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Pharma Giant Juices House Candidates
Three get $1,000 from "the world’s largest and most broadly based healthcare company"

Vaccine Manufacturer Johnson & Johnson has quietly made $1,000 donations to three Oregon House members. The company has not made any donations to Oregon Legislators since immediately prior to the the 2020 elections, in October of that year.

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby), Representatives Raquel Moore-Green (R-Salem) and Rob Nosse (D-Portland) all reported receiving contributions of $1,000 from "the world’s largest and most broadly based healthcare company" as it describes itself on its website

Representative Moore-Green is a member of the House Interim Committee On Health Care and the House Interim Special Committee On COVID-19 Response. Friends of Raquel Moore-Green reported a contribution from Johnson & Johnson of $1,000 on November 3.

Representative Nosse is the Co-Chair of the Joint Interim Committee On Ways and Means Interim Subcommittee on Human Services, which oversees the performance and budget of many agencies, including the Oregon Health Authority. In addition to his legislative duties, Representative Nosse works at the Oregon Nurses Association. Friends of Rob Nosse reported a contribution from Johnson & Johnson of $1,000 on November 1.

Representative Drazan has served in the past on the House Committee on Health Care, but no longer serves on that committee. She is rumored to be mulling a run for Governor. Friends of Christine Drazan reported a contribution from Johnson & Johnson of $1,000 on November 3.

Many insiders regard Johnson & Johnson's early entry into the political race as a hedge on possible legislation having to do with vaccines in the upcoming short session, scheduled to begin February 1.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-08 09:32:28Last Update: 2021-11-08 10:23:09



Students and Parents Yearn for Accountablity
“Engaging anti-racist literature and consultants to inform our thinking and policies”

In less than two years what started as a protest against police brutality in the case of George Floyd and racism has touched every aspect of our lives. First, it was to defund the police and remove them from schools. The Legislature responded with a special session that severely limited enforcement responses.

Since then, Governor Brown has helped drive agenda on equity transforming the constitutional language of equality to equity. A reversal of the constitution from an opportunity-based approach to a results or outcome requirement. We all want equal freedoms under the law. But equity actually takes away freedoms. Anyone that is “more advantaged” is suppressed under equity. Equity showed up in some form in many bills in the 2021 session.

Since the Governor is the Superintendent of Public Instruction and an agency director, Colt Gill, administers the Oregon Department of Education, the equity agenda quickly translated into Critical Race Theory in schools. The ODE education equity stance reads: “Education equity is the equitable implementation of policy, practices, procedures, and legislation that translates into resource allocation, education rigor, and opportunities for historically and currently marginalized youth, students, and families including civil rights protected classes. This means the restructuring and dismantling of systems and institutions that create the dichotomy of beneficiaries and the oppressed and marginalized.”

On September 7, ODE State Board held a Workgroup on Equitable and Racially Responsive Balanced Assessment in order to begin the process of evaluating current Oregon assessments and strategizing a path forward to achieve “equitable and racially responsive balanced assessments.”

The presentation included a slide on "Anti-racist Efforts in Oregon’s State Assessment System" which included such points as The Oregon Department of Education’s Vision and Values for Assessment align to Critical Race Theory, as seen in the Workgroup’s Core Values: (1) Rehumanizing assessment, (2) balanced and coherent assessments and (3) infusing anti-racist assessment practices.

The Oregon State Board Assessment Workgroup is comprised of the Oregon Department of Education Assessment Director Dan Farley, ODE State Board Members and ODE Curriculum Specialists. Where is input from stakeholders, those at the receiving end? What these bureaucrats decide and adopt are distributed as law to school districts and then boards are expected to adopt at the bottom level. Parents are left out of the conversation until it surfaces at the board level creating a conflict between boards and parents.

In the past the Superintendent was elected for a term of four years. However, this changed in 2011 by a Constitutional amendment as part of Gov. John Kitzhaber's reorganization of the entire state education system. It now reads:

Article VIII, Section 1. Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Governor shall be superintendent of public instruction, and his powers, and duties in that capacity shall be such as may be prescribed by law; but after the term of five years from the adoption of this Constitution, it shall be competent for the Legislative Assembly to provide by law for the election of a superintendent, to provide for his compensation, and prescribe his powers and duties.

It appears since 2016, the legislature has been derelict in providing for the election of a Superintendent of Public Instruction. In 2021, SJR 2 was proposed to remove Article VIII, Section 1, but never received a hearing. Senator Lew Frederick (D-Portland) also realized the neglect and introduced SB 601 to provide for the election of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

As an elected position, the superintendent is accountable to the public that elects them. Accountability has disappeared. Voters were unhappy with Oregon’s rating at 36th in the nation in 2010. Convinced that a governor led department would perform better, voters passed a constitutional change. They never envisioned a Governor eliminating essential skills test in reading and math proficiency to obtain a high school diploma.

Depending on the source, Oregon education now ranks 40 to 50 among states. In 2010 Oregon ranked 36, and 41 for per student funding. That statistic helped to pass Measures 66 and 67 to tax businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression up to that time. The added funding has had the opposite effect, but the lower the rating the more the legislature tries to buy their way out. They again hit businesses with the worst tax ever in a corporate excise tax in 2019. It appears money will not buy accountable leadership.

Parents are again in a quandary seeing education decline while having more money than ever that is funding a curriculum many find questionable. How do we bring accountability back to our education system?


--Donna Bleler

Post Date: 2021-11-08 08:53:38Last Update: 2021-11-08 09:32:28



Portland Police Association Gets a New President
The police bureau has 99 vacancies

Sgt. Aaron Schmautz was sworn in as president of the Portland Police Association on November 5.

“Our officers have faced something that no other police agency has faced,” new Portland Police Association President Aaron Schmautz said. “I don’t know that people truly understand the amount of trauma that has come from really just being in that daily crush of violence for over 180 days.”

The police bureau has 99 vacancies. 57 are in training. Training takes 18 months, thus only 21 have been hired in 2021.

“Sgt. Schmautz is a second-generation Portland Police officer and a 17-year veteran of the Police Bureau. He began his career as a uniform patrol officer and was promoted to Sergeant in 2015.

In 2009, he was elected to the PPA Executive Board and has served continuously in the role of Vice President, making him one of the longest-serving Board members. He has been a member of two collective bargaining teams, including the current contract negation mediation, and worked with the Oregon Coalition of Police & Sheriffs at the state level representing law enforcement in Oregon.

“Effective leadership requires commitment and dedication to the safety of our officers and our community members,” said Daryl Turner, Portland Police Association Executive Director. “I’ve worked alongside Sgt. Schmautz closely for the past 12 years as he’s served on the PPA Executive Board. He is uniquely qualified to represent and advocate for PPA members. and I’m confident that he is the right person for the job.”

Turner was involved in the successful transition of the Wapato Facility to the Bybee Lakes Hope Center which opened in October 2020 and to-date 500 formerly homeless citizens have successfully gone through the center’s program described as “Creating access to trauma-informed, data-driven, person-centered homeless services for the Portland Metro Area.”

From the Hope Center website: “Helping Hands provides services to those experiencing homelessness who are ready to make sustainable changes to achieve self-sufficiency. Referrals to the Hope Center are accepted from registered community partners, listed below. Referrals are welcome 7 days a week between 8am to 8pm, for same-day placement to the shelter when capacity allows.

The Hope Center serves homeless men, women, and families with children. Participants must be ready to be clean and sober (even if today is day one!) and must not be registered sex offenders of any class since we serve children.”

Many Portlanders are grateful for this type of partnering between the police and the community.


--Margo Logan

Post Date: 2021-11-08 08:15:16Last Update: 2021-11-08 10:21:06



Managed Camps for Homeless in Bend
24/7 services to be provided

At their meeting on November 3rd, Bend City Councilors supported a scope of work to design and operate outdoor shelters (also referred to as “managed camps”) that are intended to provide safe places for people to reside and services to assist residents with transitioning to permanent housing.

The scope of work will be part of a formal request for proposals for service providers interested in operating outdoor shelters in Bend. The request for proposals is expected to be released in mid-November.

“We have community members who need a safe place to call home,” said Bend City Councilor Megan Perkins. “They need a place where they can be treated with respect and dignity as they access the services and support they need to transition into stable housing. Outdoor shelters will help us provide that for our community.”

As potential sites are identified, the City will work with the highest scoring proposers to match their proposals with the site or sites throughout the City that best fit their proposals.

A map of City-owned properties that was shared with Council Wednesday is available online. Before being considered as a potential outdoor shelter site, any of the City-owned properties on the map would need to be reviewed to consider: existing uses on those sites, additional criteria for outdoor shelters and compatibility with submitted proposals. In addition to City-owned properties on the map, there may be other publicly- or privately-owned properties that are geographically dispersed throughout Bend that could be considered.

The scope of work reviewed by Councilors says that outdoor shelters will provide individual shelters and 24-hour on-site management seven days a week. They would also have full fencing with gate access, trash enclosures, a pet relief area, and office space for on-site management.

The scope of work for operating the outdoor shelter also includes providing essential services and supportive services, including but not limited to: The scope of work also requires a Comprehensive Management Plan. The plan will address the safety of clients, the neighborhood and the outdoor shelter site. It will also include outreach plans for shelter residents and the surrounding neighborhood.

“City Council has set a clear goal of serving some of our most vulnerable community members by providing more of the shelter space that we desperately need,” said Bend City Councilor Melanie Kebler. “Now is the time for the Bend community to support our unhoused neighbors with outdoor shelter solutions that have been proven successful in other cities.”

Councilors also expressed interest in fast-tracking a Safe Parking program site and other support services on City-owned land in Juniper Ridge.

According to the January 2021 point in time count, there are 1,099 adults and children experiencing homelessness in Central Oregon.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-11-07 09:45:36Last Update: 2021-11-07 10:10:11



“Protective Hairstyles” in Oregon
Where is Constitutional Equality?

Did you know that Oregon Department of Education is proposing administrative rules on how to talk about someone’s hair? It’s the Crown Act Administrative Rules adopting HB 2935 sponsored by Representative Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas), Senator Lew Frederick (D-Portland) and Senator James Manning Jr (D-Eugene).

The rule is aimed at limiting discrimination and establishing equity focused policies. OAR 581-021-0045 and 0046. Section (1) (d) is practically a direct quote from HB 2935, Section 1 (10) that reads: “Protective hairstyle” means a hairstyle, hair color, or manner of wearing hair that includes, but is not limited to, locs, twists, and braids, regardless of whether the braids are created with extensions or styled with adornments.”

The Rule also defines “Race” to include “physical characteristics that are historically associated with race, that includes, but is not limited to, any natural hair, hair texture, hair type, or protective hairstyle associated with race.” This definition is in HB 2935, Section 3, however, what isn’t there and questionable whether it is constitutional, is the application only to protected classes of “ Black, African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, other protected class races, and multiracial individuals.”

It could almost be laughable, except that dress code and policies are also extended to not have disproportionate, no matter how slight, adverse impact on members of a protected class, including age, disability, national origin, race, color, marital status, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, to a greater extent than the policy impacts persons generally.

Incorporated in the Crown Act rules, but not part of the Act, is HB 3041 on gender identity sponsored by Representative Karin Power (D-Milwaukie) and Senator Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton). Sexual orientation carves out “gender identity” with its own definition meaning an individual’s gender-related identity, appearance, expression or behavior, regardless of whether the identity, appearance, expression, or behavior differs from that associated with the gender assigned to the individual at birth. Separating self-assigned gender identity from sexual preferences has the effect of separating the desired gender of an individual as not being defined by their sexual orientation. The Bill and now the Rule does not provide any new protections to the 2007 Oregon Equality Act. It simply gives LGBTQ clarity that they regard as important.

The entire rule applies to school districts, and a new section applies the same rule to agreements entered into with voluntary organizations. It seems to be aimed at “white” student behaviors and speech, as if the schools do not teach behavior manners and social graces the minute they enter school. What about these rules should not apply to every child equally?

By identifying policies that segregate, it saps the life out of education with a negative message to everyone. Teachers and coaches are always looking for fault or get sanctioned, “white” students are intimidated, while minorities sharpen their sensitivities. It can’t be denied that there has been some discrimination against people based on hairstyle or race, but it seems we may now have a school system that cares more about discriminating against dread locks than educating students to be successful.

With so much light on discrimination, especially when protests broke out turning to riots, legislative sessions turned into special sessions to address minority issues. You’d think that all that attention, there would be some improvements in the last four years. Still testimony that moved legislation on hairstyles sites cases and data prior to 2017.

”Equity” policies are re-inviting the wedge of segregation. The rule imposes discord by a notification they call a survey that encourages whistleblowing. School districts are to “Perform an annual survey of students and their parents to understand and respond to potential violations of equity focused policies adopted under this rule or violations of OAR 581-021-0045, 581-021-0046, or 581-021-0047.”

Apart from content, it is sad and laughable how poorly the rule is written. And we wonder why our students rank so poorly. Attend the Administrative Rules Hearing on November 23, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. Information on providing public comment is available on the State Board webpage. Submit your comments in writing to the ODE Rules Coordinator.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-11-07 08:46:00Last Update: 2021-11-07 09:11:28



Diverse Populations in Oregon to Receive Rural Entrepreneurship Funding
20 Oregon communities to receive funding

Business Oregon has selected 20 Oregon communities to receive a total of approximately $1,609,200 in funding from the Rural Opportunity Initiative (ROI) program.

The Rural Opportunity Initiative (ROI) is Business Oregon’s strategic effort to empower rural communities to support entrepreneurs and small business growth. That support comes through financing, innovative partnerships, network expansion, capacity support, and access to business development resources. The ROI's goal is allegedly to strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems within and across Oregon’s rural communities with a particular emphasis on diverse populations and low-income households.

Business Oregon claims that the ROI is an investment in the vision of rural communities and aligns with Business Oregon’s strategic plan to innovate Oregon’s economy, grow local businesses, cultivate rural economic stability, and champion opportunity for underrepresented people.

Business Oregon received many applications and they were allegedly reviewed, discussed, and scored by an evaluation committee prior to a final award decision. Listed below are the 20 selected recipients of 2021 ROI funding with a brief description of each community’s project.

Here are the 2021 ROI Funding Recipients and their supposed functions, as stated by Business Oregon:

A Greater Applegate (AGA) – AGA will enhance coordination, marketing, and distribution channels within its food and farm system to better integrate farmers, ranchers, and consumers and improve opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Aprovecho – Aprovecho will engage local stakeholders, assess the regional restoration forestry entrepreneurial ecosystem, and design a Reforestation Forestry Entrepreneurial Boot Camp to prepare enterprising individuals to establish businesses in this emerging field.

Bohemia Food Hub (BFH) – BFH will continue to support low-barrier access to food-based entrepreneurship for underrepresented people, enhance organizational capacity, and build and strengthen partnerships to improve cohesiveness among resource providers.

CCD Business Development – CCD will coordinate a streamlined process to help entrepreneurs and small businesses access technical assistance, financial resources, and communication networks while reducing inefficiencies in the ecosystem.

Condon Chamber of Commerce – Condon Chamber will increase collaboration between 11 frontier communities across three rural counties, map the local ecosystem, and cultivate stakeholder support for a strategic plan for entrepreneur driven economic development.

High Desert Partnership (HDP) – HDP will continue building the ‘Idea to Ownership’ pipeline, cultivating opportunities for entrepreneurs in emerging natural resource industries, strengthening culturally specific programs, and developing a place-based branding campaign.

Indy Idea Hub – Indy Idea Hub will partner with other rural Polk Co. communities to build a cohesive regional ecosystem and provide ongoing entrepreneurial support services, with a particular focus on food-based business recovery and resiliency.

Keep it Local Columbia Co. – Keep it Local will upgrade its countywide business directory website and provide marketing and web training to small businesses to increase their capture of local consumer spending.

Klamath IDEA – Klamath IDEA will leverage the infrastructure it has built to increase the number of direct service providers, engage frontier entrepreneurs in the ecosystem, encourage broader community engagement, and strengthen its sustainability.

La Grande – La Grande will assess opportunities and gaps in its local ecosystem, broaden community engagement and stakeholder support, and enhance existing programming and resources for entrepreneurs.

Economic Development Alliance of Lincoln Co. – EDA Lincoln Co. will create a coalition of partners to build the ecosystem ‘scaffolding,’ including growing entrepreneurial networks and providing technical assistance and other resources with a specific focus on food sector businesses.

Launch Pad Baker (LPB) – LPB will solidify its placed-based entrepreneurial ecosystem by completing its online business wayfinding system, increase staff capacity for direct entrepreneurial support, and hire a social media navigator to offer additional, high-demand, resources to the community.

Maupin Works – Maupin Works will launch an entrepreneurial hub, offering co-working space, community building events, and co-located resources to small businesses and entrepreneurs in South Wasco Co.

Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD) – MCEDD will continue to expand its ecosystem mapping efforts, increase connectivity and accessibility to small business resources, and develop an inclusive entrepreneurial culture that is welcoming to all members of the community.

Mid-Valley Partnership – The eight-city Mid-Valley Partnership will contract with RAIN to enhance the local ecosystem using a Venture Catalyst and Entrepreneur-in-Community to connect entrepreneurs to the people, programs, physical assets, and capital they need to start and grow businesses.

NE Oregon Economic Development District (NEOEDD) – NEOEDD will continue supporting entrepreneurs with business resources, convene entrepreneurs to identify needs, and assess the viability of adopting a countywide Main Street organization.

North Marion Co. Partnership – North Marion Co. Partners will assess the region’s ecosystem with a particular emphasis on Spanish- and Russian-speaking entrepreneurs, develop an action plan, and build stakeholder support for entrepreneur-led economic development.

Reedsport – Reedsport will work with public and private partners to assess its local ecosystem, develop an entrepreneur-driven strategic plan, and prepare to launch a place-based hub to support new and existing small businesses.

Tillamook Coast Visitors Association (TCVA) – TCVA will build upon its support for small farmers, fishers, and other food-based entrepreneurs while developing a business plan and implementation strategy for creating a Food Innovation Hub.

Veneta – Veneta will support value-added, food-based entrepreneurship by investing in a new culinary lab and providing business coaching and mentorship, as well as access to markets and events to stimulate demand for local products.

Business Oregon says to address capacity issues, the ROI aims to provide each community access to a program consultant to support their entrepreneurial ecosystem building goals.

Business Oregon says they will be developing Regional Innovation Hubs over the next couple of years to propel region-specific innovation and entrepreneurshipand that those Hubs will be focused on supporting traded sector, innovation-based, early stage companies within a regional ecosystem, and will enhance access to resources and technical expertise as well as providing a gateway to other state-funded programs.

Sophorn Cheang is the Director of Business Oregon as of March 2021. Prior to that, Cheang served as the Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Governor Kate Brown. Cheang also co-coordinated the Governor's Racial Justice Council.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-11-06 21:20:40Last Update: 2021-11-06 22:10:41



ODOT Mobility Pricing Is Coming
You may want to check out Eugene Airport as a viable option to traveling I-205

If you live in the mid-valley and fly out of Portland or have reason to travel to Washington, your trip will get more expensive and time consuming. What you've heard is true. Congestion pricing is coming to I-5 and I-205. ODOT has two toll projects underway in the Portland metro area -- the I-205 Toll Project and the Regional Mobility Pricing Project -- to manage traffic on I-205 and I-5 in a way that is equitable and addresses climate change while providing needed funding for critical infrastructure and safety improvements. While separate projects, they update each other. Toll prices will be higher at peak traffic times, a concept known as “variable pricing.” Both projects have concluded: The Regional Mobility Pricing Project will apply congestion pricing -- using variable-rate tolls -- on all lanes of I-5 and I-205 in the Portland metro area to manage traffic congestion and raise revenue for priority transportation projects.

The I-205 Toll Project will use variable-rate tolls on the Abernethy and Tualatin River Bridges to raise revenue to complete the I-205 Improvement Project and manage congestion. Toll revenue is needed to complete construction of the remaining phases of the I-205 Improvement Project, designed to address the bottleneck caused by the last remaining two-lane section of I-205. Without the completion, it is believed that diversion to local streets will increase when the interstate has stop-and-go traffic.

ODOT has worked with the community since 2017 to design the project and received support for construction. ODOT completed the environmental review of the I-205 Improvement Project in 2018. Construction is estimated to cost about $700 million. Over the past three years, ODOT explored state and federal funding sources and determined other funding, even from the $5.3 billion Transportation Infrastructure Bill is not available to complete the project.

If you live in mid-valley, you may want to check out Eugene Airport as a viable option to traveling I-205, especially if you can travel during the week and are a little flexible on days. The costs are very comparable with Portland without the hassle of tolls along I-205. Another influencing factor is that Portland airport lost paramedics and firefighters due to the mandates. The more Eugene Airport is utilized, the more flights can be scheduled. It could mean a downward trend for Portland to relieve traffic congestion.

Oregon Department of Transportation will hold Regional Mobility Pricing Project workshops focused on finding solutions to managing congestion in a way that is equitable and addresses climate change while providing needed funding for critical infrastructure and safety improvements. A workshop is scheduled for November 9 and 10 that will be available to livestream and participate in an online survey throughout the meeting.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-11-06 20:58:07Last Update: 2021-11-06 22:15:16



Senate Republicans Sign Education Freedom Pledge
They have consistently prioritized students over a failing education system

The Senate Republican Caucus came together in unison to fight for Oregon’s students and parents. The Education Freedom Pledge, put together by the non-partisan American Federation for Children, promotes policies that support educational opportunities and parental rights in education, including having their voices heard at school board meetings.

“Senate Republicans are unified in our support of parents and students in education,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). “Education is about them and their needs – not the government. All students, regardless of ZIP code, should have access to a learning environment that works for them. Parents should have a say in how their children are taught. That is not controversial, and as a caucus, we won’t shy away from advocating for bold, real education reform in Oregon.”

Senate Republicans were the first legislators in Oregon to publicly sign the pledge. As a caucus, they have consistently introduced legislation to prioritize students over a failing education system in Oregon.

Last session, Senate Republicans introduced legislation to increase the number of students who legally could attend virtual charter schools, in addition to a suite of other school choice measures. They voted to abolish school district boundaries, which would allow children to choose any public school in the state that best meets their needs.

The pledge is one simple paragraph. It reads:

“I pledge to support policies that promote parental rights in education and educational freedom. This includes the right of parents to voice their opinions at school board meetings and to take their children's taxpayer-funded education dollars to the education providers of their choosing - whether it be a public, private, charter, or home school.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-05 11:20:29Last Update: 2021-11-05 12:15:21



Brown to Attend Climate Summit in Scotland
“We ensure that communities hit by climate change due to structural racism are not left behind”

Governor Kate Brown Outlines Goals for 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties Governor Kate Brown will travel to Glasgow, Scotland for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties. In a press release, she said that the reason for her attendance is "to discuss the impacts of climate change on Oregonians, as well as to highlight the actions Oregon has taken to reduce carbon emissions, transition to clean energy, and ensure that Oregonians disproportionately impacted by climate change are not left behind."

“I have been Governor since 2015, and it was about that time that Oregon took a front row seat to climate change,” said Governor Brown. “Nearly every year the extreme weather has been worse than the last. We are a warning for the rest of the world.

“We must continue to move urgently and with focus -- and we can tackle climate change and grow our economy at the same time. These goals are not mutually exclusive. Oregon is a shining example of how it can be done.

“What is clear is we cannot leave behind our historically underserved communities. In Oregon, we have worked to ensure that our communities hardest hit by climate change due to structural racism and systemic disparities are not left behind.

“Future generations will judge us not on the fact of climate change, but on what we have done to tackle it. The time is now, we can’t afford to wait.”

In addition to Governor Brown, State Representative Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) is already at the convention. He sent out an email describing the work of the conference.

I'm here with a delegation of U.S. elected officials across the country to show the importance of America leading the world to protect our communities and nation from the climate emergency.

I'm writing to you because next week we will deliver a letter from more than 350 state and local elected officials from dozens of states calling for a federal climate emergency declaration and plan.

For the health, security, and prosperity of Oregon, our country, and our planet, we must take urgent action to address the climate crisis.

Congress passing the Build Back Better Act and President Biden declaring a Climate Emergency is a vital first step to address what President Biden described as an "existential threat" at COP26 and Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as an imminent danger that is "one minute to midnight."

Both officials are attending at taxpayer expense.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-05 10:54:52Last Update: 2021-11-05 11:20:29



Teachers’ Union Sues Newberg School District
Does flagrant political indoctrination belong in the classroom?

The teachers' union for the Newberg School District, the Newberg Education Association has filed a lawsuit against the school district claiming that the banning of Black Lives Matter and Pride flags has violated teachers' rights of self-expression as described in the Oregon and US Constitutions.

The suit names the school district and the School Board members who personally participated in the adoption of the resolution at issue in this case, David Brown, Brian Shannon, Renee Powell, and Trever DeHart.

According to the complaint, filed in Yamhill County Circuit Court:

On or about August 10, 2021, at the next District Board meeting, Board members and individual defendants Brown, Shannon, DeHart, and Powell voted to: “direct the Superintendent to remove all Black Lives Matter (a.k.a. BLM) signs, flags, placards, apparel, buttons, and all other modes of display, and all instances of the symbol known as the Pride flag from District facilities immediately, and direct the Policy Committee to draft policy language prohibiting the display of political signs, flags, apparel, buttons, and placards, and all other modes of display from District facilities, with the sole exception of the American flag and the Oregon state flag, with exemptions as it sees proper. The language contained in this directive shall only apply to District staff and faculty while in the performance of their official duties as District employees.” District Superintendent Joe Morelock indicated that he would need guidance from legal counsel before implementing the directive.

The teachers' union sets up the complaint by describing the political landscape.

In May of 2020, the killing of George Floyd by police, caught on video, sparked outrage throughout the country, prompting many, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, to take to the streets in protest and to issue public statements both acknowledging the harm caused by systemic racism and calling for the education necessary to combat racism in all its forms. Statements acknowledging the public importance of the issue were published not just by private corporate entities, but also by public agencies, including the Oregon Supreme Court.

The complaint asserts that teachers "displayed BLM posters and Pride flags, and/or other paraphernalia without disruption to the education environment and in support of and in solidarity with fellow teachers and students who are Black and/or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Questioning (“LGBTQIA+)."

In the complaint, the plaintiffs maintain that the policy violates their rights under Article I, Sections 8 and 20 of the Oregon Constitution and the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Article 1, Section 8 is the free speech guarantee of the Oregon Constitution. It says, "No law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print freely on any subject whatever; but every person shall be responsible for the abuse of this right."

Article 1, Section 20 is the equality guarantee of the Oregon Constitution. 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." For some, this allegation is interesting and ironic, as many of the objectionable issues involve violations of equality -- favoring minority and non-traditional gender identity students over others.

According to the complaint:

The District policy prohibiting plaintiff Association members from “hang[ing], post[ing], erect[ing], or otherwise display[ing] any posters, signs, flags, banners, pictures or other digital or physical image that depicts support or opposition relating to a political, quasi-political, or controversial topic,” is vague and overbroad in its scope, leaving Association members without guidance as to what speech is prohibited and potentially a violation of District policy leading to potential discipline by the District and/or their licensing through the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (“TSPC”) in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of due process of law.

If nothing else, this suit will shine a light on public schools and make a statement about whether they exist for the students or for the teachers and whether flagrant political indoctrination belongs in the classroom.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-05 10:09:53Last Update: 2021-11-05 10:54:52



Drazan: Governor Traumatizes Victims
Democrats bumble juvenile crime policy during a crime wave

It started in 2019 -- a session where if one didn't know any better, they might think that the criminals had some powerful lobbyists. Among other bills, the legislature passed SB 1008 including sentence reductions for some juvenile crimes, which -- under Measure 11, the mandatory sentencing rule -- required a two-thirds majority to pass.

Though Democrat Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) voted against it, two Senate Republicans -- Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) and Dallas Heard (R-Winston) voted for it, passing it with exactly two-thirds.

It needed all the Democrat votes plus two Republican votes to pass the House. In the end, four House Republicans joined the Democrat caucus -- Representatives Lynn Findley (R-Vale), E. Werner Reschke(R-Klamath Falls), Greg Smith (R-Heppner) and David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford).

It was widely understood that the bill was not retroactive. Testimony on the floor of the House assured that. Even Representative David Brock Smith issued a vote explanation following his yes vote, noting that the bill "is not retroactive, applies only to sentences imposed after January 1, 2020, and no currently incarcerated youth offenders will be released by its passage."

The Oregon District Attorneys' Association begged for a no vote, saying,

"SB 1008 makes sweeping changes to Oregon's juvenile justice system, including removing mandatory sentences for 15, 16, and 17 year-olds who hurt others with guns, commit violet rape, and commit aggravated murder.

While ODAA agrees that Oregon's juvenile justice system needs improvement, overriding a ballot initiative with a legislative super-majority is not the answer. Legislative amendments to a criminal justice ballot initiative...

Recently, Governor Brown announced her intention to commute the sentences of several Measure 11 felons -- most now adults -- who were sentenced under the old Measure 11 sentences for violent crimes as youths a move that many read as contradicting the promise that SB 1008 would not be retroactive.

This week Governor Brown’s commutation list for prison sentences was made available to the media before victims were notified, prioritizing violent offenders and harming victims and their families.

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) released the following statement in response to Governor Kate Brown’s commutation of sentences:

“The Governor continues to abuse executive power and is now minimizing the voices of victims. Voters passed Measure 11 to give victims of violent crimes the security of justice and safety with truth in sentencing. The Governor is circumventing voters and the Legislature to clear the path for these violent offenders to be released, despite the trauma it causes victims and their families as they’re forced to relive these crimes.”

The Department of Corrections said it has identified a total of 248 people who meet the governor’s criteria for commutation.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-04 20:45:01Last Update: 2021-11-04 20:58:07



Oregon Provides Free Well Testing
Low income and communities of color will be prioritized

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is offering free domestic well water testing to about 2,000 households affected by wildfire that rely on wells for drinking water.

The Oregon Legislature allocated funds for free well testing in response to the devastating wildfires of 2020. Many communities and households were still digging out from ash and debris when the original program’s funding expired in June 2021.

Oregon Health Authority states that people with low income and communities of color will be prioritized.

Well users whose properties were affected by wildfires can find steps needed to access the funds, which became available Nov. 1st. Well owners will find guidance on how to assess damage, take action to protect their well, and test their well water to confirm it is safe to drink.

Curtis Cude, manager of the Oregon Health Authority’s Domestic Well Safety Program, urges well owners to “follow recommendations in the well damage assessment.”

“Make sure you know what work you are authorized to do and when you need to hire a licensed professional,” Cude said.

Actions may include: OHA will provide testing vouchers to well users through May 15, 2023. To ensure that all 2020 wildfire-affected domestic well users can receive free testing, OHA can offer one voucher per affected well.

Well users can select from a list of approved environmental laboratories in Oregon that will honor the vouchers for testing services. The tests will look for presence of bacteria, nitrates, arsenic, lead and chemicals that are hazardous by-products of fire.

Applications can be found online.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-11-04 16:34:41Last Update: 2021-11-04 16:48:45



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