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On this day, December 6, 2006, James Kim, a San Francisco man who struck out alone to find help for his family after their car got stuck on a snowy, remote road in Oregon was found dead, bringing an end to what authorities called an extraordinary effort to stay alive.




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



Protect Parental Rights during Legislative Days
Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 11:00 am

Show up to protect parental rights.
Tour the House and Senate offices.
Arm yourself with educational materials to share with legislators and others.
Attend legislative committee meetings.
Contact your legislators now tp meet with them while you're at the Capitol -- we can accompany you.
Meet at the Ike Box, 299 Cottage Street NE at 11:00 and 1:00



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



"Protect Parental Rights" during ALL the Legislative Days
Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 11:00 am
Show up to protect parental rights. Tour the House and Senate offices. Arm yourself with educational materials to share with legislators and others. Attend legislative committee meetings. Contact your legislators now tp meet with them while you're at the Capitol -- we can accompany you.
Meet at the Ike Box, 299 Cottage Street NE at 11:00 and 1:00



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



Protect Parental Rights during Legislative Days
Friday, December 9, 2022 at 11:00 am
Show up to protect parental rights. Tour the House and Senate offices. Arm yourself with educational materials to share with legislators and others. Attend legislative committee meetings. Contact your legislators now tp meet with them while you're at the Capitol -- we can accompany you.
Meet at the Ike Box, 299 Cottage Street NE at 11:00 and 1:00



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


View All Calendar Events


City of Bend to Select Another Councilor
Council anticipates vacancy, announces process

The Bend, Oregon City Council plans to declare a vacancy on the Council on Jan. 4, 2023, when Melanie Kebler becomes Mayor. Because Kebler was elected as Mayor in the middle of her four-year Council term, her move to the Mayor’s seat vacates the remaining two years of her seat on the Council (Position 1). The Council Position 1 term expires in December 2024.

  The Bend Charter requires that a vacancy on the Council be filled within 30 days of declaring the vacancy by a Council appointment. Council Rules describe the process for filling a vacancy.

In consideration of the timeline, Council started accepting applications on Dec. 2, 2022.  

Applicants can complete an online application and submit a letter of interest which may address such areas as reasons for wanting to serve on the Council, working as a part of a team and representing various areas of the community. A description of the application process and application will be available on the “Council vacancy” tab on the Bend City Council webpage.  

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Applicants can also come to City Hall, 710 NW Wall Street, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to fill out an application. Please contact Melissa Mitsch to set up an appointment at 541-388-5505 or by email.

  Completed applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. The Council will review the applications then can select candidates for interviews. The Council anticipates conducting interviews the week of January 9 and expects to make an appointment at the regular Council meeting on Wednesday, January 18.

  The Council aims to have the appointment made prior to the start of its goal-setting process, which takes place in late January. Dates, times and locations for all meetings will be available on the City Calendar once scheduled.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-12-05 17:15:19Last Update: 2022-12-05 17:44:26



Certifying Election Results
"Secretary Fagan has created a crisis of confidence"

According to the Secretary of State’s office, counties have until December 15 to turn in their certified election results. As of this writing, six counties, Crook, Curry, Gilliam, Grant, Lake, Malheur and Wallowa, have submitted certified election results.

The Secretary of State Vote by Mail Procedures Manual includes a schedule for county clerks. The voter manual timeline gives the county 21 days to notify the elector, and the elector has the same 21 days after election day to make corrections or they will be inactive. How does making a non-responsive elector "inactive" coordinate with not cleaning voter rolls? The manual does not include requirements for opening and scanning returned envelopes where the public is allowed to monitor the process. ORS 254.478 allows county clerks to begin opening returned ballots and begin scanning seven days prior to election day. Secretary Fagan took it upon her own authority to bypass statute and extended the law to allow county clerks to begin opening 14 days prior to election day. As she did when she sent out 7,767 ballots to non-registered voters.

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan testified in favor of SB 249, which didn’t pass. She wants to allow ballots to be opened and counted when they are received rather than forcing County Clerks to wait until 7 days before the day of the election. She claims the flexibility will allow County Clerks to avoid a backlog of ballots on election day. Added time after the election day has increased nefarious activities in ballot harvesting. Added count time prior to election day will allow unscrupulous people to direct their activities. This proposal is certain to return in the 2023 legislative session.

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ORS 254.470 (6) requires a ballot to have a “postal indicator showing that the ballot was mailed not later than the date of the election.” The manual suggested the county use a fluorescent scanner, if available. The postmaster at the Airport Distribution Center said their ballots are sprayed with a date code that can be tracked every place it goes. Eugene also uses spray codes, but experienced smudging. Lacking a postal indicator on a returned ballot, the county election clerk is allowed to decide whether it is counted or not. There doesn’t seem to be uniform treatment across the state on the use of spray coding or if counties have fluorescent scanners, or how they treat late returns with no postmark or unreadable postmarks.

General opinion on social media is that Secretary Fagan has created a crisis of confidence. She admits that people received two or more ballots, and she says counties issuing duplicate ballots cross-check with other counties. However, several counties, including Lane County, admit they don’t check with other counties for duplicate votes. Marion and Lane Counties have admitted they can print ballots at will without change of custody.

Secretary Fagan also claims that the ballots involved in lawsuits are held separately, however, county clerks knew nothing about needing to separate ballots. In one county, litigation is being used as an excuse for not releasing counts that also gives opportunity to add ballots. Further, it is an option of the county clerk if a secrecy envelope is included.

Oregon is one of 31 states that allows some kind of ballot harvesting. Most states have restrictions for family members, but there are several like Oregon that have no restriction except they must be turned in within two days, and an election official may not collect ballots. In this 2022 election, Tina Kotek hired 400 ballot harvesters that targeted the Gen-Z generation. Some would say that Oregon is grooming a generation of 30 and under that are activists, but not thinkers.

There is no limit to how imaginative politics can be. For some, Oregon seems to draw on the worst ideas and has been very good at selling them to voters. We can look to other states for their inspiration. Oregon has tried to expand voters to include 16-year-olds and prisoners. Now, a new idea, the Public Interest Legal Foundation is suing Howard County, Maryland to block its law allowing a member of the school board to be elected by sixth through 11th-grade students, typically 11- or 12-year-olds. If Oregon voters don’t pay attention to election processes, the state will end up in a more oppressive government.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-12-03 06:04:07Last Update: 2022-12-04 18:39:27



ERIC is Cause for Election Concerns
Population declines while voter rolls increase

In 2012 the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) was formed as a membership organization by the Soros Open Society to clean voter rolls. Oregon is one of 33 states that reports to ERIC.

In order to run cross checks on voters, ERIC collects details on inactive and active voters every 60 days, including the states Motor Vehicle licensed and ID databases. ERIC’s database provides a wide base source to influence an election and generate voter registrations by providing states with a list of people that are not registered to vote. In 2020 they located 17 million new voters. The ERIC membership bylaws require the state to solicit at least 95% of these people to register. It has been called a “left wing voter registration drive all paid for by the States.” Their rules further explain that “Under no circumstances shall the members transmit any record indicating an individual is a non-citizen of the U.S.”

You ask, how many voters were removed in the last four years? Oregon has fourteen counties that removed five or fewer voter registrations.

Deborah Scroggin, Oregon Director of Elections, serves on the ERIC Board for Oregon. She was appointed after nearly a decade with the Portland City Auditor’s Office where she oversaw city elections. Her office had close ties with Multnomah County Elections Division orchestrating an Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Portland and the Multnomah County Elections Division. The Director Tim Scott, is also the president of the Oregon Association of County Clerks (OACC). The association is not transparent with meetings or records, and it appears the president does not agree with their lawyer. OACC lawyer stated to Secretary Fagan that the clerks are “very concerned” about the centralized voter registration system and the software used that is no longer supported. Bids for a new system didn’t take place as scheduled.

Dr. Frank, speaking at Gathering of the Eagles in Oregon, said most County Clerks are not qualified for the job they are elected or appointed to do. Clerks are elected or appointed with clerical/administrative skills and that may do for their day-to-day function, but they don’t have the skills to recognize insecure election data, faulty technology or out-of-line algorithms.

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Kat Stansell, Grassroots Outreach Director for the American Policy Center, said “I now believe that the ERIC system was part of the coup; hardly anyone, myself included, had heard of ERIC then (prior to the 2020 election). Now, teams of investigators have unearthed reams of evidence, of irrefutable proof of irregularities, of dark money, of hired ballot runners and poll workers, of thousands of cartons of ballots brought in from ineligible sources, et. al. A lot of the highest profile cheating occurred in ERIC member states. All of this has created blow back from those states.”

There is ample evidence that ERIC, who purports to clean Oregon’s voter registrations, does not. The passing of HB 2681 in 2021, which changed retention of voter registration to indefinitely, appears to be a calculated part of ERIC adding new members to their database. Legislation that ignores purging voter rolls is a form of purging voters of their voice, and evidence of collusive activity. The state of Louisiana has cut its ties with ERIC for similar reasons.

U.S. Census Bureau shows that in 2021 26.4 million people moved in the U.S.. ERIC reported in-state movers in the ERIC system showed 4,911,198, in-state duplicate ballots for 281,996, and another 111,923 for deceased voters. Oregon reported that more people moved out than in with a population decline of approximately 10% according to PSU Population Research Center. Portland lost 11,000 residents for the year ending July 2021, and Multnomah County had their greatest decline of -2,321 in 2022.

Secretary Fagan recently announced voter registrations reaching an all-time high of 3 million. The decline in population doesn’t coordinate with the increase of voter registrations as those moving out-of-state remain as registered voters unless they take individual action to have their name removed. Until the voter rolls are cleaned, there isn't a chance for honest elections.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-12-02 16:56:47Last Update: 2022-12-02 18:07:42



Linn County Commissioners to Tackle Ballot Measure 110 Flaws
Law does not differentiate between adults and juveniles

Oregon’s Ballot Measure 110, which reduced some drug possession charges from felonies to misdemeanors and offered counseling as an alternative to jail time, also created unintended consequences when it comes to dealing with juveniles, Commissioners Roger Nyquist and Will Tucker were told Tuesday morning.

Linn County Juvenile Director Torri Linn said the law does not provide any differentiation between adults and juveniles, so it makes it difficult if not impossible to get services to young people when their drug offenses are in their early stages.

During the recent gubernatorial campaign, all three candidates said Measure 110 was not working and two — Republican Christine Drazan and independent Betsy Johnson — wanted to see it repealed. Incoming Gov. Tina Kotek said she wants to keep it in place, but with fixes. 

Ballot Measure 110 provides funding for such things as subsidizing housing for drug offenders or needle exchanges, but those measures are directed at people who are well into their addictions, not early on like teenagers, Lynn said.

Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 110 by 58% to 42% in November 2020. It decriminalized possession of consumption amounts of cocaine and heroin among other hard drugs. The new law went into effect in February 2021.

Lynn pointed out that teenagers can be charged with Minor In Possession if found with alcohol, but not if they have cocaine or heroin on them.

Both Nyquist and Tucker — who was participating by telephone — voiced strong concerns about the new law, seeing it as flawed and unsuccessful in decreasing drug use statewide. Commissioner Sprenger did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.

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The commissioners plan to engage members of the Legislature addressing several key issues, especially on how the new law is affecting juvenile offenders and the county’s ability to help them early on.

Nyquist said, “We will go full-court press on this if we have to.”

“At the very least, they need to address the MIP discrepancy issue, a kid getting an MIP for alcohol but not hard drugs” Nyquist said. “It should include federal Class I drugs that the state just legalized.”

Commissioner Tucker said he is, “Adamantly against Measure 110.

“There is no stick and no carrot,” Tucker added.

He said Oregon voters had only one choice to deal with a “horrible problem” when the measure was on the ballot.

Nyquist said he supports the will of the voters, but he emphasized the measure is filled with gaping holes.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-11-30 21:09:59Last Update: 2022-12-01 17:45:30



Monmouth-Independence Launch Trolley Service
Ride the trolley for free

After five years of analyzing, planning and a feasibility study, adjoining cities of Monmouth and Independence saw results by the arrival of the first of the three Trolleys to their community. The project is scheduled to begin service early in 2023 as a pilot project. Representative Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) provided $3 million in American Rescue Plan grant funds through the state budget to support the local transit service that will link downtown Independence, downtown Monmouth and the Western Oregon University campus. The plan is to start operating with transit fares and then find long-term funding to keep ridership free.

The trolley is intended to be fun for all ages. It will be a novelty attracting tourists, visitors, and locals. Planners modeled the pilot after the King Street Trolley in Alexandria, VA, that operates in the historic district, providing mobility for visitors, as well as supporting business. Other trolleys have revitalized downtowns playing a significant role in promoting community identity and economic development, while keeping the traditional urban values alive. That is the hope for Monmouth and Independence.

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Community surveys found favorable support for the trolley service over other options. Eventually, the vision is that the trolleys will become a daily transit service for people living in the cities of Independence and Monmouth. This new service will be managed and operated by Cherriots and will link CARTS (Chemeketa Area Regional Transit System) with the Cherriots system in Salem.

The pilot will operate for two years to provide evidence of long-term viability of the service. The trolleys will be a hybrid gas-electric vehicle with plans to move to a 100 percent battery electric vehicle in the future. Two vehicles will operate each service day with a third to serve as a spare and used as rotation. The main route will travel along Main Street in Monmouth, and Monmouth Street in Independence with three trips per hour. The City of Monmouth has a complete schedule on their webpage. It is also possible to make reservations for off-route pickups and drop-offs if it is within 0.75 miles of the main route.

There is some discussion to have special trips for events. Might want to put one of the Independence City events in Riverview Park on your schedule and ride the trolley for free and see your tax-dollars at work.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-30 00:08:20Last Update: 2022-11-30 20:06:46



State Contracts to be Studied for Diversity
BBC Research does not appear to have any blacks or Hispanics

The Department of Administrative Services alongside commissioned BBC Research & Consulting, will be hosting six stakeholder engagement sessions in early December to provide information about Oregon’s disparity study, to seek feedback and be available for questions. These meetings will provide information about the project team, the purpose of the study, the project approach, and how business owners and stakeholders can participate directly in the study. The project team will also answer any questions attendees have regarding the study. In addition, attendees will have an opportunity to share any comments or insights about working with the state. This feedback will be integrated into the analysis and report.

BBC Research itself, does not appear to have any blacks or Hispanics among its own directors or employees.

The disparity study, which will examine contracting by state government agencies. The study will seek information about businesses that are owned by people of color, women and service-disabled veterans. The project team will assess whether there are disparities between contracts and procurements awarded and the availability of those types of businesses for the work requested. The study will also assess marketplace conditions for businesses owned by people of color, women and service-disabled veterans throughout Oregon to determine whether any barriers make it more difficult for those businesses to compete for or perform state work.

Public Comment Zoom Meetings
December 6, 11:30 a.m.
December 6, 5:30 p.m.
December 7, 11:30 a.m.
December 7, 5:30 p.m.
December 8, 11:30 a.m.
December 8, 5:30 p.m.
Stakeholder engagement sessions will take place in early December, with two sessions a day over the course of three days. Public participation and feedback are crucial to a successful study, please join any of the following sessions:

“We highly encourage anyone interested in state contracting or procurement to participate in these engagement sessions,” said Christopher D. Wilson, Disparity Study Manager. “We hope to hear about all experiences, your insights will help the state better encourage the participation of small businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, person of color-owned businesses, and woman-owned businesses in state work.”

The disparity study began in October 2022, and the project team expects to submit a draft report to the state in June 2023 and a final report in August 2023.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-25 06:28:05Last Update: 2022-11-26 09:34:04



Google Settles with Oregon
Google uses the personal data it collects to target ads

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, along with 39 other state attorney generals, announced a historic $391.5 million settlement with Google over its location tracking practices. The settlement, which was led by Oregon AG Rosenblum and Nebraska AG Doug Peterson, is the largest attorney general-led consumer privacy settlement ever. Because of Oregon’s leadership role in the bipartisan investigation and settlement, Oregon will receive $14,800,563.

The settlement outlined that Google misled its users into thinking they had turned off location tracking in their account settings, when, in fact, Google continued to collect their location information. In addition to the multimillion-dollar settlement, as part of the negotiations, Google has agreed to significantly improve its location tracking disclosures and user controls starting in 2023.

“For years Google has prioritized profit over their users’ privacy,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “They have been crafty and deceptive. Consumers thought they had turned off their location tracking features on Google, but the company continued to secretly record their movements and use that information for advertisers.”

Location data is a key part of Google’s digital advertising business. Google uses the personal and behavioral data it collects to build detailed user profiles and target ads. In fact, location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects. Even a limited amount of location data can expose a person’s identity and routines and can be used to infer personal details. Specifically, Google confused its users about the extent to which they could limit Google’s location tracking by adjusting their account and device settings

The attorneys general opened the Google investigation following a 2018 Associated Press article that revealed Google “records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.” The article focused on two Google account settings: Location History and Web & App Activity. Location History is “off” unless a user turns on the setting, but Web & App Activity, a separate account setting, is automatically “on” when users set up a Google account, including all Android users.

“Consumer privacy is one of my office’s top priorities. That’s why it’s so important to me that Oregon played a key role in this settlement. Until we have comprehensive privacy laws, companies will continue to compile large amounts of our personal data for marketing purposes with few controls,” continued AG Rosenblum.

The settlement requires Google to be more transparent about its practices. In particular, Google must:
  1. Show additional information to users whenever they turn a location-related account setting “on” or “off”;
  2. Make key information about location tracking unavoidable for users (i.e., not hidden); and
  3. Give users detailed information about the types of location data Google collects and how it’s used at an enhanced “Location Technologies” webpage.
In 2019, Attorney General Rosenblum formed the Oregon Consumer Privacy Task Force to answer the growing calls for legislation that would give consumers more control over their online privacy and require businesses to adhere to basic standards when handling personal information. The task force has now grown into more than 150 participants from a variety of perspectives.

The task force will introduce comprehensive consumer data privacy legislation in the upcoming 2023 legislative session. If the bill is successful, consumers will have more control over their personal data. They will have the right to know what personal information a company is collecting, to whom or where their data was disclosed, and they will receive a copy of all the data a company has about them. Companies would also need to correct inaccuracies in personal data or delete their information. In addition, the task force plans to introduce companion legislation to create a state registry of data brokers, companies that often operate under the radar but make billions selling personal consumer data.

Blocking Google from collecting personal data may spoil their artificial intelligence robot called LaMDA (Language Model for Dialog Applications). This is the product for which Google has been collecting personal information and habits. Google has been in the news as to whether this AI robot is sentient having thoughts and feelings, and they have fired those claiming it possess those self-aware algorithms.

Elon Musk said in a speech at the 2017 National Governors Association, “Robots will be able to do everything better than us. I have exposure to the most cutting-edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned by it.”


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-25 06:24:37Last Update: 2022-11-24 21:15:24



Beware of Black Friday and Cyber Monday Scams
“The biggest shopping days of the year are also packed with scams”

Thanksgiving week Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum reminded us that the biggest shopping days of the year are also packed with scams. Black Friday and Cyber Monday and the holidays draw millions of buyers every year looking to score deals, compete for hot products, and cross names off their shopping lists. She says, be ready – and safe!

“With all these deals, unfortunately, fraudsters are also looking to cash in,” said Rosenblum. “Let’s not give scammers any gifts, credit card information, or new identities this year,” said AG Rosenblum. “Before you open your wallet, review this list carefully to ensure you can shop confidently and make the most of all the great holiday deals. Be sure to review our ten practical tips as well!”

1. Non-delivery scam

If a deal seems too good to be true on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, it probably is. When making online purchases, you should always receive an order confirmation with a tracking number. But in this scam, you won’t. And surprise, surprise, the package never arrives. When you attempt to contact the seller for help, you learn they have disappeared.

2. Gift card scam

In this scam, an online store will ask that you pay using a gift card. If this happens, it should raise big red flags. Gift cards are often utilized by cybercriminals to steal your money because these types of purchases cannot be tracked, and it is impossible to get your money back.

Treat gift cards like cash, never giving out your gift card number or PIN, and using them only with the issuing merchant. For example, you’d use a Target gift card at a Target store or Target.com.

3. Fake order scam

Phishing is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but modern-day phishing attacks have become more sophisticated. In the fake order scam, con artists will send cryptic text messages or unsolicited emails to notify you of a "problem" with your online order.

But you never ordered anything! They want you to click the link in the phishing email, which leads to a website asking for your banking credentials or other sensitive information, which they can use to commit other frauds.

These emails are designed to appear like they came from a legitimate sender, like Amazon or Walmart. Please look out for these and don’t fall for them!

4. Fake delivery scam

Phishing attacks go a step further in this scheme, as criminals will send fake delivery notifications by text or email. Usually, these notifications are disguised to be from FedEx, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service.

Just like the fake order phishing scam, you’ll be invited to click a link to accept your delivery, where they’ll steal your personally identifying information.

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5. Fake website scam

Cybercriminals are setting up imitation websites of popular online stores. These copycat websites look exactly like the official retailer, and the untrained eyes of an average consumer can easily fall for the trap.

If you have unsuspectingly made an online purchase from a fake retail website, criminals may have stolen your credit card information and other personal details, and you should contact your credit card and/or bank immediately.

To avoid falling victim to one or more of these scams on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, review these 10 practical tips to help you watch your wallet, shop wisely, and protect your personal information online.

If you have fallen victim, be sure to report it to the Oregon Department of Justice online at www.oregonconsumer.gov or by phone at 1-877-877-9392.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-24 13:59:51Last Update: 2022-11-24 16:11:12



Lawsuit Filed over Measure 114 Gun Restrictions
Kate Brown and Ellen Rosenblum named

A lawsuit has been filed by Oregon Firearms Federation, Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey and firearms dealer Adam Johnson against Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum seeking to have Measure 114 declared unconstitutional.

According to the complaint, filed in the Pendleton Division of US District Court, "Millions of law-abiding Americans own firearms equipped with magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. There is nothing unusual or novel about this technology. Many of the nation’s best-selling handguns and rifles come standard with magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds—and firearms equipped with such magazines are safely possessed by law-abiding citizens in the vast majority of States. The reason for the popularity of these magazines is that in a confrontation with a violent attacker, having enough ammunition can be the difference between life and death."

The case was immediately moved to the Portland Division under Judge Karen Immergut. Immergut is a Democrat appointed by Donald Trump. The court acted with unusual speed on Thanksgiving Day by scheduling oral arguments for Dec 2nd.

According to the complaint, Measure 114 violates a litany of constitutional provisions. Oregon Firearms Federation Executive Director Kevin Starrett pointed out, that "In spite of the fact that there are still uncounted ballots, Oregon’s Secretary of State has declared that the ban on new gun sales, and the outlawing of standard capacity magazines, goes into effect on December 8th.

"This came as a shock not only to gun owners, and gun stores but to the State Police and Sheriffs who have been saddled with implementing this nightmare with no direction, no funding, and no resources . And that’s exactly how it was intended," according to Starrett, who is seeking donations to help with mounting legal costs.

"We know the state has said they will vigorously defend this measure and work to shut down gun stores as quickly as possible. And as you know, virtually every firearms related legal challenge has been lengthy, expensive, and wrought with setbacks.

Starrett continued, "The courts were more than happy to uphold orders that closed schools and crippled small businesses during COVID."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-24 06:24:08Last Update: 2022-11-24 20:37:10



Double Homicide Inspires Legislative Concept
Pardons for prior marijuana possession

Senator Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro) speaks out regarding the double homicide in Washington County on November 16. The suspect, Carlos Jimenez-Vargas, is believed to have killed his wife and her sister, Gabriela Jimenez and Lenin Hernandez-Rosas, then shot himself. He was previously arrested six weeks earlier and charged with fourth-degree assault, strangulation, second-degree invasion of personal privacy, luring a minor, unlawful use of a weapon and menacing. Senator Sollman, board member of the Washington County Family Justice Center, is using this tragedy to expand pretrial release assessments to include crimes of domestic violence and personal violence, such as strangulation.

“As someone that grew up in a home where domestic violence was present,” she said. “I know that domestic violence is about negative, and often violent control. Early in the 2023 legislative session, I will be looking at how different courts address these issues in order to help prevent tragedies like this from occurring and will be working with all advocates interested in working on this issue.”

Meanwhile, Oregon Governor Kate Brown grants another round of pardons for prior marijuana possession that will impact an estimated 45,000 individuals across the state and forgive more than $14,000,000 in associated fines and fees. The pardon will remove 47,144 convictions for possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana, in pre-2016 cases in which the person was 21 years of age or older, where this was the only charge, and where there were no victims. This pardon does not apply to any other offense related to marijuana or other controlled substances. It eliminates barriers for thousands of people seeking employment, housing, and educational opportunities who have otherwise been ineligible

Governor Brown said, “We are a state, and a nation, of second chances. Today, I am taking steps to right the wrongs of a flawed, inequitable, and outdated criminal justice system in Oregon when it comes to personal marijuana possession. For the estimated 45,000 individuals who are receiving a pardon for prior state convictions of marijuana possession, this action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions.”

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Following the Governor’s pardon, the Oregon Judicial Department will ensure that all court records associated with these pardoned offenses are sealed, removing housing insecurity, employment barriers, and educational obstacles.

This follows the release of 953 convicted felons earlier this year that included more than 70 people who committed crimes as juveniles including murder. There were a lot of questions in a lawsuit about the constitutional and statutory rights of victims. However, the courts sided with Governor Brown.

Oregon has set a precedent passing laws that protect rehabilitation of inmates. So it shouldn’t be a surprise when courts seem to side with predators rights. Can Senator Sollman bring back constitutional and statutory rights in the way courts look at victims?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-23 16:48:12Last Update: 2022-11-23 20:24:08



Knopp Hopes for a Bipartisan Session
Democrats appear on track to lose their supermajority

Oregon Senate Democrats met at Salishan Resort to choose their nominee for Senate President. The choice of Senator Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) to replace the retiring Peter Courtney -- known for his commitment to the institution and bipartisan solutions -- suggests a new direction.

“Oregonians are facing a number of crises that require action from the Oregon Legislature," said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). "With close results in several key Senate elections, and the end of the supermajority, voters indicated they want their elected officials to work together in a bipartisan fashion now more than ever."

"I am disappointed that Democrats first step in preparation for the 2023 Session is to designate a new nominee for Senate President without seeking any input from Republicans. Senator Wagner has shown he is untrustworthy, deeply partisan, and doesn’t have the necessary skills to run the Senate in a bipartisan fashion. There are no votes in the Senate Republican caucus for Senator Wagner."

If Democrats are intent on uniting Oregon to fix our problems, Republicans are all in. If Democrats want to run a progressive agenda to pay back their supporters, they can expect total opposition.”

While certification will not occur until December, Democrats appear on track to lose their supermajority and hold their Senate majority by a small margin. The combined total margins in Senate District 3 and Senate District 20 are approximately 2,850 votes.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-23 15:13:41Last Update: 2022-11-23 20:19:59



NW Natural is Still a Viable Energy Option
"Innovative efforts that actually reduces carbon emissions"

Despite the attacks by Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown, and Governor-Elect Tina Kotek on natural gas suppliers, NW Natural Gas continues to prove they are a viable carbon neutral option. Representative Khanh Pham (D-Portland), co-sponsored HB 2021 (2021), said the bill “builds on existing energy policy to ensure Oregon’s electricity is generated from clean energy and carbon-free resources like solar and wind energy by 2040.” Her testimony neglected to mention it halts growth in natural gas usage.

HB 2021 implants into law a requirement for retail electricity providers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers to 80% below baseline emissions levels by 2030, 90% below baseline emissions levels by 2035, and 100% below baseline emissions levels by 2040.

Oregon government has not made it clear to Oregonians that not all electricity is carbon neutral. It takes coal, or oil or natural gas to produce electricity. In a study by Charles Frank, Brookings Institution, he made a comparison of baseline net cost of five options to replace coal. The net cost per KWH for Wind is 5.64 cents, Solar is 18.74 cents, Hydro is -.33 cents, Nuclear is 1.04 cents, and Gas CC is -3.18 cents. What the carbon neutral proponents want you to pay is an additional 21.92 cents per KWH for solar electricity, and for wind an increase of 8.82 cents per KWH.

The benefits of reducing carbon emissions do not appear to be cost effective for higher priced options. According to Frank's report, the cost of reduced emission benefits are: Wind is 4.77 cents, Solar is 5.11 cents, Hydro is 4.83 cents, Nuclear is 5.16 cents and Gas CC is 3.46 cents. Frank answers the question of why the costs per KWH of wind and solar are much higher, and the benefits not much different, than the other three low-carbon alternatives. Costs are higher due to cost to build a wind or solar plant, they operate at full capacity only about 15 percent of the time, and output is highly variable. Frank estimates that it takes at least 7.3 solar plants and 4.3 wind plants to produce the same amount of power as one Hydro or nuclear or coal or gas-fired plant. He suggests that renewable incentives that favor wind and solar are very expensive and inefficient way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

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Last year Northwest Natural presented Vision 2050: Destination Zero, an in-depth report that shows multiple scenarios for how NW Natural can achieve carbon neutrality, a low-carbon energy future in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This report analyzes potential scenarios in which NW Natural could achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 for the energy services they provide to 2.5 million residents.

Emerging new technologies can play a role in decarbonizing non-renewable gas supplies through the direct capture of carbon dioxide at the point of combustion. These emissions can be sequestered or utilized, giving rise to the category of carbon capture, utilization, and storage.

NW Natural has market-ready technology in the pilot phase of deployment designed for natural gas utilities. They are piloting the CarbinX unit, manufactured by the Canadian-based CleanO2 firm, which draws a fraction of the flue gas from natural gas-fired appliances and mixes that gas with potassium hydroxide to produce potassium carbonate. The initial model is expected to capture 20% of the CO2 in the flue stream and eventually rise to 100% in 2030. The CarbinX device is best suited for larger facilities like indoor aquatic and recreation centers or hotels with on-site laundry, places that use relatively stable amounts of natural gas.

NW Natural is also partnering with Modern Electron on another pilot project to turn methane into clean hydrogen and solid carbon to go live in early 2023. All these innovative efforts that actually reduces carbon emissions, unlike HB 2021, have fallen on deaf ears with the Oregon legislature's majority party.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-22 06:54:19Last Update: 2022-11-21 22:27:48



Oregon Declares Another Emergency
U.S. Senate declares emergency is over

The Biden Administration is fighting back against Senate Republican along with 13 Democrats who voted to put an end to the notion that COVID is still an emergency. Senate Joint Resolution 63 is intended to put an end to a national emergency declared by the President on March 13, 2020. Senator Roger Marshall, a physician from Kansas, forced the issue onto the Senate floor, but Joe Biden says he needs an “emergency” to fund things like student loan forgiveness.

Now that Nancy Pelosi is out of the picture, this vote may get enough bipartisan support to put a bill on the president's desk. However, Joe Biden says he will veto it, saying the bill would end the national emergency "abruptly and prematurely."

Governor Kate Brown is desperately trying to keep the crisis mentality going in Oregon to test out the newly passed authority given to the Oregon Health Authority. The shortage of nursing and professional staff created during the COVID emergency is having a lingering effect. Many were forced to quit because they refused to take a vaccine that is now being suspended or banned in India, Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Latvia. In the U.S., a year ago, twelve state governors signed legislation restricting COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

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Still Governor Brown continues to tell healthcare workers they can’t help with the shortage of nurses if they choose to not vaccinate or qualify for an exemption. SB 1529 carried by Senator Deb Patterson (D-Salem), passed on partisan lines against overwhelming opposition concerned with the unfettered powers given to the Health Authority whenever an emergency is declared or to declare an emergency with the governor’s approval. SB 1529 allows the Public Health Director to direct and deploy State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Oregon (SERV-OR), a database of healthcare professionals volunteering their services including those licensed in other states that can practice in Oregon upon declaration of an emergency.

The Governor’s executive order will give hospitals additional flexibility to staff beds for children, allow them to draw on a pool of medical volunteer nurses and doctors from other states (SERV-OR), and take other steps to provide care to pediatric patients. One may ask what the emergency really is since SERV-OR data base includes 5,150 Oregon licensed professionals that could fill in without an emergency. There is an additional 224 with dual license in Oregon and another state, and 75 out-of-state license holders.

There is no vaccine for RSV, so why does Governor Brown and OHA continue to block Oregonian professionals that aren’t vaccinated in the light of national bi-partisan support declaring the emergency is over?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-21 08:30:31Last Update: 2022-11-21 19:55:37



Multnomah County Forecasts More Budget Deficit
“We are more likely to have a recession than not”

The Multnomah County Budget Office delivered an update to its five-year budget outlook Tuesday, Nov. 15, projecting a growing gap between revenues and expenses in the most recent General Fund forecast.

The five-year forecast is meant to help the Board of County Commissioners assess the long-term financial implications and stability of both current and proposed policies and programs. The forecast anticipates a deficit of $2.6 million for fiscal year 2024, which starts July 1, 2023, and lasts through June 30, 2024. The deficit is expected to grow to $15.4 million by FY 2028.

Business income tax and property tax collections are steady, said Jeff Renfro, the County’s economist. But they may be offset by factors including personnel cost increases in light of new labor agreements, growing recession risks and continued uncertainty over inflation.

“I will just say now I think we are more likely to have a recession than not,” Renfro said. “And we are incorporating that into some of our assumptions.”

Additionally, one-time-only funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, which spent taxpayer dollars a series of poverty, homelessness and public health programs during the pandemic, is set to expire. The fiscal impact of continuing those programs would surely add costs.

While the most recent data shows that inflation may be cooling down, Renfro said, the Federal Reserve may keep interest rates higher for longer than initially planned to ensure inflation eases. Each month that passes with higher interest rates increases the risk of recession, Renfro said.

Moving forward, Renfro said, he is expecting more pressure from inflation and rising personnel costs. Reduced profits would reduce County tax revenues.

In FY 2023, Renfro said, the County could see its business income tax revenue down 12% from the previous year.

The contradiction, Renfro said, is that household incomes continue to rise. Households have more savings than in the past. That means households are able to continue driving consumption, which is good for the economy.

Inflation and the increase in interest rates have also reduced housing affordability, which affects lower-income households the hardest. The decrease in housing affordability will be exacerbated by interest rate increases in the medium term, as the slowdown in housing construction will make the housing shortage worse. Data from the Budget Office’s new Data Library, created by College to County intern Pari Magphanthang, confirmed these already existing, stark disparities.

Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, a Democrat who served two terms as an Oregon legislator said rising interest rates underscore the need for “mitigating those disproportionate impacts through Congressional action like rental assistance or child supports or construction loans.”

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Airport travel rebounds, but uncertainty remains on downtown business trends.

The restrictions of the covid pandemic devastated domestic air travel at Portland International Airport.

But even as air travel has been slow to recover, motor vehicle rental tax collections have returned to normal. That’s because rental car prices are higher. Motor tax revenue also has rebounded to normal levels.

“My assumption going forward is that, as the supply chain issues and the higher price issues start to unwind, we will continue to get kind of incremental growth in traffic through Portland International Airport,” Renfro said.

Renfro noted a surprising uncertainty in the downtown Portland commercial market. Many spaces, especially downtown, remain under lease despite not being occupied on a consistent basis. It’s unknown what will happen to the commercial real estate market as more of those leases expire.

Based on the structure of the County’s property tax system, Renfro said, risk to the County’s ledger from the commercial real estate market is somewhat limited. But property taxes account for 60% of the County’s revenues, so even a small change will have some effect.

On Dec. 9, the Budget Office will release its annual budget manual and guidance to help departments prepare their FY 2024 budgets. Then, on Feb. 13, 2023, the departments will submit their budgets to the Budget Office. On Feb. 24, the Budget Office will post those program offers online.

The Budget Office will also deliver two more budget forecasts: one in March 2023 and one in May. On April 27, the Chair’s Office will release its proposed budget, with adoption scheduled for June 18.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-11-20 08:05:41Last Update: 2022-11-20 09:02:20



Oregon Firearms Instant Check System Overwhelmed
“We will not be focusing investigations on magazine capacity issues.”

The passage of Oregon ballot measure 114 is slated to go into effect on December 8, 2022, despite the fact that ballots are still being counted, according to the Oregon Secretary of State. This measure is a prime example of the state divide passed by only four counties and rejected in 29. Only Multnomah, Washington, Lane and Benton counties passed the measure. Now, the rush to purchase a firearm has overloaded the Firearms Instant Check System (FICS).

Several organizations are planning legal action to find at least parts of Measure 114 unconstitutional. Several county sheriffs have released statements.

Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast stated efforts will go into developing procedures to comply and monitor potential litigation. “We anticipate significant strain on our limited staffing and resources...we will prioritize our services towards the areas of greatest need to best serve the residents and visitors within Marion County, therefore will not be focusing investigations on magazine capacity issues.”

Linn County Sheriff Michelle Duncan stated, “This is a terrible law for gunowners, crime victims, and public safety. I want to send a clear message to Linn County residents that the Linn County Sheriff's Office is NOT going to be enforcing magazine capacity limits.”

Union County Sheriff Cody Bowen joined with Sheriff Duncan to not uphold the laws under Measure 114.

Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe said in an interview with Truth About Guns, that he also does not intend to enforce magazine capacity limits. “That is just the way it’s going to be. The supreme law of the land is a constitution of the United States, and I believe that this measure is totally contrary to the Constitution.”

Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber also believes Measure 114 is unconstitutional, but in a release stated none of the measure outcomes affects their current licensing program.

Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler stated to NewsWatch 12 that making it more difficult for legal gun owners to acquire a gun and repeating background checks does not address the impact that mental illnesses have on gun violence. He is concerned with the number of extra employees that will be required to deal with permits, background checks, safety training, etc.

More county sheriffs are speaking out indicating they will not enforce Measure 114. Among them are Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey,

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The Oregon State Police (OSP) is aware that the public has many questions regarding Ballot Measure 114. The Oregon State Police is working very closely with the Department of Justice, the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association and the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police to assess the required processes that need to be completed to implement this law. OSP, lawmakers and stakeholders must write regulations for the first rules on permits for buying a gun and figure out the cost to enforce.

For the month of November 2022, approximately 63% of the requests received into the FICS unit have been approved. The remaining transactions must be evaluated by an OSP employee to determine what caused the person to be kicked out of the automated process. If applicable a manual correction can be made, and the application can be approved.

OSP suggests checking information when submitting for a Firearms purchase or transfer that could exclude you from the automated process: This unit has been working through these extreme firearms request volumes and will continue to process them as quickly as possible.

The FICS unit’s hours of operation are set in statute, and largely determined by retail hours, seven days a week 363 days a year with only Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day off. Information about the Oregon State Police’s Firearms Instant Check System (FICS) including how to complete a Firearm Pre-Purchase Self-Assessment Questionnaire, can be found on their website.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-18 06:31:49Last Update: 2022-11-17 20:00:25



Kate Brown Issues Executive Order to Help Pediatric Supply
Pediatric cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus are on the rise

Governor Kate Brown has exercised her executive authority under ORS Chapter 401 in response to a surge of pediatric cases and hospitalizations of respiratory viruses, including Respiratory Syncytial Virus -- commonly known as RSV -- across Oregon. The executive order will give hospitals additional flexibility to staff beds for children, allow them to draw on a pool of medical volunteer nurses and doctors, and take other steps to provide care to pediatric patients.

RSV is a common respiratory virus that spreads through virus-containing respiratory droplets produced from coughing and sneezing. For most children, RSV produces mild illness. However, young children are especially susceptible to RSV. Children under the age of two are at increased risk of severe disease.

Since the onset of Oregon’s RSV season in late October, the statewide pediatric hospitalization rate has more than tripled, and is likely to exceed its previously recorded weekly hospitalization rate imminently. With only two pediatric specialty hospitals in the state with a pediatric ICU — OHSU’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital amd Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel – and a third hospital, Providence St. Vincent’s Hospital, which has a limited number of pediatric ICU beds — this executive action will help ensure hospitals have the tools they need to care for sick children, both from RSV as well as from other illnesses that may bring kids to the hospital.

"Oregon’s nurses, doctors, and hospital staff are deeply committed to caring for our children, and I’m grateful for all the work they are doing under difficult circumstances to help our kids,” said Governor Brown. “As the country faces a surge in pediatric RSV cases, we want to make sure Oregon’s hospitals have access to the tools they need to provide care for sick kids. For parents, please know you can take steps to reduce the risk of RSV, including practicing the good health and hygiene habits we’ve learned over the past few years.”

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“Like other hospitals in the region and across the country, OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital is currently admitting a high number of sick patients. Illnesses have hit our communities hard—and this comes on top of extreme health care staffing challenges which were exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Dana A. Braner, M.D., physician-in-chief at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital. “We expect this spike in illness to continue in the coming months. The dedicated staff here at Doernbecher are incredible, and they will continue to provide quality, compassionate care for our patients.”

“It’s important for parents to remember that while this respiratory season is severe, there are key steps families can take to protect their young children,” said Dr. Jim McCord, interim chief medical officer for Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel. “Be cautious with your young children around large groups of people, particularly indoors, make sure your child is up to date on flu and childhood immunizations, and everyone needs to wash their hands frequently. Parents should contact their primary care provider with questions or concerns.”

State health experts at the Oregon Health Authority encourage all individuals at increased risk of severe disease (and their caregivers) to take steps to prevent RSV and other respiratory infections this flu season. If you have questions about your child’s care, call your health care provider or visit an urgent care center. At this time, hospital emergency departments are strained. Only visit the hospital if your child shows signs of severe illness, such as if your child has trouble breathing.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-17 06:58:02Last Update: 2022-11-16 14:40:52



Read to Decarbonize Pension Fund
Read has spoken out against attempts by some policymakers to prevent consideration of ESG factors

Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read pledged his support for decarbonizing the Oregon Public Employee Pension Fund by transitioning to a net zero carbon emission investment portfolio by no later than 2050, consistent with the goals outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement. Treasurer Read announced that he will present the Oregon Investment Council in early 2024 with a comprehensive proposal to implement this goal.

“Today is the first step in what will be a comprehensive and strategic effort to address the impacts of climate change on the funds we manage on behalf of Oregonians,” said Treasurer Read, in a statement released on video. “Our investment decisions must be driven by financial considerations and investment returns, not politics. The reality is we must reduce the risks that climate change poses to our investments and to the retirement security of Oregon’s hardworking public servants and their families.”

The Treasurer is one of five voting members of the OIC and serves as the state’s chief investment officer. The other four voting members are appointed by the Governor and approved by the Oregon Senate. All members are bound by their fiduciary duty and existing statutory requirements to make the funds they manage as productive as possible within prudent investment standards.

“Addressing the risk of climate change to our investments is critical to our mission to provide a secure retirement to Oregon’s teachers, firefighters, nurses, and other hardworking public servants. It will not happen overnight and must be done in a manner that acknowledges both the complexity of our global economy and the urgency of the emerging climate crisis,” said Read. OPERF is a globally diversified portfolio totaling approximately $90 billion in assets.

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The plan, which will be presented for consideration to the OIC in 2024, will be built around the following four components, consistent with Treasury’s fiduciary responsibility: Read also said that while his staff develops a net zero plan for consideration by the Council, Treasury must accelerate existing efforts to address climate risks inside the investments currently under management. This includes expanding existing investments in renewable energy and clean tech, continuing efforts to more fully incorporate ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) risks into Treasury’s portfolio management, and continuing to partner with other institutional investors to push companies to address climate-related risks inside their organizations.

“It is important to maintain strong returns in the pension fund so that current and future retirees have a stable financial future. We must also use every tool we have to fight climate change and protect the vulnerable communities most impacted by it. I am pleased to support Treasurer Read’s plan to achieve these objectives,” said Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner.

“The Oregon State Fire Fighters Council supports Treasurer Read’s commitment for the responsible decarbonization of the Oregon Investment Council’s pension fund portfolio. It is important that the OIC is transparent with PERS members’ finances and adopts a policy that reflects our commitment to environmentally sound investment income streams,” said Karl Koenig, President Oregon State Fire Fighters Council.

Today’s announcement comes amidst an increasing politicization of institutional investing. Read and other institutional investors have spoken out against attempts by some policymakers to prevent consideration of ESG factors in institutional investing.

Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means: “By decarbonizing the pension fund, we can responsibly manage the impacts of climate change on our investments while producing strong returns that will maintain the strength of Oregon's pension fund and our commitment to retirees.”

Representative David Gomberg, Co-Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means: “Our coastal communities are uniquely impacted by the effects of climate change. I support Treasurer Read’s plan to decarbonize the pension fund, while continuing to generate returns to fulfill our obligations to current and future retirees.”

Representative-elect Daniel Nguyen: “By decarbonizing the pension fund, we can responsibly manage the impacts of climate change on our investments while producing strong returns that will maintain the strength of Oregon's pension fund and our commitment to retirees.”

Representative-elect Ben Bowman: “Treasurer Read’s plan to align the pension fund with the Paris Climate Agreement will help secure a stable financial future for current and future retirees and a healthier and safer climate future for all of us.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-16 12:45:09Last Update: 2022-11-16 14:23:23



Salem-Keizer Schools Deal with Threat
Police presence has a positive impact

Salem Police officers arrested a middle-school student as part of the recent investigation into threats made against the Parrish and Houck Middle School campuses on a social media platform. Police dispatch center began receiving multiple calls from concerned parents regarding threats on Sunday.

The Police Department and Salem-Keizer Public Schools worked with the assistance from the FBI to determine the source of the alarming messages and arrested a 12-year-old Salem-Keizer Public Schools student involved in the incident. Detectives confirmed the threats were not credible, and the safety of the schools was never in jeopardy.

Within a day there was a drive-by shooting in front of Jefferson High School in Portland that left a student in the hospital with a shoulder injury. The second incident in a month.

In the last 27 years, Oregon has witnessed four in school shootings. That is four too many. In 1998, a 15-year-old began shooting at Thurston High in Springfield leaving 29 victims with four fatalities. In 2007, a 15-year-old Springwater Trail High, Gresham, student shot from outside at the windows of two classrooms with a high-powered rifle leaving ten victims. In 2014, a 15-year-old shot a student and then himself after wounding a teacher at Troutdale High School. In 2015, a 26-year-old man entered Snyder Hall, Umpqua Community College, killing nine people and wounding another eight.

These young people are still fresh in minds of parents. Many grew up respecting law enforcement and never expected to see police in the halls of our schools, but then the unthinkable happened and we welcomed their friendly faces to protect our children.

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Then the forces of BLM dominated the legislative environment, and the Senate Interim Committee on Education, chaired by Senator Michael Dembrow, in 2021 introduced SB 238. The bill prohibited district school boards or superintendents from approving a contract or other agreement that would provide for members of law enforcement to be assigned to schools or school district and redistributes the funds. The bill did not pass out of committee before adjournment. The bill followed passage of a law in 2017 that allows school districts to ban concealed handguns on school grounds.

We've gone from fear tactics over school shootings and providing security, fencing schools and requiring ID to enter, to appeasing rioters entertaining their tales of fear, to removing security from some schools and making them gun free zones. The racist stories told during the riots did not reflect any incidents with school security. Quite the opposite. They told stories of friendship, support and kindness. It’s been six years since the last shooting incident at a school in Oregon.

That doesn’t mean the law enforcement presence isn’t needed any more, it does mean their presence has had a positive impact.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-15 07:46:20Last Update: 2022-11-15 12:51:13



Mussel Harvesting Opens from Siletz Bay to California Border
Shellfish alert has ended

The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announce a new shellfish opening. All mussel harvesting is now open from the Washington border to the California border. Recent samples indicate levels of the marine biotoxin domoic acid are below the closure limit for two consecutive weeks.

Razor clam harvesting is closed from the Washington border to the California border for elevated levels of the marine biotoxin domoic acid.

Bay clam and crab harvesting remain open along the entire Oregon coast. Oregon Department of Agriculture will continue to test for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides and weather permit. Reopening an area closed for biotoxins requires two consecutive tests with results below the closure limit. Contact Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for recreational license requirements, permits, rules and limits.


--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2022-11-14 14:48:16Last Update: 2022-11-14 16:58:02



Solving Housing Disparity
“More than a quarter billion in funding”

The Joint Task Force on Addressing Racial Disparities in Home Ownership was created by the legislature in 2021 through HB 2007 and the final report was adopted on October 14, 2022. The committee was co-chaired by Representative Ricki Ruiz (D-Gresham) and Senator James Manning Jr (D-Eugene). The adopted report includes an increase of more than a quarter billion in funding, legislation, eliminate barriers and discrimination issues that reduces homeownership among people of color in Oregon.

The bill was seemingly to address disparities, even though disparities are well covered in laws.

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

Was this really about disparities? The Task Force adopted 11 recommendations, $264,200,000 funding that is mostly recurring, plus increases taxes on second homes and adds new programs including government purchase of parcels and homes through selected organizations. The 11 recommendations are:
  1. Support the budget request for Oregon Housing and Community Services.
  2. Individual Development Accounts to support OHCS request $35 million biennial funding. Offset by eliminating the Mortgage Interest Deduction on second homes.
  3. Allocate $10 million for down payment assistance to be distributed through cultural and tribal organizations, and $25 million for Flex Lending Program borrowers primarily for those without tax ID numbers.
  4. Allocate $4 million to tribal homeownership, $4.8 million to homeownership centers and culturally responsive organizations, and $200,000 for training for housing counselors.
  5. Allocate funding to OHCS to inventory and develop pre-purchase counseling and educational materials in five languages.
  6. Develop appraiser training and education requirements.
  7. Add $5 million for positions at the Fair Housing Council of Oregon, Bureau of Labor and Industries, and Department of Justice.
  8. Work group on tax credits to address investor ownership and encourage the return of existing homes to the homeownership market.
  9. Allocate $30 million for a pilot providing 100 percent funding of the home purchase price within the Flex Lending Program in partnership with financial institutions.
  10. Allocate $100 million per biennium to subsize 500 homes less than $200,000 and pre-development costs. Create a new $30 million fund to purchase 200 parcels per biennium at zero percent interest. Allocate $20 million to OHCS to invest in community-based, innovative models to increase homeownership for communities of color.
  11. Subsidize interest rates on certain 15-year or 20-year mortgages to fast track the equity gained for eligible borrowers.
Will these recommendations resolve inequities without creating new inequities? To be constitutionally sound, “equal treatment under the law,” it isn’t equal ownership, but equal opportunity. To rob taxpayers to grow government programs in the name of equity won’t solve a homeless crisis that has been touted as Oregon’s number one issue.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-14 14:38:04Last Update: 2022-11-15 13:10:59



Analysis: The Governor’s Powers
The Oregon Governor commands a great deal of power

The Governor of Oregon is undoubtedly the most powerful elected official in Oregon. In addition to the bully pulpit and the ability to veto bills, the Oregon Governor commands a great deal of power.

Executive Appointments

Most large and medium-sized state agencies set policy based on a commission. These commissions are all executive branch commissions made by the Governor. This is a tremendous amount of power. Additionally, the Governor appoints agency heads.

Is the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife going to concern itself more with providing hunting and fishing opportunities for Oregonians, or are they going to be focused on conservation? Is the Department of Environmental Quality going to be focused on helping industry comply with regulations or are they going to crack down and issue as many fines as possible? Is the Department of Human Services going to be focused on getting people off assistance and on to self-sufficiency or are they going to be recruiting more people into the system?

Line item veto

Unknown to many, the Oregon governor has a line item veto on spending bills. Though it may not be used often, its threat can have a chilling effect on appropriations. Article V, Section 15a of the Oregon Constitution says ,"The Governor shall have power to veto single items in appropriation bills, and any provision in new bills declaring an emergency, without thereby affecting any other provision of such bill."

Call Special Session

Article V, Section 12 authorizes the governor to call special sessions of the legislature. It says, "He may on extraordinary occasions convene the Legislative Assembly by proclamation, and shall state to both houses when assembled, the purpose for which they shall have been convened."

Negotiating with Public Employees

The Governor unilaterally negotiates with government employee unions, including pay, benefits and working conditions. The legislature is left to come up with whatever money is necessary to fund what the governor has promised.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-13 11:12:07Last Update: 2022-11-13 20:29:11



Participation in Banking Increases
“It is important to get as many people as possible banked”

The number of unbanked households in Oregon dropped from 3.8 percent in 2019 to just 1.8 percent in 2021, according to a study by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This is significant for many Oregonians because it means they can avoid paying for expensive alternative financial services such as money orders, check cashing, and pre-paid cards.

Those costs can add up to thousands of dollars over a consumer’s lifetime.

Nationally, over 95 percent of U.S. households had some sort of banking account in 2021. If a household is banked it means at least one member has a savings or checking account at a bank or credit union.

The Oregon Legislature passed SB 1565 in 2022 that makes it an unlawful practice -- with a few exceptions -- for a place of public accommodation offering goods or services, or any person acting on behalf of such place, to refuse to accept from a customer or patron, as payment for goods and services, United States currency.

According to Anthony Smith with the National Federation of Independent Business, "Cash is a labor-intensive process – and under SB 1565, as more and more customers pay electronically, employees would still have to make bank deposits and count out cash registers, before and after each shift, accounting for every transaction down to the last penny, even if the business makes very few – or no cash sales in an average day. Having cash on hand can also prove to be a security risk, exposing employees to the risk of robbery and employers to theft."

"As customer behaviors change," Smith continued, businesses respond by meeting those changing expectations in ways that will keep customers coming back again and again. Customers expect quick check-out lines and fast transactions. SB 1565 limits the ability of a business to safely operate at peak efficiency with customer experiences in mind.

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“One of the challenges facing the unbanked is all of the fees you have to pay to access your money,” said TK Keen, administrator of the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation at the Department of Business and Consumer Services. “While the individual cost may seem minor, having to buy several different financial products to pay rent, utilities, and other monthly expenses starts to add up and eats into your monthly budget. I am pleased to see that our financial institutions continue to help us make headway in getting consumers accounts, and in turn, reducing fees that consumers pay in their daily lives.”

Despite this improvement, Black, Indigenous, and Latino communities, as well as people experiencing a disability, are much more likely to be unbanked. Only 2.1 percent of White households are unbanked in the U.S. In contrast, 9.3 percent of Latino households and 11.3 percent of Black households are unbanked.

“It is important to get as many people as possible banked,” Keen said. “Relationships with our financial institutions come in handy for other financial services people need, such as a loan to buy a car, a mortgage to buy a home, and emergency loans for unexpected expenses that come up.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-12 06:18:46Last Update: 2022-11-11 11:58:53



Transportation Commission to Meet Nov. 17
Great Streets, 217 and Flat Fees

The Oregon Transportation Commission will meet Thursday, Nov. 17 at 9 a.m. at the Hillsboro Public Service Building, 1555 N. 1st Avenue, Hillsboro. Items on the agenda include: The agenda and meeting materials will be available on the OTC Website. The public is invited to watch the meeting on YouTube.

Members of the public are asked to submit written comment in advance of the Nov. 17 meeting and sign up for real-time virtual oral public comment. Sign up to provide comments by completing the comment form on the OTC website at www.oregon.gov/odot/Get-involved/Pages/OTC_Main.aspx. Please sign up by Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 4 p.m.

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Please note participation will be limited to one representative per organization. Commenters (and organizations) who are providing oral testimony to the OTC for the first time will be given priority for the limited available testimony spots.

To submit written testimony or comments electronically, please use the submission form on the OTC website by Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 4 p.m. to guarantee inclusion in the meeting packet. Comments not included in the meeting packet will be shared with Commissioners after the meeting.

Email written comments to OTCAdmin@odot.oregon.gov.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-11 10:49:05Last Update: 2022-11-11 11:01:53



142nd Wing to Conduct Veterans Day Flyovers
Defends our homeland with F-15 Eagle fighter jets

Oregon Military Department released the schedule for the Veterans Day flyover. The 142nd Wing out of the Portland Air National Guard Base, will conduct Veterans Day flyovers for ceremonies and parades at locations throughout the state.

142nd Wing Commander, Colonel Todd Hofford, said the wing is proud to conduct the flyovers. “We appreciate the opportunity to honor those that have served before us. The demonstration of air superiority on this day is a great reminder to us all how fortunate we are to be citizens of this country. These patriotic flyovers are courtesy of your Hometown Air Force.”

The F-15 Eagle fighter jets are scheduled to conduct flyovers at the following community locations at, or around the designated times on Friday, 11 November: All passes will be approximately 1,000 feet above ground level and about 400 mph airspeed. Flights could be canceled or times changed due to inclement weather or operational contingencies. There will also be a funeral flyover at 11:20 a.m. in Mollala, Oregon.

Previous in-flight flyover gopro footage can be downloaded at: https://www.dvidshub.net/video/752272/142nd-wing-f-15-flight-gopro-footage

The 142nd Wing, Portland Air National Guard Base employs 1,500 Airmen who provide an economic impact of nearly $500 million to the region. The 142nd Wing defends our homeland with F-15 Eagle fighter jets, guarding the Pacific Northwest skies from northern California to the Canadian border through their Aerospace Control Alert mission as part of Air Combat Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Their mission is to provide unequalled, mission-ready units to sustain combat aerospace superiority and peacetime tasking any time, any place in service to our nation, state and community.

The photo is of an F-15D Eagle assigned to the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard Base, Oregon, takes off during an afternoon sortie, Feb. 19, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs/Released).


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-10 16:25:41Last Update: 2022-11-10 17:36:13



Pediatric Respiratory Cases Surge
Oregon hospitals are being asked take the following steps immediately

The Oregon Health Authority has announced that "Like most of the country, Oregon is experiencing a surge in respiratory illnesses. An exponential increase in respiratory syncytial virus cases since October 29 alongside ongoing hospital staffing challenges are straining pediatric hospital bed capacity. Pediatric intensive care unit and medical-surgical beds statewide are heavily strained.

Given the urgency of the current situation, and expected continued rises in RSV and flu cases, we ask that Oregon hospitals take the following steps immediately: As a reminder, OHA rules still require masking in most healthcare settings.

OHA plans to circulate a survey to better understand hospital pediatric surge capacity in the coming days.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-10 10:44:04Last Update: 2022-11-10 16:25:17



Analysis: Slender GOP Leads have a History of Melting
Experts point to late money and volunteer efforts of public employee unions

As the election nears, wary -- and weary -- Republicans remember previous contests in which election night saw very narrow margins -- even slim leads -- turn to defeat. This year may be setting the stage for a similar outcome.

In 2010,Chris Dudley, who was ahead by just a few points on election night ended up losing by a few points.

Four years later, Kitzhaber defeated Dennis Richardson in a very close race, also.

What makes this possible? Many experts think that it's the late money and volunteer efforts of public employee unions who can pinpoint resources where needed.

The Drazan campaign released poll results on the eve of the election showing her leading by a slim margin. Will 2022 be a repeat of previous years, or will this be the time that the GOP is able to turn the tide in Mahonia Hall? Chances are we won't find out on Tuesday night.

Many Oregon Republican voters are certainly nervous about the results of Tuesday's election. They have witnessed reasons to be nervous in the past. Oregon Republican voters may go to bed Tuesday night believing that their candidate is winning, only to awaken the next day disappointed to see the election favor the Democrat candidate.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-08 21:00:03Last Update: 2022-11-08 21:07:14



2022 General Election Projected Winners

Governor
NonaffiliatedBetsy Johnson
RepublicanChristine Drazan
ConstitutionDonice Noelle Smith
DemocratTina Kotek
LibertarianR Leon Noble
US Senator
ProgressiveChris Henry
Pacific GreenDan Pulju
RepublicanJo Rae Perkins
DemocratRon Wyden
Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries
NonpartisanCheri Helt
NonpartisanChristina E Stephenson
US Representative, 1st District
RepublicanChristopher A Mann
DemocratSuzanne Bonamici
US Representative, 2nd District
RepublicanCliff S Bentz
DemocratJoe Yetter
US Representative, 3rd District
IndependentDavid E Delk
DemocratEarl Blumenauer
RepublicanJoanna Harbour
US Representative, 4th District
RepublicanAlek Skarlatos
ConstitutionJim Howard
LibertarianLevi Leatherberry
Pacific GreenMike Beilstein
DemocratVal Hoyle
US Representative, 5th District
DemocratJamie McLeod-Skinner
RepublicanLori Chavez-DeRemer
US Representative, 6th District
DemocratAndrea Salinas
ConstitutionLarry D McFarland
RepublicanMike Erickson
State Senator, 3rd District
DemocratJeff Golden
RepublicanRandy Sparacino
State Senator, 4th District
LibertarianEric Pinnell
DemocratFloyd Prozanski
State Senator, 6th District
DemocratAshley Pelton
RepublicanCedric R Hayden
State Senator, 7th District
DemocratJames I Manning Jr
RepublicanRaquel M Ivie
State Senator, 8th District
DemocratSara Gelser Blouin
RepublicanValerie Draper Woldeit
State Senator, 10th District
DemocratDeb Patterson
RepublicanRaquel Moore-Green
State Senator, 11th District
RepublicanKim Thatcher
DemocratRichard Walsh
State Senator, 13th District
DemocratAaron Woods
RepublicanJohn D Velez
State Senator, 15th District
RepublicanCarolina Malmedal
DemocratJaneen Sollman
State Senator, 16th District
DemocratMelissa Busch
RepublicanSuzanne Weber
State Senator, 17th District
DemocratElizabeth Steiner Hayward
RepublicanJohn Verbeek
State Senator, 18th District
RepublicanKimberly Rice
NonaffiliatedRich Vial
DemocratWlnsvey E Campos
State Senator, 19th District
RepublicanBen Edtl
DemocratRob Wagner
State Senator, 20th District
RepublicanBill Kennemer
DemocratMark Meek
State Senator, 24th District
DemocratKayse Jama
RepublicanStan Catherman
State Senator, 26th District
RepublicanDaniel G Bonham
DemocratRaz Mason
State Representative, 1st District
DemocratBret Cecil
RepublicanDavid Brock Smith
State Representative, 2nd District
ConstitutionEdward Renfroe
DemocratKevin Bell
RepublicanVirgle J Osborne
State Representative, 3rd District
DemocratBrady W Keister
RepublicanLily Morgan
State Representative, 4th District
RepublicanChristine Goodwin
State Representative, 5th District
DemocratPam Marsh
RepublicanSandra A Abercrombie
State Representative, 6th District
DemocratDan Davis
RepublicanKim Wallan
State Representative, 7th District
RepublicanAlan Stout
DemocratJohn Lively
State Representative, 8th District
RepublicanMichael F Moore
DemocratPaul R Holvey
State Representative, 9th District
RepublicanBoomer Wright
DemocratJerry Rust
State Representative, 10th District
RepublicanCeleste McEntee
DemocratDavid Gomberg
State Representative, 11th District
RepublicanJami Cate
DemocratMary K Cooke
State Representative, 12th District
RepublicanCharlie Conrad
DemocratMichelle Emmons
State Representative, 13th District
DemocratNancy Nathanson
RepublicanTimothy S Sutherland
State Representative, 14th District
DemocratJulie Fahey
RepublicanStan Stubblefield
State Representative, 15th District
DemocratBenjamin Watts
RepublicanShelly Boshart Davis
State Representative, 16th District
DemocratDan Rayfield
RepublicanKeith Lembke
State Representative, 17th District
RepublicanEd Diehl
State Representative, 18th District
DemocratJesse S Smith
RepublicanRick Lewis
State Representative, 19th District
RepublicanTJ Sullivan
DemocratTom Andersen
State Representative, 20th District
RepublicanDan Farrington
DemocratPaul Evans
LibertarianTaylor A Rickey
State Representative, 21st District
RepublicanKevin L Mannix
LibertarianMichael Morrow
DemocratRamiro Navarro Jr
State Representative, 22nd District
DemocratAnthony Medina
RepublicanTracy M Cramer
State Representative, 23rd District
RepublicanAnna M Scharf
DemocratKriss Wright
State Representative, 24th District
RepublicanLucetta A Elmer
DemocratVictoria Ernst
State Representative, 25th District
DemocratBen Bowman
RepublicanBob Niemeyer
State Representative, 26th District
DemocratCourtney Neron
RepublicanJason Fields
State Representative, 27th District
DemocratKen Helm
RepublicanSandra Nelson
State Representative, 28th District
DemocratDacia Grayber
RepublicanPatrick Castles
State Representative, 29th District
RepublicanGina Munster-Moore
DemocratSusan McLain
State Representative, 30th District
RepublicanJoe Everton
DemocratNathan Sosa
State Representative, 31st District
DemocratAnthony Sorace
RepublicanBrian G Stout
State Representative, 32nd District
RepublicanCyrus B Javadi
DemocratLogan C Laity
State Representative, 33rd District
DemocratMaxine E Dexter
RepublicanStan Baumhofer
State Representative, 34th District
RepublicanJohn Woods
DemocratLisa Reynolds
State Representative, 35th District
RepublicanDaniel R Martin
DemocratFarrah Chaichi
State Representative, 35th District
RepublicanGreer Trice
DemocratHai Pham
State Representative, 37th District
RepublicanAeric Estep
DemocratJules Walters
State Representative, 38th District
RepublicanAlistair Firmin
DemocratDaniel Nguyen
State Representative, 39th District
DemocratJanelle S Bynum
RepublicanKori Haynes
State Representative, 40th District
RepublicanAdam Baker
DemocratAnnessa Hartman
State Representative, 41st District
DemocratMark F Gamba
RepublicanRob Reynolds
State Representative, 42nd District
DemocratRob Nosse
RepublicanScott Trahan
LibertarianShira Newman
State Representative, 43rd District
DemocratTawna Sanchez
RepublicanTim LeMaster
State Representative, 44th District
ConstitutionMorgan Hinthorne
RepublicanRolf Schuler
DemocratTravis Nelson
State Representative, 45th District
RepublicanGeorge Donnerberg
DemocratThuy Tran
State Representative, 46th District
DemocratKhanh Pham
RepublicanTimothy R Sytsma
State Representative, 47th District
DemocratAndrea Valderrama
RepublicanBill Stewart
State Representative, 48th District
DemocratHoa H Nguyen
RepublicanJohn Masterman
State Representative, 49th District
RepublicanRandy E Lauer
DemocratZach Hudson
State Representative, 50th District
RepublicanAmelia Salvador
DemocratRicki Ruiz
State Representative, 51st District
RepublicanJames Hieb
DemocratWalt Trandum
State Representative, 52nd District
DemocratDarcy Long
RepublicanJeff Helfrich
State Representative, 53rd District
DemocratEmerson Levy
RepublicanMichael Sipe
State Representative, 54th District
DemocratJason Kropf
RepublicanJudy Trego
State Representative, 55th District
DemocratBrian Lepore
RepublicanE Werner Reschke
State Representative, 56th District
RepublicanEmily G McIntire
DemocratJonathan P Chenjeri
State Representative, 57th District
RepublicanGreg Smith
State Representative, 58th District
RepublicanBobby Levy
LibertarianJesse Bonifer
State Representative, 59th District
DemocratLawrence Jones
RepublicanVikki Breese-Iverson
State Representative, 60th District
ProgressiveAntonio Sunseri
RepublicanMark Owens

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-08 20:00:00Last Update: 2022-11-13 17:37:50



Evergreen Air Museum Hosts Students
Admission is free for veterans through this Sunday

As we take time to reflect on veterans day, there’s a place in our backyard where the younger generation can learn about those who served our country, and the technological advancements that supported their efforts.

Home to more than 150 aircraft, spacecraft, and exhibits, the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is the site for frequent field trips like one recently hosted by the full-time online public school, Willamette Connections Academy.

“This trip really made me think about those who serve our country by listening to my dad talk about the military aircraft at the museum that helped him in Desert Storm, listening to the veteran volunteers, and reading the history behind the exhibits,” said Arowyn Crossley from McMinnville, a senior at the statewide virtual charter school. She was one of the nearly 30 people who attended the field trip, including students, family members and teachers.

Arowyn’s great-grandfather was an Air Force fighter pilot in WWII and her father, Chris Crossley, served in the Army infantry 101st Airborne Division for 25 years. “I had some good memories of the "Huey", I had my first of many helicopter rides in a similar aircraft,” said Chris Crossley, after spotting a Huey helicopter at Evergreen. He and Arowyn also checked out an A-10 Thunderbolt fighter bomber which flew top cover for Crossley and the rest of the ground forces below in Iraq.

Perhaps the 75th Anniversary of the legendary Spruce Goose at the museum will not only generate gratitude toward veterans who worked on this iconic piece of aeronautic history but also inspire future generations of innovators. “I appreciate the contributions they made and the innovation they created that directly impacted my service,” explained Chris Crossley when asked about the Spruce and the other extraordinary flying machines at Evergreen.

“I believe it is incredibly important for students to have an opportunity to go on field trips like the one to Evergreen where they can learn about the past, present, and future of aviation and space technology, understanding how a large part of that is equipping the people who serve our country,” noted Arowyn. “They may also be motivated to look towards STEM and create their own technological advancements, maybe they get that sense of awe for the wonders of science.”

The Evergreen Museum is home to over 150 military and civilian aircraft, spacecraft and exhibits. Tom Holden from Scio and his grandson Hayden Blair, a freshman at Willamette Connections Academy, looked over the A4D Navy Skyhawk, an “attack” plane Tom remembers well from his years as a military cargo pilot in the Vietnam War.

Arowyn encourages other young people such as Hayden to honor veterans by exploring places similar to Evergreen. “I wish more young people would visit the museum to see up close the aircraft and other equipment that’s saved countless lives and served other purposes,” explained Arowyn. “A museum tour not only offers students the ability to appreciate all aircraft personnel including service members but possibly inspires them to serve in the military themselves.

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Chris Crossley agrees with his daughter. “I have always appreciated museums and the contributions they make to preserving our nation's history. As a child growing up in Oregon, I remember visiting Battery Russell, Fort Clatsop, Ft. Astoria and other locations.” Willamette Connections Academy encourages students and parents to attend field trips for learning opportunities and to socialize with other families with children attending the online school.

Admission is free for veterans through this Sunday, November 13th at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. And since the kids are out of school on Friday, why not stop by the museum for a family field trip? Go to www.evergreenmuseum.org for more information

Willamette Connections Academy is a full-time tuition-free online public school serving K-12 students statewide. To learn more about enrollment or other information visit www.WillametteConnectionsAcademy.com or call (800) 382-6010


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-08 11:52:33Last Update: 2022-11-08 12:11:11



Safe Streets Task Force Detectives Make Arrest in Salem
Drug investigations seizes deadly fentanyl-laced tablets

The Salem Police specialty unit has been involved with the Safe Streets Task Force (SSTF) since the first of the year. The Safe Streets Task Force is part of the FBI’s Safe Streets Violent Crimes Initiative launched in 1992. The FBI's Safe Streets Violent Crime Initiative has successfully aligned FBI Agents, local law enforcement investigators, and federal and state prosecutors with SSTFs to reduce violent gangs, crimes of violence, and the apprehension of violent fugitives.

The Salem SSTF partnered with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon to bring increased focus and resources to address narcotics trafficking and violent crimes in Salem. Since the first of the year, Salem’s SSTF investigations have led to the seizure of nearly 40,000 fentanyl-laced tablets, over 100 pounds of methamphetamine, and 135 firearms.

The SSTF investigation led to the arrest of Phillip Thomas, a Salem resident, and indicted on November 2, by a federal Grand Jury in US District Court on several drug and weapons related charges.

Thomas was arrested on June 29 by the Salem Police Strategic Investigations Unit as part of an extensive investigation of polydrug pills containing fentanyl and other illicit drugs being sold in Salem. The 30-year-old was charged by a federal Grand Jury on five counts: Thomas was in the Marion County Jail on outstanding warrants in other related cases when transferred into federal custody November 7. He was detained as both a flight risk and danger to the community pending a jury trial scheduled for December 20.

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The first SSTF was established in April 2021 by an FBI-led task force working with Portland police to combat the increase of shootings. It was a process of negotiations on set boundaries on Portland officers participating as deputized federal officers, but forbidden to do immigration or crowd control enforcement.

The City of Gresham has also partnered with the Safe Street Task Force as local restorative justice and gun violence initiatives.

Along with the increase in crimes is the increase in deaths of young people from counterfeit prescription pills made with fentanyl. Reducing Oregon’s drug crimes, which is at the root of many other crimes, will take voters to realize it was a mistake to decriminalize street drugs.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-08 00:41:54Last Update: 2022-11-08 17:01:59



Ag Department Confirms Sudden Oak Death on Coast
The invasive plant pathogen confirmed in Lincoln City

The Oregon Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, has confirmed the presence of Phytophthora ramorum (P. ramorum), which causes the disease commonly known as sudden oak death (SOD), at a botanical garden and private residence in Lincoln City, Oregon. ODA has intensively sampled both locations and is developing a mitigation plan based on results.

In early November, ODA and USDA APHIS will conduct a ground-based survey in and around the neighborhood where officials detected P. ramorum. ODA would like to thank nearby residents for cooperating in surveying vegetation in the immediate area. The purpose of the survey is to find out if the invasive pathogen has spread beyond the affected properties and what type of treatment and eradication efforts are needed. ODA and USDA APHIS suspect that the pathogen was introduced into Lincoln City through the planting of infested nursery stock several years ago.

The invasive fungal-like pathogen is most well known as the causal agent of sudden oak death. Since its first detection in northern California in the mid 1990s, P. ramorum has been found to naturally infect over 100 different plant species including multiple high-value ornamental plant species. Such as rhododendron, Pieris spp., cherry laurel and viburnum. On these susceptible ornamental species symptoms include leaf spots, lesions along the twig and/or leaf mid-vein. Multiple plant pathogens cause similar symptoms, so the disease must be confirmed with laboratory testing.

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P. ramorum was first detected in Oregon in wholesale nursery stock in 2003. It has been detected in limited nursery sites since then. In 2001, the pathogen was confirmed for the first time in the forests outside Brookings in Curry County. Federal and state quarantines were established to prevent the spread of this pathogen in soil and infected plant material. To meet quarantine requirements, the ODA continues to monitor and test nursery stock for the presence of P. ramorum in cooperation with USDA annually.

According to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the public can help slow the spread by buying healthy plants from reputable nurseries and avoiding purchasing plants online. In addition, if you live, work or recreate in the quarantined area of Curry County, do not remove plants from the forest, do not remove soil and stay on established trails and respect any trail closures. Finally, clean and disinfect all equipment, including your vehicle, bikes, and pet paws, with a 10 percent bleach solution.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-07 15:11:29Last Update: 2022-11-07 15:41:29



Oregon Elections Division Announces 3M Registered Voters
“Ranked as the most accessible state for voting”

The Oregon Elections Division announced that Oregon has hit a new milestone of 3 million registered voters. “Oregonians are voters,” Secretary of State Shemia Fagan said. “Over the last 40 years, Republicans and Democrats in Oregon have worked together to build a system that is consistently ranked as the most accessible voting system in America. Just like our beautiful coast and mountain ranges, strong Tribal partnerships, or events like the Pendleton Round-up, voting is something Oregonians take pride in.”

Representative Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) sponsored HB 2681, passed in 2021, which changed the retention of inactive voters to remain on active voter rolls from 10 years to no expiration. It required reregistering 525,918 inactive voters putting them back on the active voter rolls. Past voters moving out of state are never cleared from the voter rolls unless they notify the state. States do not cross-check voter registrations even though there is an Interstate Crosscheck Program and the Electronic Registration Information Center, which allows comparison of voter list data, motor vehicle data, change of address data and death records.

HB 2681 required county clerks to mail voter notification to inactive voters with a current address between 60 and 70 days before date of both 2022 primary election and the 2022 general election. Only 17,376 had valid addresses with an estimated cost to counties of $34,752.

Janice Dysinger, Oregonians for Fair Elections, said ORS 247.012 is an underlying issue, which “only requires that the voter give their name, resident address, date of birth and signature to register to vote. It does not require any ID. ORS 247.035-038 does not require any actual physical address to establish a residency. The voter only needs to think of Oregon as their home and that they intend to return here someday. Any landmark can be the person’s address to register. No proof or any type of documentation is required. These are very loose standards,” Dysinger said in testimony. “HB2681 will perpetuate inaccurate addresses for people whom we cannot verify as actual real people. The scenarios are endless on how this could be abused.”

Oregon People’s Vote representatives say their experience canvassing to clean voter rolls has found 20-30 percent anomalies. They are taking declarations and to date they have at least seven that could be turned over to the sheriff for criminal investigation. A crime only takes place when the ballot is voted. They will pursue more declarations after the election to have enough that they can’t deny attention.

Secretary Fagan said Oregon voter registration has been steadily climbing since the state passed an automatic voter registration law, known as the Oregon Motor Vote Law, in 2016. Vote by mail, automatic voter registration and other Oregon-led innovations are why the state was recently ranked as the most accessible state for voting in the country.

A vulnerable part of Oregon’s election system is stealing ballots. Voter fraud ensues with the ability to have access to inactive voters. So being the most accessible state does not necessarily go hand-in-hand with secure elections.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-06 06:42:06Last Update: 2022-11-06 11:54:44



Democrats Dig in to Defend Bynum
“Democrats are hoping they can cover up for her soft-on-crime record”

Oregon Democrats are increasing their efforts to rescue themselves from what could be an embarrassing Election Night. Democrats and national special interest groups are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to try and defend three-term incumbent Representative Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas) in House District 39 in Clackamas County.

Since the May primary, Representative Bynum has reported raising $2,337,783.97 in cash and in-kind contributions. Many of her donations have been from untraceable entities, such as the House Democratic Caucus (Future PAC) and the Democrat Party of Oregon, both of which receive donations and then send them to candidates, such as Bynum. She has also been a recipient of much union money -- especially government employee unions.

Bynum has been a thorn in the side of previous House Democratic Leadership, even challenging then-Speaker Tina Kotek for her Speakership.

According to Republican State Leadership Committee Spokesman Zach Kraft, "The idea Democrats would need to have a 4:1 spending advantage to win a reliably blue district like this would have been inconceivable just a few months ago, and speaks to how much of a failure Democrat control has been for Oregon. Democrats are clearly hoping their last-minute avalanche of cash and 4x spending advantage will allow them to avoid voter backlash over their disastrous agenda."

Largest Bynum Contributors
Since May 2022 Primary
Contributor/PayeeAmount
Future PAC, House Builders$1,157,236
Citizen Action for Political Education (SEIU 503)$194,523
Democratic Party of Oregon$187,998
Oregon Education Association-PAC$51,400
Oregon Education Association$35,000
Oregon AFSCME Council 75$30,000
Oregon League of Conservation Voters PAC$28,445
Defend Oregon's Values$27,500
Oregon Nurses Political Action Committee$26,021
Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters$25,000
Oregon Trial Lawyers Association PAC$15,666
Local 48 Electricians PAC$10,000
Oregon Operators Mutual Benefit Corporation$10,000
Kraft says, “House District 39 is a microcosm for what is happening across Oregon -- voters are rejecting the Democrats’ radical liberal agenda and they are in full-blown panic mode,” said RSLC spokesman Zach Kraft. “Democrats are hoping they can cover up for Janelle Bynum’s soft-on-crime record by ramping up their investments in her candidacy at the 11th hour, just like they are doing in districts all across Oregon. If Democrats don’t defend their majorities after spending millions in a deep-blue state that Biden carried by 16 points in 2020, it will be a failure of epic proportions and show just how much their socialist policies are being rejected.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-03 11:38:18Last Update: 2022-11-03 11:47:13



Gov. Brown Releases Higher Education Study
Forecast is grim

In 2012 Oregon voters were convinced to pass Measure 85 and divert the corporate kicker revenue into a fund for K-12 public schools instead of rebating the money to companies. When passed the corporate refunds typically averaged about $120 million every two years. In 2019 the corporate kicker sent $616 million and in 2021 it sent $420 million to K-12 schools. The corporate activity tax, which funds the Student Success Act, added about $2.3 billion for 2021-23 school budget. This translates into about $800 million in direct grants to school districts.

Despite Oregon’s windfall of cash rolling into schools, high school graduation rate is still one of the lowest in the nation, and colleges and universities have suffered a steady decline in enrollment. According to Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) reported last year that Oregon ranks 34th in the nation in its investment into higher education. Now colleges and universities are crying what about us?

Sen. Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego), state Senate majority leader, said regarding the forecast, “Oregon’s economy is still strong. Oregon Senate Democrats’ investments in housing, education and child care are showing results.” Not according to The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), a private nonprofit hired at the suggestion of Oregon Governor Kate Brown asking Oregon Community College Association and the Oregon Council of Presidents to undergo a comprehensive study in order to get recommendations for financial stability on how to strengthen the higher education system in the state. The report details options for a pathway in the September 23, 2022, Oregon Higher Education Landscape Study. It boils down to more taxpayer dollars are needed.

NCHEMS’ report begins with a list of demands on the state that will “increase demands on taxpayers in a state where the per capita income is below the national average, where income taxes are the primary source of state revenues, and where there is little appetite for increasing tax rates to pay for needed service.”

NCHEMS’ report ultimately suggests the way to succeed is to increase the number of workers and high-paying jobs. It claims that Oregon lacks in qualified workers, so it points to students needing more affordable access to college, and the state’s taxpayers need to shell out more money to support higher education.

The report suggests that tuition revenues alone will not pay for the investments needed to create a work force. Projections indicate fewer traditional college-age students in the years to come, and recruiting out-of-state students are also discouraging with the number of high school graduates in neighboring states projected to decrease substantially.

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Portland Community College has proposed their own Measure 26-224 requesting voters to approve a $485 million to cover a decrease of 28,000 students in the past five years, and provide more on-line classes.

Oregon colleges have two main paths to grow enrollment: improve high school graduation rates and more successfully funnel those graduates into Oregon colleges, and increase college participation for older adults.

NCHEMS states that the number of younger adults in Oregon, ages 25-34, with a postsecondary degree is well below the national average. The rate at which high school graduates go directly onto college is also among the lowest in the country meaning those entering the workforce are less well educated.

In 2020 Oregon institutions outpaced the national tuition revenue by over $800 per student. State funding has increased by more than 40% in the last 10 years, public funding exceeded the national average by 22 percent. The student’s share spiked over 50 percent overall in 2020. According to HECC data, in the 2020-21 school year, Oregon had the highest average tuition for residents at four-year institutions out of all western states. “There is an argument for ensuring that tuition rates for in-state students are stabilized or reduced and the state backfill any lost revenues to the institutions.”

Many of the points made in the NCHEMS report have been laid out by the HECC in a presentation on postsecondary education and workforce training to the legislature’s Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education in April 2021. HECC submitted its requested budget for the 2023-25 biennium that includes a funding increase for higher education of more than 35% or roughly $1.4 billion more than the current budget. The requested budget makes public colleges and universities sustainable, requested funding for capital projects, money for financial aid program such as continuing the new Oregon Tribal Student Grant and increasing funding such programs as the Oregon Opportunity Grant and Oregon Promise.

NCHEMS said Oregon higher education institutions can’t rely solely on more state funding to solve its problems. Oregon must work to improve their retention and graduation rates helping students already enrolled needing assistance to make it to graduation. Oregon institutions should encourage enrollment of students who chose work instead of college when they leave high school. There is a need to work with public schools to improve their graduation rates in order to funnel those additional students into higher education.

Oregon legislature passed a requirement for colleges and universities to collaborate to unify courses and develop joint programs making transfers seamless. Even so, little has been done according to the NCHEMS report. The report recommends collaboration would advance student access to programs with cost efficiencies, and cooperation with K-12 school districts would strengthen pathways into higher education for overall educational achievement in Oregon, and “rebalancing the funding responsibilities for higher education in the state so that the students pay a smaller share and the state a larger share.”

NCHEMS concludes that increased investment in higher education could help the state in a number of ways, most importantly funneling more tax-paying residents into high-wage jobs in a state that relies heavily on income tax to support higher education. However, the vision must be advanced from leadership and stakeholders and not perceived as being a vision for higher education.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-03 10:33:11Last Update: 2022-11-03 11:36:15



U.S. Forest Service Accused of Uncontrolled Burn
“Burn-boss” arrested

Last week Oregon was being hailed for another first. News outlets were claiming the arrest of federal government firefighter Rick Snodgrass at a fire on October 19 for conducting their assigned duties was a first. In a prescribed burn of a 300-acre thick underbrush in the Malheur National Forest, the fire jumped a containment line and burned an unintended 18 to 20 acres of adjacent private land.

Grant County Sheriff Todd McKinley told “Wildfire Today” that when the Malheur National Forest’s Star 6 prescribed fire escaped control and spread onto the privately owned Holliday Ranch, the ranch employees were actually out helping them try to catch the fire and prevent it from doing more damage. But at the same time some of them were “highly upset.”

Two sisters from the family-owned Windy Point Cattle Co. confronted the Forest Service's "burn boss," Ricky Snodgrass, on why they were burning and then dialed 911. The Grant County sheriff arrived and placed Snodgrass under arrest for a reckless burn. He was later granted conditional release from custody pending further investigation.

In his interview, Sheriff McKinley said the next step is “getting to the bottom of why they were even burning to begin with and why they chose to burn at that time. You know, there’s a lot more to this. Everybody knew it was a bad burn, should not be happening. Even the fire staff out there, there are fire personnel that were on scene that are afraid to say much because, you know, their jobs. It was not the right time to burn and there may have even been means taken to get that burn done that were outside the scope. That’s kind of where it’s at. You know, it’s a really tenuous situation and more details will come out.”

The recognition of the unintentional burn by the US Forest Service has been one of avoidance. On Twitter they acknowledged the escape but said it was caught within an hour, and failed to mention the arrest. The Forest Service chief and regional director has been supportive of the employees carrying out their official duties as federal employees. However, there is no acknowledgement of the loss to ranchers as a “good neighbor” would.

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Tonna Holliday, one of the sisters, who lost about 20 acres of timber and grassland, illuded to a conflict between private landowners and federal land managers in eastern Oregon has been simmering for years. In Grant County the U.S. government manages around 60 percent of the land. When the first burn started six days prior to leaping the boundaries, she said they spoke with Snodgrass about the burn consuming fences on federal land that they are responsible for maintaining and showed signs of jumping the highway. For her, somebody needed to be accountable.

The Good Neighbor Authority Agreement was first passed in 2016 as a step for Oregon to enter into cooperative agreements with the U.S. Forest Service allowing the state to perform forest management and watershed restoration services on National Forest lands. Jeff Burns, Program Director, said in 2021 that 92-93 percent of all wildfires were on federal lands, which accounts for 60 percent of forested lands in Oregon. Burns reported, since 2016, significant progress had been made in wildfire risk reduction on federal lands through fuels reduction and forest thinning projects. He said, “Any efforts to reduce wildfire risks in Oregon, must involve federal lands in a meaningful way.”

The U.S. Forest Service adopted a plan earlier this year to step up prescribed burns, and aggressively thin forest stands with strategic logging programs. Local conflict with federal land management policies, including logging restrictions, has contributed to a decline in timber production and sawmills. Locals are in agreement with reduction of wildfire risks, but being inflexible to local concerns does not seem to be what the Good Neighbor Authority means by cooperation.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-11-02 14:38:31Last Update: 2022-11-02 15:03:09



Motor Voter Bug Discovered
Oregon Elections was alerted by a voter who didn’t receive a ballot

The Oregon Elections Division discovered a software error, which for the past six years has failed to pre-register some 16- and 17-year-olds when they have a qualifying interaction with the DMV. As a result, 7,767 eligible voters in Oregon -- out of 2,976,195 registered voters -- were not given the opportunity to become automatically registered voters for the 2022 election. The issue has impacted voters during the last 3 election cycles.

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan will direct Oregon's 36 county clerks to issue ballots to voters impacted by this issue. Only eligible voters for the November General Election, who will be 18 or older on November 8, will receive ballots.

“Eligible voters not receiving their ballots in Oregon is unacceptable,” said Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. “As long as I am Oregon’s Secretary of State, I will do everything in my power to ensure that no eligible voters are disenfranchised. My technical staff worked through the weekend to resolve the software error discovered on Friday and I will be conducting a thorough review of our systems to ensure no other errors impact Oregonian’s ability to make their voices heard in our democracy.”

When Oregonians have a qualifying interaction with the DMV, their information is automatically sent to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office where it is used to register them as voters or update their voter registration information. In May of 2016, the software at the Secretary of State’s office that handles this transfer was incorrectly written and, as a result, it has since failed to pre-register 16- and 17-year-olds whose birthdays fall within one month of their DMV interaction. The transfer software is separate from the Oregon Central Voter Registration database.

Impacted persons include 17-year-olds (and 16-year-olds after January 1, 2018 when the pre-registration age was lowered to 16) whose birthdays fall within one month of their interaction with the DMV. This is a total of 7,767 voters who are otherwise eligible to vote in the 2022 election. No other people are impacted.

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The immediate remedy is to issue a ballot to all voters impacted by this error so they can cast a vote in the November election. Secretary Fagan is overseeing her first statewide general election and took decisive action to remedy the problem over the weekend. According to Secretary Fagan, only eligible voters, those who will be 18 or older on November 8, will be issued ballots in this remedy.

The Oregon Elections Division was alerted to the issue by a voter who didn’t receive a ballot. The problem was first discovered late Friday morning, October 28. By that afternoon, the Secretary convened leadership of the Elections and Information Systems Division at the Oregon Secretary of State’s office to determine the number of affected voters. Immediately following the meeting, the Office began taking steps to correct the problem. The President of the Oregon Association of County Clerks was notified Friday evening and Secretary Fagan met with OACC’s executive committee on Saturday morning to lay out the solution and offer support for county clerks.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-31 15:26:05Last Update: 2022-10-31 15:32:15



Analysis: Oregon’s Compliance with Federal Election Laws
27 counties in Oregon cited with violations

Years ago, I read a book entitled the “Great Deceit” by Zygmund Dobbs and Archibald Roosevelt. Archibald, was Teddy Roosevelts only surviving son, from the ravages of WW1.

Within the pages of that book was the discussion of the founding of the Federal Reserve and the political nuances necessary to achieve what has become a yoke on the United States neck. The ramification of this event lives with us today. My grandfather lost all of his livelihood, in the collapse of the 1929 depression.

That historical information of the Congressional acceptance of the Federal Reserve came back to me, in the ongoing vigorous National discussion of voter anomalies across this one-of-a-kind Country.

The implications are severe, and Oregon, one of the fifty States involved in reporting, aroused my curiosity. In an article by Judicial Watch, five States including Oregon, had received notice of having anomalies in voter registration records. I had always thought we had a stable election program, so how does this possibly exist?

Turns out, the Federal law requires an agency, The Election Assistance Commission (EAC), to report to Congress every two years in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). To prepare the report, and properly follow the rules, the States are required to report to the EAC, their data to form the report for the NVRA, and the EAC properly publishes the finished report.

Upon simple review of the reports provided by Oregon, the recognition that Oregon was in violation of the National Voter Registration Act came to the forefront.

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Judicial Watch informed Secretary of State Shemia Fagan that fourteen Oregon counties were in violation for not cleaning their voter rolls according to NVRA in a four-year period. These counties reported zero to five removals from the voter rolls. They found eleven other counties with similar violations over the last two years. They write, “It is simply not possible to comply with the NVRA while removing zero or literal handfuls of registrations under that provision. Many tens of thousands of voters must have changed residence without notifying election officials during those years.” The Judicial Watch Attorney Robert D. Popper gave Statutory Notice of Violations and a possible federal lawsuit unless the violations were corrected.

Have they been corrected? Instead, the Secretary of State has doubled down on HB 2681, passed in 2021, to keep people on the voter rolls forever, and making it harder for citizens to make public records requests.

When the State itself reports the anomalies in the Voter Registration Reporting Act report, we as a State should require proper cleansing of the anomalies. Judicial Watch cited 27 counties in Oregon with violations, and say they have not determined what action they will take.

For me and my family, we are in the position that “If my neighbor has a challenge, I as his neighbor also has a challenge”. Remembering the quote: “History is the engine of the future”, the reality of voter Registrations must be investigated, not ignored. Like my grandfather, no one deserves to lose everything, and voting is the one sacrosanct action that should be inviolate. This must be investigated.

Oregonians, regardless of party, deserve the reassurance that their singular action of voting is adjudicated correctly.


--LT Robert K Powell GDO

Retired U.S. Coast Guard


Post Date: 2022-10-31 14:55:20Last Update: 2022-10-31 15:38:18



Analysis: Coos County Clerk Under Scrutiny
A recent lawsuit casts a shadow over her appointment

A lawsuit filed against Coos County Clerk Diris "Dede" Murphy (D-Coos County) and two of the Commissioners, John Sweet (R-Coos County) and Melissa Cribbins (D-Coos County) has caused further scrutiny over the appointment of Murphy to the position of Coos County Clerk. Though all of these positions are non-partisan, they obviously perform duties that have partisan implications, not the least of which is the Clerk's oversight of elections in Coos County.

The second amended complaint in the lawsuit, filed by Coos County Clerk candidate Diane Rich and Coos County Commissioner candidate Pamela Lewis -- both Republicans -- suggests that the appointment of Murphy as Clerk lacked the necessary transparency under Oregon's public meeting law and other irregularities. According to the complaint:

On March 5th, in Charleston, Oregon – Defendant Murphy stated on video that “they” asked her to run; “they” referring to the Commissioners and/or former County Clerk Debbie Heller. The officials, who are obligated to follow public meetings laws, intentionally and knowingly asked Defendant Murphy to apply for the position of Interim County Clerk so that they could appoint her. Defendant Murphy’s companion who attended the Listening Session with Mrs. Murphy confirmed on video that they asked Defendant Murphy to apply for the position. Further the Commissioners asked and convinced Diris D. Murphy to run for the position. Mrs. Murphy did not apply for the position the first time it was advertised, so at the Commissioners request, the timeline to apply for Interim Clerk was extended, and the position was held open and republished, to allow for Diris D. Murphy’s application for the position to be submitted.

The complaint references alleged violations of Oregon's Open Meetings law:

The decision to appoint and hire Defendant Murphy was a violation of Oregon Public Meetings laws and began the process of election law violations for the May 2022 primary election. Defendant Murphy was in fact appointed and began serving as Interim Coos County Clerk. That decision was null and should have been voided at that time however the sixty day window to file public meetings laws violation passed by. The violation of public meetings laws in appointing an elections clerk, still constitutes on of the many illegal acts that took place relating to the canvassing of the votes in the May 2022 Coos County primary election.

The complaint further alleges that "Prior to Monday, December 13th, Coos County Commissioners privately recruited and then outside of a public meeting decided to appoint a highly partisan individual, who was chair of the Democrat Party, Defendant Murphy to oversee their own election, even asking Mrs. Murphy to resign from her position as Democrat Party Chair for the Coos County Chapter so that she might qualify for the Interim County Clerk position."

According to the Rob Taylor Report Murphy "spent time in the Recording Office, the Elections Office, the Court Clerks, and the Accounting Departments, eventually landing in the Elections Office for 15 years before retiring in July 2017."

She was sworn in as Coos County Clerk on January 4 of this year.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-30 16:59:58Last Update: 2022-10-30 13:01:47



Oregon Department of Revenue Launches Taxpayer Advocacy Page
Are Oregon tax laws understandable?

The Oregon Department of Revenue has launched a taxpayer advocate page. Codi Trudell, appointed as Taxpayer Advocate, heads up the new Taxpayer Advocate Office authorized by HB 3373, passed during the 2021 session. Representative Julie Fahey (D-Eugene) sponsored HB 3373 creating the taxpayer advocate office intended to identify issues or barriers to equitable and fair tax collection, work with community partners, provide expediated service to taxpayers whose problems are not resolved through typical channels, research complaints, identify systemic issues, and promote taxpayer issues and concerns.

In the course of assisting taxpayers, the Taxpayer Advocate is given authority to issue orders related to taxpayers experiencing significant hardship due to Oregon's IRS action. Orders issued by the Taxpayer Advocate may require the department to cease action or refrain from additional action based upon a finding of significant hardship by the Advocate. The measure authorizes the director or deputy director to review or rescind an order by the Taxpayer Advocate. Orders issued may require the IRS to cease action or refrain from additional action based on the Advocate's determination of significant hardship.

The Oregon IRS has always provided a Taxpayer Advocate Service to taxpayers as an independent organization within the IRS. It serves as the taxpayer's voice within the IRS. The service helps taxpayers with problems that may not have been resolved through normal IRS channels or in cases where the taxpayer believes the IRS procedure is not working as designed. The new Taxpayer Advocate establishes a similar office for taxpayer resources within Oregon.

HB 3373 appropriated $371,593 General Fund and $200,089 other funds from administrative charges on the tax programs the Department administers. This adds $571,593 for three positions to the bi-annual budget.

Advocates for low-income claim they are afraid of the IRS and don't file tax returns to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit. Over 900,000 Oregonians benefit from the EITC every year with an average of $3,000 new income for them. An increase in EITC filings will increase the burden on taxpayers, known as "re-distribution of wealth."

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The Oregon Taxpayer Advocate office will serve as an independent and confidential resource for Oregon taxpayers. An important part of good government is making sure that laws are as simple, logical and as easy to follow as possible. Has Oregon government done its level best to make sure our laws are workable and understandable?

The Taxpayer Advocate webpage includes contact information. ​


--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2022-10-30 12:21:45Last Update: 2022-10-30 13:07:21



Rose Quarter Project Plan Advances
Critics have pointed out that much of the spending does nothing to improve traffic congestion

The Oregon Department of Transportation is proceeding with the Rose Quarter project and has collected extensive feedback

According to the site, "From early July through the Labor Day weekend, the local community participated in the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project Summer Design Survey. Of the 350 participants, 25% identified as African American/Black and African, with nearly half indicating they live in the Albina neighborhood. The community was asked to provide feedback on design elements for highly visible walls and bridges in the project area, including the addition of historical images of the neighborhood, rotating art murals, concrete patterns, street names and decorative lighting."

Prominent within the project is a cover over part of I-5, to restore streets removed when the freeway was first built. According to ODOT's website, "A highway cover is a concrete, steel platform that is placed over a highway, similar to a wide bridge. Multiple designs for the highway cover were evaluated through an Independent Cover Assessment. The Proposed Hybrid 3 Concept was selected, as it will provide the greatest community benefit."

"With proposed Hybrid 3, the total project cost is anticipated to be $1.18 billion to $1.25 billion to accommodate up to 3-story buildings on top of the cover." Critics have pointed out that much of the spending associated with the project does nothing to improve traffic congestion.




--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-29 06:38:36Last Update: 2022-10-28 16:19:05



Wildlife Collisions Rise
CWD testing is mandatory for roadkill salvagers

On average, ODOT documents more than 6,000 vehicle collisions with deer and elk each year. The actual number of collisions is likely higher, as many are not reported if there is minimal damage or no human injuries. Vehicle collisions with deer and elk tend to peak in October and November, when migration and breeding (the "rut") puts them on the move, making them more likely to cross roads. Fewer daylight hours and rainy weather also reduce drivers' visibility.

ODFW and ODOT are asking Oregonians to Watch out for Wildlife this time of year and follow these tips: ODFW, ODOT and partner organizations are working to reduce the risk of vehicle-wildlife collisions by building wildlife crossings. The crossings allow wildlife to safely follow their migration patterns over or under a road. Data shows wildlife crossings on Hwy 97 near Sunriver have reduced vehicle-wildlife collisions by nearly 90 percent.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by Congress in 2021 is providing $350 million in competitive grants to the states for wildlife crossings and other mitigation. ODFW, ODOT and other partners will be working to secure grants for projects.

Oregon drivers can also show their support by purchasing a Watch for Wildlife license plate. The revenue generated from license plate sales will benefit projects that help wildlife move within their range and between habitat patches. Originally developed by the Oregon Wildlife Foundation, the license plate is now available at the DMV.

As wildlife-vehicle collisions peak, so does participation in ODFW's roadkill salvage program. Since 2019, salvaging deer or elk struck by a vehicle has been legal in Oregon. Salvagers are required to fill out a free online permit.

Since the program kicked off in January 2019, 5,027 permits have been issued, with most for black-tailed deer in Western Oregon, where there are more drivers.

Salvagers are also required to bring the head and antlers of all salvaged deer and elk to an ODFW office for testing within five days. This is so ODFW can test the animal for Chronic Wasting Disease, a fatal neurological disease that ODFW has been on the lookout for since it first appeared in the late 1960s in Colorado.

The disease has never been detected in Oregon's wildlife. But CWD testing regulations have taken on new urgency after it was detected in several wild deer and elk in northwest Idaho, about 30 miles from Oregon's border, late last year.

Infected animals can spread the disease for several years before showing symptoms (which include loss of balance, drooling, emaciation or wasting and eventual death). Testing apparently healthy deer and elk early in the course of the disease when they are not showing symptoms is the most effective method to catch the disease before an animal has spread the disease across the landscape and to other animals.

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"With the disease now much closer to the state's borders, we just want to remind roadkill salvagers about the mandatory testing requirements." explained ODFW Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Colin Gillin. "The more animals the state tests, the more certain ODFW can be that the disease is not in the state. If it is detected, ODFW can implement its response plan to contain the spread of the disease.

Test results are expected to take up to a month. If an animal ever tests positive for CWD, a biologist or veterinarian will phone the person who salvaged that animal directly.

Negative test results will be posted for roadkill salvagers to individually check online. To find your result, enter RSP before your permit number (e.g. RSP5001).


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-28 15:54:09Last Update: 2022-10-28 16:16:49



Veterans Day Ceremony to be Held in Salem
There will be special recognition of Oregon’s Korean War generation

The Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs will honor all veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces during its Statewide Veterans Day Ceremony this year in view of the Oregon State Capitol Building. The event will feature remarks by federal, state and local dignitaries and ceremonial elements including color guard, national anthem, wreath presentation and the playing of "Taps." Attendees should be advised that this year's event will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 10 — the day before Veterans Day.

The event will be hosted at the Oregon State Capitol Park located on Court Street Northeast in downtown Salem -- directly in front of the Oregon State Capitol Building.

While the celebration will honor Oregon veterans of all eras, there will be special recognition of Oregon's Korean War generation.

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ODVA is honored to welcome Consul General Eunji Seo of the Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Seattle, who will serve as one of the event's keynote speakers.

The event is open to the public and uncovered seating will be provided for attendees. Accessible pathways and seating areas for those needing accommodations will also be provided. Attendees are reminded to plan accordingly for Oregon weather.

For those unable to attend, the event will also be livestreamed on ODVA's Facebook page.


--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2022-10-27 10:26:02Last Update: 2022-10-27 13:16:28



Developmental Disabilities Rule Changes
Removes citizenship and residency requirements

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Office of Developmental Disabilities Services (ODDS) is proposing to permanently amend sixteen rules in OAR chapter 411.

Each of the sixteen rules is a separate program with a separate staff providing similar services to different identified groups. Part of the proposed amendments are to standardize wording and services. Standardization could and should give way to consolidation of some programs.

The proposals reflect changes about eligibility to provide consistency for determining eligibility for developmental disabilities services and clarifies Oregon residency requirements. Fourteen of the proposed rules say they clarify Oregon residency requirements by referring to OAR 461-120-0010, which really removes citizenship and substantially removes residency requirements. OAR 461-120-0010 allows anyone present in Oregon at the moment with the intent to remain to receive benefits is a resident.

The proposals reflect changes to thirteen rules extending eligibility by including individuals who qualify for the Healthier Oregon medical program, which is a non-citizenship medical program for those not eligible for other medical programs.

The proposal’s Statement of Need says the changes to eligibility is to “increase equity among those eligible to receive developmental disabilities services by removing citizenship requirements, aligning the rule language about non-discrimination, and extending eligibility by including individuals who qualify for the Healthier Oregon medical program.” It seems that adding non-citizens and non-Oregonians to the eligibility list is an excuse to claim a racial equity impact. However, “disability” in itself is listed as a minority subject to equity discrimination. It seems these rules are dividing the disabled into citizenship inequity.

In August 2020, the ODD Policy Coordinator, Caitlin Shockley, co-issues a bulletin to staff and stakeholders stating, “we are committed to true transformation…to colleagues and partners of color, we stand with you and support you… We all need to commit to center equity and disrupt racism.”

Statement Identifying How Adoption of Rules Will Affect Racial Equity in this state: Based on data and information currently available to ODDS, ODDS expects these rules will likely have a positive impact on racial equity. Given that a lesser amount of Oregon's noncitizens are arriving from Canada and Europe, the Department estimates Communities of Color, and therefore Oregon racial equity, will be positively impacted due to the expansion of developmental disabilities services, which will allow resources of those families and individuals to support other necessities rather than costs associated with supporting a person who has an intellectual or developmental disability.

Spreading services to more people diminishes the service unless more funds are added to the program. Is the cart before the horse? Shouldn’t funding come before the rule? ODDS estimates the proposed changes will have the following fiscal and economic impact on taxpayers: Of the statutory authority listed for the proposed rules, there is no mention of authority extending to non-citizens or non-residence. It also isn’t forbidden by the use of terms such as “all persons.” However, these are Oregon laws for Oregonians, and Oregon taxpayers are funding them. Going down the “not forbidden path” without legislative adoption is a dangerous precedence to set.

Comment deadline is December 9, 2022. Written comments may be submitted by email to christina.hartman@dhsoha.state.or.us.

ODDS plans to hold two rule hearings. November 30, 2022, 11:30 a.m. by Zoom. Register or join by phone: 1-669-254-5252, 161 407 3988#. And, November 30 at 5:30 p.m. by Zoom. Register or join by phone: 1-669-254-5252, 160 302 9023#.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-26 14:12:03Last Update: 2022-10-27 15:24:06



Will Measure 112 Liberate Inmates?
Is there a conflict with meaningful work programs?

Editor's note: In November, voters will be presented with four statewide ballot measures. This article deals with Measure 112 which was referred to the people by the Oregon Legislature during the 2021 Session as SJR 10.

Measure 112 seeks to amend the Oregon Constitution, Section 34, which reads: “There shall be neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude in the State, otherwise than as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”

Measure 112 removes language allowing slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for crime. It accomplishes that by removing the second part beginning with “otherwise,” and adds: (2) Upon conviction of a crime, an Oregon court or a probation or parole agency may order the convicted person to engage in education, counseling, treatment, community service or other alternatives to incarceration, as part of sentencing for the crime, in accordance with programs that have been in place historically or that may be developed in the future, to provide accountability, reformation, protection of society or rehabilitation.

The Measure made the ballot because the legislature passed SJR 10 in 2021, sponsored by Senators Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego, Lew Frederick (D-Portland) and James Manning Jr (D-North Eugene). The Department of Corrections recognizes that compelled prison labor is sometimes perceived as modern-day slavery.

Rob Persson, Assistant Director of Operations Division for the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) testified, “DOC believes that perception (of slavery) is misplaced, at least with respect to the manner in which adults in custody (AICs) are engaged in prison work programs in Oregon’s prisons. Regardless of one’s views on the policy issues underlying SJR 10, the department has concerns regarding the potential legal uncertainty that would result if the language of the ballot measure SJR 10 would refer to the voters were to be approved in light of Article I, Section 41 of the Oregon Constitution (commonly referred to as “Measure 17”).”

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Measure 17 was approved by voters in 2014 giving DOC the ability to engage AICs in meaningful work and on-the-job training programs, and the obligation of AICs to participate. Oregon Corrections Enterprises (OCE) programs are not mandatory work programs. They are voluntary and highly sought after as the highest paying work opportunities in DOC.

If AICs no longer participate in work opportunities within DOC facilities, Persson says an undetermined significant increase in personnel would be required to prepare food, perform building and grounds maintenance, provide medical and custodial support, and a variety of other tasks. It is difficult to determine the number of full-time equivalent positions required, but it could easily be 1,000 and go as high as 3,000 positions.

OCE currently provides 29 work programs in nine institutions engaging 1,389 AICs (2,600 participants per year). The total AIC awards paid by OCE in fiscal year 2019-20 was $2.88 million.

Persson reported OCE has three programs paying AICs. There are two based on state and federal minimum wages and a Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP). The third is the laundry program. Under the PIECP, the Bureau of Justice Assistance certifies local and state prison industry programs meet all the necessary requirements to be exempt from the federal restrictions on prisoner-made goods sold in interstate commerce. The program places AICs in realistic work environments, pays prevailing wages, and provides opportunities to develop marketable skills to increase potential for rehabilitation and meaningful employment on release.

A cost benefit analysis conducted by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission determined for every dollar spent with OCE the state saves $5.40 in recidivism costs. They recommended expansion of OCE programs, as they are valuable in reducing recidivism, improving job skills, and providing a productive way to spend time in prison. “Voices from the Inside” on OCE’s website shares the AICs perspective on OCE programs and their impact in rehabilitation.

Persson pointed out that a similar measure passed in Colorado that faced a lawsuit by AICs to receive at least the state’s minimum wage, be considered state employees, and receive the same benefits as state workers such as paid holidays and vacations, paid sick leave, and medical benefits, and backpay for two years. It would reportedly cost Colorado $1 billion. Oregon has approximately 15 percent larger inmate population than Colorado.

If Measure 112 were to pass, not all programs may qualify for PIECP certification for a federal program, basically exempting it from Measure 112. If OCE has to restructure to exempt desired programs from Measure 112, what is the purpose of Measure 112?

Bill drafters have no clue how Measure 17 will be impacted and admitted so in the summary, “Effect on current constitutional provisions requiring inmate work programs unclear.” A constitutional change isn’t easily corrected for unforeseen consequences, and these consequences would hurt the very people it is aimed to liberate.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-24 22:36:50Last Update: 2022-10-25 00:21:14



DEQ to Develop Rules for Fuel Storage Tanks
They will ensure environmental justice is incorporated into the process

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality under Interim Director Leah Feldon is announcing its first rules advisory committee meeting to discuss what rules will govern the new Fuel Tank Seismic Stability program. The meeting, set for October 26 at 9:00am, will include discussions on DEQ’s proposed approach to the rules, what it means to minimize risk and how to ensure environmental justice is incorporated into the process.

“People around the world will be practicing earthquake safety and preparedness tomorrow during the Great Oregon ShakeOut,” said Mike Kortenhof, DEQ fuel tank compliance manager. “These rules will be critical for protecting people and the environment and keeping communities safer in the event of a major earthquake.”

The Great Oregon ShakeOut is part of a global drill for people to practice how to stay safe during an earthquake. This year, nearly half a million Oregon residents will be taking part in the self-led drill, practicing their drop, cover and hold on for at least 60 seconds as if a major earthquake is happening.

A rules advisory committee is a group of people who provide input and suggestions during the development of new rules. The committee members represent a range of interested groups, including neighborhoods near the fuel tanks, local emergency management, environmental organizations, local government and regulated facilities.

DEQ’s Fuel Tank Seismic Stability Program will evaluate the vulnerability of fuel tank systems to earthquakes and require facilities to develop plans to minimize risk. These rules will apply to all facilities that can store over 2 million gallons of fuel in Lane, Multnomah and Columbia counties. All committee meetings are open to the public to listen.

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“Oregon’s fuel tanks are vulnerable to earthquakes,” said Yumei Wang, senior advisor on Infrastructure Resilience and Risk at Portland State University, and lead author of the 2013 report highlighting this risk. “These facility improvements are essential to protect Oregon and support rapid recovery from the megaquake we know is coming to the Pacific Northwest.”

DEQ plans to hold a total of three committee meetings to reach its final proposed rules. Depending on committee discussions, DEQ may add meetings or make existing meetings longer. After the committee work is complete, DEQ will put the rules out for public comment and then present them to the Environmental Quality Commission for adoption.

This work is a result of SB 1567 passed in 2022. DEQ will also develop this program in consultation with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries and the Oregon Department of Energy.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-21 12:33:39Last Update: 2022-10-21 12:47:36



Marion County Judicial Race Heats Up
Erious Johnson faces Amy Queen

At may not seem like it, but all judges in Oregon are elected. The reality is that most judges rise to the bench through appointment from the Governor. Article V. Section 16 of the Oregon Constitution allows the Governor to appoint judges to vacant offices. "When at any time a vacancy occurs in any other state office, or in the office of judge of any court, the governor shall fill such vacancy by appointment, which shall expire when a successor has been elected and qualified."

Once appointed, judges have an easy task winning election to their office during the next election. They are listed as "incumbent" on the ballot -- unlike other political incumbents -- and any lawyer who may think about running for the seat may think twice, as they may have to appear before the judge. Further, the Oregon State Bar Code of Judicial Conduct has a chilling effect on what might be considered normal campaigning in another political race.

One judicial race in Marion County has heated up. Newly appointed Judge Erious Johnson is facing a challenge from Salem Attorney Amy Queen.

According to one source within the legal community, "There have been many concerns regarding how he treats litigants -- in particular victims, women, or people without lawyers as well as legal decisions since he was appointed by Governor Brown in February. We have heard this has resulted in many lawyers and even some people without lawyers filing affidavits to remove him from their cases."

Queen attended Willamette University College of Law and was hired at the Marion County District Attorney’s office as a law clerk and successfully passed the July 2004 bar exam. That same year she was hired as a Deputy District Attorney in the Marion County District Attorney’s office where she has prosecuted every type of crime, including aggravated murder, and was ultimately promoted to be a part of the management team.

Johnson's twitter feed contains many posts supportive of racial activism -- posts that many regard as inappropriate for a sitting Circuit Court Judge..

The Oregon Code of Judicial Conduct makes it difficult for judicial candidates to effectively campaign. This policy heavily favors incumbents. For instance -- in a statement that would easily chill most campaigns -- the code says that a candidate for judicial office may not:

knowingly or with reckless disregard for the truth, make any false statement concerning a judicial candidate's identity, qualifications, present position, education, experience, or other material fact that relates to the judicial campaign of the judge or any judicial candidate

Nor may they

in connection with cases, controversies, or issues that are likely to come before the court on which the judge or judicial candidate sits or may sit, make pledges, promises, or commitments that are inconsistent with the impartial performance of the adjudicative duties of judicial office


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-20 06:28:40Last Update: 2022-10-20 02:41:12



Judge Rules Against Freedom of Information
AG admits election computers are subject to hacks

Judge Janelle Factora Wipper, Washington County Circuit Court, ruled on October 14, in the case of Washington County vs. Tim Sippel for the county keeping voters in the dark. Her ruling gives a sucker punch to freedom of information disallowing public access to records that may have cleared the air regarding certain election data. Judge Wipper contended this case could affect 15 counties and other states using the same voting machines. Dr. Douglas Frank, advising Attorney Stephen Joncus at the trial, said he expected the judge would rule in favor of the state, but not all is lost. Every case, whether won or lost adds more evidence into the record, and there have been many cases across the country.

The court rules that the SQL.ZIP file is:
  1. Conditionally exempt from disclosure under the computer programs, security and trade secret exemptions.
  2. Public interest in keeping the information safe and secure to protect the integrity of elections systems in Oregon.
  3. Disclosure of the SQL.zip file for public interest does not outweigh the need to exempt this file from production.
Dr. Frank stated that for Oregon to hide this data makes it look like they have something to hide. Some counties have already released the data. The state and Washington County claimed there are security issues, breach of contract and trade secrets, and no public interest. Public interest is that the public has a need for the information. Attorney Joncus argued that the public has lost faith in the system and they have a right to know. Secretary Fagan just launched a campaign to bolster election integrity targeting false information, seemingly supporting the public’s need to know.

The takeaways from this trial are rich. Before the trial began, AG Rosenblum made a statement admitting machine are hackable under oath to secure a protective order. “Oregon tabulators are subject to wireless attacks and if the information is released, it would cause irreparable harm to Oregon’s election system.”

Oregon Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum, joined the Secretary of State Shemia Fagan with Washington County in the lawsuit to stop Tim Sippel from a records request for the SQL election database. The SQL files are the tests run on the machines prior to the elections to see that the machines are operating correctly. It takes data from various tables it has access to, and it can manipulate that data to come up with an answer according to its protocol.

Sippel wanted to check the data for what other states are finding. Jeff O’Donnell found in Colorado that the machines were making a second data base and erasing part of the data and injecting other data coming up with a different result. In Massachusetts, they proved that the machines flipped and stuffed votes, and it was counting images, not the ballot. Michigan’s election was overturned when the judge ordered the voting machine opened and found modems.

Attorney Generals are critical to elections in every state. They are in charge of election security. Leading into the 2020 election, Oregon Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum joined 23 Democratic state attorney generals in writing an urgent letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Rules Committee to strengthen election security. The letter asked for election-security grants so states could update their equipment and train election officials in information technology and cybersecurity.

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In 2021, $2 million was allocated to Secretary of State Fagan to distribute to counties for ballot tabulators, postmark scanners, ballot drop boxes and surveillance equipment that went unspent. This year legislators reallocated $1 million for postal barcode scanners and other equipment. The Secretary is using the other half on public service announcements and ballot tracking, and the remainder is being held for emergencies and divided among counties in 2023.

At the trial, Mark Cook, an IT Expert told the judge, “by-the-way, the internet security protocols you are using were hacked four years ago, I’d recommend you shut down your internet right now and install new security software before you run your county systems.”

As Dr. Frank traveled around Oregon, he observed that county clerks are using technology throughout the election system that they know nothing about. He says, “they simply repeat what they are told – machines are secure, they aren’t online, but they are. We are asking people to run elections with equipment they know nothing about.”

Mickie Kawai, Washington County Elections Manager for 33 years, testified regarding “air gaps” where ballots needing adjudicated are removed from the process via an isolated connected network through a cable. She described the process of ballots scanned into Del laptops that have modems that don’t take a password to turn on. She seemed to unknowingly verified to the court that their everyday Del laptops are on a network accessible by the internet and hackable without a password.

Tim Sippel testified that in his examination of the ballots, every ballot had a unique identifying code on it and the ballots are not anonymous. He has found lots of anomalies that he wants to talk to county clerks about. He testified that on what he has analyzed, he has found 60 counterfeit ballots.

Dr. Frank says he didn’t expect a favorable verdict. What he has learned in Oregon is, “judges move up the ranks by following precedence (the ultimate conformity) and not making waves. Judges who stand out, judges who make stands, that’s the end of their career.” Oregon’s judicial system lends to this ranking where there is an unwritten rule that retirements and resignations take place after close of candidate filings so the sitting Governor can appoint a replacement bypassing being elected.

Consideration for appeal would slow down the work on election integrity and that’s a cost that might not be worth an appeal.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-20 06:11:35Last Update: 2022-10-20 14:29:53



Drazan Clings to Razor Thin Lead
Johnson respondents provided a path to victory for either Drazan or Kotek

A new Hoffman Research poll shows the Oregon gubernatorial race to be tighter than ever. With a 3.8% margin of error, Republican former State Representative Christine Drazan holds a small 2-point lead over Democrat former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek. When asked "If the general election for Governor of Oregon were held today, would you vote for Republican Christine Drazan,
If the election for Governor were held today,
would you vote for Drazan, Johnson, or Kotek?
37%Republican Christine Drazan
35%Democrat Tina Kotek
17%Independent Betsy Johnson
12%Undecided
Independent Betsy Johnson, or Democrat Tina Kotek?" respondents picked Drazan over Kotek 37% to 35%. Independent former State Senator Betsy Johnson trailed with 20%.

Johnson respondents provided a path to victory for either Drazan or Kotek, with a whopping 59% of these saying that there was a chance they could change their mind. A Johnson withdrawal and pledge of support for either leader could easily turn the tide in either's favor.

The race is quickly becoming Oregon's most expensive political race ever and tight polling such as this is likely to draw even more money into the race.

Is there a chance you could change your mind?
YesNo
Drazan24%76%
Kotek25%75%
Johnson59%41%
Drazan was the only candidate of the three who polled a net favorable opinion among respondents. Her 3% net favorability stood out from Johnson's 9% net unfavorability and Kotek's whopping 12% net unfavorability -- possibly reflecting voter dissatisfaction of decades of Democratic control of the state. Former Senator Johnson served as a Democrat in the legislature.

Oregon has not seen a Republican in Mahonia Hall -- the name of the governor's mansion -- since Vic Atiyeh left office on January 12, 1987, an absence of 35 years.

FavorableUnfavorableNet
Drazan35%32%+3%
Kotek31%43%-12%
Johnson23%32%-9%
The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8% at a 95% confidence level. The survey is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 684 randomly chosen likely voters in Oregon. Attention was given to Oregon's rural and urban divide within seven geographic regions. The survey also maintained appropriate balances with regard to age, gender, and vote propensity.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-20 05:01:59Last Update: 2022-10-20 02:24:38



Election Case Filed in Coos County
Oregon cases are mounting up

Coos County, Coos County Commissioners Melissa Cribbins and John Sweet, and Coos County Interim Clerk Diris D (Dede) Murphy are defendants in an election case filed in Coos County Civil Court. Plaintiffs Diane Rich, Coos County Commissioner candidate, and Pamela Lewis, Coos County Clerk candidate, filed 11 counts of violations during the May, 2022 primary. It has gone through several amendments since the original filing in July, but now appears to be moving forward.

In the wake of several election cases heating up, Secretary of State Shemia Fagan tries to curb the distrust by launching a series of videos on voting. This isn’t the only case involving election improprieties. But she may be facing an uphill battle with five cases in Oregon courts, and 80 percent think there was election fraud.

In another lawsuit filed against the Oregon Secretary of State, it was revealed that scanners used by Coos County have not been certified for use since 2017. How can an election be certified using equipment that doesn’t meet federal guidelines for accuracy and lacks Election Assistance Commission federal certification?

The case notes that the scanners were intentionally operated contrary to the operator’s manual, which cautions it would give artificially and erroneous accuracy ratings if not followed. There were deliberate anomalies including allowing taped, or ripped ballots to be inserted into the scanner, and the use of poor-quality paper. These violations increased the adjudication rates by six percent.

In addition, Coos County ballot scanners have built-in modems. They are subject to being hacked by using a backdoor method that has surfaced in other election cases.

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The case raises issues surrounding a possible conflict of interest on how Dede Murphy was appointed as Interim County Clerk. She resigned her position as Democrat Party Chair for Coos County in order to be appointed by the Commissioners she supported running for re-election, and named Defendants in this case.

Murphy is being accused of refusing to authorize observers to observe the signature verification process, they were given wrong times and locked out of the office. She also refused to allow observation of the ballot couriers in violation of both Federal and State laws, which calls for two couriers from different parties to transport the ballots. Then she failed to deputize couriers until after they had transported the ballots.

In addition, a nefarious marking was made on the outside of the return envelope, which was easy to read and identifies the party affiliation of the ballot contained inside.

The suit alleges that the Clerk failed to meet the reporting plan deadlines and held more than 6,000 completed ballots back for 5 days without reporting the results. Citizens were not given accurate election results in a timely manner.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-19 14:33:24Last Update: 2022-10-19 16:25:15



Oregon Secretary Completes Tour of Election Offices
“Our vote-by-mail system is strong”

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan completed a 36-county tour of Oregon’s elections offices today with a visit to Columbia County.

Secretary Fagan said, “In every corner of Oregon, the state of our vote-by-mail system is strong. When I took office, I made it a goal to visit all 36 county elections offices to see their operations and hear directly from election workers about the challenges they face.”

Secretary Fagan predicts a smooth election in November, owing to the integrity of county elections officials. Still she says, “Our democracy is under attack, and our counties are the first line of defense. If every Oregonian could tour their county elections office, we could put to rest much of the false information that spreads from the Big Lie.” What she seems to be saying is that the five filed lawsuits over election improprieties has her office and election procedures under attack, and that isn’t the democratic way to seek the truth.

“Local elections officials are your neighbors, and they are dedicated to Oregon’s democracy," Secretary Fagan said. "Oregon's elections officials understand the value of vote-by-mail and are eager to build trust in our elections. The integrity of Oregon’s elections officials is rock solid.

Fagan claims the operations of county elections offices are transparent. Any voter can observe the pre-election certification of voting machines, the verification of signatures, the counting of ballots, and the post-election audits that verify accurate results in every county. Ensuring that observers have easy access to the process was a common topic of conversation on the tour. That isn’t the information coming from Clatsop County where Republican volunteers were excluded as election workers for signature verification, drop box collections and counting boards.

“Building trust with the public is the most important part of my job,” said Columbia County Clerk Debbie Klug. “Elections workers are part of the community. We are professionals doing extremely important work to make sure Oregon’s elections are free and fair.” Secretary Fagan spoke with the clerk about the County’s challenges — tight budgets, ever-increasing complexity, and false information that she is hearing across all 36 counties.

“Overstretched budgets and unreliable federal funding present a long-term risk to elections in Oregon,” Secretary Fagan said. Did she forget about the $2 million allocated to her in 2021 for election equipment that went unspent. This year legislators reallocated $1 million for postal barcode scanners and other equipment and where is the half that was to be distributed to the counties. The other half she is using on public campaigns and ballot tracking and the remainder is held for emergencies and divided among counties in 2023.

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Still Fagan says, “In the next legislative session, I will fight for legislation to address this risk.” The legislative proposal currently under consideration would create a commission to study funding needs and make recommendations for creating stable, long-term funding for county elections operations.

Secretary Fagan said that elections officials around the state also voiced concerns about safety, false information, and a flood of public records requests based on conspiracy theories. She claims that in response to the growing threats against election workers and increased challenges of dealing with the spread of false information, 22% of Oregon’s election officials will retire in 2021 and 2022. But is that the reason when county clerks are liable for what goes wrong during an election.

Conspiracy theories seem to be aimed at those seeking the truth. Janice Dysinger, Oregonians for Fair Election, has run head on with Secretary Fagan’s staff trying to silence her from training volunteers the protocols for being an observer and canvass for voter integrity. Fagan’s office has pressured county clerks to raise their rates for public records requests to discourage them. Dysinger says Deschutes County clerk quoted her public records request at $93,000, Douglas County was over $51,000, while Multnomah County charged $159 for the same data. She thinks these records shouldn’t be a burden if they were made available on a website as they are in some counties in California.

“In order to protect our democracy, we must protect the people who make our democracy work,” Secretary Fagan said. “I led the fight to pass the bipartisan Election Worker Protection Act in 2022, but we need to remain vigilant and stay one step ahead of threats.”

One proposal Secretary Fagan will pursue is creating a statewide coordinator for public records requests to help counties deal with a flood of requests for election-related records based on conspiracy theories. Elections officials are also working with local law enforcement on security plans for the November election.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-19 12:12:57Last Update: 2022-10-19 16:25:40



Democrat Navarro’s Criminal History Revealed
A legacy of irresponsibility

In Oregon's upcoming Legislative House District 21 race covering Keizer and Central Salem, Democratic candidate Ramiro Navarro, Jr. has played up his “second chance” narrative, though it’s now becoming clear that he’s left off most of the story.

In 2020, Navarro ran for what was then House District 25, including Keizer, St. Paul and Newberg against incumbent Representative Bill Post and it was soon discovered that he had a criminal background. However, until now, the full details of his past and current lawbreaking were not public. Now, as a candidate running against Kevin Mannix in a race both candidates describe as focused on criminal justice, further details are being revealed.

In 2011, Navarro Jr. was indicted with delivery of marijuana with intent to sell, coercion, child neglect in the first degree, and endangering the welfare of a minor. The first three charges are felonies. Navarro threatened to kidnap his own child from his then wife, Veronica. He had a firearm and his child in the vehicle while delivering marijuana.

Navarro pleaded down to coercion and unlawful delivery of marijuana for consideration and was sentenced with fines and 18 months prison time. He then violated the conditions of his terms of release -- including a restraining order -- and was re-arrested on seven contempt charges. The District Attorney sought his immediate confinement.

Navarro never previously disclosed to voters any information about how his military service ended. In recorded conversations from prison, he acknowledged that “the Army washed their hands of me.” In fact, in a conversation with someone who appears to be his sergeant, he is told that the military was already working on expelling him before his guilty plea.

After serving his sentence, Navarro violated parole for failing to report to his probation officer and for having made contact with his former wife with whom he was not allowed to have any contact with. He was arrested and again sentenced to prison.

In 2013, Navarro was charged with criminal mischief for smashing the car windows of his ex-wife’s boyfriend. He was convicted not once, but twice for this crime.

In February of 2022, after once again announcing his run for office, Navarro was pulled over for driving 72 in a 55 zone. He was given a warning for speeding and switching license plates. He was also cited for driving with a suspended license. Navarro failed to appear in Court to answer the charge.

Navarro’s license had originally been suspended when he failed to appear in court in January. That court appearance was also for driving while suspended. Navarro’s fine was sent to a collection agency. Logs show that his license was suspended numerous times.

But there’s more. Navarro has had children with three different women who have all taken him to court to pay child support. His first, second, and third mothers of his children all filed for support. One court order applies to two children with one of the three women. Navarro Jr. only paid off almost $10,000 in past due support this February, after he filed to run for public office. The same happened in 2020 when he first ran for the Oregon House. He was also ordered to pay “back debt” to the US Army.

In 2021, Navarro was evicted even after his landlord agreed to a settlement to allow Navarro to stay. Navarro violated the terms of the agreement and the Sheriff was ordered to remove him from the apartment.

In 2021, Navarro was sued in small claims court for unpaid medical bills. He never responded to the lawsuit, forcing the court to garnish his wages to enforce the judgment against him.

Finally, it was recently reported that at least two workers and a volunteer left Navarro’s campaign after revelations that Navarro had hired a man to work on his campaign who has a conviction for sexually abusing a child.

This April, Navarro penned a letter to the editor saying that he is a “model for others to start their recovery.” Clearly, that recovery is yet to kick in.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-10-18 06:15:35Last Update: 2022-10-18 12:27:43



Fall Ballot Measures: Firearms Limitations
Police are already not responding to most violent crimes

Editor's note: In November, voters will be presented with four statewide ballot measures. This article deals with Measure 114 which was referred to the people by the citizens' initiative process.

Despite its length, the text of measure 114 leaves several questions unanswered -- most prominently, its constitutionality. The measure is sponsored by Walter John Knutson III, Michael Z. Cahana, and Marilyn Keller all of Portland.

The measure bans “Large-capacity magazines,” which it defines as "a fixed or detachable magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, helical feeding device, or similar device, including any such device joined or coupled with another in any manner, or a kit with such parts, that has an overall capacity of, or that can be readily restored, changed, or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition and allows a shooter to keep firing without having to pause to reload." A similar ban, enacted in California and other states, has been found unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. But what few people understand is that the magazine ban will outlaw almost all sporting and home defense shotguns because the magazines that are built into the the guns will be banned.

The measure requires applicants to have a permit to purchase a firearm. The applicant must provide "proof of completion of a firearm safety course as defined."

The training includes live fire. According to the text of the measure, the training must include, "In-person demonstration of the applicant’s ability to lock, load, unload, fire [our emphasis] and store a firearm before an instructor certified by a law enforcement agency. According to Oregon Firearms Federation Executive Director Kevin Starrett "there are virtually no facilities that will be available for this training. For first time gun buyers this could well require that you have a gun before you can get a permit to buy a gun."

One proponent of the measure, John Hummel, the District Attorney for Deschutes County, has claimed that the “live fire” portion could be done with no ammo or with toys.But the measure specifically says that part of the training could be done separately from the rest of the class which could be online. Clearly there would be no need for that if the requirements could be met with toys. Though the measure is so badly written it includes references to Oregon Statutes that do not exist and even its drafters say it needs to be fixed by the legislature, Hummel called it “perfect.”

In interviews with the editorial boards of the Oregonian and Willamette Week, the proponents repeatedly stated they do not want people who commit violent crime to be incarcerated, and in fact the measure does not contain a single word about holding criminals accountable for their crimes.

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Another troubling feature of the measure is a requirement for a public database of anyone who applies for a permit to buy a gun. That would include victims of rape and domestic abuse.

"The measure only allows those approved by police to provide the required “training” to apply for a permit, Starrett continued. "Police in Oregon are underfunded and understaffed. There is no plan in place to actually provide any training and virtually no police have the facilities or manpower to provide classes. Police in urban areas are already not responding to most violent crimes. Police in rural areas are spread thin and rarely have the facilities for the required class."

Oregon State Sheriffs Association Executive Director Jason Myers expressed similar concerns. “If this measure does become law, OSSA will work to address the training requirements as we can within our resources, and we will certainly help local Sheriffs to the extent possible with providing training, but it is going to be nearly impossible to provide adequate training facilities and staffing without significant state funding assistance.”

Measure 114 will appear on the ballot this fall for adoption or rejection by the voters.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-17 06:34:54Last Update: 2022-10-15 17:32:37



Voters Will Determine if Healthcare is a Right
“Rights are freedoms from government”

Editor's note: In November, voters will be presented with four statewide ballot measures. This article deals with Measure 111 which was referred to the people by the Oregon Legislature during the 2021 Session as SJR 12.

Oregon Measure 111 the right to healthcare, amends the Oregon Constitution to require the state to ensure affordable healthcare access to all residents, balanced against requirements to fund schools and other essential services. The measure made it to the ballot through legislative action with plenty of opposition. The Legislative Resolution that created Measure 111 was Chief Sponsored by Representative Rob Nosse (D-Portland) and Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-Portland).

Current state law outlines the general requirements for health insurance policies and provides health care for low income and disabled residents who meet eligibility requirements. Measure 111 will amend the Oregon Constitution to establish health care as a fundamental right, and obligates the state to provide Oregon residents “access to cost-effective, clinically appropriate and affordable health care.” This amendment requires the state to balance that obligation against the public interest in funding public schools and other essential public services. If the state is sued to enforce the amendment, the court may not order a remedy that interferes with the state’s requirement to balance healthcare funding against funding for public schools and other essential public services.

While this measure establishes a new constitutional obligation for the state, it does not specify what the state must do to comply, how that compliance will be measured, or identify specific steps the state must undertake should this measure pass.

Representative Kim Wallan (R-Medford) sat on the committee writing the explanatory statement for the Measure. She writes in opposition, “This measure creates a new right, a "fundamental" right, in the Oregon constitution. It differs in one significant way from all other rights. Rights are limits on the laws the government can pass. Rights are freedoms from government. Measure 111 gives every person in the state a right of access to appropriate health care. This requires the state to force some people to provide health care to others. It means the state will have to send doctors and nurses to remote areas, at a salary set by the state, to give everyone their right to health care. After all, if you have a right to have health care, how are you going to get it if someone else doesn't give it to you? In fact, to those obligated to provide the service, and to those obligated to pay for it, it is the opposite of a freedom. It is coercion.”

Those in support are stakeholders that gain to profit. Dwight Dill, retired Union County Mental Health Director writes, “According to a report by the Oregon Health Authority, Oregonians' personal health care expenditures outpaced the rest of the US from 2013 to 2019. While the US saw an increase of 27% during this time, Oregonians' expenditures increased by 34%... In 2019, 60% of all bankruptcies in Oregon included medical debt. In the same year, almost 16% of Oregonians reported delaying medical treatment due to costs.” He then claims Measure 111 will not increase your taxes, so where does he propose the funding will come from to bring down healthcare costs and prevent bankruptcies?

A committee of five led by State Treasurer Tobias Read determined the financial impact to state and local expenditure and revenue is indeterminate. The measure does not require additional state government revenues or expenditures. The impact of the measure will depend on future legislative action to establish additional health benefits and determine how they will be paid for.

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Supporters have taken this to say this measure does not force the state to spend any money, but to be in compliance would require legislative funding to implement. Funding a heavy and rich in benefits system isn’t an answer to reducing healthcare costs. It would force taxpayers to continue to pay for the rampant fraud, waste and abuse in the Medicaid, Medicare and insurance systems. It is projected that to fund this measure would more than double the state budget. How can the state balance this obligation with its other obligations to fund public schools and other essential public services without raising taxes substantially? Taxpayers will have no recourse in the courts against harmful legislative actions.

Measure 111 will appear on the ballot this fall for adoption or rejection by the voters.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-16 06:13:21Last Update: 2022-10-15 16:53:08



Secretary of State Publishes Election Integrity Campaign
“Voting in Oregon Feels Good”

Oregon Secretary of State, Shemia Fagan, announced the launching of a series of “Voting in Oregon Feels Good” public education campaign. She says it is aimed to “pre-bunk” false election information by proactively reaching voters with accurate information from an official, trusted source.

This is the second media campaign to debunk common myths to combat false information. The first video of “Voting in Oregon Feels Good” launched in April was focused on registering to vote.

Secretary Fagan says, “I want the characters in these videos to be to Oregon elections what Smokey the Bear is to wildfire prevention.” It seems like a good analogue since Smokey was a fictional bear created by artist Albert Staehle in 1944. It was the bear’s publicity slogan that became the familiar pledge, “Only you can prevent forest fires.”

The campaign is animated with a pink Easter bunny and giant-colored eggs in a 1970’s style, featuring dozens of Oregon landmarks, characters and scenes from across the State. The first spot, Journey of a Ballot, Fagan says explains the features of how vote-by-mail protects the integrity of our elections. Let’s fact check: Secretary Fagan said. “This campaign is as fun as it is informative, with Oregon-focused animations that stand out from other government messages. When you see the videos and social media posts, I hope you’ll take a moment to remember why Oregonians are very proud of vote-by-mail.”

“Research shows that once a person forms a belief about elections it’s very hard to change their mind,” Secretary Fagan said. “That’s why it’s critical for elections officials to get ahead of false information by sharing the fact that Oregon has had free and fair elections through vote-by-mail for over 20 years. When Oregonians know all the steps elections workers take to protect the integrity of our elections, it completely undercuts the conspiracy theories from proponents of the Big Lie.”

To produce “Voting in Oregon Feels Good,” the Oregon Elections Division used a competitive bidding process to hire Oregon-based creative agency Happylucky, a Portland-based design firm. The budget for the project is $350,000 — allocated from one-time funding approved during the 2022 short session by the Oregon Legislature. The campaign will target low turnout voters with ad buys on social media, CTV, broadcast TV and podcast platforms. The ads will be produced in English, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Somali. The first ads launched on Monday, October 10.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-15 12:43:01Last Update: 2022-10-15 17:49:34



Fall Ballot Measures: Limiting Constitutional Quorums
Measure 113 would encourage attendance

Editor's note: In November, voters will be presented with four statewide ballot measures. This article deals with Measure 113 which was referred to the people by the citizens' initiative process.

Measure 113 is a response to strategic walkouts by the Oregon Senate and the Oregon House in recent legislative sessions. In 2019, the Democrats were pushing hard for HB 3427, a massive tax bill to fund education and heavily supported by the teachers' unions. Republican Senators walked out and later forced a compromise.

Later that same session, Republican Senators under the leadership of Senator Fred Girod (R-Lyons) -- later joined by many members of the Oregon House -- walked out to prevent the passage of HB 2020, a bill which would have tied Oregon to a massive carbon tax which Democrats wanted for their climate policy.

The text of the measure is simple. It reads:

Failure to attend, without permission or excuse, ten or more legislative floor sessions called to transact business during a regular or special legislative session shall be deemed disorderly behavior and shall disqualify the member from holding office as a Senator or Representative for the term following the election after the member’s current term is completed.

The chief sponsors of the initiative are Andrea Kennedy-Smith of McMinnville and Reed Scott-Schwalbach of Portland. Kennedy-Smith is a public sector vice-president of Service Employees International Union Local 503 which is one of the largest and most powerful public employee unions in Oregon. Scott-Schwalbach is the President of the Oregon Education Association, another very powerful public employee union.

Democrats may grow to regret taking tools from the minority party as they did under the leadership of Harry Reid in 2013 and then watched helplessly as President Donald Trump appointed Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and soon Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court bench.

Their day of reckoning came on Jan. 20, 2017, with a Republican president and Senate in control of judicial nominations. For the past four years, President Donald Trump and Republicans have done their constitutional duty in nominating and confirming federal judges, including now three Supreme Court nominations. But don’t blame Trump or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Blame Harry Reid who put politics ahead of principle and opened the door for Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and soon Amy Coney Barrett.

Measure 113 will appear on the ballot this fall for adoption or rejection by the voters.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-14 06:53:26Last Update: 2022-10-13 16:12:22



Biden to Campaign for Kotek in Oregon
“We’re surprised anyone would want to be seen with the President”

Fox News is reporting that President Joe Biden will be visiting Oregon to Campaign for Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Tina Kotek. Attendance at the fundraiser is $500 each or $5,000 for a personal picture with President Biden.

President Joe Biden’s visit to Oregon this week falls at a time of rising inflation and soaring gas prices. Biden’s itinerary includes a speech on the economy, which will highlight “lowering costs for American families.” The average price of gas in Oregon is $5.54, a record high in state history and inflation has reached 8.3%.

Oregon has the third highest gas prices in the nation currently, following California and Alaska. According to OPB, average gas price nationally sits at $3.74 per gallon, “$1.39 below Oregon’s average.”

Inflation is hurting Oregonians as the price of groceries, the cost of rent, and other everyday expenses rose significantly this past year. As The Oregonian pointed out, the price of groceries “soared 13.5% — the biggest 12-month increase since 1979.”

According to a press release from Oregon Senate Republican leadership, "The real question is whether Oregon Democrats, who have enacted similar failed policies here at home, will stand by Biden during his visit and whether his trip helps or hurts Democrats this November. Biden’s trip comes on the heels of Oregon being dubbed a battleground state this cycle after decades of Democrat control."

Governor Kate Brown has decided to avoid President Biden altogether during his upcoming visit. The Governor’s staff announced she will be in Asia from October 14-16 on a trade mission to promote foreign investment.

"Let’s be clear, Brown would rather flee the country than be seen with the President of the United States, who could further tank Democrats numbers here ahead of the election," noted the Senate Republican release.

Kate Brown and the President share similar approval ratings, with a Morning Consult poll this week confirming Brown’s ranking as the least popular governor in the United States and Biden’s net approval in Oregon is -11 (that is, the share who approve of his job performance minus the share who disapprove).

"President Biden’s untimely trip to Oregon to bail out the Democrats and lecture Oregonians on the state of the economy is ridiculous," the Senate Republican release said.

Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp said, “We’re surprised anyone would want to be seen with the President who with the help of his Democrat colleagues caused the highest gas prices in Oregon history.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-14 05:00:00Last Update: 2022-10-15 04:06:22



Breese-Iverson Calls on ODE Director to Resign
“The Governor should send him home with a paper packet and ignore him”

House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson has called for Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill to resign following the release of the 2022 Statewide Assessment results.

“As a mother of two boys in high school, I am not surprised by the plummeting test scores of students across the state. Governor Brown and the Democrat majority took their orders from the teacher unions and shut down schools with callous disregard to the impact those shutdowns would have on students. They deliberately ignored parents who foresaw the devastating impacts the shutdown and mandates would have on their students,” said Breese-Iverson.

As the ODE released disappointing numbers on student achievement, the response from those in charge was to look for more money and blame COVID. “Every student deserves the chance to graduate from school prepared for lifelong success,” said Governor Kate Brown. “As our schools, students and families continue to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, we must continue to accelerate state and federal investments in high-quality instruction and strategies that support academic success, student mental health and other student needs, with a particular focus on equity and helping the students who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

“Their press release and statements are insulting to parents across the state. Rather than reflect on their actions, Governor Brown and Director Colt Gill took zero accountability.”

Breese-Iverson continued, “ODE needs to get it’s act together. Instead of focusing on improving our student’s ability to read, write and think critically, the Department has pushed a progressive political agenda in the waning days of their failed administration.”

“Today I am calling on Director Gill to resign. If he fails to do so, the Governor should send him home with a paper packet and ignore him, like he did to our students, until January.”

In the 2021 regular session, House Republican Education Committee members pushed HB 2962. The bill would have commissioned a study to understand students’ instructional needs caused by school shutdowns. However, the majority let it die in committee.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-13 12:54:14Last Update: 2022-10-13 13:56:56



Suspect Arrested in Sign Thefts
She’s known for her involvement with Antifa and other extremist organizations

On October 9th, Kiley Delgado-Warren was arrested due to a series of sign thefts belonging to some of our Washington County candidates. This individual was bragging about stealing yard signs and posted a picture of about a dozen in her vehicle on multiple social media sites. According to Washington County Republican Party Chair Zack Murdock, "the Washington County Republican Party will not stand for this behavior. This doesn’t only affect the candidates but also the people donating their hard-earned money to these candidates."

"We want to thank the Washington County Sheriff's Office for their diligence and earnestness in arresting Kiley Delgado-Warren," Murdock continued. "She’s been charged with crimes related to the thefts of yard signs of multiple candidates including Senate District 18, Kim Rice. Delgado-Warren is a known left-wing extremist who is close to many metro area Democrat politicians." She’s known for her involvement with Antifa and other extremist organizations and has previously been arrested for rioting in Portland.

"During the District Attorney race in May, we saw similar posts by leftist vigilantes destroying signs and this needs to stop. The fact leftist extremists feel completely comfortable filming and posting themselves committing crimes speaks volumes to the lawless one-party rule this state has endured for decades," said Murdock.

"We call on The Washington County Democrats, Wlnsvey Campos, and all other Democrat elected officials who are close with Delgado-Warren to condemn these actions immediately. Furthermore, we ask Washington County Democrats to hold their surrogates accountable in the future and discourage political censorship. The Washington County Republican Party will never tolerate these crimes and we hope our counterparts agree."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-12 13:46:21Last Update: 2022-10-12 14:11:37



Oregon Signs Green Agreement with BC, Washington, and California
Anouncement includes boasts of both equity and domination

Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed an international ​West Coast Climate Agreement with California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and British Columbia Premier John Horgan this week, promising to work together to halt climate change.

That agreement updates the charter for the Pacific Coast Collaborative, an international governmental agency formed by the three U.S. states and the Canadian province in 2008. The immediate problems it seeks to address are the recent drought, heat spells, climate change in general, and lack of equity among the communities

The new agreement commits the West Coast populations to low-carbon technologies, renewable fuels, electric transportation, and “forest resiliency”--that is, reduction of wildfires. Brown has been advocating a reduced dependence on diesel trucking for several years. The governors announced a mutual intention to "dominate" the world's green energy industries.

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The document specifies that the agreement has no status in law or mechanism of enforcement.

Some Internet commentators have commented on the unspoken contrast between the dire shortage of fresh water and electric power in California, and the abundance of water and hydroelectric power (potential) in the Northwest; some have wondered whether this Collaborative will become a foundation for sharing those resources.

Currently, Oregon generates about half its utility power from fossil fuels. Following California, Oregon is also developing its own Advanced Clean Cars II regulation to move to 100% zero-emission new vehicles by 2035. But some groups are skeptical that such a radical conversion would be possible or reliable within the time frame.

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Though the Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board (CUB) advocates for nuclear power as a viable alternative to fossil fuels, nuclear is not included in the Collaborative's plans. Nuclear power has seen decades of bitter opposition on the West Coast. The region has also seen some strategic failures, what with the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in California that was built near a geological fault, the Trojan Plant in Oregon that became a maintenance nightmare, and the Columbia Generating Station in Washington that had some issues in the past with nuclear waste disposal.

At this time, the most practical solution for clean energy may be the Pacific Power proposal to build modern Natrium nuclear plants in the region, though there is no sign the state governments will permit those projects.


--Mark DeCoursey

Post Date: 2022-10-12 11:54:00Last Update: 2022-10-12 11:55:25



Election Integrity Lawsuit Filed
“Oregon is ground zero for the election integrity fight”

A groundbreaking election integrity lawsuit was filed October 8, 2022, against the Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and names twelve counties as defendants. This suit is novel and has been filed as a class action lawsuit representing Oregon voters. It seeks a declaration that mail-in voting and computer tabulation of the votes are unconstitutional because voters are being disenfranchised. The ease with which the voting systems can be manipulated, the number of anomalies showing that the vote is being manipulated, and the reaction of government officials to hide and cover-up rather than disclose all serve to disenfranchise voters.

Plaintiff Marc Thielman, former Alsea School District Superintendent, spearheaded this case with the support of key funders and the legal expertise of Attorney Stephen Joncus. Thielman states, “Oregon is ground zero for the election integrity fight and this lawsuit seeks to build on prior cases, such as the Tim Sippel case recently held in Washington County. Already, Oregon officials have conceded in a court of law, that electronic voting machines can be accessed remotely and are vulnerable to hackers. This new lawsuit is intended to give voice to the election integrity minded community that is being steadily disenfranchised at the hands of State and County Officials who swear an oath to uphold the Constitution and serve the people.“

"The government has created a system that is not trustworthy and cannot be verified which causes people to turn away and not bother to vote. If the powers that be have already decided the election, why bother spending time on picking candidates? Why bother voting if my vote will be canceled by an illegal vote? There is a crisis of confidence in Oregon’s election system that has been created by our own government. The voters have to restore control by ending mail-in voting and use of computerized vote tallying machines.

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The Introduction to the case reads: Americans are confronted with a storm of election “anomalies” that have served to undermine the confidence of a significant percentage of the American electorate in the integrity of our free and fair elections. A citizen’s vote is a fundamental expression of the First Amendment. Voters are guaranteed Equal Protection under the US Constitution. Maintaining the sanctity of each vote is a duty of local, state and federal government agents and as such, the vigilance of federal, state, county, and city election officials for upholding voter confidence must be of the highest order. Unfortunately, state, county, city election officials have consistently demonstrated a profound lack of curiosity for alleviating the negative impact of these anomalies on the confidence of the average voter.

Counties sited as defendants are Clackamas, Washington, Multnomah, Linn, Lane, Marion, Jackson, Deschutes, Yamhill, Douglas, Klamath, and Coos. Thielman says, “This case will bring new evidence and expose the profound abuses and lack of curiosity among State and County election officials whose conduct clearly violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and promotes voter suppression and disenfranchisement at the hands of the government.”


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-11 19:18:49Last Update: 2022-10-12 12:45:02



Fagan Announces Audits on Abortions, Guns and Environment
“This year, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the constitutional right to abortion”

In what some consider to be a new height in politicization of the office of Oregon Secretary of State, Secretary Shemia Fagan has extended the reach of the audits department to perform audits on "Sexual and Reproductive Health Care, Gun Safety and Environmental Regulations."

According to a release from her office, "In response to emerging state and national trends, Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan announced additions to the 2022-23 Audit Plan. The additions include audits of Oregon's sexual and reproductive health care services and the Department of Environmental Quality, in addition to an advisory report on the state's 'Red Flag' gun safety policy. The additions seek to strengthen public services and improve outcomes for Oregonians."

The Oregon Constitution outlines the duties of the Oregon Secretary of state. They do not include audits in "response to emerging state and national trends."

Article VI, Section 2. Duties of Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall keep a fair record of the official acts of the Legislative Assembly, and Executive Branch; and shall when required lay the same, and all matters relative thereto before either chamber of the Legislative Assembly. The Secretary of State shall be by virtue of holding the office, Auditor of Public Accounts, and shall perform such other duties as shall be assigned to the Secretary of State by law.

“This year, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the constitutional right to abortion, and families in Oregon and across the nation have been heartbroken by gun violence. I can do something about it,” said Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. “That’s why I have directed the Audits Division to evaluate access to safe and legal abortions in Oregon and determine how effective Oregon’s red flag gun safety law is at keeping Oregonians safe.”

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The new additions include an audit of Oregon’s sexual and reproductive health care services. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has significant, wide-ranging impacts on state governance. Oregon has made substantive investments in reproductive health care services and is now operating in a new landscape. The audit will examine the risks to Oregon’s sexual and reproductive health care services, with a focus on potential inequities and public health outcomes.

Auditors will also complete an advisory report examining Oregon’s “Red Flag” policy, which allows courts to take weapons away from people who are at risk as a danger to themselves or others. In response to increasing gun violence in our communities -- including a deadly shooting at a Bend supermarket in late August -- this project aims to provide state leadership with timely, high-quality analysis and information related to red flag programs.

Oregon Firearms Federation Executive Director Kevin Starrett offered that "Secretary of State Fagan has a well known and extreme animosity towards law abiding gun owners, even once denouncing the Oregon Firearms Federation as an 'extreme organization.' Oregon’s red flag law deprives people who have not even been accused of a crime, let alone convicted of a crime, of their rights and property with no due process. But even more outrageous, it does this without even the pretense of making anyone safer."

According to Starrett, "Under the law, a person can have his firearms stolen from him by the state based on an unproven allegation by an unqualified accuser. But if the accused person really is experiencing a mental health crisis, no help is offered or available and that person is still free to do harm to themselves or others. And if that person is not a danger, they must somehow prove that in court, at their own expense."

The law, passed during the 2017 Legislative session as SB 719 includes, as reasons to take someone’s firearms away, the recent lawful purchase of a firearm or the use of legal marijuana. Additionally, if the accused person is examined by a qualified mental health professional, and found to be perfectly normal and a danger to no one, he is forbidden by the law from using that assessment in his defense.

Starrett Concluded, "We fully expect Fagan to further weaponize an already dangerous and faulty law."

Finally, the Audits Division will be executing an audit of the Department of Environmental Quality with a focus on enforcement activities and community relations. The timing of this audit is ideal in terms of providing new DEQ leadership with valuable, objective, and actionable information to assist them with moving the agency forward. Secretary Fagan received a written request from the Senate Republican caucus on September 23 to perform this audit.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-11 15:10:41Last Update: 2022-10-11 23:03:07



Famous Serial Rapist Walks from Prison
Many wonder why Oregon imposes so short a statute of limitations on rape

From the late 1960s until 1986, Richard Troy Gillmore took regular runs through the neighborhoods of Portland.  Gillmore had a special purpose for his fitness routine:  He was casing the community for likely rape victims.  In that period, Gillmore raped at least nine women, according to his statements to police.  Police suspect he raped as many a hundred others.

Gillmore was eventually caught and tried in 1987.  Because most of the known incidents were too old under Oregon's statute of limitation, only the last was prosecuted at his trial.  On December 6, 1987, Gillmore convicted by the jury for raping 13-year-old Tiffany Edens.

In the last ten years, Gillmore's case has been considered multiple times for parole and each time rejected.  Finally, after 35 years, the maximum assigned by the court minus time off for good behavior,  the Parole Board has approved Gillmore's release.  At age 63, he will walk the open streets and breathe free air before the end of the year.

The case has stirred considerable controversy over the years.  Many wonder why Oregon imposes so short a statute of limitations on rape.  If the rapist avoided capture for three years, he could not be prosecuted.  Thus, Danielle Tudor could not tell the court about Gillmore raping her in Southeast Portland when she was just 17 in 1979, and Colleen Kelly could not testify that Gillmore broke into her Southeast Portland home and raped her when she was 13 in 1980.  Gillmore evaded capture and ran out the clock.

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Since that time, the statute of limitation has been extended to six years if the victim is a minor.

Some small correction in that situation was effected by the State Parole Board in 2012.  At that time, the definition of "victim" was expanded to include anyone injured by the convict, including those who had not appeared as a witness at trial.  Under the new rule, some of Gillmore's other victims were able to speak at his parole hearings.

According to the Oregonian, though Gillmore was considered a "dangerous offender" at trial, he is being released as only a Level 1 sex offender.  That assignment was determined by the "Static 99" risk assessment tool the state uses to gauge the sexual recidivism rate for sex criminals.  And that Level determines the notification given to the residential community where Gillmore is assigned to live.


--Mark DeCoursey

Post Date: 2022-10-11 01:28:56Last Update: 2022-10-11 21:55:24



Meet the 2022 Candidates for Congressional District 2
Cliff Bentz v Joe Yetter

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Oregon Congressional District 2 is the largest of Oregon’s six districts covering two-thirds of the state including all of Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wasco, Wheeler counties, and part of eastern Josephine county, and some of the Grants Pass area. Some 53 percent of the land is federally held. Cliff Bentz was elected to represent District 2 in 2020 to replace Greg Walden, who chose to retire.

Cliff Bentz served in the Oregon House for ten years and the Oregon Senate for two years before being elected to Congress. He is a partner in the law firm Yturri Rose specializing in agricultural, water and real property law. He also owns a 100-acre alfalfa farm.

Challenger Joe Yetter is a veteran, a physician, teaches a faculty development fellowship program, and was part of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. He says he is running because, “we cannot ruin the world that they [our children] must live in. Equality and justice mean that all people are equal under the law and, to the extent it is possible, we must redress the sins of our past.”

Yetter favors two or more years of national service for all young Americans. He says, ”this is not a popular idea today, but I'll work to make it popular. As your representative in Congress, I will work with President Biden and my Congressional colleagues to continue to repair and expand NATO re-establish our standing in the world.”

Bentz says, “America is not just a country; it is an idea. A very successful idea that no one else in the world has been able to duplicate.” He opposes boycotting Israel and doesn’t support expanding NATO.

Yetter would build the economy by supporting the Build Back Better investments in infrastructure and job training needed, in an equitable way. He sees higher wages, improved workers' rights, gender equity, family farm values, support of home-ownership, and a tax code that is fair as a priority.

Bentz says we have to have a strong economy. Each person crossing our southern border cost the American taxpayer $10,000 per year, which is amounting to $7 million a day and growing. We are spending billions and billions of dollars on unnecessary things and sending money to states that don’t need it. At some point taxpayers have to pay for it and that doesn’t seem to be understood by many.

Yetter’s health care stance is for government run healthcare. He also says, “I believe in liberty. I believe in bodily autonomy. Roe should be codified in Federal law.” He supports universal health care that includes pre-pregnancy counseling, nutrition, and health habits; that provides health care throughout the pregnancy and after; and that provides care for the family regarding employment and social support.

Bentz opposes government run healthcare costing $30 trillion and wants to see a free-market plan that drives down skyrocketing costs. He supports medical malpractice reform to stop frivolous lawsuits and voted against controlled drug pricing that limits initiative for new and better medications. He sees the healthcare system being drained and abused by illegals crossing the border.

As a veteran, Yetter feels strongly about the nation’s obligation for the medical needs of veterans and funding for improved services. He says, “I consider VA medical care The Best Care Anywhere. And, remember: I've practiced medicine (and been a patient, too), in the military and in civilian practice, on three continents and in several states here at home.”

Bentz also fully supports veterans and says, “without our military, and the men and women serving, we would not have a country.”

Yetter is a full supporter of renewable energy suggesting solar panels on irrigation canals in drought areas that will cool the water and reduce evaporation. He says, “We need to act immediately to combat climate change: electrifying, de-carbonizing, sequestering, and more.”

Bentz led a panel on the lower emission future for fossil energy at the Congressional Western Caucus saying, “getting completely rid of fossil fuels is not a strong strategy for the U.S. We need to not only lower (not delete) our carbon footprint, but also understand how the carbon footprint is created. That understanding will generate cleaner energy domestically.” As a member of the Natural Resources Committee he says, “it genuinely eludes me as to why we are not producing energy in America. Our energy is cleaner and we can produce it more efficiently than other nations.”

Bentz supported farmers on the floor in congress to provide a relief package with a balance to provide water to farmers in drought areas. He opposes the breaching of dams on the Snake River and sending billions to communities affected. He sees fires and withholding water to farmers as the biggest priority for his district. He says, “We must get back into the forests to mitigate the risk of future wildfires.”

Yetter also supports marijuana legalization nationwide, rational gun ownership and responsibility, and universal pre-K education and full funding of state college for any student in an accredited program.

Bentz wants closed border, opposes recreational marijuana, reduced regulations, lower taxes, supports Second Amendment rights, opposes taxpayer-funded college, is anti-gender identity, and values life of the unborn.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-10 19:48:34Last Update: 2022-10-06 21:25:26



Meet the 2022 Candidates for Oregon Senate District 17
John Verbeek v Elizabeth Steiner Hayward

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Incumbent Elizabeth Steiner Hayward was appointed to the Senate District 17 in 2011 to replace Suzanne Bonamici after she won a special election to represent Congressional District 1. Senate District 17 covers the heart of Portland and parts of Washington County.

Steiner Hayward is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. In 2013, Steiner Hayward publicly revealed she suffers from major depressive disorder and multiple sclerosis. She disclosed her condition to advance SB 823, mental health services, and the funding that was needed to implement it.

Steiner Hayward has set her sights on making Oregon the healthiest state in the nation. In her accomplishments, she includes establishing Oregon's CCO system which streamlines and integrates health systems to deliver healthcare more efficiently and increasing Oregon's vaccination rates. She worked to improve health outcomes through upstream interventions such as raising the legal age for purchasing tobacco products to 21, establishing the nation's first state-wide universally-offered nurse home visiting program for families with newborns, and improving access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment. She voted for HB 2447, which proposed single payer government run health care, HB 2005 establishing paid family medical leave and HB 3057 mandating the COVID-19 vaccine to attend school, work or travel.

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John Verbeek isn’t new to the campaign race. He ran for U.S. Senate in 2020, and five other races prior to that including Oregon’s Congressional District twice. He has 34 years in financial services and an MBA from the University of Georgia.

Verbeek agrees everyone has the right to good health, but supports private healthcare insurance. He says, “Minimizing poor medical outcomes requires more than a doctor visit or bipartisanship. We must look not only at the contribution of government but also at the participation of private individuals.” He further believes a child’s health care is under a parent’s authorization. Medical oversight (OMB and OBNM) should be limited to protection of patient-physician relationship with witnesses and informed consent. Verbeek believes this will protect a system from being turned into a government-sanctioned cult.

Verbeek has three children and sees quality teaching as a priority. “The purpose of public education is not to cultivate university professors and lawlessness, but to cultivate young people learning to read, to write, to do arithmetic and to obtain other useful skills for leading productive lives; Including the purpose of sports as part of sound education… to cultivate self-reliance and distinguishing attributes (character), expect legislative support for funding those educational programs, for teachers who can be trusted with someone else’s child, and for principal school officials be held to the greatest standard.” He also believes justice involving minors should be parental authority and responsibility first in a rightful chain of command.

Steiner Hayward voted for SB 554 requiring gun owners securely store weapons and bans guns in the capitol and PDX, allows public schools to ban guns, and makes gun owners liable for crimes committed after the gun is stolen. She also voted to prohibit law enforcement and courts from inquiring about immigration status in HB 3265.

Verbeek says he would have voted no on SB 554 and believes everyone should be diligent with anything potentially lethal. He also disagrees with HB 3265. He further says, “early releases by officials does not serve justice, unless it serves justice over an unjust verdict. He believes the penance leads to reconciliation with what is good for a clear conscience and a changed life that honors the law from a clean heart and spirit.”

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Steiner Hayward is in full support of the green energy agenda. She voted yes on HB 3055 funding infrastructure $5.3 billion over 10-years increases gas taxes 40 cents, voted to permit tolling, voted for electric vehicle rebates and charging stations with public funds, voted for the CAT tax that bankrupted small business during the pandemic, and voted for HB 2021 requiring 100% reduction in emissions below baseline emissions by 2040 with no structure to insure adequate power.

Unlike Steiner Hayward, Verbeek believes in a free enterprise for raising living standards, and not government. He says, “reduction in emissions below baseline would be harmful to families with less income, especially their personal mobility.” He also doesn’t agree with the electric vehicle agenda and questions the expense and battery recycling. He would vote no on the $5.3 billion infrastructure bill and tolling and objects to controlling our movements.

Verbeek says, “when government maintains order with justice, and promotes opportunity and freedom for all, Americans can be unified and happy.” Compare votes of Steiner Hayward with Verbeek’s responses: https://bit.ly/OAA2022-SD17Guide


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-09 06:18:14Last Update: 2022-10-05 11:50:20



ODOT Completes Housing and Transit Study
The online open house will be available until October 21st

Last year the Oregon State Legislature requested that the Oregon Department of Transportation examine policies and actions that could improve quality of life through increasing housing options with easy connections to transit. This aligns with our strategic goals to address equity, address climate change, improve access to public and active transportation, and address congestion.

ODOT has completed its Oregon Transit and Housing Study identifying policies, strategies, and actions that can better link housing, including affordable housing, with transit services in the future. The study and its products are designed to inform state, regional, tribal, and local agency and transit provider staff about steps they can take to improve transit and housing outcomes in their area.

ODOT has invited people to browse the online open house. The online open house will be available until October 21st. It is designed to allow you to browse the lessons learned and products completed throughout this project on your schedule. There are no surveys or other work included. The virtual open house will allow people to explore the collected results of the case studies, survey, and the rest of the study.

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According to ODOT, the study can help guide public investment and lead to denser developments along bus, streetcar, and/or rail lines. It can help implement national and statewide emissions initiatives, such as the Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities Program, to help meet climate change targets. According to ODOT, this project provides recommendations and strategies to help make Oregon a better, more affordable place to live.

While housing policy is not directly a part of ODOT’s mission, they are pursuing this Study due to the important connection between transportation and housing on the quality of life for all Oregonians, especially those traditionally underserved. The information we uncovered can help ODOT, other state agencies, public transportation providers, and regional, local, and tribal transportation and land use agencies better enable links between transit and housing of all types.

The study identified several key takeaways:
  1. Transit-supportive housing is not a well-defined concept nor a focused concentration within many of the policy and guidance documents. Many state-level policies affect the provision of transit, housing, and affordable housing, but few directly address all the concepts together. A clear and consistent statewide policy position across multiple agencies could help to reach numerous statewide goals – improve housing production and affordability, reduce GHG emissions, etc. – and direct funding and investment toward these goals.
  2. Coordination between state agencies and local and regional partners is key in addressing and delivering transit-supportive housing. Land use, housing, and transit, while addressed within local community comprehensive plans, are aspects of the built environment that are often planned independently by separate agencies. Greater coordination between the agencies could result in identifying opportunities for additional collaboration that may ultimately benefit Oregon communities. Delivering effective transit-supportive housing will require fostering a shared understanding of the concept and partnerships among these agencies and local jurisdictions.
  3. There are opportunities to leverage recent legislative, executive, and agency actions to further transit-supportive housing policies. HB 2001 and HB 2003 focus on missing middle housing and statewide housing needs, respectively.
  4. Transit-supportive housing performance measures, evaluation criteria, and guidance would benefit any transit-supportive housing policy.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-08 06:57:57Last Update: 2022-10-05 14:48:35



Meet the 2022 Candidates for Oregon Senate District 11
Kim Thatcher v Richard Walsh

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

During a virtual forum with the Marion County Democratic Party, Richard Walsh, running for Senate District 11, declared his support for a $22 billion tax hike on Oregonians to create a universal health care system. This is just $6 billion less that the State of Oregon’s entire general fund for the entire 2021-2023 biennium. This is an unprecedented expansion of state government.

Senate District 11 covers parts of Marion County, including Woodburn and much of Salem. Richard Walsh is competing against Senator Kim Thatcher for Speaker Peter Courtney’s district upon his retirement.

Kim Thatcher voted against single payer government run universal health care in 2019, HB 2447, and introduced a Vaccine Passport ban and advocated against forced vaccinations and for vaccine safety while legislators were trying to exempt themselves from what they were trying to force on the public. Thatcher repeatedly sponsors various forms on protecting the unborn from inception to 20-weeks to ‘care of life’ if a child is born alive after attempted abortion. She also passed legislation that cracks down on sex offenders.

Walsh says, “I will protect and defend a woman's fundamental right to control her own body. We must protect access to the full scope of reproductive health care, including access to abortion. I will fight to preserve accessible, affordable care in Oregon.”

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Walsh says, “housing affordability must be addressed. To do this we need to address the core issues of income inequality, financing, and affordable housing inventory.” Thatcher takes another approach, “The government has layered costly regulations and permitting making it more expensive to build new homes… Oregon’s population is outpacing her supply of homes. We can loosen the crippling regulations contributing to the housing and homeless crisis. I will defend against any changes to raising caps on property taxes that drive up housing costs.”

Walsh wants to address rising costs by cracking down on price gouging in areas where Oregonians are struggling to keep up with rising costs. He says, “We all deserve housing, health care, and transportation that’s affordable, and I am ready to tackle this problem by prioritizing the needs of our working families.”

Thatcher has consistently voted and advocated against reducing greenhouse emissions 100% below baseline, the electric vehicle agenda and the $5.3 billion transportation infrastructure raising gas taxes and allowing tolling in HB 3055 and HB 2021. She also did not support SB 390, requiring 100% of electricity to be generated utilizing renewable and carbon-free energy.

Walsh supports SB 554 as common-sense gun safety measures to prevent gun violence like safe storage and capacity limits. He says it “allows us to protect our children and keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of those who don’t need them, while still preserving core constitutional rights for responsible gun owners.”

Thatcher was vocal against SB 554 calling it a trap. “SB 554 will set up numerous potential “felony traps” all over the state for those with Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHL).” Thatcher’s survey responses: https://bit.ly/OAA2022-KimThatcher


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-08 06:17:48Last Update: 2022-10-05 11:08:55



Paiute Tribe Signs Agreement with State of Oregon
The agreement establishes a framework for future collaboration work on salmon and steelhead

The Burns Paiute Tribe, a federally-recognized Indian tribe, signed an agreement with the State of Oregon and ODFW to continue support and cooperation to protect and enhance fish and wildlife, cultural resources, and habitat connectivity.

"This agreement affirms the role of the Burns Paiute Tribe in both exercising and management of aboriginal rights that were never extinguished," said Burns Paiute Chairperson Diane Teeman."We value our partnership with the state in co-management of fish and wildlife and this Agreement is an important step in further developing that partnership." Governor Kate Brown, Chairperson Diane Teeman and ODFW Director Curt Melcher signed the agreement on Oct. 3 at the Tribal-State Summit in Florence.

"The people of the Burns Paiute Tribe have been stewards of these lands and First Foods like salmon and steelhead since time immemorial, and it is critical that our governments work hand-and-hand to protect and maintain Oregon's fish and wildlife," said Governor Kate Brown.

"I'd like to thank the Burns Paiute Tribe and Chairperson Diane Teeman, as well as ODFW and Director Melcher, for making this important agreement possible, which is essential for this critical work to move forward in a collaborative way, using the combined expertise and knowledge of Tribal and State experts," Brown added.

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The agreement memorializes ongoing cooperative efforts between BPT and ODFW. These efforts include ceremonial hunting opportunities, a ceremonial and cultural Chinook fishery on the Malheur River, and a collaborative effort to address vehicle-caused wildlife mortality from Highway 20 in the Malheur River Canyon.

"At ODFW, we understand and appreciate the importance of fish and wildlife to the Burns Paiute Tribe," said Director Melcher. "It gives me great pleasure to sign this agreement recognizing our shared interests and outlining our future commitments to the fish and wildlife resources of the state," he added.

In addition, the agreement establishes a framework for future collaboration work on salmon and steelhead restoration efforts in the Malheur River Basin. The framework includes cooperative efforts to restore habitat, in addition to conducting baseline assessments including pathogen assessments that will be needed for any future reintroduction efforts.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-07 18:20:14Last Update: 2022-10-07 18:44:56



House Candidate Hires Sex Offender
Critics say that this is typical of Democrat attitude on Law and Order

The Statesman Journal is reporting that Democrat candidate for state House District 21 R.J. Navarro knowingly hired a registered sex offender, convicted of sexually abusing a child younger than 14, on his campaign.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-07 11:10:42Last Update: 2022-10-12 13:37:56



Oregon High Court Denies Review of Clemency Challenge
“This is a sad day for crime victims and prosecutors in Oregon”

The Oregon Supreme Court has denied Review of the Oregon Court of Appeals decision in regard to the challenge by crime victims and District Attorneys as to the Governor’s exercise of clemency powers outside the process specified by law.

Kevin Mannix, attorney for the victims and District Attorneys, commented as follows on the denial of the Review:

“This is a sad day for crime victims and prosecutors in Oregon. The Oregon Supreme Court has let stand a decision by the Court of Appeals that the Governor is not bound to follow the clemency process set by law, which requires input from District Attorneys and an opportunity for victims to be heard before a clemency decision is made. Instead, the Governor can follow whatever process she wants and can ignore input from victims and District Attorneys if she wishes. The Court also allows the Governor to give the Parole Board authority to shorten sentences where the law does not give such authority.

“Because all of this involves an interpretation of Oregon law, no further appeal can be taken. Instead, I will go to the Legislature to seek a specific law which makes it clear that the Governor cannot set up her own clemency procedures and ignore the statutes. I will also seek a referral to the voters of a constitutional amendment which specifies that victims and District Attorneys must be allowed to be heard in the clemency process. I will go one step further and seek a constitutional amendment which provides that no Governor can use the clemency power to shorten felony prison sentences except when such clemency is approved by a majority vote of the Oregon Senate. This is one way we can restrict the abuse of the clemency process which we have witnessed in Oregon.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-07 10:25:20Last Update: 2022-10-07 14:03:26



Meet the 2022 Candidates for Oregon Senate District 10
SD 10 race between Deb Patterson v Raquel Moore-Green

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Incumbent Deb Patterson had a rocky start in Senate District 10, barely defeating Denyc Boles, the incumbent, in a recount in 2020. Patterson previously lost to Jackie Winters. Now she faces Representative Raquel Moore-Green after the redistricting put her in Senate District 10. The voters in parts of Marion and Polk counties have two candidates with voting records to give a clear indication on how they stand.

Moore-Green is a small business owner and served her community as a member of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, the Latino Business Alliance, Union Gospel Mission, and the Salem Police Foundation to name a few. Her goal is to bring balance to the senate and ensure legislation that will improve educational standards, support law enforcement, and reduce the tax and regulation burdens placed on our businesses. She is running for the Republican and Libertarian parties.

Deb Patterson earned a master's degree in music, and in health administration from Washington University School of Medicine, and a master's degree and doctorate from Eden Theological Seminary. Her experience includes working as a healthcare administrator and executive director, and the executive director of Northwest Parish Ministries. She has served as a member of the Salem Rotary Club, Healthcare for All Oregon, and SEIU 503. She is running for the Democrat and Independent parties.

Moore-Green believes in accountability, and wants to ensure that future Governors will not have the ability to exclude the legislature’s active participation during states of emergency. Oregon has forced legislative fiscal accountability by passing the tax kicker, which refunds excess forecasted funds to taxpayers. Moore-Green voted not to lower the kicker by rewriting prior budgets to reduce the amount of the kicker. Patterson voted to reduce the kicker, voting for SB 846.

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Moore-Green believes public safety means funding of law enforcement and supporting services to address mental health issues, alcohol abuse and drug addiction, as well as provide job skill training. She voted against HB 3265 restricting law enforcement and courts from inquiring about immigration status, and voted against SB 554, that locks up firearms to make them inaccessible.

Patterson supports common sense gun safety laws like universal background checks and safe storage voting for SB 554, which makes it virtually impossible to defend yourself from murderers and criminals. She also voted to restrict law enforcement and courts from asking about immigration status.

Moore-Green says, “Our students deserve to compete nationally, but Oregon’s recent lower graduation standards fail to equip them for the real world. We need comprehensive education that’s rigorous, transparent, and inclusive of parental input.” She voted against eliminating the essential skills test for a high school diploma (SB 744), and voted against HB 2166 enacting a social emotional learning framework establishing an early childhood suspension prevention program.

Patterson says, “I know that we must do more to give our children a head start, to support strong community schools that respect and reflect the diversity of Oregon and to make college and vocational training more accessible for everyone.” She voted in support of eliminating the essential skills test for a high school diploma (SB 744), and voted for HB 2166 enacting a social emotional learning framework establishing an early childhood suspension prevention program.

Moore-Green wants greater access to patient care and wants to see local county initiatives promoting healthy diets, exercise and lifestyle choices. She voted against HB 3057, vaccine mandates for attending school, work or travel. She says she values life and voted to require ‘care of life’ if a child is born alive after attempted abortion.

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Patterson says, “I support access to the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare…I opposed legislation that infringed on one’s right to choose and will continue to stand up for reproductive rights for everyone.” Except when it comes to mandating vaccines, she voted for HB 3057 mandating vaccination for attending school, work or travel. She also voted against requiring ‘care of life’ if a child is born alive after attempted abortion.

Patterson supported legislation to bring Oregon to 100% clean energy by 2040 voting for HB 2021 that has no structure to insure adequate power. “We can build a clean energy economy that protects our environment and invests in our workers and our economy and we must start now,” Patterson said. She also voted for HB 2290, to spend taxpayer dollars installing public electric vehicle charging stations, and HB 2165 establishing a rebate program for electric vehicles.

Moore-Green says “we must protect our small/private farms, fisheries, and dairies from continued regulation. They are excellent stewards of their resources – providing jobs, food, and services for nearly 4 million Oregonians.” She voted against bills intending to convert to electric vehicles, and voted against reducing emissions 100% below baseline emissions by 2040, with no structure to insure adequate power.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-07 06:17:13Last Update: 2022-10-05 10:57:27



Meet the 2022 Candidates for Oregon House District 21
Kevin Mannix v Ramiro Navarro, Jr.

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Kevin Mannix is a practicing business law attorney representing small businesses, churches, private schools, and non-profit agencies. He served as a state legislator for 10 years. He became Oregon’s leading crime victim advocate, authoring Measure 11 and Measure 73 in 2010. which formed mandatory minimum sentences for violent crimes. He has successfully stood up to a government run wild, including fighting Governor Brown's punishing mandates and successfully defeating the largest tax increase in Oregon history. He also backs law enforcement, fully funding police, and restoring the criminal justice system with prevention, accountability and rehabilitation.

Challenger Ramiro Navarro went from taking the United States oath at 18, to an Army Veteran, worked as a Veteran’s Representative at Chemeketa Community College and Project ABLE supporting veterans with mental health services, to a business owner of Oregon’s Finest Automotive, and now running for Senate District 21. He says “I will legislate not from a position of authority, but as a person who knows the issues impacting the most vulnerable in our community.” He currently serves on the Cherriots Board advocating for public transportation, and recently spoke during a virtual forum with the Marion County Democratic Party where he expressed a top priority will be to eliminate gas cars to clear the way for electric cars. He says, “I’ve advocated for investing in cleaner public transit to support the mobility of low-income Oregonians and protect our environment.”

Navarro says, “We need to make major investments in affordable housing to support working families and take transformative steps to make healthcare more affordable. Focusing on these policies will help everyone by stimulating our economy.” He showed his passion in the Marion County Democratic Party meeting using strong language to show his support for universal health care and to raise taxes to fund it.

Mannix says, “the homelessness problem is actually a symptom of the failure to address a number of issues. The state needs to develop a comprehensive backstop system for counties, cities, non-governmental organizations, and churches to be able to better address homelessness issues. He proposes strengthening the capability to require drug-addicted and alcohol-addicted persons to enter treatment facilities, staffing and training for facilities, work programs for homeless, and research what’s working across the nation.

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Mannix has dedicated much of his life to promoting school choice and parental rights in our kids’ education. Mannix founded Blanchet Catholic School in Salem and will fight to stop the one-size-fits all policies putting a barrier between parents and curriculum in the classroom. He sees a need to expand school choice, provide a voucher program for parents of children with disabilities, a tax credit for businesses sponsoring scholarships, and grants to help private schools expand their capabilities in certain academic areas.

Navarro sees a “need to prioritize child care so working families can get a leg up and build a better life for their children.” His focus is on more funding for education and head start programs so our children have the support they need to thrive.

Mannix wants to keep taxes low making Oregon more affordable for working families. He says, “We need a comprehensive review of Oregon’s tax system so as to enhance business development and employment growth, while lowering taxes and fees for working Oregonians.” He proposes removing the Oregon death tax and the CAP system, establish caps on income taxes, and clarifying exemptions from personal property taxes.

Navarro says he will always protect your bodily autonomy, your right to medical privacy and ability to access an abortion. He says that is why he is the only candidate endorsed by Planned Parenthood and Pro Choice Oregon.

Mannix believes he can represent minorities from spending many years of his childhood in Latin America living in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Panama while his father served in the Foreign Service. While in Latin America, Kevin attended private Spanish immersion schools and is fluent in Spanish. He serves as President of the Salem Catholic Schools Foundation and founded Blanchet Catholic School serving on the Board. He says, “I believe that life begins at conception and public policy should be designed to support life. I am endorsed by Oregon Right to Life.”

The two are challenged by Michael Morrow running for the Libertarian Party. His responses to the OAA questionnaire places him as a moderate candidate.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-06 08:16:35Last Update: 2022-10-05 10:05:03



ODOT Requests Comments on Zero Emissions Vehicles Plan
The U.S. will need between $100 billion and $166 billion in charging infrastructure

At the direction of the Oregon Legislature, the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality have produced a report analyzing existing incentives available to support the transition to Zero Emission Vehicles for Medium- and Heavy-Duty transportation fleets. The agencies were further directed to research incentives offered in other states and to provide recommendations on expanding or creating incentives to support Oregon businesses in the transition. This report includes analyses on incentives for both vehicles and electric charging or other fuel infrastructure

Two listening sessions were held to provide space for comments and feedback from stakeholders on the MHD ZEV incentive Report. May 31 and September 27, 2022.

In 2021, Governor Kate Brown stated that Oregon has experienced more extreme weather events, chronic heat and drought, flooding and more intense wildfires as a result of climate change. The Governor also acknowledged and supported Oregon’s efforts on addressing climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Oregon Global Warming Commission, state-wide emissions must be reduced by over 50 percent to meet Oregon’s 2035 GHG reduction goal.

Political experts have noted a pattern of politicians setting high goals in the future -- when they may no longer expect to be in office -- and then failing to meet them.

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The report, entitled Incentives to Support the Transition to Zero Emissions for Medium-and Heavy-duty Sectors in Oregon identifies the significant bottleneck to advancement of these initiatives: Electric Charging Infrastructure. Zero emission vehicle adoption for Medium- and Heavy-Duty is only possible if the infrastructure needed to charge or refuel electric vehicles exists. This is a key barrier to both battery and fuel cell electric vehicle adoption, particularly in the medium- and heavy-duty sectors.

According to Atlas Public Policy, the U.S. will need between $100 billion and $166 billion in charging infrastructure investment this decade to support 100% electric truck sales by 2040. There are many types of medium- and heavy-duty battery electric vehicles, and each vehicle type will have different charging needs based on vehicle size, usage schedule and application. The primary EV chargers utilized in the Medium- and Heavy-Duty sector are Level 2 chargers and Direct Current Fast Chargers.

According to the report, many stakeholders brought up the issue that for some sectors, specifically non-road and long haul vehicles, technology does not exist right now for them to adopt ZEV vehicles. Whether the vehicles are not made for the application, the load, or the range it will limit who the early adaptor sectors and use cases are for incentives.

Comments on the draft report are due Oct. 10 at noon. The report is due by Dec. 1, 2022.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-06 06:50:51Last Update: 2022-10-05 12:55:53



Electric Vehicle Charging Company Fined by DEQ
Company Sold Fraudulent Clean Fuel Credits

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality today issued its largest penalty to date against Thompson Technical Services, of Lincoln City, for selling nearly $2 million in fraudulent credits through DEQ's Clean Fuels Program. The $2,723,895 penalty surpasses the $2.1 million enforcement action last year against Herbert Malarkey Roofing for air quality violations.

The action against Thompson Technical Services, which goes by TTS Charging, came after DEQ discovered the company had illegitimately claimed 16,089 in Clean Fuel Program credits for operating three electric vehicle charging stations in Sheridan. TTS then sold most of those credits to Elbow River Marketing for nearly $1.8 million.

At the time the company claimed and sold the credits, the three charging stations had not been installed and had not dispensed any electricity to vehicles.

"This is an egregious violation of a program that is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change," said Leah Feldon, interim director of DEQ. "The Clean Fuels Program has been highly successful, but selling fraudulent credits seriously undermines the program's environmental benefits. This penalty is intended to encourage the violator to return legitimate credits to the market and should serve as a deterrent to anyone considering similar fraudulent behavior."

The Clean Fuels Program, which has been in place since 2016, provides incentives to companies that develop transportation fuels with lower carbon intensity, such as electricity or biofuels. The incentives come in the form of credits that can be sold to other companies as a way to comply with state rules requiring reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Each credit is equal to 1 ton of reduced emissions. To date, the program has helped reduce emissions by 7.6 million tons and has displaced nearly 1.5 billion gallons of fossil fuels with cleaner ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel, electricity and renewable forms of natural gas and propane.

On June 10, TTS used the Oregon Fuels Reporting System to falsely claim it had dispensed 14.9 million kilowatt hours of electricity from the three non-working charging stations during the first three months of 2022. The false reporting generated 16,089 credits in the reporting system. On June 27, TTS transferred most of the credits to Elbow River Marketing. The total sales price of the credits was $1,788,000.

DEQ's order: If TTS complies with the order and purchases credits to offset the illegitimate ones, DEQ will reduce the size of the penalty accordingly. TTS has 20 days to request a hearing to appeal the penalty.

"This enforcement action demonstrates DEQ's commitment to maintaining the integrity of the Clean Fuels Program and our willingness to act swiftly when anyone violates the program's rules," Feldon said.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-06 06:17:48Last Update: 2022-10-05 10:06:29



Senator Golden Used N Word Multiple Times in Book
Golden uses the word several times in his memoir

Fox News is reporting that Oregon State Senator Jeff Golden (D-Ashland) repeatedly used the word "n-----" in a book he wrote.

Senator Golden published "Watermelon Summer" in 1971 about his experience spending a summer on a Georgia sharecropper farm.

Golden is currently running for re-election against Republican Medford Mayor Randy Sparacino.

Golden uses the word "n-----" several times in the book: Democrat Gubernatorial Candidate and former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek has been endorsed by Senator Golden. The Northwest Observer has reached out to her campaign for a comment, but has not yet received a reply.

"Jeff Golden's words are despicable and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms," said Republican State Leadership Committee Spokesman Zach Kraft. "Jeff Golden owes voters a serious apology and every Democrat candidate for state Senate should condemn Jeff Golden's shameful behavior.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-05 14:48:35Last Update: 2022-10-05 15:41:32



Oregon Employment Department to Reconsider Benefit Rules
"Equity and good conscience" as defined by the Internal Revenue Service

The Oregon Employment Department is proposing changes to its Oregon Administrative Rules. They have filed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with the Secretary of State to amend OARs 471-030-0017 and 471-030-0053, and promulgate 471-030-0320. They say that these rule changes are necessary to extend the provisions of SB 172 from the 2021 Legislative Session.

SB 172 had an operative date of June 23, 2021. It allowed recipients to deduct all or part of unemployment insurance benefit overpayments against future weekly benefits within five years following final decision for overpayments that were the claimant's fault, but not because of willful misrepresentation by the claimant.

471-030-0017 defines when wages are reportable to the Oregon Employment Department for unemployment insurance. This proposed rule will change reporting requirements for individuals receiving back pay while claiming unemployment insurance benefits. Before SB 172, a worker could not report wages from previous weeks. SB 172 allows a claimant to report retroactive pay when it is paid to them, unless it is awarded after a shutdown due to a lapse in federal funding. In that case, the payment must be allocated equally to the weeks of the shutdown.

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The Employment Department also proposing a new administrative rule, 471-030-0320. This rule addresses the percentage of future weekly benefits that may be offset according to Oregon Revised Statute 657.215, 657.310, and 657.315. It clarifies that when a decision is issued under ORS 657.306, the five-year time limit called for in SB 172 begins immediately following the week that the decision establishing an overpayment became final. The percentage of future weekly benefits offset will be determined based on whether the overpayment recovery would go against "equity and good conscience" as defined by the Internal Revenue Service.

Lastly, they are proposing AOR 471-030-0053 be permanently amended to make it consistent with the amended ORS 657.317. Currently, a waiver is defined as a temporary, renewable hardship deferral. Under SB 172, a waiver removes all responsibility for repayment for eligible individuals.

These proposed changes may have a fiscal and economic impact to employers, including reimbursing employers and those who pay into the Oregon Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. This may include small businesses, state agencies, and units of local government.


--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2022-10-05 09:41:43Last Update: 2022-10-05 10:54:29



Meet the 2022 Candidates for Oregon Senate District 8
Sara Gelser Blouin v Valerie Draper Woldeit

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Valerie Draper Woldeit is challenging the veteran legislator Sara Gelser Blouin for Senate District 8, which covers northwestern Linn County and northeastern Benton County, centered around Albany and Corvallis.

Draper Woldeit has been a school teacher since 1980 and seen firsthand the short comings of Oregon’s education system. She says, “politicians continually lower standards and then make excuses for the failing government school system. Government keeps pushing extreme agendas in the classroom, pushing mandates and closures.” She wants to get schools back to the basics to prepare students for the real world.

Gelser Blouin’s idea for improving the high school graduation rate is to “empower youth to direct their own services and protecting their right to speak publicly about their own experiences.” Her voting record supports lowering the high school diploma standards due to inequities and disparities. Gelser Blouin carried HB 2023 for a floor vote in 2019 that required all curriculum content include instruction on history, contributions and perspective of minorities including refugees, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.

In 2018, Gelser Blouin also proposed an amendment to SB 1540 that would have lowered the sexual consent age to 12 allowing 13-year-olds to engage in legal sexual activity with adults. Her education focus seems to be on minorities, eliminating discriminatory barriers particularly for Black, Indigenous and students of color, immigrants and gender identity students.

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Gelser Blouin wants to expand access to life-saving mental health treatment. She has trouble walking the talk. She was accused in 2020 for treating her chief of staff harshly for taking leave for mental health reasons. That occurred after she led the charge against the Republican Senators walking-out, and she refused to show up for floor votes, claiming she felt in danger, until another Senator was removed for saying threats against the State Police if they had been deployed during the walk out. Gelser Blouin said, “the situation shows that the Legislature had learned little from a sexual harassment suit she had brought the prior year.”

Gelser Blouin has a narrow focus platform discussing every issue from the point of tackling longstanding disparities for BIPOC communities in health care and stopping any efforts to roll back equal rights for the LGBTQIA+ community. She opposes any effort to restrict women’s access to abortion.

Draper Woldeit believes Oregon has failed at nearly every level at honoring the dignity of life. “Every life has value, regardless of age. I will be a strong advocate for our most vulnerable, from the unborn, to foster youth, and the elderly.” She wants to go to Salem to be a check and balance on government power and overreach so shut downs and mandates never happen again.

Gelser Blouin’s stance on the economy is to continue to pass legislation to reduce carbon emissions, invest in communities impacted by the effects of climate change, and make transportation investments and policies that reduce reliance on fossil fuels. She voted to allow tolling, and supports the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain.

Draper Woldeit pledges to be a strong supporter of law enforcement and thinks Oregon can do better to provide a safe and prosperous place to live, curb inflation and stop government from constantly raising taxes with nothing to show for it. She believes in reviving our culture of constitutional rights and liberties. She says, “it’s time to change course by reforming taxes and cutting red tape to make our beautiful state more affordable and unleash Oregon jobs...so every Oregonian has the opportunity to realize their full potential.”


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-10-05 09:16:15Last Update: 2022-10-05 16:20:17



Balmer to Retire from State High Court
He served as Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court

Governor Kate Brown announced today she is accepting applications to fill a vacancy on the Oregon Supreme Court created by the upcoming retirement of Justice Thomas Balmer. The Governor thanked Justice Balmer for his dedicated judicial service. The retirement of Justice Balmer is effective December 31, 2022, and the appointee will begin service immediately thereafter.

Balmer served as Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court from May 1, 2012, replacing Paul De Muniz. Martha Lee Walters succeeded Balmer as Chief Justice on July 1, 2018, although Balmer has continued to serve as an associate justice.

Last year there were vacancies on the Oregon Supreme Court and Oregon Court of Appeals, for which candidates were interviewed and vetted by the Governor’s Office and the Oregon State Bar in a combined appellate judicial appointment process. Applicants who already submitted interest forms as part of last year’s appointment process will be considered for Justice Balmer’s position and need not apply again. A list of previous applicants can be found here, and the Oregon State Bar’s recommendations from that applicant pool can be found here.

ORS 2.020 provides that a judge of the Supreme Court must be a citizen of the United States, have resided in Oregon for at least three years before their appointment, and have been admitted to practice in Oregon before standing for election.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-04 06:32:41Last Update: 2022-10-05 13:57:57



Temporary Food Plaza to Become Safe Space
It will also create active, green public space

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has announced that federal funding will help create permanent plazas downtown, including a segment of the future Green Loop. The Pride Plaza at SW 12th Ave and Harvey Milk Street is an example of a Portland Public Street Plaza that provides outdoor gathering space, with restaurants operating outdoors. Thanks to a federal grant, the plaza will have permanent improvements next year.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced that the Portland Bureau of Transportation will receive a $1.2 million federal grant to create 32,000 square feet of street plazas to promote tourism and the economic recovery of downtown. The grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

The federal investment will make permanent improvements for Pride Plaza, at SW 12th and Harvey Milk Street, where a temporary plaza was created during the pandemic to create safe space for community gatherings, business use and public art. It will also create active, green public space to connect the Cart Blocks food cart pods at Ankeny Park West to O'Bryant Square Park.

Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty thanked the Biden Administration and U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici for their support of the grant application.

"During this pandemic, we learned how important it is to use our outdoor public space for community members to come together," Hardesty said. "We are so grateful to the Biden Administration and our Congressional delegation members for this federal support. Last year, I directed PBOT to make our street plazas and outdoor dining programs permanent. Plazas like these downtown will help us make Portland a more inclusive, equitable place, and help grow our small businesses and cultural destinations."

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Planning and community involvement in the design of the Harvey Milk Plaza improvements will start in early 2023, with construction by the fall. One former legislator who declined to be identified said, "It seems odd that a transportation bureau would celebrate the removal of transportation infrastructure and the use of transportation dollars on items not related to transportation in a city choked by congestion."

The plaza connection to the Cart Blocks will build a segment of the future Green Loop, a concept for a 6-mile linear park with leafy green canopy, urban pedestrian plazas and engaged adjacent development that unites Portland's Central City neighborhoods. Construction will happen soonest near the food cart pods, and in subsequent years on the other sections. Sections adjacent to O' Bryant Square Park will be coordinated with the redevelopment of the park, which is closed due to structural issues with an underground parking garage.

Map of destinations near the street plazas funded by commerce department. This map shows the approximate locations of plazas that will benefit from federal funding. The Harvey Milk Plaza goes from West Burnside to SW 11th Avenue. The segment of the Green Loop connects the Cart Blocks at West Burnside and Park Avenue to O'Bryant Square, which is planned for redevelopment.

According to a press release, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is the steward of the city's transportation system and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage, and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-03 09:51:34Last Update: 2022-10-04 08:02:37



TriMet Invites Feedback on Expansion
TriMet begins online, in-person and virtual public outreach

TriMet would like to expand service by as much as 30% in the coming years, but what that could look like is much different today than before the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Forward Together” concept helps connect the dots. Early community engagement found broad support for two key goals: focusing on ridership and improving connections to destinations for people with low and limited incomes. The map (below) presents one idea of how these priorities could look, in terms of our service.

According to their website, TriMet says that "COVID-19 changed where people go and how they get there. At TriMet, we recognize that we may need to make big changes as a result. As we come out of the pandemic, we want to make sure that our transit service reflects the current needs of the community. We’re launching a new phase of community engagement around changes to TriMet bus service that we’re thinking about as part of a much bigger transit concept we call Forward Together."

As part of “Forward Together,” TriMet took the most in-depth and comprehensive look at our bus network ever. We’ve now developed a service concept that would be a sweeping re-envisioning of our bus network and would give more people access to our services, to reach more jobs and places.

TriMet conducted an initial survey in spring 2022. Based on feedback from 5,500 riders, stakeholders and community members, we’ve developed a draft concept that would change more than 80% of our bus service. It would also:

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On their website, TriMet asks, "What do you think? Are we headed in the right direction? Let us know by weighing in at trimet.org/forward. Responses will be accepted through October 31. Along with the online survey, we’re hosting open houses in person and virtually."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-03 06:17:26Last Update: 2022-10-02 11:26:51



Medford Certified in Fentanyl Detection
K-9 Nacho and K-9 Max completed the certification process

In an effort to combat the rise in fentanyl use and overdoses in our community, the Medford, Oregon Police K-9 team has now partnered with the California Narcotic Canine Association (CNCA) to safely train and certify K-9’s and handling officers in fentanyl detection.

In August, MPD K-9 Nacho and K-9 Max completed the certification process becoming the first two police service dogs in Oregon to be certified by a police K-9 association to detect fentanyl.

“This innovative effort was led by K-9 Officer Havice.

"It’s thanks to his diligent work and extensive research that we were able to connect with CNCA and complete this impactful K-9 training.” said Lieutenant Mark Cromwell.

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Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement (MADGE) has seen an extreme increase in powdered fentanyl which poses a significant risk of exposure to Officers and K-9’s. Safety measures are in place for all responders and service dogs which includes having Narcan on hand to deploy if necessary.

K-9 Max has already been deployed and successfully detected fentanyl – which led to the seizure of more than 6 ounces of powdered fentanyl.

The recent certification of K-9 Nacho and K-9 Max will help in efforts to save lives and limit the amount of fentanyl in the community.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-10-02 09:33:47Last Update: 2022-10-03 12:07:14



All Razor Clamming Closed in Oregon
From the Columbia River to the California border

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announce razor clams are closed to all harvesting from the Columbia River to the California border. Recent lab results indicate the marine biotoxin domoic acid has exceeded the closure limit along the entire coastline.

Mussel harvesting is closed from the Columbia River to the north side of the Yachats River for elevated levels of the marine biotoxin paralytic shellfish poison. Mussel harvesting remains open from the south side of the Yachats River to the California border.

Recreational bay clam and crab harvesting remain open along the entire Oregon coast. ODA will continue to test for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides and weather permit.

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Reopening an area closed for biotoxins requires two consecutive tests with results below the closure limit. Contact ODFW for recreational license requirements, permits, rules and limits.

For more information call ODA’s shellfish biotoxin safety hotline at (800) 448-2474, the Food Safety Division at (503) 986-4720, or visit the ODA recreational shellfish biotoxin closures webpage.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-10-02 09:18:15Last Update: 2022-10-02 09:32:19



Brown Visits Renewable Energy Sites
“I firmly believe we can move to 100% clean electricity sources”

Governor Kate Brown this week visited wind and solar energy sites that are putting Oregon on track to having 100% clean electricity, reducing carbon emissions, and growing Oregon’s clean energy economy.

"Under my administration, Oregon has taken a comprehensive approach to reducing our carbon emissions and moving Oregon towards 100% clean energy on one of the most ambitious timelines in the nation," said Governor Brown. "I firmly believe we can move to 100% clean electricity sources and create good-paying jobs in rural Oregon at the same time.

"The urgency of getting clean energy projects online could not be clearer. Extreme heat, wildfires, drought, and winter storms -- we are seeing the impacts of climate change in Oregon, with some of the biggest impacts in rural Oregon. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, we now have the opportunity to pursue federal funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act to create clean energy jobs throughout the state."

On Tuesday, Governor Brown visited the Golden Hills wind farm and the Montague solar farm operated by Avangrid Renewables. She also visited Sherman County, where she viewed an electric tractor demonstration at the Sherman County Fairgrounds and a solar-powered broadband trailer to extend high-speed internet service in the county.

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On Wednesday, Governor Brown joined Portland General Electric and NextEra Energy Resources for the ribbon-cutting of their Wheatridge facility -- the first renewable energy site in the nation to combine wind power, solar power, and battery storage in one facility.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-10-01 06:40:30Last Update: 2022-09-30 10:51:11



Ninth US Circuit Upholds Homeless Law
Effectively requires the City of Grants Pass to allow all of its parks to be used as homeless encampments

The US Ninth Circuit continued to uphold the restriction on municipal anti-camping ordinances articulated in the landmark Martin v. City of Boise decision by striking down a slate of ordinances in Grants Pass. The case involved challenges to five provisions of the Grants Pass Municipal Code. The provisions can be described as an “anti-sleeping” ordinance, two “anticamping” ordinances, a “park exclusion” ordinance, and a “park exclusion appeals” ordinance.

In September 2018, a three-judge panel issued Martin v. City of Boise, holding “the Eighth Amendment prohibits the imposition of criminal penalties for sitting, sleeping, or lying outside on public property for homeless individuals who cannot obtain shelter.” The concept created by the court was that it was "cruel and unusual punishment" to impose penalties on persons for camping on city property if they have no other place to go. The formula established in Martin is that the government cannot prosecute homeless people for sleeping in public if there “is a greater number of homeless individuals in [a jurisdiction] than the number of available” shelter spaces.

According to the majority opinion written by Judge Roslyn O. Silver of the Arizona District in Johnson v. Grants Pass, the City's ordinances are invalid.

At least fifty, and perhaps as many as 600, homeless persons live in the City. And the number of homeless persons outnumber the available shelter beds. In other words, homeless persons have nowhere to shelter and sleep in the City other than on the streets or in parks. Nonetheless, City ordinances preclude homeless persons from using a blanket, a pillow, or a cardboard box for protection from the elements while sleeping within the City’s limits. The ordinances result in civil fines up to several hundred dollars per violation and persons found to violate ordinances multiple times can be barred from all City property. And if a homeless person is found on City property after receiving an exclusion order, they are subject to criminal prosecution for trespass.

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Daniel P. Collins -- a Trump appointee -- scolded the majority,

In Martin v. City of Boise, we held that “the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment bars a city from prosecuting people criminally for sleeping outside on public property when those people have no home or other shelter to go to.” Even assuming that Martin remains good law, today’s decision—which both misreads and greatly expands Martin’s holding—is egregiously wrong. To make things worse, the majority opinion then combines its gross misreading of Martin with a flagrant disregard of settled class-certification principles. The end result of this amalgamation of error is that the majority validates the core aspects of the district court’s extraordinary injunction in this case, which effectively requires the City of Grants Pass to allow all but one of its public parks to be used as homeless encampments. I respectfully dissent.

In a footnote, Collins also took on the Martin v. City of Boise decision, saying, "The majority’s decision is all the more troubling because, in truth, the foundation on which it is built is deeply flawed: Martin seriously misconstrued the Eighth Amendment and the Supreme Court’s caselaw construing it. But I am bound by Martin, and -- unlike the majority -- I faithfully apply it here."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-30 08:47:06Last Update: 2022-09-30 13:43:07



Opioid Overdoses Increased in 2021
Fentanyl and methamphetamine help fuel rise in deaths and hospitalizations

Methamphetamines and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl helped drive an increase in opioid overdoses and related deaths in 2021, according to a new Oregon Health Authority report. The report, Opioids and the Ongoing Drug Overdose Crisis in Oregon, shows that overdoses involving multiple drugs – known as polysubstance overdoses – also rose during 2021 and now account for more than half of all fatal overdoses. In addition, hospitalizations increased in 2021 following decreases between 2018 and 2020. Charges for drug overdose-related hospitalizations reached $170 million and overdose-related emergency room charges reached $50 million.

"What this report tells us is that, even as prescription opioids were on the decline in Oregon over the last decade, misuse of synthetic and prescription opioids and other drugs continues to take a heavy toll on everyone in our state," said Tom Jeanne, M.D., M.P.H., deputy health officer and deputy state epidemiologist at OHA's Public Health Division, who served as an advisor on the report. "We need to continue our efforts focused on enhanced prevention across the continuum of drug use."

The report also describes those at highest risk for unintentional drug overdose death in 2021, which were non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaska Natives, non-Hispanic Blacks, and males. At lowest risk were people of Hispanic ethnicity and non-Hispanic Asians and Pacific Islanders.

"These are populations that have been unfairly affected by systemic racism, socioeconomic and political injustices and bias, which through multiple pathways can worsen health outcomes and increase the risk of experiencing a drug overdose," Jeanne said.

The report noted some trends that presented opportunities for intervention with those at risk of overdoses.

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For one, emergency medical services (EMS) personnel administered naloxone, a drug that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose, during 5,556 encounters in 2021, which is up from 3,758 encounters in 2019. In most of these cases the patient was transferred to a medical care facility for treatment.

In addition, there were almost 73,000 emergency department visits and more than 17,000 hospitalizations related to substance use disorder or intoxication issues other than an overdose in 2021. Such health care interactions represent opportunities to connect patients to treatment, prescribe naloxone – a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose – and provide other supports to reduce their risk for experiencing future overdoses, the report explains.

Providing comprehensive, non-stigmatizing harm-reduction services for people who use drugs is among a number of response strategies the report points to. Others include education for people who have never used drugs; resilience building and support to strengthen protective factors among those at higher risk for drug use and for developing substance use disorder; ensuring universal access to culturally sensitive treatment; and maintaining strong support for people in recovery, including peer support workers.

"Each non-fatal overdose and medical or behavioral health care visit has the potential to be a touch point with prevention, treatment and recovery services to support recovery and reduce the risk of a future fatal overdose," according to the report.

An overdose is always a medical emergency. Individuals should call 911 before administering naloxone. Oregon's Good Samaritan Law protects the caller and the person who has overdosed against possession and paraphernalia charges.

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OHA's Naloxone Rescue for Opioid Overdose webpage contains naloxone frequently asked questions and a map showing Oregon pharmacies that distribute the medicine. In Oregon, naloxone is available without a prescription. Anyone actively using opioids, or other illicit substances, can get naloxone and other harm-reduction materials at no cost through syringe service programs. Syringe service programs are available to anyone who uses drugs, regardless of whether they inject them. Here is OHA's list of syringe and needle exchange services available in Oregon.

OHA has developed the following guidance for people who use drugs:
--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-30 06:23:54Last Update: 2022-09-29 14:47:06



Mannix Remarks on Work to Hold Criminals Accountable
“Every once in a while, we get to celebrate when justice is served”

After the recent resentencing of John Rideout, Oregonians celebrate efforts that advocate for crime victims and hold sex felons accountable. In a recent decision by Judge Thomas Hart, Rideout was found guilty of first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The judgement and sentencing were based on ORS 137.690, which convicted Rideout of a major felony sex crime. This “major felony sex crime” means that any person that has a prior conviction of a major felony sex crime and is charged again will serve a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 25 years.

This Oregon Statue came from Measure 73, the Oregon Minimum Criminal Sentence Increase, a citizen-initiated ballot measure statute authored by Kevin Mannix in 2010.

Kevin Mannix, author of Measure 73, reflected on the success of this measure: “For all the hard work we’re doing in fighting crime, every once in a while, we get to celebrate the results of our work when justice is served.”

“This statute was a direct result of the voters holding criminals accountable. Society will be better protected with this criminal away and justice served for the victims,” added Mannix.

The jury unanimously determined that Rideout was guilty, and the case Prosecutor Brendan Murphy argued that Rideout showed a pattern of targeting and harming women. This judgment ensures victims’ safety and prevents these crimes from happening again, a win for public safety in Oregon.

Kevin Mannix, a former Oregon state legislator, is running for State Representative to serve House District 21 (Keizer and Central Salem) as a Republican. Mannix has run his own Salem law firm since 1986 and has passed more legislation than any other person in Oregon history. Mannix is well known in Oregon political and legal circles as a crime victim advocate and the father of Measure 11, the popular ballot measure that instituted mandatory minimum sentencing for violent crimes.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-29 11:15:14Last Update: 2022-09-29 12:33:15



Advanced Clean Cars II Rulemaking Comments Invited
DEQ to adopt and implement California emission standards

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality invites public input on a proposed new rule and rule amendments to chapter 340 of the Oregon Administrative Rules to adopt and implement California's latest vehicle emission standards for light-duty vehicles and trucks, the Advanced Clean Cars II standards. Rachel Sakata, a Senior Air Quality Planner with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is managing the process.

The proposed rules would reduce light-duty passenger car, truck and SUV emissions. It requires vehicle manufacturers to sell an increasing number of zero emission vehicles starting with the 2026 model year and by 2035, 100% of all new cars and light trucks sold must be ZEV. In addition to the ZEV sales requirement, the proposed rules also require manufacturers to meet minimum technology requirements including a minimum range, parts and battery warranty, data standardization, battery labeling, charging cord and durability requirements. The proposed rules also provide flexibilities for manufacturers to comply with the ZEV sales percentages mandates.

The proposed rules also include Low Emission Vehicle requirements to ensure new gasoline vehicles sold up until 2035 are as clean as possible. These changes clarify both existing definitions and testing requirements and reduce cold-start emissions and lowers the maximum exhaust and evaporative emission rates.

DEQ is asking for public comment on the proposed rules. Anyone can submit comments and questions about this rulemaking. A person can submit comments by email, regular mail or at the public hearing.


--Ritch Hanneman

Post Date: 2022-09-29 10:08:43Last Update: 2022-09-29 13:06:44



Report on Universal Health Care Released
The Plan will not require patients to pay when receiving care

The Oregon Legislature's Joint Task Force On Universal Health Care has released its Report of the Joint Task Force on Universal Health Care. The Task Force -- chaired by former director of failed "Cover Oregon" released its 225-page report during the interim session of the legislature.

Supporters of single-payer health care in Oregon urged the creation of the Task Force in 2019, when the Legislature created the Joint Task Force on Universal Health Care with the passage of SB 770. The introduced version of the bill included a plan to establish a single-payer health care system in Oregon and was watered down through negotiations to the establishment of a task force.

In a letter to the Legislature included in the report, the Task Force describes its goal as "establishing the first state single-payer system in the country." The letter continues:

Sadly, our current health care system is financially unsustainable, harmfully complex, and socially unjust. Health care in Oregon is inequitably delivered. Too many Oregonians, because of their race, age, income, geography, or insurance, endure vastly different health care access, varied health care quality, and wide-ranging health outcomes.

To address that, the Task Force’s plan provides a universal set of health care benefits to all Oregonians that includes behavioral, vision, hearing, and dental care. It eliminates the need for premiums and out of pocket costs such as deductibles and co-pays and allows providers to bill only one entity thereby dramatically reducing administrative costs. Under the Task Force’s plan Oregonians can seek services from any provider in the state. And by establishing a single payment system it promotes equitable access to care by putting an end to a structurally inequitable payment system in which provider payments were based on the source of payment.

The plan proposes to establish a governance board in 2023 in order to to implement the plan in 2026-2027. The recommended implementation includes the following key elements: The release of the report coincides with the upcoming statewide vote on Measure 111, which proposes to establish health care as a fundamental right, placed on the ballot by the Oregon Legislature during the 2021 Regular Session by SJR 12


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-29 05:56:05Last Update: 2022-09-28 13:17:56



Oregon Gas Prices Spike
Taxes, Regulations Cited

This past week, gas prices across Oregon increased by over $0.50, the fastest increase in America, with the average cost of a gallon rising to $5.14. Oregon now has the 3rd most expensive gas in the country with a gallon costing $1.39 more than the national average.

Why is gas more expensive in Oregon compared to the rest of the country? For starters, Oregon has one the highest gas taxes in America. Second, Salem Democrats have piled on unnecessary fuel standards that further raise prices instead of working to find ways to save Oregonians money.

"Oregonians continue to pay a very steep price because Salem Democrats chose their radical liberal agenda over commonsense solutions," said Republican State Leadership Committee Spokesman Zach Kraft. "Oregon's sky-high gas prices are a microcosm of its overall failing economy which one party rule has destroyed with high taxes and burdensome regulations.”

The Oregon Legislature has been aggressive in regulating carbon intensity of fuels. In 2009, the Oregon Legislature passed the first Low Carbon Fuel Standards in HB 2186 and then in 2015 repealed the sunsets on this act through SB 324.

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In 2020, in response to a Republican House walkout during the 2019 Session to prevent the passage of HB 2020, a heavy-handed climate change bill, Governor Kate Brown signed an executive order applying the proposed standards to state agencies.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-28 13:17:56Last Update: 2022-09-28 16:53:34



Oregon to Receive First-in-Nation Medicaid Funding
$1.1 billion in new federal funding to address social determinants of health

Governor Kate Brown has joined the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to announce that Oregon will receive $1.1 billion in new federal funds to address the health-related social needs of Oregonians through the federal approval to pilot first-in-the-nation changes to the state’s Medicaid program.

Under the new medicaid waiver, Oregon is the first state in the nation to receive federal approval for continuous health coverage for children under six years old. Additionally, all Oregon Health Plan members aged six and older will have two years of continuous OHP enrollment, ensuring continuous coverage and consistent access to health, dental and behavioral health care. The waiver will also expand health-related social needs coverage for certain food assistance and housing support -- as well as invest in resources that will help mitigate the health risks of climate change, serving as the first state in the country to use medicaid funding for climate-related health needs.

“Health care does not occur in a vacuum –– it’s clear that we must look beyond a traditional, siloed approach to truly meet the needs of people, particularly those experiencing complex challenges,” said Governor Brown. “With the approval of our Medicaid waiver, we will be taking an innovative, holistic approach to closing equity gaps by addressing health-related social needs –– such as housing, nutrition, and support for extreme climate events.

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“This transformational agreement injects new resources into our health care system to help Oregon families and communities tackle the housing and food insecurity problems that can undermine good health and quality of life. I appreciate the Biden-Harris administration’s partnership and their support to allow Oregon to once again break new ground in advancing the health and well-being of people in our state.”

Oregon has received federal approval to pilot first-in-the-nation changes to the state's Medicaid program over the next five years. Under the agreement, Oregon would receive $1.1 billion in new federal funds to address inadequate food, housing and other root-cause issues that lead to poor health for people and families struggling to make ends meet. As part of the agreement, the federal government also approved expanded Oregon Health Plan coverage for young children, as well as extended eligibility for youth and adults.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-28 10:58:13Last Update: 2022-09-28 16:47:10



Analysis: Slavery in Oregon
The greatest deterrent to slavery is self-sufficiency

With the passage of SB 683 in 2021, our schools would teach a curriculum of history based on racism. Much of the curriculum comes from the 1619 Project which celebrates the arrival of the first slaves in North America.

Why don’t they teach a true history of racism? Why don't they begin with the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabic lands, India, isolated empirical China and Japan then follow it to its expansion into the America’s with some historical context? Historically speaking slavery would have been impossible for expansion into the Americas in 1619 without the current practices of the time that had the Dutch as primary merchants and Muslims as their primary supplier.

Why would the curriculum begin near the historical end of slavery in 1619 and not include 5500 years of activity that set the stage? Some say that the reason is political.

Revised History by omission. Slavery didn’t start in the U.S. It all but ended here. In Oregon the native tribes held rendezvous at Celilo Falls and Willamette Falls into the time of the white man’s arrival. The Modoc tribe would sell Paiute prisoners into slavery at those annual gathering. One slave could be had for a horse or three blankets. In our time, Mexican cartels sell young girls into slavery currently and that sex trade has accelerated with more border crossings facilitated under our new administration.

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In many Muslim countries today, women are second class citizens living lives tantamount to slavery. China has slave labor camps to reprogram nonconforming religious and dissident citizens. We are told those are OK because it is a cultural thing.

The industrial Revolution did more to end slavery than any other single event. When machines were invented that did more work of a reliable quality than humans could do the economic necessity for slavery was gone. Why don’t schools teach our kids that the Pilgrims banned slavery in the Mayflower Compact of 1620. Or teach that it was President Thomas Jefferson who banned the importation of slaves in 1807?

Maybe the course should examine the slavish controls on the actions of people once they are made to be economically and psychologically dependent on government. The greatest deterrent to slavery is a population that believes in the pursuit of self-sufficiency. What are we doing to teach self-sufficiency?


--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2022-09-26 08:43:54Last Update: 2022-09-26 20:11:49



Timber Contract Lawsuit Heads to Legislature
“We must force continued public conversation about this issue”

A decision by the Oregon Supreme Court’s decision to not accept the appeal of a $1 billion breach of contract lawsuit brought by 13 counties and numerous taxing districts against the Oregon Department of Forestry, will ultimately result in more wildfires and poorly managed state forest lands, Linn County Commissioner Roger Nyquist said Tuesday morning.

Commissioners Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker concurred with the board chairman’s comments.

Linn County took the lead in a class action lawsuit that was announced in 2016 and was heard in Linn County Circuit Court over 21 days in October and November 2019.

The court ruled in favor of the class members which included fire and library districts among others, who argued that in the 1930s and 40s the state had taken over control of more than 700,000 acres of mostly cut-over timber lands in numerous counties with a contractual promise to manage those lands with the “greatest permanent value” as a priority. The class members argued that for decades that meant timber harvesting and reforestation that provided income to the counties and taxing districts.

A jury found in favor of the litigants, but in April 2022 the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed that decision. The class members hoped the Supreme Court would hear the case.

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“This is about more than just money,” Nyquist said, “If the state does not change its direction in terms of forest management, we will likely see more wildfires. The forests produce flammable materials two to three times their rate of removal. That program will undoubtedly lead to more catastrophic wildfires.”

Nyquist said the state will also likely see more pre-emptive power shutdowns like the mid-valley experienced a week ago. Power companies, fearing high winds would down power lines, shut off electricity for nearly 24 hours in some parts of Marion and Linn counties.

“Taxpayers may also see a small portion of the income taxes taken out of their paychecks to build homes (habitat) for spotted owls that will never show up,” Nyquist said. “It’s not in the best interests of the citizens of Linn County.”

Nyquist said class members — especially county commissioners — will now need to move the issue to the State Legislature which will convene in February and into the new governor’s office, in January.

“We must force continued public conversation about this issue,” Nyquist said.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2022-09-25 15:26:32Last Update: 2022-09-25 15:35:02



A Look at the 1st Congressional District Race
Suzanne Bonamici v Christopher A Mann

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Veteran Christopher Mann takes on Suzanne Bonamici for one of the most left lending congressional districts in Oregon. The district is located in the northwest corner of Oregon with the majority of white-collar workers and only 13.35% rural. It includes Clatsop, Columbia, Washington, and Yamhill counties, and a portion of southwest Multnomah County in Portland stretching from Portland's western suburbs and exurbs, to parts of the Oregon coast. The district includes the principal cities of Beaverton, Hillsboro, and Tigard.

Bonamici won a special election in 2012 to replace David Wu after he resigned. She was a State Representative, and State Senator. In Congress she is one of nine Democrats serving on the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, which developed a Climate Action Plan for Congress to embrace much of the Green New Deal. She endorses rebuilding America’s infrastructure; prioritizing investment in rural and deindustrialized areas, low-income communities, and communities of color; and repairing the economic and racial inequality of low-income workers and communities of color exposed to pollution and more vulnerable to the costs and impacts of climate change.

Mann, born and raised in Portland, is a 21-year veteran that served abroad in Panama, Germany, Iraq, Kuwait, and Qatar, while the rest of his Military time was spent in the United States. He has a Bachelor’s in psychology and an MBA. He has dedicated the past nine years as Executive Director of The Oregon Military Support Network. Mann sees the primary issue in his district as well as other places as rising costs and the need for energy efficiency. Our grids are not prepared for electric cars. He does not believe we are in a climate emergency and doesn’t think the Green New Deal will ever lead to American energy independence.

Bonamici blasted the proposal to limit abortions to 15 weeks, when the baby feels pain. Her truth is, “Here's the truth: If this bill becomes law, millions of women will no longer have the freedom to decide when or whether to bear a child. More women will die. And many more women and children will live in poverty.”

Mann coaches’ youth and values life. He does not view abortion as essential and does not support the Women’s Health Protection Act. He supports a doctor’s choice to not perform an abortion, and supports cutting federal funds to Planned Parenthood or other organizations that performs abortions.

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Mann has a strong stance on education. He does not believe the federal government has constitutional authority to regulate schools. He says, “parents should be the ones to decide what their children are taught in school, as well as choosing the school their children attend. Schools should not be withholding information from the parents.” He also says, “teaching of any form of CRT or sexuality in grades K through 8 is not the role of the school system. More time needs to be spent on the core subjects to prepare our youth for success in the future.” He also doesn’t agree with biological males who identify as women be allowed to compete in women’s sports.

Bonamici comes from an opposing view working for more government involvement expanding early learning for pre-kindergarten, addressing resource inequities in K-12, and wants to expand aid to make college more affordable. She claims success in helping to write The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and created the Congressional STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Caucus.

Bonamici says, “Oregon has been a national leader in enacting meaningful gun violence prevention laws, and those measures have saved lives. It is past time for the federal government to enact similar laws to protect people across the country…. I helped the House pass historic legislation to require universal background checks and close the loopholes that make it easier for dangerous people to access firearms. I support getting assault weapons off our streets.”

Mann supports the right of an American citizen to keep and bear arms as stated in the Second Amendment. He wants to see the demonizing of police stopped. He proposes body cam programs, more annual training for the officers and public education. He hopes to be a part of a police reform bill that will be successful nationwide.

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Bonamici thinks government should be in the business of health care and says we need Medicare for all. She says, “I'm working to increase vaccination rates in our communities, strengthen and improve the Affordable Care Act while advancing universal health care, and provide support for frontline workers.” She supports robust funding for our public health infrastructure and preventing future global health pandemics.

Mann sees divisiveness as the cause of many problems. COVID has ruined our skills to communicate and has also deepen the homeless and mental illness problems. He says, “there is a need to reopen mental health hospitals with drug rehabilitation. It is unacceptable to have camps all over our cities. Those camps have resulted in a rise in crime, damage to the city and businesses to close or move elsewhere.”

Mann is also an advocate for veterans and will fight to fill the areas that are lacking for our service members. He responded in an interview that Jesus was his hero. “He washed the feet of those he served.” Christopher Mann’s questionnaire can be viewed on the Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Project website.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-09-25 14:13:15Last Update: 2022-09-25 15:30:20



Help Requested for City of Wallowa
This community has been left reeling from this severe hailstorm

Governor Kate Brown today requested that the Legislature approve $2 million to help the residents of the City of Wallowa recover from damage sustained in August's devastating hailstorm.

"This community has been left reeling from this severe hailstorm, and I hope that we can come together to help address this emergency," said Governor Brown in a letter addressed to Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Dan Rayfield. "I have heard firsthand from residents within the community, met with the mayor of Wallowa, and talked with county leadership about the tremendous damage that was sustained during this severe storm.

"As the storm traveled from the mountains toward the community, the west-facing side of nearly every home and car became damaged. In the community today, almost every home and business that faces west has windows that are boarded up and siding and roofs that are left in disrepair. The City of Wallowa is a small, remote rural community with many low-income community members that live on fixed incomes, and many are either uninsured or underinsured."

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While the City of Wallowa has declared a local emergency, the damage sustained would not make the City eligible for federal disaster relief. However, the Oregon Department of Emergency Management has determined that Wallowa County is a qualified recipient that would be eligible for a grant award under the Oregon Local Disaster Assistance Loan and Grant Account if state funding is made available. The disaster assistance account is identified in ORS 401.536(2)(c) as a potential funding source for these qualified recipients in response to localized events that do not meet the threshold of a federally declared event.


--Ryan Bannister

Post Date: 2022-09-25 13:48:35Last Update: 2022-09-25 15:31:16



Leadership to Change at Oregon DEQ
EQC Appoints Leah Feldon to Interim Director

TThe Oregon Environmental Quality Commission appointed Leah Feldon to be Interim Director of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality at their meeting Friday, Sept. 23. Feldon, who has been DEQ Deputy Director since 2016, will lead the agency as it continues a nationwide search for a permanent director. Her new role takes effect on Sept. 30. Current Director Richard Whitman submitted a resignation and retirement letter to EQC Chair Kathleen George stating that he had moved his retirement date up from end of the year to Sept. 30, citing personal reasons.

"I have complete confidence in Leah's ability to lead DEQ as we pursue our search for a permanent director," said EQC Chair Kathleen George. "She has a wealth of experience and has been a steady and critical partner in setting DEQ's course since she was named deputy director in 2016."

Feldon entered public service at DEQ in the Office of Compliance and Enforcement in 2005 and became manager of that office in 2009. She served in several other positions at the agency, including as Special Advisor leading the development of Oregon's Cleaner Air Oregon program, before being named deputy. She earned her Juris Doctor (JD) degree from Lewis and Clark Law School in 2004 and her Bachelor of Arts from University of Dayton in Ohio. She is a member of the Oregon State Bar and has served on several non-profit boards.

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"I am honored and excited to take on this role as we search for a director," Feldon said. "DEQ is a great agency with a lot of talented people who care deeply about Oregon's environment. I look forward to carrying on this critically important work."

About Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality protects human health and the environment by controlling air and water pollution, reducing the impacts of manufactured products and cleaning up contaminated properties. DEQ engages the public in decision-making and helps communities solve problems in ways that are economically and environmentally sustainable.


--Ryan Bannister

Post Date: 2022-09-24 15:16:27Last Update: 2022-09-24 18:35:36



Senate Republicans Call for DEQ Audit
“The Air Quality Permitting Program remains a complete mess”

Senate Republicans and Independents together have sent a letter to Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and the audits division requesting an audit of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

According to the letter, "DEQ has long lacked accountability and is frankly a broken agency. These problems have not only persisted but grown worse. The majority party in the Oregon Legislature, the Governor, and multiple agency heads who should be holding DEQ to account have instead aggressively expanded the size, scope, and powers of this unaccountable agency."

The letter points out that "DEQ is significantly overdue for an audit" And that the only audit during the past decade was a 2018 Air Quality Permitting Process Audit.

"No doubt you are aware that earlier this week the director of the agency abruptly resigned. The agency appears poised to perform a national search for a new director without the input of a new governor who will take office in four short months. Last wee, the agency continued to move forward with a rule that would ulitimately ban the sale of gas powered cars used by millions of Oregonians. Business leaders report to us that despite the 2018 audit, the Air Quality Permitting Program remains a complete mess."

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The 2018 Audit found three major issues that were asked to be addressed to relieve the "significant backlog in air quality permit renewals."
  1. 43% (106 out of 246) of DEQ’s largest and most complex federal and state air quality permit renewals are overdue for renewal. Additionally, more than 40% of the most complex permits issued from 2007 to 2017 exceeded timeframes established by DEQ or the Clean Air Act, some by several years.
  2. DEQ struggles to issue timely permits and renewals due to a variety of factors, including competing priorities, vacancies, and position cuts that have created unmanageable workloads. Other factors include inconsistent support and guidance for staff; a lack of clear, accessible guidance for applicants; and increased time for the public engagement process.
  3. Untimely permits, combined with a current backlog of inspections, endanger the state’s air quality and the health of Oregonians. For example, when DEQ does not issue permit renewals on time, businesses may not provide DEQ with data showing they are complying with new or updated rules.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-23 14:59:16Last Update: 2022-09-23 16:56:38



Nevada Joins Oregon and Washington in Drug Program
Welcome Nevadans to the ArrayRx family

Nevada has just joined Oregon and Washington in offering the ArrayRx card, a state-backed program that can save individuals up to 80% for generic drugs and 20% for brand-name drugs. The ArrayRx Card, formerly known as Oregon/Washington Prescription Discount Card, has helped more than 550,000 participants in both states save money on needed prescription drugs for nearly two decades.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak received his prescription discount card Sept. 22 to celebrate the state's participation in the ArrayRx pharmacy discount program. "Since 2003, Oregonians have been able to access our state sponsored pharmacy discount card, and today we welcome Nevadans to the ArrayRx family," said Trevor Douglass, M.D., pharmacy purchasing director at Oregon Health Authority. "Oregon and Washington have a rich history of collaborating on the pharmacy purchasing front."

By implementing the ArrayRx Card program, Nevada will be able to offer the same savings that people in Oregon and Washington have enjoyed, thanks to the expansion of the ArrayRx pooled purchasing potential.

For people interested in using ArrayRx, the enrollment process is simple and free, and there no age or income restrictions. For those who have insurance, they can choose to use the ArrayRx Card or their pharmacy benefit at the point of sale, whichever provides a better price. All U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs prescribed by a licensed provider are eligible for a discount. Mail-order and specialty drugs are also available.

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"The ArrayRx card was supportive to many Oregonians during the historic wildfires that broke out during Labor Day weekend 2020," said Heidi Murphy, pharmacy purchasing program and ArrayRx operations manager at OHA. "Evacuees were able to contact ArrayRx and quickly get discounted medications to replace those they had to leave behind when fleeing the fires. Receiving their needed medications helped provide some stability in an otherwise stressful and difficult situation."

Donna Sullivan, chief pharmacy officer for the Washington Health Care Authority, ArrayRx offers pharmacy benefit management services for local government, private sector businesses, labor organizations and individuals. "Between 2003 and 2022, 1.2 million participants in Oregon and Washington benefitted from the ArrayRx services," Sullivan said. "We welcome the residents of Nevada to receive the same prescription drug discounts through the ArrayRx Card."


--Ryan Bannister

Post Date: 2022-09-23 14:07:26Last Update: 2022-09-23 14:59:16



ODE Concludes Assesment of Group Learning Outcomes
“Every student deserves the chance to graduate from school prepared for lifelong success”

Following two years of disruption caused by the global COVID-19 outbreak, the Oregon Department of Education has released results from the Oregon Statewide Assessment System's spring 2022 summative assessments. These results will be the baseline by which future progress will be measured and should call on us all to redouble our efforts to help our students thrive.

"The assessment results are a call to action for Oregon to keep advancing the programs we know meet our students' needs," ODE Director Colt Gill said. "As expected, the pandemic had an impact on learning in Oregon and across the country. Thanks to lawmakers passing the Student Success Act, and the agency's implementation of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund, additional mental health and wellbeing supports, summer learning and other crucial programs providing engaging instruction and boosting mental health have been implemented. We believe the framework is in place to be able to help Oregon's students achieve. Oregon's students of color, tribal citizens, students who experience disability, students navigating poverty and rural students were disproportionately impacted and investments to renew and accelerate learning need to focus on these communities. We stand with our districts as they move forward with the plans they created with local community input to address the needs they see in their schools."

"Every student deserves the chance to graduate from school prepared for lifelong success," said Governor Kate Brown. "As our schools, students and families continue to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, we must continue to accelerate state and federal investments in high-quality instruction and strategies that support academic success, student mental health and other student needs, with a particular focus on equity and helping the students who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic."

State summative assessments are designed to identify differences in student group outcomes and help improve the education system over time. These assessments do not measure the breadth of academic learning of any individual student. They are limited to three academic subject areas. They do not name all the strengths, talents, gifts or needs of any individual. And, they do not describe the full context of what a school is providing socially or academically to students.

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Statewide annual assessment results are one of several important measures of school performance and progress. These results are easily accessed and quantified and receive attention, in part, because they are easily communicated. Our schools also provide hot meals to nourish our children; warm hugs and high expectations from caring educators; counseling and support; access to support for students who find themselves houseless; hands-on career training and experiences; college credits at little or no cost; and clubs, sports and activities that offer connection and relevance for students. There is so much we are not able to measure on a state scale and all of it impacts our children's success.

However, the results hold value by informing education planning and decision making in critical ways. The information from these assessments help evaluate academic programs across districts and schools and boost school districts' ability to prioritize additional funds, resources and supports to the schools, educators and students who need them most.

State test results are most useful when participation thresholds are met, so participation is central to their role in helping improve outcomes for all of Oregon's students. Any comparisons made with prior years' data should be made with caution and focused on identifying strengths and accelerating student growth, not enacting deficit frames for Oregon's schools.

Assessment data should be used constructively—to help inform parents and families about their students' schools and to ensure schools receive the necessary resources to help support students. Oregon can make significant gains in outcomes through transparent, well-resourced and sustained efforts like the Student Success Act. As the Secretary of State's Systemic Risk Report explained, previous efforts in Oregon have shown that short lived reforms, constant change, underfunded efforts and punitive measures do not help us tap into the strengths of our education professionals and school systems to reach our goals for student success. Coming out of the pandemic, we need to align, focus on system strengths and provide consistency for programs that meet the needs of all students.

The results are a snapshot in time and reflect how student groups performed in three content areas: English language arts (ELA), mathematics and science. The ELA and mathematics assessments are given in grades 3-8 plus 11th grade; science assessments are given in grades 5, 8 and 11. The table below shows the percentage of students who were proficient in Spring 2022. The term "proficient" refers to the achievement level that students achieve and whether they are on track to be college and career ready once they graduate from high school. Students are considered proficient if they are at Level 3 or Level 4 on the English language arts (ELA), mathematics or science assessments.

Assessment results table The high school results shared above should not be compared across schools or districts, nor with prior year results, unless those local areas had substantial participation rates in the time periods referenced (Oregon's Technical Advisory Committee has recommended at least 80% participation to support systems level uses). The participation of students on Oregon's high school assessments was too low to support typical comparisons or uses.

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The results do include some bright spots around the state, with several districts supporting student academic growth during the pandemic in specific areas. For example, some districts with high participation rates saw substantial academic growth for all students, students experiencing disabilities, students experiencing mobility and students who are federally identified as American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African-American or Hispanic/Latino/a/x, in elementary mathematics between 2019 and 2022. Connecting with these districts, developing understanding of how they are supporting these outcomes and then sharing those practices with other like districts will drive continuous improvement.

These assessment results should serve as a continued call to action to accelerate investments like the Student Success Act, the High School Success program, equitable expenditure of the State School Fund and federal investments in high-quality instruction and other strategies that support academic acceleration, student mental health and other needs. These investments must support all students, but specifically target resources on students who have experienced the most disruption in their education and have the fewest opportunities for success. Everyone was impacted by this global pandemic, including our educator workforce. We must also invest to better support teachers, support staff and school leaders, including by bringing more diverse, highly qualified and caring adults into the education profession.

"While current generations in our country have not experienced learning disruptions on the scale of a global pandemic, previous generations have," Gill said. "School has been significantly disrupted by disease, natural disaster, war and other events for people in this country and others throughout history. We are resilient, if nothing else. Our students will succeed. And our teachers, counselors, bus drivers and others will be there to ensure they do. We have already seen assessment scores rising for students who have had more time back in onsite learning. With the right support, caring educators and deep partnerships with families and community, our students will thrive."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-20 11:11:44Last Update: 2022-09-22 11:41:40



Election SQL Database is Target of Trial
The case is set for Sept 20th and 21st at the Washington County Courthouse

Through a public records request, Tim Sippel sought the ballot database for a public test of the Washington County election system. The County denied the request. The Washington County District Attorney then ordered the County to produce the database. In response, Washington County filed a lawsuit in the Washington County Circuit Court seeking a declaration that it does not have to produce the database. Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan has now intervened, joining the case against Mr. Sippel. In the motion to intervene, the case is presented that “The Secretary of State is the chief elections officer of this state, and it is the secretary’s responsibility to obtain and maintain uniformity in the application, operation and interpretation of the election laws.”

Through a separate approved public records request, Janice Dysinger of Clean Voter Rolls, sought among other things the ballot images from the November 2020 Election. The request did not include a SQL data base.

Clean Voter Rolls is a Political Action Committee that promotes accurate Oregon voter rolls, which are necessary for fair elections. Dysinger asked Mr. Sippel to pick up the records for her because Mr. Sippel was close to the office. Among the documents provided by the County was a backup of the SQL database for the November 2020 Election, not just the public test.

The county contends it did not intend to produce the database. When Washington County learned that Mr. Sippel had the copy of the 2020 Election Database produced by Washington County, they sought and were granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing Mr. Sippel from copying or disseminating the database. Washington County and Oregon claimed that it would be irreparably harmed if Mr. Sippel distributed the database because it would present some unspecified security risk to the election system in Washington County and 14 other Oregon counties.

The case Washington County v Tim Sippel, is set for Sept 20th and 21st at the Washington County Courthouse at 150 N. First Ave in Hillsboro from 9:00am-5:00pm. The pubic may attend.

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Expert, national known witnesses scheduled to testify are election data analyst Dr. Douglas G. Frank, and cyber security expert Mark Cook. Mr. Sippel contends the ballot database is a public record, he is entitled to possess it, and that the County has no grounds to contend that dissemination of the database to the public would be a security risk. The Washington County DA agreed and ordered the data released to Mr. Sippel. The County Elections disagreed and sued Mr. Sippel and the Secretary of State intervened, joining in the lawsuit against Mr. Sippel.

In defense of the Secretary of State, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum argued:

“Even when systems are not directly connected to networks, they are vulnerable to attack through physical or wireless access.” Oregon election officials have stated for years that the tabulators are not connected to the internet. They are "air gapped". Public interest in election policies has heightened after the release of recent information surrounding the 2020 election from various sources.

Legal fees for Mr. Sippel are being provided by Free Oregon. Donations are being accepted at the Free Oregon link, according to Ben Edtl, CEO of Free Oregon and State Senate Candidate in District 19 who is challenging democrat Senate Leader Rob Wagner. Rep Rob Wagner has been a leader for the recent 2021 Legislative bills that weaken Oregon’s elections, including carrying the HB2681 to the House floor for a vote. HB 2681 keeps inactive electors on the voter rolls bloating the voter rolls forever and Wagner also was the Chief sponsor for HB3291 that allow ballots to be accepted 7 days after election day, even without a postal indicator pointed on them.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-20 10:10:10Last Update: 2022-09-20 10:32:51



Washington County Vape Ban Struck Down
“The decision must come from the state”

In what many consider to be a victory for personal liberty and limited government, a Washington County Circuit Court Judge has declared Washington County's ban on flavored vaping products to be "preempted by state law and therefore unenforceable." the case was brought by Jordan Schwartz and Jonathan Moran owners of Serenity Vapors, Torched Illusions, Belal Yahya owner of King's Hookah Lounge -- all of which "invested substantial time and resources into growing their respective businesses," according to the complaint.

During the 2021 Session, the Legislature passed SB 587 which, among other things, allows a local public health authority -- usually a county -- to enforce local standards for regulation of sale of tobacco products and inhalant delivery systems or enforce state standards for the regulation of sale of tobacco products and inhalant delivery systems. This legislation became effective on September 25, 2021.

Washington County rushed to enact Ordinance 878 which said that "No person shall sell, offer for sale, or otherwise distribute any flavored tobacco product or flavored synthetic nicotine product." Despite not being effective until September, the County held its first hearing on the ordinance on August 24.

In striking down the ban, Washington County Circuit Court Judge Andrew R. Ervin laid out his reasons for striking down the ban.

This is the flaw in the County's interpretation. Their ordinance does not seek to enforce these standards and/or any additional standards, nor does it seek to establish "additional" local qualifications before a retailer may sell flavored tobacco products. Instead, it deletes these standards and qualifications by enacting a blanket prohibition on retail sale of flavored tobacco and nicotine products in Washington County. The County argues that this provision, "grants local authorities' broad power to enact standards regulating tobacco sales." Thus, the County equates "regulating the sale of tobacco products" with prohibiting the sale of otherwise licensed tobacco products. But during oral argument when the Court asked County Counsel whether such standards to regulate gave the County authority to prohibit the sale of all tobacco (flavored or otherwise), the County conceded it did not. Presumably, the County recognizes that the State licensing scheme preempts them from a total ban, but it's hard to understand how that same licensing scheme would in turn authorize a partial ban when those products have been duly licensed by the same legislative scheme that would prevent a complete ban.

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Concluding his decision, Judge Ervin said, "I neither smoke nor use tobacco products and recognize the great personal health hazards that attach to the ingestion of tobacco related products. But the decision to disallow licensed retail sale of such products must come from the state, not county by county. Certainly, the county has broad power to regulate how sales are made, but they cannot bar them entirely."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-20 09:15:06Last Update: 2022-09-20 11:11:44



Leaders Denounce Bigoted Chant at Ducks Game
“Religious bigotry is unacceptable in any form”

During a September 17th college football game hosted by the University of Oregon, video evidence surfaced of profane chants made by some attendees sitting in the student section. The chants appeared to reference Brigham Young University’s status as a privately held university sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“There is no place for hate, bias or bigotry at the University of Oregon, said Kris Winter, the university's interim vice president for the Division of Student Life. "These actions are simply unacceptable. We will investigate, and we call on our students and campus community to refuse to accept or tolerate this type of behavior.”

The chant was reportedly "F the Mormons."

Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp released the following statement, “Religious bigotry is unacceptable in any form. I condemn these hateful chants, and apologize to the players, coaches, staff, and fans who had to endure them, as well as Oregonians and Utahns who have read or heard about them. University of Oregon students who participated in the chants should face appropriate discipline.”

The University of Oregon Student Conduct Code prohibits harassment, and disruptive behavior at university sponsored activities.

The University of Oregon Ducks beat the visiting Brigham Young Cougars by a score of 41-20 on Saturday at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-19 14:50:46Last Update: 2022-09-19 16:18:26



GOP Chair Calls Out Media
“It’s a disgusting use of power in the cynical times we are in”

The Chair of the Oregon Republican Party has issued a statement to counter a story that they expect will be published soon. In an email to State Central Committee members, Party Chair Justin Hwang said,

It has come to my attention that a premiere media outlet in Oregon is getting ready to publish a story regarding GOP apathy and division leading up to the 2022 midterms. This is a brazen attempt by the liberal media to suppress GOP turnout because they know that if we show up in droves, we win BIG!

Insiders have identified that Democrats have several challenges in Oregon this political cycle: Hwang continued,

It seems that given the awful record of Kate Brown and her accomplices in the legislature, Betsy Johnson and Tina Kotek, they are using their allies in the media to suppress our vote with false narratives and salacious gossip.

It's a disgusting use of power in the cynical times we are in but not the least bit surprising. Folks in the media are terrified about losing power and the influence they hold over leftist politicians. They know that Christine Drazan, Cheri Helt, and our slate of candidates running for Congress and in the legislature will be leaders who follow truth and prosperity, not the woke and broke policies that have failed us in Oregon for decades.

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Name a single issue they have improved? You can’t!

The same folks running under claims that they'll fix homelessness created this humanitarian crisis. These same folks who defunded our police officers are now promising to restore order. These same politicians that ended educational requirements and left our kids behind want to lead our state into a more disastrous future, but we are not going to let that happen. Not this year, not this time.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-19 12:52:31Last Update: 2022-09-19 16:22:22



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