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Oregon Redistricting Upheld
May predetermine election results for the next decade

The Oregon Supreme Court has announced that the legal challenges of recent redistricting decisions have been dismissed and that the newly created district boundaries will be upheld. Two different challenges were dismissed.

Super-minority Republicans in the state have expressed dissatisfaction with the results, after House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) reneged on a deal made with the Republicans earlier in the year, which would have allowed equal representation on the Redistricting Committee.

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) released the following statement in response to the court decision to deny petitions against the legislative redistricting map passed by House and Senate Democrats on party lines.

“This court decision approves a legislative redistricting map that predetermines election results for the next decade. Democrats have significantly reduced competition by picking which party will represent most House or Senate districts. That’s not a real choice for Oregonians. That’s gerrymandering.”



Democrats have also weighed in on the decision:

“I am pleased that the Oregon Supreme Court has found that the Legislature’s redistricting maps meet all legal standards,” said Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland), who served as chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee. “The Senate Redistricting Committee worked tirelessly to gather input from Oregonians across the state and use the 2020 Census data to create fair districts, all under an incredibly compressed timeline. The Legislative Assembly has once again succeeded in delivering on its constitutional duty of redistricting.”

“Today’s decision shows that Senate Democrats get things done, and that the Oregon Legislature takes its responsibilities very seriously,” said Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego). “I commend the tireless efforts of Senator Taylor, the redistricting committee members, and all of my colleagues who made significant contributions to get their constituents involved in the process.”

The legislative redistricting plan will take effect on January 1, 2022.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-22 13:48:18Last Update: 2021-11-22 16:38:10



ODE Workgroup Assessments
Activist criticizes education in Oregon

Oregon State Board Assessment Workgroup claims they are addressing what matters to you, and what is that? They say you care most about “ODE’s vision and values for statewide assessment systems.” Those values they say are “holding space for multiple truths.” Those truths are identified in “the legacy of high-stakes, standardized assessments.”

SB 744, passed in 2021, exposes the “legacy” as having stakes too high. SB 744 suspended proficiency in Essential Learning Skills for earning a high school diploma.

Jeanette Schade, school board activist, says, “the damage of that and identity politics is having on our schools is actually making our schools less of educational facilities where children are challenged to learn the basics, they need to be knowledgeable and contributing citizens.”

Assessment #1 is that history of standardized testing is founded in white supremacy causing harm to underserved students by the educational system. Oregon’s assessment system has been imbalanced and ODE wants to increase the formative footprint and reduce the summative footprint exposing opportunity gaps for policy changes.

Assessment #2 is the removal of practices that are complicit with racist policies. The report quotes from 2019, Ibram X. Kendi, whom made his fame as an “anti-racist activist, by arguing that America is a systemically racist country and that all White Americans are complicit. However, it says more about how racist the workgroup is as he recently outed himself that his work is false and filled with inaccuracies. They quote: “Anti-racist actions must remove racist policies, which serve the self- interests of those in power.” What that means is ODE aims to adopt standards that cut scores in achievement levels in science, math, English language arts, and social sciences.

To accomplish these “multiple truths,” ODE proposes: The effects of rehumanizing practices can be seen in schools where students have discovered the rules no longer apply and are freely protesting and fighting forcing the school to close. Where did education go with student-centered assessments listed such as positioning students as sense-makers, identify and challenge inequities, support student identity and collaborative structures?

A balanced and coherent assessment is all about Student Educational Equity Development (SEED). Again, it putting the student in charge by incorporating student voices into the continuous improvement process, which seems to dwell around self-efficacy beliefs and a sense of belonging as the basis for the opportunity to learn.

Anti-racist efforts have their own assessment system, which incorporates critical race theory (CRT) through identity and diversity. When the focus is more about the pigment of the skin than character, we’ve lost sight of education.

Jeanette Schade commented, “ODE is throwing identity into everything they are doing rather than focusing on what matters in education and that is learning. Every child, regardless of race, sex, socioeconomic status, or ability can and will learn at their level and pace…and with the right encouragement will learn and reach the goal post. We should not be hyper focused on immutable qualities that have nothing to do with a person’s ability to learn. What ODE is doing is actually very divisive and racist as they are lowering the standards.”

What matters does not seem to include every student or parents, but that the Governor’s equity agenda be carried into all aspects of education.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-11-21 16:38:25Last Update: 2021-11-21 17:04:18



Riots Erupt in Portland Over Rittenhouse Verdicts
The crowd launched urine, alcoholic beverages, water bottles and batteries at deputies

In the wake of the non-guilty verdicts in the case of Kenosha, Wisconsin shooter, Kyle Rittenhouse, riots erupted in Portland, According to the Multnomah County Sheriff's office, around 8:45 p.m., Friday, November 19, demonstrators attending a protest in Downtown Portland focused their attention on one of the vehicle roll-up gates at the Justice Center on SW 2nd Avenue. At the time, a couple dozen people gathered in front of the gate. Some individuals in the crowd were heard saying “burn it down," referring to the Justice Center.

The Multnomah County Sheriff's office is reporting that individuals were observed tampering with the gate prior to its opening. An estimated 10 to 20 protesters entered and began moving down the ramp in the direction of the jail entrance and the building’s critical infrastructure. Individuals also placed large tree branches to prevent the gate from closing. Deputies met the trespassers on the ramp to prevent entry and began instructing them to exit.

The crowd, which was described as hostile, launched urine, alcoholic beverages, water bottles and batteries at deputies during the event. Because a large group of people were engaging in tumultuous and violent conduct, and further entry into the building would have posed significant implications and grave risk of causing public alarm, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office declared a riot. MCSO directed the Portland Police Bureau incident command to communicate the riot declaration and force warnings to the demonstrators using the mobile Sound Truck. Portland Police issued the declarations and force warnings several times.

Even as deputies instructed people to leave, deputies continued to take projectiles and were subjected to hostile behavior. Demonstrators then stood at the garage exit, repeatedly preventing the gate from closing by pushing on it. Again, deputies asked the crowd to step away. Demonstrators ignored the repeated requests and continued blocking the gate. Deputies swiftly moved toward the demonstrators that were preventing the gate from closing to allow space for the gate to close properly. Deputies retreated inside and eventually were able to re-secure the gate. No arrests were made.

Vandals broke the windows of the city print shop on Southwest Madison Street between Southwest 2nd Avenue and Southwest 1st Avenue. A patrol sergeant vehicle's rear hatch window was shattered at Southwest 1st Avenue and Southwest Madison Street. Additional vandalism was done to the Justice Center building.

One arrest was made for a warrant. Another person was criminally cited. Officers also stopped vehicles associated with the group. Five citations and 17 warnings were issued.

The Multnomah County Sheriff's office is reviewing video of the event. They are asking that individuals who would like to share any video or photos with us can contact us by sending an email to IAU@mcso.us.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-20 09:23:24Last Update: 2021-11-20 17:06:02



Oregon Pols React to Rittenhouse Verdict
Responses differ from the left and right

Representative Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has released a statement on the Kyle Rittenhouse trial verdict, in which Rittenhouse was vindicated as acting in self-defense.

"The Rittenhouse verdict is not surprising to the Black community, "said Bynum We are intimately familiar with both the lingering possibility of and the plain reality of vigilantism."

"Today, the Wisconsin justice system sent a message that it will not hold to account a person who killed innocent people. It sent the message that exercising your first amendment rights is reserved for a precious few. Oregonians should look inward and continue our resolve to never let this version of reality take hold in our state.

"Our drive and call is justice, because justice creates order. Justice should not be a goal that we yearn performatively for; it must be something that we see in all systems within America. We should find it in our schools, our courts, and on our streets. We must remain steadfast in this pursuit and never waver in our commitment to this dream."

House Speaker and Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Tina Kotek (D-Portland) also couldn't resist making a statement:

"A white teen, Kyle Rittenhouse, armed himself, crossed state lines, and killed two people. I’m outraged by this verdict and deeply concerned about the dangerous precedent it perpetuates for our country."

On the other side of the aisle, Baker City Mayor and Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Kerry McQuisten released a statement saying, "Kyle Rittenhouse shouldn't have been charged with any crime to begin with, much less placed on trial, but at least the verdict was just. Make no mistake about it, this was an assault on the basic right to self-defense. What do you think the verdict would have been in Oregon?"

Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) said, “There is a narrative that has been promoted that our institutions are irredeemably unjust if the verdict does not agree with the far-left progressive narrative. When Democrat politicians denounce decisions made by juries of peers, it emboldens those who wish to do violence and greenlights their activity. It is shameful.

“When the Democrats’ extreme base of supporters are convinced that institutions are unable to be reformed, even by the Democratic Party, which completely controls government, they consistently turn to violence as their course of action. When the national media and elected officials delegitimize the American jury system, violent people committing criminal acts are emboldened. Democrats' response to the violence has been mostly silent. Their response lacks courage and is shameful.

“Even President Joe Biden initially had the decency to acknowledge, “the jury system works and we have to abide by it.” Oregon Democrats, including candidates for governor, instead chose to give cover to those who wish to do criminal acts against the people and our Constitution. Oregonians are fed up with Democratic politicians pandering to those who commit violence. Our justice system had a full airing of this case at trial and the jury made a decision based on the evidence presented.

“This violence against the people of Portland must stop. The vandalism, the attacks on law enforcement and journalists are criminal acts that must be denounced and prosecuted. I am concerned the violence and chaos will continue until Democrats join Republicans in standing up to condemn it. For over a year now, Democrats have refused to stand with Republicans in a unified voice to condemn these riots that have besieged Portland and its citizens.”


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-20 08:31:42Last Update: 2021-11-20 20:12:40



Smart Health Cards Planned
Digitizing vaccine passports in Oregon

The House Interim Special Committee on COVID-19 meeting November 17 exposed how serious Oregon is being affected, not from COVID, but from state policies. Oregon Education Association spent their time identifying the lack of funds to fill vacated positions and the amount of training it takes to replace staff and bus drivers. Director Patrick Allen, Oregon Health Authority said Oregon ranks the fourth lowest in cases and sixth lowest in deaths in the nation. When asked why we still need to wear masks, Allen responded that it’s cautionary not to think the pandemic is over too soon.

The Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division (OHA) and the American Immunization Registry Association reported on the development of the Digital Vaccine Records Project where individuals use an Immunization Information System (IIS) to consolidate their vaccine data in one place on a Smart Health card. The card has a unique QR code and can be accessed on a smart phone with permission. What is the need for a centralized data base? Allen said 81.5% adults have been vaccinated, and 40% of those over 60 have had a booster, but that is where we see the breakthrough cases. Was he saying those with the booster are more likely to get the Delta variant?

OHA is in Phase II involving demonstrations, community testing and feedback. The project timeline includes updating rules to address the definition of proof of vaccination. CDC changed the definition in September from a vaccine that stimulates the immune system to produce immunity against a specific disease. Now they’re saying a vaccine doesn’t produce immunity but will “produce protection.”

The Project aims to develop the website and database in December and then do testing in January and start media messaging to get communities and business engaged for the rollout in Phase III in March.

Immunization Information System is an open-source way for sharing vaccination records. Security and privacy are major issues. What is the benefit of a centralized open-source data base? The individual member has control of whether to share with family, employer, dentists, for travel, and other situations. However, the state also has control allowing access to accumulate nonspecific data, but what will stop them from accessing individual records to target unvaccinated individuals?

Oregon is in the planning stage where twenty other states or jurisdiction have implemented a Smart Health Card. What’s next? According to Allen, it’s behavior forecasting. Analyzing the effect of fear and isolation vs people going back to normal socializing that may boost a new breakout.

On the initial announcement, 40,000 kids received the vaccine ages 5-11. For ages 12-17, 65% are vaccinated. Colt Gill, Director, Oregon Department of Education, reported three systems for screening in schools: ODE is not seeing a spread during the school day, it’s after school activities and large gatherings. They are working on a “test-to-stay” model to reduce quarantine time that students miss school. Vaccinated students won’t need to quarantine when exposed. They are also hiring nurses to do contact tracing.

OAR 333-003-5000, scheduled to expire November 22, 2021, upon renewal changes COVID-19 vaccines for ages 15-17 without parental consent. From Smart Health Cards to forecasting to test-to-stay in school, the pandemic is being prolonged at the expense of logic.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-11-19 12:30:57Last Update: 2021-11-20 11:41:55



Oregon’s Congressional Delegation Splits on Build Back Better
Democrats vote for the massive spending measure

After a record-long nine-hour speech by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, President Joe Biden's Build Back Better legislation passed the US House of Representatives 220-213, with the votes of all Democratic members of Oregon's Congressional delegation. Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader all voted yes, while Oregon's lone Republican, Cliff Bentz voted against the bill.

Lori Chavez-DeRemer, candidate for Oregon's 5th Congressional District called the measure a "socialist spending package" and called out her opponent, six-term incumbent, Democrat Kurt Schrader.

“In the midst of record inflation and an ongoing supply chain crisis, Kurt Schrader voted for a Socialist boondoggle that will cripple our economy. Congressman Schrader constantly describes himself as a ‘Moderate’, but his voting record proves otherwise, and today is no different.

“Schrader incentivized the rich elite in New York and California while working families here in Oregon pay the price. Oregon’s 5th Congressional district deserves a consistent voice for sanity in Washington D.C and not someone who will cave to the pressure of Nancy Pelosi.”

The $1.9 trillion bill now goes to the US Senate for a possible vote where its fate is less certain.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-19 08:05:25Last Update: 2021-11-19 09:23:24



Pandemic Proves Lucrative For State
While Oregonians struggle with inflation, Republicans offer relief

Every single revenue forecast since the pandemic began has exceeded expectations. The current revenue forecast is more of the same, but now state government coffers are being padded by inflation. The revenue forecast acknowledges that inflation is increasing the cost of living for Oregonians.

“Inflation is devastating for working families, but pads the pockets of government,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). “Blowout spending from federal government borrowing has given us more money than we know what to do with at the same time most working people have gotten effective pay cuts because everything is more expensive. Yet, Democrats’ vision continues to be tax, borrow, and spend. It’s time to give working Oregonians some relief in their family budget.”

The Legislative Revenue Office projected a personal kicker of $558.3 million for 2023 in their summary of the Revenue Forecast based in part on these observations: Oregon Democrats have consistently rejected tax relief measures that would have put more money in the pockets of working Oregonians. This year, they voted to tax stimulus checks and basic necessities, denied relief to those struggling with student loans, and denied property tax relief for veterans.

“The state continues to get bigger budgets, but working families are struggling to make ends meet because of inflation,” said Senator Lynn Findley (R-Vale), member of the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee. “Oregon Democrats have refused every opportunity to give working families a break. I will be reintroducing legislation to cut taxes for everyday necessities on working families. Prescription drugs, diapers, and feminine hygiene products should not be taxed.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-18 10:44:02Last Update: 2021-11-18 10:04:19



Brown Appointments to Parole Board Opposed
Senate Republicans Vote Against Governor’s Parole Board Nominees

Oregon's Senate Republicans, along with one Democrat, Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose), have voted against the Governor’s nominees to the Parole Board. In a floor vote, both John Bailey and James Taylor had their re-appointment to the Oregon Board of Probation and Post Prison Supervision. Both were confirmed by a vote of 16-9 with four Senators excused.

Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) questioned the Governor's new policies.

“Given the Governor’s new commutation plan, the Legislature must apply new scrutiny to these nominees. They will be making decisions about which violent criminals will be allowed to be released from prison. When questioned in committee, I did not believe they were sufficiently committed to protecting victims and their families.”

Senator Fred Girod (R-Lyons), a member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Appointments, said:

“I do not believe rapists and murders should be let out of prison, especially by a handful of unelected bureaucrats like the Parole Board. The idea that people under 18 cannot comprehend that rape and murder are wrong, is extreme. It is also insulting to victims and their families. The Governor’s directive to consider these crimes as eligible for early release disrespects our system of justice and the safety of all Oregonians.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-17 20:22:15Last Update: 2021-11-17 20:51:35



Multnomah County Hiring Four New Prosecutors
Gun violence is the problem with Portland, says DA Schmidt

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt has announced that he has hired four new prosecutors to add capacity to investigating and resolving cases involving a firearm — particularly homicides.

The new hires come just weeks after the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office (MCDA) received temporary funding from the County for this explicit purpose following a joint announcement with county leaders. The $1 million investment adds 4 prosecutors and 2 investigators to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. The search for the added investigator positions is still underway.

The volume of homicides this year has quickly outweighed the resources that the DA office has to handle resolving them.

“The families and loved ones of those we’ve lost over the last three years simply cannot wait for progress any longer. "DA Mike Schmidt said. "Our office, in partnership with the County, has met this need with urgency. Help is on the way.”

In addition to added prosecutorial and investigative capacity, DA Schmidt and the County have emphasized an all-hands-on-deck approach, declaring the surge in community violence as a public health crisis.

Recently, DA Mike Schmidt has declared that he will avoid prosecuting many far-left AntiFa rioters, so the anouncement of these hirings seems like putting the cart before the horse to some observers.

The County has added two new deputies to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office focusing on family protection orders and dispossession of firearms and ammunition when court-ordered.

“I’ve been to seven call-outs this year. Our escalating caseloads are also compounded by court backlogs due to the pandemic. New prosecutors mean more time can be devoted to individual cases and means more people who can be called upon to help when a life is lost,” said MCDA prosecutor Kate Molina.

All four new prosecutors will start full-time by early December.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-16 16:40:51Last Update: 2021-11-16 17:10:00



Oregon Job Growth Projected
Assuming COVID restrictions come to an end

Oregon's total employment is projected to grow by 317,600 jobs between 2020 and 2030, according to new projections from the Oregon Employment Department.

The projections point to historically high job growth between 2020 and 2030 and accounts for recovery from low employment levels in 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdowns and the associated recession.

The Employment Department states that many of these job openings are expected due to the need to replace workers who leave their occupations.

In 2020, there were 1,998,400 jobs in Oregon. The projected 16% increase in employment between 2020 and 2030 includes private-sector gains of 283,500 jobs, growth of 25,700 jobs in government, and an additional 8,300 self-employed Oregonians.

Beyond gains associated with the economic recovery from the COVID-19 lockdown recession and anticipated economic growth, another 2,197,200 job openings will be created by 2030 to replace workers who retire, leave the labor force for other reasons, or make a major occupational change. Together, the number of job openings due to economic recovery, job growth, and replacements will total 2,514,800.

All sectors in Oregon are expected to add jobs by 2030. Leisure and hospitality is projected to increase the fastest and add the largest number of jobs. The projected gain of 73,800 jobs (46% growth) in leisure and hospitality is mainly driven by the recovery from the COVID lockdowns, as restaurants, hotels, and arts, cultural, and recreational establishments are expected to see increased demand as in-person and recreational activities resume.

Because of the loss of jobs in leisure and hospitality in 2020, many of the fastest-growing occupations are associated with jobs in this industry. In fact, 10 of the top 20 fastest-growing occupations are in leisure and hospitality. They include cooks, chefs, bartenders, waiters and waitresses, fast food workers, exercise trainers and fitness instructors, and amusement and recreation attendants.

The private health care and social assistance sector is projected to add the second-largest number of jobs, with 51,000 jobs (19% growth) over the 10-year period. This growth is attributed to the aging of the state's population, longer life expectancies, and continued population growth. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and massage therapists are among the fastest-growing occupations statewide.

A broad variety of career opportunities will be available across all sectors, as well as all job types. One-third of all job openings will require education or training beyond high school at the typical entry-level education. To meet more competitive education requirements, more than half of job openings require at least some training beyond high school.

Occupations with the most job openings, typically requiring a high school diploma or less, include fast food workers, retail salespersons, cashiers, stockers, and order fillers. Those requiring a postsecondary certification or associate's degree include truck drivers, bookkeepers, and medical and nursing assistants. Occupations with the most total openings requiring at least a bachelor's degree vary from general and operations managers to registered nurses, software developers, and accountants.

All areas of Oregon expect to see job opportunities due to both economic recovery and growth, and to replace workers leaving the labor force in the coming years. The two regions projected to grow at the fastest rates are Central Oregon (18%) and the Portland area (17%). Northwest Oregon is projected to grow at the same rate as Oregon statewide – 16%. All other areas are projected to have slower growth.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-16 13:16:27Last Update: 2021-11-17 20:22:15



Sudafed Rules Out Soon
Just in time for cold season

A little known fact to most: A bill does not necessarily become effective as it’s written. The state agency tasked with the rulemaking for a bill, actually writes how the bill will be implemented.

In this case the agency is the Board of Pharmacy. November 23rd is the date that the Board meets to finalize the language for this new statute. It is online, so one can attend virtually.

Representative Bill Post (R-Keizer) has given an update on the bill.

"As you most likely know by now, since I was first elected to the Oregon Legislature in 2015, one of my passions has been to remove the prescription requirement to purchase pseudoephedrine (pse or sudafed type products)", said Representative Post, "Behind the counter with a photo ID as is the case in over 40 states in the US. As you may also know, finally in 2021, we were able to pass HB 2648 and the behind the counter sales starting January 1, 2022. BUT as always, nothing is easy in Oregon."

As you can see from the summary on the front page of the bill, the purchase involves gathering information to make sure that the buyer isn’t “over purchasing” pse products.

“Requires pharmacist or pharmacy technician, prior to transfer, to submit specified information into electronic system designed to prevent illegal transfer of drugs containing pseudoephedrine. Requires pharmacist or pharmacy technician to record specified information about transfer of drug containing pseudoephedrine. Specifies maximum amount of pseudoephedrine that person may receive without prescription.”

The idea is that the pharmacist or tech would “swipe” your driver’s license or other appropriate photo ID and get your name and address to make sure that you are not purchasing more pse than allowed by law. This was to discourage “smurfing” where meth manufacturers send people out to buy sudafed products to make meth.

"We addressed this in testimony before the committees in both the House and Senate and in debate on the House floor." Representative Post continued, "We made it clear that Oregon would be joining at least 40 other states in the nPLEX electronic tracking system."

You can read the testimony from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which is the company that operates nPLEX here.

"We made it very clear in testimony that we would be joining the nPLEX system." Post continued, "I begged the drafter of the language to include that, as Mississippi did in their bill that passed earlier this year, but was told that Oregon law prohibits using “brand names” in a bill. Sigh. As you can see, it’s a very simple system to implement. It’s quite efficient, I’ve used it myself in many other states. Here was my testimony in the House Health Care Committee. The problem is that we did not apparently look at ALL of the laws in Oregon. You see, when the Legislature passes 500-800 new laws every other year, there are a lot of laws to watch out for. It was brought to my attention by a representative of a large chain pharmacy that we cannot “swipe” the ID’s in Oregon because of ORS 807.750 Now I believe that the original drafter of the bill, the Legislative Counsel writer, should have caught this. Still, I am the chief sponsor of the bill and I should have done a deeper dive into the laws. So what does this mean for Sudafed on January 1st?"

The law will go into effect and you will be able to purchase without a prescription but, the larger chain pharmacies may not want to allow this if it means entering the information manually which can take up to 3 minutes. With the shortage of pharmacists and techs, this seems to present a problem. A “new exemption in ORS 807.750 must be added that allows swiping drivers licenses / ID cards and the sharing of that data (with NPLEX) within the guidelines established in HB 2648” as a bill to amend that statute.

Since Representative Post only has until the end of November left as State Representative and won’t be in office when the short session of 2022 takes place, he is having a draft written that he hopes his successor or another legislator will drop as a bill in 2022 and make it retroactive to January 1.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-15 18:25:20Last Update: 2021-11-15 18:51:07



Facing a Labor Shortage, Governor Calls for More Rental Assistance
Why does any employable Oregonian need rental assistance?

Despite very low unemployment, Governor Kate Brown has "engaged in conversations with legislative leaders and housing advocates to find a path forward for a legislative solution that involves updates to current tenant protections in state law, including the extension of current safe harbor protections for Oregonians who have applied for rental assistance, as well as using state resources to continue assistance at the state and local levels."

Her actions beg the question, why does any employable Oregonian need rental assistance? According to the Oregon Employment Department, "Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.7% in September from 5.0%, as revised, in August." That was even better than the national rate where the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4.8% in September from 5.2% in August. Additionally, the Employment Department is projecting job increases through the year 2030.

Oregon Housing and Community Services has announced that nearly all federal rental assistance funding in Oregon has been allocated to or requested by applicants, and that the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program will pause accepting new applications starting on Wednesday, December 1.

According to Governor Brown, “Since March 2020, Oregon has distributed historic amounts of rental assistance to meet the unprecedented need created by the pandemic. Every Oregonian deserves a warm, safe, dry place to call home––and during a public health crisis it has been critical to ensure that Oregonians stay housed. That is why I have worked closely with the Oregon Legislature since the beginning of this pandemic to provide a range of resources to support both renters and their landlords.

“Because of the work of Oregon Housing and Community Services and community-based partners, Oregon is currently ranked 7th in the nation for the distribution of rental assistance and has remained in the top ten nationally for more than a month. However, thousands of Oregon households remain at risk of eviction and need assistance as quickly as possible. Disproportionately, due to systemic disparities in Oregon housing, this burden has fallen to Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and people of color.

“To be clear: Oregon has sufficient federal resources to help all eligible households who have applied to date. OHCS and its partners continue to process every complete application quickly, prioritizing those outside of current safe harbor protections. But with nearly all remaining federal funding requested by existing applicants, it was critical for OHCS to give Oregon families ample notice today that, without additional funding, the program will soon need to pause taking new applications.

“We know that the need for this critical assistance continues. Additional funding is needed urgently to ensure Oregon’s rental assistance program can meet the ongoing need––an ask I have made directly to U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo, who administers the federal rental assistance program. It is not likely, however, that the U.S. Treasury will be able to deploy additional resources for rental assistance immediately.

“It will be impossible to serve every Oregon family that is struggling with rent with state resources alone. Those conversations will continue, with the goal of bringing forward a proposal for the Legislature to consider in a special session in the upcoming weeks.” It is not clear if the Governor is seeking additional federal funds or a change in laws that requires housing providers to support non-paying tenants.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-15 11:23:43Last Update: 2021-11-15 12:09:08



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