On this day, June 4, 1990, Janet Adkins, age 54, of Portland, became the first person to use a suicide machine developed by Dr. Kevorkian. This began a national debate over the right to die.
Also on this day, June 4, 1999 a federal judge in Portland ruled that AT&T must open its cable lines to competitors. Also on this day, June 4, 2017, a pro-Trump rally and counter-protest in Portland was marked by multiple arrests and clashes.
“Allowing politicians to draw their own maps is like putting a fox in charge of the hen house”
“The promise of fair representation should not be a political negotiating tactic between partisan legislators behind closed doors,” said Norman Turrill, Chair of People Not Politicians. “This maneuvering between House Leadership exactly underscores why we need reform and fair redistricting so Oregon voters choose politicians, instead of politicians choosing voters.”
Oregonians support creating an independent citizens redistricting commission. In late 2019, People Not Politicians enlisted Lake Research Partners to run a statewide poll. Results showed an average 76% of Democrats, 67% of Independents, and 60% of Republicans favor an independent citizens’ commission.
“Giving equal representation to Democrats and Republicans on the Redistricting Committee is a positive step forward. The real opportunity for reform will come when the legislature opens up HJR 7 to accept public comments on who draws lines going forward.”
---Dave Dillon, Oregon Farm Bureau Executive Vice President
“Allowing politicians to draw their own maps is like putting a fox in charge of the hen house—an inherent conflict of interest. The possibility for bipartisan gerrymandering is knocking at the door. Meanwhile, third parties and historically underrepresented communities are left out of the process.”
--Kate Titus, Executive Director, Common Cause Oregon
“The legislature should do what an overwhelming majority of Oregonians have asked for—create an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw these maps. It’s imperative to the health of our democracy that redistricting be done in the most fair and transparent manner possible. We need to take politics out of the equation.”
--Norman Turrill, Chair, People Not Politicians
Polls show that people want to send their kids back
Facing mounting pressure to re-open public schools, in the face of equally strong pressure from teachers' unions to keep them at least partly locked down, on March 12, Governor Brown issued an executive order requiring that schools "shall be in operation to deliver educational services through either a hybrid instructional model or an on-site instructional model." This mark was required to be achieved by March 29.
A recent poll asked, "Do you agree or disagree with Governor Brown’s order to require public elementary schools to offer hybrid or full-time in-person instruction by March 29?"
That's a whopping 65% of respondents who agree, with some level of intensity, to open schools by March 29. Another question asked by the same poll was, "Who do think should have the final say about when and how public schools in your community return to in-person learning?
The locally elected school district board
The governor of Oregon
So, how are schools doing? The Oregon Health Authority has a graphic scoreboard on school re-opening, which appears to show that schools are not hitting the mark.
“Our current governor has ruled with a cold smugness”
Mayor of Sandy, Stan Pulliam, has announced the formation of an exploratory committee to consider his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Governor of Oregon in 2022.
Earlier in the day, Pulliam delivered the City of Sandy’s State of the City Address, where he touted accomplishments including securing funding for a local bypass study, stabilizing police funding, and saving millions on a needed wastewater treatment facility.
At 2:30 p.m., Pulliam walked to a podium at Meinig Memorial Park and made the announcement.
“Our current governor has ruled with a cold smugness inside a bubble of the ruling elite and special interests that continue to craft backroom deals, ignore scientific evidence of lockdown effectiveness, and prioritize the wish lists of her campaign contributors,” said Pulliam. “Maybe it’s time for a different approach. Maybe Oregon needs a mayor for Governor.”
Pulliam has drawn praise and national media attention for urging small businesses to defy Governor Kate Brown’s punitive lockdown rules and arbitrary metrics, opening safely under “high risk” guidelines when placed into “extreme risk” shutdown.
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“We’ve all lost friends and family over the past year who have escaped to states with more realistic COVID lockdown metrics. Businesses that had no choice but to open as a matter of survival are now being crucified by state agency fines and administrative punishment.” Pulliam continued, “Our students are drowning in isolation and underachievement, while parents are forced to juggle homeschooling with their own careers – all while teachers unions and extremist activists have controlled school boards to push for longer timelines in reopening classrooms.”
Pulliam has also been critical of the City of Portland’s decline into a landscape of boarded-up businesses, open drug use, and skyrocketing violence.
“I look at Sandy and am still able to recognize my home state of Oregon: It’s pioneer spirit and it’s collaborative and supportive network of families, small businesses, faith communities, and local government,” Pulliam said. “Being mayor of such a place is a huge honor. It makes me wonder how our elected ruling elite continue to disappoint us with such an intrepid population of Oregonians behind them.”
Pulliam plans on a listening tour of the state over the next few weeks, joining other mayors in their communities to form an inclusive vision that unifies Oregon and moves us into the future.
Pulliam concluded by saying, “In the coming weeks I’ll be asking for your feedback and support on how we can heal Oregon together and bring it back to its rugged, pioneer glory of innovation, fortitude, and freedom.”
Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam was joined for the announcement by his wife MacKensey and their daughters Lucy and Olivia.
“Families offer the mental and emotional support students need”
Republican bill would take on school bullying by involving parents and guardians
The Oregon House of Representatives unanimously passed a Republican bill that would ensure schools have policies in place to notify parents about instances of bullying.
Provisions are included to allow students to override this requirement in situations where it is warranted.
Bullying is pervasive in schools and requires support and engagement from not only school professionals, but families who can offer the mental and emotional support students need to recover from their trauma. Taking on bullying, harassment, intimidation, and cyberbullying are keys to achieving the goal of better mental health outcomes for students.
“So many of our kids are hurting, and those closest to them deserve to know,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby,) carrier of the bill. “This ensures that parents and guardians are notified if their child is a victim of bullying in school, giving them the opportunity to be part of a solution.”
HB 2631 was unanimously passed on the House floor.
It is horrible for the canyon and the people of the canyon.
Environmentalist groups including Cascadia Wildlands, the Center for Biological Diversity, Willamette Riverkeeper, Audubon Society of Corvallis, Audubon Society of Salem, Oregon Wild, and the Benton Forest Coalition have filed a suit challenging the ongoing post-fire salvage logging in the Santiam State forest east of Salem.
Environmental groups are upset as the Oregon Department of Forestry’s logging operations are impacting areas beloved by mountain bikers, horseback riders, and hikers including the Monument Peak horse camp and the Niagara area.
Post-fire logging typically removes most of the remaining trees and involves intense road building and maintenance.
Marion County Commissioner Colm Willis sais, "This is outrageous. It is horrible for the canyon and the people of the canyon. Out of county political groups need to stay the hell away from our recovery efforts!"
The Santiam watersheds drain some 1,800 square miles from the Cascade range, providing an abundance of clear, cold water that is beneficial to the Willamette River.
From the "who would've thought that" department comes the fact that minks and other animals can be asymptomatic transmitters of the COVID-19 virus. Oregon is the home to many mink farms and because of this, regulations regarding testing of persons working on mink farms was proposed in HB 832 proposed by Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene).
During a recent hearing, a veterinarian who works with minks was giving testimony and, as his testimony concluded, he was asked by Senator Prozanski how often he does this kind testimony and if he was being paid to testify.
Watch the video below to see his answers to these questions and the reaction of Senator Dallas Heard (R-Roseburg).
The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners adopted values related to funding interstate projects in the region at their recent meeting.
Chair Tootie Smith said it was important to be a leader in this discussion. “Regional conversations are happening about how our transportation system will be funded that will significantly affect the residents of Clackamas County,” said Chair Smith. “We need to be a leader at the table and ensure the needs of our residents and businesses are represented.”
Depleted transportation funding at the state and federal level -- due to declining gas tax revenue as vehicles become fuel-efficient—are leading to funding gaps in building projects on the interstate system to reduce congestion and improve seismic resiliency. In response to the declining transportation revenues and growing congestion, the Oregon Legislature directed the Oregon Department of Transportation to study and implement tolling for managing congestion through House Bill 2017.
ODOT is planning tolling projects within Clackamas County along Interstate 205 near the Abernethy Bridge – an area that has little transportation options other than driving.
Given ODOT has the existing authority to implement tolling and continues advancing the concept of congestion pricing tolls to manage congestion on interstates, a values-based approach, rather than a traditional support or oppose position, allows Clackamas County to be proactive and nimble as discussions continue.
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The transportation funding values adopted by the BCC prioritize equity, safety, a vibrant economy, health and active communities, climate action, disaster resilience, and the reliable movement of people and goods.
Vice-Chair Paul Savas said, “Most everyone is against tolling. No one wants to pay for something they believe they are already paying for just to go to work or take their kids to school. However, if the legislature insists on tolling or congestion pricing, Clackamas needs to be in a leadership position to assure our residents receive benefit for the toll they pay. These values should get us there.”
ODOT is nearing completion on the designs for the I-205 Widening and Seismic Improvement Project within Clackamas County, which will add a new lane in each direction of I-205 between Stafford Road and Highway 213, as well as upgrading the Abernethy Bridge over the Willamette River to withstand an earthquake. The Oregon Legislature is currently considering ways to finance project construction to begin early next year. As part of this effort, ODOT is pursuing tolling the project as a means of raising revenue, as well as using congestion pricing to curb traditional travel behaviors.
“She was a pioneer and a fierce advocate for the vulnerable”
The Senate Rules Committee heard moving commemorative testimony from many people who were touched by Senator Jackie Winters. The Committee passed a resolution, SCR 10 recognizing her life and legacy unanimously.
Jackie Winters represented the Salem area for two decades before succumbing to lung cancer at the age of 82. She was the first African-American Republican elected to the legislature and the first African-American caucus leader in Oregon history.
“I miss my friend, Jackie,” Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) said. “She was a pioneer and a fierce advocate for the vulnerable and communities in need. Jackie was larger than life, and her spirit, dedication, and courage impacted more than she could have ever known.”
SCR 10 now moves to be considered before the entire Senate.
In a deal struck late Wednesday night, House Democrats have agreed to make the representation on the House Committee on Redistricting equal between the parties and have promoted State Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany) to co-Chair on that committee, effectively giving Republicans a veto over decisions made regarding redistricting.
In exchange, House Republicans have agreed to waive the constitutional requirement to have every bill read in it's entirety before it is voted on -- something which is normally done each session.
The agreement follows on weeks of slow escalation in the chamber, as Republicans have done procedural measures to slow the pace of legislation, as Democrats have responded by increasing the length of floor sessions so as to pass more bills. Democrats have been moving bills with fewer number of pages to the floor, in hopes of keeping legislation moving, but had begun to run short of smaller bills and would have to start moving longer bills to the floor.
State Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence) warned of what's coming. “Fasten your chinstraps,” he said. “The speed of legislation is going to get fast and the tone of the legislation is going to make a hard turn left.”
The first bill to be considered this morning was HB 2954 got bogged down in a procedural tactic, known as a minority report, in which the Republicans propose a substitute for a bill on the floor. It took over an hour to pass the bill.
“There’s a longtime cultural divide as big as the Grand Canyon”
Freedom is coming to a neighborhood near you.
This week, in a joint meeting of the Idaho Senate Resources and Environment committee and the Idaho House Environment, Energy, and Technology committee, lawmakers heard a proposal to incorporate much of rural Oregon into Idaho.
Rural Oregonians have felt increasingly dominated by urban decision makers in the Oregon Legislature. Years of attacks on agriculture and natural resource businesses, and overreaching decisions dominated by legislators from Portland Metro, have pushed the rural urban divide to the breaking point. “There’s a longtime cultural divide as big as the Grand Canyon between northwest Oregon and rural Oregon, and it’s getting larger,” Mike McCarter, President of Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho, told Idaho lawmakers.
There once was a time that the Oregon Legislature was more balanced. During the 2001-2003 sessions, the Democrats controlled the Senate, and the Republicans controlled the House. The Speaker of the House at the time was Mark Simmons, a veteran legislator from Rural eastern Oregon. He was also the last Speaker of the house from a rural Oregon District. Simmons traveled to Idaho this week to speak about moving the border, describing how it would strengthen Idaho by adding the deep-water port at Coos Bay to Idaho, making it less dependent on Oregon’s decisions regarding ports and the federal government’s upcoming decisions to perhaps eliminate locks on the Snake river. “Values of faith, family, independence. That’s what we’re about. We don’t need the state breathing down our necks all the time, micromanaging our lives and trying to push us into a foreign way of living.”
The proposal made by the Move Oregon’s Border for a Great Idaho is simply a shift in borders that does not affect the balance of power in the US Senate. It does not create a new state or increase the number of states, and borders between states have been relocated many times throughout US history. If a deal were made that both the Oregon and Idaho Legislatures could support, a border change would almost certainly become a reality.
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Idaho Representative Ben Adams (R-Nampa), said his interest was piqued but wondered why Oregon lawmakers would agree to the plan. “How is it being received right now by the state of Oregon?” Supporters of the border change let the Idaho lawmakers know that it is an ongoing conversation in Oregon and although there are currently no bills in the Oregon Legislature addressing the boundary changes, six counties (Baker, Grant, Harney, Lake, Malheur and Sherman) will be voting on the idea at the May Special District election. The outcome of that will be an indicator to the Oregon Legislature on the desire of rural communities to no longer be under urban Oregon lawmaker rule. “Before we can even begin to discuss the details, we have got to see a significant majority of counties in Oregon stepping up to support it”, Simmons shared.
The Democrats currently hold a supermajority in the Oregon House and a voting majority in the Oregon Senate, and they could potentially strengthen their position further by letting rural counties become part of Idaho. In addition, allowing rural counties to leave could be seen as an economic win for the remainder of the “new urban state”. Rural counties tend to be areas that generate less property tax revenue and have lower wage paying jobs. In addition, much of the proposed land that would be redirected to Idaho is Federally owned which is sometimes seen as a liability on the state rather than an asset.
The Chair of the Idaho House committee, Representative Barbara Ehardt (R–Idaho Falls) seemed to agree saying, “With everybody moving to Idaho, it isn’t lost on me the addition of landmass, water, resources, agriculture, timber; there are some appealing things to Idahoans, at least in my estimation, to even consider this.”
It has made health care a viable option for more Oregonians
The Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill with bipartisan support that will preserve access to telehealth by maintaining the same level of insurance coverage as in-person doctor visits. HB 2508 reassures health care consumers that their telehealth doctor appointments will continue to be covered by their insurance provider just like in-person visits.
Included in the provision are measures to review the implementation of telehealth to ensure that patients still receive the high-quality level of care that they deserve.
“We need to support this new level of access while we provide a thorough review of implementation to ensure that patients are well served and quality of care is maintained,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby.) “Telehealth is an important tool that we should maintain after the pandemic. It has made health care a viable option for more Oregonians lacking traditional access, and this is the kind of solution people need from their legislators while they continue recovering from a difficult year.”
HB 2508 was approved on the House floor with bipartisan support.
Democrats in Oregon have now introduced legislation that will significantly increase costs of operating jails in each of Oregon's 36 counties. The exact cost is not yet known.
HB 3310 would require each county to have a facility jointly managed by sheriff and community mental health director to house and treat individuals with behavioral health disorders or intellectual or developmental disabilities who are in custody of county sheriff pending trial.
The bill is sponsored only by Representative Paul Evans (D-Monmouth)and is currently in the House Committee On Judiciary.
The bill contains the following details:
Each county must have in operation a facility for the housing and treatment of individuals with behavioral health disorders or intellectual or developmental disabilities who are in the custody of the county sheriff pending trial. Each facility must have the capacity to treat all detainees from the community who are in custody and be staffed by behavioral health professionals from the community mental health program and the sheriff’s deputies. The facility shall be managed by the sheriff in partnership with the community mental health director.
If a county does not have a community health program, the Oregon Health Authority shall provide behavioral health professionals for the facility and partner with the county sheriff in the management of the facility.
The Oregon Health Authority may adopt rules governing the facilities to protect the health and safety of detainees and staff at the facility.