What is your mask wearing behavior?
I wear a mask when I am out in public
I wear a mask when I have to, like grocery shopping or to get seated
I never wear a mask because I have respiratory problems that prevent it
I never wear a mask based on principle
Northwest Observer
Subscribe for Free Email Updates
Email:
Name:
Zip:        
Search Articles
       
Mayhem and Violence Continues In Portland
144 Days And Counting

On October 15, 2020, a group gathered outside the Justice Center in Downtown Portland. Nearly 100 people began standing in the street on Southwest 2nd Avenue between Southwest Madison and Southwest Main Street. Members of the group were seen spray painting Central Precinct as well as putting garbage near the entryways and exits to the sally port garage doors. At the same time, members of the group started a large fire in the intersection located at Southwest Main Street and Southwest 3rd Avenue. As the fire grew larger, members stood near blocking vehicular traffic. Smaller fires were lit by igniting the garbage left near the sally port doors.

Warnings were issued over loudspeaker advising the crowd that all streets are open to vehicular traffic. You must immediately vacate the roadway and proceed to the sidewalk. If you remain in the roadway, you may be subject to arrest for Disorderly Conduct, Interfering with a Police Officer, and other State and City offenses. If you remain in the roadway and show the intent to engage in physical resistance to removal, or if emergency circumstances require, you may be subject to the use of force, including crowd control agents, tear gas, and impact weapons. Move to the sidewalk. Despite the warnings, the crowd continued to block vehicular traffic on Southwest 2nd Avenue as well as Southwest 3rd Avenue at Southwest Main Street.

A passenger vehicle associated with the group stopped near the sally port doors and a passenger exited the vehicle and added accelerant to the fires. The vehicle was later stopped and the passenger was cited for reckless burning and arson 1.

Portland Police along with Portland Fire moved in to the area of Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Main Street and Firefighters addressed the fire. After the fire was out, officers and firefighters left the area.

The group continued to stand in the street and block vehicular traffic. Members of the group also continued to light small fires. Once again the group was warned over loudspeaker to vacate the roadway or they would be subject to use of force, including crowd control agent, tear gas, and impact weapons. The group continued to stand in the roadway and officers arrived on scene and made some targeted arrests.

The group began to leave the area and was mostly dispersed by 12:30 a.m.

The Portland Police Bureau did not use crowd control munitions or CS (tear) gas.

The following person was cited on listed charges:
Talbot, Rachel Lee, 18-year-old, Reckless Burning, Arson 1

The following people were arrested and booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on listed charges:
Reinhardt, Zachary, 29-year-old of Portland, Oregon, Interfering with a Peace Officer, Disorderly Conduct II
Bowen, Justin, 25-year-old of Portland, Oregon, Reckless Burning


--Sabrina-Marie Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-16 11:26:19Last Update: 2020-10-16 12:37:53



COVID-19 or the Common Cold?
More testing with less-than-accurate tests

As the Oregon Health Authority sends out notice of keeping face coverings dry during rainy weather, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website says people testing positive for COVID-19 may simply have the common cold. If you test positive, the test result may show you have antibodies from an infection from a virus that causes COVID-19. However, there is a chance you have antibodies from a virus from the same family of viruses called coronaviruses such as the one that causes the common cold.

“Some tests may exhibit cross-reactivity with other coronaviruses, such as those that cause the common cold. This could result in false-positive test results. Some persons may not develop detectable antibodies after coronavirus infection... Thus, serologic test results do not indicate with certainty the presence or absence of current or previous infection with SARS-CoV-2.”

“Serologic testing by itself should not be used to establish the presence or absence of SARS-CoV-2 infection or reinfection. Antibodies may not be present among those tested early in illness before antibodies develop or among those who never develop detectable antibodies following infection. In addition, the presence of antibodies may reflect previous infection and may be unrelated to the current illness.”

There are growing suggestions that we should wear masks to prevent spreading the flu and colds also. With the constant wearing of a face mask at work and schools, the question is how long can a person wear a mask without fear of hypoxia. According to a study in 2008 that studied the risk of hypoxia, the onset of slight hypoxia starts after the first hour of wearing a mask. It can trap the exhaled CO2 that limits the oxygen intake in the air we breathe and induce silent hypoxia. The inexpensive masks or cloth masks are for show. A respirator mask (N95 mask) filters out 95% of small flu particulate matter, and COVID-19 are smaller. Are we headed towards another medical crisis from wearing the wrong mask too long?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-16 07:34:29Last Update: 2020-10-16 08:22:20



Black Lives Matter Resolution Passed By Oregon Educators
Virtue Signaling from Oregon Board of Education

The Oregon State Board of Education has passed a resolution declaring “Black Lives Matter.”

The resolution strongly supports justice and dignity for all Black people and renews the Board’s commitment to anti-racism, equity, and access to education as a core value. It also urges Oregon school districts, public charter schools, and education service districts to take several actions to support Black students, educators, and community members including renewing their commitment to anti-racism and strengthening networks of support for students and families who are experiencing increased harassment, violence, bullying, or hatred based on race.

The Oregon State Board of Education, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA), the Oregon Education Association (OEA), the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA), the Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA), the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA), the Oregon Association of Education Service Districts (OAESD), and the Oregon Association of Student Councils (OASC) have submitted a joint letter to the Oregon State Board of Education supporting the resolution.

The resolution and letter mirror similar actions taken by boards of education around the U.S., including Baltimore County Public Schools, Indianapolis Public Schools, Berkeley Public Schools, and many more.

“All students belong in Oregon schools. Sometimes, that means telling one student they belong and that they matter when they need to hear it,” said Kimberly Howard, Chair of Oregon State Board of Education. “Sometimes, that means telling a group of students that they matter when they have heard and felt the opposite for far too long.”

“We cannot be silent in response to the racism that students and staff experience in Oregon’s schools,” said Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill. “The Oregon Department of Education is committed to ensuring that Oregon’s schools are safe and inclusive for all students and staff, and that means conclusively and repeatedly saying, ‘Yes, we affirm the dignity and humanity of Black people.’ That’s what Black Lives Matter means, as a statement of love and justice. And love and justice are the side of history we all need to be on.”

“We applaud the Oregon State Board of Education for adopting a Black Lives Matter resolution today. This is an important step -- one of many -- toward affirming our Black children and families. Their lives, their dreams, and their futures matter,” said Craig Hawkins, Executive Director of Coalition of Oregon School Administrators. “As school leaders, it is our responsibility to make sure that all of our students feel seen, safe, and welcome in our schools so they can fulfill their potential and achieve their goals, and we commit to partnering with Black students and community to ensure that our systems change.”

“We fully support Black Lives Matter as a civil rights movement that aims to combat racism and support Black individuals,” said Jim Green, Executive Director of Oregon School Boards Association. “We stand beside Black Lives Matter, as a statement of social justice and an affirmation of the value and worth of Black people.”

ODE is supporting school districts in developing rules, policies, and procedures by providing guidance, educational resources, and toolkits to support implementation of policies prohibiting hate symbols. To provide clarity as questions arise, the resolution and letter affirm that Black Lives Matter slogans and insignias are neither considered hate symbols, nor are they political or attached to a specific candidate or party, so are not prohibited by the state.

Critics have noted that the organization known as BLM seems to be more focused on encouraging Marxism and Communism than on black livelihood.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-15 18:03:23Last Update: 2020-10-15 21:15:39



Explicit Material Borders on Sexual Misconduct
Warning: Explicit. West Linn parents are outraged

Parents are irate after finding out, via social media, that West Linn High School allowed pornographic materials to be used via zoom, during a distance learning class this week.

In a module of "Healthy Living", a class was presented by Clackamas Women's Services titled "Pleasure vs Pain". The class is intended to educate students on healthy touch and pleasurable sexual experiences, versus being able to recognize pain in a sexual partner. The Center has helped many women heal after domestic abuse, and sexual trauma, but parents say this content is taking it too far.

Dayna Dague-Morales, a mother of WLHS student feels outraged, and betrayed "This is unacceptable and infuriating, an education system turned joke, and a total abuse of our tax dollars. I want my child out of public school now". She goes onto add that her student was even disgusted, and left feeling embarrassed, both question when education on a particular subject crosses the line, into becoming the exact unwanted subject matter, being taught.

"At what point does it become sexual misconduct itself, when teaching about these topics", "At what point is far, too far?" Asks Suzanne Gallagher the Executive Director of Parents Rights in Education. "We try to get parents involved when the concept is still on paper, being presented to our school boards, unfortunately, most do not take notice until content is already implemented, at which point it's already too late". The 501(c) was created after various court rulings that have systematically removed parents rights, and the importance of family values in the educational system. The teachers unions have strong armed the judicial system into turning out "in loco parenti" adjudications, like the famed Palmdale ruling, which gives the school full legal guardianship once a child walks through the front door. Gallagher is not surprised by the content "If parents are shocked by this content, they're not paying very close attention, Oregon has an obscenity law that expressly exempt teaching institutions from liability, due to content that would put any parent behind bars, for child endangerment.".

Exceptions to obscenity laws apply to schools, museums and any institution that would show vulgar or X rated content to minors, if done for educational experiences.

Lori Blain is another parent to a West Linn High School student, and says she's "Irate", "I fully intend on taking this to the school board, along with other parents. There will be hell to pay".

In the 2019 long session the Oregon legislature passed, and Governor Kate Brown signed SB 155. The bill titled "Sexual Misconduct Reporting and Investigation" was introduced after a reported incident occurred within the Portland Public School District. Oregon law 339.388(2) requires that a designated licensed administrator report to the department any incident of suspected sexual misconduct involving a student and a non-licensed school employee, contractor, agent, or volunteer. According to the bill language, anyone can submit a report.

West Linn High School is said to have not properly vetted the material prior to its use in the zoom class. The School has been contacted by Northwest Observer, as well as the School Board, without a response, a public statement has yet to be made. We've also reached out to Clackamas Women's Services to request the full class, and Power Point presentation for context. At the time of this report, a response was not given by either the School or the third party contractor.


--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-10-15 17:21:03Last Update: 2020-10-15 17:53:53



A History of Minimum Wage in Oregon
Spoiler alert: It’s going up

The federal minimum wage is the default wage in all states for most occupations that are involved in interstate commerce. A state may choose to set a minimum wage above or below the federal rate, but minimum wage earners receive the higher of the two amounts. States also may set a different minimum wage rate for specific occupations or employee classes not covered by the federal rate. The current federal minimum wage, set in 2009, is $7.25 per hour.

In 2002, Oregon voters approved a ballot measure to increase the state minimum wage to $6.90, with annual increases tied to inflation. Due to the inflation adjustments, the minimum wage had increased to $9.25 by January 2016. The legislature moved away from a statewide minimum wage in 2016 and instead set regional minimum wages, phasing in increases over a seven-year period with increases occurring on July 1 of each year, as shown in the chart below.

Following 2022, the minimum wages for urban counties will continue to grow according to annual adjustments in the Consumer Price Index. The Portland Metro Urban Growth Boundary minimum will be $1.25 higher than the urban county rate, and the nonurban counties will be $1.00 lower than the rate of urban counties.

Exceptions to the minimum wage law are listed in ORS 653.020. Examples include professional salaried employees and employees in specific occupations, such as taxicab operators, in-home care providers, volunteer firefighters, and some agricultural workers. Oregon, along with six other states, requires the same minimum wage rate for tipped and nontipped workers.11 The remaining states allow a “tip credit” against the minimum hourly rate, meaning that employers may count a limited amount of the worker’s tips toward the minimum wage.

Some economists have argued against a high minimum wage, such as in Oregon, pointing out that it excludes less-skilled people from the marketplace and discourages employers from training new wages. They also point out the increase in self-check and kiosk-ordering in states with a high minimum wage.




--Staff Reports, with Legislative Policy and Research Office

Post Date: 2020-10-15 09:03:32Last Update: 2020-10-14 20:44:52



State Police Take On Poachers
Wildfires have increased wolf and cougar looking for food

This year, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Turn-in-Poachers (TIP) went to a new level. It is the Fall hunting season that brings up poaching of big game animals. But it can include the illegal take of game or fish, trespassing, littering, theft, destroying of property and road closure violations, and damaging habitats affects present and future generations of wildlife, impacts communities and the economy, and creates enforcement challenges. People who "work" the system and falsely apply for resident license or tags are not legally hunting or angling and are considered poachers.

The TIP program offers rewards that pays or offers preference points for tag drawings when information leads to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the illegal killing or taking of wildlife or illegally obtaining Oregon hunting or angling licenses or tags.

Oregon State Police are investigating the unlawful killing of a wolf in the Keating Wildlife Management Unit on or about September 24, 2020, and posted it on the TIP offering a reward. This incident occurred north west of New Bridge, OR in the Skull Creek drainage of the Wallowa Whitman National Forest.

After a lone gray wolf from Idaho’s experimental population entered Oregon back in 1999, gray wolves have continued to disperse into Oregon from Idaho and have established breeding populations. Livestock producers have been affected financially due to direct losses of livestock from wolf depredations.

HB 3560 went into effect in 2011, which directed the Oregon Department of Agriculture to establish and implement a wolf depredation compensation and financial assistance grant program.

The wildfires the last couple of years has increased wolf and cougar activity looking for food. Hunters report wolf packs moving in making it dangerous to hunt, and more bow hunters are carrying pistols for self-protection. This past week KOIN reported on a cougar spotting in Albany near a home by a young man. ODFW reports that more wolves and new locations is now a common occurrence for Oregon as the population has been growing for over a decade.

Those caught illegally hunting animals like wolves, black bears or cougars pay $7,500 in fines. These funds go toward the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to pay for the loss of a resource.

According to the Democrat leadership, it’s perfectly okay to riot and loot your business to provide for family needs, but if you’re unlucky in a hunting tag draw, they don’t have the same empathy. Or if you’re threatened by a predator, animal rights come first over your safety. Is it time to look at the threat of wolves to us and the threat to other animals?

In the meantime, you can report a Wildlife and/or Habitat Law Violation or Suspicious Activity: TIP Hotline: 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP(677).


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-15 06:50:06Last Update: 2020-10-14 20:03:32



Yamhill County Pursues Unapproved Trail
Yamhill County is 0 for 4 at the Land Use Board, but that’s not stopping them

Yamhill County staff is trying to build a cycling trail -- to be known as the Yamhelas-Westsider trail -- through farm country zoned Exclusive Farm Use.

The applicant for the trail is Yamhill County counsel Timothy Sadlo. To conduct a non-farm use in an EFU zone requires a conditional use permit. The county applied for a permit, indicating they understand the validity of the requirement. The next step is to conduct an agricultural impact study. The study must show the trail will not seriously affect farming practices. In this case, spraying pesticides on up to 150 feet of farmland bordering both sides of the proposed trail would have to be curtailed or regulated to impractical degrees. That limitation on farming would cause a conditional use permit to be denied.

Knowing this was a loser, the county bought an abandoned rail line and began construction of a bridge anyway. County counsel declared the farm impact had been studied even though a conditional use permit was never awarded to recognize his claims. A Group of local farmers retained an attorney to challenge this. The matter has gone before the Land Use Board of Appeals, a state land-use regulatory agency, four times.

Each time the farmers have prevailed. The project was ordered to stop in May. Legal proceedings continue. The county has expended at least two million dollars pursuing the personal wishes of some of its department leaders which include county counsel, the planning director and a retired county administrator.

One wonders, if a citizen of Yamhill County pursued development in the face of lack of permission and multiple court losses, if Yamhill County would take action against them. The phrase "ton of bricks" comes to mind.

Yamhill county had to dip into reserves last year to cover its obligations to pensions and health costs for retired staff. Cycling enthusiasts take heart. Oregon has 180 state parks. Many of them offer safe cycling opportunities.


--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2020-10-14 16:56:59



Oregon Ballots Are On Their Way
2020 General Election: Ballots Arriving Soon

Today, election officials have started mailing ballots to every registered voter across Oregon for the November 3, 2020 General Election. Now is the time to review the Voters’ Pamphlet and decide how you will return your ballot. Voters’ pamphlets have arrived in the mail and can also be found online in multiple formats including a Spanish translation.

If returning your ballot by mail, no postage stamp is necessary because postage has been pre-paid by the state. We recommend mailing ballots by Tuesday, October 27th. All ballots must be received in an official dropbox or at county election offices by 8 p.m. on November 3rd, postmarks do not count. Dropbox locations across the state can be found on our website.

Voters with disabilities can find detailed information about accessible voting options through local county election officials or on our website. Additionally, we have digital audio, and accessible text, versions of the statewide voters’ pamphlet online.

“Your ballot and vote is your opportunity to make your voice heard,” said Secretary Clarno. “Return your ballot as soon as you can either through the mail or one of hundreds of official dropboxes across the state. Never give your ballot to anyone else to return it for you who you do not know and trust.”

Oregon’s Vote by Mail system provides a convenient way to vote, and voters may also track their ballot. Voters can see where their ballot is in the process through My Vote.

As always, your trusted source of election information is OregonVotes or your local county election officials.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-14 16:42:20Last Update: 2020-10-14 19:59:50



Rep. Cheri Helt Calls Out Opponent
Bend House seat gets fiesty

State Representative Cheri Helt (R-Bend) called out her Democrat opponent for taking money from a donor who was allegedly trying to keep a victim out of the public light. Her opponent, Jason Kropf, who works as a Deputy District Attorney for Deschutes County has apparently returned a campaign contribution from the donor.

"Today Jason Kropf got caught - forced to admit his guilt. His largest campaign donors tried to intimidate and silence a survivor of sex and race based harassment from his own workplace to benefit him politically. He owes Jasmyn Troncoso a public apology and the voters a detailed explanation of his actions and those of everyone associated with funding and leading his campaign. Today, when he got caught, Jason Kropf suddenly speaks. But when it was about believing and supporting his female co-worker, he remained silent. That's called desperate hypocrisy, not leadership or courage."

The story revolves around former Deschutes County prosecutor Jasmyn Troncoso, who has alleged racism and sexism in the office of the District Attorney. She has a pending lawsuit against the office for racial and sexual harassment. Apparently, a member of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association contacted Troncoso's attorney on behalf of the organization and asked her to remain silent in order to help Kropf. When Kropf was called out by Helt, he felt compelled to return the donation.

Kropf issued the following statement on social media:

"Every survivor has the right to speak their truth and demand justice. I believe in [Troncoso's] right to pursue that justice free from influence, political or otherwise. Ethically it is not appropriate for me to weigh in on an open case in my office. I would never involve myself in a way that could in any way diminish her right to be heard -- especially for the sake of my own campaign.

"I have informed the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association that I will be returning their contributions to my campaign."

The Oregon Trial Lawyers Association made a $10,000 contribution to Kropf's campaign on June 20, as well as an in-kind donation of $10,730 on September 17. It's not clear if Kropf will be returning the value of both donations.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-14 14:10:00Last Update: 2020-10-14 14:14:00



Kate Brown Expanding Mask Campaign to National Media
In collaboration with DIRECTV and Portland-based ad agency

Governor Kate Brown announced today that, in collaboration with DIRECTV and Portland-based ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, Oregon's public awareness campaign to inform the public about the urgent importance of wearing face coverings has launched nationwide. Wieden+Kennedy provided their creative services at no cost to the state, and DIRECTV is covering the costs of airing the ad campaign.

“We face this pandemic as one country. The only way we are going to see this crisis through is by working together. By wearing a face covering, we protect everyone around us. I would like to thank the team at Wieden+Kennedy for donating their creative talent, and DIRECTV for their generosity in helping deliver this message nationwide.

“As the colder months return and we all spend more time indoors, we can keep our friends and loved ones healthy and safe by following the advice of doctors: wearing a face covering in public, physically distancing, washing our hands frequently, and avoiding large gatherings.

“Wearing a face covering is a simple, common sense way to protect yourself and others. It’s an easy way to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. Across the country, no matter our differences, we all want to return to the way life was before COVID-19. We all want to reopen schools, businesses, communities, and economies. How do we get there? It starts with each and every one of us wearing a mask in public.”

"We are committed to helping our community stay safe during these challenging times,” said George Granger, Oregon President of AT&T. We are proud to help the State of Oregon deliver their important message. It's imperative that we all do our part.”


The ad campaign—which originally began airing in Oregon in July on social media, online video platforms, and outdoor media—was created to speak directly to people about how our individual decisions can impact the COVID-19 health crisis. It provides clarity and conviction around what wearing a face covering means—and how we all have a role to play in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Text of A Mask is Just a Mask, which is used within the video:

A mask should not be
A sign of weakness
A political statement
Another way to divide us
A mask is a protective device
A barrier to protect you
And those around you from a virus
A mask is just a mask
And masks save lives


This year, don't accidentally kill someone. Wear a mask and socially distance.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-14 13:09:39Last Update: 2020-10-14 13:12:31



Has Brown Been Ignoring Discrimination?
Laws have changed to enhance reporting of allegations

The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) is responsible for the statewide human resources (HR) system, which includes workplace discrimination and harassment investigations.

Workplace discrimination and harassment leaves employers liable for lawsuits and negative publicity, as well as low employee morale and self-esteem.

A recent audit by the Oregon Secretary of State, Bev Clarno has revealed that DAS does not provide sufficient oversight of agency workplace discrimination and harassment investigations, as it does not track or analyze allegation or investigation data. We found agencies are inconsistent in how they conduct investigations, with differing timelines, procedures, and documentation standards. DAS could use investigation data to assess whether allegations are handled appropriately and to identify other potential root causes, statewide trends, and risks that require proactive mitigation.

Agencies can be slow to begin investigations and take an average of 56 business days to complete them. Longer investigations can result in significant costs to the state. HR personnel conduct most investigations, but some agencies use dedicated investigators to increase independence and expertise in this area. Dedicated investigators generally took longer to complete investigations, but had higher quality files and documentation that complies with DAS’s revised policies.

The state lacks formal training for staff who perform discrimination and harassment investigations. There are no requirements investigators receive initial or ongoing training specific to investigations and investigators do not feel the training they are able to obtain is adequate.

The SOS audit report contains six recommendations to DAS intended to enhance oversight of workplace discrimination and harassment investigations.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-14 11:49:09Last Update: 2020-10-14 11:49:54



Vote By Mail: A Review
We started doing it in 1981

The Oregon Legislative Fiscal Office has done an issue review on Oregon’s Vote by Mail. The pandemic has many voters and election poll workers concerned about the health risks posed by in-person voting. Submitting a ballot through the mail or a ballot drop site has become an appealing alternative. In Oregon, it appears to have marginally increased voter turnout.

The paper reviews the history of how we got to the motor-voter system, how it works and how to use it. What may not be so apparent is lying on the registration form is a felony, punishable by five years in prison, a $125,000 fine, and deportation for undocumented immigrants.

A comparison of polling place election in 1992-1998 with vote-by-mail elections held 2000-2018 indicates an improvement in voting. The Primary Election is typically not quit half of those eligible voting in the General Election. Primaries in polling places (1992-1998) were 39.6% that increased in 2000-2018 to 43.9%. General Elections in polling places were 70.4% that increased to 76.1%. Other elections show similar increases. Based on the data, Oregon’s vote by mail system appears to have marginally increased voter turnout 2-5%, depending on the type of election.

The final topic, Potential Areas for Review, may be the intent of the report. Are these suggestions intended for legislative proposals? What was lacking from the report was how identification is verified and improvements to that process, or investigating false ID. Whether or not these suggestions will prove to be less fraud and a more reliable system remains to be seen.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-13 17:27:21Last Update: 2020-10-13 17:45:10



Read More Articles