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Woman Sexually Assaulted While Sleeping in Portland
Felon has been arrested and released multiple times

On October 29, 2020, at approximately 2:05 p.m., Central Precinct officers responded to the 2000 block of West Burnside Street on reports of a male suspect who was sexually assaulting an unconscious female victim in public. After arriving on scene and speaking with several witnesses in the vicinity, officers located the suspect and placed him into custody.

The Portland Police Bureau Sex Crime Unit was notified and 39-year-old Jedediah Thomas Zach was booked into the Multnomah County Detention center on Sex Abuse I and Sex Abuse II charges.

It seems Jedediah Thomas Zach has quite a record, including felony robbery. Just last month he was arrested and released twice in one day, with zero bail in Multnomah County.

The Portland Police Bureau Sex Crimes Unit consists of sworn personal and victim advocates who apply a victim-centered approach to reporting and investigating sexual assaults.

Multnomah County Victims' Assistance Program: Provides support during the reporting of sexual assaults and referrals to victim services and resources: 503-988-3222.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-30 06:23:16Last Update: 2020-10-30 08:53:32

Renewable Energy Association Appoints New Director
Former County Judge Mike McArthur accepts position

The Community Renewable Energy Association (CREA) announced the appointment of Mike McArthur as executive director. McArthur will take over for Brian Skeahan, who announced his retirement.

“We were pleased when Mike expressed interest in the position,” Les Perkins, Chair of the CREA Executive Committee and Hood River County Commissioner said when the announcement was made. “We had an excellent applicant pool,” Perkins said, “but ultimately the executive committee unanimously agreed that Mike was the right person with the right skill set for the CREA executive director position.”

McArthur was Sherman County Judge at the beginning of the wind boom in the gorge. He was involved in CREA’s formation and formative years. In 2004, McArthur became executive director of the Association of Oregon Counties, where he helped champion renewable energy development. McArthur chaired the Governor’s Renewable Energy Work Group from 2005 to 2007.

McArthur said, “I am committed to CREA’s original vision of the positive benefits renewable energy provides all Oregonians. CREA is unique as a place where local governments can come together with project developers to understand each other’s needs, and by doing so, ensure Oregon will continue to be a place where these developers will want to do business, thereby creating jobs and tax base for Oregon.”

Skeahan came to CREA in 2013 after a 30+ year career in public power. During that time, he was involved in renewable energy development including hydro, landfill gas, and wind project development. “I would like to thank this and prior CREA Executive Committee members for the opportunity to work with them. It was an interesting way to wind up my career, providing me a new and different perspective on this interesting and important industry,” Skeahan stated.

McArthur will join CREA officially on November 1, 2020. Skeahan will stay on board through CREA’s annual meeting November 17, 2020 and then until the end of November.

CREA currently operates as an intergovernmental entity pursuant to Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 190. CREA was formed to promote, foster, and advance the economic application and public understanding of community based renewable energy. Members include 13 Oregon counties, a city (Prineville), irrigation districts, and renewable energy developers.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-29 18:59:00Last Update: 2020-10-29 21:21:24

Oregons Economy Spirals Downward
Despite gains nationally

Amid Governor Brown’s keeping businesses under her thumb until January, the national front is booming with a Gross Domestic Product growth at an annualized rate of 33.1% in the third quarter of 2020. The GDP is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced that is used to indicate the purchasing power per capita. This jump in GDP is nearly double the previous record set 70 years ago.

How does Oregon stack up? Oregon Office of Economic Analysis reports Oregon’s housing inventory is down 40 percent compared to 20 percent nationally, which would normally indicate sales are strong. But in a pandemic, it’s an indication of non-willing sellers. This is not stopping the strong sales of resort homes in the Bend area above $750,000. It has the effect of skewing the economy because it does not mean all that much for the middle-income families. Instead, it has the effect of forcing up prices even on median homes. Statewide construction decreased a -4.6 percent in September making it a negative growth six months in a row. That rolls down to a -11.6 percent decline in the logging industry and a -9.0 percent in manufacturing.

Out of the twelve categories tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, none of them have had an increased rate from the prior month for six straight months, meaning Oregon has been on a down hill spiral for six months. The hardest hit is the leisure and hospitality industry with double digit decline every month with -25.0 decline in September. What this does to other industries and small businesses can’t be calculated.

Governor Brown just extended her Executive Order to continue this downward momentum. Even though the unemployment rate has gone down to 8.0 percent in September, it can’t be interrupted as an indication of economic gain as long as every category of measurement continues to show losses. It just prolongs a complete collapse. How many of Oregon’s small businesses can survive to January?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-29 18:26:27

Oregonians Respond to Ed. Dept. On BLM Resolution
Students and families express concern

Editor's note: This article first appeared as a blog on the website LibertyInEducation.org

On October 15, the Oregon Department of Education issued a Black Lives Matter Resolution. The resolution contains laudable statements supporting the equal treatment of Black students, fair treatment of all students, and removing roadblocks hindering student success. We support those messages of respect, understanding, and belonging.

The statements that bring concern for many students and families contain the words “equity”, “anti-racism”, and “systemic”, which sound reasonable on the surface, but are, perhaps, destructive or counter-productive. What exactly do these terms mean and how are they taught in the classroom? The phrase “Black Lives Matter” can precisely mean what it declares, Black students matter. But, could it mean something more? Does it bring unintended division into the schools when it is meant to unite?


This is not a new word for the Oregon Department of Education and most parents in Oregon are familiar with the phrase “equity lens”. the Oregon Department of Education has used this approach with distance learning, so it is not surprising that the Oregon Department of Education states their focus on equity in this resolution. In their Equity Initiatives, the Oregon Department of Education wants equal outcomes. Thomas Sowell, a Black author and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute has researched extensively on the causes of discrimination and disparities among Black youth. More than a decade ago he caught on to the “hoax”:

The biggest hoax of the past two generations is still going strong — namely, the hoax that statistical differences in outcomes for different groups are due to the way other people treat those groups. The latest example of this hoax is the joint crusade of the Department of Education and the Department of Justice against schools that discipline black males more often than other students. According to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, this disparity in punishment violates the "promise" of "equity." Just who made this promise remains unclear, and why equity should mean equal outcomes despite differences in behavior is even more unclear. This crusade by Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is only the latest in a long line of fraudulent arguments based on statistics. If black males get punished more often than Asian American females, does that mean that it is somebody else's fault? That it is impossible that black males are behaving differently from Asian American females? Nobody in his right mind believes that. But that is the unspoken premise, without which the punishment statistics prove nothing about ‘equity.’

We wonder if the Oregon Department of Education’s “equity” policy is actually equitable? Is it beneficial to the communities we are trying to build? Or have these policies actually widened the gap? As Sowell suggests, perhaps there are other statistical differences that cause the achievement gap? There are differences in family dynamics, gender, income, personality, birth order, etc. In Sowell’s most recent book “Discrimination and Disparities” (2018) he continues to speak out against the focus of equal outcome. He states “children raised by two parents tend to have higher levels of intelligence but also that first-born and single children have even higher intelligence levels than those of younger siblings, indicating that the time and attention given by parents to their children greatly impacts the child’s future more than factors like race, environment or genetics.” Overall we feel that focusing on outcome over opportunity is more harmful than helpful.

“Anti-racism” & “Systemic Racism”

We have been hearing from parents across Oregon that their children are being told in class they are racist from birth. Sixth grade teachers are discussing the Breonna Taylor case and stating that the “killers will be held accountable”, and to “be prepared for large protests around the country if they are not”. Parents are listening to their children’s teachers delegitimize the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, and undermining our law enforcement. Other students are being taught about “white privilege” and inherited racial guilt. Do these teachings support the Oregon Department of Education’s mission, as stated in the resolution, to promote “educational practices that lead directly to the educational and life success of all Oregon PK-12 students”?

These are not the lessons of Martin Luther King. Rather, all of these lessons are rooted in theories from the Black Power Movement of the 1960s—an ideology that gave rise to Critical Race Theory. By definition, these ideas are simply “theories” and their impact on child development is unproven. Many black scholars are speaking out in opposition to teaching these topics to young people, especially without allowing for open debate or opposing viewpoints. Many believe these lessons are harmful for children of all races—division, guilt and permanent victim status leading to hopelessness are just a few of their unintended consequences. Recently, Kemi Badenock, a woman of color and Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom, recently spoke out about the dangers of teaching Critical Race Theory:

In Oregon and around the world, parents, politicians, teachers, and others are beginning to question these teachings, which are divisive and dehumanizing.

“Black Lives Matter”

The Oregon Department of Education Black Lives Matter Resolution states:

WHEREAS, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel issued an advisory opinion that it is not a violation of the Hatch Act for federal employees to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the Black Lives Matter Global Network while on duty, including wearing or displaying materials related to the cause, because they address issues such as racism, which are not inherently aligned with a single political party and do not meet any criteria for a "partisan political group”.

If the statement “Black Lives Matter” is nonpartisan and teachers are supported in wearing Black Lives Matter gear, are they also supported in wearing other slogans such as “Blue Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter”? If Black Lives Matter is a statement not representing a political agenda, then other slogans should also be acceptable. However, in the Oregon Department of Education’s “Training Toolkit” released with the Resolution, a teacher discusses how she handled a student saying “All Lives Matter” in one of the virtual classrooms. The student then wrote an apology letter.

Clearly only certain slogans and statements are being supported by the Oregon Department of Education. If Black Lives Matter is not in violation there should be equal treatment of other statements as well.

Recently Governor Brown rightly asked for the removal of symbols of the noose, the Confederate flag, and the swastika. We agree with this. Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill stated on the issue:

The Oregon Department of Education is committed to ensuring that Oregon’s schools are safe and inclusive for all students and staff, and the All Students Belong rule is an important step in that process. The noose, Confederate flag and swastika are being used to bully and harm students and staff, and this is particularly true for students of color. Students must feel like they are safe and belong in their own schools if they are to learn work and grow to their fullest potential. It is our responsibility to make sure that all of our school communities feel safe and welcomed, and we support youth to set a moral standard.

Does “all students” include students that have parents in law enforcement? Does “all students” include students whose families have escaped communism? We heard from an Oregon parent that escaped communist rule in Vietnam and she shared with us her thoughts on the raised fist. She states, “It represents communism. We hate communism. I lived in a refugee camp in Thailand for 2 years before coming to the United States. We escaped and now they teach communism to my children and they are confused. The United States is land of liberty! They don’t teach it anymore.” Are these students feeling they “belong in their own schools”? The symbol that BLM has adopted is the communist fist, which to those who have escaped communism, means “genocide.” Children with these family histories must feel like they are safe and belong in their schools too.

Although the ODE’s Resolution is well-meaning, we are concerned about possible unintended consequences. Does it enhance or reduce freedom? Assemble or divide? We believe that the most inclusive line in the Resolution are the last 3 words, “All Students Belong.” If ODE really believes this, they need to rethink their Black Lives Matter Resolution.

--Oregonians for Liberty in Education

Post Date: 2020-10-29 17:20:10Last Update: 2020-10-30 08:35:01

Oregon Wildfire Cleanup Update
Cleanup completion is likely 6-18 months

As the state sets its sights on recovering from historic wildfires, the Oregon Department of Transportation will take a lead role, as part of the Oregon Debris Management Task Force, in ash and debris removal.

Oregon’s Joint Legislative Emergency Board approved $50 million last week to begin this work in the eight counties affected by wildfires – Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion counties.

The 2020 Labor Day fires were the largest and most expensive disaster in Oregon’s history. Nine Oregonians lost their lives, more than 1 million acres burned and over 5,000 homes and businesses were destroyed. The state has transitioned from immediate fire response to statewide recovery.

“The level of damage and magnitude of loss to Oregon’s communities cannot be overstated,” ODOT Director Kris Strickler said. “Our collective efforts to rebuild will be long-term, challenging, and will demand strong partnerships at all levels. We can – and will – do this together.”

Preparing to rebuild requires we first clean up the debris the fires left behind. Removing household hazardous waste, hazard trees, and other ash and structural debris will be a lengthy and expensive process.

The wildfire cleanup process is already underway. Step 1, removal of household hazardous waste, is fully funded by FEMA and the state of Oregon and is already underway in several counties. Step 2 is removal of ash and debris.

As the lead contracting agency for Step 2, ODOT will oversee the cleanup efforts, awarding contracts for ash and debris removal. ODOT has already begun removal of hazard trees across the state, a process that could take nine months to complete. The estimated timeline for ash and debris cleanup completion is 6-18 months and includes considerations such as weather impacts, property access limitations and geographic scope.

ODOT will work in close partnership with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Emergency Management, local governments, property owners, and private sector partners.

Initial estimates put the debris cleanup tally at over $600 million, including $326 million for ash and debris removal and $295 million to remove damaged trees. The estimate is preliminary and is likely to change. As debris cleanup efforts begin, the true costs of the damage will become clearer.

Property owners need to sign an access agreement, called a Right of Entry form, as soon as possible to allow crews to clean up their property for both steps 1 and 2. The sooner you sign this form, the sooner cleanup can get started in your area.

If you choose to clean up hazardous waste, ash and debris outside of this process, it will be at your own cost. Removal of household hazardous waste and debris can be an expensive process, costing as much as $75,000. Even with insurance, the cost will reduce the amount of money you can use to rebuild your home.

More information is available online, or you can email ODOT via a dedicated email for all wildfire debris related inquiries.

Oregon’s Debris Management Task Force, which includes ODOT, OEM, and DEQ, is coordinating federal, state, and local government agencies to clean up debris from the 2020 Oregon wildfires.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-29 11:30:38Last Update: 2020-10-29 19:47:52

Concerns of Government Overreach in Oregon
Republican Senator Dennis Lithicum issues statement

Senator Dennis Linthicum continues to advocate for Oregonians, businesses and other employers that are unfairly targeted by Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OR-OSHA).

Senator Linthicum issued the following statement:

“A preposterous parade of medical elites, bureaucrats and their media cohorts are needlessly frightening the people of Oregon during the COVID-19 political pandemic. Instead of leaders that portray optimism and innovation in the face of uncertainty, the Democrats and their bureaucratic cronies want to force all Oregonians into their twisted view of absolute subservience under the guise of safety.

“We see this with OR-OSHA making daily, indiscriminate attacks on employers and private enterprise. OR-OSHA’s new rule proposals are a callous assault on the American cultural, social, spiritual, and economic prosperity that rightfully belongs to every Oregonian.

“We are witnesses to the arbitrary overreach of Governor Kate Brown’s unhinged reign and fear- mongering to maintain power. COVID-19 cases are going up in Oregon because we are testing more, thanks to an influx of tests from the federal government. Follow the bottom line, or follow the money, to understand the governor’s arbitrary decisions during the political pandemic: some larger university sports programs are operational because they rake in revenue for the state, while smaller school programs remain locked down, forcing some students to pursue their dreams in other states.

“This example, and countless others, coupled with Governor Brown’s continuous Executive Orders, which were recently extended to keep Oregon locked down until early January 2021, are all declarations of unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power, which carries devastation and distress to new levels here in Oregon. I am proud to be part of a lawsuit to protect the people of Oregon in an attempt to curb Governor Brown’s horrific abuse of government power.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-28 17:47:45Last Update: 2020-10-28 18:26:00

Anti-Racism in the High Schools
The anonymous letter that shook Lake Oswego to its politically correct, common core

Editor's note: This article contains offensive language.

You may have heard that a large, unpermitted, Black Lives Matter protest occurred over the weekend in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Perhaps you've seen the flyer that circulated around social media claiming "We are going to F### S### up in Lake Oswego"

But where did it start, and why Lake Oswego?

According to the Lake Oswego School District, an anonymous letter was sent to a home, displaying a window painting that stated "Silence Supports Police Violence."

The letter sent anonymously, signed "your neighbors", asks for the painting to come down, and to respect the values and views of all neighbors. A seemingly innocuous neighborhood issue, very quickly escalated into a community debacle, as the school board, district, city council, chamber of commerce, and then BLM, decided to get involved to offer their viewpoints on the situation. Beginning with Lake Oswego School District sending out an email to parents "reaffirming its commitment to creating environments of anti-racism"

Frustrated parents began to seek answers, upon receiving this email, trying to understand this choice of intervention. An email response to one parent, who wishes to remain unnamed, reads that the school felt it was important to get involved, as a student of LOSD, resides in that particular home. Mary Kay Larson goes onto add that the school (not the family unit) is "responsible for educating and supporting the whole child, not just academics."

The letter must have been extremely inappropriate to warrant such a response, be rendered "horrible" by school board members, and incite flyers calling to F### S### Up. One main point made, was the intent of the anonymous letter writer, who mentioned property values. The School Board responded that this individual placed greater value on property than Black Lives, therefore excusing whatever reactions would follow. Even excusing the flyer, calling for violence, as an acceptable means to an end, "dismantling white supremacy."

It's unclear who reached out to Portland based group "Moms United For Black Lives", or if officials within the city coordinated efforts for the protest, but Willie Poinsette of the Lake Oswego "Respond to Racism" group, told KOIN News "the march shows that people of color in Lake Oswego aren’t “sitting in a bubble,” and there are other people out there who support the movement within the city." Poinsette also expressed frustration that the Proud Boys were called to the march. According to their Oregon chapter, local area business owners requested the Proud Boys security services. Antifa was also invited for security reasons by "Moms United For Black Lives" founder Demetria Hester, according to Facebook posts pictured here.

Hester states "Yes awesome day! The wimpy chuds were (crying emoji). They was big scared and when they saw security they didn't want none." "Yes it was beautiful watching them be scared" added another protester on the thread. In the live Facebook feed, Antifa can clearly be seen armed to the teeth, open carrying shotguns, and AR semi-automatic rifles.

With Antifa security, the organizers of the event marched down Lake Oswego streets, chanting things like "burrrr it's cold in here, there must be some racists in the atmosphere" (as the group came upon cars in the Safeway parking lot with Trump flags, and the American flag), but not before getting a pep talk from Demetria Hester herself. Her speech reads as follows:

"Wake up wake up wake up, we're here to wake up you racist white people" Hester yelled into a bullhorn prior to the march.

"They think because they live in lake Oswego they're safe, we're here to wake them up. They think because they live in lake Oswego they're superior to everyone else". "Everywhere you look there's a Karen, they said it's not ok to protest. They don't have unity, we have unity. They hate themselves, they have hate in their hearts because they hate themselves."

"Start loving yourselves, start loving your family. These white people are evil, they have no hearts, they couldn't change if they wanted to. They don't know what it's like being another color, they don't know what it's like to be afraid of dying because of their skin color."

"Ya'll are evil, everything you do is evil, y'all ain't shit, y'all ain't shit. How bout y'all stop drinking, how bout y'all stop being alcoholics, lake no negroe. Your wives know you ain't shit, and they're leaving you. Wake up, white men don't know what the F### they're doing"

The march proceeded down 2nd street, by Safeway, to A avenue, ending by the water fountain on the promenade where the group began harassing restaurant goers, and demanding to hear the term "Black Lives Matter" from passersby. One woman was jeered at, and called a racist while sitting at a table, silently filming. Captured here by Twitter user "KittyLists." "Look at this, she's super racist", says Hester with the bullhorn. Another anti-racist marcher asked, "Do your kids go to L.O High? Are you teaching them to be racist like you? Or are they trying to teach you not to be a f###ing racist?"

It's abundantly clear that the protest was directly connected to, what started as, a minor neighborhood conflict over appropriate window signs. Normally a city council meeting would have taken public comment, and then determined what constitutes free speech vs divisive content, or an impediment to peace. However, in this case, members of the school district decided to take matters into their own hands, believing it's their job to "educate and support the whole child, not just academics".

After reviewing correspondence between parents and school district officials, it's also clear that the School District was well aware of the upcoming protest, along with the flyer calling for violence. It would appear the Lake Oswego School District is more concerned with racism, then it is with the safety of students. By taking on the role of families, to educate and support the whole child, LOSD has created a new set of moral and ethical dilemmas. Additionally, the failure to allow this situation to permeate through the proper channels of government, creates a new set of questions. What is the role of the School District?

Is the School District responsible for students, while they're at home, under the care of parents? Is the possibility of racism more important than actualized violence? What authority or responsibility does the school district have to maintain the peace in a community? Can government be a "made to order", individualized policy maker, or does it need to be equally applicable to all? Is it our government's role to create enforceable policies, involving thought, the human mind, or hearts?

In the continued fight for equality, and tolerance, how do personal biases, or violence help create a more tolerant or just society? Are we demonizing those who disagree with our own world views, while labeling them as racist, at the detriment of democracy?

One thing we can probably all agree on, is that true, two sided conversations are not happening in our reactionary, triggered world. Conversations that are desperately needed to understand one another, are being replaced by insults and bullying. As the divide continues, we're seeing these same dynamics playing out in city council meetings, legislative hearings, and on the Presidential debate stage. Rhetoric seems to be taking the place of solid policy discussions. In a recent Oregon legislative committee hearing, bipartisan support over simple budgetary appropriations, could not be found, but instead became a continuous, emotionally charged debate.

Our State, and our Country is at a critical crossroads. Will we be able to place personal feelings aside, and address the root issues, making sound policy decisions for all? Or will our country crumble, as two ideological extremes lock horns, like two rams fighting over the prized ewe?

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-10-28 16:41:29Last Update: 2020-10-29 08:32:08

Lane County Approves More Deputy Sheriffs
Will enhance rural patrol and service for the next five years

The Lane County Board of Commissioners unanimously (4-0) approved the addition of 4.0 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) deputy sheriff positions in order to enhance rural patrol and service for the next five years.

Two FTE will be designated to work in the McKenzie River Valley area during the ongoing response, recovery and rebuilding related to the Holiday Farm Fire. The other two FTE will be assigned to the West Lane region.

“As most of our rural residents know, funding for the Sheriff’s Office has allowed for only minimal rural patrol over the past several years,” said Sheriff Cliff Harrold. “This new investment comes at a time when the McKenzie River area is in need of support and a sense of security as residents begin the rebuilding process. It also allows us to increase the level of service we can provide to West Lane County residents who live in the most geographically difficult area to provide law enforcement services. Overall, this will help reduce response times and increase our presence in rural communities.”

Prior to this new investment, funding for the Sheriff’s Office only provided 25 FTE to patrol 4,600 square miles of the county. Those 25 FTE, spread across 24 hours per day, seven days per week, provided about three deputies on at any given time to respond to calls throughout the county, resulting in very long response times for life safety calls, and often no response to property crime calls.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to provide designated District Deputies to both the McKenzie River Valley area and to the West Lane County area so we can continue to build those valuable relationships that result in safer communities,” said Harrold. “While this funding is temporary, we are hopeful that it leads to more conversations about how to fund public safety in the long term for Lane County residents and visitors.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-28 10:52:16Last Update: 2020-10-28 11:02:00

Western States to Collaborate on Vaccine Approval
Viewed by some as a strike against President Trump

Oregon, Washington, and Nevada have joined California's COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, which will independently review the safety and efficacy of any vaccine approved by the FDA for distribution. Last week, Governor Newsom announced the panel made up of nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health. It's not clear if the State of California has the expertise, infrastructure and experience to adequately test a vaccine.

“The vaccines currently in development, once approved, are what Americans have been waiting for to protect their families, their children, and their loved ones in long-term care facilities,” said Governor Kate Brown. “The independent review conducted by this panel of doctors, scientists, and health experts will ensure that a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is available to everyone, especially communities that have been disproportionately impacted by this disease.”

Governor Brown will join the Governors of Washington and Nevada to identify public health experts that will join California’s workgroup to guide the review of any vaccine approved by the FDA. While there is no proven vaccine for COVID-19 yet, these top health experts will review any vaccine that receives federal approval and verify its safety before California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada will make the vaccine available to the public.

“We believe in science, public health and safety. That is why I am pleased that Washington is joining California and other western states in this effort,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee said. “Any COVID vaccine must be guided by the expertise of scientists and medical professionals and that’s just what this workgroup will do. The Western States Pact will continue working together to ensure the best health outcomes for everyone in our states.”

This is not the first time Western States have collaborated in response to COVID-19. In April, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Nevada joined in a Western States Pact which shared a vision for fighting COVID-19 and reopening their economies. Western State leaders in May urged congressional leaders to approve $1 trillion in COVID-19 relief for states and local governments and are partnering to pilot a project testing new exposure notification technology pioneered by Google and Apple.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-27 20:37:10

Governor Kate Brown Extends Lockdown Orders
Statewide mandates extended until January 2021

Governor Kate Brown today extended her declaration of a state of emergency regarding COVID-19 for an additional 60 days, until January 2, 2021. The declaration is the legal underpinning for the Governor’s COVID-19 executive orders and the Oregon Health Authority’s health and safety guidance. She issued the following statement:

“As early as January of this year, the Oregon Health Authority began its COVID-19 preparedness efforts as cases spread overseas. Since then, more than 600 Oregonians and over 200,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 — and last week, we set a daily record with 550 new cases.

"Extending the COVID-19 state of emergency is not something I do lightly, but we know all too well that not taking action would mean an even greater loss of life. The second wave of COVID-19 has arrived in the United States, and this time it is hitting all of our communities.

“My goal is to keep Oregon on track to open more schools for in-person instruction for our students — and to continue to reopen, and keep open, our businesses, communities, and economies. Oregon is not an island. Without safety precautions in place, we could quickly see our case counts spike as well.

“We must continue to work together and follow the simple steps that have kept us safe throughout this pandemic: washing our hands, wearing face coverings, watching our physical distance, staying home when sick, and avoiding social get-togethers, especially indoors.”

The state of emergency declaration is the legal underpinning for the executive orders the Governor has issued to keep Oregonians healthy and safe throughout this crisis, including her orders on reopening Oregon while maintaining essential health and safety protections, as well as orders around childcare, schools, and higher education operations. Extending the state of emergency declaration allows those orders to stay in effect.

The Governor reviews and reevaluates each of her emergency orders every 60 days, to determine whether those orders should be continued, modified, or rescinded. The findings of this review process are listed in the executive order.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-27 16:22:57Last Update: 2020-10-27 17:25:57

Elections Clerk Gives Out Wrong Election Date
Marion County Clerk Burgess sends out wrong notice

Even though the state has been a vote-by-mail state since 1995, the problems with it persist in Oregon. Marion County Clerk Bill Burgess has sent a reminder to Marion County voters via text that provides only little detail to the situation, but suggests that the clerk himself had just previously sent out the wrong date for notifying voters of when the elections occurs. Voters were then reminded that it is too late to mail in your ballot, and it should be dropped off a Marion County ballot drop box.

The unusual message from Bill Burgess via text #41575 is seen here:

“##Welcome to Marion County Clerk - Elections Track Your Ballot##

You may have received an incorrect message with the wrong Election date. Election day is November 3rd. It's too late to mail your ballot. Use one of the many ballot drop boxes in Marion County.

Questions? Call 503-588-5041.

Visit the **[Marion County Elections Website](http://www.co.marion.or.us/co/elections)** for additional election information or visit the **[Oregon Drop Box Locator](http://sos.oregon.gov/voting/Pages/drop-box-locator.aspx)** to find a ballot drop box near you.

**Bill Burgess** **Marion County Clerk** Phone: (503) 588-5041 Email: [elections@co.marion.or.us](mailto:elections@co.marion.or.us)’

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-27 15:39:50Last Update: 2020-10-27 17:31:08

Update on City of Portland Covid-19 Relief Actions
White owned small businesses less likely to receive aid

The City of Portland continues its work to ensure recovery from the economic and social impacts of COVID-19, prioritizing housing stability, small business support, and safe spaces for people experiencing homelessness. These actions are designed to support Portlanders through the worst of the crisis into a safe, sustainable recovery and a more-resilient future.

Local Business Support
Last week, Prosper Portland announced the distribution of more than $11 million in small business relief grants from the latest round of the Portland Small Business relief Fund (SBRF). More than 900 small businesses—the vast majority owned by BIPOC community members—will receive support via the Fund.

The work of selecting among the more than 4,900 applicants was guided by the city’s Equity Toolkit and the knowledge that Black people, indigenous people and all people of color have experienced the greatest impacts from the pandemic.

An additional $3 million will be distributed as block grants to community-based organizations that serve culturally specific populations to ensure the funds reach community members most in need. The block grant process will begin during the week of October 26th.

In total, this year Prosper Portland distributed more than $17 million to more than 1,200 local businesses, most of which are owned by people of color.

Very early in the pandemic, Mayor Wheeler directed Prosper Portland to stand up its Economic Impact Task Force, convening community partners to identify the greatest needs and the most efficient and effective responses to support local businesses through the crisis and into recovery. The more than 80 task force partners shaped the City’s response for local businesses.

Actions include dedicating $200,000 to a retail activation strategy, redirecting $100,000 for areas impacted by increased graffiti in partnership with City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, and adopting a $1 million utility support pledge that prioritized Black-owned businesses.

Renter and Homeowner Stability, Safe Spaces for People Experiencing Homelessness
The Portland Housing Bureau dedicated $1.6 million in CARES Act funds to housing stabilization and home retention support for low-income BIPOC homeowners. On Friday, October 23rd, the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) announced a $15 million COVID-19 Household Assistance Program. Under the program, Portlanders struggling from health or financial impacts of COVID-19 can apply for $500 to help with food, dependent care, medicine, rent, utilities, and transportation. In total, the program is expected to assist 27,000 Portland households.

Housing relief actions through the PHB began in March, when the City and County adopted a six-month eviction moratorium for those unable to pay rent due to COVID-related economic hardship. The moratorium was recently extended to January 8, 2021. The mandatory relocation assistance program was extended until March 31, 2021. In August, in partnership with the County and Joint Office of Homeless Services, the City also committed $35 million in state, local and federal funds for rent assistance to thousands of Portland households.

Earlier, PHB distributed $1 million to boost people hurt by the pandemic. The bureau provided $200,000 in assistance to households suffering a loss of income due to COVID-19 for urgent household needs like groceries, utilities, and medical expenses. It provided $800,000 to households in need through internal referrals by social service agencies and homeless service providers. And, the City deferred rent payments for all commercial retail tenants on City property to allow small businesses to focus on getting through the crisis.

Despite the pandemic, the City also continues to exceed goals for the creation of new affordable housing. There are now 1,494 units of permanently affordable Portland housing-bond supported homes open or in development throughout Portland—enough for an estimated 3,076 people. Nearly 700 of the homes have two or more bedrooms to serve families with children. More than 600 of the homes are reserved for extremely low-income households, including those experiencing homelessness, seniors on fixed incomes, and veterans. Projects funded outside of the Portland Housing Bond also are moving forward.

Since February, the City, Multnomah County, and the Joint Office have partnered to help people experiencing homelessness stay safe. The City opened public restrooms and added dozens of portable restrooms and handwashing stations throughout the community. Portland Parks & Recreation provided community centers for use as COVID-compliant temporary shelters. The City also partnered with the Joint Office to open three new safe outdoor shelters during the spring of this year. The Joint Office is also supplying community partners and volunteers with life-saving gear to share with people in camps, including more than 110,000 masks and hundreds of gallons of sanitizer and water.

More recently, Mayor Wheeler announced nearly 300 new beds at three sites around the city to serve people experiencing homelessness through the fall and winter. These 24-hour sites will offer safe, physically distant beds with resources including housing navigation services, three meals a day, showers, and laundry. Two Portland Parks & Recreation community centers will serve as shelters, as will downtown’s Greyhound bus station.

--Sabrina-Marie Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-27 12:19:30Last Update: 2020-10-27 21:06:54

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