon Legislature with Senator Heard,” said Rep. Brock Smith. “Our collaboration has stopped and/or modified bills that would have negatively impacted our district and has moved others forward that benefit the people of District 01 and Oregon as a whole.

Additionally, we have worked together to secure millions in resources for our District. This includes securing millions to Curry Health Network to help them open their life saving Emergency Department, millions to treat and stop the spread of Sudden Oak Death, that if left untreated, would be another huge blow to our timber industries.

Representative David Brock Smith has served in the Oregon House of Representatives since 2017 and is an Assistant Leader of the House Republican Caucus. He is a former County Commissioner, School Board Member, City Council President, Chamber President-Director and has held many other elected and appointed positions in his nearly twenty years of public service.

“I am honored to have the support of Senator Heard and look forward to continuing to forge a solid team with Representative Osborne, Representative Goodwin, Representative Wright, Senator Anderson and my successor, to bring the voices and values of the people of Curry, Coos and Douglas Counties to Salem,” said Rep. Brock Smith.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-12-16 23:16:37Last Update: 2022-12-17 11:54:31



131 Cadets Graduate from the Oregon Youth Challenge Program
"statewide alternative high school as an intervention program"

Oregon Youth Challenge Program (OYCP) is The Oregon National Guard's alternative high school, located in Bend, Oregon; it gives at-risk students a second chance to catch up on credits. In addition, the program allows attendees to re-enter high school, graduate on time with their peers, or graduate from OYCP with a state-accredited high school diploma. OYCP graduated 131 cadets from their 22-week program at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center on Wednesday, December 14, 2022.

Oregon has 4.7 percent of students enrolled in alternative programs with a 19 percent dropout rate according to a 2017 audit. In 2016 voters passed Measure 98, which helped to implement the High School Success Program that focuses on improving graduation rates. The Oregon Department of Education High School Success Program website still uses the 2017 report for graduation rate data. The 2022 audit not only evaluates Measure 98 and the five funding programs implemented, but five additional related programs. The dropout prevention strategy for these programs is based on activities to reduce chronic absenteeism for students at risk of dropping out and giving them academic and social support and providing them with early exposure to employment opportunities and options for post-secondary education.

In 1999, the Oregon National Guard established the OYCP in Bend as the only accredited statewide alternative high school as an intervention program to reclaim the lives of Oregon teens who had dropped out of high school or were not on track to graduate. To help at-risk students, the Department of Defense invested in the OYCP style challenge model for youth development and community outreach.

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OYCP graduation guest speaker, Oregon National Guard Assistant Adjutant General Brig, General Eric J. Riley said, "You are the future leaders of our communities...we believe there is no better program or alternative school to meet the needs of our students who might otherwise drop through the cracks."

The stated mission of OYCP is: To provide opportunities for personal growth, self-improvement, and academic achievement among Oregon high school dropouts, teens no longer attending, and those failing in school through a highly structured non-traditional environment, integrating training, mentoring, and diverse educational activities.

OYCP Director Mr. Daniel Radabaug said, "We want to help students get back on track to be productive citizens for the State of Oregon. OYCP is free to attend for any Oregonian that qualifies; cadets live here at no cost during the 22 weeks while they catch up and learn valuable life skills."

OYCP attendees must be 15 to 18 years old, a legal United States and Oregon resident, and academically deficient (behind in high school credits) or in danger of not graduating high school. The next class begins January 11, 2023. OYCP can be contacted through their website, or by calling 541-317-9623.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-12-16 20:00:39Last Update: 2022-12-17 14:06:58



Secretary Fagan Certifies the 2022 General Election
Oregon Ranks Among Top States for Voter Turnout

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan certified the 2022 General Election today. Official elections results are available on our website.

According to a press release from Secretary Fagan, "Since the 2020 election, proponents of the Big Lie -- the false belief that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Trump -- have eroded public trust, increased violence and threats of violence related to election administration and put core American values of democratic self-governance at risk of erosion. In the face of these challenges, the 2022 midterm election went off without any major issues."

“This election was smooth and secure,” said Secretary Fagan. “It’s a testament to the resiliency of Oregon’s vote-by-mail system and the importance of democracy to Oregonians.”

Today the Oregon Elections Division released its official statistics for the November election, which show voter turnout at 66.9% of registered voters. This places Oregon among the top states in the country for voter turnout according the U.S. Elections Project, although not all states data are final.

In the run-up to the November Election, Secretary Fagan visited all 36 county elections offices to hear from county clerks and staff about the challenges they face and the status of vote by mail in each county.

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“In every corner of Oregon, the state of our vote-by-mail system is strong,” Secretary Fagan said. “I want to thank the elections workers around Oregon whose integrity and hard work makes our democracy work.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-12-15 13:29:02Last Update: 2022-12-15 14:06:25



Brown Commutes All Death Sentences
"The death penalty is dysfunctional and immoral”

Just 27 days before the end of her term as Oregon Governor, Kate Brown announced that she is using her executive clemency powers to commute the sentences of the 17 individuals on Oregon’s death row to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

“I have long believed that justice is not advanced by taking a life, and the state should not be in the business of executing people—even if a terrible crime placed them in prison. Since taking office in 2015, I have continued Oregon’s moratorium on executions because the death penalty is both dysfunctional and immoral.”

The Governor uses “dysfunctional and immoral” very loosely according to some. In her interview of her life’s story to New York reporter Mattie Kahn, she was distraught over the number of single-parent women in Oregon. She believes that “access to reproductive health care [abortions] is critical to providing [women] the opportunity to achieve their full potential and live productive lives.” On twitter she posted, “Abortion is health care, and no matter who you are or where you come from, Oregon doesn’t turn away anyone seeking health care.”

The Governor explains, “Unlike previous commutations [1,204] I’ve granted to individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary growth and rehabilitation, this commutation is not based on any rehabilitative efforts by the individuals on death row. Instead, it reflects the recognition that the death penalty is immoral. It is an irreversible punishment that does not allow for correction; is wasteful of taxpayer dollars; does not make communities safer; and cannot be and never has been administered fairly and equitably. My action today is consistent with the near abolition of the death penalty that has been achieved through SB 1013.”

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SB 1013 was carried by Floyd Prozanski (D-Portland) in 2019 as a roundabout to avoid voters that leaves the little-used death penalty in the Oregon Constitution, but sharply narrows the definition of aggravated murder, the only crime punishable by death in Oregon. The new definition applies to acts of terrorism in which two or more people are killed. The remaining crimes that were classified as aggravated murder are now under murder in the first degree that includes murders of multiple people, torture, and killing a child or law enforcement officer. It removed future dangerousness as a factor for the jury to determine when deciding whether to sentence a defendant convicted of aggravated murder to death and requires the state to prove that the defendant should receive the death penalty beyond a reasonable doubt. The new law didn’t apply to the 30 inmates on death row at the time.

The Governor continues, “I also recognize the pain and uncertainty victims experience as they wait for decades while individuals sit on death row—especially in states with moratoriums on executions—without resolution. My hope is that this commutation will bring us a significant step closer to finality in these cases.”

Republican Leaders reacted. “Governor Brown has once again taken executive action with zero input from Oregonians and the legislature. Oregon has not executed an individual since 1997 and has only executed two criminals since voters adopted the death penalty in 1984,” said House Republican Leader Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville). “Her decisions do not consider the impact the victims and families will suffer in the months and years to come. Democrats have consistently chosen criminals over victims.”

“Did the people of Oregon vote to end the death penalty? I don’t recall that happening. This is another example of the Governor and the Democrats not abiding by the wishes of Oregonians. Even in the final days of her term, Brown continues to disrespect victims of the most violent crimes,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend).

Brown has used her executive authority to pardon or commute more sentences than any other governor in the state’s history and more than all of Oregon’s governors from the last 50 years combined. The Governor’s order takes effect December 14, 2022.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-12-14 06:24:49Last Update: 2022-12-14 13:29:02



Oregon Governor Issues Executive Order to Help Hospitals
Rise in hospitalizations demands flexibility

Just as Legislative Days are addressing trends in health care costs, the Oregon Health Authority is pursuing supplemental nurse staffing contracts of up to $25 million to help address critical workforce shortages.

Governor Kate Brown is declaring a surge of adult and pediatric cases and hospitalizations of respiratory viruses and issues an emergency order. This isn’t a health emergency for one particular disease or virus or even a combination, but it’s the age-old saga of a lack of staff and beds for treatment. In August 2021, Oregon hospitals sent patients to Boise and Reno for lack of beds and canceled elective surgeries, and Governor Brown deployed Oregon National Guard to make up for the health care workers she fired for lack of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Governor Brown is using three conditions, including Respiratory Syncytial Virus, influenza, and COVID-19 to justify Executive Order 22-24 to ensure Oregon hospitals have flexibility to hire enough health care workers to meet current needs, and take other steps to provide care to patients. But, she has not addressed allowing unvaccinated health care workers to return to work. Even the New York Supreme Court has ruled that unvaccinated should be given back their jobs as well as retroactive pay.

This executive order replaces and expands on Executive Order 22-24 issued November 14 when Governor Brown granted hospitals flexibility to address the rise in pediatric hospitalizations related to respiratory viruses. Since then, pediatric hospitalizations for RSV and Influenza hospitalizations have continued to climb and are expected to continue to increase as we are in the flu season.

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"Our health care workers––our nurses, doctors, and hospital staff -- are being pushed to their limits by this year’s combination of flu, RSV, and COVID-19 hospitalizations,” said Governor Brown. “I am asking Oregonians to come together to help our health care heroes this holiday season. Stay home if you are sick, stay up to date on your vaccinations, and consider wearing a mask in crowded indoor situations -- especially if you are at higher risk for severe illness from RSV, the flu, or COVID-19.”

State health experts at the Oregon Health Authority encourage all individuals, particularly those at increased risk of severe disease (and their caregivers), to take steps to prevent RSV and other respiratory infections this flu season. The Oregon Health Authority held a media briefing to provide its monthly update on COVID-19, as well as RSV and influenza activity, December 8, at noon with Dr. Dean Sidelinger and clinicians. RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, such as runny nose, coughing and sneezing. Most infections go away on their own in a week or two. At this time, hospital emergency departments are strained, and suggest parents and guardians utilize urgent care centers. Parents and guardians should immediately seek health care if their child is experiencing more severe symptoms of RSV, such as trouble breathing, dehydration, gray or blue color to the tongue, lips or skin, or significantly decreased activity and alertness.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-12-10 17:26:43Last Update: 2022-12-09 16:52:54



Legislature Approves $10M for Public Defenders
Additionally, spending was increased to help take guns from law-abiding citizens

The Joint Legislative Emergency Board has approved $10 million in emergency funding to support defendants across the state who are currently unrepresented amid what some are calling "the ongoing public defense crisis."

“We have to make the public defense system work for Oregonians,” House Speaker Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) said. “It remains unacceptable that any Oregonian lacks legal representation and that we have a system without effective legislative oversight. The Emergency Board acted thoughtfully and deliberately today in focusing on immediate crises. Now, we’ll move into the legislative session focused on making government work for all of Oregon.”

This action was taken in the midst of a crime wave sweeping Oregon and reflects what some are calling Democrats' focus on criminals instead of victims. Additionally, spending was increased to help enforce so-called "red-flag" laws where guns are taken from law-abiding citizens.

This comes after the Emergency Board in June approved an additional $100 million to help the agency address current public defender caseloads, while still pushing the Office of Public Defense Services to modernize its operations. Legislative leaders previously allocated $12.8 million to OPDS to increase hiring of criminal defense attorneys to address what they say are the the growing number of criminal defendants without legal counsel.

Additionally, Speaker Rayfield and President Courtney formed the Three Branch Workgroup with the executive and judicial branches in April to develop short-term and long-term solutions to reform the state’s public defense and public safety systems.

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The Emergency Board also approved applications for grants related to major statewide needs, including wildfire preparedness and relief, supports for youth experiencing homelessness, energy planning, community safety efforts and behavioral health intervention.

“I’m proud of the work we did today,” Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) said. “We made investments to help Oregonians. That’s what we are here to do.” In addition to the Public Defender spending, the Legislature
--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-12-10 11:13:11Last Update: 2022-12-10 12:04:43



Senate Republicans Elect Leadership Team
“We provide with solutions to chronic problems exacerbated by years of one-party rule”

Senate Republicans have unanimously elected the remaining positions in their leadership team ahead of the 82nd Legislative Assembly. Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) was elected to continue his service as Republican Leader at their caucus retreat last month. The Senate Republican leadership team now includes: Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) released the following statement:

“With the legislative session approaching, I am proud to say that our leadership team is made up of high-quality individuals representing many parts of Oregon. This is a strong team and I look forward to working together to serve our caucus through this next session as we seek to provide Oregonians with bipartisan solutions to the chronic problems exacerbated by years of one-party rule. I am confident we can do that this session.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-12-09 16:52:54Last Update: 2022-12-09 17:09:25



Oregon Elections Director to Resign
“Mis and disinformation have made the work of administering elections extremely challenging”

In a letter addressed to Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, Oregon Elections Director Deborah Scroggin has submitted her letter of resignation. She is the second Elections director on a row to resign shortly after a general election. In 2020, almost exactly two years ago, Election Director Steve Trout resigned.

“Deborah has a lot to offer elections administration at a time when this work is so critical for our country,” said Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. “I thank Deborah for her service to Oregon and wish her the best of luck in the future.”

Scroggin‘s resignation will be effective January 20th, 2023. Molly Woon, Strategic Projects Director and Senior Advisor to Secretary Fagan, will take over as Interim Director until a permanent replacement is hired.

Ms. Woon has over 15 years’ experience in public service, working in the state legislature, in city and county government, and in the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office for Secretary Fagan and former Secretary Jeanne Atkins. In her current role, she serves as the primary liaison between the Secretary and the Oregon Association of County Clerks and accompanied Secretary Fagan on the vast majority of her 36 county elections office meetings in the past year. Among her recent projects, she led the work to disperse $2 million in election modernization funds, she is leading several innovation projects focused on election modernization, and she was responsible for day-to-day coordination between the Elections Division and the Secretary of State’s Executive Team during the November 2022 election.

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“Molly Woon is the perfect fit to provide stability in the Elections Division during this transition,” said Secretary Fagan.

In her letter to Secretary Fagan, Scroggin said,

I am writing to inform you that I am tendering my resignation as Director of the Oregon Elections Division effective January 20, 2023 I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve Oregonians in this position. After careful consideration, I have decided to seek other opportunities outside the Secretary of State’s office.

We are at an extraordinarily challenging time for elections officials. Mis and disinformation have made the work of administering elections extremely challenging. Increasing complexity and funding uncertainty has stretched the state and counties thin. These challenges make the work we do all the more important.

We have made progress by building strong systems at the state level that will protect democracy in Oregon, and I want to thank everyone on the team for their hard work these past two years.



--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-12-09 16:30:31Last Update: 2022-12-09 16:49:22



Analysis: Oregon AG Advocates for Censorship
"Rosenblum seems to be contradicting much of her father’s work"

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has used her professional position to advocate for online censorship of alternate points of view about COVID-19. She has also used her position as attorney general to support emergency actions that essentially prohibit personal gatherings and in-person political discourse, making online forums the only possible place to discuss these matters. Now AG Rosenblum has joined Democrats in censoring crisis pregnancy centers in an effort to expand abortion access.

AG Rosenblum is vocally supporting the Democrat 2023 legislative agenda to authorize adults not be held accountable for the life of viable unborn humans. She testified before the House Interim Committee on Health Care.

“For generations, Americans relied on the constitutional right to abortion to make deeply personal decisions about their lives. But last June, our highest court declared that right out of existence. While Oregon still has some of the strongest protections in the country, we also border a state—Idaho—with a near total abortion ban. As your attorney general, my promise to Oregonians is simple: the Department of Justice will never stop defending your reproductive rights,” said AG Rosenblum. “I want to thank the Speaker’s Office for bringing these stakeholders together, including from my office, to ensure that Oregon continues to be a leader in protecting full access to reproductive healthcare for all who need it.”

House Speaker Dan Rayfield formed a work group in May in response to the impending Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision from the United States Supreme Court, which later overturned 50 years of precedent and the constitutional right to an abortion returning the decision to the states. In the time since that decision, he claims that many Americans face jail time for seeking an abortion, along with the doctors, nurses and other providers who provide that care. However, Oregon law prohibits such action, so is he wanting to save the nation?

It isn’t just an agenda to protect the right of choice, which is already in Oregon law, they want to silence opposition. From any reasonable standpoint how can Ms. Rosenblum’s actions NOT be deemed government-sponsored censorship. Collectively they stand as clear efforts to violate Oregonians’ First Amendment right to free speech.

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What is misleading public opinion is the Reproductive Health and Access to Care Work Group report. When you are promoting one side of an issue, it is also government responsibility to protect all sides. This report identifies Crisis Pregnancy Centers as an opponent and dangerous to their cause vilifying them providing services beyond pure medical services. They propose to silencing Crisis Pregnancy Centers by including services beyond medical as a violation of Oregon’s Unlawful Trade Practices Act.

The report further proposes to take sexual education out of the hands of parents and local school boards and makes Division 22 standards mandated. The report is completely out of touch with the backlash from parents around the state over the sexual identity curriculum being pushed by the state.

While all the proposals in the report are geared at protecting reproductive and gender-affirming care, the reproductive care only addresses terminating reproduction. It explicitly prohibits harassment and persecution related to the termination of pregnancy, which it claims is occurring. However, it offers no like protection for centers offering genuine reproductive care, which is also occurring.

The report states, “While our work in this state must be applauded, legislative leadership cannot become complacent. Existing gaps in access to care require immediate remedy and the threat of criminalizing health care choices only grows.” It implies that a God structured family and saving the innocent unborn is a threat. Legislation has already villainized parents if seeking psychological care for children thinking they want to change identity.

One can only wonder where in their minds the line gets drawn for what speech is allowed and what is prohibited. Is censorship the 2023 target? What might AG Rosenblum choose to censor next after COVID and vaccine “disinformation?” Now it’s close down criticism of abortion because it threatens women’s freedom to control their bodies. Will they go so far as to cancel pro-life organizations such as Americans United for Life because it is spreading abortion “disinformation?”

AG Rosenblum seems to be contradicting much of her father’s life’s work. Victor Rosenblum was a life-long opponent of abortion and a strong supporter of Americans United for Life. Would Victor have been censored by his daughter?

In 2006, Victor Rosenblum’s colleague Edward Grant quotes him in a National Review article, “Victor Rosenblum was a giant in many fields–political science, administrative and constitutional law, and legal education–but a prophet in one: defending the human rights of the unborn, the handicapped infant, and the infirm aged at risk of medical neglect–and worse.”

Victor Rosenblum strongly disapproved of censorship in the middle of a war, and surely would have disapproved of his daughter’s effort to censor alternative viewpoints defending the unborn.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-12-09 04:37:38Last Update: 2022-12-10 16:10:32



OEA Sees Membership Drop
“Teachers are realizing their unions support policies that are harming the students”

By its own admission, the Oregon Education Association -- the state’s largest teachers’ union -- finds itself in the throes of a membership “crisis.” According to the union’s most recent documents, OEA reported an active membership of 41,784 out of 48,774 represented educators during the 2019-20 school year. By 2020-21, however, that number had shrunk to 41,127.

During the most recent 2021-22 school year, OEA membership continued to decline to just 40,634 dues-paying members, even though the total number of OEA-represented teachers topped 50,000 for the first time. Nearly one in five teachers have now broken ranks with OEA. In just three years, OEA’s membership rate has dropped from 85.6 percent to 81.2.

These numbers do not reflect the additional 600 Oregon teachers the Freedom Foundation has directly helped leave the OEA since April, when the union’s numbers were reported. All told, the union’s active membership has dropped below 80 percent.

“If OEA wants to blame someone for those defections, its leaders need only look in the mirror,” said Freedom Foundation Oregon Director Jason Dudash. “Our teacher outreach has been increasingly successful, but the arrogance of the unions themselves was a big help.”

Until 2018, Oregon was one of 23 states without right-to-work protections for government workers, meaning teachers and thousands of other public employees were required to financially support union activities.

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That changed when the U.S. Supreme Court, in Janus v. AFSCME, affirmed that mandatory union payments violate public employees’ First Amendment rights.

“Teachers want to teach,” said Dudash. “They’re embarrassed that their students are falling further and further behind every year in the educational basics they need because unions and the politicians they’ve corrupted want to turn our classrooms into indoctrination centers.

“Teachers are realizing their unions support policies that are actively harming the students and profession they love,” Dudash continued. “In Oregon and across the country, thousands of teachers are telling their union, ’We’re sick of this, and we’re done with you.’ That may seem like a crisis for the unions, but it’s great news for the rest of us.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-12-08 11:34:44Last Update: 2022-12-07 11:53:56



OHA Publishes First CCO Performance Dashboard
Shows trends and disparities, but not why they are happening

The Oregon Health Authority's Quality Incentive Program has published a new CCO performance metric dashboard so people can quickly find their metric of interest, see individual Coordinated Care Organization trends over time and explore demographic breakouts at the CCO level. The Oregon Health Authority is directed by Pat Allen.

The dashboard is OHA's first presentation of quality measures broken out by Race, Ethnicity, Language, and Disability (REALD) compliant data. REALD is a set of standards that offers more detailed demographic data.

Creation of the CCO performance metric dashboard follows OHA's publication, in August 2022, of the CCO Metrics 2021 Final Report, a summary of performance by Oregon's CCOs in 2021, which showed the results of Oregon's Quality Incentive Program. The program provides financial rewards to CCOs for improving the quality of care provided to Oregon Health Plan members; the report highlighted statewide performance for 14 incentivized measures.

The report showed that although the COVID-19 public health emergency continued and the Delta variant drove a surge in hospitalizations and deaths, performance on CCO incentive metrics began to rebound in 2021 after sharp declines in 2020. However, the report showed only statewide averages for all CCO members, which can disguise inequities.

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The REALD data included in the CCO performance metric dashboard includes data broken out by up to 42 race and ethnicity groups that were determined by the most affected communities. The metrics data is also broken out by up to 58 languages, including sign language and other less-commonly spoken languages. OHA will continue to refine how REALD data is used and reported in this dashboard and elsewhere.

Benefits of REALD data:

Identifying and addressing inequities by REALD categories is essential to OHA's strategic goal of eliminating health inequities by 2030. For example, Oregon is one of the first states in the United States to collect and publish health data on Pacific Islanders from countries affected by the Compact of Free Association treaty. The treaty is the result of U.S. military occupation, atomic nuclear testing and ballistic military exercises that contaminated much of the environment and impacted the health of generations. There is very little health data on COFA citizens in Oregon and the collection of REALD data will allow the agency to understand how they have been affected by health inequities and state policies, and ensure that CCOs work toward improving access and quality of services for this community.

The CCO metric performance dashboard shows trends and disparities, but not why they are happening.

"The dashboard is a starting point, laying the groundwork to engage communities in the future direction of the CCO Quality Incentive Program. Relying on quantitative data alone can have negative impacts," said Stacey Schubert, director of Health Analytics at OHA. "Context and community input and engagement are needed to understand the meaning of the quantitative data in the dashboard."


--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2022-12-08 06:05:41Last Update: 2022-12-07 11:34:44



National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
Official Beginning of United States into WW II



Governor Kate Brown today ordered all flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff in honor of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

"We benefit every day from the bravery and sacrifice of our U.S. service members, and especially owe a debt of gratitude to the people who served and gave their lives in Pearl Harbor and World War II," said Governor Brown.

"I encourage all Oregonians to take a moment to reflect on that sacrifice and express gratitude for the freedoms our fellow Americans have ensured through their service."


--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2022-12-07 09:03:45Last Update: 2022-12-07 10:37:57



Was 2020 a Pseudo Election?
U.S. Supreme Court receives case as national emergency

On January 6, 2021, four Brunson Brothers watched in dismay as 387 members of Congress along with Vice President Mike Pence voted against the proposition to investigate the claims that there were enemies of the constitution who successfully rigged the election. Deron Brunson had begun suing banks in an attempt to show the corruption in the financial world and his experience gave them confidence to sue the current 385 members of Congress along with VP Mike Pence, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

The Brothers filed two identical lawsuits, one being held up in the Utah Federal Court, but the other, filed by Raland J. Brunson has made it to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), Docket #22-380.

What makes this case newsworthy is that SCOTUS has received the case as a national security filing on an expedited basis and bypassed the 10th Circuit Court using Rule 11, even though the 10th Circuit Court denied the case after the fact. Because it was received as a national security, the court can bypass setting a docket time and could hear it at any time on a minute’s notice or dismiss the case for no national security.

SCOTUS has taken a national emergency case specific to whether the 388 named defendants violated their oath to protect the Constitution and the American people. “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”

If, to protect the country and its citizens, a 10-day investigation was legally and lawfully required, then their oath was violated. On that basis alone, regardless of the outcome of the election, the consequence is their removal from office and losing all eligibility to run again, plus their actions are nullified as if the election never happened.

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Elizabeth B. Prelogar, the Solicitor General of the United States, representing the 388 defendants for breaking their oath of office, responded on Thanksgiving Day that they waived their right to respond on the case. In effect, they told SCOTUS to go forward. SCOTUS has listed it on the docket ensuring a hearing.

There is case precedent in 1877 when the U.S. Supreme Court and five Representatives and Senators took a 10-day pause to investigate to determine the election was correct. Senator Cruz of Texas used this precedent to make his proposal to Congress that an Electoral Commission be immediately appointed “with full investigatory and fact-finding authority to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states.”

If SCOTUS rules in favor of the plaintiffs, it will not affect any down ballot elections or the 2022 elections. It does remove two-thirds of Congress to never run for office again and will affect the jobs of around 12,000 staff. Because it would render the vote never happened, President Trump would resume as President.

Oregon would lose Representatives Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer, and Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden voting against the 10-day investigation forfeiting their right to run for another term.

The Supreme Court is set to meet on January 6. The Brunsons are requesting help suggesting people print and mail a letter to the Supreme Court regarding Brunson v. Alma S. Adams et al.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-12-06 18:20:15Last Update: 2022-12-07 14:24:48



Federal Court Denies Restraining Order of Firearms Case
“Your rights will be, once again, seriously eroded starting Thursday.”

US District Court Judge Karin Immergut has denied a motion to delay the implementation of Ballot Measure 114. Judge Immergut was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2019.

Judge Immergut did agree with the state’s request to delay the permitting process for 30 days -- a process the state assured the court will be ready by Thursday.

According to Kevin Starrett of Oregon Firearms Federation, that will provide no protection for anyone who currently owns a standard capacity magazine or anyone who owns a common shotgun which will now be contraband. It also does nothing for anyone waiting to take possession of a firearm they paid for but have not received, if that gun comes with a standard magazine.

Furthermore, according to Starrett, come Thursday even security guards and off duty police will be breaking the law if they are in possession of a standard magazine.

According to the Opinion and Order produced by the court:

[B]ased on the record before this Court at this early stage in the litigation, this Court finds that Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden showing that they are entitled to the extraordinary relief they seek. Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that they will suffer immediate and irreparable harm if this Court does not block Measure 114 from taking effect on December 8, 2022. Plaintiffs have not produced sufficient evidence at this stage to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of their challenge to Measure 114’s restrictions on large-capacity magazines. Plaintiffs have also failed to demonstrate a likelihood of success on their facial challenge to Measure 114’s permitting provisions. With respect to any as-applied challenge, Defendants have stated that they are not ready to implement the permitting requirements and have asked this Court to “enter an order providing a limited window in which Oregonians will be able to purchase firearms even though they do not have a permit, while also allowing Oregonians to apply for and be issued permits.” Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ Motion for a TRO, ECF 5, is DENIED

“This is a lengthy and obviously disappointing decision,” said Starrett, “and we will have more information soon. But for now, unless something really unexpected happens, understand that your rights will be, once again, seriously eroded starting Thursday.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-12-06 13:26:30Last Update: 2022-12-06 17:21:51



Tillamook County Business License Fee Appears Dead
The response was sufficient to lay it to rest temporarily

Over the last three years many were shocked by the heavy-handedness of unelected officials from government bureaucracies such as the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon OSHA. This last week it became apparent that our local government appears willing subvert our free market economy under a small council with two employees.

On November 30th, the Tillamook County Commissioners held a public hearing on Ordinance #88 Business License Fee for Unincorporated Tillamook County. This new fee for businesses outside of cities in the county was so vague in its language that it included definitions such as “‘Doing business’ means to engage in any activity in pursuit of profit, gain, livelihood or any other purpose” [emphasis added]. Worse still was the “Violations and Penalties” section of this ordinance included a “$600.00 for any one offense. . . Each day constituting a separate offence” and “Inspection and Right of Entry.” This means that individuals with home-based businesses believed to be in noncompliance could be forcibly entered by a warrant: Selling firewood or eggs without a license would become a risky business.

Why did the Board of Commissioners consider a hearing on this ordinance? That will have to be answered by the commissioners, but specifically Commissioner Bell. Commissioner Bell sits on the Economic Development Committee of Tillamook County that recommended this ordinance. Reviewing the minutes of the EDCTC back to 2020 reveals Commissioner Bell had primary role in the formation of this ordinance. Bell did not work alone. Bill Sargent, County Counsel, stated during the public hearing that past commissioners refused to hold a hearing for this ordinance. How long has this ordinance been under consideration? That is unclear at this time, due to the amount of documentation that must be obtained and sorted through. What is clear is that in September 2020 Terre Cooper, EDCTC Director, presented this ordinance to the EDCTC Board for drafting.

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Why all the concern about private individuals pursuing economic freedom through various means, many of which are already under multiple state and federal regulatory bodies? Why did Ordinance #88 give the EDCTC the ability to raise fees at any time and be solely responsible for approving licenses and violation fees? How much does the EDCTC need beyond its multiple grants and their $108,000 county budget? According to their website most of their accomplishments include sitting on other bureaucratic boards throughout the county and state and administering small business grants. So young men selling firewood and families selling a litter of puppies in a year need to fund EDCTC staff attendance of Zoom meetings?

Democracy may die in darkness, but economic security dies under the bureaucracy of unelected administrators. The response from the citizenry was sufficient to lay Ordinance #88 to rest temporarily, but it needs to be given a proper burial at sea. Forget a threatening China, communism just came to Tillamook County from the office of an administrator paid by us, rented from our community college.

The second public hearing scheduled for December 14 regarding proposed Ordinance #88 in the matter of a business license fee within unincorporated Tillamook County has been cancelled. Links to Ordinance #88 on the county website to this ordinance are broken.


--April Bailey

Post Date: 2022-12-06 12:46:54Last Update: 2022-12-06 13:26:30



Grassroot Groups Unite to Protect Parental Rights
“Sitting in on a relevant committee meeting is a great way to get your feet wet”

Several grassroots groups have joined forces to inform Oregon lawmakers of the importance of parental rights for their families. The grassroots coalition is called Unite Oregon Now. According to a press release put out by the group, their mission is to help Oregonians engage more fully with the legislative process regarding issues affecting parental rights.

Legislators are gathering in Salem at the capitol building for Legislative Committee Days this week, December 7-9, 2022. They are preparing for the 2023 long legislative session which begins next month -- January 17 through June 25. The committees will be meeting throughout the three days to discuss topics that may lead to legislation in upcoming sessions, hearing updates on previous bill implementations, hearing reports from state agencies and task forces, and keeping current on the subject areas affecting Oregonians.

The Unite Oregon Now coalition will be offering tours of the capitol building each day during Legislative Days -- Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, December 6-8. Tours will begin a couple short blocks away at the Ike Box coffee shop, 299 Cottage Street NE in Salem, and will start at 11am and 1pm each day. Also from 10:30am-2:00pm at the Ike Box, there will be written materials including schedules showing which committee meetings are most likely to interest people looking to protect parental rights. Breanna Jarmer, Executive Director of Oregonians for Medical Freedom explains, “Sitting in on a relevant committee meeting is a great way to get your feet wet if you haven’t engaged at the capitol before. This is also a fabulous opportunity to meet leaders and members of the grassroots organizations who have been fighting for parental rights and more for years.”

The grassroots coalition consists of: Oregonians For Medical Freedom; Children's Health Defense, Oregon Chapter; Moms For Liberty; Oregon Moms Union; and People's Rights.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-12-06 11:07:00Last Update: 2022-12-06 14:49:14



City of Bend to Select Another Councilor
Council anticipates vacancy, announces process

The Bend, Oregon City Council plans to declare a vacancy on the Council on Jan. 4, 2023, when Melanie Kebler becomes Mayor. Because Kebler was elected as Mayor in the middle of her four-year Council term, her move to the Mayor’s seat vacates the remaining two years of her seat on the Council (Position 1). The Council Position 1 term expires in December 2024.

  The Bend Charter requires that a vacancy on the Council be filled within 30 days of declaring the vacancy by a Council appointment. Council Rules describe the process for filling a vacancy.

In consideration of the timeline, Council started accepting applications on Dec. 2, 2022.  

Applicants can complete an online application and submit a letter of interest which may address such areas as reasons for wanting to serve on the Council, working as a part of a team and representing various areas of the community. A description of the application process and application will be available on the “Council vacancy” tab on the Bend City Council webpage.  

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Applicants can also come to City Hall, 710 NW Wall Street, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to fill out an application. Please contact Melissa Mitsch to set up an appointment at 541-388-5505 or by email.

  Completed applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. The Council will review the applications then can select candidates for interviews. The Council anticipates conducting interviews the week of January 9 and expects to make an appointment at the regular Council meeting on Wednesday, January 18.

  The Council aims to have the appointment made prior to the start of its goal-setting process, which takes place in late January. Dates, times and locations for all meetings will be available on the City Calendar once scheduled.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-12-05 17:15:19Last Update: 2022-12-05 17:44:26



Certifying Election Results
"Secretary Fagan has created a crisis of confidence"

According to the Secretary of State’s office, counties have until December 15 to turn in their certified election results. As of this writing, six counties, Crook, Curry, Gilliam, Grant, Lake, Malheur and Wallowa, have submitted certified election results.

The Secretary of State Vote by Mail Procedures Manual includes a schedule for county clerks. The voter manual timeline gives the county 21 days to notify the elector, and the elector has the same 21 days after election day to make corrections or they will be inactive. How does making a non-responsive elector "inactive" coordinate with not cleaning voter rolls? The manual does not include requirements for opening and scanning returned envelopes where the public is allowed to monitor the process. ORS 254.478 allows county clerks to begin opening returned ballots and begin scanning seven days prior to election day. Secretary Fagan took it upon her own authority to bypass statute and extended the law to allow county clerks to begin opening 14 days prior to election day. As she did when she sent out 7,767 ballots to non-registered voters.

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan testified in favor of SB 249, which didn’t pass. She wants to allow ballots to be opened and counted when they are received rather than forcing County Clerks to wait until 7 days before the day of the election. She claims the flexibility will allow County Clerks to avoid a backlog of ballots on election day. Added time after the election day has increased nefarious activities in ballot harvesting. Added count time prior to election day will allow unscrupulous people to direct their activities. This proposal is certain to return in the 2023 legislative session.

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ORS 254.470 (6) requires a ballot to have a “postal indicator showing that the ballot was mailed not later than the date of the election.” The manual suggested the county use a fluorescent scanner, if available. The postmaster at the Airport Distribution Center said their ballots are sprayed with a date code that can be tracked every place it goes. Eugene also uses spray codes, but experienced smudging. Lacking a postal indicator on a returned ballot, the county election clerk is allowed to decide whether it is counted or not. There doesn’t seem to be uniform treatment across the state on the use of spray coding or if counties have fluorescent scanners, or how they treat late returns with no postmark or unreadable postmarks.

General opinion on social media is that Secretary Fagan has created a crisis of confidence. She admits that people received two or more ballots, and she says counties issuing duplicate ballots cross-check with other counties. However, several counties, including Lane County, admit they don’t check with other counties for duplicate votes. Marion and Lane Counties have admitted they can print ballots at will without change of custody.

Secretary Fagan also claims that the ballots involved in lawsuits are held separately, however, county clerks knew nothing about needing to separate ballots. In one county, litigation is being used as an excuse for not releasing counts that also gives opportunity to add ballots. Further, it is an option of the county clerk if a secrecy envelope is included.

Oregon is one of 31 states that allows some kind of ballot harvesting. Most states have restrictions for family members, but there are several like Oregon that have no restriction except they must be turned in within two days, and an election official may not collect ballots. In this 2022 election, Tina Kotek hired 400 ballot harvesters that targeted the Gen-Z generation. Some would say that Oregon is grooming a generation of 30 and under that are activists, but not thinkers.

There is no limit to how imaginative politics can be. For some, Oregon seems to draw on the worst ideas and has been very good at selling them to voters. We can look to other states for their inspiration. Oregon has tried to expand voters to include 16-year-olds and prisoners. Now, a new idea, the Public Interest Legal Foundation is suing Howard County, Maryland to block its law allowing a member of the school board to be elected by sixth through 11th-grade students, typically 11- or 12-year-olds. If Oregon voters don’t pay attention to election processes, the state will end up in a more oppressive government.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-12-03 06:04:07Last Update: 2022-12-04 18:39:27



ERIC is Cause for Election Concerns
Population declines while voter rolls increase

In 2012 the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) was formed as a membership organization by the Soros Open Society to clean voter rolls. Oregon is one of 33 states that reports to ERIC.

In order to run cross checks on voters, ERIC collects details on inactive and active voters every 60 days, including the states Motor Vehicle licensed and ID databases. ERIC’s database provides a wide base source to influence an election and generate voter registrations by providing states with a list of people that are not registered to vote. In 2020 they located 17 million new voters. The ERIC membership bylaws require the state to solicit at least 95% of these people to register. It has been called a “left wing voter registration drive all paid for by the States.” Their rules further explain that “Under no circumstances shall the members transmit any record indicating an individual is a non-citizen of the U.S.”

You ask, how many voters were removed in the last four years? Oregon has fourteen counties that removed five or fewer voter registrations.

Deborah Scroggin, Oregon Director of Elections, serves on the ERIC Board for Oregon. She was appointed after nearly a decade with the Portland City Auditor’s Office where she oversaw city elections. Her office had close ties with Multnomah County Elections Division orchestrating an Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Portland and the Multnomah County Elections Division. The Director Tim Scott, is also the president of the Oregon Association of County Clerks (OACC). The association is not transparent with meetings or records, and it appears the president does not agree with their lawyer. OACC lawyer stated to Secretary Fagan that the clerks are “very concerned” about the centralized voter registration system and the software used that is no longer supported. Bids for a new system didn’t take place as scheduled.

Dr. Frank, speaking at Gathering of the Eagles in Oregon, said most County Clerks are not qualified for the job they are elected or appointed to do. Clerks are elected or appointed with clerical/administrative skills and that may do for their day-to-day function, but they don’t have the skills to recognize insecure election data, faulty technology or out-of-line algorithms.

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Kat Stansell, Grassroots Outreach Director for the American Policy Center, said “I now believe that the ERIC system was part of the coup; hardly anyone, myself included, had heard of ERIC then (prior to the 2020 election). Now, teams of investigators have unearthed reams of evidence, of irrefutable proof of irregularities, of dark money, of hired ballot runners and poll workers, of thousands of cartons of ballots brought in from ineligible sources, et. al. A lot of the highest profile cheating occurred in ERIC member states. All of this has created blow back from those states.”

There is ample evidence that ERIC, who purports to clean Oregon’s voter registrations, does not. The passing of HB 2681 in 2021, which changed retention of voter registration to indefinitely, appears to be a calculated part of ERIC adding new members to their database. Legislation that ignores purging voter rolls is a form of purging voters of their voice, and evidence of collusive activity. The state of Louisiana has cut its ties with ERIC for similar reasons.

U.S. Census Bureau shows that in 2021 26.4 million people moved in the U.S.. ERIC reported in-state movers in the ERIC system showed 4,911,198, in-state duplicate ballots for 281,996, and another 111,923 for deceased voters. Oregon reported that more people moved out than in with a population decline of approximately 10% according to PSU Population Research Center. Portland lost 11,000 residents for the year ending July 2021, and Multnomah County had their greatest decline of -2,321 in 2022.

Secretary Fagan recently announced voter registrations reaching an all-time high of 3 million. The decline in population doesn’t coordinate with the increase of voter registrations as those moving out-of-state remain as registered voters unless they take individual action to have their name removed. Until the voter rolls are cleaned, there isn't a chance for honest elections.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-12-02 16:56:47Last Update: 2022-12-02 18:07:42



Linn County Commissioners to Tackle Ballot Measure 110 Flaws
Law does not differentiate between adults and juveniles

Oregon’s Ballot Measure 110, which reduced some drug possession charges from felonies to misdemeanors and offered counseling as an alternative to jail time, also created unintended consequences when it comes to dealing with juveniles, Commissioners Roger Nyquist and Will Tucker were told Tuesday morning.

Linn County Juvenile Director Torri Linn said the law does not provide any differentiation between adults and juveniles, so it makes it difficult if not impossible to get services to young people when their drug offenses are in their early stages.

During the recent gubernatorial campaign, all three candidates said Measure 110 was not working and two — Republican Christine Drazan and independent Betsy Johnson — wanted to see it repealed. Incoming Gov. Tina Kotek said she wants to keep it in place, but with fixes. 

Ballot Measure 110 provides funding for such things as subsidizing housing for drug offenders or needle exchanges, but those measures are directed at people who are well into their addictions, not early on like teenagers, Lynn said.

Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 110 by 58% to 42% in November 2020. It decriminalized possession of consumption amounts of cocaine and heroin among other hard drugs. The new law went into effect in February 2021.

Lynn pointed out that teenagers can be charged with Minor In Possession if found with alcohol, but not if they have cocaine or heroin on them.

Both Nyquist and Tucker — who was participating by telephone — voiced strong concerns about the new law, seeing it as flawed and unsuccessful in decreasing drug use statewide. Commissioner Sprenger did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.

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The commissioners plan to engage members of the Legislature addressing several key issues, especially on how the new law is affecting juvenile offenders and the county’s ability to help them early on.

Nyquist said, “We will go full-court press on this if we have to.”

“At the very least, they need to address the MIP discrepancy issue, a kid getting an MIP for alcohol but not hard drugs” Nyquist said. “It should include federal Class I drugs that the state just legalized.”

Commissioner Tucker said he is, “Adamantly against Measure 110.

“There is no stick and no carrot,” Tucker added.

He said Oregon voters had only one choice to deal with a “horrible problem” when the measure was on the ballot.

Nyquist said he supports the will of the voters, but he emphasized the measure is filled with gaping holes.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-11-30 21:09:59Last Update: 2022-12-01 17:45:30



Monmouth-Independence Launch Trolley Service
Ride the trolley for free

After five years of analyzing, planning and a feasibility study, adjoining cities of Monmouth and Independence saw results by the arrival of the first of the three Trolleys to their community. The project is scheduled to begin service early in 2023 as a pilot project. Representative Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) provided $3 million in American Rescue Plan grant funds through the state budget to support the local transit service that will link downtown Independence, downtown Monmouth and the Western Oregon University campus. The plan is to start operating with transit fares and then find long-term funding to keep ridership free.

The trolley is intended to be fun for all ages. It will be a novelty attracting tourists, visitors, and locals. Planners modeled the pilot after the King Street Trolley in Alexandria, VA, that operates in the historic district, providing mobility for visitors, as well as supporting business. Other trolleys have revitalized downtowns playing a significant role in promoting community identity and economic development, while keeping the traditional urban values alive. That is the hope for Monmouth and Independence.

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Community surveys found favorable support for the trolley service over other options. Eventually, the vision is that the trolleys will become a daily transit service for people living in the cities of Independence and Monmouth. This new service will be managed and operated by Cherriots and will link CARTS (Chemeketa Area Regional Transit System) with the Cherriots system in Salem.

The pilot will operate for two years to provide evidence of long-term viability of the service. The trolleys will be a hybrid gas-electric vehicle with plans to move to a 100 percent battery electric vehicle in the future. Two vehicles will operate each service day with a third to serve as a spare and used as rotation. The main route will travel along Main Street in Monmouth, and Monmouth Street in Independence with three trips per hour. The City of Monmouth has a complete schedule on their webpage. It is also possible to make reservations for off-route pickups and drop-offs if it is within 0.75 miles of the main route.

There is some discussion to have special trips for events. Might want to put one of the Independence City events in Riverview Park on your schedule and ride the trolley for free and see your tax-dollars at work.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-30 00:08:20Last Update: 2022-11-30 20:06:46



State Contracts to be Studied for Diversity
BBC Research does not appear to have any blacks or Hispanics

The Department of Administrative Services alongside commissioned BBC Research & Consulting, will be hosting six stakeholder engagement sessions in early December to provide information about Oregon’s disparity study, to seek feedback and be available for questions. These meetings will provide information about the project team, the purpose of the study, the project approach, and how business owners and stakeholders can participate directly in the study. The project team will also answer any questions attendees have regarding the study. In addition, attendees will have an opportunity to share any comments or insights about working with the state. This feedback will be integrated into the analysis and report.

BBC Research itself, does not appear to have any blacks or Hispanics among its own directors or employees.

The disparity study, which will examine contracting by state government agencies. The study will seek information about businesses that are owned by people of color, women and service-disabled veterans. The project team will assess whether there are disparities between contracts and procurements awarded and the availability of those types of businesses for the work requested. The study will also assess marketplace conditions for businesses owned by people of color, women and service-disabled veterans throughout Oregon to determine whether any barriers make it more difficult for those businesses to compete for or perform state work.

Public Comment Zoom Meetings
December 6, 11:30 a.m.
December 6, 5:30 p.m.
December 7, 11:30 a.m.
December 7, 5:30 p.m.
December 8, 11:30 a.m.
December 8, 5:30 p.m.
Stakeholder engagement sessions will take place in early December, with two sessions a day over the course of three days. Public participation and feedback are crucial to a successful study, please join any of the following sessions:

“We highly encourage anyone interested in state contracting or procurement to participate in these engagement sessions,” said Christopher D. Wilson, Disparity Study Manager. “We hope to hear about all experiences, your insights will help the state better encourage the participation of small businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, person of color-owned businesses, and woman-owned businesses in state work.”

The disparity study began in October 2022, and the project team expects to submit a draft report to the state in June 2023 and a final report in August 2023.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-25 06:28:05Last Update: 2022-11-26 09:34:04



Google Settles with Oregon
Google uses the personal data it collects to target ads

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, along with 39 other state attorney generals, announced a historic $391.5 million settlement with Google over its location tracking practices. The settlement, which was led by Oregon AG Rosenblum and Nebraska AG Doug Peterson, is the largest attorney general-led consumer privacy settlement ever. Because of Oregon’s leadership role in the bipartisan investigation and settlement, Oregon will receive $14,800,563.

The settlement outlined that Google misled its users into thinking they had turned off location tracking in their account settings, when, in fact, Google continued to collect their location information. In addition to the multimillion-dollar settlement, as part of the negotiations, Google has agreed to significantly improve its location tracking disclosures and user controls starting in 2023.

“For years Google has prioritized profit over their users’ privacy,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “They have been crafty and deceptive. Consumers thought they had turned off their location tracking features on Google, but the company continued to secretly record their movements and use that information for advertisers.”

Location data is a key part of Google’s digital advertising business. Google uses the personal and behavioral data it collects to build detailed user profiles and target ads. In fact, location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects. Even a limited amount of location data can expose a person’s identity and routines and can be used to infer personal details. Specifically, Google confused its users about the extent to which they could limit Google’s location tracking by adjusting their account and device settings

The attorneys general opened the Google investigation following a 2018 Associated Press article that revealed Google “records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.” The article focused on two Google account settings: Location History and Web & App Activity. Location History is “off” unless a user turns on the setting, but Web & App Activity, a separate account setting, is automatically “on” when users set up a Google account, including all Android users.

“Consumer privacy is one of my office’s top priorities. That’s why it’s so important to me that Oregon played a key role in this settlement. Until we have comprehensive privacy laws, companies will continue to compile large amounts of our personal data for marketing purposes with few controls,” continued AG Rosenblum.

The settlement requires Google to be more transparent about its practices. In particular, Google must:
  1. Show additional information to users whenever they turn a location-related account setting “on” or “off”;
  2. Make key information about location tracking unavoidable for users (i.e., not hidden); and
  3. Give users detailed information about the types of location data Google collects and how it’s used at an enhanced “Location Technologies” webpage.
In 2019, Attorney General Rosenblum formed the Oregon Consumer Privacy Task Force to answer the growing calls for legislation that would give consumers more control over their online privacy and require businesses to adhere to basic standards when handling personal information. The task force has now grown into more than 150 participants from a variety of perspectives.

The task force will introduce comprehensive consumer data privacy legislation in the upcoming 2023 legislative session. If the bill is successful, consumers will have more control over their personal data. They will have the right to know what personal information a company is collecting, to whom or where their data was disclosed, and they will receive a copy of all the data a company has about them. Companies would also need to correct inaccuracies in personal data or delete their information. In addition, the task force plans to introduce companion legislation to create a state registry of data brokers, companies that often operate under the radar but make billions selling personal consumer data.

Blocking Google from collecting personal data may spoil their artificial intelligence robot called LaMDA (Language Model for Dialog Applications). This is the product for which Google has been collecting personal information and habits. Google has been in the news as to whether this AI robot is sentient having thoughts and feelings, and they have fired those claiming it possess those self-aware algorithms.

Elon Musk said in a speech at the 2017 National Governors Association, “Robots will be able to do everything better than us. I have exposure to the most cutting-edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned by it.”


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-25 06:24:37Last Update: 2022-11-24 21:15:24



Beware of Black Friday and Cyber Monday Scams
“The biggest shopping days of the year are also packed with scams”

Thanksgiving week Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum reminded us that the biggest shopping days of the year are also packed with scams. Black Friday and Cyber Monday and the holidays draw millions of buyers every year looking to score deals, compete for hot products, and cross names off their shopping lists. She says, be ready – and safe!

“With all these deals, unfortunately, fraudsters are also looking to cash in,” said Rosenblum. “Let’s not give scammers any gifts, credit card information, or new identities this year,” said AG Rosenblum. “Before you open your wallet, review this list carefully to ensure you can shop confidently and make the most of all the great holiday deals. Be sure to review our ten practical tips as well!”

1. Non-delivery scam

If a deal seems too good to be true on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, it probably is. When making online purchases, you should always receive an order confirmation with a tracking number. But in this scam, you won’t. And surprise, surprise, the package never arrives. When you attempt to contact the seller for help, you learn they have disappeared.

2. Gift card scam

In this scam, an online store will ask that you pay using a gift card. If this happens, it should raise big red flags. Gift cards are often utilized by cybercriminals to steal your money because these types of purchases cannot be tracked, and it is impossible to get your money back.

Treat gift cards like cash, never giving out your gift card number or PIN, and using them only with the issuing merchant. For example, you’d use a Target gift card at a Target store or Target.com.

3. Fake order scam

Phishing is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but modern-day phishing attacks have become more sophisticated. In the fake order scam, con artists will send cryptic text messages or unsolicited emails to notify you of a "problem" with your online order.

But you never ordered anything! They want you to click the link in the phishing email, which leads to a website asking for your banking credentials or other sensitive information, which they can use to commit other frauds.

These emails are designed to appear like they came from a legitimate sender, like Amazon or Walmart. Please look out for these and don’t fall for them!

4. Fake delivery scam

Phishing attacks go a step further in this scheme, as criminals will send fake delivery notifications by text or email. Usually, these notifications are disguised to be from FedEx, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service.

Just like the fake order phishing scam, you’ll be invited to click a link to accept your delivery, where they’ll steal your personally identifying information.

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5. Fake website scam

Cybercriminals are setting up imitation websites of popular online stores. These copycat websites look exactly like the official retailer, and the untrained eyes of an average consumer can easily fall for the trap.

If you have unsuspectingly made an online purchase from a fake retail website, criminals may have stolen your credit card information and other personal details, and you should contact your credit card and/or bank immediately.

To avoid falling victim to one or more of these scams on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, review these 10 practical tips to help you watch your wallet, shop wisely, and protect your personal information online.

If you have fallen victim, be sure to report it to the Oregon Department of Justice online at www.oregonconsumer.gov or by phone at 1-877-877-9392.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-24 13:59:51Last Update: 2022-11-24 16:11:12



Lawsuit Filed over Measure 114 Gun Restrictions
Kate Brown and Ellen Rosenblum named

A lawsuit has been filed by Oregon Firearms Federation, Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey and firearms dealer Adam Johnson against Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum seeking to have Measure 114 declared unconstitutional.

According to the complaint, filed in the Pendleton Division of US District Court, "Millions of law-abiding Americans own firearms equipped with magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. There is nothing unusual or novel about this technology. Many of the nation’s best-selling handguns and rifles come standard with magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds—and firearms equipped with such magazines are safely possessed by law-abiding citizens in the vast majority of States. The reason for the popularity of these magazines is that in a confrontation with a violent attacker, having enough ammunition can be the difference between life and death."

The case was immediately moved to the Portland Division under Judge Karen Immergut. Immergut is a Democrat appointed by Donald Trump. The court acted with unusual speed on Thanksgiving Day by scheduling oral arguments for Dec 2nd.

According to the complaint, Measure 114 violates a litany of constitutional provisions. Oregon Firearms Federation Executive Director Kevin Starrett pointed out, that "In spite of the fact that there are still uncounted ballots, Oregon’s Secretary of State has declared that the ban on new gun sales, and the outlawing of standard capacity magazines, goes into effect on December 8th.

"This came as a shock not only to gun owners, and gun stores but to the State Police and Sheriffs who have been saddled with implementing this nightmare with no direction, no funding, and no resources . And that’s exactly how it was intended," according to Starrett, who is seeking donations to help with mounting legal costs.

"We know the state has said they will vigorously defend this measure and work to shut down gun stores as quickly as possible. And as you know, virtually every firearms related legal challenge has been lengthy, expensive, and wrought with setbacks.

Starrett continued, "The courts were more than happy to uphold orders that closed schools and crippled small businesses during COVID."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-24 06:24:08Last Update: 2022-11-24 20:37:10



Double Homicide Inspires Legislative Concept
Pardons for prior marijuana possession

Senator Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro) speaks out regarding the double homicide in Washington County on November 16. The suspect, Carlos Jimenez-Vargas, is believed to have killed his wife and her sister, Gabriela Jimenez and Lenin Hernandez-Rosas, then shot himself. He was previously arrested six weeks earlier and charged with fourth-degree assault, strangulation, second-degree invasion of personal privacy, luring a minor, unlawful use of a weapon and menacing. Senator Sollman, board member of the Washington County Family Justice Center, is using this tragedy to expand pretrial release assessments to include crimes of domestic violence and personal violence, such as strangulation.

“As someone that grew up in a home where domestic violence was present,” she said. “I know that domestic violence is about negative, and often violent control. Early in the 2023 legislative session, I will be looking at how different courts address these issues in order to help prevent tragedies like this from occurring and will be working with all advocates interested in working on this issue.”

Meanwhile, Oregon Governor Kate Brown grants another round of pardons for prior marijuana possession that will impact an estimated 45,000 individuals across the state and forgive more than $14,000,000 in associated fines and fees. The pardon will remove 47,144 convictions for possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana, in pre-2016 cases in which the person was 21 years of age or older, where this was the only charge, and where there were no victims. This pardon does not apply to any other offense related to marijuana or other controlled substances. It eliminates barriers for thousands of people seeking employment, housing, and educational opportunities who have otherwise been ineligible

Governor Brown said, “We are a state, and a nation, of second chances. Today, I am taking steps to right the wrongs of a flawed, inequitable, and outdated criminal justice system in Oregon when it comes to personal marijuana possession. For the estimated 45,000 individuals who are receiving a pardon for prior state convictions of marijuana possession, this action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions.”

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Following the Governor’s pardon, the Oregon Judicial Department will ensure that all court records associated with these pardoned offenses are sealed, removing housing insecurity, employment barriers, and educational obstacles.

This follows the release of 953 convicted felons earlier this year that included more than 70 people who committed crimes as juveniles including murder. There were a lot of questions in a lawsuit about the constitutional and statutory rights of victims. However, the courts sided with Governor Brown.

Oregon has set a precedent passing laws that protect rehabilitation of inmates. So it shouldn’t be a surprise when courts seem to side with predators rights. Can Senator Sollman bring back constitutional and statutory rights in the way courts look at victims?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-23 16:48:12Last Update: 2022-11-23 20:24:08



Knopp Hopes for a Bipartisan Session
Democrats appear on track to lose their supermajority

Oregon Senate Democrats met at Salishan Resort to choose their nominee for Senate President. The choice of Senator Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) to replace the retiring Peter Courtney -- known for his commitment to the institution and bipartisan solutions -- suggests a new direction.

“Oregonians are facing a number of crises that require action from the Oregon Legislature," said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). "With close results in several key Senate elections, and the end of the supermajority, voters indicated they want their elected officials to work together in a bipartisan fashion now more than ever."

"I am disappointed that Democrats first step in preparation for the 2023 Session is to designate a new nominee for Senate President without seeking any input from Republicans. Senator Wagner has shown he is untrustworthy, deeply partisan, and doesn’t have the necessary skills to run the Senate in a bipartisan fashion. There are no votes in the Senate Republican caucus for Senator Wagner."

If Democrats are intent on uniting Oregon to fix our problems, Republicans are all in. If Democrats want to run a progressive agenda to pay back their supporters, they can expect total opposition.”

While certification will not occur until December, Democrats appear on track to lose their supermajority and hold their Senate majority by a small margin. The combined total margins in Senate District 3 and Senate District 20 are approximately 2,850 votes.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-23 15:13:41Last Update: 2022-11-23 20:19:59



NW Natural is Still a Viable Energy Option
"Innovative efforts that actually reduces carbon emissions"

Despite the attacks by Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown, and Governor-Elect Tina Kotek on natural gas suppliers, NW Natural Gas continues to prove they are a viable carbon neutral option. Representative Khanh Pham (D-Portland), co-sponsored HB 2021 (2021), said the bill “builds on existing energy policy to ensure Oregon’s electricity is generated from clean energy and carbon-free resources like solar and wind energy by 2040.” Her testimony neglected to mention it halts growth in natural gas usage.

HB 2021 implants into law a requirement for retail electricity providers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers to 80% below baseline emissions levels by 2030, 90% below baseline emissions levels by 2035, and 100% below baseline emissions levels by 2040.

Oregon government has not made it clear to Oregonians that not all electricity is carbon neutral. It takes coal, or oil or natural gas to produce electricity. In a study by Charles Frank, Brookings Institution, he made a comparison of baseline net cost of five options to replace coal. The net cost per KWH for Wind is 5.64 cents, Solar is 18.74 cents, Hydro is -.33 cents, Nuclear is 1.04 cents, and Gas CC is -3.18 cents. What the carbon neutral proponents want you to pay is an additional 21.92 cents per KWH for solar electricity, and for wind an increase of 8.82 cents per KWH.

The benefits of reducing carbon emissions do not appear to be cost effective for higher priced options. According to Frank's report, the cost of reduced emission benefits are: Wind is 4.77 cents, Solar is 5.11 cents, Hydro is 4.83 cents, Nuclear is 5.16 cents and Gas CC is 3.46 cents. Frank answers the question of why the costs per KWH of wind and solar are much higher, and the benefits not much different, than the other three low-carbon alternatives. Costs are higher due to cost to build a wind or solar plant, they operate at full capacity only about 15 percent of the time, and output is highly variable. Frank estimates that it takes at least 7.3 solar plants and 4.3 wind plants to produce the same amount of power as one Hydro or nuclear or coal or gas-fired plant. He suggests that renewable incentives that favor wind and solar are very expensive and inefficient way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

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Last year Northwest Natural presented Vision 2050: Destination Zero, an in-depth report that shows multiple scenarios for how NW Natural can achieve carbon neutrality, a low-carbon energy future in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This report analyzes potential scenarios in which NW Natural could achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 for the energy services they provide to 2.5 million residents.

Emerging new technologies can play a role in decarbonizing non-renewable gas supplies through the direct capture of carbon dioxide at the point of combustion. These emissions can be sequestered or utilized, giving rise to the category of carbon capture, utilization, and storage.

NW Natural has market-ready technology in the pilot phase of deployment designed for natural gas utilities. They are piloting the CarbinX unit, manufactured by the Canadian-based CleanO2 firm, which draws a fraction of the flue gas from natural gas-fired appliances and mixes that gas with potassium hydroxide to produce potassium carbonate. The initial model is expected to capture 20% of the CO2 in the flue stream and eventually rise to 100% in 2030. The CarbinX device is best suited for larger facilities like indoor aquatic and recreation centers or hotels with on-site laundry, places that use relatively stable amounts of natural gas.

NW Natural is also partnering with Modern Electron on another pilot project to turn methane into clean hydrogen and solid carbon to go live in early 2023. All these innovative efforts that actually reduces carbon emissions, unlike HB 2021, have fallen on deaf ears with the Oregon legislature's majority party.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-22 06:54:19Last Update: 2022-11-21 22:27:48



Oregon Declares Another Emergency
U.S. Senate declares emergency is over

The Biden Administration is fighting back against Senate Republican along with 13 Democrats who voted to put an end to the notion that COVID is still an emergency. Senate Joint Resolution 63 is intended to put an end to a national emergency declared by the President on March 13, 2020. Senator Roger Marshall, a physician from Kansas, forced the issue onto the Senate floor, but Joe Biden says he needs an “emergency” to fund things like student loan forgiveness.

Now that Nancy Pelosi is out of the picture, this vote may get enough bipartisan support to put a bill on the president's desk. However, Joe Biden says he will veto it, saying the bill would end the national emergency "abruptly and prematurely."

Governor Kate Brown is desperately trying to keep the crisis mentality going in Oregon to test out the newly passed authority given to the Oregon Health Authority. The shortage of nursing and professional staff created during the COVID emergency is having a lingering effect. Many were forced to quit because they refused to take a vaccine that is now being suspended or banned in India, Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Latvia. In the U.S., a year ago, twelve state governors signed legislation restricting COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

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Still Governor Brown continues to tell healthcare workers they can’t help with the shortage of nurses if they choose to not vaccinate or qualify for an exemption. SB 1529 carried by Senator Deb Patterson (D-Salem), passed on partisan lines against overwhelming opposition concerned with the unfettered powers given to the Health Authority whenever an emergency is declared or to declare an emergency with the governor’s approval. SB 1529 allows the Public Health Director to direct and deploy State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Oregon (SERV-OR), a database of healthcare professionals volunteering their services including those licensed in other states that can practice in Oregon upon declaration of an emergency.

The Governor’s executive order will give hospitals additional flexibility to staff beds for children, allow them to draw on a pool of medical volunteer nurses and doctors from other states (SERV-OR), and take other steps to provide care to pediatric patients. One may ask what the emergency really is since SERV-OR data base includes 5,150 Oregon licensed professionals that could fill in without an emergency. There is an additional 224 with dual license in Oregon and another state, and 75 out-of-state license holders.

There is no vaccine for RSV, so why does Governor Brown and OHA continue to block Oregonian professionals that aren’t vaccinated in the light of national bi-partisan support declaring the emergency is over?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-21 08:30:31Last Update: 2022-11-21 19:55:37



Multnomah County Forecasts More Budget Deficit
“We are more likely to have a recession than not”

The Multnomah County Budget Office delivered an update to its five-year budget outlook Tuesday, Nov. 15, projecting a growing gap between revenues and expenses in the most recent General Fund forecast.

The five-year forecast is meant to help the Board of County Commissioners assess the long-term financial implications and stability of both current and proposed policies and programs. The forecast anticipates a deficit of $2.6 million for fiscal year 2024, which starts July 1, 2023, and lasts through June 30, 2024. The deficit is expected to grow to $15.4 million by FY 2028.

Business income tax and property tax collections are steady, said Jeff Renfro, the County’s economist. But they may be offset by factors including personnel cost increases in light of new labor agreements, growing recession risks and continued uncertainty over inflation.

“I will just say now I think we are more likely to have a recession than not,” Renfro said. “And we are incorporating that into some of our assumptions.”

Additionally, one-time-only funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, which spent taxpayer dollars a series of poverty, homelessness and public health programs during the pandemic, is set to expire. The fiscal impact of continuing those programs would surely add costs.

While the most recent data shows that inflation may be cooling down, Renfro said, the Federal Reserve may keep interest rates higher for longer than initially planned to ensure inflation eases. Each month that passes with higher interest rates increases the risk of recession, Renfro said.

Moving forward, Renfro said, he is expecting more pressure from inflation and rising personnel costs. Reduced profits would reduce County tax revenues.

In FY 2023, Renfro said, the County could see its business income tax revenue down 12% from the previous year.

The contradiction, Renfro said, is that household incomes continue to rise. Households have more savings than in the past. That means households are able to continue driving consumption, which is good for the economy.

Inflation and the increase in interest rates have also reduced housing affordability, which affects lower-income households the hardest. The decrease in housing affordability will be exacerbated by interest rate increases in the medium term, as the slowdown in housing construction will make the housing shortage worse. Data from the Budget Office’s new Data Library, created by College to County intern Pari Magphanthang, confirmed these already existing, stark disparities.

Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, a Democrat who served two terms as an Oregon legislator said rising interest rates underscore the need for “mitigating those disproportionate impacts through Congressional action like rental assistance or child supports or construction loans.”

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Airport travel rebounds, but uncertainty remains on downtown business trends.

The restrictions of the covid pandemic devastated domestic air travel at Portland International Airport.

But even as air travel has been slow to recover, motor vehicle rental tax collections have returned to normal. That’s because rental car prices are higher. Motor tax revenue also has rebounded to normal levels.

“My assumption going forward is that, as the supply chain issues and the higher price issues start to unwind, we will continue to get kind of incremental growth in traffic through Portland International Airport,” Renfro said.

Renfro noted a surprising uncertainty in the downtown Portland commercial market. Many spaces, especially downtown, remain under lease despite not being occupied on a consistent basis. It’s unknown what will happen to the commercial real estate market as more of those leases expire.

Based on the structure of the County’s property tax system, Renfro said, risk to the County’s ledger from the commercial real estate market is somewhat limited. But property taxes account for 60% of the County’s revenues, so even a small change will have some effect.

On Dec. 9, the Budget Office will release its annual budget manual and guidance to help departments prepare their FY 2024 budgets. Then, on Feb. 13, 2023, the departments will submit their budgets to the Budget Office. On Feb. 24, the Budget Office will post those program offers online.

The Budget Office will also deliver two more budget forecasts: one in March 2023 and one in May. On April 27, the Chair’s Office will release its proposed budget, with adoption scheduled for June 18.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-11-20 08:05:41Last Update: 2022-11-20 09:02:20



Oregon Firearms Instant Check System Overwhelmed
“We will not be focusing investigations on magazine capacity issues.”

The passage of Oregon ballot measure 114 is slated to go into effect on December 8, 2022, despite the fact that ballots are still being counted, according to the Oregon Secretary of State. This measure is a prime example of the state divide passed by only four counties and rejected in 29. Only Multnomah, Washington, Lane and Benton counties passed the measure. Now, the rush to purchase a firearm has overloaded the Firearms Instant Check System (FICS).

Several organizations are planning legal action to find at least parts of Measure 114 unconstitutional. Several county sheriffs have released statements.

Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast stated efforts will go into developing procedures to comply and monitor potential litigation. “We anticipate significant strain on our limited staffing and resources...we will prioritize our services towards the areas of greatest need to best serve the residents and visitors within Marion County, therefore will not be focusing investigations on magazine capacity issues.”

Linn County Sheriff Michelle Duncan stated, “This is a terrible law for gunowners, crime victims, and public safety. I want to send a clear message to Linn County residents that the Linn County Sheriff's Office is NOT going to be enforcing magazine capacity limits.”

Union County Sheriff Cody Bowen joined with Sheriff Duncan to not uphold the laws under Measure 114.

Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe said in an interview with Truth About Guns, that he also does not intend to enforce magazine capacity limits. “That is just the way it’s going to be. The supreme law of the land is a constitution of the United States, and I believe that this measure is totally contrary to the Constitution.”

Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber also believes Measure 114 is unconstitutional, but in a release stated none of the measure outcomes affects their current licensing program.

Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler stated to NewsWatch 12 that making it more difficult for legal gun owners to acquire a gun and repeating background checks does not address the impact that mental illnesses have on gun violence. He is concerned with the number of extra employees that will be required to deal with permits, background checks, safety training, etc.

More county sheriffs are speaking out indicating they will not enforce Measure 114. Among them are Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey,

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The Oregon State Police (OSP) is aware that the public has many questions regarding Ballot Measure 114. The Oregon State Police is working very closely with the Department of Justice, the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association and the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police to assess the required processes that need to be completed to implement this law. OSP, lawmakers and stakeholders must write regulations for the first rules on permits for buying a gun and figure out the cost to enforce.

For the month of November 2022, approximately 63% of the requests received into the FICS unit have been approved. The remaining transactions must be evaluated by an OSP employee to determine what caused the person to be kicked out of the automated process. If applicable a manual correction can be made, and the application can be approved.

OSP suggests checking information when submitting for a Firearms purchase or transfer that could exclude you from the automated process: This unit has been working through these extreme firearms request volumes and will continue to process them as quickly as possible.

The FICS unit’s hours of operation are set in statute, and largely determined by retail hours, seven days a week 363 days a year with only Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day off. Information about the Oregon State Police’s Firearms Instant Check System (FICS) including how to complete a Firearm Pre-Purchase Self-Assessment Questionnaire, can be found on their website.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-18 06:31:49Last Update: 2022-11-17 20:00:25



Kate Brown Issues Executive Order to Help Pediatric Supply
Pediatric cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus are on the rise

Governor Kate Brown has exercised her executive authority under ORS Chapter 401 in response to a surge of pediatric cases and hospitalizations of respiratory viruses, including Respiratory Syncytial Virus -- commonly known as RSV -- across Oregon. The executive order will give hospitals additional flexibility to staff beds for children, allow them to draw on a pool of medical volunteer nurses and doctors, and take other steps to provide care to pediatric patients.

RSV is a common respiratory virus that spreads through virus-containing respiratory droplets produced from coughing and sneezing. For most children, RSV produces mild illness. However, young children are especially susceptible to RSV. Children under the age of two are at increased risk of severe disease.

Since the onset of Oregon’s RSV season in late October, the statewide pediatric hospitalization rate has more than tripled, and is likely to exceed its previously recorded weekly hospitalization rate imminently. With only two pediatric specialty hospitals in the state with a pediatric ICU — OHSU’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital amd Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel – and a third hospital, Providence St. Vincent’s Hospital, which has a limited number of pediatric ICU beds — this executive action will help ensure hospitals have the tools they need to care for sick children, both from RSV as well as from other illnesses that may bring kids to the hospital.

"Oregon’s nurses, doctors, and hospital staff are deeply committed to caring for our children, and I’m grateful for all the work they are doing under difficult circumstances to help our kids,” said Governor Brown. “As the country faces a surge in pediatric RSV cases, we want to make sure Oregon’s hospitals have access to the tools they need to provide care for sick kids. For parents, please know you can take steps to reduce the risk of RSV, including practicing the good health and hygiene habits we’ve learned over the past few years.”

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“Like other hospitals in the region and across the country, OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital is currently admitting a high number of sick patients. Illnesses have hit our communities hard—and this comes on top of extreme health care staffing challenges which were exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Dana A. Braner, M.D., physician-in-chief at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital. “We expect this spike in illness to continue in the coming months. The dedicated staff here at Doernbecher are incredible, and they will continue to provide quality, compassionate care for our patients.”

“It’s important for parents to remember that while this respiratory season is severe, there are key steps families can take to protect their young children,” said Dr. Jim McCord, interim chief medical officer for Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel. “Be cautious with your young children around large groups of people, particularly indoors, make sure your child is up to date on flu and childhood immunizations, and everyone needs to wash their hands frequently. Parents should contact their primary care provider with questions or concerns.”

State health experts at the Oregon Health Authority encourage all individuals at increased risk of severe disease (and their caregivers) to take steps to prevent RSV and other respiratory infections this flu season. If you have questions about your child’s care, call your health care provider or visit an urgent care center. At this time, hospital emergency departments are strained. Only visit the hospital if your child shows signs of severe illness, such as if your child has trouble breathing.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-17 06:58:02Last Update: 2022-11-16 14:40:52



Read to Decarbonize Pension Fund
Read has spoken out against attempts by some policymakers to prevent consideration of ESG factors

Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read pledged his support for decarbonizing the Oregon Public Employee Pension Fund by transitioning to a net zero carbon emission investment portfolio by no later than 2050, consistent with the goals outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement. Treasurer Read announced that he will present the Oregon Investment Council in early 2024 with a comprehensive proposal to implement this goal.

“Today is the first step in what will be a comprehensive and strategic effort to address the impacts of climate change on the funds we manage on behalf of Oregonians,” said Treasurer Read, in a statement released on video. “Our investment decisions must be driven by financial considerations and investment returns, not politics. The reality is we must reduce the risks that climate change poses to our investments and to the retirement security of Oregon’s hardworking public servants and their families.”

The Treasurer is one of five voting members of the OIC and serves as the state’s chief investment officer. The other four voting members are appointed by the Governor and approved by the Oregon Senate. All members are bound by their fiduciary duty and existing statutory requirements to make the funds they manage as productive as possible within prudent investment standards.

“Addressing the risk of climate change to our investments is critical to our mission to provide a secure retirement to Oregon’s teachers, firefighters, nurses, and other hardworking public servants. It will not happen overnight and must be done in a manner that acknowledges both the complexity of our global economy and the urgency of the emerging climate crisis,” said Read. OPERF is a globally diversified portfolio totaling approximately $90 billion in assets.

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The plan, which will be presented for consideration to the OIC in 2024, will be built around the following four components, consistent with Treasury’s fiduciary responsibility: Read also said that while his staff develops a net zero plan for consideration by the Council, Treasury must accelerate existing efforts to address climate risks inside the investments currently under management. This includes expanding existing investments in renewable energy and clean tech, continuing efforts to more fully incorporate ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) risks into Treasury’s portfolio management, and continuing to partner with other institutional investors to push companies to address climate-related risks inside their organizations.

“It is important to maintain strong returns in the pension fund so that current and future retirees have a stable financial future. We must also use every tool we have to fight climate change and protect the vulnerable communities most impacted by it. I am pleased to support Treasurer Read’s plan to achieve these objectives,” said Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner.

“The Oregon State Fire Fighters Council supports Treasurer Read’s commitment for the responsible decarbonization of the Oregon Investment Council’s pension fund portfolio. It is important that the OIC is transparent with PERS members’ finances and adopts a policy that reflects our commitment to environmentally sound investment income streams,” said Karl Koenig, President Oregon State Fire Fighters Council.

Today’s announcement comes amidst an increasing politicization of institutional investing. Read and other institutional investors have spoken out against attempts by some policymakers to prevent consideration of ESG factors in institutional investing.

Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means: “By decarbonizing the pension fund, we can responsibly manage the impacts of climate change on our investments while producing strong returns that will maintain the strength of Oregon's pension fund and our commitment to retirees.”

Representative David Gomberg, Co-Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means: “Our coastal communities are uniquely impacted by the effects of climate change. I support Treasurer Read’s plan to decarbonize the pension fund, while continuing to generate returns to fulfill our obligations to current and future retirees.”

Representative-elect Daniel Nguyen: “By decarbonizing the pension fund, we can responsibly manage the impacts of climate change on our investments while producing strong returns that will maintain the strength of Oregon's pension fund and our commitment to retirees.”

Representative-elect Ben Bowman: “Treasurer Read’s plan to align the pension fund with the Paris Climate Agreement will help secure a stable financial future for current and future retirees and a healthier and safer climate future for all of us.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-16 12:45:09Last Update: 2022-11-16 14:23:23



Salem-Keizer Schools Deal with Threat
Police presence has a positive impact

Salem Police officers arrested a middle-school student as part of the recent investigation into threats made against the Parrish and Houck Middle School campuses on a social media platform. Police dispatch center began receiving multiple calls from concerned parents regarding threats on Sunday.

The Police Department and Salem-Keizer Public Schools worked with the assistance from the FBI to determine the source of the alarming messages and arrested a 12-year-old Salem-Keizer Public Schools student involved in the incident. Detectives confirmed the threats were not credible, and the safety of the schools was never in jeopardy.

Within a day there was a drive-by shooting in front of Jefferson High School in Portland that left a student in the hospital with a shoulder injury. The second incident in a month.

In the last 27 years, Oregon has witnessed four in school shootings. That is four too many. In 1998, a 15-year-old began shooting at Thurston High in Springfield leaving 29 victims with four fatalities. In 2007, a 15-year-old Springwater Trail High, Gresham, student shot from outside at the windows of two classrooms with a high-powered rifle leaving ten victims. In 2014, a 15-year-old shot a student and then himself after wounding a teacher at Troutdale High School. In 2015, a 26-year-old man entered Snyder Hall, Umpqua Community College, killing nine people and wounding another eight.

These young people are still fresh in minds of parents. Many grew up respecting law enforcement and never expected to see police in the halls of our schools, but then the unthinkable happened and we welcomed their friendly faces to protect our children.

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Then the forces of BLM dominated the legislative environment, and the Senate Interim Committee on Education, chaired by Senator Michael Dembrow, in 2021 introduced SB 238. The bill prohibited district school boards or superintendents from approving a contract or other agreement that would provide for members of law enforcement to be assigned to schools or school district and redistributes the funds. The bill did not pass out of committee before adjournment. The bill followed passage of a law in 2017 that allows school districts to ban concealed handguns on school grounds.

We've gone from fear tactics over school shootings and providing security, fencing schools and requiring ID to enter, to appeasing rioters entertaining their tales of fear, to removing security from some schools and making them gun free zones. The racist stories told during the riots did not reflect any incidents with school security. Quite the opposite. They told stories of friendship, support and kindness. It’s been six years since the last shooting incident at a school in Oregon.

That doesn’t mean the law enforcement presence isn’t needed any more, it does mean their presence has had a positive impact.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-15 07:46:20Last Update: 2022-11-15 12:51:13



Mussel Harvesting Opens from Siletz Bay to California Border
Shellfish alert has ended

The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announce a new shellfish opening. All mussel harvesting is now open from the Washington border to the California border. Recent samples indicate levels of the marine biotoxin domoic acid are below the closure limit for two consecutive weeks.

Razor clam harvesting is closed from the Washington border to the California border for elevated levels of the marine biotoxin domoic acid.

Bay clam and crab harvesting remain open along the entire Oregon coast. Oregon Department of Agriculture will continue to test for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides and weather permit. Reopening an area closed for biotoxins requires two consecutive tests with results below the closure limit. Contact Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for recreational license requirements, permits, rules and limits.


--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2022-11-14 14:48:16Last Update: 2022-11-14 16:58:02



Solving Housing Disparity
“More than a quarter billion in funding”

The Joint Task Force on Addressing Racial Disparities in Home Ownership was created by the legislature in 2021 through HB 2007 and the final report was adopted on October 14, 2022. The committee was co-chaired by Representative Ricki Ruiz (D-Gresham) and Senator James Manning Jr (D-Eugene). The adopted report includes an increase of more than a quarter billion in funding, legislation, eliminate barriers and discrimination issues that reduces homeownership among people of color in Oregon.

The bill was seemingly to address disparities, even though disparities are well covered in laws.

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Was this really about disparities? The Task Force adopted 11 recommendations, $264,200,000 funding that is mostly recurring, plus increases taxes on second homes and adds new programs including government purchase of parcels and homes through selected organizations. The 11 recommendations are:
  1. Support the budget request for Oregon Housing and Community Services.
  2. Individual Development Accounts to support OHCS request $35 million biennial funding. Offset by eliminating the Mortgage Interest Deduction on second homes.
  3. Allocate $10 million for down payment assistance to be distributed through cultural and tribal organizations, and $25 million for Flex Lending Program borrowers primarily for those without tax ID numbers.
  4. Allocate $4 million to tribal homeownership, $4.8 million to homeownership centers and culturally responsive organizations, and $200,000 for training for housing counselors.
  5. Allocate funding to OHCS to inventory and develop pre-purchase counseling and educational materials in five languages.
  6. Develop appraiser training and education requirements.
  7. Add $5 million for positions at the Fair Housing Council of Oregon, Bureau of Labor and Industries, and Department of Justice.
  8. Work group on tax credits to address investor ownership and encourage the return of existing homes to the homeownership market.
  9. Allocate $30 million for a pilot providing 100 percent funding of the home purchase price within the Flex Lending Program in partnership with financial institutions.
  10. Allocate $100 million per biennium to subsize 500 homes less than $200,000 and pre-development costs. Create a new $30 million fund to purchase 200 parcels per biennium at zero percent interest. Allocate $20 million to OHCS to invest in community-based, innovative models to increase homeownership for communities of color.
  11. Subsidize interest rates on certain 15-year or 20-year mortgages to fast track the equity gained for eligible borrowers.
Will these recommendations resolve inequities without creating new inequities? To be constitutionally sound, “equal treatment under the law,” it isn’t equal ownership, but equal opportunity. To rob taxpayers to grow government programs in the name of equity won’t solve a homeless crisis that has been touted as Oregon’s number one issue.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-14 14:38:04Last Update: 2022-11-15 13:10:59



Analysis: The Governor’s Powers
The Oregon Governor commands a great deal of power

The Governor of Oregon is undoubtedly the most powerful elected official in Oregon. In addition to the bully pulpit and the ability to veto bills, the Oregon Governor commands a great deal of power.

Executive Appointments

Most large and medium-sized state agencies set policy based on a commission. These commissions are all executive branch commissions made by the Governor. This is a tremendous amount of power. Additionally, the Governor appoints agency heads.

Is the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife going to concern itself more with providing hunting and fishing opportunities for Oregonians, or are they going to be focused on conservation? Is the Department of Environmental Quality going to be focused on helping industry comply with regulations or are they going to crack down and issue as many fines as possible? Is the Department of Human Services going to be focused on getting people off assistance and on to self-sufficiency or are they going to be recruiting more people into the system?

Line item veto

Unknown to many, the Oregon governor has a line item veto on spending bills. Though it may not be used often, its threat can have a chilling effect on appropriations. Article V, Section 15a of the Oregon Constitution says ,"The Governor shall have power to veto single items in appropriation bills, and any provision in new bills declaring an emergency, without thereby affecting any other provision of such bill."

Call Special Session

Article V, Section 12 authorizes the governor to call special sessions of the legislature. It says, "He may on extraordinary occasions convene the Legislative Assembly by proclamation, and shall state to both houses when assembled, the purpose for which they shall have been convened."

Negotiating with Public Employees

The Governor unilaterally negotiates with government employee unions, including pay, benefits and working conditions. The legislature is left to come up with whatever money is necessary to fund what the governor has promised.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-13 11:12:07Last Update: 2022-11-13 20:29:11



Participation in Banking Increases
“It is important to get as many people as possible banked”

The number of unbanked households in Oregon dropped from 3.8 percent in 2019 to just 1.8 percent in 2021, according to a study by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This is significant for many Oregonians because it means they can avoid paying for expensive alternative financial services such as money orders, check cashing, and pre-paid cards.

Those costs can add up to thousands of dollars over a consumer’s lifetime.

Nationally, over 95 percent of U.S. households had some sort of banking account in 2021. If a household is banked it means at least one member has a savings or checking account at a bank or credit union.

The Oregon Legislature passed SB 1565 in 2022 that makes it an unlawful practice -- with a few exceptions -- for a place of public accommodation offering goods or services, or any person acting on behalf of such place, to refuse to accept from a customer or patron, as payment for goods and services, United States currency.

According to Anthony Smith with the National Federation of Independent Business, "Cash is a labor-intensive process – and under SB 1565, as more and more customers pay electronically, employees would still have to make bank deposits and count out cash registers, before and after each shift, accounting for every transaction down to the last penny, even if the business makes very few – or no cash sales in an average day. Having cash on hand can also prove to be a security risk, exposing employees to the risk of robbery and employers to theft."

"As customer behaviors change," Smith continued, businesses respond by meeting those changing expectations in ways that will keep customers coming back again and again. Customers expect quick check-out lines and fast transactions. SB 1565 limits the ability of a business to safely operate at peak efficiency with customer experiences in mind.

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“One of the challenges facing the unbanked is all of the fees you have to pay to access your money,” said TK Keen, administrator of the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation at the Department of Business and Consumer Services. “While the individual cost may seem minor, having to buy several different financial products to pay rent, utilities, and other monthly expenses starts to add up and eats into your monthly budget. I am pleased to see that our financial institutions continue to help us make headway in getting consumers accounts, and in turn, reducing fees that consumers pay in their daily lives.”

Despite this improvement, Black, Indigenous, and Latino communities, as well as people experiencing a disability, are much more likely to be unbanked. Only 2.1 percent of White households are unbanked in the U.S. In contrast, 9.3 percent of Latino households and 11.3 percent of Black households are unbanked.

“It is important to get as many people as possible banked,” Keen said. “Relationships with our financial institutions come in handy for other financial services people need, such as a loan to buy a car, a mortgage to buy a home, and emergency loans for unexpected expenses that come up.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-12 06:18:46Last Update: 2022-11-11 11:58:53



Transportation Commission to Meet Nov. 17
Great Streets, 217 and Flat Fees

The Oregon Transportation Commission will meet Thursday, Nov. 17 at 9 a.m. at the Hillsboro Public Service Building, 1555 N. 1st Avenue, Hillsboro. Items on the agenda include: The agenda and meeting materials will be available on the OTC Website. The public is invited to watch the meeting on YouTube.

Members of the public are asked to submit written comment in advance of the Nov. 17 meeting and sign up for real-time virtual oral public comment. Sign up to provide comments by completing the comment form on the OTC website at www.oregon.gov/odot/Get-involved/Pages/OTC_Main.aspx. Please sign up by Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 4 p.m.

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Please note participation will be limited to one representative per organization. Commenters (and organizations) who are providing oral testimony to the OTC for the first time will be given priority for the limited available testimony spots.

To submit written testimony or comments electronically, please use the submission form on the OTC website by Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 4 p.m. to guarantee inclusion in the meeting packet. Comments not included in the meeting packet will be shared with Commissioners after the meeting.

Email written comments to OTCAdmin@odot.oregon.gov.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-11 10:49:05Last Update: 2022-11-11 11:01:53



142nd Wing to Conduct Veterans Day Flyovers
Defends our homeland with F-15 Eagle fighter jets

Oregon Military Department released the schedule for the Veterans Day flyover. The 142nd Wing out of the Portland Air National Guard Base, will conduct Veterans Day flyovers for ceremonies and parades at locations throughout the state.

142nd Wing Commander, Colonel Todd Hofford, said the wing is proud to conduct the flyovers. “We appreciate the opportunity to honor those that have served before us. The demonstration of air superiority on this day is a great reminder to us all how fortunate we are to be citizens of this country. These patriotic flyovers are courtesy of your Hometown Air Force.”

The F-15 Eagle fighter jets are scheduled to conduct flyovers at the following community locations at, or around the designated times on Friday, 11 November: All passes will be approximately 1,000 feet above ground level and about 400 mph airspeed. Flights could be canceled or times changed due to inclement weather or operational contingencies. There will also be a funeral flyover at 11:20 a.m. in Mollala, Oregon.

Previous in-flight flyover gopro footage can be downloaded at: https://www.dvidshub.net/video/752272/142nd-wing-f-15-flight-gopro-footage

The 142nd Wing, Portland Air National Guard Base employs 1,500 Airmen who provide an economic impact of nearly $500 million to the region. The 142nd Wing defends our homeland with F-15 Eagle fighter jets, guarding the Pacific Northwest skies from northern California to the Canadian border through their Aerospace Control Alert mission as part of Air Combat Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Their mission is to provide unequalled, mission-ready units to sustain combat aerospace superiority and peacetime tasking any time, any place in service to our nation, state and community.

The photo is of an F-15D Eagle assigned to the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard Base, Oregon, takes off during an afternoon sortie, Feb. 19, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs/Released).


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-10 16:25:41Last Update: 2022-11-10 17:36:13



Pediatric Respiratory Cases Surge
Oregon hospitals are being asked take the following steps immediately

The Oregon Health Authority has announced that "Like most of the country, Oregon is experiencing a surge in respiratory illnesses. An exponential increase in respiratory syncytial virus cases since October 29 alongside ongoing hospital staffing challenges are straining pediatric hospital bed capacity. Pediatric intensive care unit and medical-surgical beds statewide are heavily strained.

Given the urgency of the current situation, and expected continued rises in RSV and flu cases, we ask that Oregon hospitals take the following steps immediately: As a reminder, OHA rules still require masking in most healthcare settings.

OHA plans to circulate a survey to better understand hospital pediatric surge capacity in the coming days.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-10 10:44:04Last Update: 2022-11-10 16:25:17



Analysis: Slender GOP Leads have a History of Melting
Experts point to late money and volunteer efforts of public employee unions

As the election nears, wary -- and weary -- Republicans remember previous contests in which election night saw very narrow margins -- even slim leads -- turn to defeat. This year may be setting the stage for a similar outcome.

In 2010,Chris Dudley, who was ahead by just a few points on election night ended up losing by a few points.

Four years later, Kitzhaber defeated Dennis Richardson in a very close race, also.

What makes this possible? Many experts think that it's the late money and volunteer efforts of public employee unions who can pinpoint resources where needed.

The Drazan campaign released poll results on the eve of the election showing her leading by a slim margin. Will 2022 be a repeat of previous years, or will this be the time that the GOP is able to turn the tide in Mahonia Hall? Chances are we won't find out on Tuesday night.

Many Oregon Republican voters are certainly nervous about the results of Tuesday's election. They have witnessed reasons to be nervous in the past. Oregon Republican voters may go to bed Tuesday night believing that their candidate is winning, only to awaken the next day disappointed to see the election favor the Democrat candidate.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-08 21:00:03Last Update: 2022-11-08 21:07:14



2022 General Election Projected Winners

Governor
NonaffiliatedBetsy Johnson
RepublicanChristine Drazan
ConstitutionDonice Noelle Smith
DemocratTina Kotek
LibertarianR Leon Noble
US Senator
ProgressiveChris Henry
Pacific GreenDan Pulju
RepublicanJo Rae Perkins
DemocratRon Wyden
Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries
NonpartisanCheri Helt
NonpartisanChristina E Stephenson
US Representative, 1st District
RepublicanChristopher A Mann
DemocratSuzanne Bonamici
US Representative, 2nd District
RepublicanCliff S Bentz
DemocratJoe Yetter
US Representative, 3rd District
IndependentDavid E Delk
DemocratEarl Blumenauer
RepublicanJoanna Harbour
US Representative, 4th District
RepublicanAlek Skarlatos
ConstitutionJim Howard
LibertarianLevi Leatherberry
Pacific GreenMike Beilstein
DemocratVal Hoyle
US Representative, 5th District
DemocratJamie McLeod-Skinner
RepublicanLori Chavez-DeRemer
US Representative, 6th District
DemocratAndrea Salinas
ConstitutionLarry D McFarland
RepublicanMike Erickson
State Senator, 3rd District
DemocratJeff Golden
RepublicanRandy Sparacino
State Senator, 4th District
LibertarianEric Pinnell
DemocratFloyd Prozanski
State Senator, 6th District
DemocratAshley Pelton
RepublicanCedric R Hayden
State Senator, 7th District
DemocratJames I Manning Jr
RepublicanRaquel M Ivie
State Senator, 8th District
DemocratSara Gelser Blouin
RepublicanValerie Draper Woldeit
State Senator, 10th District
DemocratDeb Patterson
RepublicanRaquel Moore-Green
State Senator, 11th District
RepublicanKim Thatcher
DemocratRichard Walsh
State Senator, 13th District
DemocratAaron Woods
RepublicanJohn D Velez
State Senator, 15th District
RepublicanCarolina Malmedal
DemocratJaneen Sollman
State Senator, 16th District
DemocratMelissa Busch
RepublicanSuzanne Weber
State Senator, 17th District
DemocratElizabeth Steiner Hayward
RepublicanJohn Verbeek
State Senator, 18th District
RepublicanKimberly Rice
NonaffiliatedRich Vial
DemocratWlnsvey E Campos
State Senator, 19th District
RepublicanBen Edtl
DemocratRob Wagner
State Senator, 20th District
RepublicanBill Kennemer
DemocratMark Meek
State Senator, 24th District
DemocratKayse Jama
RepublicanStan Catherman
State Senator, 26th District
RepublicanDaniel G Bonham
DemocratRaz Mason
State Representative, 1st District
DemocratBret Cecil
RepublicanDavid Brock Smith
State Representative, 2nd District
ConstitutionEdward Renfroe
DemocratKevin Bell
RepublicanVirgle J Osborne
State Representative, 3rd District
DemocratBrady W Keister
RepublicanLily Morgan
State Representative, 4th District
RepublicanChristine Goodwin
State Representative, 5th District
DemocratPam Marsh
RepublicanSandra A Abercrombie
State Representative, 6th District
DemocratDan Davis
RepublicanKim Wallan
State Representative, 7th District
RepublicanAlan Stout
DemocratJohn Lively
State Representative, 8th District
RepublicanMichael F Moore
DemocratPaul R Holvey
State Representative, 9th District
RepublicanBoomer Wright
DemocratJerry Rust
State Representative, 10th District
RepublicanCeleste McEntee
DemocratDavid Gomberg
State Representative, 11th District
RepublicanJami Cate
DemocratMary K Cooke
State Representative, 12th District
RepublicanCharlie Conrad
DemocratMichelle Emmons
State Representative, 13th District
DemocratNancy Nathanson
RepublicanTimothy S Sutherland
State Representative, 14th District
DemocratJulie Fahey
RepublicanStan Stubblefield
State Representative, 15th District
DemocratBenjamin Watts
RepublicanShelly Boshart Davis
State Representative, 16th District
DemocratDan Rayfield
RepublicanKeith Lembke
State Representative, 17th District
RepublicanEd Diehl
State Representative, 18th District
DemocratJesse S Smith
RepublicanRick Lewis
State Representative, 19th District
RepublicanTJ Sullivan
DemocratTom Andersen
State Representative, 20th District
RepublicanDan Farrington
DemocratPaul Evans
LibertarianTaylor A Rickey
State Representative, 21st District
RepublicanKevin L Mannix
LibertarianMichael Morrow
DemocratRamiro Navarro Jr
State Representative, 22nd District
DemocratAnthony Medina
RepublicanTracy M Cramer
State Representative, 23rd District
RepublicanAnna M Scharf
DemocratKriss Wright
State Representative, 24th District
RepublicanLucetta A Elmer
DemocratVictoria Ernst
State Representative, 25th District
DemocratBen Bowman
RepublicanBob Niemeyer
State Representative, 26th District
DemocratCourtney Neron
RepublicanJason Fields
State Representative, 27th District
DemocratKen Helm
RepublicanSandra Nelson
State Representative, 28th District
DemocratDacia Grayber
RepublicanPatrick Castles
State Representative, 29th District
RepublicanGina Munster-Moore
DemocratSusan McLain
State Representative, 30th District
RepublicanJoe Everton
DemocratNathan Sosa
State Representative, 31st District
DemocratAnthony Sorace
RepublicanBrian G Stout
State Representative, 32nd District
RepublicanCyrus B Javadi
DemocratLogan C Laity
State Representative, 33rd District
DemocratMaxine E Dexter
RepublicanStan Baumhofer
State Representative, 34th District
RepublicanJohn Woods
DemocratLisa Reynolds
State Representative, 35th District
RepublicanDaniel R Martin
DemocratFarrah Chaichi
State Representative, 35th District
RepublicanGreer Trice
DemocratHai Pham
State Representative, 37th District
RepublicanAeric Estep
DemocratJules Walters
State Representative, 38th District
RepublicanAlistair Firmin
DemocratDaniel Nguyen
State Representative, 39th District
DemocratJanelle S Bynum
RepublicanKori Haynes
State Representative, 40th District
RepublicanAdam Baker
DemocratAnnessa Hartman
State Representative, 41st District
DemocratMark F Gamba
RepublicanRob Reynolds
State Representative, 42nd District
DemocratRob Nosse
RepublicanScott Trahan
LibertarianShira Newman
State Representative, 43rd District
DemocratTawna Sanchez
RepublicanTim LeMaster
State Representative, 44th District
ConstitutionMorgan Hinthorne
RepublicanRolf Schuler
DemocratTravis Nelson
State Representative, 45th District
RepublicanGeorge Donnerberg
DemocratThuy Tran
State Representative, 46th District
DemocratKhanh Pham
RepublicanTimothy R Sytsma
State Representative, 47th District
DemocratAndrea Valderrama
RepublicanBill Stewart
State Representative, 48th District
DemocratHoa H Nguyen
RepublicanJohn Masterman
State Representative, 49th District
RepublicanRandy E Lauer
DemocratZach Hudson
State Representative, 50th District
RepublicanAmelia Salvador
DemocratRicki Ruiz
State Representative, 51st District
RepublicanJames Hieb
DemocratWalt Trandum
State Representative, 52nd District
DemocratDarcy Long
RepublicanJeff Helfrich
State Representative, 53rd District
DemocratEmerson Levy
RepublicanMichael Sipe
State Representative, 54th District
DemocratJason Kropf
RepublicanJudy Trego
State Representative, 55th District
DemocratBrian Lepore
RepublicanE Werner Reschke
State Representative, 56th District
RepublicanEmily G McIntire
DemocratJonathan P Chenjeri
State Representative, 57th District
RepublicanGreg Smith
State Representative, 58th District
RepublicanBobby Levy
LibertarianJesse Bonifer
State Representative, 59th District
DemocratLawrence Jones
RepublicanVikki Breese-Iverson
State Representative, 60th District
ProgressiveAntonio Sunseri
RepublicanMark Owens

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-08 20:00:00Last Update: 2022-11-13 17:37:50



Evergreen Air Museum Hosts Students
Admission is free for veterans through this Sunday

As we take time to reflect on veterans day, there’s a place in our backyard where the younger generation can learn about those who served our country, and the technological advancements that supported their efforts.

Home to more than 150 aircraft, spacecraft, and exhibits, the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is the site for frequent field trips like one recently hosted by the full-time online public school, Willamette Connections Academy.

“This trip really made me think about those who serve our country by listening to my dad talk about the military aircraft at the museum that helped him in Desert Storm, listening to the veteran volunteers, and reading the history behind the exhibits,” said Arowyn Crossley from McMinnville, a senior at the statewide virtual charter school. She was one of the nearly 30 people who attended the field trip, including students, family members and teachers.

Arowyn’s great-grandfather was an Air Force fighter pilot in WWII and her father, Chris Crossley, served in the Army infantry 101st Airborne Division for 25 years. “I had some good memories of the "Huey", I had my first of many helicopter rides in a similar aircraft,” said Chris Crossley, after spotting a Huey helicopter at Evergreen. He and Arowyn also checked out an A-10 Thunderbolt fighter bomber which flew top cover for Crossley and the rest of the ground forces below in Iraq.

Perhaps the 75th Anniversary of the legendary Spruce Goose at the museum will not only generate gratitude toward veterans who worked on this iconic piece of aeronautic history but also inspire future generations of innovators. “I appreciate the contributions they made and the innovation they created that directly impacted my service,” explained Chris Crossley when asked about the Spruce and the other extraordinary flying machines at Evergreen.

“I believe it is incredibly important for students to have an opportunity to go on field trips like the one to Evergreen where they can learn about the past, present, and future of aviation and space technology, understanding how a large part of that is equipping the people who serve our country,” noted Arowyn. “They may also be motivated to look towards STEM and create their own technological advancements, maybe they get that sense of awe for the wonders of science.”

The Evergreen Museum is home to over 150 military and civilian aircraft, spacecraft and exhibits. Tom Holden from Scio and his grandson Hayden Blair, a freshman at Willamette Connections Academy, looked over the A4D Navy Skyhawk, an “attack” plane Tom remembers well from his years as a military cargo pilot in the Vietnam War.

Arowyn encourages other young people such as Hayden to honor veterans by exploring places similar to Evergreen. “I wish more young people would visit the museum to see up close the aircraft and other equipment that’s saved countless lives and served other purposes,” explained Arowyn. “A museum tour not only offers students the ability to appreciate all aircraft personnel including service members but possibly inspires them to serve in the military themselves.

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Chris Crossley agrees with his daughter. “I have always appreciated museums and the contributions they make to preserving our nation's history. As a child growing up in Oregon, I remember visiting Battery Russell, Fort Clatsop, Ft. Astoria and other locations.” Willamette Connections Academy encourages students and parents to attend field trips for learning opportunities and to socialize with other families with children attending the online school.

Admission is free for veterans through this Sunday, November 13th at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. And since the kids are out of school on Friday, why not stop by the museum for a family field trip? Go to www.evergreenmuseum.org for more information

Willamette Connections Academy is a full-time tuition-free online public school serving K-12 students statewide. To learn more about enrollment or other information visit www.WillametteConnectionsAcademy.com or call (800) 382-6010


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-08 11:52:33Last Update: 2022-11-08 12:11:11



Safe Streets Task Force Detectives Make Arrest in Salem
Drug investigations seizes deadly fentanyl-laced tablets

The Salem Police specialty unit has been involved with the Safe Streets Task Force (SSTF) since the first of the year. The Safe Streets Task Force is part of the FBI’s Safe Streets Violent Crimes Initiative launched in 1992. The FBI's Safe Streets Violent Crime Initiative has successfully aligned FBI Agents, local law enforcement investigators, and federal and state prosecutors with SSTFs to reduce violent gangs, crimes of violence, and the apprehension of violent fugitives.

The Salem SSTF partnered with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon to bring increased focus and resources to address narcotics trafficking and violent crimes in Salem. Since the first of the year, Salem’s SSTF investigations have led to the seizure of nearly 40,000 fentanyl-laced tablets, over 100 pounds of methamphetamine, and 135 firearms.

The SSTF investigation led to the arrest of Phillip Thomas, a Salem resident, and indicted on November 2, by a federal Grand Jury in US District Court on several drug and weapons related charges.

Thomas was arrested on June 29 by the Salem Police Strategic Investigations Unit as part of an extensive investigation of polydrug pills containing fentanyl and other illicit drugs being sold in Salem. The 30-year-old was charged by a federal Grand Jury on five counts: Thomas was in the Marion County Jail on outstanding warrants in other related cases when transferred into federal custody November 7. He was detained as both a flight risk and danger to the community pending a jury trial scheduled for December 20.

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The first SSTF was established in April 2021 by an FBI-led task force working with Portland police to combat the increase of shootings. It was a process of negotiations on set boundaries on Portland officers participating as deputized federal officers, but forbidden to do immigration or crowd control enforcement.

The City of Gresham has also partnered with the Safe Street Task Force as local restorative justice and gun violence initiatives.

Along with the increase in crimes is the increase in deaths of young people from counterfeit prescription pills made with fentanyl. Reducing Oregon’s drug crimes, which is at the root of many other crimes, will take voters to realize it was a mistake to decriminalize street drugs.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-08 00:41:54Last Update: 2022-11-08 17:01:59



Ag Department Confirms Sudden Oak Death on Coast
The invasive plant pathogen confirmed in Lincoln City

The Oregon Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, has confirmed the presence of Phytophthora ramorum (P. ramorum), which causes the disease commonly known as sudden oak death (SOD), at a botanical garden and private residence in Lincoln City, Oregon. ODA has intensively sampled both locations and is developing a mitigation plan based on results.

In early November, ODA and USDA APHIS will conduct a ground-based survey in and around the neighborhood where officials detected P. ramorum. ODA would like to thank nearby residents for cooperating in surveying vegetation in the immediate area. The purpose of the survey is to find out if the invasive pathogen has spread beyond the affected properties and what type of treatment and eradication efforts are needed. ODA and USDA APHIS suspect that the pathogen was introduced into Lincoln City through the planting of infested nursery stock several years ago.

The invasive fungal-like pathogen is most well known as the causal agent of sudden oak death. Since its first detection in northern California in the mid 1990s, P. ramorum has been found to naturally infect over 100 different plant species including multiple high-value ornamental plant species. Such as rhododendron, Pieris spp., cherry laurel and viburnum. On these susceptible ornamental species symptoms include leaf spots, lesions along the twig and/or leaf mid-vein. Multiple plant pathogens cause similar symptoms, so the disease must be confirmed with laboratory testing.

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

P. ramorum was first detected in Oregon in wholesale nursery stock in 2003. It has been detected in limited nursery sites since then. In 2001, the pathogen was confirmed for the first time in the forests outside Brookings in Curry County. Federal and state quarantines were established to prevent the spread of this pathogen in soil and infected plant material. To meet quarantine requirements, the ODA continues to monitor and test nursery stock for the presence of P. ramorum in cooperation with USDA annually.

According to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the public can help slow the spread by buying healthy plants from reputable nurseries and avoiding purchasing plants online. In addition, if you live, work or recreate in the quarantined area of Curry County, do not remove plants from the forest, do not remove soil and stay on established trails and respect any trail closures. Finally, clean and disinfect all equipment, including your vehicle, bikes, and pet paws, with a 10 percent bleach solution.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-07 15:11:29Last Update: 2022-11-07 15:41:29



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