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Brown Delivers State of the State
No amount of sloganeering will unite Oregonians

Governor Brown has issued her annual State of the State address, effectively a list of her accomplishments, while Oregonians continue to suffer because of what some consider to be her poor policy choices.

The address notably lacked specifics on how to address Oregonian’s most pressing challenges such as lackluster vaccine distribution, helping small businesses and working families recover from government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions, wildfire recovery, and getting kids back to school. She used the opportunity of a pre-recorded speech to replace substantive policy proposals with sympathetic interviews. Instead of offering ways to help Oregonians, she decided to shirk responsibility by having other people tell you about the problems we face.

Senate Republican Leader, Fred Girod (R-Lyons) issued the following statement:

“Hidden behind all of the Governor’s flowery words are crushing new taxes on businesses and working families who are already struggling to make ends meet. No amount of sloganeering will unite Oregonians or solve the real issues they face.

“The Governor dedicated much of her time to racial issues. Senate Republicans are committed to ensuring everyone has equal opportunities to succeed, which includes common sense police accountability measures, some of which we have already passed. But the Governor’s lockdowns have done disproportionate harm to minority workers and students, and her failure to uphold the law in Portland has resulted in a disproportionate number of people from our communities of color falling victim to gun violence.



“Democrats, who have overseen this state for decades, particularly in Portland, need to take responsibility for years of mismanagement.

“As Republicans, we want to get kids back in school and people back to work so they can provide for their families. We want to keep our neighborhoods safe, so people have the opportunity to be their best. Our priority this session will be to solve Oregonians' most pressing issues. As a caucus, we look forward to introducing legislation that will move Oregon forward and help them recover from the crises we face.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-21 14:33:59Last Update: 2021-01-21 16:26:10

Ted Wheeler Appoints Government Relations Director
She comes from California

Mayor Ted Wheeler has announced his appointment of Briannon Fraley as director of the City of Portland’s Office of Government Relations, where she will play a pivotal role in building relationships and leading advocacy. Fraley most recently served as Initiatives Director for the Wild Rivers Community Foundation in Crescent City, California. She will begin her new role on January 25th.

“She will join and lead an outstanding team of professionals and I am excited to work with her to advance our community’s priorities at the State and Federal level.” Mayor Wheeler said.

Before joining the Wild Rivers Community Foundation, Fraley served for eight years as chief governance officer for the Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation, also in Crescent City, California. In that role, Fraley was a strategic thought partner and advisor to the Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation Tribal Council. She also represented the tribe in compact negotiations, inter-governmental agreements, committees, conferences, negotiations, summits and other related gatherings.

“Briannon’s deep understanding of tribal governments and her experience building strong partnerships across jurisdictions is invaluable as we continue to grow the City’s Tribal Relations program,” Mayor Wheeler said.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve the people of Portland,” Fraley said. “I’ve spent my career in public service. Ever since I was a child I’ve been engaged in government and my community. My mother was the first-ever woman postmaster in Smith River, California. My aunt was the longest-serving tribal chair of the Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation.” she said.

The Office of Government Relations represents the City on legislative and administrative issues at the regional, state, federal, tribal and international levels. Government Relations advances City policy goals and initiatives through effective advocacy to federal, state and regional governments, and a broad range of non-governmental entities. The office coordinates relations with tribal governments and facilitates policymaking with the urban American Indian/Alaskan Native communities. The office also oversees the city's International Relations Program, which includes Portland's nine sister cities and one friendship city and which welcomes international delegations to Portland on a weekly basis.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-01-21 13:09:52Last Update: 2021-01-21 14:33:59

Ed Department: Graduation Rates Up
Did anyone learn anything?

The Oregon Department of Education has released updated graduation statistics for the 2019-2020 school year. The results, which concluded that graduation rates rose by nearly 3% since the year before, reflect a lower standard than previous years. Attendance was hardly tracked, students didn’t receive traditional grades, and school districts did not require standardized testing. Senate Republican Leader, Fred Girod (R-Lyons) released the following statement:

“Schools and students went through and overcame many difficulties during the pandemic. But for the Governor and her Education Department to pretend that these new statistics somehow indicate a higher quality of education for our kids, particularly for our minority communities for whom we know the impact of school closures was disproportionate, is ridiculous. We should not rely on statistics from a year that caused so much disruption to education to give us insights on how well our schools are doing at educating our kids.

“It is pretty easy to artificially inflate graduation rates when you don't know if kids showed up to school or learned anything when they did. It’s easy to give someone a diploma when we change grading to pass/no pass. These standards simply reflect a lower standard. “The only way to have an accurate look at how our kids are learning is to get them back into the classroom with regular instruction. Additionally, we must do all we can to make sure teachers get voluntarily vaccinated.”

The Department of Education has been criticized by many over the years for not making critical data accessible to the media and the public.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-21 10:27:51Last Update: 2021-01-21 10:45:11

CAT Tax Prepares to Bite Businesses
Imposed on businesses for the privilege of doing business in Oregon

The Department of Revenue is reminding business owners that once they have more than $750,000 in commercial activity in 2021, they have 30 days to register for the Corporate Activity Tax unless they have already registered. Registration for CAT is a one-time requirement, however, and businesses that registered in 2020 do not have to register again.

Registrations for Oregon’s Corporate Activity Tax have topped more than 20,000 in its first year. Through Wednesday, 20,546 businesses had registered for the CAT, which was created by the Oregon Legislature in 2019 to raise funding for education.

The CAT is imposed on businesses for the privilege of doing business in Oregon. It applies to all types of business entities including those located inside and outside of Oregon. The CAT is measured on a business’s commercial activity, the total amount a business realizes from transactions and activity in Oregon. Businesses with taxable commercial activity in excess of $1 million will have Corporate Activity Tax to pay. The tax is $250 plus 0.57% of commercial activity greater than $1 million after subtractions.

Taxpayers expecting to owe $10,000 or more for 2020 must make estimated payments. Fourth quarter 2020 estimated payments are due February 1. Returns are due April 15. For tax year 2021 and beyond, taxpayers expecting to owe $5,000 or more must make estimated payments. Estimated payments for 2021 are due April 30, August 2, November 1, and January 31, 2022. Returns are due April 15.

Training aids to assist with registration, calculating the tax, and making payments can be found on the CAT page of the Department of Revenue’s website. Taxpayers with general questions about the CAT can email cat.help.dor@oregon.gov or call 503-945-8005.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-21 10:07:41

Legislature Set to Accept Public Testimony
The Capitol is still closed, but you can testify on bills remotely

The Oregon Legislature has released instructions on how to provide live public testimony to Legislative Committees. Previous to this, it was possible to view committee hearings or to submit written testimony, but until now, there was no way to actually testify.

Once a bill is scheduled for a public hearing, you can register to speak at the hearing. It is not possible to register to testify before the bill is formally scheduled. You must register in advance to provide verbal testimony during a committee or subcommittee meeting. Registration closes at the start of the meeting.

There are three ways to register: Before the public hearing, use the MS Teams meeting link or phone number to join the committee or subcommittee meeting at least 5 minutes prior to the meeting start time. You will “wait” in a virtual lobby until staff admits all participants into the meeting, shortly before the public hearing begins.

If you are joining the meeting with an MS Teams link, please: If you are calling into the meeting or joining with teams, you can Links and Phone Numbers
Oregon Legislature’s Website: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov
Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS): https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1
Questions about the legislature, legislative process, or other government agencies:
Email: help.leg@oregonlegislature.gov
Toll-free number: 1-800-332-2313

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-21 09:38:42Last Update: 2021-01-21 10:00:50

The Looming Cloud of Censorship
The tech giants all made their wealth by way of capitalism

Only one or two years ago, we in the U.S. found it incredible that Chinese citizens could not find references to “tank man” when they searched the internet. We couldn’t imagine living in such a country. How could it be that the government, in coordination with tech companies, could completely remove the ability of its citizens to find certain information? In this, the “information age”?

But just like that, we’re there. The big tech monopolies Apple, Google and now Amazon are censuring and removing access to information they don’t agree with and groups that might threaten their hold on power. It started slowly some years ago with YouTube ‘demonetizing’ channels but now the censuring grows exponentially. This week it’s this group, next week it’s that. Maybe you are against ownership of firearms by ordinary citizens so you are ok with web sites where firearms are discussed or even bought and sold legally being removed from one platform and being unable to find another hosting provider. Maybe you don’t like people discussing the deals made between the Biden family and countries who are a national threat to the U.S. and you are ok with sites removing access to any such information. Maybe you don’t like people presenting information to the public about the claimed illegal activity that occurred in the 2020 general election. But make no mistake: if you empower them, anyone will be able to occupy the chair they are in now and one day they will come for you and any discussion of what you believe is important. Further, on the off chance that any of these people, like those who initially claimed the Earth was round and were mocked, turn out to be right, you will have done yourself a grave disservice by removing your own access to their information. It’s a form of slow suicide.

No one who is confident in their knowledge or position, would ever feel the need to silence dissenting voices. They would welcome it, knowing that they possess superior arguments. Only the weak, who know they probably can't win an argument, will seek to silence dissent. No one who has studied history will find censorship novel; every Marxist revolution in history has employed the control and limiting of information as one of its key tactics, as an informed populace will never accept communism. But they may find it surprising that it has happened here, in the last bastion of freedom, in what was designed to be, and was, the freest country in the world. A place people would risk their lives to get to, for the freedom and opportunity they so longed for. And they might be surprised at the number of people who failed to learn about history and are supportive of censorship because those currently wielding it align with their beliefs. “Useful idiots,” who do not comprehend that at some point they will be the target if power like this is allowed to exist and be used by anyone.

The tech giants all made their wealth by way of free market “capitalism,” but are now in bed with the communists who would remove the ladder and the spectrum of states of being it provides and replace it with the two-tiered system that communism brings where a small group become incredibly wealthy and all others sink into poverty, servitude, disease, desperation, darkness and death. They think that by joining forces with the Marxists they will be protected, that they and their friends and families will be able to keep their status while they prevent anyone from competing with them. But Marxism leads only to one place: where the wealth stops being created, and is divided again and again as it grows smaller and smaller, and the group with the power becomes smaller and smaller and more and more vicious until it consists of just one person who literally decides who lives and who dies. This is where North Korea is today. If we allow anyone to censure and remove information from public access, we move closer to that nightmare at an increasingly breakneck pace. There is a point of no return, and when information can be controlled and removed by any person or group, that point is crossed. We are on the edge now. No one person or group of people acting in coordination should have the power to remove access to information. If it were just one publisher and a reader could get their “book” from another, then it is the right of the publisher to refuse to publish a given book. But when one company controls the vast majority of what people are able to see, and worse when the tech companies act in coordination as they now do in order to control not just the vast majority but effectively all of the information, it is a matter of national security that they be broken up so as to remove their ability to do this.

This applies to you, U.S. Senators and Representatives. You have a critical task before you: break up big tech and remove their ability to remove access to information. We did this with the services provided by railroads, and with the oil and phone companies last century but this was done in a time when people had access to information and were aware of the state they were in and what needed to be done. The forces of evil who would protect their comfort and power at the cost of the Nation’s future are so much bigger, so much faster and so much more lethal than they were then. If you don’t do it now, the people won’t even know that they have fallen under the control of a sinister power they cannot see and won't be able to remember a time when it wasn’t so. They won't even know that there was such a time.

--Henry Lee

Post Date: 2021-01-21 07:50:02Last Update: 2021-01-21 07:30:09

Gun Locks, Again
There are existing laws to hold negligent persons accountable

If your weapon is so secure it isn’t accessible, it becomes a form of removal. Another backdoor gun control bill, HB 2510, is being introduced by Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) a legislator known for her desire to restrict the Second Amendment. This bill requires the owner or possessor of firearm to secure the firearm with a trigger or cable lock or in a locked container when transferring the firearm and at all other times that the firearm is not carried by or "under the control" of the owner. “Control” has been expanded to mean that the firearm is in a residence occupied only by adults authorized by the firearm's owner to have access to it and that all doors and windows are closed and locked.

Oregon Citizens Lobby analyzes HB 2510 in this way, “Responsible gun ownership is important, including making sure guns don't fall into the wrong hands, and this bill is well intentioned. But several things are wrong with this bill:
  1. Assuming liability for the actions of others: if an owner transfers a firearm and does not include an approved lock, or does not secure it per the requirements defined by the Oregon Health Authority and it is taken by someone lawfully in the dwelling, or the firearm is lost or stolen and the owner does not report the loss or theft within 72 hours, this bill says they are strictly liable for any injury caused by the new owner or thief, for two years. Liability for the actions of another adult due to negligence, as opposed to active participation, does not carry much legal weight.
  2. This bill could be enacted into law as soon as February 2021 (it of course has an "emergency" clause which sets it to take effect on passage denying public challenge), but the Oregon Health Authority is not required to define what acceptable lock mechanisms are before January 1, 2022. There could therefore be a period of time when this is law is impossible to obey. This is the 3rd or 4th year this bill has been introduced. Why is there still no definition?
  3. If someone stole your firearm with a cable lock and cut it off and used the gun in a crime, how would you be able to prove that you had a cable lock on it? And how would the state be able to prove that you didn't? This is unenforceable.”
HB 2510 also requires reporting theft of a firearm, assuming liability for others’ use of stolen firearms for two years unless the theft is by someone unlawfully in the dwelling, and liability for minor’s unintended possession of firearm or failure to supervise a minor after transferring a firearm to them with exceptions for target shooting and hunting.

Multnomah County already has a law like this, but the District Attorney decided not to use it to charge the father and brother of the Reynolds High School shooter who had taken their firearms without permission, which reportedly were secured. What good are more laws if they are only enforced selectively?

There are many existing laws that can be used to hold negligent persons accountable. For example, the tragedy in Baker County where a 2-year-old toddler gained access to a firearm and fatally shot himself resulted in criminal charges against the parents. It turned out the parents could not even legally possess firearms, so they would not likely have followed this law either. As with most restrictions on firearms, this would be another law which only impacts the law abiding.

The bill has attracted the usual host of Democrat supporters, including Senator Lew Frederick (D-Portland), Senator Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale), Senator Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego), Representative Brian Clem (D-Salem), Representative Dacia Grayber (D-Portland), Representative Paul Holvey (D-Eugene), Representative Rachel Prusak (D-West Linn), Representative Janine Sollman (D-Hillsboro), Representative Lisa Reynolds (D-Portland), Representative Sheri Schouten (D-Beaverton), Representative Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland) and Representative Marty Wilde (D-Eugene).

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-21 07:31:55Last Update: 2021-01-21 07:23:53

Leftist Agitators Vandalize Democrat Party Office
Crowd of 150 also blocked city streets

On January 20, 2021, Portland Police Officers went to the area of southeast Portland in the area near Southeast Stark Street and Southeast 14th Avenue. Recently, a group has been advertising a gathering at Revolution Hall which discouraged live streaming or "peace police." Similar rhetoric on fliers in the months preceding led to events that were punctuated by violence and destruction.

At about 2:45 p.m., a few officers on bicycles rode onto a parking lot on the south side of Revolution Hall. Dozens of people pressed in on the officers and then took one of the officers' bicycles. Other officers came to assist. Within a few minutes, police recovered the bicycle and tried to leave the property to the south. Many in the crowd began blocking or stopping officers as they attempted to leave. Some officers had to push people away with their hands so they could leave.

More officers responded to ensure the safe departure of officers on bicycles. Police recovered some long poles and a large knife from people in the crowd. As officers left the parking lot they dropped one smoke canister between themselves and the crowd of people to ensure they could safely ride away.

Following this, the crowd of about 150 began walking west on Southeast Stark, blocking streets as they moved. Portland Police made announcements from a loud speaker, including: "Officers have observed people in the area of Revolution Hall take an officers bicycle and throw objects at retreating officers. Everyone at Revolution Hall is reminded to obey all laws. Roadways in the area remain open to vehicular traffic and no permit for use of area roadways have been approved. Pedestrians and demonstrators must obey all traffic laws and utilize sidewalks. Failure to obey this direction may result in citation or arrest."

The crowd made its way to Southeast Grand Avenue near Southeast Everett Street where it blocked traffic. The crowd walked to the 200 Block of Northeast 9th Avenue, where people broke out windows and applied graffiti on the offices of the Democratic Party of Oregon. People moved dumpsters in the street and lit the contents of one on fire.

The crowd broke up as it moved east into the neighborhood. Police identified specific people in the crowd who were responsible for crimes and began arresting them throughout the neighborhood. Officers created small perimeters around the scenes of arrests in order to discourage others in the crowd from interfering with arrests.

As police made targeted arrests, the crowd filtered east and south back toward Revolution Hall in smaller and smaller groups. By about 4:30 p.m. peace had been restored to the neighborhood.

The following is a list of people who were arrested, their city of residence, and the crimes for which they were booked into jail:
--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-01-20 18:55:47Last Update: 2021-01-20 23:05:47

Plant Based Hospitalization Proposed
Please don’t share this article with your bacon eating friends

No one wants to be in the hospital unless it is for a happy occasion like the birth of a child, but if HB 2348 is enacted the hospital will get just a little more uncomfortable for some.

HB 2348, sponsored by Representative Marty Wilde (D-Eugene), would “Prohibits hospitals from offering processed meats”. What is included in the definition of processed meats? “Processed meat” means meat and poultry that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking or any other process, other than cooking, to enhance flavor or improve preservation, including but not limited to hot dogs, sausages, bacon and turkey bacon”. So, no bacon next to those powdered eggs the morning after you have your baby.

Long Term care facilities are also subject to this bill, but at least they get to keep their bacon and hotdogs, for now. Long term care facilities are facilities that provide medical services, including nursing services but not surgical for two or more patients. In exchange they are required to offer to patients, residents, staff and visitors 100% plant-based meals and 100% plant-based beverages that are low in fat, sodium and added sugars.

While it is nice to have variety, requiring these facilities to have this available to basically everyone all the time could pose several problems. Many of the plant-based products are not recommended for freezing giving them a short shelf life which could lead to increased food waste. They are often more expensive, but the bill clearly states that “100 percent plant-based meals shall be offered at no additional cost beyond the cost charged for a comparable meal that is not plant-based”. This will lead to increased costs for all meals to make up for the additional cost of a few. As the health care industry continues to struggle with cost, the last thing they need is boutique regulations.

Finally, there are not currently plant based alternatives for all food categories. Yes, there actually is plant-based lobster, but no plant-based scallops, clams, mussels or oysters don’t yet exist. Many people think that food choices should be left up the individual and when the government starts dictating what goes on the menu at Hospitals and long term care facilities, it is opening up the door to move into other areas of private and public businesses.

--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-01-20 15:21:16Last Update: 2021-01-20 16:28:16

Brown Celebrates Biden Inauguration
Calls for more money and national vote-by-mail

Governor Kate Brown issued the following statement today: "Today marks a new chapter for our country as we welcome President Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to the White House. It is an especially extraordinary moment for our nation to celebrate the historic swearing-in of our first female, Black and Asian Vice President — and the incredibly diverse Cabinet that President Biden has nominated. Our government should be reflective of the people it represents, and now Americans across the country will see themselves in the people holding leadership positions.

"We have waited a long time to have a strong, competent and trustworthy partner we can work with at the federal level — and now more than ever, we need that federal leadership to help states beat COVID-19, once and for all. As we still face what could be the darkest days of the pandemic, President Biden has laid out a strong vision and clear plan, based on science, for how the federal government will help the American people, and governors across the country — starting with the announcement of a much-needed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. I look forward to working with the President, Vice President and Congress on getting this ground-breaking package across the finish line.

"I also look forward to working with the new Congress on their For the People Act, which would establish Vote-By-Mail and Automatic Voter Registration nationally. I am so very proud that Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Amy Klobuchar have crafted this comprehensive legislation, which will be the first bill taken up by the new Congress. If passed, this bill will require the reforms we started in Oregon to be adopted by every state in the country. Automatic Voter Registration and Vote-By-Mail should be available to every citizen in this country.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-20 12:44:16

Secretary of State Fagan Welcomes Biden Presidency
Wants to combat the scourge of disinformation that lies in wait

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan issued a statement following the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President Kamala D. Harris:

“Today we witnessed the peaceful transition of power at the very location where a violent coup was attempted only a few weeks ago. The peaceful transfer of leadership is the bedrock of our democracy and Oregonians of all political leanings can celebrate its occurrence once again. We have an opportunity to restore faith in democratic institutions and overcome the divisiveness that has engulfed our nation in modern times. And, with the historic inauguration of our nation’s first woman, South Asian American and Black vice president, and a cabinet that promises to reflect the diversity of our nation, we will have a federal government prepared to continue our journey towards a more perfect union.”

“While we have much work ahead of us to ensure that everyone, regardless of who they are, what their political affiliation is or where they live, feels heard and included in the institutions that serve them, today is a reminder of the greatness, hope, and resiliency of our democracy."

“I look forward to joining leaders in our state and nation to restore faith in our democracy and combat the scourge of disinformation that lies in wait to divide us once again.”

Critics have noted that while at one time, the left, led by people like Secretary Fagan, are calling for unity and inclusion, at the same time they are accusing their political opponents of a violent coup attempt and preparing to "combat the scourge of disinformation..."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-20 12:07:51Last Update: 2021-01-20 12:17:13

Halt to Congestion Pricing Proposed
Unless the toll is used to pay for construction of additional lanes

A proposal to put the brakes on congestion pricing tolling, at least on Interstate 205 has been introduced for the 2021 session of the Oregon Legislature in the form of HB 2629. The proposal, sponsored by State Representative Christine Drazan (R-Oregon City) is simple. It says that "the Oregon Transportation Commission is prohibited from establishing any toll on Interstate 205 unless the toll is used to pay for construction of additional lanes."

The idea of congestion pricing is to create a variable toll, so that when there is more demand for freeway lane space -- during times of more congestion -- the price goes up and people who are able to find alternatives can delay or reschedule trips or take other routes, thereby taking pressure off the heavily used freeways, like I-205.

Critics point out that the freeways are already so heavily congested that there aren't any realistic times in which it's not congested to schedule a trip. It's also hurts lower-income persons more, because they are unable to work from home and tend to work "shifts" where they don't have as much flexibility on the schedule.

Many homeowners who live in the vicinity of I-205 oppose congestion pricing for another reason. The higher prices will cause some to find alternative routes that can lead them through neighborhoods, and residents don't want the extra traffic. The bill also removes language in Oregon law from the 2017 Transportation Package, which authorized the tolls on I-205. The language being taken out is "On Interstate 205, beginning at the Washington state line and ending where it intersects with Interstate 5 in this state" which describes one of the places where congestion pricing is planned.

The bill mirrors a proposed statewide initiative petition that failed to make the November 2020, IP 10, which proposed nearly the same thing, that no tolls could be imposed, unless the funds generated went to new lane capacity.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-20 11:08:47Last Update: 2021-01-20 12:07:51

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