During the legislative session, I think the Captiol building should be...
Closed to the public
Open in a very limited way to a small group
Open to everyone
Northwest Observer
Subscribe for Free Email Updates
Search Articles
Attempted Murder Suspect Apprehended
U.S. Marshals arrest escapee in Portland, Oregon

David Dahlen had recently escaped custody from the Portland Police Bureau on Saturday, January 2, 2021, partially due to mandated coronavirus holding cell cleaning procedures.

In the morning hours of Friday, January 8, 2021, the United States Marshal's Fugitive Task Force located attempted murder suspect and escapee David Dahlen, 24, inside a vehicle at Lents Park, 4808 Southeast 92nd Avenue. They notified the Portland Police Bureau and members of the Homicide Unit, Tactical Operations Division, K9 Unit, and East Precinct patrol responded to assist.

At about 8:50a.m., the U.S. Marshals attempted to block the vehicle Dahlen was in, however, the driver of the vehicle was able to escape the Marshals' efforts. The vehicle fled from the area, heading eastbound on Southeast Holgate Boulevard. Officers assigned to East Precinct set up spike strips near the 11000 block of Southeast Holgate Boulevard, which the vehicle occupied by Dahlen ran over. The vehicle's tires deflated, the driver attempted to swerve around another vehicle, lost control, and crashed into a retaining wall and a power pole near the 11400 block of Southeast Holgate Street. The impact damaged the pole and knocked wires onto the street. Dahlen fled from the crashed vehicle and an East Precinct officer took him into custody a short distance away. Another person in the car was also detained.

Dahlen was transported to an area hospital where he will be checked for injuries due to the crash. The other occupant of the vehicle will also be seen at an area hospital for injuries. His identity will be released if he is charged with a crime.

"It's clear that this individual has no regard for the safety of the public and will put others in danger in an effort to escape," said Chief Chuck Lovell. "I'm grateful to the United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force, the PPB Homicide Unit, the Tactical Operations Division, East Precinct patrol officers, and all who worked together to capture this dangerous fugitive. "

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-01-03 11:00:56Last Update: 2021-01-08 19:10:46

Transit Takes a COVID Hit
The ridership crunch is softened by your tax dollars

Everyone knows that businesses have been taking a big hit from COVID-19. What is not so apparent is that transit is also taking a hit and this might cause long-lasting impacts for these districts.

Boardings -- defined as getting on a transit vehicle, even if this is part of a longer ride -- are down. Way down. What is not shown in this chart is the WES boardings, which had a similar fall from a high of 7,500 in October 2019 to a low in April 2020 of 1,250.

Tri-Met is the largest transit district, serving the greater Portland area. It's heavily subsidized -- over 75% of its revenue comes from taxes, not from fares -- so, the loss in ridership won't have as big an impact on its ability to stay afloat, but its revenue source is payroll taxes, and as unemployment is high, these taxes take a hit. As paid boardings decline and fewer fare dollars are collected per transit mile, the operating cost per boarding goes up. In other words, it costs a certain amount to get a bus or MAX train to go a mile and if you get more people on, the cost per person per mile goes down. In April, 2020 the operating cost per boarding shot up to over $15.00.

The future of transit may be waning, at least in the Portland area. Voters rejected a transit tax in the 2020 election, signaling that after several months of COVID-19, they were not in the mood for more taxes and more transit. One would think that the part of loss of ridership that is due to people being unemployed would easily come back once the jobs come back. The part of ridership loss due to fear of COVID-19 might be harder to recover.

Tri-Met's website says that they are working hard to keep transit areas clean and free of COVID-19, but it may not be enough to raise the confidence level of many people.

And let's not forget that crime is a big factor in deterring ridership, and Portland had a long, hard summer of crime. It seems like de-criminalizing everything is the rage these days. HB 4907 prohibiting police officer from conducting or participating in activities intended to determine whether person has paid certain user charges, fees or tolls imposed by mass transit district passed the House but never made it to the Senate in the walkout-shortened 2020 session.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-03 09:43:40Last Update: 2021-01-03 11:11:04

Redistricting Will Bring Change to Oregon
Democrats will have to do a balancing act

According to the US Constitution, a census shall be taken every ten years. This is described in Article I, Section 2.

The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative.

Once this is done -- and it should be done in the spring of this year -- the Oregon Legislature is set with the task of redrawing all the State House, State Senate and US Representative Congressional districts. What makes the process more fun this year is that Oregon is all but certain to get a 6th Congressional District. We currently have five. Article IV, Section 6 of the Oregon Constitution contains more specific instructions on redistricting, or as it's called, apportionment.

Apportionment of Senators and Representatives; operative date. (1) At the odd-numbered year regular session of the Legislative Assembly next following an enumeration of the inhabitants by the United States Government, the number of Senators and Representatives shall be fixed by law and apportioned among legislative districts according to population. A senatorial district shall consist of two representative districts. Any Senator whose term continues through the next odd-numbered year regular legislative session after the operative date of the reapportionment shall be specifically assigned to a senatorial district. The ratio of Senators and Representatives, respectively, to population shall be determined by dividing the total population of the state by the number of Senators and by the number of Representatives. A reapportionment by the Legislative Assembly becomes operative as described in subsection (6) of this section.

Democrats are in charge of the Legislature and barring some kind of internal division, they will draw a map that favors their fortunes. Elections have consequences. That's how it's done. The Legislature just draws a map and passes it as a bill. If they fail to do so, the job goes to the Secretary of State, and inevitably, there will be some lawsuits that get heard in the Oregon Supreme Court, but when the dust settles, we'll have new districts that reflect changes in population. Speculation runs wild about what the Congressional map of Oregon will look like. To many, it seems like Central Oregon should get a district. Bend is the fastest growing city in the state, with no end in sight. Some think that the coast, long divided as appendages into three different Congressional Districts should be one district. After all, people in Astoria tend to be like those in Newport as well as Coos Bay.

Democrats will have to decide if they are willing to weaken the 4th and 5th Congressional Districts, currently held by Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader, respectively. The voter registration is close in both districts. No matter how you slice it, the result of redistricting will create as much opportunity as it creates controversy.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-02 20:53:06Last Update: 2021-01-02 21:22:03

New Years’ Days Brings Protests to Salem
Quite a few were out-of-towners

New Years' Day featured two events near the State Capitol in Salem. The event at the Oregon State Capitol was organized by Oregon Women for Trump and was heavily attended by affiliates of the Proud Boys. Many of the attendees at the state capitol were armed with various weapons, knives, chemical sprays, batons and firearms. The event at Bush’s Pasture Park was organized by self-identifed anti-fascists who were also armed with a variety of weapons including firearms.

The Salem Police Department, along with the Oregon State Police and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, worked cooperatively to provide an enhanced presence in and around where the protests were to be held with the goal of ensuring those who gathered were there to do so peacefully. With the potential for these events to be disruptive to nearby neighborhoods and interfere with vehicular traffic, an educational campaign to alert neighborhoods and motorists to the event was proactively released. In addition, officers contacted or attempted to contact the organizers of both events to educate them on our objectives for a safe and successful event, as well as provide information on what actions could result in law enforcement action.

At approximately 2:00 p.m. the protestors at the state capitol began an un-permitted march to Mahonia Hall on Lincoln St. SE. As the march proceeded, many people walked in the street and blocked intersections at which point they were advised their actions could have enforcement consequences. Protestors arrived at Mahonia Hall where a contingency of Oregon State Police troopers and Salem Police officers remained present. At the conclusion of their protest, the group began marching back to the state capitol. A small group of Proud Boys broke off from the main march toward Bush’s Pasture Park where a small group of anti-fascist protesters were still gathered. Salem Police quickly moved officers and equipment into the park to keep the two rival groups from converging and prevented a potentially violent encounter.

At approximately 4:00 p.m., Proud Boys and associates returning to the state capitol approached a group of individuals who were armed with bats, paintball guns and firearms standing in front of a building near High and State Streets. A heated verbal exchange ensued between the two groups. With the goal of keeping opposing groups apart, crowd management officers quickly responded to quell the dispute and keep the groups separated. Neither group complied with initial dispersal orders and Proud Boys affiliates had to be forcibly moved back from the business by officers. Officers also had to move the business group back towards the business to keep them from repeatedly interfering with enforcement actions on State St.

Once enough law enforcement resources were in position to safely deal with the groups, the growing crowd was informed via loudspeaker the gathering was an unlawful assembly. The declaration was given because the crowd no longer appeared to be protesting but was instead attempting to instigate fighting and tumultuous behavior. When officers attempted to push the crowd back, they were met with physical resistance and smoke grenades.



It took approximately one hour, most of the officers assigned to the event and the utilization of physical force and less-than-lethal munitions to move the crowd out of the streets and back to the state capitol. Three people were taken into custody for their actions during the declared unlawful assembly.

The objectives set for the day were the protection of life, protection of property, keeping opposition groups apart to prevent conflict, enforcement of crimes including minor infractions when appropriate and reasonable, and conducting follow up investigation of crimes which could not be dealt with immediately. There were no reported injuries, loss of life, or damage to property during this event, and the following arrests were made: Additionally, officers issued one violation citation during the event for failure to display license plates and an equipment violation.

The Salem Police Department will continue to investigate events which took place during the protests and additional violation and criminal citations may be issued as a result of those investigations.

About the events Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack shared the following statement, “Yesterday our officers, and those from our partner agencies, were faced with extremely dangerous and challenging situations. I am proud of the discipline and professionalism exhibited by our teams. While most attendees seemed intent on peacefully demonstrating, a subset from each group were in fact seeking confrontations and conflict with opposing groups and the police. This is where the challenge ultimately lies – we must protect the rights of those peacefully assembling while simultaneously working to stop the few individuals intent on jeopardizing community safety up to and including acts of violence. My staff performed exceptionally well, as evidenced by the fact no injuries nor property damage was reported. We will always welcome, encourage, and protect the rights of groups peacefully assembling, regardless of their views, but we cannot and will not allow individuals to commit serious crimes without consequence.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-02 14:29:56Last Update: 2021-01-02 15:35:00

The Empire Strikes Back
Governor Brown doubles down on lockdowns

In the face of defiance on the part of many local elected leaders, Governor Kate Brown threatened them with having their counties stay in "Extreme Risk" status and issued the following statement:

“Oregon’s health and safety measures are in place to protect Oregonians, save lives, and keep our hospitals and health care workers from becoming overwhelmed by COVID-19. Oregonians have made incredible sacrifices throughout this pandemic and, now, many communities across Oregon are reducing the spread of COVID-19 and moving into risk levels that allow restaurants and businesses to reopen to at least some indoor service.

“If businesses reopen too early and instead create new spikes in COVID-19 cases, the actions of a few business owners could set entire communities back and keep them in the Extreme Risk category for even longer.

“It’s unfortunate and irresponsible that some local politicians are choosing to willfully mislead business owners into jeopardizing public health and risking fines, instead of working with their communities to help stop the spread of COVID-19 so that we can reopen businesses, schools, and more quickly return to normal life.

While Brown claims that local elected leaders don't have the authority to encourage local business to open up, some have questioned whether she has the authority to keep businesses closed, or to use the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration as enforcement officials. She's been unsuccessful in getting local police and sheriffs to enforce her lockdown provisions. Her statement continues:

“Let me be clear: Local elected officials do not have the authority under Oregon law to disregard my emergency orders or to authorize anyone else to do so. Any businesses that reopen in violation of state risk level requirements for their county will be subject to fines and enforcement. Undoubtedly, those same local elected officials who are encouraging businesses to fully reopen and flagrantly disregard public health are unlikely to have the backs of businesses when faced with fines and penalties, nor are they likely to be willing to be held responsible for the public health impacts their actions create.

“I am urging all Oregon businesses to put the health of their communities first by following the guidance we have in place for their counties. A large majority of businesses continue to do the right thing to protect their communities. However, when Oregonians don’t take COVID-19 seriously, and don’t take steps to reduce the spread of the disease, they put all of us at risk.

“I have directed Oregon OSHA and the OLCC to deploy all available resources to ensure businesses are in compliance. I expect enforcement agencies to continue to use an education first approach, but Oregonians need to understand that these rules are enforceable under law. For businesses that refuse to comply, OSHA and OLCC staff are empowered to take administrative action including issuing citations, fines, and Red Warning Notices if necessary.

In a final plea, the Governor offered more money for impacted businesses. It's not clear where this money will come from. A relief program directed at housing providers contained $150 million in aid, but the total amount of unpaid residential rent is now estimated to be nearing half a billion dollars and the eviction moratorium was extended until the end of June of 2021.

“Oregon has led in our response to COVID-19, and help is on the way for struggling businesses. I proposed new resources for rent relief for businesses in the third special session, and I expect a new round of federal aid to be delivered soon. We can’t waiver in our response to the virus now, when the end is finally in sight and resources are on the way. We are better than this. As we head into the new year, I am asking all Oregonians, yet again, to commit to making smart choices and to take seriously their individual responsibilities during a public health emergency.”

By virtue of the fact that a growing coalition of county commissioners and mayors are starting to rise up -- in addition to the Governor seeing the necessity of striking back with this statement -- it's clear that the shutdown/lockdown regime is starting to crumble.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-01 10:45:14Last Update: 2021-01-01 22:25:09

New Year’s Eve Rioting in Portland
Officers citywide had to be pulled from emergencies

On Thursday, December 31, 2020 at about 7:45p.m., Portland Central Precinct officers became aware of a gathering in the area of Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Main Street. As the crowd grew to an estimated 80-100 people, some individuals in the crowd began to engage in violence. At least two Molotov cocktail-style firebombs were thrown, and large, commercial grade aerial fireworks were launched at the Federal Courthouse and the Justice Center. Some individuals tried to use tools to break into the Justice Center at 1120 Southwest 3rd Avenue, but were not successful.

Portland Police officers citywide had to be pulled from answering emergency calls to respond. Law Enforcement officers from the Federal Protective Services and the Multnomah County Sheriff's office also engaged the crowd and were targeted with dangerous projectiles. Officers were attacked with large rocks, full size bricks, and frozen water bottles. Some officers were targeted by paint balloons that may have been laced with a caustic substance as it caused burning to the skin. Some law enforcement officers suffered injuries, although no Portland Police officers were hurt.

The violence from the crowd prompted a declaration of a riot. The crowd was warned by loudspeaker and social media (@portlandpolice on Twitter), "All persons in the area of Southwest 3rd Avenue around Southwest Main Street are ordered to leave to the south and west immediately. If you do not leave you are subject to arrest, citation, and/or the use of force, including but not limited to impact weapons and tear gas."

Few if any heeded the warning. During the riot, participants started multiple fires. In one, a garbage can was lit ablaze and melted to the pavement. A crosswalk signal was torched, as was various debris piled in the road at Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Main Street. Dangerous objects continued to be thrown at police officers.

The crowd mostly dispersed by 2:00a.m. No CS gas was deployed by Portland Police during this event, but inert smoke and some impact munitions were used.

Several businesses were damaged. Officers are still compiling the reports of damage. If anyone is a victim of a crime related to this event, they're encouraged to report it online and reference case number 20-384961.

Arrests were made. Information on arrests is still being compiled and a list of those arrested will be released at a later time.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-01-01 09:56:36Last Update: 2021-01-01 11:30:17

The Upcoming Legislative Session
Snipe Hunt the 2021 Session

We are the target of a prank. The 2021 Oregon Legislative Session is again a Snipe Hunt. Taking clues from past actions is the best we have to anticipate what the 2021 session will be like in less than a month away.

The three Special Sessions held behind closed doors, blocking citizens from the Capitol, continues to be Governor Brown’s model for the 2021 session. Why else would she continue the lockdown when there is overwhelming science and evidence that lockdowns aren’t effective? Transparency and constitutional rights are being swept under the rug to stifle dialog on issues. Representative Raquel Moore-Green is adamant, “The lack of inclusiveness in discussion and dialog must be addressed prior to the regular session convening in 2021.”

A rumor is spreading that the 2021 Legislature will organize on January 19 and then stop until the State Capitol can be open to the public. The constitution does not set a start date – a start day is set in statute, which can be changed. However, it wasn’t addressed in the Special Session. The concept may not be to the Governor’s liking, pressuring her to terminate her emergency declaration.

A number of the bills passed in the Special Sessions will terminate in some fashion, and some have already been determined to be insufficient and being discussed for revision. That means all the bills from the Special Sessions are up to be revisited.

The Governor’s budget recommendations set a tone that is materializing in concepts. Governor Brown played the race card to get the emotional attachment she’ll need to appease her party in the legislature. Her priority budget item is $280 million to undo systemic racism. And who is behind that “systemic racism” that we seemingly need to undo? Who has been in power in Oregon for the past 32 years allowing such a decline?

The House Interim Committee on Health Care have prioritized their concepts to address equity in health care, the social determinants of health, and health care affordability. Oregon State Public Interest Research Group presented a public option that is being draft by Representative Andrea Salinas in a bill. Also, LC 1701 will be a hot topic addressing vaccinations.

The Joint Committee on Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform is looking to beef up the six police reform bills passed in the first Special Session. In addition, some new concepts include requirements for disclosing the identity, disciplinary standards, modify use of deadly physical force and create a data base of use of physical force, bans choke holds and tear-gas, protection for whistleblowers, and disciplinary alternatives.

According to the Governor, another $685 million is needed for pandemic reasons. Several Committees such as Affordable Housing and Quality Affordable Child Care have not revealed their concepts. However, Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) issued this statement that also needs to be resolved during the 2021 session: “Governor Brown demands Congress send Oregon money, however, millions of funds from the first federal coronavirus relief package have gone unspent. Money from the federal government has limitations, and there is no guarantee that federal money will go towards the holes left in the Governor’s budget. Clearly, the Governor has been asleep at the wheel.”



The Governor’s Recommended Budget for 2021-23 proposes $100.2 billion in total spending, including $25.6 billion in General Fund and Lottery Funds. The budget includes over $293.8 million in increased revenues and leaves $243.3 million in the General Fund. In addition, by the end of the 2019-21 biennium, the Rainy-Day Fund is projected to have a balance of $942.3 million.

Oregon is on the list of the five top states with the largest rainy-day funds. That should be a factor against the pursuit of a carbon tax pursuit of an Extended Producer Responsibility program, or any other tax or economy killer.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-12-31 13:04:50Last Update: 2021-01-01 23:24:01

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

Read More Articles