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BIPOC and Oregon History
History is impacting policy.

Oregon’s Legislature’s BIPOC Caucus has applauded House Speaker Tina Kotek and House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner for their commitment to build a more equitable capitol. BIPOC stands for “Black, Indigenous and People of Color.” The members of the Caucus are Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn), Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Happy Valley), Rep. Diego Hernandez (D-Portland), Rep. Akasha Lawrence Spence (D-Portland), Rep. Mark Meek (D-Oregon City), Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego), Rep. Tawna Sanchez (D-Portland), Sen. Lew Frederick (D-Portland) and Sen. James Manning (D-Eugene).

The Caucus states: “The history of hate and racist violence in Oregon is undeniable.” Referring to Speaker Kotek and Smith-Warner’s statement: "From its very start, Oregon was founded as an anti-Black “white utopia.” Black people were banned from the state in the Oregon Constitution, and the Oregon Territory itself is land stolen from the Native tribes who had made this region home for centuries. Through deliberate policies—from red-lining to forced displacement for “economic development”—Black families were literally robbed of wealth and kept from living in many parts of the state for decades.”

What exactly are they referring to? Generally, the suppression of Black people is related to slavery and after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, it lived on with the Ku Klux Klan.

The Oregon that settlers encountered was post-Civil War, it wasn’t until 1865 when the Confederates surrendered that slaves were emancipated. Oregon was not immune from this division over slavery and passed a law prohibiting slavery in 1843. However, the issues surrounding this was much more complicated. Oregon’s first exclusion law was passed in 1844 by the Provisional Government, the temporary governing political structure set up by the first settlers to reach the region over the Oregon Trail. This first law included a ban on slavery and required slaveowners free their slaves. However, African Americans who remained in Oregon after their freedom was granted, were whiplashed and expelled. In 1849 another exclusion law was passed that allowed black residents already in Oregon to remain, but banned further African American in-migration. This law was in effect until 1854 when it was repealed. In 1857, when a constitution was written in anticipation of statehood, an exclusion clause was included prohibiting new in-migration of African Americans, as well as making illegal their ownership of real estate and entering into contracts or use of courts. Regardless of the passing of the 14th and 15th Amendments, Oregon’s exclusion wasn’t repealed until 1927.

“In spite of the name Ku Klux Klan most people didn't even know that this group was a racist group. They would participate in events under the guise of increasing their "fraternal organization" numbers. It wasn't until people in the community became involved that they became aware of the "racist" nature of this group. However, the racism of this group wasn't focused on African Americans, rather it was anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish. In fact, former President Harry S Truman was planning to join the KKK until he found out this information. Most ex-members were ashamed they ever were members," according to Toy.

However, the Portland headquarters managed to win seats in the legislature and local and county offices. They were able to pass legislation prohibiting ownership of land by aliens, aimed at Japanese immigrants. Even though the Klans faded away in a few years, it had ingrained a mindset and culture that BIPOC claims has not faded and they remind us: “We do this work on land stolen from indigenous people under a state constitution that, at its founding, specifically banned people of color. We are regularly reminded of this history whenever we sit at our desks on the floors of the Oregon House of Representatives and Oregon Senate, where murals of white settlers and the names of mostly white men hang over our heads.”

Since BIPOC wasn’t a notable part of Oregon’s history, they still benefit as government evolves. We can’t change history, but we can learn from it and BIPOC can be their pioneers going forward.

--Donna Bleileer

Post Date: 2021-01-05 15:26:31Last Update: 2021-01-05 20:12:41

Berschauer Sworn In as Yamhill Co. Commissioner
Balance of power tilts toward fiscal conservatism

The Yamhill County Board of Commissioners has a new potential with the swearing in of Lindsay Berschauer Monday morning, January 4th after winning the election in the spring and avoiding a run-off.

Berschauer said, "I am honored to represent Yamhill County residents and bring a priority-based budgeting approach to the commission. Past county commissioners have exercised fiscal restraint but in the past several years we have dipped into reserve funds as the size of government grows, the cost of county employment benefits skyrocket and taxpayer dollars have been wasted on projects that don't improve the lives of every resident. I ran on a platform of keeping taxes low, ensuring seniors can age in place and keep their homes, and supporting the critical natural resource and manufacturing jobs that makeup the core of Yamhill County's economic activity. I'm excited to serve in this important role!"

The Commission of three has been with the valiant services of a lone conservative, Mary Starrett for the last six years. However, with a liberal majority of two, fiscal restraint has taken a back seat even with an increasing need to control the costs. Plans to go from three to five commissioners have been entertained.

The county has gone from approximately 420 staff to near 650 in just eight years. This occurs while the Sheriffs’ department barely keeps up with population growth. Much of the leap in staff size has been due to mandates placed on the county from the state legislature with no push back from the commission. Pension and health care costs have gone from near 33% of the total cost of a hire to near 60% of the cost of a hire in that time period. As with hiring levels, these increases in benefits are due to actions, or inactions, at the state level.

The commission has entertained the notion of a multi-million-dollar bike path for the use of less than 1% of the county’s residents and ignored the looming problem of the landfill serving 100% of the people that is beyond its capacity. The bike path willfully violates land use law yet receives unrestrained support from bureaucrats that head the legal and planning departments working with the compliant county grant coordinator with none held in check.

Many expect the new commission will return to a model of smaller government that resists going beyond essential services. The need to say no to grandiose programs promoted by the Association of Oregon Counties, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, State Parks and others by refusing their grant money except for essentials is necessary if Yamhill County is to have a say in its destiny. The county has dipped into reserves lately, so budget discipline must be returned. Future challenges such as garbage disposal must not be ignored or displaced by feel good projects such as staff training in White Supremacy and climate crisis that are an insult to those humble taxpayers who foot the bill. Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer is highly capable and couldn’t have arrived a better time.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-01-05 10:43:53Last Update: 2021-01-05 15:26:31

Legislature to Confront Equality
Rioters are still calling the shots

Oregon House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner and Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek have issued a statement on Oregon’s racist past and committing to a equitable future. Since the destructive riots in Portland that forced the first Special Session of 2020, the Legislature leadership has prioritized what is needed to give non-white communities a hand up. Their statements are a sneak preview into the 2021 session.

The Democrat leaders statement says, "Our colleague, Rep. Janelle Bynum, has been a leading voice in the Legislature for confronting and dismantling the structural legacies that have kept BIPOC Oregonians out of positions of power and influence. For years, Rep. Bynum has refused to accept the status quo systems of power in the state. We appreciate and support Rep. Bynum’s ongoing leadership. She—along with other members of the BIPOC Caucus and other community leaders—has continually pointed out structural problems big and small that conspire to exclude diverse voices in the Legislature. We are deeply grateful for their work to make clear the moral urgency for action, and we are redoubling our efforts to tear down these barriers swiftly and completely.” BIPOC stands for "Black, Indigenous and People of Color."

If we were to fact check this statement, the Black representation in the legislature is 3% and the Black community makes up 2.9% of the Oregon population. American Indians are 1% of the population and have 1% representation. However, Hispanics and Asians lack representation by 3%. What does equity look like to the Democrat leadership?

"We are committed to confronting the past while taking steps to build a future that is more truly equitable—one that centers the needs of people who have been oppressed, discriminated against, and kept out of the halls of influence for too long. In the near term, the Leadership of the Oregon House Democrats is embarking on these steps: "Individually, these are modest steps. Taken together, and with an eye toward future bold ideas, we believe these actions will begin the process of transforming the Oregon Legislature and the decisions that emerge from it. We will be deliberate and intentional in the steps we take to confront Oregon’s racist past, we will follow the lead of BIPOC leaders, and we commit to a brighter future for every Oregonian."

The members of the Legislature’s BIPOC Caucus are Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn), Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Happy Valley), Rep. Diego Hernandez (D-Portland), Rep. Akasha Lawrence Spence (D-Portland), Rep. Mark Meek (D-Oregon City), Rep. Andrea Salinas (DLake Oswego), Rep. Tawna Sanchez (D-Portland), Sen. Lew Frederick (D-Portland) and Sen. James Manning (D-Eugene) as well as Rep.-elect Wlnsvey Campos (D-Aloha), Rep.-elect Khanh Pham (D-Portland) and Rep.-elect Ricki Ruiz (D-Gresham).

The BIPOC Caucus responded with a statement, saying, “Diverse voices and perspective are critical in ensuring the work we do serves every person in this state – and on that, there is so much more work to do. It is why we applaud the bold leadership of Rep. Janelle Bynum in starting much needed conversations and advancing reforms to ensure our legislative bodies are representative of the whole state. Monday’s announcement from House Speaker Tina Kotek and House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner represents meaningful reform but it is merely a beginning in the change our state demands. In the weeks and months ahead, we stand united as members of the BIPOC Caucus and as Democrats in our commitment to continue advancing bold measures and effect change that will make Oregon a better place for all.”

One thing is clear, the rioters are still calling the shots with the majority leadership. As we work to better all lives, let’s not forget that dignity comes with effort and equality comes by equal opportunity.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-01-05 09:35:25Last Update: 2021-01-05 13:21:48

OHA Data Collection Called into Question
Case counts are the standard. Are they valid?

A video was released Monday December 21, 2020 by Dr. Henry Ealy of the group All Concerned Citizens which shows how "Anybody can enter a record" to the Oregon Health Authority reporting portal. The system does not require a password, authentication, or any type of verification in order to submit a new case of COVID-19 to the State's case counts.

The total case counts for Oregon are nearing one hundred and twenty thousand, with sporadic cases almost double compared to traceable cases. A proverbial red flag, for many following the pandemic closely.

According to OHA Director Pat Allen "Large outbreaks account for a smaller proportion of recent cases,” Allen said. “These outbreaks are diminishing in proportion to other types of cases, particularly, sporadic cases.” “Sporadic spread” is a term used to explain cases that do not have a known exposure to any other COVID-19 case or outbreak. "The increase in sporadic cases means the virus is spreading more widely throughout communities", Allen told MSM in an article that ran nationwide over the summer.

Case counts are being used as the sole justification for Oregon Governor Kate Brown's lockdown orders. Discriminate guidance has been issued for businesses able to operate vs businesses unable to operate, with corporations and multinational conglomerates on the winning end. Brown and the Oregon Health Authority have yet to provide evidence backing the decision process, despite pressure from elected leaders and the public.

One metric continues to be pinned as the main justification for keeping small businesses boarded up, and Counties on the Governor's "watch list". A county is placed on this watch list based on the rate of infections without a link to a known source i.e. the "sporadic" case rate. The threshold is currently set at fewer than 5 per 1,000 people, if higher than 5, the County is placed on the list and forced to cease operations.

Oregon Health Authority's December 30 weekly report has confirmed the suspicions of many, questioning metrics and methods of data collection. Sporadic cases far outpace epidemic cases, a case with a known link.

The chart shows the counts for several epidemiologic link designations: Dr. Henry Ealy has publicly challenged data collection methods, presenting evidence during the Yamhill County Resolution Board Meeting, Curry County Resolution Meeting, and currently has peer reviewed works in multiple court cases across the country.

In review of this week's report Dr. Ealy states "We know the most likely place of transmission is within households with more than one person as confirmed by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Knowing this, it challenges credibility to assert that sporadic transmission is more than doubling household transmission over the past 6 weeks. The dramatic increase in sporadic transmission does coincide with the same timeframe for increases in PCR cycle thresholds. So, we either have a completely untraceable viral spread and should eliminate contact tracing or we have significant problems with PCR testing and data collection. Either way it's difficult to objectively trust the data being published at this time and it's important that we fix these problems immediately."

Dr Ealy has offered support to OHA since early July, and is hopeful for the possibility of future collaborative efforts, focused on patient care and appropriate safety guidance. With a mere 2.2% of all cases having an abnormal x-ray image, and 61.3% of 117,000 cases noted as exhibiting "any symptoms", it's clear there is much more to the story.

As the video has made its rounds through social media, an outraged public has started asking questions about data breaches, and errors in collection methods, especially where sporadic case rates are concerned. Fed up business owners have furiously e-mailed lawmakers, and the health authority demanding answers. Sometime between January 1, 2021 and January 2, 2021, as the video went viral, the Oregon Health Authority hastily added a disclaimer to the top of the reporting portal. The disclaimer reads "Intentionally reporting false or misleading information to OHA, may result in civil penalties".



So far, the Oregon Health Authority has dodged being anywhere near a camera, a microphone and Dr. Ealy. Pat Allen and Dr. Dean Sidelinger have flat out declined to comment on any challenge to data presented thus far. Public records requests have been filed and confirmed via the online submission process, but have yet to be followed up on.

Many are left to wonder how information this important, with such significant outcomes to power and policy have been left open to vulnerability and corruption throughout the entire year. Public faith has hit a new low, as scandal has hit an all time high within the state of Oregon.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2021-01-05 07:28:46Last Update: 2021-01-06 13:57:54

Remains of Child Found
State Police are investigating

The Oregon State Police is releasing this sketch of a child found in Lincoln County on December 10, 2020, asking for assistance in identifying the remains.

On December 10, 2020, Investigators were summoned to the H.B. Van Duzer Forest State Scenic Corridor for a death investigation. The area is a heavily wooded state park in Lincoln County, Oregon, and due to the terrain OSP Detectives were assisted by Lincoln County SAR members after finding the remains of a female child.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office estimates the decease’s age to be 6-and-a-half to 10 years old. She is approximately 3’10” to 4’6” tall, and had long hair that is dark brown or black. Her race or ethnic origin has yet to be determined, but DNA analysis is not complete.

Due to the condition of the remains she had likely been deceased at least 30 days before she was discovered. No information regarding the cause or manner of death is available for release at this time.

If you have any information that might help investigators in identifying this child, please call 800-442-0776 or *OSP (*677).

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-01-04 19:04:31Last Update: 2021-01-04 21:42:41

Rep. Brock Smith Calls Out Governor on Vaccine Distribution
Oregon is in the bottom ten amongst states

Lack of Action on Covid-19 Vaccine Roll Out Continues to Fail Oregon’s Most Vulnerable Families; Governor & Democrat Supermajority Must Prioritize its Distribution to Save the Lives of Oregonians in Every Corner of Our State State Representative David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) called on the Governor and Democrat Supermajority to prioritize COVID-19 vaccination distribution and provide the needed structure and funding for an efficient vaccine rollout.

“It is unfathomable that Oregon is in the bottom ten amongst states across the nation in COVID-19 vaccination distribution,” said Rep. Brock Smith. “Similarly, our state’s been ranked near the bottom of high school graduation rate and now the Governor and Democrat Supermajority’s continued failures is highlighted with their inability to govern and oversee an effective distribution system of COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNtech & Moderna vaccines to the public.”

The state of Oregon has received over 190,000 vaccine doses since receiving approval on December 11th, yet as of yesterday the state has provided less than 50,000 immunizations. There have been three Legislative Special Sessions and over $2 Billion dollars in state and federal funding that have been distributed to various state agencies, projects, and issues.

“We have comprehensive economical proposals of receipt, storage and disbursement of COVID-19 vaccines to all areas of the state, although lack of resources and funding are some excuses being used for not moving these proposals for services forward,” said Rep. Brock Smith. “Lives are being lost, many hang in the balance and Oregonians deserve a state government that has a clear and reliable plan for a systematic vaccine rollout. These plans exist and I urge Governor Brown and House Majority Leader Smith-Warner to immediately prioritize the lives of our fellow Oregonians.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-04 16:06:47Last Update: 2021-01-04 17:26:53

Internal Democrat Feud Ends
Want racial division? Check out the House Democratic caucus.

In a move that is sure to have ripple effects throughout the 2021 Legislative session, Oregon House Democrats, in the persons of Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland) and Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland), have put out a press release that they've entitled Confronting Oregon’s Racist Past and Committing to a Truly Equitable Future. This release effectively signals an end to State Representative Janelle Bynum's (D-Happy Valley) bid to unseat Kotek as Speaker. Bynum was named chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee.

Smith Warner and Kotek, both of whom are white, began, "As elected lawmakers dedicated to building a future where all Oregonians can live the fullness of their lives, we must never forget that racism is threaded through the state’s history and continues to undermine our present.

They continued, recounting some of Oregon's less-than-noble history, "From its very start, Oregon was founded as an anti-Black “white utopia.” Black people were banned from the state in the Oregon Constitution, and the Oregon Territory itself is land stolen from the Native tribes who had made this region home for centuries. Through deliberate policies -- from red-lining to forced displacement for “economic development” -- Black families were literally robbed of wealth and kept from living in many parts of the state for decades. Today, gentrification, discrimination, and racially biased policing practices continue to deny Black families economic and physical freedom.



"Our colleague, Rep. Janelle Bynum, has been a leading voice in the Legislature for confronting and dismantling the structural legacies that have kept BIPOC Oregonians out of positions of power and influence." BIPOC stands for "Black, Indigenous and People of Color," and is a racial designation specifically created to exclude Asians and South Asians -- groups which most see as not disadvantaged, despite historic racism against them.

"We are committed to confronting the past while taking steps to build a future that is more truly equitable—one that centers the needs of people who have been oppressed, discriminated against, and kept out of the halls of influence for too long. In the near term, the Leadership of the Oregon House Democrats is embarking on these steps: The irony of creating dedicated carve-outs based on race in order to combat historic racism is not lost on some observers, and prioritizing funding based on race has been regarded as questionably legal by some.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-04 11:40:20Last Update: 2021-01-04 17:21:22

More Businesses Profiles During Lockdowns
How the government response to COVID-19 impacts people

At a recent press conference, Governor Kate Brown featured a victim of COVID-19, the disease. She has been less-than-supportive of those victims of COVID-19, the economic lockdown.

Walnut City Lanes, bowling and entertainment center in McMinnville, has been owned and operated by Jerry and Sharri Rettke for 43 years. During that time they have seen multiple economic cycles but with hard work and a faithful customer base they have survived and thrived as a business member of the community.

The COVID-19 shutdown first ordered in March of 2020 hit the heart of their strong bowling league season which is typically from November to May. Their business was deemed non-essential just as the planned spring break league play and corporate events were to have happened. Their 13 employees had to be let go. The Rettkes paid 4 weeks severance to the full-time staff, many of which had become like family.

Throughout the summer, with local restaurants open and adverse health statistics controlled their business, was forced limit activity before being shut down totally just as league season began. The hope for a return to opening in the fall coincided with the hope for a return to classrooms for school children. Neither happened, even though only one in ten thousand county residents had been listed as a COVID-19 death at that time. As the Rettkes face ongoing fixed expenses such as $38,000 in property taxes plus insurance and utilities -- all of which are at a higher rate than the previous year -- they must hang on by spending their retirement savings.

Their attractive location on Highway 99W would go quickly at auction if it comes to that, but at what discount? And what of their employees need for income? And what of their faithful customers need for a respite from social isolation?

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-01-04 09:51:06Last Update: 2021-01-04 11:10:26

The Evolution of Transit Fare Evasion
Riders pay less than half the cost of the ride. Some pay none.

As part of the growing trend of law enforcement reform, manifesting itself in -- let's be frank -- reductions in penalties for crimes and illegal actions, in 2017 TriMet asked the Oregon Legislature for a bill so that they could do their own enforcement on fare evasion. HB 2777 was passed authorizing mass transit districts to establish an administrative process to adjudicate ordinance violations. Oregon’s ACLU supported passage to increase access to TriMet passes for low-income individuals, seniors and people with disabilities, which they believed would reduce fare evasion.

In May of 2017, TriMet added 20 security personnel to respond to a knife attack that left two men dead and another injured. Drivers were told to let fare evaders on and push the “fare evasion” button. Drivers still feel they lack support and policies put them in danger by requiring them to tell confrontational fare evaders they didn’t pay enough.

On October 22, 2019 TriMet announced there were increasing fare inspectors to reduce the 14.5% found by a PSU study that ride without paying. The first month a homeless man was charged $175 fare violation even though he had a transit pass. TriMet discontinued an ad campaign in November that framed fare enforcement as a service to riders, after it generated substantial backlash.

Under Oregon law, a rider who fails to pay the transit fare or commits another transit-related violation can be cited in court and fined. HB 2777 gives mass transit districts the ability to create an alternative administrative process for resolving violations including reducing fines through an in-house hearing or order community service before taking the case to court.

When Governor Brown announced the stay-at-home order in March of 2020, people began working from home and ridership dropped 60%. Ridership has continued to stay at the 60% below 2019 levels. TriMet suspended cash fares for Hop Fastpass on March 26, 2020. This was done in response to COVID-19 to limit contact with boarders. Now that TriMet has a number of safety measures in place, and faces a lawsuit for violating state law by not involving the public in that decision, they are again accepting cash as of October 1. During the pandemic TriMet fare enforcers issued fewer citations for fare evasion. It follows that reduced ridership would reduce fare evasion. However, TriMet board changed the approach of the fare enforcers to “fare informing, not fare enforcing.” Enforcement practices are still in place, but they offer more leeway to some riders using more of an education process. Part of that education process is making riders aware of the Transit Fare Programs that offers reduced fares for low-income riders, fare assistance, fare relief and a high school pass program.

TriMet received life support from a $185 million federal COVID-19 relief package, but are restricted on how it is used. The 2021 budget includes funds for hiring eight new security workers to perform fare checks. Until the pandemic lockdown is terminated, the determination of whether HB 2777 is beneficial remains in suspense.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-01-04 01:48:59Last Update: 2021-01-04 09:51:06

New York as Role Model
Their track record doesn’t justify the title

How closely Governor Brown follows New York will play out in our legislative session. Governor Cuomo leads the way for Democrat governors. It doesn’t seem to matter that it is unconstitutional.

The New York State Senate just dropped the next bombshell by introducing Assembly Bill A416, relating to the removal of cases, contacts and carriers of communicable diseases who are potentially dangerous to the public health. The bill reads,

“the commissioner or the heads of local health departments, may order the removal and/or detention of such a person or of a group of such persons by issuing a single order, identifying such persons either by name or by a reasonably specific description of the individuals or group being detain. Such person or group of persons shall be detained in a medical facility or other appropriate facility or premises designated by the governor of his or her delegee and complying with subdivision five of this section.”

The bill isn’t limited to COVID-19. Any disease carrier the Governor considers dangerous to public health will instantly subject a person to total submission to the state. They take complete control of your body and can vaccinate and experiment on you all they want without your permission. You will be a prisoner of the state.

They can’t let the coronavirus pass without another plan to keep control of people. The Oregon Health Authority just released and error notification saying:

If you are one of the Oregonians who received a notification on your cell phone about COVID exposure tracking, please know that the Oregon Exposure Notification Application, also known as OR Notify, was released earlier than anticipated. Apple inadvertently turned the application on and has since turned it off.

The project is still under development. Oregon Health Authority partnered with Oregon State University, which led a pilot of the application that ended Thursday. OHA will assess the results to determine when to launch the application.

People are rarely without their cell phones, so hopefully, installation of the software will be voluntary.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-01-03 20:45:00Last Update: 2021-01-04 01:48:59

Governor Brown Exhibits Fines
Trophy list shows exercise of her will

In a move that can only be interpreted as a strong-arm warning to other businesses, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released a list of COVID-19 related penalties issued to businesses. Though Oregon OSHA is tasked by the Legislature with ensuring employee safety in the workplace -- their mission statement on their website describes it as "To advance and improve workplace safety and health for all workers in Oregon" -- under the direction of Oregon Governor Kate Brown, OSHA has been tasked with enforcing her questionably legal COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

According to the
summary of citations, "Since March, Oregon OSHA has received about 18,400 complaints related to COVID-19. Since then, we have also received about 3,600 non-Covid complaints. For perspective, in a typical year we receive just over 2,000 complaints." They also claim that "Since March, Oregon OSHA has issued at least 70 citations to employers for violating requirements to protect workers from COVID-19. Penalties for non-willful violations ranged from $100 to $2,000, while penalties for willful violations ranged from $8,900 to $17,500."

As some cities and counties pledge support to businesses that try to open, and many local police and sheriffs are lukewarm or outright refusing to enforce the Governor's edicts, Brown has turned to the bureaucracy, namely Oregon OSHA and to a lesser degree the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to step outside their lane and enforce COVID-19 mandates. Some of the citations are explicitly directed toward customer behavior.



In the opinion of State Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence), this represents a crisis in separation of powers. "With few exceptions, all of the Executive branch, which includes OSHA, gets their direction from the legislature. They have no such mandate."

Some activists will see the publication of this list as an opportunity to locate businesses to patronize, to support them as they stand against the Governor. In stark contrast to the March lockdowns, people and businesses are beginning to fight these mandates, oblivious to the penalties. Below are the penalized businesses, arranged by county:

Coos County Deschutes County Douglas County Klamath County Lake County Marion County Polk County Clackamas County Clatsop County Deschutes County Douglas County Grant County Jackson County Josephine County Lake County Lane County Lincoln County Linn County Malheur County Marion County Multnomah County Tillamook County Washington County Yamhill County
--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-03 14:21:53Last Update: 2021-01-04 17:22:15

Hey, What Happened to the Flu?
Asking for a friend. A very sick friend.

As the lockdowns and hand-wringing over COVID-19 continue, data from the 2020-21 flu season is starting to emerge as an "emperor has no clothes" moment, reminding us that data and science should still inform decision making.

This chart from the CDC website which shows weekly percentage of hospital visits for influenza like illnesses from September to August, so as to capture a single flu season. As you can see, during most years, flu hospitalizations start to increase at about week 48, which is around the end of November, peaking somewhere about the end of January or early February.

There a few possible explanations: I could be any one of these, or a combination of these. The CDC offers a possible explanation on its website:

"The U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network monitors outpatient visits for influenza-like illness, not laboratory-confirmed influenza, and as such, will capture visits due to other respiratory pathogens, such as SARS-CoV-2, that present with similar symptoms. In addition, healthcare-seeking behaviors have changed dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are accessing the healthcare system in alternative settings which may or may not be captured as a part of ILINet. Therefore, ILI data, including ILI activity levels, should be interpreted with extreme caution. It is particularly important at this time to evaluate syndromic surveillance data, including that from ILINet, in the context of other sources of surveillance data to obtain a complete and accurate picture of both influenza and COVID-19 activity."

In other words, if you think you're seeing something here, you might not really be seeing it, so move on. It's true that more people are using other ways to access the medical system, like tele-health, but there aren't many alternatives to hospitalization for extreme symptoms. In any case, if trends continue, this will have to be explained.

Government -- at least state government in Oregon -- keeps telling us what danger we are in. It's nice to see that at least one problem has apparently fixed itself.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-03 13:36:54Last Update: 2021-01-04 17:23:02

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