If you can’t beat ‘em, water ‘em down.
In what world is it okay for a sitting legislator to leverage his position to alter the people’s vote and voice? State Representative Paul Evans is attempting to do just that.
The Northwest Observer has received a copy of a letter sent to the Board of Directors of the Salem-Keizer Schools by Democrat lawmaker, Paul Evans that includes a thinly veiled threat and promise of future legislation that changes the rules of democracy. Don’t like the outcomes of an election? If you are a Democrat in a Super Majority, just change the rules to suit your agenda.
Salem-Keizer school board recently voted in a new Chairman
, Satya Chandragiri MD this past July. He was first elected to the board in 2019. Prior to this vote, there had been and remains, significant pushback in personal attacks and character assassinations against conservative board members who have been elected through a full and fair election. Most recently the board voted
to adjust public comments to remain inclusive while keeping the discussion civil and polite. Salem-Keizer has one of the most open and transparent school board websites and meetings allow for robust public input. Salem-Keizer has two different times allotted for public comment related to both the agenda and other non-agenda items with ample time to participate via video and written testimony. School board member, Marty Heyen voted in support of the change of the tone to public comments, “There’s nothing wrong with asking them to be polite.”
For context, Representative Evans sent a letter to the Salem Keizer School District
objecting to these public input changes. The Board Chair, Satya Chandragiri sent an email
to the Representative explaining the rationale behind the new policy. That reply was met with the political threat from Representative Evans.
This is the decorum in the State Capitol, where the testifying public is asked not to impugn legislators and remain on topic. Legal counsel, Paul Dakopolos said the amendment wasn’t legally needed on limiting vitriol. In light of the sensitive environment of equitable advocacy, issue of SROS’s and the new ODE and Governor Brown directives to remove all hate symbols, Chair Chandragiri said the amendment is not meant to silence anyone but will help them be a trauma informed community. You can view public comments in both English and Spanish on the video stream from the December 9 work session where the public is still falsely accusing board members of being with supremacists as they have since March. The driving force behind these attacks appear to be led by bitter Democrat groups such as LUS or Latinos Unidos Siempre
and PCUN or Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste
. The controversy continues because the Democrats cannot stand the fact they lost the school board election last year. Ironically, LUS has been on the workforce group tasked with reviewing the issue of exclusionary discipline.
In spite of the open policies at Salem-Keizer School Board, Representative Paul Evans is calling for a subversion of the entire democratic process.
Mr. Chairman: This letter is a formal notice of my intention to increase the formal nature of the relationship between the State of Oregon and Salem-Keizer School District 24j. Your recent actions underscore the unintended consequences of benign neglect. Your board has drifted because of a lack of support. Therefore, I have drafted – and shall seek to advance for passage – legislation that adds appointed positions (Governor appointed, Senate-confirmed) in equal number to elected positions and legislation that transforms the zone-based elections model to an at-large, position-based model.
This new governance model should provide our state and community a blended “best practices” approach for resolving our short-term and long-term challenges. It will provide for a more effective and efficient model for expanding dialogue, increasing equity, and policies that are the result of thoughtful, transparent decision-making. Your actions limiting the input for the men and women you represent have served to ring the bell for all of us: there is an exigent need for real, transformative change at 24j. We shall answer the call.
To be clear, this is a board-packing maneuver in which because he doesn't like the makeup of the board, he wants to create new board positions -- unelected -- that are more likely to share his political vision.
Undemocratic moves like this are the reason we have a state beholden to Democrats in control of every facet of our lives whether it’s the packed courts or other government agencies. Don’t Oregon Democrats have enough power? Pat Allen of OHA was appointed by Kate Brown and he has been in charge of creating all the sector guidance for the duration of the Covid-19 lockdowns. Oregon Director of Education, Colt Gill was appointed by Governor Brown and the list goes on.
This new model insisted on by Representative Evans will have far reaching consequences. It will not expand equity or improve transparency and a state representative who thinks his solution is “best practices’ for Oregonians, does not serve his constituency well.
|Post Date: 2020-12-22 16:35:29||Last Update: 2020-12-22 20:50:33|
The ACLU is nowhere to be found
Monday morning December 21rst kicked off the third special session called in a year. Like the last four sessions, the Capitol was closed to the public due to Covid-19 restrictions. Closing the Capitol to public oversight or involvement violates the law, and is very clearly defined in Section 26 of the Oregon state constitution. "Assemblages of people; instruction of representatives; application to legislature. No law shall be passed restraining any of the inhabitants of the State from assembling together in a peaceable manner to consult for their common good; nor from instructing their Representatives; nor from applying to the Legislature for redress of grievances [sic]". Meetings of the legislative assembly have always been open to the public, as is the law, until now. Oregon Governor Kate Brown has decided to close the building to public oversight and lobbyists.
There clearly was gas deployment for crowd disbursement, along with other non-lethal rounds
. The event was never declared a riot, and no warning was ever issued prior to the deployment of non lethal rounds. Many were injured in the incident. Breanna Jarmer is an Albany resident who said she was just trying to watch the session, but instead was picked up and tossed by an Oregon State Police SWAT member. "I was standing behind the main door, holding it after it had been opened. The next thing I knew I was being picked up and thrown several feet in the air by an officer". Jarmer says she was lucky compared to others. Jarmer tells Northwest Observer that she strongly supports law enforcement officers, and would never do anything to break the law, Jarmer states "if anything, I was really hoping our officers were going to uphold the law. Today was a very sad day for equity, and legal equality".
As Constitutional limitations, and newly passed statutes alike, go ignored by Salem's super majority, many wonder where the ACLU is at? The American Civil Liberties Union never missed an event, in over a 100 nights of Portland rioting. It would appear biases exist with regard to whom laws apply to, similar to current COVID-19 restrictions.
It's unclear, at this point, if Oregon Governor Kate Brown will use today's event as justification to close the 2021 regular session to the public. Reporters are being selectively allowed to participate. Independent and conservative sources are being excluded from press conferences and access inside the building. The people of Oregon rose up to defeat Cap and Trade, mandatory vaccination, and gun regulations last year. Rallies often hosted tens of thousands, peacefully advocating for public input. Each bill had an emergency clause attached which would have bypassed voters ability for the referendum process, had they passed. Meanwhile, Oregon Health Authority, and the office of the Governor have refused to answer questions, have denied public records requests, and transparency, relating to COVID-19, appears to be all emergency and no fire.
|Post Date: 2020-12-22 07:39:25||Last Update: 2020-12-23 12:03:02|
The economic hurt is deep and will become permanent
The lockdown allows many businesses to remain open while the closure of others seems to be mandated. The stated reason for lockdowns is to save lives. Two businesses forced to close are tenants of the small mall at the end of Edgewater St. in West Salem. One is a karate studio and the other a brew pub. The karate studio is owned and operated by a young couple who have proven for the last several years they can operate their business successfully. Their bread-and-butter customers are kids. In addition to physical fitness, the karate lessons teach these kids self-esteem. Parents see this and that’s why the karate school stays at full enrollment. Since COVID, no one in the age group of these kids has died of COVID. They had in-person classes for most of the summer with no adverse consequences for the kids or instructors.
That doesn’t mean they can’t become infected. In previous times when the kids get sick they stay away from classes. Teachers can get sick too. That’s why we have substitute teachers. The young couple are in an age group that has also experienced no deaths from COVID. Statistically this business is less than 2% risky. Right now the couple is doing some lessons on Zoom to avoid financial doom. They need understanding on their rent obligations and fortunately their landlords are not highly leveraged and can accommodate postponements for now. Owning this building is the landlord's retirement plan. The lockdown threatens both the young couple’s financial security and his.
Another business at the same location is a brew pub. Again, it has been operated successfully providing a neighborhood gathering place that reminds me of the sitcom Cheers. The owners had no incidences of infections with customers or staff during the summer reopening. Now that they are locked down again they can provide very minimal customer service with outside seating and growler pickups. All staff is back on unemployment again trying to meet their living expenses for an undetermined amount of time. The couple that own the business had several years of successful operation but are burning through savings that would go toward retirement. Statistically this type of business is also below 2% in contributing to the spread of infection.
These people and their employees aren’t operating the places where the infection is being spread. They have been very successful for many years because they provide a service that is good for the spirit of their customers. That spirit is being punished as are the entrepreneurial spirits of these small business people. 99.97% of Oregonians have survived COVID. The survival rate for small business is...to be determined.
|Post Date: 2020-12-21 20:24:50|
Response to 2019 Republican walkouts
New prospective initiative petitions have been filed by Andrea Kennedy-Smith of McMinnville, a registered member of the Independent Party of Oregon. and employee of the Department of Human Services and Reed Scott-Schwalbach of Portland, a registered Democrat and Teacher in the Portland Public Schools regarding attendance conduct of Legislators during session. This is apparently in response to the Republican walkout during the 2019 regular session over Cap and Tax legislation.
Initiative Petition 14
amends the constitution and punishes a legislator with expulsion for missing ten floor sessions. It reads:
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Oregon, Article IV, section 15 of the Oregon Constitution is amended to read:
Initiative Petition 15
Section 15. Punishment and expulsion of members. Either house may punish its members for disorderly behavior, and may with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member; but not a second time for the same cause. Failure to attend, without permission or excuse, ten or more legislative floor sessions called to transact business during a regular or special legislative session shall be deemed disorderly behavior and shall disqualify the member from holding office as a Senator or Representative for the term following the election after the member’s current term is completed.
punishes absent lawmakers by fining them $500 per day for each unexcused absence. It reads, in part:
A member of the Legislative Assembly who is absent without permission when the Legislative Assembly is in session shall pay a fine of $500 per day of unexcused absence and, for the period of the unexcused absence, shall not receive any salary, per diem payment or expense reimbursement otherwise authorized...
Each petition needs 1,000 signatures to be issued a title by the Attorney General. Initiative 14, which amends the Oregon Constitution needs 149,360 signatures to be on the 2022 ballot. Initiative 15 -- a statutory measure -- needs 112,020 signatures to be on the 2022 ballot.
|Post Date: 2020-12-21 20:01:06|
Many realize that more help is needed for struggling restaurants
The Oregon Legislature approved Senate Bill 1801
to assist Oregon’s local restaurant industry by expanding the items they are permitted to sell to-go. Senate Bill 1801 allows restaurants to sell cocktails, mixed drinks and a single serving of wine in a sealed container to be consumed off premises, if a “substantial food item” is also purchased. In addition, the bill puts limitations on the fees that third-party platforms can charge a customer to fulfill food pick-up and delivery orders.
It pays to have the support of diners to move legislation. The restaurant community has seen alcohol sales decrease by 30-50% since COVID hit. Owners are hopeful that this bill will bring sales back to normal. Legislators speaking on the bill from the respective floors of their chambers were more realistic, saying much more needed to be done. As news reveals the despair of unemployed workers resorting to alcohol to numb the circumstances, are we simply enabling an increase in addiction costs and more suicides?
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and a tragic wildfire season has created substantial challenges for our restaurant industry,” said Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-Beaverton) who carried the bill on the Senate floor. “Oregon’s vibrant restaurants, bars and pubs have adapted and flexed at every turn as our state has taken necessary steps to protect the health and safety of Oregonians.”
“Many of our favorite restaurants rely on the sale of our state’s renowned craft beer, wine, and spirits in order to earn a living and provide crucial jobs for our communities,” added Senator Steiner Hayward. “I’m grateful we were able to approve this assistance today.”
The bill passed both chambers with overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle. When the legislation becomes effective, it will remain law until 60 days after the state of emergency is lifted by Governor Kate Brown.
|Post Date: 2020-12-21 19:52:22|
Vehicle crash puts Hood River without natural gas
Hood River, Oregon and White Salmon, Washington are across the Columbia River from each other. But that isn’t the only thing they have in common. Sunday night about 5,000 of their residence lost power to heat with natural gas. Those residence are serviced by the Williams NW Pipeline Company.
At 11:50pm Sunday evening, a vehicle crashed into a district regulator station causing the company to shutdown their pipelines. NW Natural is working with emergency officials to determine the impact to customers and on a plan to reactivate gas service.
Customers are being cautioned to not relight their equipment, but wait to be contacted by NW Natural. Technicians will go door-to-door to affected customers to restore service.
Outages aren't foreign to Hood River residence having frequent power and technology disruptions. But they usually come with a weather warning. A sudden disruption in natural gas isn’t typically what they expect. NW Natural will continue to provide updates on Twitter and www.nwnatural.com.
|Post Date: 2020-12-21 13:35:50|
Police use tear gas, violence to quell the mostly peaceful protest
As the Oregon Legislature convened a one-day special session, crowds of citizens entered the Capitol building as the morning organizational session concluded. Oregon State Police responded with pepper spray, riot gear and SWAT vehicles, barking instructions at protestors through bull horns. Two arrests were made.
There were no injuries reported and a report of a small amount of damage to an internal door on the first floor. One woman was detained by the State Police when she attempted to enter the Capitol through an open window.
The Oregon State Police issued the following statement:
On December 21, 2020 around 8:30 A.M. during the third special session protesters where able to gain access to the Oregon State Capitol. The Oregon State Capitol is closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. Oregon State Police and Salem Police were able to get everyone out of the building. Two individuals refused to leave the building and where taken into custody.
The Oregon State Police encourage people to exercise their first amendment rights, but it must be lawfully. Please, discontinue the acts of vandalism or destruction of property. If you commit a crime you will be subject to arrest.
Legislative deliberations are required to be open to the public, according to Article IV, Section 14 of the Oregon Constitution:
Section 14. Deliberations to be open; rules to implement requirement. The deliberations of each house, of committees of each house or joint committees and of committees of the whole, shall be open. Each house shall adopt rules to implement the requirement of this section and the houses jointly shall adopt rules to implement the requirements of this section in any joint activity that the two houses may undertake.
Early in the afternoon, the State Police put out another statement:
While dealing with individuals that had gained entry into the Oregon State Capitol, OSP Troopers where sprayed with some kind of chemical agent on two different occasions.
At 8:30am, when protesters entered that capitol building, at least one of the protesters used chemical agents on the police. That person is still outstanding. OSP used inert pepper ball, while dealing with these protestors.
At 10:30am, when there were enough resources available between OSP and Salem Police Department, they started to push the crowd out of the building, when another individual used bear spray against police officers. That person, who has been identified as Ryan Lyles, has been taken into custody. He is being lodged at Marion County Jail on multiple charges including trespassing and assaulting a police officer.
OSP has not deployed any CS gas.
Many noted that the police response was disproportionately harsh in light of the police response to protestors in Portland during the summer in which public property was targeted and police officers' lives were purposely threatened.
|Post Date: 2020-12-21 07:30:19||Last Update: 2020-12-21 13:35:50|
But too late, the Scrooge Already Stole Christmas!
The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup gave their seal of approval on federal work concluding that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is safe and efficacious for use in the Western States, just as they did earlier this month for the Pfizer vaccine
. The Workgroup, formed to add a layer of review to the FDA, provided its confirmation to the Governors of California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington making the Moderna vaccine the second COVID-19 vaccine supported for use in these states. Shipments are expected early this week.
“After thorough scientific review, here is what the doctors and health experts have told us: the Moderna vaccine is safe. It is effective. And, it gives us the ability to reach communities across rural Oregon and the West that don’t have easy access to cold storage," said Governor Kate Brown. "Now, we must do everything we can to distribute vaccines as quickly and equitably as possible, to protect our frontline health care workers, long-term care residents and staff, and the communities most at risk from COVID-19.”
In a press conference last Wednesday, Governor Brown said regarding the Pfizer vaccine, "This is the moment we have all been waiting for. We kick off this historic vaccine campaign in Oregon with our health care workers, who have been our first line of defense against COVID-19. Today they received the first vaccinations in our state. These heroes have poured everything they have into this fight. And to all our health care workers, we thank you.”
“The last week has made it clear that we also need accurate information from our federal partners about vaccine distribution,” said Governor Brown. The Pfizer vaccine is temperature sensitive and delivered by military units, and in some areas FedEx and UPS share in delivering the vaccines under the oversight of US Army General Gustave Perna.
“With these first vaccinations comes a great sense of hope,” Governor Brown said, “but we still have a long road ahead before we’re out of this pandemic. And, until vaccines are widely available, we need all Oregonians to do everything we can to protect our families and loved ones from this deadly disease. Wear a mask, avoid gatherings this holiday season, and stay home when you are sick.” The Federal Food and Drug Administration has issued a five page fact sheet
for the vaccine.
The hope is that Governor Brown will trust the vaccine as much as she indicates and lift her emergency order so Oregon can join other states well on their way to financial recovery.
|Post Date: 2020-12-21 07:17:55|
Now support is needed from District Attorneys
OSP Detective, assigned to the FBI Joint Task Force was contacted by Horry County Police Department in South Carolina to assist in locating and apprehending a man wanted for attempted murder of his mother and stealing her car. The suspect identified as James Shawn Nichol, age 48, is from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Horry County Police Department in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals Service believed the subject may be traveling through Oregon.
On December 17, at approximately 5:50pm, Sgt. Aydelotte and Sr. Troopers Hagendorn and Macy located the suspect in the stolen car at the Baker Valley Rest Area located on the westbound side of I-84 near milepost 295. They initiated a high risk stop and the suspect was taken into custody without incident. The suspect is lodged in Baker County jail on attempted murder warrant. The stolen vehicle was towed from the scene to be held for the owner.
The Horry County South Carolina Police Department, who had contacted OSP for help, was extremely impressed with how quickly the Oregon State Police worked to get the mission done.
In a release, the Oregon State Police remarked that, "This is a great example of interagency partnerships and how Law Enforcement across the states work together to get criminals off the streets." They did not comment on the unwillingness of local District Attorneys to prosecute the people they apprehend. Since Nichol will be extradited to South Carolina, he's looking at a less-than-merry Christmas.
|Post Date: 2020-12-20 17:57:00||Last Update: 2020-12-20 18:10:08|
Andrea Cooper joins as deputy chief of staff, Christian Gaston elevated to budget director
Governor Kate Brown has announced additions to her leadership, policy, and legislative staff.
In addition to Connie Seeley, special advisor to the Governor on vaccines, and Gina Zejdlik who recently took over as chief of staff, the following staff will join the Governor’s team.
Andrea Cooper will join the Governor’s Office on December 21 as a deputy chief of staff. Cooper has worked as the political director for the SEIU, Local 503 since 2018. She has extensive experience in government and politics in and out of the State Capitol, including as chief of staff for the Oregon House Democrat Majority Office from 2015 to 2017. She managed Governor Brown’s reelection campaign in 2018. She has served on the boards of the Alliance for Youth Action, Bradley Angle, and Emerge Oregon. She is a graduate of the University of Portland.
Christian Gaston began serving as budget director and an executive team member in the Governor’s Office on December 7. He has served in the Governor’s Office as a policy advisor since 2018, in the areas of revenue, workforce, and labor. He worked previously for Governor John Kitzhaber and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, and was a reporter for the Oregonian and the Forest Grove News Times. His predecessor, Debbie Koreski, joined Columbia Public Affairs in December after serving for Governor Brown since 2016.
Jennifer Baker joined the Governor’s Office as labor and workforce policy advisor on December 15. She served previously on the Governor's policy team in 2019. She returns to the Governor’s Office after serving as the director of the SEIU Oregon State Council. She has also worked as the executive director of Future PAC, and the director of government relations and health policy for the Oregon Nurses Association. She has served on the boards of Our Oregon, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, and the Oregon AFL-CIO. She is a graduate of the University of Portland.
Christopher Madden joined the Governor’s Office as deputy legislative director on December 15. He has worked for the Oregon Health Care Association since 2016, most recently as the director of legislative and political affairs. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon. He joins legislative director Elana Pirtle-Guiney.
|Post Date: 2020-12-20 12:25:18||Last Update: 2020-12-20 14:36:21|
Discovered during serving of warrant
Editor's note: This article has been updated. The story is still developing
The Oregon State Police, the Portland Police Bureau and the FBI's explosive technician teams are back on scene at the residence in Scappoose, Oregon on Sunday, December 20, 2020 to secure the residence location where multiple explosive devices have been discovered. The teams are continuing the investigation and might need to do more controlled disposals. The neighboring homes were evacuated.
A search warrant was initially served on December 18, 2020, by the Oregon State Police at a residence in the 33000 block of Sequoia St., Scappoose, Oregon. During the execution of the search warrant, Investigators encountered the substance that could present an explosive hazard. Investigators had secured the scene for the night and left to return in daylight hours with explosive experts.
OSP has not yet provided any further details concerning the warrant that was served.
Oregon State Police explosive technicians along with teams from the Portland Police Bureau and the FBI have so far disposed of 4 devices during the execution of the search warrant at the residence. Neighbors are now being notified that they may return to their homes, after some initial confusion.
The drama started on December 18, when an OSP from the St. Helens worksite stopped a vehicle operated by Richard Gundy-Hampton in the 33000 block of Sequoia St. in Scappoose, Oregon. The stop occurred next to the residence where Gundy-Hampton lived. Gundy-Hampton was a subject of interest in a domestic violence incident that occurred in Clackamas County.
During the contact with Gundy-Hampton, Troopers discovered evidence of methamphetamine possession, weapons possession and that he had been potentially manufacturing a destructive/explosive device. Detectives from OSP Criminal Investigative Division responded to the scene and obtained a search warrant for the residence and vehicle.
Soon after beginning their search, Investigators located suspicious items in the garage indicating that Gundy-Hampton had been manufacturing highly explosive materials inside the garage of the residence. The search of the scene stopped and explosive experts from Oregon State Police, the FBI, Portland Police Bureau and Gresham Police Department responded to the scene to assist. Explosive experts and investigators continued their investigation Saturday and Sunday, identifying six items containing explosives, which were disposed of on scene. Numerous other items were also transported from the scene by the OSP Explosives Unit for later disposal off site. The safe disposal of the items discovered in the residence required approximately 10 neighboring residents to be evacuated from their homes during the day Saturday and Sunday. In addition to the explosives, Investigators seized a large number of firearms, illegal firearms parts and illegal drugs from the scene.
Gundy-Hampton was lodged at the Columbia County Jail and is currently being held at the Columbia County Jail on $5,000,000 bail.
As of this release all the residents displaced by the investigative activities and explosives disposal have been allowed to return to their homes. The investigation into this incident is ongoing.
|Post Date: 2020-12-20 11:12:48||Last Update: 2020-12-20 17:57:00|
You just pissed off a bunch of hockey players. What could possibly go wrong?
The Sherwood Ice Arena
is now among the latest round of businesses in Oregon being forced to close their doors due to ongoing government mandates of closure in the state of Oregon.
The owner of the establishment has released a statement directed to state government officials. His frustration is palpable:
Since March, Oregon Ice Entertainment (OIE) has been a valued partner in the battle against the Covid 19 virus. OIE instituted protocols more stringent than the State requirement for schools,restaurants, hair salons, and prisons. We also implemented a contact tracing system, which will identify all contacts of a customer with in 15 minutes. You could ask why a business would do that, because it is the right thing to do.
During the time since March, we requested the State to follow the science. It is a fact that the covid Virus cannot exist in an environment below freezing. The ice in an ice rink is at -8 °C. In addition, an ice rink must have an ACPH double or even triple of what the State is accepting from school districts in their reopening plans.
We have begged, pleaded, sent emails and left countless voice mails asking for a hearing to share our knowledge about the science of operating an ice rink. The silence from the State has been deafening. During this time, there has been 12,332 entrances into the Sherwood Ice arena. There has not been Covid origination nor spreading occurrence at the rink while our employees (none test positive for the virus), happy to be at work, fighting Covid.
The State on the 17th of December forced the Sherwood Ice Rink to permanently close laying off17 employees.. This comes 7 days before Christmas. Iam sure the government employees will be having a joyous holiday season. OIE also had to inform our customers they could no longer use our facility to “escape” from the realities of Covid.
OIE only wanted to provide a safe outlet for a community, that has largely been ignored and forgotten by the State. The notice sent to the rink, would be a $70,000 per day fine unless we closed. There were no options offered.
By forcing the rink to close the State is not reducing the spread of Covid, but promoting the at home social gatherings. This we all know are super spreader activities.
This all could have been avoided if the State of Oregon would have followed the Science and listened to their constituents.
Owner Sherwood Ice Arena
|Post Date: 2020-12-19 15:49:54||Last Update: 2020-12-19 21:30:30|
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