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On this day, January 28, 2003, Oregon voters defeated a proposed three-year income tax hike designed to forestall $310 million in cuts to schools and social services.




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Western Liberty Network Leadership and Activist Training Conference
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The Oregon Constitution
Wednesday, February 22, 2023 at 7:00 pm
First of a three part series presented by former State Representative Mike Nearman studying the Oregon Constitution.
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The Oregon Constitution
Wednesday, March 1, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Second of a three part series presented by former State Representative Mike Nearman studying the Oregon Constitution.
The River Church 4675 Portland Rd NE Salem



The Oregon Constitution
Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Third of a three part series presented by former State Representative Mike Nearman studying the Oregon Constitution.
The River Church 4675 Portland Rd NE Salem



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Monday, March 27, 2023 at 10:00 am
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Restaurants Denied Relief Against Governor Brown
Not a “taking” in a legal sense, but a “significant hardship”

United States District Judge Karin J. Immergut rejected a request made by the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association and the Restaurant Law Association for a temporary restraining order against Kate Brown and her executive order 20-65. In an opinion, Judge Immergut said "On November 24, 2020, this Court held oral argument. After considering the pleadings, declarations, exhibits, and arguments of counsel, this Court finds Plaintiffs have failed to show sufficient facts and adequate legal support to warrant an order enjoining the enforcement of Executive Order 20-65."

Judge Immergut discusses various technical objections raised by the Restaurant Association, then addresses the issue of an unlawful taking of private property by the state.

"Plaintiffs further claim that Executive Order 20-65 constitutes a statutory taking under Oregon law and a regulatory taking under the Fifth Amendment.

As for the Fifth Amendment takings claim, Plaintiffs cannot establish a likelihood of success on the merits. First, even if Plaintiffs were able to establish that Executive Order 20-65 resulted in a regulatory taking under the Fifth Amendment, the appropriate remedy would be “just compensation” in the form of damages, not the injunctive relief sought here. See Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania (“As long as an adequate provision for obtaining just compensation exists, there is no basis to enjoin the government’s action effecting a taking.”).

Second, Plaintiffs cannot establish that Executive Order 20-65 is a taking under the Fifth Amendment. Regulatory takings are analyzed under the three-pronged Penn Central test. “Penn Central instructs [courts] to consider [1] the regulation’s economic impact on the claimant, [2] the extent to which the regulation interferes with distinct investment-backed expectations, and [3] the character of the government action.” Colony Cove Props., LLC v. City of Carson. These three “factual inquiries” are used “to determine whether regulatory actions are functionally equivalent to the classic taking in which government directly appropriates property.”

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In assessing a regulation’s economic impact on a claimant, courts compare “the total value of the affected property before and after the government action.” While a decrease in income produced by a property is a relevant consideration, “the severity of the loss can be determined only by comparing the post-deprivation value to pre-deprivation value” of the property. Ninth Circuit cases have held that “diminution in property value[s] because of governmental regulation ranging from 75% to 92.5% do[] not constitute...taking[s].” Under this high standard, Plaintiffs have not shown that the profits they will lose as a result of the two-week ban on on-site dining will be severe enough to constitute a taking.

The second Penn Central factor, disruption of distinct investment-backed expectations, also weighs against finding a taking. “To form the basis for a taking claim, a purported distinct investment-backed expectation must be objectively reasonable.” Colony Cove Props, LLC. Executive Order 20-65 was issued in an effort to protect the public against a deadly, contagious disease that has already killed hundreds of Oregon citizens in a matter of months. There is no reasonable, investment-backed expectation that the state would not act in the face of a historic public health crisis. The Governor’s emergency authorities to protect the public are long-standing and have been used based on the current understanding of COVID-19 and its prevalence in Oregon.

The third factor, the character of the government action, also militates against finding a taking. “A ‘taking’ may more readily be found when the interference with property can be characterized as a physical invasion by government than when interference arises from some public program adjusting the benefits and burdens of economic life to promote the common good.” Penn Central Transp. Co. v. City of New York. Here, Executive Order 20-65 is not a physical invasion of property by the government but an emergency regulation promulgated to combat a worsening pandemic. Recognizing such government action as “functionally equivalent to the classic taking in which government directly appropriates property” would exceed the scope of the Takings Clause and interfere with the state’s ability to protect the public health."

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Despite a lengthy, three-pronged argument that the restaurants have not suffered a "taking" in the legal sense, Judge Immeregut does acknowledge that the restaurants have suffered a loss at the hands of the government.

"Plaintiffs argue that, given the substantial harm already suffered by Oregon restaurants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a two-week ban on on-site dining will create irreparable harm to many of these businesses. This Court acknowledges the significant hardship that businesses like those represented by Plaintiffs have endured in the wake of COVID-19. This Court further recognizes that these restrictions cause significant hardships for employees who work for Plaintiffs’ restaurants. Restaurants and other businesses that rely on in-person customers have been especially hard-hit by the pandemic, and this Court does not seek to diminish the challenges they continue to face. "

Said one attorney who was not involved in the case, but following it, "It was especially dishonest to claim that 'there is no reasonable, investment-backed expectation that the state would not act in the face of a historic public health crisis'. They had a whole plan to act, by quarantining the sick. It was reasonable to expect that the State would do that instead of going berserk and quarantining the healthy, so to speak."

Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash.com


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-24 18:46:16Last Update: 2020-11-24 20:02:07



Bold criminal acts increasing in Multnomah County
Garbage truck driver held at gunpoint

Take over style robberies, stabbings, a UPS delivery truck driver taken held at gunpoint with hands tied. Criminals in Portland, Oregon are going after some targets lately that seem rather unheard of in most civilized cities.

But that doesn't matter in lawless Portland...

On November 24, 2020, at 5:40 a.m., officers from Portland East Precinct responded to a threats with a weapon call in the 3500 block of Southeast 122nd Avenue. The victim in this call told dispatch that an unknown suspect approached and pointed a gun at them. The victim, who is a garbage truck driver, ran off but could see that the suspect got into the garbage truck, which was left behind.

Upon arrival, officers contacted the suspect (who was still inside the garbage truck) and began to give him demands. The suspect ignored all commands, walked over to another vehicle, got in, and drove off. Officers did pursue the vehicle for a short distance before stopping the vehicle using a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT). After the PIT, the subject fled on foot and was taken into custody with the help of a police K9.

The suspect, 21 year-old Hunter Jay Wilson, was transported to an area hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Wilson will later be lodged at the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of Robbery III, Menacing, Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle, Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle, Reckless Driving, Attempt to Elude (by vehicle), Attempt to Elude (by foot), and Resisting Arrest.

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--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-24 17:35:58Last Update: 2020-11-24 18:16:33



Your Papers, Please
You don’t have to vaccinate. Unless you want to be able to function in society.

Editor's note: This is the first in a series on Oregon’s COVID-19 vaccination plans digging into the Oregon Healthy Authority's 125 page draft plan on vaccinations.

Your papers, please.

How soon before Oregon’s "No Mask, No service" mandate becomes "No Vax, No service" or "No vax, No groceries"?

This issue is sure to draw a great deal of heated debate and lawsuits due to the infringement on civil rights. Everyone from National Geographic to Ron Paul has weighed in on whether a COVID-19 vaccine will be approved, deemed safe and effective or even be mandated. Joe Biden said he would mandate it but in reality it is a states issue. Public health officials have acted like it is a foregone conclusion.

Why is that? Could it be the low bar the FDA set back in June? The vaccine only needs to show it is 50% effective. The FDA would expect that a COVID-19 vaccine would prevent disease or decrease its severity in at least 50% of people who are vaccinated.

So far, three manufacturers have announced their vaccine were 90% effective—at lowering symptoms. That’s it. It will not prevent disease. It will not prevent newly vaccinated asymptomatic carriers from spreading it. It will not prevent cases from surging. It will take two doses to acquire, well, no immunity at all. This is bad because if it only lessens symptoms, people will be walking around like Typhoid Mary’s. They’ll pop a pill for a headache and still be able to spread COVID-19. Since it is fast tracked there are zero long term studies. The Moderna vaccine is using new RNA technology yet no one knows what the long term ramifications are. Will it create a host of autoimmune disorders? Cause Narcolepsy like the Pandemrix Influenza Vaccine from 2009 in the UK and Europe? Put bluntly, there will be enormous risk with little benefit. According to the BMJ, the vaccine trials aren’t designed to prove prevention or assess severe COVID-19 infection at all. Associate editor of BMJ and assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services at University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Peter Doshi says, “Yet the current phase III trials are not actually set up to prove either. “None of the trials currently under way are designed to detect a reduction in any serious outcome such as hospital admissions, use of intensive care, or deaths.” Nor are the vaccines being studied to determine whether they can interrupt transmission of the virus. If Kate Brown uses the marketing slogan, "COVID-19 vaccine saves lives," you can send her this.

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In order to implement a mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign, OHA has an ambitious plan. Oregon is in the middle of its biggest flu shot drive ever with the goal of administering 20,000 flu shots by year end. The goal? They plan to use what they learn as a pilot to get as many people vaccinated as possible. Across Oregon you may have noticed popup tents outside pharmacies or offices of healthcare providers facilitating ‘drive through’ flu shot clinics. New vaccine injected via drive up, what could go wrong?

Or, heaven forbid, what if there is a repeat of the failed 1976 Swine Flu mass-vaccination campaign? The political climate then was eerily similar to 2020. President Ford was facing reelection, the vaccine program was rushed. That vaccine killed 32 people and nearly 500 more suffered with paralysis, a rare neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome or GBS. In fact, it is one of the largest compensation claims for a vaccine since vaccine court was established in 1986. In 2010, a complainant was awarded $10 million. Thanks to the Prep Act, Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers won’t be liable if recipients are injured or killed either. The compensation scheme set up for COVID-19 is even more meager than the current Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has for vaccines within the regular vaccination schedule and you only have one year to file a claim. More on this later.

Oregonians have been prevented from doing just about everything unless they don a mask. Should a covid vaccine become available will the same covid guidance and restrictions become the roadmap to mandatory vaccinations? What is the assurance that Kate Brown won’t end there? Or, like the flu shot, will you be forced to get it every single year to keep your job? Can employers mandate it if local governments decline? Biden has said he wants it mandated.

The draft plan OHA created lists healthcare workers, long term care workers and those living in care homes as first on the list to receive the vaccine, would those employers be the first to try? Can we expect the same from those who were the first to mandate masks when there was no statewide mandate, such as New Seasons grocery stores? The task to vax and track is monumental. So too is the fear surrounding Covid which has allowed draconian measures to continue for eight months. Sure, you probably won’t be held down by a strike team and forced vaccinated, but there have been alarming reports of what we could expect in the near future.

Yesterday, the CEO of Qantas announced that no international traveler would be allowed to fly to Australia without proof of vaccination, once approved. What will you do?

Right now, you cannot get a seat at a restaurant, shop for food, get a manicure, go to work, send your kids to school (if you happen to be one of the lucky districts open to K-3) or ride a public bus without a mask. More than that, the terrible ad campaigns generously provided gratis by Wieden + Kennedy promoted the notion that you don’t care about others if you don’t wear a mask. Stay home or you could accidentally kill someone. There is no evidence to that but it didn’t stop Kate Brown’s endless promos or her flu shot tweets hawking a flu shots for Pharma. Using guilt and virtue signaling tactics she scolds us saying, “Don’t accidentally kill someone,” and “your mask protects ME.” Will the new ad campaigns say the same?

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This state has a dysfunctional relationship with Pharma to say the least.

In 2019, the Super Democrat Majority, along with two Republicans, one who lost her seat, had a mission to remove vaccine exemptions in school age children. They lost that bid thanks to a walkout by the Senate Republicans. Legislators like Democrat Senator Steiner-Hayward have been on the mandate warpath for nearly a decade to enact tougher legislation in school age children, who thankfully are not in the high risk category for covid infections. Heck, she was even featured in the quasi-documentary by Netflix, “Pandemic” about her efforts. In 2012, she spearheaded the removal of religious exemptions, watering it down to philosophical objection.

Most recently, last week the House Interim Committee on Revenue called a “vaccine our only hope.” Never mind the fact one isn’t approved, doesn’t need to show an efficacy of more than 50% and many surveyed said they would not take it.

A national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Sept. 8-13 among 10,093 U.S. adults, finds “intent to get a COVID-19 vaccine has declined across all major political and demographic groups.” Half do not plan on getting the vaccine. Who can blame them when all reports points to terrible side effects? If a doctor from the American Medical Association says they, “won’t be a walk in the park,” you know it is bad. If only half line up voluntarily, will the other half be coerced?

The crux lies in the monumental COVID-19 vaccination draft plan that OHA has developed. It details an enormous organizational structure and set a priority list of who they deem as essential enough or at high enough risk to be the first to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Oregon Health Authority faces serious hurdles with storage, administering the injections and most importantly, they know there will undoubtedly be a limited supply. Most traditional providers don’t have the capability of cold-chain management beyond -20’F. Dry ice will be in short supply not unlike the toilet paper shortage. This will make transportation and distribution another major obstacle. The Pfizer vaccine? A stable temperature of -95’ Fahrenheit is necessary. Other contenders are not much better designed as far as day to day operations require. Pfizer created storage containers with dry ice that can be stored for up to 20 days, Moderna can use normal freezer good for up to 30 days. Routine vaccines on the current adult/child recommended schedule are refrigerated at an average of 35’F to 46’F. Can healthcare providers afford to install necessary refrigeration? The draft plan indicated that there would be regional hubs who would store the vaccine. Without steady temperatures, vaccines can become ineffective or unsafe in warmer temperatures. In 2017, in South Sudan a botched vaccine campaign killed 15 children.

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One idea springs to mind, what if the staged “morgue trucks” are for vaccine storage? We’ve already reported on the fact hospitals are not overwhelmed and yet Providence announced they are setting up temporary morgues and surge tents for a worst case scenario, but didn’t that already happen with the field hospitals back in the Spring? Mortality rates are down significantly. What if these aren’t morgues but freezers for vaccines? HHS indicated they have already been running tabletop and field exercises across the US. This morning HHS held a press conference on Operation Warp Speed discussing the allocation of vaccines. They met with Governors yesterday on the technical issues. Vaccine distribution being determined federally based on infection rates and a per capita approach. Oregon is at the very bottom of states for cases and deaths, as we always have been yet with some of the most draconian restrictions. We should expect a scarcity of vaccines and depend on natural immunity and existing therapeutics such as antibody treatments the distribution of which has been ramping up for those over 65 and who are at high risk. 20 million doses from each manufacturer and 25 million more each month thereafter isn’t much. The truth of the matter is, Oregonians are not a priority in receiving significant doses of vaccine. Perhaps, that is why the House Interim Committee on Revenue said schools won’t be back in-person until Fall 2021. With only .2% deaths per Oregon’s population, we need to wake up and stop smelling the fear being dished out. Open schools, and end lockdowns meant to scare the population to sell a product. Isn’t anyone curious about the sudden case surge when most of these individuals are asymptomatic?

In spite of challenges and low true efficacy, Pfizer and Moderna have submitted a request to obtain emergency use authorization by the FDA who meets December 8-10, 2020. The advisory committee will meet to discuss the emergency approval of these fast tracked Covid-19 vaccinations but has hinted they will announce expectations ahead of that.

Another dilemma is the need to track who has taken the vaccine. A precedent has been set with mask mandates and low compliance. To date, 13,000 Oregonians either filed complaints about a business for not wearing a mask or Kate Brown’s latest command, that neighbors snitch on neighbors for having a big Thanksgiving dinner with family. The state has longed for a more robust vaccine database for years and now may have the necessary funds via CARES Act to track compliance. Currently in existence is the OR ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS) which provides “consolidated immunization records and high-quality immunization data for individuals and providers.” Will they expand on this by connecting it with an app, card or eventual chip? The entirety of the vaccination plan is exorbitant yet, the vaccine will be free. In light of all that has been taken away from us since March, the foreboding is real. After all, the only free cheese is in the mousetrap.

What could you be forced to live without or will you comply? It is essential to personal liberty to be able to decline any medical treatment or procedure, especially for a virus that has a survival rate of 99.9%.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
--Benjamin Franklin


--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-11-24 16:56:08Last Update: 2020-11-24 19:41:15



2021 Oregon Kid Governor Announced
Taneesh Garg of Portland

On Wednesday, November 18, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office announced that fifth graders from across the state elected Taneesh Garg of Portland as the 2021 Oregon Kid Governor. The announcement was made via Zoom, at Springville K-8 where Taneesh is a 5th grade student. Taneesh’s community issue is Racism and you can watch his campaign video.

The
Kid Governor Program is in its fourth year in Oregon and was started by the Connecticut Democracy Center in 2015, as a way of introducing Civics Education to fifth graders. In 2017, Oregon became the second state in the nation to implement the program. The program is open to all fifth graders in Oregon and those interested in becoming Kid Governor create a 1-3 minute video on why they should be Kid Governor, what their leadership skills are, explain a community issue that is important to them, and tell about their three-point plan that fifth graders will use to work on that community issue. Fifteen videos were submitted this year, and were narrowed down to seven, by a panel of independent judges who individually, watched and voted on the videos. Once the seven candidates were finalized, fifth graders from schools across the state, voted and selected Taneesh as Oregon’s next Kid Governor.

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“Over 1800 students from 46 schools across Oregon, registered to nominate a candidate and or vote in this year’s election,” stated Secretary of State Bev Clarno. “This is a great way to not only teach our students about how their government works, but to actively engage our young leaders in their community.”

Taneesh’s one year term will begin in January 2021, with his Inauguration. The other final candidates included:
--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-24 13:38:38Last Update: 2020-11-24 14:03:02



What Has Jeff Merkley Done?
It might not be helping Oregon

Senator Merkley recently introduced a pair of bills to reduce the use of fossil fuels claiming it protects the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos, by tackling the risky financial investments.

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Merkley’s voting record
--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-11-24 11:57:27Last Update: 2020-11-24 21:12:41



Mass Exodus-gate
Does the Brown administration have a double standard for Christian schools?

In one of the many case in which Oregon Governor Kate Brown is being sued by private parties over her COVID-19 policies, one of the issues being raised is why are private schools -- specifically Christian schools -- suffering extra scrutiny? In the case of Horizon Christian School v. Kate Brown, the answer to that question may rest on a comment made by Leah Horner, who is an advisor to Governor Kate Brown on Jobs and the Economy.

As advisors to the Governor were depositions, their testimony is telling regarding the position of the Brown Administration toward private, Christian schools and how they regard teachers' unions.

The flap started when Yamhill County Commissioner Mary Starrett made a post in facebook where she commented on a conversation she had with the an unnamed member of the Governor's staff on "why private, parochial and faith-based schools were not being allowed to open once they’d submitted their plans to keep kids safe." The commissioner reports that the advisor to the Governor said, "We don’t want to see a mass exodus from the public schools." It turns out that the advisor was Leah Horner, who is Governor Brown's advisor on Jobs and the Economy.

The comment is not only significant in that it shows the Brown Administration's disregard for the outcomes of all children, but it's an indication that private, Christian schools are being held to a different standard for the purpose of protecting public schools and public employee unions. The evidence is not only in what the witnesses say, but in how evasive they are.

In this deposition, the questions are being asked by John Kaempf, attorney for plaintiffs and the person being deposed is Lindsey Capps, the Governor’s Chief Education Officer:

Q. Beyond the general concern, isn't it true that one or more school districts have been concerned about a mass exodus from the public schools if private or religious schools are allowed to reopen?
A. I don't recall ever hearing that from a specific district around private schools.
Q. Did you ever hear that in any context related to the pandemic?
A. Not that I recall.
Q. Now isn't it true that on July 9 of 2020, after the Wall Street Journal opinion article that we've talked about was published, that Leah Horner, an economic policy advisor to the governor, used the identical concern and raised the identical concern about a quote, "mass exodus from public schools," end quote?
A: I was not aware of any comments on her part.
Q. Have you seen the declaration of Yamhill County Commissioner Mary Starrett in this case?
A. I have seen communication from the commissioner. I'm not sure of which one you are stating.
Q. I'll represent to you that she testified that on July 29, 2020, Leah Horner did state a concern about a mass exodus from public schools if parochial schools are allowed to reopen. Do you know if that is true or not, that Ms. Horner made that statement?
A. I don't know if that's true.
Q. To your knowledge, is Governor Brown concerned about a mass exodus from public schools if private or religious schools are allowed to reopen for in-person classes?
A. Not to my knowledge.
Q. Now getting back to the Wall Street Journal editorial we've been talking about, it also states in reference to teachers unions that, quote, "under pressure from the unions, the Oregon Department of Education stopped allowing transfers on March 27," end quote. Is that true? What I want to know is, first, did you ever get pressure from the teachers unions to stop allowing transfers out of public schools?
A. No.
Q. Did the Oregon Department of Education ever stop allowing transfers out of public schools to charter or private schools?
A. No, there's still a process in place.
Q. The Wall Street Journal editorial we're talking about references an Oregon Department of Education March 24, power point presentation. Do you know what that is?
A. I do not.
Q. You ever heard anything about that March 24 power point presentation?
A. I don't know the presentation to which you are speaking.
Q. Back to the Wall Street opinion piece, it also states, quote, "even during a national crisis, unions would rather deprive students of an education than see their charter school competitors succeed," end quote. Do you agree?
A. I believe you are asking me do I agree with the opinion of the Wall Street Journal?
Q. That specific statement, do you agree, yes or no?
A. I think it's a simple statement, overly simplistic.
Q. Do you agree with it or disagree with it?
A. I don't know how to answer either way.
Q. Are you aware of whether this Wall Street Journal editorial board opinion sparked the concern among any members of the Governor's staff?
A. Not that I'm aware of.

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Q. To this day, does that Wall Street Journal opinion concern you?
A. I think the overriding concern for me is to continue to serve students as effectively and safely as we can during this pandemic.
Q. I'm talking about the Wall Street Journal article. Does it concern you as you sit here today?
A. I can't speak to that.
Q. To your knowledge, did that Wall Street Journal article concern Governor Brown?
A. No, not that I'm aware of.
Q. Did you ever discuss it with her?
A. No.
Q. In a text message dated April 1 of 2020, Nik Blosser immediately after providing the link to this Wall Street Journal article we've been talking about, he wrote, quote, "Sent you and GKP some quick talking points for the 1:30 call," end quote? Do you recall that?
A. Without further context, I don't.
Q. This text message that's labeled 004171 from April 1st of 2020 is written by Nike Blosser. Do you recall receiving a text to that effect about needing to have a 1:30 call and quick talking points about the Wall Street Journal article?
A. I don't recall the interaction.
Q. Do you ever recall a 1:30 call on April 1st of 2020, the day after that Wall Street Journal opinion article?
A. I don't but we've never discussed that topic.
Q. In an April 2nd, 2020 text message, Nik Blosser wrote, and I can't tell who he wrote it to, it says, quote, "please give me a call when you can, urgent," end quote. Do you recall getting that text message?
A. No.
Q. In that same text message Nik Blosser provides a link to a breitbart.com article dated April 2 of 2020, the same day as the text message. And it's entitled, quote, "teachers unions pressure on states to clamp down on virtual charter schools during pandemic," end quote. Do you recall ever seeing that breitbart.com article about teachers unions pressure?
A. Generally in the public square.

Much later in the deposition, the conversation with Lindsey Capps about Horner's comment about "Mass Exodus" continues. Despite Yamhill County Commissioner Mary Starrett's facebook post, the "mass exodus" comment and the substantive fact of the danger to public schools is either denied or not remembered.

Q. Did you suggest or order anything be done concerning what Ms. Horner said about the mass exodus from public schools, at least according to Ms. Starrett?
A. No.
Q. Did you ever talk to Leah about Ms. Starrett's contention that she made that mass exodus from public schools statement?
A. I did not speak to her.
Q. To your knowledge, has Leah Horner admitted that those words came out of her mouth on July 29?
A. No.
Q. Are you pleased or displeased that Ms. Horner may have said that?
A. I would just say that it's not the place of a state to articulate a position toward public or private school. Our emergency authority applies to both.
Q. Was Leah Horner disciplined in any way for supposedly making that statement?
A. Not that I'm aware of.

Jody Christensen, the Mid-Valley Regional Solutions Coordinator for the Governor's Office was also deposed regarding her recollection of conversations concerning the threat to public schools. Again, she denies knowledge of the comment -- including speaking with Leah Horner about it -- and the underlying issue of the threat to public schools.

Q. At any time this year have you ever heard or seen Governor Brown express a concern about a significant amount of students leaving public schools because of the pandemic?
A. No.
Q. Have you ever heard or seen Lindsey Capps make any statement like that?
A. No.
Q. Have you ever heard Leah Horner make any statement or write any statement like that?
A. The term "mass exodus" was used during the August 5th meeting.
Q. Was any other phrase like that ever used by Leah Horner this year?
A. No.
Q. Okay. And did you ever hear any other person who works for the Oregon government express any concern, whether it was mass exodus or just saying worried, about a large amount of kids leaving public schools because of the pandemic?
A. No.
Q. Okay. So did [Yamhill County] Commissioner Kulla ever express a concern like that?
A. I don't recall.
Q. Do you recall any county commissioner ever expressing that concern in any conference call you attended this year?
A. I don't recall.
Q. All right. Do you recall any Oregon politician expressing any concern like that in any kind of writing, like an email or a text message?
A. I don't recall.
Q. Have you ever personally been concerned about a large amount of students leaving public schools during the pandemic?
A. No.

Jody Christensen's deposition about Horner's remark continued after more testimony. The denials continue.

Q. All right. Are you aware of anyone in Oregon's government at any time this year expressing a concern about a large amount of students leaving public schools?
A. I am not aware.
Q. Do you know whether that topic has ever been the subject of any written report within the Oregon government?
A. I am not aware.
Q. Have you ever helped to create or ever read a report showing the possible financial effects of students leaving public schools for private schools during the pandemic?
A. No.
Q. Before this August 5th meeting we're talking about, where you testified Ms. Horner used the phrase "mass exodus," had you ever heard that phrase come up before in any county commissioner meeting?
A. No.
Q. Had you ever seen that phrase in writing before the August 5th meeting related to the pandemic?
A. No.
Q. Have you ever used the phrase "mass exodus" in relation to the pandemic?
A. No.
Q. Are you aware of anyone else in Oregon's government who's used that term this year, relating to the pandemic?
A. No.
Q. Now, in the declaration that Ms. Horner filed in this case that's, you know, written testimony, she says that when she made the mass exodus statement she says, quote, [as read:] I had been discussing a concern that had been raised in another call about the potential loss to an educational institution of state school funds if students were disenrolling from such a school, end quote. Do you recall Ms. Horner that day making a reference to another call about the potential loss to an educational institution?
A. I don't recall that.

At this point, based on the testimony of two of Governor Brown's staffers, one might conclude that the phrase "mass exodus" was not used -- save for the August 5th meeting -- and/or that there was no concern for public school loss of enrollment. The deposition of Leah Horner, herself tells a different tale.

Q. During what you're saying is the August 5th conference call with county commissioners, did Mary Starrett, a Yamhill County commissioner, ask you why parochial schools were not being allowed to reopen?
A. I don't recall that specifically, but she has asked those -- she did ask a question along those lines.
Q. Okay. And as best you can recall, what questions did she ask along that line?
A. I believe she had asked if private, religious schools would have the opportunity to operate under different guidance than the K-12 public school system.
Q. And what did you say in response to that question?
A. I believe my response was no, that all schools would be falling under one statewide Department of Education guidance.
Q. Did you say in response to that question from Mary Starrett that there was a concern about a mass exodus from public schools if private or religious schools were allowed to reopen?
A. I did use the term there would -- there could be a mass exodus from public schools. But it was not in the context directly correlated to private or religious schools. It was also in the context of school disenrollment for children moving to online schools, virtual schools, charter schools, and it was in correlation to the fact that disenrollment from public schools modifies the school funding methodology. And in previous conversations that I had had that week with other county commissioners, they were unaware of what that disenrollment from public school does to their school -- their share of the state school fund, and so I was sharing that as a point of information.
Q. And I understand you're saying that context is different. But I just want to confirm, isn't it true, then, that during this meeting you say was on August 5th that Mary Starrett and others attended, you did -- the words, quote [as read:] mass exodus from public schools did come out of your mouth, end quote.
A. Yes.

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Q. Do you recall what Mary Starrett said in response to you saying there would be a mass exodus from public schools?
A. I do not recall.
Q. Before today, have you read Mary Starrett's declaration?
A. I do not recall.
Q. Okay. Paragraph two of the declaration you filed in this case says that you have read it, Mrs. Starrett's declaration. Does that refresh your recollection?
A. Yes, it does to some degree. That's why I indicated I did not recall because I feel I probably did read it at some point, but I don't have it fresh in my mind.
Q. Okay. How did you feel when you read it given that it's fairly short and specifically talks about you?
A. Again, I don't -- I honestly don't recall reading it.
Q. Okay. I don't want to know about conversations with your lawyer, the governor's lawyers, that's legally none of my business. But what I do want to know is, did you talk about Mary Starrett's declaration with anyone on the governor's staff ever? If it involved lawyers, I don't want to know that. But I want to know of people who are not lawyers that you worked with, for example, Jody Christensen, people like that, did you ever with such people, nonlawyers, discuss Mary Starrett's declaration in this case?
A. Yes.
Q. Who did you discuss that with?
A. I discussed that with Jody Christensen.
Q. And was that in writing or verbally or both?
A. Verbally. It was verbally.
Q. And what was Jody's reaction? What did she say when you discussed that?
A. I think Jody and I were trying to recall the conversation, and we both recollected very similar statements that were had on that call.
Q. Did Jody say to you, in so many words, that yes, she recalled that you did use the phrase "mass exodus" from public schools?
A. I don't know if Jody used that phrase, but I recall using that phrase. And so I offered that up as part of the conversation with Jody.
Q. Because you do recall that.
A. Yes.

Again, this is significant because it may indicate that Governor Brown and her administration have more concern for the teachers' unions than they do for the children of the State of Oregon.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-23 19:47:10Last Update: 2020-11-23 21:36:55



Lane and Marion County Judges to Retire
Governor Kate Brown will appoint replacements

Governor Kate Brown has announced that she intends to fill two judicial vacancies created by the planned retirement of Judge Ilisa Rooke-Ley from the Lane County Circuit Court, and the planned retirement of Judge Claudia Burton from the Marion County Circuit Court. Both retirements will take effect December 31, 2020.

The Governor’s Office currently is conducting an appointments process for Marion County to fill the vacancy created by the previously announced retirement of Judge Mary Jame. Applicants that applied for that position also will be considered for the vacancy created by Judge Burton’s retirement. Governor Brown will fill both Marion County vacancies from the same applicant pool. That list of candidates is available on the Oregon State Bar’s website .

All judges on Oregon who retire in the middle of their terms, are replaced by gubernatorial appointment. Ordinarily, they are elected. There is a ballot measure proposed for the 2022 general election which proposes to replace judges at the next election by a vote of the people. This measure is still seeking enough signatures to get an official ballot title.

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Last summer, there was a prior judicial vacancy on the Lane County Circuit Court for which candidates were interviewed and vetted by the Governor's Office and the local bar association. Governor Brown will make an appointment for the current Lane County vacancy from the list of candidates who applied and were interviewed previously. That list of candidates also is available on the Oregon State Bar’s website .

Comments on any of the candidates can be submitted online to Dustin Buehler, General Counsel, Office of the Governor, or by phone at 503-378-6246


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-23 19:43:05Last Update: 2020-11-23 21:26:12



Conversion Therapy Ban Overturned
Similar Ban Passed in Oregon in 2015

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit issued a decision that strikes down bans on therapy for minors struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction, saying such bans violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Bans on conversion therapy have been upheld in the 9th and 3rd Circuits, creating a split among them and a possible path to the US Supreme Court, which has previously declined to hear these cases. The decision states, “We hold that the challenged ordinances violate the First Amendment because they are content-based regulations of speech that cannot survive strict scrutiny.” The Cities of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County, Florida ordinances apply to “any person who is licensed by the State of Florida to provide professional counseling,” except for clergy.

The plaintiffs, therapists Robert W. Otto and Julie H. Hamilton, are licensed marriage and family therapists who provide counseling to minors who have unwanted same-sex attraction or unwanted gender identity issues. The case and decision were based on content-based restrictions on speech.

While the plaintiffs argue a lack of freedom to speak with their clients that brings out a certain amount of discrimination, it avoids the lopsided treatment of one therapy over another. Both ordinances banned “conversion therapy” but allowed trans-affirmative therapy and counseling that provides support and assistance to a person undergoing gender transition.

In 2015, Oregon became the third state to ban Conversion Therapy on minors after then President Obama called for the ban. In calling for the ban, barbaric and unethical practices were cited that were no longer being practiced. Nonetheless, Oregon joined California, New Jersey and Washington D.C. in prohibiting licensed therapists from attempting to encourage sexual orientation or gender identity that is biological to a child. This came after the Supreme Court declined to hear challenges in California and New Jersey, leaving in place a decision that upheld the ban.

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Governor Brown signed ORS 675.850 into law without fanfare prohibiting the practice of conversion therapy (reparative therapy). The law “prohibits mental health care professionals and social health professionals from providing any service to person under 18 years of age for purpose of attempting to change person's sexual orientation or gender identity.” Equality and Justice for All testified to the lopsidedness of HB 2307, passed in 2015, allowing sexual orientation change effort therapy while prohibiting conversion therapy. They cite a 100-year scientific research of a comprehensive review of SOCE documenting success that shows that therapy has helped some clients resolve their unwanted same-sex attraction and experience heterosexual attractions.

The case ruled as unconstitutional in federal court is very similar to Oregon law. Where does Oregon legislative leadership hold the “total care” of children, and will we see a reversal in the 2021 legislative session?

Photo by Bill Mason on Unsplash.com


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-11-23 07:49:28Last Update: 2020-11-23 15:27:44



PGE Captures Wasted Energy
New renewable energy reduces the need for cap-and-trade

As Governor Brown and other leaders continue to speak about climate change to push their cap-and-trade in the 2021 session, Portland General Electric counters the need for cap-and-trade with new renewable energy.

PGE has announced a new hydroelectric project powered entirely by excess water pressure. Traditional hydroelectric projects are nothing new across the state, and PGE owns or partially owns seven hydro facilities on the Clackamas, Willamette, and Deschutes Rivers. The City of Hillsboro is pioneering an innovative micro-hydropower system called the In-PRV that manages pressure in a city water pipeline while generating renewable energy, reducing carbon, saving water, extending the life of infrastructure and improving resilience.

“The major difference” says PGE, “comes from how the system is being integrated into the city of Hillsboro’s existing hydro infrastructure. Instead of the roaring falls at the Bonneville Dam, this new technology captures the waste pressure produced inside the pipe from the constant flow of water – using a new kind of pressure reducing valve to harness that wasted energy and turn it into reliable, renewable electricity. And unlike many other forms that are dependent upon weather, the flow at this system runs 24/7, allowing additional resiliency for the grid.”

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Located just outside of the Hillsboro Hops stadium, the approximately 200,000 kWh generated annually from this site will add to PGE’s Renewable Development Fund’s growing portfolio of over 14.5 MW of installed renewable projects.

If the state didn’t require new energy projects to include expensive sources of wind and solar, these new innovations could reduce energy cost while effectively reducing the impact on climate change.




--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-11-22 16:36:43Last Update: 2020-11-23 15:43:35



Justice Kagan Reappointed to Oversee 9th Circuit
It remains to be seen how she will decide on election results in Arizona and Nevada.

The Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, released the assignments for the 13 federal circuit courts of appeals reappointing Justice Elena Kagan to the 9th district court effective November 20, 2020. Each Justice is responsible for emergency applications and other matters from one or more of these circuits. Justices can and often do refer significant emergency requests to the full court. Justices may also be asked to halt the implementation of a circuit court order, set bond for a defendant, or stop the deportation of an alien. Justices are also asked to act on applications for a stay of execution.

In August 2018, Chief Justice John Roberts had assumed responsibility for the 9th Circuit, which covers nine states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Nevada and Washington) plus Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Justice Elena Kagan took over the 9th Circuit in October 2018. Kagan, appointed by President Obama in 2010, is a native New Yorker who has spent most of her adult life in Chicago, Massachusetts and DC. Known for her strategic influence, her claim as being fair and impartial is spoiled by her many unexpected rulings. She is undeniably part of the liberal wing of the court. Kagan has made a name for herself as being a “bridge-builder.” It remains to be seen how she will respond to President Trump’s lawsuits contesting election results in Arizona and Nevada.

Recently, Kagan’s 9th Circuit Court declined to grant a motion by the Oregon Department of Justice to halt signature gathering for Initiative Petition 57 that would qualify it for the November ballot due to the pandemic restrictions. It would have changed the way Oregon redraws legislative boundaries.

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Assignments are made pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 42 the Chief Justice of the United States and the associate justices of the Supreme Court shall from time to time be allotted as circuit justices among the circuits by order of the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice may make such allotments in vacation.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-11-22 06:58:51Last Update: 2020-11-23 15:44:16



When Everything is an Emergency
How the people of Oregon have voted themselves out of power

On November 6th of 2012 the Voters of Oregon passed measure 77, the ballot title and summary were written by then Secretary of State Kate Brown, and Treasurer Ted Wheeler. The measure amended the State Constitution to grant emergency powers to the Governor and the Legislature during a period of time defined as a "Catastrophic Disaster", defined here as; a natural or human-caused event resulting in extraordinary levels of death, injury, property damage or disruption of daily life and severely affecting the population, infrastructure, environment, economy or government of Oregon. The terms “extraordinary levels” and “severely affects” are not defined (emphasis added). Examples include, but are not limited to, acts of terrorism, earthquakes, floods, public health emergencies, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and war. If the Governor declares that a catastrophic disaster has occurred, the Governor may manage immediate response to the disaster by: If the Governor declares that a catastrophic disaster has occurred, the Governor also must convene the Legislature within 30 days. The Legislature may: The Legislature may take additional actions otherwise prohibited by the Oregon Constitution and are limited to actions necessary to implement immediate response and aid in recovery. The Legislature may: Speaker of the House Tina Kotek -D Portland, is calling on Governor Kate Brown to declare a "Catastrophic Disaster", and bring the legislature into a special session this December. In Kotek's press release, she states "The COVID-19 pandemic is raging like never before in Oregon. Our economic recovery is fully dependent on getting this virus under control". Side Note: "Under control" has been further defined as a need for federal aid, and vaccine administration in other statements.

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A special session can be called at any time by the Governor, or a majority in both chambers is also authorized to organize a special session. So why is it so important to declare a "Catastrophic Disaster"? As outlined above, during a catastrophic disaster, quorum requirements relax, making, previously seen, pushback against poorly written and ill conceived bills, impossible. In addition to blocking pushback from the minority party, a declared catastrophic disaster would also allow the legislature to spend kicker checks, (typically refunded to overcharged taxpayers) spend the lottery funds, spend the highway fund, and if that's not enough, exceed the debt limit allowed to the state.

How did we allow this to happen, you might be asking? According to Justin Brecht the Senate Minority Senior Policy Analyst "Ballot titles and the description are often confusing, and written by the supermajority".

The legislature has been criticized for crying wolf on emergencies. In 2016, measure 88 failed to gather enough signatures to make the ballot. The measure would have ended the overused "Emergency Clause". No act shall take effect,” stipulates Oregon’s constitution, “until ninety days from the end of the session at which the same shall have been passed, except in case of emergency; which emergency shall be declared in ... the law.” Why wait 90 days? 90 days is the amount of time needed to gather signatures in order to overturn a bill by the referendum process. Webster’s defines “emergency” as “an urgent need for assistance or relief, yet by 2012 seventy one percent of all bills passed, did so with an Emergency Clause, ranging from bills to allow unionization of workplaces via “check-off cards” (2007); to credential undocumented immigrants for in-state university tuition (2013); and even to replace the U.S. Capitol statue of Oregon pioneer Jason Lee with one of the late U.S. Sen. Mark Hatfield (2014).

With historical abuse of Emergencies, it's fair to ask, Are we actually dealing with an emergency, or are we looking at just another power grab?

A new effort to curb abuse of emergencies in the legislature is now circulating, in hopes of returning the constitutionally guaranteed right of the referendum process, to the voters.


--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-11-22 03:24:12Last Update: 2020-11-23 15:45:55



“Stop the Shutdown” Rally Held in Klamath Falls
Southern Oregon pushes back

A rally was held in Klamath Falls today against the lockdown. Speakers included State Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Beatty), State Representative E. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath Falls) and Klamath County Commissioner Donnie Boyd, before a crowd of what some observers said was well over 100 persons, despite the chilly, windy day.

The purpose of the rally was posted on facebook.

We are rallying together to stop the senseless shutdown Kate Brown has enacted once again. Now is the time to stand up for our business owners and our community!

These lockdowns have greatly infringed upon the Constitutional rights of our communities: whereas all government derives its legitimate power from the consent of the governed!

We no longer consent to the mandates and shutdowns of our Governor!

It is our mission to send a message to Governor Kate Brown and to ask all our county leaders to stand with us to say "Enough is enough." The "cure" has become worse than the disease and we will not stand idly by to watch another business die and suicides continue to rise in our county!

One legislator who declined to be named, described the rally as "mostly peaceful."

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--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-21 21:28:47Last Update: 2020-11-23 15:46:20



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