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OHA Forced to Change Mask Rules
Mask mandates start to raise concerns

Earlier this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was facing investigation over returning COVID-19 patients to nursing homes, leading to a high number of deaths. This should have sounded an alarm to all governors that they are accountable for consequences of their orders. For some reason this awareness may have bypassed Oregon's Governor Kate Brown.

Nearly a year ago, Governor Brown announced that face coverings were required statewide. Every news release since from the Governor or the Oregon Health Authority has repeatedly stated they are determining strict policy based on supposedly "the best science". Just like their “science,” Dr. Fauci has been very inconsistent on how, if and when COVID-19 is spread and if masks or vaccines help. Governor Brown may think she is playing on the safety side, but science doesn’t seem to support her.

Recently, when Oregon high school student Maggie Williams was on track to beat the school record running the 800-meter in a school track meet, she made national news because she collapsed just meters short of the finish line. Her coach immediately knew she wasn’t getting enough oxygen through her mask. Coach Dave Turnbull warned OHA a month prior of respiration dangers for athletes, which they are now taking serious. Not because their science changed, but to cover up their lack of science and embarrassment.

Did they not remember or take serious the two schoolboys in China that collapsed and suddenly died within a week of each other after they were forced to participate in gym class while wearing face masks? The National Institutes of Health has also cited a study that raises concerns. They say wearing face masks for any length of time and “inhaling high levels of CO2 may be life-threatening. Hypercapnia (carbon dioxide toxicity) can also cause headache, vertigo, double vision, inability to concentrate, tinnitus (hearing a ringing noise), seizures, or suffocation due to displacement of air.” There is a lot of evidence that most face-coverings are ineffective as protection against COVID. The toxic fumes trapped in your mask that you inhale can also cause permanent damage to your lungs. What liability does the state have for permanently impairing your child from toxic fumes?

The Oregon Health Authority said on Monday it revised the guidance on the use of masks during outdoor competition claiming medical evidence and evolving science.

"We are revising the current guidance on the use of masks outdoors during competition." The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) said in a statement. "The guidance will allow people to take off face coverings when competing in non-contact sports outdoors and maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others and the other virus protective protocols."


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-04-27 10:51:12Last Update: 2021-04-27 12:01:48



The Politicization of School Boards
School board elections just around the corner

The Albany Democrat-Herald paper had recently ran an article by Caitlyn M. May about politicization of school boards. The assertion of her point, is that politics are not to be a part of our education system. While this sounds altruistic, it is fantasy.

The Oregon Education Association is one of the top 5 largest financial contributors to Democrat Governor Kate Brown.

Caitlyn goes on but most surprisingly adds a statement from Kelsy Kretchmer assistant professor at OSU who brings up “Brown v. the Board of Education” and states “school boards filled with white, conservative, pro-segregation members” as if contemporaneous.

Let’s reflect on this history Professor Kelsy is flashing us back to; it was in fact the Republican Party (i.e. the party of Lincoln) that most often led the fight to combat racism in America, while Democrats dragged their feet. The U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous, landmark ruling in the case of Brown v. Board of Education.

Consider the words of Chief Justice Earl Warren, a Republican appointed by a Republican president:

“Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law, for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the Negro group…Any language in contrary to this finding is rejected. We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

In contrast, our current president Joe Biden once said “Unless we do something about this, my children are going to grow up in a jungle, the jungle being a racial jungle with tensions having built so high that it is going to explode at some point. We have got to make some move on this.", when speaking during a congressional hearing related to anti-busing legislation.

Even recently, Vice President Kamala Harris called out Biden on his opposition of busing during the presidential primary. This had no affect on her political aspirations in the end.

By definition, politics are the activities associated with governance.

When tax funded public education remains a function of government it will remain politicized.


--Benjamin Roche

Post Date: 2021-04-26 21:53:54Last Update: 2021-04-26 22:15:13



Oregon AG Products Will See Price Increase
Enjoy products now while you can afford them

Oregon agricultural products will soon see a necessary price increase to accommodate additional government mandates that are about to be passed in the Oregon State Legislature.

HB 2358 has been introduced by Representative Salinas (D-Clackamas), Representative Holvey (D-Eugene), Representative Ruiz (D-Portland), and Senator Frederick (D-Portland). It proposes to eliminate the agricultural exemption for payment of overtime to agricultural workers.

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, 29 U.S.C. § 203 (FLSA), is the United States labor law that created the right to minimum wage, and time-and-a-half overtime pay when people work over forty hours a week. Since it's passage it has been amended several times to increase the actual minimum wage and to encompasses specific job classes into the Act, but the inclusion of agricultural workers has never been incorporated into federal changes. Six states currently have some form of requirements to pay agricultural worker’s overtime; California, Minnesota, Hawaii, Washington, Maryland, and New York. Each of them varies slightly in how they apply. Oregon looks to be the next to join the list.

During testimony on the bill, Representative Bobby Levy (R–Echo), herself a rancher, said “feeding Oregon is a thankless job. The biggest obstacle to working in the ag industry is that the cost to produce our commodities is often more than we get paid for doing it”. She also expressed concerns for the other bills being entertained this session that will continue to stack costs on agricultural businesses.

Mike Omeg, a 5th generation cherry farmer from The Dallas explained to the committee how migrant workers here on the H2A visa program are required to be paid based on Federal H2A rates, and in Oregon that is $16.34. The rate is set to ensure that a US citizen ag worker is not displaced by a guest worker. He added that “farmers in our current structure set our wages to meet the current laws not because we are racist.” He and others also shared that consumers set the prices for agricultural crops and consumers will simply buy imported produce and ag commodities from other states or countries. In addition, one organic grower shared that because they use fewer chemicals in their farming practices and have gone to great lengths to reduce the use of fossil fuel vehicles, they will have no other choice than to abandon some of those practices to account for the increased labor costs.

Supporter of the bill, Oregon Climate & Agriculture Network (OrCAN) submitted testimony citing a study done by the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS). It reported that individual farm workers earn $15,000 to $17,499 a year. However, with Oregon’s current minimum wage rate at $12.00 and $12.75 in agricultural communities, that would mean that ag employees are working well under 40 hours per week. A 40-hour work week at current minimum wage is ~$25,740. In that same report, it was noted that only 51% of the respondents had authorization to work legally in the US.

In other testimony, supporters of the legislation pointed out that “Farm labor workers receive no overtime and/or holiday pay”. Holiday pay is not mandated on any small or large employer in the state. Many employers use this as an incentive to attract labor. They also noted that farm workers receive no health benefits. However, any employer in the state with less than 50 employees is not required to provide healthcare coverage to their employees. Many family farmers themselves do not have health insurance because to acquire it on the exchange costs them several thousand dollars and they just can’t afford it. Finally, they pointed out that farm labor does not receive an employer 401K. Again, this benefit is not specific to the ag industry. Many small, medium and large size employers do not offer 401Ks or other retirement plans to their employees.

After two days of testimony and hundreds of letters submitted to the committee in opposition, they chose to move it to the Legislative Rules Committee on a party line vote. They ignored a proposed amendment to phase in the overtime regulation, and one to increase the 40-hour threshold to 45. They also ignored an offer from Representative Post (R–Keizer) to host a work-group to see what could be worked out between now and next session. He said he “has many farmers in his district and they have expressed to him their concerns, and those are based in economics not racism, and rushing into this decision without all parties at the table to first discuss it is not good policy”.

During the vote, however, Representative Bynum (D-Clackamas) who owns and operates four McDonald’s Restaurants in the Portland metro area stated that “It’s a human rights issue and to be quite honest as we listened to testimony, the optics are really bad, the optics are horrible, and the history of the whole conversation is quite tormenting”.

The bill currently sits in the State Legislative House Rules Committee where it can be heard again at anytime before the end of session.


--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-04-26 16:08:06Last Update: 2021-04-26 18:10:21



Oregon Will Receive Another Congressional District
Sixth District to be added

The desire has been emphasized for the need for a fair redistricting process that avoids political gerrymandering in Oregon and it seems now that will be addressed.

Oregon has now been awarded a sixth congressional district for representation in the nation's capitol of Washington D.C. after preliminary 2020 census data has been considered.

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) has responded to confirmation that Oregon will have a sixth congressional district. The news highlights the importance of equal representation on the State Legislature's House Redistricting Committee which currently has three Republicans and three Democrats.

“Now that we have equal representation on the redistricting committee, our legislative and congressional districts will be drawn in a way that avoids political gerrymandering,” said Leader Drazan. “Our current maps have favored one political party over another for the past 20 years, but Oregonians can be confident that this sixth congressional district will be drawn according to the rules to give people fair representation.”

Some analysts have proposed that the sixth district may end up being a Republican held seat, compared to the current 4 congressional seats held by Democrats, and the one held by Republican Cliff Bentz.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-04-26 12:42:25Last Update: 2021-04-26 13:30:23



Virtual Town Hall Turns Tense
No public access is frustrating for many

Town Halls are an important way for elected officials to interact and update those they represent in Salem, about the current legislative session. In previous years these have typically been hosted informally at coffee shops, or bookstores face to face. Yet, as political tensions increase, along with concerns over safety and COVID-19, more meetings are being hosted virtually, during a time when Oregonians are locked out of the Capitol, and feeling not only unheard, but silenced. For a select few, the Town Hall process has become an open space to air their grievances.

On Wednesday, April 21, 2021, Senator Lynn P. Findley (R-Vale), Representative Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles), and Representative Mark Ownens (R-Crane) hosted a joint Town Hall to speak to constituents and answer questions about the current 2021 Legislative Session. Unfortunately, what followed was something akin to a digital mob with pitchforks and torches. The zoom chat box exploded into expletives, and decorum was soon lost amongst attendees.

While many bills are on the table, only one seemed to be the topic of heated debate: SB554, "The Gun Bill." At the center of constituent ire was the topic of walking out, a process whereby enough lawmakers deny quorum requirements, in order to prevent a vote on one or more bills. This legal procedure move has been used successfully in past years by both parties, usually as a last resort. However, dynamics are very different this session, and it doesn't appear a walk out is possible for Republicans, making it a very rough and unpredictable year for multiple issue-based voter blocks who hold many concerns. Northwest Observer reported on the political landscape and the threats made by the majority party, back in December.

Prior to SB554 being read on the Senate Floor, an open letter was sent to Republican Senators, Lynn Findley included, from 27 bipartisan, and nonpartisan Oregon grassroots organizations, pleading with them to please walk out and offering support to stop a barrage of radical legislative concepts this session. The letter didn't specifically address SB554, but certainly got the point across that Oregonians did not feel comfortable handing over any more constitutionally guaranteed rights.

Concurrently, yet unconnected, a recall effort against Senator Fred Girod (R-Stayton), was announced. The petitioner announced the recall would begin, unless Girord were to lead the Republican Caucus in a walk out, to specifically stop SB554.

Suffice to say, Republican lawmakers, as the underdog and minority party, are pretty used to threats and intimidation. It's almost a hazard of the job. That being said, there are two sayings in politics that seem important to share here; "Politics are all about Relationships", and "Politics belong to those who show up".

Oregon Republicans are in an almost impossible situation, outnumbered, and working over time to leverage, whatever possible, in order to find helpful and meaningful ways to honor the voice of the people. Many are speaking out and asking those who feel voiceless in the legislative process, to start getting involved in the next round of elections. It's an unfortunate reality, but the party in charge gets to make all the rules, and if people aren't happy with who's in charge, now is the time to get active and help change the power structure.

Representative Daniel Bonham graciously gave the Northwest Observer some time after the chaotic Town Hall, and had some encouraging words to explain the current situation, and what's required going forward, "I think there are unlimited ways to get involved - but the most effective ways require relationships. Which takes time and energy - it’s an investment."

The Investment begins with elections, and at the local county level. Most people are unaware that once session begins the agenda is already set, as have committee assignments and which bills are a priority to pass. Due to the supermajority status of the Democratic party, the Speaker of the House Tina Kotek, and the Senate President Peter Courtney have already instructed their caucuses how to vote on each bill. That doesn't mean votes are set in stone, many lawmakers still vote their conscience or according to what's best for their district. This is why relationships are important to create and maintain.

If you're finding yourself frustrated this session, consider becoming a Precinct Committee Person in your local county party. Get plugged into groups that support your issue, and learn who's running for office. Campaigns provide critical networking opportunities, and a free education on the legislative process. Most importantly, each office has a separate and unique function, or scope of authority, learning the differences will help cut down on frustration and focus energy into the right direction for change.

The legislative session is only five months long, however, it's important to get involved on budget and steering committees, long before a bill comes before the legislative assembly.

Civic duty belongs to everyone, be the change you're demanding of others.


--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2021-04-25 19:37:41Last Update: 2021-04-25 23:09:09



Does Internet Serve the People?
The leadership can’t have it both ways

The legislative session is now in the second half and bills are being heard in the second house if not referred to Ways and Means, with a few trailers. Those trailers are in committees that are exempt from deadline rules.

The General Government committees have their hands full trying to keep their story straight on use of the internet – it’s good enough for legislative hearings, but lacks for virtual learning and the underserved.

Senator Dallas Heard (R-Polk) spoiled a unanimous yes vote on the House floor. His reasoning is, “The Constitution of the State of Oregon clearly states that ‘The deliberations of each house, of committees of each house or joint committees and of committees of the whole, shall be open...’ This provision was put in place to ensure accountability and transparency to the people of the state that their Legislature was working in their best interest. The virtual format that is being used does not provide for an honest, open, and transparent discussion on the matters of this state. We are seeing just how discriminatory these virtual sessions can be! The Majority Party has created a system that if you cannot afford internet, you cannot be a part of the discussions. This “Pay to Play” approach is NOT the Oregon way. Between this and the heartbreaking examples of the elder and economically depressed members in our society struggling and getting frustrated over their challenges navigating this virtual environment, it cannot honestly be said that we are doing the peoples work. Additionally, the Governors restrictions and closure of the state have caused traditionally public places that would provide internet and support to said individuals be inaccessible.”

While the leadership tries to justify the virtual testimony process is open to all, the State Treasure, Tobias Read, said: “A recent study of the Oregon Broadband Advisory Council found that nearly 26% of Oregon’s urban households are considered “underserved.” The study also revealed dismal numbers with respect to low-cost access to broadband in tribal lands. In fact, in five of nine of our tribal communities, fewer than 30% of residents have access to low-cost broadband, and in two of the five, no residents have such access… Clearly these numbers are unacceptable, in light of widespread usage of broadband across our economy and culture.”

KGW 8 reports that “Rebecca Gibbons, the broadband and digital inclusion manager for the City of Portland, said before the pandemic, at least 65,000 families didn’t have internet connection in their homes. Because of the hardships associated with the pandemic, that number is expected to have grown.”

Broadbandnow reports: “Oregon hovers in the middle ground in terms of internet connectivity as the 34th most well-connected state nationwide… A wired internet connection capable of 25 Mbps speeds is not available to 301,000 people in Oregon.”

The leadership can’t have it both ways and remain credible. Internet or not, Senator Heard makes his point, “The ‘People’s Work’ should be considered an essential service and there for accessible in person. Because the people are still being denied their constitutional right to participate and lobby their legislature in an open manner, I cannot legitimize this session with a yes vote no matter the merit of the bill, and therefore had to vote no.”


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-04-25 09:53:15Last Update: 2021-04-25 10:07:15



“Peaceful” March Turns Into Riot
Event was advertised as a “demonstration“

Only two people were arrested following a violent march in the Portland Northwest District Neighborhood. The march, which was advertised, became a riot when participants began blocking streets, breaking windows, applying graffiti, and pushed their way into a restaurant.

The event, which was billed on social media as an "autonomous demonstration," began in Couch Park at about 9:00p.m. with about 75 people mostly dressed in all black, or "bloc" attire designed to make it difficult for police to identify lawbreakers.

The group began marching in the streets about 9:15p.m., and within 15 minutes reports of broken windows and graffiti came in.

Some members of the group forced their way into a tavern/restaurant in the 2200 block of Northwest Hoyt Street.

A resident who was taking video of the march had a rock thrown through his window. Graffiti was applied on a Tri-Met bus shelter and a Moroccan restaurant at Northwest 21st Avenue and Northwest Northrup Street.

The group was advised via loudspeaker and Twitter that the behavior of the crowd constituted a riot and they were advised to leave to the north.

Few if any of them complied. The group eventually wandered back into Couch Park and dispersed.

Officers arrested two people and booked in them into the Multnomah County Detention Center: Camello was in possession of items used to cause criminal mischief.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-04-24 16:22:42Last Update: 2021-04-25 10:08:13



Fireams Bills Combined
More drama is coming

SB 554 had a hearing today and is expected to be amended with the -A20 amendments which essentially combines the original version of SB 554 which allows local jurisdictions to create "gun free" zones, with regard to persons licensed to carry concealed in their public buildings and requires that they post this at all entrances to the building. It makes the Capitol and commercial airports gun free zones. The bill in it's current form is a compromise between the original bill, introduced by Senator Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) and the gun storage bill introduced on the House side by Representatives Rachel Prusak (D-West Linn), Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro), Lisa Reynolds (D-Portland), and Dacia Grayber (D-Portland). Oh, and Senator Burdick, who never met a gun bill she didn't like. Since the bill was on the House side, the Speaker took the opportunity to water down the CHL restrictions and to leave the gun storage regulations intact.

It's in no way certain that this is the final form of the bill. It's no secret that Speaker Kotek is not liked on the Senate side, and quite often a bill will get minor changes in the second chamber, and go back for a concurrence vote, which is often just a formality. Upset Senators -- possibly including Senator Burdick -- may use the trip back to the Senate for concurrence to continue the conversation.

The bill passed out of the House Committee on Rules on a 4-3 party-line vote. It now goes to the floor of the House where it is expected to pass.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-04-24 16:05:10Last Update: 2021-04-24 16:21:14



Diesel Ban Being Considered in Oregon
Statewide ban by 2028

There is currently a proposal in the Oregon State Legislature sponsored by Oregon Democrat Karin Power (D-Portland) in HB 3305 which effectively would ban diesel fuel for automobiles entirely in the state of Oregon by the year 2028, and by 2024 in the Portland metro area.

The bill states that on or after the following dates, a non-retail dealer or retail dealer may not sell or offer for sale petroleum diesel to a consumer for use in a motor-vehicle: It is also stated in the bill that the State Department of Agriculture may adopt rules as necessary to implement the law.

Observers have noted a potential agenda to give other fuels a government aided chance on the market by manipulating the availability of clean diesel for highway automobile use, the product currently being readily available and used, particularly in rural communities.

Those reliant on the popular fuel may soon be forced to acquire additional vehicular assets to accommodate the sudden change in law.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-04-23 13:50:10Last Update: 2021-04-24 06:16:15



Oregon Has At Least 173 Wolves
More than 9 percent increase over last year

Oregon State wildlife biologists counted 173 wolves in Oregon this past winter, a 9.5 percent increase over last year’s count of 158 according to the latest Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management 2020 Annual Report.

This annual count is based on verified wolf evidence (like visual observations, tracks, and remote camera photographs) and is considered the minimum known wolf count, not an estimate of how many wolves are in Oregon.

The actual number of wolves in Oregon is likely higher, as not all individuals present in the state are located during the winter count.

A total of 22 packs were documented during the count.

Of those packs, 17 reproduced and had at least two adults and two pups that survived through the end of 2020, making them “breeding pairs.” Seven other groups of 2-3 wolves were also identified.

While no new packs formed in western Oregon, the total number of wolves in the region increased by 29 percent (from 17 to 22 wolves) over the 2019 count. Eight collared wolves dispersed from their packs with four dispersing to other locations in Oregon, two to Idaho, one to California, and one wolf left California and became resident in Oregon.

A total of 21 wolves were captured and radio-collared during 2020, up from 14 last year.

Nine wolf mortalities were documented during 2020, including two young wolves that died from natural causes (a Wenaha pup and Indigo yearling).

Seven wolf mortalities were human caused. One wolf was killed when hit by a vehicle on I-84, another was apparently killed when hit by a boat while swimming across the Snake River.

One was taken lawfully under the “caught in the act” rule which allows livestock producers to shoot a wolf found in the act of biting, wounding, killing or chasing livestock. (As of January 4, 2021 “caught in the act” is legal statewide but rules differ for East and West Zones which are in different phases of wolf management.)

Four wolves were killed illegally in 2020. Three deaths are still under investigation, and the Oregon State Police is actively seeking more information on those cases. The breeding male of the Ruckel Ridge Pack was shot in Umatilla County in May. The breeding male of the Cornucopia Pack was shot in September in Baker County. A subadult wolf, believed to be from the Pine Creek Pack, was shot in October in Baker County. Rewards ranging from $2,500 to $15,000 have been offered for information leading to a conviction.

Finally, a livestock owner shot a wolf mistaken for a coyote. The owner was warned by Oregon State Police after self-reporting the incident to OSP.

ODFW did not lethally control any wolves in response to chronic depredation in 2020.

Confirmed depredation events increased 94 percent in 2020 from 2019. The majority of the depredation (52 percent) was attributed to the Rogue Pack, which depredated 16 times in 2020.

In the Rogue Pack area, ODFW and partners U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Wildlife Services worked extensively to try to limit depredation, including a coordinated nighttime patrol in Klamath County to haze wolves out of livestock pastures in the northern Wood River Valley where depredation was concentrated. Agency staff hazed all night on 99 nights between July 30-Nov. 25. This overnight agency presence leveraged real time information about wolf locations derived from howling, radio-telemetry, cattle disturbance, and visual observation through night-vision thermal imaging devices in an attempt to deter wolves. The hazing pushed the wolves back into the forest on some nights, but other nights they depredated.

“The personnel costs of this collaboration with USFWS, WS and the Department was significant during the four months,” said Roblyn Brown ODFW Wolf Coordinator. “We appreciate the work of our partners and all livestock producers.”


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-04-22 21:00:33Last Update: 2021-04-22 21:39:16



Woman Dies After Getting Covid Vaccine
The OHA and CDC are investigating

Oregon Health Authority has been informed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the death of an Oregon woman following immunization with Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Information about the death has been sent to the CDC through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, the national reporting system used to collect reports of adverse events after vaccination.

OHA was notified of the potential adverse event on April 20, two days after the CDC was notified on April 18.

The Oregon resident, a woman in her 50s, received a dose of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine before the pause order on its use was issued.

Until the investigation is complete, it cannot be concluded whether her death is related to the vaccine.

She developed a serious blood clot within two weeks following vaccination. Prior to the issuance of the pause, cases of this serious blood clot had been identified among six women around the country who received the vaccine.

Health care providers are required to report certain adverse events after COVID-19 vaccines, in accordance with the Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 vaccines. These include serious adverse events, such as death, any life-threatening event and inpatient hospitalization.

More than 87,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine having been administered at locations throughout Oregon.

The case in Oregon will add to the evidence of potential risk associated with Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will review the data accumulated to date and weigh the risks and benefits of the vaccine. These considerations will inform the ACIP’s recommendations regarding use of the vaccine going forward.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-04-22 16:46:04Last Update: 2021-04-22 18:37:41



People, Not Politicians Files Redistricting Measure
The new initiative petition is similar to IP 57, which failed to make the ballot

People Not Politicians filed Initiative Petition 16 for the November 2022 General Election ballot to reform Oregon’s redistricting process through the creation of an independent citizens’ redistricting commission. If the effort is successful in gathering 149,360 signatures, it will appear on the 2022 ballot, and will toss out whatever the legislative process produces in favor of new maps drawn by the commission.

“An overwhelming majority of Oregonians support the creation of an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw Oregon’s state and congressional maps and put people, not politicians, in charge of this process,” said Norman Turrill, chair of People Not Politicians and Chief Petitioner of the new initiative petition. “If the legislature fails to act this session, we are prepared with an initiative petition to bring forth the fair and transparent reform Oregonians want for our state.”

At its simplest, IP 16 would introduce mid-decade redistricting reform to change the way Oregon’s voting districts are drawn by creating an independent citizen’s redistricting commission comprised of Oregon voters, rather than politicians. The commission process would begin immediately following the 2022 general election for a complete redistricting of the state legislative and congressional districts in time for elections in 2024.

The new initiative petition is similar to IP 57 filed by People Not Politicians for the November 2020 ballot. That effort was nearly successful after a federal judge last year found the coalition exercised “reasonable diligence” in attempting to qualify for the ballot with over 64,000 signatures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum appealed, and the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the district court decision. This court case is continuing in the federal district court.

In 2001, with the legislature under Republican control, a walkout was staged by Democrats to prevent a legislative redistricting plan and the task fell to Democrat Secretary of State Bill Bradbury to essentially produce the maps that we have today.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-04-22 11:53:34Last Update: 2021-04-22 10:37:01



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