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Ag Board Considers Wolf Policy
Ranchers need tools to co-exist and manage wolves

The State Board of Agriculture adopts resolutions stating their position on a number of issues impacting agriculture. The Board of Agriculture is reviewing and considering edits on their existing resolution regarding coexistence between livestock and wolves in Oregon, on page 6 of the link. When the Board considered updates to a similar resolution regarding cougar management last November, a number of environmental groups packed that record with hundreds of letters arguing against active management of cougars in Oregon.

This is an opportunity for members of the public to write the Board of Agriculture or sign up to present public comment at the meeting to discus the need for active management of wolves in the state.

The Oregon Farm Bureau has brought to light several points regarding wolves in Oregon: Written comments from the public can be made by email to: Karla Valness at kvalness@oda.state.or.us by 5:00 PM on Thursday, January 14, 2021.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-09 16:59:03Last Update: 2021-01-09 17:33:50



Brock Smith Denounces Violence
I am disheartened that some accelerate their hyper partisan narrative

In the wake of this week’s violence, loss of life, destruction of property and electoral vote certification, State Representative David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) has issued a statement.

“I have been critical of the unchecked violence, looting, deaths, destruction of public and private property in Portland and elsewhere across our state for the many months it continues to occur,” said Rep. Brock Smith. “Wednesday’s breach of our US Capital, the loss of life that resulted, the looting and destruction of property that occurred and the attacks on our public safety officers is intolerable and disgraceful as well. I condemn these actions as I have the others.”

“Words matter and I am proud of the broad support of both Republicans and Democrats in denouncing such violence and its assault on our Republic. I am disheartened that some politicians have chosen to use this time to accelerate their hyper partisan narrative, rather than come together for the people of our State and our Nation,” said Brock Smith. “This was not a coup and Rep. Fahey’s statement that those of us that signed a letter for the Oregon Attorney General to uphold fair elections, are ‘complicit in today’s violence’ is shamefully arrogant and wrong.”

“I have been very clear as this was not an act of sedition, it was to highlight the unconstitutional actions surrounding elections that occurred in Pennsylvania. Our former colleague, Oregon State Senator and now U.S. Congressman Cliff Bentz, skillfully articulated this, ‘Article II of the Constitution sets forth that each state legislature is entrusted with the authority to establish and facilitate elections within that state. In Pennsylvania, the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the state’s Supreme Court did not adhere to the statutes set forth by the legislature when they extended deadlines for the return of absentee ballots. This action violated the principles of Article II of the Constitution because the state legislature had not previously delegated broader authority to the Secretary. Ultimately, this change in voting procedures by a non-legislative body contributed to a widespread loss of faith by many Americans in the integrity of the 2020 election – including many in my district. Such a violation of our Constitution must be discouraged in the strongest terms possible.’ Many of the constituents in my district were equally frustrated by these unconstitutional actions, and as a legislator who’s responsible for related election laws within our state, all of us should be cognizant of the law and be supportive of following it.”

“Our State and our Nation are unfortunately a people divided. Many have been financially devastated, unable to see family or friends, have lost loved ones, are worried about their children and have deep concerns of where and how our state and our country will go moving forward. As legislators & elected leaders of Oregon, we must come together for our people. We must lead by example. We must work together to heal the fractures in the public’s trust of our Republic and be resolute in our actions to represent all Oregonians,” said Rep. Brock Smith.

“Ronald Reagan said, ‘Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.’ I call on my colleagues to join me in denouncing violence wherever it occurs, to lay down the partisan rhetoric that continues to sow seeds of division, to lead by example and to come together peacefully for all Oregonians.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-09 12:44:49Last Update: 2021-01-09 13:08:46



Oregon Emergency Board Passes More Spending
$400 million for the first few months of 2021

The Legislative Emergency Board has now passed millions of dollars in emergency funding to support Oregonians impacted by the Coronavirus lock-downs and the Labor Day Wildfires. This is the 13th meeting of the Emergency Board since March 2020.

This follows action taken during the third special session of 2020 on December 21, when the Legislature voted to move $400 million into the state’s emergency fund for critical pandemic-related programs that will support Oregonians in the first few months of 2021, as well as $100 million to provide more support for Oregonians impacted by the Labor Day wildfires.

“For the last 10 months... legislators of the Emergency Board have acted swiftly ” House Speaker Tina Kotek said. “Entering the 2021 legislative session, our focus will not waver.”

“It is a new year but Oregon and people are hurting,” Senate President Peter Courtney said. The session is right around the corner. We must work hard..."

Below is a summary of the actions approved by the Emergency Board:
--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-01-08 18:51:42Last Update: 2021-01-08 21:47:51



Attempted Murder Suspect Apprehended
U.S. Marshals arrest escapee in Portland, Oregon

Attempted murder suspect David Dahlen was originally arrested on Saturday, January 2, 2021 at 1:30pm and escaped his cell later that day due to a government mandated coronavirus protocol error by a cleaning crew.

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: 2021-01-08 18:36:40Last Update: 2021-01-08 18:45:10



Maybe This is What Happened to the Flu
No Twindemic or testing snafu?

As you may remember reading in the Northwest Observer, “Hey What Happened to the Flu?” flu cases are down. We are into a new year, and the report for flu cases is out for Week 52. OHA Flu Bites is published every Friday.

Flu activity remains unusually low and it seems illogical to assume mask wearing and social distancing has stopped all but a mere four flu cases in Oregon for the week, yet cases of COVID-19 remain high. Week 52 of tracking in the 2019-2020 year saw 1586 cases. Respiratory Syncytial Virus, a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, is zero as well. This same week last year, 11% of all Influenza like illnesses were RSV. Flu, RSV and COVID-19 all have similar and overlapping symptoms.

That leaves us with the tests to differentiate and diagnose. New information has come to light that could be the reason for a lower amount of flu cases than normal for this time of year. Mentioned previously, were a few possible explanations: Northwest Observer has obtained a copy of an email from Leah Horner from Kate Brown’s office. Horner at the Oregon Health Authority sent Brown's office questions posed by different County Commissioners regarding testing.

Horner asks, “Hi there, Is there a 3 in 1 test for Covid, flu and something else?”

The response from Danna Drum the Office of the State Public Health Director was:

“Generally speaking, there are several tests available that can identify influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and/or RSV. Clinical labs in Oregon are adopting some of these methods, and its possible some doctors’ offices are as well. We don’t have numbers of organizations that have adopted these tests in Oregon. OSPH (Oregon State PH Laboratory) has implemented use of the CDC Multiplex PCR assay which tests for Influenza A, Influenza B, and SARSCo-V-2 using one patient specimen. The other test OSPHL uses only identifies SARS-CoV-2.

There is no approved combo test for RSV, Influenza and COVID-19 but the FLU SC2 Multiplex Assay, combo test was granted an Emergency Use Authorization on July 2, 2020. The FDA has since authorized a home based combo test on December 4. Cycle threshold refers to the number of cycles needed to amplify viral RNA to reach a detectable level. What if the same problems with high cycle thresholds exist with this test (they are 40) as the Thermo Fisher COVID-19 only PCR tests? This could be the reason why only COVID-19 is being found. Are these new tests unreliable in diagnosing influenza and RSV?

These are questions that need to be answered by the Oregon Health Authority.


--Nicole Graff

Post Date: 2021-01-07 16:43:53Last Update: 2021-01-07 22:58:49



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."

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

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.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

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



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