Portland Airport Embassy Suites Hotel 7900 NE 82nd Avenue
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.
The River Church
4675 Portland Rd NE Salem
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
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
Expanding permissible uses of amounts in the Oregon Employment Department Special Fraud Control Fund will be looked in Oregon's third legislative session, if it happens. The bill that would take on this issue would be a bill proposed for the Oregon Legislature in the form of Legislative Concept 24 and it would also include legislation concerning the payment of the costs associated with the federal Lost Wages Assistance program.
This bill would provide for methods of collection from debtor of reimbursements to Federal Emergency Management Agency for benefit over-payments required under the Lost Wages Assistance program.
LC24 provides the following details:
The Emergency Clause would be used in this legislation, as it often is in Oregon.
Over-payments collected from the debtor by the department shall be deposited in the Employment Department Special Fraud Control Fund.
All amounts in the Employment Department Special Fraud Control Fund are to be used for administrative costs associated with the prevention, discovery and collection of unemployment benefit over-payments shall be used for the following purposes, as included in the biennial budget of the Employment Department and approved by the Legislative Assembly.
The Director of the Employment Department may waive collection of such over-payments if the director determines that it is administratively impracticable to pursue collection.
This study doesn’t account for the unfunded liability
Oregon’s Public Employees Retirement System released its study findings on retiree benefits paid in 2019. PERS covers approximately 95% of public workers in Oregon including all state and school district employees and most local government employees.
The study analyzed how PERS benefits paid to Oregon retirees impacts Oregon’s economy. Oregon PERS paid approximately $4.11 billion in benefits to PERS retirees living in Oregon in 2019. The $4.11 billion in annual benefit payments multiply to $4.33 billion in economic value to Oregon when the full financial impact of these dollars when spent in local communities. These benefit payments sustained an estimated 33,402 local jobs, and added approximately $1.29 billion in wages to Oregon’s economy. Additionally, the state of Oregon collected an estimated $234.9 million in income taxes on PERS retiree benefits during 2019.
Funding for these benefits came mostly from investment earnings on contributions previously paid by members and public employers. Investment income has provided 74.4% of total pension revenues since 1970. Member contributions have accounted for 4.4%, with employer contributions providing 21.1% of pension revenues over the past 49 years.
These retirees spent a significant portion of this money on goods and services in Oregon, which helped support local businesses. These businesses then purchased goods, in part, from other local vendors, adding to the Oregon workforce and economy. This study quantifies the total effect of these benefit payments on Oregon’s economy, based on three factors:
Economic value of PERS benefits to Oregon
Jobs created and related wages
Depending on who you ask, the PERS deficit is between $26 to $50 billion that is needed over the next couple of decades to pay pensions. The issue is that the employer contributions are going towards current benefit payments and not reserves. Increase in Investment earnings reduces the obligation. Investments earnings increased in 2019 by $6,981 million, which was more than enough to cover increased payments, and 2020 is on track to do the same.
Legislative Concept 2330 will likely soon be voted on in the third special session of the 2020 Oregon legislature. Insiders say it will be declared a "Catastrophic Special Session" by Governor Kate Brown.
The bill intends to limit the liability of school districts, public charter schools, education service districts and community colleges for certain claims arising during COVID-19 emergency period.
The Emergency Clause would be attached to the bill upon it's passage, rendering it effective immediately.
The bill also provides that a person engaged in activities on school district property that are not operated by a school district may not bring a claim against the school district for damages related to COVID-19 infection.
This legislation seems to indicate and clear the way for schools potentially reopening in Oregon.
Language in LC 2330 points out that the immunity provided by this does not apply to reckless, wanton or intentional misconduct.
Targets multifamily affordable rental housing for BIPOC
Washington County is offering an expedited application process to assist owners of multifamily affordable rental housing projects located in the County that have been impacted by the loss of rental revenue associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. The purpose of this funding is to provide relief to housing providers, provide relief to tenants who have not been able to fulfill their rental obligations due to the pandemic, and to stabilize subsidized housing projects so that they can continue fulfilling the mission of providing quality housing to Washington County households with modest incomes.
For a property to be eligible, it must be located in Washington County, consist of five to 300 units, have deed restrictions enforcing an affordability period of fifteen years or more, and there is a demonstrated net loss in rental income due to the Covid-19 pandemic from March 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020 once other assistance has been applied to offset the loss.
Eligible applicants include nonprofit and for-profit entities and the Housing Authority of Washington County. Applicants may submit applications for multiple properties. If the property owner is a Limited Partnership, the applicant must be the Managing General Partner or an equivalent. In the case that the Housing Authority may be a Special Limited Partner for the purpose of tax exemption only, the Housing Authority may not be the applicant.
Properties serving the following populations disproportionately impacted by inequities exacerbated by COVID-19 will be prioritized:
Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and people of color
Families with children
Funds received through this program must be applied toward back-due rent, and the payments must be credited to the accounts of tenants who are behind in their rent. Properly documented modifications related to COVID-19 and occurring March 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020, may receive secondary consideration if sufficient funds are available. Decisions regarding awards for modifications and delayed maintenance and repair costs will be made at the sole discretion of the County and are dependent upon eligibility and funding availability.
Since tenants do not have to provide documentation of a COVID-19 related reason for not paying rent, it's not clear how housing providers are able to identify losses as COVID related.
Allows extending emergencies by any amount of time
Legislative Concept 247 is about to be considered in a ever more likely third special session of the year for the Oregon state legislature. Among the details of this proposal are durational limits for states of emergency declared by the State of Oregon under certain statutes. The bill also provides that the Legislative Assembly may also extend states of emergency by joint resolution.
Other details in the bill include:
During the state of emergency, the Governor may extend the state of emergency by up to 14 additional days. The Governor may extend the state of emergency only once under this subsection.
During the state of emergency, the Legislative Assembly may, by joint resolution, extend the state of emergency by any amount of time. There is no limit to the number of times the Legislative Assembly may extend the state of emergency under this subsection.
The Governor shall terminate the state of emergency by proclamation when the emergency no longer exists, or when the threat of an emergency has passed. The Governor may terminate the state of emergency before the state of emergency terminates.
The state of emergency proclaimed by the Governor may be terminated at any time by joint resolution of the Legislative Assembly.
The governor's emergency powers are also clarified in the bill:
During a public health emergency, the Governor may close or order the evacuation of or the decontamination of any facility the Governor has reasonable cause to believe may endanger the public health.
Regulate or restrict by any means necessary the use, sale or distribution of food, fuel, medical supplies, medicines or other goods and services.
Prescribe modes of transportation, routes and destinations required for the evacuation of individuals or the provision of emergency services.
Control or limit entry into, exit from, movement within and the occupancy of premises in any public area subject to or threatened by a public health emergency if such actions are reasonable and necessary to respond to the public health emergency.
Authorize pharmacists licensed under ORS chapter 689 to administer vaccines to persons who are three years of age or older.
Take any other action that may be necessary for the management of resources, or to protect the public during a public health emergency, including any actions authorized under ORS 401.168, 401.185, 401.188 and 401.192.
When real or personal property is taken under power granted by this section, the owner of the property shall be entitled to reasonable compensation from the state.
Local Government steps up, to provide remedy and relief
Josephine County Commissioners passed resolution 2020-039 last week to provide a level of protection to resident business owners, after Oregon Governor Kate Brown delegated authority to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to enforce executive orders, in what started, as a two week freeze. The resolution is to stand as prima facie evidence of good faith, in the event a business is cited for being open, and called to appear before an administrative hearing. The County also created a letter of good faith for business owners to use in an administrative hearing, should they need it.
In Governor Brown's new proposal for the 2021-2023 budget given to the Oregon Legislature, very little is slated for appropriation to small business owner's, who have arguably, been hit hardest since lockdowns began. Instead, Brown's proposed budget focuses on expanding infrastructure, public works, and bigger government, which equals large union contracts. Conversely, the budget for helping the private sector i.e landlords, rental owners, and small business owner's is tiny in relation, and focused on equity, for minority owned or run businesses. Whatever the intentions for lockdowns, the outcome is shaping up to be a massive redistribution of power and wealth away from the already shrinking middle, and lower classes. Brown's budget proposal far exceeds projected revenue for the State of Oregon,heavily reliant upon spending Federal dollars, yet to be agreed upon, or even passed by Congress.
Oregonians are losing faith in Government, as despair has often turned to ire, and unrest. However, the news of Josephine County's resolution, has created a new wave of hope through the State. Now, Another County has stepped up, proposing a similar resolution this week. The new Yamhill County resolution shares the same goal of providing a level of protection to businesses and a message of hope.
Another very important piece of information in the supporting documents, comes from Oregon's own Douglas County Health's Dr. Dannenhoffer, who confirms that the PCR test being used in Oregon is made by manufacturer Thermo Fisher, and using a 39-40 PCR cycle Threshold. To put this into perspective Dr. Fauci has stated "the PCR COVID test is useless and misleading when the test is run at 35 cycles or higher."
Yamhill County Commissioner, and Vice-Chair Mary Starrett, stated in the meeting that she's not the only commissioner receiving daily correspondence, and pleadings for help. In a phone call after the meeting, Commissioner Starrett shares with Northwest Observer, exactly what she's been reading from county residents "People are going broke as their businesses bleed out. Their kids are losing their mooring, failing in what's left of their schools, and they're ending their lives. We're losing people to drug overdoses and those in recovery are relapsing. Sadly, our elders are slowly dying from loneliness and despair, despite studies showing that lockdowns don't work! Meanwhile routine screenings and medical care is being placed on hold, or pushed out, further jeopardizing the health and well being of our community. Corporate food chains are open on every street corner, while the neighborhood restaurants we love are forced out of business. These arbitrary shutdowns have no basis in fact."
The Yamhill County Resolution has been set aside until next week, to allow time for all Commissioners to properly read through the document packet, and a representative of the Oregon Health Authority can be present. Dr. Henry Ealy was reported to have been waiting on hold, to support the resolution. Dr. Ealy is the lead author and researcher of a peer reviewed study addressing the critical changes to the death certificate reporting titled "Ethics in Science and Technology".
Dr. Henry Ealy tells Northwest Observer he will be back next week to weigh in, and present the findings of his research team.
Before the meeting was adjourned Yamhill County had already received 21 comments, and emails regarding the resolution. For more information on either resolution, the packet of supporting documents, or to watch the live hearings, all information can be found on the individual County Website.
Governor Kate Brown has announced the appointment of Connie Seeley as Special Advisor for COVID-19 Vaccination Implementation, effective Friday, December 11. In the role, Seeley will serve as a senior advisor to the Governor on COVID-19 issues, with a focus on directing the implementation of Oregon’s vaccine distribution and public communications plans, as well as coordinating efforts across state government, and with local, state, and federal partners.
Seeley had previously worked as a legislative director for Kate Brown in the state legislature.
“I appreciate Connie’s willingness to step up for the critical task of ensuring that COVID-19 vaccines are available and distributed across the state as rapidly as possible,” said Governor Brown. “She has the expertise in health care and governmental relations to help coordinate this vast and important vaccination campaign, making sure that COVID-19 vaccinations are equitably available to everyone in Oregon, particularly to historically-underserved communities that have felt the disproportionate impact of this pandemic and existing health disparities––including Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, and Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and Oregonians of color.”
Seeley is joining the Governor’s Office on temporary assignment through an intergovernmental agreement with her current employer, Oregon Health & Science University. She has over 20 years of experience in the public sector, including organizational governance, administration, governmental relations, public affairs, and crisis communications. She is the chief administrative officer, executive vice president, and chief of staff of OHSU, where she has worked since 2010. She also has 13 years of experience working in the Oregon Legislature. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon.
Seeley joins the Governor’s health policy team, which includes Linda Roman, Health Policy Advisor, Jackie Yerby, Policy Advisor for Health Care Licensing and Behavioral Health, and Tina Edlund, Health Care Finance Advisor.
A group of Republican legislators have asked Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to join the lawsuit filed by the State of Texas in the US Supreme Court asking the court to throw out the results of the presidential election in four states. Each of these states went to Biden.
The letter signed by 12 Republican legislators, and addressed to the Oregon Attorney General, reads:
We the undersigned urge you to join the growing list of states joining the lawsuit filed by the State of Texas in which they have argued that electors from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin should not be allowed to cast their votes in part because those states unconstitutionally changed their voting procedures during the coronavirus pandemic to allow for increased mail-in ballots.
According to the complaint, filed in the US Supreme Court:
"...[T]he 2020 election suffered from significant and unconstitutional irregularities in the Defendant States:
Non-legislative actors’ purported amendments to States’ duly enacted election laws, in violation of the Electors Clause’s vesting State legislatures with plenary authority regarding the appointment of presidential electors.
Intrastate differences in the treatment of voters, with more favorable allotted to voters – whether lawful or unlawful – in areas administered by local government under Democrat control and with populations with higher ratios of Democrat voters than other areas of Defendant States.
The appearance of voting irregularities in the Defendant States that would be consistent with the unconstitutional relaxation of ballot-integrity protections in those States’ election laws. All these flaws – even the violations of state election law – violate one or more of the federal requirements for elections (i.e., equal protection, due process, and the Electors Clause) and thus arise under federal law."
We believe that fair elections are vital to our democratic republic and that the submission of electors by these four states should be at least postponed.
The FDA’s advisory committee has voted to approve an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-Biontech COVID-19 vaccine for kids, ages 16+ and adults. This gives the go ahead for the manufacturer to distribute the vaccine should the FDA as a whole agree which they have not ignored in the past. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices or ACIP committee previously voted last week to prioritize healthcare workers, long term staff and residents to receive the vaccine.
Public testimony was heard, discussion on two topics were completed over the course of the long day from 9-6pm.
Discussions were short as commenters were allowed two minutes. Dr. Gruber from Pfizer gave a presentation on the efficacy and safety. The efficacy was touted as 95% and approval was based on two endpoints; participants having at least one symptom plus a central lab positive PCR test.
The data presented only included trial data analyzed up until November 14 and had glaring omissions. For example, there were ZERO black participants in the vaccine group and only three Hispanic. How is that sufficient data on a demographic that has reportedly been disproportionately affected by COVID-19? Will Governor Brown’s Vaccine Workgroup approve the vaccine in spite of these gaps as she has said she will prioritize solving COVID-19 inequities? Oregon’s vaccination plan includes fighting for, “populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and with historic disparities in vaccination rates, including seasonal influenza, will need specific interventions to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccine in culturally appropriate settings.
These populations include, but are not limited to:
Black and African American communities
Latino, Latina and Latinx populations
Migrant and seasonal farm workers and other agricultural and food processing workers
Some side effects reported are appendicitis, Bell’s Palsy and severe anaphylaxis. 60 days of following trial participants seemed insufficient to many commenters and a few panel members. However, there was also concern that millions of people would not get the vaccine if there was a perception of harm as was announced with two healthcare workers experiencing a severe reaction. Had they not had an epi pen they could have died. Dr. Paul Offit suggested a study to follow up with individuals who have peanut and egg allergies but was dismissed since egg protein is not an issue for this vaccine.
Aside from diversity issues, questions remain on the lack of long term data in minorities and all patients, whether the vaccine will cause an enhanced immune response in elderly patients and how long the vaccine works. There is a concern in pregnant women that due to DNA replication occurring during pregnancy, that the messenger RNA could alter chromosomes. The FDA published its findings including side effects that are so far known in a recent report.
Rep. Bill Post and E. Werner Reschke mull the implications
State Representative E. Werner Reschke has presented his case that the state has not met the criteria for a catastrophic session based on Article X-A of the Oregon Constitution. These two State Representatives offer an in-depth perspective in this 47 minute video.
The Northwest Observer reached out to Representative Bill Post and asked him for his perspective on this issue, and he said, “When I was doing a radio talk show, The Bill Post Radio Show, in 2011, I did live shows at the Legislature and tried to warn the legislators that though it might sound like a good idea, it was not. It would be misused one day. Then later when it was a ballot measure, I warned the listeners not to vote yes on the measure as it sounds good but would be misused one day. Well 'one day' is potentially here now!”
Those involved have threatened and assaulted people
Over the past three months, people have been illegally trespassing on properties on Mississippi Avenue, including in a house and on privately owned lots.
According to call log data, over the three-month period, from September 1 to November 30, 2020, at least 81 calls for service were placed for issues related to these properties and the immediate area. Calls for service included, but were not limited to: fights, disturbances, shots fired, burglary, thefts, vandalism, noise violations, trespassing, threats (including by armed individuals), and for illegally blocking traffic, sidewalks and access to homes. Throughout this period, Portland police officers spoke with many community members about their concerns and the threatening behavior and intimidation they experienced in the neighborhood around these properties.
And now there is a dangerous no go- zone established by far-left extremists in what some are referring to as the "Red House Autonomous Zone"(RHAZ).
Police completely left the area right before 10 a.m. on Tuesday and almost immediately, people removed a portion of the fence and entered the private property.
Portland Police returned and attempted to disperse people from the property, however, people began throwing objects at police vehicles and officers, broke police vehicle windows and flattened tires on two police vehicles. Officers disengaged and people entered the private property again. A crowd of people eventually used fencing and other materials to block North Mississippi Avenue and began stockpiling rocks. Portland Police have remained out of the area and are monitoring the situation for the time being.
Since that time and overnight, the extremists have set up additional barricades and fortifications in this area. They have also stockpiled weapons.
Those involved in the occupation have threatened and assaulted people, and their actions indicate the intent to continue to do harm to the community.
"We want a peaceful and safe resolution to the occupation of public space on North Mississippi Avenue," said Chief Chuck Lovell. "We are greatly concerned about the fortification of barricades, stockpiling of weapons, armed sentries, attacks on journalists and threats to kill officers in graffiti in this public space. Our goal is for this to resolve peacefully to increase safety for all involved. I encourage those involved to reach out to our Demonstration Liaison Officers so we can discuss a peaceful outcome."
This criminal activity has had a significant impact on the safety of residents in that area and the livability of the neighborhood. Traffic and transit cannot pass. Emergency vehicles, including Fire & Rescue and paramedics, may be delayed or prevented from reaching people in need. Residents cannot move freely to and from their own homes. People have reported crimes within the occupied area, including assaults. Portland Police recommend that anyone without a need to be in the area avoid it.
Those in the area immediately impacted along North Mississippi Avenue between North Skidmore Street and North Prescott are severely affected. Anyone there should exercise caution and stay inside if they feel unsafe. Witnesses to crimes in progress in addition to the occupation are asked to report it to police.
They were served a citation for a $500 fine to be assessed each day
Springfield restaurant, Along Came Trudy, drew large crowds in protest to the Governor Brown's recent shutdown orders. Owner Trudy Logan opened Along Came Trudy for indoor dining against the Governor’s orders and the community came out in support.
In 1998 Trudy opened The Pump Café where she played a huge part in the revitalization of Downtown Springfield. In 2012, Trudy opened her café and event venue, Along Came Trudy. The place provides a warm friendly place to relax, read the newspaper or a good book, work on homework or work remotely. She provides space for multiple groups including bible studies, parties, business meetings, community events and celebrations of life.
On December 4th, The Oregon Occupational Health and Safety Administration served a citation for a $500 fine to be assessed each day that she remains open. Her liquor license was suspended and her lottery contract was revoked. Trudy maintains that If she complies and closes her doors, she will have to close permanently as many other small local businesses have already done.
Trudy continues to give back to the community on a daily basis. They are taking every precaution to ensure that the facility is safe and clean, even making adjustments to help maintain clean air quality, but no amount of safety precautions seems to matter when carrying out the Governor’s orders.
Trudy intends to keep the Along Came Trudy open Monday through Friday 7:00am to 2:00pm. They will be providing an option for dine-in (as space permits) and take out. However, she is asking for support to pay legal fees and fines.