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State Police: Armed Groups Threaten State Capitol
Whence their intel?

In a very strange message, the State Police released a message yesterday evening, as unrest in Washington, DC and at the State Capitol in Salem was dying. This message was posted on flash alert at 7:40pm:

Oregon State Police have heard rumors that armed groups were considering taking over and/or occupy the State Capitols.

Oregon State Police fully support peoples first amendment rights of freedom of speech and to gather peacefully. OSP will not tolerate criminal activities and you will be arrested if you engage in any of these acts.

The security of the capitol is our priority, if you are considering any unlawful activities at the Oregon State Capitol or surrounding areas, please reconsider. The safety of our community members, Capitol occupants, and police officers is paramount.

If you are aware of anyone that intends to engage in these criminal acts, please report them to your local law enforcement or to the Oregon State Police immediately.

Demonstrations at the Oregon Capitol were dispersed well before this message was sent. The last flash alert from the State Police was at approximately 6:00pm, when State Troopers arrested Cody Melby, attempting to access several doors at the Oregon State Capitol. He was arrested for Trespassing while in possession of a firearm and lodged at the Marion County Jail. Several others were arrested earlier that day.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-07 14:29:45Last Update: 2021-01-07 16:43:53

Democrat Leaders to Public: Stay Away
Oregon Capitol will be closed to the public during the session

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) and Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) held a joint press availability today in which they released its Capitol Operations Plan for the upcoming 2021 Legislative Session starting on Tuesday, January 19. According to them, the goal of the plan is to balance the following priorities: According to the statement, "The session will begin with committees meeting remotely and physical entry to the Capitol permitted for authorized personnel. Floor sessions will be limited to necessary business only, with daily floor sessions beginning in April. If public health conditions improve, public entry to the Capitol will be expanded in accordance with public health protocols." Some observers noted that while the public continues to shop at Wal-Mart, Target and Fred Meyer, they are unable to gather at the Capitol, as guaranteed by Article 1, Section 26 of the Oregon Constitution, which reads:

No law shall be passed restraining any of the inhabitants of the State from assembling together in a peaceable manner to consult for their common good; nor from instructing their Representatives; nor from applying to the Legislature for redress of greviances [sic].

The Oregon Constitution is also very clear the Legislative proceedings need to be open to the public, as outlined in Article 4, Section 15:

The deliberations of each house, of committees of each house or joint committees and of committees of the whole, shall be open. Each house shall adopt rules to implement the requirement of this section and the houses jointly shall adopt rules to implement the requirements of this section in any joint activity that the two houses may undertake.

The statement issued by Legislative leadership continues, "Authorized personnel who work in the building, including legislators, are instructed to follow public health workplace rules set by Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA), including mask usage and maintaining six feet of physical distance from others. Members will be permitted to have staff on-site but will be limited to the office occupancy limits. Remote work will be strongly encouraged for all other staff and legislative agencies.

"The Presiding Officers will work with Democratic and Republican caucus leaders to determine when in-person work in the Capitol can be expanded. Currently, Marion County is among the 23 of 36 Oregon counties in the Extreme Risk category. County conditions will be monitored weekly beginning in February to determine the potential for expanded entry."



Speaker Kotek brought up the incident that happened at the December 21 special session, in which several persons made their way inside the closed Capitol. She said that State Representative Mike Nearman "did open a door to allow demonstrators into the building," a claim that has not been substantiated. A member of the speaker's staff was arrested last year for interfering with a peace officer -- a class A misdemeanor.

We spoke with Representative Nearman and he declined to be quoted for this article, but noted for the record that the Legislative Sessions have been open to the public for many years, and despite persons openly carrying weapons, and virtually no security at the Capitol, there have been relatively few incidents.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-07 13:27:38Last Update: 2021-01-07 23:13:39

New Secretary of State Speaks
We think we’ll be hearing a lot from her.

On Monday, Secretary of State Shemia Fagan was sworn in to office. She made it clear that she's acutely aware of her role in overseeing Oregon's elections, saying in her inaugural remarks, “I want to thank Oregonians for trusting me to be their guardian of democracy.

Oregon's Secretary of State is the auditor of public accounts, chief elections officer, public records administrator and custodian of the State Seal. Fagan issued a press release that also said, "As the first person in line of succession to the Governor, the Secretary of State also serves in the capacity of Oregon’s Lieutenant Governor," a remark that may offer a clue into what her future political plans are. Oregon does not have the office of Lieutenant Governor.

"Over the past year, during my campaign for this office, I learned that most people have no idea what the Secretary of State does. And that’s ok. We’re going to work on that. Secretaries of States across the country have been called the “guardians of democracy”.

She posted these comments on social media, regarding the unrest in Washington, DC

This dark day in our history is the result of politicians stoking misinformation and refusing to denounce conspiracy theories. Our government of, by, and for the people rests on the key promise of the peaceful transition of power. That is under threat today. The actions of these uncontrolled mobs and the politicians who encourage them are dangerous and should be condemned by all patriots.

Brighter days are ahead. Democracy will win. But it is up to the President and his allies to decide at what cost.

--Secretary of State Shemia Fagan

Secretary Fagan at age 39, will be the youngest woman to ever serve as Oregon Secretary of State and the youngest Oregon statewide elected official in a generation. She has served on the David Douglas School Board, two terms in the Oregon House, and was midway through a term in the Oregon Senate when voters elected her to the state’s second highest office this November.



In office less than a week, she already has the official website up with her picture.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-06 19:26:06Last Update: 2021-01-06 21:42:42

Transportation Spending Bears Down on Counties
Pilot project to bring transit to 99W and more

The 99W transit Corridor Pilot Project from McMinnville to Junction City is advancing with state and federal grant money. The State Transportation Improvement Fund identifies $9.5 million available and the State Transportation Network identifies $9.5 million available for this project. Each county along the route is incurring obligations to match those grant funds.

Planning is coordinated by the Mid-Willamette Valley Area Commission on Transportation. MWACT has seven transit districts as members. Four of them would be involved with this Pilot Project. Public transportation is seamless along the I-5 corridor but not along 99W. The Pilot Project would fill in the gaps and eventually go to Hillsboro.

Yamhill County is geographically central to this plan. Yamhill participation would involve buying two new buses and incurring operating expenses. Yamhill County Transit currently goes to Salem and Tigard. Ridership is very low according to the MWACT report. Yamhill County can fill in holes on the map, but Yamhill County will incur new expenses which aren’t justified as measured by current demand by its citizens.

Reasons given for Yamhill participation include showing a spirit of cooperation with neighboring counties and fulfilling the state legislature’s goal of serving vulnerable populations. Another oft-mentioned reason is to dissuade people from the use of the automobile and the harm it brings to the environment and public health. Much of the actions to advance this pilot program have been on Zoom meetings. Minutes from the last meeting indicated that there was no public comment, no Oregon Transportation Commission comment and no comment from state delegations.

Plans to spend the grant money march on in this vacuum. Also within the purview of MWACT are Improvements to the Donald/I-5 interchange which will start around $1.2 billion. There’s no question about the heavy and increasing demand on that failed interchange. MWACT reports that current transportation operating funds are $720 million in deficit. Pursuing the 99W Pilot Project would add to the deficit and not provide a clearly demonstrated need.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-01-06 14:15:00Last Update: 2021-01-06 20:03:59

Salem Governments Brace for Unrest
It’s not like it’s Portland or anything.

The Capitol, and Marion County Courts are bracing for expected demonstrations in Salem on Wednesday.

The following email was sent to all Capitol employees by Legislative Administration, which is responsible for the operation of the Capitol building

Capitol Occupants,

Tomorrow, January 6th, there will be rallies at the Capitol similar to the rally on December 21st. This will likely draw a large crowd and could result in potential damage to the building.

As a precautionary measure, operations within the Capitol will be closed tomorrow. Legislative Administration services will be available via phone, email and Teams.

In an abundance of caution, OSP urges all Capitol occupants remain away from the building tomorrow.

Non-Essential Employees who are unable to work (including unable to work from home) due the closure shall be granted leave with pay during the time of the closure.

Presiding Marion County Circuit Court Judge, Tracy A. Prall sent an email out to impacted Marion County Courthouse employees.

The Sheriff has asked us to close the main Courthouse tomorrow in anticipation of civil unrest. We have been briefed and we have greed to close the Courthouse -- we will not be able to conduct even remote hearings as there will be no staff in the building to start the record. Additionally, we would not be able to hold Grand Jury in the Courthouse.

The Sheriff is meeting with the Commissioners later this morning to encourage closure of Courthouse Square. If Courthouse Square closes, the District Attorney's office will be closed and they will not be able to file new matters for arraignment or to conduct Grand Jury proceedings, also your defense offices may choose to close. If Courthouse Square and partner offices close, we will close the Annex and Juvenile as well.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-05 19:28:12Last Update: 2021-01-05 20:02:31

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

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