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Fire in Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Area
Small fire now but high winds are a concern

Mt. Hood Meadows public safety has reported a small fire at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Area, about 0.25 mile east of the Shooting Star chair lift in the Heather Canyon drainage. There is an engine crew and hand crew already responding to the fire, supported by a helicopter dropping water. Additional crews are on their way to the fire. The fire is estimated to be around 2-acres as of midday.

To protect public safety and facilitate firefighters reaching the fire, the Timberline Trail is closed between Timberline Lodge and Cloud Cap. The Elk Meadow Trailhead and Sahalie Falls Trailhead have also been closed. Travelers in that area are asked to drive extra carefully and be aware of fire vehicles and the possibility of smoke.

There are east winds forecasted and a Red Flag Warning in effect across the region through Wednesday evening, which means there is an increased chance of fire activity. Campfires are currently prohibited across the Mt. Hood National Forest.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-07 17:08:30Last Update: 2020-09-07 17:30:48

Tax Wars in Metro
The result of economic chickens coming home to roost

A bold new commercial, directed at defeating the transportation ballot measure in the Metro region is ready for screens throughout the tri-cojnty area. Stop the Metro Wage Tax is the group mounting a campaign against Measure 26-218, dubbed "Get Moving 2020" which is expected to raise over $5 billion per year as a permanent payroll tax of 0.75%.

It's clear that COVID-19 is both a health and an economic crisis for our community. Many families and local businesses are struggling just to stay afloat – with record job losses, layoffs and shrinking paychecks.

In the face of the sharpest economic downturn in state history, Metro is proposing a brand new tax, forcing local businesses to choose between protecting their worker’s paychecks and keeping their businesses afloat. Metro’s proposal will divide our community by imposing a new tax on wages, threatening local non-profits and businesses at precisely the worst time.

In the last three elections alone, Metro has raised $3.6 billion in taxes. Those measures were supported by many in the business community, including the Portland Business Alliance, who worked to pass new taxes that would create affordable housing, expand green space, and improve homeless services. Many think this is the wrong tax at the worst possible time.

Much of the money goes to light rail, which has seen consistent ridership declines, year over year. Look for this commercial on a screen near you.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-07 15:38:53Last Update: 2020-09-07 16:30:11

Judicial Department Aims to Ensure Racial Justice
And coronavirus makes white supremacy worse in Oregon apparently

The State of Oregon Judicial Department released a statement when the Portland riots were just beginning. They suggest it was to address the death of George Floyd, and to ensure the public they would have an aim to ensure "racial justice" in Oregon.

But isn't justice best served without regard to wealth, power, skin color or other status?

"We write to address the death of George Floyd–a tragedy that has been repeated too often. At the time of Mr. Floyd’s death, our nation already was reeling from the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and many others before them.Those deaths have had a tremendous impact on all of us, but especially on our colleagues, family, and friends from communities of color, who experienced them on a very personal level.

We acknowledge the pain, trauma, anger, and frustration that has resulted from the tragedy of the recent week and that has been felt by the Black community and other communities of color.We understand that many in the judicial branch and throughout the legal community are struggling to process what is happening and trying to figure out what to do.We may wonder if the very core of what we do, as arbiters of justice and officers of the court, is being called into question.

As members of the judicial branch, we are cautious –always careful not to prejudge situations.But we cannot ignore the risks that African Americans, Blacks, and other people of color face as each day dawns.The urgency for action has long been upon us, but the immediacy of the need is even more apparent today.We must ensure that the lives of African Americans, Blacks, and people of color are valued and respected and that the color of peoples’ skin does not affect their rights to justice or the treatment they are afforded by our system of justice.

In facing up to that responsibility, we must recognize that we, in Oregon, are subject to the same prejudices as others throughout this country.Oregon entered statehood steeped in racial discrimination, and it is still with us –from Black exclusion laws in the 1800s, to the common presence of the KKK in the 1900s, to the effects of redlining that continue today.Communities of color throughout this state, in both urban and rural settings, continue to experience inequality that has only been compounded by the coronavirus.

Our courts are an integral part of the justice system and have an essential role to play in ensuring justice for all.We must stand firm against racism and oppression.We must be intentional in our efforts to move in a different direction.We must examine our individual thoughts and beliefs, as well as our professional approaches, processes, and environments to address the impact of our own biases.

We must examine, a new ,what we are doing, or failing to do, to root out conscious and unconscious bias in our legal system."

The full letter can be seen here

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-07 07:44:58Last Update: 2020-09-07 08:38:40

Brown Declines to Call Out Antifa
Instead, blames white supremacy

Wikipedia defines psychological projection as a "defense mechanism in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others." In a bizarre moment, Oregon Governor Kate Brown seemingly heaps all the Antifa and Black Lives Matter violence on white supremacists.

During a press conference that touched on the recent statement signed by Democrats denouncing violence and specifying white supremacy, Governor Brown was asked by a reporter why she failed to call out Antifa for their role in the violence. The Governor answered:

Brown: "My goal, my vision for a future Oregon is to build a better Oregon where everyone can thrive and that means eradicating racism. My understanding of these organizations is that they are built on hate and I think it make it really difficult for us to build what Dr. King would call "a beloved community."

Reporter: Would you plan to address issues with Antifa, as well?

Brown: "We will continue to work with the community to make sure that folks understand that our goal here is to stop the violence directed toward property, stop the arson and obviously stop the person to person violence that is happening, yeah."

Surely, no thinking person supports white supremacy. Most people could not name a white supremacist, nor could they name a white supremacist organization. Some people might accuse an organization of being a white supremacist organization, but could not name anything they have done to attempt to advance the cause of white supremacy. In a state where there is so much to be fixed, from support for foster children, to wildfires, to unfunded PERS liability -- not to mention Antifa and Black Lives Matter violence in Portland and COVID-19 shutdowns, Governor Brown has identified white supremacy as a major problem in Oregon.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-06 10:46:34Last Update: 2020-09-06 11:36:07

Exit Strategy for Riots
The feds don’t mess around

Ever since Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced what many are calling his "catch and release" policy, rioters in Portland have operated with clear guidelines regarding what they would and would not be prosecuted for. Knowledge of this works in favor of the rioters, who know what they can get away with.

By issuing the statement, Schmidt put police in a less-than-optimal position in which they could not count on prosecutors to attach any consequences to rioters' misbehavior. Many people were arrested multiple times, for serious crimes and immediately released. Observers feared that this was creating conditions in which mob violence could thrive and flourish. It did.

Elected officials such as Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D-Portland) and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D-Portland) have wanted to be sympathetic to the rioters, yet, after more than three months wanted to see the violence end. Schmidt's actions created an impasse.

In a move that has only recently become public, is has been discovered that State Troopers have been deputized as federal Marshals which gives them the authority to arrest rioters for federal crimes. Additionally, rioters have begun being charged with the crime of "civil disorder" which is a federal crime. This combination may mean the end of "catch and release" for rioters.

The end game may be that federal charges stack up against the worst of the rioters and as the consequences stack up, the resolve to riot wanes.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-05 19:47:27

Oregon Democrats Issue Statement on Violence
Is white supremacy really a problem in Oregon?

After nearly being recalled, Oregon's governor Brown seems to be avoiding calling out the identity of those who are obviously the true culprits of the months of violence in downtown Portland Oregon. They are the groups popularly known as "Antifa" and 'BLM(Black Lives Matter, the organization)". They are Left-wing groups, so it would not serve the Democrat agenda to rightfully call them out. She instead insists that the "peaceful protests" are necessary, and will continue, in order to advance her idea of "Racial Justice" and "Police Reform" in Oregon. Governor Kate Brown has issued the following statement along with other elected officials and community leaders:

“As elected officials and community leaders, we are coming together to condemn the acts of violence in Portland that have occurred as thousands of Oregonians have been peacefully protesting for racial justice and police accountability.

“The violence must stop.

“There is no place for white supremacy or vigilantism in Oregon.

All who perpetrate violent crimes must be held equally accountable.

“Together, we are committing ourselves to do the hard work that will bring meaningful change for racial justice and police reform.”

The following leaders and organizations signed the letter:

Governor Kate Brown
Tobias Read, State Treasurer
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum
Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle
Speaker of the House Tina Kotek
Senator Michael Dembrow
Senator Lew Frederick
Senator Kathleen Taylor
Representative Maxine Dexter
Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer
Representative Karin Power
Representative Andrea Salinas
Representative Sheri Schouten
Representative Akasha Lawrence Spence
Representative Barbara Smith-Warner
Senate President Peter Courtney
Senator Ginny Burdick
Senator Shemia Fagan
Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward
Senator Rob Wagner
Representative Janelle Bynum
Representative Diego Hernandez
Representative Rob Nosse
Representative Jeff Reardon
Representative Tawna Sanchez
Mayor Ted Wheeler
City of Portland
Commissioner-Elect Carmen Rubio, Portland City Council
Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, Portland City Council
Commissioner Amanda Fritz, Portland City Council
Commissioner elect Dan Ryan, Portland City Council
Mike Schmidt, Multnomah County District Attorney
Reynolds School Superintendent Danna Diaz

Business and Community Leaders:

Black American Chamber of Commerce
Oregon Commission on Black Affairs
Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs
Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs
Oregon Commission for Women
IRCO Africa House
Grantmakers of Oregon and Southwest Washington
Muslim Educational Trust
NAACP Portland
Oasis of Praise International Ministries
Oregon AFL-CIO
Oregon Education Association
Oregon Latinx Leadership Network
Oregon Nurses Association
Portland Business Alliance, Greater Portland’s Chamber of Commerce
Portland Timbers
Portland Thorns
Portland Trailblazers
SEIU 503
Stand for Children
Unite Oregon

Read the full statement here––additional names and organizations may be added.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-05 12:35:04Last Update: 2020-09-05 20:46:34

Oregon Gerrymandering Measure Fails
Politicians will pick their voters.

Initiative 57 has lost the appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The measure “Amends Constitution: Repeals legislative redistricting process; creates congressional/state redistricting commission; equal number of Democrats, Republicans, others.” It was the hope of Norman Turrill, Chief Petitioner, to add “fair, transparent and impartial” redrawing of congressional and legislative district lines in the state.

When all the shutdowns and restrictions ordered due to the coronavirus, made it difficult to gather enough signatures, the Petitioners filed an appeal for a reduction in the number of signatures required. U.S. District Judge Michael McShane agreed and set a lower signature threshold of 58,789 that petitioners were able to meet.

When Secretary of State Bev Clarno accepted Judge McShane’s decision, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum went all out to protect the Democrat Legislators and Governor Brown’s control over redistricting process next year. AG Rosenblum went to the U.S. Supreme Court to fight against placing the initiative on the ballot.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 11 stayed McShane’s order. On September 1st, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the clock was going to run out and didn’t rule on the merits of the case.

Norman Turrill, an Oregon League of Women Voters official and a chief sponsor of the initiative, said he was disappointed by the decision. “The appeals court did not decide on the merits of our case so we will likely never know its reasoning.”

The measure was backed by a coalition of government watchdog groups and business interests, and the only opposition was by groups allied with Democrats. A clear battle against continued gerrymandering of districts so Democrats can retain their control over the process. It’s no wonder Greater Idaho movement is so attractive to 15 Oregon Counties to move the state boundary.

The only anti-gerrymandering move and to save the borders of Oregon is a change in control of the Legislature and the administration of Oregon.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-04 13:16:48Last Update: 2020-09-04 17:14:12

DeFazio Attacks Skarlatos’ Heroism
Incumbent faces serious threat to 33 year stint

In a recent interview with the Eugene Weekly, House Transportation & Infrastructure Chair Pete DeFazio appreared to minimize Former National Guard Sniper Alek Skarlatos’ heroism saying that the veteran and congressional candidate “accidentally became famous” after helping stop an ISIS gunman from carrying out a mass casualty terror attack on a train to Paris in 2015. Skarlatos, who had just come off of a nine month deployment to Afghanistan at the time of the attack, helped save hundreds of lives on the Thalys train after helping subdue the heavily armed terrorist who had already shot one passenger. In a statement released by the White House, then president, Barack Obama “expressed his profound gratitude for the courage and quick thinking of several passengers, including U.S. service members, who selflessly subdued the attacker." And, French President Francois Hollande awarded Skarlatos the Legion of Honour, France’s highest award, for his heroic actions.

“Pete DeFazio is running scared because he knows that he is losing this race and is resorting to baseless lies to try to turn his floundering campaign around. I didn’t take on an AK wielding terrorist while I was unarmed to become a celebrity, nor am I running for congress for personal gain,” said Skarlatos. “DeFazio only managed to get one thing right in his disgraceful tirade: I will be able to beat him in November.”

DeFazio, who has been in Congress for more than 33 years, has found himself in his toughest reelection ever as challenger Alek Skarlatos has continued to surge throughout the year, out fundraising the incumbent by large margins for all of 2020. Last week, DeFazio was caught lying about his stance regarding defunding police. DeFazio is later quoted in the Eugene Weekly article as saying that many believe that Skarlatos could defeat him; “It’s just by accident that he’s a national celebrity. Now they’ve moved up my race to first tier because they think he is the guy who could do it.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-04 13:06:30

Kate Brown Appointments up for Confirmation
Senate will consider on September 24

Governor Kate Brown has submitted a list of state board and commission appointments to the Oregon Senate for confirmation. She includes the appointment of Terrie Davie, Oregon's first female State Police Superintendent. The Oregon legislature's Senate Rules Committee is scheduled to consider the nominations on September 24.

“Terri brings a wealth of law enforcement experience to this role and a strong record of leading by example," said Governor Brown. "She brings a focus on inclusivity and is dedicated to listening to community voices—including Oregon's Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and Tribal communities—as we work towards a more fair and just law enforcement system in Oregon. I look forward to her leadership as we do the hard work of transforming law enforcement standards and training and putting the state on a path toward racial justice."

“State board and commission members bring a diverse set of backgrounds and life experiences to address a wide range of issues facing state government," said Governor Brown. "Their contributions help lead to policies and strategies that better enable us to serve and represent all Oregonians. I appreciate the willingness of all these nominees to serve our great state and help make it better for all those who call it home.”

The full list of Kate Brown's submissions for Senate confirmation is available here.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-03 20:52:14Last Update: 2020-09-03 22:02:45

Check Your Voter Registration
It’s a good idea to check up on yourself. Here’s how.

It's a good idea to go to the Secretary of State's website to check your voter registration status a couple of months before the election. This link is also used to check to see if your ballot was counted. after the election. This site will as for your name and birthdate and you can see:

Anyone who has an Oregon driver's license, permit or DMV identification card can register to vote online or do things like change their party affiliation.

To cancel voter registration and be removed from the voter rolls, contact the county in which you registered.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-03 18:38:30Last Update: 2020-09-03 21:11:52

Childhood Vaccine Requirements, and COVID-19
New requirements are being developed

Wednesday September 2nd, 2020 Immunization School/Children’s Facility/College Law Advisory Committee (ISLAC) meeting hosted by Stacy DeAssis Matthews of the Oregon Health Authority, and attended by various stakeholders was very clear, Oregon school children need to get caught up on their vaccines.

It was apparent by comments from committee members, they have been inundated with questions regarding vaccine requirements due to distance learning. Oregonians are hesitant to vaccinate, unless required, and that is creating a very serious panic within the health authority. Prior to COVID-19, Oregon had a very minimal 5.9% exemption rate for one or more vaccines, which places the State well within range for threshold according to the CDC's "herd immunity" theory. Herd immunity is said to occur when anywhere from 75%-95% of the population is vaccinated depending on the disease, or has natural lifelong immunity from the actual disease itself. However, minimal tracking or data is collected after vaccines are administered, and it's unclear if vaccination creates true, and lasting immunity or not. Additionally, as outbreaks occur, vaccine status is often kept off the record, unless the infected individual is unvaccinated. Similar to Oregon's ALERT IIS system, emphasis is focused on tracking of vaccination administration, or missing vaccines, but not of their medical affect or efficacy.

Dr Paul Cieslak of the Oregon Health Authority chimed in, to praise pre-COVID-19 vaccination rates, addressing the issue of smallpox having been eradicated, and measles saying "We really don't see cases of measles (in Oregon) unless it's imported from another country."

In short, Oregon has done an exceptional job of keeping infectious disease outbreaks low, but now there's growing concerns that undervaccination could change that. Health officials feel very strongly that there is a correlation between vaccine rates, and warding off potential outbreaks. In an effort to increase vaccine uptake, prior to in person classes resuming, they're scrambling to close the gap, mainly due to missed well child visits during COVID-19. Ideas were proposed from drive through Tdap, and flu clinics, to strong, consistent messaging in order to help remind parents that even though school is online, vaccines still need to be received. The requirements for childhood vaccines have not changed, and are still the same as last year.

Many concerned parents were also on the conference call, wanting to know about the COVID-19 vaccine. Many are waiting to find out if ISLAC will recommend the new COVID-19 vaccine as a requirement to attend school, and if so, will exemptions still be in place or upheld. Matthews addressed the COVID-19 vaccine with a measured and balanced response, stating "When a vaccine for COVID-19 does become available, we will review it as we do every vaccine. Last year we reviewed the meningococcal vaccine, and recommended against making it a requirement for school attendance." Matthews then addressed the one caveat, being if the legislature passed a bill to make the vaccine a requirement, which would bypass ISLAC's recommendation process.

In a phone call with Jonathan Modie media relations for the Oregon health authority, he expressed reservations stating "We might not ever see a COVID-19 vaccination", "There are currently six companies in phase three trials, but nothing that is FDA approved yet".

According to the NY Times the Whitehouse and the CDC, as of today, have asked Governors to be ready by late October early November for distribution of an approved vaccine.

“This timeline of the initial deployment at the end of October is deeply worrisome for the politicization of public health and the potential safety ramifications,” said Saskia Popescu, an infection prevention epidemiologist based in Arizona. “It’s hard not to see this as a push for a pre-election vaccine.”

It is unclear at this time what decisions will be made regarding requirements for Oregon school children and the new COVID-19 vaccine. For now health officials are more concerned with making sure that the current schedule is upheld, and adhered to.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-09-02 21:45:41

Workplace Rules for COVID-19 Proposed
Rules will apply to all workplaces

Governor Kate Brown, through the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration -- OSHA -- has proposed rules for all workplaces to create a standard for practices “reflecting the broad potential for exposure to SARS-CoV-2.”

Some of the highlights include:

“Both the work activities and the workplace must be designed to eliminate the need for any worker to be within 6-feet of another individual in order to fulfill their duties. To the extent that the employer determines and can demonstrate that such separation is not a practical option, the employer must ensure that face coverings are worn in accordance with (2)(b) of this subsection and that as much distance as practical is maintained between individuals.”

“The 6-foot distancing requirement of (2)(a)(A) has been met when employees are separated from other individuals by an impermeable barrier that creates a “droplet buffer” that provides at least 6-feet in distance between the mouths of the affected individuals. Such a droplet buffer must be calculated using the shortest distance around or through gaps in the barrier.”

“Whenever employees are transported in a motor vehicle for work purposes, the center points of the seats of any passengers not part of the same household must be separated by at least 3-feet.”

The rules call for the creation of a Social Distancing Officer. “All employers with at least 25 employees at any time must designate one or more employees who will be responsible to assist the employer in identifying appropriate social distancing, proper face covering use, and sanitation measures and ensure such policies and procedures are implemented. The social distancing officer must have the authority to take prompt corrective action or to implement measures to eliminate or otherwise minimize exposure to COVID-19. Employers with fewer than 25 employees may choose to appoint such a social distancing officer to assist the employer in complying with the requirements of this rule.”

Written comments related to this draft temporary standard should be submitted as soon as possible to ensure appropriate consideration; comments will be accepted through September 7, to Oregon OSHA’s rulemaking team at:

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-09-01 16:52:23

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