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On this day, 2002, 22 year-old Beth O'Brien fell from a tree platform in the Eagle Creek area of Mount Hood while protesting a timber sale.




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Dorchester Conference 2024
Friday, April 26, 2024 at 5:00 pm
Dorchester Conference 2024 April 26th-28th
Welches, Oregon



Multnomah County Fair
Saturday, May 25, 2024 at 9:00 am
Multnomah County Fair
Oaks Amusement Park



Memorial Day
Monday, May 27, 2024 at 11:00 am
Memorial Day
A federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the U.S. military personnel who died while serving.



Juneteenth
Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at 12:00 am
Juneteenth
Celebrated on the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when in the wake of the American Civil War, Major General Gordon Granger ordered the final enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas.



Lincoln County Fair
Thursday, July 4, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.thelincolncountyfair.com
July 4-6
Lincoln County Fairgrounds



Independence Day
Thursday, July 4, 2024 at 11:59 pm
Independence Day
USA



Marion County Fair
Thursday, July 11, 2024 at 8:00 am
https://www.co.marion.or.us/CS/Fair
July 11-14
Oregon State Fair & Expo Center



Jackson County Fair
Tuesday, July 16, 2024 at 8:00 am
TheExpo.com
July 16-21
Jackson County Fairgrounds - The Expo



Columbia County Fair
Wednesday, July 17, 2024 at 8:00 am
columbiacountyfairgrounds.com
July 17-21
Columbia County Fairgrounds



Linn County Fair
Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 8:00 am
https://www.linncountyfair.com/
July 18-20
Linn County Expo Center



Washington County Fair
Friday, July 19, 2024 at 8:00 am
https://www.bigfairfun.com/
July 19-28
Washington County Fairgrounds - Westside Commons



Coos County Fair
Tuesday, July 23, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.cooscountyfair.com
July 23-27
Coos County Fairgrounds



Curry County Fair
Wednesday, July 24, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.eventcenteronthebeach.com
July 24-27
Curry County Fairgrounds - Event Center on the Beach



Hood River County Fair
Wednesday, July 24, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.hoodriverfairgrounds.com
July 24-27
Hood River County Fairgrounds



Jefferson County Fair
Wednesday, July 24, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.jcfair.fun
July 24-27
Jefferson County Fair Complex



Lane County Fair
Wednesday, July 24, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.atthefair.com
July 24-28
Lane Events Center



Clatsop County Fair
Tuesday, July 30, 2024 at 8:00 am
https://clatsopcofair.com/
July 30 - August 3
Clatsop County Fair & Expo



Malheur County Fair
Tuesday, July 30, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.malheurcountyfair.com
July 30 - August 3
Malheur County Fairgrounds - Desert Sage Event Center



Benton County Fair & Rodeo
Wednesday, July 31, 2024 at 8:00 am
bceventcentercorvallis.net
July 31 - August 3, 2024
Benton County Event Center & Fairgrounds



Deschutes County Fair
Wednesday, July 31, 2024 at 8:00 am
https://expo.deschutes.org/
July 31 - August 4
Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center



Union County Fair
Wednesday, July 31, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.unioncountyfair.org
July 31 - August 3
Union County Fairgrounds



Yamhill County Fair
Wednesday, July 31, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.co.yamhill.or.us/fair
July 31 - August 3
Yamhill County Fairgrounds



Klamath County Fair
Thursday, August 1, 2024 at 8:00 am
https://www.klamathcountyfair.com/
August 1-4
Klamath County Fair



Wallowa County Fair
Friday, August 2, 2024 at 8:00 am
https://co.wallowa.or.us/community-services/county-fair/
August 2-10
Wallowa County Fairgrounds



Baker County Fair
Sunday, August 4, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.bakerfair.com
August 4-9
Baker County Fairgrounds



Harney County Fair
Sunday, August 4, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.harneyfairgrounds.com
August 4-9
Harney County Fairgrounds



Sherman County Fair
Sunday, August 4, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.shermancountyfairfun.com
August 19-24
Sherman County Fairgrounds



Crook County Fair
Wednesday, August 7, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.crookcountyfairgrounds.com
August 7-10
Crook County Fairgrounds



Douglas County Fair
Wednesday, August 7, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.douglasfairgrounds.com
August 7-10
Douglas County Fairgrounds Complex



Grant County Fair
Wednesday, August 7, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.grantcountyoregon.net
August 7-10
Grant County Fairgrounds



Josephine County Fair
Wednesday, August 7, 2024 at 8:00 am
https://www.josephinecountyfairgrounds.com/
August 7-11
Josephine County Fairgrounds & Events Center



Polk County Fair
Wednesday, August 7, 2024 at 8:00 am
https://www.co.polk.or.us/fair
August 7-10
Polk County Fairgrounds



Tillamook County Fair
Wednesday, August 7, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.tillamookfair.com
August 7-10
Tillamook County Fairgrounds



Umatilla County Fair
Wednesday, August 7, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.umatillacountyfair.net
August 7-10
Umatilla County Fairgrounds



Wheeler County Fair
Wednesday, August 7, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.wheelercountyoregon.com/fair-board
August 7-10
Wheeler County Fairgrounds



Clackamas County Fair
Tuesday, August 13, 2024 at 8:00 am
clackamascountyfair.com
August 13-17
Clackamas County Event Center



Morrow County Fair
Wednesday, August 14, 2024 at 8:00 am
https://www.co.morrow.or.us/fair
August 14-17
Morrow County Fairgrounds



Wasco County Fair
Thursday, August 15, 2024 at 8:00 am
https://www.wascocountyfair.com
August 15-17
Wasco County Fairgrounds



Gilliam County Fair
Thursday, August 29, 2024 at 8:00 am
http://www.co.gilliam.or.us/government/fairgrounds
August 29-31
Gilliam County Fairgrounds



Lake County Fair
Thursday, August 29, 2024 at 8:00 am
https://www.lakecountyor.org/government/fair_grounds.php
August 29 - September 1
Lake County Fairgrounds



Oregon State Fair
Saturday, August 31, 2024 at 8:00 am
www.oregonstateexpo.org
August 31 - September 9
Oregon State Fair & Exposition Center



Linn Laughs LIVE with Adam Corolla
Saturday, September 7, 2024 at 5:00 pm
Linn Laughs LIVE with Adam Corolla 5pm-9pm
Albany, OR


View All Calendar Events


Oregon National Guard Looking to Boost Enrollment
Increased bonuses are highest levels in recent memory

According to the Oregon Air National Guard and the 173rd Fighter Wing, the National Guard Bureau has now increased bonuses to the highest levels in recent memory for certain career fields to help alleviate recruiting and retention shortfalls. The new bonus structure took effect the first of March 2024.

Master Sgt. Jesse Olhiser, the 173rd Fighter Wing Retention Office Manager, explains that the highest bonus is $90,000 for a fully-qualified reenlistment in the munitions or fuels career fields—paid over five years—an annual recurring payment of $18,000.

“Never in eight-plus years of doing this have I seen anything even close to this,” Olhiser says. “These are by-far the largest bonuses I’ve seen.”

As of March 1, 2024 the National Guard Bureau has increased Air National Guard bonuses to the highest levels in recent memory for certain career fields to help alleviate recruiting and retention shortfalls.

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Other bonuses include $50,000 for a new enlistee headed off to basic training or bonuses in differing amounts for cross-trainee’s or for those interested in other critical career fields.

He adds that these rates are temporary, saying, “We are not sure when it will end; no guarantee it will extend even to the end of the Fiscal Year.”

He encourages those who want to take advantage of the program to contact a recruiter a soon as possible.

Olhiser explains that the program is to help bolster recruiting numbers following years of lower than desired numbers. He adds that hopefully this may help alleviate potential shortages in the near future.

Some basic qualifications include taking the Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, have a high school diploma or equivalent—although high school students in their senior year can enlist—be drug-free and have no criminal record.

Prospective enlistees will undergo screening arranged by a recruiter to determine fitness for duty.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2024-03-15 14:43:14Last Update: 2024-03-15 17:31:57



Oregon’s Final Presidential Primary Ballot Released
“Oregonians are voters”

Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade released the final list of candidates to appear on the 2024 Democratic and Republican Presidential Primary today for Oregon’s primary election on May 21st.

Democratic CandidatesRepublican Candidates
Joseph BidenDonald Trump
Marianne Williamson


ORS 249.078 (1)(a) states that a Secretary of State may place the name of a candidate on a major party Presidential primary ballot if the Secretary, in their “sole discretion, has determined that the candidate’s candidacy is generally advocated or is recognized in national news media.” Candidates may also access the ballot by nominating petition as provided in ORS 249.078 (1)(b).

Oregon law allows major parties to decide whether to hold “open” or “closed” primaries. In this year’s May Primary, both the Democratic and Republican parties will hold “closed” primaries — meaning that a voter must be registered with that party by April 30th to participate in its primary election. Oregonians can register to vote or change their party registration at OregonVotes.gov.

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“Oregonians are voters,” said Secretary Griffin-Valade. “In 2022 we had the highest voter turnout in the county. We have been trailblazers in creating modern and secure elections through our vote-by-mail system, which we’ve operated for more than 20 years without a single instance of widespread voter fraud. We are taking every precaution to ensure the 2024 elections will be no different.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2024-03-13 14:26:20Last Update: 2024-03-13 14:33:47



Oregon Hosts Western Governors Association Decarbonization Workshop
Workshop explores both natural and technological strategies for carbon reduction, utilization, and storage

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek delivered opening remarks at the fourth and final workshop of the Western Governors’ Association’s (WGA) Decarbonizing the West Initiative, hosted by the State of Oregon.

In Governor Kotek’s opening remarks, she states, “Oregon has long been a national leader in establishing strong climate policies. Under my leadership as Speaker, we passed very bold climate policies to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45% below 1990 levels by 2035.”

What actually happened is in 2020, Governor Brown issued Executive Order 20-04, which added a 2035 interim goal to achieve greenhouse gas levels that are 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2035. It also updated greenhouse gas levels for 2050 to be at least 80 percent below 1990 levels. In 2023, as part of the Climate Action Roadmap to 2030, the Oregon Climate Action Commission recommended a package of GHG goal updates. However, there is no evidence that these goals were “passed into law” by the legislature with public hearings. The proposed updates included: The Governor continues her remarks saying, “These policies are an important step forward, but only if they are implemented well, and equitably across the state to benefit our communities, and especially our underserved rural and frontier communities.” Was her use of “rural” separate from “frontier” communities a deliberate implication of wealth disparities for the underserved?

Governor Kotek says transformative, transitional work is already underway. The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association’s PNWHG Hub was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of the nation’s cleanest energy hubs in the nation. Spanning across Oregon, Washington and Montana, it will leverage clean power and innovative technology to accelerate the production of clean hydrogen energy.

Mean while the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is being pushed by nonprofits to remove dams. US Geological Survey considers hydro dams as renewable energy, but all forms of energy needs equipment that isn’t classified as “green.” Dams, however, have the highest electric generation capacity of all U.S. power plants. Four dams are scheduled for removal on the Oregon/California boarder to benefit the Coho Salmon. Seven dams in the Willamette Valley are on the list to close its hydro power but not removed because they are flood control structures. Governor Kotek has in mind to replace it with 1500 acres of solar energy. How is she spending Oregon’s share of $7 billion in federal funding on “green” hydrogen?

To listen to the Governor’s remarks, click here.

Decarbonizing the West is the 2024 WGA Chair initiative of Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon. The initiative examines how decarbonization strategies and technologies, including carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies, direct air capture (DAC), and natural sequestration, can position western states at the forefront of innovation and reduce the effects of carbon emissions on the environment. Carbon capture and storage involves capturing carbon dioxide at emission sources, such as power stations, then transporting and storing it underground.

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The webinar included exploration of regulatory framework to managing risks in accessing large-scale, permanent carbon storage that is necessary to support the growth of the carbon capture industry. Geologic carbon storage for long-term storage of carbon has liability challenges that may be prohibitive to project development. The development and operation of geologic storage facilities carries technical risks, such as potential leakage and induced seismicity, which in turn may present regulatory, legal, economic, and social challenges.

Of the two methods of carbon sequestration, geologic and biologic, the WGA is focused more on geologic even though biologic carbon sequestration can be accelerated through natural methods of land use and agricultural practices. Geological sequestration refers to capturing CO2 from factories, then compressed and transported for storage underground in depleted oil and gas reservoirs, saline formations, or deep, coal beds unsuitable for mining. Storage has risks and leakage is deadly. Each method has some drawback and storage costs along with cost of energy to sequestrator carbon should turn the research towards natural processes.

Geological sequestration from factories are mostly in metropolitan and suburbs that are highly populated. Governor Kotek’s reference to “rural and frontier communities” is not for their equitable benefit. What gets sequestrated from cities will most likely get transported to “rural and frontier communities” where there is land for storage plants. To say that storage plants are a benefit comes with all the risks. It can be fatal if the injected gas leaks out due to structural faults in the geological formation. This is because carbon dioxide is denser than air and settles near the ground. Once the leak is stopped it could still take a day to dissipate.

An initiative report will be released at the conclusion of the initiative in summer 2024.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2024-03-13 11:14:59Last Update: 2024-03-13 02:06:18



Oregon Democrats Vote Unanimously for Offshore Wind Energy
Notice of Intent for Coos/Curry Offshore Project Open for Feedback

A
s Oregon’s sine die conversations celebrate taking baby steps towards recriminalizing illicit drugs, taxing still-housed Oregonians more to improve shelters for Oregon’s homeless, as well as passing a measure to ‘end unlimited campaign contributions' for the relatively small donors (opening wide the door for large PAC donations to eclipse voters’ financial support), a partisan battle blew right by mainstream media’s watchful eye: Offshore Wind Energy.

HB 4080 was introduced by Representatives David Gomberg and Dacia Grayber.

After four failed attempts by House Republicans to refer HB 4080, including its -1 Amendment back to a committee -- any committee- removing it from the floor, the measure was passed by all House Democrats on March 5th assisted by two Republican Reps, Greg Smith (R-Heppner) and Mark Owens (R-Crane), both from Eastern Oregon who also voted YES, leaving a minority vote of only 21 Republican Reps to oppose the controversial “green energy” bill.

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Despite offshore wind power’s misinformation and challenges to produce a positive ROI, rendering it as what some say more of a money pit than an intelligent investment, was summarily ignored by all Senate Democrats, as they passed the measure 17 vs. 11 two days later.

With HB 4080 now on Gov. Kotek’s desk, Oregonians can still comment on the Federal Register’s Ocean Energy Management Bureau (BOEM) notice page:

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for Commercial Wind Leasing and Site Assessment Activities on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Oregon

All comments must be received by BOEM no later than 8:59 pm PDT on Friday, March 15, 2024.

CONTACT: Lisa Gilbane, BOEM Pacific Region Office of Environment, 760 Paseo Camarillo, Suite 102, Camarillo, California 93010, (805) 384–6387 or lisa.gilbane@boem.gov.


--Kyle Sharpe

Post Date: 2024-03-11 19:59:22Last Update: 2024-03-18 22:43:13



DeSpain Criticizes Hoyle Vote on Illegal Immigrants
“Val Hoyle can’t bring herself to support preventing the certain next tragedy.”

regon Fourth Congressional District Candidate Monique DeSpain criticized Congresswoman Val Hoyle’s (D-Eugene) disturbing no vote recently on H.R. 7511, the Laken Riley Act, a bipartisan bill supported by 37 Democrats that would have required Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to arrest illegal migrants who commit crimes in the United States.

“Val Hoyle’s vote against the Laken Riley Act is another example of how out of touch career politicians are with our communities and our core American values. While voters across Oregon’s 4th Congressional District are reeling from concerns about rising crime and law enforcement that is continuing to be handcuffed by failed Democrat policies, Val Hoyle, once again, chooses to prioritize criminals over innocent victims like Laken Riley and so many others like her,” said Monique DeSpain.

“Laken was a young college coed who went for a jog in her community only to be murdered by an illegal immigrant who had multiple encounters with ICE, and domestic law enforcement, in Laken’s community, with no consequences," DeSpain continued. "Laken’s murderer should have never been in the country to commit this heinous act, and he certainly should not have remained for one minute longer after he committed a previous crime in the U.S. Instead, Laken’s parents are devastated, a community mourns and is gripped in fear, and Val Hoyle can’t bring herself to support preventing the certain next tragedy.”

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“This is another example of how the dysfunction of Washington DC is perpetuated by career politicians like Val Hoyle. Let’s remember that this is the same Val Hoyle who thinks it’s a good idea to house illegal migrants in our national parks and public lands and who refuses to condemn the national security emergency created by President Biden at our southern border,” said DeSpain. “Unfortunately, Val Hoyle’s refusal to do the right thing and pass the right laws to ensure the safety of everyday citizens in our communities exposes her true priority -- serving her radical special interest masters in Washington D.C. instead.”

“It is time for new leadership that puts the welfare and safety of our citizens first. This is why I am asking voters to deploy me to Congress. The difference between Val Hoyle and I is crystal clear; I will put crime victims first and always have the backs of first responders and law enforcement so they can do the job they need to do to keep us safe. Having served our country for 30 years in the Air Force, nothing is more important to me than the safety of our nation, communities, and families,” DeSpain added.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2024-03-11 13:47:00Last Update: 2024-03-11 14:45:00



Housing Model Ordinance Bill Passes
“The housing shortage was created over time by policies that have handcuffed cities, overregulated builders, and stifled development”

The Oregon Senate has passed SB 1564, a bill allowing cities who do not have the bandwidth to create and administer their own model ordinance codes to adopt a code created by DLCD that is aligned with that city’s population. It was carried by Senator Dick Anderson (R-Lincoln City), who introduced the measure.

“We need to build more homes of all types -- and quickly -- to alleviate the severe housing shortage that exists in nearly every corner of Oregon. The Legislature can help these efforts by embracing bold solutions rather than the failed policies that have handcuffed cities, overregulated builders, and stifled development for decades,” said Senator Anderson, vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Housing and Development. “My hope is SB 1564 will give rural communities a necessary tool in their toolbox to free them from their housing gridlock and build more homes for Oregonians.”

SB 1564 directs the Department of Land Conservation and Development to create 3 model ordinances that provide clear and objective standards for the development of various housing types. The model ordinances are to be targeted towards cities with different population sizes, ranging from populations of less than 2,500, to populations of more than 25,000. DLCD is to develop these model ordinances by January 1, 2026.

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The measure appropriates $550,000 General Fund to DLCD for adoption of the model ordinances. Projected costs under this measure include contracting for work on model codes, community engagement, and legal expenses.

One citizen, David Brown of Salem offered testimony to the Senate Committee On Housing and Development. "The severe housing shortage that exists in Oregon today was created over time by status-quo policies that have handcuffed cities, overregulated builders, and stifled development. The reforms in this bill will free up land to invest in housing of all types in all communities, not just Portland, and not just for low-income."

The bill now heads to Governor Kotek for her signature.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2024-03-07 13:39:17Last Update: 2024-03-07 15:20:35



Legislative Republicans Criticize Habitat Plan
“The plan is heavy on conservation and light on economic viability”

The Senate and House Republican Caucuses have sent a letter to Governor Tina Kotek urging for the immediate reconsideration of ODF’s proposed Habitat Conservation Plan. According to a press release from the House and Senate Caucuses, this controversial 70-year logging scale back has already had negative consequences on businesses and concern has only been heightened after the closure of multiple sawmills in the last two months. As written, the HCP desperately lacks a balance between sound forest management policy and conservation goals of the State. The letter reads as follows:

The letter is critical of the current state of the HCP. "While ODF has previously signaled its intent to balance conservation goals while maintaining current harvest levels, the newest projections released on December 13, 2023, visibly show a dramatic increase in conservation acres and a major decrease in timber harvest levels below what was promised. ODF advertised this HCP as a conservation plan with harvest certainty of about 250 mmbf (board feet) annually. The new projections show that timber harvest will be down between 168-185 mmbf annually. Obviously, this 70-year plan is heavy on conservation and light on economic viability which is not in alignment with Greatest Permanent Value."

The letter tied timber production to several issues which have been looming as themes during recent legislative sessions.

The caucuses were quick to point out how timber production is related to housing -- one of Governor Kotek's pet issues. "On average, about 240-250 million board feet of timber have been harvested from Oregon’s western state forests over the last 5-10 years. 64% of the revenue from state harvests goes back to the counties and smaller “taxing districts” within them – an average of nearly $68 million each year during the last decade. For reference, 250 million board feet of timber is equivalent to 32,500 average-size homes -- almost the number of homes Governor Kotek wants produced annually. 250mmbf also creates or retains 2,750 jobs per the Oregon Forests Resources Institute."

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"Not only will counties lose critical funding but mill closures and mass job losses will continue to cause a ripple effect through Oregon’s rural communities contributing to more homelessness, drug addiction, and the need for public services. Communities surrounded by forests -- especially unmanaged forests – need fire departments to protect them from forest fires. Fire Departments relying on timber harvest revenue to operate will suffer or be forced to close. This leaves our vulnerable communities defenseless."

The letter continued, "Additionally, we are very concerned with our water and air quality, especially during fire season. This HCP will leave much of our state forests without management; 70 years of fuel accumulation increases the risk of fire and fire severity. Forest fire smoke already fills our air every year and the debris, ash, and mud destroy waterways. The cleanest groundwater comes from our forests before, during, and after forest operations. Children are choking on smoke during sporting events while the elderly hide inside their homes to survive our fire seasons. The unintended consequences of this HCP will increase the potential for more catastrophic forest fires, smoke, and poor water quality."

Oregon’s Department of Forestry has added approximately 100,000 acres of conservation above what is required for the HCP. (Northern Spotted Owl habitat is shown in ODF’s graph but does not include the Marbled Murrelet, Red Tree Vole, or Coho Salmon habitat that are also being set aside)

The letter concluded, "We understand your priorities as Governor include homelessness, affordable housing, drug addiction, and forest fires. The HCP will exacerbate these issues. Alternatively, opening our forests to proper and sustainable management would help mitigate these issues and provide the necessary renewable wood products and building materials to address our housing crisis."

"ODF will be in the same situation as the Trust Land Counties regarding the loss of timber harvest revenue. Taxpayers will be asked to foot the bill while mills close, logging companies auction off their equipment, our constituents lose their jobs, county services are strained, schools close, 4-H programs are canceled, libraries are closed, and emergency services are compromised."

The Oregon Board of Forestry will make a final decision on whether to adopt the HCP at a meeting this Thursday.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2024-03-07 12:46:28Last Update: 2024-03-07 13:39:17



Housing Bills Pass Both Chambers
“Oregonians are struggling under the pressure of an increasingly unaffordable housing market”

Housing supply was bound to be a major issue of the current legislative session and it has found its final form in two Senate Bills. John Tapogna of the Oregon Business Council summed up the problem, "the high cost of housing is contributing to workforce shortages in underbuilt communities across the state and is a key driver of the state’s slowing population growth."

SB 1537 requires the Department of Land Conservation and Development and the Department of Consumer and Business Services to jointly establish and administer the Housing Accountability and Production Office. SB 1530 appropriates money to various agencies for various programs.

Governor Kotek has been driving housing policy for over a decade, previously as House Speaker. In response to the passage of SB 1537 and SB 1530, Governor Tina Kotek issued the following statement:

“Oregonians are struggling under the pressure of an increasingly unaffordable housing market. After hearing this concern directly from Oregonians from across our state last year, I knew we had to make major progress on our housing crisis during this year’s legislative session. I want to thank legislators for meeting the urgency of this moment and providing much-needed funding that will boost housing production throughout the state.

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Brad Bennington of the Builders Association Southern Oregon identified some of the causes. "It's been a long time coming but Oregon's housing crises is here and it's real, said Bennington. "Not in my back yard and overzealous no growth policies have crippled our housing industry to bring us to the point where we are 500,000 homes short of meeting current demand. We need reform and we need it now." Governor Kotek continued, “These bills offer a menu of tools that will provide the support needed to ease our housing crisis and help all our communities thrive. I believe this package will make meaningful progress in fixing our housing shortage while also preserving our land use system and ensuring strong environmental protections. But this is not the finish line. We have more work ahead to solve our housing and homelessness crises – and I will keep pushing for more because the need is so great. Oregonians are counting on us to deliver.”

"The House of Representatives passed SB 1537 by a 48-8 vote and passed SB 1537 by a 51-6 vote. Both bills passed the Senate last week. Additional projects from the Emergency Housing Stabilization and Production Package are funded through HB 4134, which the House will vote on Tuesday. That bill would then need to be approved by the Senate."

In total, the Emergency Housing Stabilization and Production Package provides a $376 million state investment in addressing the housing crisis.

"SB 1537 isn't perfect but it's a start that needs to be made if Oregon's chronic housing shortage is ever going to be addressed," said Bennington. In testimony to the Senate Committee On Housing and Development he said, "Oregonians deserve the opportunity to be able to purchase a home that is safe, sustainable and affordable but they need your help to make that possible."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2024-03-06 21:49:15Last Update: 2024-03-06 22:30:19



Tigard-Tualatin School District Superintendent resigns
Resignation gives way for needed changes

Tigard-Tualatin School District (TTSD) was once regarded as one of the best districts in the state. Now test scores are not improving from the disaster created by the Covid pandemic, violence is rampant and making national headlines, and the board is being forced to engage the community on a proposed Student Acts of Aggression or Violence Policy.

Meanwhile, Tigard-Tualatin School District Superintendent Dr. Sue Rieke-Smith published a letter on the district’s website on February 23, advising that she will retire at the end of the 2023-2024 school year. The letter expressed her honor of having served TTSD, but also hinted at facing fierce opposition, particularly over the last year.

Rieke-Smith joined the district in July 2018 and most teachers this author spoke with expressed they noticed an immediate decline in support, a decline in communication and disastrous policies from the Superintendent compared to her predecessor.

A council of The Tigard-Tualatin Teachers union issued a unanimous vote of no confidence in the superintendent in June 2023. The council has about 40 members and includes teachers from every school in the district.

The TTSD board, who hired her, seems to fail to grasp the reality of the situation. Board Chair Tristan Irvin said “It’s difficult for me to understand the motives behind such a personal attack by our association leaders on a superintendent that is held in high esteem.”

“High esteem” is not what the district’s teachers were saying. Excerpts from the 2023 teachers’ survey question about district leadership include: Both academics and the safety of schools for students and teachers declined through Rieke-Smith’s tenure. Many students were reported for not eating or drinking during the day out of fear of having to use the restroom because “bad things happen in there.” Meanwhile, students with attendance and behavior issues are treated to Grub Hub lunches and other treats, apparently out of a belief that their “dysregulation is due to being hungry.” It promotes the idea that if they act out, they will be rewarded with food.

A video of a vicious assault by one student at Hazelbrook Middle School made national headlines followed by a bomb threat. It was learned that the perpetrator had a history of assaulting other students and no effective action had been taken. Rather than taking action against the perpetrator, Dr Rieke-Smith blamed the student who had filmed the assault for contributing. Rieke-Smith never phoned the parents of the victim, and only after the massive media focus, were law enforcement called and the perpetrator is now a member of the juvenile justice community.

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Things became so bad at Durham Elementary that the Durham Teachers published this letter to Rieke-Smith on November 7, 2023:

“Durham Elementary School can no longer provide a safe teaching and learning space under the current conditions. We are not talking about normal misbehavior as one might imagine, but rather about physical assaults and destructive behaviors that would not be allowed in any other public school district in our area. Zero-consequence policies and a belief in full inclusion cannot come with a disregard for all the other students and stakeholders in the building. It is not safe and the staff can no longer do their jobs under these conditions.”

Several Durham teachers testified to the same effect at the December 11, 2023 board meeting, at which time they left without listening to the rest of the meeting. Two students also testified about the chaos and violence in Tigard Tualatin schools.

Board member David Jaimes said “We should have students in our classrooms that may be a little bit harder to handle than others.” Board member Jill Zurschmeide repeated what she had said after the teachers’ vote of no confidence earlier in the year: “I hired Dr. Rieke-Smith to do the work she is doing now, she’s doing it very well, and I have full faith in my superintendent.”

KGW reported in response to Rieke-Smith’s resignation that the Tigard-Tualatin School District has been trouble with threats of school shootings and violence over the past year that led parents and teachers to call for her resignation. Now they have an opportunity to pressure the board to select a person that can make the needed changes.


--Bill Dewey

Post Date: 2024-03-06 17:50:13Last Update: 2024-03-09 18:51:41



Republicans Urge for Immediate Reconsideration of HCP
“The Board of Forestry should reject the recommendation from the State”

The full Senate and House Republican Caucuses in Oregon have now sent a letter to Governor Tina Kotek urging for the immediate reconsideration of ODF’s proposed Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). This controversial 70-year logging scale back has already had negative consequences on businesses and concern has only been heightened after the closure of multiple sawmills in the last two months. As written, the HCP desperately lacks a balance between sound forest management policy and conservation goals of the State. The letter reads as follows:

Dear Governor Kotek,

The Oregon House and Senate Republican Caucuses urge for the immediate reconsideration of the Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) proposed Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). This 70-year forest policy does not support a balance between economic, environmental, and social benefits to all Oregonians.

While we generally support the intent of an HCP and reasonable conservation measures, we want to ensure our forests continue to be valuable economic and societal resources for our communities. In short, we are opposed to burdensome HCP measures that will knowingly have negative impacts on our communities for the next several decades.

While ODF has previously signaled its intent to balance conservation goals while maintaining current harvest levels, the newest projections released on December 13, 2023[1], visibly show a dramatic increase in conservation acres and a major decrease in timber harvest levels below what was promised. ODF advertised this HCP as a conservation plan with harvest certainty of about 250 mmbf (board feet) annually[2]. The new projections show that timber harvest will be down between 168-185 mmbf annually. Obviously, this 70-year plan is heavy on conservation and light on economic viability which is not in alignment with Greatest Permanent Value.

On average, about 240-250 million board feet of timber have been harvested from Oregon’s western state forests over the last 5-10 years[3]. 64% of the revenue from state harvests goes back to the counties and smaller “taxing districts” within them – an average of nearly $68 million each year during the last decade. For reference, 250 million board feet of timber is equivalent to 32,500 average-size homes – almost the number of homes Governor Kotek wants produced annually. 250mmbf also creates or retains 2,750 jobs per the Oregon Forests Resources Institute[4].

This HCP coupled with ODF’s Forest Management Plan will reduce that revenue by $28-53 million annually, depending on which harvest scenario they implement[5].

Not only will counties lose critical funding but mill closures and mass job losses will continue to cause a ripple effect through Oregon’s rural communities contributing to more homelessness, drug addiction, and the need for public services. Communities surrounded by forests – especially unmanaged forests – need fire departments to protect them from forest fires. Fire Departments relying on timber harvest revenue to operate will suffer or be forced to close. This leaves our vulnerable communities defenseless.

Additionally, we are very concerned with our water and air quality, especially during fire season. This HCP will leave much of our state forests without management; 70 years of fuel accumulation increases the risk of fire and fire severity. Forest fire smoke already fills our air every year and the debris, ash, and mud destroy waterways. The cleanest groundwater comes from our forests before, during, and after forest operations. Children are choking on smoke during sporting events while the elderly hide inside their homes to survive our fire seasons. The unintended consequences of this HCP will increase the potential for more catastrophic forest fires, smoke, and poor water quality.

Oregon’s Department of Forestry has added approximately 100,000 acres of conservation above what is required for the HCP. (Northern Spotted Owl habitat is shown in ODF’s graph but does not include the Marbled Murrelet, Red Tree Vole, or Coho Salmon habitat that are also being set aside)

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Scientists at local and international levels, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), recognize the climate benefits of managed forests, timber harvest, and wood products. Managed forests with sustained harvests provide the largest sustained climate mitigation benefit. According to IPCC’s 4th Assessment (2018)6:

“In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fiber or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.”

ODF’s report from December 13, 2023, even shows that more carbon is stored in the forest and in wood products in the scenarios that harvest the most volume.

We understand your priorities as Governor include homelessness, affordable housing, drug addiction, and forest fires. The HCP will exacerbate these issues. Alternatively, opening our forests to proper and sustainable management would help mitigate these issues and provide the necessary renewable wood products and building materials to address our housing crisis.

ODF will be in the same situation as the Trust Land Counties regarding the loss of timber harvest revenue. Taxpayers will be asked to foot the bill while mills close, logging companies auction off their equipment, our constituents lose their jobs, county services are strained, schools close, 4-H programs are canceled, libraries are closed, and emergency services are compromised.

For these reasons, we oppose the Western Habitat Conservation Plan. The Board of Forestry should reject the recommendation from the State Forester and instead, direct ODF to significantly amend the HCP to improve harvest and economic outcomes by any means necessary.

The Oregon Board of Forestry will make a final decision on whether to adopt the HCP at a meeting on Thursday, March 7th.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2024-03-05 18:35:21Last Update: 2024-03-05 18:57:23



Oregon Expands Career Readiness Grants to 74 Schools
CTE course students graduate at a 95% rate.

Oregon Department of Education Director Dr. Charlene Williams and Labor Commissioner Christina Stephenson announced 74 Oregon high schools, serving more than 36,000 students, have secured career readiness grants totaling $7.629 million.

The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Revitalization Grant funds from the State of Oregon will serve diverse communities around the state, with programs focused on advanced manufacturing, agricultural science, business, computer science, construction, cosmetology, engineering, firefighting, health sciences, hospitality, media and natural resources.

In total, the 31 grants help to create or expand CTE programs focused on high-wage, high-skill and in-demand fields such as Health Care, Manufacturing and Construction. These programs provide valuable access to experience, expertise and additional forms of support to the communities they serve and give students relevant education and preparation for career and postsecondary learning experiences.

“As the class of 2023 graduation rates indicate, CTE moves the needle on student success,” said Oregon Department of Education Director Dr. Charlene Williams. “CTE keeps students excited about both their school day and their future. These classes build a life changing bridge between the school experience and high-quality, well-paid careers in fields ranging from accounting and astrophysics to welding and zoology.”

Students who pass CTE courses graduate at higher rates when compared to the general student population. According to the most recent data for the Class of 2023, CTE concentrators (across all student populations) graduated at a 95.0% rate, 13.7 percentage points higher than the state as a whole.

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In 2011, the Oregon Legislature established a competitive grant program entitled the CTE Revitalization Grant which strengthens the alignment of Career and Technical Education, workforce development and economic development. In July 2015, Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill (HB) 3072 and HB 5016, authorizing $9.0 million for the Oregon Department of Education to continue the CTE Revitalization Grant program. During the 2023 legislative session, $7.629 million was allocated for CTE Revitalization.

The CTE Revitalization Grant Advisory Committee reviewed 66 applications totaling $16 million in requests. The committee prioritized applications based on geographic diversity, community partnerships and programs that lead to high-wage, in-demand occupations, especially for historically and currently marginalized students. Additional information on grant criteria and list of receptitants selected for this round of funding can be found on the CTE Revitalization Grant web page.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2024-03-05 09:49:02Last Update: 2024-03-05 01:08:03



Oregon is on the Path to a Single-Payer Healthcare Monopoly
No business is safe in Oregon

Editor's note: State Senator Daniel Bonham (R-Clackamas/Multnomah/Hood River) represents Oregon Senate District 26.

This week, the Oregon House passed HB 4130, a bill the majority party wants you to think will simply “remove corporations out of the healthcare system.” What they won’t tell you is the bill will ultimately limit access to healthcare by decreasing the amount of healthcare options in the state.

Specifically, HB 4130 requires all officers of a professional corporation, except the secretary and treasurer, to be licensees of the Oregon Medical Board or Oregon State Board of Nursing. In theory this doesn’t sound that bad. In practice this has severe unintended consequences as Oregon's business climate has gradually made it harder for doctors to run their own practices.

Please do not get me wrong, we unequivocally need a model that supports health over profits. We don't need Black Rock deciding whether you get a hip or heart transplant. But this bill is not that. The singularly it creates will remove small physicians' options to stay in business, wiping out patient choice and paving the way for big business.

Ironic, right? This is pacman politics, similar to other sectors. Where the big medical corporations gobble up smaller businesses and pave the way for a single-payer healthcare monopoly.

Simply put, I am not willing to gamble on the government being in charge of mine or my residents' healthcare options.

Independent healthcare providers are often in need of private investment or a model that utilizes a Management Service Organization (MSO). MSO’s allow doctors to do what they do best, provide health services to their patients, while taking care of administrative tasks, infrastructure investments and financial risks. These MSOs can be a life saver for some smaller practices. This bill is seeking to end the MSO option, which will be the end of many local community healthcare options.

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According to experts, Oregon ranks 34 out of 50 among U.S. states for access to primary care. Our rural communities are in dire need of innovative and accessible healthcare options such as independent healthcare providers and telehealth.

Oregon’s obsession with intervening in our healthcare system and reducing healthcare options for residents is not making our lives better. Ask yourself, would you rather go to a DMV or an Apple store? Would you rather take an Uber or a taxi? Government forced monopolies or overregulated programs do not help improve customer service. Ever. To learn more about this problem, Best Med wrote a very informative opposition letter here.


--Senator Daniel Bonham

Post Date: 2024-03-04 10:35:21Last Update: 2024-03-04 14:43:31



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