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Compensation Sought for Executive Order Harm
“We hear that small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities”

The Senate Committee on Veterans and Emergency Preparedness has held a public hearing on SB 531, which would compensate businesses for actual harm done by lockdown executive orders.

The testimony from the business community was compelling, and highlighted the difficulties of keeping workers employed, businesses open, and providing for their own families.

Jim Zupancic, the owner of Stafford Hills Club, a fitness center in Tualatin, testified to the hardship of the fitness and wellness industry. He estimated that around 400,000 people from across Oregon have canceled their memberships to gyms and fitness centers, representing an extraordinary loss to a sector that is largely made up of small businesses. There has been no public evidence that any COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred at gyms or fitness centers.

“We know the best way to get working people back to work, is to support the businesses who sign their paychecks,” said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons), the chief sponsor of the bill. “This bill provides tangible relief to support a strong economic recovery for working Oregonians.”

Senator Girod noted in his testimony that in 2007, the Legislature passed HB 2185 which established a principle that businesses be compensated for losses incurred during an emergency declared by the Governor. Section 5(6) says, "If property is taken under the authority granted to the Public Health Director under subsection (2) of this section, the owner of the property is entitled to reasonable compensation from the state." He added that the bill would provide a much-needed check on executive authority.

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

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

JL Wilson, a representative for the Oregon State Chambers of Commerce, which represents thousands of small businesses around Oregon, emphasized damage done to small businesses and the urgent need for this legislation: “If there was ever a bill you could pass for small businesses this session, this would be the one.”

Wilson also noted that while big box stores have, in many cases, done well during the pandemic, small businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the Governor’s executive orders.

Laura Edmonds of the North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce added, “We hear over and over again that small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, yet here we are watching them bleed out.”

“Chair Manning and other members of the committee expressed support for making our small businesses whole,” continued Sen. Girod. “I hope that he sticks to his word and passes this bill out of committee.”

SB 531 is co-sponsored by fellow Republican Senators Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) and Lynn Findley (R-Vale).


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-18 17:59:22



Keeping the Kicker
This is a pretty straightforward income redistribution plan

As a government created COVID-19 recession wears on, the state has begun to feel the loss of revenue and the party in power is looking for ways to make up lost income. No matter what law the state passes, they won't get any revenue from shuttered small businesses.

Oregon's unique kicker law is a has been a part of Oregon's Constitution since the year 2000. Article IX, Section 14, SubSection (4) of the Oregon Constitution currently reads:

If the revenues received from General Fund revenue sources, exclusive of those described in subsection (3) of this section, during the biennium exceed the amount estimated to be received from such sources for the biennium, by two percent or more, the total amount of the excess shall be returned to personal income taxpayers.

State Representative Khanh Pham (D-Portland) is proposing HJR 10, a resolution proposing to change "...returned to personal income tax payers" to:

"...distributed to low income taxpayers through an equivalent increase in the total earned income tax credit allowed to all eligible taxpayers in this state. A greater amount of the increase shall be distributed to eligible taxpayers with dependents in the household, especially dependents under the age of 18 years."

This is a pretty straightforward income redistribution plan and creates an incentive for socialist-minded legislators to over-tax tax-paying Oregonians in order to have a part of their income redistributed to low-income persons. Curiously, the language of the resolution calls for redistribution to "taxpayers" and one wonders if it's intended that none of the redistributed monies go to non-taxpayers.

The House Committee on Revenue currently has possession of the resolution. It is not currently scheduled for a hearing. The Oregon Constitution can only be changed by a vote of the people, so if this passes both legislative chambers, it will appear on the November 2022 ballot for the approval of the people.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-18 15:23:19Last Update: 2021-02-18 16:00:30



Tenants Continue Dominance
The cost ultimately shows up in increased rent

Not so many years ago, the Oregon Legislature had a landlord/tenant workgroup, which would negotiate new laws impacting residential rental property. In addition to making life easier for legislators by having pre-negotiated legislation, it had the effect of creating reasonable, sensible legislation that was fair to both sides. Now, it's good enough that the party in power is just an extension of the tenants' lobby, while housing providers look on helplessly. Some say that history shows that government controlled, one-sided markets don't function well.

Just another example of this is HB 2364, a proposal being floated by Representative Julie Fahey (D-Eugene). The bill is summarized as, "Before its sale to third party, requires owner of residential dwelling facility to give tenants 20 days to form tenants committee and to give any tenants committee right of first refusal."

The "right of first refusal" in the bill is detailed in the bill:

If an owner has received timely notice from a tenants committee, the owner may not make or accept a purchase offer for the facility unless the owner first makes a binding offer in writing to sell the facility to the tenants committee at an equal or lower price and on substantially similar terms and:
a. The tenants committee rejects the offer; or
b. Sixty days have passed and the tenants committee has not accepted the offer.

At its worst, it gives tenants a way to squeeze another 60 days out of the housing provider. It's not hard to see that opportunistic non-profits or government entities will prop up tenant organizations in order to get first in line to execute these transactions. It will have the effect of keeping properties out of the free market, which will be bad for tenants in the long run.

This proposal, like many of the recent changes in landlord/tenant law takes control, liquidity, and flexibility away from housing providers. There is always a cost to these sorts of actions, and the cost ultimately shows up in increased rent, in a state that is ranked 15th among states in median rental apartment rates.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-18 14:51:33Last Update: 2021-02-18 15:23:19



Eugene Riot Suspect Photos Released
May 2020 Riot still under investigation

Multiple suspect photos have been released from the left-wing violent riot which occurred in Eugene, Oregon May 2020.

On the night of Friday, May 29, and into the morning of Saturday, May 30, a leftist protest in downtown Eugene devolved into a riot as they often do.

Several hundred individuals participated in widespread damage to property, burglary, robbery, assault, arson and other violent crimes. This was predominately centered around the intersection of 7th Avenue and Washington Street where the businesses sustained extensive damage and loss.

Since that time, members of the Special Investigations Unit have been conducting an investigation into these incidents with the goal to identify those who engaged in the crimes and arrest those individuals for the crimes committed. This continues to be a lengthy investigation, which requires reviewing hundreds of hours of surveillance video along with available social media posts. Ultimately, detectives have been able to identify and arrests suspects.

To date, 25 people have been arrested. This investigation is ongoing and Eugene Police Department(EPD) Special Investigations Unit has been able to identify a significant number of other suspects and is actively working to locate them for contact. SIU also is continuing to review large amounts of evidence and is investigating the suspects whose identities are not yet known.

Suspect images can be found here.

Additional arrests are anticipated. Investigators are asking for the public’s help to identify suspects, provide any information regarding other rioters involved in this incident as well as photos or videos of the incident that attendees may have taken and are willing to provide. The TIP line is 541-262-5388.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-02-18 13:55:02Last Update: 2021-02-18 15:36:19



School Funding Distribution Formula Change Proposed
The task force would review history and trends

Oregon public schools provide education to a variety of students, and some classifications of students bring additional funding to those districts. Newly elected Representative Zach Hudson (D-Troutdale) who enjoyed a career in teaching at Gresham, Corbett and Reynolds high schools has sponsored legislation which proposes a review of the current classifications and suggestions for improvements to them if necessary.

HB 3142 establishes a task force to examine the State School Fund ADMw. ADMw is one of the funding calculations for K-12 schools. Average daily membership (ADM) is weighted to compensate for specific student needs and uncontrollable cost factors, including special education students (IEP and Sped), English as a second language (ESL), students in poverty, teen parents, neglected or delinquent, youth in foster care and the small school correction factors.

The task force would review history and trends of usage and make recommendations for any changes needed and report back to an interim Legislative Education Committee. The 6 committee members would represent school boards, school administrators, educators, parents, classified school employees and the Oregon Department of Education.

One possible recommendation of the committee could be to change the existing formula calculation for the current categories. The currently ADMw categories and weights are as follows: One current formula that has been discussed widely among Oregon School Board Association Members (OSBA) is the cap at 11% for students in special education and IEPs. Many school districts see student rations well above the capped 11%. When this occurs, they must allocate resources from other areas of their budget to meet the needs of those students. It is also possible that the committee will take cues from other legislation already introduced and look at equity and inclusion. For example, ODE does not currently have a statewide student plan focused on the daily education experiences of LGBTQ2SIA+ students. SB52 which has passed out of the Senate Education committee proposes the formation of an advisory group to address this concern. Proposals from the advisory committee could then lead to changes in education plans requiring additional funding for some districts. A new ADMw category would be one way to address the new financial need.

In addition, there is a great deal of conversation this session around equity for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities. Therefore, an additional ADMw category for BIPOC community schools to assist them with equity programs and education opportunities may be prudent. During a Joint Subcommittee on Education, the Legislative Fiscal Office presented the Education System Budget overview. One of the items presented was a slide on graduation rates showing the overall rates for the 2016-17 cohort of students (Class of 2020). The overall graduation rate for the cohort was around 82.63%. However, the rates among ethnicities varied greatly. Representative Teresa Alonso Leon (House District 22 – Woodburn) said in addressing the slide “Now more than ever we need to advocate to make sure that our success equates to all of our students, across the board, graduating at the same level.” She continued, “I won’t be happy until we are only 1 or 2% off our graduation rates among the groups”. The largest negative disparity is in graduation rates among the American Indian/Alaskan Native population at 67.19% followed by Black/African American 76.29% and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders at 76.64%.

HB 3142 has been referred to the House Education committee but has not been scheduled for a hearing as of press time.


--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-02-17 16:25:55Last Update: 2021-02-17 17:01:09



Linthicum v. Brown Dismissed
Suit challenged Governor Brown’s executive orders

A Multnomah County Circuit Court judge, Melvin Oden-Orr, has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls), Representatives E. Werner Reschke (R-Malin) and Mike Nearman (R-Independence), and a citizen Neil Ruggles, over the validity of the emergency executive orders issues by Governor Kate Brown regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Legislators argued "that certain executive orders issued by Governor Kate Brown pursuant to ORS Chapter 401 violate provisions of the Oregon Constitution and are, therefore, invalid. In addition, that ORS 401.168 and 401.192 violate the Oregon Constitution, as well as the Guarantee [of a Republican Government] Clause of the United States Constitution.

The dismissal marks a setback for the conservative legislators who sought to roll back the Governor's executive orders and end what they saw as arbitrary lockdowns and other measures not based strictly on science.

In his decision, Judge Oden-Orr concluded:

Legislator plaintiffs argue they have, “as individuals, a right to be heard in the Legislature on the important questions of public policy raised by the COVID-19 epidemic.” They point to the Oregon Constitution, Article I, Sections 21 and 22, and Article IV, Sections 14 and 26. As an initial matter, Plaintiffs provide no basis for the Court to determine Article IV, Section 26 applies in any context outside of actual legislative debate. Thus, the Court finds Article IV, Section 26 does not reflect a legally recognized interest for a legislator to challenge the constitutionality of ORS Chapter 401. None of the other constitutional provisions speak to a legally recognized right of an individual member of the Legislative Assembly. Instead, each refers to the role or function of the Legislative Assembly, House and Senate, as bodies; not those of individual members. Thus, plaintiff legislators have failed to allege and prove a legally recognized interest to support standing to challenge the provisions of ORS Chapter 401 and the Governor’s executive orders issued pursuant thereto.

Plaintiffs have indicated that they are unlikely to appeal, based on the makeup of the Oregon Court of Appeals and the Oregon Supreme Court.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-17 15:46:51Last Update: 2021-02-17 16:25:55



White Supremacy in Math?
Knowledge takes a back seat to anti-racism

The Oregon Department of Education, under the leadership of Director Colt Gill, is in the news again -- this time nationally -- and not for good reasons. The ODE has released a document, entitled Pathways to Equitable Math Instruction: Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction that purports to serve as a "workbook [which] provides teachers an opportunity to examine their actions, beliefs, and values around teaching mathematics." The document has caused a national stir, appearing in Fox News, the Washington Examiner, the New York Post and others.

The document says:

We see white supremacy culture show up in the mathematics classroom even as we carry out our professional responsibilities outlined in the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP). Using CSTPas a framework, we see white supremacy culture in the mathematics classroom can show up when:

Despite the claims of the document, one would think that of all the academic disciplines, Mathematics would be one in which racism would be hard to introduce. To the contrary, the document asserts that "The framework for deconstructing racism in mathematics offers essential characteristics of antiracist math educators and critical approaches to dismantling white supremacy in math classrooms by visualizing the toxic characteristics of white supremacy culture."

Oregon has been ranked 47th in graduation rate and 24th in math scores. One would think that the most anti-racist thing that the Oregon Department of Education could do is to focus on providing the best education possible for students.

Most of Oregon's school children are safe from racist Mathematics education for the time being. Unlike much of the nation, Oregon's schools remain closed to in-person instruction.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-17 14:23:19Last Update: 2021-02-17 15:46:51



Youth Raise the Volume on the Demand to Return to Normal
No school? No sports? Lets have a protest.

If you can't play sports, you've had it with virtual learning and achieved level 25 on whatever the latest video game is, what else is there for a bored kid to do? In many communities, they are taking to the streets. Many cities are featuring gathering of local kids with home-made signs, demanding to return to sports and/or school in general.

Though most wear masks in the outdoor air, there's not much of a sense of fear of a "pandemic." Social distancing -- honored more in breach than observance -- seems to be more a function of the length of the sidewalk than precaution against a virus. Youth in such far-flung locations as Independence and Newport have been seen gathering in high-profile locations to let their views be known.

Democrats like Ricki Ruiz (D-Gresham) and Courtney Neron (D-Wilsonville) who are proposing allowing 17-year-olds to vote -- presumably under the assumption that they will vote Democrat -- may find that these kids remember who locked down their world, who kept it locked down, what party they are a member of, and cast their votes accordingly.

Editor's note: If you have photos of a local protest, send them to us at editor@northwestobserver.com


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-17 13:35:26Last Update: 2021-02-17 14:23:19



The Perils of Same Day Voter Registration
The fidelity of the system starts with registration

We all like things to be easy, and in doing so, sometimes we complicate them. Lets not make that same mistake with our voter registration system. HJR 11 is a proposal for same-day voter registration, sponsored by Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) and Representative Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis).

First off, what is the point of having voter registration? What is the purpose? Why don’t we just let everyone who wants to vote just show up and vote? We have to know how many ballots to prepare.

It makes sense to know who voters are so we know if they qualify. We don’t want people showing up from all over the country to vote or allow children to vote. We don’t want dead people voting. And in the case of mail in voting, we should have time to mail their ballots to them. We should know the universe of voters. Candidates want to know their constituents. Citizens what to know their rights are being upheld.

Of course we have Automatic Voter Registration now. That takes care of the vast majority of voters. Why do we need same day voter registration? It would seem that as Motor Voter and other programs register an increasing number of voters, the value of same day voter registration diminishes, as the risk of fraud increases.

Did you know that when Mexico had its voter rights revolution they set up 6 month deadline on voter registration? If they don’t get their ID verified and registration done 6 months in advance they just can’t vote in the election. Election officials also come to your house to register you. Their voter ID is the most positive and reliable.

Oregon by contrast, does not require identification. That's right, ORS 247.012 reads “...except as provided by ORS 247.124, if a registration card is legible, accurate and contains, at a minimum, the registrant’s name, registrant’s address, date of birth and signatures, the county clerk shall register the person.” Oregon allows anyone to register without a residence. You only have to think of Oregon as your home to qualify. Oregon Legislators passed a law ORS 247.035-038: (a) The person’s residence shall be the place in which habitation is fixed and to which, when the person is absent, the person intends to return. (a) The residence address of a person who is homeless or resides in a shelter, park, motor home, marina or other identifiable location may be any place within the county describing the physical location of the person. An unintended effect is that it allows someone living in another state, say they have the same political views as the majority of the people in that state, who wants to affect our states elections, to simply say that they “think of Oregon as their home and they intend to return some day.” As long as they don’t vote in another state, it is legal. Who is to dispute their intention. We ask for some ID to be HAVA compliant, but it is not necessary. You can skip it by using the National Postcard Application.

For example, I was in the elections office and a gentleman came in saying he needed to register to vote. He stated he lived in New York. Was here just for the day and leaving to go out of the country the next day and did not know when he would return. He stated also that he had already signed up for Oregon Health Plan and tried to register to vote online but it wouldn’t accept his outdated drivers license. The clerk told him it was best to use the National Postcard Application because it didn’t require identification. The man agreed. Filled out the form. When he submitted it, he asked for a certified copy of his voter registration so he could take it with him to help him get his Oregon Driver’s license. The clerk complied with his request.


--Janice Dysinger

Post Date: 2021-02-17 12:58:07Last Update: 2021-02-17 18:44:11



Senate Republicans Introduce Tax Relief and Recovery Package
Senate GOP lays out plan for working families and businesses

While Oregon Democrats are trying to sneak through a backdoor tax increase on businesses struggling to keep workers employed, Senate Republicans have outlined legislation that would provide much-needed relief. The slew of bills includes provisions like slashing taxes on necessities like feminine hygiene products, prescription drugs, diapers, and baby formula.

“If the pandemic lockdowns have taught us anything, it is that when our local businesses suffer, our communities suffer,” Senate Republican Leader, Fred Girod (R-Lyons) said. “When people can’t provide for their families, emergencies like the pandemic are made worse.”

“While Democrats are attempting to repeal COVID relief measures that passed in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion in Congress, Senate Republicans are focused on the needs of struggling Oregon families,” Deputy Leader Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River) added.

The package would implement common-sense economic recovery measures that would help Oregonians get back to work, keep more money in their pocket, and support our struggling businesses.

“If there was ever a contrast between two approaches to recovery, this is it,” Senator Lynn Findley (R-Vale) said. “One wants to put more money back in the pockets of Oregonians who need it the most, and the other wants more money in the state coffers to spend as they please.”

The tax relief and recovery package will be the first of many packages Senate Republicans will be introducing to address Oregonians pressing needs.

“While Oregonian's state government is dominated by one party, we are providing them with a viable alternative,” Senator Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) said. “The only solution being offered by Democrats is more taxes, their same tired solution to every problem for decades.”

The package includes important measures that would help families struggling with student loans, set up an assistance fund for struggling small businesses, and create incentives for businesses that pay above-average wages.

“The 2021 legislative session is all about recovery,” Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) added. “From public safety, getting kids back to the classroom and families back to work, to wildfire and economic recovery, Senate Republicans are focused on the most important issues facing Oregonians.”

The bills included in the package are:
SB 521 (Girod, Findley, Knopp) exempts basic necessities like prescription drugs, feminine hygiene products, diapers, and baby formula from the corporate activites tax.
SB 506 (Thatcher) would make it easier for those without a high school diploma to get into good-paying jobs by allowing job experience to count toward professional or occupational licenses.
SB 531 (Girod, Findley, Thatcher) would establish an assistance fund for employers for lost income that resulted because of lockdown orders.
SB 760 (Findley) would save small businesses from spiraling unemployment insurance increases.
SB 462 (Girod) would give those with student loans a credit on their taxes for student loan interest payments.
SB 449 (Knopp) would help employers bounce back and start hiring again by creating a tax credit for employers who expand the workforce with high-wage jobs.
SB 530 and SB 15 (Girod, Findley) would reform the death tax so families who lose a loved one from COVID aren’t surprised on top of their grieving by getting met with an unexpected tax bill from the state.
SB 545 (Girod, Findley, Knopp, Thatcher) grants special property tax exemptions for disabled veterans.
SJR 21 (Girod, Findley) proposes an amendment to the Oregon Constitution to prohibit the Legislature from raising unnecessary taxes.
SJR 11 (Knopp) enacts a property tax relief program for seniors.
SB 443 (Knopp) would tax working families at a predictable, flat rate.
SB 447 (Knopp) requires bureaucratic fee increases to be approved by Legislature.
SJR 14 (Girod) would limit the growth of state government and new taxes by limiting budgetary increases.
SB 87 (Findley) would create a tax credit for housing providers who lost income because of non-payment of rent.
SB 738 (Knopp) would forgive fines on businesses if they reopened to support themselves and employees in violation of the Governor’s executive orders but did not lead to a disease outbreak.

Yesterday, Senator Dick Anderson (R-Lincoln City) announced he is drafting the ‘Stimulus Check Protection Act’ that would keep more money in working Oregonian’s pockets by shielding federal stimulus checks from state income taxes.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-17 12:44:50Last Update: 2021-02-17 12:58:07



Thomsen Calls for Session Delay
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.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-17 12:37:50Last Update: 2021-02-17 12:44:50



Store Employees Harassed by Hungry Crowd Amid Power Outages
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.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-02-17 12:10:44Last Update: 2021-02-17 12:31:43



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