This entire “remote session” depends on electronic means
Recent ice and snow storms have left over 150,000 Oregonians without power and countless more without internet access.
Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River), Deputy Senate Republican Leader, released the following statement demanding legislative leaders delay legislative proceedings until Oregonians can participate:
“This entire “remote session” depends on the public’s ability to access their state capitol through electronic means. With over 150,000 still without power and even more without internet, the public’s involvement in their government is actively being denied. I am joining House Republican Leader Drazan’s call that we temporarily pause all legislative business until Oregonians have access to their state capitol again. The people’s business requires the people.”
The Oregon State Senate has canceled nearly all committee hearings for Wednesday, February 17th, but the House of Representatives remains committed to ignoring the plight of Oregonians that want to participate in the legislative process by still holding hearings.
“Most of the communities affected by these recent storms are in the Portland area. I don’t understand why House leadership would abandon their constituents and ignore their voices in the democratic process. That is not right. We can do better.”
|Post Date: 2021-02-17 12:37:50||Last Update: 2021-02-17 12:44:50|
Portland Police respond to prevent violence
On February 16, 2021, at about 4:00p.m., a call came in to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) regarding a grocery store in the 3000 block of Northeast Weidler Street in Portland, Oregon regarding a group of people arguing with employees and refusing to leave the property. The power was out and employees were discarding spoiled food. People in the crowd took exception to their work.
Initially, no officers were available to respond.
At about 4:17 p.m., an employee called back because they felt the situation was escalating and feared there may be a physical confrontation. The crowd grew to about 20 people and the employee calling wanted police to remove the people from store property. At about 4:30p.m., North Precinct officers arrived and gathered information from the store representative.
The position of the employees of the store was that the food was spoiled and required to be disposed of due to lack of refrigeration. The food was unfit for consumption or donation. Officers also tried to explain this to the group of people. No subject in the crowd was willing to have an open dialogue with the officers and continued to shout insults at them and store employees.
As it was private property, the officers asked the group to leave store property or risk potential arrest for trespassing. People in the crowd slowly moved away. Officers' interest in this call was to preserve peace, prevent violence, and restore order. Officers estimated the crowd grew to about 50 people.
Between about 5:05p.m. and 5:15p.m., there were the most officers on scene. One lieutenant, one sergeant, six officers, and three trainees (who were there with their training officers). Most were there for about 10 minutes. Three officers (plus one trainee) were there for the duration of the call, which lasted about an hour.
Officers left the scene once they believed parties were separated and there was no longer any threat of harm. After officers left, employees called to report people in the crowd moved back onto store property and were confronting employees again. Store employees reported that people in the crowd were making threatening statements to them. Police supervisors decided that unless there was an imminent threat to life or threat of serious injury, police would remain away. Police did not return to the scene.
There were no arrests or citations issued, and no force was used.
|Post Date: 2021-02-17 12:10:44||Last Update: 2021-02-17 12:31:43|
Who is the election system intended to serve?
Recently, US Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and US Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) sponsored legislation for national mail in voting. Oregon was the first to have that system and is held up by the Democrats as the model system. Most County Clerks are proud of Oregon elections believing controls in place are working reasonably well. One has to wonder then why Democrats in this legislative session have introduced so many bills to change our voting laws.
Election integrity skeptics are concerned about attempts to reduce methods of verification that the voter is legal, is registered at only one address, has a valid signature on file, is living, is a citizen, completed their ballot themselves, is of a legal age to vote and that the voter desires to participate in the elections system.
, co-sponsored by Representatives Julie Fahley (D-Eugene) and Jack Zika (R-Redmond), would allow a third party to electronically submit a voter’s signature. The potential for fraud outweighs any claims of convenience.
Three billsHB 2681
, HB 2685
and HB 2499
would transfer some County Clerk responsibilities to the Secretary of State. That would reduce local control and make it possible to concentrate power in one office, SOS, to commit fraud affecting the entire state. That is more than hypothetical as we witnessed in battleground states in the last national election.
would let 17-year old’s vote in a primary if they would reach 18 years of age by general election. Attempts to lower voting age to 16-years are subtle and suspect.
attempts to handicap the initiative petition process by not letting the petitioner make the argument.
would have the public treasury subsidize campaign donations 6 to 1, a clear abuse of public funds.
Several bills, HB 2658
, HB 2685
and HB 2686
would have ranked choice replace the current practice of parties choosing their contender in the primary election for a runoff in the general election. That would disenfranchise the entire party system.
Bills to extend elections beyond the second Tuesday of November in the form of HB 2687
and HB 2226
would recognize the postmark date in lieu of election date. Delaying results creates opportunities for fraud.
Concerns with voter race and ethnicity seek to create separate classes of voters versus treating all voters the same as the law says they must. They are HB 2745
, HB 2991
would ban photos of candidates in voter’s pamphlets. The subtle message is that minorities are targets of discrimination when identified by their picture. Election results don’t bear out the claims that votes for minorities are suppressed without government protections.
would treat farmers different than other voters in annexation matters.
Attempts to control the campaign funding process beyond the extensive laws on the books are manifest in HB 2238
, HB 2680
, HB 2923
and HB 3076
. The reasoning for some of these isn’t clear and at times are at cross purposes. All of the above describe changes proposed by Democrats. They would increase Democrats power but not benefit voters.
Republicans have proposed three bills on elections. HB 3097
would allow for bigger field signs in the two months leading up to an election. HB 2651
would place more responsibility on the voter in registering while giving the voter more time to act on those responsibilities. HB 2022
would have the District Attorney rather than the County Clerk interpret the Constitutional wording of petitions. The Multnomah County D.A. released 666 0f 742 arrested for riots in Portland. The Clerk can always seek legal advice beyond the D.A.’s office if necessary. The Clerk may be the better arbiter of ballot wording.
What would elections look like if we errored on the side of assuring integrity? Some perennial suggestions follow, that won't be found in the above legislation.
- Reinstate paper ballots
- Reinstate voting and vote counting as public acts
- Reinstate the precinct as the place where voters cast their ballots and where the ballots are counted
- Allow candidates to choose areas to audit the vote
- Mandate that the election process be recorded with video and audio equipment
- Publicly and immediately post precinct vote results
- Mandate the cleaning up of all voter registration lists
- Eliminate same-day voter registration
- Put in place law to protect evidence
- Punish fraud and end early voting
- Require an absolute chain of custody for ballots
- Repeal laws that allow for unattended drop boxes for ballots and laws allowing for no-excuse absentee balloting
- Ballots should have verifying features
- Make it easier to recruit election clerks
- Don't allow government employees or political hacks to run the polls
- Require paper voter sign-in sheets
Why don’t we ever see any of these suggested in super majority Oregon? Could it be they would threaten the party in power? Who is the election system intended to serve?
|Post Date: 2021-02-16 21:34:52||Last Update: 2021-02-16 21:46:30|
“Removing the dams will cause untold ecological damage”
Representative E. Werner Reschke (R-Malin) has stated his opposition to dam removal and transfer being considered by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The first docket (P-14803-001) allows the transfer of four hydropower dams along the Klamath River from PacifiCorp to a newly formed company, Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC). The second docket (P-2082-063) grants authority to KRRC to remove the four hydropower dams.
“Removing the Klamath River dams will cause an untold ecological damage to the river’s fish and other aquatic species for the foreseeable future due to decades of toxic silt built up behind each dam. PacifiCorp understands this risk. That is why they are pursuing this
transfer of hydropower dam ownership to KRRC, so they can avoid the landslide of impending lawsuits caused by the ecological disaster of dam removal from the flushing of these toxins down river,” said Rep. Reschke.
Rep. Reschke has opposed dam removal from beginning concept, as local elections in Siskiyou County, California (2014) and in Klamath County, Oregon (2016) show that 75% of the people directly effected by dam removal oppose this action. Rep. Reschke’s complete letter with more critical reasons for opposing dam removal can be read online at his legislative website
|Post Date: 2021-02-16 21:01:01|
“Struggling working families need our help, not the government”
Senator Dick Anderson (R-Lincoln City) has announced that he is drafting legislation that would prohibit the state of Oregon from taxing federal economic impact payments.
“The sole purpose of federal stimulus checks was to give people help when they needed it the most,” Senator Anderson said. “There is no justification for the state to be taking some off the top. Helping people get back on their feet means helping them keep more money in their pockets.”
An estimated 870,000 Oregonians will be sending part of their federal stimulus checks to the state government because of a reduced federal tax subtraction on state returns. Because federal subtractions are phased out at higher income levels and not applicable for low-income earners with no federal tax liability, middle-class families are hit hardest by the loophole.
“Struggling working families need our help, not for the government to be taking more money from them during these challenging times,” Sen. Anderson continued. “It’s an issue of fairness. Should the state be taking money that was intended to help people? I don’t think so, and most my constituents from the coast don’t think so either.”
An average family of four would see nearly $300 of their federal stimulus money go to the state in personal income taxes, bringing over $110 million over the next few years in state revenue, according to a Legislative Revenue report
“$300 can make a big difference for families who are struggling to afford groceries, childcare, or making rent,” Senator Dick Anderson said. “While we will be dealing with the impacts of the economic devastation the pandemic has brought for years, this is a good first step. I look forward to finding more ways to help our small businesses and working families recover.”
Per state law, the earliest bills that affect state finances can go into effect is 91 days after the end of the legislative session. Thus, filers may opt to amend this year’s tax filing or apply for a tax credit on next year's taxes. Other provisions included in the legislation would also exempt any future stimulus checks from state taxes. The bill is currently being drafted with Legislative Counsel and a bill number will follow.
|Post Date: 2021-02-16 20:23:20|
Democrats offer thin-skinned retort
Oregon House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) released the following statement in regard to preserving public access to the legislature amid historic power and heat outages across northern Oregon:
“A virtual session requires access to power and internet for Oregonians to meaningfully participate in the legislative process. Legislative leaders committed to an open and transparent session. We must honor that commitment and not leave Oregonians behind in a rush to return to business as usual.
“Today I am calling on the Speaker to put the welfare and on-going recovery of Oregonians first and pause all legislative activity. We have over 200,000 families who have suffered extensive storm damage and are without power and heat, many since last Friday, with no clear end in sight.
“We need to keep our focus on serving constituents and the most vulnerable while we await power to be restored.
“Our work in the legislature should come back online once the power does.”
At the time of this release Portland General Electric is reporting 216,000 customers without power and an uncertain restoration time period
Drazan's statement was met with a -- as one Republican Representative characterized -- "a defensive and thin-skinned tweet" produced by House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland) at a time when more than one State Legislator is without power and internet while being expected to participate in the session remotely. That same Representative, who declined to be named, chided the party in power. "First, they lock out the public, then they move forward when some legislators are not able to attend. If the only way for the people and legislators to participate is electronically and some have no electricity, they can't participate."
|Post Date: 2021-02-16 19:57:11||Last Update: 2021-02-16 20:23:20|
Oregon Education Department promotes training that degrades scholastic achievement
An Oregon State Senator claims that the Oregon Education Department is now promoting indoctrination sessions for teachers and administrators. In an email newsletter
, the Department recommended that education professionals take the “Pathway to Math Equity Micro-Course” which promotes the idea that correct and incorrect answers in math are “characteristics of white supremacy.”
Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) released the following statement to demand answers from the Education Department:
“Thousands of Oregon families are suffering from school shutdowns imposed by the Governor. Parents and students have rightfully demanded that schools be reopened, but with propaganda like this being taught to our teachers, parents should feel betrayed. If parents truly want their kids to learn basic skills to be successful in life, I doubt they will consider putting their kids back into the Oregon public school system.”
The training suggests
that white supremacy shows up in the culture when mathematics is “used to uphold capitalist, imperialist, and racist views,” and also teaches that an oppressive hierarchy is upheld, when “teachers are teachers and students are learners,” and “students are required to show their work.”
“This curriculum is divisive and destroys the very goal of our education system, which is to teach kids objective truths about our world. The ideas in this curriculum degrade the very people it purports to help. This is nothing but the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’ for our students. All children are capable of learning math, or other subjects, without our state creating a curriculum that says, “there is no wrong answer.” Of course, there are wrong answers.
“By its own admission, this curriculum is a full-frontal assault on truth and the fact that 2+2=4. I can’t think of a better example of the post-truth progressive ideology than this. Correct math answers are not correct because of the color of one’s hair, eyes, or skin-tone, nor because a child comes from a single-parent home or has a disability. The correct calculation for the square root
of 10 is an objective fact and all of us have the potential to follow the logic and come to a correct calculation. In life, as well as in mathematics, there are correct and incorrect answers.
“America’s great experiment in public schooling used to be about enabling children to develop their fullest potential by cultivating their minds, instilling values, and defending foundational principles. Now it is turning into a shameful scam. Our once great institutions are no longer serving parents and their children but are being hollowed out by radical ideologies and power-hungry public sector unions.
“When parents can’t trust schools to do their only job – educate – we, as policymakers, have an obligation to give people alternatives. I have introduced several measures this session that will increase the options for parents desperate to escape the indoctrination centers that our public schools have become.”
Senator Linthicum’s school reform measures include:
increases the percentage of kids who can enroll in virtual charter schools from 3% to 5%.
would establish an education savings account program to give low-income families the ability to choose a private school without tax penalties.
allows any child in the state to attend any school in the state without the approval of the school board.
|Post Date: 2021-02-16 17:41:11||Last Update: 2021-02-16 19:34:52|
Only 184 reported on Monday, zero deaths
As many Oregon residents sit in the dark trying to stay warm through the fallout of yet another disaster, neighbors reach out and help one another, while government agencies seem helpless.
There are zero new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, and the state’s death toll remains at 2,137, the Oregon Health Authority reported at 12:01 a.m. today.
Oregon Health Authority reported 184 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 150,464.
The Oregon Health Authority is attributing the downward trend to the weather event.
"Case and electronic laboratory result counts are lower than anticipated today. This is likely related to the winter weather event and hazardous travel conditions."
The State declared an emergency over the COVID disease nearly a year ago, and the state's leadership, particularly Governor Kate Brown does not seem willing to loosen mandated restrictions on the Oregon populace, who has had to circumstantially deal with a series of what most residents are considering more dire emergencies.
The historic Labor Day Wildfires and the recent storm which left so many in the dark and cold on Valentine's Day 2021 come to mind.
Many observers have noted how nice it would be right now to sit in a warm restaurant with electricity.
|Post Date: 2021-02-15 18:10:25||Last Update: 2021-02-15 18:39:04|
Not the first time the OHA has come under fire for accuracy
In a Cease and Desist Letter
, obtained by Northwest Observer, and dated February 15, 2021 Attorney Robert Snee of Beaverton, Oregon alerted Patrick Allen, Director of the Oregon Health Authority that the State agency under Allen's leadership has posted inaccurate and misleading content in violation of federal law, which could lead to the Vaccine Manufacturer's having their EUA status revoked.
"In violation of federal law, part of your social media messaging falsely claims that the FDA “approved” two COVID-19 vaccines. This representation is a direct violation of the conditions under which the authorizations for emergency use were granted to Pfizer and Moderna and could endanger the continuance of those authorizations. On behalf of my client and several concerned Oregonians, I hereby demand that you remove all the false claims outlined previously and herein, and issue a correction no later than 5:00 pm Thursday, February 18, 2021".
This is the second Cease and Desist letter sent by Snee to Director Allen, the first was dated January 24, 2021. Pat Allen has yet to issue a retraction, or correction, placing OHA in violation of the law, and placing both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines at risk of losing their EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) status under the Food and Drug Administration.
The Cease and Desist Letter clearly outlines EUA law stating:
"The Secretary, through the FDA’s authorizations for both of the two COVID-19 vaccines currently in use pursuant to the EUAs, expressly provide that the vaccines are each “an investigational vaccine not licensed for any indication” and require that “[a]ll promotional material relating to the COVID-19 Vaccine clearly and conspicuously state that this product has not been approved or licensed by the FDA
Claims have been made by the Oregon Health Authority regarding the "COVID-19 vaccines, which have not yet been evaluated by the FDA. These claims can be found on various graphics, in addition to claims made during press conferences and live videos.
"In violation of federal law, the state’s official promotional graphic and message described in my January 24, 2021 letter, falsely claim the COVID-19 vaccines have been “approved by the FDA” which is not only categorically false, but is also directly prohibited by the conditions for the promotion of this product under 21 U.S.C. 360bbb-
3(e)(4) and related federal law and regulations." "The federal statute that authorizes the FDA to grant an emergency use authorization, Section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. 360bbb-3, states that “[t]he Secretary may establish conditions on advertisements and other promotional descriptive printed matter that relate to the emergency use of a product for which an authorization under this section is issued.” 21 U.S.C. 360bbb-3(e)(4)."
Pat Allen has not complied, nor has Allen responded to the Cease and Desist, despite the threat of litigation:
"Failure to do so will result in a lawsuit on behalf of my clients seeking an injunction to force your compliance with the applicable federal law."
This is not the first time the Oregon Health Authority has come under fire for transparency, or accuracy issues. Just last month the OHA reporting portal for COVID-19 deaths and cases, was found to be unsecured, lacking any type of password protections to make a report. Additionally the Oregon Health Authority has been under constant fire for denying public records requests, failure to disclose testing data, and most recently for making a decision to stop sharing detailed death reporting information.
It's unclear if the State will spend more tax dollars, to fight this in court, or if Pat Allen will instead choose to follow the law, and correct the misinformation.
|Post Date: 2021-02-15 17:10:36||Last Update: 2021-02-17 14:54:16|
Medical clinic also vandalized
A small protest caused delayed police response and ended with some broken windows and more in downtown Portland.
On Friday, February 12, 2021 at about 8:00p.m., a protest of about 30-50 people gathered at Director Park, 815 Southwest Park Avenue. The group marched to Central Precinct at 1111 Southwest 2nd Avenue, where the group began throwing objects and yelling at officers. There were police vehicles parked outside the precinct. As officers went out to move their cars in an effort to prevent them from being damaged, the officers were pelted with icy snowballs by participants.
In an effort to avoid confrontation and de-escalate the situation, and due to lack of available resources, officers remained out of sight as much as possible. However, officers were forced to monitor in case the group became more violent or caused damage to city property. While officers were occupied with that, there were calls stacking up in the precinct, including numerous calls for welfare checks on houseless community members who were exposed to the frigid weather. Among other duties, officers were facilitating getting those individuals to warming shelters if they wished.
The precinct, which is the only police facility open to the public 24 hours a day, was locked for security.
As officers from other precincts approached to access the intake for the Multnomah County Detention Center, the hostile group surrounded their cars. Traffic was very limited due to the treacherous weather, but the group stood in the street blocking the way.
At about 10:45p.m., the group went on a short march. Officers discovered that windows were broken by participants of the crowd during the march. A coffee shop in the 1300 block of Southwest 3rd Avenue and a medical clinic in the 900 block of Southwest 5th Avenue were damaged.
The crowd dissipated by 11:30p.m. No arrests have been made and no one was injured. If anyone has information about the suspects who vandalized the businesses or harassed officers, please refer to case number 21-39817 to the Portland Police.
The staff here at Northwest Observer apologize for any technical difficulties as many of us are currently experiencing fallout from this historic ice storm which hit the Pacific Northwest region on Friday, February 12th. The storm has caused severe damage in many areas and has prompted the Oregon Governor Kate Brown to declare an emergency. The Northwest Observer will continue to bring you important updates.
|Post Date: 2021-02-14 20:51:15||Last Update: 2021-02-14 21:13:59|
The state may not impose requirements on municipalities, without support
In 1995, the Oregon Legislature referred Ballot Measure 30 to the voters -- a Constitutional change which would not allow the state to create unfunded mandates for cities and counties. In November 1996 the voters passed it
with 56% of the vote and it became Section 15 in Article XI of the Oregon Constitution.
Article XI, Section 15. Funding of programs imposed upon local governments; exceptions. (1) Except as provided in subsection (7) of this section, when the Legislative Assembly or any state agency requires any local government to establish a new program or provide an increased level of service for an existing program, the State of Oregon shall appropriate and allocate to the local government moneys sufficient to pay the ongoing, usual and reasonable costs of performing the mandated service or activity.
The usual "big government" organizations were against it. The City Club of Portland put out a statement against it
saying, "The measure would cause a significant and undesirable shift of power away from the state to local governments, needlessly frustrating the ability of the state to implement social and economic policy objectives, and could lead to a patchwork pattern of compliance and noncompliance with laws and regulations across the state. This can only further exacerbate existing political divisions within the state and would undermine the very notion of what it means to be an Oregonian."
The courts have determined that if an act of the Legislature does cause an unfunded mandate the municipality need not comply. the state does not have to cover the whole cost. If the cost is less than 95 percent of the usual and reasonable costs incurred by the local government in conducting the program at the same level of service in the preceding fiscal year or requires the local government to spend for the program, in addition to the amount appropriated and allocated by the Legislative Assembly, an amount that exceeds one-hundredth of one percent of the annual budget adopted by the governing body of the local government for that fiscal year.
In 2015, Oregon enacted a paid sick-leave law, and several counties sued
claiming that the new law forced the counties to implement a "program" which was not funded. The Oregon Supreme Court determined that paid sick leave for county employees did not constitute a "program" and therefore was not an unfunded mandate.
The law does not only include acts of the legislature, but rules enacted by executive branch state agencies.
|Post Date: 2021-02-13 07:43:28||Last Update: 2021-02-12 21:57:40|
“Our mental health is as low as it has ever been.”
Editor's note: What follows is a letter that was sent to a State Representative and is being reprinted with the author's permission.
To whom it may concern,
Please take the time to read this and hear my story. My name is Madelyn Loughary. I am a senior at Dallas High School. I have the opportunity to be a part of an amazing community and get to play 3 sports. I participate in volleyball, basketball, and softball. Last February before Covid-19 had officially shut us down I had an appendectomy so despite getting to “finish” my Junior basketball season it was still cut short. Going into my softball season so excited that it was gonna be so much fun. I didn’t get to participate in the first 2 weeks due to recovery, and then on March 13th 2020 I was cleared to play. Little did I know I would be given the news that the season was canceled that same day. I was devastated and couldn't imagine what the seniors had felt like until now. I started my senior year online and with no chance at a normal sports season or school year.
School being online isn’t fun at all and in no way how I wanted to spend my senior year. School being online is what it is but what I don’t understand is why the fight for athletics isn’t there. Each week we hope to get updated news and new policies, but each week we are disappointed once again. February 10th, 2021 we were given the news that football was allowed to play full contact, and was going to get their season. I have never been so upset at such good news. I immediately texted my volleyball coach only to find out that a minimal contact sport with only 12 girls on one side of the court in a mask cannot be in the gym together and not guaranteed a season. Put yourself in our shoes and how awful that felt as student athletes being deprived yet again of their season. We are all so terrified that we have already stepped on the court or on the field for the last time; terrified that someone is going to ask how we are doing with everything, and that those 4 words could break us.
Our mental health is as low as it has ever been. The drive in the classroom is gone because there is no hope that we are going to get our season. Our coaches are fighting and fighting for us to get the seasons we deserve but here we are with nothing other than the opportunity to condition outside. If you sent out a survey to all the student athletes regarding their mental health and how much we are affected by the lack of athletics in Oregon you would be appalled that you created this. We are one of the only states not able to play sports; one of the only states shutdown. The vaccine is out; the tests are available. The only thing holding us back is you. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
|Post Date: 2021-02-12 16:06:13||Last Update: 2021-02-12 17:43:28|
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