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St. Paul Rodeo
Thursday, June 30, 2022 at 9:00 am
Hundreds of community volunteers work shoulder to shoulder for months each year to put this traditional show together, and we welcome the world to St. Paul for five days filled with color, action, excitement, and something for everyone. So, head on out to St. Paul for a fun-filled experience during our 86th annual 4th of July rodeo celebration of the American cowboy and our western lifestyle!

Mark your calendars now and join the fun at the 86 th Annual St. Paul Rodeo June 30, July 1,2,3, & 4, 2022.
St. Paul, OR

2022 Lincoln County Fair
Friday, July 1, 2022 at 10:00 am
FREE ADMISSION * July 1-3 * Newport, Oregon

Join Us for an Old-Fashioned 4th of July Celebration!
Details & event calendar:
1211 SE Bay Blvd Newport, OR 97365

Marion County Fair
Friday, July 8, 2022 at 10:00 am
2022 Marion County Fair July 8-10, 2022 Friday: 10am – 11pm Saturday: 10am – 11pm Sunday: 10am – 6pm
Oregon State Fairgrounds 2330 17th ST NE Salem, OR 97301

Linn County Fair
Thursday, July 14, 2022 at 10:00 am
Linn County Fair July 14 - 16 2022
Linn County Expo Center 3700 Knox Butte RD E Albany, OR 97322

World Athletics Championships
Friday, July 15, 2022 at 8:00 am
The World Athletics Championships are coming to Eugene this summer (July 15-24 2022), the first time in history that the championships will be held in the United States. This mega-sporting event will showcase the best track and field athletes in the world. The event will bring 2,000 athletes from more than 200 nations, all competing for 49 gold medals. About 20,000 to 25,000 attendees are expected per session, with most days hosting two sessions (both morning and afternoon).

Lane County Fair
Wednesday, July 20, 2022 at 11:00 am
Lane County Fair JULY 20 - 24, 2022 11:00am - 11:00pm
Lane Events Center 796 W 13th Ave, Eugene, OR 97402

Coos County Fair& Rodeo
Tuesday, July 26, 2022 at 8:00 am
Coos County Fair and Rodeo July 26 - 30, 2022
Coos County Fairgrounds 770 4th St, Myrtle Point, OR 97458

Malheur County Fair
Tuesday, August 2, 2022 at 10:00 am
Malheur County Fair August 2-6th
Desert Sage Events Center 795 N.W. Ninth St. Ontario, OR 97914

Union County Fair
Wednesday, August 3, 2022 at 10:00 am
Union County Fair August 3-6th 2022
3604 N 2nd St, La Grande, OR 97850

Yamhill County Fair & Rodeo
Wednesday, August 3, 2022 at 7:11 pm
Fair and Rodeo August 3-6, 7 am - 11 pm. Wed. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; Thur. Jo Dee Messina; Fri. Shenandoah; Sat. Night Ranger Kids rides Adults $12 Kids $6 Exhibits; Demolition Derby Saturday 168th Annual; Oregon's oldest Fair
Yamhill County Fairgrounds

Baker County Fair
Sunday, August 7, 2022 at 10:00 am
Baker County Fair August 7 - August 13
Baker County Fairgrounds 2600 East Street Baker City, OR 97814

Umatilla County Fair
Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at 10:00 am
Umatilla County Fair Aug. 10th-13th, 2022
1705 E. Airport Rd. PO Box 94 Hermiston, OR 97838

Tuesday, August 16, 2022 at 10:00 am
CLACKAMAS COUNTY FAIR & RODEO August 16-20, 2022 10am - 10pm
Clackamas County Events Center 694 NE 4th Ave. Canby, OR 97013

Oregon State Fair
Friday, August 26, 2022 at 10:00 am
Which part of the Oregon State Fair are you most excited for? We'll keep adding to the fun all summer long!
Salem, Or

Oregon General Election
Tuesday, November 8, 2022 at 8:00 pm

View All Calendar Events

Skarlatos Reports Successful Fundraising
“Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi will do anything to advance their liberal agenda”

Former Oregon National Guard soldier and U.S. Congressional Candidate for the 4th Congressional District Alek Skarlatos announced he raised over $512,000 for the third quarter, which is his first full fundraising quarter of the campaign, outpacing his presumed opponent long-time incumbent, Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield).

This news follows the recent announcement by the National Republican Congressional Committee that Alek Skarlatos was named as one of their top candidates for their 2022 Young Guns recruitment program.

“I am incredibly thankful to have the support of so many people, as Southwest Oregon deserves conservative leaders who will fight for them,” said Skarlatos. “Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi will do anything to advance their liberal agenda - which includes deliberately ignoring the crisis along our Mexican border and this $3.5 trillion tax and spend infrastructure bill championed by Peter DeFazio - and this is just the start of a long campaign to stop their far-left agenda.”

Skarlatos is a former Oregon National Guardsman, who served in Afghanistan. In 2015, while traveling on a train bound for Paris, Alek, along with four others, jumped into action to stop an Islamic Terrorist who tried to open fire on a passenger train. His heroism earned him several awards and medals around the world including, the United States' Soldier’s Medal. Skarlatos was defeated by multi-decade incumbent Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) in the 2020 election.

Oregon's 4th Congressional district changed mostly on the Northern counties. The loss of Linn County and the addition of Lincoln County turned the district slightly more liberal and Democratic than the previous 4th Congressional district.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-18 12:01:21Last Update: 2021-10-18 19:17:55

It’s Mandate Monday
Much of the work that the state does, it has to be staffed in an immediate and on-going basis

With the announcement of Executive Order 21-29 came Oregon's vaccine mandate for all state employees, contractors and volunteers. Any employee who fails to provide proof of vaccination "will face personnel consequences up to and including separation from employment." Mandates for health care workers and educators are also in place.

Legal challenges still loom. Though the company continues to dispute it, vaccine mandates brought Southwest Airlines to it's knees as they cancelled flights and scrambled to get back to a normal operating level, and have arguably driven staffing shortages in Oregon medical facilities as many health care workers refuse the vaccine, the state pushes forward with it's mandate.

There has been some speculation that the vaccination mandate is more about power than about preventing disease. Many state workers still work from home. Many work in non-public facing jobs. Yet, the mandate makes no distinction. Some have wondered if the mandate is targeted at anti-vaxxers -- Trump supporters and religious nuts -- who need to be driven from state government. In fact, we'll probably never know, because the Governor's COVID Council has a very poor track record with transparency.

Governor Brown's announcement of the mandate on August 13 appeared to drive a small blip on the graph of vaccine administrations driving speculation that while some prefer to not take the vaccine, their careers as state workers outweighed these concerns. In a meeting of the Oregon Health Policy Board, OHA Director Pat Allen appeared to soften the mandate, telling state agencies not to fire employees over the deadline, but to keep them away from public-facing work.

Much of what the state does is necessary, but can be allowed to backlog, and for this kind of work, the state can absorb even a sizeable worker shortage. But for much of the work that the state does, it has to be staffed in an immediate and on-going basis.

For this kind of work, the state cannot understaff. This would be true of law enforcement, including corrections employees, state health care and mental health workers and care workers and contractors. It remains to be seen if there will be a problem in these fields and if so, how the state will respond. The Oregon National Guard has already been called out to fill gaps in the health care system. Perhaps they will be used to fill gaps in state government, but they can only go so far.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-18 09:41:54Last Update: 2021-10-18 12:25:54

Mask Mandates in Clackamas County
This building is now the “same as your private home”

Without comment or answer to the Northwest Observer’s questions, it appears due to the September 29, 2021, decision by the Appeals Court related to mask wearing as “nonmandatory recommendations”, the Facility Director, Jeff Jorgensen, captured the reason for any order given to the citizens by Clackamas County Commissioners and their legal counsel, Steve Markour, in this building, is that this building is now the “same as your private home”.

This government building houses or at least use to house hundreds of government employees. Many government employees continue to stay at home while now elected government officials call these government buildings “home” and their “private property”, now the move is to claim they can eject anyone they want without reason, cause, or law?

October 14, 2021, the Northwest Observer sat for 45 minutes in front of commissioners Tootie Smith, Mark Shull, Paul Savas, counsel Steve Markour during the Clackamas County Commission’s meeting mask free until the moment the public comment session began. Jorgensen approached the reporter holding in his hand what looked like some head gear contraption from 2001 Space Odessy. Because of the appeals court decision is that the reason Jorgensen never mentioned the “deadly virus” or the “emergency” or “the pandemic” and had no qualms with shaking the reporter’s hand? Now the issue has become simply that these buildings are the same as “your private home”?

The Northwest Observer's questions not answered by Chair, Tootie Smith, commissioners Mark Schull, Paul Savas and county counsel Steve Markour submitted via email include as follows: On November 19, 2020 Clackamas County Commissioner Tootie Smith said, ”How dare Governor Brown think she’s going to come out, she’s going to send the police into people’s homes and arrest them and fine them for having a Thanksgiving meal with their family, while at same time she lets rioters and anarchists destroy downtown in the city of Portland. That’s hypocrisy.”

On July 28, 2021, Commissioner Smith continued her defiance. “As the Delta variant continues to rise in Oregon, Clackamas County chair remains staunch in her defiance of virus restrictions”



And on August 12, 2021 Commissioner Smith continued to uphold her consistent stance. “This week, Governor Brown issued a mask mandate to all indoor buildings yet said local authorities would not be charged with enforcement. My question to her is this: if it’s not enforced, how is it a mandate?” Smith asked.”

Oregonians know more and more now after a year and a half of listening to Governor Kate Brown’s pinball edicts on television that Kate Brown’s, OHA’s and OSHA’s “rules cannot violate law”, and more and more citizens wonder when their elected officials will also learn that civics lesson.

--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-10-17 11:13:57Last Update: 2021-10-17 11:38:30

Stay on Vaccine Mandates Denied
“It’s not a mandate, you just can’t work”

Free Oregon’s Emergency Motion for Stay against the Oregon Health Authority and the State of Oregon for OAR’s 333-019-1010 and 1030, was denied by Appellate Court Commissioner Theresa Kidd. The Commissioner’s job is to determine a case’s merit and likelihood of success prior to being presented to a judge.

According to the suit,

The issues presented in this case turn on what are arguably some of the most impactful and harmful temporary administrative rules that have ever been adopted by an agency because they force potentially hundreds of thousands of individuals to undergo a medical treatment against their wishes or else be deprived by a state actor of their job, their income, and their very means of livelihood. A failure to stay these Rules will leave Petitioners and those individuals without the ability to provide for their families. The Petitioners have filed an emergency motion because Petitioners, together with hundreds if not tens of thousands of other Oregonians, will be imminently terminated from their public and private employment in their chosen professions unless they subject themselves to the false choice of succumbing to an unwanted, intrinsically coercive, unreasonable medical intervention with unknown long-term risks, that is likely in violation of state and federal law, the Oregon Constitution, and the United States Constitution. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that a “forcible injection … into a nonconsenting person’s body represents a substantial interference with that person’s liberty[.]”

Ben Edtl, director of Free Oregon, the organization which supported the lawsuit said, "We argued that the COVID-19 vaccines are experimental and not FDA approved and, therefore cannot be mandated according to the Emergency Use Authorization. We even provided the court with the actual FDA “approval” of the Comirnaty vaccine, to prove our point, alongside the federal government’s EUA. She says the State isn’t mandating which vaccines are to be taken, just that nurses, teachers and government workers must be vaccinated against Covid-19."

In what some are calling a circular argument justifying the decision that was identical to the State lawyers’ positions that on the one hand this is not a mandate while on the other hand we are experiencing a state of emergency, due to the pandemic, and that the State of Oregon has every legal right to mandate experimental vaccines. The determination of Commissioner Kidd was that the State would be likely to prevail.

The likelihood of success factor, together with the risk of harm to the public if a stay is granted, dispositively weighs against granting a stay in this case. Even assuming that petitioners have made a sufficient showing that they will be harmed if a stay is denied, and despite petitioners' urging that the public will be harmed by the vaccine mandate itself, the court agrees with the state that a stay would be harmful to the public. As all involved are aware, this case arises during a pandemic. Since its emergence, the coronavirus has spread throughout the world and COVID-19 has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in this country. As the rules themselves state, healthcare workers generally have contact with many patients, including those who are "more likely than the general public to have conditions that put them at risk for complications due to COVID-19," and "[c]hildren are required to attend school, which is a congregate setting where COVID-19 can spread easily if precautions are not taken."



According to OHA, requiring workers in healthcare settings and schools to be vaccinated is an effective way to increase vaccination rates and thereby help control COVID-19 and protect the citizens of this state. The state clearly has a strong interest in protecting the general public from the spread of COvID-19, and the rules in question are directly aimed at accomplishing that goal. As the Supreme Court said much earlier in the course of the pandemic in Elkhorn Baptist Church v. Brown, although there "have been and will continue to be debates about how best to respond to the threat posed by the coronavirus," to "the extent that those debates concern policy choices they are properly for policymakers." The executive branch is "uniquely situated, and duty bound, to protect the public in emergency situations and to determine, in such emergencies, where the public interest lies. Given the public interests at stake, and the seriousness of the harm caused by the spread of the virus, the court determines that the risk of harm to the public if a stay is granted is significant.

Ben Edtl mocked the decision. "It’s not a mandate, you just can’t work. It’s not a mandate, you just can’t go to the grocery store. It’s not a mandate, you just have to stay in your house. It’s not a mandate, you just can’t leave the government internment camp." Edtl assures that "Our case will continue to a judge with a reconsideration filing, but based on this decision by Kidd it will be heard after Monday’s October 18, 2021 deadline."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-17 11:11:21Last Update: 2021-10-17 12:01:33

Looming Blackouts? What About Offshore Wind?
Biden is pushing a green militia

Are you expecting blackouts this winter? Opponents of HB 2021 -- which requires retail electricity providers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers -- have warned of potential blackouts from an overloaded electric grid, but that is in the making of bad policy and shifting to fast to an electric grid without the infrastructure to handle the load.

Green energy is popular in the legislature, and looks to continue to be so, despite the consequences. HB 2021 was introduced by Representatives Pam Marsh (D-Ashland), Khanh Pham (D-Portland), Senators Lee Beyer (D-Eugene), and Michael Dembrow (D-Portland). A seemingly endless list of Democrats jumped in as co-sponsors.

As we get rid of our coal and natural resources for energy to appease the climate change agenda, the Chinese Communist Party, the biggest polluter in the world, is one of the leading movers behind the U.S. Climate Change Activism Conference. They are mobilizing schools and campuses through the United States Exchange Foundation to co-op potential opposition and influence government to take action supporting Beijing.

President Biden is pushing the 2030 net zero initiative putting $8 billion into a green militia called the Climate Corp, part of the Green New Deal. They are activist going door-to-door to enforce climate change policies. Part of their message for zero emissions is offshore wind turbines.

The Department of Interior has laid out plans to build offshore wind farms in international waters off the east coast, Gulf of Mexico, California and Oregon to meet the Biden’s energy goals of 2030. To supplement, the department has also partnered with other federal agencies for renewable energy production on public lands, with the goal of producing at least 25 gigawatts of onshore renewable energy over the next five years.



Offshore wind farms are not a new subject for Oregon. A few years ago legislators balked at the cost of offshore wind farms, due in part to the cost of anchoring them to the deep ocean floor, but floating technology will likely be used on the West Coast due to the steep drop-off of the continental shelf. Tourism trades claimed the unsightly seascape would threaten tourism, the largest of which are taller than the Statue of Liberty and the Washington Monument at more than 850 feet — not to mention the span of the whirling blades — which can be longer than a football field. Then there is the ever-present issue of birds.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife reports the most comprehensive and statistically sound estimates show that bird deaths from turbine collisions are between 140,000 and 500,000 birds per year. As wind energy capacity increases under the DOE’s mandate (a six-fold increase from current levels), statistical models predict that means bird deaths resulting in collisions with turbines could reach 1.4 million birds per year.

In 2020, Oregon with the Bureau of Energy Management initiated an offshore wind energy plan beginning with a mass data collection phase including potential human and environmental impacts and natural disaster risks. On average, data shows offshore wind speeds are 15 miles per hour with Southern Oregon at 22-23 miles per hour. As a point of reference, the first offshore wind farm with five turbines in Rhode Island produces enough power for 17,000 homes.

Representative David Brock-Smith sponsored HB 3375 that went into effect September 25, 2021, but not without opposition from many of his fellow Legislators. It is aimed at establishing three Gigawatts of commercial scale floating offshore wind energy projects within federal waters off the Oregon Coast by 2030.

BOEM Oregon Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force will hold a webinar meeting to provide updates on offshore wind energy planning and studies, and discuss next steps. Details for meeting, October 21, 2021, 8:30am to 4pm.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-10-17 10:42:49Last Update: 2021-10-17 11:11:33

Suzanne Weber Announces Run for State Senate
Region will see some changes in leadership

Oregon House District 32 Representative Suzanne Weber (R-Tillamook) has announced that she will be running for State Senate, replacing Senate District 16 Senator Betsy Johnson, who will be running for Governor of Oregon, unaffiliated with any party. There have been other recent campaign announcements in the region, following on the recent redistricting decisions of the State Legislature.

"Although Senator Johnson is leaving, I am excited to announce my candidacy to be that voice. I’m running for the Oregon Senate!" said Weber. “I have appreciated the opportunity to serve as your state representative. If I am elected your state senator I will continue to keep the voices of all my constituents first while I am serving you in Salem. I will keep listening and representing you because I am one of you.”

Weber has governmental experience in the area. As Tillamook Mayor, Suzanne focused on economic development issues that were seen as critical to the rural communities in House District 32. As a longtime local elected official, Suzanne says she is a big believer in state legislation that protects the ability of Oregon’s distinct communities to decide for themselves what their priorities are.



Suzanne says she is strongly opposed to the myriad of tax, fee and regulation increases coming out of Salem, including the hidden sales tax, cap & trade, and the new mattress tax. She says she would have voted against the 2019 bill that stole over $100 million from Oregonians’ kicker tax checks.

Suzanne has experience as a school teacher and has served in several roles in her local unions, including as a negotiator and a teacher representative.

The full announcement video was posted on Facebook.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-10-17 06:28:48Last Update: 2021-10-17 10:42:49

Water Will Continue to Be Delivered to Those With Dry Wells
Emergency response continues in Klamath County

Stakeholders have announced that the Oregon Department of Human Services is extending water deliveries to those with dry domestic wells in Klamath County into March of 2022.

The County made the request recently and was just notified the request was granted. The emergency response and effort, supported by Oregon Emergency Management, ODHS, Oregon Water Resources Department, Regional Solutions, Klamath County and the City of Klamath Falls, was slated to end October 31, 2021.

“We know that the State support for these homeowners can’t continue indefinitely, but we also are aware many of the wells won’t be recharged until the Spring and homeowners haven’t necessarily been able to find a longer-term solution due to the shortage of well drillers. I requested the State extend the deadline to help provide relief to our citizens while they work toward longer term solutions. I’m incredibly thankful to the ODHS for their willingness to step up and continue to assist,” said Commissioner Kelley Minty Morris.

“Water is the most basic of human needs and we are committed to ensuring this important resource continues to be available during the emergency,” said Ed Flick, Oregon’s mass care coordinator and director of the ODHS emergency management unit. “It is our role, and honor, to continue to support the provision of emergency water supplies when requested by local governments.”

Homeowners with dry or failing wells should continue to stay in contact with the Watermaster’s Office, 541-883-4182.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-10-16 15:23:15Last Update: 2021-10-16 16:11:21

Oregon Appeals Court: 18-Year-Olds Can Buy Guns
“All persons are entitled to the full and equal accommodations of any place of public accommodation”

In 2019 Lane County Circuit Judge Charles D. Carlson affirmed the legality of a Bi-Mart policy to not sell guns to anyone under 21. 18-year-old Brandy Dalbeck attempted to buy a hunting rifle at Bi-Mart and was refused, per Bi-Mart policy. She sued, asking for $10,000, and Brandy Dalbeck v. Bi-Mart Corporation was dismissed by Carlson, in a opinion written by Oregon Court of Appeals Judge Erin Lageson:

In this age discrimination case in which plaintiff alleges that defendant discriminated against her by refusing to sell her a hunting rifle because she was 18, plaintiff assigns error to the trial court's grant of summary judgment to defendant. Plaintiff argues that the court erred in interpreting ORS 659A.403 as not protecting persons between the ages of 18 and 20 from age discrimination, and, alternatively, in recognizing an implied exception to the statutory bar on age discrimination.

The Oregon discrimination statute cited by the reversal says:

Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, all persons within the jurisdiction of this state are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any place of public accommodation, without any distinction, discrimination or restriction on account of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status or age if the individual is of age, as described in this section, or older.

Subsection two of the law allows age discrimination with regard to liquor, marijuana and benefits for persons over age 50.

The Oregon Court of appeals did not reference the US Second Amendment and seems to imply that it may uphold an exception to the age discrimination ban if one were explicitly articulated in the law. Watch for such legislative action in the 2022 short session.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-16 12:14:19Last Update: 2021-10-16 13:17:15

Layda Announces Election Bid for Oregon House of Representatives
Drew Layda is a Navy veteran and freedom advocate

Navy veteran & Republican, Drew A. Layda has announced his candidacy for Oregon House District 31, a district with a tight voter registration between Democrats and Republicans, which spans Columbia County and much of rural Washington County. The seat is currently held by Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie).

Longtime Freedom and Rights advocate Drew A. Layda has answered his district's call for ethical representation and a return to classical American values in Oregon’s Capitol. Layda is committed to restoring the freedoms that we once had, and stopping the erosion of our rights and freedoms as Oregonians.

“It is vital for us to have a better future together", Layda said. "As dangerous political extremes have become the norm we need to have leaders who will work for Oregonians, not special interest agendas. We must have the courage to demand better from our legislators, we deserve leaders that serve and take action”.

A rural Multnomah County Resident, Layda is passionate and has been fighting for freedoms for the last 20 years. He is currently serving as a Political Director of Free Oregon, a group that is dedicated to restoring and protecting the civil rights of Oregonians granted by the United States Constitution.

Highlights of Layda's past involvements include being a Precinct Committee Person for Multnomah County Republican Party, the founding treasurer of the Libertarian Mises Caucus PAC, 2018 delegate chair to the Libertarian National Convention, 2018 nominee of the Libertarian Party and the Pacific Green Party of Oregon to serve in the US House of Representatives, 2018 delegate chair to the Libertarian National Convention, 2017 Served on the Libertarian National Committees Convention Oversight Committee.

"Drew’s experience planning large scale solutions for the disaster response following the states of emergency caused by hurricanes Ivan, Katrina, and Rita has equipped him to respond to disasters such as COVID and Oregon’s increasing wildfires. Drew says that his experience in corporate cost-estimation and planning for large-scale infrastructure projects will ensure Oregonians have an advocate and representative in Salem who knows how to minimize wasting their money and maximize their return on investment."

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-10-16 11:16:29Last Update: 2021-10-16 16:07:28

Redistricting for Cities
The impact of redrawing wards could solve problems or create them

There are 22 Oregon cities with 103 wards and 146 councilors. Nine cities have two councilors from each ward, and 13 cities have one councilor per ward. Three cities elect ward councilors by a city-wide vote and 14 elect councilors by a ward vote. Five cities have two or more at-large councilors in addition to three or four ward councilors that vote in various ways. That isn’t all the differences. But, a survey in 2003 on the Ward Electoral Systems in Oregon Cities shows most people are satisfied with their ward system, however, they could probably work better.

Cities will analyze the wards right after the U.S. Census every 10 years through a process called “reapportionment.” After the 2020 census population changes, city councils and county commissioners geared up to analyze whether lines need to be adjusted. The plan is to have new ward or district lines approved by the end of the year so the county clerk can make appropriate changes to precinct boundaries.

There are varying approaches. Cities seem to be asking for public input, but they retain the process and final decision of how the wards will be adjusted. Counties, on the other hand, seem to use independent commissions to reshape districts.



Lane County’s independent commission will present three to five updated map options to the Board of Commissioners this month. They will then draft an ordinance with their selection for a public hearing before the final approval.

Some cities don’t foresee needing to make changes. It all depends on how the city expands. Unexpected is Eugene, with eight wards, doesn’t expect to adjust its boundaries. Springfield’s city code doesn’t require redrawing Ward boundaries, so they don’t plan to make any changes. Then there are cities like Bend, Hermiston, and Milton-Freewater with all council members being “at-large” seats open to a city-wide election. The City Attorney of Bend responded in 2017 to legal requirements for drawing voter districts versus at-large council members. They have retained their at-large system.

Salem City Council has outlined a process for redrawing ward boundaries to equally divide the eight wards. The Mid-Willamette Council of Governments has prepared three alternative ward boundary maps for the council. The plan options will be on the web by early November at which time the community will be asked to comment on the alternatives for the City Council November 8 meeting. They plan a couple of virtual open houses following the November 8 meeting for questions and comments.

The Ward Electoral Systems survey indicated that larger city respondents reported that ward issues were more important in elections than in smaller cities. The impact of redrawing wards could solve problems or create them. It depends on public participation.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-10-16 10:02:07Last Update: 2021-10-16 10:30:34

Homeless Villages
Where is Due Diligence?

On September 27, the Salem City Council voted to establish a managed homeless camp of up to 30 “micro-shelters” -- prefabricated buildings with space for two people -- at 2700 Wallace Road N.W. It created a backlash in the community, so Councilor Jim Lewis proposed to reconsider the decision until city staff had completed an analysis of the land and met with neighbors to come up with alternate sites. Lewis stated, “I believe we have mis-stepped, and we need to pull back on the approval, go through the process and that we should do upfront.” The Council was unwilling to do their due diligence to get concession. This would be Salem’s third homeless camp for the projected one-thousand homeless. Two have been established in North Salem.

Salem isn’t the only city putting up homeless villages. It may be in direct response to a federal judge ruling that it is a violation of the Eighth Amendment to prevent the homeless to camp anywhere they please if the city doesn’t provide shelter. Portland City Housing Commissioner Dan Ryan has plans for six managed “safe rest villages” for homeless people using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The first three are set to open with the other three finished by the end of the year.

Eugene may have been the first to establish “opportunity village” of transitional micro-housing. That kickstarted the Emerald Village of affordable tiny home community. The 14 units complete with a clubhouse with utilities and for gathering were built by teams of local architects and builders providing in-kind services.

Bend has started a process to finding a location for a homeless camp, but faces a lot of concerned citizens. Corvallis has rejected plans for a homeless village and is now struggling with the influx of homeless people. One homeless resident said the resources are more readily available than other counties she has been, including a drop-in center for supplies and meals.



The real question is should city governments be in the business of providing shelter? Salem is served by many organizations doing the same thing. The Salem Homeless Shelters website lists over 3,000 listings that includes emergency shelters, homeless shelters, day shelters, transitional housing, shared housing, residential drug alcohol rehabilitation programs and permanent affordable housing. Those top on the list providing transitional housing, other than the city: As a preventative for adult homelessness, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development announced the 2021 awards recipients for the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program. From the nationally awarded $142 million, the Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments Marion-Polk region will receive $3,691,542. They are a voluntary association of over 40 local governments. Members include Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties, 31 cities, 7 special districts, and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

The state also has an additional $25 million in sheltering reserve that they need to distribute. It seems there is plenty of funding and connections for shelter. Salem City Council will be proposing changes to the Salem Revised Code for the siting of sheltering strategies within the land use process. Perhaps that is the job of city government, to make it possible and easier for other entities to do the job, and not do it for them. One thing seems likely, if you make homelessness a luxury, “if you build it, they will come.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-10-15 18:55:49Last Update: 2021-10-15 19:13:28

Vaccine Breakthrough Data Available
Cases of COVID-19 are much more common in unvaccinated individuals

The Oregon Health Authority, under the direction of Pat Allen has released its latest COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases report. An updated report is available each Thursday.

Vaccine breakthrough cases are defined as instances in which an individual tests positive for COVID-19 at least 14 days following the completion of any COVID-19 vaccine series. This definition is consistent with the CDC’s definition of a vaccine breakthrough.

Since summer, cases infecting unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated persons has declined at a greater rate than cases infecting fully vaccinated persons.

The report breaks down the cases by several factors, one of which is by by vaccine manufacturer and severity, and from that we can see a picture of the effectiveness of each vaccine. For example, over 1.4 million Oregonians have been vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine and within that group, there have been a little over 15,000 breakthrough cases -- including 562 hospitalizations and 143 deaths. This is not proportionally better than the 908,694 Moderna vaccinations with 7,938 cases, 333 hospitalizations and 72 deaths. Both are have better rates than the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which has only 218,836 vaccinations, with 3,648 cases, 203 hospitalizations and 34 deaths.

Additional information is available in the vaccine breakthrough cases report, including breakdowns by age, race, ethnicity, COVID-19 variant, and county.

According to the OHA, cases of COVID-19 are much more common in unvaccinated individuals than in vaccinated individuals. The rate of COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated individuals in the most recent week was approximately 3.5 times the rate of COVID-19 cases among those who are fully vaccinated.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-15 16:13:46Last Update: 2021-10-15 16:44:44

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