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School Boards Association: “Follow the Law”
“We must do better, even in the face of divided and sometimes hostile communities”

In the face of mounting push-back against what many see as heavy-handed COVID-19 policies demanded by the Governor, The Oregon School Boards Association has distributed a letter to all school board members asking them to follow the law. The issues mentioned are COVID-19 mandates and free-speech restrictions -- presumably calling out the Newberg School District for their ban on Black Lives Matter and rainbow flags. The letter begins:

To Oregon School Board Members,

Before joining an Oregon school board, each and every appointed or elected individual is required to take an oath of office. The wording can vary by district, but generally follows this template:

“I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, the constitution and laws of the state of Oregon, and the policies of (my district). During my term, I will faithfully and impartially discharge the responsibilities of the office to the best of my ability.”

Powerful words, but pretty simple ones, too: I will obey the law, and I will do my very best.

Yet at a time when Oregon’s school boards have never been more tested, we are also lamentably seeing a remarkable number of board members doing their very best to ignore the law or openly defy it. Such behavior is simply unacceptable.

In addition to battling COVID-19 restrictions, many school districts have also been battling Critical Race Theory, and to some, this also presents a legal challenge for school boards.

Article 1, Section 20 of the Oregon Constitution would seem to rule out any action based on Critical Race Theory or reparations. It says: "No law shall be passed granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges, or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens."

The letter from the OSBA continues:

We are duly elected leaders of our communities. We set examples for young people. We are sworn to follow the law – whether we like that law or not. Whether the issue involves court-sanctioned health safeguards during a deadly pandemic or constitutionally protected forms of speech, our oaths bind us. We must do better, even in the face of divided and sometimes hostile communities.

Our actions should be centered on positive outcomes for students. Creating even bigger divisions in our schools and communities does not serve that end. We call on Oregon’s more than 1,400 school board members to carefully weigh the consequences of your actions, to heed your oaths, and to lead by example.

Our children deserve nothing less

For many school board members -- and for many more taxpayers, voters and parents -- school boards who fight these restrictions have the children's best interest in mind.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-14 09:04:34Last Update: 2021-09-14 09:27:58



Linthicum Blasts PSU’s Mistreatment of Professor
Academic freedom and honesty are dead in Oregon’s public Universities

Recently, Portland State University’s Peter Boghossian resigned from his position as assistant professor, marking the end of academic freedom and honesty in Oregon’s higher education system.

Citing Portland State’s unseriousness and lack of commitment to real education when confronted with facts that conflict with prevailing left-wing narratives of the day, Boghossian published his resignation letter online.

Senator Dennis Linthicum issued the following statement about his resignation:

The far-left are hell-bent on bullying and tormenting any individual with a different mindset. Prof. Boghossian was not promoting ideals that were destructive to the American ideal or higher education, but that's the point.

“During his time at PSU, Boghossian did incredible work to expose the corruption inside our system of higher education and attempted to hold it accountable. That work must continue until we restore higher education to what its primary purpose: learning, not indoctrination.

“Boghossian is a scholarly authority who could present students with difficult issues, historical context, and well-reasoned assessments of the circumstances. In other words, he taught students to think for themselves. His analysis was simply too honest for our modern social culture warriors. That was the sin he was punished for.

"HECC, the PSU board, and PSU's faculty caved to the outrageous demands of the radical left by failing to support him. The mainstream and social media organs also played a part by largely ignoring the issue. They have abandoned truth and integrity and embraced the ideological tragedy that is failing our students.

"How many more rare, talented, and committed professors will Oregon sacrifice to destructionist ideologies that roam our university campuses?"


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-14 08:47:44Last Update: 2021-09-14 08:54:32



Chehelam Parks Empire
When property tax dollars are taken from consumers they consume less

Chehalem Parks and Recreation District currently has taxing authority over a little fewer than 40% of Yamhill County property owners. Most are in Newberg or Dundee. In 2020-21, $3,286,290 of local property taxes went to CPRD. Among their operations are parks, a pool, youth sports, playgrounds, golf, preschool, and adult sports. The legislature set aside $1.25 million last session to build their new Community Center. Debt service on a $19.9 million bond is an annual obligation.

Just how much of that bond was for acquisition and development of the 18 hole golf course isn’t identified on their website. The annual costs for maintenance, personnel and a share of administrative overhead for the golf course are just over $2 million a year. Golf revenue in 2019-20 was reported at $1.25 million. In 2020-21 revenue was listed at $1.5 million. The 32,500 citizens living in the CPRD taxing district are subsidizing golf to the tune of 25-30% for those that choose to play golf at CPRD. It’s a good deal for the small percentage of citizens that golf there.

Is it a good practice for government to provide non-essential services that compete with private enterprise? When property tax dollars are taken from consumers they consume less. Reduced spending diminishes the local economy lowering local GDP. Consumers have fewer choices and less economic freedom. Still, CPRD argues their golf course stimulates the local economy.

CPRD has allowed themselves to become part of a failed project of the County. They are studying the possibility of acquiring and operating the once hoped for bike path, Yamhelas Westsider Trail, between the communities of Carlton and Yamhill. Since each of five LUBA decisions decided to protect farmland over recreation on Yamhelas Westsider Trail you’d think the matter concluded. The last LUBA decision ordered the County to pay opponents legal fees. Legally, it’s game over for the County, but not necessarily for the taxpayers.

A small private group, Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail, paid for a survey about the bike path but had CPRD sponsor the survey to give it some much needed legitimacy. The survey asked touchy feely questions of people who know little to nothing of land use law. Those respondents know nothing of the history of non-transparency leading up to the waste of time and money for this assault on farmland. Respondents may not properly understand that using tax dollars on a project to benefit a few, that would otherwise stimulate the economy if left with consumers is actually a financial drag on the local economy. Respondents might not understand that diminishing output of a primary industry -- farming -- has a negative multiplier further diminishing all local economic activity.

Of concern is that CPRD has plans for a third nine holes of subsidized golf and that they have grand designs on a system of bike paths through farms that would violate the very land use laws that scuttled the Yamhelas Westsider Trail debacle. Also concerning is the fact that the Yamhelas Westsider Trail debacle is outside the CPRD taxing district. Why is CPRD so intent on what some see as empire building in inefficient golf and illegal trail activities? Why are they and their Board of Directors meddling in matters outside of their taxing district?


--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-09-13 13:06:36Last Update: 2021-09-13 22:56:36



Giant Hornets Located in Washington
Asian giant hornets are not native to the U.S., are the world’s largest hornet and prey on honey bees and other insects

The Washington State Department of Agriculture, Oregon Department of Agriculture, and USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service found the first Asian giant hornet nest of 2021. The nest was in a rural area east of Blaine, Wash., about one-quarter mile from where a resident reported a sighting of a live Asian giant hornet on Aug. 11, the first of 2021.

WSDA narrowed the search area by Aug. 17 but was unable to access the location until today. A WSDA tracking team and a team of USDA APHIS and ODA staff searched the area beginning this morning at 7:30 a.m. with the USDA APHIS and ODA team spotting the nest about 9:15 a.m.

` “I was glad to be able to share what I learned last year with our ODA collaborators,” said Stacy Herron, a USDA APHIS plant health safeguarding specialist who assisted WSDA on the hornet project last year. “Finding the nest with ODA one day after simulating tagging and tracking in training was a very rewarding experience and demonstrates just how valuable the WSDA training was.”

“It’s an honor to be a part of this innovative pest prevention work in Washington,” said Jake Bodart, ODA Insect Pest Prevention Management program manager, said. “While Asian giant hornets have not yet been detected in Oregon, we are pleased to participate and learn first-hand from our partners on what it takes to respond to introductions of this emerging pest.”

“Teamwork has been the key to success with this effort,” Sven Spichiger, WSDA managing entomologist said. “Whether it is the public reporting sightings and building traps or state and federal agencies working together, this is really a model for success in invasive species management.”

WSDA netted, tagged with a tracker and released three hornets between Aug. 11 – Aug. 17. One hornet slipped out of the tracking device, another hornet was never located, and one eventually led the team to the nest.

WSDA entomologists will now develop their plans to eradicate the nest, most likely next week.

Asian giant hornets are not native to the U.S. They are the world’s largest hornet and prey on honey bees and other insects. These hornets may attack honey bee hives in the late summer or early fall. A small group of Asian giant hornets can kill an entire honey bee hive in a matter of hours.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-13 09:59:12Last Update: 2021-09-12 10:05:58



Veteran and War Memorial Grants Coming to Oregon
Grants may be used for restoring broken monuments

The Oregon Heritage of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is offering grants for the construction or restoration of veterans and war memorials.

Local governments and federally recognized Tribes are eligible to apply for work on monuments on public owned properties.

New monuments should acknowledge veterans and wars not already recognized in the community.

Grants for restoration may be used for broken monuments, missing elements of monuments, or the related design elements of monuments for veterans or wars. Grants may also fund the addition of elements to existing monuments.

Projects must include the active participation of a veteran organization.

A free, online workshop about the grant applications will be September 29, 2:30-3:30 p.m. Registration is required. The grant application deadline is December 10, 2021.

Past funded projects include repair to the Doughboy monument in Astoria, a women veteran monument in Springfield, a new monument in Malin, and additions to the large memorial in Washington County.

For more information about the Veterans and War Memorials grant and other grant programs, visit the Oregon Heritage of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department website or contact Kuri Gill by email or by calling 503-986-0685.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-09-12 17:17:48Last Update: 2021-09-12 18:57:02



Oregon Sunshine Committee to Meet
Possible changes in leadership structure on the agenda

The Oregon Sunshine Committee is holding an electronic meeting on September 22, 2021 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM.

The public can attend by telephone or via Webex, although there is no further information provided by the Committee at this time. Meeting links and call-in numbers are available upon request sent to SunshineCommittee@doj.state.or.us.

The Oregon Sunshine Committee was created in 2017 with the passage of HB 2101 in the Oregon State Legislature.

Like the name suggests, it's job is to make sure that Oregon’s sunshine laws are working. A large part of that task involves reviewing the hundreds of exemptions that can keep government information out of public hands, with the goal of creating a more transparent government.

The agenda of the meeting on September 22nd will be to recap where things stand with the Sunshine Committee’s work and discuss the path forward from, including possible changes in the leadership, and leadership structure, of the Committee. Discussion on these issues could lead to votes on leadership and structure questions and possibly also on how the Committee will prioritize its work going forward.

The meeting materials that have been provided to the members include the draft report the Committee worked on in early 2020, and the 2011 proposed re-organization of public records exemptions.

An archive of past committee meetings can be found here.

Written comments to the Oregon Sunshine Committee about its work and requests for accommodation can be sent to SunshineCommittee@doj.state.or.us.

Regular meetings of the Oregon Sunshine Committee are currently scheduled on the third Wednesday of every odd-numbered month (January, March, May, etc.). The Sunshine Committee generally meets in Hearing Room C of the Oregon State Capitol at 1:30 PM.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-09-12 09:44:24Last Update: 2021-09-12 18:58:04



Horse Viruses Confirmed in Oregon
Agriculture Department advises owners to vaccinate their animals

The Oregon Department of Agriculture received six confirmed reports of West Nile Virus diagnosed in Oregon horses in the past two weeks. One additional suspected case is under investigation. The affected horses live in multiple counties throughout the state: Umatilla, Malheur, and Klamath. None of the infected horses were recently vaccinated against WNV, and most of the horses have never been vaccinated for WNV.

Numerous additional WNV cases have also been reported recently in Washington, Idaho, and California near the Oregon border. Therefore, ODA advises annual vaccination as an effective tool for preventing WNV infection in horses.

On September 9, Oregon State Veterinarian, Dr. Ryan Scholz, DVM, received a report that Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHV-1) was diagnosed in one horse and suspected in a second horse on a private farm in Linn County. A third horse on the same farm tested positive for EHV-1, with a fourth and fifth horse exposed. Two of the affected horses were euthanized. A preliminary investigation shows none of the five horses have been moved off the farm or in contact with other horses in the past four weeks. As a result, Dr. Scholz placed the farm under quarantine.

EHV-1 is highly contagious. While there are no known exposures linked to the Linn County farm, Dr. Scholz recommends that horse owners concerned about exposure monitor their horse’s temperature and contact their veterinarian if a fever or clinical signs develop. EHV-1 testing is generally not advised in asymptomatic horses. More information is available from Equine Disease Communication Center.

Photo by Mathias P.R. Reding on Unsplash


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-12 09:33:37Last Update: 2021-09-12 10:06:50



Huggins Announces for Governor
The Filmmaker Joins a Crowded Republican Field

Jim Huggins, author, actor and independent filmmaker, President and CEO of New Shepherd Films, is putting his business on hold to devote his time to run for Oregon Governor. He announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination on the Lars Larson Show, immediately drawing attention to the root of why Oregon and Portland are failing calling out politicians to uphold the public order. His website summarizes his campaign: MakeGovernmentDoWhatItsSupposedToDo.com.

What Huggins says about his company is his personal philosophy, “we tell true stories and we tell them in a manner that reflects God at work. If we can do that, then you have a chance of having your life change. If you’re concerned about society and which way it’s going, change your entertainment. We are here to be a light so people have a choice.” He directed the award-winning film, Forgotten Heroes, The Robert Hartsock Story, among others.

Married with three children Dr. Huggins holds two doctorate degrees, one in engineering and a doctorate of divinity. He is a former officer of the USAF Air Command. He is an adjunct faculty member at Corban University giving instruction in media arts and filmmaking, including effective storytelling regardless of the media.

Dr. Huggins is a sought-after speaker for his powerful way of communicating his vision. Jim desires to impact the culture around him in a positive way beyond movies and books. From exposing politicians making bad decisions that is affecting our safety to education funding going down the drain with no accountability, he is intent to clean Oregon’s swamp.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-11 07:34:59Last Update: 2021-09-11 19:14:25



Are You Safer Under Tina Kotek?
Kotek has some responsibility for the violent outbreaks

Editor's note: This is the fifth of a multipart series on Tina Kotek – her past and her future – as well as where her political ambitions might take her.

Crime comes in all shapes, but every crime interferes with freedom. Protecting property, whether it’s personal or a business, is crucial to our liberties.

Speaker Kotek’s legislative biography says during the historic 2019 session, she guided the Oregon Legislature to pass the first statewide laws in the country to combat rent gouging. But, in 2014, she replied to a question at a town hall about rent control, saying she opposes rent control. Then, she turned around in 2019 and co-sponsored SB 608, the nation’s first statewide rent control act. As warned, the limit on rent increases were far more generous than historical increases and has resulted in higher increases than historical increases.

Is the crime in the free market or in restrictions? Kotek fought to preserve and increase affordable housing, but did nothing to secure low-income neighborhoods. Kotek boosted on Facebook in 2017 thanking Governor Brown for announcing a plan to curb gun violence. However, shootings in Portland nearly doubled in 2020 and this year has already more than doubled over last year’s highs.

Recently, she owned the push for more equitable policing and a fairer criminal justice system. She sponsored HB 4301 in the 2020 Second Special Session to modify defenses available to peace officers requiring a peace officer to consider alternatives to physical force or deadly physical force if reasonable opportunity to do so exists. Is that what we see in Portland?

As early as 2011, Kotek was promoting anti-policing policies co-sponsoring HB 2951 that identifies “involved officer” in incident that used deadly force causing serious physical injury. She was the chief sponsor of HB 4207 in 2020 for an online database of suspensions and revocations of police officers. This past session she sponsored and passed HB 3164 removing refusal to obey officer’s order as a manner of committing a crime to reduce the case against her assistant arrested for interfering with a police officer.

Last year, the Statesman Journal report Speaker Kotek slamming Portland police for using tear gas during protests where more than two dozen protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct. In a letter to Mayor Wheeler, she said, "It was an unnecessary escalation by the PPB against people exercising their freedom of assembly and freedom of speech." This past weekend police were told to stay away from conflicts between rioters. The Wall Street Editorial said, “Cities that tolerate political violence invite more of it. Portland, Ore., has failed to learn this lesson, and it’s a miracle no one was killed amid recent clashes… Mayor Ted Wheeler, federal courts and Oregon lawmakers have severely restricted when police can use less-lethal force, even amid riots.” As Speaker of the House, Kotek has some responsibility for the violent outbreaks as a part of state leadership. Why are 90% of rioters arrested never charged?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-10 16:10:39Last Update: 2021-09-10 16:55:35



Special Session Called for Redistricting
Legislative districts to be reapportioned

Governor Kate Brown has now called the Oregon Legislature into a special legislative session in order to adopt new congressional and legislative district maps, the next step in the census and redistricting process.

Redistricting is the once-a-decade process of redrawing United State House of Representatives (Congressional) and Oregon State Senate and State House of Representatives (Legislative) district boundaries to account for changes in population. ​​​

Earlier this year, Republicans in the State Legislature brokered a deal with Speaker of the House, Tina Kotek (D) Portland to suspend the rules requiring legislative bills to be read in full during the session, in exchange for allowing Republicans to have equal representation on the Redistricting Committee. Prior to this deal, Democrats were set to have majority of members directing this effort.

The special session will begin on Monday, September 20 at 8:00 a.m. The Oregon Constitution directs the Legislature to reapportion legislative districts every ten years, following the U.S. Census.

“In Oregon, we believe your vote is your voice, and every voice matters,” said Governor Brown. “This special session is an opportunity for legislators to set aside their differences and ensure Oregon voters have their voices heard at the ballot box. Based on my conversations with legislative leaders, and the ongoing public testimony we are hearing from Oregonians across the state this week, I believe the Legislature is ready to begin the next step of the redistricting process.”

According to the Oregon Supreme Court’s recent decision in State ex rel Kotek v. Fagan and Senate Bill 259 (2021), the deadline for the Legislature to complete redistricting plans for state legislative districts and federal congressional districts is September 27, 2021.

Due to COVID, the statewide redistricting tour planned for September was moved to a virtual format only.

Members of the public were invited to participate in the virtual hearings to provide feedback on the draft maps created by the House and Senate Interim Redistricting Committees. These maps were made available starting on September 3rd.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-09-10 14:05:43Last Update: 2021-09-10 16:35:22



Republican Opposition Lines Up for Oregon’s Fifth
A faltering Biden administration could make this a different year for Republicans

As incumbent 5th Congressional District Representative Kurt Schrader makes national news for ducking his district -- fueling speculation that he may not run for a 6th term in Congress -- opponents across the aisle are beginning to line up to run against him.

Former Happy Valley Mayor and candidate for state legislature, Lori Chavez-DeRemer is poised to run, though through redistricting, she may not end up in the 5th Congressional District. From the suburbs of Portland, crime -- of course -- is at the top of her issues list.

Former Keizer city councilor Amy Ryan Courser lost to Kurt Schrader in a topsy-turvy 2020 election by a mere 6.7%. Her issues are appropriately national and include national security, borders and the national debt.

West Point grad and energy executive Nate Sandvig is running on a platform to "restore sanity." Education -- especially the impact of the left -- is at the top of of the list for this Tillamook County native. He also features energy solutions, touting "stable and secure energy supplies."

For his part, Kurt Schrader has been able to fend off all opposition with his substantial incumbent war chest which could at any time be supplemented by his significant personal fortune, but in a year that features a faltering Biden administration -- despite the fact that he won't personally be on the ticket -- could make this a different year for Republican challengers. Additionally, the trickiness of going from five to six Congressional districts could move some Democrats out of the district.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-09 20:32:01Last Update: 2021-09-09 23:26:20



Oregon Education Department Offers Sex Ed Training
“Focus on strategies for affirming LGBTQ2SIA+ students and creating inclusive classrooms”

The Oregon Department of Education has announced that they will be presenting a four-part virtual teacher training series on K-5 Comprehensive Sexuality Education.

According to their website, "While this training is designed to develop skills for teaching sexuality education with a K-5 focus, the foundational activities included are highly relevant to Comprehensive Sexuality Education teachers of all grade bands. The second two modules focus on strategies for affirming LGBTQ2SIA+ students and creating inclusive classrooms through Health and Sexuality Education."

In June of 2020 the Oregon Department of Education published its LGBTQ2SIA+ Student Success Plan which will be featured in this training. The document drives toward a chapter called "Recommendations | Trust, Connection and Inclusion," which is divided into three domains: As the public school system looks away at parents unenrolling their children in record numbers and declining -- even unmeasured -- performance, they choose to focus on K-5 student sexuality as one of the most important issues to be addressed in the classroom.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-09 17:02:31Last Update: 2021-09-09 22:45:28



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