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

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

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

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

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

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

--Staff Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Staff Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Staff Reports

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

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

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

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

So why are Senator Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis), Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), Representative Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego), and Representative Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas), chief sponsors, introducing HB 2366 to allow persons convicted of felony, serving life sentences, the right to vote? Two states, Maine and Vermont, allow all prisoners to vote. Some prisoners, depending on their conviction, are allowed to vote in Mississippi, Alabama, and Alaska, and there are other concessions in other states, such as voting by parolees. States with experience have noted that very few inmates exercise their right to vote, and inmates say it can be dangerous to discuss politics. Distrust of politicians and no interest are the reasons reported by volunteers that inmates don’t vote. Putting money into a program when the general fund is $1.1 billion short that hasn’t been successful in any other state is questionable.



A once incarcerated person may not hold a public office or an office of a political party or hold a position of private trust or act as a juror, and HB 2366 removes the right to vote. It allows an incarcerated person, even the 950 with life sentences that will never be a productive citizen, to register to vote and vote in elections while incarcerated. If this bill had any credibility, it would require an incarcerated person to take a civics class worth 3 college credits to earn their right to vote and open up a format for discussion on their future on the outside. The reason most are incarcerated is they seem to lack civic knowledge and responsibility.

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

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

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

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

--Donna Bleiler

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

Salem City Council Virtue Signals
White supremacy denounced

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

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

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

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

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

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

Her proposal will be discussed at the Council work session on January 19 on the City's strategic plan and is expected to be under consideration at the January 25 Council meeting. The language and intent of the resolution reflect earlier statements made by City Council President Chris Hoy and Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett. Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack and City Manager Steve Powers have also published statements on the City's website and social media pages condemning white supremacy and racial innuendos made on City streets during recent protests.

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

--Bruce Armstrong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay healthy and safe my friends, God Bless!

--Micky Garus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Donna Bleier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Staff Reports

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

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

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

Dear Wilson Community,

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

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

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

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


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

--Staff Reports

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

Meme of the Week
Were just not seeing much nutritional value

--Northwest Observer Meme Team

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

Reparations in Play in the Legislature
No joke. $123,000 to Black Oregonians who can demonstrate heritage in slavery

The concept of reparations for slavery has been around for a few years, and though the idea rarely surfaces in a raw form -- a proposal for cash payments to descendants of slaves -- it more often surfaces as "equity" proposals, or more recently in assistance programs targeted by race. Now, however, a bill proposing reparations has been proposed for the 2021 legislative session. The proposal, SB 619 has explicitly laid out a plan for reparations. The plan calls for a $123,000 annuity to be paid out for the life of the applicant.

The legislation is being introduced by State Senator Lew Frederick (D-Portland) and has indicated that it is at the request of former State Representative Tiffiny Mitchell. Mitchell recently served one term representing House District 32, which is Clatsop and Tillamook counties. She has since moved to Washington state. It's not clear if Senator Frederick, who is black, would be eligible to apply for reparations.

The eligibility criteria are listed in the bill:

(a) Is descended from an American slave
(b) Has identified as African-American on legal documents for at least 10 years before the date of the application
(c) Is at least 18 years of age, an emancipated minor or a ward, as defined in ORS 419A.004, whose parents are deceased or for whom parental rights have been terminated and have not been reinstated, and
(d) Has resided in Oregon for at least two years before the date of the application.

Reparation payments as outlined in the bill would be protected from being taken by legal processes, too. The bill says, "Reparations paid under this section and the right of a person to an annuity under this section are exempt from garnishment and all state, county and municipal taxation, except as provided under ORS chapter 118, are not subject to execution, garnishment, attachment or any other process or to the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency law and are unassignable."

It's not clear if the bill would pass constitutional muster. Besides running counter to the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, the Oregon Constitution provides that "No law shall be passed granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges, or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens." Cases making claims against the Oregon Cares Fund for its racial criteria are pending now in federal court.

There is no fiscal report for the bill to determine what the cost of this would be, but we did a quick back-of-the-cocktail-napkin calculation. The Census Bureau estimates that there are about 78,000 blacks in Oregon. If half qualified for and applied for reparations at $123,000 per person, the cost would be about $9.5 billion dollars, though that would be paid out over the lives of the recipients.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-17 10:03:45Last Update: 2021-01-18 14:01:19

Portland Protesters Hinder Crisis Intervention Situation
Even the man’s mother begged the crowd to stop

A protest that formed around a crisis call involving a man holding a knife downtown prompted a call for help citywide.

On Friday, January 15, 2021 at about 1:00p.m., Portland Central Precinct officers responded to a welfare check call outside an apartment building in the 300 block of Southwest 4th Avenue. The call indicated that a man had jumped from a second story window of the building, pulled out a knife, and began waving it around at people and cars going by.

The 30-year-old man showed arriving officers his knife, held it to his neck, and said he would kill himself if they came any closer. An Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team (ECIT) officer began a dialogue with the man in crisis, while other officers attempted to clear the area hoping to reduce the stress of the situation. The officers learned that the man was schizophrenic and extremely paranoid. He not only threatened to kill himself, he said he would hurt others as well. Rather than rush in, exacerbating a dangerous situation, officers slowed down, kept their distance, and exercised patience and de-escalation.



The negotiation lasted for about 90 minutes before two separate crowds of protesters began showing up to the north and south. Some in the crowd began chanting, and one even started using a bullhorn. The extra noise and distraction made it impossible for the specially trained officers to speak to the man. Officers implored the crowd to stop interfering, but their energy only increased. Even when the suicidal man's mother arrived and begged the crowd to stop, most in the crowd continued. Some in the crowd began threatening the officers. A supervisor requested resources citywide, and all available officers responded from North and East Precincts. This caused a major resource drain citywide and all but the highest priority calls had to wait. The officers had to don helmets and face shields to protect themselves as they stood in front of the hostile crowd.

The officers consulted with the Crisis Negotiation Team, whose members were able to find a mental health professional familiar with the man. They learned that the man could be a threat to himself and violent toward others. After over 3 hours of negotiation, the incident commander set into motion a plan to take the man into custody. A K9 unit was used to divert his attention by barking so officers could safely approach him. A Conducted Electrical Weapon (CEW, or Taser) was used to prevent him from using the knife, and he was taken into custody and transported by ambulance to a hospital. Besides the punctures from the CEW probes, he was uninjured. Officers placed him on a Police Officer Hold so that he could be evaluated by medical professionals.

The only force used against the protesters was some pushing to keep them back and out of the street.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-01-16 17:58:40Last Update: 2021-01-17 15:37:50

Businesses Targeted by Legislation
Eugene Democrat wants to eliminate compensation

As if times weren't tough enough for businesses, legislation has been proposed that will change the way businesses are compensated when governments take possession of their property during an emergency. Marty Wilde (D-Eugene) has introduced HB 2238 is a proposal to make these changes and they could have massive impacts on businesses in Oregon and their ability to recover damages after being shut down for close to a year with no end in sight.

Currently under Oregon Law, if a piece of property is a threat to persons or property during an emergency, a government agency is allowed to take possession of it, but the owner must be compensated. It's fairly clear that this law is intended to curb lawsuits by businesses to recover damages from the state because of being shut down during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

The effective part of the proposed legislation reads,

An owner of property that is used or possessed only temporarily under this section is not entitled to compensation except as the owner may prove entitlement to compensation under Article I, section 18, of the Oregon Constitution.

Two words that are not defined in the change are "temporary" and "possessed." One can imagine a scenario in which the COVID-19 lockdowns are regarded as temporary and an order to shut down or reduce activity is regarded as possessed. If both of these are true, then the state need not compensate businesses for losses due to lockdown orders.

Affected businesses could include: Several lawsuits regarding compensation are currently pending. Oregon's constitution prohibits ex post facto laws, or laws that have a retroactive effect.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-16 17:47:11Last Update: 2021-01-17 15:30:31

Timber Industry Targeted
Forest management doesn’t support carbon taxation

The timber industry is a target on two fronts. Representative Pam Marsh (D-Ashland) and Nancy Nathanson (D-Eugene) propose to extend or make permanent the privilege harvesting tax with automatic increases - funding for the Oregon Forest Resources Institute Fund (HB 2430, HB 2389). On another front, Representatives Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego), Paul Holvey (D-Eugene), Khanh Pham (D-Portland), Marty Wilde (D-Eugene), and Senator Jeff Golden (D-Ashland) propose to eliminate the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) and the Oregon Forest Resources Institute Fund (HB 2357).

HB 2357 would create a separate Sound Forestry Practices Subaccount and the funds in the Oregon Forest Resources Institute Fund from privilege harvesting taxes will be transferred to the General Fund. It poses the questions of proper use of those tax funds that had a specific purpose.

Calling for the elimination of OFRI, they propose to require the State Forestry Department to develop and apply sound forestry practices to:
(a) Promote forest health;
(b) Incorporate regulation or monitoring of pesticide use in forests;
(c) Employ adaptive resource management; and
(d) As related to forest management, advance climate science or climate policy.

The Legislature created OFRI in 1991 to advance public understanding of forests, forest management and forest products, and to encourage sound forestry through landowner education. It has been a lobbying arm for Oregon’s timber industry. Therein lies the problem for the Governor’s carbon agenda.

Governor Kate Brown crafted her cap-and-trade bill in 2018 to enact sweeping limits on greenhouse gas emissions that targeted industries, and timber was not excluded. OPB reported that OFRI worked to discredit the research that calculated for the first time how much carbon was lost to the atmosphere as a result of cutting trees in Oregon. It concluded that logging, once thought to have no negative effect on global warming, was among the state’s biggest climate polluters.

A new OFRI report highlights the major role Oregon’s forests play in keeping carbon out of the atmosphere, underscoring the importance of using strategies that enhance these forests’ carbon-sequestering superpowers to combat climate change. The vast forests that cover nearly half the state capture and store significant amounts of atmospheric carbon, both in growing trees and wood products sourced from those forests, according to their Carbon in Oregon’s Managed Forests science review report. “As we work to solve the climate crisis, this report will inform Oregonians about ways we can harness our forests’ natural carbon-storing abilities in the fight against climate change,” says OFRI Director of Forestry Mike Cloughesy, who served as one of the report’s technical editors.

The primary goal of OFRI is to educate the public about forestry and responsible forest management. Is it that OFRI’s forest management doesn’t support carbon taxation that prompts elimination? Numerous Legislators have introduced bills to reinstate the tax credit for reforestation (HB 2632, HB 2782). If timber happens to retain their lobby arm in OFRI, they will surely face increased privilege harvesting taxation.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-01-16 16:36:39Last Update: 2021-01-16 17:47:11

Vaccines: Who Gets it and Who Doesn’t
Winners and losers and how they are picked

As COVID-19 vaccines are distributed to states, they are then distributed to the public according to a formula developed by each state. In oregon, Oregon Health Authority websiteseveral phases have been identified to earmark the vaccine to be administered.

Everyone is Phase 1A, Groups 1, 2, 3 and 4 are currently eligible for the vaccine.

Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Phase 1B, IC and Phase 2 have yet to be specifically determined, but the Oregon Health Authority is beginning to map out who will be next. Adding to the complexity of vaccine administration is that both the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines require two injections. First, a priming dose must be given, followed by a booster shot. The interval between Moderna doses is 28 days. The Pfizer vaccine's interval is 21 days.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-15 08:22:27Last Update: 2021-01-16 14:04:32

Rep. Wilde Proposes Tax on Business Aid
Put a tax on assistance. Yeah, that will work.

Representative Marty Wilde (D-Eugene) introduced HB 2253 that would “surcharge” those that received forgiven loans received as a corporate excise or personal income taxpayer through Paycheck Protection Program of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. His proposal would apply to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2020, and before January 1, 2021.

The Governor continues to keep Oregon closed, so businesses have resorted to alternative means to keep their businesses above the red line with the help of forgiveness loans. It has kept millions employed while unemployment has skyrocketed and many businesses have gone beyond that to keep employees in jobs. Do they get thanked? NO! They get reprimanded for making the slightest effort for survival. Those businesses not hit the hardest are expected to spread their wealth, which will ultimately put more businesses into bankrupt status.

One businessman told Northwest Observer that he was able to keep his staff and not reduce any hours even though clients cancelled. He said, “My landlord was able to collect full rent from me at the office, my utilities were able to be paid, and I was able to take what little revenue my business generated during the toughest months of the pandemic and keep my rent paid at home and my wife and baby fed and clothed.” He calculated his addition tax -- or surcharge, as it is called -- would be around $1000.

That may not sound like a lot, but another business owner said they have been in the red $4-5,000 monthly since last May, and none of the surcharge will help his business as the Governor has put her focus for relief on minority business and restaurants.

If the bill passes, any business that increased receipts by five percent over 2019 will be charged a 10% tax on moneys received under the CARES Act. How will that restore Oregon’s economy? Maybe we're not all in this together.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-01-14 20:42:14Last Update: 2021-01-14 20:53:53

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Supports Forest Management
Rule addresses a harmful court decision

This week the Associated Press reported wildfire smoke has accounted for up to half of all health-damaging small particle air pollution in the western U.S. in recent years. Even as pollution emissions declined from other sources including vehicle exhaust and power plants, the amount from fires have increased sharply, researchers said.

The news continues to illustrate the need for proactive and science-based forest management as part of the solution to reducing the risk of severe wildfire. To protect our communities, wildlife habitat, recreation, clean air and water, the federal government must allow its professional land managers to do their jobs.

Fortunately, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed a new rule changing their regulations on duplicative interagency consultations for existing Forest Plans. The rule addresses a harmful court decision, known as "Cottonwood" that has stalled many important forest management, wildlife habitat enhancement and wildfire fuel reduction projects developed by the U.S. Forest Service. Lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are also impacted.

This solution is bipartisan. It reflects efforts by both Democratic and Republican administrations and members of the U.S. Congress to resolve lawsuits over duplicative interagency consultation procedures that have prevented work from being done on public lands.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-14 18:40:47Last Update: 2021-01-16 16:36:39

Public Employee Union Membership in Decline
Public workers don’t have to join a government union

Oregon’s largest government employee union, SEIU 503, had been on a decades-long winning streak prior to June 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in Janus v. AFSCME that mandatory union membership and/or agency fees in the public sector are a violation of the workers’ Constitutional rights.

Knowing the union had no intention of notifying its members of this landmark decision, the Freedom Foundation developed and distributed mail, emails, texts and other materials to SEIU 503 members all over Oregon to inform them of their rights.

SEIU 503s’ 2017 LM-2 report filed with the U.S. Department of Labor claimed the union had 58,384 members/fee-payers. However, by 2018 — the year Janus was decided — that number had already been whittled down to 45,741.

And with fewer paychecks to be plundered came a major reduction in the amount of dues money the union was able to spend influencing Oregon politics.

This was a victory public employees in Oregon, who now won’t have to fund political causes they don’t agree with. And the trend has only continued. According to the union’s newest report, membership declined yet again in 2020 – for the third year in a row since Janus – meaning that, in total, SEIU 503 has lost at least 15,284 members/fee payers since the decision, resulting in a $3.6 million reduction in dues revenue and a $3 million drop in spending on political and lobbying activities.

Editor's note: this article is excerpted from a post that first appeared on the Freedom Foundation website

--Josh Ebert

Post Date: 2021-01-14 17:52:42Last Update: 2021-01-14 18:40:47

Schrader Backtracks
Oregon Congressman issues apology

Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR-5) issued a statement apologizing for his previous statement earlier this week, that likened impeaching Trump to a "lynching," and said it would divide the nation.

The Oregon Democrat's comments led his spokesperson, Larkin Parker, to resign. Schrader's statement said:

Over the last several days I have reached out and spoken to my colleagues, constituents and staff. The pain and harm caused by my words is immeasurable. As I work to build trust and do what is right by the people of Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, I am making the following commitments:

  1. I will participate in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training and will ask President-elect Biden to overturn Trump’s Executive Order banning such training in the federal government workforce;
  2. Intentional hiring in my congressional offices;
  3. Specific actions I can take while serving as a Member of Congress to ensure full representation of Black, Indigenous and People of Color.

It is an honor and privilege to serve Oregonians in the United States Congress.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-13 13:23:51Last Update: 2021-01-13 19:52:27

Brown Activates National Guard in Salem
Will be utilized by Oregon State Police

According to a press release from the Oregon State Police, the Oregon National Guard will be utilized by OSP.

Oregon State Police Superintendent Terri Davie requested and was granted the activation of members of the Oregon National Guard to assist with potential upcoming civil unrest/protests by Governor Kate Brown.

“The Oregon State Police will continue to take a neutral role in ensuring Oregonians exercise their First Amendment rights,” said Oregon State Police Superintendent Davie. “For the past seven months, your Troopers have responded throughout Oregon to various protests, unlawful assemblies and riots. Our goals have always been to protect people, protect people’s rights and to protect property. The recent events at our Nation's Capitol building and at our own statehouse illustrate the need for law enforcement to be prepared and appropriately staffed for any large gatherings,” Davie added.

The Oregon Army National Guard will be deployed as necessary and their deployment locations will not be made public. OSP and the ONG routinely work and train together in response to Oregon’s challenges, including civil unrest, human remain recovery in the recent wildfire response and safeguarding our communities in times of crisis.

“With the Oregon National Guard supplementing OSP ranks, we will be ready to ensure peaceful events and handle emergency situations,” said Oregon State Police Captain Timothy Fox.

Oregon State Police will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners in planning for potential events at the Oregon State Capitol or any other jurisdiction in Oregon. OSP will continue to leverage their strong partnerships with local and federal law enforcement, in efforts to provide safety to legislators and employees conducting the people’s business in the Capitol.

The Oregon State Police declares they do not discuss the specifics of potential threats or tactical plans made unless it is determined there is a public safety need.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-01-13 12:22:30Last Update: 2021-01-13 12:34:51

Clerks: Voting in Oregon is Fair
This is not Chicago

Election Integrity is on everyone’s mind these days. How does Oregon rate in the eyes of an elections expert? Surprisingly good, according to some county clerks. Let’s look at what we can do to assure there’s no fraud.

In Oregon, the counties are the only place where the voter rolls are administrated. Anyone can request and get the voter rolls from their county clerk.

Challenges to voted ballots can be made to the county clerk by any citizen of that county. Challenges to the voter rolls are complaint based.

You can find the relevant statues online

253.700 Duty to challenge ballot; procedures.

254.415 Challenging ballot of person offering to vote; statement of challenge.

254.426 Procedure on challenged ballot.

254.431 Special procedure for ballots challenged due to failure to sign return envelope or nonmatching signature; public record limitation.

The accuser can request a hearing of the county clerk. The accuser and accused appear before the clerk who adjudicates the complaint on its merits. The accused must appear, or they will go to inactive status. Voters must qualify by age and citizenship plus have a correct residential address and signature on file. Challenges can be based on legal status, proper or multiple addresses, correct signature, being deceased and being less than 18 years age. Challenging U.S. citizenship by E verify needs to be done legally.

Ballots are mailed out 20 days before an election and may be cast by U.S. mail or at a ballot drop box or in person at the Clerk’s Office any time after being received.

Survivors of deceased voters are to write “deceased” on the ballot envelope and return it in the mail, drop box or in person. The same is true for any person who receives in their mail a ballot for someone no longer living at that address – write “moved” or “no longer at this address” on the envelope and return to the Clerk’s Office.

For voters planning travel, absentee ballots may be obtained from the county clerk 29 days before an election. Voters living away but in-country are mailed ballots 29 days before elections. Military, both in-country and abroad are mailed, or emailed ballots 46 days prior to an election as are voters living out-of-country. Those choosing email sacrifice privacy. Ballots in Oregon may be returned in any county and will be forwarded to the voter’s county of residence for counting. College students, people living in vehicles and people with second homes can have only one voter registration file for voting – that file can include their residence address (where they live), their mailing address (where they receive mail) and their absentee address (where they temporarily receive mail).

Oregon counties compare names and likely eliminate multiple addresses for a voter. The county clerk updates a voter’s registration each time they receive an update. They keep a record of every change made. The voter’s registration can only have one “current” address for each of the types (residence and mailing). Each time a change is made, we mail out correspondence to that voter.

Out of state voters with multiple addresses would be detected a year late. Oregon participates in the ERIC system but the effectiveness is highly dependent on the participation level of each state.

Address changes by out-of-country voters aren’t tracked, they must be reported. When Oregon issues a driver’s license to someone 18 years of age or older their name goes to the Secretary of State if they show a U.S. Passport or a U.S. birth certificate to verify their U.S. citizenship. The SOS gives them 21 days to choose a party affiliation. If they do not respond in that time period they are assigned Non-Affiliated Voter status and their information is forwarded to the appropriate county. The SOS doesn’t describe consequences of NAV status in a primary election. Lists of voters can be obtained by anyone from the clerk’s office or the Secretary of State’s office at any time. Political Parties get a free copy each year.

Those NAV persons could be contacted and solicited to join a party so they can vote in the primary. Persons on the voter rolls are listed by name and residential address only. To get their phone number and/or email address you must work with a third party such as Oregon Data in Tigard, or Melissa Data, an out-of-state company.

The ballot counting process is done only by paid employees of the county. Volunteers and observers can’t touch ballots or envelopes. Temporary workers are hired for each election. They are screened as to impartial performance of their duties by the county clerk’s office. Counties may have to increase their staff 6 to 10 times to handle election day work load. Signature verification is done by staff specially trained in handwriting. They can check about 180 signatures an hour from the signatures on file. Ballots and envelopes with signatures are retained for two years. All election counting has been done on camera since 2005 with implementation of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Irregularities in recent years have been minor with none being “out of the ordinary”. For instance, Ballot measure 107 concerning campaign contribution preference had many votes changed from yes to no. Ballots can be changed up to the moment they are cast. Ballot harvesting and coaching of voters is a concern, but not illegal. To be part of the election process, work through your county clerk.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-01-12 22:35:09Last Update: 2021-01-14 08:44:37

Legislative session starts on an unconstitutional note
Public attendance will remain illegal

If you think that such mandates as wearing masks and the increased programs for tests as well as tracking of positive results is about Covid-19 and public safety, it isn’t playing out that way.

Today, the Oregon Senate began to fulfill its constitutional mandate to conduct the people’s business in 2021.

What does that have to do with Covid-19?

It established a level of fear that the Democratically-controlled Senate passed unconstitutional rules that lock the public out of their Legislature. The Oregon Health Authority knows that the BionaxNow POC tests have a very high false positives and admit the PCR tests detect other coronaviruses and still they are recommending it’s use. It sets up a perfect reason for Governor Brown to keep from how many objects to her policies, and legislators from seeing in-person testimonies that can’t be cut off by the switch of a button.

Article 4 Section 14 of the Oregon Constitution states, “deliberations of each house… shall be open.” But under the Democrat rules, the public may not enter the Capitol, give public in-person testimony, nor view the people’s business in-person. The move continues anti-public involvement rules from last year’s legislative sessions. All the while big box stores, schools, and even the California Legislature are partially open to the public.

The people have a right to participate in their democracy,” said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons). “This participation doesn’t stop after they vote in November and locking the public out of their house is just wrong. Their input is imperative to good public policy. The decision to lock the public out of their Capitol isn’t based on science – not even close,” Leader Girod continued. “We are nearly a year into this pandemic. We have data and information on how to make public spaces safe. Some restaurants are open, big box stores are open, and even California, a state whose COVID case numbers are among the grimmest in the county, has acknowledged the importance of allowing the people to safely access their capitol.”

“Some things are sacred, and the public’s full participation in their democracy is one of those things.”

As of yesterday, California has the third-highest daily reported cases per capita in the country. Oregon is ranked 48th.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-01-12 17:55:12Last Update: 2021-01-12 18:39:45

Representative Nearman Releases Statement
Capitol building should be open to the public

Oregon Republican House District 23 Representative Mike Nearman has released the following statement:

On January 7, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek put out a statement on Capitol operations for the upcoming session. One of the priorities listed in the statement was "Safety – for the public, building employees, legislators and their staff." During their press conference, Speaker Kotek told the press that I “did open a door to allow demonstrators into the building.” For the last few days, I and my family have been subjected to criticism, attacks at my home and threats via email, social media and phone. Many of these messages have been hate-filled and profanity laced.

After several terms in the legislature, I've grown thick skin -- and while nobody likes to be called names and described in profane language -- I can handle it as part of the job that I do, just as I was able to handle the hundreds of public union protestors who waged a physical attack on the House chamber in 2015, as the House held a floor session.

As the Speaker pretends to know my motivations, I will guess at some of hers. The fact that she was in possession of a video for sixteen days, and only chose to reveal the video and implicate me on the day after an ugly mob descended on the Capitol in Washington, DC, tells me that her motivations are about politics and not about safety. The timing of the release is not lost on my wife, who has also had to endure a share of attacks.

I hope for due process, and not the mob justice to which Speaker Kotek is subjecting me. I also hope for a similar outcome enjoyed by her staffer, who was arrested in September for a class-A misdemeanor for interfering with a peace officer, never charged and kept her job. The District Attorney, Mike Schmidt, who never charged the Speaker's staffer for her participation in the Portland riots, was endorsed by Speaker Kotek. So much for a commitment to public safety.

I don't condone violence nor participate in it. I do think that when Article IV, Section 14 of the Oregon Constitution says that the legislative proceedings shall be "open," it means open, and as anyone who has spent the last nine months staring at a screen doing virtual meetings will tell you, it's not the same thing as being open.

Where is the media and why aren't they asking the tough questions of the Speaker? For instance, "When did you acquire the video?", "Why did you wait 16 days until January 7 to release the video?", "Did it occur to you that releasing that video on the day after the unrest in Washington, DC, that there might be a safety impact to Rep. Nearman?", "How do you know what Rep. Nearman's intent was?", "Is it hypocritical of you to employ a person who is accused of directly interfering with a police officer, while calling out Rep. Nearman for walking out a door?", and "When you publicly implicate Rep. Nearman, do you think that impacts his due process and ability to get a fair outcome?" Questions like these would expose the political nature of what is really going on.

I implore the Capitol leadership to open the building to the public as required by the Oregon Constitution.

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-01-12 16:52:42Last Update: 2021-01-12 17:13:30

Youth Summit Approaching
Registration closes February 4

Teens are watching the world splitting in pieces with no answers coming from adults or leadership. How do they face life with such adversity? Teens can get help preparing for life during and after high school through the ILEAD Youth Leadership Summit, set for Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021. This free, one-day event is online this year and open to any high school-aged teen living in the Mid-Willamette Valley.

The summit will feature highly interactive workshops presented by guest speakers and teen panels. Participants choose from workshop topics covering personal and leadership development, mental health and self-care, workforce readiness and other “adulting” topics such as finances, credit, student loans, and insurance coverage.

“2020 was just a rough year for all of us, especially teens,” said Evyn Baker, a senior at West Salem High School and summit youth committee member.

His fellow committee member, Angel Franco, a junior at South Salem High School agreed. “As teens, we’re so used to going out and interacting with friends and teachers. Having school daily on a screen sounded like a dream until it happened. Now we’re left wondering what life after COVID and high school will look like.”

The youth committee decided to do something about it by bringing “sunshine vibes to the Mid-Willamette Valley.” Members representing Salem-Keizer, Central, and Woodburn school districts wanted to offer an online event experience where high schoolers could laugh, feel safe, improve their well-being, and reconnect with peers from the safety of their homes.

“I feel like the older I become, the more anxiety and stress I get from both school and knowing that I’m getting closer to becoming an adult,” said Jennifer Valdivia an 11th grader at McKay High School. “It’s just a very scary thought, especially when you have no idea how to do taxes, rent a house, or just don’t know what you want do after high school.” Youth Committee members hope the summit will begin to help their classmates who feel the same way.

Registration closes February 4, 2021. Registration link is found on the event website including a video tutorial on how to sign up for workshops. The event runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and includes games, challenges, raffle prizes, breaks, a LIVE lounge, an event T-shirt and other swag for all teen participants.

Coordinated by the City of Salem Youth Development Services, ILEAD is produced each year by a youth committee, college student event staff, and a planning committee made up of local youth development, prevention, and workforce readiness professionals. Marion County Health and Human Services and City of Salem are the 2021 sponsors.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-01-11 19:36:22Last Update: 2021-01-11 19:47:07

Firearms Legislation Proposed for Session
Spoiler alert: Stock up on ammo

The Oregon Firearms Federation has put out a statement on firearms related legislation that has been made public for the upcoming legislative session:

Here is a quick run down on the anti-gun bills. The statement continues:

"As you know, pursuant to the rules imposed by the House Speaker and the Senate President, you will no longer be permitted to testify against these bills in the Capitol building. Remote testimony during the interim sessions was mostly a failure and people who signed up to testify often could not. Republican legislators who had comments that the chairs of the committees disagreed with were shut off. Do not expect to be treated differently.

"So what does all this mean? The Democrats still have a super majority. They do not need a single Republican vote to pass any of these bills, and except for the permit to purchase bill, they have been trying to pass all this stuff for years. So they are determined. They are also blood thirsty and vindictive. The only reason some of this did not get passed last session was because the Republicans walked out. We have no way of knowing if they will again. Walking out is very costly and subjects Republicans to arrest.

"For the last year the State Police and Sheriffs have used covid as an excuse to either not do their jobs (conducting background checks and issuing CHL’s) or to do them very badly.

"As we have learned, nothing in the law compels Sheriffs to accept CHL applications and nothing in the permit-to-purchase law compels them to accept applications to purchase.

"While the law does require the State Police to provide an estimate of time it will take them to complete a background check for a current firearms purchase, they frequently ignore that law and face no liability for doing so. There is little reason to believe that these same practices will not apply to the permit-to-purchase law.

"It is impossible for us to predict if the Democrats will be more successful eliminating your rights this session than they have in past. (The Democrats in the US Congress are also introducing an avalanche of anti-gun bills.) But it would be prudent to consider it likely and if you plan to own any firearms in the future, and you can find them, maybe now would be the time to acquire them. The same is true if you are considering an “unfinished” receiver purchase."

The session officially begins on Jan, 19th.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-11 13:00:49Last Update: 2021-01-11 13:39:51

Kate Brown Acknowledges Online Classes Create Equity Issue
Garnering support and praise from both sides of the aisle

Oregon Governor Kate Brown held a joint press conference Friday, January 8th, with Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen and Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill, citing the disproportionately negative impacts of online school for Black, Indigenous People Of Color (BIPOC), and rural families across the state. Brown, Allen, and Gill stressed the importance of equity, stating that many children of color and children living in rural communities are failing and must return to in person instruction as quickly as possible.

The Governor stated that it's just not fair to expect impoverished families, and single parents to continue working full time, while also struggling to fill the roles as full time educators and parents. "Especially for our littles," stated Brown, "who are trying to learn math and reading from home." According to recent headlines, Oregon students are failing at alarming rates with the current at home virtual-only education model, and changes need to be made quickly.

Friday's announcement has organizations across the state calling this commitment to equity, a triumph for students and families alike.

"The timing of this announcement couldn't be more appropriate, and I commend Governor Brown for taking this action,” stated Alsea School Superintendent Marc Thielman during a phone interview Friday evening. “I’m relieved and want to express gratitude to the Governor as I know countless families across the state are anxious to have their concerns and challenges addressed. With the mounting evidence we've amassed since the onset of this pandemic, the importance of in-person instruction, along with social and emotional connections gained during school hours, are invaluable. It's time to get kids reconnected to in-person instruction swiftly, before additional collateral damage is done.” Thielman went on to add, “the evidence is overwhelming: schools that use reasonable covid mitigation protocols are safe for both kids and staff and are not sources of spread.” A Sentiment echoed and shared by the Director of Oregon's Department of Education Colt Gill.

Thielman’s district, the Alsea School District, offers three public educational models for families: a physical campus facility for traditional in-person learning, a strictly digital program with an online school he’s had in place prior to the original lockdown last year (out of demand from families who wish for online-only), and now a new at home learning program called Learn at Home Oregon. After the feedback Thielman received from parents last spring, he approached his board to bring forth a balanced on-line and off-line learning approach through a home-based distance education program that launched over the summer. This third choice brought a new option for families both in his district, as well as across the state as many expressed concerns regarding screen time for children. Alsea's physical classrooms however, have been safely open for in-person learning since August for those in his district that do want to attend. The open campus in Alsea has proven that with proper protocols in place, schools can safely and effectively operate, while continuing to provide important services to students and their families, amidst even the most difficult of challenges.

“I have confidence in the Governor’s decision to return the process of determining appropriate risk thresholds back to the local school districts and their communities,” said Thielman. “Doing so is the only way to provide balance to diverse geographical regions and challenges that face different communities across our state. The Governor’s briefing acknowledges what I have been sharing with other educators across the state: we need to address that there are distinct differences in those we are here to serve and we need to find equitable ways to support and accommodate all students.”

According to Suzanne Gallagher, the Director of Parents' Rights in Education, "There has been a growing concern regarding equitable access to in-person education. We believe this is an important upturn of events, and applaud Governor Brown's decision. We have received an outpouring of daily correspondence from educators, students and parents asking for help. At disproportionately higher rates, we've heard from our community members of color; sharing stories of financial hardship, sharing that they've lost a child to suicide, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, high-stress and a general acknowledgement that online-only education is absolutely failing their families,” stated Gallagher. “We recognize that Governor Brown, the OHA, and the ODE have been faced with exceptional challenges, and criticisms during this time, but our organization applauds every step closer towards a more equitable and inclusive future."

As for Superintendent Thielman, optimism abounds, stating he has high hopes to see similar measures soon implemented around other youth programs, helping students regain access to upcoming on-campus sports and activities.

Many have expressed grave concerns regarding the mental health aspects of isolation and inactivity for both children and adults. According to the Center for Disease Control, "Loneliness was associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide." CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a recent Buck Institute webinar that "suicides and drug overdoses have now surpassed the death rate for COVID-19 among high school students". Reconnection through sports and community has been championed by experts as an important step to combating the current climate of restrictions, loss and suicide.

Theiman ended the interview with this thought, “The Governor has brought back a sense of balance to the direction for schools in Oregon, and as a father and Superintendent, I am encouraged to hear this. I'm also ready to continue to serve families with the services and support they need most right now, in order to get their children back on track and ready for the futures they desperately deserve.”

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2021-01-10 13:07:52Last Update: 2021-01-10 13:28:20

Ag Board Considers Wolf Policy
Ranchers need tools to co-exist and manage wolves

The State Board of Agriculture adopts resolutions stating their position on a number of issues impacting agriculture. The Board of Agriculture is reviewing and considering edits on their existing resolution regarding coexistence between livestock and wolves in Oregon, on page 6 of the link. When the Board considered updates to a similar resolution regarding cougar management last November, a number of environmental groups packed that record with hundreds of letters arguing against active management of cougars in Oregon.

This is an opportunity for members of the public to write the Board of Agriculture or sign up to present public comment at the meeting to discus the need for active management of wolves in the state.

The Oregon Farm Bureau has brought to light several points regarding wolves in Oregon: Written comments from the public can be made by email to: Karla Valness at kvalness@oda.state.or.us by 5:00 PM on Thursday, January 14, 2021.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-09 16:59:03Last Update: 2021-01-09 17:33:50

Brock Smith Denounces Violence
I am disheartened that some accelerate their hyper partisan narrative

In the wake of this week’s violence, loss of life, destruction of property and electoral vote certification, State Representative David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) has issued a statement.

“I have been critical of the unchecked violence, looting, deaths, destruction of public and private property in Portland and elsewhere across our state for the many months it continues to occur,” said Rep. Brock Smith. “Wednesday’s breach of our US Capital, the loss of life that resulted, the looting and destruction of property that occurred and the attacks on our public safety officers is intolerable and disgraceful as well. I condemn these actions as I have the others.”

“Words matter and I am proud of the broad support of both Republicans and Democrats in denouncing such violence and its assault on our Republic. I am disheartened that some politicians have chosen to use this time to accelerate their hyper partisan narrative, rather than come together for the people of our State and our Nation,” said Brock Smith. “This was not a coup and Rep. Fahey’s statement that those of us that signed a letter for the Oregon Attorney General to uphold fair elections, are ‘complicit in today’s violence’ is shamefully arrogant and wrong.”

“I have been very clear as this was not an act of sedition, it was to highlight the unconstitutional actions surrounding elections that occurred in Pennsylvania. Our former colleague, Oregon State Senator and now U.S. Congressman Cliff Bentz, skillfully articulated this, ‘Article II of the Constitution sets forth that each state legislature is entrusted with the authority to establish and facilitate elections within that state. In Pennsylvania, the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the state’s Supreme Court did not adhere to the statutes set forth by the legislature when they extended deadlines for the return of absentee ballots. This action violated the principles of Article II of the Constitution because the state legislature had not previously delegated broader authority to the Secretary. Ultimately, this change in voting procedures by a non-legislative body contributed to a widespread loss of faith by many Americans in the integrity of the 2020 election – including many in my district. Such a violation of our Constitution must be discouraged in the strongest terms possible.’ Many of the constituents in my district were equally frustrated by these unconstitutional actions, and as a legislator who’s responsible for related election laws within our state, all of us should be cognizant of the law and be supportive of following it.”

“Our State and our Nation are unfortunately a people divided. Many have been financially devastated, unable to see family or friends, have lost loved ones, are worried about their children and have deep concerns of where and how our state and our country will go moving forward. As legislators & elected leaders of Oregon, we must come together for our people. We must lead by example. We must work together to heal the fractures in the public’s trust of our Republic and be resolute in our actions to represent all Oregonians,” said Rep. Brock Smith.

“Ronald Reagan said, ‘Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.’ I call on my colleagues to join me in denouncing violence wherever it occurs, to lay down the partisan rhetoric that continues to sow seeds of division, to lead by example and to come together peacefully for all Oregonians.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-09 12:44:49Last Update: 2021-01-09 13:08:46

Oregon Emergency Board Passes More Spending
$400 million for the first few months of 2021

The Legislative Emergency Board has now passed millions of dollars in emergency funding to support Oregonians impacted by the Coronavirus lock-downs and the Labor Day Wildfires. This is the 13th meeting of the Emergency Board since March 2020.

This follows action taken during the third special session of 2020 on December 21, when the Legislature voted to move $400 million into the state’s emergency fund for critical pandemic-related programs that will support Oregonians in the first few months of 2021, as well as $100 million to provide more support for Oregonians impacted by the Labor Day wildfires.

“For the last 10 months... legislators of the Emergency Board have acted swiftly ” House Speaker Tina Kotek said. “Entering the 2021 legislative session, our focus will not waver.”

“It is a new year but Oregon and people are hurting,” Senate President Peter Courtney said. The session is right around the corner. We must work hard..."

Below is a summary of the actions approved by the Emergency Board:
--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-01-08 18:51:42Last Update: 2021-01-08 21:47:51

Attempted Murder Suspect Apprehended
U.S. Marshals arrest escapee in Portland, Oregon

Attempted murder suspect David Dahlen was originally arrested on Saturday, January 2, 2021 at 1:30pm and escaped his cell later that day due to a government mandated coronavirus protocol error by a cleaning crew.

In the morning hours of Friday, January 8, 2021, the United States Marshal's Fugitive Task Force located attempted murder suspect and escapee David Dahlen, 24, inside a vehicle at Lents Park, 4808 Southeast 92nd Avenue. They notified the Portland Police Bureau and members of the Homicide Unit, Tactical Operations Division, K9 Unit, and East Precinct patrol responded to assist.

At about 8:50a.m., the U.S. Marshals attempted to block the vehicle Dahlen was in, however, the driver of the vehicle was able to escape the Marshals' efforts. The vehicle fled from the area, heading eastbound on Southeast Holgate Boulevard. Officers assigned to East Precinct set up spike strips near the 11000 block of Southeast Holgate Boulevard, which the vehicle occupied by Dahlen ran over. The vehicle's tires deflated, the driver attempted to swerve around another vehicle, lost control, and crashed into a retaining wall and a power pole near the 11400 block of Southeast Holgate Street. The impact damaged the pole and knocked wires onto the street. Dahlen fled from the crashed vehicle and an East Precinct officer took him into custody a short distance away. Another person in the car was also detained.

Dahlen was transported to an area hospital where he will be checked for injuries due to the crash. The other occupant of the vehicle will also be seen at an area hospital for injuries. His identity will be released if he is charged with a crime.

"It's clear that this individual has no regard for the safety of the public and will put others in danger in an effort to escape," said Chief Chuck Lovell. "I'm grateful to the United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force, the PPB Homicide Unit, the Tactical Operations Division, East Precinct patrol officers, and all who worked together to capture this dangerous fugitive. "

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-01-08 18:36:40Last Update: 2021-01-08 18:45:10

Maybe This is What Happened to the Flu
No Twindemic or testing snafu?

As you may remember reading in the Northwest Observer, “Hey What Happened to the Flu?” flu cases are down. We are into a new year, and the report for flu cases is out for Week 52. OHA Flu Bites is published every Friday.

Flu activity remains unusually low and it seems illogical to assume mask wearing and social distancing has stopped all but a mere four flu cases in Oregon for the week, yet cases of COVID-19 remain high. Week 52 of tracking in the 2019-2020 year saw 1586 cases. Respiratory Syncytial Virus, a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, is zero as well. This same week last year, 11% of all Influenza like illnesses were RSV. Flu, RSV and COVID-19 all have similar and overlapping symptoms.

That leaves us with the tests to differentiate and diagnose. New information has come to light that could be the reason for a lower amount of flu cases than normal for this time of year. Mentioned previously, were a few possible explanations: Northwest Observer has obtained a copy of an email from Leah Horner from Kate Brown’s office. Horner at the Oregon Health Authority sent Brown's office questions posed by different County Commissioners regarding testing.

Horner asks, “Hi there, Is there a 3 in 1 test for Covid, flu and something else?”

The response from Danna Drum the Office of the State Public Health Director was:

“Generally speaking, there are several tests available that can identify influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and/or RSV. Clinical labs in Oregon are adopting some of these methods, and its possible some doctors’ offices are as well. We don’t have numbers of organizations that have adopted these tests in Oregon. OSPH (Oregon State PH Laboratory) has implemented use of the CDC Multiplex PCR assay which tests for Influenza A, Influenza B, and SARSCo-V-2 using one patient specimen. The other test OSPHL uses only identifies SARS-CoV-2.

There is no approved combo test for RSV, Influenza and COVID-19 but the FLU SC2 Multiplex Assay, combo test was granted an Emergency Use Authorization on July 2, 2020. The FDA has since authorized a home based combo test on December 4. Cycle threshold refers to the number of cycles needed to amplify viral RNA to reach a detectable level. What if the same problems with high cycle thresholds exist with this test (they are 40) as the Thermo Fisher COVID-19 only PCR tests? This could be the reason why only COVID-19 is being found. Are these new tests unreliable in diagnosing influenza and RSV?

These are questions that need to be answered by the Oregon Health Authority.

--Nicole Graff

Post Date: 2021-01-07 16:43:53Last Update: 2021-01-07 22:58:49

State Police: Armed Groups Threaten State Capitol
Whence their intel?

In a very strange message, the State Police released a message yesterday evening, as unrest in Washington, DC and at the State Capitol in Salem was dying. This message was posted on flash alert at 7:40pm:

Oregon State Police have heard rumors that armed groups were considering taking over and/or occupy the State Capitols.

Oregon State Police fully support peoples first amendment rights of freedom of speech and to gather peacefully. OSP will not tolerate criminal activities and you will be arrested if you engage in any of these acts.

The security of the capitol is our priority, if you are considering any unlawful activities at the Oregon State Capitol or surrounding areas, please reconsider. The safety of our community members, Capitol occupants, and police officers is paramount.

If you are aware of anyone that intends to engage in these criminal acts, please report them to your local law enforcement or to the Oregon State Police immediately.

Demonstrations at the Oregon Capitol were dispersed well before this message was sent. The last flash alert from the State Police was at approximately 6:00pm, when State Troopers arrested Cody Melby, attempting to access several doors at the Oregon State Capitol. He was arrested for Trespassing while in possession of a firearm and lodged at the Marion County Jail. Several others were arrested earlier that day.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-07 14:29:45Last Update: 2021-01-07 16:43:53

Democrat Leaders to Public: Stay Away
Oregon Capitol will be closed to the public during the session

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) and Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) held a joint press availability today in which they released its Capitol Operations Plan for the upcoming 2021 Legislative Session starting on Tuesday, January 19. According to them, the goal of the plan is to balance the following priorities: According to the statement, "The session will begin with committees meeting remotely and physical entry to the Capitol permitted for authorized personnel. Floor sessions will be limited to necessary business only, with daily floor sessions beginning in April. If public health conditions improve, public entry to the Capitol will be expanded in accordance with public health protocols." Some observers noted that while the public continues to shop at Wal-Mart, Target and Fred Meyer, they are unable to gather at the Capitol, as guaranteed by Article 1, Section 26 of the Oregon Constitution, which reads:

No law shall be passed restraining any of the inhabitants of the State from assembling together in a peaceable manner to consult for their common good; nor from instructing their Representatives; nor from applying to the Legislature for redress of greviances [sic].

The Oregon Constitution is also very clear the Legislative proceedings need to be open to the public, as outlined in Article 4, Section 15:

The deliberations of each house, of committees of each house or joint committees and of committees of the whole, shall be open. Each house shall adopt rules to implement the requirement of this section and the houses jointly shall adopt rules to implement the requirements of this section in any joint activity that the two houses may undertake.

The statement issued by Legislative leadership continues, "Authorized personnel who work in the building, including legislators, are instructed to follow public health workplace rules set by Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA), including mask usage and maintaining six feet of physical distance from others. Members will be permitted to have staff on-site but will be limited to the office occupancy limits. Remote work will be strongly encouraged for all other staff and legislative agencies.

"The Presiding Officers will work with Democratic and Republican caucus leaders to determine when in-person work in the Capitol can be expanded. Currently, Marion County is among the 23 of 36 Oregon counties in the Extreme Risk category. County conditions will be monitored weekly beginning in February to determine the potential for expanded entry."



Speaker Kotek brought up the incident that happened at the December 21 special session, in which several persons made their way inside the closed Capitol. She said that State Representative Mike Nearman "did open a door to allow demonstrators into the building," a claim that has not been substantiated. A member of the speaker's staff was arrested last year for interfering with a peace officer -- a class A misdemeanor.

We spoke with Representative Nearman and he declined to be quoted for this article, but noted for the record that the Legislative Sessions have been open to the public for many years, and despite persons openly carrying weapons, and virtually no security at the Capitol, there have been relatively few incidents.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-07 13:27:38Last Update: 2021-01-07 23:13:39

New Secretary of State Speaks
We think we’ll be hearing a lot from her.

On Monday, Secretary of State Shemia Fagan was sworn in to office. She made it clear that she's acutely aware of her role in overseeing Oregon's elections, saying in her inaugural remarks, “I want to thank Oregonians for trusting me to be their guardian of democracy.

Oregon's Secretary of State is the auditor of public accounts, chief elections officer, public records administrator and custodian of the State Seal. Fagan issued a press release that also said, "As the first person in line of succession to the Governor, the Secretary of State also serves in the capacity of Oregon’s Lieutenant Governor," a remark that may offer a clue into what her future political plans are. Oregon does not have the office of Lieutenant Governor.

"Over the past year, during my campaign for this office, I learned that most people have no idea what the Secretary of State does. And that’s ok. We’re going to work on that. Secretaries of States across the country have been called the “guardians of democracy”.

She posted these comments on social media, regarding the unrest in Washington, DC

This dark day in our history is the result of politicians stoking misinformation and refusing to denounce conspiracy theories. Our government of, by, and for the people rests on the key promise of the peaceful transition of power. That is under threat today. The actions of these uncontrolled mobs and the politicians who encourage them are dangerous and should be condemned by all patriots.

Brighter days are ahead. Democracy will win. But it is up to the President and his allies to decide at what cost.

--Secretary of State Shemia Fagan

Secretary Fagan at age 39, will be the youngest woman to ever serve as Oregon Secretary of State and the youngest Oregon statewide elected official in a generation. She has served on the David Douglas School Board, two terms in the Oregon House, and was midway through a term in the Oregon Senate when voters elected her to the state’s second highest office this November.



In office less than a week, she already has the official website up with her picture.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-06 19:26:06Last Update: 2021-01-06 21:42:42

Transportation Spending Bears Down on Counties
Pilot project to bring transit to 99W and more

The 99W transit Corridor Pilot Project from McMinnville to Junction City is advancing with state and federal grant money. The State Transportation Improvement Fund identifies $9.5 million available and the State Transportation Network identifies $9.5 million available for this project. Each county along the route is incurring obligations to match those grant funds.

Planning is coordinated by the Mid-Willamette Valley Area Commission on Transportation. MWACT has seven transit districts as members. Four of them would be involved with this Pilot Project. Public transportation is seamless along the I-5 corridor but not along 99W. The Pilot Project would fill in the gaps and eventually go to Hillsboro.

Yamhill County is geographically central to this plan. Yamhill participation would involve buying two new buses and incurring operating expenses. Yamhill County Transit currently goes to Salem and Tigard. Ridership is very low according to the MWACT report. Yamhill County can fill in holes on the map, but Yamhill County will incur new expenses which aren’t justified as measured by current demand by its citizens.

Reasons given for Yamhill participation include showing a spirit of cooperation with neighboring counties and fulfilling the state legislature’s goal of serving vulnerable populations. Another oft-mentioned reason is to dissuade people from the use of the automobile and the harm it brings to the environment and public health. Much of the actions to advance this pilot program have been on Zoom meetings. Minutes from the last meeting indicated that there was no public comment, no Oregon Transportation Commission comment and no comment from state delegations.

Plans to spend the grant money march on in this vacuum. Also within the purview of MWACT are Improvements to the Donald/I-5 interchange which will start around $1.2 billion. There’s no question about the heavy and increasing demand on that failed interchange. MWACT reports that current transportation operating funds are $720 million in deficit. Pursuing the 99W Pilot Project would add to the deficit and not provide a clearly demonstrated need.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-01-06 14:15:00Last Update: 2021-01-06 20:03:59

Salem Governments Brace for Unrest
It’s not like it’s Portland or anything.

The Capitol, and Marion County Courts are bracing for expected demonstrations in Salem on Wednesday.

The following email was sent to all Capitol employees by Legislative Administration, which is responsible for the operation of the Capitol building

Capitol Occupants,

Tomorrow, January 6th, there will be rallies at the Capitol similar to the rally on December 21st. This will likely draw a large crowd and could result in potential damage to the building.

As a precautionary measure, operations within the Capitol will be closed tomorrow. Legislative Administration services will be available via phone, email and Teams.

In an abundance of caution, OSP urges all Capitol occupants remain away from the building tomorrow.

Non-Essential Employees who are unable to work (including unable to work from home) due the closure shall be granted leave with pay during the time of the closure.

Presiding Marion County Circuit Court Judge, Tracy A. Prall sent an email out to impacted Marion County Courthouse employees.

The Sheriff has asked us to close the main Courthouse tomorrow in anticipation of civil unrest. We have been briefed and we have greed to close the Courthouse -- we will not be able to conduct even remote hearings as there will be no staff in the building to start the record. Additionally, we would not be able to hold Grand Jury in the Courthouse.

The Sheriff is meeting with the Commissioners later this morning to encourage closure of Courthouse Square. If Courthouse Square closes, the District Attorney's office will be closed and they will not be able to file new matters for arraignment or to conduct Grand Jury proceedings, also your defense offices may choose to close. If Courthouse Square and partner offices close, we will close the Annex and Juvenile as well.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-05 19:28:12Last Update: 2021-01-05 20:02:31

BIPOC and Oregon History
History is impacting policy.

Oregon’s Legislature’s BIPOC Caucus has applauded House Speaker Tina Kotek and House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner for their commitment to build a more equitable capitol. BIPOC stands for “Black, Indigenous and People of Color.” The members of the Caucus are Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn), Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Happy Valley), Rep. Diego Hernandez (D-Portland), Rep. Akasha Lawrence Spence (D-Portland), Rep. Mark Meek (D-Oregon City), Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego), Rep. Tawna Sanchez (D-Portland), Sen. Lew Frederick (D-Portland) and Sen. James Manning (D-Eugene).

The Caucus states: “The history of hate and racist violence in Oregon is undeniable.” Referring to Speaker Kotek and Smith-Warner’s statement: "From its very start, Oregon was founded as an anti-Black “white utopia.” Black people were banned from the state in the Oregon Constitution, and the Oregon Territory itself is land stolen from the Native tribes who had made this region home for centuries. Through deliberate policies—from red-lining to forced displacement for “economic development”—Black families were literally robbed of wealth and kept from living in many parts of the state for decades.”

What exactly are they referring to? Generally, the suppression of Black people is related to slavery and after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, it lived on with the Ku Klux Klan.

The Oregon that settlers encountered was post-Civil War, it wasn’t until 1865 when the Confederates surrendered that slaves were emancipated. Oregon was not immune from this division over slavery and passed a law prohibiting slavery in 1843. However, the issues surrounding this was much more complicated. Oregon’s first exclusion law was passed in 1844 by the Provisional Government, the temporary governing political structure set up by the first settlers to reach the region over the Oregon Trail. This first law included a ban on slavery and required slaveowners free their slaves. However, African Americans who remained in Oregon after their freedom was granted, were whiplashed and expelled. In 1849 another exclusion law was passed that allowed black residents already in Oregon to remain, but banned further African American in-migration. This law was in effect until 1854 when it was repealed. In 1857, when a constitution was written in anticipation of statehood, an exclusion clause was included prohibiting new in-migration of African Americans, as well as making illegal their ownership of real estate and entering into contracts or use of courts. Regardless of the passing of the 14th and 15th Amendments, Oregon’s exclusion wasn’t repealed until 1927.

“In spite of the name Ku Klux Klan most people didn't even know that this group was a racist group. They would participate in events under the guise of increasing their "fraternal organization" numbers. It wasn't until people in the community became involved that they became aware of the "racist" nature of this group. However, the racism of this group wasn't focused on African Americans, rather it was anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish. In fact, former President Harry S Truman was planning to join the KKK until he found out this information. Most ex-members were ashamed they ever were members," according to Toy.

However, the Portland headquarters managed to win seats in the legislature and local and county offices. They were able to pass legislation prohibiting ownership of land by aliens, aimed at Japanese immigrants. Even though the Klans faded away in a few years, it had ingrained a mindset and culture that BIPOC claims has not faded and they remind us: “We do this work on land stolen from indigenous people under a state constitution that, at its founding, specifically banned people of color. We are regularly reminded of this history whenever we sit at our desks on the floors of the Oregon House of Representatives and Oregon Senate, where murals of white settlers and the names of mostly white men hang over our heads.”

Since BIPOC wasn’t a notable part of Oregon’s history, they still benefit as government evolves. We can’t change history, but we can learn from it and BIPOC can be their pioneers going forward.

--Donna Bleileer

Post Date: 2021-01-05 15:26:31Last Update: 2021-01-05 20:12:41

Berschauer Sworn In as Yamhill Co. Commissioner
Balance of power tilts toward fiscal conservatism

The Yamhill County Board of Commissioners has a new potential with the swearing in of Lindsay Berschauer Monday morning, January 4th after winning the election in the spring and avoiding a run-off.

Berschauer said, "I am honored to represent Yamhill County residents and bring a priority-based budgeting approach to the commission. Past county commissioners have exercised fiscal restraint but in the past several years we have dipped into reserve funds as the size of government grows, the cost of county employment benefits skyrocket and taxpayer dollars have been wasted on projects that don't improve the lives of every resident. I ran on a platform of keeping taxes low, ensuring seniors can age in place and keep their homes, and supporting the critical natural resource and manufacturing jobs that makeup the core of Yamhill County's economic activity. I'm excited to serve in this important role!"

The Commission of three has been with the valiant services of a lone conservative, Mary Starrett for the last six years. However, with a liberal majority of two, fiscal restraint has taken a back seat even with an increasing need to control the costs. Plans to go from three to five commissioners have been entertained.

The county has gone from approximately 420 staff to near 650 in just eight years. This occurs while the Sheriffs’ department barely keeps up with population growth. Much of the leap in staff size has been due to mandates placed on the county from the state legislature with no push back from the commission. Pension and health care costs have gone from near 33% of the total cost of a hire to near 60% of the cost of a hire in that time period. As with hiring levels, these increases in benefits are due to actions, or inactions, at the state level.

The commission has entertained the notion of a multi-million-dollar bike path for the use of less than 1% of the county’s residents and ignored the looming problem of the landfill serving 100% of the people that is beyond its capacity. The bike path willfully violates land use law yet receives unrestrained support from bureaucrats that head the legal and planning departments working with the compliant county grant coordinator with none held in check.

Many expect the new commission will return to a model of smaller government that resists going beyond essential services. The need to say no to grandiose programs promoted by the Association of Oregon Counties, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, State Parks and others by refusing their grant money except for essentials is necessary if Yamhill County is to have a say in its destiny. The county has dipped into reserves lately, so budget discipline must be returned. Future challenges such as garbage disposal must not be ignored or displaced by feel good projects such as staff training in White Supremacy and climate crisis that are an insult to those humble taxpayers who foot the bill. Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer is highly capable and couldn’t have arrived a better time.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-01-05 10:43:53Last Update: 2021-01-05 15:26:31

Legislature to Confront Equality
Rioters are still calling the shots

Oregon House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner and Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek have issued a statement on Oregon’s racist past and committing to a equitable future. Since the destructive riots in Portland that forced the first Special Session of 2020, the Legislature leadership has prioritized what is needed to give non-white communities a hand up. Their statements are a sneak preview into the 2021 session.

The Democrat leaders statement says, "Our colleague, Rep. Janelle Bynum, has been a leading voice in the Legislature for confronting and dismantling the structural legacies that have kept BIPOC Oregonians out of positions of power and influence. For years, Rep. Bynum has refused to accept the status quo systems of power in the state. We appreciate and support Rep. Bynum’s ongoing leadership. She—along with other members of the BIPOC Caucus and other community leaders—has continually pointed out structural problems big and small that conspire to exclude diverse voices in the Legislature. We are deeply grateful for their work to make clear the moral urgency for action, and we are redoubling our efforts to tear down these barriers swiftly and completely.” BIPOC stands for "Black, Indigenous and People of Color."

If we were to fact check this statement, the Black representation in the legislature is 3% and the Black community makes up 2.9% of the Oregon population. American Indians are 1% of the population and have 1% representation. However, Hispanics and Asians lack representation by 3%. What does equity look like to the Democrat leadership?

"We are committed to confronting the past while taking steps to build a future that is more truly equitable—one that centers the needs of people who have been oppressed, discriminated against, and kept out of the halls of influence for too long. In the near term, the Leadership of the Oregon House Democrats is embarking on these steps: "Individually, these are modest steps. Taken together, and with an eye toward future bold ideas, we believe these actions will begin the process of transforming the Oregon Legislature and the decisions that emerge from it. We will be deliberate and intentional in the steps we take to confront Oregon’s racist past, we will follow the lead of BIPOC leaders, and we commit to a brighter future for every Oregonian."

The members of the Legislature’s BIPOC Caucus are Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn), Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Happy Valley), Rep. Diego Hernandez (D-Portland), Rep. Akasha Lawrence Spence (D-Portland), Rep. Mark Meek (D-Oregon City), Rep. Andrea Salinas (DLake Oswego), Rep. Tawna Sanchez (D-Portland), Sen. Lew Frederick (D-Portland) and Sen. James Manning (D-Eugene) as well as Rep.-elect Wlnsvey Campos (D-Aloha), Rep.-elect Khanh Pham (D-Portland) and Rep.-elect Ricki Ruiz (D-Gresham).

The BIPOC Caucus responded with a statement, saying, “Diverse voices and perspective are critical in ensuring the work we do serves every person in this state – and on that, there is so much more work to do. It is why we applaud the bold leadership of Rep. Janelle Bynum in starting much needed conversations and advancing reforms to ensure our legislative bodies are representative of the whole state. Monday’s announcement from House Speaker Tina Kotek and House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner represents meaningful reform but it is merely a beginning in the change our state demands. In the weeks and months ahead, we stand united as members of the BIPOC Caucus and as Democrats in our commitment to continue advancing bold measures and effect change that will make Oregon a better place for all.”

One thing is clear, the rioters are still calling the shots with the majority leadership. As we work to better all lives, let’s not forget that dignity comes with effort and equality comes by equal opportunity.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-01-05 09:35:25Last Update: 2021-01-05 13:21:48

OHA Data Collection Called into Question
Case counts are the standard. Are they valid?

A video was released Monday December 21, 2020 by Dr. Henry Ealy of the group All Concerned Citizens which shows how "Anybody can enter a record" to the Oregon Health Authority reporting portal. The system does not require a password, authentication, or any type of verification in order to submit a new case of COVID-19 to the State's case counts.

The total case counts for Oregon are nearing one hundred and twenty thousand, with sporadic cases almost double compared to traceable cases. A proverbial red flag, for many following the pandemic closely.

According to OHA Director Pat Allen "Large outbreaks account for a smaller proportion of recent cases,” Allen said. “These outbreaks are diminishing in proportion to other types of cases, particularly, sporadic cases.” “Sporadic spread” is a term used to explain cases that do not have a known exposure to any other COVID-19 case or outbreak. "The increase in sporadic cases means the virus is spreading more widely throughout communities", Allen told MSM in an article that ran nationwide over the summer.

Case counts are being used as the sole justification for Oregon Governor Kate Brown's lockdown orders. Discriminate guidance has been issued for businesses able to operate vs businesses unable to operate, with corporations and multinational conglomerates on the winning end. Brown and the Oregon Health Authority have yet to provide evidence backing the decision process, despite pressure from elected leaders and the public.

One metric continues to be pinned as the main justification for keeping small businesses boarded up, and Counties on the Governor's "watch list". A county is placed on this watch list based on the rate of infections without a link to a known source i.e. the "sporadic" case rate. The threshold is currently set at fewer than 5 per 1,000 people, if higher than 5, the County is placed on the list and forced to cease operations.

Oregon Health Authority's December 30 weekly report has confirmed the suspicions of many, questioning metrics and methods of data collection. Sporadic cases far outpace epidemic cases, a case with a known link.

The chart shows the counts for several epidemiologic link designations: Dr. Henry Ealy has publicly challenged data collection methods, presenting evidence during the Yamhill County Resolution Board Meeting, Curry County Resolution Meeting, and currently has peer reviewed works in multiple court cases across the country.

In review of this week's report Dr. Ealy states "We know the most likely place of transmission is within households with more than one person as confirmed by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Knowing this, it challenges credibility to assert that sporadic transmission is more than doubling household transmission over the past 6 weeks. The dramatic increase in sporadic transmission does coincide with the same timeframe for increases in PCR cycle thresholds. So, we either have a completely untraceable viral spread and should eliminate contact tracing or we have significant problems with PCR testing and data collection. Either way it's difficult to objectively trust the data being published at this time and it's important that we fix these problems immediately."

Dr Ealy has offered support to OHA since early July, and is hopeful for the possibility of future collaborative efforts, focused on patient care and appropriate safety guidance. With a mere 2.2% of all cases having an abnormal x-ray image, and 61.3% of 117,000 cases noted as exhibiting "any symptoms", it's clear there is much more to the story.

As the video has made its rounds through social media, an outraged public has started asking questions about data breaches, and errors in collection methods, especially where sporadic case rates are concerned. Fed up business owners have furiously e-mailed lawmakers, and the health authority demanding answers. Sometime between January 1, 2021 and January 2, 2021, as the video went viral, the Oregon Health Authority hastily added a disclaimer to the top of the reporting portal. The disclaimer reads "Intentionally reporting false or misleading information to OHA, may result in civil penalties".



So far, the Oregon Health Authority has dodged being anywhere near a camera, a microphone and Dr. Ealy. Pat Allen and Dr. Dean Sidelinger have flat out declined to comment on any challenge to data presented thus far. Public records requests have been filed and confirmed via the online submission process, but have yet to be followed up on.

Many are left to wonder how information this important, with such significant outcomes to power and policy have been left open to vulnerability and corruption throughout the entire year. Public faith has hit a new low, as scandal has hit an all time high within the state of Oregon.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2021-01-05 07:28:46Last Update: 2021-01-06 13:57:54

Remains of Child Found
State Police are investigating

The Oregon State Police is releasing this sketch of a child found in Lincoln County on December 10, 2020, asking for assistance in identifying the remains.

On December 10, 2020, Investigators were summoned to the H.B. Van Duzer Forest State Scenic Corridor for a death investigation. The area is a heavily wooded state park in Lincoln County, Oregon, and due to the terrain OSP Detectives were assisted by Lincoln County SAR members after finding the remains of a female child.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office estimates the decease’s age to be 6-and-a-half to 10 years old. She is approximately 3’10” to 4’6” tall, and had long hair that is dark brown or black. Her race or ethnic origin has yet to be determined, but DNA analysis is not complete.

Due to the condition of the remains she had likely been deceased at least 30 days before she was discovered. No information regarding the cause or manner of death is available for release at this time.

If you have any information that might help investigators in identifying this child, please call 800-442-0776 or *OSP (*677).

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-01-04 19:04:31Last Update: 2021-01-04 21:42:41

Rep. Brock Smith Calls Out Governor on Vaccine Distribution
Oregon is in the bottom ten amongst states

Lack of Action on Covid-19 Vaccine Roll Out Continues to Fail Oregon’s Most Vulnerable Families; Governor & Democrat Supermajority Must Prioritize its Distribution to Save the Lives of Oregonians in Every Corner of Our State State Representative David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) called on the Governor and Democrat Supermajority to prioritize COVID-19 vaccination distribution and provide the needed structure and funding for an efficient vaccine rollout.

“It is unfathomable that Oregon is in the bottom ten amongst states across the nation in COVID-19 vaccination distribution,” said Rep. Brock Smith. “Similarly, our state’s been ranked near the bottom of high school graduation rate and now the Governor and Democrat Supermajority’s continued failures is highlighted with their inability to govern and oversee an effective distribution system of COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNtech & Moderna vaccines to the public.”

The state of Oregon has received over 190,000 vaccine doses since receiving approval on December 11th, yet as of yesterday the state has provided less than 50,000 immunizations. There have been three Legislative Special Sessions and over $2 Billion dollars in state and federal funding that have been distributed to various state agencies, projects, and issues.

“We have comprehensive economical proposals of receipt, storage and disbursement of COVID-19 vaccines to all areas of the state, although lack of resources and funding are some excuses being used for not moving these proposals for services forward,” said Rep. Brock Smith. “Lives are being lost, many hang in the balance and Oregonians deserve a state government that has a clear and reliable plan for a systematic vaccine rollout. These plans exist and I urge Governor Brown and House Majority Leader Smith-Warner to immediately prioritize the lives of our fellow Oregonians.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-04 16:06:47Last Update: 2021-01-04 17:26:53

Internal Democrat Feud Ends
Want racial division? Check out the House Democratic caucus.

In a move that is sure to have ripple effects throughout the 2021 Legislative session, Oregon House Democrats, in the persons of Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland) and Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland), have put out a press release that they've entitled Confronting Oregon’s Racist Past and Committing to a Truly Equitable Future. This release effectively signals an end to State Representative Janelle Bynum's (D-Happy Valley) bid to unseat Kotek as Speaker. Bynum was named chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee.

Smith Warner and Kotek, both of whom are white, began, "As elected lawmakers dedicated to building a future where all Oregonians can live the fullness of their lives, we must never forget that racism is threaded through the state’s history and continues to undermine our present.

They continued, recounting some of Oregon's less-than-noble history, "From its very start, Oregon was founded as an anti-Black “white utopia.” Black people were banned from the state in the Oregon Constitution, and the Oregon Territory itself is land stolen from the Native tribes who had made this region home for centuries. Through deliberate policies -- from red-lining to forced displacement for “economic development” -- Black families were literally robbed of wealth and kept from living in many parts of the state for decades. Today, gentrification, discrimination, and racially biased policing practices continue to deny Black families economic and physical freedom. "Our colleague, Rep. Janelle Bynum, has been a leading voice in the Legislature for confronting and dismantling the structural legacies that have kept BIPOC Oregonians out of positions of power and influence." BIPOC stands for "Black, Indigenous and People of Color," and is a racial designation specifically created to exclude Asians and South Asians -- groups which most see as not disadvantaged, despite historic racism against them.

"We are committed to confronting the past while taking steps to build a future that is more truly equitable—one that centers the needs of people who have been oppressed, discriminated against, and kept out of the halls of influence for too long. In the near term, the Leadership of the Oregon House Democrats is embarking on these steps: The irony of creating dedicated carve-outs based on race in order to combat historic racism is not lost on some observers, and prioritizing funding based on race has been regarded as questionably legal by some.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-04 11:40:20Last Update: 2021-01-04 17:21:22

More Businesses Profiles During Lockdowns
How the government response to COVID-19 impacts people

At a recent press conference, Governor Kate Brown featured a victim of COVID-19, the disease. She has been less-than-supportive of those victims of COVID-19, the economic lockdown.

Walnut City Lanes, bowling and entertainment center in McMinnville, has been owned and operated by Jerry and Sharri Rettke for 43 years. During that time they have seen multiple economic cycles but with hard work and a faithful customer base they have survived and thrived as a business member of the community.

The COVID-19 shutdown first ordered in March of 2020 hit the heart of their strong bowling league season which is typically from November to May. Their business was deemed non-essential just as the planned spring break league play and corporate events were to have happened. Their 13 employees had to be let go. The Rettkes paid 4 weeks severance to the full-time staff, many of which had become like family.

Throughout the summer, with local restaurants open and adverse health statistics controlled their business, was forced limit activity before being shut down totally just as league season began. The hope for a return to opening in the fall coincided with the hope for a return to classrooms for school children. Neither happened, even though only one in ten thousand county residents had been listed as a COVID-19 death at that time. As the Rettkes face ongoing fixed expenses such as $38,000 in property taxes plus insurance and utilities -- all of which are at a higher rate than the previous year -- they must hang on by spending their retirement savings.

Their attractive location on Highway 99W would go quickly at auction if it comes to that, but at what discount? And what of their employees need for income? And what of their faithful customers need for a respite from social isolation?

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-01-04 09:51:06Last Update: 2021-01-04 11:10:26

The Evolution of Transit Fare Evasion
Riders pay less than half the cost of the ride. Some pay none.

As part of the growing trend of law enforcement reform, manifesting itself in -- let's be frank -- reductions in penalties for crimes and illegal actions, in 2017 TriMet asked the Oregon Legislature for a bill so that they could do their own enforcement on fare evasion. HB 2777 was passed authorizing mass transit districts to establish an administrative process to adjudicate ordinance violations. Oregon’s ACLU supported passage to increase access to TriMet passes for low-income individuals, seniors and people with disabilities, which they believed would reduce fare evasion.

In May of 2017, TriMet added 20 security personnel to respond to a knife attack that left two men dead and another injured. Drivers were told to let fare evaders on and push the “fare evasion” button. Drivers still feel they lack support and policies put them in danger by requiring them to tell confrontational fare evaders they didn’t pay enough.

On October 22, 2019 TriMet announced there were increasing fare inspectors to reduce the 14.5% found by a PSU study that ride without paying. The first month a homeless man was charged $175 fare violation even though he had a transit pass. TriMet discontinued an ad campaign in November that framed fare enforcement as a service to riders, after it generated substantial backlash.

Under Oregon law, a rider who fails to pay the transit fare or commits another transit-related violation can be cited in court and fined. HB 2777 gives mass transit districts the ability to create an alternative administrative process for resolving violations including reducing fines through an in-house hearing or order community service before taking the case to court.

When Governor Brown announced the stay-at-home order in March of 2020, people began working from home and ridership dropped 60%. Ridership has continued to stay at the 60% below 2019 levels. TriMet suspended cash fares for Hop Fastpass on March 26, 2020. This was done in response to COVID-19 to limit contact with boarders. Now that TriMet has a number of safety measures in place, and faces a lawsuit for violating state law by not involving the public in that decision, they are again accepting cash as of October 1. During the pandemic TriMet fare enforcers issued fewer citations for fare evasion. It follows that reduced ridership would reduce fare evasion. However, TriMet board changed the approach of the fare enforcers to “fare informing, not fare enforcing.” Enforcement practices are still in place, but they offer more leeway to some riders using more of an education process. Part of that education process is making riders aware of the Transit Fare Programs that offers reduced fares for low-income riders, fare assistance, fare relief and a high school pass program.

TriMet received life support from a $185 million federal COVID-19 relief package, but are restricted on how it is used. The 2021 budget includes funds for hiring eight new security workers to perform fare checks. Until the pandemic lockdown is terminated, the determination of whether HB 2777 is beneficial remains in suspense.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-01-04 01:48:59Last Update: 2021-01-04 09:51:06

New York as Role Model
Their track record doesn’t justify the title

How closely Governor Brown follows New York will play out in our legislative session. Governor Cuomo leads the way for Democrat governors. It doesn’t seem to matter that it is unconstitutional.

The New York State Senate just dropped the next bombshell by introducing Assembly Bill A416, relating to the removal of cases, contacts and carriers of communicable diseases who are potentially dangerous to the public health. The bill reads,

“the commissioner or the heads of local health departments, may order the removal and/or detention of such a person or of a group of such persons by issuing a single order, identifying such persons either by name or by a reasonably specific description of the individuals or group being detain. Such person or group of persons shall be detained in a medical facility or other appropriate facility or premises designated by the governor of his or her delegee and complying with subdivision five of this section.”

The bill isn’t limited to COVID-19. Any disease carrier the Governor considers dangerous to public health will instantly subject a person to total submission to the state. They take complete control of your body and can vaccinate and experiment on you all they want without your permission. You will be a prisoner of the state.

They can’t let the coronavirus pass without another plan to keep control of people. The Oregon Health Authority just released and error notification saying:

If you are one of the Oregonians who received a notification on your cell phone about COVID exposure tracking, please know that the Oregon Exposure Notification Application, also known as OR Notify, was released earlier than anticipated. Apple inadvertently turned the application on and has since turned it off.

The project is still under development. Oregon Health Authority partnered with Oregon State University, which led a pilot of the application that ended Thursday. OHA will assess the results to determine when to launch the application.

People are rarely without their cell phones, so hopefully, installation of the software will be voluntary.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-01-03 20:45:00Last Update: 2021-01-04 01:48:59

Governor Brown Exhibits Fines
Trophy list shows exercise of her will

In a move that can only be interpreted as a strong-arm warning to other businesses, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released a list of COVID-19 related penalties issued to businesses. Though Oregon OSHA is tasked by the Legislature with ensuring employee safety in the workplace -- their mission statement on their website describes it as "To advance and improve workplace safety and health for all workers in Oregon" -- under the direction of Oregon Governor Kate Brown, OSHA has been tasked with enforcing her questionably legal COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

According to the
summary of citations, "Since March, Oregon OSHA has received about 18,400 complaints related to COVID-19. Since then, we have also received about 3,600 non-Covid complaints. For perspective, in a typical year we receive just over 2,000 complaints." They also claim that "Since March, Oregon OSHA has issued at least 70 citations to employers for violating requirements to protect workers from COVID-19. Penalties for non-willful violations ranged from $100 to $2,000, while penalties for willful violations ranged from $8,900 to $17,500."

As some cities and counties pledge support to businesses that try to open, and many local police and sheriffs are lukewarm or outright refusing to enforce the Governor's edicts, Brown has turned to the bureaucracy, namely Oregon OSHA and to a lesser degree the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to step outside their lane and enforce COVID-19 mandates. Some of the citations are explicitly directed toward customer behavior.



In the opinion of State Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence), this represents a crisis in separation of powers. "With few exceptions, all of the Executive branch, which includes OSHA, gets their direction from the legislature. They have no such mandate."

Some activists will see the publication of this list as an opportunity to locate businesses to patronize, to support them as they stand against the Governor. In stark contrast to the March lockdowns, people and businesses are beginning to fight these mandates, oblivious to the penalties. Below are the penalized businesses, arranged by county:

Coos County Deschutes County Douglas County Klamath County Lake County Marion County Polk County Clackamas County Clatsop County Deschutes County Douglas County Grant County Jackson County Josephine County Lake County Lane County Lincoln County Linn County Malheur County Marion County Multnomah County Tillamook County Washington County Yamhill County
--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-03 14:21:53Last Update: 2021-01-04 17:22:15

Hey, What Happened to the Flu?
Asking for a friend. A very sick friend.

As the lockdowns and hand-wringing over COVID-19 continue, data from the 2020-21 flu season is starting to emerge as an "emperor has no clothes" moment, reminding us that data and science should still inform decision making.

This chart from the CDC website which shows weekly percentage of hospital visits for influenza like illnesses from September to August, so as to capture a single flu season. As you can see, during most years, flu hospitalizations start to increase at about week 48, which is around the end of November, peaking somewhere about the end of January or early February.

There a few possible explanations: I could be any one of these, or a combination of these. The CDC offers a possible explanation on its website:

"The U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network monitors outpatient visits for influenza-like illness, not laboratory-confirmed influenza, and as such, will capture visits due to other respiratory pathogens, such as SARS-CoV-2, that present with similar symptoms. In addition, healthcare-seeking behaviors have changed dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are accessing the healthcare system in alternative settings which may or may not be captured as a part of ILINet. Therefore, ILI data, including ILI activity levels, should be interpreted with extreme caution. It is particularly important at this time to evaluate syndromic surveillance data, including that from ILINet, in the context of other sources of surveillance data to obtain a complete and accurate picture of both influenza and COVID-19 activity."

In other words, if you think you're seeing something here, you might not really be seeing it, so move on. It's true that more people are using other ways to access the medical system, like tele-health, but there aren't many alternatives to hospitalization for extreme symptoms. In any case, if trends continue, this will have to be explained.

Government -- at least state government in Oregon -- keeps telling us what danger we are in. It's nice to see that at least one problem has apparently fixed itself.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-03 13:36:54Last Update: 2021-01-04 17:23:02

Attempted Murder Suspect Apprehended
U.S. Marshals arrest escapee in Portland, Oregon

David Dahlen had recently escaped custody from the Portland Police Bureau on Saturday, January 2, 2021, partially due to mandated coronavirus holding cell cleaning procedures.

In the morning hours of Friday, January 8, 2021, the United States Marshal's Fugitive Task Force located attempted murder suspect and escapee David Dahlen, 24, inside a vehicle at Lents Park, 4808 Southeast 92nd Avenue. They notified the Portland Police Bureau and members of the Homicide Unit, Tactical Operations Division, K9 Unit, and East Precinct patrol responded to assist.

At about 8:50a.m., the U.S. Marshals attempted to block the vehicle Dahlen was in, however, the driver of the vehicle was able to escape the Marshals' efforts. The vehicle fled from the area, heading eastbound on Southeast Holgate Boulevard. Officers assigned to East Precinct set up spike strips near the 11000 block of Southeast Holgate Boulevard, which the vehicle occupied by Dahlen ran over. The vehicle's tires deflated, the driver attempted to swerve around another vehicle, lost control, and crashed into a retaining wall and a power pole near the 11400 block of Southeast Holgate Street. The impact damaged the pole and knocked wires onto the street. Dahlen fled from the crashed vehicle and an East Precinct officer took him into custody a short distance away. Another person in the car was also detained.

Dahlen was transported to an area hospital where he will be checked for injuries due to the crash. The other occupant of the vehicle will also be seen at an area hospital for injuries. His identity will be released if he is charged with a crime.

"It's clear that this individual has no regard for the safety of the public and will put others in danger in an effort to escape," said Chief Chuck Lovell. "I'm grateful to the United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force, the PPB Homicide Unit, the Tactical Operations Division, East Precinct patrol officers, and all who worked together to capture this dangerous fugitive. "

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-01-03 11:00:56Last Update: 2021-01-08 19:10:46

Transit Takes a COVID Hit
The ridership crunch is softened by your tax dollars

Everyone knows that businesses have been taking a big hit from COVID-19. What is not so apparent is that transit is also taking a hit and this might cause long-lasting impacts for these districts.

Boardings -- defined as getting on a transit vehicle, even if this is part of a longer ride -- are down. Way down. What is not shown in this chart is the WES boardings, which had a similar fall from a high of 7,500 in October 2019 to a low in April 2020 of 1,250.

Tri-Met is the largest transit district, serving the greater Portland area. It's heavily subsidized -- over 75% of its revenue comes from taxes, not from fares -- so, the loss in ridership won't have as big an impact on its ability to stay afloat, but its revenue source is payroll taxes, and as unemployment is high, these taxes take a hit. As paid boardings decline and fewer fare dollars are collected per transit mile, the operating cost per boarding goes up. In other words, it costs a certain amount to get a bus or MAX train to go a mile and if you get more people on, the cost per person per mile goes down. In April, 2020 the operating cost per boarding shot up to over $15.00.

The future of transit may be waning, at least in the Portland area. Voters rejected a transit tax in the 2020 election, signaling that after several months of COVID-19, they were not in the mood for more taxes and more transit. One would think that the part of loss of ridership that is due to people being unemployed would easily come back once the jobs come back. The part of ridership loss due to fear of COVID-19 might be harder to recover.

Tri-Met's website says that they are working hard to keep transit areas clean and free of COVID-19, but it may not be enough to raise the confidence level of many people.

And let's not forget that crime is a big factor in deterring ridership, and Portland had a long, hard summer of crime. It seems like de-criminalizing everything is the rage these days. HB 4907 prohibiting police officer from conducting or participating in activities intended to determine whether person has paid certain user charges, fees or tolls imposed by mass transit district passed the House but never made it to the Senate in the walkout-shortened 2020 session.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-03 09:43:40Last Update: 2021-01-03 11:11:04

Redistricting Will Bring Change to Oregon
Democrats will have to do a balancing act

According to the US Constitution, a census shall be taken every ten years. This is described in Article I, Section 2.

The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative.

Once this is done -- and it should be done in the spring of this year -- the Oregon Legislature is set with the task of redrawing all the State House, State Senate and US Representative Congressional districts. What makes the process more fun this year is that Oregon is all but certain to get a 6th Congressional District. We currently have five. Article IV, Section 6 of the Oregon Constitution contains more specific instructions on redistricting, or as it's called, apportionment.

Apportionment of Senators and Representatives; operative date. (1) At the odd-numbered year regular session of the Legislative Assembly next following an enumeration of the inhabitants by the United States Government, the number of Senators and Representatives shall be fixed by law and apportioned among legislative districts according to population. A senatorial district shall consist of two representative districts. Any Senator whose term continues through the next odd-numbered year regular legislative session after the operative date of the reapportionment shall be specifically assigned to a senatorial district. The ratio of Senators and Representatives, respectively, to population shall be determined by dividing the total population of the state by the number of Senators and by the number of Representatives. A reapportionment by the Legislative Assembly becomes operative as described in subsection (6) of this section.

Democrats are in charge of the Legislature and barring some kind of internal division, they will draw a map that favors their fortunes. Elections have consequences. That's how it's done. The Legislature just draws a map and passes it as a bill. If they fail to do so, the job goes to the Secretary of State, and inevitably, there will be some lawsuits that get heard in the Oregon Supreme Court, but when the dust settles, we'll have new districts that reflect changes in population. Speculation runs wild about what the Congressional map of Oregon will look like. To many, it seems like Central Oregon should get a district. Bend is the fastest growing city in the state, with no end in sight. Some think that the coast, long divided as appendages into three different Congressional Districts should be one district. After all, people in Astoria tend to be like those in Newport as well as Coos Bay.

Democrats will have to decide if they are willing to weaken the 4th and 5th Congressional Districts, currently held by Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader, respectively. The voter registration is close in both districts. No matter how you slice it, the result of redistricting will create as much opportunity as it creates controversy.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-02 20:53:06Last Update: 2021-01-02 21:22:03

New Years’ Days Brings Protests to Salem
Quite a few were out-of-towners

New Years' Day featured two events near the State Capitol in Salem. The event at the Oregon State Capitol was organized by Oregon Women for Trump and was heavily attended by affiliates of the Proud Boys. Many of the attendees at the state capitol were armed with various weapons, knives, chemical sprays, batons and firearms. The event at Bush’s Pasture Park was organized by self-identifed anti-fascists who were also armed with a variety of weapons including firearms.

The Salem Police Department, along with the Oregon State Police and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, worked cooperatively to provide an enhanced presence in and around where the protests were to be held with the goal of ensuring those who gathered were there to do so peacefully. With the potential for these events to be disruptive to nearby neighborhoods and interfere with vehicular traffic, an educational campaign to alert neighborhoods and motorists to the event was proactively released. In addition, officers contacted or attempted to contact the organizers of both events to educate them on our objectives for a safe and successful event, as well as provide information on what actions could result in law enforcement action.

At approximately 2:00 p.m. the protestors at the state capitol began an un-permitted march to Mahonia Hall on Lincoln St. SE. As the march proceeded, many people walked in the street and blocked intersections at which point they were advised their actions could have enforcement consequences. Protestors arrived at Mahonia Hall where a contingency of Oregon State Police troopers and Salem Police officers remained present. At the conclusion of their protest, the group began marching back to the state capitol. A small group of Proud Boys broke off from the main march toward Bush’s Pasture Park where a small group of anti-fascist protesters were still gathered. Salem Police quickly moved officers and equipment into the park to keep the two rival groups from converging and prevented a potentially violent encounter.

At approximately 4:00 p.m., Proud Boys and associates returning to the state capitol approached a group of individuals who were armed with bats, paintball guns and firearms standing in front of a building near High and State Streets. A heated verbal exchange ensued between the two groups. With the goal of keeping opposing groups apart, crowd management officers quickly responded to quell the dispute and keep the groups separated. Neither group complied with initial dispersal orders and Proud Boys affiliates had to be forcibly moved back from the business by officers. Officers also had to move the business group back towards the business to keep them from repeatedly interfering with enforcement actions on State St.

Once enough law enforcement resources were in position to safely deal with the groups, the growing crowd was informed via loudspeaker the gathering was an unlawful assembly. The declaration was given because the crowd no longer appeared to be protesting but was instead attempting to instigate fighting and tumultuous behavior. When officers attempted to push the crowd back, they were met with physical resistance and smoke grenades. It took approximately one hour, most of the officers assigned to the event and the utilization of physical force and less-than-lethal munitions to move the crowd out of the streets and back to the state capitol. Three people were taken into custody for their actions during the declared unlawful assembly.

The objectives set for the day were the protection of life, protection of property, keeping opposition groups apart to prevent conflict, enforcement of crimes including minor infractions when appropriate and reasonable, and conducting follow up investigation of crimes which could not be dealt with immediately. There were no reported injuries, loss of life, or damage to property during this event, and the following arrests were made: Additionally, officers issued one violation citation during the event for failure to display license plates and an equipment violation.

The Salem Police Department will continue to investigate events which took place during the protests and additional violation and criminal citations may be issued as a result of those investigations.

About the events Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack shared the following statement, “Yesterday our officers, and those from our partner agencies, were faced with extremely dangerous and challenging situations. I am proud of the discipline and professionalism exhibited by our teams. While most attendees seemed intent on peacefully demonstrating, a subset from each group were in fact seeking confrontations and conflict with opposing groups and the police. This is where the challenge ultimately lies – we must protect the rights of those peacefully assembling while simultaneously working to stop the few individuals intent on jeopardizing community safety up to and including acts of violence. My staff performed exceptionally well, as evidenced by the fact no injuries nor property damage was reported. We will always welcome, encourage, and protect the rights of groups peacefully assembling, regardless of their views, but we cannot and will not allow individuals to commit serious crimes without consequence.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-02 14:29:56Last Update: 2021-01-02 15:35:00

The Empire Strikes Back
Governor Brown doubles down on lockdowns

In the face of defiance on the part of many local elected leaders, Governor Kate Brown threatened them with having their counties stay in "Extreme Risk" status and issued the following statement:

“Oregon’s health and safety measures are in place to protect Oregonians, save lives, and keep our hospitals and health care workers from becoming overwhelmed by COVID-19. Oregonians have made incredible sacrifices throughout this pandemic and, now, many communities across Oregon are reducing the spread of COVID-19 and moving into risk levels that allow restaurants and businesses to reopen to at least some indoor service.

“If businesses reopen too early and instead create new spikes in COVID-19 cases, the actions of a few business owners could set entire communities back and keep them in the Extreme Risk category for even longer.

“It’s unfortunate and irresponsible that some local politicians are choosing to willfully mislead business owners into jeopardizing public health and risking fines, instead of working with their communities to help stop the spread of COVID-19 so that we can reopen businesses, schools, and more quickly return to normal life.

While Brown claims that local elected leaders don't have the authority to encourage local business to open up, some have questioned whether she has the authority to keep businesses closed, or to use the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration as enforcement officials. She's been unsuccessful in getting local police and sheriffs to enforce her lockdown provisions. Her statement continues:

“Let me be clear: Local elected officials do not have the authority under Oregon law to disregard my emergency orders or to authorize anyone else to do so. Any businesses that reopen in violation of state risk level requirements for their county will be subject to fines and enforcement. Undoubtedly, those same local elected officials who are encouraging businesses to fully reopen and flagrantly disregard public health are unlikely to have the backs of businesses when faced with fines and penalties, nor are they likely to be willing to be held responsible for the public health impacts their actions create.

“I am urging all Oregon businesses to put the health of their communities first by following the guidance we have in place for their counties. A large majority of businesses continue to do the right thing to protect their communities. However, when Oregonians don’t take COVID-19 seriously, and don’t take steps to reduce the spread of the disease, they put all of us at risk.

“I have directed Oregon OSHA and the OLCC to deploy all available resources to ensure businesses are in compliance. I expect enforcement agencies to continue to use an education first approach, but Oregonians need to understand that these rules are enforceable under law. For businesses that refuse to comply, OSHA and OLCC staff are empowered to take administrative action including issuing citations, fines, and Red Warning Notices if necessary.

In a final plea, the Governor offered more money for impacted businesses. It's not clear where this money will come from. A relief program directed at housing providers contained $150 million in aid, but the total amount of unpaid residential rent is now estimated to be nearing half a billion dollars and the eviction moratorium was extended until the end of June of 2021.

“Oregon has led in our response to COVID-19, and help is on the way for struggling businesses. I proposed new resources for rent relief for businesses in the third special session, and I expect a new round of federal aid to be delivered soon. We can’t waiver in our response to the virus now, when the end is finally in sight and resources are on the way. We are better than this. As we head into the new year, I am asking all Oregonians, yet again, to commit to making smart choices and to take seriously their individual responsibilities during a public health emergency.”

By virtue of the fact that a growing coalition of county commissioners and mayors are starting to rise up -- in addition to the Governor seeing the necessity of striking back with this statement -- it's clear that the shutdown/lockdown regime is starting to crumble.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-01 10:45:14Last Update: 2021-01-01 22:25:09

New Year’s Eve Rioting in Portland
Officers citywide had to be pulled from emergencies

On Thursday, December 31, 2020 at about 7:45p.m., Portland Central Precinct officers became aware of a gathering in the area of Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Main Street. As the crowd grew to an estimated 80-100 people, some individuals in the crowd began to engage in violence. At least two Molotov cocktail-style firebombs were thrown, and large, commercial grade aerial fireworks were launched at the Federal Courthouse and the Justice Center. Some individuals tried to use tools to break into the Justice Center at 1120 Southwest 3rd Avenue, but were not successful.

Portland Police officers citywide had to be pulled from answering emergency calls to respond. Law Enforcement officers from the Federal Protective Services and the Multnomah County Sheriff's office also engaged the crowd and were targeted with dangerous projectiles. Officers were attacked with large rocks, full size bricks, and frozen water bottles. Some officers were targeted by paint balloons that may have been laced with a caustic substance as it caused burning to the skin. Some law enforcement officers suffered injuries, although no Portland Police officers were hurt.

The violence from the crowd prompted a declaration of a riot. The crowd was warned by loudspeaker and social media (@portlandpolice on Twitter), "All persons in the area of Southwest 3rd Avenue around Southwest Main Street are ordered to leave to the south and west immediately. If you do not leave you are subject to arrest, citation, and/or the use of force, including but not limited to impact weapons and tear gas."

Few if any heeded the warning. During the riot, participants started multiple fires. In one, a garbage can was lit ablaze and melted to the pavement. A crosswalk signal was torched, as was various debris piled in the road at Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Main Street. Dangerous objects continued to be thrown at police officers.

The crowd mostly dispersed by 2:00a.m. No CS gas was deployed by Portland Police during this event, but inert smoke and some impact munitions were used.

Several businesses were damaged. Officers are still compiling the reports of damage. If anyone is a victim of a crime related to this event, they're encouraged to report it online and reference case number 20-384961.

Arrests were made. Information on arrests is still being compiled and a list of those arrested will be released at a later time.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-01-01 09:56:36Last Update: 2021-01-01 11:30:17

The Upcoming Legislative Session
Snipe Hunt the 2021 Session

We are the target of a prank. The 2021 Oregon Legislative Session is again a Snipe Hunt. Taking clues from past actions is the best we have to anticipate what the 2021 session will be like in less than a month away.

The three Special Sessions held behind closed doors, blocking citizens from the Capitol, continues to be Governor Brown’s model for the 2021 session. Why else would she continue the lockdown when there is overwhelming science and evidence that lockdowns aren’t effective? Transparency and constitutional rights are being swept under the rug to stifle dialog on issues. Representative Raquel Moore-Green is adamant, “The lack of inclusiveness in discussion and dialog must be addressed prior to the regular session convening in 2021.”

A rumor is spreading that the 2021 Legislature will organize on January 19 and then stop until the State Capitol can be open to the public. The constitution does not set a start date – a start day is set in statute, which can be changed. However, it wasn’t addressed in the Special Session. The concept may not be to the Governor’s liking, pressuring her to terminate her emergency declaration.

A number of the bills passed in the Special Sessions will terminate in some fashion, and some have already been determined to be insufficient and being discussed for revision. That means all the bills from the Special Sessions are up to be revisited.

The Governor’s budget recommendations set a tone that is materializing in concepts. Governor Brown played the race card to get the emotional attachment she’ll need to appease her party in the legislature. Her priority budget item is $280 million to undo systemic racism. And who is behind that “systemic racism” that we seemingly need to undo? Who has been in power in Oregon for the past 32 years allowing such a decline?

The House Interim Committee on Health Care have prioritized their concepts to address equity in health care, the social determinants of health, and health care affordability. Oregon State Public Interest Research Group presented a public option that is being draft by Representative Andrea Salinas in a bill. Also, LC 1701 will be a hot topic addressing vaccinations.

The Joint Committee on Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform is looking to beef up the six police reform bills passed in the first Special Session. In addition, some new concepts include requirements for disclosing the identity, disciplinary standards, modify use of deadly physical force and create a data base of use of physical force, bans choke holds and tear-gas, protection for whistleblowers, and disciplinary alternatives.

According to the Governor, another $685 million is needed for pandemic reasons. Several Committees such as Affordable Housing and Quality Affordable Child Care have not revealed their concepts. However, Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) issued this statement that also needs to be resolved during the 2021 session: “Governor Brown demands Congress send Oregon money, however, millions of funds from the first federal coronavirus relief package have gone unspent. Money from the federal government has limitations, and there is no guarantee that federal money will go towards the holes left in the Governor’s budget. Clearly, the Governor has been asleep at the wheel.” The Governor’s Recommended Budget for 2021-23 proposes $100.2 billion in total spending, including $25.6 billion in General Fund and Lottery Funds. The budget includes over $293.8 million in increased revenues and leaves $243.3 million in the General Fund. In addition, by the end of the 2019-21 biennium, the Rainy-Day Fund is projected to have a balance of $942.3 million.

Oregon is on the list of the five top states with the largest rainy-day funds. That should be a factor against the pursuit of a carbon tax pursuit of an Extended Producer Responsibility program, or any other tax or economy killer.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-12-31 13:04:50Last Update: 2021-01-01 23:24:01

End of the Year Destruction in Portland
No arrests have been made

A group caused property damage as it marched through downtown Portland Wednesday night.

On Wednesday, December 30, 2020 at about 7:00p.m., a group, estimated about 40 people, marched out of Director Park, 815 Southwest Park Avenue, headed east to Southwest 3rd Avenue, south to Southwest Jefferson Street, back west to the South Park Blocks and then back to disperse from Director Park. During the march, participants broke windows, spray painted buildings, fired paintballs, and caused other damage (photos). During the march, officers attempted to contact one subject and their police vehicle was spray painted as well. No arrests were made but the criminal mischief reports are being collected and the investigation is continuing. If there are additional victims, they are encouraged to make an online report. It is case number 20-383984.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-31 12:02:03Last Update: 2020-12-31 14:03:15

Law Enforcement Issues Statements on Upcoming Protests
Based solely upon the neutral interests of overall public safety

The Oregon State Police have issued the following statement:

The Oregon State Police is aware of several protests that are planned in the Salem area on Friday, January 1, 2021.

The protests are planned to happen at the Oregon State Capitol, Bush Pasture Park, and Mahonia Hall. These protests could also affect streets in the areas of these locations.

OSP encourages people to exercise their first amendment right, but please do so lawfully, peacefully, and respectfully.

OSP and Salem Police Department will have personnel assigned to monitor these protests. If criminal behavior is observed and the situation allows you will be cited or arrested. If an arrest or citation is not able to be immediately made, police will be investigating criminal behavior. If you feel you are the victim of a crime please ensure that you report that to the police.

OSP has set the following operational goals:

The Salem Police Department has also issued a statement:

The Salem Police Department is aware of several protests that are planned in our community on Friday, January 1, 2021. These protests may impact areas and city streets near the Oregon State Capitol, Bush’s Pasture Park and Mahonia Hall. The Salem Police Department, in partnership with the Oregon State Police and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, will have resources including patrol, crowd management teams and SWAT officers to monitor and manage the protests as they unfold.

The Salem Police Department’s preparations have included reaching out to protest organizers. Conversations with organizers about safe and lawful protests and the actions which could result in police enforcement or intervention are an important component to maintaining order and safety for everyone. Although attempts to speak with all persons involved have not yet been successful, we remain open to the opportunity for communication.

We recognize the concerns brought forward by residents. These events have affected our entire city in one way or another. When opposing groups come into contact, the risk of violence increases as evidenced in previous protests. The recent events at the Oregon State Capitol also resulted in violence and property damage. Due to these past unacceptable and unlawful actions, the Salem Police Department has set the following objectives and goals for its response to the upcoming protests.

These goals and objectives are based solely upon the neutral interests of overall public safety, regardless of the view held or expressed by any particular group of protestors.

To the extent possible, residents are encouraged to avoid the above-mentioned areas as there may be disruptions to traffic flow.

Both departments are coming off a less-than-ideal performance in which a mostly peaceful protest at the Capitol in Salem turned ugly with gas being deployed and several arrests as citizens attempted to enter the Capitol to attend the proceedings, claiming a constitutional right to do so.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-30 19:38:30Last Update: 2020-12-30 20:02:34

Secretary of State Clarno Gives Statement on Her Tenure
Democrat Shemia Fagan will take over SOS in 2021

Oregon Republican Secretary of State Bev Clarno has released a statement about her service to Oregon on Wednesday, the second to last day of 2020. She reflected on a term which was hers to complete as the successor to Dennis Richardson, who passed away of cancer in 2019.

"Upon taking the oath of office as Oregon’s secretary of state on April 3, 2019, I quoted the famed commentator Andy Rooney. “Age,” he said, “is nothing but experience, and some of us are more experienced than others. I then noted with a smile that at 83 years old, I was the most “experienced” secretary of state in Oregon’s history.

I have been very grateful to serve as your secretary and will always look back on this time with great pride in the work we conducted and in the great people I have had the privilege of working with. I want to share some thoughts and reflections on my time in this role.

While many know that our agency conducts elections and audits, people aren’t as familiar with our other divisions: archives, business services, corporation, human resources and information services. All of our divisions do amazing work, and I am so proud of everything they do to keep us in line with the goals of transparency, accountability and integrity.

My goal has been to serve in a nonpartisan manner; the core functions of our work don’t have a Democratic or Republican way – only the fair and honest way. I wanted to ensure that we are seeking all perspectives and to try to not let partisanship become a barrier or influence in the work conducted.

Oregon’s secretary of state also serves on the Oregon State Land Board with the governor and state treasurer. Coming from a rural background I feel the need to point out that rural Oregonians often feel left out of the conversation. Having lived in both rural and urban areas of the state, I tried to bring both perspectives to the table to help bring balance: what is good for Wasco may not be good for Salem or vice versa. The balance of perspectives is particularly relevant to the issues that come before the Land Board. Oregon’s constitution directs the Land Board to manage lands under its jurisdiction – the vast majority of which are hundreds of thousands of acres of forestlands – to obtain the greatest benefit for the people of Oregon, consistent with resource conservation and sound land management. I urge all public officials to make an extra effort to understand the needs and concerns of fellow Oregonians across geographical differences.

While my time as Oregon’s secretary of state comes to a close, I will always remain an engaged citizen. It is vital for Oregonians to understand the various functions of government, how we can share our input and try to improve how Oregon works. A responsive government is imperative to building trust and credibility.

Bev Clarno

Secretary Elect Shemia Fagan will be sworn in and take office on Monday, January 4, 2020. She was elected to be Oregon’s next Secretary of State in the 2020 General Election.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-30 14:34:02Last Update: 2020-12-30 16:54:49

Traffic Stop Data Fails to Show Bias
Race meets science

In the long-term quest to make better decisions based on science, the legislature has created some very creative ways to collect data based on traffic stops. The STOP program stems from the 2017 Oregon Legislative Session, where HB 2355 was enacted and signed into law. The bill requires: On of the ways that the data is used is to see if traffic stops are made against some races more than others. To test for disparities in the decision to stop a driver, the Veil of Darkness analysis compares stops made by law enforcement officers during the day to those made at night, based on the assumption that officers can better detect the race of an individual during daylight hours as compared to darkness. Specifically, the VOD analysis compares the racial composition of stops during combined inter-twilight window, which occurs during morning and evening commute times. Visibility during this time will vary throughout the course of the year, which makes it possible to compare stop outcomes at the same time of the day but in different lighting conditions.

For example, the VOD analysis can compare stops made on January 10 when it was dark at 5:00pm to stops made two months later at the same time on March 10, which is was still light outside. Given that these two points in time should capture reasonably similar driving populations -- on average, for example, work commuters often drive at similar times of day throughout the year -- comparisons made between race of stopped drivers in the light and darkness will detect whether stops are being made in a disparate fashion when race is visible.

So, what was the outcome of the data? There was no measurable disparity either with blacks or Latinos in police stops. This fact calls into question the basis for all the police reform legislation that was done in the first special session. Everyone deserves to be treated equally and fairly, especially by law enforcement, and if this is happening, then policies need to reflect that.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-29 15:24:02Last Update: 2020-12-29 21:09:30

Oregon Will Have Highest Cigarette Tax in the Nation
Smoke ’em, if you can afford ’em.

A series of increases in the taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products and a new tax on inhalant delivery products, approved by Oregon voters in November, will go into effect January 1, 2021. These are the first of what are expected to be many tax increases enacted by the Oregon Legislature in the upcoming session to backfill holes left by revenue shortfalls due to the COVID-19 recession.

As a result of the passage of Measure 108, which was placed on the November ballot by the Legislature by HB 2270, consumers will see the following: Revenue produced by the tax changes will be used by the Oregon Health Authority to fund health care coverage for low-income families, including mental health services, and public health programs, including programs addressing tobacco- and nicotine-related disease. Critics of the tax have pointed out that this is an unstable source of continuing revenue and put the state in a position of having to deliver expected services in the future.

The bill, supported mostly by Democrats, was placed on the ballot during the 2019 session. The current tax on cigarettes is $3.33. After the increase, the tax will be $5.33, which will make Oregon's cigarette tax the highest in the nation.

Photo by Luka Malic on Unsplash

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-29 14:58:17Last Update: 2020-12-29 15:24:02

A Look at Oregon’s Strategic Investment Program
Helps industry create jobs

The Strategic Investment Program run by the Oregon Business Development Department offers a 15-year property tax exemption on a portion of large capital investments. The program was created in the 1990s to induce large, capital-intensive facilities to locate and grow anywhere in Oregon.

To qualify, projects must serve a "traded sector" industry. Oregon law defines "traded sector" as one in which "member firms sell their goods or services into markets for which national or international competition exists."

The project's cost must be at least $25 million in a rural area or $100 million otherwise. But as a practical matter to benefit from the program, the overall investment will need to be considerably bigger. The actual exemption is on property value in excess of a taxable portion, which starts at $100 million for all urban projects, while in rural areas:

Total Investment CostsInitial Taxable Portion Amount
Not more than $500 million$25,000,000
Between $0.5 and $1.0 billion$50,000,000
Greater than $1.0 billion$100,000,000

A rural area must be located entirely outside urban growth boundary of a city with a population of 40,000 or more at the time of state SIP application or in a Rural Strategic Investment Zone designated before October 5, 2015. Taxable portion is based on property's real market value and grows 3% per year.

There are two options for an SIP project to be approved: Companies must also pay the respective county a community service fee as set by law. The fee is contained in the agreement with the business, which may include additional requirements on the business. The county must also sign a separate agreement with other local governments for distributing the fee. For any SIP project that is exempt in the prior tax year, the business must submit a report to Business Oregon detailing its employment and payroll. The report is used to evaluate the program's performance and provide estimates of state personal income tax revenue that may be shared with local governments.

Supporters of the program point out that other states have similar programs and will poach the cream-of-the-crop companies without it. They also point to the jobs and positive secondary economic effects of the program. Critics say that it uses taxpayer funds -- any tax abatement is essentially a general fund loss -- that targets only large and successful companies. Additionally, it may not make sense to have a large monopoly utility company -- Portland General Electric, for instance -- using taxpayer backed money for economic development.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-28 20:08:02Last Update: 2020-12-29 08:31:23

Telehealth Options Extended
Insurers will continue to pay for coverage for telehealth services

The State of Oregon has reached an agreement with several health insurance companies to continue providing expanded telehealth options through at least June 30, 2021. Industry experts say that much like COVID-19 has left a permanent impression on "work from home," it is leaving a permanent impression on the delivery of health care via computer, or telehealth.

The agreement follows guidance issued by the Department of Consumer and Business Services and the Oregon Health Authority in late March requiring health insurance plans to provide in-network coverage for multiple telehealth platforms.

In June 2020, the state reached agreement with health insurance companies to continue providing expanded telehealth options, including payment to providers at the same rate as an in-person visit, through Dec. 31. This new agreement means health insurance companies will continue to provide coverage for expanded telehealth services and pay for these services at the rates they established during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is vital for Oregonians to continue to use telehealth services to limit physical contact during this public health emergency,” said Oregon Insurance Commissioner and Department of Consumer and Business Services Director Andrew Stolfi. “Telehealth allows for Oregonians to get important care, often from the comfort of their home. I want to thank the insurance carriers that have joined us in this agreement to provide expanded telehealth services and pay parity for Oregonians.”

The following insurance companies have agreed to provide expanded telehealth services through June 30, 2021: In addition to these companies, the Oregon Health Plan will continue to offer pay parity and other allowances for many telehealth services, offering the same rate as an in-person visit for physical health services, behavioral health services, and some dental and long-term care services.

It is important to note that this agreement does not apply to self-insured plans. The state encourages self-insured plans to cover expanded telehealth services for members. These are plans in which an employer assumes the financial risk of providing health care benefits to its employees. Oregonians who have a self-insured plan should check with their employer about their coverage options.

Oregonians are encouraged to contact their insurance company or health care provider if they have questions about using telehealth services.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-28 19:45:42Last Update: 2020-12-28 20:08:02

Kate Brown and Oregon Dems Claim Equity and Transparency
So far they’re not off to a great start

Read the fine print...

Oregon Democrats are showing their true colors, as discrimination and systemic racism are quickly being defined within the action of their enforced policy, rather than its claimed intent.

Small mom and pop businesses owned across Oregon have been ordered to shut down, in what began as an emergency executive order to flatten the curve on deaths. That initial two week lockdown has snowballed into the New Year, whereby large retailers have been deemed essential, and small businesses have been closed, fined or cited by OSHA and the OLCC under Governor's orders. According to Sandy, Oregon Mayor Stan Pulliam Governor Brown claimed days ago she had the data to prove small businesses and gyms (beside 24 Hour Fitness which was never ordered to close) pose a higher risk of spreading COVID-19, than shopping malls, or Walmart. So far Brown has failed to release the data she claims exists, failed to be transparent in her decision making, or proved small businesses, and restaurants pose any higher risk than that of corporate retailers and large chain restaurants. Cities and Counties across Oregon have had enough, and are planning to reopen January first, citing discriminatory practices, and unjustified endangerment.

Mayor elect Scott Keyser of Molalla Oregon gave a well-informed speech Saturday December 26th at a rally held in the heart of main street. Keyser stated "Most cases we're seeing pop up right now are happening at in-home, small gatherings where masking and social distancing goes out the window". He then asked the crowd "when you have friends over are you making them wear a mask inside?", the crowd rumbled No. Keyser then asked "are you enforcing social distancing or sanitizing countertops and toilet seats after every use?" Again the crowd said no. Keyser then pointed to nearby stores, and exclaimed "But main street IS!" A group created by Molalla residents is calling for the town to responsibly reopen January First at 25% of capacity. Amy Grace is an admin of the Facebook group "Reopen Molalla", and stated "it just doesn't make sense to funnel everyone from our town into the two large corporate retail stores, rather than allowing residents to disperse in smaller numbers throughout town". Grace added that "Governor Brown's orders are counterproductive at this point, and placing our community at increased risk for long term damage both from the virus, and from poverty".

The correlation between negative health impacts and poverty have been studied ad nauseum. The federal government designates areas with fewer than one physician per 3,500 residents as "health professional shortage areas, or healthcare deserts". The Post-Gazette/Journal Sentinel data analysis shows that the majority of those are in urban poverty corridors, the rest are in rural areas like Molalla Oregon. This didn't stop Brown from issuing threats via a letter sent to city and county elected officials, claiming that she would ensure OSHA would be out in full force January first.

Aside from deciding who is capable of maintaining their own wealth, and subsequently their own health, the Democratic party has introduced two new legal concepts for the 2021 regular session that advocacy groups are calling flat out racist.

Legislative Concept 1099 -- on its way to becoming a bill for the 2021 session -- affects disadvantaged students by removing their ability to enroll into an online charter school in another district, if their district has a similar program. The slated bill does not, however, address availability. In person and online enrollment for charter schools is capped at 3% for each district. While a school district might have a charter program, depending upon current enrollment, it could also have a very long waitlist before new students can apply. Executive Director of Parents Rights in Education, Suzanne Gallagher stated, "this concept isn't new, it's very similar to policies passed during and after the Jim Crow era, whereby students of color, and impoverished students alike were kept within particular geographic locations, unable to access quality education."

In a press release from healthcare advocacy group "Oregonians For Medical Freedom" racial disparities in healthcare are also addressed. This time in reference to legal concept 1701. The legal concept doesn't have a bill title yet, but the action of the bill would place children of color at much greater risk for death and injury. A similar bill HB3063 came before the 2019 legislative assembly, whereby advocates highlighted the bill would remove over 35,000 students from school in Oregon. Many of which reported having IEP's, disabilities, or received government assistance for the school lunch program.

Governor Brown and Speaker of the House Tina Kotek have promised this 2021 regular session would see a much needed focus addressing systemic racism, equity and inclusion. So far they're not off to a great start.

Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-12-28 13:19:58Last Update: 2021-01-01 23:38:04

ODOT Extends Deadlines
Driver license, vehicle tag grace period extended into 2021

Oregon residents with a vehicle registration, permit or driver license expiring between Nov. 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021, have up to three months after their expiration date without being cited by law enforcement for an expired license or tags.

The Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon law enforcement agencies agreed to the new grace period as DMV catches up with a backlog due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Under the agreement, Oregon law enforcement officers will exercise more discretion for recently expired licenses and registration before choosing whether to write a citation. Law enforcement can verify the status of a driver or vehicle registration electronically during a traffic stop.

A law enforcement moratorium under Senate Bill 1601 from an Oregon Special Legislative Session last summer will expire Dec. 31. Under that legislation, a police officer cannot issue a citation for the following DMV products if they expired between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020: DMV offices are open by appointment -- mostly those that require in-person visits such as driver license and other identification card-related services. In some parts of Oregon, the first available appointment may be two months out, so don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your appointment. As DMV catches up with the backlog, more services will become available by appointment. They do not yet know when walk-in services can resume, but some appointments for vehicle title and registration are available now. You can visit www.OregonDMV.com for a complete list of services available by office.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-27 19:07:27Last Update: 2020-12-27 19:15:46

Kate Brown Appoints Lane County Judge
Appointment is effective January 1

Oregon's Governor Kate Brown has announced that she will appoint Stephen Morgan to the Lane County Circuit Court. Morgan will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Ilisa Rooke-Ley, who is retiring at the end of this month. The appointment is effective January 1, 2021.

“Stephen Morgan brings a tremendous amount of experience and compassion to the bench, he has spent his career prosecuting the most egregious cases of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault. Through this work, he has served the community’s most vulnerable through a trauma-informed lens and has given victims a voice in our criminal justice system.”

Morgan is a deputy district attorney in the Lane County District Attorney’s Office, where he leads the domestic violence trial team that he helped create in 2008. He joined the District Attorney's Office in 2002 and has prosecuted a spectrum of cases from homicide and robbery to child abuse and domestic violence. An active member of the community, he mentors law students, served on the board of the Eugene Timbers Futbol Club, and is a member of the Lane County Domestic Violence Council. Morgan was raised by his mother in Madras, Oregon, and joined the Marine Reserves after graduating high school. He obtained his bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Oregon. In between earning these degrees, he taught English in Taiwan for two years and traveled extensively before settling in Eugene—the community he has called home for nearly two decades.

No photo of Morgan was available at the time of this publication.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-27 17:00:31Last Update: 2020-12-27 20:47:15

The 2021 Session: Vaccine Law Will Be Discussed
OFMF describes their struggle in terms of civil rights

As in the past few sessions, the issue of vaccines and the requirements that they be administered is likely to be an issue for the upcoming legislative session. Vaccines have two characteristics that separate them from most other forms of medical treatment. First, they are less regulated that other methods of treatment, most notably in that you are not legally able to sue a vaccine manufacturer, and second that the administration of vaccines is more likely to be mandatory than other medical treatment. Because of these two factors, vaccine laws rightly come under increased scrutiny. The introduction of COVID-19 vaccines increases the volume in this conversation, and, not surprisingly, issues of equality and fairness make their way into the conversation.

Oregonians for Medical Freedom is a non-profit organization working to protect current vaccine exemptions, promote informed consent rights, and preserve medical privacy for all Oregonians. The organization represents more than 35,000 Oregon children, and is comprised of medical professionals, educators, parents, and citizens concerned with upholding the medical ethic of informed consent. They put out this statement:

As we quickly approach the 2021 regular session, Oregonians For Medical Freedom is re-establishing our commitment to anti-racisms and anti-discrimination in medical care with the peaceful redress of grievances and upholding equitable medical decisions for all. We also re-commit our focus to informed consent, and equal access to healthcare for those who are at highest risk.

We are prepared to fight for our disenfranchised and disadvantaged communities, while knowing that LC1701 will soon have a bill number and the public will most likely be excluded from the building during the regular session. We are also preparing to prevail, yet again, and prevent this terrible legislation from allowing intolerable discriminating of our most vulnerable population as people of color are disproportionately affected by vaccine side effects.

We're excited to announce that our new Board Members have hit the ground running, and are actively working behind the scenes to fortify relationships with lawmakers and advocacy groups alike. Our team is coordinating with the best and the brightest within our legal community as well as our healthcare industry. From first responders to law enforcement, Oregonians For Medical Freedom is teaming up to support and protect health choice for all.

We have a tremendous journey ahead in order to secure the right of bodily autonomy and basic human rights. With this in mind, we call upon every Oregonian to take a peaceful stand with us, and to kindly help educate our lawmakers who have a history of defending non-equitable healthcare policies; be it while serving on school boards, or whilst serving in the legislature.

OFMF describes their struggle in terms of civil rights, recalling the Tuskegee experiments, in which blacks were subjected to experiments involving untreated syphilis and the Holocaust.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-27 10:34:49Last Update: 2020-12-28 08:02:14

Random Bat Attacks in Portland
Suspect arrested with baseball bat

On December 22nd 2020, at approximately 10:36 p.m., North Precinct officers responded to the 1100 block of Northeast Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard on reports of an individual who had been struck in the head with a baseball bat. Officers arrived on scene and learned a victim was walking down the street when they were struck on the head by an unknown male with a baseball bat. An intricate description of the suspect was given to officers by the victim. After hearing the description of the suspect, officers conducted an area check but were unable to locate him.

On December 23, 2020, at approximately 12:02 a.m., North Precinct officers responded to the Rosa Parks Transit Station located in the 6500 block of North Interstate Avenue on reports of an individual who had attacked several people with a baseball bat. Officers arrived on scene and learned an individual with a baseball bat had struck two victims as well as broke a TriMet Max Train window. The individual had left the scene prior to officer's arrival and was not located. The victims told responding officers that the suspect had struck them with a baseball bat on the shoulders and head as they exited the Max Train. The description given to officers of the suspect matched that of the suspect from the earlier call on Northeast Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard. Both victims were treated at an area hospital for the injuries they sustained during the incident.

Later in the morning, Central Precinct officers received separate calls of an individual attacking people with a baseball bat near the 500 block of Northeast Glisan Street. When officers arrived on scene, they were unable to locate the suspect or any victims. At 11:53 a.m., another call came in regarding the same individual and officers were able to locate and contact him. The suspect, 53-year-old Trendlon Deneishel Kimp Brewer, was wearing a backpack which had a baseball bat sticking out from inside of it. As officers took Brewer into custody, he swung at an officer, striking their cheekbone. The officer sustained a minor injury.

Brewer was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of three counts of Assault 2, three counts of Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, Interfering with a Peace Officer, and Disorderly Conduct II.

The investigation of these incidents continues to be ongoing. It is believed there may be more victims that may not have reported a similar incident.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-26 09:21:49Last Update: 2020-12-28 17:06:50

Extended Producer Responsibility
Look for the party in power to move bills on this.

What is Extended Producer Responsibility? This is the latest buzz phrase for the 2021 session. The EPR could just as easily stand for Environment Production Restrictions. The concept requires manufacturers to manage or pay for the full life cycle of a product, known as managing the product from “cradle to grave.”

Initially, the concept was created to help manage products that are difficult or hazardous to dispose of such as batteries, paint, mattresses, and electronics. Recently plastics has been on the agenda. EPR operates by requiring consumers to pay a transparent fee at the point of purchase that covers the cost of disposal or recycling of the product. It became complicated when paint was added as an EPR.

In 2009 Oregon became the first state in the nation to enact a law requiring architectural paint manufacturers to start a program to reduce paint waste, increase reuse and recycling, and safely dispose of remaining unusable paint and other coatings. It was designed to coordinate with local waste collection programs, saving local governments money in transportation and disposal costs. The paint EPR started as a pilot and now is managed by a third party, PaintCare, that provides outreach and consumer education. Paint is a waste hazard that makes up the largest volume of household waste. The program resolved waste of an estimated 750,000 gallons of unused paint per year.

The proposed EPR program has no standards for being a hazard or being difficult to dispose. It proposes that businesses manage all aspects of recycling materials with no shared responsibility with consumers or recyclers. A good program must have shared responsibility between all parties, improve recycling and the supporting infrastructure, improve product packaging, and educate consumers on recycling. Opposition from local governments could be strong not wanting to increase costs for rate payers, and waste haulers will not want to lose potential revenue. Materials that have developed their own avenue for disposal will want an exclusion: glass will want out because of the bottle bill. Metals and paper will want out because of developed markets and plastics will have concerns about the cost of the program.

EPR makes some sense with high-hazard, low-value items such as used car batteries. It makes less sense with low-hazard items such as plastic. As with single-use shopping bags, legislation puts a mandated price on the item, stripping free market decisions from businesses. The concept is an environmental push to control the ingenuity of the free market and makes little sense while businesses struggle to recover from multiple shut-downs.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-12-26 06:27:42Last Update: 2020-12-27 15:01:07

Businesses to Pay Higher Unemployment Insurance
As if the lockdowns weren’t bad enough

As lockdowns continue to put pressure on small businesses -- causing over one quarter of them to fold since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic -- another shoe is dropping for the new year. Unemployment insurance rates are going up and are expected to increase for over 85% of businesses in the state.

In Oregon, as in many states, the unemployment compensation system is run as an insurance system in which employers pay a percentage of the employee's salary into a fund from which unemployment benefits are paid out when an employee becomes unemployed. The percentage is based on an experience rating -- or how often and how much employees of the employer access the fund -- and for new employers without any experience rating, the rate is 2.6%.

It works much like car insurance. If you get a lot of accidents and tickets, your insurance rates go up. Just as the fear of rising car insurance rates will keep most drivers in line, fear of rising unemployment insurance rates will cause employers to monitor their behavior with their employees to minimize rate increases.

At this time, businesses -- especially small businesses -- are having a hard time with the increases. First, the lockdowns have placed many of them in a position of hardship and having an increase in any expense is tough on them. Then, businesses point out that the unemployment that they've had recently was out of their control and shouldn't fairly reflect in their experience rating. In their recent unemployment report the Oregon Employment Department noted that the unemployment rate in Oregon dropped below the national rate in November 2020, but dark clouds loom.

“On Nov. 18th, Oregon implemented a ‘freeze’ to combat the rise of COVID-19 in the state. This employment press release covers Oregon’s employment situation just prior to the ongoing freeze, which has affected employers and tens of thousands of workers in recent weeks,” said Gail Krumenauer, State Employment Economist with the Oregon Employment Department. The November jobless drop was based on 4,200 jobs. Job losses in the "tens of thousands" will again put Oregon out of step with the rest of the nation.

It's becoming increasingly hard to fathom the cruelty of a state which mandates a shutdown, impairing the ability of businesses to make money and then, as if to rub salt in the wound, the same state that mandated the shutdown raises your rates.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-25 15:52:12Last Update: 2020-12-25 18:39:44

Clackamas County Offers Grant to Minority and LGBTQ+ Business
Must be owned by people who identify as LGBTQ+, BIPOC, or both

According to the web page for Clackamas County, "In recognition of the disparate impact that COVID has had on LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities, the Clackamas County Queers and Allies Employee Resource Group has reallocated the funds that would have supported our participation in the Portland Pride Parade to support local business." LGBTQ+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer. BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous and People of Color. The county will make a one-time award to one business that matches their eligibility and preference criteria.

To be eligible, a business must be: Preference may be given to: The project is being driven by Clackamas County Queers and Allies Employee Resource Group.

The application for the award asks applicants to tell "a little bit about the identities of the business owner(s) and how they meet our criteria (LGBTQ+ and/or BIPOC), as well as intersectional marginalized identities (i.e. class, gender, ability, etc.)," but does not indicate that any supporting documentation or proof will be required. The Oregon Health Authority reports statistics on cases, hospitalizations and deaths on their website by race, but it's not clear what the statistics and claims for LGBTQ+ persons are based on.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-25 13:16:30Last Update: 2020-12-25 13:52:22

Oregon FEMA Temporary Housing Update
Some have located alternate assistance

As families, communities and businesses continue to recover from September’s devastating wildfires, FEMA’s Direct Temporary Housing mission, providing temporary housing to qualified disaster survivors in Jackson, Lincoln, Linn and Marion Counties, moves steadily forward.

Thirty-three Jackson County families whose homes were severely damaged or destroyed by this year’s wildfires have been licensed-in to temporary housing units from FEMA. These units are placed in established RV parks in Central Point and Gold Hill. At the Gold Hill site, thirty-nine units are in various stages of installation and three families have already been licensed-in.

In Marion and Linn counties, two construction projects for temporary housing group sites are scheduled to begin in early January. In Lincoln County, FEMA is in the process of negotiating a lease for one site to place temporary housing for the approximately 20 eligible families in that county.

Beginning Christmas Eve, Jackson County survivor families will start licensing-in at FEMA’s first group site in White City. This site will hold 23 mobile homes, several of which have been built to meet the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standard for persons with disabilities or Access and Functional Needs.

Currently, some 220 qualified families are scheduled to receive FEMA Direct Temporary Housing in the four counties. The current number of qualified families has fallen as many households that qualified for this assistance have located alternate temporary or permanent housing on their own.

Direct Temporary Housing is provided to survivors for up to 18 months from the date of the disaster declaration (March 2022).

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-25 09:12:19Last Update: 2020-12-25 09:21:49

Revised School Metrics Are Out
Kate Brown claims schools can reopen -- maybe February

The trap is set...

On Monday December 21, 2020, a bill was passed in the legislature's third special session granting limited liability to K-12 public and private education facilities. HB 4402 "limits liability of school districts, union high schools, education service districts, public charter schools, private schools providing instruction to any grade from kindergarten through grade 12 and community colleges for certain claims arising during COVID-19 emergency period. Prohibits certain private employers from engaging in retaliatory conduct relating to protected activities taken by employee during COVID-19 emergency period. Declares emergency, effective on passage".

The bill is equal parts whistleblower protection and limited liability for schools from anything COVID-19 related. The bill provides protection from retaliation for any employee of private employers who report COVID-19 related violations of policy or guidance. Within 48 hours, clarity regarding why whistleblower protection was added became a bit clearer.

On the heels of this, Oregon Governor Kate Brown made a joint announcement with the Oregon Department of Education giving back certain decision making powers over to local control. The announcement claims that "effective January 1, 2021, Oregon’s COVID-19 Health Metrics for Returning to In-Person Instruction will become advisory rather than mandatory. Moving forward, the decision to resume in-person instruction must be made locally, district by district, school by school. In addition to schools continuing to adhere to required health and safety protocols and working in close consultation with their local public health authority in understanding and considering the metrics, teachers, school staff, parents and students should be engaged in this decision-making process to allow schools to make the best choice for their community and their students."

But there's a caveat. In order to maintain limited liability status, educational institutions will be required to meet the new metrics, and recommendations of the Ready Schools Safe Learners guidance handbook. Exposure has been redefined to mean "An individual who has close contact (less than 6 feet) for longer than 15 cumulative minutes in a day with a person who has COVID-19 case"(emphasis added). Additionally, metrics have moved away from positive case counts to include "County Case Rate", and "County Case Count". The rate or count is a total number of both presumptive and positive cases for the entire county. The Oregon Health Authority stopped disclosing false positive and negative test data months ago, and as new trackers and tracers are hired, anyone who has potentially had exposure is a new case until the currently approved PCR testing, claims otherwise.

Essentially Johnny might be a presumptive case, and Susie stands next to Johnny for five minutes while lined up to walk inside school. Johnny and Susie spend another ten minutes near each other – at less than 6ft apart – and bam! Susie is now a new COVID-19 case due to the new definition of exposure, which is no longer dependent on positive test results. We've effectively kicked the goalposts down field from measuring death, to positive tests, and now to 15 cumulative minutes in a day near someone who might have COVID-19. How would these interactions be traced or even reported? Perhaps by a disgruntled employee? Maybe a teacher or substitute teacher who disagrees with the return to in-person instruction? The whistleblower protection aspect of HB4022 ensures no retaliation for those employed by private (not public) employers. Questions remain regarding private faith-based teaching institutions, and whether these increasingly bizarre metrics or employee protections place a target on faith-based, in-person teaching.

Puzzling to some observers was the participation in this conversation by the Oregon Education Association which was widely believed to have opposed HB 4402, presumably based on their desire to keep schools closed until their demands for even more money are met. Indeed, some insiders reported that Speaker Kotek misrepresented the number of votes she had for passage of the bill, hoping to get Republicans to vote yes, so that more Democrats could vote against the bill -- supporting the wishes of the OEA and the Trial Lawyers' Association, both big donors to Democrats.

Ultimately the decision will be left to local superintendents and school boards. However, if they make the wrong decision, they might just lose their liability insurance or indemnification.

This feels like an appropriate time to remind readers that the directors of the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education – Governor Brown's so called "experts" – were appointed to their positions by Brown. Pat Allen of the OHA is no more a Doctor or Scientist, than Colt Gill the ODE director is an educator.

Just in case you're quietly shaking your head, wondering which Loony-Toon character is creating these policies, don’t question your own sanity.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-12-24 14:41:16Last Update: 2020-12-24 21:23:08

Oregon Growth Board Spends $350,000
Should they be choosing the winners and losers?

During its most recent meeting, the Oregon Growth Board (OGB) committed $350,000 to the Include Venture Group for its new Black Founders Matter Fund I (BFM). The investment represents the latest effort by the Board to leverage the Oregon Growth Fund (OGF) to support local emerging fund managers. The Oregon Growth Board is staffed by Business Oregon, and Business Oregon manages the programs overseen by the Board.

Recently founded by Himalaya Rao-Potlapally and Marceau Michel, Include Venture Group is launching a series of Venture Capital funds seeking to invest mainly in under-served and underrepresented entrepreneurs in Oregon. BFM’s mission is to demonstrate — through capital returns — the ability of Black and minority entrepreneurs to help to solve societal problems through their innovative and differently-lived perspective. The fund aims to add diversity into a largely non-diverse funding ecosystem.

“This is a big step forward for our Fund and our state,” said Marceau Michel, co-founder of Include Venture Group. “Partnering with OGB has been a goal since the inception of our Fund. We appreciate their confidence in ...investing in Black and under-served entrepreneurs. As Oregon continues to create more economic opportunities for all — especially those historically left behind — this investment in our Fund encourages us for what the future holds. We are looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship with OGB.”

The OGF is the Board’s prime economic development tool, it’s been used to fund Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and other approaches to support Oregon entrepreneurs. First-time fund managers traditionally struggle to fund-raise due to a lack of an established track record, so the OGF invests in promising emerging fund managers to help them overcome that.

Reacting to the COVID crisis in March they forgave outstanding loans to CDFI partners.



Critics of Oregon's current leadership have expressed skepticism of whether this is such a good idea, and that it may be another well intended government failure in the works. Perhaps the free market is not as broken as some community organizers would like others to believe. This investment seems in line with much recent legislation championed by Oregon Democrats, a party that is growing increasing out of touch with the average Oregonian.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-24 11:46:10Last Update: 2020-12-24 12:47:12

Polk County Commisioners Release Statement on Reopening
Encourage local leaders to join in reopening plan

The Polk County Board of Commissioners has released the following statement:

The Polk County Board of Commissioners would like to encourage city, county and state officials, as well as local chambers, councils and business leaders, to join us in supporting the business reopening plan recently submitted to Oregon’s Governor and state lawmakers by the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce (OSCC). The clear and concise plan details the basis for this timely and profound recommendation that aims to help our businesses hardest hit by COVID-19, to pull through this economic recession and overcome their financial hardships.

“The last nine months have been challenging. As County Commissioners we share the frustration that our local businesses, families and residents are dealing with. Now more than ever our local businesses need all of our support. Today, I am asking you to join us in supporting the plan presented by the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce. It is a statewide effort that is focused on positive results for our local business communities.” Commented Commissioner Lyle Mordhorst.

Many of our small business communities have been the unfortunate victims of this pandemic, and they need your attention and support right now! While there have been some City, County, State and Federal COVID-Relief loans, grants and programs offered, there has simply not been enough funding to go around, or really help these businesses survive this storm. Click here for the link to read the entire statement and plan. Below is an excerpt of the conclusion and proposed plan from the OSCC statement.

“The Oregon State Chamber of Commerce (OSCC) is stating as clearly and plainly as possible: Local businesses need to be made whole, and they need to be able to re-open for business now.

The Oregon State Chamber of Commerce comes to this conclusion by way of the following:

To help give our local businesses equal consideration, the OSCC and our Chamber members across Oregon are calling for:

“OSCC is calling on Governor Brown and lawmakers to give local businesses and their employees the same consideration given to others during the Covid-19 pandemic. Local businesses and their employees have shouldered the largest costs imposed by state government and now is the time to help them recover.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-24 07:59:18Last Update: 2020-12-27 14:48:31

Republican Drazan Says Democrats Silencing Ideas
People of Oregon cannot continue to pay the price

Oregon House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) has released the following statement on the unprecedented silencing of ideas during the third special session:

“The destruction of property and violence during protests under the banner of any cause is unacceptable and must end. But, while state troopers defended the Capitol building from violence at our door, Democrats were attacking our legislative process from within. In an unprecedented, surprise move, Democrat leadership refused to allow any motions to adopt amendments to the eviction moratorium bill. To be clear, other legislation was amended in committee, but this legislation stood alone—there would be no motions made or accepted to amend. The votes were theirs—democrat leaders control it all. But in this special session, it was not enough to control outcomes. They chose to silence ideas.

As Oregonians who were locked out of the building, protested and demanded their rightful place in the halls of government, democrat leaders locked the minority party out of the lawmaking process inside the building.

We came to the Capitol to pass meaningful and productive legislation for hardworking and hurting Oregonians. Communities ravaged by wildfires, small businesses, schools, renters and housing providers needed help and we responded with bipartisan support. We continued funding for Oregon’s COVID response and provided critical COVID liability protections for our schools—a key step to safely reopening to in-person learning. But the people of Oregon cannot continue to pay the price, with a closed Capitol, closed meetings and backroom deals. This must end.

The legislature must be responsive, transparent and accessible. We have more work to do for Oregonians and they must be at the table. It is their right to fully participate. It is their right to come to the Capitol to stand on their principles and through testimony or protest, challenge the status quo and change the course of our state. The secrecy, the backroom deals and the suppression of public participation and minority party input must not and cannot continue in the 2021 Legislative Session. I hope Speaker Kotek and President Courtney will renew their commitment to a transparent and accessible Legislature as we work to support Oregonians next year. The Legislature is the people’s branch, and it’s time it started operating that way.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-24 07:16:25Last Update: 2020-12-24 08:14:33

Lockdowns Aren’t Working
Governor Kate Brown acknowledges they aren’t working

"Not even our most strict policies of infection control and visitation protocols have been able to fully protect our elderly Oregonians." Thus declared Oregon Governor Kate Brown in a press conference Tuesday December 22nd, the day after Oregon's legislature met for the third special session, passing a massive $800 Million spending package.

Brown announced that not even our strictest policies of infection control have helped to stop the spread of COVID-19 within congregate care facilities. Brown went on to state "it feels really good that we can now start these vaccinations with the hope that these folks can reunite with their families once again, and feel safe from the virus soon". While feeling safe is surely important, feelings are far from facts. Governor Brown, and the Oregon Health Authority have yet to address the lack of testing of the COVID-19 vaccine upon the frail elderly population. Similarly there is no back up plan, or alternate care protocols put into place, should the vaccine not be as effective as hoped, within the frail elderly. Questions still remain regarding changes to policy, and restrictions being lifted, once the vaccine is administered. Leaving many to wonder what the timeline is for visitation of their loved ones, who are locked inside these care facilities.

On the other hand, according to Brown, the two week "freeze" has paid off, resulting in the stemming of cases previously projected to spike, as seen around other holidays. Brown also acknowledged that case counts are still up, and the death toll has still increased, yet claimed "this is proof that we determine, we determine, how the next few months will play out while we work to swiftly distribute the vaccines far and wide across the state." With this in mind, Brown urged Oregonians to rethink Christmas and of course, no New Year's Eve Party this year.

Brown applauded Congress for the $900 billion "stimulus package", claiming it will soon go to struggling Oregonian's who need it most, as well as $800 million passed by Oregon Legislature, which focused mainly on landlord/rental assistance. Brown claimed the new relief aid, essentially a $600 stimulus check, will be a "lifeline in the coming months". Brown also claimed funding will go to those who have made the most sacrifices, apparently homeowners do not fall into this category, as no financial help has been appropriated for homeowner relief. Nearly 4,500 frontline healthcare workers have been given the vaccines. The next batch is slated for school teachers and staff according to the federal Centers for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices guidelines, in an effort to get kids back to school. Brown stated that nothing is more important than our children's "social and emotional learning." Unenrollment has taken a toll on the education budget, which is allocated per student attending public school. Earlier this year it was reported the Governor's office held concerns about a "mass exodus" from public school.

What is not being spoken of or addressed are those being left behind. The small business owner who followed every executive order and spent extra money for compliance and mitigation, and now their business will stay closed permanently. The homeowners who lost their job, or closed their business doors, and will now be foreclosed upon. The elderly dying alone, and their family members who never got to say goodbye. The fate of those who thrive, survive, or barely get by, rests solely in the hands of the party in power.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-12-23 04:15:33Last Update: 2020-12-24 21:29:49

Housing Providers Sue Kate Brown
Allege preventing plaintiffs from receiving amounts due under their rental agreements

Almost at the exact same moment that the gavel swung down on the third special session, a lawsuit was filed against Kate Brown, the City of Portland and Multnomah County over the eviction moratoria laws enacted by all three jurisdictions which essentially require a single sector of the economy -- residential housing providers -- to fund an estimated $400 million and growing statewide welfare program. The complaint, which would ordinarily merely describe the plaintiff's standing, or right to sue, added descriptions of the plaintiffs, their work, as well as their losses.

One of the plaintiffs is Moe Farhoud, the owner of Stark Firs Property Management. Far from being the unfeeling, unkind landlord scapegoated by some in the legislature and the media, he had a dream to provide those who encountered challenges in life with a second chance at success. Mr. Farhoud therefore seeks to rent many units at his properties to tenants who have had prior criminal records, bankruptcies, credit problems, and who have otherwise encountered circumstances which would limit their ability to rent dwelling units. He is currently owed more than $1 million in back rent.

Plaintiffs Tyler and Crystal Sherman own 22 housing units throughout Oregon. Tyler Sherman was 20 years old and working as a maintenance man for a property management company when he decided that he wanted to build his own rental business. He purchased his first duplex as a home and an investment. He went on to buy multiple other properties before meeting Crystal a few years later. The Shermans often purchased properties that were vacant and in need of major repairs. They have worked evenings, weekends, holidays, and late nights on roofing, cleaning, painting, gutting, and remodeling poorly maintained properties into clean, safe, affordable homes.

Several of the Shermans’ tenants have refused to pay rent since March of 2020. On information and belief, none of these tenants have lost employment due to the COVID-19 crisis. To date, these tenants owe them in excess of $8,000 in back rent.

2020 HB 4213 passed in the first special session, 2020 HB 4401 passed in the third special session. The suit also references several ordinances passed by the City of Portland and Multnomah county having to do with eviction moratoria.

According to the suit, "the Eviction Moratoria have the effect of:

a. Preventing Plaintiffs from terminating any tenancy for non-payment of rent, late charges, utility charges, and certain other service charges or fees, otherwise owing under their rental agreements with tenants;
b. Preventing Plaintiffs from exercising their contractual rights to exclude individuals from their properties and take possession of Plaintiffs’ units pursuant to Plaintiffs’ rental agreements;
c. Preventing Plaintiffs from charging late fees, penalties, or any other amount reflecting the time value of rent that was not paid in a timely fashion;
d. Preventing Plaintiffs from pursuing judgments for past-due rent absent any effect on tenants’ possession;
e. Preventing Plaintiffs, once tenants do eventually begin to pay rent, from applying those rent payments to the unpaid rental balance;
f. Preventing Plaintiffs from collecting unpaid rent until six months after the end of the declared emergency, whenever that time may be;
g. Preventing Plaintiffs from availing themselves of debt collection services by preventing Plaintiffs from reporting past due accounts to collection agencies;
h. In many cases, preventing Plaintiffs from ever receiving amounts due under their rental agreements.

The complaint goes on to say, that "The Eviction Moratoria are unconstitutional in several respects. First, the Eviction Moratoria impair the obligations of Plaintiffs’ rental agreements by removing the most important methods of enforcement of which Plaintiffs may avail themselves under their rental agreements: penalties for late payments and termination of the tenancy." It continues, "plaintiffs will likely bear the cost of this state-run public benefit program entirely on their own" and because of this "the Eviction Moratoria violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable seizures."

Critics of the recent eviction moratorium legislation -- widely known to be the work of State Representative Julie Fahey (D-Eugene) -- have pointed out that as the moratoria continue, an exit strategy becomes increasingly more difficult to craft and more painful to execute. Continuing the moratoria can only have the effect of creating broken tenants, broken housing providers and/or broken markets in which housing is less available, of less quality, and more expensive -- in the long run worse for tenants.

The lead attorney on the lawsuit, John DiLorenzo is no stranger to suing the State of Oregon. He's no stranger to winning, either. He was the architect of the successful $1.3 billion lawsuit against the State of Oregon brought by Linn and 12 other counties in Oregon, as well as 151 local taxing districts alleging breach of contract for the state's failure to maximize timber revenue on land managed by the state on behalf of the counties and districts. The state is awaiting appeal while interest accrues at a sickening rate.



Indeed, as if the state knew that litigation was inevitable, the bill just passed, contains a kernel of a legal defense against such a suit. The newly-passed, but not-yet-signed-into-law HB 4401 offers a pre-emptive strike against such a suit.

Sec. 1. The Legislative Assembly finds and declares that:
(1) The provisions of [the moratoria laws] might affect the terms and conditions of certain contracts entered into in this state.
(2) The effects of the provisions of [the moratoria laws] are not substantial because the provisions have a limited scope and duration and are necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare. For these reasons the provisions do not undermine a contractual bargain, interfere with a party’s reasonable expectations or prevent a party from safeguarding or reinstating the party’s rights.
(3) Even if a provision of [the moratoria laws] has the effect of undermining a contractual bargain, interfering with a party’s reasonable expectations or preventing a party from safeguarding or reinstating the party’s rights, the provision is appropriate and reasonable to carry out the significant and legitimate public purpose of responding to the declaration of a state of emergency issued by the Governor on March 8, 2020, for the COVID-19 pandemic or the state of emergency issued by the Governor on September 8, 2020, for the wildfires.

One cannot help but wonder how the state, which has used the "impediment of contracts" argument as a successful defense against every attempt at PERS reform can now sustain this line of reasoning and re-write rental contracts throughout the state.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-22 17:59:10Last Update: 2020-12-24 13:19:58

Republicans Reflect on Special Session
Let the people have their state back

After three special sessions some House Republicans had some reflections on how the session went. It says something about the session that the focus was not on what was done, but what was not done, and how the session proceedings impacted and were impacted by the Oregon Constitution.

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan, R-Canby said, “The destruction of property and violence during protests under the banner of any cause is unacceptable and must end. But, while state troopers defended the Capitol building from violence at our door, Democrats were attacking our legislative process from within. In an unprecedented, surprise move, Democrat leadership refused to allow any motions to adopt amendments to the eviction moratorium bill. To be clear, other legislation was amended in committee, but this legislation stood alone—there would be no motions made or accepted to amend. The votes were theirs—democrat leaders control it all. But in this special session, it was not enough to control outcomes. They chose to silence ideas.

As Oregonians who were locked out of the building, protested and demanded their rightful place in the halls of government, democrat leaders locked the minority party out of the lawmaking process inside the building.

We came to the Capitol to pass meaningful and productive legislation for hardworking and hurting Oregonians. Communities ravaged by wildfires, small businesses, schools, renters and housing providers needed help and we responded with bipartisan support. We continued funding for Oregon’s COVID response and provided critical COVID liability protections for our schools—a key step to safely reopening to in-person learning.

But the people of Oregon cannot continue to pay the price, with a closed Capitol, closed meetings and backroom deals. This must end. The legislature must be responsive, transparent and accessible. We have more work to do for Oregonians and they must be at the table. It is their right to fully participate. It is their right to come to the Capitol to stand on their principles and through testimony or protest, challenge the status quo and change the course of our state. The secrecy, the backroom deals and the suppression of public participation and minority party input must not and cannot continue in the 2021 Legislative Session.

I hope Speaker Kotek and President Courtney will renew their commitment to a transparent and accessible Legislature as we work to support Oregonians next year. The Legislature is the people’s branch, and it’s time it started operating that way.”

Additionally, State Representative E. Werner Reschke, R-Malin said, “The 3rd Legislative Special Session of 2020 was another disappointment for those who wish to be free and live free. Even the fact there was a 3rd special session is a glaring example of the wrong direction this state is headed. Oregon’s state government continues to think the answer to failing businesses, and the inability to pay rent is to paper over the real problem with more government regulations and more spending. The solution to the disaster of 2020 lies in letting people be free to earn a living, giving people a real choice how to educate their children and allowing families to decide how best to navigate the virus outbreak from China themselves. Top down government rarely benefits the people, but instead consolidates more power to those in charge.”

Representative Bill Post, R-Keizer is featured in the video below, which he summarizes, “I was once again, very upset that the public and lobby were locked out of the building during the Third Special Session. This is beginning to look like a pattern and it’s a pattern that is not good for Oregon. None of the bills we passed will really make the kind of impact that just plain opening Oregon back up would do. Let Oregon businesses follow the guidelines that have been set, using their best practices and care for the public and let’s get this economy back under way.

The Legislative branch has been passed by the wayside by the Executive branch. That is not how good government works and I am embarrassed for the Legislature that we apparently don’t have the back bone to demand the Governor work with us as equal partners. My SB 1801 floor speech on Monday, sums up my feelings overall.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-22 17:30:30Last Update: 2020-12-22 17:59:10

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely
If you can’t beat ‘em, water ‘em down.

In what world is it okay for a sitting legislator to leverage his position to alter the people’s vote and voice? State Representative Paul Evans is attempting to do just that.

The Northwest Observer has received a copy of a letter sent to the Board of Directors of the Salem-Keizer Schools by Democrat lawmaker, Paul Evans that includes a thinly veiled threat and promise of future legislation that changes the rules of democracy. Don’t like the outcomes of an election? If you are a Democrat in a Super Majority, just change the rules to suit your agenda.

Salem-Keizer school board recently voted in a new Chairman, Satya Chandragiri MD this past July. He was first elected to the board in 2019. Prior to this vote, there had been and remains, significant pushback in personal attacks and character assassinations against conservative board members who have been elected through a full and fair election. Most recently the board voted to adjust public comments to remain inclusive while keeping the discussion civil and polite. Salem-Keizer has one of the most open and transparent school board websites and meetings allow for robust public input. Salem-Keizer has two different times allotted for public comment related to both the agenda and other non-agenda items with ample time to participate via video and written testimony. School board member, Marty Heyen voted in support of the change of the tone to public comments, “There’s nothing wrong with asking them to be polite.”

For context, Representative Evans sent a letter to the Salem Keizer School District objecting to these public input changes. The Board Chair, Satya Chandragiri sent an email to the Representative explaining the rationale behind the new policy. That reply was met with the political threat from Representative Evans.

This is the decorum in the State Capitol, where the testifying public is asked not to impugn legislators and remain on topic. Legal counsel, Paul Dakopolos said the amendment wasn’t legally needed on limiting vitriol. In light of the sensitive environment of equitable advocacy, issue of SROS’s and the new ODE and Governor Brown directives to remove all hate symbols, Chair Chandragiri said the amendment is not meant to silence anyone but will help them be a trauma informed community. You can view public comments in both English and Spanish on the video stream from the December 9 work session where the public is still falsely accusing board members of being with supremacists as they have since March. The driving force behind these attacks appear to be led by bitter Democrat groups such as LUS or Latinos Unidos Siempre and PCUN or Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste. The controversy continues because the Democrats cannot stand the fact they lost the school board election last year. Ironically, LUS has been on the workforce group tasked with reviewing the issue of exclusionary discipline.

In spite of the open policies at Salem-Keizer School Board, Representative Paul Evans is calling for a subversion of the entire democratic process.

Mr. Chairman: This letter is a formal notice of my intention to increase the formal nature of the relationship between the State of Oregon and Salem-Keizer School District 24j. Your recent actions underscore the unintended consequences of benign neglect. Your board has drifted because of a lack of support. Therefore, I have drafted – and shall seek to advance for passage – legislation that adds appointed positions (Governor appointed, Senate-confirmed) in equal number to elected positions and legislation that transforms the zone-based elections model to an at-large, position-based model.

This new governance model should provide our state and community a blended “best practices” approach for resolving our short-term and long-term challenges. It will provide for a more effective and efficient model for expanding dialogue, increasing equity, and policies that are the result of thoughtful, transparent decision-making. Your actions limiting the input for the men and women you represent have served to ring the bell for all of us: there is an exigent need for real, transformative change at 24j. We shall answer the call.

To be clear, this is a board-packing maneuver in which because he doesn't like the makeup of the board, he wants to create new board positions -- unelected -- that are more likely to share his political vision.

Undemocratic moves like this are the reason we have a state beholden to Democrats in control of every facet of our lives whether it’s the packed courts or other government agencies. Don’t Oregon Democrats have enough power? Pat Allen of OHA was appointed by Kate Brown and he has been in charge of creating all the sector guidance for the duration of the Covid-19 lockdowns. Oregon Director of Education, Colt Gill was appointed by Governor Brown and the list goes on.

This new model insisted on by Representative Evans will have far reaching consequences. It will not expand equity or improve transparency and a state representative who thinks his solution is “best practices’ for Oregonians, does not serve his constituency well.

--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-12-22 16:35:29Last Update: 2020-12-22 20:50:33

Disproportionate Force Used in Capitol Protest
The ACLU is nowhere to be found

Monday morning December 21rst kicked off the third special session called in a year. Like the last four sessions, the Capitol was closed to the public due to Covid-19 restrictions. Closing the Capitol to public oversight or involvement violates the law, and is very clearly defined in Section 26 of the Oregon state constitution. "Assemblages of people; instruction of representatives; application to legislature. No law shall be passed restraining any of the inhabitants of the State from assembling together in a peaceable manner to consult for their common good; nor from instructing their Representatives; nor from applying to the Legislature for redress of grievances [sic]". Meetings of the legislative assembly have always been open to the public, as is the law, until now. Oregon Governor Kate Brown has decided to close the building to public oversight and lobbyists.

There clearly was gas deployment for crowd disbursement, along with other non-lethal rounds. The event was never declared a riot, and no warning was ever issued prior to the deployment of non lethal rounds. Many were injured in the incident. Breanna Jarmer is an Albany resident who said she was just trying to watch the session, but instead was picked up and tossed by an Oregon State Police SWAT member. "I was standing behind the main door, holding it after it had been opened. The next thing I knew I was being picked up and thrown several feet in the air by an officer". Jarmer says she was lucky compared to others. Jarmer tells Northwest Observer that she strongly supports law enforcement officers, and would never do anything to break the law, Jarmer states "if anything, I was really hoping our officers were going to uphold the law. Today was a very sad day for equity, and legal equality".

As Constitutional limitations, and newly passed statutes alike, go ignored by Salem's super majority, many wonder where the ACLU is at? The American Civil Liberties Union never missed an event, in over a 100 nights of Portland rioting. It would appear biases exist with regard to whom laws apply to, similar to current COVID-19 restrictions.

It's unclear, at this point, if Oregon Governor Kate Brown will use today's event as justification to close the 2021 regular session to the public. Reporters are being selectively allowed to participate. Independent and conservative sources are being excluded from press conferences and access inside the building. The people of Oregon rose up to defeat Cap and Trade, mandatory vaccination, and gun regulations last year. Rallies often hosted tens of thousands, peacefully advocating for public input. Each bill had an emergency clause attached which would have bypassed voters ability for the referendum process, had they passed. Meanwhile, Oregon Health Authority, and the office of the Governor have refused to answer questions, have denied public records requests, and transparency, relating to COVID-19, appears to be all emergency and no fire.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-12-22 07:39:25Last Update: 2020-12-23 12:03:02

Citizens Enter the Capitol
Police use tear gas, violence to quell the mostly peaceful protest

As the Oregon Legislature convened a one-day special session, crowds of citizens entered the Capitol building as the morning organizational session concluded. Oregon State Police responded with pepper spray, riot gear and SWAT vehicles, barking instructions at protestors through bull horns. Two arrests were made.

There were no injuries reported and a report of a small amount of damage to an internal door on the first floor. One woman was detained by the State Police when she attempted to enter the Capitol through an open window.

The Oregon State Police issued the following statement:

On December 21, 2020 around 8:30 A.M. during the third special session protesters where able to gain access to the Oregon State Capitol. The Oregon State Capitol is closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. Oregon State Police and Salem Police were able to get everyone out of the building. Two individuals refused to leave the building and where taken into custody.

The Oregon State Police encourage people to exercise their first amendment rights, but it must be lawfully. Please, discontinue the acts of vandalism or destruction of property. If you commit a crime you will be subject to arrest.

Legislative deliberations are required to be open to the public, according to Article IV, Section 14 of the Oregon Constitution:

Section 14. Deliberations to be open; rules to implement requirement. The deliberations of each house, of committees of each house or joint committees and of committees of the whole, shall be open. Each house shall adopt rules to implement the requirement of this section and the houses jointly shall adopt rules to implement the requirements of this section in any joint activity that the two houses may undertake.

Early in the afternoon, the State Police put out another statement:

While dealing with individuals that had gained entry into the Oregon State Capitol, OSP Troopers where sprayed with some kind of chemical agent on two different occasions.

At 8:30am, when protesters entered that capitol building, at least one of the protesters used chemical agents on the police. That person is still outstanding. OSP used inert pepper ball, while dealing with these protestors.

At 10:30am, when there were enough resources available between OSP and Salem Police Department, they started to push the crowd out of the building, when another individual used bear spray against police officers. That person, who has been identified as Ryan Lyles, has been taken into custody. He is being lodged at Marion County Jail on multiple charges including trespassing and assaulting a police officer.

OSP has not deployed any CS gas.

Many noted that the police response was disproportionately harsh in light of the police response to protestors in Portland during the summer in which public property was targeted and police officers' lives were purposely threatened.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-21 07:30:19Last Update: 2020-12-21 13:35:50

Fugitive From South Carolina Apprehended
Now support is needed from District Attorneys

OSP Detective, assigned to the FBI Joint Task Force was contacted by Horry County Police Department in South Carolina to assist in locating and apprehending a man wanted for attempted murder of his mother and stealing her car. The suspect identified as James Shawn Nichol, age 48, is from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Horry County Police Department in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals Service believed the subject may be traveling through Oregon.

On December 17, at approximately 5:50pm, Sgt. Aydelotte and Sr. Troopers Hagendorn and Macy located the suspect in the stolen car at the Baker Valley Rest Area located on the westbound side of I-84 near milepost 295. They initiated a high risk stop and the suspect was taken into custody without incident. The suspect is lodged in Baker County jail on attempted murder warrant. The stolen vehicle was towed from the scene to be held for the owner.

The Horry County South Carolina Police Department, who had contacted OSP for help, was extremely impressed with how quickly the Oregon State Police worked to get the mission done.

In a release, the Oregon State Police remarked that, "This is a great example of interagency partnerships and how Law Enforcement across the states work together to get criminals off the streets." They did not comment on the unwillingness of local District Attorneys to prosecute the people they apprehend. Since Nichol will be extradited to South Carolina, he's looking at a less-than-merry Christmas.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-20 17:57:00Last Update: 2020-12-20 18:10:08

Kate Brown Announces Staffing Additions
Andrea Cooper joins as deputy chief of staff, Christian Gaston elevated to budget director

Governor Kate Brown has announced additions to her leadership, policy, and legislative staff.

In addition to Connie Seeley, special advisor to the Governor on vaccines, and Gina Zejdlik who recently took over as chief of staff, the following staff will join the Governor’s team.

Andrea Cooper will join the Governor’s Office on December 21 as a deputy chief of staff. Cooper has worked as the political director for the SEIU, Local 503 since 2018. She has extensive experience in government and politics in and out of the State Capitol, including as chief of staff for the Oregon House Democrat Majority Office from 2015 to 2017. She managed Governor Brown’s reelection campaign in 2018. She has served on the boards of the Alliance for Youth Action, Bradley Angle, and Emerge Oregon. She is a graduate of the University of Portland.

Christian Gaston began serving as budget director and an executive team member in the Governor’s Office on December 7. He has served in the Governor’s Office as a policy advisor since 2018, in the areas of revenue, workforce, and labor. He worked previously for Governor John Kitzhaber and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, and was a reporter for the Oregonian and the Forest Grove News Times. His predecessor, Debbie Koreski, joined Columbia Public Affairs in December after serving for Governor Brown since 2016.

Jennifer Baker joined the Governor’s Office as labor and workforce policy advisor on December 15. She served previously on the Governor's policy team in 2019. She returns to the Governor’s Office after serving as the director of the SEIU Oregon State Council. She has also worked as the executive director of Future PAC, and the director of government relations and health policy for the Oregon Nurses Association. She has served on the boards of Our Oregon, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, and the Oregon AFL-CIO. She is a graduate of the University of Portland.

Christopher Madden joined the Governor’s Office as deputy legislative director on December 15. He has worked for the Oregon Health Care Association since 2016, most recently as the director of legislative and political affairs. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon. He joins legislative director Elana Pirtle-Guiney.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-20 12:25:18Last Update: 2020-12-20 14:36:21

Police Dispose of Explosives in Scappoose
Discovered during serving of warrant

Editor's note: This article has been updated. The story is still developing

The Oregon State Police, the Portland Police Bureau and the FBI's explosive technician teams are back on scene at the residence in Scappoose, Oregon on Sunday, December 20, 2020 to secure the residence location where multiple explosive devices have been discovered. The teams are continuing the investigation and might need to do more controlled disposals. The neighboring homes were evacuated.

A search warrant was initially served on December 18, 2020, by the Oregon State Police at a residence in the 33000 block of Sequoia St., Scappoose, Oregon. During the execution of the search warrant, Investigators encountered the substance that could present an explosive hazard. Investigators had secured the scene for the night and left to return in daylight hours with explosive experts.

OSP has not yet provided any further details concerning the warrant that was served.

Oregon State Police explosive technicians along with teams from the Portland Police Bureau and the FBI have so far disposed of 4 devices during the execution of the search warrant at the residence. Neighbors are now being notified that they may return to their homes, after some initial confusion.

The drama started on December 18, when an OSP from the St. Helens worksite stopped a vehicle operated by Richard Gundy-Hampton in the 33000 block of Sequoia St. in Scappoose, Oregon. The stop occurred next to the residence where Gundy-Hampton lived. Gundy-Hampton was a subject of interest in a domestic violence incident that occurred in Clackamas County.

During the contact with Gundy-Hampton, Troopers discovered evidence of methamphetamine possession, weapons possession and that he had been potentially manufacturing a destructive/explosive device. Detectives from OSP Criminal Investigative Division responded to the scene and obtained a search warrant for the residence and vehicle.

Soon after beginning their search, Investigators located suspicious items in the garage indicating that Gundy-Hampton had been manufacturing highly explosive materials inside the garage of the residence. The search of the scene stopped and explosive experts from Oregon State Police, the FBI, Portland Police Bureau and Gresham Police Department responded to the scene to assist. Explosive experts and investigators continued their investigation Saturday and Sunday, identifying six items containing explosives, which were disposed of on scene. Numerous other items were also transported from the scene by the OSP Explosives Unit for later disposal off site. The safe disposal of the items discovered in the residence required approximately 10 neighboring residents to be evacuated from their homes during the day Saturday and Sunday. In addition to the explosives, Investigators seized a large number of firearms, illegal firearms parts and illegal drugs from the scene.

Gundy-Hampton was lodged at the Columbia County Jail and is currently being held at the Columbia County Jail on $5,000,000 bail.

As of this release all the residents displaced by the investigative activities and explosives disposal have been allowed to return to their homes. The investigation into this incident is ongoing.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-20 11:12:48Last Update: 2020-12-20 17:57:00

Sherwood Ice Arena Forced to Close
You just pissed off a bunch of hockey players. What could possibly go wrong?

The Sherwood Ice Arena is now among the latest round of businesses in Oregon being forced to close their doors due to ongoing government mandates of closure in the state of Oregon. The owner of the establishment has released a statement directed to state government officials. His frustration is palpable:

Since March, Oregon Ice Entertainment (OIE) has been a valued partner in the battle against the Covid 19 virus. OIE instituted protocols more stringent than the State requirement for schools,restaurants, hair salons, and prisons. We also implemented a contact tracing system, which will identify all contacts of a customer with in 15 minutes. You could ask why a business would do that, because it is the right thing to do.

During the time since March, we requested the State to follow the science. It is a fact that the covid Virus cannot exist in an environment below freezing. The ice in an ice rink is at -8 °C. In addition, an ice rink must have an ACPH double or even triple of what the State is accepting from school districts in their reopening plans.

We have begged, pleaded, sent emails and left countless voice mails asking for a hearing to share our knowledge about the science of operating an ice rink. The silence from the State has been deafening. During this time, there has been 12,332 entrances into the Sherwood Ice arena. There has not been Covid origination nor spreading occurrence at the rink while our employees (none test positive for the virus), happy to be at work, fighting Covid.

The State on the 17th of December forced the Sherwood Ice Rink to permanently close laying off17 employees.. This comes 7 days before Christmas. Iam sure the government employees will be having a joyous holiday season. OIE also had to inform our customers they could no longer use our facility to “escape” from the realities of Covid.

OIE only wanted to provide a safe outlet for a community, that has largely been ignored and forgotten by the State. The notice sent to the rink, would be a $70,000 per day fine unless we closed. There were no options offered.

By forcing the rink to close the State is not reducing the spread of Covid, but promoting the at home social gatherings. This we all know are super spreader activities.

This all could have been avoided if the State of Oregon would have followed the Science and listened to their constituents.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-19 15:49:54Last Update: 2020-12-19 21:30:30

Yamhill County Supports Business
Oregon Health Authority MIA

Despite massive push back, stalling efforts and rhetoric by chair Casey Kulla, Commissioners Rick Oslen and Vice Chair Mary Starrett passed a resolution in a 2 to 1 vote, during Thursday's Board of Commissioners meeting. Commissioners Olsen and Starrett hope to give business owners a tool, amidst expanding restrictions. This tool, by way of resolution, might place small business owners on a level playing field with large corporations.

According to data compiled by OSHA and the OLCC, small business owners are being cited and subjected to fines at much higher rates than their corporate, conglomerate competitors.

Inspections prompted by Governor Kate Browns COVID-19 lockdown orders are complaint driven, and result in either a surprise visit, or an inspection scheduled ahead of time. Larger retail stores appear to have several advantages over mom and pop businesses. One advantage, denoted by the data, is a scheduled inspection, rather than a surprise visit. The other advantage seems to be that small businesses are being fined at higher rates, and cited for bizarre things, some seemingly unrelated to Covid-19.

One example is a small general construction company in Multnomah County, cited for a "serious" covid-19 related violation. The citation reads "An employee was exposed to an uncontrolled fall of approximately 11? feet measured from the eave to the ground. No form of fall protection was in use by the employee engaged in activities related to the tear off and re-roofing of an existing multi-story single family dwelling." For this they were fined 1500 dollars, and another 875.00 for " An employee was exposed to an uncontrolled fall of approximately eleven 11? feet. The employee used a Gorilla band multi-position ladder, model GLMPXA-18 to ascend and descend from a roof. Due to the ladders length only approximately 24 inches of side rail extended past the upper landing." That's a whopping total of 2,375 dollars for violating Covid-19 restrictions. Conversely, a Safeway grocery store in Clackamas County received a planned inspection, where inspectors found that the store wasn't holding monthly safety meetings, and employees had no idea a safety committee even existed. The fine? 0$.

Similarly in Yamhill County a small franchise of Planet Fitness Gyms have not been allowed to open or operate, while their corporate competitor, 24 Hour Fitness, true to its name, has never closed.

With seemingly arbitrary application of the rules, it's no wonder business owners are desperate for remedy. Especially when taking into consideration the new infographic released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, addressed by Commissioner Rick Olsen in the board meeting. FEMA warns that "Following a disaster, 90% of smaller companies fail within a year

unless they can resume operations within 5 days." The new infographic has been updated to add closures as a result of illness or the Flu.

The evidence in support of passing the resolution was presented by Dr Henry Ealy, the lead author on a peer reviewed paper which outlines how changes to death certificate reporting were made mid pandemic, for Covid-19 only, and how those changes are inflating the reported death toll by leaps and bounds. Dr Ealy disclosed during the meeting another recent finding, exclusive to Oregon. In Oregon, anyone can submit an active case of Covid-19 for reporting to the Oregon Health Authority.

Dr Ealy also addressed facts by demographic, and expressed concerns over the accuracy and integrity of current data being collected and provided. The test being used to determine active cases has also been called into question. During the meeting Commissioner Starrett read aloud a disclaimer that accompanies Covid-19 test results, "These results are not intended to be used as the sole means of diagnosis". The PCR test is no longer being used in other Countries due to the margin of error, and was recently taken to the floor by Austrian MP Michael Schnedlitz, when he showed colleagues in Parliament that the drink Coca-Cola will test positive for Covid-19, by current PCR methods.

The Resolution which had been proposed in the weeks prior, was postponed by Yamhill County Chair Casey Kulla, to ensure a member of Oregon's Health Authority could be in attendance for questions and clarity related to the challenges to data, and lack of transparency brought up in the passed Resolution. For undisclosed reasons, OHA was notably absent, and left unrepresented during the meeting.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-12-18 11:24:56Last Update: 2020-12-23 04:15:33

Are Mandatory Vaccines Moot?
Or is the boot of government just a necessary thing?

So why is it being proposed as an Emergency?

The Oregon Health Authority finally released, long anticipated data on Oregon's non medical exemption rates for children entering Kindergarten. According to Attorney Robert Snee of Oregonians For Medical Freedom "This data is of vital importance as it gives the State an accurate understanding of what to expect in terms of medical vs non medical exemption rates. When a child is going into Kindergarten fully vaccinated, according to the CDC recommended schedule, that's usually a good indication those children will stay on the schedule."

In the Oregon Health Authority's April 30th report, just released publicly, the data clearly shows Oregon Kindergartners are entering schools at 93.1% fully vaccinated. It's also important to note that the 6.9% entering school with a non medical exemption, aren't necessarily missing all vaccines on the CDC schedule. OHA lumps together all students, missing one or more, vaccines, to calculate the percentage rate. It's also likely, non medical exemption rates have more to do with Covid-19 restrictions, than it does vaccine hesitancy. According to a joint prediction made by the World Health Organization, GAVI and UNICEF millions of children in 68 Countries are at risk of missing their vaccines on time "due to disruptions in the delivery and uptake of immunization services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic". In fact a new set of codes were recently issued, updating the ICD-10 procedure coding system, for vaccine injury due to "underdosing". Underdosing is a relatively new concept in medicine to describe why a patient failed to comply. As of October 1rst 2020, ICD coding was updated to include vaccine underdosing due to manufacturer supply shortages.

Regarding disruptions to uptake, rural Oregon clinics have had to close their doors, while larger urban area CCO's have limited in person client services, and appointments. Oregonians have endured massive barriers to routine health services after Oregon Governor Kate Brown halted care, in order to preserve personal protective equipment for a surge in hospitalizations, which never actually materialized.

"Chances are, we will continue to see a decline in non medical vaccine exemptions as schools open, and healthcare providers wade through backlogged procedures" says Alsea School District Superintendent Marc Theilman. "The Alsea School District has had our brick and mortar school open throughout this entire pandemic, due to increased safety protocols, and our vaccine exemption rates have remained well within normal range. The new school vaccine bill seems opportunistic, and overreaching, at a time when our communities are already struggling. We might do well to build back trust within our communities, first, before introducing new laws requiring vaccines." Suggests Theilman.

SB254 starts out with "Removes ability of Parent to decline required immunizations against restrictable diseases on behalf of child for reasons other than child's indicated medical diagnosis."

The legal concept is slated for the 2021 regular session, where it's questionable if the public will be granted access to the Capitol under ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. Like most bills these days, it's also been declared an "emergency", where, upon its passage, it will take immediate effect, bypassing voter opposition in the form of a referendum.

It's unclear if this new legal concept will allow Doctors to write medical exemptions for vaccine injury, medical history, sibling injury history, PANS/PANDAS, MTHFR genetic mutations, or children who are immunocompromised. These contraindications and precautions are not covered under ACIP/CDC guidelines for medical exemptions, leaving frustrated parents to homeschool, or, for states that allow it, to use the non medical exemption option. These decisions must be weighed carefully, by parents, ultimately tasked with the lifelong care needs of vaccine injured children. Especially when considering there is no manufacturer liability for injuries caused by vaccines. Is this really an emergency requiring State involvement, or a moot point, in terms of data? The question seems omnipresent as the new Covid-19 vaccines have been added to the childhood schedule for ages 16 and up.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-12-18 06:40:21Last Update: 2021-01-12 17:55:12

Brown Extends Emergency Another 60 Days
Now extended until at least March

Governor Kate Brown today extended her declaration of a state of emergency regarding COVID-19 for an additional 60 days, until March 3, 2021. The previous executive order was set to expire on January 2, 2021. The declaration is the legal underpinning for the Governor’s COVID-19 executive orders and the Oregon Health Authority’s health and safety guidance.

“As we near 100,000 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon, and with hospitals and health care workers stretched to their limits, there is no doubt that COVID-19 continues to pose a public health threat,” said Governor Brown. “We continue to lose too many Oregonians to this deadly disease, including over 100 reported deaths in the last two days.”

“These are the darkest days of this pandemic. And yet, hope has arrived. Beginning this week, each time another Oregonian is vaccinated against COVID-19, we are one step closer to the day when we can return to normal life. In the meantime, we must keep up our guard. Protect your friends and loved ones by continuing to follow health and safety protocols. Wear a face covering, avoid gatherings, stay home when you are sick––and, together, we can drive down COVID-19 infections and save lives.”

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

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

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-17 13:52:30Last Update: 2020-12-17 14:49:11

Governor Brown Appoints New District Attorney
Longtime Clackamas DA John Foote recently announced retirement

In the wake of the 'catch-and-release' policies of Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt, it appears that progressives who wish to see the same elsewhere may be spreading their lawlessness into neighboring Clackamas County.

District Attorney-elect Wentworth will now be assuming the office of District Attorney of Clackamas County early in order to fill the vacancy that has been created by the retirement of the current Clackamas County District Attorney, John Foote.

The Governor thanked District Attorney Foote for his many years of dedicated service to the people of Clackamas County.

Governor Kate Brown will appoint John Wentworth to be District Attorney of Clackamas County, effective January 1, 2021. Wentworth recently won election as District Attorney for a term that starts January 4, 2021. Longtime Clackamas County District Attorney John Foote recently announced his retirement, effective December 31, 2020. With this appointment, Wentworth will be able to assume the office a few days early, to ensure a smooth transition in the District Attorney’s office.

The bad leadership of Multnomah county has brought national disgrace recently to the area surrounding Portland for many violent acts that commonly occur there. The refusal to prosecute those criminals seems to be an obvious potential reason. Observers in Clackamas County Oregon are hoping that the lawlessness does not spread their way.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-17 13:12:10Last Update: 2020-12-17 14:52:22

Analysis: The Renaming of a Football Game
All the world’s history gradually dying of shock

This year, Oregon and Oregon State played the latest installment in the longest lasting college football rivalry in college football history. In the months leading up to the contest, under some fanfare, and with no input from fans, the universities’ made a joint announcement that the contests between the two would no longer be referenced as “the Civil War”.

The President’s of the University of Oregon and Oregon State University stated that because the American Civil War to which the name referenced was a “war fought to perpetuate slavery”, they could not in good conscience keep the name.

It remained to be seen if this would really sit well with the public, and in light of everything else going on in 2020, it almost seems like a trivial thing one way or the other. Without people gathering together, its difficult to gauge how much fans will embrace a rivalry game with no name.

Perhaps a more thoughtful approach could not have been taken. It's astonishing where the history and philosophy departments at these schools find themselves. How did a president of a higher institution of learning not take a moment to consider what was being said? How do these people have no historical understanding of the American Civil War? How is nothing being said about how the basic tenet of dialectic discourse, one which says nothing can be fought for unless someone is also fighting against it?

How can the Civil War not be seen as a war fought to end slavery just as much as a war to perpetuate it? To be totally fair, it wasn't as if the Confederacy trying to force their way of life on the Union. In fact, it was the Union fighting a war to end slavery, and force their values on the Confederacy. So if anything, the war for change, fought by the Union, was fought to end slavery.

History has certain precepts. One of the most important is that history is written by the winners. So how did we get here? To a place where history is apparently written by the losers. How did the Union win the war, end slavery on a national level, and allow the rhetoric to be that the war was fought to perpetuate slavery? For the record, upwards of 1.1 million casualties were a result of the Civil War. About 600,000 of those were on the Union side.

What would it have been like to tell those men -- some of them African-American -- that the war they were fighting was to perpetuate slavery. Historical truth should be about focusing on a frame of reference that includes the narratives of both the winners and losers, and the perceptions thereof. This is not that. If anything, this smacks of an attitude of "easier to leave it alone."

Part of what has happened is that the massive majority of people who are fascinated with the Civil War are Confederate apologists, and that those people present that side of the narrative aggressively. The perception has become that the Civil War was therefore fought to perpetuate slavery, instead of to end it. This is of course allowing the Civil War to be established as a single issue conflict, which it was not. If it was though, two universities managed to state publicly, something which is philosophically and historically inept.

We could use the game every year to actually raise awareness for Civil War history. We could use it to glorify Union soldiers that lost their lives to end slavery. It could be used as a platform to raise awareness for racial issues, and to teach real history about the actual Civil War. We might even talk about Oregon's incredibly awkward racial history. We could have a trophy called the Union Cup, or we could name it in honor of African American soldiers. We could talk about why the games started to be called the Civil War in the first place. Instead we are getting a bad historical erasure foisted on us by people that are claiming a narrative in that is largely opposite of historical accuracy.

The world’s history is not dying of shock. It’s being willfully erased by people who entertain poor history and cultural/ historical snap judgements which don’t just paint with broad strokes, but in monochrome as well. The truly sad result of this will be that history becomes far more likely to repeat. Or as a favorite historian says "history does not repeat, but it rhymes a lot."

It’s a small thing, isn’t it? What we call a game? The truth is it does not have to be small. We could make it big. The intentions of this move were for the “right reasons,” and that the intention is pure. Those good intentions are misguided and paired with gross misinformation.

Many will never call it the Platypus Bowl. Oregon and Oregon State have a hard enough hill to climb to get national respect in the sports world. We don't need to make ourselves a laughing stock with such an oddball name or likeness. Plus the name is just weird and does not roll off the tongue.

This has been a bizarre year to say the least. COVID-19 has made life tough on many, as have public and government responses to it. Oregon is now in the Pac 12 title game, and Oregon State will hopefully get a bowl game or another chance to play. No matter what we call it, it would be nice to we enjoy our rivalry games in person. If we get to, it would be nice to talk about what to call the game, and how that might be used. That said its always easier to not have hard conversations. And using these rivalry games which have been called Civil War for a long time, as teaching moments and a way to honor history is not easy. That would take something more than whiteout or an eraser.

Lungs locked, lips locked, join the renaissance

Italicized lyrics from Amanda Palmer and the Dresden Dolls

--Jeremy Kropf

Post Date: 2020-12-17 06:57:55Last Update: 2020-12-17 07:25:16

Public Testimony Invited for Session
There is a small window of opportunity for public testimony.

Prior to Monday’s special session to address urgent issues critical to the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfire relief, the Joint Interim Committee on the Third Special Session of 2020 will hear public testimony on the legislative concepts to be considered during the session. The committee will meet virtually at the following times: The Saturday public hearing is scheduled in order to hear any remaining testimony from the Thursday meeting. The committee will receive public testimony on the following legislative concepts that will be considered during the special session. Members of the public can provide written or verbal testimony at this meeting. Written testimony, which is encouraged, should be submitted by email to J3SS.exhibits@oregonlegislature.gov. Testimony is posted online to the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS) as part of the legislative record and made publicly available at this link. The public record will be extended 24 hours after the committee meeting is set to begin.

Registration is required to testify by phone or video. To sign up, members of the public can either use the online form at this link or by calling 833-588-4500 for assistance. Registration closes at 1 pm on Thursday, December 17, 2020. The following members will serve on the committee: The Capitol Building is currently closed to the public and meetings are taking place remotely. The public can go to OLIS to access a live stream of these meetings. Locate the meeting date and click on the camera icon at the designated time.
--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-16 21:38:53Last Update: 2020-12-16 21:49:55

COVID Death Numbers Fudged in Washington State
Death certificate analysis shows Washington’s COVID-19 death count remains inflated

Seven months after an investigation by the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation showed it was inflating the number of COVID-19 fatalities in Washington state and promising to fix its flawed reporting procedures, further research indicates the state’s Department of Health is still over-reporting the totals by potentially hundreds of deaths. Worse, the agency seems to be scrambling to revise its data before its numbers could again be publicly called into question.

In May, a report released by the Freedom Foundation revealed the DOH was attributing to COVID-19 every death in which the deceased previously tested positive for the virus. However, it’s clear that catching the disease and dying of it are two very different matters. Washington’s data was riddled with cases — as much as 13 percent of the total — in which the death certificate made no reference to COVID-19 as a cause of death. In several cases, even gunshot deaths were chalked up to the virus. After being questioned about the misreporting during a press conference, Gov. Jay Inslee responded by ridiculing the Freedom Foundation, calling its findings “malarkey.”

However, internal emails showed DOH officials acknowledged to each other that the Freedom Foundation’s report was “correct.” Within days, DOH — without publicly admitting its mistakes or acknowledging the Freedom Foundation — announced it would remove some deaths from its tally and start providing more detailed information about deaths attributed to COVID-19. Though some deaths were removed, DOH has yet to begin providing additional information about the deaths it attributes to COVID-19 in its data dashboard.

“Make no mistake. This isn’t an innocent accounting error we’re talking about”, said Aaron Withe, Freedom Foundation National Director. “This is a state agency under the authority of Gov. Jay Inslee that continues to misrepresent the number of people who have died of COVID even after it was already caught doing the same thing.” Withe continued, “It’s a nakedly political act intended to scare the public into letting him continue to abuse the almost unlimited “emergency powers” that have needlessly bankrupted thousands of Washington businesses and thrown tens of thousands of its residents out of work.”

This week, the Freedom Foundation completed a groundbreaking follow-up investigation in which it analyzed the death certificate information of each of the nearly 2,000 deaths in Washington blamed on COVID-19 as of early September. The probe found that 170 death certificates contained no reference whatsoever to COVID-19. Another 171 only referenced COVID-19 as a “contributing factor” and not part of the causal chain of events leading to death. Dozens of other death certificates for fatalities attributed by DOH to COVID-19 indicate the death had only a questionable or minimal connection to the virus.

Even as the Freedom Foundation was preparing to make its latest findings public, DOH on Dec. 10 announced once again that it was making changes to its reporting procedures and expected to reduce its death count by approximately 200. “Assuming DOH actually keeps its promise this time, the changes it has announced are certainly a step in the right direction,” said Freedom Foundation Labor Policy Director Maxford Nelsen, who conducted the investigation.

“But even so, our research strongly suggests DOH will still be attributing an unreasonably high number of deaths to COVID-19.” In any case, he noted, “The agency’s history of misleading the public about its data, combined with its inability or unwillingness to release detailed data in a timely fashion, seriously undermine the notion that the state is basing its COVID-19 response on the best available science and data.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-16 16:13:40Last Update: 2020-12-16 16:14:05

Governor Brown Describes Safe Vaccine
Not everyone thinks so

This morning, Kate Brown held a press conference to convince Oregonians to get vaccinated with the COVID-19. The vaccine distribution was discussed as well as how wonderful the vaccine is. Oregon is set to receive 200,000 doses by months end. Again, Kate used her new marketing slogan, “Vaccines don’t save lives, vaccinations do.” Only slightly less divisive than, “you could accidentally kill someone.”

During the presser, she had healthcare workers from OHSU and Legacy for example, on hand to get vaccinated live, to report they feel fine and how easy it was.

Pat Allen said, “The vaccine is safe and there are no serious safety concerns.” Why are OHA and Kate Brown are making claims that Pfizer and Moderna do not? In fact, there are more unknowns than certainties at this point.

The unknowns from #Moderna's experimental data going into FDA EUA review are: In addition, there are warnings to individuals who have allergies or history of Bells’ Palsy to forgo the vaccine. The FDA has produced a report on the Moderna vaccine ahead of their approval.

There has not been a single mention of exemptions since 4 out of 10 polled say they won’t get the fast tracked vaccine. Reporters have asked Kate how she plans on vaccinating three million Oregonians and she skirts the issue with, “we will leverage our current systems in place.” The vaccine plan can be viewed on their website. Pat Allen also said that people can get the flu vaccine to see the ease of how the COVID-19 vaccine will be.

Seeing how Brown has leveraged Executive Orders to lock down businesses, schools and places of worship for ten months, should give Oregonians an idea of what is to come. She leveraged OSHA to force mask compliance to buy food. Will she do the same with COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccine mandates do not belong in a free society and yet many feel we are on the precipice of a shift in society where authorities who have been calling the shots for ten months are beginning to do the same with the COVID-19 vaccine. A lawmaker in NY just proposed a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine bill.

Why do you think healthcare workers were chosen as first in line to receive the unproven vaccine? It’s simple. People obey those wearing lab coats. The Milgrim shock experiment proved that people would obey those who were perceived as legitimate authority. He conducted an experiment focusing on the conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience.

Milgram found that participants obeyed the experimenter at an unexpectedly high rate: 65% of the participants gave the learner the 450-volt shock. Participants obeyed in higher percentages when the experimenter was wearing a lab coat. All Kate had to do was put out a hotline for people to call into OSHA and encourage them to call police on large gatherings. Her demands or prods have been much like the ones in the experiment:

Prod 1: Please continue.
Prod 2: The experiment requires you to continue.
Prod 3: It is absolutely essential that you continue.
Prod 4: You have no other choice but to continue.

Last month, Kate Brown again shocked the state, and the world, when she said yes, she was telling people to call the police on their neighbors if they have a larger than six person family Thanksgiving gathering. A reporter with KGW asked her so we can take that as a yes?, Kate said, “Yes, Yes.” How far will she go? A better question in light of the more than 15,000 OSHA complaints filed on decent businesses doing their best, ask, “How far will you go?”

A public records request yielded a list of complainants and the businesses they reported. 99% were for face covering complaints. This complaint from an employee that will remain anonymous, about her own employer in Eugene, “No one is monitoring the customers to make sure they are wearing face coverings and wearing them properly. Many are wearing them below their nose.” Make enough of these complaints and a business could be bankrupted. OSHA received 150 complaints in two weeks in Eugene.

The COVID-19 vaccine IS experimental and the post marketing data or Phase 4 will be completed on those who submit.

COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers are not liable from harm thanks to the Prep Act. You cannot sue them but may file a claim with government paid by taxpayer funds, for a limited amount of $250,000. The claim program is called CICP, or Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program and you have just one year to file a claim. I haven’t seen any direction from Oregon officials on filing a vaccine injury report with VAERS nor how to apply for injury compensation. If you received the vaccine yesterday, the clock is ticking.

Politicians and people in lab coats (public health experts) are telling you to take an unproven vaccine, they want to mandate all vaccines on children, knowing people will be psychologically induced to obey. This could especially be the case when coercion for a job, food and school is held over their collective heads.

--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-12-16 13:21:32Last Update: 2020-12-16 15:13:40

DNA Service Cuts Service for State Police
Federal budget cuts cause the loss of service

Oregon State Police has partnered with the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification (UNT-CHI) for over 10 years to process and upload missing person and unidentified person DNA profiles into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). The Center has also provided invaluable service to all 36 Oregon counties by sponsoring and managing the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). Unfortunately, due to a loss of federal funds, the UNT-CHI can no longer process any missing person or unidentified remains samples outside the state of Texas. UNT-CHI will also be limited in their management of the NamUs website as of January 1, 2021.

The Oregon State Police Forensic Science and Pathology Bureau will now be expected and sought out by Oregon law enforcement agencies to provide the services that UNT cannot. OSP cannot provide the suite of DNA examinations and services that UNT has provided in the past; however, the Bureau is committed to assisting Oregonians and Oregon law enforcement providing DNA analyses. If you have missing person/family reference standards to submit for DNA analysis, they ask that you retain them securely until further notice. You may direct questions regarding DNA analysis for Family Reference Standards of missing persons to Stephenie Winter Sermeno, OSP DNA Unit Supervisor: swinter@osp.oregon.gov.

Death investigators and law enforcement agencies routinely begin with the NamUs website to determine if DNA, dental records, and fingerprints from both missing persons and unidentified remains are available for searching and comparison purposes. In addition, families of missing persons have access to NamUs to provide and search for important information about their loved ones for “matching” or associating cases. Negotiations appear to be ongoing regarding the maintenance and management of the NamUs website; the National Institute of Justice is acknowledging the burden that suspending this national information repository would bring. NamUs is a crucial tool to the forensic science, pathology, anthropology, missing persons, and law enforcement communities. Continued use as a state-wide and nation-wide resource and service is important as an uninterrupted tool. In the meantime, you may direct questions regarding the analysis of unidentified remains and/or the OSP Human Identification Program to Dr. Nici Vance, State Forensic Anthropologist: nvance@osp.oregon.gov

In the coming days OSP will communicate analytical capabilities and limitations regarding the submission and processing of biological samples in missing person cases and unidentified remains cases. How this plays out may depend on the 2021-23 OSP budget. The agency requested a 41.59% increase of which 28% comes from the General Fund. However, The Governor’s budget did not include additional funding for the Forensic Science and Pathology Bureau. But, in response to the riots, the Governor will invest $5.8 million to support and improve the Oregon State Police’s policy, training, and wellness accountability plans, which includes funding for implicit bias training, firearms accountability, trooper wellness, and the purchase of additional body cameras.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-12-16 08:40:49Last Update: 2020-12-17 06:23:48

Senator Linthicum On COVID-19 Double Standards
All men and women are inherently valuable

Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) has issued a statement about the unconstitutional lockdowns and the resulting double standards.

“If Governor Kate Brown truly ‘followed the science’, the insidious and unconstitutional COVID-19 lockdowns would have ended months ago because they do not make any sense. The cost far exceeds the benefits and the negative results from lockdowns far outweigh the false imagery about ‘saving lives.’ We now know there are increased rates of child abuse from the lockdowns; patients are unable to get cancer treatments; and, the U.N. estimates nearly 130 million people will starve as a direct result of lockdowns worldwide.

“Here in Oregon, the cruel and perfidious COVID-19 mandates only seem to apply to hard-working Oregonians but not to the many hypocrites in office. When the political elite fail to live by their own arbitrary rules, it creates a double standard that signals to Oregonians that have been irreparably damaged by the lockdowns that their suffering and sacrifices do not matter. This is socialism at its worst: ‘Everyone is equal, but some are more equal.’

“America’s founding concepts still remain: all men and women are inherently valuable. They are free-will moral agents who are, and by right, ought to be free. Self-governance is the goal; not control by the state. After watching a disturbing video of a corporate airline discriminating against a young family, it is abundantly clear that when citizens and businesses blindly follow the government’s arbitrary COVID-19 rules out of fear, they unwittingly become the arm of state power. It’s time for Oregonians to take back their freedom and get back to living their lives without fear of state interference.”

Senator Linthicum can be contacted at Sen.DennisLinthicum@oregonlegislature.gov

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-16 08:26:01Last Update: 2020-12-16 08:49:05

OHA Updates Guidelines on Retail Stores and Malls
Spoiler alert: Food court depends on the county risk level.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the Oregon Health Authority’s Sector Guidance for Retail Stores. The guidance and these FAQs apply statewide. OHA provides these FAQs to help the public understand the guidance, to respond to stakeholder questions, and to clarify how the guidance may apply in specific scenarios. These FAQs may be intermittently updated. The FAQ is not intended to take the place of the guidance, but rather to interpret, supplement and help fill in the details of the guidance.


Q1: May secondhand stores accept donations?
A1: Yes. When processing returns or donations, employees should wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after handling items. A retailer may set items aside for a day or longer if concerned about perceived risks of exposure.

Q2: Where do real estate offices fit?
A2: Real estate offices must follow the OHA General Guidance for Employers and Organizations. Real estate offices are not subject to, but may review, the retail guidance for other recommendations that they may want to follow.

Q3: How do I determine the number of customers to allow in a store?
A3: Businesses must limit capacity based on the designated risk level for the county where the store is located. Guidance for determining maximum occupancy and capacity is located in the Sector Risk Level Guidance Chart.

Q4: May farmers markets or other open markets operate under the Retail Guidance?
A4: Yes, farmers markets or indoor and outdoor markets may operate under the Retail Stores guidance and are required to follow the maximum capacity limits based on the designated risk level of the county where the market is located.

Q5: If a customer gets COVID-19 from being in my store, am I liable?
A5: If you have liability concerns you should contact your legal counsel.

Q6: I've noticed many businesses have shorter hours. Is there any requirement that retailers are to be closed by a certain time?
A6: There is not a requirement for retailers to be closed by a certain time or change their hours of operation.

Q7: Are museums required to follow the Sector Guidance for Retail Stores? What is the guidance for museums?
A7: Museums are considered indoor entertainment and are required to follow the Sector Guidance for Indoor Entertainment Establishments.

Q10: Are u-pick/u-cut operations, like tree farms, allowed?
A10: Yes. These are allowed following the Sector Guidance for Retail. For more information about U-Pick Farms, refer to the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s U-Pick Farms information.

Q11: Can holiday bazaars operate under the Retail Guidance?
A11: Yes. Holiday bazaars may operate under the Retail Guidance. Holiday Bazaars are generally considered an outdoor or indoor market and are subject to the additional requirements in the Retail Guidance.

Q12: Are banks and credit unions allowed to operate under the Retail Guidance?
A12: Yes, banks and credit unions must comply with the retail guidance.


Q1: Are retail businesses required or recommended to conduct health care screening for employees? What about self-health monitoring for employees instead?
A1: It is recommended that retail businesses consider regular health checks (e.g., temperature and respiratory symptom screening) or symptom self-report of employees, if job-related and consistent with business necessity, and in accordance with human resources policies.

Q2: May I take the temperature of my employees?
A2: Following OHA guidance, retail businesses may consider regular health checks (e.g., temperature and respiratory symptom screening) or symptom self-report of employees if job-related and consistent with business necessity and in accordance with human resources policies.

Q3: If our retail business decides to check the temperature of our employees, is there a specific thermometer to use that is less invasive?
A3: Yes, it is recommended to use an infrared no-touch thermometer.

Q4: If a retail facility has employees who can maintain physical distancing, do we still have to require them to wear masks?
A4: Yes, a retail facility must require employees, contractors and volunteers to wear a mask, face shield or face covering following the Statewide Mask, Face Covering, Face Shield Guidance. Employees must also maintain at least six feet of physical distance from others.

Q5: Is the face covering requirement for customer-facing employees only, or also for employees who don't interact with the customers (e.g., warehouse employees)?
A5: It applies to both. The Statewide Mask, Face Covering, Face Shield Guidance requires all employees, contractors and volunteers to wear a mask, face shield or face covering.

Q6: For retail stores that have not closed or are not listed as required to close based on the designated risk level for the county, are face coverings required for those employees?
A6: Yes. All retailers, including grocery and pharmacy stores, must comply with the Guidance for Retail Stores and the Statewide Mask, Face Covering, Face Shield Guidance

Shopping Centers and Malls

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the Oregon Health Authority’s Sector Guidance for Indoor and Outdoor Shopping Centers and Malls. The guidance and these FAQs apply statewide. OHA provides these FAQs to help the public understand the guidance, to respond to stakeholder questions, and to clarify how the guidance may apply in specific scenarios. These FAQs may be intermittently updated. The FAQ is not intended to take the place of the guidance, but rather to interpret, supplement and help fill in the details of the guidance.

Q1: Can shopping centers and malls open during the extreme risk level?
A1: Yes. Shopping centers and malls may operate during the extreme risk level and must follow the capacity requirements listed in the Sector Risk Level Guidance Chart.

Q2: If a food establishment is located at a mall or shopping center, may it provide curbside, take out service for food?
A2: Yes. Establishments located at a mall or shopping center are required to follow the Sector Guidance for Eating and Drinking Establishments and may offer food or drink for off-premises consumption (e.g., take out) or for delivery. All on-site consumption in restaurants and food courts is based on the designated risk level of the county where the eating and drinking establishment is located.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-16 07:12:02Last Update: 2020-12-15 20:56:53

High Cop Causes Multi-Vehicle Crash in Klamath Falls
Unlawfully obtained and used drugs before wrecking patrol car

On November 27, 2020, at approximately 3:58 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers were dispatched to a multiple vehicle crash at the intersection of South 6th Street and Crater Lake Parkway in Klamath Falls. The driver that caused the crash, later identified as, Thomas Dwayne Reif (27) was driving a silver 2013 Dodge Avenger.

Reif, a detective with the Klamath Falls Police Department, was on duty at the time of the crash and was driving his assigned Detective vehicle.

Just prior to the crash, Klamath County 911 received a call describing Reif as driving recklessly down South 6th Street.

Reif was evaluated at the scene by Klamath County Fire District 1 personnel and found to be unresponsive and not breathing. He was transported to Sky Lake Medical Center where emergency department personnel were able to quickly stabilize him.

The Klamath Falls Police Department immediately requested the Oregon State Police take lead on the investigation. Troopers began a DUII investigation and collected evidence the night of the crash. Evidence was sent to the Oregon State Police Crime Lab as part of the investigation. Members of the Oregon State Police Criminal Investigation Division were brought in to work with the Patrol Division on the investigation.

While evaluating the evidence seized in the investigation, Troopers developed probable cause that Reif had unlawfully obtained and used drug evidence from an unrelated case in the course of his duties.

Once lab results were obtained on the evidence, Troopers sought to arrest Reif for DUII, Reckless Driving, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Official Misconduct 1st degree, Tampering with Evidence, and Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance (Schedule II controlled substance – fentanyl)

Thomas Dwayne Reif was booked into the Klamath County Jail on December 15, 2020.

The Klamath Falls Police Department has released a statement on the situation.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-15 19:53:32Last Update: 2020-12-15 20:12:02

Oregon Hospitals to Provide First COVID-19 Vaccinations
Interest grows over who gets what place in line -- and who must get in line

Governor Kate Brown will hold a press availability tomorrow, when Oregon hospitals are scheduled to begin administering the first COVID-19 vaccinations in the state to frontline health care workers. She will be joined by representatives from the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon hospitals, including Legacy Health, Oregon Health & Science University, and Saint Alphonsus in Ontario.

Governor Brown will hold a press conference tomorrow, December 16, at 11:00 am. A livestream will be available for the public.

According to the Oregon Health Authority website, this event is the beginning of what will be a massive immunization campaign as health facilities begin receiving new Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The first COVID-19 vaccine doses arrived in Oregon yesterday, December 14. Legacy Health is the first registered COVID-19 vaccine provider in the state to receive the vaccine, made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE. The health system’s Holladay Park site in Portland and Meridian Park site in Tualatin each took delivery of one package of 975 doses today at around 7:00 am.

Additional doses are expected at three other locations in Oregon on Tuesday: Oregon Health & Science University Pharmacy, Kaiser Permanente’s Airport Way Center in Portland, and St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Ontario also are each expected to receive 975-dose packages of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The remaining 30,225 Pfizer vaccine doses from this week’s allocation of 35,100 dose for Oregon will arrive at hospitals throughout the rest of the week, with 10,725 doses going to skilled nursing facilities for vaccinations that start next week.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-15 18:28:23Last Update: 2020-12-15 19:38:04

Biggest Snow, Ice Storm in Years Bears on Eastern US
Planet Earth still has lots of ice and snow

Why is that great news? Because it is not coming to Oregon. Our chances for snow in the Willamette Valley are low until after the first of the year. However, if you want snow, all you need to do is look at the nearby hills that are covered. Still more snow is available on Mt. Hood.

Some are worried about the Arctic melting. They should be worried about the coming snow and ice. For reference, Resolute, Nunavut Canada in the high Arctic is presently -15 F with a stiff wind that makes it feel like -45 F, AND it is completely dark 24 hours per day this time of year. Resolute is about the most northern settlement on Earth that is a real town, not just a military or weather station.

If anyone is worried about the sea ice, here is the latest from the Arctic. The Arctic ocean is completely covered with sea ice, but slightly less than normal for this time of year. The temperature at Summit Camp high on the Greenland ice cap is about -22 F. That is considerably warmer than it was a few days ago, when the temperature dipped to -60 F. The ice cap is still shedding icebergs into the North Atlantic at these temperatures, because that process is largely unrelated to the outside temperature.

The Antarctic is losing sea ice fast but slightly 'above normal' as their summer approaches. The temperature at Vostok, Antarctica is presently a relatively mild -22 F. Nevertheless, there is no melting at those temperatures.

In other words, planet Earth still has lots of ice and snow. Those on the East Coast USA may soon feel that they have more than their fair share.

Santa is definitely shivering at the North Pole. Merry Christmas to all.

--Gordon Fulks, Ph.D.

Post Date: 2020-12-15 16:11:16Last Update: 2020-12-15 16:21:32

Bills Announced for Session
Drazan: This special session is an opportunity for us to come together

Three bill drafts are out for the upcoming special legislative session, announced earlier today by Governor Kate Brown. It is not expected that any other legislation will be considered. Persons wishing to provide testimony on these bills can do so on the Oregon Legislative Information Website. The session will be closed to the public -- at least in person.

Republican Legislative leaders sounded off on the upcoming special session -- each leader articulated a strong vision for the session.

“The third special session will give needed relief to hurting Oregonians. Proposed legislation includes COVID-19 liability protections for schools, a critical first step to get schools reopened, support for renters and landlords, as well as technical changes in the restaurant industry that will help hard-working Oregonians and small businesses.

“There is significant work to be done in the upcoming 2021 long session, and Republicans will continue to advocate for liability protections for our health care system in the coming weeks.” said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) in a statement.

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) also released a statement, saying that “A third special session will provide needed relief for Oregonians who have been impacted by COVID-19 and the governor’s executive orders. Proposed legislation prioritizes families and kids, restores jobs and takes our first steps to prevent frivolous lawsuits, while setting aside resources to balance our budget, fund wildfire recovery and support public health.

This special session is an opportunity for us to come together to support Oregonians. Our work remains incomplete until we successfully provide access to COVID-19 vaccines to Oregonians who want it, get our students back in the classroom, provide critical liability protections for businesses and our essential health care system, rebuild communities impacted by wildfires and recover jobs."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-15 08:43:35Last Update: 2020-12-16 09:50:27

Governor Calls Third Special Session
This will be a regular special session, not a catastrophic

Governor Kate Brown will convene a Special Session of the Oregon Legislature at 8:00am Monday, December 21, 2020, to address Oregonians’ most pressing needs given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which have only been compounded by Oregon’s horrific wildfires. The Governor is asking the legislature to consider both critical policies and $800 million in relief to support Oregonians during a one-day special session on COVID-19 and wildfires.

“Oregonians are making tremendous sacrifices to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Brown. “While the risk reduction measures we have put in place are working to slow the spread, many Oregon families are struggling with unemployment, housing, food insecurity, and paying their bills — and those most impacted are the same people who are often left behind, including rural, Black, Indigenous, Latino/Latina/Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Tribal communities.

“I continue to call on Congress to pass another robust coronavirus relief bill to bring support to the American people. But these calls have not yet been heeded. It is clear that states must act on their own to provide a bridge until federal help arrives. This is why I am calling on legislators from both sides of the aisle to come together in the best interests of the state.

“We must protect Oregonians now, as we face some of our hardest days, whether by getting critical resources into the hands of those most in need, keeping a roof over people’s heads, or recognizing the incredible toll of this virus on our small businesses and restaurants. Oregon must act to bridge the gap as we continue to wait to see federal relief. I thank legislators for their work in addressing these critical issues next week, and I look forward to our progress.”

Republicans are calling for supports for businesses, schools and the health care system.

Included in the Governor’s budget priorities is aid for tenants and landlords, funding for vaccine distribution and contact tracing, wildfire prevention and community preparedness, and support for reopening schools.

To help ensure a healthy and safe environment for conducting session, legislative officials are consulting the state epidemiologist, Dr. Dean Sidelinger.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-15 07:39:17Last Update: 2020-12-15 08:43:35

COVID Recession Impacts State Revenue
Long-term future is unknown

Despite a government-lockdown-driven COVID recession, Oregon's Treasurer is projecting strong general fund and lottery revenues over the next nine-year period. It's not known how dependent these revenue projections are on the influx of federal money. According to the report from the State Debt Policy Advisory Commission, the December revenue forecast permits the issuance of $1.139 billion general fund backed debt in 2019-21 biennium.

Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read said in a letter to Governor Brown and the Legislature, "In addition to the human costs, the pandemic has dramatically affected our economy, leading to financial uncertainty and commensurate challenges to the State’s budget in both the current and upcoming biennia. This makes long-term funding plans more difficult for important State and local government capital projects."

The debt capacity has a target of using 5% or less of state revenue to do debt service, and at that rate, the state will be able to issue over a billion dollars in debt during the next biennium.

Treasurer Read points out the uncertainty in the economy as well as the uncertainty of federal aid. "For these reasons, we continue to advise caution and patience when planning for capital projects," Read added.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-14 21:18:19Last Update: 2020-12-14 22:09:40

Pfizer Vaccine Approved
Western governors say it’s OK to take the vaccine

Oregon, Washington and Nevada joined California’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup in October, which has worked concurrently and independently to review the FDA’s actions related to COVID-19 vaccinations. The Workgroup completed their concurrent and thorough review of the federal process and has confirmed the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. The Workgroup panel is made up of nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health. It has been pointed out that the workgroup is more political than scientific -- a way for governors of blue states to show their distrust of the Trump administration.

“With recommendations from the FDA, CDC, and, now, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, Oregonians can rest assured that some of the best doctors, scientists, and immunologists in the world have reviewed the data and affirmed that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective,” said Governor Kate Brown. “We will work as quickly as possible to deliver vaccines to the public, starting with frontline health care workers and those who have been hardest hit by COVID-19. Please keep doing your part to keep your family and loved ones safe—wear a mask, stay home when you are sick, and avoid gatherings. Together, we can do this. Hope is on the way.”

With a 95% effective rate for the vaccine and a 99.9% survival rate, the public has a choice.

There is a lot of concern regarding the content of the vaccine. Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use synthetic ingredients (mRNA) that contains information about the coronavirus’s signature spike protein. It is not a proven technology, but said not to alter human DNA in any way. Still, with all this extra review, the public still does not know the full content of the vaccine. MIT Technology Review asked experts. There are the obvious ingredients, but concluded that Pfizer is holding back a little. “The spike gene sequence can be tweaked in small ways for better performance, by means that include swapping letters. We don’t think Pfizer has said exactly what sequence it is using, or what modified nucleosides. That means the content of the shot may not be 100% public.” At the end of the day, Pfizer flat-out says, “no microchips.”

So what should we expect? CDC website states in its COVID-19 information page that they don’t know how long immunity will last from a vaccine. “It’s conceivable that the vaccines provide long-lasting protection, or fade away in under a year and require a booster.”

The Pfizer vaccine should be a choice, but is this announcement more to do with a catastrophic disaster special session to put its mark on every Oregonian?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-12-14 08:38:31Last Update: 2020-12-14 22:15:52

Violence Creates Redevelopment Opportunity
Riot damage seems to track opportunity zones

In the aftermath of the violence this summer, the city of Minneapolis mapped out the redevelopment business opportunity zones and overlaid the buildings burnt out by Antifa. They were shocked that it matched perfectly. Some wanted to know how many Antifa and Black Lives Matter agents are deep state provocateurs. To some observers, it was clear to them that they were hired to tear down America.

According to Wikipedia, Catherine Austin Fitts is an American investment banker and former public official who served as United States Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for Housing during the Presidency of George H.W. Bush. She has widely written and commented on the subject of public spending and has alleged several large scale instances of government fraud. She founded an investment advisory firm named Solari, which also produces a blog analyzing public policy.

Motivated, the Solari Team mapped Portland from May to October 7, 2020, for the correlation between riot damage and the tax-attractive Opportunity Zones. They found that “a tremendous amount of effort was spent on destroying the downtown area bounded on the West: by the 405, North: by West Burnside, East: Willamette River and South: SW Clay where a high concentration of Justice and Police facilities were.”

Even though riots happened repeatedly in the same areas in Portland, the damage was very devastating. The majority of the riot damage was in Opportunity Zones, however, there was stray violent areas outside of opportunity zones. Most of that damage was targeted at law enforcement structures, coordinated with defund police protests. Small Business property damage was rampant costing businesses $30 million, which doesn’t include the destruction to city property, cleaning graffiti off monuments and buildings, and replacing or restoring monuments.

Governor Brown’s order to keep businesses shutdown only makes it more difficult for destroyed businesses to be rebuilt, unless they aren’t intended too. Portland’s economic development agency intends to deliver on its promise of equitable development made in 2013. The city plans for the Central Commercial Zone between Old Town Chinatown and the Pearl District will include at least 720 affordable housing units, small business opportunities, new parks, public art and a cycle track within the neighborhood. What other plans are on the drawing board that will utilize the destroyed businesses?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-12-13 21:26:24Last Update: 2020-12-13 21:40:38

Auto Theft Suspect Attempts to Swim Columbia River
Treated at hospital for hypothermia

On December 12, 2020 an officer from the Portland North Precinct was in the area of Northeast Cornfoot Road and Northeast Alderwood Road when he observed a green 1997 Subaru Legacy parked in a westbound lane facing eastbound. The officer ran the plate and learned the vehicle was stolen.

The officer attempted to stop the vehicle at which point the vehicle accelerated. For the safety of the public, the officer did not attempt to pursue or catch up to the vehicle.

An officer from another agency advised dispatch he observed the vehicle driving northbound in the southbound lanes on Northeast 82nd Ave through the Northeast Alderwood Road intersection toward Northeast Airport way, running the red light.

The Portland Police Bureau Air Support Unit located the vehicle traveling eastbound on Northeast Airport Way at speeds as high as 100 MPH, while surfing through traffic and not being pursued by police vehicles. The vehicle then drove onto a pedestrian/bike path leading from Northeast Airport Way to Northeast Marine Drive. The vehicle drove down a gravel road near the riverbank and stopped. The Police Air Support Unit reported seeing a subject exit the vehicle and begin to unload it. As patrol cars arrived in the area the suspect fled on foot.

The suspect ran toward the riverbank and entered the water (outdoor temperature was 42 degrees with 10 to 15 MPH winds). The suspect attempted to swim toward the middle of the river. Officers contacted the suspect who eventually exited the water and was placed in custody.

The suspect was identified as 23 year-old Trevon Wade Gilliand. It was determined Gilliand would need to be treated at a hospital for possible hypothermia. Gilliand was issued a citation for Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle, Attempt to Elude, and Reckless Driving.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-13 15:33:28Last Update: 2020-12-13 17:34:23

Unemployment Benefit Overpayments May Be Considered in Special Session
Expanding fraud control

Expanding permissible uses of amounts in the Oregon Employment Department Special Fraud Control Fund will be looked in Oregon's third legislative session, if it happens. The bill that would take on this issue would be a bill proposed for the Oregon Legislature in the form of Legislative Concept 24 and it would also include legislation concerning the payment of the costs associated with the federal Lost Wages Assistance program.

This bill would provide for methods of collection from debtor of reimbursements to Federal Emergency Management Agency for benefit over-payments required under the Lost Wages Assistance program.

LC24 provides the following details:
--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-13 14:28:32Last Update: 2020-12-13 19:31:13

PERS Report Released
This study doesn’t account for the unfunded liability

Oregon’s Public Employees Retirement System released its study findings on retiree benefits paid in 2019. PERS covers approximately 95% of public workers in Oregon including all state and school district employees and most local government employees.

The study analyzed how PERS benefits paid to Oregon retirees impacts Oregon’s economy. Oregon PERS paid approximately $4.11 billion in benefits to PERS retirees living in Oregon in 2019. The $4.11 billion in annual benefit payments multiply to $4.33 billion in economic value to Oregon when the full financial impact of these dollars when spent in local communities. These benefit payments sustained an estimated 33,402 local jobs, and added approximately $1.29 billion in wages to Oregon’s economy. Additionally, the state of Oregon collected an estimated $234.9 million in income taxes on PERS retiree benefits during 2019.

Funding for these benefits came mostly from investment earnings on contributions previously paid by members and public employers. Investment income has provided 74.4% of total pension revenues since 1970. Member contributions have accounted for 4.4%, with employer contributions providing 21.1% of pension revenues over the past 49 years.

These retirees spent a significant portion of this money on goods and services in Oregon, which helped support local businesses. These businesses then purchased goods, in part, from other local vendors, adding to the Oregon workforce and economy. This study quantifies the total effect of these benefit payments on Oregon’s economy, based on three factors: Depending on who you ask, the PERS deficit is between $26 to $50 billion that is needed over the next couple of decades to pay pensions. The issue is that the employer contributions are going towards current benefit payments and not reserves. Increase in Investment earnings reduces the obligation. Investments earnings increased in 2019 by $6,981 million, which was more than enough to cover increased payments, and 2020 is on track to do the same.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-12-12 20:59:41Last Update: 2020-12-12 22:38:11

Limited Liability of Schools During COVID Proposed
To be voted on in third special session

Legislative Concept 2330 will likely soon be voted on in the third special session of the 2020 Oregon legislature. Insiders say it will be declared a "Catastrophic Special Session" by Governor Kate Brown.

The bill intends to limit the liability of school districts, public charter schools, education service districts and community colleges for certain claims arising during COVID-19 emergency period.

The Emergency Clause would be attached to the bill upon it's passage, rendering it effective immediately.

The bill also provides that a person engaged in activities on school district property that are not operated by a school district may not bring a claim against the school district for damages related to COVID-19 infection.

This legislation seems to indicate and clear the way for schools potentially reopening in Oregon.

Language in LC 2330 points out that the immunity provided by this does not apply to reckless, wanton or intentional misconduct.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-12 18:14:07Last Update: 2020-12-12 20:09:41

Washington County Offers Housing Provider Relief
Targets multifamily affordable rental housing for BIPOC

Washington County is offering an expedited application process to assist owners of multifamily affordable rental housing projects located in the County that have been impacted by the loss of rental revenue associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. The purpose of this funding is to provide relief to housing providers, provide relief to tenants who have not been able to fulfill their rental obligations due to the pandemic, and to stabilize subsidized housing projects so that they can continue fulfilling the mission of providing quality housing to Washington County households with modest incomes.

For a property to be eligible, it must be located in Washington County, consist of five to 300 units, have deed restrictions enforcing an affordability period of fifteen years or more, and there is a demonstrated net loss in rental income due to the Covid-19 pandemic from March 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020 once other assistance has been applied to offset the loss.

Eligible applicants include nonprofit and for-profit entities and the Housing Authority of Washington County. Applicants may submit applications for multiple properties. If the property owner is a Limited Partnership, the applicant must be the Managing General Partner or an equivalent. In the case that the Housing Authority may be a Special Limited Partner for the purpose of tax exemption only, the Housing Authority may not be the applicant.

Properties serving the following populations disproportionately impacted by inequities exacerbated by COVID-19 will be prioritized: Funds received through this program must be applied toward back-due rent, and the payments must be credited to the accounts of tenants who are behind in their rent. Properly documented modifications related to COVID-19 and occurring March 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020, may receive secondary consideration if sufficient funds are available. Decisions regarding awards for modifications and delayed maintenance and repair costs will be made at the sole discretion of the County and are dependent upon eligibility and funding availability.

Since tenants do not have to provide documentation of a COVID-19 related reason for not paying rent, it's not clear how housing providers are able to identify losses as COVID related.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-12 15:23:27Last Update: 2020-12-12 15:41:37

Oregon Legislative Concept Highlights Emergency Powers
Allows extending emergencies by any amount of time

Legislative Concept 247 is about to be considered in a ever more likely third special session of the year for the Oregon state legislature. Among the details of this proposal are durational limits for states of emergency declared by the State of Oregon under certain statutes. The bill also provides that the Legislative Assembly may also extend states of emergency by joint resolution.

Other details in the bill include: The governor's emergency powers are also clarified in the bill:
--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-12 13:53:55Last Update: 2020-12-13 10:19:32

Oregonians Are Irate, and Losing Patience
Local Government steps up, to provide remedy and relief

Josephine County Commissioners passed resolution 2020-039 last week to provide a level of protection to resident business owners, after Oregon Governor Kate Brown delegated authority to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to enforce executive orders, in what started, as a two week freeze. The resolution is to stand as prima facie evidence of good faith, in the event a business is cited for being open, and called to appear before an administrative hearing. The County also created a letter of good faith for business owners to use in an administrative hearing, should they need it.

In Governor Brown's new proposal for the 2021-2023 budget given to the Oregon Legislature, very little is slated for appropriation to small business owner's, who have arguably, been hit hardest since lockdowns began. Instead, Brown's proposed budget focuses on expanding infrastructure, public works, and bigger government, which equals large union contracts. Conversely, the budget for helping the private sector i.e landlords, rental owners, and small business owner's is tiny in relation, and focused on equity, for minority owned or run businesses. Whatever the intentions for lockdowns, the outcome is shaping up to be a massive redistribution of power and wealth away from the already shrinking middle, and lower classes. Brown's budget proposal far exceeds projected revenue for the State of Oregon,heavily reliant upon spending Federal dollars, yet to be agreed upon, or even passed by Congress.

Oregonians are losing faith in Government, as despair has often turned to ire, and unrest. However, the news of Josephine County's resolution, has created a new wave of hope through the State. Now, Another County has stepped up, proposing a similar resolution this week. The new Yamhill County resolution shares the same goal of providing a level of protection to businesses and a message of hope.

The Yamhill County resolution differs only slightly from the Josephine County Resolution, and addresses flawed PCR tests being used to justify business closures. It also addresses the death certificate rule change implemented March 24th via a new ICD code adapted by the National Vital Statistics System, which records presumptive COVID-19 deaths with confirmed cases, diagnosed with the same flawed PCR test. The new Yamhill Resolution is accompanied by a packet of information, including studies, court rulings, and even a recent executive order by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, calling for the full disclosure of PCR cycle thresholds, and false negative and positive test numbers to be disclosed immediately.

Another very important piece of information in the supporting documents, comes from Oregon's own Douglas County Health's Dr. Dannenhoffer, who confirms that the PCR test being used in Oregon is made by manufacturer Thermo Fisher, and using a 39-40 PCR cycle Threshold. To put this into perspective Dr. Fauci has stated "the PCR COVID test is useless and misleading when the test is run at 35 cycles or higher."

Yamhill County Commissioner, and Vice-Chair Mary Starrett, stated in the meeting that she's not the only commissioner receiving daily correspondence, and pleadings for help. In a phone call after the meeting, Commissioner Starrett shares with Northwest Observer, exactly what she's been reading from county residents "People are going broke as their businesses bleed out. Their kids are losing their mooring, failing in what's left of their schools, and they're ending their lives. We're losing people to drug overdoses and those in recovery are relapsing. Sadly, our elders are slowly dying from loneliness and despair, despite studies showing that lockdowns don't work! Meanwhile routine screenings and medical care is being placed on hold, or pushed out, further jeopardizing the health and well being of our community. Corporate food chains are open on every street corner, while the neighborhood restaurants we love are forced out of business. These arbitrary shutdowns have no basis in fact."

The Yamhill County Resolution has been set aside until next week, to allow time for all Commissioners to properly read through the document packet, and a representative of the Oregon Health Authority can be present. Dr. Henry Ealy was reported to have been waiting on hold, to support the resolution. Dr. Ealy is the lead author and researcher of a peer reviewed study addressing the critical changes to the death certificate reporting titled "Ethics in Science and Technology".

Dr. Henry Ealy tells Northwest Observer he will be back next week to weigh in, and present the findings of his research team.

Before the meeting was adjourned Yamhill County had already received 21 comments, and emails regarding the resolution. For more information on either resolution, the packet of supporting documents, or to watch the live hearings, all information can be found on the individual County Website.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-12-11 11:33:33Last Update: 2020-12-12 08:04:58

Brown Appoints Seeley as Vaccine Czar
Will oversee Covid vaccine distribution in Oregon

Governor Kate Brown has announced the appointment of Connie Seeley as Special Advisor for COVID-19 Vaccination Implementation, effective Friday, December 11. In the role, Seeley will serve as a senior advisor to the Governor on COVID-19 issues, with a focus on directing the implementation of Oregon’s vaccine distribution and public communications plans, as well as coordinating efforts across state government, and with local, state, and federal partners.

Seeley had previously worked as a legislative director for Kate Brown in the state legislature.

“I appreciate Connie’s willingness to step up for the critical task of ensuring that COVID-19 vaccines are available and distributed across the state as rapidly as possible,” said Governor Brown. “She has the expertise in health care and governmental relations to help coordinate this vast and important vaccination campaign, making sure that COVID-19 vaccinations are equitably available to everyone in Oregon, particularly to historically-underserved communities that have felt the disproportionate impact of this pandemic and existing health disparities––including Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, and Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and Oregonians of color.”

Seeley is joining the Governor’s Office on temporary assignment through an intergovernmental agreement with her current employer, Oregon Health & Science University. She has over 20 years of experience in the public sector, including organizational governance, administration, governmental relations, public affairs, and crisis communications. She is the chief administrative officer, executive vice president, and chief of staff of OHSU, where she has worked since 2010. She also has 13 years of experience working in the Oregon Legislature. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon.

Seeley joins the Governor’s health policy team, which includes Linda Roman, Health Policy Advisor, Jackie Yerby, Policy Advisor for Health Care Licensing and Behavioral Health, and Tina Edlund, Health Care Finance Advisor.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-11 11:09:32Last Update: 2020-12-11 20:07:24

Republican Lawmakers Ask to Join Texas Suit
Suit seeks to revisit elections in four states

A group of Republican legislators have asked Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to join the lawsuit filed by the State of Texas in the US Supreme Court asking the court to throw out the results of the presidential election in four states. Each of these states went to Biden.

The letter signed by 12 Republican legislators, and addressed to the Oregon Attorney General, reads:

We the undersigned urge you to join the growing list of states joining the lawsuit filed by the State of Texas in which they have argued that electors from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin should not be allowed to cast their votes in part because those states unconstitutionally changed their voting procedures during the coronavirus pandemic to allow for increased mail-in ballots.

According to the complaint, filed in the US Supreme Court:

"...[T]he 2020 election suffered from significant and unconstitutional irregularities in the Defendant States:

We believe that fair elections are vital to our democratic republic and that the submission of electors by these four states should be at least postponed.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-11 08:24:06Last Update: 2020-12-14 14:49:44

Vaccine Approved by FDA
Oregon has a plan to prioritize minorities

The FDA’s advisory committee has voted to approve an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-Biontech COVID-19 vaccine for kids, ages 16+ and adults. This gives the go ahead for the manufacturer to distribute the vaccine should the FDA as a whole agree which they have not ignored in the past. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices or ACIP committee previously voted last week to prioritize healthcare workers, long term staff and residents to receive the vaccine.

Public testimony was heard, discussion on two topics were completed over the course of the long day from 9-6pm. Discussions were short as commenters were allowed two minutes. Dr. Gruber from Pfizer gave a presentation on the efficacy and safety. The efficacy was touted as 95% and approval was based on two endpoints; participants having at least one symptom plus a central lab positive PCR test.

The data presented only included trial data analyzed up until November 14 and had glaring omissions. For example, there were ZERO black participants in the vaccine group and only three Hispanic. How is that sufficient data on a demographic that has reportedly been disproportionately affected by COVID-19? Will Governor Brown’s Vaccine Workgroup approve the vaccine in spite of these gaps as she has said she will prioritize solving COVID-19 inequities? Oregon’s vaccination plan includes fighting for, “populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and with historic disparities in vaccination rates, including seasonal influenza, will need specific interventions to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccine in culturally appropriate settings.

These populations include, but are not limited to: Some side effects reported are appendicitis, Bell’s Palsy and severe anaphylaxis. 60 days of following trial participants seemed insufficient to many commenters and a few panel members. However, there was also concern that millions of people would not get the vaccine if there was a perception of harm as was announced with two healthcare workers experiencing a severe reaction. Had they not had an epi pen they could have died. Dr. Paul Offit suggested a study to follow up with individuals who have peanut and egg allergies but was dismissed since egg protein is not an issue for this vaccine.

Aside from diversity issues, questions remain on the lack of long term data in minorities and all patients, whether the vaccine will cause an enhanced immune response in elderly patients and how long the vaccine works. There is a concern in pregnant women that due to DNA replication occurring during pregnancy, that the messenger RNA could alter chromosomes. The FDA published its findings including side effects that are so far known in a recent report.

--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-12-10 16:11:32Last Update: 2020-12-10 16:57:50

Reps. Discuss Catastrophic Session
Rep. Bill Post and E. Werner Reschke mull the implications

State Representative E. Werner Reschke has presented his case that the state has not met the criteria for a catastrophic session based on Article X-A of the Oregon Constitution. These two State Representatives offer an in-depth perspective in this 47 minute video.

The Northwest Observer reached out to Representative Bill Post and asked him for his perspective on this issue, and he said, “When I was doing a radio talk show, The Bill Post Radio Show, in 2011, I did live shows at the Legislature and tried to warn the legislators that though it might sound like a good idea, it was not. It would be misused one day. Then later when it was a ballot measure, I warned the listeners not to vote yes on the measure as it sounds good but would be misused one day. Well 'one day' is potentially here now!”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-10 13:46:57Last Update: 2020-12-10 16:11:32

Lawless Zone in North Portland Worries Many
Those involved have threatened and assaulted people

Over the past three months, people have been illegally trespassing on properties on Mississippi Avenue, including in a house and on privately owned lots.

According to call log data, over the three-month period, from September 1 to November 30, 2020, at least 81 calls for service were placed for issues related to these properties and the immediate area. Calls for service included, but were not limited to: fights, disturbances, shots fired, burglary, thefts, vandalism, noise violations, trespassing, threats (including by armed individuals), and for illegally blocking traffic, sidewalks and access to homes. Throughout this period, Portland police officers spoke with many community members about their concerns and the threatening behavior and intimidation they experienced in the neighborhood around these properties.

And now there is a dangerous no go- zone established by far-left extremists in what some are referring to as the "Red House Autonomous Zone"(RHAZ).

Police completely left the area right before 10 a.m. on Tuesday and almost immediately, people removed a portion of the fence and entered the private property.

Portland Police returned and attempted to disperse people from the property, however, people began throwing objects at police vehicles and officers, broke police vehicle windows and flattened tires on two police vehicles. Officers disengaged and people entered the private property again. A crowd of people eventually used fencing and other materials to block North Mississippi Avenue and began stockpiling rocks. Portland Police have remained out of the area and are monitoring the situation for the time being.

Since that time and overnight, the extremists have set up additional barricades and fortifications in this area. They have also stockpiled weapons.

Those involved in the occupation have threatened and assaulted people, and their actions indicate the intent to continue to do harm to the community.

"We want a peaceful and safe resolution to the occupation of public space on North Mississippi Avenue," said Chief Chuck Lovell. "We are greatly concerned about the fortification of barricades, stockpiling of weapons, armed sentries, attacks on journalists and threats to kill officers in graffiti in this public space. Our goal is for this to resolve peacefully to increase safety for all involved. I encourage those involved to reach out to our Demonstration Liaison Officers so we can discuss a peaceful outcome."

This criminal activity has had a significant impact on the safety of residents in that area and the livability of the neighborhood. Traffic and transit cannot pass. Emergency vehicles, including Fire & Rescue and paramedics, may be delayed or prevented from reaching people in need. Residents cannot move freely to and from their own homes. People have reported crimes within the occupied area, including assaults. Portland Police recommend that anyone without a need to be in the area avoid it.

Those in the area immediately impacted along North Mississippi Avenue between North Skidmore Street and North Prescott are severely affected. Anyone there should exercise caution and stay inside if they feel unsafe. Witnesses to crimes in progress in addition to the occupation are asked to report it to police.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-10 11:57:58Last Update: 2020-12-10 12:31:06

OSHA Strongarms Springfield Small Business
They were served a citation for a $500 fine to be assessed each day

Springfield restaurant, Along Came Trudy, drew large crowds in protest to the Governor Brown's recent shutdown orders. Owner Trudy Logan opened Along Came Trudy for indoor dining against the Governor’s orders and the community came out in support.

In 1998 Trudy opened The Pump Café where she played a huge part in the revitalization of Downtown Springfield. In 2012, Trudy opened her café and event venue, Along Came Trudy. The place provides a warm friendly place to relax, read the newspaper or a good book, work on homework or work remotely. She provides space for multiple groups including bible studies, parties, business meetings, community events and celebrations of life.

On December 4th, The Oregon Occupational Health and Safety Administration served a citation for a $500 fine to be assessed each day that she remains open. Her liquor license was suspended and her lottery contract was revoked. Trudy maintains that If she complies and closes her doors, she will have to close permanently as many other small local businesses have already done.

Trudy continues to give back to the community on a daily basis. They are taking every precaution to ensure that the facility is safe and clean, even making adjustments to help maintain clean air quality, but no amount of safety precautions seems to matter when carrying out the Governor’s orders.

Trudy intends to keep the Along Came Trudy open Monday through Friday 7:00am to 2:00pm. They will be providing an option for dine-in (as space permits) and take out. However, she is asking for support to pay legal fees and fines.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-12-10 09:23:17Last Update: 2020-12-10 09:40:58

Portland Schools to Hold COVID Panel
What it will take to get students back into classrooms?

Portland Public Schools has sent an announcement to its families and staff, inviting them to a virtual panel discussion on Monday, viewable on their YouTube channel on the link below, about COVID-19 and school re-opening plans. The announcement, sent via email, reads:

Dear PPS Families and Staff,

You are invited to visit the PPS YouTube channel Monday evening for Schools, COVID and Shared Understandings, a two-hour virtual panel discussion where the Board of Education and our larger community will hear from public health experts and district leadership on the district’s planning and decision-making for school re-entry. The discussion will address questions including why we are in Comprehensive Distance Learning now and what it will take to get students back into classrooms. Our public health experts will also have the latest information about COVID vaccines.

Schools, COVID and Shared Understandings
Virtual Panel Discussion
Monday, December 14
6:00-8:00 p.m.
PPS YouTube channel

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-10 09:12:54Last Update: 2020-12-10 09:23:17

Senator Linthicum Declares All Businesses Essential
People rely on jobs to feed their families

Oregon Republican Senator Dennis Linthicum has issued a statement about the unconstitutional government response to COVID-19 that has led to the destruction of Oregonians’ livelihoods while big government has grown exponentially.

“Oregonians’ constitutional rights are under attack with the never-ending statewide lockdowns that cause significant destruction. Governor Kate Brown and her bureaucratic demolition crew continue to ladle cash and benefits to their own, while penalizing small business owners, especially those in the food service industry. Oregonians across all economic classes are being horrifically harmed by the governor’s crafty, pernicious, and unconstitutional mandates.

“Every business is essential because every business employs people who rely on their jobs to feed their families. With COVID-19 as the scapegoat, the government has created arbitrary rules that determine winners and losers in its preparation to invade every aspect of Oregonians’ lives, eliminating free enterprise and American liberty in the process. Logical, data-driven and science-based policy decisions, rationally understood, would not put Oregonians in this predicament, especially when the infection fatality rate is startlingly low.

“Led by Gov. Brown, the government has prioritized its gluttonous coffers over the hardworking Oregonians who pay their salaries.

“The detrimental impacts inflicted by Gov. Brown’s public health and government chums will take decades to repair and the only solution is to free Oregonians so they may to get back to their own lives.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-09 18:33:47Last Update: 2020-12-09 18:48:55

Will Oregon Continue to Manipulate the Housing Market?
Rent and mortage relief will be looked at it

With Governor Kate Brown's mandated shutdowns of businesses extended now til at least the end of the year 2020, many Oregonians are reportedly beginning to question whether the state will ever cede it's newfound powers that have materialized from the Coronavirus epidemic.

It seems that opportunists among those in power in Oregon are now wanting to see how much farther that power can be taken. Two legislative concepts have been introduced which will be considered in the third special session of 2020.

These concepts will become bills if passed by the Oregon legislature and will supposedly be passed in order to help stabilize the renting and housing market in Oregon which has been devastated by Kate Brown's moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.

Both of these bills, LC0017 and LC0018 will likely be passed by the legislature with the attachment of the Emergency Clause, making them go into effect immediately.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-09 16:39:03Last Update: 2020-12-07 17:31:50

Oregon Looking to Create Critical Disaster Preparedness Stockpile
In co-operation with county emergency management agencies

An Oregon Special Session Legislative Concept(LC) has been proposed which would direct the Oregon Business Development Department to establish program to create the Oregon Critical Disaster Preparedness Stockpile to ensure robust stock of emergency supplies and equipment.

LC0003 would direct the Oregon Homeland Security Council, in consultation with Oregon Health Authority and relevant state agencies, to develop a list of essential equipment, materials, supplies,distribution channels and manufacturing capabilities for stockpile, including personal protective equipment, communicable disease testing equipment and all-hazards emergency surge supplies.

The program would be administered by the department in co-operation with county emergency management agencies and the Office of Emergency Management.

The often used emergency would be declared in the state legislature, making this law effective immediately upon it's passage.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-09 10:49:49Last Update: 2020-12-07 12:18:40

Delivery of Cocktails May Soon Be a Reality
Restaurant industry needs help amid Oregon lock-down

In what will be Oregon's third special legislative session of 2020, a first ever "Catastrophic Special Session" may soon be called for by Oregon's governor in order to address some of the complications which have arose during the prolonged state lock-down mandates of 2020.

A number of Legislative Concepts(LCs) have been released by the Oregon House Legislative Director, including LC 10 which will allow holders of full on-premises sales license to sell and deliver mixed drinks in sealed containers for off-premises consumption. The so adopted rule will require one substantial food item ordered for every two mixed drinks. In other words, up to two alcoholic beverages may be allowed to be sold alongside one "substantial" food item for delivery.

This seems like common sense legislation to many observers, and some would say it is long overdue considering the difficult year that 2020 has been for food and service businesses as well as consumers in Oregon. With dine-in services mandated closed by one-size fits all government policies, the businesses who do manage to stay open and operate are innovating in any way they can to exist under such totalitarian policies of the state. If the legislature decides to allow these cocktail deliveries it made give some freedom to these industries that certainly need it right now.

The Emergency Clause would be used in this legislation in order to have it go into effect immediately.

This proposed law would sunset 60 days after date on which the declaration of the state of emergency as issued by the Governor is no longer in effect.

Oregon's Governor Kate Brown has yet to officially declare the Catastrophic Special Session, but the likelihood of that happening is great, according to insiders.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-09 08:23:11Last Update: 2020-12-07 12:48:46

Mandatory Vaccines Proposed for Kids
This is a rework of HB 3063 from the 2019 session

Oregon lawmakers are again proposing a mandatory vaccine bill for children. Why now? The regular session is scheduled to begin January 19, 2021 and a previous iteration failed in 2019. The bill draft known as Legislative Concept 1701 for mandatory vaccines in order to attend school is available to read here. A few clues are in the verbiage of the bill as you read on. The summary follows:

Removes ability of parent to decline required immunizations against restrictable diseases on behalf of child for reason other than child’s indicated medical diagnosis. Allows child who is not immunized or exempt for reason of indicated medical diagnosis to attend school that provides education pro- gram through online courses. Prohibits child from attending in person specified school-related events, meetings and opportunities. Allows Oregon Health Authority to recommend diseases in addition to restrictable diseases against which children may be immunized.

Directs boards that regulate certain licensed health care practitioners to review documents completed by licensed health care practitioners granting exemptions from immunization requirements because of indicated medical diagnosis. Defines “licensed health care practitioner.” Requires boards to annually report to authority on results of review. Requires authority to re- port annually to Legislative Assembly on reports submitted to boards.

Directs authority to establish outreach and education plan regarding disease control in schools.

Allows child who is not immunized to continue attending school in person until August 1, 2022. Allows child who is not immunized and has schedule for immunizations approved by authority to continue attending school in person after August 1, 2022.

Declares emergency, effective on passage.

Anyone surprised there is an emergency clause?

What this means is that your child cannot go to school unless he has received all 69 doses on the childhood recommended schedule. There were only five on the schedule when parents over 40 were vaccinated. Remember, we previously reported on the CDC’s ACIP committee voting to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the adult schedule for healthcare workers and long term care staff residents. When will the ACIP vote to add this to the childhood schedule? The inequity of this bill would be detrimental to many children including underserved and minorities. Access to services for those with disabilities has been lacking with the current lockdowns and will further be denied with the passage of this bill. Families now struggling with distance learning would continue to be left behind. All children have a right to a fair and equitable education. No vaccine is 100% safe or effective and since it is not a fail safe, children should not be punished for missing even one vaccine on the schedule.

Bill sponsors would have you think that this is not a mandatory vaccine bill, but one could argue that without choice, there is no freedom. Democrat and previous bill sponsor, Representative Marty Wilde even said as much when he lobbied against Measure 106, “Choice without access isn’t a real choice.” Or does that only apply to abortions?

Make no mistake this is a mandate bill. Coercive measures like this bill draft are being used to force a medical procedure.

Medical Exemptions for previous harm or injury or family history of adverse events is as elusive as Oregon’s sasquatch and this bill draft would further tighten the screws in its formation of a special medical board to approve of medical exemptions. It removes the doctor patient relationship and puts medical decisions into the hands of unelected bureaucrats like self proclaimed economist, Pat Allen, Director of Oregon Health Authority. In Oregon, the OHA limits their medical exemptions to anaphylaxis, encephalitis, or immunodeficiency only for the live virus vaccines like MMR & Varicella. These are the children they claim need our “herd immunity” help and they have only approved .00013% of them. That is the real risk number. 2.4% of non medical exemptions are mostly students who have experienced any of the red box side effects but were told their injuries don’t qualify. 2.6% of the non medical exemptions are mostly siblings or children who experienced those injuries. Those who need medical exemptions cannot get them no matter what their doctors say.

For some, lack of choice is the crisis. This is the real emergency.

--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-12-08 18:21:02Last Update: 2020-12-08 20:38:15

Governor Inslee Extends Lock-Down in Washington
Will now be in place until January

Governor of Washington Jay Inslee today announced additional money to be spent by the state for workers and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Inslee also announced a three-week extension of the state’s current restrictions which will now be in place until January 4, 2021.

Washington has distributed billions of dollars in federal and state funds to help all of the state’s industries and workers impacted by this lock-down. Inslee was joined by Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown who announced an additional $50 million to be spent. Industries recently shut down, such as restaurants and fitness centers, as well as businesses that have been devastatingly impacted throughout the lock-down, like music and event venues, have been prioritized.

“The needs among our small businesses are profound, and speed is of the essence,” Brown said. “This additional funding allows us to double the number of small businesses we can provide aid to, but we know it’s not enough."

Unemployment Insurance

In addition, Inslee also announced the state’s readiness to step in in the case of congressional failure to extend the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funding in the CARES Act by the end of the year. Washington will be able to fill some of the funding gap for residents that aren’t eligible for regular UI, such as self-employed workers, freelancers and independent contractors.

“Whether it is through federal or state aid, if Congress fails to act by Christmas, we will step up to help workers and their families who are not covered by pre-pandemic unemployment insurance benefits,” Inslee said.

Restriction extension The three-week extension of statewide restrictions come as the the effects of Thanksgiving on infection and hospital numbers are still unknown. Although that is unknown, this extension is meant to grant the state’s medical system extra time to increase Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity.

We need people to mask up, stay home as much as possible and delay gatherings with anyone outside your home.” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman.

Currently, nearly 80% of ICU beds in Washington are currently occupied, with around 1,000 residents in those units.

“They’re not all COVID patients taking up the ICU beds, which is very important to remember.” Inslee said. “We are all... in this together.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-08 18:01:16Last Update: 2020-12-08 18:26:30

Tax Disconnect from Feds Proposed
Just in time for businesses to come up with a pot of money to pay additional taxes

Following Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s release of a short budget calling for a tax increase on mostly small businesses, Democrats released a tax bill for a third Special Session that also hits mostly small businesses. Despite the cry for more federal money the Governor’s budget is aimed at an additional $55 million to prop up her new freeze estimated to increase unemployment for 51,000 more Oregonians. Along with the undistributed federal stimulus funds, her budget states, “Oregon remains in a healthy position to meet future challenges. The budget includes over $293.8 million in increased revenues and leaves $243.3 million in the General Fund. In addition, by the end of the 2019-21 biennium, the Rainy-Day Fund is projected to have a balance of $942.3 million.”

In light of all the prudent savings, why are Democrats proposing a bill in the form of Legislative Concept 2 to disconnect Oregon Tax Returns from federal tax provisions for certain net operating costs, including federal repeals of previously enacted limitations on deductions by requiring additions to federal taxable income for Oregon tax purposes? Businesses taking advantage of carryback deductions did so to cover operating losses. Now they are being told to recalculate their taxes.

Oregon has a rolling tie to changes made to the definition of federal taxable income. Most information to support the amounts on Oregon’s return comes from the federal return. Even when Oregon law differs from federal law, the state still needs information from the federal return (ORS 314.380).

ORS 316.028(1) requires that in the computation of state taxable income the net operating loss, net operating loss carryback and net operating loss carryforward shall be the same as that contained in the Internal Revenue Code as it applies to the tax year for which the return is filed, and shall not be adjusted for any changes or modifications contained in this chapter or by the case law of this state.

The proposed LC 2 changes ignores that filings “shall not be adjusted…” and adds to the federal taxable income an amount equal to excess business loss deducted going back to January 1, 2018 and a termination date of January 1, 2021, clearly expects failing business to fill-in for lost revenue.

Section 3 adds the sum of the carryback deduction and the amount that net operating loss deduction exceeds 80% of adjusted taxable income. Adds back any carry-back amounts and net operating losses to January 1, 2018 terminating January 1, 2021.

Section 4 adds federal taxable income the amount by which business interest deducted that exceeds 30% of current tax year adjusted taxable income. That 30% isn’t protected. Under Section 6 it adds back to the federal taxable income that 30% deducted. Applies to years 2019-2020.

Some think it is unconstitutional to change taxing retrospectively, as it is with any contract -- not to mention that the Governor’s proposed budget increases taxes on small businesses harder than big corporate businesses. Business closures have impacted small businesses the hardest without relief in sight.

Oregon Constitution, Article IV, Section 25(2) requires a “three-fifths of all members elected to each House shall be necessary to pass bills for raising revenue.” However, clever labeling has allowed many backdoor taxes to be passed by the legislature. LC 2 is no exception.

Proposed is the reinstatement of lower limitation on business interest deduction, limitations on deductions for excess business loss and net operating loss carryforwards. It disallows a five-year carryback of net operating loss, for Oregon personal income tax purposes, but waives any penalties or interest due to recalculation on what has prior approval.

“Section 10. This 2020 third special session Act takes effect on the 91st day after the date on which the 2020 third special session of the Eightieth Legislative Assembly adjourns sine die.” That projects an effective date of mid-March, just in time for businesses to come up with a pot of money to pay additional taxes on April 15 to cover past problems they thought were resolved with prior tax filings.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-12-08 10:48:30Last Update: 2020-12-08 10:55:20

School Sports Won’t Be Allowed Until February
OSAA moves back start to resuming sports

On Monday December 7th, the Oregon School Activities Association(OSAA) decided to push back the start of its sports seasons as it continues to navigate the COVID-19 lock-downs.

The executive board moved to adopt a three-season plan with six-week seasons, starting with fall sports contests March 1 and followed by spring (April 12) and winter (May 17). The seasons include an “opt-in culminating week,” an option for postseason competition.

Fall sports practices are scheduled to begin Feb. 22, except for football, which will start Feb. 8. Spring and winter practices begin April 5 and May 10, respectively.

“It's a moving target,” OSAA executive director Peter Weber said of altering the calendar. “We needed to make a decision. I think the board made the right decision.”

The board voted in August for a plan that would have opened winter sports practices Dec. 28, hopeful that state guidance would allow for schools to return to in-person learning. But virus cases and testing have increased throughout the fall, with 25 of the 36 counties – and all but 42 member schools – currently in the “extreme-risk” category.

“As we're looking to provide as much time as possible to lower case counts and get counties out of the extreme-risk level, if possible. We thought that this timeline made sense.” Weber said.

Considering many districts end their first semester in early February, Weber said that moving the start to late February is potentially a good fit for schools that could return to in-person learning. Also, the weather later in February would better accommodate the outdoor fall sports.

The previous plan had seven-week seasons, plus the culminating week. The new plan calls for six-week seasons that include the culminating week.

“Obviously, they're shorter seasons, but they also provide three distinct seasons and continue an opportunity for all kids to be involved, hopefully,” Weber said. “It's shorter than we would like, and not as soon as we would like, but we feel like it's realistic and something that we can put into place.”

The board also considered a two-season plan with nine-week seasons. In that plan, the first season (February to April) would have included fall sports, golf and swimming, and the second season (April to June) would have had spring sports, basketball and wrestling.

Ultimately, the board believed that stacking sports would have created too much difficulty for smaller schools.

“While there was some support for the idea that there would be longer seasons, and provide some flexiblity, in the end, the stacking of sports on top of one another was difficult for the board to move beyond,” Weber said.

The board did approve extending the current Season 1 period, which lifts restrictions for out of season coaching, through Feb. 21.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-07 18:23:27Last Update: 2020-12-07 19:42:28

Assistance Offered in Portland via Debit Cards
Applications only accepted during three hour window

This Thursday, December 10, Portlanders struggling from health or financial impacts of COVID-19 will have the opportunity to apply for $500 in cash assistance through a City of Portland program to help households pay for urgent needs such as food, dependent care, medicine, rent and utilities, and transportation.

The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) launched the Household Assistance Program in September, and partnered with United Way of the Columbia-Willamette on an initial public offering of more than 2,800 prepaid debit cards in October.

In response to overwhelming demand, the City has allocated additional funding to make another 4,000 cards available through a second application round.

“The City of Portland’s emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis prioritizes housing stability, food security, and support for the most vulnerable in our community,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “The urgent need for PHB’s Household Assistance Program is reflected in the community’s response to the first round of funding availability. The program is helping ease the daily struggle of those who are most deeply impacted by the pandemic’s severe economic impact.”

Applications will be accepted online on Thursday, December 10, from 3pm to 6pm. The application window will remain open for three hours and all applications submitted during that time will be accepted. Once the application window has closed, applicants will then be selected from the applicant pool at random using a lottery system.

The Household Assistance Program is part of a $38 million investment in housing relief measures by the City of Portland and the Portland Housing Bureau in response to COVID-19, including $19.5 million in for rent assistance and $1.6 million in housing stabilization support. The majority of the funds are being distributed in collaboration with more than 30 culturally specific community organizations in an effort to better serve Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, and those facing barriers to a public application process.

In total, the Household Assistance Program is expected to assist more than 31,000 Portlanders.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-07 17:59:03Last Update: 2020-12-08 10:20:19

Trail Controversy Continues
Environmentalists on bikes invade farm country.

Rural Yamhill County residents have been tangling with some of their county commissioners over the development of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail. Opposed by many in the rural areas, the proposed trail represents to them an encroachment by wealthy, liberal, urban folk into their area of commerce and, like many public recreation projects, looks good on paper, but may not be worth the problems it brings.

Yamhill County Chief Counsel Sadlo has lost his fifth out of five appearances before Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals. Each time he is sent packing, commissioners Kulla and Olson send him back for more. With legal options likely exhausted, the pair of commissioners have now commissioned a $139,000 planning exercise with Alta Planning as an apology to the Friends of Yamhelas Trail for failing to infringe on the private property rights of adjacent farms. The Friends are disappointed they didn’t get the trail they wanted at taxpayers’ expense. Additionally the commissioners are planning to give the Friends $9,000 of COVID-19 relief money. Oregon has 180 state parks, many with safe cycling opportunities that don’t threaten farmers livelihoods and they have great views. Alta Planning hosted Zoom meetings recently which prompted one property rights advocate, Billie Matthews, to comment.

The trail proposal is the result of a $139,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Department of Land Conservation and Development. The proposed trail would be 100% parks related and funded by Yamhill County. Proponents of this trail have and continue to put forward a number of claims that have been publicly disputed. The balance of power is about to change on the Yamhill County Commission, as Commissioner-Elect Lindsey Berschauer is sworn in next month. This could make a difference on this.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2020-12-07 16:38:12Last Update: 2020-12-07 17:59:03

Vaccine Development and Human Cells
Will the new vaccine contain aborted human tissue?

Human vaccination is an increasingly controversial topic. In 2019, the Oregon Legislature considered removing the religious and philosophical and even parental discretion exemptions from the requirement to vaccinate, and the House passed HB 3063. Parents may choose to not vaccinate based on a medical experience of the child or of a sibling. Despite this, Oregon has a 93% vaccination rate, and even that is lower than the national average. Lower even than Mississippi.

The ever-growing list of vaccines routinely administered to children have been suspected of a wide range of side-effects, and that's why requiring them is controversial. As government agency cry "pandemic" many people think that makes the requirement of a COVID-19 vaccine inevitable, and therefore even more controversial. As if that wasn't enough, the development, testing and production of the COVID-19 vaccine has included the use of aborted human tissue, and for some, that is a bridge too far. Many people think it's simply not ethical to use the leftover human remains of an abortion to develop or -- worse -- to produce a vaccine. If agreement can't be found on that, at least we can agree that forcing a person who thinks that abortion is morally wrong shouldn't be forced to take a vaccine that contains leftover human remains of an abortion.

This is easy ethics. At least it should be. Let's see if the Oregon Legislature and the Oregon Health Authority think so.

Founded in 2011 and named for Dr. Charlotte Denman Lozier -- a contemporary of Susan B. Anthony -- the Charlotte Lozier Institute is, according to their website, "committed to bringing the power of science, medicine, and research to bear in life-related policy making, media, and debates to promote a culture and polity of life." They've taken on the task of an ethical scrutiny of the various attempts at a COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates and Abortion-Derived Cell LinesThey say,

"Accurate information about the development and production of COVID-19 vaccines is essential, especially because many proposed candidates use newer molecular technologies for production of a viral vaccine. One concern regarding the ethical assessment of viral vaccine candidates is the potential use of abortion-derived cell lines in the development, production or testing of a vaccine. This analysis utilizes data from the primary scientific literature when available, along with data from clinical trial documents, reputable vaccine tracking websites, and published commercial information. It is the hope that by providing accurate data, recipients can make well-informed decisions regarding vaccine choices."

They've developed an interesting document describing the science of vaccine production in general, packing a great deal of scientific knowledge into a ten page document and shedding light on the current development of a COVID-19 vaccine. Of real interest is the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which are nearing the end of development. Both use abortion-derived cell lines for development, testing and production.

This is part of the reason why we have legislative processes that are cumbersome and tedious. When everyone is running around frenzied, with their hair on fire, exclaiming "pandemic," we tend to make poor legal, constitutional, ethical and scientific decisions. Let's hope the legislature can take a breath and let freedom govern.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-06 12:54:14Last Update: 2020-12-06 16:04:54

Governor Brown Orders Flags At Half-staff
Observance of Pearl Harbor Day on Monday

Monday, December 7th is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and a good time to reflect on our nation's history.

Oregon's Governor Kate Brown ordered all flags at public institutions to be flown at half-staff in honor of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day from midnight to midnight on Monday, December 7.

"We benefit every day from the bravery and sacrifice of our United States service members, and especially owe a debt of gratitude to the people who served and gave their lives in Pearl Harbor and World War II ," said Governor Brown. "I encourage all Oregonians to take a moment to reflect on that sacrifice and express gratitude for the freedoms their fellow Americans have ensured through their service."

The White House also issued a national flag-order, and a President Trump has issued a full presidential proclamation.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-06 12:45:38Last Update: 2020-12-06 18:01:49

Dallas, OR Parents Petition High Court
Is sharing showers in high school required?

In 2017 a group of parents organized as Parents Rights in Education at Dallas School District sued the district for violations of their children's privacy due to being forced to share showers with biologically opposite sex persons. As described in the original complaint:

This case is about protecting the privacy of every student within Dallas School District -- privacy that Defendants violate each school day through new rules and policies that radically changed the meaning of "sex" in Title IX. Defendants have unilaterally rejected the Title IX meaning of sex, which for 40 years has meant biologically male and female, two objectively determined, fixed, binary sexes rooted in our human reproductive nature. In lieu of this unambiguous meaning of sex, Defendants inject a distinct and altogether different concept of gender identity which is subjectively discerned, fluid, and nonbinary.

The case involved a biologically female, "transgender" student who insisted on showering in the boy's locker room, even though separate accommodations in a private shower were made for them. This student objected even to the private shower accommodations and the district relented and allowed them to shower with the boys. Title IX is a federal civil rights law passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972 that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance.

The case lost in US District Court and was dismissed by the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals and at this point very few cases move on to the next step which is the US Supreme Court. Recently, however, attorneys from Child & Parental Rights Campaign in Georgia contacted Parents Rights in Education and they have filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the US Supreme Court asking them to review the case.

The US Supreme Court will be reviewing the petition and will be deciding soon whether or not they will hear the case.

In a Supreme Court Cert petition, the focus is on the reasons why the Court should agree to review the case, instead of on how they should rule on the issues. The Supreme Court gets thousands of requests to review cases every year and agrees to review less than 100. Therefore, in order to get through the first stage, the petition has to provide compelling reasons why this is one of the cases that should be accepted. According to the Court’s tradition, it will only take cases if they: 1) Present a conflict between two or more federal courts of appeal on an important federal legal issue; 2) The court of appeals decided an important question of federal law that the Supreme Court has not yet decided but should decide; or 3) The court of appeals decided an important question of federal law in a way that conflicts with relevant decisions of the Supreme Court.

Consequently, in preparing the Petition, the focus will be on how the 9th Circuit’s decision on the various constitutional claims you raised conflicts with other courts of appeal and/or conflicts with prior Supreme Court cases. The emphasis will be that these conflicting decisions should be resolved by the Supreme Court because they are interfering with fundamental rights. Furthermore, this deprivation of rights is of nationwide importance as schools continue to adopt policies such as the one adopted by Dallas School District. Therefore, it is imperative that the Court issue a decision.

Many eagerly await the court's decision to hear this case.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-05 21:09:27Last Update: 2020-12-06 08:26:59

Oregon Might Not Be Ready For Tolling
Tolling decision will be made in 2023

More than 4,600 people and organizations from Oregon and Washington helped kick-off the I-205 Toll Project by giving input on the draft project's purpose, including tolling scenarios and ways to implement tolls.

The 75-day comment period marked the beginning of the environmental review process as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.

The feedback illustrated the need for more public engagement.

"Clearly there is more work to do," said Lucinda Broussard, Oregon Toll Program Director. "The comments we received from the community demonstrate the confusion around this type of tolling, which makes sense considering this has never been done before in Oregon."

The proposed project would toll all lanes of Interstate 205 near the Abernethy Bridge to raise revenue, improve travel reliability and manage congestion. The revenue could help pay for highway improvements along the corridor. Tolls would be collected electronically without toll booths to keep traffic moving.

The primary method used to provide comments was an online survey. Based on survey data, about half of respondents live in Clackamas County and rely on I-205 for multiple trips a week. Like other demographic groups, people most affected by a potential toll expressed the greatest concerns.

"We've seen at the beginning of other toll projects how community support starts low," Broussard said. "With so many unknowns, it's easy to understand why no one wants to pay more for travel."

The most frequently mentioned comments focused on: Respondents offered numerous suggestions on how impacts of tolls could be lessened. Suggestions included toll discounts, improved transit, and maintaining the choice of a toll-free route.

"We appreciate all the specific suggestions and will continue to work with the community to create a system that works for us in Oregon," Broussard said.

Over the next two months, ODOT and the Federal Highway Administration will consider all the comments. ODOT will publish a response for how the public comments will be addressed in early 2021.

The next steps for the project include conducting a detailed analysis of the benefits and impacts of tolling. The results of this analysis will be published for public review in a draft Environmental Assessment in 2022. A final decision is expected in 2023. Tolling on I‑205 would not begin before 2024.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-05 19:29:27Last Update: 2020-12-05 19:59:02

120 Toilets For Homeless in Portland Causing Backlash
Attracting unwanted odors, noise and activity

Across Portland, over 120 portable toilets will feature a new, super-sized message: "This is more than a bathroom. It's also a human right."

Signs are being installed this week to discourage people from vandalizing or stealing the units, which are intended to serve people experiencing homelessness and others who need access to public bathrooms. Since placing the portable toilets in response to COVID-19, the City of Portland has faced backlash from some neighbors who oppose having toilets close to their homes.

The City installed signage on new portable toilets to raise awareness about public health.

Striving to serve as many people as possible, the City selected locations based on a detailed analysis of areas where houseless people are living, interviews with people living in encampments, an audit of existing public restrooms and an assessment of human waste. Follow-up surveys are being conducted to help fine-tune the placement of the toilets.

Critics of the portable toilets have sent angry emails and voicemails to the Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program, as well as blocking toilet delivery, and vandalizing or stealing the bright red hygiene units. Some people say portable toilets are attracting unwanted odors, noise and activity near their homes.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-05 15:00:51Last Update: 2020-12-05 15:13:43

Taxpayers Fund Snacks for Rioters
As if it’s not bad enough that your government won’t prosecute them

According the Oregon Health Authority website, "On August 18, 2020, OHA opened grant applications to not-for-profit organizations statewide and Oregon’s nine federally recognized Tribes and the Urban Indian Health Program for grants flowing from legislatively-directed $45 million in federal CARES Act coronavirus relief funds. These grants are intended to address the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Oregon’s tribal communities and communities of color." PJ Media has also reported on this.

Page 7 of this list of Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Health Equity Grant Awards lists the award to SNACK BLOC as $145,000. Ironically, although it appears that these snacks were used to sustain rioters, the OHA website says that "these grants can be used to help people address...safety and violence prevention." The motto of SNACK BLOC seems to be the statement "Supporting the Resistance One Snack at a Time," according to their facebook page.

According to their facebook page:

SNACK BLOC is a community resource and support for rallies, protests, community events and vigils in the greater Portland area.
Supporting the Resistance, one snack at a time (via donations from the community). We aim to create a safe space with sustinance, medic tent, and chill zone during efforts made by the Resistance.

SNACK BLOC holds a zero-tolerance policy for:
Non-consensual interactions
Body shaming
Victim blaming & shaming
Cultural appropriation

If you feel that SNACK BLOC is not holding to this standard, please let us know.

As one can infer from the spelling, the name "SNACK BLOC" derives its significance -- and its political leanings -- from "Black Bloc." According to Wikipedia,

"black bloc is a tactic used by protesters who wear black clothing, ski masks, scarves, sunglasses, motorcycle helmets with padding, or other face-concealing and face-protecting items. The clothing is used to conceal wearers' identities and hinder criminal prosecution by making it difficult to distinguish between participants. It is also used to protect their faces and eyes from pepper spray, which is used by police during protests or civil unrest. The tactic allows the group to appear as one large unified mass. Black bloc participants are often associated with anarchism, anarcho-communism, communism, libertarian socialism, antifascism, or the anti-globalization movement."

According to the Secretary of State's Corporation division, SNACK BLOC was founded in June as a public benefit corporation and lists its President as Masyn Bontrager.

One observer said, "$145,000 buys a lot of snacks, but it could have gone to help struggling small businesses or unemployed people."

--Donnie Coleman

Post Date: 2020-12-04 21:29:04Last Update: 2020-12-05 14:18:43

Portland Police Seeking Information on Rioters
Vandalism Attacks Still Under Investigation

On November 26, 2020 at about 1:22 a.m., Portland Police responded to reports of people breaking windows and committing other acts of vandalism along Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. Multiple callers reported seeing people dressed in black clothing moving west along Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard breaking out windows as they went.

Responding officers contacted people and made some arrests. The investigation into these crimes is still underway. Portland Police are working in the service of the community to gather information and build cases against the people responsible for these attacks on businesses and other private property. Property in the Sunnyside, Richmond, and Buckman neighborhoods were impacted that morning. Similar attacks against property occurred throughout the city days before, including in the Hosford-Abernethy, Laurelhurst and Hollywood neighborhoods.

Damage along Southeast Hawthorne and Northeast Sandy Boulevards was particularly extensive and impacted dozens of local businesses.

Portland Police encourage any victim who has not yet reported damage such as broken windows, graffiti, or other property damage to make those reports. Crime victims can make reports online or call the non-emergency number 503-823-3333.

Portland Police would also be interested to collect video that captured any part of these incidents.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-04 17:21:03Last Update: 2020-12-04 17:32:10

Brown Insists Vaccinations For All Oregonians
Stopping Coronavirus means total complaince

Oregon Governor Kate Brown stated in today's press conference that Oregonians are complying, but the pandemic isn't over yet.

More than 84% of Oregonians are wearing masks, a meta analysis of cell phone data use shows that Oregonians are staying home. Transportation is down by 37%, office use is down 40% and telecommuting is up 13%. Oregonians are listening, and doing as they're told, to get through this "dark winter".

"We just need you to hang on a little longer, hope is on the way" stated Kate Brown. 35k initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine are on the way, approximately 70k initial doses of the Moderna vaccine will be here by December 22nd. Health care workers will be the first in line to roll up their sleeves and be given the "opportunity to get the vaccine, by the end of January".

In a press release yesterday Governor Brown announced the appointment of a new panel to the Western States’ Scientific Safety Review Workgroup. Doctors, scientists, and health experts from California, Nevada, and Washington, will fill positions on the panel. The workgroup will review the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines that receive Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).In addition to reviewing safety and efficacy, the workgroup will give recommendations on timelines for reopening Oregon, including when schools can reopen.

But Brown warned "the vaccine doesn't end the pandemic just yet, everyone needs to buckle down until they can receive it".

The press conference was handed off to Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen who began his announcement with "grim milestones", Oregon has reached 80k total cases, and today marks 1,003 deaths for the total pandemic. Case counts have reached 1k cases per day, and Allen stated "we only expect this to get worse as Thanksgiving case counts emerge". "But there's light at the end of the tunnel" says Allen, as vaccines are expected to arrive soon. Until that point Allen suggests no meetings, no travel, and no gatherings.

"Rigorous clinical trials show the vaccines are safe and effective". Claimed Dr Rachael Banks the Director of Public Health. "Our typical flu vaccine is between 40-60% effective, and you see us pushing those vaccines like crazy, because 40-60% is pretty good. 95% effective is unheard of, so we feel really good about these vaccines. Banks went on to add that "It's not the vaccine that's the solution, but it's us all getting vaccinated that will stop this pandemic", "I know I'll be getting the vaccine" stated Banks, who then turned toward Governor Brown and Pat Allen, asking if they would too. Naturally both answered in the affirmative, the entire event felt scripted and contrived, like a dystopic advertisement for the new vaccine.

To put things into perspective we're currently shut down due to 80k positive and presumptive cases, of those cases we're looking at a 1.25% fatality rate of both positive and presumptive Covid-19 deaths. Oregon's population is currently 4.45 million, meaning exactly 0.000225093% of Oregon's population have died of or with Covid-19. It should also be noted that Oregon is using the Thermo Fisher PCR test at 40 cycles, which has proven to be a faulty method of testing. In fact Portugal recently determined the test will no longer be used to create public policy.

Conversely it's estimated 265 million people will die from starvation this year, due to lockdowns, and interruptions in the marketplace.

Many questions remain unanswered by Brown and OHA, like do we have enough cold storage for the vaccine, which requires storage at sub freezing temperatures? What will happen to people if they don't receive the second vaccine dose in time, due to supply shortages? What is Oregon's plan for post market surveillance? What exactly is a robust economic package, and will it be available to all Oregonians? One thing did stand out quite clear, in today's meeting however. Oregon's economy will continue to be held hostage until total compliance is achieved and everyone gets their shots.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-12-04 10:53:21Last Update: 2020-12-04 17:21:03

The Saga of Winchester Dam
Environmentalists Weaponize the DEQ

Constructed in 1890, the Winchester Dam fish ladder has been a longtime attraction in Douglas County. The dam no longer produces hydropower, and the structure is now maintained for the surrounding landowners and recreational benefits of the Winchester Water Control District.

Now, due to lack of repairs, the dam has been categorized as “high hazard” by the Oregon Department of Water Resources, and a 2019 inspection requested the owners hire an engineer to inspect the structure, which has yet to be conducted.

In January 2020, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality assessed a $58,378 fine for violations during a repair in 2018 at Winchester Dam. The letter, issued by the DEQ Office of Compliance and enforcement, read, in part:

DEQ issued this penalty because the North Umpqua River is important habitat for threatened Oregon Coast coho salmon and several other sensitive species, and your activities resulted in the discharge of sediment and wet ( or "green") concrete to the river, degrading aquatic habitat and killing numerous fish. These incidents also negatively affected the quality of the primary drinking water source for two community water systems - City of Roseburg and Umpqua Basin Water Association, serving approximately 37,700 people (28,800 and 8,900, respectively).

Your dam repair activities were conducted without following all established in-water work best management practices, despite receiving information in advance from state and federal agencies on how to protect water quality and resident aquatic species.

The. Conservationist organizations are claiming that holes throughout the wooden structure have become false attractions for fish jumping against it and getting injured. Jim McCarthy with WaterWatch Oregon claims the fish reach spawning grounds in bad shape or don’t arrive at all because they died. Lack of repairs has led a number of organizations to sue the Winchester Water Control District for its operation and lack of maintenance of the Winchester Dam.

The organizations allege the 130-year-old dam is harming Coho Salmon. The plaintiffs, represented by Karl G. Anuta and attorneys for Earthjustice, asked the court to declare that the defendant violated the ESA and to provide adequate passage for Coho salmon as well as store water without a permit. They also asked the court to either require the dam to be removed or for the defendants to repair the dam to provide “adequate fish passage” and impose civil penalties on Winchester Water Control District.

The District claims the current 10 year average fish count for Coho is the highest it has ever been since the count record began in the late 1940s, and the suit is aimed at removing the dam. But, can they defend against what appears to be poor management?

The Winchester Water Control District board can’t win. If the suit is denied, they must still answer to the Oregon Department of Water Resources for the poor rating and conduct an inspection. If the suit is upheld the board must still make repairs and conduct an inspection, or remove the dam. If the dam is removed, they can each be held liable for damages to each and every citizen of Roseburg that benefits from this dam. “The board can individually be held liable and sued on a personal basis for the rise in cost of water by each resident as a result of removing the dam,” according to Loma Wharton of Liberators.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-12-03 21:09:34Last Update: 2020-12-03 22:06:35

Housing Providers Propose Relief
Point out state’s role in generating back due rent.

An Oregon association representing more than 25,000 members and over 270,000 rental units, Multifamily NW, has communicated with Governor Kate Brown, requesting a resolution to the hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid rent owed to real estate owners. These arrearages were created by state policies on housing, including eviction moratoria and lack of tenant requirements for proof of hardship. Spurred by the recent discussion by the Governor's Council of Economic Advisors, the letter, authored by Multifamily NW Executive Director, Deborah Imse calls out the advisors for their inability to address the problem.

Oregonian renters and housing providers would be angered and disheartened by the response you received from economist Tim Duy, and your apparent agreement with his statement: “I don’t know that it’s possible for the state to make that investment, it’s probably too big, and I would probably let the bankruptcy courts deal with it and let the banks deal with it....you are going to have to accept that there are going to be costs to this pandemic that cannot be dealt with effectively by the state”

The costs referred to by the economist amount to more than $250 300 million, but housing providers maintain they are higher. In an ironic twist, some of the loudest voices in favor of the eviction moratorium, which involves the state intervention on a private contract, are the same voices that point out the inviolability of a contract when PERS reform is discussed.

Not content with merely complaining to the Governor, Multifamily NW offers several solutions that the upcoming legislature could use to provide relief. There is a proposal on the table for mitigating the damages done to housing providers, currently known as Legislative Concept 18. In another letter, addressed to "Speaker Kotek and Members of the Democratic Caucus," the association points out several flaws in LC 18, including: 38% of all residential real estate in Oregon is renter occupied, so the dollar figure of any impact on rental properties quickly balloons. Often accused of picking winners and losers, Democrats in the person of the Governor and the majority party in the legislature have created a massive welfare program -- with a wealth transfer of possibly nearly half a billion dollars -- and placed the cost of that welfare program squarely on the shoulder of one sector of society. Ask a housing provider if "We are all in this together."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-03 18:10:02Last Update: 2020-12-03 19:49:27

The Oregon Election Has Been Certified
Secretary of State Bev Clarno announces record turnout

Today, elections officials certified the 2020 General Election in Oregon. Official election results are available on the Oregon Secretary of State website.

In the months leading up to the 2020 General Election, Oregon's Secretary of State Bev Clarno challenged all Oregon voters to remain engaged in democracy and to participate in this year’s election. Not only did voters participate, but Oregon experienced a record number turnout with over 2.4 million ballots cast.

“Thank you for participating and making your voices heard,” said Secretary Clarno. “I am so proud of the work all of our election officials do every day to ensure that our democracy is safe and secure. Voters can rest assured that their votes count and that our system remains one of the most accessible in the nation.”

The Electoral College will meet at 1:30 p.m. on December 14th to cast the electoral votes. This will be available to watch by livestream on the Oregon Legislature's website.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-03 16:21:12Last Update: 2020-12-03 16:29:28

Distance Learning Got You Down? Blame the OEA
For teachers’ unions, it not about the kids.

If your kid is sick of distance learning and/or not getting the most out of your education property taxes, you might have more than just Governor Brown to blame. It might be that the Governor is under a lot of pressure from her friends as the local teachers' union. One of the most powerful public employee unions in the state, the Oregon Education Association is convinced that standing up for its members means keeping kids out of classrooms.

Governor Brown has been convening her COVID advisory group in secret -- as the public meeting laws apparently allow -- so it's not clear who is putting pressure on her to develop policies favorable to their interests, such as public employee unions. In this case, though it's not required for her to be transparent, her failure to do so heightens speculation that she's being influenced.

According to their website:

OEA and your local association are continuing to work around the clock to fight for protections for students and staff who fear for their health, or the health of their loved ones, should they be asked to return to school. Nobody wants to get students back into the classroom more than educators, but we can’t bring students back until we can ensure that our schools are a safe place for students to learn and for educators to work.

As we continue to see record levels of COVID-19 both here in Oregon and throughout the United States, it is more important than ever that our communities recognize the threat of this pandemic and take the steps necessary to contain its spread.

OEA President John Larson makes a similarly bold statement on their website:

Relaxed metrics at this moment in time will only serve to further disrupt education for students, families, and educators throughout Oregon – allowing districts to bring students back to the classroom before it is safe to do so and increasing the likelihood that our schools and communities will again be forced to lockdown in the future.

The science tells another story. First of all, according to data supplied by the Oregon Health Authority, children age 19 and below make up fewer cases than the general population -- despite the fact that roughly a quarter of them, kids under the age of five, have no mask mandate. When they do contract the disease, children aged 19 and below have less-serious symptoms, as evidenced by the fact that they are hospitalized much less than other age segments. And, as would be expected from these statistics, they are far much less likely to die from it. In fact, no one in Oregon has died from COVID-19 who is 19 years or younger.

Not. A. Single. Person.

Further, as we are on our way to herd immunity from this disease -- an equilibrium in which enough people have immunity to the disease to keep it at bay, whether by having contracted it, or though vaccination, the demographic that can be most helpful in this process are the children. No one wants their child -- or any child -- to get seriously ill, but this outbreak seems to target the elderly and immune compromised, so the more young people who get immune from it helps corner the virus.

It's hard to imagine who the teachers' unions are trying to protect. Kids? Not really. Teachers? Maybe, but other professionals -- one thinks of first responders and health care workers -- face the disease, too and survive.

One could wonder if, instead of teaching critical thinking and science to a generation of youth, children are taught fear and dependence upon government, by the "red for ed" public employee union members who are doing the teaching. One also wonders if there's not a rift between the actual boots-on-the-ground educators -- a group not known to fear a virus -- and their union bosses. Certainly, there must be some teachers that want to return to the classroom. They might be better served by their union fighting to get them a spot closer to the front of the line for scarce vaccines, rather than an eternal spot in front of a laptop.

It remains to be seen if the public employee unions which control our education system care about children. It's pretty clear that they are wholly unresponsive to taxpayers and parents.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-03 15:10:40Last Update: 2020-12-03 16:20:42

Separation of Powers and Branches of Government in Oregon
This should be easy. Spoiler alert: It’s not

If you were taught any civics, probably the most basic thing you were taught is the three branches of government. You can probably still name them: The Legislative, the Executive and the Judicial Branches. Well, Oregon's founders didn't want you to rest on your laurels after 10th grade, so they created an appendage to the Executive. Article III, Section 1 of the Oregon Constitution spells it out.

Separation of powers. The powers of the Government shall be divided into three separate branches, the Legislative, the Executive, including the administrative, and the Judicial; and no person charged with official duties under one of these branches, shall exercise any of the functions of another, except as in this Constitution expressly provided.

Article III, Section 2 says it all starts with Legislative action:

Budgetary control over executive and administrative officers and agencies. The Legislative Assembly shall have power to establish an agency to exercise budgetary control over all executive and administrative state officers, departments, boards, commissions and agencies of the State Government.

Once the legislature has created executive agencies and given them a budget and a mission, they are under day-to-day control of the executive -- The Governor.

The Administrative Department is described in Article VI. Because the Secretary of State and the State Treasurer are elected officials in addition to the Governor, who is the head of the Executive Branch, they are deemed part of the Executive Branch, but not really. Get it? The fact that they are called out on the Oregon Constitution gives them a measure of independence from the Governor.

To further complicate things, there are two other agencies within the Executive Branch, which are not named as part of the administrative branch, but are separate elected officials. The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries as head of that agency and the Attorney General as head of the Oregon Justice Department are statewide elected officials in the Executive branch.

The Governor is in charge of all other agencies in state government. Most agencies have a board of commissioners, appointed by the Governor and in some cases, confirmed by the State Senate, to direct policy for the agency.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-02 19:50:38Last Update: 2020-12-03 10:23:17

Kate Brown Announces Closure of Three Prisons
Public safety sees little priority in Brown’s new budget

Kate Brown has explained that "equity" will be the priority with her newly released biennium budget proposals. She announced the budget on Tuesday, via press conference, and she explained that funding for public safety will suffer significant cuts.

While these budget cuts are being considered as a response to the loss of state revenue during the mandated lock downs, the governor may not be willing to give up on pet projects, as indicated by the proposed 8 percent increase in the overall budget. She then pleaded with the Trump administration for additional federal funding for projects that Oregon could not budget appropriately for.

"Honestly, it is time for Washington, DC to get its act together. Unlike the federal government, state governments have to balance our budget. We have to meet the needs of the pandemic Our revenues are down as a result of the recession caused by the pandemic and yet we've got to meet the needs of vulnerable Orgon families and, frankly, we've got to invest and rebuild in our communities."

"Together, with our public safety system, we cut roughly 100 million. I had a very tough conversation with the hospitals today because the Oregon Health Plan is still short $400 million, so that we need to work collaboratively to preserve our health care infrastructure."

She announced a plan for three prisons to be closed. Mill Creek Correctional Facility in Salem is slated to be the first closure in July 2021 with Shutter Creek Correctional Institution in North Bend next, and Warner Creek Correctional Facility in Lakeview to follow.



Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) issued the following statement:

“I am deeply concerned for Oregonians’ public safety with Governor Brown’s decision to close three state prisons yesterday. There is a potential for an increase in crime, especially when there are no details on who is being released or relocated. “Before the Legislature does anything, Governor Brown must share the plan of where inmates will go, who will be released and how law enforcement, vendor and support staff jobs will be protected.

“Two of the prisons are in rural Oregon communities already under significant stress due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, and the years of neglect as the Portland area has been given priority. “Governor Brown’s decision to close multiple corrections facilities, along with the early release of inmates this year, and the 2019 bill that narrowed the use of the death penalty, are examples of the disturbing trend that she does not value Oregonians’ public safety and is determined to undermine the Oregon criminal justice system to earn political points.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-02 13:05:16Last Update: 2020-12-24 12:42:24

Republican Candidate Selma Pierce Tragically Dies
Fatal crash in West Salem

On December 1, 2020 at approximately 5:00 p.m., the Salem Police and Fire Departments responded to Doaks Ferry RD NW and Hidden Valley DR NW on a report of a vehicle colliding with a pedestrian.

The pedestrian, identified as Selma Pierce age 66 of Salem, was declared deceased at the scene. The driver of the Chevrolet SUV that struck Pierce remained on scene and is cooperating with the investigation.

The preliminary findings indicate Pierce was in the roadway when she was struck. The investigation is still ongoing and no further details will be released at this time.

Both Bud and Selma Pierce were very active in Oregon politics. Selma's husband Bud had announced his campaign to run for governor of Oregon just the day prior.

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan has released a statement offering condolences:

"House Republicans were devastated to learn of the tragic passing of Dr. Selma Pierce in an accident earlier today. We are profoundly saddened by this sudden loss of our friend and community leader. Selma dedicated her life to serving people.

"She touched the lives of thousands through volunteer dental work to at-risk populations, service on local education foundations, and her and her husband Bud’s generous support of countless community organizations. The Pierces are a pillar of the Salem community and this loss will be felt deeply across our state. Our prayers are with Bud and the entire Pierce family this evening.”

Selma's husband Dr. Bud Pierce has also released a somber statement on the tragic passing of his wife:

Selma Pierce, the glue of the Pierce family, an angel of a person , the only woman that I have ever loved, died this evening in a sudden and tragic accident. We cannot believe that she has left us, but we are comforted in the knowledge that she is with God, and we will see her again.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-12-01 21:03:18Last Update: 2020-12-01 21:05:57

Get Ready for the COVID-19 Vaccine
Healthcare personnel and long-term care providers will be first in line

Editor's note: This is the second in a series on Oregon’s COVID-19 vaccination plans, digging into the Oregon Healthy Authority's 125 page draft plan on vaccinations.

Today, the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices of the CDC met to vote on adding the not-yet-approved COVID-19 vaccine to the recommended schedule of vaccines.

All but one voting members of the ACIP voted to add it to the schedule with this language:

When a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized by FDA and recommended by ACIP, vaccination in the initial phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program (Phase 1a) should be offered to both 1) health care personnel and 2) residents of long-term care facilities.

As previously reported on in our first installment of the COVID-19 vaccine issue, the US has implemented fast tracked mass vaccination programs twice. Once, with polio in 1954-1955 that was abandoned with the Cutter Incident causing polio paralysis and the 1976 Swine flu vaccine program that caused GBS paralysis. The cart-before-the-horse meeting felt rushed and questions by the panel as well as public comment was kept short. The compressed timeline means there is no long term follow up prior to administering millions of vaccine doses. The ACIP panel stated they will not approve and recommend the vaccine unless it is safe. That is why they are asking for everyone in the community to report adverse events in the early phases and the importance of this data. They are calling on the whole community to ensure safety of the COVID-19 vaccines. Oregon healthcare workers need to be prepared and trained on effective adverse event reporting on a regular basis. The last time the state of Oregon investigated and reported on adverse events, was in 2009.

Public health officials discussed the challenge of implementation plans of those who would be first in line to get the jab. They have a partnership with two pharmacies to attend long term care homes first to vaccinate both the staff and residents on three occasions to administer two doses of the vaccine. Things to keep in mind is that all COVID-19 vaccine trial info forthcoming has reported as having high side effects and Dr. Fryhoffer of the ACIP has recommended letting individuals know that getting the COVID-19 will “not be a walk in the park.” Some unblinded trial participants have suggested taking a few days off for the COVID-19-like symptoms of illness it produces. Due to that fact, the CDC suggests considering staggering personnel getting the vaccine as well as to have time away from clinical care because they could experience systemic symptoms post-vaccination. A panel member agreed, “It could wipe out that unit for 1-3 days. It could have quite a few of those people out of work.”

"Reactogenicity" refers to the property of a vaccine of being able to produce common, "expected" adverse reactions, especially excessive immunological responses and associated signs and symptoms, including fever and sore arm at injection site. There is no reactogenicity data in Long term care facility residents. The trials were only conducted with prescreened healthy individuals. Pfizer only used 94 participants for interim analysis. You can see the data on the Informed Consent Action Network website.

It's not clear if those who have contracted the COVID-19 symptoms previously will need to stay masked up or get vaccinated, nor any policies on exemptions for religious or medical reasons, though consent or assent will be obtained. The following were discussed. The ACIP voted to recommend the vaccine should Phase 3 clinical trials show safety and success and approval by the FDA. The FDA meets December 8-10 to discuss Emergency Use authorization of three who have submitted application.

Regardless of how people feel about getting the vaccine, this will mean we can all go back to normal and ditch the masks and grocery store directional stickers, right? Not so fast! We were told by the CDC’s committee that masks and social distancing will still be necessary for a long while. Some Oregon legislators have also said it will be many more months before we can go back to normal. It has already been a long nine months.

Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash.com

--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-12-01 18:43:09Last Update: 2020-12-01 19:05:58

Brown Delivers Budget Wish List
The publication of the Governor’s budget is the start of the biennial budget process

After a technology snafu that had Kate Brown jumping out of her chair and dancing around shaking it off, she resumed her 2021 budget presentation presser, centering on racial justice. Repeating the script she restarted, “What a year it has been...” She said that Oregonians have stepped up to protect friends and neighbors. Keeping each other healthy and well. Through fires and a global pandemic, we are determined to rise and rebuild and have every voice heard.

She went on to say, she thinks that the state’s north star is the Governor’s budget. To do so we must first recognize racism impacts every part of our culture and economy. The Governor continued with, “This budget doesn’t put enough into education and public health. It doesn’t go far enough to heal the pain of 2020. Oregon alone cannot do that. We need Federal government to stand up and respond.” She is asking more for OHP and COVID-19 testing. According to the Governor another $685 Million is needed for pandemic reasons. She also stated that we need another round of the paycheck protection program. Due to losing half of its childcare supply, we need to rebuild with federal aid as well as additional federal aid for schools and colleges, cities, counties, tribal governments and courts need help. “It’s time for DC to get its act together.”

She encouraged folks to contact their congressperson and ask for federal funds.

The Governor also confirmed the likelihood of a catastrophic session is great. “I am absolutely committed that we meet needs of vulnerable Oregonians." She is working with legislative leadership now on implementing one. Given community spread of COVID-19 she wants to ensure a way for Oregonians to participate via technology and keeping legislators and staff safe.

When asked about getting kids back into schools Kate Brown said “there is a specific plan for vaccination of teachers and schools.” There has not been any COVID-19 trials completed on children.

--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-12-01 14:03:32Last Update: 2020-12-01 14:21:10

Oregonians Wake Up To Facts
"V is for Vaccine" Kicks off International Demonstration and Vaccine Awareness

Oregonians found themselves facing an inconvenient truth, regarding the new COVID-19 vaccine during a recent commute. "COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturers Are Exempt From Liability" reads the sign above the I-205, Oregon City overpass. The sign was part of an international campaign put on by the group 'V' is for Vaccine. Spokesperson Josh Coleman stated in a press release prior to the event,

"All medical procedures require informed consent. Vaccination is no different, but the reality is vaccines are routinely administered without informing the recipient of severe and acknowledged risks. A fast-tracked COVID-19 vaccine means no long term and limited safety studies. With the potential for severe adverse reactions and widespread vaccine mandates, it is critical that people understand their rights, the true scope of risk involved in vaccinating and the lack of adequate recourse if they suffer an adverse reaction."

The new COVID-19 vaccine has been granted the same legal immunity as childhood vaccines were with the passage of H.R 5546 The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, making it liability free for manufacturers. In the event of serious adverse reactions or death as a result of the vaccine, the manufacturer is immune from legal consequences or direct pay outs to the vaccine injured.

In light of alarming halts to production, during safety trials, experts are speaking out "We only have one chance to get the vaccine right, after it's approved there's no liability, and no enforcement for post market research" says LPN Jordana Bruce, who specializes in geriatric care, and works for a large in home care provider that operates in Oregon. "A huge red flag with the AstraZeneca trial is that the vaccine was mainly tested on healthy individuals under 50. That doesn't really help anyone when the approved vaccine will be given to my geriatric patients over 60, first, without having been properly tested (on this age range), and those under age 50 aren't really dying from COVID-19". "However, I'm not sure the alternative option is much better" says Bruce, "This mRNA technology has never been used in human history, and if it's like past vaccines without liability, we might not understand the long term risks, until it's too late".

The New York Times recently reported issues with the AstraZeneca trial, outlining the flawed data collection and efficacy claims. Data was cherry picked from studies in Britain and Brazil, which led to initial reports of a vaccine at low cost, with a 90% efficacy threshold(sic). Soon after initial reports, Scientists and industry experts noted various errors along with a series of other irregularities and omissions in the way AstraZeneca initially disclosed their data. Claiming as a result, the confidence of the scientific community has been eroded, questioning the reliability of the results.

One key omision being that the test group was largely comprised of healthy individuals under the age of 50. Some of the trial participants were given a half dose, while others were given two full doses, apparently by accident. According to New York Times, "Crucial information was also missing. The company said that the early analysis was based on 131 symptomatic COVID-19 cases that had turned up in study participants. But it did not break down how many cases were found in each group of participants — those who received the half-strength initial dose, the regular-strength initial dose and the placebo."

When asked by The New York Times, why such a large variation of effectiveness was seen with different dosing, respectively a 62-90% variability(sic) AstraZeneca and Oxford researchers said they did not know.

In a bizarre move, rather than disclose their findings publicly, AstraZeneca shared some information with Wall Street analysts and other officials. Stock prices quickly plummeted, soon after. When asked why the company chose to selectively share details of their data collection and efficacy failures Michele Meixell, a spokeswoman for AstraZeneca stated, “I think the best way of reflecting the results is in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, not in a newspaper.” A peer reviewed paper has yet to be published, and concerns over insider trading appear to be valid according to financial analysts and Wall Street watchdogs.

Pfizer and Moderna are also nearing completion, using a vaccine, which uses experimental mRNA technology. Messenger RNA or mRNA is the ribonucleic acid that transfers the genetic code of the DNA of the cell nucleus to a ribosome in the cytoplasm, which is what determines the order that amino acids of a protein bind and act as a mold or pattern for the synthesis of that protein. Pfizer released preliminary results stating their vaccine is 90% effictive at preventing symptomatic COVID-19. Moderna also released their early results of the phase 3 trial, stating the vaccine is around 94.5% effective at preventing COVID-19.

Yet, this new form of vaccine has the scientific community at odds regarding ethics, safety, long term viability and efficacy. Dr. Wolfgang Woodarg, is an Internist, Pneumologist, Social medicine expert, MD of Hygiene, environmental clinicist and former head of the German Health administration. Dr. Woodarg has been very vocal about his concerns regarding the panic being created, and the supposed cure, which he believes to be more harmful than the virus.

"This promising vaccine (the mRNA vaccine), for the vast majority of people should be forbidden, because it is genetic manipulation!" Earlier this month the previous vice president of Pfizer publicly stated that "There is absolutely no need for vaccines to extinguish the pandemic. I’ve never heard such nonsense talked about vaccines. You do not vaccinate people who aren’t at risk from a disease. You also don’t set about planning to vaccinate millions of fit and healthy people with a vaccine that hasn’t been extensively tested on human subjects." Yeadon has been vocal on social media, and stated "If any such vaccine is approved for use under any circumstances that are not explicitly experimental, I believe that recipients are being misled to a criminal extent. This is because there are precisely zero human volunteers for whom there could possibly be more than a few months past-dose safety information."

Considering the fact that it takes years to file FOIA requests, or go through the court system to compel unwilling agencies to comply with requests, activists appear to have valid concerns regarding rushed vaccines without liability, and the current public policies being created for compulsory use of said liability free products.

It took attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr many years, and millions of dollars to finally receive a copy of the FDA results on the MMR study. A vaccine that was once heavily pushed in the media and by health agencies as being "100% safe and effective". It also took many years, and many court battles before finding that, per the 1986 immunity act for vaccine manufacturers, biannual post market data was never once, in over 32 years, disclosed to the Congress. That biannual disclosure, being the quid pro quo, to ultimate freedom from tort and liability claims.

Since the inception of the 1986 Act, health care costs have skyrocketed as each generation has become increasingly sicker. According to a BlueCross BlueShield meta analysis, over 54% of the Millennial generation has one or more chronic illnesses, 23% report serious mental health issues, and the U.S rates number 1 for infant mortality over any developed Nation. The U.S Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has also significantly increased its list of required vaccines on the CDC schedule, since vaccines became liability free. To date, there is only one study cross examining vaccinated vs unvaccinated children, and the results indicate a positive correlation between increased vaccination rates and overall health, developmental delays, asthma, ear infections and gastrointestinal disorders.

As a society, we've just begun to scratch the surface on long term health effects associated with known vaccines. Perhaps, it's a good idea to tap the brakes, and take a more conservative approach to creating public policy. Especially, as we now understand, injury caused by the vaccine, is our own responsibility.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-12-01 07:24:23Last Update: 2020-11-30 22:28:52

Psychedelic Mushroom Board Applicants Sought
Oregon voters recently passed Measure 109

Governor Brown is seeking applicants for the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board.

Established by Ballot Measure 109, the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board makes recommendations to the Oregon Health Authority on available scientific studies and research on the safety and efficacy of psilocybin in treating mental health conditions, and makes recommendations on the requirements, specifications and guidelines for providing psilocybin services in Oregon.

OHA invites applications from people who meet the following criteria: Persons interested in applying can submit the following documentation online here by Jan. 1, 2021: For more information, contact André Ourso, OHA Public Health Division at 971-673-0404.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-30 20:25:27Last Update: 2020-11-30 22:02:51

COVID-19 Contract Tracing
Are we getting a bang for the buck?

When COVID-19 reached Oregon in March of this year, the Oregon Health Authority initiated a contact tracing program as a tool to control the spread of the disease. The OHA website informs the public. "Contact tracing means calling people who may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 to provide guidance and support. It’s a key tool for preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In Oregon, local public health authorities use contact tracing to prevent the spread of many types of diseases, like measles."

On August 5th, the Oregon Legislature Emergency Board approved a $94.2 million Federal Funds expenditure for the Department of Administrative Services and Oregon Health Authority to conduct contact tracing. LFO issued a report on CARES Act distributions in Oregon related to contact tracing. According to the report, the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division received: Much of this money went to support public contact tracer workers, but quite a bit -- $9.4 million in CARES Act funded contracts -- went to 173 Community-based Organizations for: Each of the Community-based Organizations has a specific racial, disability or socio-economic community that they serve. According to the OHA website, "Community-based organizations, including advocacy groups, and Community Health Workers are central to the success of our contact tracing efforts. They will help us reach and respond to the needs of people of color, tribal members, people with disabilities, immigrant and refugee communities, LGBTQIA+ communities, and migrant and seasonal farm workers."

The OHA claims to have hired 600 contract tracers, in addition to the Community-based Organization workers. The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials recommends a ratio of 1:1,000 individuals to tracers, which would put the need in Oregon at about 1,200.

The value of contact tracing is not historically disputed. The amount spent on public workers and given to Community-based organizations has been called into question by some. To date, OHA claims that we have some 70,000 cases in Oregon. The Oregon based outbreak is about 150 days old. That means 600 contact tracers -- according to the OHA site, but probably more -- have handled 117 cases each or an average of 0.78 (i.e. fewer than one) cases per day. This seems like a manageable load -- certainly one that could be covered by almost $70 million in spending.

Another way to look at it, is to divide the spend of $70 million by 70,000 cases, which means that the state has allocated about $1,000 per case. And remember, this isn't care. This is contact tracing.

The upcoming legislative session will be a great opportunity for accountability.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-30 19:36:58Last Update: 2020-11-30 22:43:09

Cooling Predicted for the Next Few Years
A little science, if you’re interested

Climate watchers are starting to notice a strong La Niña that has been building in the equatorial Pacific off of the coast of Peru.

La Niña is a cooler sea surface temperature pattern in the equatorial Pacific Ocean off of Peru. Strong winds push warm surface water westward toward Indonesia and Australia, allowing cold water from the depths to rise near South America, providing a cooling effect.

The consequences for planet Earth are a cooling, similar but opposite to the warming we have recently experienced locally and across the globe. Major El Niños occurred in 1998, 2010, and 2016, with 1998 producing the highest Global Temperature and 2016 the highest Global Temperature Anomaly. The graph shows a plot of the anomaly, that is, the monthly departure from average.

The El Niño of 2016 was unusual because the effects lasted over several years. The global satellite temperature record does not yet show the effects of the building La Niña, because it typically takes a couple of months for tropical sea surface changes to show up in the lower troposphere, but they will. The National Weather Service is already predicting 25% more snow for the Northwest east of the Cascades.

Note that the entire satellite record of temperature anomalies shows the powerful effect of our oceans (and large volcanic eruptions). That is because our oceans contain the vast majority of mobile heat on this planet. The first ten feet of our oceans contain as much heat as the entire atmosphere. No wonder they dominate our climate.

The conclusion that should be understood is that the most likely climate change over the next few years is cooling not warming.

In any case, the Earth will surely continue on the roller-coaster ride evident in the NASA data for the satellite era, because we live on a planet with vast oceans and atmosphere that are never in equilibrium.

--Dr., Gordon Fulks

Post Date: 2020-11-30 07:36:15Last Update: 2020-11-30 08:57:33

Cemetery Established in 1855 Vandalized in Oregon
The Soldiers Monument was heavily damaged

There is nothing sacred to criminals in Portland Oregon in 2020. It is no surprise to many who have been paying attention to events in Oregon lately to now see the unchecked and mindless destruction spread about in a county with a district attorney who has pledged to take it easy on criminals. Violent thugs have begun to attack and destroy their own community's history and monuments. Fools do such things, and ignorant criminals.

These criminals that have now toppled a soldier's monument in Portland were supposedly protesting colonialism from centuries ago.

The Portland Police Bureau is now investigating a report of a statue toppled and vandalized in Lone Fir Cemetery this week.

Lone Fir, at 649 Southeast 26th Avenue, is a property owned by Metro. A Metro representative made an online police report on Friday, November 27, 2020, and the incident is under investigation.

According to the report, the vandalism happened sometime between 4:30p.m. Wednesday, November 25, 2020 and 7:30a.m. Thursday, November 26, 2020. A statue known as The Soldiers Monument was tipped over and painted.

Metro pleaded to visitors that the area is unsafe. "We are aware of the vandalism that occurred two nights ago at Lone Fir Cemetery and are assessing the damages. The Soldiers Monument was heavily damaged and was removed yesterday for the safety of visitors."

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-29 18:40:18Last Update: 2020-11-29 19:03:59

Oregon’s Education Service Districts
What are ESDs and why do we need them?

In the interest of local control, Oregon has 197 school districts. This allows for citizens to make decisions about education on a very local level, but it also has the effect of creating very small school districts that don't have the resources to respond to very unique needs or to leverage larger procurement opportunities. This is where Education Service Districts come in.

Oregon’s Education Service Districts are defined in Oregon law. ESDs originated in Oregon's first laws that established a general system of common schools -- that has maintained but changed Oregon's mid-level education service entities.

The mission of ESDs has remained somewhat constant: "Education Service Districts assist school districts and the State of Oregon in achieving Oregon's education goals by providing equitable educational opportunities for all of Oregon’s public school students."​

Each ESD provides regional services to its component school districts, primarily in areas that the school districts alone would not be able to adequately and equitably provide. Examples include high cost technology systems, and services to children with severe disabilities who qualify under the category of high cost but low incidence. Services are offered within four large categories: special needs children, school improvement, technology, and administrative services. In addition to allowing schools to withdraw from an ESD, 2011 SB 250 added new data and informational reporting requirements to the Oregon Transparency website for all Education Service Districts. Reporting requirements include: revenue, expenditures, contracts, salary data, and informational reports; local service plans, audit reports, and meeting notices, etc.

Each Education Service District is governed by an elected board of directors, much like a school district. Their meetings are open to the public.

This is a list of all the ESDs

Clackamas ESD
Columbia Gorge ESD
Douglas ESD
Grant ESD
Harney ESD 17
High Desert ESD
InterMountain ESD
Jefferson ESD
Lake ESD
Lane ESD
Linn Benton Lincoln ESD
Malheur ESD 14
Multnomah ESD
North Central ESD
Northwest Regional ESD
Region 18 ESD
South Coast ESD 7
Southern Oregon ESD
Willamette ESD

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-29 10:46:04Last Update: 2020-11-29 12:36:15

Energy in Oregon
A look at the current state of energy production and use

The Oregon Department of Energy is about to release it's 2020 Biennial Energy Report for the State of Oregon. The 612 page report is a comprehensive look at virtually every thing about energy, its production , its transportation, its consumption, and its future in Oregon.

Some very large basic facts about energy emerge. The elephant in the room is the closure of the coal-fired electrical generation plant in Boardman. At the time of its closure, it produced about 25% of all electrical power in the state of Oregon. That energy will have to be replaced somehow, if you want to charge your Tesla, and the watts produced by the highly subsidized sources of wind and solar have a long way to go to make up the lost ground.

The report makes an interesting point about conservation -- especially in the light of the Boardman closure. "While energy efficiency is not 'consumed' like other resources, it is the second largest resource available in Oregon after hydropower. Efforts to increase energy efficiency effectively reduce overall energy consumption. Historically, Oregon has consistently met increased demand for electricity by implementing energy efficiency strategies." As the population of Oregon continues to climb, total energy use is flat, and energy use per capita is declining.

That's a good thing. That means we're driving more efficient cars, turning down the heat and lights and industry is finding leaner ways to keep the economy chugging along.

The report includes a lengthy section on hydraulic fracturing, known as “fracking.” Effectively demonized in the report, this process is what has allowed America to achieve energy independence during the last decade and kept gas prices low enough so that legislatively imposed price increases like the low carbon fuel standard don't get noticed as much by consumers, who were prepared to pay $4.00 per gallon in the pre-fracking days.

That same legislature, two years earlier, had the "wisdom" of making fracking illegal in Oregon, despite the fact that -- and the report doesn't really tell you -- there is no oil nor gas extraction in Oregon, so fracking never occurs. It has the same effect as banning alcohol at an Amish convention.

Conduit Hydropower is new, but fairly simple. Where water systems are gravity fed, it makes sense to put small hydro-electric turbines in line and capture a small amount of energy from them. Many irrigation districts and municipal water districts rely on mountain-fed rivers and streams, and this is an opportunity. Gravity is certainly a clean and renewable resource.

In a state with some of the most oppressive land use laws in the nation, the prevalence of wind power in scenic and sensitive areas continues. One wonders if there was oil in the Columbia Gorge, if drilling and pumping equipment would be allowed to take up as much visual space as wind turbines. The report discusses some of the negatives of wind power. "Wind turbines can impact flora and fauna – in particular birds and bats can collide with wind turbine blades – however, newer designs have reduced collisions and fatalities. Wind turbines can be more than 600 feet tall and can have a visual impact on the landscape. Wind turbines take up land, but Oregon has requirements to protect wildlife and agriculture, and developers often site projects in dryland agricultural areas that allow for farming to continue up to and around turbines. In addition, transmission lines from facilities can similarly disturb sensitive environments, affect waterways, and cause habitat fragmentation." They forgot to mention taxpayer subsides. Maybe bats outrank taxpayers at the Energy Department.

Looking at the chart above and the amount of energy currently generated by wind, and keeping in mind what some places in the Columbia Gorge look like now, one can wonder what the Gorge will look like when (if?) wind becomes a more dominant slice in the energy pie.

A combination of policy and market factors is driving solar adoption. At the state level, Oregon has a long history of policy and program support for solar energy including net metering -- a policy that enables an electric utility customer to receive value for the electricity that they generate on site -- utility ratepayer incentives, and subsidies for solar installation. The Oregon Renewable Portfolio Standard established a target of 50 percent renewables for the state’s largest electric utilities by 2040.

Since 1999, Oregon law has required electric utilities to offer net metering to Oregon customers installing renewable energy systems up to 25 kilowatts in size. This law was amended in 2005, enabling the Oregon Public Utility Commission to adopt rules allowing customers of investor-owned utilities to install even larger systems.

Where the Department of Energy talks of "policy" and "market factors," economists might use terms like "mandate," "subsidy" and "incentive." In any case, these are the tools used on a daily basis to manipulate our energy usage, to get the energy picture to look like what the state wants it to look like.

The report will be presented to the legislature this week.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-29 09:13:35Last Update: 2020-11-29 11:53:37

Facebook Security Team Found Guilty of Discrimination
Oregon BOLI settles five cases against G4S

The Bureau of Labor and Industries has reached a settlement agreement with G4S Secure Solutions, an international company that provides private security services at the Facebook campus in Prineville, regarding five racial discrimination cases filed in 2018. G4S will pay $595,000 to resolve these cases.

Five current and former employees made allegations of racial discrimination against G4S. There were also allegations of sex discrimination in two of the cases. According to one complaint, a member of the management 'referred to me and other Hispanic co-workers as 'The Mexicans,' 'The fing Mexicans' and 'The Mexican Mafia.'"

The Bureau of Labor and Industries’ Civil Rights Division found substantial evidence in each of these cases and forwarded them to its administrative prosecution unit for resolution.

The allegations included discriminatory employment practices such as demotions, schedule changes, derogatory language, harassment, and other disparate treatment.

“This settlement highlights the importance of civil rights enforcement in our state. Five Oregonians have received justice for the discrimination they experienced.” says Val Hoyle, Labor Commissioner.

“It’s illegal to be treated differently or subjected to harassment because of your race, sex, or national origin. If people are suffering discrimination in any corner of our state, they can reach out to us and we willhelp make it right. Oregon’s laws are there to protect you, and we are here to enforce them,” says Hoyle.

Other non-economic terms of the settlement agreement include continued training and review of harassment and discrimination policies for all Oregon employees of the company.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-29 08:45:45Last Update: 2020-11-29 18:18:25

Population Report: Urban Areas Gain
Central Oregon is the big winner. The prize? How about a Congressional district?

The Population Research Center is an interdisciplinary public service, research, and training unit for population-related data and research for the State of Oregon, and they have recently released their 2020 preliminary population estimates. Unsurprisingly, Deschutes County, home to the city of Bend, posted the largest gains with a 2.1% increase. Most of the larger counties gained, especially in the Portland Metro area. Clackamas and Lane Counties kept pace with the State as a whole, posting 0.7% gains.

Rural Counties failed to keep pace, and some rural counties in Southern and Eastern Oregon actually lost population. Lake, Klamath and Josephine Counties in Southern Oregon and Grant and Harney Counties in Eastern Oregon all lost population.

As Oregon outpaces growth in the United States as a whole, a shift in Congressional apportionment is expected. Oregon is expected to gain a sixth Congressional district when the dust settles from the 2020 census.

Little Sherman County, home of the confluence of the John Day and Columbia Rivers, added only 25 people, but as Oregon's second smallest county, it posted a whopping growth rate of 1.4%, making it the second fastest growing county in Oregon. Experts are skeptical that it can keep this rate up.

July 1, 2020
July 1, 2019
HOOD RIVER25,64025,4801600.6%

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-28 17:22:57Last Update: 2020-11-28 17:36:21

Analysis: Imagine Government Without Science
At some point, we citizens are going to have to stand up

Suppose one morning you woke up and were suddenly confronted with news story after news story of an alien invasion from outer space happening all around the world. First reports were from China, then throughout Europe and then in the US. This pan-invasion was hard to for people to see or to discern, but government officials and world alien organizations were dogmatic in their proclamation that there was no doubt, this invasion was real, it was worldwide, and most important it was real dangerous.

The experts then informed government officials the best way to keep people safe from the aliens was to ensure everyone was home by 10:00 pm. In addition, wearing masks when out in public was an effective deterrent to these aliens because apparently the aliens feared masks wearing humans. For some reasons restaurants and fitness centers were a feeding grounds for these invaders, but also as strange they would not enter the doors of strip clubs or cannabis retailers. Grocery and home improvement stores were a mixed bag, but as long as people wore their masks, kept distance between themselves and other shoppers -- following the state recommend protocols -- most people would be safe. Finally, experts found that large gatherings, especially religious in nature, attracted these alien monsters. On the other hand small groups of less than 10, or better yet 6 or less, were okay and undetectable by the aliens. Overall the best advice for people to be safe from these human killers was just to stay at home which would save lives.

What would be your response to such a world? Hopefully you would want to see the evidence. Hopefully you would want to know all the facts. Hopefully you would be allowed to ask questions or take different and reasonable actions than the ones authorities mandated in order to test the theories being promoted as facts by the government officials. For thousands of years, history is filled with examples where authoritarians have used fear to get society to do something it would not normally do or not to do something it wanted to do. Fear is one of the most powerful motivators known to mankind. Fear of failure can get students to study harder. Fear of losing a job motivates workers to work harder. Fear of disobeying the law, and the consequences that follow, keeps society from wandering outside a set of orderly, peaceful guardrails.

It is this last part which can be troubling -- when government abuses the law and the lawmaking process, to stir up fear in order to get free people to behave a particular way they would not on their own.

Is the COVID-19 real? Of course. Have people died from contracting it? Yes. But how many people have been infected and fully recovered? That is unknown. How many people have died from the coronavirus alone? Again that is unknown. Yet day after day, week after week public health experts pretend they know, with all certainty, the specific answers to these questions. They publish reports which then policy makers, now just mostly Governors alone, use to mandate new behaviors throughout society.

You are not allowed to question the mask mandate without being publicly shamed by state officials and then fellow citizens. You are not allowed to dine at your favorite restaurant or work out at your fitness center. You may not attend religious services if too many people show up at once.

Is there real, solid, scientific evidence that any of these behaviors or venues are the cause of spreading the virus? No there is not. There are only experts postulating and politicians dictating in order to gain control over society. The real fact is no government can control the spread of this virus. All any government can do is try to control you.

At some point, we citizens are going to have to stand up to this invasion in unison. We will be shamed by government bureaucrats and governors who continue to get paid — and for some reason are never really impacted by shutdown requirements; we will be ridiculed and scorned by those whose lives don’t require them to work in order to pay the rent, the mortgage, or put food on the table. But stand up we must, in any and all forms. Because, if we don’t, if we allow the fear of the invisible, the unknown, and the unpredictable to dominate our lives, we will be scared to the left. The result: ultimate power will no longer belong to our individual ability to think, to reason, and to consent and retract power, but all power over our lives will belong to the experts and their government.

Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash.com

--Donnie Coleman

Post Date: 2020-11-28 11:31:12Last Update: 2020-11-28 16:01:33

Outdoor Kitchen in Portland Robbed At Gunpoint
No arrests have been made

It seems that nightly destruction and vandalism are the new normal for Portland, Oregon these days. Lawlessness abounds in Oregon's largest city and it has not been addressed by state or local elected leaders. Democratic Governor Kate Brown has notoriously been unwilling to address the radical leftist violence occurring routinely in Portland.

These incidents stemming originally from supposed racial justice protests have lost the focus that some organizing groups wished to have. Marxist activists and AntiFa groups have continued to blur the message of racial justice , and the efforts have now morphed most entirely into an onslaught of destruction in the region. Given that the Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt has pledged to not prosecute many crimes occurring, it comes as no surprise to many Oregonians that the violence and destruction is only getting worse, as we are now past the presidential election and in the holidays of 2020.

Criminals are targeting small businesses now in the city. It is somewhat unclear to what degree the groups have originated from the protests, or if some of these latest riotous groups are committing the crimes just because they know they will most likely get away with it.

An outdoor kitchen in downtown Portland was robbed at gunpoint and heavily vandalized. On Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 2:33a.m., Central Precinct officers were dispatched to a report of a disturbance involving a weapon in the 1000 block of Southwest 3rd Avenue. When officers arrived they saw that an outdoor kitchen was heavily damaged. An adult male victim reported that he was working in the kitchen when he was robbed by a group of about a dozen suspects. According to the victim, one suspect was armed with a shotgun. The victim said that some of his cooking equipment was stolen and other equipment was damaged. The suspects also heavily damaged the victim's car parked next to his canopy.

The suspects left in multiple vehicles before police were called. No suspect or suspect vehicle information is being released at this time.

No one was injured. Officers are currently investigating this case (#20-353652). People with information are asked to contact the police.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-28 04:49:40Last Update: 2020-11-28 16:02:13

Various Vote Thresholds in the Oregon Legislature
A lesson in civics

For most bills passed in the Oregon Legislature, a simple majority -- 50% plus one -- is required in both houses, plus the signature of the governor for the bill to become law. There are 60 House seats and 30 Senate seats, so the math is pretty simple on this one. One thing to note is that if there is an absence or vacancy, that doesn't reduce the number of yes votes needed to pass a piece of legislation. This is laid out in Article IV Section 25 (1) of the Oregon Constitution says "a majority of all the members elected to each House shall be necessary to pass every bill or Joint resolution."

The President of the United States has a "pocket veto," meaning that if he "pockets" an act of Congress and doesn't sign it after 10 days, the bill is effectively vetoed. Article 1 Section 7 of the US Constitution says

If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a Law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a Law.

Oregon is different. Oregon has a "pocket signature," so to speak, except up to 30 days after the end of a session.

Article V Section 15b (3) If any bill shall not be returned by the Governor within five days (Saturdays and Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to the Governor, it shall be a law without signature, unless the general adjournment shall prevent its return, in which case it shall be a law, unless the Governor within thirty days next after the adjournment (Saturdays and Sundays excepted) shall file such bill, with written objections thereto, in the office of the Secretary of State, who shall lay the same before the Legislative Assembly at its next session in like manner as if it had been returned by the Governor.

There is an even lower threshold than the simple majority. Resolutions passed by both chambers creating ballot measures to amend the Oregon Constitution need only a simple majority of both chambers and do not need the governor's signature Additionally, Article V of the US Constitution provides for actions of state legislatures. In these cases, the signature of the Governor is not required.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

There are two types of legislation that require super-majorities.

In November of 1996, Oregonians voted to amend the constitution by a vote of 52.3% to 47.7% to require a 3/5 majority to raise taxes. That means 36 yes votes in the House and 18 votes in the Senate. Article IV Section 25 (2) says, "Three-fifths of all members elected to each House shall be necessary to pass bills for raising revenue." Sometimes there is a dispute over what exactly a tax is, and, in the end this will be resolved by the courts.

When Oregon voters passed Measure 11 in 1994 requiring mandatory sentences for certain felonies, by a margin of 65.6% to 34.4%, they set in the Oregon Constitution a requirement that in order for the legislature to change any of these requirements, they must have a 2/3 vote or 40 votes in the House and 20 votes in the Senate. It reads, thus,

Article IV Section 33. Reduction of criminal sentences approved by initiative or referendum process. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 25 of this Article, a two-thirds vote of all the members elected to each house shall be necessary to pass a bill that reduces a criminal sentence approved by the people under section 1 of this Article.

All this is for naught if either one of the chambers is unable to call together a quorum. A two-thirds majority is also needed just to do business:

Article IV Section 12. Quorum; failure to effect organization. Two thirds of each house shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may meet; adjourn from day to day, and compel the attendance of absent members. A quorum being in attendance, if either house fail to effect an organization within the first five days thereafter, the members of the house so failing shall be entitled to no compensation from the end of the said five days until an organization shall have been effected.

These are important thresholds to know to understand the balance of power in the legislature.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-27 07:23:14Last Update: 2020-11-29 19:24:40

Thanksgiving Destruction in Portland
Thousands of dollars of damage in Hawthorne district

On Thanksgiving morning November 26, 2020, at about 1:22 a.m., Portland Police responded to reports of people breaking windows and spraying graffiti on the New Seasons Market in the 4000 block of Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. Multiple callers reported seeing a group of people, dressed in black clothing, moving west along Southeast Hawthorne breaking out windows as they went.

Police arrived and found a group near Southeast 37th Avenue and Southeast Harrison Street matching the description and carrying evidence connecting them to the vandalism.

Officers canvassed the neighborhood, spoke to witnesses, and found damage to at least ten businesses between Southeast 41st Avenue and Southeast 33rd Avenue along Southeast Hawthorne Street, in both the Sunnyside and Richmond neighborhoods. Some of the damage was sufficient to provide access to the interior of retail stores so officers contacted responsible parties and stood by while contractors or employees boarded up windows. Grocery stores, banks, an auto service center, a package distribution and mailing center, and local business storefronts were damaged. Officers arrested three adults who were booked into the Multnomah County jail: Officers found one adult in possession of a semi-automatic pistol. That person was referred out of custody to the district attorney's office for potential weapons charges. One juvenile was detained and referred to the court for crimes related to property damage.

Based on witness statements, it is likely that more people were involved in these crimes and police will try to determine their identity through further investigation.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-26 15:18:27Last Update: 2020-11-28 16:24:11

Rob Wagner, Lake Oswego School District Sued
Allowed discrimination and hazing to go on

Editor's note: This article contains language that some readers may find offensive. Reader discretion is advised.

The Lake Oswego School District is being sued for what appears to be racially motivated harassment of a student by their classmates. The lawsuit not only implicates the school district, but State Senator Rob Wagner, who is the Chair of the Lake Oswego School District School Board.

In a letter dated February 18, 2020, Lake Oswego School District Superintendent Lora De La Cruz was notified by Kevin C. Brague, an attorney with the Brague law firm, describing the racially motivated behavior by the students, the lack of action by the school district, and threatening a lawsuit.

As you may be aware, has been the subject of hazing, harassment, and racist attacks at Lakeridge High School. plays on the junior varsity team. Her teammates have their own social media accounts in which they ridicule, haze, and harass . These teammates ostracize . They have taken photograph from games and edited into other photos where it appears that is being harmed. These teammates have targeted to such a degree that is ostracized throughout campus and the school day.

The current hazing and harassment resurfaced in January 2020. One school year prior, Principal Desiree Fisher received a complaint from concerning similar hazing/harassing conduct. Principal Fisher did nothing to address this earlier complaint, which endorsed and condoned a hostile education environment. It was foreseeable that one term later, the same hazing and harassing conduct continued.

Lakeridge’s Principal Desiree Fisher, Vice Principal Noah Hurd, and Athletic Director Nathan Stanley have failed to address the students’ self-labeled “Caucasian Invasion” at Lakeridge High School. This is the term the girls’ program uses in hazing and harassing .

Clearly, the message from Lakeridge is to apologize to the perpetrators of hazing, harassment, and racism for the inconvenience of the farce of an inquiry, and then direct the target of hazing, harassment, and racism to shut up.

has begun self-injurious behavior as a result of the hazing, harassment, racism, negligence, and deliberate indifference endorsed and condoned by LOSD at Lakeridge High School.

A claim for damages will be asserted against LOSD.

In a more recent letter to Rob Wagner, Attorney Michael Fuller from the law firm representing the student, writes:

By failing to act reasonably to settle this claim on your behalf, the insurance adjuster for the school district may not have acted in your best interest.

If you are interested in attending a second mediation with Mr. Jones in hopes of resolving this dispute please let us know. It may be possible to resolve these claims against you personally without paying any money and by agreeing to cooperate as a witness and by assigning any claims you may have against the school district and its insurance adjuster to Mr. Jones.

In a press release, Kim Sordyl, an attorney representing the student recounts many alleged incidents of racism in Lake Oswego School District, including,

“Lake No Negro,” “fucking nigger,” “frizzy hair,” “nigger dog”. These are just some of the popular racist slurs used in Lake Oswego Schools. Swastikas decorate desks. Last year, the girls Varsity basketball team proudly re-branded themselves the “Caucasian Invasion.” White students chant “you can’t read” to a Black athlete. A Black athlete was called a dog and punched in the face by his white coach. When students speak up, they are harassed by peers and staff, called a “narc” and a “snitch,” and get cyberbullied. Those familiar with the pervasive racist culture in certain Oregon schools understand that such treatment can lead to suicide.

"Immediately upon moving to Lake Oswego, Student X was consistently victimized. They were razed about “frizzy hair,” which made its way into a meme by their own teammates. They were cyberbullied, had photos of the, taken without their consent, called “nigger” and told to “sit in the dog crate.”

"In another gripping episode, all-white, all-male officials, including Assistant Principal Noah Hurd, called Student X into the office without notifying Student X’s parent. Student X was terrified. Student X broke down crying. Hurd directed Student X not to talk about the race discrimination to anyone, and warned there would be consequences if they did, saying, “It’s not safe to talk about it.” Student X was later told, “you’re gonna pay for this.”

Wagner told Willamette Week, "I don't know the context behind the suit." Apparently, this is not true. According to Sordyl, "In September, he received a 28 page letter regarding the facts and claims. At least 2 single spaced pages related to his actions. For example, after the student sent a complaint of race discrimination to her principal, the principal recommended that the student leave the district. Rob Wagner voted to have the student leave the district. Rob Wagner has an attorney representing him and the district. It's late November and he still doesn't know the context behind the suit?" Senator Wagner has been vocal about his opposition to "white supremacy" and this incident and his lack of attention to this in an appropriate way, makes his previous statements seem hollow. Other leaders in the district -- including Wagner -- supported pushing the student out of the district.

Shortly after the death of George Floyd, Lake Oswego School District Superintendent sent an email to the community saying

"The ripples of pain and anguish that result from ongoing systemic racism do indeed impact each and every one of us. In LOSD, we are committed to actively contributing to the healing and repair that is desperately needed in response to systemic racism. We strive to be a safe and inclusive community, to disrupt racism, and to support our community of color and all members of our community. We know that the fight against racism, oppression and hate cannot fall by default on our community members of color. We must lead it together. Our district efforts, centered on the LOSD Equity Policy, include intentional efforts of the School Board, our district and school leaders, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, and staff and student leaders who are squarely focused on eradicating racism and inequities in our community. We are committed to our efforts to enact anti-racism and social justice in our schools, and to supporting the unique needs of our students of color, including our Black and African American students, as the too frequent victims of racism and racist acts."

Gratefully, we can report that the student is now taking junior and senior year at once, during distance learning, and working 20 hours a week. She is getting straight As.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-26 12:52:49Last Update: 2020-11-28 16:24:32

The Price of Success
The future of city growth

Deep in the bowels of the Stalinist-era Department of Administrative Services building is housed the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis. They report directly to the Governor. In a recent analysis released early November, Josh Lehner of OOEA describes an eerie transition of employees being recalled to the office, and what that means for downtown areas.

Working it backwards, Lehner's conclusion is quite possibly the most interesting aspect of this analysis, stating "To the extent there are larger, permanent changes, it provides opportunities to repurpose existing spaces to meet whatever that future demand is."

What future demands are we talking about exactly? According to Lehner's analysis the rate of employees working from home is beginning to drop, as employees are called back to the office, which is changing how and where individuals spend money. When employees are telecommuting from home, they tend to spend money in suburban areas closer to home. Conversely, daytime revenue for downtown restaurants and business have taken a big hit.

As employees begin to trickle back into the offices of densely populated urban areas, Lehner suggests the rates, even when coupled with destination demands, is not enough to save the current businesses in these downtown areas. But Lehner is also quick to point out that as noted by City Observatory -- a website and think tank devoted to data-driven analysis of cities and the policies that shape them, "there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about cities". Now we're getting to the quick of it. City Observatory claims that cities will quickly become the booming epicenter in this post pandemic world, rising yet again. In the linked City Observatory prediction authored by Joe Cortright, who previously served 12 years as the Executive Officer of Oregon Legislature’s Trade and Economic Development Committee. He now writes for the City Observatory. He says, "To hear many tell it, cities are either doomed or in for a prodigious reset."

Cortright outlines his prediction through what he dubs as the "7C's", Competition, Consumption, Couples, Careers, Creativity, Camaraderie, Commitment, and Civic Commons. "Those who work in the office will be better connected to the business, in the stream of more information; they’ll also be seen as having more commitment, and be able to discern the subtle cues (and bolster the in-person relationships) that privilege them over other workers. In short, those who work at a distance will be less competitive for pay, promotions, responsibility, and opportunity." Plainly stated those who aren't capable of working in person, will be left behind and suffer dramatic wage losses. In this new economic model of a post pandemic world, skill is not as important, as who is able to show up.

"For a time, a worker or organization can take all of its established routines and do them at a distance." Claims Cortright. However, "Organizations that depend exclusively on remote work will likely find themselves to be less nimble and competitive than those who can more quickly build effective teams with face-to-face interaction."

Cortright also weaves in and stresses the importance of government affairs, or civics, quoting Bernie Agrons, “The world is run by those who show up.” "Being there matters". "And in recent months, city parks, squares and streets have been the place where we have assembled to seek redress of our grievances and to declare that Black Lives Matter. Even as we had to social distance and wear masks, we gathered together in the urban public realm to make our voices heard; we didn’t (and couldn’t) do so simply by clicking like on a Tweet or a Facebook post." Cortright ends his push for city resurgence and reset with this summation, "cities are emblematic of more than a grudging willingness to live together. Rather, they are perhaps the greatest human achievement and the manifestation of how we are most truly human, together. It’s time to stop regarding cities as consolation prizes and recognize them as the prize."

How do we end this pandemic and get back to in person interactions? According to policy released from the Oregon Health Authority, phase three will happen once the vaccine, or reliable treatment for COVID-19 is available. The FDA has approved a treatment for COVID-19, yet Oregon remains oscillating between phase 1 and 2. The vaccine, reliable or not, will be released at the end of January for wide spread distribution.

In short, cities are failing under current lockdown restrictions, but after a great reset, and vaccine requirements are put into place, cities are slated to become the new epicenter, and "being there matters". In our post pandemic world, everything from financial survival, career building, to redress of grievances, will need in person interaction for success.

The lingering question, what is the price of success in this new order of things?

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-11-26 07:10:35Last Update: 2020-11-28 16:24:51

Opinion: Masks and Social Distancing
Science is still a thing, isn’t it?

Masks and social distancing while in public, such as when at your local grocery store, is a must to prevent you and others from getting and spreading the COVID-19 virus right? That’s the wisdom from the authorities and of course the authorities know best because they are informed by the experts.

Some have rejected this saying, “I’m healthy. I’m not worried about catching this virus. My immune system is strong, I am young, and will fight it off, if I do catch it. And if I do catch it, I’ll stay at home until I get over it, like I do with a cold or the flu.” But the experts tell us that masking and social distancing isn’t necessarily for your health but for the health of others. You see you might have COVID-19 virus and not even know it. That is what the experts call an “asymptomatic” case — someone who has contracted the virus and can spread the disease yet not does have any symptoms.

Therefore, according to the experts and authorities, mask wearing and social distancing in public is to prevent people who unknowingly may be asymptomatic with the coronavirus from spreading it to others. Sounds good, right? Wrong.

Let me ask you, do you love your family? Do you care about those you live with? If yes, then you must also be wearing your mask at home and social distancing as well right? You’re not? Aren’t you worried that you might be an asymptomatic carrier, or worse, they might be and spread the virus to you? How is it you know at home you are not an asymptomatic carrier and don’t wear your mask or social distance, but when in public you don’t know so you wear a mask and social distance? Does that knowledge just disappear when you get in your car and drive to the grocery store, but then you remember when you get home and take off your mask and ignore social distancing with your family?

Matter of fact, the home is the best place to test whether anyone has COVID-19, because if they did, and if it is as contagious as the experts tell us, everyone one in your house would’ve had it by now. We need to think carefully about always obeying orders from the authorities just because they are the authorities. This is especially true when the authority for the state of Oregon has been consolidated into one person, the Governor. It is dangerous to go against one's conscience, so if you think you need a mask and social distancing in public, by all means do what you think keeps you safe and well. But let’s not allow authorities rule our lives just because they are authorities. We have all been given a mind to think through decisions like this. Matter of fact we spend everyday making important decisions about all sorts of things that benefit us, and by extension those around us.

What I ask from the experts and authorities is to give us the best information about the coronavirus, and then we the people of Oregon will do what is best. That is what is called liberty.

Happy Thanksgiving, from all of us at the Northwest Observer

--Northwest Observer Editorial Staff

Post Date: 2020-11-25 18:03:32Last Update: 2020-11-28 16:26:00

Governor’s Council Tangles with Recession
Opinions differ on what the recovery looks like and how to boost it.

In an open session of the Governor's Council of Economic Advisors, the Council addressed questions put to it by Governor.

Joe Cortright, chair of the Council, described what he called a "K-shaped" recession in which employment in non-service and non-retail positions rebounded faster than service and retail sectors. In a similar point, he said that economists were seeing a decline in services consumption, not a decline in capital spending on large ticket durable goods during the outbreak. He credits the social safety net for keeping the recession from being far worse, and predicted an eventual recovery.

Another council economist took issue, saying, "It's not when the economy recovers, it's when the restrictions are lifted, then the economy will recover It's not like we're waiting for people to have more money to go out for dinner."

One opinion of the path to recovery, didn't offer much hope to small businesses

They're going to come back more when we finally get a credible vaccine that's going to allow people to come back and allow you to raise those restrictions out. The restaurants haven't been wiped out. The stoves are still there the plates are there, the knives the forks, the chairs and they can re-open and these people can fill back into those jobs. It's not like those places have been wiped out completely, What we may see is we may see ownership changes at restaurants and the previous owners aren't able to handle the debts and so on that have occurred and other people will step in to take their place. We'll have a redistribution, in a a sense, of ownership.

This view was countered by another economist who countered,

These restaurants and bars and the leisure and hospitality business -- especially those that are independently owned -- and small business are the ones that are hit hardest and we can see from the data that 25% of small businesses have closed in Oregon. And it doesn't feel that it's going to be a temporary problem -- that all of these are going to bounce back. A lot of our tourism business is based on having all this talent in the restaurants and leisure providing businesses, and there needs to be some kind of mechanism, not just to provide them with some money to maybe tide them over and not shut down, but how do we help them generate additional revenue that keeps them going and not close down permanently after everything comes back online.



Governor Brown asked the council, "A federal study took a look at rental arrears in Oregon and calculated that we are looking at $250-300 million I don't know if we'd borrow it or whatever, but does that make sense for the short term for the state to step up and pay that." After a long silence, and one speculation that federal help might step in, one economist offered, "I don't know that it's possible for the state to make that investment -- that it just might be too big. I would probably let the bankruptcy courts deal with it and let the banks deal with it. There's going to be costs that just can't be dealt with effectively by this state."

The council considered the impact of more stimulus -- an expensive remedy. Cortright spoke on the possible impact. "The reason it isn't working as well as we would like is we made consumers whole in the second quarter, basically. Income in the US was higher in the second quarter even though we had this big pandemic. So people have lots of money in their hands. People were unwilling -- or unable -- and it's a combination of the two to spend it in the industries where people were laid off. So, we have lots of money and we could all go to the restaurants and we could all buy food if we could go to the restaurants. So throwing more stimulus right now in a era in where we can't actually go to those businesses, doesn't re-hire those people."

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-25 16:29:25Last Update: 2020-11-25 19:10:35

Audit Reveals PEBB Over Reserved
PEBB’s reserves have grown more than anticipated over the years

Secretary of State Bev Clarno and Audit Division Director Kip Memmott released an audit of cost containment practices for state worker’s health care. What should be concerning to taxpayers is six paragraphs on page 14 entitled, “PEBB’s reserve needs better planning and legislative sweeps have reduced the balance.” The PEBB’s reserve balance was significantly reduced by a $135 million legislative sweep, triggering a $14.5 million federal penalty. The audit criticizes the board for not having a strategic plan for how to adjust and use reserve funds when the reserve accumulates more than needed to address claims and other program costs.

PEBB began moving toward self-funded plans in 2006 to better control premium cost increases and help save money, and has been mostly self-funded since 2010. As self-funded, PEBB pays for employees’ health benefits with its own funds (collected from premiums) and assumes direct risk for paying benefit claims, with any moneys remaining saved in reserve. The PEBB board, based on consultant recommendations, sets the premium rates, which includes a calculation for the reserve.

PEBB’s reserves have grown more than anticipated over the years. Rather than using some of the reserve to lower premiums, or other allowable services to reduce benefit plan costs, the reserve continued to grow for multiple years. PEBB’s reserve was reduced significantly by the Legislature when it was used to help balance the state’s budget. The Legislature swept $120 million from PEBB’s nearly $435 million reserve in Spring 2017 and is set to take another $15 million in 2021. As a result, PEBB was fined $12 million for the first sweep from the federal government. The Office of Management and Budget’s A-87 Circular requires that allocating the cost of plans to agencies be done on a consistent basis and there should be an equitable distribution of costs based on benefits received. The legislative sweep violated those required cost principles. Likewise, the program is expected to be fined $2.5 million from the second sweep in 2022.

Taking a sweep of $147.5 million to shore-up the state budget at a 10% cost lacks fiduciary responsibility. By PEBB’s own Administrative Rules, this is not an option for use. According to OAR 101-001-0015, PEBB may use its reserves for the four following purposes: In accordance with state statute, the board has opted to use some reserves to help pay for program costs such as program incentives (e.g., the Health Engagement Model) and taxes (state tax on commercial health insurance plans). Reserve funds have also been used to align tiers, such as employee and family, within each medical plan so the program would avoid a tax penalty. Recently, in June 2020, the board used some reserve funds to buy-down premiums to help with agencies’ budgets in addressing forecasted budget concerns and economic uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic.



However, as the audit points out, the board does not have a formal policy or strategic plan for determining the appropriate reserve amount to be maintained or for the steps to take when the reserve reaches higher or lower than targeted levels. Having a policy or plan could help ensure reserve funds are more effectively used toward containing plan costs.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-11-25 15:36:06Last Update: 2020-11-25 15:44:32

Governor Brown Announces Extended Lockdowns
And you thought it was only going to be two weeks.

In a press conference today, Oregon Governor Kate Brown described a policy that will include continuation of lockdown measures past the two-week duration previously announced. She issued a stern warning. "Irresponsible behavior over Thanksgiving, at best will only make the pandemic last longer. At worst, it will send one of your loved ones to the ICU."

She said that there would be four levels of county risk, not unlike the "phases" used earlier in the outbreak. Describing a continued lockdown, she said,

"The statewide two week freeze is complete next week. However, due to extensive COVID-19 spread in our communities, there are at least 21 counties including our most populous counties like Multnomah that are facing extreme risk of virus spread and will need to continue with strict health and safety measures similar to the freeze through most of December. My hope is that Oregonians in these counties take this news seriously and commit to hunkering down for the next several weeks. For all counties in Oregon we are introducing a data-driven framework intended to protect Oregonians, by putting appropriate safety measures in place dependent on a county's risk to the disease ranging from low risk to extreme risk. It's important to know here that there is not a no-risk category."

Hopes were buoyed by Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen looking forward to the development of a vaccine and the expectation that 30,000 doses of the vaccine would ship to Oregon in December -- top be prioritized among the over 200,000 health care workers in Oregon.

These protections are not forever. In December Oregon expects to begin receiving limited shipments of the first COVID vaccine. While we're sill awaiting federal emergency use authorization, these vaccines appear to be safe and effective. That's good news. If we all get vaccinated, we can put and end to this pandemic.

The new policies include a relaxation of the prohibition on outdoor dining which will be allowed in structures that have at least three sides open. The Governor said that she hopes to roll into the new metrics next week.



The entire list of counties at risk is

Lower Risk: (5) Moderate Risk (4) High Risk (6) Extreme Risk (21)

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-25 13:39:31Last Update: 2020-11-25 16:14:11

Thick Red Line Project Aims to Unite Communities
Enforcement of victimless crimes creates additional problems

Critics of modern American policing standards are now putting their money where their mouth is. There is now an advocacy group called the Thick Red Line that is working for change by ending enforcement of victimless crimes. Victimless crimes are not really crimes. They are where politicians and bureaucrats use the police in an attempt to legislate morality or raise revenue on the population.

Introducing The Thick Red Line, a policy project whose team includes former sheriff Richard Mack and others. Their work highlights how oftentimes it is out of touch politicians and bureaucrats who are creating laws that the rest of the community must then live with. Including peace officers who are then asked to enforce those mandates and laws among the people. Scrutiny and elimination of these unnecessary and victimless crimes might be the key to reducing police violence in communities. A real crime, by definition, has a perpetrator and a victim: murder, assault, rape, theft, and extortion are all obvious crimes because there is a victim.

When police are busting thieves, murderers and rapists then everyone loves the police. It is the enforcement of victimless crimes and raising revenue on the population that is causing racial and societal division. End those policies and the violence stops and people will once again respect the police.



Drug possession, gambling, and making arrests for ignoring Covid-19 lock down and social distancing orders are examples of victimless crimes where politicians attempt to get police to use violence immorally and preemptively on overwhelmingly peaceful people frequently to raise revenue or enforce their version of morality on a population.

The Thick Red Line project is an effort to restore respect for law enforcement by abolishing victimless crime. They are concerned for the safety of both the police and the public in the wake of the George Floyd riots. They believe they have a solution that safeguards both and dramatically reduces the amount of violence in society while reducing costs to the tax payer, dramatically reduces the prison population, and frees up the police to focus on real crime.

Their website provides the following information:

Victimless Crimes are Not Really Crimes… And Make the Cops the Criminals

To restore the trust and faith in the police, we are suggesting that individual Sheriffs, police chiefs, deputies, police officers and elected officials organize their colleagues and agencies through their union and/or collectively without the union into an agency-wide refusal to enforce any law or regulation that doesn’t have a real victim. This would: dramatically reduce the violence in society committed by the police and instantly reduce the racial and societal division it causes reduce the influence of organized crime by getting rid of drug, gambling and prostitution markets save taxpayers billions in apprehension, court costs, incarceration expenses, and lawsuits related to excessive violence and unintended deaths dramatically reduce the almost 500,000 people incarcerated for victimless crimes who are frequently forced to work as slave labor in for-profit prisons.

The Solution – Organize Collectively and Refuse to Enforce

Because politicians are attempting to force the police into more tyrannical policies including stealth gun confiscation under "red flag laws", bankrupt local businesses with lockdown orders based on suspicious "science", and are now talking openly about using the police for mandatory vaccinations, honest Sheriffs and police are going to have to draw a THICKREDLINE in the sand. We are helping them understand where that line needs to be drawn logically and morally in the 1000+ year natural law tradition.

The Thick Red Line Pledge – Draft below:

The officers of this department recognize natural law and understand that it is morally and logically impossible for the government or our badge to confer rights upon us that the population does not have and cannot delegate. We pledge to only act to protect lives, liberty and property. We renounce the use of violence on peaceful people and refuse to enforce:

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-25 09:41:14Last Update: 2020-11-25 17:50:02

Declaring a Catastrophic Disaster
Constitutional requirements not met

Oregon’s Speaker of the House has asked the Governor to consider calling a special session in December using a never-used Oregon constitutional provision: Article X-A. This provision was written and amended to provide for a functioning state government given a catastrophic disaster like a massive earthquake, war, tsunami, etc. The requirements to declare an Article X-A are extremely high, because of the many constitutional provisions Article X-A bypasses, in order to respond to the catastrophic disaster.

It’s important to note: Government actions or inactions, and the fall out from those decisions, should not be considered a qualifier to declaring an Article X-A catastrophic disaster.

The definition and requirements for such an extraordinary declaration is found in Section 1 (a) and (b) of Article X-A of the Oregon Constitution. One of four items from 1 (a) must be true and then one of the four elements in 1 (b) must also be true. Following is the text.

Section 1. Definitions; declaration of catastrophic disaster; convening of Legislative Assembly. (1) As used in this Article, "catastrophic disaster" means a natural or human-caused event that: (a) Results in extraordinary levels of death, injury, property damage or disruption of daily life in this state; and (b) Severely affects the population, infrastructure, environment, economy or government functioning of this state.

My focus is on 1 (a) because I believe none of these requirements are true as of today. Conditions may change in the future, but as of now Article X-A may not be used by the Governor.

The word “extraordinary,” which is listed in the first requirement, must be applied to the following three conditions, otherwise ANY injury, or ANY property damage would qualify. This is a catastrophic disaster declaration, meaning the bar is extremely high for any one of the four conditions to be met, otherwise they would be, not extraordinary, but ordinary.

1. Results in extraordinary levels of death
Oregon Health Authority (OHA) data shows this not to be the case. Assuming a linear trend from the first 10 months of 2020, mortality rates in Oregon this year may actually be lower than previous years. This requirement is not met.

2. (Extraordinary) Injury
While few Oregonians have been hospitalized, even fewer have died directly due to SARS-CoV-2. A virus with the survival rate of over 99% does not constitute extraordinary injury, especially considering how little of the population have tested positive. Furthermore, over half of those who have died related to the virus in Oregon were over the age of 80, and many of those who have tested positive for the virus are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. This requirement is not met.



3. (Extraordinary) Property damage
The only extraordinary property damage done during the past eight months is due to riots in Portland and the unwillingness by political leaders to stop them. Inaction by political leaders should not qualify as a means to calling a special session under this Article. Otherwise, the government could use this tactic with any protest that causes property damage in order to enact this constitutional provision. This requirement is not met.

4. (Extraordinary) disruption of daily life in this state
The only thing extraordinary about Oregonian lives this past year has been state government’s reaction to the virus. The virus, by itself, has not caused extraordinary disruption to daily life for a majority of Oregonians. What has caused an extraordinary disruption are executive orders closing businesses, schools and other draconian mandates. Government actions should not be considered a qualifier to declaring an Article X-A catastrophic disaster. Otherwise government, which has the power, can cause extraordinary disruption to daily life anytime it believes such a declaration is in its self interest. This requirement is not met.

Therefore, since none of the four requirements of Section 1 (a) have been met, calling an Article XA Catastrophic Disaster by the Governor would currently be unconstitutional.

We do not need to continue this State of Emergency to work through the virus. We can end the lockdowns and return to our regular form of government returning policy making back to the legislature. The result will be our economy will recover quicker and our hospitals will be fine. Today, we have developed far better care treatments for the those who need it than just eight months ago. I have faith in Oregonians to make the right choices for themselves and their families, while having concern for those around them. Just like the state of emergency, government fanning the flames of panic needs to end. The real power to claiming victory over this virus will be found in a free people, not its government.

--State Representative E. Werner Reschke

Post Date: 2020-11-24 20:02:07Last Update: 2020-11-25 08:55:41

Restaurants Denied Relief Against Governor Brown
Not a “taking” in a legal sense, but a “significant hardship”

United States District Judge Karin J. Immergut rejected a request made by the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association and the Restaurant Law Association for a temporary restraining order against Kate Brown and her executive order 20-65. In an opinion, Judge Immergut said "On November 24, 2020, this Court held oral argument. After considering the pleadings, declarations, exhibits, and arguments of counsel, this Court finds Plaintiffs have failed to show sufficient facts and adequate legal support to warrant an order enjoining the enforcement of Executive Order 20-65."

Judge Immergut discusses various technical objections raised by the Restaurant Association, then addresses the issue of an unlawful taking of private property by the state.

"Plaintiffs further claim that Executive Order 20-65 constitutes a statutory taking under Oregon law and a regulatory taking under the Fifth Amendment.

As for the Fifth Amendment takings claim, Plaintiffs cannot establish a likelihood of success on the merits. First, even if Plaintiffs were able to establish that Executive Order 20-65 resulted in a regulatory taking under the Fifth Amendment, the appropriate remedy would be “just compensation” in the form of damages, not the injunctive relief sought here. See Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania (“As long as an adequate provision for obtaining just compensation exists, there is no basis to enjoin the government’s action effecting a taking.”).

Second, Plaintiffs cannot establish that Executive Order 20-65 is a taking under the Fifth Amendment. Regulatory takings are analyzed under the three-pronged Penn Central test. “Penn Central instructs [courts] to consider [1] the regulation’s economic impact on the claimant, [2] the extent to which the regulation interferes with distinct investment-backed expectations, and [3] the character of the government action.” Colony Cove Props., LLC v. City of Carson. These three “factual inquiries” are used “to determine whether regulatory actions are functionally equivalent to the classic taking in which government directly appropriates property.”



In assessing a regulation’s economic impact on a claimant, courts compare “the total value of the affected property before and after the government action.” While a decrease in income produced by a property is a relevant consideration, “the severity of the loss can be determined only by comparing the post-deprivation value to pre-deprivation value” of the property. Ninth Circuit cases have held that “diminution in property value[s] because of governmental regulation ranging from 75% to 92.5% do[] not constitute...taking[s].” Under this high standard, Plaintiffs have not shown that the profits they will lose as a result of the two-week ban on on-site dining will be severe enough to constitute a taking.

The second Penn Central factor, disruption of distinct investment-backed expectations, also weighs against finding a taking. “To form the basis for a taking claim, a purported distinct investment-backed expectation must be objectively reasonable.” Colony Cove Props, LLC. Executive Order 20-65 was issued in an effort to protect the public against a deadly, contagious disease that has already killed hundreds of Oregon citizens in a matter of months. There is no reasonable, investment-backed expectation that the state would not act in the face of a historic public health crisis. The Governor’s emergency authorities to protect the public are long-standing and have been used based on the current understanding of COVID-19 and its prevalence in Oregon.

The third factor, the character of the government action, also militates against finding a taking. “A ‘taking’ may more readily be found when the interference with property can be characterized as a physical invasion by government than when interference arises from some public program adjusting the benefits and burdens of economic life to promote the common good.” Penn Central Transp. Co. v. City of New York. Here, Executive Order 20-65 is not a physical invasion of property by the government but an emergency regulation promulgated to combat a worsening pandemic. Recognizing such government action as “functionally equivalent to the classic taking in which government directly appropriates property” would exceed the scope of the Takings Clause and interfere with the state’s ability to protect the public health."



Despite a lengthy, three-pronged argument that the restaurants have not suffered a "taking" in the legal sense, Judge Immeregut does acknowledge that the restaurants have suffered a loss at the hands of the government.

"Plaintiffs argue that, given the substantial harm already suffered by Oregon restaurants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a two-week ban on on-site dining will create irreparable harm to many of these businesses. This Court acknowledges the significant hardship that businesses like those represented by Plaintiffs have endured in the wake of COVID-19. This Court further recognizes that these restrictions cause significant hardships for employees who work for Plaintiffs’ restaurants. Restaurants and other businesses that rely on in-person customers have been especially hard-hit by the pandemic, and this Court does not seek to diminish the challenges they continue to face. "

Said one attorney who was not involved in the case, but following it, "It was especially dishonest to claim that 'there is no reasonable, investment-backed expectation that the state would not act in the face of a historic public health crisis'. They had a whole plan to act, by quarantining the sick. It was reasonable to expect that the State would do that instead of going berserk and quarantining the healthy, so to speak."

Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash.com

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-24 18:46:16Last Update: 2020-11-24 20:02:07

Bold criminal acts increasing in Multnomah County
Garbage truck driver held at gunpoint

Take over style robberies, stabbings, a UPS delivery truck driver taken held at gunpoint with hands tied. Criminals in Portland, Oregon are going after some targets lately that seem rather unheard of in most civilized cities.

But that doesn't matter in lawless Portland...

On November 24, 2020, at 5:40 a.m., officers from Portland East Precinct responded to a threats with a weapon call in the 3500 block of Southeast 122nd Avenue. The victim in this call told dispatch that an unknown suspect approached and pointed a gun at them. The victim, who is a garbage truck driver, ran off but could see that the suspect got into the garbage truck, which was left behind.

Upon arrival, officers contacted the suspect (who was still inside the garbage truck) and began to give him demands. The suspect ignored all commands, walked over to another vehicle, got in, and drove off. Officers did pursue the vehicle for a short distance before stopping the vehicle using a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT). After the PIT, the subject fled on foot and was taken into custody with the help of a police K9.

The suspect, 21 year-old Hunter Jay Wilson, was transported to an area hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Wilson will later be lodged at the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of Robbery III, Menacing, Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle, Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle, Reckless Driving, Attempt to Elude (by vehicle), Attempt to Elude (by foot), and Resisting Arrest.



--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-24 17:35:58Last Update: 2020-11-24 18:16:33

Your Papers, Please
You don’t have to vaccinate. Unless you want to be able to function in society.

Editor's note: This is the first in a series on Oregon’s COVID-19 vaccination plans digging into the Oregon Healthy Authority's 125 page draft plan on vaccinations.

Your papers, please.

How soon before Oregon’s "No Mask, No service" mandate becomes "No Vax, No service" or "No vax, No groceries"?

This issue is sure to draw a great deal of heated debate and lawsuits due to the infringement on civil rights. Everyone from National Geographic to Ron Paul has weighed in on whether a COVID-19 vaccine will be approved, deemed safe and effective or even be mandated. Joe Biden said he would mandate it but in reality it is a states issue. Public health officials have acted like it is a foregone conclusion.

Why is that? Could it be the low bar the FDA set back in June? The vaccine only needs to show it is 50% effective. The FDA would expect that a COVID-19 vaccine would prevent disease or decrease its severity in at least 50% of people who are vaccinated.

So far, three manufacturers have announced their vaccine were 90% effective—at lowering symptoms. That’s it. It will not prevent disease. It will not prevent newly vaccinated asymptomatic carriers from spreading it. It will not prevent cases from surging. It will take two doses to acquire, well, no immunity at all. This is bad because if it only lessens symptoms, people will be walking around like Typhoid Mary’s. They’ll pop a pill for a headache and still be able to spread COVID-19. Since it is fast tracked there are zero long term studies. The Moderna vaccine is using new RNA technology yet no one knows what the long term ramifications are. Will it create a host of autoimmune disorders? Cause Narcolepsy like the Pandemrix Influenza Vaccine from 2009 in the UK and Europe? Put bluntly, there will be enormous risk with little benefit. According to the BMJ, the vaccine trials aren’t designed to prove prevention or assess severe COVID-19 infection at all. Associate editor of BMJ and assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services at University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Peter Doshi says, “Yet the current phase III trials are not actually set up to prove either. “None of the trials currently under way are designed to detect a reduction in any serious outcome such as hospital admissions, use of intensive care, or deaths.” Nor are the vaccines being studied to determine whether they can interrupt transmission of the virus. If Kate Brown uses the marketing slogan, "COVID-19 vaccine saves lives," you can send her this.



In order to implement a mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign, OHA has an ambitious plan. Oregon is in the middle of its biggest flu shot drive ever with the goal of administering 20,000 flu shots by year end. The goal? They plan to use what they learn as a pilot to get as many people vaccinated as possible. Across Oregon you may have noticed popup tents outside pharmacies or offices of healthcare providers facilitating ‘drive through’ flu shot clinics. New vaccine injected via drive up, what could go wrong?

Or, heaven forbid, what if there is a repeat of the failed 1976 Swine Flu mass-vaccination campaign? The political climate then was eerily similar to 2020. President Ford was facing reelection, the vaccine program was rushed. That vaccine killed 32 people and nearly 500 more suffered with paralysis, a rare neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome or GBS. In fact, it is one of the largest compensation claims for a vaccine since vaccine court was established in 1986. In 2010, a complainant was awarded $10 million. Thanks to the Prep Act, Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers won’t be liable if recipients are injured or killed either. The compensation scheme set up for COVID-19 is even more meager than the current Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has for vaccines within the regular vaccination schedule and you only have one year to file a claim. More on this later.

Oregonians have been prevented from doing just about everything unless they don a mask. Should a covid vaccine become available will the same covid guidance and restrictions become the roadmap to mandatory vaccinations? What is the assurance that Kate Brown won’t end there? Or, like the flu shot, will you be forced to get it every single year to keep your job? Can employers mandate it if local governments decline? Biden has said he wants it mandated.

The draft plan OHA created lists healthcare workers, long term care workers and those living in care homes as first on the list to receive the vaccine, would those employers be the first to try? Can we expect the same from those who were the first to mandate masks when there was no statewide mandate, such as New Seasons grocery stores? The task to vax and track is monumental. So too is the fear surrounding Covid which has allowed draconian measures to continue for eight months. Sure, you probably won’t be held down by a strike team and forced vaccinated, but there have been alarming reports of what we could expect in the near future.

Yesterday, the CEO of Qantas announced that no international traveler would be allowed to fly to Australia without proof of vaccination, once approved. What will you do?

Right now, you cannot get a seat at a restaurant, shop for food, get a manicure, go to work, send your kids to school (if you happen to be one of the lucky districts open to K-3) or ride a public bus without a mask. More than that, the terrible ad campaigns generously provided gratis by Wieden + Kennedy promoted the notion that you don’t care about others if you don’t wear a mask. Stay home or you could accidentally kill someone. There is no evidence to that but it didn’t stop Kate Brown’s endless promos or her flu shot tweets hawking a flu shots for Pharma. Using guilt and virtue signaling tactics she scolds us saying, “Don’t accidentally kill someone,” and “your mask protects ME.” Will the new ad campaigns say the same?



This state has a dysfunctional relationship with Pharma to say the least.

In 2019, the Super Democrat Majority, along with two Republicans, one who lost her seat, had a mission to remove vaccine exemptions in school age children. They lost that bid thanks to a walkout by the Senate Republicans. Legislators like Democrat Senator Steiner-Hayward have been on the mandate warpath for nearly a decade to enact tougher legislation in school age children, who thankfully are not in the high risk category for covid infections. Heck, she was even featured in the quasi-documentary by Netflix, “Pandemic” about her efforts. In 2012, she spearheaded the removal of religious exemptions, watering it down to philosophical objection.

Most recently, last week the House Interim Committee on Revenue called a “vaccine our only hope.” Never mind the fact one isn’t approved, doesn’t need to show an efficacy of more than 50% and many surveyed said they would not take it.

A national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Sept. 8-13 among 10,093 U.S. adults, finds “intent to get a COVID-19 vaccine has declined across all major political and demographic groups.” Half do not plan on getting the vaccine. Who can blame them when all reports points to terrible side effects? If a doctor from the American Medical Association says they, “won’t be a walk in the park,” you know it is bad. If only half line up voluntarily, will the other half be coerced?

The crux lies in the monumental COVID-19 vaccination draft plan that OHA has developed. It details an enormous organizational structure and set a priority list of who they deem as essential enough or at high enough risk to be the first to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Oregon Health Authority faces serious hurdles with storage, administering the injections and most importantly, they know there will undoubtedly be a limited supply. Most traditional providers don’t have the capability of cold-chain management beyond -20’F. Dry ice will be in short supply not unlike the toilet paper shortage. This will make transportation and distribution another major obstacle. The Pfizer vaccine? A stable temperature of -95’ Fahrenheit is necessary. Other contenders are not much better designed as far as day to day operations require. Pfizer created storage containers with dry ice that can be stored for up to 20 days, Moderna can use normal freezer good for up to 30 days. Routine vaccines on the current adult/child recommended schedule are refrigerated at an average of 35’F to 46’F. Can healthcare providers afford to install necessary refrigeration? The draft plan indicated that there would be regional hubs who would store the vaccine. Without steady temperatures, vaccines can become ineffective or unsafe in warmer temperatures. In 2017, in South Sudan a botched vaccine campaign killed 15 children.



One idea springs to mind, what if the staged “morgue trucks” are for vaccine storage? We’ve already reported on the fact hospitals are not overwhelmed and yet Providence announced they are setting up temporary morgues and surge tents for a worst case scenario, but didn’t that already happen with the field hospitals back in the Spring? Mortality rates are down significantly. What if these aren’t morgues but freezers for vaccines? HHS indicated they have already been running tabletop and field exercises across the US. This morning HHS held a press conference on Operation Warp Speed discussing the allocation of vaccines. They met with Governors yesterday on the technical issues. Vaccine distribution being determined federally based on infection rates and a per capita approach. Oregon is at the very bottom of states for cases and deaths, as we always have been yet with some of the most draconian restrictions. We should expect a scarcity of vaccines and depend on natural immunity and existing therapeutics such as antibody treatments the distribution of which has been ramping up for those over 65 and who are at high risk. 20 million doses from each manufacturer and 25 million more each month thereafter isn’t much. The truth of the matter is, Oregonians are not a priority in receiving significant doses of vaccine. Perhaps, that is why the House Interim Committee on Revenue said schools won’t be back in-person until Fall 2021. With only .2% deaths per Oregon’s population, we need to wake up and stop smelling the fear being dished out. Open schools, and end lockdowns meant to scare the population to sell a product. Isn’t anyone curious about the sudden case surge when most of these individuals are asymptomatic?

In spite of challenges and low true efficacy, Pfizer and Moderna have submitted a request to obtain emergency use authorization by the FDA who meets December 8-10, 2020. The advisory committee will meet to discuss the emergency approval of these fast tracked Covid-19 vaccinations but has hinted they will announce expectations ahead of that.

Another dilemma is the need to track who has taken the vaccine. A precedent has been set with mask mandates and low compliance. To date, 13,000 Oregonians either filed complaints about a business for not wearing a mask or Kate Brown’s latest command, that neighbors snitch on neighbors for having a big Thanksgiving dinner with family. The state has longed for a more robust vaccine database for years and now may have the necessary funds via CARES Act to track compliance. Currently in existence is the OR ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS) which provides “consolidated immunization records and high-quality immunization data for individuals and providers.” Will they expand on this by connecting it with an app, card or eventual chip? The entirety of the vaccination plan is exorbitant yet, the vaccine will be free. In light of all that has been taken away from us since March, the foreboding is real. After all, the only free cheese is in the mousetrap.

What could you be forced to live without or will you comply? It is essential to personal liberty to be able to decline any medical treatment or procedure, especially for a virus that has a survival rate of 99.9%.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
--Benjamin Franklin

--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-11-24 16:56:08Last Update: 2020-11-24 19:41:15

2021 Oregon Kid Governor Announced
Taneesh Garg of Portland

On Wednesday, November 18, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office announced that fifth graders from across the state elected Taneesh Garg of Portland as the 2021 Oregon Kid Governor. The announcement was made via Zoom, at Springville K-8 where Taneesh is a 5th grade student. Taneesh’s community issue is Racism and you can watch his campaign video.

Kid Governor Program is in its fourth year in Oregon and was started by the Connecticut Democracy Center in 2015, as a way of introducing Civics Education to fifth graders. In 2017, Oregon became the second state in the nation to implement the program. The program is open to all fifth graders in Oregon and those interested in becoming Kid Governor create a 1-3 minute video on why they should be Kid Governor, what their leadership skills are, explain a community issue that is important to them, and tell about their three-point plan that fifth graders will use to work on that community issue. Fifteen videos were submitted this year, and were narrowed down to seven, by a panel of independent judges who individually, watched and voted on the videos. Once the seven candidates were finalized, fifth graders from schools across the state, voted and selected Taneesh as Oregon’s next Kid Governor.



“Over 1800 students from 46 schools across Oregon, registered to nominate a candidate and or vote in this year’s election,” stated Secretary of State Bev Clarno. “This is a great way to not only teach our students about how their government works, but to actively engage our young leaders in their community.”

Taneesh’s one year term will begin in January 2021, with his Inauguration. The other final candidates included:
--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-24 13:38:38Last Update: 2020-11-24 14:03:02

What Has Jeff Merkley Done?
It might not be helping Oregon

Senator Merkley recently introduced a pair of bills to reduce the use of fossil fuels claiming it protects the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos, by tackling the risky financial investments.



Merkley’s voting record
--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-11-24 11:57:27Last Update: 2020-11-24 21:12:41

Mass Exodus-gate
Does the Brown administration have a double standard for Christian schools?

In one of the many case in which Oregon Governor Kate Brown is being sued by private parties over her COVID-19 policies, one of the issues being raised is why are private schools -- specifically Christian schools -- suffering extra scrutiny? In the case of Horizon Christian School v. Kate Brown, the answer to that question may rest on a comment made by Leah Horner, who is an advisor to Governor Kate Brown on Jobs and the Economy.

As advisors to the Governor were depositions, their testimony is telling regarding the position of the Brown Administration toward private, Christian schools and how they regard teachers' unions.

The flap started when Yamhill County Commissioner Mary Starrett made a post in facebook where she commented on a conversation she had with the an unnamed member of the Governor's staff on "why private, parochial and faith-based schools were not being allowed to open once they’d submitted their plans to keep kids safe." The commissioner reports that the advisor to the Governor said, "We don’t want to see a mass exodus from the public schools." It turns out that the advisor was Leah Horner, who is Governor Brown's advisor on Jobs and the Economy.

The comment is not only significant in that it shows the Brown Administration's disregard for the outcomes of all children, but it's an indication that private, Christian schools are being held to a different standard for the purpose of protecting public schools and public employee unions. The evidence is not only in what the witnesses say, but in how evasive they are.

In this deposition, the questions are being asked by John Kaempf, attorney for plaintiffs and the person being deposed is Lindsey Capps, the Governor’s Chief Education Officer:

Q. Beyond the general concern, isn't it true that one or more school districts have been concerned about a mass exodus from the public schools if private or religious schools are allowed to reopen?
A. I don't recall ever hearing that from a specific district around private schools.
Q. Did you ever hear that in any context related to the pandemic?
A. Not that I recall.
Q. Now isn't it true that on July 9 of 2020, after the Wall Street Journal opinion article that we've talked about was published, that Leah Horner, an economic policy advisor to the governor, used the identical concern and raised the identical concern about a quote, "mass exodus from public schools," end quote?
A: I was not aware of any comments on her part.
Q. Have you seen the declaration of Yamhill County Commissioner Mary Starrett in this case?
A. I have seen communication from the commissioner. I'm not sure of which one you are stating.
Q. I'll represent to you that she testified that on July 29, 2020, Leah Horner did state a concern about a mass exodus from public schools if parochial schools are allowed to reopen. Do you know if that is true or not, that Ms. Horner made that statement?
A. I don't know if that's true.
Q. To your knowledge, is Governor Brown concerned about a mass exodus from public schools if private or religious schools are allowed to reopen for in-person classes?
A. Not to my knowledge.
Q. Now getting back to the Wall Street Journal editorial we've been talking about, it also states in reference to teachers unions that, quote, "under pressure from the unions, the Oregon Department of Education stopped allowing transfers on March 27," end quote. Is that true? What I want to know is, first, did you ever get pressure from the teachers unions to stop allowing transfers out of public schools?
A. No.
Q. Did the Oregon Department of Education ever stop allowing transfers out of public schools to charter or private schools?
A. No, there's still a process in place.
Q. The Wall Street Journal editorial we're talking about references an Oregon Department of Education March 24, power point presentation. Do you know what that is?
A. I do not.
Q. You ever heard anything about that March 24 power point presentation?
A. I don't know the presentation to which you are speaking.
Q. Back to the Wall Street opinion piece, it also states, quote, "even during a national crisis, unions would rather deprive students of an education than see their charter school competitors succeed," end quote. Do you agree?
A. I believe you are asking me do I agree with the opinion of the Wall Street Journal?
Q. That specific statement, do you agree, yes or no?
A. I think it's a simple statement, overly simplistic.
Q. Do you agree with it or disagree with it?
A. I don't know how to answer either way.
Q. Are you aware of whether this Wall Street Journal editorial board opinion sparked the concern among any members of the Governor's staff?
A. Not that I'm aware of.



Q. To this day, does that Wall Street Journal opinion concern you?
A. I think the overriding concern for me is to continue to serve students as effectively and safely as we can during this pandemic.
Q. I'm talking about the Wall Street Journal article. Does it concern you as you sit here today?
A. I can't speak to that.
Q. To your knowledge, did that Wall Street Journal article concern Governor Brown?
A. No, not that I'm aware of.
Q. Did you ever discuss it with her?
A. No.
Q. In a text message dated April 1 of 2020, Nik Blosser immediately after providing the link to this Wall Street Journal article we've been talking about, he wrote, quote, "Sent you and GKP some quick talking points for the 1:30 call," end quote? Do you recall that?
A. Without further context, I don't.
Q. This text message that's labeled 004171 from April 1st of 2020 is written by Nike Blosser. Do you recall receiving a text to that effect about needing to have a 1:30 call and quick talking points about the Wall Street Journal article?
A. I don't recall the interaction.
Q. Do you ever recall a 1:30 call on April 1st of 2020, the day after that Wall Street Journal opinion article?
A. I don't but we've never discussed that topic.
Q. In an April 2nd, 2020 text message, Nik Blosser wrote, and I can't tell who he wrote it to, it says, quote, "please give me a call when you can, urgent," end quote. Do you recall getting that text message?
A. No.
Q. In that same text message Nik Blosser provides a link to a breitbart.com article dated April 2 of 2020, the same day as the text message. And it's entitled, quote, "teachers unions pressure on states to clamp down on virtual charter schools during pandemic," end quote. Do you recall ever seeing that breitbart.com article about teachers unions pressure?
A. Generally in the public square.

Much later in the deposition, the conversation with Lindsey Capps about Horner's comment about "Mass Exodus" continues. Despite Yamhill County Commissioner Mary Starrett's facebook post, the "mass exodus" comment and the substantive fact of the danger to public schools is either denied or not remembered.

Q. Did you suggest or order anything be done concerning what Ms. Horner said about the mass exodus from public schools, at least according to Ms. Starrett?
A. No.
Q. Did you ever talk to Leah about Ms. Starrett's contention that she made that mass exodus from public schools statement?
A. I did not speak to her.
Q. To your knowledge, has Leah Horner admitted that those words came out of her mouth on July 29?
A. No.
Q. Are you pleased or displeased that Ms. Horner may have said that?
A. I would just say that it's not the place of a state to articulate a position toward public or private school. Our emergency authority applies to both.
Q. Was Leah Horner disciplined in any way for supposedly making that statement?
A. Not that I'm aware of.

Jody Christensen, the Mid-Valley Regional Solutions Coordinator for the Governor's Office was also deposed regarding her recollection of conversations concerning the threat to public schools. Again, she denies knowledge of the comment -- including speaking with Leah Horner about it -- and the underlying issue of the threat to public schools.

Q. At any time this year have you ever heard or seen Governor Brown express a concern about a significant amount of students leaving public schools because of the pandemic?
A. No.
Q. Have you ever heard or seen Lindsey Capps make any statement like that?
A. No.
Q. Have you ever heard Leah Horner make any statement or write any statement like that?
A. The term "mass exodus" was used during the August 5th meeting.
Q. Was any other phrase like that ever used by Leah Horner this year?
A. No.
Q. Okay. And did you ever hear any other person who works for the Oregon government express any concern, whether it was mass exodus or just saying worried, about a large amount of kids leaving public schools because of the pandemic?
A. No.
Q. Okay. So did [Yamhill County] Commissioner Kulla ever express a concern like that?
A. I don't recall.
Q. Do you recall any county commissioner ever expressing that concern in any conference call you attended this year?
A. I don't recall.
Q. All right. Do you recall any Oregon politician expressing any concern like that in any kind of writing, like an email or a text message?
A. I don't recall.
Q. Have you ever personally been concerned about a large amount of students leaving public schools during the pandemic?
A. No.

Jody Christensen's deposition about Horner's remark continued after more testimony. The denials continue.

Q. All right. Are you aware of anyone in Oregon's government at any time this year expressing a concern about a large amount of students leaving public schools?
A. I am not aware.
Q. Do you know whether that topic has ever been the subject of any written report within the Oregon government?
A. I am not aware.
Q. Have you ever helped to create or ever read a report showing the possible financial effects of students leaving public schools for private schools during the pandemic?
A. No.
Q. Before this August 5th meeting we're talking about, where you testified Ms. Horner used the phrase "mass exodus," had you ever heard that phrase come up before in any county commissioner meeting?
A. No.
Q. Had you ever seen that phrase in writing before the August 5th meeting related to the pandemic?
A. No.
Q. Have you ever used the phrase "mass exodus" in relation to the pandemic?
A. No.
Q. Are you aware of anyone else in Oregon's government who's used that term this year, relating to the pandemic?
A. No.
Q. Now, in the declaration that Ms. Horner filed in this case that's, you know, written testimony, she says that when she made the mass exodus statement she says, quote, [as read:] I had been discussing a concern that had been raised in another call about the potential loss to an educational institution of state school funds if students were disenrolling from such a school, end quote. Do you recall Ms. Horner that day making a reference to another call about the potential loss to an educational institution?
A. I don't recall that.

At this point, based on the testimony of two of Governor Brown's staffers, one might conclude that the phrase "mass exodus" was not used -- save for the August 5th meeting -- and/or that there was no concern for public school loss of enrollment. The deposition of Leah Horner, herself tells a different tale.

Q. During what you're saying is the August 5th conference call with county commissioners, did Mary Starrett, a Yamhill County commissioner, ask you why parochial schools were not being allowed to reopen?
A. I don't recall that specifically, but she has asked those -- she did ask a question along those lines.
Q. Okay. And as best you can recall, what questions did she ask along that line?
A. I believe she had asked if private, religious schools would have the opportunity to operate under different guidance than the K-12 public school system.
Q. And what did you say in response to that question?
A. I believe my response was no, that all schools would be falling under one statewide Department of Education guidance.
Q. Did you say in response to that question from Mary Starrett that there was a concern about a mass exodus from public schools if private or religious schools were allowed to reopen?
A. I did use the term there would -- there could be a mass exodus from public schools. But it was not in the context directly correlated to private or religious schools. It was also in the context of school disenrollment for children moving to online schools, virtual schools, charter schools, and it was in correlation to the fact that disenrollment from public schools modifies the school funding methodology. And in previous conversations that I had had that week with other county commissioners, they were unaware of what that disenrollment from public school does to their school -- their share of the state school fund, and so I was sharing that as a point of information.
Q. And I understand you're saying that context is different. But I just want to confirm, isn't it true, then, that during this meeting you say was on August 5th that Mary Starrett and others attended, you did -- the words, quote [as read:] mass exodus from public schools did come out of your mouth, end quote.
A. Yes.



Q. Do you recall what Mary Starrett said in response to you saying there would be a mass exodus from public schools?
A. I do not recall.
Q. Before today, have you read Mary Starrett's declaration?
A. I do not recall.
Q. Okay. Paragraph two of the declaration you filed in this case says that you have read it, Mrs. Starrett's declaration. Does that refresh your recollection?
A. Yes, it does to some degree. That's why I indicated I did not recall because I feel I probably did read it at some point, but I don't have it fresh in my mind.
Q. Okay. How did you feel when you read it given that it's fairly short and specifically talks about you?
A. Again, I don't -- I honestly don't recall reading it.
Q. Okay. I don't want to know about conversations with your lawyer, the governor's lawyers, that's legally none of my business. But what I do want to know is, did you talk about Mary Starrett's declaration with anyone on the governor's staff ever? If it involved lawyers, I don't want to know that. But I want to know of people who are not lawyers that you worked with, for example, Jody Christensen, people like that, did you ever with such people, nonlawyers, discuss Mary Starrett's declaration in this case?
A. Yes.
Q. Who did you discuss that with?
A. I discussed that with Jody Christensen.
Q. And was that in writing or verbally or both?
A. Verbally. It was verbally.
Q. And what was Jody's reaction? What did she say when you discussed that?
A. I think Jody and I were trying to recall the conversation, and we both recollected very similar statements that were had on that call.
Q. Did Jody say to you, in so many words, that yes, she recalled that you did use the phrase "mass exodus" from public schools?
A. I don't know if Jody used that phrase, but I recall using that phrase. And so I offered that up as part of the conversation with Jody.
Q. Because you do recall that.
A. Yes.

Again, this is significant because it may indicate that Governor Brown and her administration have more concern for the teachers' unions than they do for the children of the State of Oregon.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-23 19:47:10Last Update: 2020-11-23 21:36:55

Lane and Marion County Judges to Retire
Governor Kate Brown will appoint replacements

Governor Kate Brown has announced that she intends to fill two judicial vacancies created by the planned retirement of Judge Ilisa Rooke-Ley from the Lane County Circuit Court, and the planned retirement of Judge Claudia Burton from the Marion County Circuit Court. Both retirements will take effect December 31, 2020.

The Governor’s Office currently is conducting an appointments process for Marion County to fill the vacancy created by the previously announced retirement of Judge Mary Jame. Applicants that applied for that position also will be considered for the vacancy created by Judge Burton’s retirement. Governor Brown will fill both Marion County vacancies from the same applicant pool. That list of candidates is available on the Oregon State Bar’s website .

All judges on Oregon who retire in the middle of their terms, are replaced by gubernatorial appointment. Ordinarily, they are elected. There is a ballot measure proposed for the 2022 general election which proposes to replace judges at the next election by a vote of the people. This measure is still seeking enough signatures to get an official ballot title.



Last summer, there was a prior judicial vacancy on the Lane County Circuit Court for which candidates were interviewed and vetted by the Governor's Office and the local bar association. Governor Brown will make an appointment for the current Lane County vacancy from the list of candidates who applied and were interviewed previously. That list of candidates also is available on the Oregon State Bar’s website .

Comments on any of the candidates can be submitted online to Dustin Buehler, General Counsel, Office of the Governor, or by phone at 503-378-6246

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-23 19:43:05Last Update: 2020-11-23 21:26:12

Conversion Therapy Ban Overturned
Similar Ban Passed in Oregon in 2015

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit issued a decision that strikes down bans on therapy for minors struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction, saying such bans violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Bans on conversion therapy have been upheld in the 9th and 3rd Circuits, creating a split among them and a possible path to the US Supreme Court, which has previously declined to hear these cases. The decision states, “We hold that the challenged ordinances violate the First Amendment because they are content-based regulations of speech that cannot survive strict scrutiny.” The Cities of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County, Florida ordinances apply to “any person who is licensed by the State of Florida to provide professional counseling,” except for clergy.

The plaintiffs, therapists Robert W. Otto and Julie H. Hamilton, are licensed marriage and family therapists who provide counseling to minors who have unwanted same-sex attraction or unwanted gender identity issues. The case and decision were based on content-based restrictions on speech.

While the plaintiffs argue a lack of freedom to speak with their clients that brings out a certain amount of discrimination, it avoids the lopsided treatment of one therapy over another. Both ordinances banned “conversion therapy” but allowed trans-affirmative therapy and counseling that provides support and assistance to a person undergoing gender transition.

In 2015, Oregon became the third state to ban Conversion Therapy on minors after then President Obama called for the ban. In calling for the ban, barbaric and unethical practices were cited that were no longer being practiced. Nonetheless, Oregon joined California, New Jersey and Washington D.C. in prohibiting licensed therapists from attempting to encourage sexual orientation or gender identity that is biological to a child. This came after the Supreme Court declined to hear challenges in California and New Jersey, leaving in place a decision that upheld the ban.



Governor Brown signed ORS 675.850 into law without fanfare prohibiting the practice of conversion therapy (reparative therapy). The law “prohibits mental health care professionals and social health professionals from providing any service to person under 18 years of age for purpose of attempting to change person's sexual orientation or gender identity.” Equality and Justice for All testified to the lopsidedness of HB 2307, passed in 2015, allowing sexual orientation change effort therapy while prohibiting conversion therapy. They cite a 100-year scientific research of a comprehensive review of SOCE documenting success that shows that therapy has helped some clients resolve their unwanted same-sex attraction and experience heterosexual attractions.

The case ruled as unconstitutional in federal court is very similar to Oregon law. Where does Oregon legislative leadership hold the “total care” of children, and will we see a reversal in the 2021 legislative session?

Photo by Bill Mason on Unsplash.com

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-11-23 07:49:28Last Update: 2020-11-23 15:27:44

PGE Captures Wasted Energy
New renewable energy reduces the need for cap-and-trade

As Governor Brown and other leaders continue to speak about climate change to push their cap-and-trade in the 2021 session, Portland General Electric counters the need for cap-and-trade with new renewable energy.

PGE has announced a new hydroelectric project powered entirely by excess water pressure. Traditional hydroelectric projects are nothing new across the state, and PGE owns or partially owns seven hydro facilities on the Clackamas, Willamette, and Deschutes Rivers. The City of Hillsboro is pioneering an innovative micro-hydropower system called the In-PRV that manages pressure in a city water pipeline while generating renewable energy, reducing carbon, saving water, extending the life of infrastructure and improving resilience.

“The major difference” says PGE, “comes from how the system is being integrated into the city of Hillsboro’s existing hydro infrastructure. Instead of the roaring falls at the Bonneville Dam, this new technology captures the waste pressure produced inside the pipe from the constant flow of water – using a new kind of pressure reducing valve to harness that wasted energy and turn it into reliable, renewable electricity. And unlike many other forms that are dependent upon weather, the flow at this system runs 24/7, allowing additional resiliency for the grid.”



Located just outside of the Hillsboro Hops stadium, the approximately 200,000 kWh generated annually from this site will add to PGE’s Renewable Development Fund’s growing portfolio of over 14.5 MW of installed renewable projects.

If the state didn’t require new energy projects to include expensive sources of wind and solar, these new innovations could reduce energy cost while effectively reducing the impact on climate change.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-11-22 16:36:43Last Update: 2020-11-23 15:43:35

Justice Kagan Reappointed to Oversee 9th Circuit
It remains to be seen how she will decide on election results in Arizona and Nevada.

The Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, released the assignments for the 13 federal circuit courts of appeals reappointing Justice Elena Kagan to the 9th district court effective November 20, 2020. Each Justice is responsible for emergency applications and other matters from one or more of these circuits. Justices can and often do refer significant emergency requests to the full court. Justices may also be asked to halt the implementation of a circuit court order, set bond for a defendant, or stop the deportation of an alien. Justices are also asked to act on applications for a stay of execution.

In August 2018, Chief Justice John Roberts had assumed responsibility for the 9th Circuit, which covers nine states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Nevada and Washington) plus Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Justice Elena Kagan took over the 9th Circuit in October 2018. Kagan, appointed by President Obama in 2010, is a native New Yorker who has spent most of her adult life in Chicago, Massachusetts and DC. Known for her strategic influence, her claim as being fair and impartial is spoiled by her many unexpected rulings. She is undeniably part of the liberal wing of the court. Kagan has made a name for herself as being a “bridge-builder.” It remains to be seen how she will respond to President Trump’s lawsuits contesting election results in Arizona and Nevada.

Recently, Kagan’s 9th Circuit Court declined to grant a motion by the Oregon Department of Justice to halt signature gathering for Initiative Petition 57 that would qualify it for the November ballot due to the pandemic restrictions. It would have changed the way Oregon redraws legislative boundaries.



Assignments are made pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 42 the Chief Justice of the United States and the associate justices of the Supreme Court shall from time to time be allotted as circuit justices among the circuits by order of the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice may make such allotments in vacation.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-11-22 06:58:51Last Update: 2020-11-23 15:44:16

When Everything is an Emergency
How the people of Oregon have voted themselves out of power

On November 6th of 2012 the Voters of Oregon passed measure 77, the ballot title and summary were written by then Secretary of State Kate Brown, and Treasurer Ted Wheeler. The measure amended the State Constitution to grant emergency powers to the Governor and the Legislature during a period of time defined as a "Catastrophic Disaster", defined here as; a natural or human-caused event resulting in extraordinary levels of death, injury, property damage or disruption of daily life and severely affecting the population, infrastructure, environment, economy or government of Oregon. The terms “extraordinary levels” and “severely affects” are not defined (emphasis added). Examples include, but are not limited to, acts of terrorism, earthquakes, floods, public health emergencies, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and war. If the Governor declares that a catastrophic disaster has occurred, the Governor may manage immediate response to the disaster by: If the Governor declares that a catastrophic disaster has occurred, the Governor also must convene the Legislature within 30 days. The Legislature may: The Legislature may take additional actions otherwise prohibited by the Oregon Constitution and are limited to actions necessary to implement immediate response and aid in recovery. The Legislature may: Speaker of the House Tina Kotek -D Portland, is calling on Governor Kate Brown to declare a "Catastrophic Disaster", and bring the legislature into a special session this December. In Kotek's press release, she states "The COVID-19 pandemic is raging like never before in Oregon. Our economic recovery is fully dependent on getting this virus under control". Side Note: "Under control" has been further defined as a need for federal aid, and vaccine administration in other statements.



A special session can be called at any time by the Governor, or a majority in both chambers is also authorized to organize a special session. So why is it so important to declare a "Catastrophic Disaster"? As outlined above, during a catastrophic disaster, quorum requirements relax, making, previously seen, pushback against poorly written and ill conceived bills, impossible. In addition to blocking pushback from the minority party, a declared catastrophic disaster would also allow the legislature to spend kicker checks, (typically refunded to overcharged taxpayers) spend the lottery funds, spend the highway fund, and if that's not enough, exceed the debt limit allowed to the state.

How did we allow this to happen, you might be asking? According to Justin Brecht the Senate Minority Senior Policy Analyst "Ballot titles and the description are often confusing, and written by the supermajority".

The legislature has been criticized for crying wolf on emergencies. In 2016, measure 88 failed to gather enough signatures to make the ballot. The measure would have ended the overused "Emergency Clause". No act shall take effect,” stipulates Oregon’s constitution, “until ninety days from the end of the session at which the same shall have been passed, except in case of emergency; which emergency shall be declared in ... the law.” Why wait 90 days? 90 days is the amount of time needed to gather signatures in order to overturn a bill by the referendum process. Webster’s defines “emergency” as “an urgent need for assistance or relief, yet by 2012 seventy one percent of all bills passed, did so with an Emergency Clause, ranging from bills to allow unionization of workplaces via “check-off cards” (2007); to credential undocumented immigrants for in-state university tuition (2013); and even to replace the U.S. Capitol statue of Oregon pioneer Jason Lee with one of the late U.S. Sen. Mark Hatfield (2014).

With historical abuse of Emergencies, it's fair to ask, Are we actually dealing with an emergency, or are we looking at just another power grab?

A new effort to curb abuse of emergencies in the legislature is now circulating, in hopes of returning the constitutionally guaranteed right of the referendum process, to the voters.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-11-22 03:24:12Last Update: 2020-11-23 15:45:55

“Stop the Shutdown” Rally Held in Klamath Falls
Southern Oregon pushes back

A rally was held in Klamath Falls today against the lockdown. Speakers included State Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Beatty), State Representative E. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath Falls) and Klamath County Commissioner Donnie Boyd, before a crowd of what some observers said was well over 100 persons, despite the chilly, windy day.

The purpose of the rally was posted on facebook.

We are rallying together to stop the senseless shutdown Kate Brown has enacted once again. Now is the time to stand up for our business owners and our community!

These lockdowns have greatly infringed upon the Constitutional rights of our communities: whereas all government derives its legitimate power from the consent of the governed!

We no longer consent to the mandates and shutdowns of our Governor!

It is our mission to send a message to Governor Kate Brown and to ask all our county leaders to stand with us to say "Enough is enough." The "cure" has become worse than the disease and we will not stand idly by to watch another business die and suicides continue to rise in our county!

One legislator who declined to be named, described the rally as "mostly peaceful."



--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-21 21:28:47Last Update: 2020-11-23 15:46:20

Who is Steering the Ship?
And what cereal box did they get their science from?

Why on earth are we eight months into lockdowns and only now discovering the deficient testing protocols instituted by Oregon Health Authority and its director, Pat Allen? On Friday, Oregon Health Authority announced that they would be drastically shifting the way they report tests and calculating the positivity rate of COVID-19.

The CDC uses test-based counting method which is to count all total tests administered. Up until this announcement, OHA has been using a people-based testing method. That means only counting the person instead of encounters or tests per day in the total. Oregon officials have had ample time to get this right and as a result of the latest glitch, is confidence in Oregon’s largest regulatory government agency at its lowest? The substantial lack of clarity means people will take daily reports with a grain of salt. Unfortunately, businesses are under a freeze and more is at stake than simply a lack of trust.

What this means and why this matters follows this important detail: Schools could have been open since early September when testing capacity was first ramped up. Schools could have been open in-person for two months as each district had to submit their reopening plans based on metrics which included statewide and county positivity rates. In September, the positivity rate for the state was 4%. If OHA had chosen to use the test-based measurement the CDC allowed for, schools could have been open. Many do not know this but once a school was in-person it could remain in-person even if community cases were increasing unless there was an outbreak in the actual school itself. OHA just removed this metric on October 28th. Was this an early indicator that their testing methods were flawed, yet they instituted a freeze anyway?

By relying on positive cases only, instead of clinical diagnosis of actual infections, perhaps OHA wouldn’t have had to close down or do another lockdown, pause or freeze or mask mandate.

What are the different methods? Oregon has been using person-based testing. In lieu of a national standard, the Centers for Disease Control indicates there are three reasons why person based testing is done; either there is widespread infection or only a subset of a certain community is at risk of Covid-19 infection is being tested. Long term care residents or farm workers fit this description. The other reason is that there is a reporting process that skew the results. This happens when positive tests results are prioritized over negative test results. This prioritization has been prevalent daily in Oregon in the constant barrage of positive “cases”. Never recoveries. Never total tests administered and definitely not ever false positive rates.

From the CDC, “Three ways in which percent positivity can be calculated for COVID-19 laboratory tests. This infographic depicts the three ways in which laboratory percent positivity may be calculated for COVID-19 laboratory tests: tests/test, people/tests, and people/people. CDC uses the test/test method, which takes the number of positive tests and divides it by the sum of the number of positive test and number of negative tests. Some states use the people/test method, which takes the number of new people with positive tests and divides it by the sum of the number of positive tests and the number of negative tests. Then other states use the people over people method, which takes the number of new people with positive tests and divides it by the sum of the number of people with positive tests and the number of people with negative tests.”

Another thing to note is that when using the test-based system, the CDC indicates that states should not add more than one positive. For example, if the same person had a rapid test then a lab confirmed positive, it should only be reported once.

There is little chance that counting the total tests or specimens skews the data because there has to be a balance with an unknown number of false positives or positive asymptomatic tests are done on healthy individuals who are forced to screen for work or school. Whenever community prevalence is low the chance that positive results are false, is high. Remember, reported daily positive “cases” does not mean active diagnosed COVID-19 infections.

Oregon should have been using test-based calculations months ago as it’s not one size fits all in a state with varied regional demographics. Strawberry farm workers came from California to Klamath falls and tested positive, had zero symptoms but affected the county and statewide positivity rate.

Why does it matter? Positivity rates set the ‘Phase guidance’, gym re-openings, and more. Additionally, rapid tests aren’t distinguished from the PCR tests which are known to be less accurate. We could have used targeted mitigation instead of a statewide freeze.



It is not too late. Oregon can set a new course and be a leader. State Representative Christine Drazan said this should have been our standard from the start, “The data and the science should direct our decisions but we have to have an agency that provides reliable accurate information.”

If Oregon truly is moving toward greater transparency perhaps we can hope to see them lower the PCR cycle thresholds and the emergency would be over before Christmas.

Has Brown’s downfall been appointing individuals ill equipped to steer the ship? Oregon’s top Epidemiologist is not trained in epidemiology but pediatrics. The director of OHA is an economist.

Hindsight is 20/20, however, what is going on at OHA?

--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-11-21 21:08:29Last Update: 2020-11-23 15:47:10

UPS Driver Kidnapped and Robbed in Portland
No arrests have been made

On November 20, 2020 at 6:45 p.m.,Portland North Precinct officers responded to the 4700 block of Northeast 106th Avenue on reports of a United Parcel Service (UPS) driver being kidnapped and robbed at gunpoint.

The UPS Driver had been delivering packages and was outside of his truck when four black male suspects confronted him. One suspect pointed a pistol at the driver demanding he give them his delivery truck. The other suspects duct-taped the UPS driver's wrists and forced him into their Honda with them. One suspect drove the UPS truck while the Honda followed. A short distance later, they stopped and the suspects stole packages from the UPS truck. The UPS driver was released unharmed. The suspects left the truck and fled in their light colored Honda.

Robbery Detectives responded to the scene and have assumed the investigation. If anyone witnessed this incident or has information about it please contact Portland Police Bureau Robbery Detective Brett Hawkinson. or call 503-823-HELP (4357).

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-21 14:24:52Last Update: 2020-11-21 16:38:57

Wide Spread Destruction to Businesses in Hollywood Neighborhood
Dressed in all black and seen wearing helmets and carrying umbrellas

In the evening hours of November 20, 2020, two groups gathered separately in the city with the intent to engage in criminal behavior. The groups vandalized and destroyed private property in both Downtown and Northeast Portland.

Around 8:45 p.m., a group of nearly 30 people gathered in the South Park blocks before walking to the Mexican Consulate located in the 1300 block of Southwest 12th Avenue. Those in the group were dressed in all black and seen wearing helmets and carrying umbrellas. As the group arrived at the Mexican Consulate, they vandalized the building by spray painting it. After the group spray painted the Mexican Consulate, they headed toward the new Multnomah County Courthouse located in the 1200 block of Southwest 1st Avenue where they began to apply graffiti to the building.

Officers responded to the scene and were able to interrupt the vandalism. Units remained at the location as high visibility. Because of the high visibility, the group dispersed from the area without creating anymore damage. No arrests were made.

At around 9:15 p.m., a group of nearly 100 gathered in Northeast Portland around Northeast Halsey Street and Northeast 52nd Avenue. The group was described as wearing all black, with masks and helmets on. A 911 call came in when the group began destroying a bank located in the 4300 block of Northeast Sandy Boulevard. A cleaning crew who was inside the bank was scared as the group began to break windows to the property. Another call came in from workers inside a grocery store located in the 4300 block of Northeast Sandy Boulevard. The workers reported members of the group were shattering windows and spray painting the building.

Officers arrived in the area and observed several businesses with shattered windows and spray paint covering buildings. One business in particular appeared to have been destroyed when members of the group threw a motorized scooter through the glass windows. As officers arrived on scene, the group had dispersed on their own and no arrests were made.

At least 24 businesses were reported vandalized on Northeast Sandy Boulevard.

Persons with information are asked to contact the police.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-21 10:49:24Last Update: 2020-11-21 14:50:49

State Senators to Vie for ORP Leadership
Leveraging relationships seen as key

In an announcement delivered via email to various members of the party, a group of State Senators appears to have put together a slate to run for leadership positions in the Oregon Republican Party.

The message is as follows

Friends in the Oregon Republican Party-

We are a group of state senators running for positions in state leadership of the Oregon Republican Party.

The positions we are running for are:

Sen. Dallas Heard, Chairman
Sen. Herman Baertschiger, Vice-Chairman
Sen. Dennis Linthicum, Treasurer
Sen. Chuck Thomsen, Secretary

After careful thought, we believe the cohesion the four of us have - especially in light of being the leadership team of the two senate walkouts to deny cap and trade corruption - is critical toward driving our Party to unprecedented heights. We have a lot of great relationships already throughout the ORP, and applaud past efforts to move our Party forward in Oregon. Our committed team simply believes we can drive us to levels once thought to be out of reach.

Below are our priorities. We aim to raise adequate funding for the Party's strategic growth investments, to launch a massive voter registration campaign that is needed to take back Oregon, and to recruit and empower new energetic grassroots members so we can achieve long term success for Oregonians.

Voter Registration:
We believe we can secure the funding and manpower to implement unprecedented Republican voter registration in Oregon. This will be widespread, and we are convinced voter registration is our single greatest project for the next two years.

As elected officials, and having achieved prior levels of success in our private lives, we are confident we can help meet important fundraising benchmarks to launch the Oregon Republican Party.

Our goal is to be open with everybody, and create conditions where whomever replaces us in the future will transition properly. We will also champion unprecedented access and information sharing with state legislative-level messaging and campaign operations.

Candidate Recruitment:
Finding great candidates, even for the most local offices, is vitally important. We hope to empower a whole new generation of freedom-loving leaders to take on the task of public service.

Sen. Herman Baertschiger (R-Grants Pass) will be leaving office in January. He will be succeeded by Art Robinson (R-Cave Junction) in his Senate seat. Dallas Heard (R-Myrtle Creek) has been a State Senator since 2018 when he replaced Jeff Kruse. Dennis Linthicum (R-Beatty) was elected to the State Senate in 2016. Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River) is the longest serving of the four, elected in 2010.

Critics from within the party have said that the party is focused too much on national issues and faces continual divisions based on internal party politics.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-21 02:31:12Last Update: 2020-11-21 11:03:18

Public Records Advocate to Pursue Independence
They keep resigning. Is that a problem?

Now on Governor Kate Brown's third Public Records Advocate, Deputy Advocate Todd Albert has been appointed as Oregon’s new Public Records Advocate, replacing Becky Chiao, who resigned after clashing with the state board accusing the governor’s staff of pressuring her to take their side on public records matters rather than maintaining independence. The appointment follows the release of The Public Record Advisory Council’s bi-annual report. That is on the heels of the Secretary of State’s audit criticizing a lack of safeguards on private information. While we all want transparency and access to records, we cherish our privacy. Where is the happy medium?

In September, 2019, Ginger McCall resigned as Public Records Advocate. Upon resigning, Ms. McCall produced a report of her findings recommending that the council pursue independence. This was pursued in SB 1506 during the 2020 session. It passed the Senate with unanimous support, but didn’t make it through the House before the session ended. Advocate Todd Albert plans to pursue a modified legislative concept for independence in the upcoming 2021 legislative session.

Since the previous report was submitted on December 1, 2018, 345 requests for assistance have been received from members of the public, representatives of the media and employees of state and local governments. Such requests have included the resolution of disputes involving the identification of appropriate records, overcoming exemptions to disclosure, the application of fees, standards for processing fee waivers and reductions, vexatious or frequent requesters, and the development of policies to ensure consistent resolution of public records requests.

In keeping with the Public Records Advisory Council’s responsibilities under ORS 192.483(a), state agencies and other public bodies were surveyed on practices and procedures for receiving public records requests, identifying the existence of records responsive to the requests and gathering and disclosing responsive records. The survey was used to advance several important goals, design policies and propose future legislation.

For public bodies that don’t yet have public records policies, the Office will endeavor to work with those offices to create public records policies that promote transparency and are user-friendly.

ORS 192.475(3) empowers the Advocate to issue written advisory opinions. The new Advocate would like to begin issuing such opinions, providing that it has sufficient staffing and resources to provide a high quality of opinion.

Albert spent 11 years as a public defender at the Legal Aid Society in New York. He is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School and Boston University. “As Public Records Advocate, I will continue to provide thoughtful and useful mediations, trainings, and advice about the public records law to public employees and members of the public alike, and I am excited to work with the Public Records Advisory Council to set new priorities and goals moving forward,” Albert said.

He will have the challenge of satisfying transparency and access to records with the privacy we all demand.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-11-20 16:58:03Last Update: 2020-11-20 19:41:44

Sheriffs Balk at Enforcing Governor’s Orders
“We are working hard to respond to priority calls”

In an email obtained from Oregon Firearms Federation Executive Director Kevin Starrett, several Oregon Sheriffs have indicated that they will not be stepping up enforcement of Governor Brown's recent lockdown orders. The email, dated November 18 recounts communications between the Undersheriff of Clackamas County, speaking for Sheriff Craig Roberts, which says that they "will not be changing how we have been doing business since the beginning of the pandemic."

That same email conversation contained a quote from Yamhill County Sheriff Tim Svenson, who said,

"Locally, I equate this to be similar to July 4th. Everyone [sic] launches off illegal fireworks and we no way to handle all the calls and have to send resources in other priority areas. We have discretion to not enforce those laws and use education and warnings as primary action.

We will be doing the same thing with this."

While the Governor does have jurisdiction over the State Police, she ordinarily has no power over the operations of local county Sheriffs, though her powers during a declared emergency are not clear. Despite her strong rhetoric, Governor Brown has not ingratiated herself to law enforcement by signing all of the "police reform" bills which contained a tribute to Black Lives Matter during the first special session of 2020.

Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon issued a joint statement with Linn County District Attorney Doug Marteeny that said in part, "The Linn County Sheriff’s Office decided back in April that we would not do criminal enforcement on COVID-19 measures. Our role in the community is not to count how many people are at a residence or how an individual business conducts its affairs."

The Klamath County Board of Commissioners issued a strong statement in response to the lockdown.

“This statewide approach does not fit Klamath County. We have a robust health care system, and we are confident the relationships in this community would ensure our health care professionals, and public health, would work together to decide what our community needs without the state’s interference. We do not need a top down approach from the State; we believe we can navigate this challenging issue locally.” said Commissioner Kelley Minty Morris.

Joe Kast, the Marion County Sheriff issued a weaker statement.

People should know that
most police jurisdictions will not be enforcing these edicts. If law enforcement does come to your door and you don't require their services, you're under no obligation to answer the door.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-20 16:03:58Last Update: 2020-11-20 16:11:09

Portland Announces Latino Advisory Council
Comprised of Latino social justice activists

The Portland Police Bureau has announced the establishment of the Latino Advisory Council (LAC). In May 2020, several Latino community leaders began meeting with the Chief's Office to identify meaningful avenues for partnership and mutual support. These efforts resulted in the creation of the Council in June 2020. Since then, a group of diverse Latino community leaders, social justice activists, and faith-based leaders have been holding monthly meetings developing a strategic roadmap for engaging the Latino community.

The LAC sent a letter introducing themselves to the Mayor last month. This excerpt illustrates their commitment and vision to working with the PPB:

"We are excited to announce the launch of the Latino Advisory Council within the Portland Police Bureau. LAC has members of the Latino community who wish to partner with the PPB and continue the dialogue on justice-related police reform. Within the context of this dialogue, we want to advocate for the unmet needs of the Latinos who face systemic barriers to justice and who have unique needs when engaging with the Portland Police.

Our aims are guided by mutual trust, a sense of nurture, unwavering accountability, and shared human values. Although our primary goal is to represent Latinos, we pledge to collaborate with police officers and provide them with cultural and language assistance to find comprehensive solutions."

Please take a moment to listen to a "human message" shared by Marta Guembes and Marvin Pena, the LAC chairs.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-20 15:50:43Last Update: 2020-11-20 16:14:01

OHA Data Not Readily Available
Where is the open and transparent government we were promised?

An unnecessary catastrophic disaster is looming, and it is reasonable to assume that the government agency who is responsible for creating guidance and implementing eight months of lockdowns should be transparent about it. It is true they publish a lot of data such as zip codes, partial info on hospitalizations, and case counts. In fact, the COVID-19 dashboard is overwhelming in the minutiae but yet neglects the full truth. They have had eight months to get this right.

Nevertheless, they do not publish a daily death graph the way they report daily cases which results in a misleading picture of Oregon’s real condition. Instead, they announce deaths in a daily fear inducing report more in line with Orwell’s 1984 Ministry of truth, “It was therefore necessary to rewrite a paragraph of Big Brother’s speech, in such a way as to make him predict the thing that had actually happened.”

The deaths reported are often from two months ago, but it's doubtful that the majority of the public pay attention to the details.

Most importantly they do not publish the rate of false positives. When isolation and lockdowns are implemented over positive PCR and antigen tests which have been reported numerous times as being unreliable as we have seen, it’s a fraudulent way to base policy decisions. When testing capacity numbers aren’t reported accurately, and Oregon Health Authority keeps the most important numbers secret, we all lose.

The Oregon Health Authority says that the law does not allow for this information being released:

“…the specific information you have requested is information obtained by Oregon Health Authority or a local public health administrator in the course of a disease outbreak investigation and is confidential under state law, and not subject to disclosure under the Oregon Public Records Act. See ORS 433.008(1). There is no exception under ORS 433.008(2) that would permit Oregon Health Authority, in its discretion, to provide you with the information you are seeking. Therefore, pursuant to ORS 192.355(9)(a) (public records or information the disclosure of which is prohibited or restricted or otherwise made confidential or privileged under Oregon law), your request for this data is denied. If you so choose, you may seek review of this determination pursuant to ORS 192.401, 192.411, 192.415, 192.418, 192.422, 192.427 and 192.431.”

OHA is culpable for the downward trajectory of academics and mental health due to closing schools eight months ago. Suicides have resulted in middle schoolers. OHA isolated grandparents from their families. OHA made themselves the Commerce Czar when they helped the state choose winners and losers by creating guidance and shutting down small businesses and strict phase guidance where restaurants and churches could not open at full capacity. They have played the biggest part in long term issues in children by forcing draconian face covering guidance on children five years and up. They aren’t allowed to breathe properly at gymnastics and karate, without a mask. The same bloated agency that closed parks and playgrounds outside for months is the same the agency that came up with strict cleaning sanitation and social distancing protocols for schools to adopt only to cancel in-person school last minute despite a mountain of evidence showing children are not at high risk of illness. Have they been stringing families along with the hope that school would soon be in session only to admit yesterday in the House Interim Revenue Committee, that schools would not return to in-person school until Fall 2021?

This four page letter by the Oregon Department of Justice explains to an Oregonian reporter on the basis ORS 433 allows a denial of information that OHA simply does not choose to make public.

The Oregon Healthy Authority should divulge false positives, fix testing number reporting, publish a daily death graph and stop using positives solely as a means to isolate and quarantine as was just decided in a Portugal court.

--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-11-19 17:05:09Last Update: 2020-11-20 16:58:03

Archbishop Sample Defends Faith Communities
“I am expressing my frustration at the Governor’s latest restrictions”

In a statement on the Governor's Latest Restrictions, Portland Catholic Archbishop Alexander Sample has called out Oregon Governor Kate Brown on her restrictions on churches.

I am speaking out publicly to express my great disappointment and frustration at the Governor’s latest restrictions on faith communities in Oregon. I understand the need to address the spike in COVID-19 cases, but we know that spread of the virus is not happening at faith gatherings. Our churches have been carefully following the masking, distancing, and sanitizing protocols. They work. Why are we limited to 25 people in a church that can seat 1000 while certain businesses are allowed to operate on a percentage of capacity? I would like to know the Governor’s rationale for tighter restrictions on churches. It is not data driven. It does not make sense. Our neighbors to the north in Washington are facing greater spread and tighter restrictions, yet their Governor’s formula for restrictions on faith communities is much more reasonable (25% occupancy or 200 maximum). It follows the science. A similar policy makes sense for Oregon.

The Catholic Church and other faith communities have bent over backwards to observe Governor Brown’s directives and implement strict protocols to keep people safe since the pandemic began. We operate in a controlled environment where we can keep everyone who enters our doors from having “close contact.” We are asking the Governor, following the two week “freeze,” to reconsider her gathering restrictions for faith communities. We ask her to remember that the Christmas holiday is a little over a month away, and it is a season when people of many faiths turn to their churches. We need a policy that matches our current situation, keeps people safe, and meets the spiritual needs of people of faith in Oregon. It is unfortunate that a person’s ability to worship does not seem to be considered an essential activity. I can assure you that the Catholic faithful under my pastoral care consider Sunday worship vital, especially when facing the challenges of the pandemic.

The Catholic community continues to pray for the Governor and her staff while she does the very challenging work of navigating the state of Oregon through this terrible pandemic.

Civil libertarians in Oregon have shown surprise at the level of restrictions that have been placed on faith communities. Several lawsuits against Governor Kate Brown and the State of Oregon are pending.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-19 16:39:06Last Update: 2020-11-19 16:56:03

Portland Stops Data Collection Report for 2020
Searches of Black/African Americans not at a disparate rate

The Stops Data Collection Report is an annual assessment of traffic stops for drivers and pedestrians in Portland by the Portland Police Bureau.

The Portland Police Bureau is taking necessary steps to identify areas of improvement in the way officers make traffic stops. Beginning January 1, 2021, the Portland Police Bureau will begin collecting new data points to help identify improvements that can be made to the way traffic stops are conducted.

In a commitment to change and improve, the Portland Police Bureau needs to collect this new information and implement new accountability measures related to searches. PPB claims they continue to make improvements to increase understanding of the data and to identify opportunities to reduce disproportionate outcomes. Some next steps include:

"This data provides PPB with an opportunity to improve and seek out additional tools and resources," said Chief Chuck Lovell. "Stops data helps us realize over-representation in the criminal justice system still exists. We understand this creates fear and distrust within the community. It's important to continue to enhance the data collection process to give us a better understanding of the context of stops, searches and arrests. We will continue to incorporate these system changes, policy changes and training, including how to better capture consent searches."

The report indicates several key findings: A supplemental report relating to the former Gun Violence Reduction Team's (GVRT) stop data is also available. The GVRT utilized traffic stops as a tool to help investigate and prevent gun violence in the City. The supplemental report focuses on the following:
--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-19 16:15:34Last Update: 2020-11-19 17:00:55

Analysis: Libertarians Play Spoilers
May have cost Republican two legislative seats

As Republicans try to climb their way out of super-minority status in the legislature, it's not just Democrats that are holding them back. The outcome of at least two races may have been impacted by Libertarian candidates, each of which polled more votes than the margin of victory.

Democrats have had their sights set on Senate District 10 which includes the eastern part of Polk County and South Salem, since Denyc Boles was appointed to the seat to replace the venerable Jackie Winters after her passing. Democrats hold a razor-thin voter registration advantage as of the eve of the election with 31,740 Democrats and 30,440 Republicans -- a gap of 1,300 votes. Boles beat the spread, losing to newcomer Deb Patterson by a mere 600 votes -- though that number could change slightly. A larger number is the count of votes polled by Taylor Rickey, the Libertarian candidate, who spent nothing, yet took 2,775 votes -- more than four times the margin of victory for Patterson.

No one will ever be able to tell how those Libertarians voted, but if one makes the assumption that voters tend to not split their party votes, in a Senate District that contains exactly two House Districts, Republicans tallied 39,671 votes to 37,826 in those two races, winning by a combined 1,845 -- less than the Libertarian take.

East of Portland in the Gorge, House District 52 is home to the liberal city of Hood River, but its population of about 8,000 isn't big enough to dominate the rural areas around the city as well as the far eastern X-urbs of Portland. Republican Jeff Helfrich, who lost the seat in 2018 to Democrat Anna Williams, set up a rematch.

This was the closest match in Oregon for 2020, split by a mere 90 votes in favor of the now incumbent Williams in the face of Libertarian Stephen Alder's 1,058 votes -- well above the margin needed to prevail. Again, no one knows how those thousand votes would have gone had the libertarian not run. There's only 386 Libertarians registered to vote in the district.

Asked if he thought he cost Jeff Helfrich the election, Stephen Alder, the Libertarian candidate from House District 52 said, "I cant speak for Mrs. Williams' nor Mr. Helfrich's voters' choice. What I can say is that by my running against the two of them did not cause either to lose votes, the people chose the candidate that they felt was best. It was in the realm of possibility that I could change [the outcome] however, my candidacy was for changing the legislature and keeping people accountable for what they do." He added, "Libertarians don't take votes. We present ourselves as a viable alternative to the same old 'lesser of two evils'. Voting should not be a 'Sofie's choice'. You vote as your civic duty and vote your conscience."

Alder summarized by saying, "We are the American people not a red people or blue people, but rather a prism of thought and ideas." These races could have made a difference in how the 2021 session goes. It's worth remembering and coming back to. This facebook post by Rickey indicates that he could well make a difference again in 2022. Stay tuned.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-19 08:40:56Last Update: 2020-11-19 08:55:38

Is Hospital Capacity an Issue?
It doesnt seem that way

Experts would have you believe that the same threats of COVID-19 patients inundating hospitals from nine months ago still exist today. The message has been that our hospitals would have been overwhelmed if not for draconian lockdowns instituted by Kate Brown’s overreaching orders. Was it all for naught?

They can’t have it both ways. Either our draconian mitigation worked and voila, hospitals are fine or it did not work at all. And you cannot say that of the 30 grocery store patrons at Safeway, one single unmasked person set us all back. That line of thinking lacks logic and besides, there is zero evidence to that claim. According to Oregon Health Authority, Grocery stores are not on the list of major causes of outbreaks.

None of these questions posed negate the fact that the virus is real but how we are dealing with the facts deserves a broader discussion. After all, we are not being asked. We are being told to lockdown again.

What is compelling is to look at previous hospital capacity versus now. As of November 17, OHSU is reporting a total of 43 COVID patients for their three main hospitals. There are 12 patients already in hospital for other conditions and listed as previous in-house patients. It is hospital protocol to test every patient is regardless of symptoms in spite of accuracy problems plaguing asymptomatics. Better safe than sorry, right?

As an example, the OHA chart below is from June and shows 42 COVID-19 patients reported in hospital, which is only ONE more than today. What is the reason for the Big Freeze?

Between the Weekly Report published by OHA and this article on July 1, show there were more COVID hospitalizations reported months ago but the messaging then was that things were under control and survival rates had improved significantly.

A report showing a general lack of hospital beds in Oregon is underscored by Dr. Renee Edwards, “Without a significant slowing of COVID-19, Oregon will not be able to serve the hospital needs of Oregonians without creating more beds.”

“Under an agreement announced Monday, the Portland area’s four hospital systems -- Legacy Health, Kaiser Permanente, Providence Health & Services and OHSU, which includes Adventist Health Portland and Tuality Healthcare -- are working with the Oregon Health Authority in an unprecedented joint effort to coordinate beds, add capacity and share resources. Data specialists at OHSU and the Oregon Health Authority expect coronavirus cases to double every 6.2 days. By April 11, Oregon will need 1,000 hospital beds and 400 intensive care beds to serve those patients.” As we know these dire predictions did not materialize. We are not far from a normal year scenario for capacity which is 65-70%, according to data from AHA from previous three years and HHS, Oregon is at 70.4% for bed utilization. For a more in depth look, read more from Data Expert, Justin Hart with Rational Ground as he details other states' hospitalization scenarios.

In the long months that have passed, did Oregon’s metro hospitals not prepare for the threatened Fall wave? It is difficult to trust the same experts who gave us modeling projections that never materialized and know what the true impact of a 5% increase in bed utilization is.

Whatever happened to those unused field hospital beds? With CARES ACT funds still available as well as our own state revenue in the $2Bn range, could we not do something other than lockdown churches? You may recall the furloughs in Oregon's hospitals, have they neglected to restaff?

Or perhaps a more surreptitious explanation exists and that is Kate Brown refuses to relinquish her control on a highly politicized situation. Her collaboration with California and Washington, her digs at the current administration and demands for more federal stimulus funds support this theory.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash.com

--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-11-18 13:53:33Last Update: 2020-11-18 14:20:56

Democrats Choose Kotek for Speaker of the House
Will be her fifth term as Speaker

House Democrats on Monday night designated Rep. Tina Kotek (D-Portland) to be their nominee for another term as the Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives. Speaker Kotek issued the following statement this morning:

“I’m honored to have the supportof my caucus to continue serving Oregon and the chamber as House Speaker,” Kotek said. “Like every business and family in Oregon, the legislature has been moving from crisis to crisis since February. As we head into the 2021 session, we are facing a global pandemic, high unemployment, a billion-dollar budget hole, an expensive wildfire recovery, a severe housing shortage, and the everydayharmof systemic racism. All of these crises require urgent action and experienced leadership. I remain committed to continue working with every member to help all parts of the state to solve these immense challenges. Every legislator will need to bring all their compassion and empathy to the table. Together, we can build a better and more just Oregon."

Kotek, who was first elected to the Oregon Legislature in 2006, is the longest-serving House Speaker in Oregon history and became the first openly lesbian speaker of any state house in 2013. She will be officially nominated to serve her fifth term as House Speaker on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, the first day of the 81stOregon Legislative Assembly, when the full House of Representatives will elect the Speaker.

There were rumors of a challenge to the speakership by Representative Janelle Bynum (D-Portland) as well as internal discontent among many members, especially those of the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) sub-caucus. The Democrat leadership is all white.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-18 10:42:30Last Update: 2020-11-19 08:24:54

December Revenue Forecast Sparks Comment
Including a call for a special session

The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis has released it's December revenue forecast. They are predicting a speedy recovery, dependent on the course of the COVID-19 virus, prompting responses from several legislative leaders.

House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) used the forecast to call for a special session. “The COVID-19 pandemic is raging like never before in Oregon. Our economic recovery is fully dependent on getting this virus under control. As the state’s budget situation has stabilized and since Congress is unlikely to pass another relief package this year, I urge the Governor to declare a catastrophic disaster so the legislature can convene a remote special session in December.”

She also seems to be calling for the state to spend it's reserves to fund a temporary government housing program:

“We need to utilize some portion of the state’s reserves as soon as possible to help struggling Oregonians and small businesses through the winter months. I am particularly interested in seeing the state spend $100 million to keep Oregonians housed and stabilize the rental market as the pandemic continues into 2021.”

Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) had a different take, emphasizing that schools need to re-open. “Economists project the average income has dropped for households across Oregon. We would get a better outcome if we protected seniors and the vulnerable and opened the state, so the average family is able to thrive. For example, if schools reopen for all children, parents can re-enter the workforce, which boosts the economy.”

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) added, “Today’s forecast shows that our state economy is stable, but this is not a reflection of reality for most Oregonians who have been impacted by these shutdowns. The most recent “freeze” will hurt Oregonians and business owners, and make an already tenuous recovery even harder for families. Now more than ever we must protect jobs, support business growth, manage our reserves and control spending to ensure a long-term recovery for all of Oregon.”

Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) stressed equity and a hope for federal assistance, saying, “We cannot deny the disparate impact COVID-19 and the corresponding recession has had on low income Oregonians and marginalized populations. We must prioritize their needs as we work toward recovery and do everything possible to retain vital services and equitable delivery of those services. Congress needs to put the needs of the American people at the top of their to do list immediately. With federal assistance, we can adequately respond to this public health emergency and deliver financial lifelines for Oregonians in every corner of our state.”

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-18 09:58:11Last Update: 2020-11-18 11:34:55

More Lawmakers Sound Off on COVID Policies
Disproportionally impacts women, single-parent homes, rural communities and small businesses.

In a letter addressed to Governor Brown several elected officials have requested that the Governor reconsider policies relating to COVID-19 restrictions.

The letter points out that "COVID-19 cases will ebb and flow over the next several months just as they have over the last several weeks. This metric is not a reliable indicator of the situation." Several experts have pointed out that increases in cases may be linked to testing quantity and quality, and not indicative of an increase in the severity of the outbreak.

It is time to re-evaluate the metrics and the ever-changing goal posts related to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our rural, semi-rural, eastern and frontier communities. We have shut down for months, we have met the metrics required, we have followed the goal posts as they’ve moved, we have adhered to the rules, we have slowed the spread—and yet, our counties, communities, small businesses, K-12 schools, childcare and colleges, health departments and more, sit in a stale and stagnant state without forward progress. We have done and continue to do all that is within our capacity to slow the spread of COVID-19, and now, some of our border counties are being directly affected by decisions and actions from outside our state over which we have no control.

This is not a sustainable position for our communities.

The letter notes that current COVID-19 policies "disproportionally impact women, single-parent homes, rural communities and small businesses... students are struggling in their education as well as their mental and emotional fitness, families have been stressed to the maximum, and decade-old businesses that are the lifeblood of our Oregon communities have closed for good." Focusing on the impacts to various facets of society, the elected officials propose four areas for change:

1.Restaurants and bars: Our hospitality industry, restaurants and bars must be able to stay open. The data shared by OHA does not show any indication that our restaurants and bars are the cause of increased cases. In addition, our hospitality industry is responsible for employing tens of thousands and Oregonians and keeping our already-fragile economy moving. Our restaurants and bars need to be able to extend their hours beyond the arbitrary closing time of 10:00pm and need to safely expand their indoor occupancy especially as we head into the holiday season and winter when indoor restaurants, lodging and tourism activity will grow. We are at risk for nearly 40% of our remaining businesses closing in the next six months if we do not allow for reasonable expansion of these services and industries.

2.Schools: Our schools need to be allowed to fully re-open for in-classroom learning, and our students need to be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities. All teachers, students, staff, and volunteers that want to return to in-person learning should be able to do so in a safe manner. All teachers, students, staff, and volunteers that desire to continue CDL should be able to do so. If it is safe for college athletes to return to sports, assuredly it is safe for high school students. Parents need to be able to return to work, and our students and teachers need the stability of the classroom.

3.State Agencies: We need to reopen our state agencies at all levels, including and specifically DMVs, across the state. We would argue, and assume you would agree, that our state agencies and state employees are essential. These agencies are funded with public dollars and our public needs full access to these essential services.

4.Religious institutions: Release our churches and places of worship. While outliers will exist as the exception, most churches and places of worship will be and have been more than scrupulous in protecting their congregations from harm from COVID-19. Give pastors, religious leaders and governing boards the latitude to exercise their best judgement for safety.

The letter concludes:

We have a simple ask. As the leaders chosen by Oregonians to represent their best interests and be their advocates, throughout and across our beautiful state, we would ask that the Governor and Governor’s office participate in these meetings and work with us, assess the proposals and plans we put forward, and consider the options we will be recommending for your consideration and approval. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

The letter has been signed by lawmakers representing overwhelmingly rural areas.

Senator Lynn Findley, Senate District 30
Senator Bill Hansell, Senate District 29
Senator Kim Thatcher, Senate District 13
Senator Fred Girod, Senate District 9
Senator Brian Boquist, Senate District 12
Senator Chuck Thomsen, Senate District 26
Rep. Mark Owens, House District 60
Rep. Greg Barretto, House District 58
Rep. Raquel Moore-Green, House District 19
Rep. Shelly Boshart-Davis, House District 15
Rep.Vikki Breese-Iverson, House District 55
Rep. Mike Nearman, House District 23
Rep. Bill Post, House District 25
Rep. Rick Lewis, House District 18
Rep. Carl Wilson, House District 3
Rep. Elect and Commissioner Lily Morgan, House District 3
Rep-Elect Bobby Levy, House District 58
Bill Harvey Baker, County Commissioner
Mark Bennett Baker, County Commissioner
Bruce Nichols, Baker County Commissioner
Jerry Brummer, Crook County Commissioner
Patti Adair, Deschutes County Commissioner
Tony DeBone, Deschutes County Commissioner
Jim Hamsher, Grant County Commissioner
Sam Palmer, Grant County Commissioner
Pete Runnels, Harney County Commissioner
Patty Dorroh, Harney County Commissioner
Kristen Shelman, Harney County Commissioner
Mae Huston, Jefferson County Commissioner
Donnie Boyd, Klamath County Commissioner
Derrick DeGroot, Klamath County Commissioner
Kelley Minty Morris, Klamath County Commissioner
Mark Albertson, Lake County Commissioner
Brad Winters, Lake County Commissioner
James Williams, Lake County Commissioner
Donald Hodge, Malheur County Commissioner
Larry Wilson, Malheur County Commissioner
Dan Joyce, Malheur County Commissioner
Melissa Lindsay, Morrow County Commissioner
Don Russell, Morrow County Commissioner
Jim Doherty, Morrow County Commissioner
Todd Nash, Wallowa County Commissioner
Craig Pope, Polk County Commissioner
Bill Elfering, Umatilla County Commissioner
George Murdock, Umatilla County Commissioner
John Shafer, Umatilla County Commissioner
Paul Anderes, Union County Commissioner
Matt Scarfo, Union County Commissioner
Donna Beverage, Union County Commissioner
Susan Roberts, Wallowa County Commissioner
Mary Starrett, Yamhill County Commissioner

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash.com

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-18 08:51:36Last Update: 2020-11-18 13:09:01

Lawmakers Muzzled on Unionization Issue
Influencing staff may be an unfair labor practice

In a memo to fellow legislators Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney and Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek warned lawmakers against interfering with staff decisions on whether to unionize. The memo reads, in part:

It is not uncommon during organizing efforts for employees to discuss the organizing effort, whether they support or oppose it, amongst themselves and to inquire of management perspectives. While every employee and certainly every member is entitled to their opinion on such an effort, it is important to recognize that employees have a right to discuss these matters. It is not appropriate, and contrary to state collective bargaining laws that protect union organizing efforts, for you in your role as appointing authority to attempt to influence or interfere in any way – in support or opposition. Any organizing effort is inherently an employee driven process and at this time, there is no action for the branch or you to take. As always, we encourage you to listen to the concerns, interests and needs of your staff, but in this circumstance, you should not engage in any discussion about the organizing activity.

State lawmakers are not regarded in law as "employers" of their staff. They are regarded as "appointing authority." Oregon Law does not mention "appointing authority." It's not clear whether any lawmaker, as "appointing authority" can "attempt to influence" the decision of their staff or the staff of other lawmakers to join or not join a union. It is not clear if such a memo is a restriction of the free speech and association rights of lawmakers.

Oregon law is clear on what is prohibited by employers and what is an unfair labor practice.

243.670 Prohibition of actions by public employer to assist, promote or deter union organizing; rules.
(1) As used in this section:

(a) “Assist, promote or deter union organizing” means any attempt by a public employer to influence the decision of any or all of its employees or the employees of its subcontractors regarding:

(A) Whether to support or oppose a labor organization that represents or seeks to represent those employees; or
(B) Whether to become a member of any labor organization.

243.672 Unfair labor practices; complaints; filing fees.
(1) It is an unfair labor practice for a public employer or its designated representative to do any of the following:

(a) Interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in or because of the exercise of rights guaranteed in ORS 243.662.
(b) Dominate, interfere with or assist in the formation, existence or administration of any employee organization.
(c) Discriminate in regard to hiring, tenure or any terms or condition of employment for the purpose of encouraging or discouraging membership in an employee organization. Nothing in this section is intended to prohibit the entering into of a fair-share agreement between a public employer and the exclusive bargaining representative of its employees. If a “fair-share” agreement has been agreed to by the public employer and exclusive representative, nothing prohibits the deduction of the payment-in-lieu-of-dues from the salaries or wages of the employees.
(d) Discharge or otherwise discriminate against an employee because the employee has signed or filed an affidavit, petition or complaint or has given information or testimony under ORS 243.650 to 243.806.
(e) Refuse to bargain collectively in good faith with the exclusive representative.
(f) Refuse or fail to comply with any provision of ORS 243.650 to 243.806.
(g) Violate the provisions of any written contract with respect to employment relations including an agreement to arbitrate or to accept the terms of an arbitration award, where previously the parties have agreed to accept arbitration awards as final and binding upon them.
(h) Refuse to reduce an agreement, reached as a result of collective bargaining, to writing and sign the resulting contract.
(i) Violate ORS 243.670 (2).
(j) Attempt to influence an employee to resign from or decline to obtain membership in a labor organization.
(k) Encourage an employee to revoke an authorization for the deductions described under ORS 243.806.

(2) Subject to the limitations set forth in this subsection, it is an unfair labor practice for a public employee or for a labor organization or its designated representative to do any of the following:

(a) Interfere with, restrain or coerce any employee in or because of the exercise of any right guaranteed under ORS 243.650 to 243.806.
(b) Refuse to bargain collectively in good faith with the public employer if the labor organization is an exclusive representative.
(c) Refuse or fail to comply with any provision of ORS 243.650 to 243.806.
(d) Violate the provisions of any written contract with respect to employment relations, including an agreement to arbitrate or to accept the terms of an arbitration award, where previously the parties have agreed to accept arbitration awards as final and binding upon them.
(e) Refuse to reduce an agreement, reached as a result of collective bargaining, to writing and sign the resulting contract.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-18 07:58:50Last Update: 2020-11-18 08:51:36

Lawmakers Question Governor’s Policies
“We cannot support any attempt to violate any Oregonian’s home”

In a letter addressed to Oregon Governor Kate Brown from several state and local elected officials, the Governor's recent executive order with regard to COVID-19 have been called out and questioned.

Perhaps most significant is that the letter calls out the executive branch for ignoring science -- the very science that they claim their orders are based on:

We recognize the threat that COVID-19 poses to our community and support data driven decisions to limit the spread of this disease, but we do not support the mandate to close gyms, churches, and restaurants as it is not supported by historical data and will only address a small fraction of Oregon’s COVID cases at the cost of thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses.

Combined, cases that can be traced back to churches, restaurants and gyms make up less than 1% of all the recorded COVID cases in Oregon. Quite simply, there is no actual evidence that restaurants, gyms or churches are driving COVID in our community. In fact, because of the adherence to mask wearing and social distancing, these establishments have been some of the safest in the state.

The closure of these establishments ensures more jobs are lost and Oregonians are left only to rely on a broken unemployment system. Our neighbors and friends won’t be able to pay their mortgages, pay their rent, or buy Christmas presents for their children because of this decision. This is wrong.

In a statement that perhaps best highlights the insensitivity and lack of compassion of the Governor's order and her handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in general, the letter continues:

Furthermore, we are concerned with the violation of our privacy as the state police and local law enforcement agencies are being ordered to investigate and criminally charge Oregonians based on the number of people they invite into their homes. Legality questions aside, with depression and anxiety levels at an all-time high, creating a new crime to visit your family only hinders those struggling with their mental health.

Data shows us that COVID has been spreading at private social gatherings, and we call on our fellow citizens to be careful and social distance when gathering over the holidays, but we cannot and will not support any attempt by any police agency to violate the sacred space of any Oregonian’s home.

The letter has been signed by the following elected officials:

Bill Post – State Representative, House District 25
Colm Willis, Marion County Commissioner
Rick Lewis – State Representative, House District 18
David Brock Smith – State Representative, House District 1
Raquel Moore-Green – State Representative, House District 19
Mark Owens – State Representative, House District 60
Mike Nearman – State Representative, House District 23
Jim Yon – Linn County Sheriff
Tim Knopp – State Senator, Senate District 27
Jack Zika – State Representative, House District 53
Cathy Clark, Mayor of Keizer
Craig Pope, Polk County Commissioner
Danielle Bethell, Marion County Commissioner Elect
Lyle Mordhorst, Polk County Commissioner

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.com

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-17 19:04:17Last Update: 2020-11-18 09:29:45

Law Enforcement Issues Statement
“We cannot enforce our way out of the pandemic”

The Governor’s Executive Order 20-65 for lockdown to December 2 calls for enforcement subject to 30 days in jail or a fine of $1,250 or both. The problem the Governor has is that she can only direct enforcement by the Oregon State Police. So, to intimidate compliance, she has convinced the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association and the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police to support the Oregon State Police in the following public statement. But, somehow it acknowledges the lack of enforcement and is just begging compliance.

Oregonians have a strong tradition of unifying to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities. As your fellow community members, please join us in adhering to the Governor’s Executive Order during the two-week Coronavirus freeze. As your Oregon Law Enforcement professionals, our primary objective throughout the Coronavirus pandemic has been to take an education first approach and to seek voluntary compliance with each Executive Order. We recognize the inconvenience the pandemic and subsequent restrictions have caused all of us. We also know that the risk to our most vulnerable populations is extremely high at this time and we urge everyone to follow these restrictions in order to protect them. After all, we are all in this together.

With the issuance of the latest Executive Order, Oregon Law enforcement will continue to follow an education first approach. Oregon Law Enforcement will only take enforcement action (criminal citations) as a last resort. As with most enforcement decision making, discretion will be used if/when any Executive Order enforcement action is taken. Oregon Law Enforcement recognizes that we cannot arrest or enforce our way out of the pandemic. We can however work together in following these restrictions to make our communities a safer and healthy place.

We include the following recommendations when it comes to reporting Executive Order violations.

Business/workplace violations-Please report these to Oregon OSHA.
Restaurant/Bars-Please report these violations to OSHA or OLCC.

Oregon Law Enforcement is faced with many challenges one of which is typically receiving more police calls for service than available resources to respond. Because of this, we ask the public to follow the above-mentioned recommendations for reporting alleged violations of the Executive Order.

At the Northwest Observer, we wish you and yours a very joyful -- and safe -- holiday season, with minimal involuntary interactions with law enforcement.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-11-17 18:16:05Last Update: 2020-11-17 18:48:56

Governor Brown Issues Threat
Informal social gatherings -- including Thanksgiving dinner -- are targeted

In case you missed it on Friday the 13, the rumors you've been seeing on social media are true. The video below should un-debunk -- or whatever the proper term is -- any conspiracy theories out there that are saying that Governor Brown is going to send law enforcement out against Thanksgiving gatherings.

Yes, that's right. It's true. She said it. And she might send the state police after you. If you're an individual, your mother -- er, your Governor -- is not asking you. She's telling you to stop with the informal get-togethers, including Thanksgiving dinner, as she made clear in her executive order. If you're a business, you have until Wednesday to begin to follow stricter guidlines for two weeks, or whenever she reviews the situation and decides that you can go back to regular business.

This is a transcript of the short 50 second video below:

In terms of individuals, I am not asking you. I am telling you to stop your social gatherings, your informal social gatherings, and your house parties and to limit your social interactions to six and under -- not more than one household -- and I'm asking that immeadiately. I will take stronger legal action as appropriate. I've already directed the superintendent of state police to begin to work with local law enforcement to legally enforce the informal social gathering orders.

All this, despite the fact that many people have pointed out that some of her policies lack scientific foundation. All her policies lack transparency, as she is refusing to honor any public records requests made of her COVID council.

The Northwest Observer will continue to operate during the shutdown, protected by the fact that we are an entirely virtual operation and protected by the first amendment to the US Constitution. If you have any experience with law enforcement regarding the shutdown or social gatherings, please drop us a line at editor@northwestobserver.com

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-17 17:23:31Last Update: 2020-11-17 19:04:17

Four Klamath Dams Slated for Removal
States and electric utilities will assume environmental and economic liability

In an agreement between PacificCorp, the states of Oregon and California, the Yurok and Karuk tribes from the southern Oregon/northern California region and the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, the parties have agreed to "removal of the JC Boyle, Copco 1, Copco 2, and Iron Gate dams in order to achieve a free-flowing Klamath River with volitional fish passage." Drawdown and removal is set to begin in the first quarter of 2023, according to the agreement.

Among other things, the agreement requires PacificCorp to "resolve at PacifiCorp’s sole cost and expense all PreExisting Environmental Site Conditions." PacifiCorp’s agreement will transfer a portion of its liability for dam removal -- potentially billions of dollars -- onto every taxpayer and business in the state of Oregon.

In July 2020, The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reviewed the application for removal of dams on the Klamath River. Approval was given only if PacifCorp was part of the liability for any damage caused by the removal of four dams along the Klamath River. The memorandum intends to transfer a portion of that liability directly onto the backs of Oregonians.

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) released a statement, saying:

“It is critically important as complex water issues in the Klamath basin continue to impact tribal members, water users and stakeholders, that we don’t forget all Oregonians who are depending on us to maintain a commitment to good government.

Any executive branch agreement must include protections for tax dollars currently dedicated to funding our safety net.

During this period of economic uncertainty Oregonians cannot afford to allow the governor to simply write a blank check.

This agreement has no protections against cost overruns and is being entered into within an uncertain litigious and regulatory environment, which will impact state budgets for years to come.

As discussions of the removal of additional dams continue within the Brown administration, the importance of hydropower to Oregon’s economic strength and growth cannot be overstated. Hydropower remains a reliable, clean, emission-free energy source which we must not abandon.”

State Senator Dennis Linthicum, State Representative E. Werner Reschke and Klamath County Commissioner Donnie Boyd issued a statement saying, "Governor Brown has no constitutional authority to make this decision. By fiat she has created this policy, entering into this agreement, without legislative process or approval from the people of Oregon."

“This is unethical business by PacificCorp. We accept them as a business partner in our community, but transferring the liability, potentially billions of dollars onto every taxpayer and business in the state of Oregon, is wrong,” said Klamath County Commissioner Donnie Boyd (R-Klamath Falls).

“This bold move by the Governor, without any legislative consideration continues her unconstitutional mandates causing harm to Oregonians while lining the pockets of big corporations,” said Representative E. Werner Reschke (R-Malin). “While the Governor polishes her resume for the Biden administration, the prospects for her career increase but the opportunities for Oregonians decrease,” said Rep. Reschke.

State Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Beatty) replied, “This is another saga in the latest batch of Governor Kate Brown’s unconstitutional power grabs. Brown continually brokers high-stakes, dark-of-night deals without public or legislative input. Oregon’s taxpayers will be on the hook for millions if this imprudent cronyism is allowed to stand.”

The agreement does recognize that no legislature nor any executive action can bind the hands of future legislative or executive action. "State law, future legislative actions, and budget limitations may constrain the States in carrying out these actions and nothing in this Implementing Agreement is intended or shall be construed to require the obligation, appropriation, or expenditure of any funds by the States except as otherwise permitted by applicable law.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-17 15:35:47Last Update: 2020-11-17 16:23:30

Grocery Stores Can Refuse Deposit Redemptions During Freeze
Grocers may choose to still take returns

Grocers and supermarkets will get a reprieve from complying with Oregon’s Bottle Bill redemption requirements starting Wednesday, November 18, 2020when the“Statewide Freeze”begins. The “Statewide Freeze”is designed to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 and places new conditions for how businesses can operate; grocery stores will be limited to new 75% capacity requirements.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission temporarily will not take enforcement action against Oregon retailers that choose not to accept the return of empty beverage containers for redemption. During the Statewide Freeze if stores don’t take back empty beverage containers, the OLCC will not issue them a notice of violation.

Retailers that choose to do so can still accept containers for redemption; there is no mandate that retailers not refuse containers. Even if stores choose not to accept container returns at this time a 10 cent deposit will still be assessed on the purchase of all eligible beverage containers.

BottleDrop redemption centers, operated by the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative(OBRC) will remain open. OBRC and retailers will also continue to operate BottleDrop Express drop sites, and Dealer Redemption Centers. Consumers in communities without redemption centers should store bottles and cans until redemption services fully resume.

The redemption requirement reprieve is expected to last longer than two weeks in some parts of the state where the“Statewide Freeze”may remain in effect based on a county’s re-opening status. Once a jurisdiction is no longer in the “Statewide Freeze”status retailers are required to begin accepting empty redeemable containers within five (5) days.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-16 20:15:12Last Update: 2020-11-16 20:27:04

Oregon Will Provide Wildfire Ash and Debris Cleanup
Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion counties

The State of Oregon will provide no-cost wildfire ash and debris cleanup for all homes and businesses in the eight counties affected by the disastrous September wildfires, the Oregon Debris Management Task Force announced today. This cleanup includes mobile home parks, second homes, businesses, and other structures.

Home and business owners that opt into this government-led wildfire cleanup program will pay no upfront costs for any cleanup work. Additionally, no government agency – state, federal or contractor - will seek payment from any insurance policy unless it is specifically designated for debris removal or left over after the home or business is completely rebuilt.

The no-cost cleanup is available to home and business owners in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion counties.

“Our mission is to safely clear the ash and debris as quickly as possible, and leave Oregonians with a clean site so they can rebuild,” said Kris Strickler, director of the Oregon Department of Transportation. “This will take time, strong partnerships and a lot of hard work, but we’re already well on our way. I encourage every Oregonian who lost a home or business in the wildfires to sign a Right of Entry form with their county, if they haven’t already, to help keep this important work moving forward.”

Property owners need to sign a Right of Entry form to allow cleanup crews onto their property. Cleanup crews will remove ash and structural debris, hazard trees, concrete foundations, and burned vehicles. Submit your Right of Entry form online and for more information, call the wildfire debris cleanup hotline: 503-934-1700.

Wildfire cleanup is a two-step process. Step 1 is removal of household hazardous waste, which is dangerous to people, communities and the environment. This work is nearly completed in all fire-impacted counties. Progress on Step 1 efforts can be viewed on EPA’s 2020 Oregon Fires Recovery website.

Step 2 is removal of ash and debris. The state is currently hiring contractors to carry out this work, scheduled to begin in December 2020. The task force is working closely with local governments to determine cleanup priorities for each area. Given factors such as weather impacts, property access limitations and the large area to be covered, Step 2 is estimated to take approximately 6 to 18 months to complete statewide. As the state task force gets contractors on board, more clarity on timing will be provided.

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

FEMA will reimburse the state for a portion of eligible costs. The State of Oregon will fund the remaining costs, regardless of FEMA reimbursement. Initial estimates put the debris cleanup tally at over $600 million, including $326 million for ash and debris removal and $295 million to remove damaged trees. This estimate is preliminary and is likely to change.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-16 13:24:50Last Update: 2020-11-16 14:02:22

Union Eyes Oregon Legislative Staff
Electrical workers want to unionize all staff

In a letter from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 89, the Washington State based union claims to be assisting workers in the Oregon Legislature to unionize. The letter, authored by IBEW Local 89 Business Manager/Financial Secretary Matthew P. Carroll was addressed to the "members of the Oregon Legislative Administration Committee," and says:

The IBEW has been asked to assist workers in the Oregon Legislature in forming a Union to address their representational needs. We look forward to working with the Legislative Administration Committee to ensure your employees have a voice in the workplace they are so passionate about. The IBEW has a history of transcending politics and working with public entities in the collective bargaining process, producing agreements based on partnership and collaboration.

Local 89 is committed to a process that provides a path to representation for these workers, while respecting the laws and institutions of the State. We anticipate that the State will do likewise, respecting the rights of their employees.

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan said, "Our legislative employees are valued partners in service to our constituents and state. As these options are considered, we want to make sure that all workers are advised of their first amendment rights as required by the Janus decision." In 2018 the US Supreme Court decided in Janus v. AFSCME that public employees must be advised of their first amendment rights, and must knowingly waive those rights before union dues can be deducted.

It is not clear how the unionization will come about -- if there will be a vote of the workers, or if legislative leadership will simply designate IBEW Local 89 as the representative for the workers. Workers in the Legislature have many statutory protections. In 2017, the Oregon Legislature passed a pay equity law, HB 2005, which prohibits discriminatory pay laws, effectively determining pay based on resume.

Carroll concludes the letter by saying, "I look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with the Oregon Legislature.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 280 PAC, an Oregon based political action committee has a history of making large donations exclusively to Democratic and left-leaning candidates and causes. It's not clear if their Washington-based sister union will follow the same pattern.

Major donations from International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 280 PAC this year
11/10/2020Oregonians to Maintain Community Standards (1579)$2,430
10/21/2020Jackie for Salem (19242)$1,000
10/21/2020Friends of Dan Rayfield (14046)$1,000
10/21/2020Elect Ashley Carson Cottingham (20526)$1,000
10/21/2020Jason for Bend (18661)$1,000
10/21/2020Megan for Bend (20694)$1,000
10/21/2020Broadman for Bend (20610)$1,000
09/30/2020Melanie For Bend (20331)$1,000
09/30/2020Friends of Val Hoyle (13967)$1,000
09/02/2020Friends of Dan Rayfield (14046)$1,000
09/02/2020IBEW Political/Legislative Dept Voluntary Fund (fed)$5,000
08/19/2020Jackie for Salem (19242)$1,000
08/19/2020Elect Ashley Carson Cottingham (20526)$1,500
08/19/2020Committee to Elect Shemia Fagan (14993)$2,500
08/19/2020Jason for Bend (18661)$1,000
08/19/2020Friends of Julie Fahey (17469)$1,000
08/05/2020Oregonians to Maintain Community Standards (1579)$2,430
05/13/2020Oregonians to Maintain Community Standards (1579)$2,823
04/15/2020Jackie for Salem (19242)$1,000
03/26/2020Yes for LCC Bond (20245)$10,000
03/15/2020Oregonians to Maintain Community Standards (1579)$2,823

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-16 09:29:20Last Update: 2020-11-16 09:48:08

Representative Mark Owens Calls Out Governor
Shutting down entire state is too extreme

Republican Representative Mark Owens of the Oregon legislature has issued the following statement in response to Governor Brown's Two-Week Freeze:

"Governor Brown's one-size-fits-all approach to shutting down our state is far too extreme. Our eastern and rural Oregon communities in House District 60 will suffer to the point of no return. I am fully committed to stopping the spread of COVID-19, but these extreme regulations do not match the metrics.

Once again, our local elected leaders, public health authorities and businesses were not invited to the table to have a conversation about COVID-19 in our communities. Furthermore, evidence is lacking to support the arbitrary, targeted closures and restricted activities of certain businesses over others. Our businesses across Oregon will not survive another shutdown and thousands of Oregonians will lose their jobs, again, right before the holidays.

The secondary impacts of preventing the spread of COVID are significant and cannot be ignored; we've seen a devastating increase in suicide especially among youth and young adults, drug and alcohol use, and domestic and sexual violence. Our elderly family members have gone months without visitors or family and are dying alone.

I implore the Governor to reconsider this one-size-fits-all freeze, and speak with our businesses, local leaders and authorities to find a different path forward before it is too late for our families, communities, and our state."

Rep. Owens also referenced agreement with a statement made by Jason Brandt, President & CEO for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA), in a letter to Governor Brown:

"Businesses throughout Oregon have proven that they can make the operational changes necessary to keep their employees and their customers safe, even during this unprecedented pandemic. What we need now is a plan to address the root of the problem without causing additional harm to Oregonians throughout the state," said Brandt.

Critics are noting the statewide orders are being met with a spectrum of reactions ranging from at least minimal criticism to outright rebellion in nearly all demographics.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-15 13:16:48Last Update: 2020-11-15 13:39:06

Oregon Senate Democrats Elect Leadership Team
Courtney is the longest serving president.

The Oregon Senate Democrats held a caucus leadership election and their leadership team will be made up of the following: The Senate Democrats hold a majority in the Senate, as they have for more than a decade.

“The Oregon Senate Democrats have a legacy of success and our eyes on the future. I am thrilled to be at the helm of our caucus, and I am buoyed by the impressive experience and skills of this leadership team,” said Senator Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) who has served as Majority Leader since May 2020. “Oregon is facing a pivotal time in history with great challenges ahead. I am confident in our ability to rebuild and repair our state as we overcome overlapping challenges and focus on improving the wellbeing of every Oregonian. We will continue the ongoing work to advance racial justice, provide for equitable opportunity for all to succeed and protect our climate for future generations. As we begin a Legislative Assembly like none we have experienced before, I am deeply humbled by the trust my colleagues have put in my and I look forward to working alongside them.”

Senator Courtney—as the nominee for Senate President—and Senator James I. Manning Jr. -- as the nominee for Senate President Pro Tempore -- must be elected by a vote of the full Senate which will take place when they meet during Legislative Organizational Days.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-14 17:55:19Last Update: 2020-11-14 18:12:26

Business Vandalized by Demonstrators
In the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood in Portland

Property damage and vandalism are still happening with frequency in Portland, Oregon.

On November 12, 2020, at approximately 10:15 p.m., Portland Central Precinct officers responded to a business located in the 2700 block of Southeast Milwaukie Avenue on reports that demonstrators had vandalized and broke windows at the location. Officers arrived on scene and learned several demonstrators had applied graffiti to the building with spray paint as well as broke two of the businesses glass windows.

No suspects have been arrested at this time in regards to this incident.

Anyone with additional information about this incident are encourage to submit a tip with Crime Stoppers. Tips may be submitted safely and securely to Crime Stoppers of Oregon online or by phone at 503-823-HELP (4357).

Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in any unsolved felony crime and tipsters can remain anonymous.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-14 16:11:35Last Update: 2020-11-14 16:20:31

Statewide Shutdown Announced
It’s just two weeks, folks, just like last time

In today’s press conference with Governor Kate Brown, a statewide “freeze” was ordered on the majority of indoor gatherings including but not limited to, restaurants and bars, gyms and faith based gatherings which are restricted to 25 members indoors and 50 outdoors. Retail is allowed to remain open within 75% of their normal capacity for two weeks. It was announced that Multnomah County will be in a four week freeze with the potential for other counties to join them if their cases continue to surge.

Kate Brown had announced a two week pause only one week ago and since then they have seen an “alarming spike in cases and Covid-19 hospitalizations.” It is unclear whether or not that nine county pause made much difference however, Dr. Dean Sidelinger indicated with record number of daily cases they decided to take action now. He updated the case count for today which is 1,056. A majority of cases stems from “community spread, which is lurking visible and not,” according to Kate Brown.

Hospitals are expecting an influx and several are voluntarily reducing or limiting elective procedures that would require a hospital stay of one to four days. OHSU has four ICU’s that care for critically ill patients not just Covid patients and are reportedly at 90% capacity.

Oregon Health Sciences University has been planning for large surge, but that is meant to be last resort measures. Hospitals are looking grim, with a 50% increase in metro, and are facing constraint. There are 15 staffed ICU beds, per Dr. Sidelinger. Other regions are facing urgency even though capacity is not high. Hospitals have a lagging indicator where we won’t see hospitalizations for one to two weeks.

Dire predictions spoken of by Dr. Renee Edwards, Chief Medical Officer of OHSU, echoing phrases like, “the dreaded winter surge is here, and we may be facing the roughest days of the pandemic, we must take further action.”

What is included in the two week freeze? Beginning on Wednesday November 18, through December 2, Expect the following: The Governor followed the new guidance with, “The evidence is clear, masks save lives.”

These lockdown measures are in addition to earlier travel advisory she announced along with Govenor’s Newsom and Inslee of travelers avoiding interstate travel outside the three states, Washington, California and Oregon as well as self-quarantining for 14 days upon return. While this is not mandatory she said “We may be forced to,” make it so.

Individuals should begin compliance now, businesses should start to be in compliance by this coming Wednesday. According to data and modeling, Kate Brown’s public health experts predict we need longer to flatten the curve and slow the transmission.

If this all sounds “familiar” that’s because it is. Two weeks to flatten the curve first began on March 22nd when Governor Brown ordered all businesses except those deemed essential to close. It is hard to imagine the same experts will be satisfied with another two weeks.

Dr. Dean Sidelinger likened the freeze to a firebreak and blamed social gatherings for the rise in case such as Halloween parties and not keeping distance or wearing masks. Examples given were two Halloween parties where one had 50 attendees and 10 positive tests resulted.

Another smaller one involved six testing positive with following up occurring with an additional 25 individuals. “Skyrocketing cases” is preventing local public health departments from being able to quickly contact trace and investigate. Individuals can help the effort, when, someone tells you you’ve been exposed while waiting on test results to stay home and don’t wait for public health call, which is just one tool. The freeze was called another tool.

With previous Executive orders Kate Brown has used discretion to allow law enforcement to enforce as a class c misdemeanor, through citation, fine or arrest. When questioned by reporters about stronger legal action, she said, “She is not asking, but telling people to stop with informal social gatherings,” and she did not want to have to close businesses again but, “We have no other choice.”

In closing, the Governor reiterated, “I know Oregonians can do this as they’ve made incredible sacrifices to protect themselves and we’ve had one of the lowest infections rates.” The infection rate given today is 1.5%.

And if hearing, “Stay Home, Save lives” wasn’t losing its impact, Brown followed that with “get your flu shot,” and it had a certain cheap grocery store ring to it.

It's beginning to feel as if we're Clark Griswold after receiving a jelly of the month club certificate instead of a bonus check. After all the hard work and sacrifice of the last, almost nine months, the phrase Governor Brown uttered last year, has clearer meaning. Revenge isn’t just a dish best served cold, but freezing.

--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-11-13 19:05:32Last Update: 2020-11-13 20:55:19

Traveling In Or Out Of Oregon?
You must now self-quarantine after arrival

As COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the country, Governor Kate Brown, California Governor Gavin Newsom, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued travel advisories urging visitors entering their states or returning home from travel outside these states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus. The travel advisories urge against non-essential out-of-state travel, ask people to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country, and encourage residents to stay local.

“COVID-19 does not stop at state lines. As hospitals across the West are stretched to capacity, we must take steps to ensure travelers are not bringing this disease home with them,” said Governor Brown. “If you do not need to travel, you shouldn’t. This will be hard, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. But the best way to keep your family safe is to stay close to home.”

In addition to urging individuals arriving from other states or countries to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival, the states’ travel advisories recommend individuals limit their interactions to their immediate household. The advisories define essential travel as travel for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.

“California just surpassed a sobering threshold – one million COVID-19 cases – with no signs of the virus slowing down,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “Increased cases are adding pressure on our hospital systems and threatening the lives of seniors, essential workers and vulnerable Californians. Travel increases the risk of spreading COVID-19, and we must all collectively increase our efforts at this time to keep the virus at bay and save lives.”

“COVID cases have doubled in Washington over the past two weeks. This puts our state in as dangerous a position today as we were in March,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee said. “Limiting and reducing travel is one way to reduce the further spread of the disease. I am happy to partner with California and Oregon in this effort to help protect lives up and down the West Coast.”

To learn more about the risk that travel itself poses for COVID-19 exposure, please visit the CDC page on travel risks.

The incidence of COVID-19 is increasing in many states and countries. Persons arriving in Oregon from other states or Oregonians returning from other states or countries could increase the risk of COVID-19 spread. In addition, travel itself can be a risk for exposure to COVID-19, particularly travel through shared conveyance such as air, bus or rail travel.

Travel Advisory for Non-Essential Travel

1. Persons arriving in Oregon from other states or countries, including returning Oregon residents, should practice self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. These persons should limit their interactions to their immediate household. This recommendation does not apply to individuals who cross state or country borders for essential travel.

Non-essential travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.

Essential travel includes: work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.

2. Oregonians are encouraged to stay home or in their region and avoid non-essential travel to other states or countries. Avoiding travel can reduce the risk of virus transmission and bringing the virus back to Oregon.

--Sabrina-Marie Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-13 15:19:54Last Update: 2020-11-13 17:06:23

Governor Freezes Entire State of Oregon
Prompted by possible hospital capacity concerns

Governor Kate Brown today announced a statewide Two-Week Freeze, implementing new measures to limit gatherings and stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 across Oregon. The Two-Week Freeze measures will be in effect from Nov. 18 through Dec. 2, statewide. These risk reduction measures are critical in limiting the spread of COVID-19, reducing risk in communities more vulnerable to serious illness and death, and helping conserve hospital capacity so that all Oregonians can continue to have access to quality care.

“Since I announced a Two-Week Pause one week ago, we are seeing an alarming spike in both cases and hospitalizations,” said Governor Brown. “The virus is spreading in the community and, every day, it is infecting more and more Oregonians. This situation is dangerous and our hospitals have been sounding the alarms. If we want to give Oregon a fighting chance, we must take further measures to flatten the curve and save lives. I know this is hard, and we are weary. But, we are trying to stop this ferocious virus from quickly spreading far and wide. And in Oregon, we actually can do this.

“Given the data and modeling we are seeing, my public health experts tell me that some counties will need longer to flatten the curve. So I want to be very clear that there are some COVID-19 hotspot counties that will likely need to stay in the Freeze for much longer than two weeks. Multnomah County, for example, will be in this Freeze for at least four weeks. Our actions right now, no matter where in the state you live, are critical.”

The Two-Week Freeze measures include: The Two-Week Freeze does not apply to or change current health and safety protocols for personal services (such as barber shops, hair salons, and non-medical massage therapy), congregate homeless sheltering, outdoor recreation and sports, youth programs, childcare, K-12 schools, K-12 sports currently allowed, current Division 1 and professional athletics exemptions, and higher education — all of which can continue operating under previous guidance issued by the Oregon Health Authority.

For all other permitted activities listed above, the Oregon Health Authority will be issuing sector-specific guidance within the next week. Sectors without specific prohibitions or guidance must operate under this general employer guidance.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-13 14:40:57Last Update: 2020-11-13 15:19:54

Brown Chief of Staff to Join Biden Team
Nik Blosser joins the Biden transition team as ballots are still being counted

Nik Blosser, chief of staff to Oregon Governor Kate Brown, will be leaving the Governor to join the Biden/Harris transition team, as ballots are still being counted, and recounts are underway.

Blosser, recently parried with the Trump Administration, holding up vital and timely firefighting aid in exchange for "rumor control", regarding Antifa involvement in Oregon fires. In an email chain discovered via public records requests, Blosser is asked by the Trump administration to correct rumors, and address an MSNBC article claiming the Trump administration was not responding to Governor Kate Brown's request for federal firefighting aid. Trump's team asks for honesty during Brown's next press conference. Blosser quickly quips back, "Thanks, we're also trying to dispel rumors with the FBI, and Local Law Enforcement assistance, that Antifa set the fires".

Now Blosser is being rewarded for his political savvy, and quick thinking, hired on prematurely as part of the Biden/Harris "transition team". In a press release issued by the Governor's office, Brown praises Blosser stating, "Nik has been on the ground and focused on the pandemic response from the start of this crisis, giving him a unique understanding of the needs of Americans suffering from COVID-19 and the needs of the communities they live in,” said Governor Brown. “I am heartened that President-Elect Biden, Vice President-Elect Harris and their transition team have selected Nik for this important role. He has my full support, and I am confident he will help President-Elect Biden and his team support states in their approach to this crisis and the long recovery that will follow.”

Meanwhile, Georgia has just announced a hand recount of ballots, along with several other key battleground states, under suspicion of voter fraud. President Trump has openly stated they intend to fight the fraud, and has not conceded the race for President. As a reminder Trump has stated that, "The media doesn't decide elections."

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2020-11-13 13:59:28Last Update: 2020-11-13 14:21:09

Housing Stabilization Proposed
Government created economic problem solved by housing providers

After months of ignoring the mounting problem of unpaid rents, with an ever increasingly difficult exit strategy, the party in power has started to face the reality that while short-term renter relief may have been acceptable and even appropriate, long-term measures have begun to impact the housing market in ways that will take years to heal. The upshot may be even greater disruption to the housing market. Time will tell.

A draft of a proposal has been put forth by Representative Julie Fahey (D-Eugene) in preparation for a possible third special session. This proposal, dated November 11, includes: One puzzling feature of the proposal is that in order for the landlord to be compensated, the tenant must submit a form describing their financial hardship. What if the tenant is unwilling -- or as is surely the case at least some of the time -- unable to do so.

Many housing providers have been barely hanging on as tenants have been withholding rents. Though the proposal does say that "smaller landlords and landlords with higher percent of rent unpaid will be prioritized for assistance first," this might be too little, too late for some providers.

One housing provider shared these thoughts with their State Representative. "Property taxes are due. It was made clear that there would be no forgiveness of any kind and that the taxes needed to be paid on time. Owners have to keep up with repairs and on-going monthly expenses, such as utilities and landscaping, even if no rent is coming in."

The wisdom of extending the eviction moratorium has been questioned by some. Some see it as possibly effective as a very short-term measure, but after several months it puts housing providers at a large disadvantage with their tenants. After several months, tenants need to resolve whatever issues they have. Many housing providers are not in a position to forego income for several months, and many regard it as unfair for the state to expect them to.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-12 20:53:52Last Update: 2020-11-12 21:32:20

Where’s the Emergency?
Pause and then pounce

On what basis did Governor Brown hold a presser on hospital capacity? The dashboards on COVID-19 by Oregon Health Authority do not appear to reveal a compelling reason.

The Governor already held a press conference on the previous Friday where she announced a two week pause, restricting five Counties. She added another four counties on Monday. Did the data indicate a dire surge in hospitalizations? A quick glance shows the hospitalizations and emergency department admissions for COVID Like Illness or CLI visits remain flat.

In the press conference on Tuesday, OHA updated us with the fact that 285 people across Oregon with a positive test are in the hospital. There was no distinguishing whether or not those had tested positive once admitted for other causes, just that ICU and ventilator use is remains flat. Region 1 as reported doesn’t show increase in ICU or ventilator usage. Perhaps since influenza testing and reporting have flatlined, patients have other health conditions they are now finally seeking care for.

The numbers haven’t changed significantly for eight months and we currently have 146 ICU adult beds available and 135 pediatric ICU beds available, as reassured by Dr. Hargunani, Chief Medical Officer at Oregon Health Authority. In fact, her tone was surprisingly positive compared to the Governor, when she highlighted, that due to the previous Swine Flu Pandemic in 2009, Oregon was in a good shape with regards to PPE and hospital capacity. The interesting difference between today and the Swine Flu Pandemic, was that the H1N1 of 2009 was forecasted to be much worse than COVID-19.

Furthermore, the only two emergency orders declared by then Governor Kulongoski, merely gave the Public Health Director the authority to respond actively to the H1N1 pandemic. Two executive orders. That’s it. Nothing like the more than two dozen sweeping emergency orders we have seen from Kate Brown such as statewide school closures or mask mandates and criminal and civil penalties.

In addition, normally OHA uses plain numbers when reporting daily case counts. You will not hear them use percentages such as “.05% of all Oregonians have tested positive,” testing accuracy aside, because it paints a much different picture. So why did they switch to percentages yesterday? If there are two patients in the hospital and then there are 6, you can create more alarm by saying there has been a 200% increase.

Governor Brown was frequently unavailable in the earlier months so she does not hold press conferences without calculation. As if her previous 28 orders weren’t catastrophic enough it is fair to speculate if perhaps she is laying the groundwork for further declaratory action.

--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-11-12 11:51:47Last Update: 2020-11-12 12:25:43

Illegal Speed Racing Events in Portland
Hundreds of cars involved

Hundreds of people and vehicles were involved in speed racing events throughout Portland Sunday evening, including multiple street takeovers. Responding officers made numerous arrests and towed vehicles.

On Sunday, November 8, 2020 at about 8:00p.m., Portland Police responded to reports of 400-plus vehicles gathering for speed racing events in the area of Northeast Airport Way and Northeast 122nd Avenue. While there was information about a protest planned, some officers assigned to the protest were diverted to address the speed racing.

While the dangerous and illegal speed racing events have been a problem for years in Portland, especially on Sunday evenings, lately participants and spectators have been more aggressive. There has been an uptick in street takeovers, where participants block traffic to perform stunts. Additionally, officers have noticed a more aggressive response to police, including items thrown at officers. Addressing these crimes has been challenging and resource intensive. With additional resources available, PPB was able to be more effective in addressing the problem. PPB learned that the speed racing events were advertised on social media and invited participants from other states.

Throughout the evening, Portland Police officers made numerous traffic stops and, through enforcement action, prompted participants to move repeatedly. During the event, those involved in the illegal street racing activity briefly took over the top deck of the Fremont Bridge, the Interstate Bridge, Sunset Highway tunnel and multiple intersections including Northeast Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard/Northeast Columbia Boulevard, North Marine Drive/North Portsmouth Avenue, and North Lombard St/North Ramsey Boulevard. At one point there were people riding on the hoods of vehicles as they drove recklessly around Northeast Sandy Boulevard in the Goodwill parking lot. Each of these incidents were quickly broken up by responding officers.

Sixteen vehicles were towed. Fourteen people were arrested and booked into jail. Three juveniles were detained in a stolen car and released to parents with a future court date.

Arrested and booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (not a complete list-other names unavailable):

Eric Rios, 19, of Salem, Oregon - Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangerment Towed: 2016 Chevrolet Camaro - (OR) 891KJG (photo)

Juan Magana, 24, of Salem, Oregon - Reckless Driving Towed: 2018 Chevrolet Camaro - (OR) SL87837 (photo)

Randy Lester, 21, of Seattle, Washington, vehicle towed -- Reckless Driving (2 counts)

Alejandro Murphy, 24, unknown residence, vehicle towed - Reckless Driving, Driving While Suspended

Isaac Alverado-Martinez, 19, unknown residence, vehicle tires deflated, towed -- Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver (hit and run), Reckless Driving, Interfering with a Peace Officer, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree

Clayton Galloway, 23, of Lebanon, Oregon, vehicle towed -- Attempt to Elude Police Officer, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangerment (2 counts),

Elizabeth Bridgewater, 24, unknown residence -- Attempt to Elude Police Officer, Reckless Endangerment

Adan Alejandreds-Ayala, 20, of Portland, vehicle towed -- Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, Hit and Run, Attempt to Elude Police officer

Kailey Morton, 22, of Rio Linda, California -- Reckless Driving

Chanel Mussey, 21, of Portland --Reckless Driving, Attempt to Elude Police Officer, Escape in the Third Degree, Interfering with a Police Officer

Gunther Orozco, 20, unknown residence, vehicle towed --Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, Reckless Driving, Driving While Suspended -- Misdemeanor

Criminally Cited: Silas Hickey, 20, of Santa Cruz, California -- Reckless Driving

Eight other traffic violation citations were issued. Two vehicles were disabled using spike strips to deflate tires during attempts to elude.

One crash was connected to speed racing. At North Columbia Boulevard and North Argyle Street, a vehicle hit a pole. No injuries. Vehicle was towed. Two other crashes are suspected to be related to speed racing, one on I-5 southbound at Marine Drive, the other at Northeast 122nd Avenue and Northeast Halsey Street (hit and run-2 victim vehicles damaged). No one was injured.

Irresponsible driving practices can have a deadly outcome. There have been 46 fatalities and 43 Major Crash Team activations this year in the City of Portland.

Traffic Division officers and sergeants regularly do focused enforcement in areas where dangerous driving behavior has resulted in crashes or numerous complaints. These special details rotate throughout the city.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-12 09:45:58Last Update: 2020-11-12 10:43:02

Oregon Emergency Board Approves $128 Million
Intended to help those affected by Coronavirus Lockdowns

The legislative Emergency Board has just approved more than $128 million to help Oregonians impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This includes funding for childcare providers, Oregonians in need of shelter, small businesses, long-term care providers and victims of domestic and sexual violence.

“I want to thank Reps. Marsh and Keny-Guyer, as well as numerous advocates who pushed for this funding,” House Speaker Tina Kotek said. “This funding comes at a critical time as COVID19 cases continue to spike in Oregon. As winter approaches, it’s particularly important we passed additional funding to help people without permanent housing. We’ve been facing a statewide shelter emergency for some time and the pandemic has made the situation even more dire. We have a lot of work ahead of us to solve this emergency but it's an important step." The Emergency Board approved $35 million from the state’s Emergency Fund to support the Project Turnkey Statewide Pandemic and Homelessness Response. The Oregon Community Foundation will use funding to support the acquisition, retrofitting and potential operation of hotel and motel properties to be used as emergency shelter. This funding is in addition to $30 million the Emergency Board approved on October 23 to begin Project Turnkey in wildfireaffected areas. The Emergency Board also approved the following allocations from the state’s share of federal funds available through the Coronavirus Relief Fund: Despite all the government aid, the people of Oregon would ultimately just like to go back to work.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-11 10:30:10Last Update: 2020-11-12 10:34:36

YamCo Sign Wars
The complaintocracy works fine. Except when it doesn’t

This spring and this fall brought to us once again, the great American tradition of yard signs and field signs in political races.

Whether stuck in the ground or waved to passing cars on a busy street it’s a grand way for Yamhill County residents -- indeed, all Oregonians -- to exercise their first amendment rights. However, McMinnville city officials changed all of that this year for the general election. As in past years, Republicans showed support for their candidates by erecting their usual signs with gusto. With few exceptions, their opponents, smarting from defeat in the primary, chose this time not to compete and sat out the sign competition. Instead they chose to complain, as was the case elsewhere in Oregon.

When asked why the sudden change to time honored practices in the sign competition city compliance officer Nic Miles said “we only act if there are complaints”. With no previous complaining until now the city was rusty on knowing its own codes. Their webpage on signs literally has more disclaimers than actual information. 4x4 field signs inside the city limits were quickly ordered removed only to be deemed within the city code upon further review. Planning Director Heather Richards was called to the front lines of this debacle. That wasn’t enough fire power to solve this crisis and so the city attorney gave it a shot. After a couple of tries she finally figured it out. Director Richards wasn’t clear on just where the city boundaries were either and was reversed a second time.

Again, signs came down only to return to their former positions. Coincidence or not? Concerned about a credible conservative challenger, City Manager Jeff Towery called in Mayoral candidate Heidi Parker -- generally favored by Republicans -- and spent 30 minutes explaining to her how well he does the job. His anxieties were relieved when the challenger suffered a narrow loss. Towery wasn’t the only anxious party.

In mid-year incumbent councilors passed a new code limiting campaign funds received from a PAC to $1,000 -- which appears to have been made legal by Measure 107, which passed in November. If more is received the donor must be identified on all campaign materials. Oh, those pesky challenges to status quo at McMinnville City Hall.

--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2020-11-10 17:44:19Last Update: 2020-11-10 18:38:29

Record Low Temps
Coast and valley see frigid temps

The National Weather Service in Portland issued the following Record Report on Monday. Note that records go back to the 19th century at most stations. And as meteorologist Dr. Roy Spencer pointed out, we still have a few months to go before the La Nina cold really takes hold.

Once the cold air mass over Western Oregon dried out, under clear skies, atmospheric carbon dioxide was not able to keep us warm.

Noted climate realist, Dr. Gordon Fulks said, "Perhaps Governor Brown needs to call Professor Phil Mote at OSU to find out what is going wrong with his climate theories. Could it be that CO2 is not a very important greenhouse gas after all? Water vapor, as a greenhouse gas and as clouds, is obviously doing the heavy lifting here. And when it disappears for a short while, we get cold. This is very elementary meteorology."

The report was prepared by Clinton Rockey in the National Weather Service Portland Office.

SXUS76 KPQR 100033

430 PM PST MON NOV 09 2020










--Staff Reports with Dr. Gordon Fulks

Post Date: 2020-11-10 12:19:42Last Update: 2020-11-10 12:33:11

Kate Brown Adds More Counties to Lockdown List
It’s just a 2 week temporary government program...

Nine counties in Oregon have now been ordered by Governor Kate Brown to be further restricted from commerce and social activity on a "two-week pause" starting Wednesday November 11th. Supposedly this will be for two weeks and it comes to be after what only some people are asserting was a significant spike in COVID-19 cases.

The nine counties are: These nine Oregon counties will begin a two-week pause of social activities on Nov. 11. Five counties were announced on Friday and four more counties were added to the list shortly after. Counties with a case rate above 200 per 100,000 people over a two-week period, or more than 60 cases over a two-week period for counties with less than 30,000 people have been placed on the pause.

The two-week pause measures include: Governor Brown has threatened additional restrictions on businesses and individuals in additional counties and further statewide mandates if compliance to her COVID-19 rules are not satisfactorily met.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-10 10:24:35Last Update: 2020-11-10 19:30:33

Whence the Surge in Cases?
Including, but not limited to U of O footballers, a goat and a papaya

Oregon, like other states, is experiencing a surge of COVId-19 cases. Does this mean the virus is spreading unchecked? Oregon is one of the most restrictive states in the nation, sitting near the bottom at 44. Have we failed to contain it? Or are our mitigations are for naught. This issue is complex but deserves to be transparently discussed since we have given such sweeping authority over to public health agencies that are keeping schools locked down, businesses restricted and masks mandated down to 5 year-olds as well as the disabled despite their medical conditions which are supposed to exempt them. There is too much at stake to ignore this issue any longer. We already know that testing more will show more cases. But in reality it goes much deeper than that.

First, there is a high chance of false positive results in testing individuals without symptoms. Polymerise chain reaction, or PCR testing is used to directly detect the presence of an antigen, rather than the presence of the body’s immune response, or antibodies. It is generally regarded as unreliable when cycle thresholds are over 35 as is happening in Thermo Fishers used by Oregon and many other states. The Cycle Threshold (Ct) value is defined as the number of cycles of amplification (using rRT-PCR) required for the fluorescence of a PCR product (i.e. the target/amplicon) to be detected crossing a threshold.

In laymen’s terms? You could amplify anything long enough and it will produce a positive result. Remember the goat and papaya that tested positive? This is aside from the fact that dead viral RNA can be detected for twelve weeks.

Secondly, as we saw in University of Oregon football players, BionaxNow Rapid antigen tests produce high false positive results and in fact were not authorized by the FDA to use in individuals who are not showing symptoms. OHA and Lane County Public Health have admitted this is true.

In August, Governor Kate Brown announced an agreement with Thermo Fisher to increase testing capacity. At the same time Thermo Fisher had testing inaccuracies that discovered high false positives per the FDA who told them to fix it. Just over a month later Oregon experienced a “surge in cases”.

Not a surge in hospitalizations or deaths, but cases. Not infections. Cases.

Additionally, contacts of cases such as family members and co-workers are being added to daily case counts as presumptive positives and are never removed even if subsequently tested negative. I realize the task of tracking contacts after the fact would be enormous but why is there no protocol to remove contacts within, say 10-14 days if they never show signs of illness? Case in point, Mercy Hospital in Douglas County had a outbreak but despite their employees testing negative, OHA refused to remove previous presumptive cases off the positive column.

Lastly, there is one glaring example of the fact that too much testing will produce more cases. OSU has been conducting door to door testing campaigns using the Taqpath tests by Thermo Fisher, and as mentioned above are fraught with problems. Thermo Fisher has a notorious reputation for faulty tests prior to receiving a temporary Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. Last year, as parent company of their drug tests, they erroneously produced hundreds of false positives for hundreds of inmates and are facing a class action lawsuit.

One week after testing finished in four counties, they were either added to county watch list or forced to go back to Phase 1 Lockdown. Lincoln county was immediately included in the 7-th county mask mandate on June 24. Of significant note is the fact that the majority of the individuals tested did not have any symptoms. That they are called asymptomatic is highly misleading when test participants should be called false positives in healthy individuals.

Here’s a snapshot: What we began back in March was watch hospitalizations and ICU admissions. We need to prioritize that again. Look at severe disease burden more than cases and distinguish whether a person in hospital tested positive while in hospital or prior to. If we’re relying solely on cases to determine metrics our foundation is woefully flawed. Two weeks to flatten the curve 232 days is too long.

--Nicole DeGraff

Post Date: 2020-11-10 07:03:03Last Update: 2020-11-10 12:19:42

Oregon Director of Elections Leaves
Critizes support for the agency on the way out.

Oregon Elections Director Steve Trout has left his position at the Secretary of State's office less than a week after the general election, with a small handful of races still pending.

In a memo sent to both of the presumptive top two candidates for Secretary of State, Shemia Fagan (D-Portland) and Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer), Trout lets both know about what he thought of the the state of the Elections Division. It's not clear whether he was fired or resigned. It seems to be a case of "you can't fire me, because I quit."

"When one of you takes office in January you will be the fourth Secretary we have had in 4 years and one month, and the fifth Secretary in the past six years. During that time, we have also had four Deputy Secretaries and three Information Services (ISD) directors. As a result of this constant change in the executive team there is a lack of strategic vision and plans for the agency, and staff are not focused due to that lack of vision and leadership. I am not stating this to attach blame because Secretary Richardson’s cancer was no one’s fault, but simply to recognize that that lack of vision and leadership over the past few years has really set the agency back."

As the only Republican held statewide office, the Secretary of State's office under the late Dennis Richardson was the target of budget tightfistedness in the Democrat controlled legislature, under the Democrat administration of Kate Brown, who had other priorities.

Trout's memo contained a laundry list of information technology initiatives which lacked funding due to "Elections Division struggles to get support from the agency support divisions." In a self-critical paragraph he laments that his own people caused some of the damage, because "most of the projects that have been completed and rolled out in the past couple of years have had to be undone because there were changes made that resulted in breaking other things." He also blamed outdated hardware.

His final blow comes near the end of the memo where he apparently dooms his successor. "Finally, I don’t want you to be surprised if you hear I am interviewing for new jobs. It is not because I don’t want to work for either of you, but rather because I cannot succeed with the current state of technology and lack of support in the agency. I don’t believe anyone will be able to succeed."

Shemia Fagan defeated Kim Thatcher in the Secretary of State's race by a margin of 50% to 43%.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-09 16:55:22Last Update: 2020-11-10 09:39:24

Oregon Republicans Urge Patience
“Media outlets are entitled to their opinion, and so are we.”

The Oregon Republican Party released the following statement in response to the premature declarations by Democrat politicians and many media organizations that the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election has been decided:

“The Presidential election is not resolved,” said Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bill Currier. “We live under the rule of law, not the rule of the news media or big tech companies that have censored Republicans and promoted grossly inaccurate opinion polls for months that declared this election over before a single vote was cast.”

“Media outlets are entitled to their opinion, and so are we. However, only state election officials may administer and certify elections, and judges can rule on the merits of the cases being brought. Al Gore got 37 days to resolve an election in one state 20 years ago. There are significant and troubling irregularities being investigated and cases filed in half a dozen states. Certainly, voters deserve the same opportunity for these cases to be heard and adjudicated and recounts in hotly contested states to be completed. No state’s vote results should be decided by illegal votes from ineligible or dead voters, faulty voting machines, suspicious voter turnout well over 100%, mathematically-impossible vote tallies of large batches of ballots, or by ballots received after the election deadlines had passed.”

“Americans deserve to have every legal vote counted, and every illegal vote thrown out. When you cannot even effectively observe, much less investigate very suspicious ballot processing and vote counting results, and when numerous court filings have yet to be heard, and recounts have not even started, it is obvious that this will take time. The same elected officials and media outlets who continuously counseled patience and calm as ballots were being tabulated should continue to do so without bias or political favor to either candidate or party as these cases are resolved, and votes are re-tabulated. Arguments for a Constitutional case with massive implications in Pennsylvania are only just being offered in front of the Supreme Court today.”

“We’ve witnessed during the past four years a constant barrage of false news stories and media narratives, from fake Russian collusion investigations, phony dossiers, anonymously sourced manufactured controversies, coverups of scandalous conduct by President Trump’s opponent, and a hyper-partisan impeachment that was endlessly promoted despite lacking a reasonable basis in fact. When taken together with the censorship of the President, the months of spinning riots, looting, and arson as peaceful protest, and the intentionally inaccurate political polling in swing states, it is time for the media to exercise greater humility and take its own advice to exercise patience as facts continue to unfold. Is it any wonder why Republicans and the millions of non-Republican Trump supporters have a deep mistrust of media declarations regarding this election?”

“We would also like to remind local media that there are several very close races in Oregon in which ballots are still being counted and the outcome is yet to be finalized. Several media outlets have already declared these races over despite this fact. This certainly doesn’t look fair and is very disrespectful of Oregon voters. It is just as important to count every legal vote in our state as it is anywhere else.”

The race between incumbent State Senator Denyc Boles (R-Salem) and Deb Patterson (D_Salem) has not been resolved. There are also still different possible outcomes in House Districts 31 and 52.

“We continue to stand with President Trump and with the rule of law,” said Currier. “One thing is for sure, mobs of Biden voters in the streets will neither hold sway over our court system nor over the integrity of our election recounts. The more than 70 million voters who cast their ballots for the President and other Republicans up and down the ballot deserve a fair election.”

The ORP says that interested persons may contribute to President Trump’s Official Election Defense Fund.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-09 12:35:49Last Update: 2020-11-09 17:17:34

Oregon OSHA adopts new Coronavirus rules
Will remain in effect until May 2021

Oregon OSHA has adopted a temporary rule that combats the spread of coronavirus in all workplaces by requiring employers to carry out a comprehensive set of risk-reducing measures.

The rule will take effect Nov. 16, with certain parts phased in, and is expected to remain in effect until May 4, 2021. It is a continuation of the guidance produced by the Oregon Health Authority and enforced in the workplace by Oregon OSHA, including physical distancing, use of face coverings, and sanitation.

The rule is intended to further improve the current structure for reducing risks in the workplace by requiring several measures many employers have voluntarily implemented. For example, it requires employers to notify employees of a workplace infection and provide training to workers on how to reduce risks. Likewise, employers must formally assess the risk of exposure, develop infection control plans, and address indoor air quality within their current capability.

“We believe compliance with this rule will help reduce the serious threat to workers posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA. “It does so by establishing a clear, practical, and consistent set of measures for employers.”

Those measures – along with more requirements for exceptionally high-risk jobs, such as direct patient care – are part of Oregon OSHA’s ongoing enforcement and educational efforts to help protect workers from the coronavirus disease.

Beginning in late June, the process to develop the temporary rule included more than a dozen virtual forums dealing with specific issues and industries before the first of four stakeholder review drafts was even developed. And each subsequent draft incorporated changes resulting from Oregon OSHA’s discussion with a large number of employer and worker representatives, as well as feedback from the public at large.

Adoption of the temporary rule brings the requirements within the existing rulemaking authority of the Oregon Safe Employment Act. The law governs workplace safety and health in Oregon, including protections for a worker’s right to raise on-the-job health and safety concerns free from retaliation.

In the weeks ahead, Oregon OSHA will provide educational resources to help employers and workers understand and apply the requirements. Already, the division offers consultation services that provide no-cost assistance with safety and health programs and technical staff who help employers understand requirements. The COVID-19 Hazards Poster – provided by the division and required by the temporary rule to be posted – is now available in both English and Spanish. And the division is providing a user-friendly overview table of the temporary rule, summarizing the requirements and how they apply, and showing the effective dates of the phased-in provisions.

Oregon OSHA encourages a careful reading of the temporary rule which includes an appendix that contains provisions for specific industries and workplace activities. The temporary rule’s requirements include:

Physical distancing

Employers must ensure six-foot distancing between all people in the workplace through design of work activities and workflow, unless it can be shown it is not feasible for some activities.

Masks, face covering, or face shields

Employers must ensure that all individuals – including employees, part-time workers and customers – at the workplace, or other establishment under the employer’s control, wear a mask, face covering, or face shield in line with the Oregon Health Authority’s statewide guidance.

Employers must provide masks, face coverings, or face shields for employees free of cost.

If an employee chooses to wear a mask, face shield, or face covering – even when it is not required – the employer must allow them to do so.

When employees are transported in a vehicle for work-related purposes, regardless of the travel distance or duration, all people inside the vehicle must wear a mask, face covering, or face shield. This requirement does not apply when all people in the vehicle are members of the same household.


Employers must maximize the effectiveness of existing ventilation systems, maintain and replace air filters, and clean intake ports providing fresh or outdoor air. The temporary rule does not require employers to purchase or install new ventilation systems.

Exposure risk assessment

Employers must conduct a risk assessment – a process that must involve participation and feedback from employees – to gauge potential employee exposure to COVID-19, including addressing specific questions about how to minimize such exposure.

Infection control plan

Employers must develop an infection control plan addressing several elements, including when workers must use personal protective equipment and a description of specific hazard controls.

Information and training

Employers must provide information and training to workers about the relevant topics related to COVID-19. They must do so in a manner and language understood by workers.

Notification, testing, medical removal

Employers must notify affected workers within 24 hours of a work-related COVID-19 infection.

Employers must cooperate with public health officials if testing within the workplace is necessary.

If an employee must quarantine or isolate, the employer must follow proper work reassignment and return-to-work steps.

The rule requires more measures for exceptionally high-risk jobs. Such jobs include direct patient care or decontamination work; aerosol-generating or postmortem procedures; and first-responder activities. The additional measures include:

Detailed infection control training and planning

Sanitation procedures for routine cleaning and disinfection

Robust use of personal protective equipment

Operation of existing ventilation systems according to national standards

Use of barriers, partitions, and airborne infection isolation rooms

Screening and triaging for symptoms of COVID-19

Following adoption of its temporary COVID-19 rule for all workplaces, Oregon OSHA continues to pursue permanent rulemaking that would provide a structure for responding to potential future disease outbreaks.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-09 11:04:05Last Update: 2020-11-09 12:57:38

Metro Transportation Tax Fails
Voters reject higher taxes and light rail

As perhaps a sign that the era of unlimited yes votes on taxation measures in the metro Portland area might be waning, Metro voters have rejected Measure 26-218 by 57% to 42% -- a margin of 15% -- in a decisive statement that people in the region are starting to understand that first, the luster is gone from light rail and other related costly transportation initiatives and second, that if you tax employers, this gets passed on to employees and there is a limit to the amount of taxation people will tolerate.

Most of the local media supported the tax. For instance, Oregon Public Broadcasting, usually seen as a cheerleader for bigger government reported on the loss, but not the vote count, percent or margins. While reporting large corporate backers of the no vote, Stop the Metro Wage Tax, they largely failed to report that much of the support for the yes campaign were businesses that stood to gain from the funded transportation projects.

In a tax that would have fallen squarely on the working people of the Metro region, $4 Billion in spending was anticipated -- much of it on light rail, which is quickly becoming unpopular in the region.

The large donor list for Get Moving PAC reads like a "Who's Who" of big government supporters, labor interests and contracting companies, hoping to get in on projects.

Major donations to Get Moving PAC
11/04/2020Knock Software Inc$2,500
11/04/2020Portland Association of Teachers PAC (260)$5,000
11/02/2020International Union of Painters ad Allied Trades$5,000
11/01/2020David Vernier$2,000
11/01/2020Steven Byars$5,000
11/01/2020Terrance Aarnio$2,500
10/30/2020200 Market Associates LP$5,000
10/30/2020Waste Management $5,000
10/30/2020Jacobs Engineering Group$10,000
10/30/2020William Henderson$2,500
10/27/2020SEIU 503$5,000
10/26/2020Oregon Food Bank$5,000
10/26/2020Elisabeth Lyon$1,000
10/23/2020Friends of Lynn Peterson (18404)$5,000
10/23/2020Oregon AFSCME Council 75$5,000
10/22/2020Transportation Yes (14743)$7,149
10/22/2020Stacy and Witbeck, Inc.$50,000
10/21/2020NW Health Foundation$5,000
10/21/2020AECOM Technology Group$50,000
10/21/2020AFSCME 3580$3,000
10/19/2020Friends of Rob Nosse (16459)$1,000
10/19/2020HNTB Corporation$65,000
10/19/2020American Council of Engineering Companies of Oregon$12,500
10/19/2020American Council of Engineering Companies of Oregon$12,500
10/18/2020Stan Amy$1,000
10/18/2020Scott Kocher$1,000
10/18/2020Ben Wood$1,000
10/16/2020Mott McDonald$10,000
10/14/2020Siemens Industry Inc$40,000
10/13/2020Iron Workers District Council of the Pacific Northwest (3816)$5,000
10/13/2020Shirley Craddick for METRO Councilor (13893)$1,000
10/13/2020Portland Association of Teachers PAC (260)$5,000
10/13/2020Burns McDonnell$5,000
10/13/2020Hamilton Construction$10,000
10/13/2020The Sundt Co.$10,000
10/13/20203 Builds LLC$5,000
10/11/2020Herb Fricke$2,000
10/09/2020DOWL LLC$5,000
10/09/2020Oregon AFSCME Council 75$10,000
10/09/2020Shiels Obletz Johnsen Inc$1,000
10/08/2020Casso Consulting$5,000
10/02/2020DSK Associates$2,500
10/02/2020Parson's Corporation PAC$10,000
10/02/2020Shannon & Wilson, Inc.$3,000
10/02/2020Liuna Local 737 Political Action (20502)$10,000
09/28/2020Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters$40,000
09/27/2020Larry Fox$1,000
09/24/2020American Public Transportation Association$10,000
09/21/2020Headlight Technologies$5,000
09/21/2020OTAK, Inc$7,500
09/20/2020James Fuiten$5,000
09/20/2020Leah Riley$1,000
09/20/2020James McGrath$1,000
09/19/2020NW Health Foundation$15,000
09/13/2020Steve Naito$2,500
09/13/2020Brad Hart$10,000
09/11/2020Harper Houf Peterson Righellis$1,000
09/11/2020Friends of Bob Stacey (13836)$9,500
09/11/2020Affordable Housing for Oregon (19368)$4,299
09/11/2020David Evans & Associates, Inc.$30,000
09/08/2020UFCW Local 555$10,000
09/06/2020Elizabeth Faulkner$1,000
08/30/2020Matt Miller$5,000
08/28/2020Communications Strategies$1,000
08/28/2020Professional & Technical Employees Local 17$1,000
08/28/2020Insulators International PAC$2,000
08/24/2020Local 48 Electricians PAC (4572)$100,000
08/21/2020William Shields$2,000
08/14/2020Stacy and Witbeck, Inc.$150,000
08/14/2020David Evans & Associates, Inc.$10,000
08/03/2020Herb Fricke$1,000
07/31/2020Cement Masons Local 555 $5,000
07/27/2020Warren Rosenfeld$5,000
07/09/2020OTAK, Inc$1,500
07/06/2020Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters$10,000
06/17/2020American Council of Engineering Companies of Oregon$25,000
05/02/2020American Council of Engineering Companies of Oregon$1,000
04/30/2020Burns McDonnell$5,000
04/30/2020Ian McHone$5,000
04/12/2020UFCW Local 555$10,000
04/12/2020200 Market Associates LP$10,000
03/30/2020HNTB Corporation$10,000
03/20/2020Jesse Jackson$5,000
03/20/2020Rachel L Bruce$5,000
03/20/2020Affordable Electric$5,000
03/20/2020Jeff Moreland$5,000
03/20/2020Chicks of All Trade$5,000
03/20/2020Just Bucket Excavating$5,000
03/20/2020Raimore Construction$10,000
03/12/2020Stacy and Witbeck, Inc.$10,000
03/09/2020Walsh Construction Company$5,000
03/09/2020AECOM Technology Group$15,000
01/28/2020Transportation Yes (14743)$5,000

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-08 11:32:36Last Update: 2020-11-08 12:35:49

Are Tests Driving Cases?
Are COVID-19 cases even spiking?

The Oregon Health Authority reported more grim news. "Today's cases are the highest number reported on a single day since the start of the pandemic in Oregon. The high number is a stark reminder of the need for the new measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 announced yesterday by Governor Kate Brown." While the Oregon Health Authority breathlessly reports a record number of cases, it glosses over the fact that we recently set a new record -- for number of tests administered in one day -- 7,745 on October 29 eclipsing the previous record of July 13 when there were 7,697 test administered.

For a state that has among the lowest case rate and death rate, the official rhetoric would make you think that the state was in the grips of a fatal pandemic. Despite reporting every death that has multiple contributing factors as a COVID-19 caused death -- 12 out of 13 of the most recent deaths had contributing factors -- the chances of an Oregonian of dying of COVID-19 are infinitesimally small. In fact, all metrics are stable: Hospitalizations, hospital capacity, deaths -- you name it.

There may be several reasons for the rise in reported cases. One final point: One of the factors aiding the spread of COVID-19 is the fact that it can be spread by asymptomatic carriers. Let that sink in. We've crippled our economy and deprived our youth of education for a disease that's so deadly that it can be spread by people who don't even know they have it.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-07 17:57:50Last Update: 2020-11-07 18:48:06

Commissioners Concerned for Marion County Businesses
Restaurants are not a significant source of outbreaks

On Friday November 6th, Gov. Kate Brown announced a COVID-19 two-week pause for Marion and four other Oregon counties. The order sets limits on indoor gatherings including restaurants, recreation, and household social gatherings.

The recent rise in case counts is concerning to the Marion County commissioners and local public health leaders; however, Marion County believes that data should drive decision making meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. The Marion County Commissioners have released a statement pointing out the following data.

Marion County COVID-19 data indicates:

Restaurants are not a significant source of outbreaks in Marion County. Cases in restaurants have typically been among staff who socialize together while at work or outside of work.

Most of the spread of COVID-19 is occurring in larger private social gatherings and households. Putting additional burdens on businesses will not prevent these private gatherings from happening and has the potential to increase private social gatherings.

We understand Salem Hospital has sufficient capacity to care for COVID-19 and other patients. Marion County has not seen high levels of Covid-related emergency department visits or hospitalizations. This is a metric that the county has met even as case counts have increased.

Marion County supports actions tailored to individual communities based on local data including limiting opportunities for exposure to our loved ones in long term care facilities.

Commissioner Colm Willis, chair, said, "Marion County is in the middle of recovering from devastating wildfires. Much of the work associated with wildfire recovery must be done in person. We have maintained appropriate COVID-19 protocols including physical distancing, mask wearing, and temperature screening at meetings and public events."

Marion County continues to support data driven protocols such as:

Increased testing in Marion County that will enable us to make informed decisions on how we can stem the spread of this disease.

Rapid tests with same day results should be promoted as widely as possible. This way those who test positive can immediately quarantine rather than risk spreading the virus while they are waiting for results.

Commissioner Kevin Cameron reminds us, "As we approach the holiday season it's important to remember we all have a part to play to keep our community healthy. We encourage everyone to wear face coverings, wash hands frequently, stay home if you are sick, and practice physical distancing when you're around people not from your household. Working together we can help keep Marion County safe, strong, and thriving."

Sadly, extensive mandates are increasingly exacting a heavy toll on Oregon businesses.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-07 08:31:39Last Update: 2020-11-07 20:34:15

Governor Brown Further Locks Down Oregon
No more visits to long-term care facilities

Governor Kate Brown has announced new measures pausing social activities to help stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 in counties where community transmission is on the rise. These pause measures will be in effect for two weeks, from Nov. 11 through Nov. 25, for Malheur, Marion, Multnomah, Jackson, and Umatilla Counties. Based on increasing statewide case counts, as well as increased sporadic case rates in these five counties, the new public health measures to reduce spread are an effort to save lives in Oregon.

Five additional counties––Washington, Baker, Union, Clackamas, and Linn––are close to the COVID-19 thresholds that would necessitate adding them to the Two-Week Pause. The Oregon Health Authority will examine their COVID-19 metrics on Monday to determine if those counties qualify.

“It is alarming that recent high case rates are not linked to any specific outbreaks, but rather reflective of sporadic community spread,” said Governor Brown. “We are seeing in real time how this virus can quickly snowball out of control. This Two-Week Pause is a series of measures and recommendations intended to curb human contact — both through reducing the amount of people we interact with, and the frequency of those encounters. We must stop this virus from spreading. We must preserve our hospital capacity. And we must save lives.”

The Two-Week Pause measures include:

Urging all businesses to mandate work from home to the greatest extent possible.

Pausing long-term care facility visits that take place indoors to protect staff and residents.

Reducing maximum restaurant capacity to 50 people (including customers and staff) for indoor dining, with a maximum party size of six.

Continuing to encourage outdoor dining and take out.

Reducing the maximum capacity of other indoor activities to 50 people (includes gyms, fitness organizations/studios, bowling alleys, ice rinks, indoor sports, pools, and museums).

Limiting social gatherings to your household, or no more than six people if the gathering includes those from outside your household, reducing the frequency of those social gatherings (significantly in a two-week period), and keeping the same six people in your social gathering circle.

Governor Brown added: “I am also calling on Congress to pass another COVID-19 relief package immediately when they return to DC—including another $600 weekly benefit in enhanced Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation—due to the increase of COVID-19 cases and the need for rollbacks both here in Oregon and nationwide.”

The Two-Week Pause is being instituted in counties with a case rate above 200 per 100,000 people over a two-week period, or more than 60 cases over a two-week period for counties with less than 30,000 people. These measures replace the County Watch List process that Governor Brown instituted in July.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-07 07:45:07Last Update: 2020-11-07 20:36:36

Oregon Capitol Warns of Vandalism and Property Damage on Saturday
Leftist groups may continue destruction no matter the election results

Multiple rallies starting at noon around the Capitol mall area and could potentially draw a large number of participants that might affect traffic in the area. No street closures have been issued for this event.

The City of Salem has been alerted to credible information of unusual activity planned for Saturday, November 7, 2020, in or near Salem's downtown.

According to these sources, there is a high likelihood of vandalism and property damage. Police and the City are urging residents and businesses in our downtown to take precautions. The City manager has assigned additional police and activated special teams starting tomorrow. The City does not believe the groups who are planning to come to Salem are affiliated with any of known community organizers. The City will continue to post meaningful updates to its website and through the Salem Police Department Twitter account.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-06 18:07:02Last Update: 2020-11-06 18:22:43

A Message From Sarah Spoon
Canby city councilor has a message for you, and for the President.

Editor's note: this video contains graphic language. Viewer discretion is advised

Sarah Spoon is engaged in a tight re-election race for Canby City Council. Just a few percentage points separate the candidates. As of Friday, Clackamas County still has ballots to count due to some equipment malfunctions, so the race is too tight to call, but as of this writing, she is in second place in a race that seats the top four finishers -- which would put her back on the council.

Citizens of Canby may have second thoughts after seeing this video, where she is seen delivering a profane message for the president.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-06 16:16:59Last Update: 2020-11-06 16:50:08

Small Cities to Receive $5.2 Million for Transportation Projects
Chip seals, culvert replacements, asphalt overlays and more

From repairing a bridge in Canyon City to improving storm drainage in Yachats, the Small City Allotments program will continue helping communities all across the state improve their transportation systems. More than $5.2 million for this award cycle will fund 54 projects in this Keep Oregon Moving program, part of the historic HB 2017 funding package.

Three cities – Wood Village, Prescott and Yamhill – are receiving funds through this program for the first time. Wood Village is adding a solar-powered rapid flashing beacon pedestrian crossing; Prescott will make multiple city street improvements; and Yamhill is upgrading W. First Street.

ODOT Director Kris Strickler notified the League of Oregon Cities last week of the awards, adding that cost savings from the previous awards resulted in $243,378 in additional funds available for this round.

The next steps will be for ODOT and recipients to enter into agreements for each project, a task assumed by ODOT’s Statewide Investments Management staff.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-06 16:00:57Last Update: 2020-11-06 18:07:02

Oregon Announces Underrepresented and Diverse Scholarships
“More accessible and inclusive to all”

The Oregon College Savings Plan announces the opening of the Diversity in Leadership Scholarship for underrepresented and diverse Oregon high school graduates pursuing higher education in the state. Awards may be used to attend a range of Oregon institutions, including apprenticeships, trade schools, community colleges, colleges or universities. Applications opened Sunday, November 1, 2020 with a deadline of Monday, March 1, 2021, for the following academic year.

The scholarship is being administered through the Oregon Community Foundation’s (OCF) scholarship program—one of the largest of its kind in the country. There will be two new recipients each year, with awardees receiving $10,000 for their freshman year and $5,000 for each of the next three years of full-time enrollment, or until completion of degree (whichever comes earlier). When fully rolled out, the program is anticipated to fund $50,000 in scholarships each year to a class of eight students.

“In a time of economic stress and inequity, Treasury’s ‘Diversity in Leadership Scholarship’ acknowledges the need for higher education to be more accessible and inclusive to all,” said Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read. “We see this scholarship as a vital investment in Oregon’s future, making it easier for students typically underrepresented in higher education institutions to pursue their dreams.”

“This scholarship allows the Oregon College Savings Plan to advance our commitment to sparking change and encouraging diversity,” said Michael Parker, Executive Director for the Oregon Treasury Savings Network. “As more graduating seniors are considering staying closer to home because of stretched financial resources and COVID, we want to remove financial obstacles for regional students from all backgrounds, and increase access to a quality and affordable education right here in Oregon.”

Students that meet eligibility criteria will be given the opportunity to share their personal statements and background during the application process. Additionally, scholarship recipients interested in a career in public policy, public finance, or a related field will be offered an interview for Oregon State Treasury’s Straub Fellowship during their junior and senior years.

To apply for the scholarship or to find more information, please visit OCF’s website.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-05 17:09:06Last Update: 2020-11-05 17:33:06

OLCC Suspends Liquor License of Nightclub in Bend
For violation of public health social distancing

On November 5, 2020, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission issued an Order of Immediate License Suspension to the licensee of “Seven Nightclub” in Bend for violating public health social distancing and face covering requirements, as required under the Governor’s Executive Orders. The licensee had been reprimanded this past summer for not following social distancing and face covering requirements.

OLCC enforcement staff acted after receiving information from Deschutes County Health Services that a patron who visited the establishment several times tested positive for COVID-19. The patron reported to health officials that it was “well known” that Seven Nightclub was not enforcing social distancing and facemask requirements.

The business, which holds a Full On-Premises sales licenses is NOT allowed to sell or serve alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption effective immediately.

Seven Nightclub was cited for two violations of the Governor’s Executive Order. The first violation is for not complying with the Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) Statewide Mask, Face Shield, Face Covering Guidance. The second violation is for violating OHA's Phase Two Re-opening Guidance for Restaurant and Bars requiring a six-foot distance between individuals in the bar – employees and patrons.

On October 30, 2020, after receiving the information provided by Deschutes County Health Services, an OLCC inspector called the licensee to explain that a positive COVID test had been linked to their establishment. The inspector suggested, and the licensee accepted the offer to come to the premises to check the licensee’s operations to make sure it was operating compliantly.

On October 30, 2020, at approximately 8:00 pm an inspector arrived at Seven Nightclub to discover patrons who were clustered at the bar, and not social distancing or wearing facemasks. The bar manager relayed that she was not aware of all of the rules and asked for assistance. The inspector provided some initial guidance and promised to return the following day before the business opened to review the Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) guidance for bars and restaurants.

On October 31, 2020, prior to Seven Nightclub opening, an OLCC Inspector met with the bar manager and employees providing and reviewing with them copies of OHA Phase Two Re-opening Guidance for Restaurant and Bars and OHA Statewide Mask, Face Shield, Face Covering Guidance. The inspector walked through the premises with the manager discussing possible layout modifications to create social distancing and reminding the manager about the requirements to sanitize “touch points” after one party of people leaves an occupied area before another party occupies the space. Additionally, the inspector asked the manager to ensure that the bar staff would monitor the number of people entering the establishment.

Later that evening, the inspector returned to discover that patrons were not social distancing or wearing face masks. The inspector also noted that none of the sanitization requirements or physical modifications that had been discussed earlier that day had been implemented. The inspector contacted the manager who acknowledged the lack of control over their patrons.

OLCC Inspectors began working with the licensee this past July when an inspector twice two verbal warnings for not social distancing or wearing face masks. Separately, Deschutes County Health Services has issued several warnings to the licensee in regards to these issues, including most recently on October 30, 2020.

In response to these issues, on November 5, 2020, the OLCC issued the operator of Seven Restaurant and Nightclub an order of immediate suspension for failing to follow OHA’s face covering and reopening guidance for restaurants and bars.

The licensee of record is Se7en Group Inc.

The OLCC investigation is continuing and the licensee faces the possibility of additional charges not related to the immediate suspension. The licensee is entitled to an administrative hearing to challenge the OLCC’s actions. The business may continue to serve food for takeout or delivery, but is NOT allowed to sell any alcoholic beverages.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-05 13:09:18Last Update: 2020-11-05 17:09:06

Governor Brown Activates National Guard
“Indiscriminate destruction solves nothing”

Today, Governor Kate Brown has issued a statement about the ongoing leftist violence in Oregon.

"Two groups gathered in downtown Portland last night. One group demonstrated peacefully for hours by the waterfront. Their clarion call advocating for racial justice and Black lives has resonated with Oregonians and driven real reform over the past several months.

"Unfortunately, a second group of self-styled anarchist protesters, some armed, also marched downtown last night, with no discernible goal other than to cause violence and vandalism.

"They shattered the windows of a church that feeds Oregonians in need, a women-owned and operated business that raises money for immigrant and women’s rights, and many other storefronts.

"Indiscriminate destruction solves nothing. These are acts of privilege.

"At the request of the Joint Incident Command protecting free speech and keeping the peace in Portland, I activated the Oregon National Guard last night. These are Oregonians like you and me, who have volunteered their time and taken leave from their jobs and their families to keep the streets of Portland safe.

"For weeks, Oregonians have called for an end to the violence. I will continue to do everything in my power to keep the peace in Portland and make sure that people can make their voices heard safely."

Critics have noted that it has actually been several months of leftist driven violence, rather than just weeks.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-05 10:46:18Last Update: 2020-11-05 11:24:49

Eugene Passes Library Levy
They could just use Google, you know.

On November 3, 2020, City of Eugene voters approved Measure 29-309, a levy renewal to maintain Eugene Public Library’s existing service levels for an additional five years. As of 11 p.m. on Election Day, the measure was passing with 76.72% of the vote.

This decision continues the benefits provided by the voter-approved levy of November 2015, which increased open hours, free events, and availability of materials and technology at all Eugene Public Library locations: Downtown, Bethel, and Sheldon.

Library Director Will O’Hearn said, “On behalf of everyone at the library, thank you, Eugene! Our staff is deeply dedicated to doing all we can for our community, especially in these times when folks depend on the library even more. In particular, the library plays a crucial role in supporting families with young children, K-12 students and teachers, small business owners, job hunters, and people without their own Internet access or computers. We are grateful for the opportunity to provide excellent library services and to respond to future community needs.”

Mayor Lucy Vinis added, “Eugene Public Library has been a key player in helping our community get through the pandemic and will play a critical role as we build a strong recovery. The City of Eugene greatly appreciates the voters’ support to maintain excellent library services for everyone in our community.”

The levy renewal funding will begin July 1, 2021, supporting an additional five years of increased services originally funded by the 2015 levy. Services supported by the levy include maintaining the pre-COVID open hours schedule (48 hours across six days weekly at Bethel and Sheldon Branches; 64 hours across seven days at the Downtown Library); providing a robust schedule of programs for all ages at the library and off-site; ensuring a large supply of copies of high-demand books, ebooks, and other items; and, as needed, maintaining or replacing technology including Internet computers and the library’s traveling maker van.

The levy will provide $2.85 million annually for five years, about $37 per year for a typical Eugene property tax statement or 15¢ per $1,000 assessed value. To ensure accountability and transparency, the measure specified provisions including: separate levy fund budget and accounting (as per state law); annual staff summary of spending and performance measures; annual review by the citizen Library Advisory Board; and an annual City Manager’s report to City Council.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-11-04 17:10:16Last Update: 2020-11-04 21:08:07

Winter Brings Climate Action Plan in Salem
Maybe the river will freeze over this year

The City of Salem has begun a community-wide effort to develop a Climate Action Plan for Salem. The Climate Action Plan will set the course for the city to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and increase its resilience to climate change. The planning process will seek to develop strategies that reduce emissions and strengthen infrastructure. It will also pursue strategies that build community partnerships, spur innovation, and increase equitable access to services. This approach will help ensure Salem’s resilience through climate change expected through the coming decades.

The first step was a survey to determine a supported direction, hoping that wildfires, floods, and drought have made an impact for support. The fires of 2020 and the flood of 2012 are two of the most notable examples for a needed action plan.

While Climate Action Plan assumes drying and drought, still we are warned of a cold winter on the horizon. So, Salem has -- as is their usual practice -- removed the floating boat docks at Wallace Marine Park and Minto Brown Island Park. The floating boat docks are removed in mid–to-late Fall each year to prevent them from collecting debris, being damaged, or being carried away as river levels rise. They will be reinstalled when water levels recede in the spring.

This may all be an effort to be in line-step with Governor Brown’s next strategy for Cap and Trade. Many in the community are scratching their heads asking why now, which appears to be in contrast with Marion County.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-11-04 15:54:59Last Update: 2020-11-04 19:30:25

Governor Kate Brown Extends Law Enforcement Emergency
Violence continues to be a problem in Portland

In order to keep the peace and protect free speech in Portland as the country continues to wait for national election results, Governor Kate Brown today extended her executive order under ORS Chapter 401 to create a joint incident command structure for public safety. The order, which had been set to expire at 5:00 p.m today, has been extended until Friday, November 6, at 5:00 p.m., unless earlier rescinded or extended.

“Across the United States, elections officials are working hard to ensure that every vote is counted, and it may be several days until we know the results of this election,” said Governor Brown. “It’s important to trust the process, and the system that has ensured free and fair elections in this country through the decades, even in times of great crisis.

“All Oregonians have the right to free expression and peaceful assembly. But political violence, intimidation, and property destruction will not be tolerated. We are all in this together––so let’s work together to keep our fellow Oregonians safe.”

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-11-04 10:35:30Last Update: 2020-11-04 11:18:10

Oregon Election 2020 Projected Winners
Refresh the page to get more current results

ProgressiveDario Hunter
RepublicanDonald J Trump
Pacific GreenHowie Hawkins
LibertarianJo Jorgensen
DemocratJoseph R Biden
US Senator
LibertarianGary Dye
Pacific Green, ProgressiveIbrahim A Taher
Democrat, Working Families, IndependentJeff Merkley
RepublicanJo Rae Perkins
Secretary of State
Republican, IndependentKim Thatcher
LibertarianKyle Markley
Pacific Green, ProgressiveNathalie Paravicini
Democrat, Working FamiliesShemia Fagan
State Treasurer
Independent, Progressive, Pacific GreenChris Henry
RepublicanJeff Gudman
ConstitutionMichael P Marsh
Democrat, Working FamiliesTobias Read
Attorney General
Democrat, Independent, Working FamiliesEllen Rosenblum
LibertarianLars D H Hedbor
RepublicanMichael Cross
Judge of the Court of Appeals, Position 9
NonpartisanJacqueline S Kamins
Judge of the Supreme Court, Position 4
NonpartisanChristopher L Garrett
Congress, 1st District
RepublicanChristopher C Christensen
Democrat, Working FamiliesSuzanne Bonamici
Congress, 2nd District
DemocratAlex Spenser
RepublicanCliff Bentz
LibertarianRobert Werch
Congress, 3rd District
Pacific GreenAlex C DiBlasi
Democrat, Working FamiliesEarl Blumenauer
RepublicanJoanna Harbour
LibertarianJosh Solomon
Congress, 4th District
RepublicanAlek Skarlatos
Pacific GreenDaniel Hoffay
Democrat, Working Families, IndependentPeter DeFazio
Congress, 5th District
RepublicanAmy Ryan Courser
DemocratKurt Schrader
LibertarianMatthew James Rix
Measure 107: Campaign Finance Reform
Measure 108: Cigarette Tax/Vaping Tax
Measure 109: Medical Mushrooms
Measure 110: Decriminalize Drugs
State Senator, 1st District
RepublicanDallas Heard
DemocratKat Stone
State Senator, 2nd District
Republican, ConstitutionArt Robinson
Democrat, Working FamiliesJerry Allen
LibertarianThomas Griffin
State Senator, 5th District
RepublicanDick Anderson
Democrat, Independent, Working FamiliesMelissa T Cribbins
Pacific GreenShauleen Higgins
State Senator, 9th District
RepublicanFred Frank Girod
Democrat, Pacific GreenJim Hinsvark
LibertarianPatrick Marnell
State Senator, 10th District
Democrat, Working FamiliesDeb Patterson
RepublicanDenyc Boles
LibertarianTaylor A Rickey
State Senator, 12th District
DemocratBernadette Hansen
Republican, IndependentBrian J Boquist
State Senator, 14th District
Republican, LibertarianHarmony K Mulkey
Democrat, Working FamiliesKate Lieber
State Senator, 18th District
DemocratGinny Burdick
State Senator, 21st District
Democrat, Working FamiliesKathleen Taylor
State Senator, 22nd District
DemocratLew Frederick
State Senator, 23rd District
Democrat, Working FamiliesMichael Dembrow
State Senator, 25th District
Democrat, Working FamiliesChris Gorsek
Republican, IndependentJustin Hwang
State Senator, 27th District
Democrat, Working FamiliesEileen Kiely
Republican, IndependentTim Knopp
State Senator, 28th District
RepublicanDennis Linthicum
Democrat, IndependentHugh Palcic
State Senator, 29th District
RepublicanBill Hansell
DemocratMildred A O'Callaghan
State Senator, 30th District
DemocratCarina M Miller
RepublicanLynn P Findley
State Representative, 1st District
DemocratCalla Felicity
RepublicanDavid Brock Smith
State Representative, 2nd District
DemocratCharles F Lee
RepublicanGary Leif
State Representative, 3rd District
DemocratJerry Morgan
RepublicanLily Morgan
State Representative, 4th District
RepublicanDuane A Stark
Democrat, IndependentMary Middleton
State Representative, 5th District
Democrat, IndependentPam Marsh
RepublicanSandra A Abercrombie
State Representative, 6th District
Democrat, IndependentAlberto Enriquez
LibertarianAlex Levi Usselman
RepublicanKim Wallan
State Representative, 7th District
Republican, IndependentCedric Hayden
DemocratJerry M Samaniego
State Representative, 8th District
LibertarianMartha A Sherwood
Democrat, Working FamiliesPaul R Holvey
RepublicanTimothy W Aldal
State Representative, 9th District
Republican, LibertarianBoomer Wright
Democrat, Working FamiliesCal Mukumoto
State Representative, 10th District
Democrat, IndependentDavid Gomberg
RepublicanMax Sherman
State Representative, 11th District
RepublicanKatie Boshart Glaser
Democrat, Independent, Working FamiliesMarty Wilde
State Representative, 12th District
DemocratJohn Lively
RepublicanRuth E Linoz
State Representative, 13th District
RepublicanDavid J Smith
Democrat, IndependentNancy Nathanson
State Representative, 14th District
Democrat, Independent, Working FamiliesJulie Fahey
Republican, LibertarianRich Cunningham
State Representative, 15th District
Democrat, Working FamiliesMiriam G Cummins
RepublicanShelly Boshart Davis
State Representative, 16th District
Democrat, Working FamiliesDan Rayfield
RepublicanJason Hughes
State Representative, 17th District
RepublicanJami Cate
Democrat, Working FamiliesPaige Hook
Pacific GreenTimothy L Dehne
State Representative, 18th District
DemocratJamie Morrison
RepublicanRick Lewis
State Representative, 19th District
Democrat, Working Families, ProgressiveJacqueline M Leung
RepublicanRaquel Moore-Green
State Representative, 20th District
Democrat, Working FamiliesPaul Evans
Republican, IndependentSelma Pierce
State Representative, 21st District
DemocratBrian Clem
RepublicanJack L Esp
State Representative, 22nd District
RepublicanAnna Kasachev
Democrat, Independent, Working FamiliesTeresa Alonso Leon
State Representative, 23rd District
Pacific Green, ProgressiveAlex Polikoff
RepublicanMike Nearman
LibertarianScott D Clawson
DemocratSean K Scorvo
State Representative, 24th District
Democrat, Working FamiliesLynnette Shaw
Republican, IndependentRon Noble
State Representative, 25th District
RepublicanBill Post
Democrat, Working FamiliesRamiro Navarro Jr
State Representative, 26th District
Democrat, Working FamiliesCourtney Neron
RepublicanPeggy Stevens
LibertarianTim E Nelson
State Representative, 27th District
Republican, LibertarianSandra Nelson
Democrat, Working FamiliesSheri Schouten
State Representative, 28th District
RepublicanDaniel R Martin
Democrat, Working FamiliesWlnsvey E Campos
State Representative, 29th District
RepublicanDale Fishback
Democrat, Working FamiliesSusan McLain
State Representative, 30th District
Democrat, Working FamiliesJaneen Sollman
State Representative, 31st District
Democrat, Independent, Working FamiliesBrad Witt
RepublicanBrian G Stout
State Representative, 32nd District
Democrat, Working FamiliesDebbie Boothe-Schmidt
Republican, Independent, LibertarianSuzanne Weber
State Representative, 33rd District
RepublicanDick Courter
Democrat, Working FamiliesMaxine E Dexter
State Representative, 34th District
Democrat, Republican, Working FamiliesKen Helm
State Representative, 35th District
RepublicanBob Niemeyer
Democrat, Working FamiliesDacia Grayber
State Representative, 36th District
RepublicanJames A Ball
Democrat, Working FamiliesLisa Reynolds
State Representative, 37th District
Republican, LibertarianKelly Sloop
Democrat, Working FamiliesRachel Prusak
State Representative, 38th District
Democrat, Independent, Working FamiliesAndrea Salinas
RepublicanPatrick Castles
State Representative, 39th District
Republican, IndependentChristine Drazan
LibertarianKenny Sernach
DemocratTessah L Danel
State Representative, 40th District
Republican, LibertarianJosh Howard
Democrat, Working FamiliesMark W Meek
State Representative, 41st District
Democrat, Working FamiliesKarin Power
RepublicanMichael Newgard
State Representative, 42nd District
Democrat, Working FamiliesRob Nosse
State Representative, 43rd District
Democrat, Working FamiliesTawna S