What is the most pressing issue facing Oregon today?
Economy
Homelessness
Transportation infrastructure
Crime
Big government
Northwest Observer
Subscribe for Free Email Updates
Name:
Email:
Search Articles
       










On this day, November 26, 2010, US federal agents in a sting operation arrested Mohamed Osman Mohamud (19), a Somali-born teenager, just as he tried blowing up a van he believed was loaded with explosives at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland.




Post an Event


Oregon Legislature Interim Committee Meetings
Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 8:00 am
Legislative Committee hearings
Oregon Capitol



Oregon Legislature Interim Committee Meetings
Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 8:00 am
Legislative Committee hearings
Oregon Capitol



Oregon Legislature Interim Committee Meetings
Friday, December 9, 2022 at 8:00 am
Legislative Committee hearings
Oregon Capitol



82nd Session of the Oregon Legislature Begins
Monday, January 9, 2023 at 8:00 am
The 2023 Session of the Oregon Legislature begins. Legislators are sworn in and bills are introduced.
Oregon Capitol, Salem


View All Calendar Events


Washington County Centered on Racial Equity
Should government base decisions on skin color?

Washington County Oregon has begun a multi-year process for re-envisioning the county’s program of Community Participation Organizations (CPOs) and the Committee for Community Involvement (CCI). The process received direction from the Board of County Commissioners in December 2021.

The CPOs and CCI have served as public involvement venues for the county since the 1970s in support of Goal 1 Citizen Involvement under Oregon’s land use planning system. The county now says that the program’s mission has expanded.

“We hear loud and clear the desire for greater programmatic support from the volunteers serving within the CPOs and CCI. We also know that the traditional pathways for the community to engage with their county government can feel more like obstacles. Our ongoing equity work involves building truly accessible platforms and pathways so that we include all voices in our community engagement programs, especially those who have been the least included over time,” said Chief Officer of Equity and Inclusion Latricia Tillman.

The county quotes a Boston University study published in 2018 found that civic engagement structures have historically amplified the voices of those who are “older, male, longtime residents, voters in local elections, and homeowners” and may bias policy discussions in favor of an unrepresentative group of individuals. Washington County has now indicated that they would consider racial equity policies in order to intentionally change this.

“This re-envisioning process will help us align the Community Engagement program with Washington County’s growing and diverse population. By working with the community to establish the foundation and shape of this process now, we can make the current Community Engagement Program even more welcoming to everyone in our Washington County community. We also seek to better align the Community Engagement program with the work to revise the organization’s decades-old community strategic plan,” said Board of County Commissioners Chair Kathryn Harrington.

In presenting the proposed scope of re-envisioning work for the Community Engagement program, county staff identified four work areas: According to Washington County, the next steps for the process will include developing a project team that consists of internal and external partners, conducting further demographic analysis of current CPO boundaries and creating a project plan and timeline for the process.

More information will be available soon. In the meantime, a brief overview of the process for re-envisioning can be found on the Washington County webpage.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-06-12 09:32:50Last Update: 2022-06-15 11:07:36



High Water Means More Interstate Bridge Lifts
Rains have increased Columbia River levels and will mean more and longer Interstate Bridge lifts

Travelers on Interstate 5 should expect more frequent lifts of the Interstate Bridge in the days ahead because recent rains have increased the level of the Columbia River.

The river level is expected to exceed15 feet by early next week. The flood stage at that point on the river is 16 feet. That will mean longer lifts of the bridge spans as both upstream and downstream river traffic must use greater caution in navigating through the faster water. The river level at the Interstate Bridge is generally six to seven feet. Bridge lifts can sometimes be completed in six to eight minutes but lifts now are expected to last up to 20 minutes.

The increased river level has reduced the clearance at the high span, which is at the hump in the bridge at mid-river. That causes more marine traffic to use the lift span along the north side the river. More lifts bring more delays on I-5.

Under maritime law, marine traffic has priority over I-5 highway traffic. However, no lifts are allowed during the morning and evening commute times weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and again from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. excepting federal holidays.

Recent rain throughout the Columbia River Basin has contributed to the high water. The Columbia River dams help regulate river volume.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

The Columbia River reached the flood stage at the Interstate Bridge in 2017, when it reached 18 feet, and in 2011 when it reached 19 feet. The highest level in recent years came in 1996 when the river reached 24 feet.

The Interstate Bridge is jointly owned by Oregon and Washington and is operated and maintained by ODOT. The northbound span opened Feb. 14, 1917 and the southbound span July 1, 1958.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-11 10:45:34



Oregon State Treasury Completes Bond Sales
Oregon State Lottery, General Obligation and Housing Single-Family Mortgage Program

Affordable housing, drinking water improvements, schools, and earthquake readiness are just a few of the projects that will be funded thanks to Oregon State Treasury's recent $418 million General Obligation (GO) bond sale on behalf of the state. The recovery of Lottery sales permitted a long-awaited sale of $218 million bonds for the state's Lottery Program, which will fund a variety of projects including park improvements, building renovations and veteran housing programs. Lasty, an $85 million bond sale for the Oregon Housing Single-Family Mortgage Program will provide support for existing and newly originated Mortgage Loans.

"Bonds are an effective tool that we use to support critical capital projects and invest in Oregon," said Treasurer Tobias Read. "Bond funded projects encourage economic development, enhance sustainability, address critical needs including better access to education, housing and services for wellness and preserve our environment. Our strong stewardship of financial resources permits us to invest in building stronger and healthier communities for Oregonians over the long-run, and that is good for everyone."

Treasury's Debt Management team wrapped up the spring general obligation bond sale in the middle of May after securing low-cost financing in a volatile market environment. The sale includes approximately $200 million in tax-exempt general obligation bond proceeds for approximately twenty-one projects from ten different state government entities. Projects include capital improvements at the Oregon School for the Deaf, improvements to Salem's drinking water system, renovations and accessibility improvements to judicial buildings and the state capitol, and upgrades to various information systems. Additionally, $66 million will fund grant program bonds for implementing seismic upgrades for school districts and emergency services buildings.

Another $175 million of taxable Sustainability Bonds will fund affordable and permanent supportive housing throughout the state, including new home construction and housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness. This was the sixth issuance of sustainability bonds by Oregon Treasury with proceeds dedicated to affordable housing.

The Lottery Bond transaction was priced on April 12, 2022 and was officially closed on May 10, 2022. The sale included approximately $94 million in tax-exempt bonds and $124 million in taxable bonds. The projects funded included upgrades to the Eugene Family YMCA facility, Sherwood Pedestrian/Bike Bridge, Gradin Community Sports Park and various building renovations.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

"The market continues to evolve as the pandemic wanes. With the rise in interest rates as the Federal Reserve seeks to curb inflation, Treasury staff must remain diligent to ensure that the state maintains its high credit profile and broaden its investor outreach to achieve favorable financing results," said Jacqueline Knights, Director of Debt Management at Oregon State Treasury. "Despite record withdrawal of funds from the municipal market, the State's bonds saw significant investor demand, which translates to better pricing – even under volatile market conditions."

In advance of the spring bond sales, Oregon Treasury received updated General Obligation bond ratings from Standard and Poor's, Fitch Ratings, and Moody's Investors Services. In reports published by the three firms, Oregon maintained its respective AA+/AA+/Aa1 ratings along with a stable outlook – a welcome confirmation of the state's fiscal management. Additionally, the State's Lottery Program received a confirmation of stability from Moody's Investors Services and Standard and Poor's, with ratings of Aa2/AAA respectively. Lastly, Oregon Housing and Community Services Department received a rating of Aa2 for the Single-Family Mortgage Revenue Bonds. Moody's also maintains the Aa2 ratings on all outstanding long-term parity debt issued under the Mortgage Revenue Bond Indenture with a stable rating outlook.

The Single-Family Mortgage Bonds transaction was priced on April 5, 2022 and was officially closed on April 27,2022. The sale included approximately $78 million in tax-exempt bonds and $7 million taxable bonds. The proceeds will be used to refund outstanding Oregon Housing and Community Services Department Mortgage Revenue bonds leading to a decrease in department costs. They will also be used to purchase mortgage loans that provide financing for existing, or newly constructed single-family residences.

Treasury has been active in issuing debt for developers who create affordable housing statewide as well as non-profits such as health care institutions. For the calendar year to date, Treasury has worked with our Oregon Housing partners and developers to close fifteen deals totaling $256 million for affordable housing projects across the State.

New Projects Funded by Recently-Sold State Lottery Bonds
SeriesProject Agency/GranteeProject SummaryEstimated Bond Proceeds
2022 ADept of Admin. ServicesCenter for Hope and Safety Hope Plaza$7,500,000
2022 A Dept of Admin. ServicesGradin Community Sports Park2,000,000
2022 A Dept of Admin. ServicesOregon Coast Aquarium Indoor Gallery Improvements5,000,000
2022 ADept of Admin. ServicesParrott Creek Child & Family Services Building Renovation3,500,000
2022 A Dept of Admin. ServicesPhoenix Government and Public Safety Center13,600,000
2022 A Dept of Admin. ServicesPort of Cascade Locks Business Park Expansion2,400,000
2022 A Dept of Admin. ServicesJefferson County Health and Wellness Center5,400,000
2022 A Business OregonCounty Fair Capital Improvements5,000,000
2022 A Dept of Transportation Sherwood Pedestrian/Bike Bridge4,000,000
2022 ADept of Veteran AffairsYMCA Veterans' Affordable Housing 6,000,000
2022 A Parks & Recreation Dept.Main Street Revitalization Grant Program5,000,000
2022 A Water Resources Dept.Deschutes Basin Board of Control Piping10,000,000
2022 AWater Resources Dept.Wallowa Lake Dam Rehabilitation14,000,000
2022 A Water Resources Dept. Water Development Projects15,000,000
2022 A Water Resources Dept.Big Creek Dams Replacement 4,000,000
2022A Total $102,400,000
2022 BDept of Admin. ServicesEugene Family YMCA Facility$15,000,000
2022 B Business OregonLevee Grant Program15,000,000
2022 B Business OregonBrownfields Redevelopment Fund10,000,000
2022 BBusiness OregonSpecial Public Works Fund50,000,000
2022 BHousing & Comm. ServicesWildfire Affordable Housing Supply & Land Acquisition25,000,000
2022B Total $115,000,000
TOTAL $217,400,000


New Projects Funded by Recently-Sold State GO Bonds
SeriesProject AgencyProject NameAmount of Bond Proceeds
2022 Series ADept. of Administrative ServicesExecutive Building Interior & Seismic Renovations$16,000,000
2022 Series ADept. of Administrative ServicesNorth Valley Complex Infrastructure Upgrades/Tenant Improvement30,000,000
2022 Series ADept. of Administrative ServicesPortland State Office Building Improvements3,500,000
2022 Series ADept. of RevenueElectronic Valuation Information System (ELVIS)2,000,000
2022 Series AOregon Military DepartmentResiliency Grant Fund5,000,000
2022 Series AOregon State PoliceCentral Point Office Expansion23,772,889
2022 Series AOregon Youth AuthorityCamp Riverbend Dorm Renovation1,500,000
2022 Series AOregon Youth AuthorityControl Room Renovations895,000
2022 Series AOregon Youth AuthorityJJIS IT System Modernization4,756,531
2022 Series AOregon Youth AuthorityMacLaren Infirmary and Pharmacy Renovation & Expansion979,000
2022 Series AOregon Youth AuthorityMacLaren West Cottages Renovations4,937,800
2022 Series AOregon Youth AuthorityRogue Valley Facility Improvements2,443,900
2022 Series AOregon Youth AuthorityTillamook Dorm Renovation2,000,000
2022 Series AOregon Health AuthorityOSH Salem Well Water Treatment Facility2,395,650
2022 Series ADept. of EducationOregon School for the Deaf ADA Restrooms1,024,625
2022 Series ADept. of EducationOregon School for the Deaf Fire Alarm System Replacement3,091,923
2022 Series ADept. of EducationOregon School for the Deaf Windows Upgrade1,383,452
2022 Series AOregon Parks & Recreation DepartmentState Parks Capital Improvement and Renewal25,000,000
2022 Series ADept. of Fish and WildlifeCapital Improvement and Renewal5,000,000
2022 Series AOregon Liquor Control CommissionLiquor Warehouse Land & Building52,537,265
2022 Series AOregon Liquor Control CommissionLiquor Warehouse Management IT System8,500,000
2022 Series BOregon Housing and Community Services DepartmentLIFT/Permanent Supportive Housing Programs175,000,000
TOTAL $371,718,035
2022 Series COregon Business Development DepartmentSeismic Rehabilitation Grants – Schools55,000,000
2022 Series COregon Business Development DepartmentSeismic Rehabilitation Grants – Emergency Services Buildings20,825,000
TOTAL $75,825,000
TOTAL $447,543,035


New Projects Funded by Recently-Sold Conduit Revenue Bonds
SeriesProject AgencyProject NameAmount of Bond Proceeds
2022AHousing & Community Services Dept.Fremont Manor Apartments$5,400,000
2022BHousing & Community Services Dept.Kentonwood Dimensions Apartments4,037,000
2022CHousing & Community Services Dept.Stillwater Crossing Apartments3,900,000
2022DHousing & Community Services Dept.The Canopy Apartments at Powell36,500,000
2022EHousing & Community Services Dept.Garden Grove Apartments6,330,000
2022FHousing & Community Services Dept.Aloha Family Housing Project16,680,000
2022GHousing & Community Services Dept.Nueva Esperanza Apartments26,359,717
2022HHousing & Community Services Dept.Good Shepherd Village31,425,000
2022IHousing & Community Services Dept.Oregon 4 Apartment Projects23,895,104
2022JHousing & Community Services Dept.Minnesota Place Apartments Project12,987,074
2022KHousing & Community Services Dept.Moorehouse Apartments Project7,870,000
2022LHousing & Community Services Dept.Tigard Senior Housing13,890,000
2022MHousing & Community Services Dept.148th Apartments15,500,000
2022OHousing & Community Services Dept.Shore Pines at Munsel Creek Apartments14,302,000
2022QHousing & Community Services Dept.Maple Apartments37,000,000
TOTAL $256,075,895


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-11 09:08:15Last Update: 2022-06-11 09:45:47



Secretary of State Orders Election Audit in Clackamas County
"My mission as Oregon's Secretary of State is to build trust”

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan has ordered an audit of Clackamas County's May election results. Post-election audits are standard practice in Oregon, but due to a ballot printing error that forced the County to correct thousands of ballots with faulty barcodes, the Secretary directed the County to conduction additional audits, including the results of its ballot duplication process.

"Clackamas County voters can trust the results of their election," Secretary Fagan said. "We can verify that the results are accurate by directing the County to audit its work."

Standard post-election audits involve pulling a statistically significant, random sample of ballots off the shelves and counting them by hand. The results are then compared to the machine count to verify accuracy. The directive issued today requires recounts in addition to the hand recounts required for every county, and it requires election workers in Clackamas to verify that duplicated ballots were transcribed accurately from their original.

Post-election audits have been a standard practice in Oregon since 2008. They are one of the pillars of election integrity that make Oregon's vote-by-mail system the gold standard for modern, secure and transparent elections.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

"My mission as Oregon's Secretary of State is to build trust. But let's face it, weeks of negative headlines eroded Oregonian's trust in elections," Secretary Fagan said. "Even though processing the votes in Clackamas County was slow, it is now my responsibility to confirm that it was done correctly so voters can trust the election results."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-11 09:03:24



TriMet Board approves $1.93 billion budget
Restoring workforce, improving service, adding electric buses are priorities

In a unanimous vote, TriMet’s Board of Directors granted formal approval to the budget for the next fiscal year, setting the agency’s priorities in motion for the second half of 2022 and first six months of 2023. The $1.93 billion dollar budget includes $748.9 million in day-to-day operating requirements and $304.1 million in capital improvements. For the tenth straight year, the budget does not include a base fare increase.

According to Tia York, a spokesperson for TriMet, they are rebuilding a frontline workforce that continues to be impacted by what’s been dubbed the Great Resignation of the COVID-19 pandemic. TriMet would need to increase its current operator ranks by more than 300 to return service to pre-pandemic levels. In January, they reduced service by 9%, to better-match staffing levels, however, resignations, retirements, promotions and departures of operators for other reasons have continued to outpace hiring, leading to canceled buses and trains and system delays for riders.

TriMet has increased the starting pay for new bus operators $25.24 per hour, and with regular, guaranteed pay raises, all operators earn $68,000 per year or more, after three years on the job full time. In addition, TriMet bus operators receive a generous package of employment benefits, which includes no-to-low cost health insurance, life insurance, paid vacation and sick time, and a retirement plan with an 8% employer contribution. In addition, TriMet is offering all newly hired operators a $7,500 hiring bonus.

One of the big improvements riders will see in the coming months is the launch of the first TriMet FX -- or Frequent Express –- bus service, coming this fall to the 15-mile Division Street corridor, between Gresham and Downtown Portland. FX 2-Division will bring more people on board using longer, articulated buses that will allow for faster, all-door boarding and special signal and lane markings to help keep buses moving past traffic congestion.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

During the upcoming year, TriMet will also focus on capital investments, including work on major initiatives, that improve the rider experience and our community, including:

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-10 11:15:00



Putting Safety Resource Officers Back in Oregon Schools
“Making sure that kids will remain a protected class”

Salem parents are fighting back against the removal of Safety Resource Officers (SRO) from public schools. Dustin Caldwell, self-employed entrepreneur, father of four, has started a petition. "Put School Resource Officers Back In Our Schools" can be signed online.

“I am just making sure that kids will remain a protected class," said Caldwell. "I want to make sure all children are safe and sound while in our public school system.”

Linda Farrington, a concerned citizen who is helping to promote the campaign says, “last spring many people conflated national concerns about officers in schools that were not true for Salem-Keizer School District officers. Prior to removing officers, Salem-Keizer assessment team was nationally acclaimed, working across many disciplines to coordinate care and work together to de-escalate issues at schools. There was no school to prison pipeline. No evidence of disproportionate arrests per police data—the school district didn’t even keep any data.”

Now, safety is a big issue all year and has only become worse. Teachers are leaving because they don’t feel safe. Kids depression rates have doubled since the onset of the Covid restrictions, and students have more PTSD, higher rates of anxiety, more gender confusion, and higher rates of suicide.

Going back into a social environment is more of a challenge than many suspected as kids acted out bullying, more violence, with less discipline and no SRO available for control.

This new environment has left the more vulnerable to seek acceptance for safety from groups that ploy with identity that leads to confusion and more violence. Oregon is in the lowest group of states for care available to students, and the care that is available often leads them down a dark path. With the lack of concern for the mental health of our students, SROs are needed more than ever.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Caldwell states, “The district made a political decision to remove officers from our schools and in doing so sacrificed the safety of our youth. We have to hold our public officials accountable for their actions and when it comes to the safety of our kids we have to act fast and hard. I encourage taxpayers and parents to email the district and let their voices be heard.”

The Oregon Department of Education, State Board of Education will hold its meeting on June 16 at 9 AM, by video conference livestream.

The Board will only accept written public comments for this meeting, but claims they will consider all public comments. Submit written comments or testimony by email or by physical mail addressed to: Clearly label the subject line as: “Public comment” or “Testimony” and include the topic. Example: “Public Comment: School Safety.”

All written public comment will be posted to Boardbook, where you can view the agenda and materials.

Let the Oregon State Board know of your concerns over student safety for the state, and contact your local school board and superintendent.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-06-10 09:40:57Last Update: 2022-06-10 10:40:29



Multnomah County Roads Littered with Human Poop
Perennial pooper still tossing bags of human waste along East County roads

New neighbors are moving in next door on Corbett’s S.E. Curtis Drive, and Lisa Kinney is worried.

She is fairly sure the new arrivals haven’t yet been warned to watch out for the poop-filled shopping bags that appear along their road from time to time, placed every few feet, along the fog line. Even though County health officials are able to scoop up many, others get snatched by passing dogs or smashed by passing cars.

It’s happened for nearly five years now. Sometimes it’s like clockwork, with the bags dropped regularly on Sunday nights. Other times, months might go by, and then six or seven bags will appear, on Curtis Drive or some other east County road. Kinney wishes the perpetrator would reach out for help. It’s a plea County health officials share.

“I think they are in a situation where maybe we could help them,” Kinney said. “I don’t imagine someone who has a bathroom would do something like this.”

Multnomah County Code Enforcement is seeking the public’s help identifying whoever is responsible for disposing of the bags, filled with human poop and kitty litter, along rural roads like Kinney’s near Troutdale, Springdale and Corbett.

The bags, often plastic shopping bags from Wal-Mart or Dollar Tree, have been dumped at nearly 500 sites since late 2018, usually during early morning hours, primarily along the following stretches of road: ​Multnomah County Code Enforcement handles illegal dumping in unincorporated areas of Multnomah County. A majority of illegal dumps are large household garbage. But over the past five years, Enforcement Officer Dave Thomson has picked up hundreds of bags of human waste dumped on local roadways.

Enforcement Officer Dave Thomson has worked long and late hours trying to stop someone disposing of human waste along County roads.

Some bags have remained intact, but some have been ripped open and splattered by passing cars, with poop left to wash into the drainage ditch. And that’s a problem: Human feces can carry diseases, and when that poop washes into drainage ditches, it can contaminate waterways where people spend time.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Thomson does his best to recover bags promptly, but doody duty competes with his many other roles.

“I have a million other functions,” he said.

According to the county, on any given day Thomson might inspect a business that fails to adhere to clean air laws, investigate illegal dumping of a couch and fridge, levy fines for illegal livestock in the City of Portland or for a junk car in Maywood Park, chase down any of the County’s 3,000 facilities that might fail to renew their licenses, or post a closure notice to a business that refuses to cooperate with Public Health.

“Your eyes would glaze if you knew everything on my plate. That’s why I can’t afford to spend my time scooping up poop,” he said. “There’s nothing in my job description that requires me to clean up human poop, but it's such an unsanitary thing. The community doesn’t deserve this.”

Thomson urges whoever is dumping the poop to either stop or to reach out for help.

“We want to understand why the person might be doing this,” Thomson said. “Perhaps this person doesn’t have a bathroom or another way of disposing of their waste. We’re not interested in punishment. We want to help them get the support they need.”

If you spot someone in the act of illegal dumping, Thomson asks that you don’t try and stop the person. Instead, get a license plate number and vehicle description, and dial 9-1-1.

If you spot these bags or any other illegally disposed materials in unincorporated Multnomah County, call Environmental Health at 503-988-3464 or email them.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-06-09 18:01:44Last Update: 2022-06-09 18:23:30



Opportunities Exist on State Boards
Oregonians encouraged to apply for State boards and commissions

Governor Kate Brown is calling on Oregonians who have an interest in serving the state to apply for membership on any one of the 150 state boards and commissions that are actively recruiting new members, including two new councils -- the Emergency Preparedness Advisory Council and the Local Government Emergency Management Advisory Council.

“State board and commission members are dedicated Oregonians who bring a diverse set of backgrounds and life experiences to address a wide range of issues facing our state. They are vital participants in statewide decision-making and have the opportunity to participate in developing a wide variety of important governmental policies,” said Governor Brown. “I encourage all Oregonians with interest in serving our great state and helping make it better for all those who call it home to apply.”

Public members of boards and commissions are people who may not have regular, ongoing experience in a specific topic area, but have a general interest in a particular board or commission’s work arena. Major issues range from consumer protection, economic development, and education, to conservation and health care — all of which are critical to the ongoing success of the state.

Governor Brown is committed to ensuring that all boards and commissions represent the growing age, racial, and gender diversity of the state. This is an amazing opportunity to pool collective viewpoints, visions, and hopes for Oregon — and all community members are welcome and encouraged to serve.

To submit an application, please visit the state boards and commissions website and follow the instructions to apply.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-08 09:58:03



USS Oregon Officially Commissioned
The third U.S. Navy ship launched to bear the name Oregon

Oregon is honored with a third commissioned ship. This one is a nuclear-powered attack submarine named USS Oregon. On May 28, the Navy commissioned the fast-attack submarine USS Oregon (SSN 793) in a traditional ceremony at Naval Submarine Base New London, Connecticut.

USS Oregon is the third U.S. Navy ship launched to bear the name Oregon, but first in more than a century. The first was named after the Oregon Territory before Oregon became a state. It was a brigantine in service from 1841-1845 and served in explorations.

The second was an Indiana-class battleship commissioned in 1896 and ultimately decommissioned for the final time in 1919. She served as a vessel and later as an Indiana-class battleship. The Oregon served in the Spanish-American War and helped destroy the famous fleet of Spanish Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete.

Oregon again presents her flag in a Memorial Day event as the USS Oregon. It was the first commissioning ceremony in three years due to COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings.

The submarine Oregon was previously christened in a traditional ceremony at General Dynamics Corp.’s Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, on Oct. 5, 2019.

The commissioning ceremonies of the USS Vermont and USS Delaware were also delayed and will be held retroactively.

“Oregonians are deeply honored that the 20th Virginia-class submarine will bear the name of our state,” said Governor Kate Brown in her keynote speech.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Commanding officer of USS Oregon, Commander Lacy Lodmell said, “The passion, grit and enthusiasm of Oregon’s crew has carried the ship to sea and were vital to the completion of construction and testing. This is without a doubt the finest crew I have ever had the pleasure to serve with.”

Dana L. Richardson, the wife of former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson of Corvallis, is the ship sponsor.

During the commissioning event, Dana Richardson gave the crew the traditional order to “man our ship and bring her to life,” after which Oregon’s sailors ceremonially ran aboard the submarine.

The commissioning is just in time as news creeps out that we are in need of national defense along our shores.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-06-08 09:42:46Last Update: 2022-06-08 09:58:58



$15.9 Million Project Aims to Reduce Portland-Area Congestion
“Variable Message” sign to be installed on area freeways

New technology to help traffic flow smoother is coming to several busy sections of Interstate 5, Interstate 84 and U.S 26 in the next several years in the Portland area. The $15.9 million effort is one of eight projects selected for the 2024-2027 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program's "Enhance" funding. Projects in this category are aimed at improving safety and reducing congestion on some of Oregon's busiest roadways.

Critics have voiced concerns that the money would be better spent on road improvements and that messaging technology often creates more congestion than it resolves.

In Portland, traffic management systems will be added to I-5 between Southwest Capitol Highway and OR 217, I-84 westbound between Troutdale and Interstate 205, and U.S. 26 westbound from Sylvan to Cornelius Pass Road. These systems include variable advisory speed signs, advanced directional signage and more.

Reducing congestion - and greenhouse gas emissions - is a goal in ODOT's 2021-2023 Strategic Action Plan. See a drone video of traffic congestion on I-205. Learn more about traffic management systems, known as Intelligent Transportation Systems or ITS, and the work involved in this video.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

The Statewide Transportation Improvement Program is the state's regular project identification and funding program. Last year, the Oregon Transportation Commission allocated $65 million for the "Enhance" part of the 2024-2027 STIP, which will fund a total of $2.2 billion in projects. The commission required several factors to be considered in selecting projects, including those that improve safety, support multimodal accessibility, are equitable and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The commission also required at least 30 percent of the projects selected to be located outside of a Metropolitan Planning Organization boundary, recognizing the need to serve highway users in non-urban areas.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-08 09:37:47Last Update: 2022-06-08 09:58:03



ODA Lifts Bird Quarantine in Lane County
A highly pathogenic avian influenza was detected in a backyard flock

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a request by Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Alexis Taylor to lift a regional quarantine in Lane County. ODA first executed the quarantine on May 17 after confirming highly pathogenic avian influenza in a backyard flock. HPAI is an infectious and deadly disease in birds.

Due to federal and international disease control requirements, after a confirmed case of HPAI in a poultry flock, a regional quarantine for all avian species and vehicle traffic involved with avian species (under the authority of (ORS 596.402) must be issued for an area extending a minimum of 10 kilometers around the infected property. The purpose of the quarantine is to prevent the movement of poultry from within the affected area giving state and federal officials time to conduct surveillance to ensure no additional cases of HPAI exist. The quarantine also applies to importing all birds from states where a state or federal quarantine is in place.

To be eligible for a quarantine release, the USDA required ODA to complete two rounds of surveillance in the affected area, with a minimum of 14 days between, starting after the completion of the humane euthanasia and disposal of the infected birds. ODA completed the work in 20 days following strict biosecurity practices. Biosecurity is a set of practices designed to reduce the risk of spreading disease from sick birds and birds carrying the virus to healthy ones.

If you have domesticated backyard birds such as poultry, please increase your biosecurity and keep your birds separated from wild birds, especially waterfowl. The risk of HPAI to human health is low, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

If you have poultry that appears sick or has died of respiratory or neurological disease, please call 503-986-4711 (Alt Phone: 1-800-347-7028) or email AHHotline@oda.oregon.gov.

If you see sick or dead wild birds, do not collect, or handle them but report the incident directly to ODFW at 866-968-2600 or Wildlife.Health@odfw.oregon.gov.

For more information about HPAI, please visit ODA's Avian Influenza web pages.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-06-08 09:26:12Last Update: 2022-06-08 09:37:47



Kate Brown Appoints Judges to Douglas County
Judge Marshall and Judge Burge are retiring

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has announced that she will appoint Steve Hoddle and Robert Johnson to the Douglas County Circuit Court. Hoddle will fill Position 2, replacing Judge William Marshall, and Johnson will fill Position 4, replacing Judge Frances Burge.

Brown congratulated Judge Marshall and Judge Burge on their planned retirements, and thanked them for their service. Hoddle and Johnson’s appointments are effective immediately.

Last month, Hoddle and Johnson each won a majority of votes in their judicial elections in Douglas County. The Governor’s appointments will allow both to begin their judicial service before the start of their elected terms on the Douglas County bench.

“Steve Hoddle and Robert Johnson have earned the support of Douglas County voters to become the newest judges on the trial court bench,” said Governor Brown. “I look forward to seeing how both of these skilled lawyers use their experience to serve the people of Douglas County, while continuing to build on the strength of our justice system.”

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Hoddle has been a prosecutor with the Douglas County District Attorney’s office since 2008 and, for 15 months before that, was a deputy district attorney for the Coos County District Attorney’s office. He grew up in Sherwood and is a graduate of Oregon State University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 2002, and Willamette University College of Law, where he obtained his law degree in 2006.

Johnson was raised in Oregon and, after attending Umpqua Community College, graduated from Portland State University with his bachelor’s degree in 2011. He obtained his law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2014. After law school, Johnson served as a law clerk with the Douglas County Circuit Court before starting as an attorney at Douglas County Law in Roseburg in 2016. Since 2018, he has been an attorney at the law firm of Dole Coalwell, where he is currently a partner. Johnson is also a board member of the Umpqua Community College Foundation, the Douglas County Parks Advisory Board, and CASA of Douglas County, and a member of the Oregon Government Ethics Commission.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-06-07 18:26:32Last Update: 2022-06-07 18:35:33



Read More Articles