What is the most pressing issue facing Oregon today?
Transportation infrastructure
Big government
Northwest Observer
Subscribe for Free Email Updates
Search Articles

On this day, March 23, 1806, Explorers Lewis and Clark, having reached the Pacific coast, left Fort Clatsop, Oregon, and began their journey back East. Alsop on this day, March 23, 1998, two river rafters were killed on the Illinois River at the section known as the "Green Wall" after a weekend rainfall and snowmelt doubled the river's volume.

Also on this day, March 23, 2015, Gary Ross Dahl, creator of the 1975 pet rock fad, died at his home in southern Oregon.

Post an Event

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

Oregon Republican Party Freedom Banquet
Tuesday, March 28, 2023 at 6:00 pm
Hosted by ORP Chairman Justin Hwang
Keynote Speaker NRA First VP Willes K. Lee
Special Musical Guest, Nashville’s Stokes Nielson
Tickets: Dinner $75 - VIP Tickets $100
Call 503-931-1756 for table sponsorship info.
Ticket Sales end on March 23, 2023
Click for tickets
Embassy Suites Portland Airport

Ways and Means Hearing
Saturday, April 8, 2023 at 10:00 am
Public hearings on the budget. Members of the public will have the opportunity to testify at each of the hearings regarding their perspectives and priorities around the state budget. To testify, members of the public will be able to access sign up links on the Ways and Means Committee's webpage on OLIS.oregonlegislature.gov
Portland Community College - PAC Auditorium, Sylvania Campus 12000 SW 49th Ave, Portland, OR 97219

Ways and Means Hearing
Friday, April 14, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Public hearings on the budget. Members of the public will have the opportunity to testify at each of the hearings regarding their perspectives and priorities around the state budget. To testify, members of the public will be able to access sign up links on the Ways and Means Committee's webpage on OLIS.oregonlegislature.gov
Newport Performing Arts Center 777 W Olive St, Newport, OR 97365

Active Shooter Response Training
Friday, April 14, 2023 at 6:00 pm
TNT Martial Arts--- Friday April 14, 2023 from 6pm-9pm. $10
Pre-Registration is mandatory, class slots are LIMITED, and in the interest of safety and security, you’ll be expected to provide your identification that matches the registration name, upon entering the training facility.
TNT Martial Arts 1982 NE 25th Ave. Suite 15. Hillsboro, Oregon 97124

NW Food Show
Sunday, April 16, 2023 at 10:00 am
Showcase your foodservice industry solutions to buyers and influencers across the Northwestern U.S. and beyond. Exhibiting at the Northwest Foodservice Show is a cost effective way to meet with hundreds of industry decision makers face-to-face and grow your business. Space is limited, so book now!


• Generate high-quality leads by sampling and/or demonstrating your products in person

• Answer questions and give tailored pitches to a diverse group of attendees over two days

• Create new connections with buyers and build on existing relationships across the Northwest


• 75% of attendees are key decision makers and have purchasing authority

• 47% of attendees have an alcohol license

• Nearly half of attendees are experiencing the Show for the first time


• 36% Restaurant / Café

• 10% Bar / Tavern

• 10% Catering

• 10% Broker

• 7% Institutions: Universities, Schools, Hospitals, Corrections

• 5% Food Carts / Mobile

• 22% Other Foodservice

The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon. A not-for-profit trade organization, ORLA represents over 3,000 member units and advocates for over 10,000 foodservice locations and over 2,400 lodging establishments in Oregon.

Marla McColly - mmcolly@oregonrla.org to register for a booth today!
Portland Expo Center - Hall D - 2060 N Marine Dr, Portland, OR • April 16 –17, 2023 • Sunday, April 16: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday, April 17: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Ways and Means Hearing
Friday, April 21, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Public hearings on the budget. Members of the public will have the opportunity to testify at each of the hearings regarding their perspectives and priorities around the state budget. To testify, members of the public will be able to access sign up links on the Ways and Means Committee's webpage on OLIS.oregonlegislature.gov
Umpqua Community College 1140 Umpqua College Rd, Roseburg, OR 9747

Ways and Means Hearing
Friday, April 28, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Public hearings on the budget. Members of the public will have the opportunity to testify at each of the hearings regarding their perspectives and priorities around the state budget. To testify, members of the public will be able to access sign up links on the Ways and Means Committee's webpage on OLIS.oregonlegislature.gov
Four Rivers Cultural Center 676 SW 5th Ave, Ontario, OR 97914 Note: Ontario, Oregon is in the Mountain Time Zone

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

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

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

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

Oregon Jamboree Music Festival
Friday, August 4, 2023 at 5:00 pm
The Oregon Jamboree is the Northwest’s premier country music festival. Nestled in the foothills of the scenic Cascade Mountains, the Oregon Jamboree is held on 20+ acre park-like setting that includes the historic Weddle Covered Bridge. The Jamboree offers a full festival atmosphere in the main venue and a more intimate concert experience on the second stage. In addition to featured headline entertainment, this event hosts RV and tent camping, merchandise vendors, food booths, beer & wine gardens, and a variety of other attractions.

Sweet Home, Oregon

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

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

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

Pendleton Round-Up
Saturday, September 9, 2023 at 5:00 pm
The world famous Pendleton Round-Up is back & stronger than ever. We're excited to see all of our friends, family, & fans back together again for the 113th Pendleton Round-Up!
Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Ticket Office and Gift Shop: 1330 SW Court Ave, Pendleton, OR 97801 Pendleton Round-Up Grounds: 1205 SW Court Ave, Pendleton, OR 97801 Happy Canyon Arena/Goldie's Bar: 1601 Westgate, Pendleton, OR 97801 Pendleton Round-Up & Happy Canyon Hall of Fame Museum: 1114 SW Court Ave, Pendleton OR 97801

View All Calendar Events

Grants for Small Businesses Available Throughout Oregon
Businesses are eligible to receive up to $50,000

Millions in grant funding is available for small businesses facing lost revenue in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Business Oregon awarded the final round of its Emergency Business Assistance Grant funding to intermediary organizations across Oregon to in turn provide grants directly to eligible small businesses. The fund was created by Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon legislature, funded with both federal CAREs Act funds and state funds.

“We reallocated some of our own budget and paired that with millions in federal funding to deliver this much-needed help to Oregon’s small businesses,” said Business Oregon Director Chris Cummings. “We stand as partners with the business community in this pandemic, and I hope every eligible small business accesses this final round of funding from this program.”

Businesses are eligible to receive up to $50,000 in funding as detailed in the application.

Eligibility requirements have been expanded to allow for more business to get funding than in previous rounds. Businesses that have received less than $100,000 in small business assistance through the CARES Act (such as PPP, EIDL, EIDLA, City of Portland Small Relief Program, the Oregon Cares Fund for Black Relief + Resiliency and other programs) are now eligible. Additionally, even if a business was not prohibited from operations by the Governor’s Executive Order 20-12, the business could be eligible if it can demonstrate a 25% reduction in sales (reduced from 50% previously required) over a 30-day period in 2020 compared to a comparable period in 2019.

Also, any business that has already received a grant from this program is eligible for an additional award and should complete the supplemental application. This is a shorter application with less documentation needed. Businesses can expect to receive an award comparable to their prior award.

The following organizations have funding available. The application these organizations will need can also be found on Business Oregon's website in multiple languages to access ahead of time.

Regional Intermediaries and Counties

CCD Business Development Corporation – Coos, Curry and Douglas County

Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. – Jackson, Josephine County

Community Lending Works – Benton, Lane, Lincoln and Linn County

Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments – Marion, Polk and Yamhill County /

Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon – Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington County

Columbia-Pacific Economic Development District – Clatsop, Columbia, Tillamook and Western Washington County

Clatsop County

Columbia County


Col-Pac/West Washington County: NW Oregon Emergency Small Business Grants

Northeast Oregon Economic Development District – Baker, Union and Wallowa County

Greater Eastern Oregon Development Corporation – Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla and Wheeler County

Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council – Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson County

Mid-Columbia Economic Development District – Hood River, Sherman and Wasco County

South Central Oregon Economic Development District – Lake and Klamath County

Statewide Intermediaries

Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development Corporation – Statewide

Central Willamette Credit Union – Statewide

Point West Credit Union – Statewide

In addition to the Emergency Business Assistance Grant program, Business Oregon is providing free masks, gloves and other protective supplies to small businesses.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-09 18:54:29Last Update: 2020-10-11 08:53:25

Important Election Dates are Drawing Near
Make sure to vote.

The last day to register is Tuesday, October 13th. If you're not sure if you're registered to vote, you can check your voter registration status on the Secretary of State's website. If you haven't registered to vote yet and you have an Oregon drivers' license or ID card you can register to vote online. You can also register to vote in person at your County Clerk's office.

At this point it doesn't matter what your party registration is. That only matters in the primary. Everyone who lives in the same area gets the same ballot.

The ballots start mailing out on Wednesday, October 14th. Since some of the ballots may be mailed a day or two later, give it at least a couple extra days to arrive. if you don't get a ballot, you can get one from your County Clerk.

If you have been displaced by fire and need more information, the Secretary of State has more information.

The last day to mail in ballots October 27th. You don't have to mail in your ballot. You can take it directly to the County Clerk's office or to a convenient ballot drop box location.

Election day is November 3rd and the results will start to be announced at 8:00 pm when the polls close. You can get results for state offices on the Secretary of State's website.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-09 17:33:11

Measure 110
Decriminalizing drugs in Oregon

Editor's note: This is part four of a multi-part series covering the 2020 Oregon General Election ballot measures.

Issues of public safety, law enforcement and police procedure have become big issues lately. Police shootings and subsequent riots have driven these issues the to forefront, and Ballot Measure 110 is just one battle in this war.

This measure decriminalizes many drug offenses and diverts marijuana tax money to treatment programs. Unlike Measure 90 in 2016, Measure 110 doesn't provide any legal or tax structure for the drugs it decriminalizes.

While the measure purports to reduce the number of drug-related incarcerations, in 2019 the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission published a report on the success of House Bill 2355, showing a marked reduction in misdemeanor drug possession convictions and racial disparity in arrests. Fewer convictions is the result of the new law diverting offenders. The argument for reducing drug-related incarcerations is becoming weaker and weaker.

Opponents of this issue also point out that far from being unkind, consequences of drug use are needed to help addicts to seek help. This initiative has been almost completely funded by a national organization Drug Policy Action which is the advocacy and political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance. This organization shows concern for overdoses and incarceration, though it can be seen as a part of the wider anti-law enforcement movement nationally. They pumped in about $2 million dollars of out-of-state money to put this initiative on the ballot. About $80,000 was left and that was turned over to More Treatment for a Better Oregon: Yes on 110 committee. Over half of that was spent on voters pamphlet statements.

On their website, they describe themselves as "A nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization, Drug Policy Action undertakes a wide range of activities including political advocacy permitted by 501(c)(4) organizations." They say that they "work to pass new drug laws and policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights -- and to elect candidates at every level who support these principles."

Interestingly, $1,000 was donated by disgraced former Multnomah County Commission Chair Jeff Cogen out of his campaign account. Readers might remember that Cogen was driven from office in a scandal that included his alleged use of illegal drugs.

This is the official title for the measure, as provided by the Attorney General, as it will appear on the ballot:

Provides statewide addiction/recovery services; marijuana taxes partially finance;
reclassifies possession/penalties for specified drugs

Result of “Yes” Vote: “Yes” vote provides addiction recovery centers/services; marijuana taxes partially finance (reduces revenues for other purposes); reclassifies possession of specified drugs, reduces penalties; requires audits.

Result of “No” Vote: “No” vote rejects requiring addiction recovery centers/services; retains current marijuana tax revenue uses; maintains current classifications/penalties for possession of drugs

Summary: Measure mandates establishment/ funding of “addiction recovery centers” (centers) within each existing coordinated care organization service area by October 1, 2021; centers provide drug users with triage, health assessments, treatment, recovery services. To fund centers, measure dedicates all marijuana tax revenue above $11,250,000 quarterly, legislative appropriations, and any savings from reductions in arrests, incarceration, supervision resulting from the measure. Reduces marijuana tax revenue for other uses. Measure reclassifies personal non-commercial possession of certain drugs under specified amount from misdemeanor or felony (depending on person’s criminal history) to Class E violation subject to either $100 fine or a completed health assessment by center. Oregon Health Authority establishes council to distribute funds/ oversee implementation of centers. Secretary of State audits biennially. Other provisions.

Major donations to More Treatment for a Better Oregon: Yes on 110
09/01/2020Nurses United Political Action Committee (12987)$5,000
08/13/2020Drug Policy Action$70,000
08/10/2020Oregon AFSCME Council 75$10,000
08/03/2020Bridges to Change, Inc.$5,000
08/02/2020Ben Wood$1,000
07/29/2020Friends of Jeff Cogen (5571)$1,000
07/19/2020Miscellaneous Cash Contributions $100 and under $2,175
07/12/2020Charles Swindells$1,000
07/12/2020Kenneth Thrasher$1,000
07/12/2020Robert Quillin$1,000
07/12/2020Robert Quillin$4,000
07/09/2020Drug Policy Action$200,000
06/21/2020Thomas Imeson$1,000
06/21/2020Susan Mandiberg$1,000
06/21/2020Richard Harris$1,000
06/08/2020Drug Policy Action$225,000
05/13/2020Drug Policy Action$250,000
03/26/2020Drug Policy Action$300,000
02/27/2020Drug Policy Action$300,000
02/23/2020David Menschel$1,000
02/06/2020Drug Policy Action$300,000
01/10/2020Drug Policy Action$215,000
12/09/2019Drug Policy Action$215,000

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-09 11:42:14Last Update: 2020-10-02 16:01:23

Governor Brown, Counties Set the Stage for Housing Meltdown
CARES Act dollars have been allocated, but aren’t being used

Oregon Governor Kate Brown, the Oregon Legislature and Oregon counties are making policy decisions regarding housing that are slowly degrading the long-term availability of housing and setting the stage for a new housing crisis in an already fragile market.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act -- the CARES Act -- was a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in late March 2020. Oregon's cut was about $2.45 billion, of which $1.6 billion is available to local governments, and of that $60 million has been earmarked for rental assistance. As of October 2, only $23 million -- about 38% -- has been expended.

During the first special session of 2020, held in June, the legislature enacted an eviction moratorium expiring at the beginning of September. Governor Brown extended this moratorium by executive order on the eve of its expiration.

This money is not only needed by tenants. The assistance given to tenants must find it's way to private sector housing providers so that they can continue to operate and provide housing. It also has a much needed stimulative effect, as those dollars make their way into the sagging economy.
Parts of the system are broken and are leading to an inevitable systemic meltdown ahead for housing providers, tenants or both. Because of the eviction moratorium, there currently isn't any impact on tenants. Those tenants who choose not to pay their rent are amassing a debt that grows monthly and the time will come when they will have to make good, but the real hurt is felt by housing providers -- often families who are dependent on the rental income -- and they are growing more and more upset as they get left behind legally and financially.

The positive impact of a stop-gap measure like an eviction moratorium is at its peak in the short-term, when people are trying to react to the chaos. After several months, even if personal solutions aren't optimal, for most people, they need to fall into place. At about this time, the negatives start to mount. Tenant debt increases, while housing providers continually have to scramble to make ends meet -- even to maintain the property. What gets harder and harder as time goes on, is the end game.

Because most tenants don't have thousands of dollars in savings, the final chapter has to have one or more of these elements: None of those are pretty, and all get uglier as time goes on.

Rental relief funds are distributed by Community Action Agencies, which serve larger counties or collections of smaller counties, but some have been better than others in distributing the funds. For instance, Clackamas County has only distributed 7.9% of the funds available. Jackson and Multnomah Counties aren't much better at 10.3% and 16.2% respectively. The CAA leading in percentage of distribution, NIMPACT, which is a combination of Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson and the Warm Springs Reservation has only expended 78% of their funds. It begs the question, "Why aren't these counties able to get these funds into the hands of tenants, then housing providers and on to the larger economy?"

Below is contact information for Community Action Agencies across the state.

ACCESS – Jackson County

Community Action Washington County (CAO) – Washington County

Community Action Program Of East Central Oregon (CAPECO) – Gilliam, Morrow, Umatilla & Wheeler Counties
Access application through their website.

Community Action Team (CAT) – North Coast
503-397-3511 – Columbia County
503-325-1400 – Clatsop County
503-842-5261 – Tillamook County

Community Action of NE Oregon (CCNO) – Northeastern Oregon
541-523-6591 – Baker County
541-575-2949 – Grant County
541-963-7532 – Union County
541-426-3840 – Wallowa County

Clackamas County Social Services (CCSS) – Clackamas County

Community Services Consortium (CSC) – Linn, Benton, & Lincoln Counties
541-704-7646 or 541-704-7642 – Linn County
541-704-7625 – Benton County
541-574-2280 – Lincoln County

Community in Action (CinA ) – Malheur and Harney Counties

Klamath and Lake Community Action Services (KLCAS) – Klamath and Lake Counties

Lane County Human Services – Lane County
Access rental assistance application Lane County website.

Mid-Columbia Community Action Council (MCCAC) – Columbia Gorge
541-298-5131 – Wasco & Sherman Counties
541-386-4027 – Hood River County

Multnomah County
CALL: 211 or 1-866-698-6155 (Language interpreters available by phone)
TTY: dial 711 and call 1-866-698-6155
TEXT: your zip code to 898211 (TXT211) (text and email in English and Spanish)
EMAIL: help@211info.org
WEB: search for resources on our online database- https://www.211info.org/search-resources

Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action (MWVCAA) – Marion & Polk Counties
503-399-9080 x 4003

NeighborImpact (NI) – Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson Counties and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
541-548-2380 x 210 or go to the website

Oregon Coast Community Action (ORCCA) – Coos and Curry Counties
541-435-7080 x 370

United Community Action Network (UCAN) – Southern Oregon
541-672-5392 – Douglas County
541-956-4050 – Josephine County

Yamhill Community Action Partnership (YCAP) – Yamhill County

Oregon Human Development Corporation (OHDC) – Statewide services for migrant farmworkers

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-09 09:12:38Last Update: 2020-10-09 10:14:04

Brown Takes a Swipe at Supreme Court Nominee
How to spread the COVID virus

Always ready to take a swipe at the Trump administration, Governor Brown made the statement "What happened at the White House a week or so ago with the announcement and reception regarding Amy Coney Barrett is a great example of how to spread the COVID disease in indoor formal or informal social gatherings." The statement was made during reporter questioning at a recent press conference.

She makes no mention of the other ways to spread COVID-19, such as through rioting, but that doesn't fit her narrative. the jab is a reminder that it's political season, and the Governor is always playing politics.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-08 18:59:16Last Update: 2020-10-08 19:20:28

OLCC Suspends Licence of Business for Noncompliance of Social Distancing Mandates
The business may continue to serve food and non-alcoholic beverages

On September 30, 2020, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission issued an Order of Immediate License Suspension to the licensee of “Top of the Bowl” in Douglas County for violating public health social distancing and face covering requirements. During an investigation that spanned two-months, OLCC enforcement staff observed non-compliance activity at Top of the Bowl that resulted in three charges against the business’ operator. The business, which holds a Full On-Premises sales licenses is NOT allowed to sell or serve alcoholic beverages during the suspension.

The first violation is for not complying with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) statewide mask, face shield, and face covering guidance. The second violation is for violating OHA’s Phase Two Reopening guidance for Restaurants and Bars requiring a six-foot distance between individuals in the bar – employees and patrons. The third violation is for serving food and drink, including alcoholic beverages, after 10 PM, which is outside the hours allowed under OHA’s Phase Two guidance.

OLCC’s investigation began on July 11, 2020, when an OLCC Inspector conducted an inspection of Top of the Bowl. The inspector found the licensee not wearing a face mask while bartending. The inspector provided Verbal Instruction (VI) to the licensee about social distancing, mask requirements and the 10:00 pm closure of licensed premises.

Twice in August, 2020, including one time in company with a Douglas County Sheriff deputy, OLCC enforcement observed the bar operating after 10 PM; staff and patrons were not wearing face coverings or maintaining proper social distancing, and patrons were still consuming alcoholic beverages.

In response to these incidents, OLCC compliance staff met with both the licensee and the bar manager on September 2, 2020 to discuss ways to get the licensee into compliance. OLCC cautioned the licensee that further violations could result in an immediate license suspension.

On September 19, 2020, OLCC compliance staff returned to Top of the Bowl to see if the licensee had implemented corrective actions. Upon entering the premises, inspectors instead observed that staff and patrons were again failing to adhere to the social distancing and facemask requirements.

In response, on September 30, 2020, the OLCC issued the operator of Top of the Bowl an order of immediate suspension for failing to follow OHA’s face covering and reopening guidance for restaurants and bars.

The licensee of record is Top of the Bowl LLC, and Jaimie Hennricks.

The OLCC investigation is continuing and the licensee faces the possibility of additional charges for liquor rule violations. The licensee is entitled to, and has requested, an administrative hearing to challenge the OLCC’s actions. The business may continue to serve food and non-alcoholic beverages on premises or for takeout or delivery, but is NOT allowed to sell any alcoholic beverages.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-08 13:27:06Last Update: 2020-10-08 13:45:30

Measure 109
Legalizing Medical Mushrooms

Editor's note: This is part three of a multi-part series covering the 2020 Oregon General Election ballot measures.

After spending the eye-popping sum of nearly $1.5 million dollars to place this measure on the ballot New Approach PAC will present Measure 109 to the voters. That's over $13 per required signature and one almost can't help but wonder if so much has to be spent per signature, maybe it's not going to be all that popular.

New Approach PAC is a Washington, DC based, super-PAC that has it's sights set on drug legalization on a state-by-state basis. In the wake of Measure 90 in 2014, it's almost as if national drug-legalization efforts have their sights set on Oregon as a semi-willing victim. The basic proposal is to legalize psilocybic mushrooms for medical use. Research has shown that they may have some efficacy for treating PTSD, drug abuse and other disorders.

Despite the dubious record of the cumbersome process for drug approval under the onerous shadow of "big pharma," one wonders if the initiative process is any better of a way to approve medicine. The lesson here might be that if you establish too excessive of a regulatory bureaucracy, one way or the other, we the people will prevail and get our way.

Oregon is proud of the fact that it is the first in many policy areas. Voters may not wish to make Oregon the first state to legalize "magic mushrooms." Other drugs have testing, known potency, accepted dosages and we already have dispensaries called drugstores. Voter approved pharmaceuticals bypass some of the structures we have to reduce problems.

This is the official title for the measure, as provided by the Attorney General, as it will appear on the ballot:

Allows manufacture, delivery, administration of psilocybin at supervised, licensed facilities;
imposes two-year development period

Result of “Yes” Vote: Allows manufacture, delivery, administration of psilocybin (psychoactive mushroom) at supervised, licensed facilities; imposes two-year development period. Creates enforcement/taxation system, advisory board, administration fund.

Result of “No” Vote: “No” vote retains current law, which prohibits manufacture, delivery, and possession of psilocybin and imposes misdemeanor or felony criminal penalties.

Summary: Currently, federal and state laws prohibit the manufacture, delivery, and possession of psilocybin (psychoactive mushroom). Initiative amends state law to require Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to establish Oregon Psilocybin Services Program to allow licensed/regulated production, processing, delivery, possession of psilocybin exclusively for administration of “psilocybin services” (defined) by licensed “facilitator” (defined) to “qualified client” (defined). Grants OHA authority to implement, administer, and enforce program. Imposes two-year development period before implementation of program. Establishes fund for program administration and governor-appointed advisory board that must initially include one measure sponsor; members are compensated. Imposes packaging, labeling, and dosage requirements. Requires sales tax for retail psilocybin. Preempts local laws inconsistent with program except “reasonable regulations” (defined). Exempts licensed/regulated activities from criminal penalties. Other provisions.

Major donations to Yes for Psilocybin Therapy
08/19/2020New Approach PAC$300,000
08/14/2020Timothy Kutscha$20,000
08/09/2020Brandon Pollock$1,000
07/29/2020New Leaf Brands$20,000

Major donations to PSI 2020
09/04/2020Yes for Psilocybin Therapy (20657)$45,000
07/17/2020Adam Wiggins$20,000
07/15/2020Adam Wiggins$25,000
07/09/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$40,000
06/30/2020David Menschel$1,000
06/19/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$80,000
06/15/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$65,000
06/09/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$40,000
06/03/2020John Gilmore$9,981
05/22/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$80,000
05/11/2020Sasha Cajkovich$10,000
05/10/2020Ron Beller$9,952
05/10/2020Mark Farr$1,738
04/19/2020Robert Faust$1,000
04/19/2020Jeffrey Zucker$2,500
04/15/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$60,000
04/12/2020Megan Frost$1,000
04/12/2020Timothy Kutscha$2,000
03/24/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$50,000
03/17/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$50,000
03/15/2020Robert Hanson$1,000
03/13/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$50,000
03/06/2020Benjamin Halper$1,000
03/06/2020Kristyn Judkins$2,500
03/06/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$50,000
03/03/2020Adam Wiggins$15,000
02/25/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$50,000
02/07/2020Field Trip Psychedelics Inc$10,000
01/21/2020New Approach PAC - 527 organization$225,000
12/20/2019New Approach PAC - 527 organization$150,000
11/19/2019New Approach PAC - 527 organization$100,000
10/18/2019New Approach PAC - 527 organization$10,000
08/14/2019PSI 2020 (19606)$58,372

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-08 11:42:14Last Update: 2020-10-02 16:01:08

Rose Quarter Improvements Coming
Auxiliary lanes are projects to improve the burdened interchange

With all the transportation infrastructure projects going on all the time, it's good to see one that's specifically dedicated to improving traffic flow, safety and congestion. The Rose Quarter Improvement Project, part of HB 2017 -- the transportation package passed in 2017, promises just that.

According to ODOT's description of the project, the new auxiliary lanes will connect on-ramps directly to the next off-ramp on I-5. As an example, about 99 percent of the vehicles that merge onto I-5 heading south from the Fremont Bridge (I-405) during the evening peak hour period are exiting at the three exits within the Project area – the Broadway, I-84 and Morrison Bridge exits. The addition of an auxiliary lane will allow drivers to make these trips without merging into the two through lanes on I-5 before exiting. This will reduce rear-end and sideswipe crashes, both of which are major causes of delay.

Adding safety shoulders will also help reduce the number of sideswipe and rear-end crashes and reduce delays caused by those crashes. The new shoulders will also provide a place for vehicles in crashes to move safely off the roadway and safer and quicker access for emergency service vehicles to reach emergencies within or beyond the Rose Quarter area.

The project schedule spans about a decade, with about half of that being design, planning and compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The Project’s assumed multimodal improvements will provide enhanced separation for pedestrians and bicyclists from vehicles on the local street network. The Project assumes new multiuse paths and a pedestrian-and-bicycle-only bridge across I-5 connecting NE Clackamas Street and the Rose Quarter entertainment area.

The project is going to be pricey. With inflation factored in, the total price tag could come close to $800 million dollars.

Year of DollarsPreliminary Cost Estimate (2017)Base Estimate Range (2025)
TOTAL$450 - $500 million$715 to $795 million
INFLATION$0$130 million to $147 million
RIGHT-OF-WAY$6 million$42 to $52.3 million
PRELIMINARY ENGINEERING$64 to $71 million$74.2 to $81 million
CONSTRUCTION$380 to $423 million$461.2 to $507.1 million

Even though much of the project is targeting vehicle traffic, ODOT notes that some of the existing pedestrian and bicycle facilities in the Project area expose users to navigational challenges, such as crossing freeway on- or off-ramps. Changes to the local street system and the addition of highway covers will reduce conflict points between vehicles and pedestrians, people riding bicycles, or people rolling in the Project area. Changes to overcrossings will enhance walking and bicycling comfort.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-08 11:10:24Last Update: 2020-10-07 21:24:42

Democratic Legislative Candidate Admits to Class C Felony
Shaw claims to have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota

Today the House Republicans filed a complaint with the Secretary of State and called for an immediate investigation into Lynnette Shaw, Democratic candidate for House District 24 for falsifying her education background in the November 2020 general election voters’ pamphlet statement.

Lynnette Shaw stated in her voters’ pamphlet statement that she received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota. This statement was false, violating ORS 260.715. A representative of Lynnette Shaw’s campaign has already admitted to this serious violation.

“Intentionally misleading voters in your voters’ pamphlet statement is a serious crime. We call for an immediate investigation into this matter,” said Trey Rosser, Executive Director of Evergreen Oregon PAC, campaign arm for the House Republicans. “When the Secretary of State’s office confirms what Lynnette Shaw’s campaign has already admitted, we urge the case be referred to the Attorney General for prosecution.”

Per ORS 260.715, “A person may not knowingly make a false statement, oath or affidavit when a statement, oath or affidavit is required under the election laws. Violations under this statue are a Class C Felony.

"We also call on the Working Families Party and Senator Jeff Merkley to withdraw their support of Lynnette as they did in 2018 when another House Democrat Candidate (Amanda La Bell) fraudulently included a college degree on her Voter Pamphlet Statement”, said Trey Rosser. “As Governor Kate Brown stated at that time, ‘It’s important to me that Oregonians know who they’re voting for and that candidates are honest about their history,’ at which time she pulled her support for La Bell along with the Working Families Party and Senator Merkley."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-07 19:49:12Last Update: 2020-10-07 20:10:24

Multnomah County Encourages Inmates to Vote
Some people are surprised there

Multnomah County is making one final push to provide information and resources to anyone who is eligible to vote — including people formerly or currently involved in the justice system.

In partnership with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Multnomah County Election's voter education and outreach specialist has been working to help individuals currently held in jail for misdemeanors update their voter registrations and even vote from jail.

“We do have voters that are currently in jail that get their ballot through the mail and return it to us and are able to vote,” said Catherine McMullen, voter education and outreach specialist for Multnomah County Elections. “We want all eligible voters to be able to participate in the election process.”

She emphasized the resources and rights that citizens have to vote, including those who are experiencing homelessness and those who have formerly been incarcerated on felony charges, letting them know that they also have the power to vote.

“As soon as you have finished serving your time for a felony, you are eligible to re-register to vote and vote again,” said McMullen.

Through the Election Division’s efforts, she also connected with Eloise Holdship, a corrections counselor with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, who’s launched a voter registration initiative for adults in custody.

This work has been especially significant because, as Holdship found, almost none of the individuals she works with are aware of their voting rights. Holdship says she wasn’t aware of their rights, either — which is why she decided to launch the initiative.

“A lot of folks, once they are arrested and awaiting or serving a sanction, just sort of assume they are a person in custody and don’t have much choice in a lot of things,” she says.

Stephanie LaCarrubba, a programs unit manager at the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, has supported the effort. She says it's important to increase voter turnout among incarcerated individuals who can be disproportionately impacted by many issues on the November ballot.

Though the goal of the initiative was to encourage incarcerated individuals to register for the Nov. 3 General Election, Holdship says she doesn’t expect voting rights awareness in Multnomah County jails to stop anytime soon.

“We want to keep it going from here on out,” she says. “Even if it’s in a month when there’s not even a local election, and the adult in custody requests to register, we’d be ready, and we could facilitate all of that.”

Some have questioned if it's a good use of tax dollars to put so much effort into encouraging people to vote who may not be up-to-date on the issues.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-07 16:36:16Last Update: 2020-10-07 16:55:47

Measure 108
More taxes on tobacco and e-cigarettes

Editor's note: This is part two of a multi-part series covering the 2020 Oregon General Election ballot measures.

By far, the most expensive ballot measure this cycle will be Measure 108 which was referred to the voters by the legislature from HB 2270. At $13 million, it has remarkably few large contributors. One doesn't have to try hard to envision the healthcare industrial complex taking on the lowly, blue-collar smokers. Since the proceeds of the tax increase go to fund health care for low-income Oregonians, it can be regarded as taxing the poor to pay for their own health care.

One can wonder about the sustainability of funding health care through increased taxes on nicotine. What do we do when it's no longer cool to smoke and revenue declines? If this is such a good idea, why do we need $13 million from the healthcare-industrial complex against virtually no opposition to pass this? Couldn't we have used that $13 million to pay for -- uh, more health care?

This is the official title for the measure, as provided by the Attorney General, as it will appear on the ballot:

Increases cigarette and cigar taxes. Establishes tax on e-cigarettes and nicotine vaping devices. Funds health programs.

Result of 'Yes' Vote: 'Yes' vote increases cigarette tax by $2 per pack. Increases cap on cigar taxes to $1 per cigar. Establishes tax on nicotine inhalant delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes and vaping products. Funds health programs. Approves other provisions.

Result of 'NO' Vote: 'No' vote retains current law. Cigarettes are taxed at current rate of $1.33 per pack. Tax on cigars is capped at 50 cents per cigar. Nicotine inhalant delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes and vaping products, remain untaxed.

Summary: Under current law, a tax of $1.33 is imposed on each pack of 20 cigarettes, cigars are taxed at 65 percent of their wholesale price up to a maximum of 50 cents per cigar, and nicotine inhalant delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes and vaping products, are not taxed. Measure increases the cigarette tax by $2 per pack and increases the maximum tax on cigars to $1 per cigar. Measure provide for smaller cigars (sold commonly as "cigarillos") to be taxed like cigarettes. Measure establishes tax on nicotine inhalant delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes and vaping products, at 65 percent of the wholesale price. Tax on nicotine inhalant delivery systems does not apply to approved tobacco cessation products or to marijuana inhalant delivery systems. Revenue from increased and new taxes will be used to fund health care coverage for low-income families, including mental health services, and to fund public health programs, including prevention and cessation programs, addressing tobacco- and nicotine-related diseases.

Major donations to Yes for a Healthy Future
09/09/2020Oregon Association of Hospitals & Health Systems$500,000
07/13/2020American Lung Association$5,000
06/20/2020Adventist Health System$396,580
01/15/2020American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc.$50,000
01/11/2020Sky Lakes Medical Center$352,460
12/27/2019Oregon Association of Hospitals & Health Systems$500,000
12/02/2019Grande Ronde Hospital$201,400
11/27/2019Trinity Health$93,648
11/27/2019Salem Health Hospitals & Clinics$857,016
11/25/2019Samaritan Health Services$652,560
11/20/2019Kaiser Permanente - KP Financial Svcs$919,908
11/18/2019Legacy Health System CPC, LLC$1,732,048
11/15/2019Trinity Health$169,204
11/14/2019Nurses United Political Action Committee (12987)$200,000
11/14/2019St. Charles Health System$792,368
11/13/2019Providence Health & Services$3,296,948

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-07 11:42:14Last Update: 2020-10-02 16:00:52

Follow the Money
Why we can’t have nice things in education

The Legislative Assembly shall appropriate in each biennium a sum of money sufficient to ensure that the state's system of public education meets quality goals established by law, and publish a report that either demonstrates the appropriation is sufficient, or identifies the reasons for the insufficiency, its extent, and its impact on the ability of the state's system of public education to meet those goals.

--Article VIII, Section 8, Oregon Constitution

State budgeting is a process by which various priorities compete for scarce resources. Public safety is important, as is transportation infrastructure, as is natural resource management, as are social services. And education.

Some priorities are more equal than others. Not every priority has a constitutional mandate that it be funded. Education does. Driven by the most powerful of all public employee unions -- a giant among giants, the Oregon Education Association -- education funding is mandated by the constitution and state law.

It's the ultimate self-licking ice cream cone. The teachers' union donates huge dollars to Democrat candidates and liberal causes. These politician in turn make sure that education is amply funded. Part of this funding finds its way back to the teachers' union and the process starts again for the next cycle.

As required by the Oregon Constitution, the Quality Education Model Report has been released. Many of the points raised by the report could be arguments for vouchers or increased school choice, but that doesn't really work for the teachers' union. Spoiler alert: They need more resources.

Highlights from the executive summary include:

Oregon has an inequitable education system. The result is that specific student groups consistently achieve at lower levels than their peers. The resulting opportunity and achievement gaps have existed for generations, leaving many students less well-prepared than their peers and less than what they deserve.

We must change our system if we expect to get different outcomes. Our current education system is delivering the outcomes it was designed to deliver, so if those outcomes are not the ones we want—and clearly they are not—then we need to change the system to one that delivers outcomes more consistent with our values.

Changing the system will also take more resources. Through the Student Success Act, the Oregon Legislature provided the needed resources by raising more revenue and appropriating more to education, with the clear goals of improving equity. The coronavirus pandemic means that the added revenue will come in slower than initially projected, but the added revenue is still considerable.

Despite lower than expected revenue, the K-12 funding gap will fall. While lower than earlier forecasts, the revenue from the new Corporate Activities Tax is still substantial, reducing the funding gap to a projected $834 million in the 2021-23 biennium. That’s down from a gap of $1.77 billion in the 2019-21 biennium.

Someday, parents and taxpayers will refuse to accept this sustained level of failure. Maybe they get a pass because of COVID or maybe COVID is the straw that breaks the camel's back. As union members, teachers can't be held harmless. The law now allows them to resign from the union and keep their jobs. Below is our own report of some of the possible reasons why public education has failed and will continue to fail.

Major donations from Oregon Education Association - People for Improvement of Education
DateRecipient (PAC Id)Amount
09/29/2020Eileen Kiely for Oregon (19025)$18,935
09/17/2020Friends of Tobias Read (5208)$5,000
09/17/2020Elect Ellen Rosenblum for Attorney General (15406)$5,000
09/09/2020Friends of Dan Rayfield (14046)$5,000
09/09/2020Friends of Lisa Reynolds (20209)$1,000
06/24/2020Friends of Ben Bowman (19763)$1,500
05/15/2020Oregonians for Ballot Access (20633)$3,000
05/14/2020Laurie for Oregon (20178)$25,000
05/08/2020Committee to Elect Shemia Fagan (14993)$15,000
05/04/2020Christina Stephenson for Oregon (18555)$1,000
05/04/2020Oregonians for Ballot Access (20633)$6,500
04/27/2020Friends of Khanh Pham (20376)$2,231
04/24/2020Committee to Elect Shemia Fagan (14993)$45,000
04/20/2020Committee to Elect Paige Kreisman (19452)$1,000
04/17/2020Committee to Elect Shemia Fagan (14993)$32,000
04/17/2020Campos for Oregon (20099)$1,000
04/07/2020No Fake Democrats PAC (20621)$5,000
04/01/2020Democratic Party of Oregon (353)$5,000
03/17/2020Committee to Elect Rachel Prusak (18850)$1,000
03/17/2020Committee to Elect Shemia Fagan (14993)$10,000
03/17/2020Friends of Diego Hernandez (16199)$1,000
03/17/2020Friends of Chris Gorsek (14515)$1,000
03/17/2020Friends of Paul Evans (16508)$1,000
03/17/2020Kathleen Taylor for Oregon (16757)$1,000
03/17/2020Oregonians for Clem (5133)$1,000
03/10/2020Laurie for Oregon (20178)$5,000
10/16/2019Democratic Party of Oregon (353)$1,485
09/11/2019Democratic Party of Oregon (353)$5,000
04/19/2019Friends of Lisa Fragala (19751)$1,000
04/19/2019Friends of Ben Bowman (19763)$1,000
04/19/2019Martina for School Board (19762)$2,000
04/19/2019Friends of Raul Marquez Guerrero (19789)$2,000
04/19/2019Caroline for Schools (19827)$2,500
04/19/2019Shimiko For Schools (19879)$2,500
04/19/2019Friends of Michelle DePass (19811)$2,500

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-06 20:01:57Last Update: 2020-10-06 20:41:48

Read More Articles