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End of the Year Destruction in Portland
No arrests have been made

A group caused property damage as it marched through downtown Portland Wednesday night.

On Wednesday, December 30, 2020 at about 7:00p.m., a group, estimated about 40 people, marched out of Director Park, 815 Southwest Park Avenue, headed east to Southwest 3rd Avenue, south to Southwest Jefferson Street, back west to the South Park Blocks and then back to disperse from Director Park. During the march, participants broke windows, spray painted buildings, fired paintballs, and caused other damage (photos). During the march, officers attempted to contact one subject and their police vehicle was spray painted as well. No arrests were made but the criminal mischief reports are being collected and the investigation is continuing. If there are additional victims, they are encouraged to make an online report. It is case number 20-383984.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-31 12:02:03Last Update: 2020-12-31 14:03:15

Law Enforcement Issues Statements on Upcoming Protests
Based solely upon the neutral interests of overall public safety

The Oregon State Police have issued the following statement:

The Oregon State Police is aware of several protests that are planned in the Salem area on Friday, January 1, 2021.

The protests are planned to happen at the Oregon State Capitol, Bush Pasture Park, and Mahonia Hall. These protests could also affect streets in the areas of these locations.

OSP encourages people to exercise their first amendment right, but please do so lawfully, peacefully, and respectfully.

OSP and Salem Police Department will have personnel assigned to monitor these protests. If criminal behavior is observed and the situation allows you will be cited or arrested. If an arrest or citation is not able to be immediately made, police will be investigating criminal behavior. If you feel you are the victim of a crime please ensure that you report that to the police.

OSP has set the following operational goals:

The Salem Police Department has also issued a statement:

The Salem Police Department is aware of several protests that are planned in our community on Friday, January 1, 2021. These protests may impact areas and city streets near the Oregon State Capitol, Bush’s Pasture Park and Mahonia Hall. The Salem Police Department, in partnership with the Oregon State Police and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, will have resources including patrol, crowd management teams and SWAT officers to monitor and manage the protests as they unfold.

The Salem Police Department’s preparations have included reaching out to protest organizers. Conversations with organizers about safe and lawful protests and the actions which could result in police enforcement or intervention are an important component to maintaining order and safety for everyone. Although attempts to speak with all persons involved have not yet been successful, we remain open to the opportunity for communication.

We recognize the concerns brought forward by residents. These events have affected our entire city in one way or another. When opposing groups come into contact, the risk of violence increases as evidenced in previous protests. The recent events at the Oregon State Capitol also resulted in violence and property damage. Due to these past unacceptable and unlawful actions, the Salem Police Department has set the following objectives and goals for its response to the upcoming protests.

These goals and objectives are based solely upon the neutral interests of overall public safety, regardless of the view held or expressed by any particular group of protestors.

To the extent possible, residents are encouraged to avoid the above-mentioned areas as there may be disruptions to traffic flow.

Both departments are coming off a less-than-ideal performance in which a mostly peaceful protest at the Capitol in Salem turned ugly with gas being deployed and several arrests as citizens attempted to enter the Capitol to attend the proceedings, claiming a constitutional right to do so.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-30 19:38:30Last Update: 2020-12-30 20:02:34

Secretary of State Clarno Gives Statement on Her Tenure
Democrat Shemia Fagan will take over SOS in 2021

Oregon Republican Secretary of State Bev Clarno has released a statement about her service to Oregon on Wednesday, the second to last day of 2020. She reflected on a term which was hers to complete as the successor to Dennis Richardson, who passed away of cancer in 2019.

"Upon taking the oath of office as Oregon’s secretary of state on April 3, 2019, I quoted the famed commentator Andy Rooney. “Age,” he said, “is nothing but experience, and some of us are more experienced than others. I then noted with a smile that at 83 years old, I was the most “experienced” secretary of state in Oregon’s history.

I have been very grateful to serve as your secretary and will always look back on this time with great pride in the work we conducted and in the great people I have had the privilege of working with. I want to share some thoughts and reflections on my time in this role.

While many know that our agency conducts elections and audits, people aren’t as familiar with our other divisions: archives, business services, corporation, human resources and information services. All of our divisions do amazing work, and I am so proud of everything they do to keep us in line with the goals of transparency, accountability and integrity.

My goal has been to serve in a nonpartisan manner; the core functions of our work don’t have a Democratic or Republican way – only the fair and honest way. I wanted to ensure that we are seeking all perspectives and to try to not let partisanship become a barrier or influence in the work conducted.

Oregon’s secretary of state also serves on the Oregon State Land Board with the governor and state treasurer. Coming from a rural background I feel the need to point out that rural Oregonians often feel left out of the conversation. Having lived in both rural and urban areas of the state, I tried to bring both perspectives to the table to help bring balance: what is good for Wasco may not be good for Salem or vice versa. The balance of perspectives is particularly relevant to the issues that come before the Land Board. Oregon’s constitution directs the Land Board to manage lands under its jurisdiction – the vast majority of which are hundreds of thousands of acres of forestlands – to obtain the greatest benefit for the people of Oregon, consistent with resource conservation and sound land management. I urge all public officials to make an extra effort to understand the needs and concerns of fellow Oregonians across geographical differences.

While my time as Oregon’s secretary of state comes to a close, I will always remain an engaged citizen. It is vital for Oregonians to understand the various functions of government, how we can share our input and try to improve how Oregon works. A responsive government is imperative to building trust and credibility.

Bev Clarno

Secretary Elect Shemia Fagan will be sworn in and take office on Monday, January 4, 2020. She was elected to be Oregon’s next Secretary of State in the 2020 General Election.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-30 14:34:02Last Update: 2020-12-30 16:54:49

Traffic Stop Data Fails to Show Bias
Race meets science

In the long-term quest to make better decisions based on science, the legislature has created some very creative ways to collect data based on traffic stops. The STOP program stems from the 2017 Oregon Legislative Session, where HB 2355 was enacted and signed into law. The bill requires: On of the ways that the data is used is to see if traffic stops are made against some races more than others. To test for disparities in the decision to stop a driver, the Veil of Darkness analysis compares stops made by law enforcement officers during the day to those made at night, based on the assumption that officers can better detect the race of an individual during daylight hours as compared to darkness. Specifically, the VOD analysis compares the racial composition of stops during combined inter-twilight window, which occurs during morning and evening commute times. Visibility during this time will vary throughout the course of the year, which makes it possible to compare stop outcomes at the same time of the day but in different lighting conditions.

For example, the VOD analysis can compare stops made on January 10 when it was dark at 5:00pm to stops made two months later at the same time on March 10, which is was still light outside. Given that these two points in time should capture reasonably similar driving populations -- on average, for example, work commuters often drive at similar times of day throughout the year -- comparisons made between race of stopped drivers in the light and darkness will detect whether stops are being made in a disparate fashion when race is visible.

So, what was the outcome of the data? There was no measurable disparity either with blacks or Latinos in police stops. This fact calls into question the basis for all the police reform legislation that was done in the first special session. Everyone deserves to be treated equally and fairly, especially by law enforcement, and if this is happening, then policies need to reflect that.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-29 15:24:02Last Update: 2020-12-29 21:09:30

Oregon Will Have Highest Cigarette Tax in the Nation
Smoke ’em, if you can afford ’em.

A series of increases in the taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products and a new tax on inhalant delivery products, approved by Oregon voters in November, will go into effect January 1, 2021. These are the first of what are expected to be many tax increases enacted by the Oregon Legislature in the upcoming session to backfill holes left by revenue shortfalls due to the COVID-19 recession.

As a result of the passage of Measure 108, which was placed on the November ballot by the Legislature by HB 2270, consumers will see the following: Revenue produced by the tax changes will be used by the Oregon Health Authority to fund health care coverage for low-income families, including mental health services, and public health programs, including programs addressing tobacco- and nicotine-related disease. Critics of the tax have pointed out that this is an unstable source of continuing revenue and put the state in a position of having to deliver expected services in the future.

The bill, supported mostly by Democrats, was placed on the ballot during the 2019 session. The current tax on cigarettes is $3.33. After the increase, the tax will be $5.33, which will make Oregon's cigarette tax the highest in the nation.

Photo by Luka Malic on Unsplash

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-29 14:58:17Last Update: 2020-12-29 15:24:02

A Look at Oregon’s Strategic Investment Program
Helps industry create jobs

The Strategic Investment Program run by the Oregon Business Development Department offers a 15-year property tax exemption on a portion of large capital investments. The program was created in the 1990s to induce large, capital-intensive facilities to locate and grow anywhere in Oregon.

To qualify, projects must serve a "traded sector" industry. Oregon law defines "traded sector" as one in which "member firms sell their goods or services into markets for which national or international competition exists."

The project's cost must be at least $25 million in a rural area or $100 million otherwise. But as a practical matter to benefit from the program, the overall investment will need to be considerably bigger. The actual exemption is on property value in excess of a taxable portion, which starts at $100 million for all urban projects, while in rural areas:

Total Investment CostsInitial Taxable Portion Amount
Not more than $500 million$25,000,000
Between $0.5 and $1.0 billion$50,000,000
Greater than $1.0 billion$100,000,000

A rural area must be located entirely outside urban growth boundary of a city with a population of 40,000 or more at the time of state SIP application or in a Rural Strategic Investment Zone designated before October 5, 2015. Taxable portion is based on property's real market value and grows 3% per year.

There are two options for an SIP project to be approved: Companies must also pay the respective county a community service fee as set by law. The fee is contained in the agreement with the business, which may include additional requirements on the business. The county must also sign a separate agreement with other local governments for distributing the fee. For any SIP project that is exempt in the prior tax year, the business must submit a report to Business Oregon detailing its employment and payroll. The report is used to evaluate the program's performance and provide estimates of state personal income tax revenue that may be shared with local governments.

Supporters of the program point out that other states have similar programs and will poach the cream-of-the-crop companies without it. They also point to the jobs and positive secondary economic effects of the program. Critics say that it uses taxpayer funds -- any tax abatement is essentially a general fund loss -- that targets only large and successful companies. Additionally, it may not make sense to have a large monopoly utility company -- Portland General Electric, for instance -- using taxpayer backed money for economic development.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-28 20:08:02Last Update: 2020-12-29 08:31:23

Telehealth Options Extended
Insurers will continue to pay for coverage for telehealth services

The State of Oregon has reached an agreement with several health insurance companies to continue providing expanded telehealth options through at least June 30, 2021. Industry experts say that much like COVID-19 has left a permanent impression on "work from home," it is leaving a permanent impression on the delivery of health care via computer, or telehealth.

The agreement follows guidance issued by the Department of Consumer and Business Services and the Oregon Health Authority in late March requiring health insurance plans to provide in-network coverage for multiple telehealth platforms.

In June 2020, the state reached agreement with health insurance companies to continue providing expanded telehealth options, including payment to providers at the same rate as an in-person visit, through Dec. 31. This new agreement means health insurance companies will continue to provide coverage for expanded telehealth services and pay for these services at the rates they established during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is vital for Oregonians to continue to use telehealth services to limit physical contact during this public health emergency,” said Oregon Insurance Commissioner and Department of Consumer and Business Services Director Andrew Stolfi. “Telehealth allows for Oregonians to get important care, often from the comfort of their home. I want to thank the insurance carriers that have joined us in this agreement to provide expanded telehealth services and pay parity for Oregonians.”

The following insurance companies have agreed to provide expanded telehealth services through June 30, 2021: In addition to these companies, the Oregon Health Plan will continue to offer pay parity and other allowances for many telehealth services, offering the same rate as an in-person visit for physical health services, behavioral health services, and some dental and long-term care services.



It is important to note that this agreement does not apply to self-insured plans. The state encourages self-insured plans to cover expanded telehealth services for members. These are plans in which an employer assumes the financial risk of providing health care benefits to its employees. Oregonians who have a self-insured plan should check with their employer about their coverage options.

Oregonians are encouraged to contact their insurance company or health care provider if they have questions about using telehealth services.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-28 19:45:42Last Update: 2020-12-28 20:08:02

Kate Brown and Oregon Dems Claim Equity and Transparency
So far they’re not off to a great start

Read the fine print...

Oregon Democrats are showing their true colors, as discrimination and systemic racism are quickly being defined within the action of their enforced policy, rather than its claimed intent.

Small mom and pop businesses owned across Oregon have been ordered to shut down, in what began as an emergency executive order to flatten the curve on deaths. That initial two week lockdown has snowballed into the New Year, whereby large retailers have been deemed essential, and small businesses have been closed, fined or cited by OSHA and the OLCC under Governor's orders. According to Sandy, Oregon Mayor Stan Pulliam Governor Brown claimed days ago she had the data to prove small businesses and gyms (beside 24 Hour Fitness which was never ordered to close) pose a higher risk of spreading COVID-19, than shopping malls, or Walmart. So far Brown has failed to release the data she claims exists, failed to be transparent in her decision making, or proved small businesses, and restaurants pose any higher risk than that of corporate retailers and large chain restaurants. Cities and Counties across Oregon have had enough, and are planning to reopen January first, citing discriminatory practices, and unjustified endangerment.

Mayor elect Scott Keyser of Molalla Oregon gave a well-informed speech Saturday December 26th at a rally held in the heart of main street. Keyser stated "Most cases we're seeing pop up right now are happening at in-home, small gatherings where masking and social distancing goes out the window". He then asked the crowd "when you have friends over are you making them wear a mask inside?", the crowd rumbled No. Keyser then asked "are you enforcing social distancing or sanitizing countertops and toilet seats after every use?" Again the crowd said no. Keyser then pointed to nearby stores, and exclaimed "But main street IS!" A group created by Molalla residents is calling for the town to responsibly reopen January First at 25% of capacity. Amy Grace is an admin of the Facebook group "Reopen Molalla", and stated "it just doesn't make sense to funnel everyone from our town into the two large corporate retail stores, rather than allowing residents to disperse in smaller numbers throughout town". Grace added that "Governor Brown's orders are counterproductive at this point, and placing our community at increased risk for long term damage both from the virus, and from poverty".

The correlation between negative health impacts and poverty have been studied ad nauseum. The federal government designates areas with fewer than one physician per 3,500 residents as "health professional shortage areas, or healthcare deserts". The Post-Gazette/Journal Sentinel data analysis shows that the majority of those are in urban poverty corridors, the rest are in rural areas like Molalla Oregon. This didn't stop Brown from issuing threats via a letter sent to city and county elected officials, claiming that she would ensure OSHA would be out in full force January first.

Aside from deciding who is capable of maintaining their own wealth, and subsequently their own health, the Democratic party has introduced two new legal concepts for the 2021 regular session that advocacy groups are calling flat out racist.

Legislative Concept 1099 -- on its way to becoming a bill for the 2021 session -- affects disadvantaged students by removing their ability to enroll into an online charter school in another district, if their district has a similar program. The slated bill does not, however, address availability. In person and online enrollment for charter schools is capped at 3% for each district. While a school district might have a charter program, depending upon current enrollment, it could also have a very long waitlist before new students can apply. Executive Director of Parents Rights in Education, Suzanne Gallagher stated, "this concept isn't new, it's very similar to policies passed during and after the Jim Crow era, whereby students of color, and impoverished students alike were kept within particular geographic locations, unable to access quality education."

In a press release from healthcare advocacy group "Oregonians For Medical Freedom" racial disparities in healthcare are also addressed. This time in reference to legal concept 1701. The legal concept doesn't have a bill title yet, but the action of the bill would place children of color at much greater risk for death and injury. A similar bill HB3063 came before the 2019 legislative assembly, whereby advocates highlighted the bill would remove over 35,000 students from school in Oregon. Many of which reported having IEP's, disabilities, or received government assistance for the school lunch program.

Governor Brown and Speaker of the House Tina Kotek have promised this 2021 regular session would see a much needed focus addressing systemic racism, equity and inclusion. So far they're not off to a great start.

Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-12-28 13:19:58Last Update: 2021-01-01 23:38:04

ODOT Extends Deadlines
Driver license, vehicle tag grace period extended into 2021

Oregon residents with a vehicle registration, permit or driver license expiring between Nov. 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021, have up to three months after their expiration date without being cited by law enforcement for an expired license or tags.

The Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon law enforcement agencies agreed to the new grace period as DMV catches up with a backlog due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Under the agreement, Oregon law enforcement officers will exercise more discretion for recently expired licenses and registration before choosing whether to write a citation. Law enforcement can verify the status of a driver or vehicle registration electronically during a traffic stop.

A law enforcement moratorium under Senate Bill 1601 from an Oregon Special Legislative Session last summer will expire Dec. 31. Under that legislation, a police officer cannot issue a citation for the following DMV products if they expired between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020: DMV offices are open by appointment -- mostly those that require in-person visits such as driver license and other identification card-related services. In some parts of Oregon, the first available appointment may be two months out, so don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your appointment. As DMV catches up with the backlog, more services will become available by appointment. They do not yet know when walk-in services can resume, but some appointments for vehicle title and registration are available now. You can visit www.OregonDMV.com for a complete list of services available by office.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-27 19:07:27Last Update: 2020-12-27 19:15:46

Kate Brown Appoints Lane County Judge
Appointment is effective January 1

Oregon's Governor Kate Brown has announced that she will appoint Stephen Morgan to the Lane County Circuit Court. Morgan will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Ilisa Rooke-Ley, who is retiring at the end of this month. The appointment is effective January 1, 2021.

“Stephen Morgan brings a tremendous amount of experience and compassion to the bench, he has spent his career prosecuting the most egregious cases of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault. Through this work, he has served the community’s most vulnerable through a trauma-informed lens and has given victims a voice in our criminal justice system.”

Morgan is a deputy district attorney in the Lane County District Attorney’s Office, where he leads the domestic violence trial team that he helped create in 2008. He joined the District Attorney's Office in 2002 and has prosecuted a spectrum of cases from homicide and robbery to child abuse and domestic violence. An active member of the community, he mentors law students, served on the board of the Eugene Timbers Futbol Club, and is a member of the Lane County Domestic Violence Council. Morgan was raised by his mother in Madras, Oregon, and joined the Marine Reserves after graduating high school. He obtained his bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Oregon. In between earning these degrees, he taught English in Taiwan for two years and traveled extensively before settling in Eugene—the community he has called home for nearly two decades.

No photo of Morgan was available at the time of this publication.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-27 17:00:31Last Update: 2020-12-27 20:47:15

The 2021 Session: Vaccine Law Will Be Discussed
OFMF describes their struggle in terms of civil rights

As in the past few sessions, the issue of vaccines and the requirements that they be administered is likely to be an issue for the upcoming legislative session. Vaccines have two characteristics that separate them from most other forms of medical treatment. First, they are less regulated that other methods of treatment, most notably in that you are not legally able to sue a vaccine manufacturer, and second that the administration of vaccines is more likely to be mandatory than other medical treatment. Because of these two factors, vaccine laws rightly come under increased scrutiny. The introduction of COVID-19 vaccines increases the volume in this conversation, and, not surprisingly, issues of equality and fairness make their way into the conversation.

Oregonians for Medical Freedom is a non-profit organization working to protect current vaccine exemptions, promote informed consent rights, and preserve medical privacy for all Oregonians. The organization represents more than 35,000 Oregon children, and is comprised of medical professionals, educators, parents, and citizens concerned with upholding the medical ethic of informed consent. They put out this statement:

As we quickly approach the 2021 regular session, Oregonians For Medical Freedom is re-establishing our commitment to anti-racisms and anti-discrimination in medical care with the peaceful redress of grievances and upholding equitable medical decisions for all. We also re-commit our focus to informed consent, and equal access to healthcare for those who are at highest risk.

We are prepared to fight for our disenfranchised and disadvantaged communities, while knowing that LC1701 will soon have a bill number and the public will most likely be excluded from the building during the regular session. We are also preparing to prevail, yet again, and prevent this terrible legislation from allowing intolerable discriminating of our most vulnerable population as people of color are disproportionately affected by vaccine side effects.



We're excited to announce that our new Board Members have hit the ground running, and are actively working behind the scenes to fortify relationships with lawmakers and advocacy groups alike. Our team is coordinating with the best and the brightest within our legal community as well as our healthcare industry. From first responders to law enforcement, Oregonians For Medical Freedom is teaming up to support and protect health choice for all.

We have a tremendous journey ahead in order to secure the right of bodily autonomy and basic human rights. With this in mind, we call upon every Oregonian to take a peaceful stand with us, and to kindly help educate our lawmakers who have a history of defending non-equitable healthcare policies; be it while serving on school boards, or whilst serving in the legislature.

OFMF describes their struggle in terms of civil rights, recalling the Tuskegee experiments, in which blacks were subjected to experiments involving untreated syphilis and the Holocaust.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-27 10:34:49Last Update: 2020-12-28 08:02:14

Random Bat Attacks in Portland
Suspect arrested with baseball bat

On December 22nd 2020, at approximately 10:36 p.m., North Precinct officers responded to the 1100 block of Northeast Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard on reports of an individual who had been struck in the head with a baseball bat. Officers arrived on scene and learned a victim was walking down the street when they were struck on the head by an unknown male with a baseball bat. An intricate description of the suspect was given to officers by the victim. After hearing the description of the suspect, officers conducted an area check but were unable to locate him.

On December 23, 2020, at approximately 12:02 a.m., North Precinct officers responded to the Rosa Parks Transit Station located in the 6500 block of North Interstate Avenue on reports of an individual who had attacked several people with a baseball bat. Officers arrived on scene and learned an individual with a baseball bat had struck two victims as well as broke a TriMet Max Train window. The individual had left the scene prior to officer's arrival and was not located. The victims told responding officers that the suspect had struck them with a baseball bat on the shoulders and head as they exited the Max Train. The description given to officers of the suspect matched that of the suspect from the earlier call on Northeast Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard. Both victims were treated at an area hospital for the injuries they sustained during the incident.

Later in the morning, Central Precinct officers received separate calls of an individual attacking people with a baseball bat near the 500 block of Northeast Glisan Street. When officers arrived on scene, they were unable to locate the suspect or any victims. At 11:53 a.m., another call came in regarding the same individual and officers were able to locate and contact him. The suspect, 53-year-old Trendlon Deneishel Kimp Brewer, was wearing a backpack which had a baseball bat sticking out from inside of it. As officers took Brewer into custody, he swung at an officer, striking their cheekbone. The officer sustained a minor injury.

Brewer was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of three counts of Assault 2, three counts of Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, Interfering with a Peace Officer, and Disorderly Conduct II.

The investigation of these incidents continues to be ongoing. It is believed there may be more victims that may not have reported a similar incident.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-26 09:21:49Last Update: 2020-12-28 17:06:50

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