During the legislative session, I think the Captiol building should be...
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Clerks: Voting in Oregon is Fair
This is not Chicago

Election Integrity is on everyone’s mind these days. How does Oregon rate in the eyes of an elections expert? Surprisingly good, according to some county clerks. Let’s look at what we can do to assure there’s no fraud.

In Oregon, the counties are the only place where the voter rolls are administrated. Anyone can request and get the voter rolls from their county clerk.

Challenges to voted ballots can be made to the county clerk by any citizen of that county. Challenges to the voter rolls are complaint based.

You can find the relevant statues online

253.700 Duty to challenge ballot; procedures.

254.415 Challenging ballot of person offering to vote; statement of challenge.

254.426 Procedure on challenged ballot.

254.431 Special procedure for ballots challenged due to failure to sign return envelope or nonmatching signature; public record limitation.

The accuser can request a hearing of the county clerk. The accuser and accused appear before the clerk who adjudicates the complaint on its merits. The accused must appear, or they will go to inactive status. Voters must qualify by age and citizenship plus have a correct residential address and signature on file. Challenges can be based on legal status, proper or multiple addresses, correct signature, being deceased and being less than 18 years age. Challenging U.S. citizenship by E verify needs to be done legally.

Ballots are mailed out 20 days before an election and may be cast by U.S. mail or at a ballot drop box or in person at the Clerk’s Office any time after being received.

Survivors of deceased voters are to write “deceased” on the ballot envelope and return it in the mail, drop box or in person. The same is true for any person who receives in their mail a ballot for someone no longer living at that address – write “moved” or “no longer at this address” on the envelope and return to the Clerk’s Office.

For voters planning travel, absentee ballots may be obtained from the county clerk 29 days before an election. Voters living away but in-country are mailed ballots 29 days before elections. Military, both in-country and abroad are mailed, or emailed ballots 46 days prior to an election as are voters living out-of-country. Those choosing email sacrifice privacy. Ballots in Oregon may be returned in any county and will be forwarded to the voter’s county of residence for counting. College students, people living in vehicles and people with second homes can have only one voter registration file for voting – that file can include their residence address (where they live), their mailing address (where they receive mail) and their absentee address (where they temporarily receive mail).

Oregon counties compare names and likely eliminate multiple addresses for a voter. The county clerk updates a voter’s registration each time they receive an update. They keep a record of every change made. The voter’s registration can only have one “current” address for each of the types (residence and mailing). Each time a change is made, we mail out correspondence to that voter.

Out of state voters with multiple addresses would be detected a year late. Oregon participates in the ERIC system but the effectiveness is highly dependent on the participation level of each state.

Address changes by out-of-country voters aren’t tracked, they must be reported. When Oregon issues a driver’s license to someone 18 years of age or older their name goes to the Secretary of State if they show a U.S. Passport or a U.S. birth certificate to verify their U.S. citizenship. The SOS gives them 21 days to choose a party affiliation. If they do not respond in that time period they are assigned Non-Affiliated Voter status and their information is forwarded to the appropriate county. The SOS doesn’t describe consequences of NAV status in a primary election. Lists of voters can be obtained by anyone from the clerk’s office or the Secretary of State’s office at any time. Political Parties get a free copy each year.

Those NAV persons could be contacted and solicited to join a party so they can vote in the primary. Persons on the voter rolls are listed by name and residential address only. To get their phone number and/or email address you must work with a third party such as Oregon Data in Tigard, or Melissa Data, an out-of-state company.

The ballot counting process is done only by paid employees of the county. Volunteers and observers can’t touch ballots or envelopes. Temporary workers are hired for each election. They are screened as to impartial performance of their duties by the county clerk’s office. Counties may have to increase their staff 6 to 10 times to handle election day work load. Signature verification is done by staff specially trained in handwriting. They can check about 180 signatures an hour from the signatures on file. Ballots and envelopes with signatures are retained for two years. All election counting has been done on camera since 2005 with implementation of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Irregularities in recent years have been minor with none being “out of the ordinary”. For instance, Ballot measure 107 concerning campaign contribution preference had many votes changed from yes to no. Ballots can be changed up to the moment they are cast. Ballot harvesting and coaching of voters is a concern, but not illegal. To be part of the election process, work through your county clerk.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-01-12 22:35:09Last Update: 2021-01-14 08:44:37

Legislative session starts on an unconstitutional note
Public attendance will remain illegal

If you think that such mandates as wearing masks and the increased programs for tests as well as tracking of positive results is about Covid-19 and public safety, it isn’t playing out that way.

Today, the Oregon Senate began to fulfill its constitutional mandate to conduct the people’s business in 2021.

What does that have to do with Covid-19?

It established a level of fear that the Democratically-controlled Senate passed unconstitutional rules that lock the public out of their Legislature. The Oregon Health Authority knows that the BionaxNow POC tests have a very high false positives and admit the PCR tests detect other coronaviruses and still they are recommending it’s use. It sets up a perfect reason for Governor Brown to keep from how many objects to her policies, and legislators from seeing in-person testimonies that can’t be cut off by the switch of a button.

Article 4 Section 14 of the Oregon Constitution states, “deliberations of each house… shall be open.” But under the Democrat rules, the public may not enter the Capitol, give public in-person testimony, nor view the people’s business in-person. The move continues anti-public involvement rules from last year’s legislative sessions. All the while big box stores, schools, and even the California Legislature are partially open to the public.

The people have a right to participate in their democracy,” said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons). “This participation doesn’t stop after they vote in November and locking the public out of their house is just wrong. Their input is imperative to good public policy. The decision to lock the public out of their Capitol isn’t based on science – not even close,” Leader Girod continued. “We are nearly a year into this pandemic. We have data and information on how to make public spaces safe. Some restaurants are open, big box stores are open, and even California, a state whose COVID case numbers are among the grimmest in the county, has acknowledged the importance of allowing the people to safely access their capitol.”

“Some things are sacred, and the public’s full participation in their democracy is one of those things.”

As of yesterday, California has the third-highest daily reported cases per capita in the country. Oregon is ranked 48th.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-01-12 17:55:12Last Update: 2021-01-12 18:39:45

Representative Nearman Releases Statement
Capitol building should be open to the public

Oregon Republican House District 23 Representative Mike Nearman has released the following statement:

On January 7, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek put out a statement on Capitol operations for the upcoming session. One of the priorities listed in the statement was "Safety – for the public, building employees, legislators and their staff." During their press conference, Speaker Kotek told the press that I “did open a door to allow demonstrators into the building.” For the last few days, I and my family have been subjected to criticism, attacks at my home and threats via email, social media and phone. Many of these messages have been hate-filled and profanity laced.

After several terms in the legislature, I've grown thick skin -- and while nobody likes to be called names and described in profane language -- I can handle it as part of the job that I do, just as I was able to handle the hundreds of public union protestors who waged a physical attack on the House chamber in 2015, as the House held a floor session.

As the Speaker pretends to know my motivations, I will guess at some of hers. The fact that she was in possession of a video for sixteen days, and only chose to reveal the video and implicate me on the day after an ugly mob descended on the Capitol in Washington, DC, tells me that her motivations are about politics and not about safety. The timing of the release is not lost on my wife, who has also had to endure a share of attacks.

I hope for due process, and not the mob justice to which Speaker Kotek is subjecting me. I also hope for a similar outcome enjoyed by her staffer, who was arrested in September for a class-A misdemeanor for interfering with a peace officer, never charged and kept her job. The District Attorney, Mike Schmidt, who never charged the Speaker's staffer for her participation in the Portland riots, was endorsed by Speaker Kotek. So much for a commitment to public safety.

I don't condone violence nor participate in it. I do think that when Article IV, Section 14 of the Oregon Constitution says that the legislative proceedings shall be "open," it means open, and as anyone who has spent the last nine months staring at a screen doing virtual meetings will tell you, it's not the same thing as being open.

Where is the media and why aren't they asking the tough questions of the Speaker? For instance, "When did you acquire the video?", "Why did you wait 16 days until January 7 to release the video?", "Did it occur to you that releasing that video on the day after the unrest in Washington, DC, that there might be a safety impact to Rep. Nearman?", "How do you know what Rep. Nearman's intent was?", "Is it hypocritical of you to employ a person who is accused of directly interfering with a police officer, while calling out Rep. Nearman for walking out a door?", and "When you publicly implicate Rep. Nearman, do you think that impacts his due process and ability to get a fair outcome?" Questions like these would expose the political nature of what is really going on.

I implore the Capitol leadership to open the building to the public as required by the Oregon Constitution.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-01-12 16:52:42Last Update: 2021-01-12 17:13:30

Youth Summit Approaching
Registration closes February 4

Teens are watching the world splitting in pieces with no answers coming from adults or leadership. How do they face life with such adversity? Teens can get help preparing for life during and after high school through the ILEAD Youth Leadership Summit, set for Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021. This free, one-day event is online this year and open to any high school-aged teen living in the Mid-Willamette Valley.

The summit will feature highly interactive workshops presented by guest speakers and teen panels. Participants choose from workshop topics covering personal and leadership development, mental health and self-care, workforce readiness and other “adulting” topics such as finances, credit, student loans, and insurance coverage.

“2020 was just a rough year for all of us, especially teens,” said Evyn Baker, a senior at West Salem High School and summit youth committee member.

His fellow committee member, Angel Franco, a junior at South Salem High School agreed. “As teens, we’re so used to going out and interacting with friends and teachers. Having school daily on a screen sounded like a dream until it happened. Now we’re left wondering what life after COVID and high school will look like.”

The youth committee decided to do something about it by bringing “sunshine vibes to the Mid-Willamette Valley.” Members representing Salem-Keizer, Central, and Woodburn school districts wanted to offer an online event experience where high schoolers could laugh, feel safe, improve their well-being, and reconnect with peers from the safety of their homes.

“I feel like the older I become, the more anxiety and stress I get from both school and knowing that I’m getting closer to becoming an adult,” said Jennifer Valdivia an 11th grader at McKay High School. “It’s just a very scary thought, especially when you have no idea how to do taxes, rent a house, or just don’t know what you want do after high school.” Youth Committee members hope the summit will begin to help their classmates who feel the same way.

Registration closes February 4, 2021. Registration link is found on the event website including a video tutorial on how to sign up for workshops. The event runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and includes games, challenges, raffle prizes, breaks, a LIVE lounge, an event T-shirt and other swag for all teen participants.

Coordinated by the City of Salem Youth Development Services, ILEAD is produced each year by a youth committee, college student event staff, and a planning committee made up of local youth development, prevention, and workforce readiness professionals. Marion County Health and Human Services and City of Salem are the 2021 sponsors.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-01-11 19:36:22Last Update: 2021-01-11 19:47:07

Firearms Legislation Proposed for Session
Spoiler alert: Stock up on ammo

The Oregon Firearms Federation has put out a statement on firearms related legislation that has been made public for the upcoming legislative session:

Here is a quick run down on the anti-gun bills. The statement continues:

"As you know, pursuant to the rules imposed by the House Speaker and the Senate President, you will no longer be permitted to testify against these bills in the Capitol building. Remote testimony during the interim sessions was mostly a failure and people who signed up to testify often could not. Republican legislators who had comments that the chairs of the committees disagreed with were shut off. Do not expect to be treated differently.

"So what does all this mean? The Democrats still have a super majority. They do not need a single Republican vote to pass any of these bills, and except for the permit to purchase bill, they have been trying to pass all this stuff for years. So they are determined. They are also blood thirsty and vindictive. The only reason some of this did not get passed last session was because the Republicans walked out. We have no way of knowing if they will again. Walking out is very costly and subjects Republicans to arrest.

"For the last year the State Police and Sheriffs have used covid as an excuse to either not do their jobs (conducting background checks and issuing CHL’s) or to do them very badly.

"As we have learned, nothing in the law compels Sheriffs to accept CHL applications and nothing in the permit-to-purchase law compels them to accept applications to purchase.

"While the law does require the State Police to provide an estimate of time it will take them to complete a background check for a current firearms purchase, they frequently ignore that law and face no liability for doing so. There is little reason to believe that these same practices will not apply to the permit-to-purchase law.

"It is impossible for us to predict if the Democrats will be more successful eliminating your rights this session than they have in past. (The Democrats in the US Congress are also introducing an avalanche of anti-gun bills.) But it would be prudent to consider it likely and if you plan to own any firearms in the future, and you can find them, maybe now would be the time to acquire them. The same is true if you are considering an “unfinished” receiver purchase."

The session officially begins on Jan, 19th.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-11 13:00:49Last Update: 2021-01-11 13:39:51

Kate Brown Acknowledges Online Classes Create Equity Issue
Garnering support and praise from both sides of the aisle

Oregon Governor Kate Brown held a joint press conference Friday, January 8th, with Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen and Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill, citing the disproportionately negative impacts of online school for Black, Indigenous People Of Color (BIPOC), and rural families across the state. Brown, Allen, and Gill stressed the importance of equity, stating that many children of color and children living in rural communities are failing and must return to in person instruction as quickly as possible.

The Governor stated that it's just not fair to expect impoverished families, and single parents to continue working full time, while also struggling to fill the roles as full time educators and parents. "Especially for our littles," stated Brown, "who are trying to learn math and reading from home." According to recent headlines, Oregon students are failing at alarming rates with the current at home virtual-only education model, and changes need to be made quickly.

Friday's announcement has organizations across the state calling this commitment to equity, a triumph for students and families alike.

"The timing of this announcement couldn't be more appropriate, and I commend Governor Brown for taking this action,” stated Alsea School Superintendent Marc Thielman during a phone interview Friday evening. “I’m relieved and want to express gratitude to the Governor as I know countless families across the state are anxious to have their concerns and challenges addressed. With the mounting evidence we've amassed since the onset of this pandemic, the importance of in-person instruction, along with social and emotional connections gained during school hours, are invaluable. It's time to get kids reconnected to in-person instruction swiftly, before additional collateral damage is done.” Thielman went on to add, “the evidence is overwhelming: schools that use reasonable covid mitigation protocols are safe for both kids and staff and are not sources of spread.” A Sentiment echoed and shared by the Director of Oregon's Department of Education Colt Gill.

Thielman’s district, the Alsea School District, offers three public educational models for families: a physical campus facility for traditional in-person learning, a strictly digital program with an online school he’s had in place prior to the original lockdown last year (out of demand from families who wish for online-only), and now a new at home learning program called Learn at Home Oregon. After the feedback Thielman received from parents last spring, he approached his board to bring forth a balanced on-line and off-line learning approach through a home-based distance education program that launched over the summer. This third choice brought a new option for families both in his district, as well as across the state as many expressed concerns regarding screen time for children. Alsea's physical classrooms however, have been safely open for in-person learning since August for those in his district that do want to attend. The open campus in Alsea has proven that with proper protocols in place, schools can safely and effectively operate, while continuing to provide important services to students and their families, amidst even the most difficult of challenges.

“I have confidence in the Governor’s decision to return the process of determining appropriate risk thresholds back to the local school districts and their communities,” said Thielman. “Doing so is the only way to provide balance to diverse geographical regions and challenges that face different communities across our state. The Governor’s briefing acknowledges what I have been sharing with other educators across the state: we need to address that there are distinct differences in those we are here to serve and we need to find equitable ways to support and accommodate all students.”

According to Suzanne Gallagher, the Director of Parents' Rights in Education, "There has been a growing concern regarding equitable access to in-person education. We believe this is an important upturn of events, and applaud Governor Brown's decision. We have received an outpouring of daily correspondence from educators, students and parents asking for help. At disproportionately higher rates, we've heard from our community members of color; sharing stories of financial hardship, sharing that they've lost a child to suicide, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, high-stress and a general acknowledgement that online-only education is absolutely failing their families,” stated Gallagher. “We recognize that Governor Brown, the OHA, and the ODE have been faced with exceptional challenges, and criticisms during this time, but our organization applauds every step closer towards a more equitable and inclusive future."

As for Superintendent Thielman, optimism abounds, stating he has high hopes to see similar measures soon implemented around other youth programs, helping students regain access to upcoming on-campus sports and activities.

Many have expressed grave concerns regarding the mental health aspects of isolation and inactivity for both children and adults. According to the Center for Disease Control, "Loneliness was associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide." CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a recent Buck Institute webinar that "suicides and drug overdoses have now surpassed the death rate for COVID-19 among high school students". Reconnection through sports and community has been championed by experts as an important step to combating the current climate of restrictions, loss and suicide.

Theiman ended the interview with this thought, “The Governor has brought back a sense of balance to the direction for schools in Oregon, and as a father and Superintendent, I am encouraged to hear this. I'm also ready to continue to serve families with the services and support they need most right now, in order to get their children back on track and ready for the futures they desperately deserve.”

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2021-01-10 13:07:52Last Update: 2021-01-10 13:28:20

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

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