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Maybe Not So Special
Special session takes aim at seniors and low-income families

A Special Session called to address COVID issues and Police Reform to appease rioters, deviated shortly after opening in SB 1603. Proponents begged for assistance to help rural communities to install internet service in areas that still live a wholesome life away from WIFI waves. The claim is the lack of internet access has hampered virtual schooling during the pandemic. However, some areas with internet that chose to issue paper workbooks had lot less confusion and more success among grade schoolers than those needing to work on a computer.

Not that we don’t want rural communities to have internet, but on whose backs do we put the cost? In the hearing, it was presented that low-income families have given up the cost of landlines for cell phones for cost savings. Cell phones are used for security and safety tracking between family members. Likewise, seniors have gone to cell phone use for security and safety.

SB 1603 lowers the landline tax from 8.5% to 6% that will benefit the very people who want internet access. Only to add a 6% tax on all cell phones on families that already have internet access. This type of distribution of wealth hits the most vulnerable. For example, a family with four cell phones could face an added charge of about $18 on their monthly bill. This is a lot for low-income families, and seniors on a fixed-incomes.

This bill was passed after testimony alerting the committee that PUC is in the process of reviewing the Oregon Service Fund that expires in 2021, and should be considered before more funding is instigated. The bill raises $2.5 million per biennium, and caps the fund at $28 million annually. However, only 15% is designated to build broadband. This is a slow way to get access when the estimate is in the billions. The Emergency Board provided $20 million of Cares Act funds for broadband already, and USDA provided $6 million to Grant and Wheeler Counties for this purpose. Representative Greg Walden announced that the Federal Communications Commission authorized $67.7 million for rural broadband in Oregon over the next 10 years for ten rural counties. All this funding has not been utilized to see where or if additional funding is needed, but it did not deter the Democrat assembly from imposing this tax on the most vulnerable along partisan lines.

At a time when this state is hurting on every level, adding an additional burden on all families is poor judgment and poor leadership. Was this the appropriate way to expand internet? What was the big hurry to foist another tax on unsuspecting Oregonians?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-06-26 20:25:27Last Update: 2020-06-26 20:25:39

Cell Phone Tax Passes Legislature
Plan to fund broadband internet might not be popular with Oregonians at this time

Oregon’s legislature has passed a cell phone tax at a time when Oregonian’s people and economy might not appreciate the financial investment on behalf of the government, when they are themselves are soon required to make massive and historic budget cuts due to the recent shutdown of the economy. The tax will be applied to monthly service bills.

The proceeds of the tax are dedicated to building rural broadband infrastructure. Nonetheless, many Republican legislators from rural districts voted no, as they could not see the benefits outweighing the drawback of another tax.

Senate Republicans voted against SB 1603, describing it as a cell phone tax disguised as a rural assistance bill. “The legislative process has not only been taken away from Oregonians, but now they must absorb a new tax when they are living in an economic shutdown,” said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Stayton). “Democrats are spending money the state doesn’t have. This is a tax, and I think Oregon deserves better.” The Emergency Board recently allocated $20 million to broad band. “You know something is wrong with a bill when senators like me that represent rural Oregonians voted no,” said Senator Lynn Findley (R-Vale). “My constituents cannot afford another tax on their livelihoods, especially when the Emergency Board just allocated $20 million in funds to broadband without any plan on what projects the money will go to.”

Critics have also noted that many Oregonians -- including many rural Oregonians -- use their cell phone as an internet connection and has the effect of taxing an existing internet connection in order to create another one. The tax is seen by experts as regressive, placing a heavier burden on lower-income people who have to use a greater proportion of their income to pay the tax.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-06-26 19:50:07Last Update: 2020-08-03 19:09:05

No More Civil War Football in Oregon
Ducks and Beavers in Oregon will no longer use name for long held rivalry game

Making a recent move amidst a wave of name changes in some institutions, two schools in Oregon have declared that they will abandon the name of their popular sports competitions, the annual Civil War, with no plan to otherwise rename the event, citing that some people have been offended at the name.

A statement from Oregon State University can be seen here:

"Changing this name is overdue as it represents a connection to a war fought to perpetuate slavery," said OSU President Ed Ray. "While not intended as reference to the actual Civil War, OSU sports competition should not provide any misconstrued reference to this divisive episode in American history. That we did not act before to change the name was a mistake. We do so now, along with other important actions to advance equal opportunity and justice for all and in recognition that Black Lives Matter."

"A number of student-athletes, alumni and friends of Oregon State University have questioned the use of the term Civil War in our rivalry series in recent years," said Beaver Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes. "We initiated discussions with our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) about the possibility of eliminating the name "Civil War" from our series and with

their leadership, we are moving forward. "We will embrace members of the university community, alumni, student-athletes, and friends of Oregon State to assist in a collaborative process with the University Of Oregon to consider other names for this historic rivalry."

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-06-26 16:14:18Last Update: 2020-06-26 16:14:56

Oregon to End License Suspensions Due to Fines and Fees
Communities of color cited as reason

Democrats in Oregon have passed legislation ending the practice of driver’s license suspensions due to inability to pay fines or fees and have identified race as the reason. Some libertarian voices have noted that this legislation itself is not so outlandish, but don’t understand the insistence on the racial narrative, if it could be done without.

Rep.Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale), a longtime champion of the legislation and a candidate for State Senate, carried House Bill 4210 on the floor. “This bill is especially important as we confront some of the inequities and institutional bias in our systems,” said Rep. Chris Gorsek. “We know that Black and Latinx Oregonians are disproportionately stopped, ticketed, charged and convicted, and we know that this cycle of debt and punishment especially burdens communities of color. Increased frequency of being stopped and cited for driving offenses, along with increased fine amounts, puts communities of color at greater risk of license suspension for inability to pay.” According to the Oregon Law Center, more than 334,000 license suspensions have been issued in the last decade. These suspensions, which impact individuals who are unable to pay fines and fees, perpetuates cycles of debt and poverty, and deprives individuals of the ability to get to work, school or the doctor. Further, according to data recently released by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, Black and Latinx people are disproportionately stopped, ticketed, charged and convicted. As a result, fine and fee-based license suspensions disproportionately impact communities of color, in addition to low-income Oregonians.

The House Democratic sponsors are Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon(D-Woodburn), Rep. Julie Fahey(D-West Eugene and Junction City),Rep. Chris Gorsek(D-Troutdale),Rep. Ken Helm(D-Beaverton), Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer(D-Portland),Rep. Akasha Lawrence Spence(D-Portland),Rep. PamMarsh(D-Ashland),Rep. Susan McLain(D-Forest Grove), Rep. Mark Meek(D-Oregon City),Rep. TiffinyMitchell(D-Astoria),Rep. Nancy Nathanson(D-Eugene),Rep. Rob Nosse(D-Portland),Rep. KarinPower(D-Milwaukie),Rep. Andrea Salinas(D-Lake Oswego), Rep. Tawna Sanchez(D-Portland),Rep. Sheri Schouten(D-Beaverton), Rep. Marty Wilde(D-Eugene), and Rep. Anna Williams(D-Hood River). The bill, which passed 44 to 13, now heads to the Senate for consideration.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-06-26 15:49:07Last Update: 2020-06-26 15:50:07

Tribute to Black Lives Matter Amended into Bills
The move by Democrats failed to erode Republican support

One of the subjects of the Special Session was to address police issues. Since the Democrats have supermajorities in both chambers, they don't need Republican support, yet after days of conversations about the bills, in which content of the bills was agreed upon to get some Republican support, Democrats amended the bills to add this language at the beginning:

“Whereas Black Lives Matter; and
“Whereas the three other police officers present at George Floyd’s arrest had 8 minutes and 46 seconds to save his life; and
“Whereas the history of racial violence in America, including public lynchings, deeply implicates police officers that did not intervene to stop extrajudicial murders of Black Americans, creating a culture of distrust between law enforcement and the Black community that persists to this day; and
“Whereas police officers swear an oath to serve the public; and
“Whereas police officers need to be trusted to step in when lives are endangered; and
“Whereas two-thirds of Black Americans do not trust that they will be treated equally by the police; and
“Whereas Black youth experience hypervigilance, a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder, in the presence of police officers; and
“Whereas Black children deserve to feel safe around the police; and
“Whereas we all deserve to feel safe around the police; and
“Whereas restoring trust in the police is not possible without real accountability measures; and
“Whereas the United States Department of Justice’s October 2018 Special Report found that Black people and Latinx people are twice as likely to experience the threat or use of force compared to white people; and
“Whereas intervening and reporting misconduct protects the reputation of police officers who are acting in good faith and within the bounds of the law; now, therefore,”.

“Whereas” clauses have no force of law, but they do express the intent of the lawmakers. All of the bills passed easily, with strong support from Republicans.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-06-26 10:44:48Last Update: 2020-06-27 08:15:41

Bi-partisan Push for Legal Immunity
The legislature wants to keep COVID lawsuits under control

Oregon House Republicans today joined their Democrat colleagues in support of legislation that would establish temporary and limited liability for coronavirus related litigation. Ten House Democrats shared a letter with their fellow lawmakers encouraging legislative leaders to quickly pass this legislation during the current special session.

“My office has been flooded with emails and phone calls from organizations, both public and private, seeking relief from the uncertainty surrounding employer liability during this unprecedented time,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby). “Public and private employers are committed to meeting state and federal guidelines to protect the safety of their employees, students and customers. It’s our job as lawmakers to ensure that organizations who are doing everything they have been asked to do by the government, are protected from potentially devastating legal threats.”

“Given the extensive bipartisan support for adopting a fix to this problem in this special session, I am committed to working with all stakeholders and legislative leadership to bring this concept to a vote,” concluded Leader Drazan. Language to ensure nonprofits, local governments, schools and businesses are protected from opportunistic lawsuits is expected to be introduced as an amendment to HB 4212.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-06-26 10:44:39Last Update: 2020-06-26 10:44:48

Concerns Expressed Over Special Session Rules
Democrat majority to legislate with minimum checks and balances

During a hectic week in Oregon, as Governor Kate Brown has decided to call a ‘closed-to-the public’ Special Legislative Session, where normal legislative rules are to be overlooked in an unfamiliar capitol environment where “social-distancing” rules are to be mandated in the building. Here, as observers have recently noted, we are once again seeing some rules- that were once in effect, now deemed “non-essential”. We all have certainly become familiar with these terms as of late, whether we believe if they do legitimately work, or not.

Senate Minority Republican Leader Fred Girod has released the following statement citing concern over the Special Session rules adopted:

“The rules the Senate Republicans voted against included that only the Senate President and Speaker of the House have the capabilities to create bills or amendments during the special session, not any other sitting legislator. “The rights of the minority, no matter who the minority party is, are extremely important and they are compromised by these special session rules,” said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Stayton). “Without the ability to create or amend legislation, my colleagues and I are legislators by name only during the special session.”

The second rule change the Republicans voted against was about the lack of transparency in the process. Typically dependent on the participation of Oregonians, the rule change largely excludes citizens from the legislative process during the special session. Senator Girod continued,

“In the midst of this pandemic, why is the Governor willing to risk the health of legislators by calling the special session, yet prevent Oregonians from being part of the process? No matter how you want to phrase it, this is the building of the people, not legislators.”

Despite the plea of concern, which observers have also noted as being echoed by the public, Oregon Democrats will likely push through policy legislation as quickly as they possibly can, while affording themselves extra powers to accomplish what they might not be able to normally -all while cutting the public out of the normal process. One can only hope that the people of Oregon will weather the effects of this legislation that is likely to be passed by this often excessively authoritarian Democrat Majority.

To see a full list of the bills that will be considered during the special session and to keep up with everything happening in the Joint Committee on the First Special Session of 2020, click here.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-06-24 16:27:14Last Update: 2020-06-25 07:43:12

What’s So Special about the Special Session?
Where’s the emergency?

Governor Brown has called a Special Session starting June 24. The first thing you need to know is everything in a special session is considered and emergency. If it isn’t, then the Governor isn’t being accountable to taxpayers. They have scheduled 23 bills, so far, for a two-day session and three do not have any emergency clause. The other 20, the public has no recourse once passed. But, the fact that there is an emergency clause doesn’t necessarily make it an emergency.

The emergency clause has been misused as an overreach of government authority since the day it was passed, but by 2016 parties were conjuring up fake reasons to use the emergency clause to prevent voters from challenging controversial bills. Because the Republicans walked out of the regular session this year, only a handful of bills were passed. Had the emergency clause not been misused to prevent voters from challenging cap and trade bills causing the walkout, we would actually be in worse financial condition. I’m guessing there were 400-600 bills left on the table, and most of them had a cost to them. Stopping bills with emergency clauses by walking out isn’t the best way to conduct the people’s business. Early petitions for 2022 include an initiative on No Fake Emergencies, which will begin gathering signatures in July. We can stop this abuse.

In looking over the bills for the special session I am hard pressed to find a bill with a true emergency. The exceptions might be school funding distribution and reevaluating finances, but the other 20 are all knee-jerk emotional responses that should be carefully thought out. Even strategies to protect Oregonians from the effects of COVID-19 is past its prime and the news is reporting the virus is mutating and getting weaker in countries that never locked down.

What is immediately apparent is the use of the special session to make quick work to strip local control and build the Democrat central empire. For example, HB 4201 and HB 4207, two of the six bills on police reform, centralize police conduct. HB 4207 establishes a centralized data base of police discipline records including the number of founded and unfounded complaints against an officer. HB 4201 transfers police violations of law enforcement to the Attorney General. This bill transfers planning authority on issues of use of deadly physical force, resolving issues of potential criminal responsibility, develop training, and the conduct of investigation into physical force cases. This transfer of power and centralization removes local enforcement authority and exposes every complaint making it more difficult for officers to do their jobs. It also raises the question whether it is constitutional to usurp county enforcement in this way.

What I don’t see on the list is how to kick-start the economy. If anything is an emergency, it should be our right to make a living. After all, we have to make money before we can pay taxes unless you’re subject to the gross receipts tax – this tax doesn’t care if you’re losing money, pay anyway. I guess the rest of us didn’t destroy enough property or march enough to make our point with the Governor. Elections are in four months.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-06-24 16:13:53Last Update: 2020-06-24 16:14:01

Opinion: The Destruction of George Washington
It feels like hypocrisy

During Friday’s riots in Portland, Antifa-types wrapped the George Washington statue with an American flag and set it on fire, pulling down the statute and defacing it. Was this a justified action or a declaration of war against America?

They argument that George Washington was a slave owner and therefore had to be bad and therefore he couldn’t have written a credible constitution. They vent their anger without logic or reason to justify destroying the statue and flag.

The flag they so carelessly disrespect symbolizes what so many have died to protect, and Americans have deep emotional attachments to it. Thus, flag burning is not political speech but instead an attack upon Americans feelings. Burning the American Flag was illegal to burn or desecrate until June 11, 1990, when the Supreme Court ruled that the burning of the flag is protected by the First Amendment. Acts of desecrating the flag is a deliberate act to denounce America and all it stands for. Can the flag be desecrated and not declare a hatred towards America and the American people?

Destroying George Washington, the commander in chief in a war to free America that would lead to freeing slaves is short sighted. It is true that George Washington personally owned 123 slaves, inheriting 10 from his father at age 11. His ownership was about one-third of the 317 slaves at Mount Vernon. By the 1780s, Washington’s feelings about using slaves to work the land had changed, and he expressed his uneasiness with close friends, including his Revolutionary War comrade Marquis de Lafayette. His distaste for selling slaves at public venue was based on his desire that slave families not be split up.

There was still the matter of maintaining his Virginia plantation and Virginia laws. But, upon his death in 1799, Washington's will freed his slaves upon his wife's death. Up until 1782. Virginia’s legislature made it illegal to release slaves and the new legislation permitted release by will or deed at the death of the slaveholder. Both Washington and Jefferson took advantage of freeing slaves.

Neither George nor Martha Washington could free all the slaves at Mount Vernon because they did not own all the slaves. Some were owned by Martha Washington's first husband, Daniel Parke Custis, and they were inherited by their children. One such slave is written about in Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge. She actually ran away when Martha was going to give her to her granddaughter, and agreed to return if freed upon Martha’s death, but Martha didn’t have authority over that decision. Martha Washington chose to free her late husband’s slaves early. So, in December 1800, she signed a deed of manumission to free George’s slaves.

Toppling the statue of George Washington on the eve of when all slaves were freed seems like hypocrisy. The defacing included graffiti on the surface that read “genocide colonist.” If the rioters knew their history, George Washington was the least likely person to kill Black people or even mistreat them. Writings on Washington recently has grabbed generalities of slave owners and imposed them on his history. Wikipedia says Washington thought of his workers as part of an extended family with him the father figure at its head.

The paternalist in him saw his relationship with his slaves as one of mutual obligations; he provided for them and they in return served him, a relationship in which slaves were able to approach Washington with their concerns and grievances. He allowed his slaves to supplemented their diet by hunting, trapping, and growing vegetables in their free time, and to buy extra rations, clothing and housewares with income from the sale of game and produce. As commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in 1775, Washington initially refused to accept African-Americans into the ranks, seeing they were needed to support the economy. But, it became necessary to reverse this position due to the demands of war.

According to historian Joseph Ellis, Washington saw slavery as the culprit, preventing the development of diligence and responsibility that would emerge gradually and naturally after emancipation. E.P. Thompson wrote, “Washington went beyond the legal requirement to support and maintain younger slaves until adulthood, stipulating that those children whose education could not be undertaken by parents were to be taught reading, writing, and a useful trade by their masters and then be freed at the age of 25.”

What cruel slave owner whose sole interest was in his own financial status would make sure his slaves were educated for success once freed? What would those slaves say about burning the flag and destroying George Washington’s statue?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-06-21 09:14:12Last Update: 2020-06-21 09:14:31

Interview With State Representative Mike Nearman
How to get involved in politics

We sat down with State Representative Mike Nearman and had a conversation about what he thinks young people should do who want a career in politics, either as an elected official, or just to support others in the process.

Northwest Observer: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. How did you get your start in politics?

State Representative Mike Nearman: I've always been interested in politics, but only later in life, in my 40s did I start to get involved in a deeper way. I first became a Republican PCP in 2011 and in 2012 I became a county party chair. From there, I was first elected to the Legislature in 2014.

NWO: That seems like a pretty fast rise. Is that normal?

Nearman: No, not really. I was asked to run for party chair and for the legislature, so I had a lot of really good people supporting me, and in the case of the legislature, some money and a political operation behind me. I think people saw me as a hard-working, principled person who was willing to be a public person, and that made me attractive as both a candidate and a leader.

NWO: How do you like the part about being such a public person?

Nearman: It's not as bad as you might think. Then again, I'm only a State Representative and I'm not really a household name. You can't be completely shy and be in this business. I joke all the time that I'm a Software Engineer and I don't have enough social skills to actually do this job, but you have to have a little bit of ham in you -- some might call it ego -- to be able to stand the public scrutiny and do some of the public speaking that the job requires.

NWO: What kind of education would you recommend for someone who wants to make a career of public office?

Nearman: Well, I have a degrees in Philosophy and Computer Science. No one field of study is going to prepare you to serve in public office. At least in the legislature -- and I assume the same is true for city and county government -- you have to be an expert in so many things that it's more important to be mentally nimble and have good judgment than to be highly educated. Some legislators don't even have degrees, which I think is fine. If you didn't know who they were, you'd have a hard time picking them out.

NWO: What do you think of Political Science as a field of study?

Nearman: That's OK, but honestly, it might be better to take that on as a minor field of study and major in something a little more useful, like maybe marketing, graphic design, or -- if I can be a little self-serving -- Computer Science. Then you have something that can put food on your plate, as well as develop some skills that can help the cause along the way. As a guy with one useful degree and one that's not-so-useful, I'm a big fan of useful degrees. The other ones are good for minors. Whenever I meet someone who is studying, say Petroleum Engineering with a minor in Music, I think, "There's a person with really good judgment."

NWO: What other things can an up-and-coming politician do?

Nearman: I think the most important thing is to get involved in government, even at the most basic levels. Almost every level of government has a budget committee that is appointed by the governing body, and they often have vacant seats. These are great positions to take for several reasons. First, you'll get some real hands-on experience in government, and while your presence may not be the pinnacle of power, you may be able to have an impact on policy. Second, you'll learn a lot. You'll learn about parliamentary procedure, ethics laws, and how decisions get made. You see in real time, how the bureaucracy interacts with the elected officials. Third, you'll build your resume, which is important. Remember, when you see the voters' pamphlet, there are only two required fields: Education and Prior Government Experience. Don't leave this one blank.

NWO: What about party politics?

Nearman: Party politics, like your local county Republican party, is a great way to develop relationships and to keep an ear to the ground as far as what is going on. It's great to work as a volunteer on the campaign of some elected official. You'll learn a lot and the official will be very grateful for your support, which could pay off later. Campaign work is fun and a great place to meet people.

NWO: Do you have any other advice?

Nearman: Yeah. It's kind of obvious, but keep your nose clean and try to keep the felonies to a minimum. That's one thing. The other is that political operations are always looking for high-quality people to run for office. Do what it takes to make yourself a high-quality person and hang out in the right places, and they will find you. If you're young -- and I mean under 40, you have a huge advantage.

One other thing. Politics is sometimes hard on families, so make sure you take care of the loved ones around you. You might think this is fun, but they may not have picked this life, so if they need some space, give it to them.

Like I kind of said before it's hard to set goals in politics. So much of what you can do is based on opportunity. Rather than set goals about what office you want to hold by what age, I'd focus more on being ready, willing and prepared to consider opportunities as they arise. I think you need to listen to God and ask him what his will is and take direction from that. Keep praying.

NWO: Thanks for your time, Representative Nearman.

Nearman: Sure!


Post Date: 2020-06-20 18:35:49Last Update: 2020-09-26 15:16:21

Oregon Governor Suspends Own Rules to Call Special Session
Budget and Covid 19 Relief Bills Will Not Be Focus

It is an unprecedented time for all of us, as we all figure out how to navigate this ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, with health concerns at hand, as well as additional negative fallout from the extensive and often unguided efforts of government bodies around the globe. Some of these being perhaps much more helpful than others. Here in Oregon, observers have witnessed Oregon stay rather healthy. Yet a recent spike in cases has prompted a reaction from officials such as Governor Kate Brown to issue mandates such as wearing masks in public, despite the questionable effectiveness of the process.

Governor Kate Brown had so far been hesitant to call the legislature to meet to attend to relief for Oregonians during the COVID-19 outbreak and address the state budget. Now, amidst nationwide protests for the taking of the life of one George Floyd by the police in Minnesota, the Oregon legislature has been called into a special legislative session to address policy bills such as police reform. Critics have offered that this gathering of legislators and staff in Salem for the session would clearly violate the government mandate by Kate Brown herself that there be no gatherings of more than 25 people. The minority party in the state, the Republicans, are among those voicing their concern.

Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Stayton) issued the following statement: “I fail to understand why the Governor is calling the legislature in for a special session, an expensive undertaking for taxpayers, in the middle of a pandemic, when it is not intended to address the state budget deficit. The intent of this special session should be to balance the state budget, which is the fundamental job of the legislature, and provide relief to Oregonians suffering from the ongoing COVID-19 economic disaster. Instead, the Governor is prioritizing policy bills.”

He continued, “Marion County is still in Phase 1, and by Governor Brown’s own rules, gatherings of more than 25 people are not permitted. The legislature alone, without support staff, is comprised of 90 people. Why not address the budget, the legislature’s first priority, instead of opening the door to costly follow-up sessions? “The Oregon Supreme Court recently upheld the Governor’s executive orders during the pandemic, giving her unrestricted power and the ability to make almost any of the policy bills slated for the special session into law without the legislature. The legislature is needed to balance the budget, and failing to make that the priority is disastrous for the state and Oregonians.”

Some critics have noted that as we do eventually manage to overcome the COVID-19 outbreak whether it be sooner or later, that many government entities will be hesitant to concede their recently acquired dominion.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-06-18 15:08:21Last Update: 2020-06-18 16:11:51

Masks Required in the Willamette Valley
As cases decline, the Governor tightens her grip.

Last week Governor Brown issued a statewide pause on all county applications to move into Phase 1 or Phase 2. This meant holding off on reviewing the reopening applications from Hood River, Marion, Multnomah, and Polk Counties.

“I instituted the statewide pause because of the rising number of cases in both rural and urban communities. I did this to give public health experts time to assess what factors are driving the spread of the virus and make adjustments to our reopening strategy” said Governor Brown. As it turns out, a one-day spike was not an indicator of increases.

Cases have leveled and declining, but still the Governor is requiring wearing face coverings while in indoor public spaces, such as grocery stores and other businesses, for Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Hood River, Marion, Polk, and Lincoln counties. This mandate will be effective beginning Wednesday, June 24.

“Second, I am moving Marion, Polk, and Hood River Counties to Phase 2 beginning Friday, June 19. Marion and Polk Counties are seeing a decline in hospitalizations, and Hood River has had only one new hospital admission in the past two weeks,” Brown says.

What is significant in this action is that the special session is schedule for June 24 in Marion County. She is being criticized for limiting groups to 25 over faulty information while calling legislators to the capitol. She was caught in her own trap so was forced to move Marion County to Phase 2. She still faces criticism for lack of transparency in pushing complex cultural issues when the public is blocked from the capitol.

Multnomah County will move to Phase 1 on June 19 and will be grouped with Washington and Clackamas Counties for future reopening decisions. This means Washington and Clackamas will be held in Phase 1 until Multnomah catches up, which suppresses the economy longer than necessary. The tri-county group will be eligible for Phase 2 after 21 days. The Governor says, “I know this impacts communities and businesses in Clackamas and Washington counties but, as we reopen our state, we must recognize how interconnected the metro area is.”

Considering the state deficit is in billions, what is the real purpose of pushing back on re-opening the economy?

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-06-17 19:17:19Last Update: 2020-06-17 19:17:32

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