The Oregon State Bar exists in order to protect the public
Attorney Erik Graeff Not Disbarred for Violent Felony
The Oregon State Bar’s failure to protect the public
A few days before Christmas in 2017, Portland-area attorney Erik Graeff exchanged several heated emails with Terrance Hogan, another attorney with whom Graeff was working on a case. Graeff spent the rest of the afternoon drinking beer in a local bar, apparently blacking out but still managing to drive 30 minutes through rush hour traffic to Hogan’s office in Beaverton. There, Graeff fired six rounds from his 9 mm handgun at the building. One of Graeff’s bullets shattered a window and missed the firm’s office manager by mere inches.
The crime was shocking in and of itself, but it also should have had immediate consequences for Graeff’s professional law license. After all, an attorney who believes that guns are an appropriate means of settling legal disputes is a clear and direct danger to the public, whom the Oregon State Bar is supposed to protect.
However, the Bar refused to immediately suspend Graeff’s law license while the criminal investigation played out. And even worse news for the Oregon public is that the Bar had ample warning about Graeff’s threats and acts of violence, including complaints that they had received from before the shooting. The complaints that the Bar ignored are disturbing.
On August 24, 2017, the Bar received notice that Graeff had physically assaulted his former client’s wife earlier that very day: Graeff had “laid hands on her and shoved her against a wall,” which resulted in “visible injuries” and the filing of a police report.
Just a few months later, in November, another complaint against Graeff came in to the Bar, from former clients Chelsie Buchanan and Raymond Stull. The pair provided the Bar with an email from Graeff in which Graeff threatened to “simply break” Stull’s “goddamn face,” and announced that he kept licensed firearms in his office, “so you have been warned.”
In early February, 2018—after the Beaverton shooting, but before his arrest for that incident—the Bar received yet another complaint about Graeff. That victim forwarded a threatening and profane email he had received from Graeff, which stated: “You listen to me you son of a bitch. I have had it with bad reviews from people whose case I don't take. I was attentive and generous with you. Take your
ing fraudulent review down, or I will show you a real legal battel [sic]."
In the two months after his arrest in late February 2018, the Bar received two more complaints about Graeff. One client alleged that Graeff had intimidated and scared her with abusive language, telling her to “shut the f
up” and “forget [she] ever heard” that a court date had been scheduled in her matter. Another client said that Graeff had threatened him and his wife over the phone.
Even after this eight-month avalanche of claims about Graeff’s violent threats and conduct, it took the Bar another nine months to suspend him—seventeen months in total—and the Bar did so only after Graeff had pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to the shooting incident.
In other words, the Bar acted only after their licensee got his due process, and, moreover, the Bar acted only after another of their licensees, attorney Hogan, had been injured by Graeff. To boil that down even further, the Bar showed no concern over Graeff’s violent and abusive threats to his non-lawyer complainants, and the Bar only acted after Graeff turned violent and abusive against another lawyer.
Even worse, almost all of the complaints against Graeff were dismissed outright by the Bar, and the single one that did proceed—that of former clients Buchanan and Stull—went forward on charges unrelated to Graeff’s violent threats against them. Unbelievably, the Bar only charged Graeff with “failure to keep clients informed” about the status of their legal matter. His face-breaking threat was apparently okay with the Bar because Graeff was only threatening an ordinary citizen—not a lawyer.
After he pleaded guilty and served less than a year in prison for Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Reckless Endangerment, the Bar finally proceeded with their disciplinary case against Graeff, which consisted only of the shooting incident, felony drug manufacturing charges, and Buchanan and Stull’s watered-down charges. Graeff was sanctioned in 2020 with a three-year suspension from the practice of law. Rather than simply being grateful that he was not disbarred for literally shooting up another lawyer’s office, Graeff appealed his suspension to the Oregon Supreme Court, who heard oral arguments in the case in early January, 2021.
Ironically, the same Bar who charged Graeff with failure to keep his clients informed, failed to keep Graeff’s victims Buchanan and Stull informed about how the disciplinary case against him was proceeding. The Bar told Buchanan and Stull nothing about the progress of the Supreme Court case, and they first heard about the case progress from me, when I sent them copies of the court filings and a video of the oral arguments.
After reading the filings and watching the video, Buchanan and Stull sent a letter to Chief Justice Martha Walters and the other six Supreme Court Justices, informing them of the Bar’s “gross negligence” -- including, but by no means limited to, the Bar excluding them from testifying at Graeff’s disciplinary trial and failing to heed their clear warnings about Graeff’s unhinged behavior and violent threats.
“The Bar failed to intervene when Graeff threatened us,” Buchanan told me, “And then someone got shot at. Graeff even wrote a letter to the Bar trying to paint us as crazy just a few days after he shot into an occupied office building. Talk about crazy. I guess the Bar only cares when it’s another lawyer who gets hurt.”
The Oregon State Bar exists in order to protect the public against misconduct by the attorneys it licenses. If only the Bar had listened to the victims of Graeff’s misconduct instead of springing to action only when one of its own licensees needed help, then there wouldn’t be so many appalling stories like Buchanan and Stull’s.
Unfortunately, there are many more of these stories; and in a shocking number of them, the Bar allows the lawyers to weasel out of founded ethics charges by gaslighting the victims, calling their own former clients crazy, and aggravating the harm the lawyers inflicted.
Buchanan and Stull’s letter—regarding their negligent treatment by the Bar and the disturbing underlying case that Erik Graeff was working on for them -- can be read here
in its entirety. I will be following up on this story, and if you have one of your own to share, feel free to send it, confidentially if necessary, to the editor@NorthwestObserver.com.
|Post Date: 2021-04-05 18:10:54||Last Update: 2021-04-05 18:25:41|
Backroom dealing on highly contentious issue
A bill amendment to replicate part of cap-and-trade, one of the most contentious legislative issues in recent years, was drafted and then discussed during a committee hearing without ever providing the language to the public beforehand or knowledge that it would be discussed during the committee.
The House Energy and Environment Committee
allowed public testimony on an unpublished amendment to HB 2021
, sweeping legislation that seeks to impose costly regulations on the state’s supply of electricity. Special interest groups testified at length in support of a “-5 amendment” that was not made publicly available to everyday Oregonians. Republican lawmakers on the committee received the draft language at 11am during session before the 1pm hearing, leaving them little time to read the amendment. Republicans criticized the move as the antithesis of transparency and the exact opposite of how the legislative process should be conducted.
Despite an hour and a half of prepared testimonies from special interests, the amendment will only receive a half hour of testimony on Wednesday now that it is public knowledge.
Prior to the start of the 2021 Legislative Session, the majority insisted that it would be the most transparent session despite keeping the public out of the building. This recent move by Democrats to quietly replicate a portion of cap-and-trade with an amendment behind closed doors calls that claim into question.
“The last thing we should do during this precarious pandemic session is conceive, draft and finalize legislation behind closed doors,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan. “Discussing a contentious proposal in a committee without ever providing it to the public beforehand is not transparent. It’s a false formality with the intention of passing laws that have zero public input. That’s breaking a promise we made to Oregonians ahead of this virtual session.”
While representatives from environmental justice organizations, investor-owned utility companies and even Democratic members of the committee repeatedly expressed support for an unpublished -5 amendment, members of the public were left in the dark. Hours after today’s hearing, the amendment was still not posted on the Oregon Legislative Information System website
|Post Date: 2021-04-05 16:15:25||Last Update: 2021-04-05 22:11:30|
Human trafficking as the fastest growing criminal enterprise
The Oregon Senate approved both SB 515
and SB 535
with overwhelming bipartisan support. The measures add more reporting opportunities to help prevent sex crimes in public spaces where traffickers frequent.
requires employees of bars and restaurants to report reasonable belief of suspected human trafficking or unlawful employment of minors.
adds hotel workers to the list of mandatory reporters and requires the immediate reporting of suspected child pornography by computer technicians or processors.
“Republicans are committed to standing up for victims this session,” Senator Fred Girod, chief sponsor of the legislation and Senate Republican Leader, said. “That requires us to give law enforcement the tools to prevent and stop heinous crimes in real-time. SB 515
and SB 535
also empower our communities to report and stop these crimes. By all of us taking a little responsibility for the most vulnerable in our communities, we can make a difference.”
Traffickers specialize in keeping victims out of sight by constantly moving around but interact with workers in at hotels and bars. This legislation empowers those workers to be vigilant and partner with law enforcement to save lives.
The United States Department of Defense has identified human trafficking as the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the United States. Portland has been identified as a hotbed of trafficking, with nearly 750 victims from 2018–2019.
“Trafficking and sex crimes are happening in our own backyard, and we need more tools to fight them,” Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend). “It's not just Portland. Traffickers use public spaces, like bars, restaurants, and hotels, up and down I-5 and other routes to hide. These employees can play an important role in reporting.”
“Amid unbelievable rising crime rates across Oregon, advocating for public safety and victims’ rights must be among the Legislature’s top priorities,” Senator Lynn Findley (R-Vale) added. “Sexual exploitation crimes often go unreported and victims don’t have the resources they need to find help. The more reporting the community does, the better.”
|Post Date: 2021-04-05 12:28:04||Last Update: 2021-04-05 12:56:57|
What a difference two little letters makes
Oregon law currently defines four advocacy commissions
and broadly defines their missions as to work for the implementation and establishment of economic, social, legal and political equality for the group. The four advocacy commissions include Hispanic Affairs, Black Affairs, Women, and Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs.
The days of equality are over. Oregon law and policy are slowly turning away from what was articulated by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, when he looked forward to the day when his children would be judged by the "content of their character and not the color of their skin." Equality has to do with equal treatment under the law and equality of opportunity -- policies that are hard to argue against. Equity has to do with outcomes, and under examination, has less support.
Governor Brown has asked that HB 2030
be introduced, which changes the mission of each of these commissions from "equality" to "equity."
The desire to make a commitment to equity flows from the idea -- expressed in critical race theory -- that inequalities exist because of past injustices, many of them embedded into social and political structures. It's a bit hard to make this case in a country which just elected a black president and that many people of color flock to, both legally and illegally.
|Post Date: 2021-04-05 11:00:22||Last Update: 2021-04-05 12:28:04|
Protection for illegal aliens reaches new heights
In 2013 the Oregon Legislature passed SB 833
which directed the Oregon DMV to issue driving credentials to illegal aliens. Activists quickly gathered signatures for a referendum to put the issue to their voters. By a vote of 66%, Oregonians overturned the act of the Legislature.
It took Democrats in the Legislature several years to get the courage to overturn the will of the voters, but in 2019, they passed HB 2015
, introduced by Senator James Manning (D-Eugene) and Representatives Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn) and Susan McLain (D-Hillsboro), which effectively did so, removing the requirement that a person provide proof of citizenship to obtain a drivers' license.
Now Democrats in the legislature are doubling down, with Senator Chris Gorsek (D-Portland) and Representatives Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn), Khanh Pham (D-Portland), and Wlnsvey Campos (D-Aloha) introducing HB 3265
which not only clarifies Oregon's status as a sanctuary state, it "prohibits law enforcement agency or public body from denying services, benefits, privileges or opportunities to certain individuals on basis of federal civil immigration actions, inquiring about individual's citizenship status without connection to criminal investigation or providing information about individual in custody to federal immigration authority."
The bill interferes with communications between the federal government and local law enforcement, a move that could put the public at risk. Section 4 reads:
If a public body receives a request or communication from a federal agency that relates to immigration enforcement, the public body shall decline the request and document the communication or request. The documentation described in this subsection must be provided to the director or other similar management personnel of the public body.
Section 9 of the bill also creates a private right of action for any person to use against law enforcement or a public bodyAs resources become scarce, local law enforcement may become averse to enforcing any law
-- not just immigration related law against a person who appears to be be an illegal alien.
Any person may bring a civil action against a law enforcement agency or public body that violates subsection (2) or (3) of this section to enjoin the violation.
(b) A person injured by a violation of subsection (2) or (3) of this section may also bring a civil action against the law enforcement agency or public body to recover damages.
For whatever reason, the illegal-alien-protection-industry has found a home in the liberal wing of Christian Churches in Oregon, as one can see by the lopsided testimony for the bill. One wonders what the ultimate motivation is as our schools, health care system and economy continue to be overwhelmed.
|Post Date: 2021-04-04 17:19:22||Last Update: 2021-04-04 18:02:12|
OSHA as COVID cop
Since the pandemic began, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been one of the strong arms of the Governor’s COVID-19 enforcement team. They have written rules and levied hefty fines against businesses that do not follow the COVID-19 rules as a way to bring them into compliance.
- A Bend coffee shop was fined $26,700 -- 3x the minimum penalty -- for allowing indoor dining.
- A Florence restaurant was also fined $17,800 (2X the minimum penalty) based on social media posts, for allowing indoor dining.
- A Springfield restaurant was fined $8,900 for allowing indoor dining based on news stories and social media posts.
However, these fines are small compared to the ones levied against a multi-location athletic facility in Salem. The first fine was in November for $90,000 and the most recent one was assessed in January for an additional $126,749. The fines were for operating when the Governor’s orders were to be closed.
OSHA has been levying these penalties under a temporary rule issued in November of 2020. However, temporary rules cannot remain in effect longer than 180 days and they cannot be extended. The temporary rule expires on May 4, 2021. The only option the agency has is to issue the guidelines under a permanent rule. So, in January, OSHA issues the permanent rule for public input. The permanent rule is 126 pages long and is much more expansive than the rules currently in place. It is also unclear what the new fines will be for not following the existing rules being extended and the new ones being added.
For example, In Oregon Administrative Rule 437-001-0744
under COVID-19 vaccination for workers, it states:
(A) The employer must cooperate by making its employees and appropriate space available at no cost to the workers whenever a local public health agency or Oregon Health Authority indicate that COVID-19 vaccination within the workplace is necessary.
What triggers a local public health agency or Oregon Health Authority to deem that a COVID-19 vaccination at the workplace is necessary?
(C) Unless the local public health agency or Oregon Health Authority directs otherwise, employers need not require employees to accept the vaccination. If employees who are offered the vaccine decline to be vaccinated, the employer must document that declination.
Why would an employer be documenting an employee’s personal health choice? Is this a violation of the 1996 Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA)? Also, what about businesses that have employees that are under 18? Who signed the consent form to vaccinate or not to vaccinate?
Note: Oregon OSHA will provide model declination forms for use by employers in documenting such declination. It is the considered opinion of both the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon OSHA that all individuals should accept vaccination unless it is medically contra-indicated.
Contra-indicated is a specific situation in which a drug should not be used because it may be harmful to the person. What will be on the OSHA approved form? What if the employee refuses to provide the employer with information required on the form such as address, phone number, etc.? How will the employer know if the employee is medically contra-indicated; again, another possible HIPAA violation?
OSHA has stated that they do not intend these rules to be permanent in perpetuity and that the rules will end when the Governor’s state of emergency ends. The Permanent OSHA rules will take affect on or before May 4, 2021. The Oregon Health Authority Vaccine distribution chart has Phase 2 eligibility (all people who are 16 and older) being eligible May 1, 2021.
With Governor Brown already on her 6th Executive Order extension for the COVID-19 State of Emergency, which lasts until April 25th, a 7th extension would seem inevitable based on the OSHA rule timeline and vaccine rollout dates. A 7th extension of the Governor’s Emergency Declaration would last into the end of June.
The public comment period on the OSHA rules has ended. So, for now, all businesses and Oregonians can do is sit and wait to see what OSHA implements and how long the Governor will keep the rules in place by ongoing Executive Order.
|Post Date: 2021-04-04 16:22:57||Last Update: 2021-04-04 16:33:49|
We need comparable, reliable, and valid student learning data
The US Department of Education has denied a request
from the Oregon Department of Education "to waive the requirements to administer the same statewide assessments to all public elementary and secondary school students in the State in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science for the 2020-2021 school year." These requirements have been in law since 1965.
The Department appreciates ODE’s work to develop the SEED Survey. The information that you collect through this survey will provide useful information to support you, your schools, and your educators as you plan for student needs next year. We believe there is a great deal to learn from ODE’s work in this area, and we strongly support expanded use of opportunity to learn measures nationwide.
The Oregon Department of Education had been promoting the idea of a SEED Survey, to partially replace standardized testing. According to the ODE, data from the survey
will be used to support the following five purposes:
- Honor the importance and necessity of incorporating student voice into the continuous improvement process for Oregon’s public education systems
- Provide Oregon districts with actionable data regarding investments and quality pedagogy that can be used to increase student group outcomes (e.g., academic achievement, graduation rates, post-secondary success)
- Develop promising practices guidance regarding appropriate uses of SEED Survey data independently and in combination with comparison to summative assessment results
- Expand reporting beyond outcomes to include information about investments and quality pedagogy that Oregon’s education systems make in supporting students, their families, and the educators who serve them
- Validate summative assessment approaches by reviewing SEED Survey results in comparison to summative results, reviewing expected and unexpected patterns in relationships
The letter, from Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Programs Ian Rosenblum, concluded, "We remain committed to supporting Oregon and all States in assessing the learning of all students, while we recognize that we are in the midst of a pandemic that requires real flexibility and creativity. We are eager to continue to work with ODE on a plan that addresses your State’s
specific circumstances and maximizes the amount of comparable, reliable, and valid student learning data alongside the important data you plan to collect from the SEED Survey."
Standardized testing has been a perennial battle between teachers' unions and school accountability supporters.
|Post Date: 2021-04-03 20:15:18||Last Update: 2021-04-03 20:16:25|
Democrats claim that the new law would not violate the Constitution
The Oregon Senate has passed SB 398
, introduced by Senators Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) and James Manning, Jr. (D-Eugene) which categorizes the act of displaying a noose as a crime of intimidation. The bill passed out of committee on party lines and passed off the Senate Floor with a 27-1 vote. SB 398
parallels Oregon’s bias crime statute which was passed in 2019.
“Displaying a noose is a hateful act. It is meant to intimidate and harass,” said Senator Burdick, who carried SB 398
to passage. “Hate crimes are disturbingly on the rise in Oregon, including in my district. A noose is a racist symbol, it is intimidating to our neighbors of color and it needs to be banned,” she added.
Oregon case law has held that to legally restrict speech, in any form, the speech must amount to a communication that “instills in the addressee a fear of imminent and serious personal violence from the speaker, is unequivocal, and is objectively likely to be followed by unlawful acts.” Both the Oregon Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court have concluded that preventing the type of
harm that results from those types of communication justify a narrowly tailored restriction on speech and do not violate the U.S. Constitution or the Oregon Constitution.
“The display of a noose should have been a crime long ago. It’s not okay. Louisiana, Virginia, California, New York, Maryland and Connecticut have criminalized the display of nooses because they all know exactly what that noose implies,” said Senator Manning. “The noose is a racist relic. Its roots lie in fear and hate. It reminds us of the 4,400 documented lynchings of African Americans between 1800 to 1950. A noose doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone, it means something much more imminent, terrifying and unacceptable to BIPOC communities. It’s not okay. I am glad we passed this bill today. This should have been a law much sooner,” added Senator Manning.
Several instances of fake noose incidents have made the news in recent years. NASCAR Driver Bubba Wallace reportedly had a noose placed in his garage
which later turned out not to be a hate crime. In another recent incident, entertainer Jussie Smollett
was caught falsely reporting a noose incident to police.
will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
|Post Date: 2021-04-03 18:54:40||Last Update: 2021-04-03 19:39:47|
Victim was traveling to church
Editor's note: This article contains language that some readers may find offensive. Reader discretion is advised.
One of the many victims of Sunday's far left attacks was a 55 year old man who claims to have been on his way to church when he was attacked by several far left extremists in Salem, Oregon.
The victim wished to remain anonymous as he recounted his attack during an exclusive interview with “The Black Conservative Preacher”.
. The man's voice broke at times as he described Sunday's terrifying attack -it was “like something you see in the movies”.
The victim was driving his late father's Ford F150. He knew there was a gathering in the area and decided to bypass his usual route to church in an attempt to avoid driving directly in front of the state capitol, he claims he could not have known that police had cleared the violent mob from in front of the capitol and they were now on the very street he was headed down.
As he made his way down the street the victim said he could see a large mob dressed in all black, and he began to feel uneasy. His truck was painted with red, white and blue stripes and was dawned with American flags and patriotic bumper stickers, though the victim states he previously removed his bumper stickers showing support to our 45th president. The victim was nervous and had no choice but to continue forward and make his way past the the mob en route to his church.
As the driver made his way down the street, the mob began their attack and then vandalized the windshield of his truck with yellow paint. The man got out of his truck to investigate the damage, and immediately two attackers ran up and attempted to spray the victim in the face with what looked like pepper spray.
As the man shielded himself from their attack the mob hurled objects and began to move toward him with bats, sticks, batons and other weapons while screaming "Go home Nazi!”. Glass breaking can be heard as they busted out the victim's back passenger window, the victim signaled for witnesses to call for help but no one stepped up to help the man. The man stayed close to his vehicle as he attempted to make his way around the back end of his truck to assess the damage. What he didn’t know at the time was that they were also spraying bear mace into the cab of his truck.
The frenzied mob did not relent and continued to scream obscenities as far left attackers approached the victim they could be heard yelling "he has a gun”, and ”shoot me mother". The entire time the far left extremists never stopped their attack on the man and his vehicle and continued moving threateningly toward him. As the man rounded the back end of his truck and looked toward the busted out back passenger window, one of the far leftist extremist sprayed the man in the face with mace.
Fearing for his safety, the victim who is a CHL holder says he drew his firearm, “I didn’t know what to do”, I thought the gun would stop them”, my “eyes were burning so bad,” “I was scared”.
With his firearm in his right hand pointed down toward the ground, he outstretched his left hand and told the mob,” get away from me.” However, the mob continued their attack screaming threats as they charged the man. Recounting this moment during his interview with The Black Conservative Preacher, the victim stated “I was freaked out being attacked by that many people, it was like something you see in the movies.”
The police rushed in immediately after the man's weapon was drawn, and the victim placed his firearm in the bed of his truck and complied with all officer commands.
With police on the scene, the violent mob could be heard taunting the man as he lay on the wet ground surrounded by officers. The far left mob hurled insults at the man, calling him a “Proud Boy” and a “Nazi," slanderous terms they are notorious for using during their attacks. As the victim crouched on the wet ground holding his eyes from the pain he states he had a hard time laying down flat because his “eyes were on fire”. His taillights were broken out by the violent mob.
The victim states that after law enforcement officers spoke to witnesses and other motorists he was released from handcuffs and was not arrested or charged.
He states he had no association with the Freedom Rally that Sunday. The victim stated that he thought drawing his firearm would get the violent mob to stop, and was surprised that his weapon did not deter his attackers, only when the police arrived did the attack stop. The far left extremists who typically expresses vitriol for all forms of law enforcement now seemed okay to have the police subdue their victim.
During his interview with The Black Conservative Preacher, the victim repeatedly stated how scared he was during the attack but that he was happy the police got the truth after talking to witnesses.
The victim states that he now looks in his rear-view mirror when going home to make sure no one is following him. “There is nothing you can do about this” , “I am a target, I feel like I am a target now”.
Since the attack on Sunday, the victim has supposedly taken all of the American flags off of his truck as well as at his home. He has taken off all of his red white and blue decals because he claims the incident has scared him. He had taken his Trump stickers off prior to Sundays attack due to constant harassment, as he had previously been spit at and almost ran off the road.
The victim states “it is just going to get worse, not better” and fears that “offending” someone may provoke another attack. The victim states he has heard stories of what far left extremists do once they have your information and is concerned about what has been shared by the media already. He is talking to an attorney and states he feels lucky to have a police officer living next door.
Such extremist groups work hard to change the definition of words but they cannot hide their acts of violence, cowardice, blatant racism and indeed fascism. With the rise of violent hate crimes and outright lawlessness coming from the far left, Oregonians and all Americans are right to be concerned with the onslaught of anti-second amendment legislation such as SB 554
and HB 2543
being crammed through at the state level.
Far left extremists who reassemble ISIS militants dress in tactical gear while carrying weapons and blocking our roadways, have violently attacked and even murdered
individuals on the street. They have assaulted passing motorists at times pulling them out of their vehicles
and beating them unconscious until forced to stop, they continue to terrorize our cities, communities, and businesses in full view of the world and with seemingly full support of the main stream media and leftist “leaders”.
Watch the videos for yourself and then go see what media is or is not saying about what happened.
|Post Date: 2021-04-03 18:30:39||Last Update: 2021-04-03 19:06:52|
Victims threatened with axe and paintball gun
In Portland, Oregon, Parks and Recreation Rangers, as well as a community member, were threatened by a suspect with an axe and a paintball gun in Downtown Portland.
On Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 10:09a.m., Central Precinct officers responded to the precinct front desk on a report that victim had walked in to report being shot by a suspect with a paintball gun. The victim told the officers he was riding his bicycle in Chapman Square Park, near the intersection of Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Main Street. The victim said a suspect fired a paintball gun at him, striking him once. The suspect then fired several more paintballs toward the victim as he fled. The victim suffered a minor injury.
Officers located the suspect, Randy A. Graves, 32, and arrested him. They located and seized a paintball gun, axe, and stun gun (photo) from Graves.
Officers spoke to the Park Rangers on scene. They told officers that they had approached a group about 9:00a.m., intending to distribute fliers informing the group that the park was going to be closed for restoration work. Graves threatened to kill them, and although they did not report being threatened with a weapon, Graves followed them yelling threats to kill them as they tried to disengage.
About 45 minutes later, another team of Park Rangers responded to a fire burning in the park, which is a violation of park rules. Park Rangers reported requesting assistance from Portland Police as they went to address the fire. Graves pulled out an axe and threatened the Rangers If they did not leave. The Park Rangers also witnessed the attack on the community member with the paintball gun.
Graves was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of Menacing (7 counts), Unlawful Use of a Weapon (3 counts), Assault in the Fourth Degree, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree (7 counts), Reckless Endangering (7 counts), and City Code Possession of a Weapon in a Park (3 counts).
|Post Date: 2021-04-03 13:02:17||Last Update: 2021-04-03 18:10:33|
Quest for power gets in the way of business
Even before the 2021 session started, the wars had begun. Some, like House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) found themselves with arrows in the front and back.
A well-publicized battle
between the BIPOC or Black, Indigenous and People Of Color segment of the Democratic caucus attempted a power grab -- with some success -- and ended up with a few gavels, or committee chairs. The smoke and noises of that battle, as well as the inevitable scuffles with Republicans, are starting to boil over and though the source might not be apparent, these were seeds planted months ago.
1. Focusing on Extreme Legislation, not the Nuts and Bolts
From racial justice to climate action to housing issues to restricting second amendment rights, Democrats have been pushing a full-cart radical agenda. It's expected that the party in power will get their way on some ideologically divisive issues, but this session has seen more than its share of agenda-driven policy.
2. Expanding the Number of Committees
In the 2019 full session -- the last full session, there were 12 House committees that saw actual substantive policy legislation come out of them. This session has seen that number balloon to 19 plus three subcommittees, for a total of 22 House committees, and that doesn't even count an increased number of new join committees.
3. Very Tight COVID-19 Capitol Lockdowns
Though COVID-19 is no one's fault, the Capitol lockdowns have interrupted communications, made committees less smooth, and contributed to Republicans' -- and Oregonians' -- dissatisfaction with the session. As the state opens up -- and Oregon is one of the slowest states to open -- the Capitol shows no sign of return to anything like normal. It is as locked down as it was in the beginning.
4. Attempting to Go Around Republicans, Instead of Cooperating
Republicans are not yielding the constitutional requirement that each bill be read in its entirety before being voted on, and this is based at least in part on the tidal wave of radical Democratic ideological agenda bills. A lighter agenda might have found more cooperation with Republicans -- or at least a compromise at this point. Instead, Speaker Kotek has gritted her teeth and pushed on.
5. Plain Old Extra Stuff to Do
Sure, every session has its unique policy challenges, but this session seems to have a more generous share with COVID-19 and the federal money to divvy up, wildfire clean up and relief from last year, as well as redistricting. Maybe it wasn't such a great year to work on racial justice, climate justice and the rest of the radical agenda. Democrats may pay dearly for their inability to focus.
At this point, Speaker Kotek may have mangled the session beyond repair. As both parties claim to want to do "the people's work" it may be too late to salvage much out of this session. Let's hope they can at least pass budgets.
|Post Date: 2021-04-02 18:44:36||Last Update: 2021-03-31 19:42:32|
Only two bills in the would address COVID-19’s impact on education
Of more than 100 bills in the House Committee on Education, legislation from Rep. Owens and Rep. Alonso León is one of only two bills related to COVID-19’s negative impact on K-12 education.
Despite the enormous disruption COVID-19 has had on Oregon’s education system, only two bills in the House Committee on Education address the negative effects of COVID-19 on students.
Representative Mark Owens (R-Crane) and Representative Teresa Alonso León (D- Woodburn) are chief sponsors of HB 2962
, which would direct a formal evaluation of students’ education needs resulting from COVID-19 closures, a step towards identifying how students can recover from gaps in learning.
“It is critical we identify and address the serious gap in education our students have experienced during the last 12 months because of COVID-19 and government-mandated stay-at-home orders,” said Rep. Owens, who also serves as a member of the Crane School Board. “There is much more we should be doing as lawmakers to address this critical issue for Oregon students, and it is great to see the bipartisan support for this proposal that will hopefully lead to others.”
“We should not be hiding from the truth that virtual learning has seriously harmed our kids’ educational development,” added House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby.) “After Oregon’s education officials announced plans to abandon standardized testing that would measure learning gaps, we need proposals like this more than ever.”
Negative academic effects from distance learning still have not been adequately measured in Oregon, and plans to do so have been delayed.
Even 2020 high school graduation rates are misleading since the Oregon Department of Education drastically altered its graduation standards. As recently as 2017, Oregon had the second-worst graduation rate in the country. The full impact of virtual learning on graduation rates is still not clear.
Miguel Cardona, the Secretary of Education selected by President Joe Biden, affirmed the need for evaluations nationwide when saying that student data obtained from standardized tests is important to help education officials create policy and target resources where they are most needed. “We have to make sure we laser-focused on addressing inequities that have existed for years. … Every bit of data helps,” added Cardona during a legislative conference.
Oregon remains the second to last state for reopened schools according to a tracker from Burbio, a website that aggregates school government, library and community event information and consists of more than 80,000 K-12 school calendars from all fifty states.
Numerous studies have been conducted which indicate a correlation between native mental health impacts for children due to closed schools:
“Beginning in April 2020 the proportion of children’s mental health-related ED visits among all pediatric ED visits increased and remained elevated through October. Compared with 2019, the proportion of mental health-related visits for children aged 5-11 and 12-17 years increased 24 percent and 31 percent respectively.” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 13, 2020.
Additionally, most states in the country have been reopening after a variety of studies point to safe conditions that would allow willing students to attend school in-person with minimal COVID-19 risks:
The CDC guidance, under President Biden, recommends that schools can reopen with successfully implemented mitigation strategies.
“Our data indicate that schools can reopen safely if they develop and adhere to specific SARS-CoV-2 prevention policies.” – American Academy of Pediatrics, January 6, 2021.
“…we see no indication that in-person school reopenings have increased COVID-19 hospitalizations in the counties below 36-44 new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 per week. Neither the levels nor the trends change in any direction when schools open in [counties below 36-44 new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 per week], even as far as 6 weeks after schools reopened. In fact, we often see precise estimates suggesting declines in hospitalizations in these low-baseline COVID-19 counties…” – National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice (REACH), Tulane University, January 4, 2021.
is a second bill that addresses COVID-19’s impact on education.
|Post Date: 2021-04-02 14:12:17||Last Update: 2021-04-02 14:22:06|
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