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On this day, June 4, 1990, Janet Adkins, age 54, of Portland, became the first person to use a suicide machine developed by Dr. Kevorkian. This began a national debate over the right to die.

Also on this day, June 4, 1999 a federal judge in Portland ruled that AT&T must open its cable lines to competitors. Also on this day, June 4, 2017, a pro-Trump rally and counter-protest in Portland was marked by multiple arrests and clashes.

Post an Event

Sisters Rodeo
Wednesday, June 7, 2023 at 6:03 pm
Sisters Rodeo
June 7th-11th
67637 Highway 20

Sisters, OR

Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest
Friday, June 9, 2023 at 8:30 am
Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest June 9th-11th
Cannon, Beach, OR

Portland Rose Festival
Sunday, June 11, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Portland Rose Festival Fri, May 26, 2023 – Sun, Jun 11, 2023
Portland, Oregon

Linn County Pioneer Picnic
Friday, June 16, 2023 at 8:00 am
Linn County Pioneer Picnic June 16, 17, and 18
Pioneer Park Brownsville, Oregon

Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival
Friday, June 16, 2023 at 11:00 am
Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival June 16th-18th
Clatsop County Fairgrounds 92937 Walluski Loop Astoria, OR 97103

Rogue Music Fest
Friday, June 16, 2023 at 3:30 pm
Rogue Music Fest
(JUNE 16-17, 2023)

with Eric Church (Friday) and Carrie Underwood (Saturday)
Jackson County Expo 1 Peninger Rd Central Point, OR 97502

Silverton Hills Strawberry Festival
Sunday, June 18, 2023 at 12:00 pm
Silverton Hills Strawberry Festival Sunday, June 18th, 12 – 5 PM
Collidge‑McClaine City Park Silverton, OR 97381

UTV Takeover
Wednesday, June 21, 2023 at 2:00 pm
UTV Takeover JUNE 21-25, 2023
Boxcar Hill Campground Coos Bay, Oregon

Lincoln County Fair
Friday, June 30, 2023 at 5:00 pm
June 30-July 2 Lincoln County Fair
Lincoln County Commons 633 NE 3rd St, Newport, OR

St Paul Rodeo
Friday, June 30, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Small town fun, big time rodeo! JUNE 30 - JULY 4, 2023

St Paul Rodeo website
4174 Malo Avenue NE, Saint Paul, OR, United States, Oregon

Waterfront Blues Festival
Saturday, July 1, 2023 at 11:00 am
Waterfront Blues Festival July 1-4
Tom McCall Waterfront Park 1400 SW Naito Pkwy. Portland, OR 97201

Marion County Fair
Thursday, July 6, 2023 at 5:00 pm
The Marion County Fair
July 6-9
Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center 2330 17th ST NE Salem, OR 97301

Overland Expo Pacific Northwest
Friday, July 7, 2023 at 8:00 am
Overland Expo Pacific Northwest July 7th-9th

Oregon Country Fair
Friday, July 7, 2023 at 11:00 am
Oregon Country Fair July 7,8,9, 2023 11:00am - 7:00pm
Veneta, Oregon

Jackson County Fair
Wednesday, July 12, 2023 at 10:00 am
Jackson County Fair Wed, Jul 12 – Sun, Jul 16
Jackson County Expo 1 Peninger Rd, Central Point, OR

Linn County Fair
Thursday, July 13, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Linn County Fair

July 13-15
Linn County Fairgrounds 3700 Knox Butte RD

Albany, OR 97322

Miners's Jubilee
Friday, July 14, 2023 at 8:00 am
Miners's Jubilee July 14, 15, & 16; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Geiser Pollman Park 1723 Madison Street Baker City, Oregon

Sherwood Robin Hood Festival
Friday, July 14, 2023 at 10:00 am
Sherwood Robin Hood Festival July 14 and 15
22560 SW Pine Street Sherwood, Oregon 97140

Lane County Fair
Wednesday, July 19, 2023 at 10:00 am
Lane County Fair JULY 19 - 23, 2023
Lane Events Center 796 W 13th Ave, Eugene, OR

Columbia County Fair
Wednesday, July 19, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Columbia County Fair July 19 - 23, 2023
Columbia County Fairgrounds 58892 Saulser Rd, St Helens, OR 97051

Washington County Fair
Friday, July 21, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Washington County Fair


Washington County Fair
JULY 21 - 30
Westside Commons 801 NE 34th Ave, Hillsboro, OR 97124

Coos County Fair
Tuesday, July 25, 2023 at 5:00 pm
The Coos County Fair
July 25-29
Coos County Fairgrounds 770 4th St, Myrtle Point, OR 97458

Chief Joseph Days Rodeo
Tuesday, July 25, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Chief Joseph Days Rodeo July 25 - 30, 2023
Harley Tucker Memorial Arena 405 W. Wallowa Ave. Joseph, OR

Curry County Fair
Wednesday, July 26, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Curry County Fair July 26th-29th 2023
Curry County Fairgrounds 29392 Ellensburg Ave, Gold Beach, OR 97444

City of Dallas Krazy Dayz
Thursday, July 27, 2023 at 8:00 am
City of Dallas Krazy Dayz July 27-30th
Downtown Dallas Oregon

Clatsop County Fair
Tuesday, August 1, 2023 at 5:00 pm
The Clatsop County Fair
August 1st-5th
Clatsop County Fair and Expo Center 92937 Walluski Loop, Astoria, OR 97103

Yamhill County Fair & Rodeo
Wednesday, August 2, 2023 at 10:00 am
Exhibits, Rides, Rodeo, Nightly Musical Entertainment https://yamhillcountyfairs.com/fair-and-rodeo/general-information-schedule/
Fairgrounds on Lafayette Ave. McMinnville

Benton County Fair
Wednesday, August 2, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Benton County Fair AUGUST 2 - 5, 2023

Deschutes County Fair
Wednesday, August 2, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Deschutes County Fair August 2 - 6, 2023
Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center 3800 SW Airport Wy, Redmond, OR 97756

Vanport Jazz Festival
Friday, August 4, 2023 at 10:00 am
Vanport Jazz Festival August 4th-5th
Colwood Golf Center 7313 NE Columbia Blvd Portland, OR

Oregon Jamboree Music Festival
Friday, August 4, 2023 at 5:00 pm
The Oregon Jamboree
August 4th-6th
Located on a large field south of Sweet Home High School. The venue extends across the Weddle Covered Bridge to Sankey Park. Sweet Home, Oregon

Dune Fest
Tuesday, August 8, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Dune Fest August 8-13, 2023
Oregon Dunes Recreation Area Winchester Bay, OR 97467

Douglas County Fair
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at 8:00 am
Douglas County Fair AUGUST 9 - 12
Douglas County Fairgrounds Complex 2110 SW Frear Street Roseburg, OR 97471

Grant County Fair
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at 9:00 am
Grant County Fair August 9 @ 9:00 am - August 12 @ 8:00 pm
Grant County Fairgrounds 411 NW Bridge St. John Day, OR 97845

Tillamook County Fair
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at 10:00 am
Tillamook County Fair
August 9th-12th
Tillamook County Fairgrounds 4603 3rd St, Tillamook, OR 97141

Josephine County Fair
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at 10:00 am
Josephine County Fair August 9th-13th
Josephine County Fairgrounds 1451 Fairgrounds Rd Grants Pass, Oregon

Crook County Fair
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Crook County Fair
AUGUST 9 - 12
Crook County Fairgrounds Prineville, Oregon

Umatilla County Fair
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Umatilla County Fair August 9-12
Umatilla County Fairgrounds 1705 E. Airport Rd. Hermiston, OR 97838

Elephant Garlic Festival
Friday, August 11, 2023 at 12:00 pm
25th Annual Elephant Garlic Festival August 11th, 12th and 13th
Jessie Mays Community Center 30975 NW Hillcrest St. North Plains, Oregon 97133

Clackamas County Fair
Tuesday, August 15, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Clackamas County Fair August 15-19, 2023
Clackamas County Fairgrounds 694 NE 4th Ave, Canby, OR 97013

Aumsville Corn Festival
Friday, August 18, 2023 at 7:00 am
Aumsville Corn Festival Friday, August 18, 2023 - 6:00pm to Saturday, August 19, 2023 - 6:00pm
595 Main Street Aumsville, OR 97325

Woodburn Fiesta Mexicana
Friday, August 18, 2023 at 12:00 pm
Woodburn Fiesta Mexicana August 18th-20th
Legion Park - 1385 Park Ave. Woodburn, OR

Morrow County Fair
Sunday, August 20, 2023 at 7:00 am
Morrow County Fair August 20
Morrow County Fairgrounds 97836 OR-74, Heppner, OR 97836

Wednesday, August 23, 2023 at 12:00 pm
Farwest Green Industry Show August 23-25
Oregon Convention Center 777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. Portland, OR 97232

Northwest Art and Air Festival
Friday, August 25, 2023 at 8:00 am
Northwest Art and Air Festival Aug 25th-27th
Timber Linn Park- 900 Price Rd SE, Albany, OR 97322

Oregon State Fair
Friday, August 25, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Oregon State Fair
Oregon State Fair & Exposition Center 2330 17th St NE, Salem, OR 97301

Siletz Bay Music Festival
Friday, August 25, 2023 at 6:30 pm
Siletz Bay Music Festival August 25th – September 3rd
Lincoln City, Oregon

Newberg SummerFest
Saturday, August 26, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Newberg SummerFest
August 26-27
Memorial Park Newberg, OR

Walnut City Music Festival
Saturday, September 2, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Walnut City Music Festival September 2nd-3rd
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum 500 NE Captain Michael King Smith Way McMinnville, OR

Harney County Fair & Rodeo
Tuesday, September 5, 2023 at 10:00 am
99th Harney County Fair and Rodeo September 5th - 9th, 2023
Harney County Fairgrounds 69660 S Egan Rd, Burns, OR 97720

Sublimity Harvest Festival
Friday, September 8, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Sublimity Harvest Festival September 8-10
11880 Sublimity Rd SE Sublimity, OR

Bandon Cranberry Festival
Saturday, September 9, 2023 at 10:00 am
Bandon Cranberry Festival
September 9 & 10
Bandon City Park (main venue) Bandon, Oregon

Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire
Saturday, September 9, 2023 at 11:00 am
Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire
September 9th & 10th
S Kings Valley Hwy & Grant Rd

Monmouth, OR

Pendleton Round-Up
Saturday, September 9, 2023 at 5:00 pm
The world famous Pendleton Round-Up
Pendleton Round-Up Grounds 1205 SW Court Ave, Pendleton, OR 97801

Bay Area Fun Festival
Saturday, September 16, 2023 at 2:00 pm
Bay Area Fun Festival September 16 and 17
Coos Bay, Oregon

Rose City Comic Con
Friday, September 22, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Rose City Comic Con SEPT. 22 – 24
OREGON CONVENTION CENTER 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Portland, OR 97232

Sisters Folk Festival
Friday, September 29, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Sisters Folk Festival Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2023
Sisters, OR

Stormy Weather Arts Festival
Friday, November 3, 2023 at 2:00 pm
Stormy Weather Arts Festival November 3-5
Cannon Beach, Oregon

Yachats Celtic Music Festival
Friday, November 10, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Yachats Celtic Music Festival Nov 10, 11, & 12th
Yachats Commons Building 441 Hwy 101 N, Yachats, OR

Veteran's Day Parade
Saturday, November 11, 2023 at 11:00 am
Veteran's Day Parade
Downtown Albany, Oregon

Civil War Oregon State vs. Oregon Football Game
Friday, November 24, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Civil War- Oregon State Beavers vs. Oregon Ducks Football Game
Autzen Stadium 2700 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Eugene, OR 97401

Christmas Storybook Land
Saturday, December 2, 2023 at 10:30 am
Christmas Storybook Land

December 2 – 16
Linn County Fairgrounds Inside the Cascade Livestock Building 3700 Knox Butte Rd Albany, OR 97322

View All Calendar Events

Girod Blasts 21 Day Phase One Period
Oregonians have already proven their commitment to keep one another safe

Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Stayton) issued the following statement: “The 28 counties that have been approved, and those that are waiting, have experienced devastating damages to their local economies as they’ve waited weeks to reopen and get people back to work. The 21-day waiting period to get to Phase 2 is concerning because Oregonians have already proven their commitment to keep one another safe, and I hope it doesn’t hurt progress as these counties move forward.”

Counties approved for reopening in Phase 1: Baker, Benton, Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Malheur, Sherman, Tillamook, Union, Wallowa, Wasco, Wheeler and Yamhill

Counties under review: Jefferson, Umatilla and Morrow

Counties that do not qualify: Marion and Polk

Counties that have not applied to reopen: Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas
--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-05-15 18:43:33Last Update: 2020-05-15 18:43:46

Evans Supports Economic Delay
Supports a robust public safety campaign before reopening of the economy.

In a letter addressed to Polk County Commissioners, State Representative Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) urged the Polk County Commissioners to take a more cautious stand toward opening economic activity in the county. In the letter, he seemed to blame leaders for the economic crisis, though he doesn't describe how local leaders could have caused the economic crisis. "Instead of taking concrete steps early enough to contain the contagion, we allowed for a dual crisis: an economic as well as health disaster of historic proportions."

In a statement that seemed to support a crack down on non-mask wearers, he said "In circumstances like these, mandatory PPE is primarily for the protection of others, not the wearer. At present, there is no viable enforcement of the statewide recommendations made regarding PPE."

Evans further says "to live in a community is a choice to accept voluntary constraints on liberties." This statement fails to take into account that many of Marion and Polk County residents live in very rural places, that cannot be described as "a community." In a statement that appears to support the mandatory requirement for all people in public to wear masks, Evans says,

"The recent outbreak in Polk County demonstrates the volatility of "hot spots" because of the complex variables in play. Therefore, we must address the subject most people would prefer to ignore: the need for a robust public safety campaign that puts safety protocols in place before any significant reopening of our economy. This includes but is not limited to enforcement of social distancing standards: it is time to implement a mandatory requirement for wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all people "in public" on a statewide basis"

Paul Evans represents parts of Polk and Marion Counties, including the communities of West Salem, Monmouth and Independence.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-05-14 19:17:53Last Update: 2020-05-14 19:18:01

Meme of the Week
Never underestimate the power of memes

--Northwest Observer Comedy Staff

Post Date: 2020-05-13 19:06:03Last Update: 2020-08-08 13:23:00

Girod Calls for Return to Work
The new Senate Minority Leader leans on the Governor.

Newly minted Senate Minority Leader, Fred Girod (R-Lyons) boldly asked the Governor to reconsider her stringent prerequisites for opening up economic activity in the state.

In a letter, the Majority Leader pointed out that her policy "disproportionately impacts Oregon counties that have not seen a single case." He also reminds her that these counties may not have the financial resources to comply.

"While you acknowledged that Oregonians did what they needed to do to slow the spread of COVID-19 [you] failed to address the fact that Oregonians have been begging to get back to work for weeks."

This letter is just the latest in what has been increasing political and public pressure to ease economic restrictions on weary Oregonians.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-05-11 21:31:17Last Update: 2020-05-11 21:31:31

Democrat Leaders in Western States Plead for Federal Funds
The amount requested is staggering

The governors and several legislative leaders from several western states have written a lettter to federal congressional leaders "respectfully, and urgently, requesting $1 trillion in direct and flexible relief to states and local governments."

These numbers are huge, and it's not clear to some observers if they are intended to be taken literally, nor what is the proposed source of funds. The federal debt is currently over $25 trillion. Critics are quick to point out that the damage done to the economy has not been done so much by the virus as by the government response to the virus.

One trillion dollars dwarfs the annual budgets of these states. Even the largest state in the union, the State of California, for instance, spent a total of $265,894,000 (over $265 million or about just a little over a quarter of a trillion dollars) in 2016, the latest year for which statistics are posted.

Addressed to Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, and Leader Schumer, the letter goes on to say, "Even states that began the year in a strong fiscal position are facing staggering deficits amid growing costs of responding to the crisis. With unemployment projected to surpass that of the Great Recession, we are facing unprecedented and ongoing economic challenges." With several governors under pressure to re-open the economy in their respective states, it would seem that this kind of recognition of the financial impact would make that decision easier.

Interestingly, with individuals and businesses being hardest hit by the government-induced COVID-19 recession, the relief is requested for the support of government programs, claiming that "our states will be forced to make deep cuts to programs that help those same individuals without similar relief efforts for state and local governments." There is no plea for direct aid to individuals and businesses.

With the sole exception of the California State Assembly Minority Leader, all of the signers are Democrats. The signers include:

Gavin Newsom (D), Governor of California
Toni Atkins (D), President Pro Tempore of the California State Senate
Anthony Rendon (D), Speaker of the California State Assembly
Marie Waldron (R), Minority Leader of the California State Assembly
Jared Polis (D), Governor of Colorado
Leroy Garcia (D), President of the Colorado State Senate
Steve Fenberg (D), Majority Leader of the Colorado State Senate
KC Becker (D), Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives
Alec Garnett (D), Majority Leader of the Colorado House of Representatives
Kate Brown (D), Governor of Oregon
Tina Kotek (D) Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives
Peter Courtney (D), President of the Oregon Senate
Steve Sisolak (D), Governor of Nevada
Nicole Cannizzaro (D), Majority Leader of the Nevada Senate
Jay Inslee (D), Governor of Washington
Andy Billig (D), Majority Leader of the Washington State Senate
Laurie Jinkins (D), Speaker of the Washington House of Representative
Jason Frierson (D), Speaker of the Nevada State Assembly

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-05-11 18:08:48Last Update: 2020-05-11 18:11:18

Rep. Diego Hernandez Refuses Calls to Resign Amid Sexual Harassment Scandal
He will be staying, despite calls for him to step down.

Oregon State Representative Diego Hernandez (D-Portland) stands accused of sexual harassment by seven different women.

The allegations range from physical and verbal sexual harassment to creating a hostile work environment.

The situation escalated this week when the Interim House Conduct Committee implemented safety measures against Hernandez. The measures include no-contact orders for all of Hernandez’s accusers, as well as requiring him to give at least 24 hours notice before coming to the Capitol.

Since that decision, many prominent Democrats have called for Rep. Hernandez to step down.

Fellow Portland Democrat, House Speaker Tina Kotek, was one of the first to call for his resignation.

"I am deeply concerned that members of the broader Capitol community feel unsafe or subject to retaliation by Rep. Hernandez. I want those individuals to know they did the right thing by coming forward, and I am grateful to the House Conduct Committee for taking swift action to impose the measures they deemed necessary to address immediate safety concerns," Kotek said in a statement.

"The House Conduct Committee’s action today is a very serious development. I believe Rep. Hernandez should resign from the Legislature and focus completely on getting the support he needs."

Some responses to these allegations were a bit harsher.

One critic on social media said “(Rep. Hernandez is) one of the most useless legislators of all time. When he opens his mouth in committee, its guaranteed to be one thing, and one thing only: pure race baiting. Everything we hear from him outside of committee, is some sort of sexual deviance targeted at capitol staff or the females in the lobby. He has no business in elected office.”

This is not the first time Hernandez has been under investigation, in fact, far from it.

In his first term as a legislator after being elected in 2016, Hernandez was accused of maintaining a list of female lobbyists- ranking them based on their physical appearance.

More seriously, and more recently, Hernandez was accused of domestic violence by David Douglas School Board member and then roommate Andrea Valderrama.

In a March 3 filing with Multnomah County Circuit Court, Valderrama alleged that Hernandez was heavily intoxicated when he engaged in threatening and violent behavior towards her.

The filing states "he usually mixes alcohol, narcotic pills, and marijuana. This use leads to violent outbursts and unpredictability."

Valderrama recounts that the two had gone dancing before the June 21st incident. “He took pill and drank three very strong drinks”. The filing describes that when Hernandez discovered Valderrama dancing with other people, he became angry and after leaving yelled at her for hours.

The filing goes on to say, "this behavior escalated to physical violence when he threw his phone at me… he also threw another object at me that was on the table."

A text-message apology from Hernandez to Valderrama is included in the filing. “I’m sorry. I promise I wont mix alcohol and drugs like that again,” one of the text messages read.

Hernandez has repeatedly denied all the allegations that have been raised against him.

In 2017 Hernandez issued a statement where he denied keeping a list of female lobbyists ranked by their appearance. "I strongly believe that I was targeted not only because of the color of my skin, but also because of the issues I fight for," he stated.

In response to the domestic violence allegations Hernandez told reporters, "It’s important for me to say unequivocally that I refute the characterizations that are in the petition, both of my actions and my personality."

Valderrama has since agreed to a dismissal of her filing after what she described as intimidation tactics from Hernandez and citing concerns for the personal safety of her and her daughter.

Finally, in response to the most recent allegations made by seven different women, Hernandez stated that he does not know the extent of what he is accused of or who he is accused by.

“I have no idea what the concerns raised are or by whom," he stated. “I do know that there has been an organized campaign against me recently to get me out of the office I was duly elected to".

"Regardless of the personal pain that this organized campaign, designed to force me out of office has caused: I will continue to use this process and my life to fight for justice and will do so not just for me but all Oregonians including my faceless accusers and the powerful enemies I unfortunately seem to have made for myself".

Hernandez will appear unopposed on the May ballot and remains a member of theReynolds School Board.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-05-08 16:06:14Last Update: 2020-05-11 16:07:30

Douglas County Republican Headquarters Vandalized
The attack appears to be politically motivated.

Sometime between the evening of Tuesday, May 5th, and the early morning hours on Wednesday, May 6th, the Douglas County Republican Party Headquarters were vandalized. In addition to cracking or shattering five of the headquarters' windows and damaging equipment inside the office, the vandals spray-painted the message "Kill Trump", which, the party says, could be a violation of federal law. Law enforcement, including the U.S. Secret Service, is on the case.

This is the fourth time in six months that this office has been vandalized and, this time, repairs are estimated to total approximately $5,000. The party is hopeful that the state is beginning to open up again soon and feel it is important to be available to voters who want to learn more about the Republicans and candidates in Douglas County, as well at the state and national levels.

The Douglas County Republican Party is asking for help in covering the cost of repairing the damage that has been done.

If should you have any questions about what happened or any other questions about the county party, the important issues this election, and our candidates, you can call (541) 673-5057.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-05-07 15:32:40Last Update: 2020-05-11 15:32:56

Marion County Issues Plan to Reopen
Many people in Marion County are suffering right now

During its regular weekly board session on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, the Marion County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution for beginning to reopen businesses, restaurants, churches, and county parks. Phase 1 of the community roadmap for reopening will begin on May 15. According to Commission Chair Colm Willis, "Many people in Marion County are suffering right now. This plan ensures first and foremost, the safety of the people of Marion County and fairness for our families and small businesses"

Working closely with our county Health and Human Services experts, local leaders, and regional public health partners, the roadmap is based on the Governor’s guidelines for reopening counties across the state. Commissioner Willis adds, "In our case, the roadmap is tailored to fit the specific needs of our communities. We have worked hard with state and regional partners to prepare a thoughtful, balanced approach to supporting a safe, strong, and thriving Marion County."

In Phase 1, the roadmap proposes reopening several types of businesses and services, keeping in place sanitation protocols and specific limits on physical distancing, face coverings, and crowd size until public health monitoring shows it is safe to move to later phases. Hospital visits will remain prohibited at this time, as will night clubs and most large venues.

Monitoring community health and safety is very important as the limited, phased reopening gets underway. Marion County Public Health Director Katrina Rothenberger is leading efforts to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic and observes that, "Local hospitals have ample capacity today and much more so than a few weeks ago when the virus first arrived in Oregon." She goes on to add, "As businesses and other sectors begin to reopen, we will closely track new cases of the virus and will take immediate action if we see an unacceptable increase in new cases and hospitalizations." Meanwhile, the roadmap has very specific details about what types of preventive measures are required for each type of business, venue, and activity.

Marion County is committed to working with the Governor's office, local healthcare providers, and other community partners to update and refine the roadmap as needed.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-05-07 09:51:19Last Update: 2020-05-11 09:51:29

Opinion: Do the Math
If you’re locked up at home and can’t fight COVID-19, at least you can spend some time doing math.

Everyone is caught up with all the stress of dealing with the health and economic fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak. Perhaps it’s too early to start number crunching and doing some objective analysis. But if the state isn’t going to let me go to work, I’ll play the "idle hands" card and start the conversation.

Let me first say, it’s an awful disease. I can’t imagine the horror of suffering or dying from any respiratory disease. My heart goes out to those who have died and those who have lost loved ones.

Likewise, it’s an awful thing the government has done to the economy. May we all survive both.

It’s axiomatic to say this will be devastating to Oregon’s economy. How devastating is not yet known, but’s not inconceivable the impact might cause the state gross domestic product to take a hit in the range of 30 to 50 percent. In a state that is highly — perhaps disproportionately ­ dependent on income tax, such an economic hit will almost certainly impact government at the same rate.

So, at a time when revenues are certainly, reasonably expected to plummet, it’s fair to ask what steps the state is preparing to take to limit expenditures.

One of the industries that is arguably the most impacted, if not the most visible, is the restaurant and bar industry. This industry is host to much of the lottery activity in Oregon, so I would think it would be reasonable for the Oregon Lottery to quickly cut staff.

I asked them about their plans and received this response on April 28:

"Executive team staff are currently working to identify furloughs, layoffs and salary reductions in their areas. We’re looking for the right balance between fiscal responsibility and maintenance of critical work. Those plans should be finalized later this week, and communicated to staff shortly after that. We know the situation is constantly evolving, so our plans may need to adjust as new information becomes available."

In other words, we’re starting to start to think about possible reductions.

Meanwhile, the state is hiring. The Employment Department has "doubled the number of staff dedicated to taking claims and is in the process of tripling it." Maybe they could just hire some of the people who are calling their overwhelmed phone banks. Or is that too simple?

"Thank you for continuing to hold. The operator may offer you a position in the Employment Department, which will invalidate the claim for which you’re holding. To continue to hold, press 1."

There’s more hiring elsewhere in state government. In a May 1 press release, Gov. Brown announced her "contact-tracing plan sets a goal of training at least 600 contact tracers" (Emphasis mine). These contact tracers are not just your garden-variety, off-the-shelf contact tracers, either. The plan has "a focus on recruiting individuals with cultural and linguistic competence for the populations they serve," which certainly increases their price.

The headline for this post promised some math, which means I’m not going to get out of this article without doing some, so here goes. The Legislative Fiscal Office uses the figure of $250,000 per biennium as an estimate for the cost of hiring a new employee. That includes salary, benefits, overhead, a computer, a cubicle, a boss, etc., so if you divide the biennial cost by two, that means $125,000 per year.

Multiply that times 600 workers and you get a cool $75 million. That doesn’t even count the new Employment Department hires.

Just so you know, 1.75 percent of that $75 million or — even more math — over $1.3 million goes to union dues, just in time for the November elections.

Maybe we can just use the guys from the Oregon Lottery as contact tracers.

--Mike Nearman

Post Date: 2020-05-05 18:32:23Last Update: 2020-05-05 18:32:43

Meme of the Week
This time we meme it.

--Northwest Observer Meme Team

Post Date: 2020-05-05 16:53:26Last Update: 2020-08-08 12:32:58

Governor Brown Begins Opening Up Recreation
Get your fishing pole and your hiking boots! Bring your own toilet paper, though.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown today announced the limited opening of some state parks, outdoor recreation facilities, and areas across Oregon for day use effective today, May 5.

With a note of caution, Governor Brown said, "As we begin to slowly open up recreation sites, state parks, and ski areas, it is critical we ensure the health and safety of staff, volunteers, and the public. And that begins with each of us taking personal responsibility to be good stewards of our parks, and each other."

Reopening outdoor recreation areas will be a phased approach as it becomes safe for some communities and recreational providers to do so, and will change the way that Oregonians visit some familiar sites. Columbia River Gorge parks and recreation areas, as well as coastal areas that are not yet ready to welcome visitors back, will remain closed for now, while the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department coordinates with local jurisdictions and partners in Washington to determine the appropriate timing for reopening.

Guidelines for responsible outdoor recreation include: Governor Brown has been under intense pressure for her heavy-handed, continual closure of the state, despite signs that the epidemic is on the wane.

Critics have also pointed out that, while there is a shortage of residential style toilet paper, due to people spending more time at home, there is a surplus of the industrial style of toilet paper -- of the kind found on larger rolls used by the industrial dispensers -- typically found at public institutions like parks.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-05-05 16:41:37Last Update: 2020-05-06 06:42:35

Brown Issues Specific Criteria
A response to pressure to reopen the state.

In what some observers see as a response to the mounting pressure from Oregonians to open the state, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued some very specific "prerequisites" for "enter[ing] phase one of Reopening Oregon."

The document, released to Oregon counties, outlines seven prerequisites must be met before a county or region can enter phase one of Reopening Oregon. These prerequisites include:
  1. Declining prevalence of COVID-19
  2. Minimum Testing Regimen, including being able to administer COVID-19 testing at a rate of 30 per 10,000 people per week.
  3. Contact Tracing System, including a minimum of 15 contact tracers for every 100,000 people and the county must be prepared to contact trace 95% of all new cases within 24 hours.
  4. Isolation Facilities including hotel rooms available for people who test positive for COVID-19 and who cannot self-isolate.
  5. Finalized Statewide Sector Guidelines.
  6. Sufficient Health Care Capacity which means that the region must be able to accommodate a 20% increase in suspected or confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations compared to the number of suspected or confirmed COVID19 hospitalizations in the region at the time Executive Order No. 20-22 was issued.
  7. Sufficient PPE Supply.

Health Regions are defined as such:

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-05-03 16:42:18Last Update: 2020-05-03 16:43:46

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