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Brown Celebrates Biden Inauguration
Calls for more money and national vote-by-mail

Governor Kate Brown issued the following statement today: "Today marks a new chapter for our country as we welcome President Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to the White House. It is an especially extraordinary moment for our nation to celebrate the historic swearing-in of our first female, Black and Asian Vice President — and the incredibly diverse Cabinet that President Biden has nominated. Our government should be reflective of the people it represents, and now Americans across the country will see themselves in the people holding leadership positions.

"We have waited a long time to have a strong, competent and trustworthy partner we can work with at the federal level — and now more than ever, we need that federal leadership to help states beat COVID-19, once and for all. As we still face what could be the darkest days of the pandemic, President Biden has laid out a strong vision and clear plan, based on science, for how the federal government will help the American people, and governors across the country — starting with the announcement of a much-needed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. I look forward to working with the President, Vice President and Congress on getting this ground-breaking package across the finish line.

"I also look forward to working with the new Congress on their For the People Act, which would establish Vote-By-Mail and Automatic Voter Registration nationally. I am so very proud that Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Amy Klobuchar have crafted this comprehensive legislation, which will be the first bill taken up by the new Congress. If passed, this bill will require the reforms we started in Oregon to be adopted by every state in the country. Automatic Voter Registration and Vote-By-Mail should be available to every citizen in this country.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-20 12:44:16

Secretary of State Fagan Welcomes Biden Presidency
Wants to combat the scourge of disinformation that lies in wait

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan issued a statement following the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President Kamala D. Harris:

“Today we witnessed the peaceful transition of power at the very location where a violent coup was attempted only a few weeks ago. The peaceful transfer of leadership is the bedrock of our democracy and Oregonians of all political leanings can celebrate its occurrence once again. We have an opportunity to restore faith in democratic institutions and overcome the divisiveness that has engulfed our nation in modern times. And, with the historic inauguration of our nation’s first woman, South Asian American and Black vice president, and a cabinet that promises to reflect the diversity of our nation, we will have a federal government prepared to continue our journey towards a more perfect union.”

“While we have much work ahead of us to ensure that everyone, regardless of who they are, what their political affiliation is or where they live, feels heard and included in the institutions that serve them, today is a reminder of the greatness, hope, and resiliency of our democracy."

“I look forward to joining leaders in our state and nation to restore faith in our democracy and combat the scourge of disinformation that lies in wait to divide us once again.”

Critics have noted that while at one time, the left, led by people like Secretary Fagan, are calling for unity and inclusion, at the same time they are accusing their political opponents of a violent coup attempt and preparing to "combat the scourge of disinformation..."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-20 12:07:51Last Update: 2021-01-20 12:17:13

Halt to Congestion Pricing Proposed
Unless the toll is used to pay for construction of additional lanes

A proposal to put the brakes on congestion pricing tolling, at least on Interstate 205 has been introduced for the 2021 session of the Oregon Legislature in the form of HB 2629. The proposal, sponsored by State Representative Christine Drazan (R-Oregon City) is simple. It says that "the Oregon Transportation Commission is prohibited from establishing any toll on Interstate 205 unless the toll is used to pay for construction of additional lanes."

The idea of congestion pricing is to create a variable toll, so that when there is more demand for freeway lane space -- during times of more congestion -- the price goes up and people who are able to find alternatives can delay or reschedule trips or take other routes, thereby taking pressure off the heavily used freeways, like I-205.

Critics point out that the freeways are already so heavily congested that there aren't any realistic times in which it's not congested to schedule a trip. It's also hurts lower-income persons more, because they are unable to work from home and tend to work "shifts" where they don't have as much flexibility on the schedule.

Many homeowners who live in the vicinity of I-205 oppose congestion pricing for another reason. The higher prices will cause some to find alternative routes that can lead them through neighborhoods, and residents don't want the extra traffic. The bill also removes language in Oregon law from the 2017 Transportation Package, which authorized the tolls on I-205. The language being taken out is "On Interstate 205, beginning at the Washington state line and ending where it intersects with Interstate 5 in this state" which describes one of the places where congestion pricing is planned.

The bill mirrors a proposed statewide initiative petition that failed to make the November 2020, IP 10, which proposed nearly the same thing, that no tolls could be imposed, unless the funds generated went to new lane capacity.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-20 11:08:47Last Update: 2021-01-20 12:07:51

Linthicum Defends Property Rights
“Puts the cultural blindness and disrespect for individual rights on full display”

Today, State Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) issued a statement on proposed HB 2238, which allows the Governor to confiscate property without compensating owners during an emergency. He said,

“For the better part of a year now, Oregonians have had to endure the tyranny of unconstitutional lockdowns instituted by Governor Kate Brown. Now, this week, the Democrat-controlled legislative assembly is convening to crush Oregonians even further on an endless quest for power.

“HB 2238 is a shameful proposal to expand the Governor’s emergency power by including, 'the seizure, use or possession of any real or personal property,' while specifying the owner, 'is not entitled to compensation.'

“This bill puts the cultural blindness and disrespect for individual rights of the supermajority on full display. Consider the fact that thousands and thousands of Oregonians, especially those in the middle and lower-income areas have been severely damaged by the governor’s fruitless lockdowns. People have lost their livelihoods, their family’s savings, and new opportunities for personal growth and development. I cannot fathom how the supermajority thinks that allowing the government to take private homes, commercial locations, retail enterprises, pocket watches, and firearms will somehow save the lives of Oregonians. It will not.

“The state’s health and safety organizations have already been weaponized for their own statist ennoblement. This clearly unconstitutional law will add insult to injury by doing nothing but sabotage Oregonian’s private property rights and undermine faith in our democratic processes.”

There are several bills dealing with property rights to be considered during the 2021 legislative session.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-20 10:27:34Last Update: 2021-01-20 10:36:39

Salem Braces for Inaugural Mayhem
Spoiler alert: no one is going to show up

The Salem Police Department have put out a statement ahead of expected demonstrations surrounding the inauguration of President Biden. Additionally, the Oregon Capitol Building's first floor windows have been boarded up.

The Salem Police Department and Oregon State Police are aware of potential demonstrations and civil unrest at the Oregon State Capitol on January 19-20. Information on these events is limited and rapidly evolving. Based on current information, the protest start times vary between 9:00am and noon.

"We are well aware of the potential protests being discussed between now and Inauguration Day," remarked Police Chief Trevor Womack during a presentation at the January 11 meeting of the Salem City Council about the department's strategic approach to protests and marches in Salem. "We are closely communicating and coordinating with our partners to make sure we are prepared."

As a reminder, for events that occur at the state capitol, the Oregon State Police (OSP) has jurisdiction and enforcement responsibility. Additionally, OSP issued a statement on Wednesday, January 13 which announced the utilization of the Oregon National Guard to assist with the expected events at the state capitol. The Salem Police Department will work in a support role to OSP and assist as requested and needed.

About the possibility of additional protest-related impacts to the community, Chief Womack added, "We stand ready and equipped to guard our community and will work to minimize any adverse impacts to our neighborhoods and streets."

To the extent possible, residents are encouraged to avoid the vicinity of the state capitol on the dates mentioned given enforcement activities and disruptions to traffic flow may occur.

Interested persons can monitor the Salem Police Department or OSP's media platforms for any traffic or police advisories.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-19 20:49:10

The Next Step: Inmate Voting
Just vote in the community where you committed your crime

Current Oregon law allows a defendant to reinstate voting rights once released from incarceration. Governor Kate Brown released 700 inmates early “to slow the spread of COVID-19,” just in time for the election. She is also moving forward to close three prisons to save an estimated $44 million. They are minimum security facilities housing 749 inmates out of 13,000. It’s undetermined how many will be released.

As we have witnessed this past summer, Oregon’s prosecution guidelines have become so lax that only the gravest of criminals serve time. Of those incarcerated, there are nine times the number of crimes against a person verses those involving property. Nearly half will be released with less than a two-year sentence, before the next general election with voting rights restored.

So why are Senator Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis), Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), Representative Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego), and Representative Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas), chief sponsors, introducing HB 2366 to allow persons convicted of felony, serving life sentences, the right to vote? Two states, Maine and Vermont, allow all prisoners to vote. Some prisoners, depending on their conviction, are allowed to vote in Mississippi, Alabama, and Alaska, and there are other concessions in other states, such as voting by parolees. States with experience have noted that very few inmates exercise their right to vote, and inmates say it can be dangerous to discuss politics. Distrust of politicians and no interest are the reasons reported by volunteers that inmates don’t vote. Putting money into a program when the general fund is $1.1 billion short that hasn’t been successful in any other state is questionable. A once incarcerated person may not hold a public office or an office of a political party or hold a position of private trust or act as a juror, and HB 2366 removes the right to vote. It allows an incarcerated person, even the 950 with life sentences that will never be a productive citizen, to register to vote and vote in elections while incarcerated. If this bill had any credibility, it would require an incarcerated person to take a civics class worth 3 college credits to earn their right to vote and open up a format for discussion on their future on the outside. The reason most are incarcerated is they seem to lack civic knowledge and responsibility.

Oregon does not check voter registrations for viable addresses. Registration guidelines allows registration with any address, even though the voter registration card calls for the registrant’s current address. HB 2366 specifies that a person’s residence is where a person resided prior to incarceration.

“A person who has left the place of the person’s residence as part of the person’s confinement in a jail, prison or correctional facility, including a local correctional facility as defined in ORS 169.005 or a youth correction facility as defined in ORS 420.005, who has not established another residence for voter registration purposes, and who does not have a place in which habitation is fixed, may not be considered to have changed or lost residence. The person may register at the address of the place the person’s residence was located before the person left.”

Oregon’s inactive voter purge was expanded from 5 to 10 years by Secretary of State Richardson, and there is no systematic purge of other voter recorders for people moving in and out of the state. According to Janice Dysinger of Oregonians For Fair Elections. "Any law that allows a voter to register at an address where they do not live will weaken the authenticity of the electorate for a district. It creates 'phantom voters'. This practice creates an opportunity for cancelling out the voice of the true residents of the district. Elected Officials are to represent the district's voice. If the district is made up of fake voters it is corrupted. Every voter in a district needs to be an authentic voter living in that district.”

We all want fair elections and just as important we need educated voters to hone a future befitting Oregonians.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-01-19 19:46:59Last Update: 2021-01-19 20:49:10

Salem City Council Virtue Signals
White supremacy denounced

Salem City Council resolved at their meeting on Monday, January 11, to ensure that members of the community are free from acts that are rooted in racism, discrimination, intolerance, bigotry, and hostility.

The resolution, brought forward by Mayor Chuck Bennett and substantially amended by Councilor Tom Andersen, was approved unanimously by the City Council. The resolution commits Salem to welcome every person regardless of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, disability, source of income, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Mayor Bennett said he expected the City's Human Rights Commission to play a major role in moving forward under this resolution.

"They have in their charter, the ability to recommend to council actions, policies and legislation that allows us to move forward in changing some of the policies we may have that are really contrary to the spirit where I think all of us are, which is a deep concern about white supremacy, a deep concern about systemic racism," Bennett said.

The resolution further condemns and rejects "the belief system of white supremacy and racism, and [remains] committed to the elimination of all forms of racism everywhere it exists, including institutional racism."

Councilor Jackie Leung proposed a resolution declaring racism as a health crisis.

"We, as a council, need to take a stand addressing racism at its core," Leung said.

Her proposal will be discussed at the Council work session on January 19 on the City's strategic plan and is expected to be under consideration at the January 25 Council meeting.



The language and intent of the resolution reflect earlier statements made by City Council President Chris Hoy and Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett. Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack and City Manager Steve Powers have also published statements on the City's website and social media pages condemning white supremacy and racial innuendos made on City streets during recent protests.

The resolution will give the City a basis upon which to build an effort starting with recommendations for actions, policies, and legislation from the Human Rights Commission.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-01-19 17:42:33Last Update: 2021-01-19 20:47:47

One Family’s Bout with COVID
Their experience: COVID is real

Editor's note: This article first appeared as a facebook post. Micky Garus hosts a weekly radio show Patriot Uprising, each Saturday at 3:00pm on KSLM Radio 1220 AM in Salem.

I’m back from the living dead! The truth is Lucia and I both came down with Covid almost three weeks ago, and it literally kicked our butts.

We are both doing 1000% better and trying to get back with our regular routine, but it’s going to take some time to get back to feeling 100%. For any doubters, Covid is real and for us it was the worst flu we’ve ever had. Fatigue, loss of smell and taste, severe body aches, fever, chills, nausea, headache, vertigo, kidney pain, and respiratory issues for three weeks, and without any relief is what we experienced. We loaded ourselves with OTC meds (ibuprofen, Tylenol, cough syrup) and the recommended daily vitamin rituals of zinc, vitamin C, D3, Black Elderberry, Melatonin, Quercetin, a good multi vitamin, and at one point it was so bad I was calling local farm stores looking for Ivermectin (I didn’t take any). I ended up in the respiratory clinic and then I went to an out patient treatment center where they gave me an IV infusion of antibodies and some non FDA approved trial drug (I haven’t grown a tail yet). Honestly, at that point I was so sick I didn’t realize what was going on, so I didn’t care what they gave me.

Long story short, three weeks later and we are out of quarantine on the road to recovery. All my symptoms are gone accept the respiratory issues. It just feels like I get winded very easily and I can’t get enough oxygen, my chest feels tight. Lucia was tougher than I was but we had almost identical symptoms. I had some great friends that kept us supplied with food and toilet paper while we were locked away, I also had a great nurse friend check in on us daily, and gave us some great advice, I cannot thank them enough. Our kids are great, and thank God they didn’t experience what we went through. This flu is a bad one, it’s interesting to see how it affects people differently, but I can definitely understand how and why it is so dangerous for people with respiratory issues, compromised immune systems, and just elderly people in general. Anyone in that group needs to take extra precautions to stay healthy, and follow the advice of their physician.

Now that I’ve had it, people ask if I’ve changed my opinion on masks, lockdowns, and the vaccine. Here’s my answer: I believe as I said above, if you fall into a compromised category you should take extra precautions. I don’t believe the cure should be worse than the illness, and locking us down, killing the economy, ruining businesses and livelihoods, keeping kids from education etc, in my opinion is by far worse. I think most people will eventually get Covid, and I don’t think there’s much anyone can do to prevent that. If you know me you might also know I’m kind of a germaphobe, long before this pandemic I had stock in hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap. I was already doing what the experts said to stay healthy, long before they ever said it, and I still got it. I think the right masks in the proper environment (i.e. hospital setting), used properly might help; but, 99% of what the general public is doing, and the kind of masks they are using, is probably causing more health issues and giving people a false sense of security, in my opinion. As for the vaccine, I don’t believe any vaccine should be mandatory. I think everyone should be allowed to make their own decisions about that, and if you are someone that’s at a greater risk, the vaccine might be something you weigh a little heavier, but please do your own research, and consider all the risks, of both the virus and the vaccine.

Lucia and I are now part of the statistics that they will use to manipulate the people, I don’t want to downplay the severity of Covid-19, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. However, the most important statistic to remember from this is we are now part of the 99.6% of people who got Covid-19 and survived, anticipating a full recovery. Neither of us have been vaccinated. Now you are all up to speed!

Stay healthy and safe my friends, God Bless!

--Micky Garus

Post Date: 2021-01-18 17:08:25Last Update: 2021-01-18 18:50:42

Plastic Fork Ban Coming
Maybe you can put my to go order in a blender and give me a straw.

State Representative Maxine Dexter (D-Portland), appointed to District 33 in June of 2020 ran on her support for “greater protections for workers.” In her first opportunity to impress her constituents, she introduced HB 2365, which will have a negative impact on her district. Restaurant and food vendor workers make up the third largest non-government industry in her district experiencing a 27% loss in 2020.

HB 2365 prohibits food vendors from using single-use plastic food service ware when selling prepared food, unless specifically requested and then the food service ware can’t be plastic and must be recyclable. It further requires specified restaurants and bed and breakfast facilities to be able to sanitize reusable food service ware.

The pandemic and the Governor’s lockdown has had a devastating impact on restaurants and food vendors. The economy can only rebound with restaurants and food vendors in full operation. Is this the time to ask food vendors to take another hit and slow their recovery that will surely impact the state coffers?

The bill is telling food vendors they can’t provide any service ware that is plastic and service ware must be made entirely from fiber-based materials and readily compostable or readily recyclable; and doesn't contain any PFOA or PFOS chemicals. The “food service ware” list is long, it includes bowls, plates, cups, lids, straws, forks, spoons, knives, chopsticks, clamshells or other containers or any other items used for serving, containing or consuming prepared food, including takeout food and leftovers from partially consumed meals prepared by food vendors; and food service ware accessories includes napkins, cup sleeves, food or beverage trays, condiment packets and saucers, stirrers, splash sticks, toothpicks or any other nonfood item regularly provided alongside prepared food.

Some food vendors have gone mobile to meet the needs of consumers that were locked out of facilities. The bill requires mobile units to be able to sanitize reusable food service ware on premises or at another location.

One can't help but be reminded of the breathlessness with which environmentalists told us that we must have a plastic grocery bag ban in 2019, only to be told that it's no longer the best practice to use our reusable cloth bags and we can go ahead and use plastic bags again, the planet be damned. This bill might have some areas that are viable for research, but government needs to make their case and show the effect on the economy before they slap on such a restricting regulation and send enforcement after the food industry when they are surviving on a string.

--Donna Bleier

Post Date: 2021-01-18 07:37:50Last Update: 2021-01-17 17:36:42

Rep. Williams Seeks to Loosen Sex Offender Laws
Soon, you could be living near a sex offender and not know it.

As a part of what looks to be a softer, gentler approach to crime and criminals during this Legislative session, State Representative Anna Williams (D-Hood River) has introduced legislation that would allow persons who are convicted of a crime and required to register as sex offenders to petition the court to have that requirement waived. Oregon law does allow a person to ask the court to remove that requirement, but does not allow the court to do so if the crime is very serious. The current law which is proposed to be repealed reads:

A person who has been convicted or found guilty except for insanity of one of the following offenses is not eligible for relief from the obligation to report as a sex offender pursuant to a petition filed under ORS 163A.125 (1):
(a) Rape in the first degree;
(b) Sodomy in the first degree;
(c) Unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree;
(d) Kidnapping in the first degree as described in ORS 163.235 (1)(e) or when the victim is under 18 years of age; or
(e) Burglary in the first degree when committed with the intent to commit any of the offenses listed in ORS 163A.005 (5)(a) to (w).

Current Oregon law does not allow persons convicted of these very serious crimes to ask the court to remove their requirement that they continue to report as sex offenders. ORS 163A.100 describes three classes of sex offenders. It reads:

The State Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision shall, in consultation with community corrections agencies, adopt by rule a sex offender risk assessment methodology for use in classifying sex offenders. Application of the risk assessment methodology to a sex offender must result in placing the sex offender in one of the following levels:

(1) A level one sex offender who presents the lowest risk of reoffending and requires a limited range of notification.
(2) A level two sex offender who presents a moderate risk of reoffending and requires a moderate range of notification.
(3) A level three sex offender who presents the highest risk of reoffending and requires the widest range of notification.

Representative Williams, a former social worker, was involved in Oregon's closest House race this cycle. She defeated former incumbent, Republican Jeff Helfrich by a margin of just 84 votes out of 39,420 votes cast. A Libertarian in the race, Stephen Alder took 1,060 votes, and some analysts say that it cost Helfrich the race.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-18 07:20:22Last Update: 2021-01-17 17:37:02

Portland’s Wilson High to be Renamed
Wilson accused of segregation and discriminatory hiring practices

In another case of historical revisionism, a group has proposed renaming Portland's Wilson High School. The group will present it's proposal to the Portland Public Schools Board of Directors. They've sent this letter to the local community.

Dear Wilson Community,

We, the Wilson High School Renaming Committee, are writing to share some exciting news. Over the last few months, our Committee engaged in numerous community outreach efforts, we gathered nearly 2,000 community comments, and we spent many hours in careful consideration of the most appropriate new name for our school. Earlier this week, we sent a formal request to Superintendent Guerrero that our school be renamed “Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School.”

Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931), a singular American journalist, activist, educator, and researcher, was born into enslavement during the Civil War in the state of Mississippi. As an investigative journalist, she used the power of truth to shed light on the unjust and violent conditions under which African-Americans lived throughout the South. She was a firm believer that an education was important, and that spreading and sharing knowledge was the key to a more tolerant and just society. Long recognized for her leadership in anti-lynching activism, Wells-Barnett marched on Washington in the name of women’s suffrage on the day of Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration, and she later wrote and spoke to President Wilson in protest of segregation and of his discriminatory hiring practices. Wells-Barnett helped found the National Association of Colored Women, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the first Black women's suffrage association, the Alpha Suffrage Club. Remembered as one of the most lauded civil rights advocates of the 19th and 20th centuries, Wells-Barnett is an American hero. Ida B. Wells-Barnett will foster a lasting message of determination, valor, and tolerance among all students and staff.

Today we received Superintendent Guerrero’s approval to present our recommendation to the PPS School Board on January 26th. We are looking forward to sharing information on how our renaming process aligned with district guidelines, how we solicited and processed community input, and why we ultimately decided that Ida B. Wells-Barnett is the most appropriate person to name our school after.

We want to thank all of you who participated in and helped guide this historic process. Please that see some of the community comments we received in appreciation of our new eponym, Ida B. Wells-Barnett.


The Undersigned Wilson High School Renaming Committee:
Ayesha Coning, Vice Principal
Filip Hristić, Principal
Hui Hui Hutchinson, Junior
Liliana McClain, Junior
Noreena McCleave, Alumni
Jonel Mondero, Junior
Aslan Newson, Junior
Martin Osborne, Community Representative
Nura Salah, Junior
Senya Scott, Junior
Mia Sedory, Senior
Katisyn Sweeney, Junior
Deborah Walsh, Parent Representative
Ellen Whatmore, Teacher Representative
Zachariah Winterspring, Teacher Representative

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-17 13:04:17Last Update: 2021-01-17 13:33:22

Meme of the Week
Were just not seeing much nutritional value

--Northwest Observer Meme Team

Post Date: 2021-01-17 11:27:32Last Update: 2021-01-17 13:04:17

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