What is the most pressing issue facing Oregon today?
Economy
Homelessness
Transportation infrastructure
Crime
Big government
Northwest Observer
Subscribe for Free Email Updates
Name:
Email:
Search Articles
       






On this day, February 6, 2002, The Oregon Health Division released statistics on assisted suicides for the previous year. 44 people received prescriptions for lethal medication but only 21 actually took their lives.




Post an Event


The Oregon Constitution
Wednesday, February 22, 2023 at 7:00 pm
First of a three part series presented by former State Representative Mike Nearman studying the Oregon Constitution.
The River Church 4675 Portland Rd NE Salem



The Oregon Constitution
Wednesday, March 1, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Second of a three part series presented by former State Representative Mike Nearman studying the Oregon Constitution.
The River Church 4675 Portland Rd NE Salem



The Oregon Constitution
Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Third of a three part series presented by former State Representative Mike Nearman studying the Oregon Constitution.
The River Church 4675 Portland Rd NE Salem



We Are Stronger Together
Monday, March 27, 2023 at 10:00 am
Oregon's Natural Resources & Industries (ONRI) is sponsoring the rally to meet legislators and influencers to bring light on legislation affecting natural resource industries, their families, and their communities. https://onri.us/events
Rally at the State Capitol, Salem.


View All Calendar Events


Multnomah County Judge Appointed by Kate Brown
Gates is assigned to the Family Law Department

Oregon's Governor Kate Brown announced today that she will appoint Maurisa Gates to the Multnomah County Circuit Court. Gates will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Kathleen M. Dailey. Her position will be assigned to the court’s Family Law Department.

Gates’ appointment is effective immediately.

“Maurisa Gates is a skilled attorney who has spent decades working with the most vulnerable in our community—particularly children—as they navigate the justice system,” Governor Brown said. “I look forward to seeing her bring her compassion, empathy, and commitment to procedural fairness to her work as a judge on the family law bench.”

Gates has served as a public defender for more than 25 years, spending much of that time representing juvenile clients.

She grew up in Detroit, Michigan, attending school in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. Gates attended Wayne State University for her undergraduate degree, and then went on to earn her law degree from the same university. After graduating from law school, she worked in Detroit representing juveniles in delinquency and dependency cases for nearly five years before moving to Portland in 2000 and joining the Metropolitan Public Defender office (MPD). In 2006, Gates moved to the juvenile unit of MPD, and has remained there ever since. She currently serves as a senior attorney in that office.

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

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

Gates has acted as a co-trainer for the Juvenile Immersion Training Program at the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association juvenile conference and as the Western Division Board Member for the State of Oregon for the National Juvenile Defender Center.

She has served on the Multnomah Bar Association’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-02-23 13:53:12Last Update: 2022-02-23 14:13:38



Flexible Education Key to One Actor’s Success
Pride and Prejudice to be Performed in Dallas

When the curtains go up for the Dallas High School Theatre production of Pride and Prejudice (February 24th-26th) one of the leading roles will be played by a 16-year old actor who attends a statewide online public school for K-12 students. Kason Utz from Dallas is a sophomore at Willamette Connections Academy.

“We feel so fortunate that Dallas High School has allowed him to participate with the other students and we’re excited to see him experience the social aspects of school through extracurricular activities and watch him do what he loves to do on stage,” said Kason’s mother Nicole Utz.

Dallas High School Thespians and Theatre Troupe presents Pride and Prejudice by Kate Hamill (dhstheatre.org/shows) February 24th, 25th, and 26th at 7 pm each night. There’s also 2 pm performance on February 26th. For ticket information go to dhstheatre.org/buy-tickets Kason appreciates the following the theatre program has generated from the community. “Dallas High School’s program has kind of a small town feel and it isn’t the biggest or most advanced, but most of its impressiveness comes from the people involved,” said Kason. “The leadership is very caring while keeping things on track. The community support from funding and volunteering allows the program put on higher quality shows.”

In the cast of Pride and Prejudice, Kason plays a character named Fitzwilliam Darcy, a wealthy arrogant high society English gentleman suitor to Lizzy Bennet, one of five sisters looking for potential husbands in the early 1800s. “To me, the story is about how real love has nothing to do with status, anyone no matter how rich or successful they are can love anyone,” observed Kason. “You see that a few times in this show where people defy expectations or follow them.”

“Kason is our shining star as an actor, entertaining our friends and family around the campfire at a very young age,” Nicole Utz noted. “We have always been so proud of him and all he has accomplished.”

However, Kason didn’t try to get his name printed on a playbill until 6th grade when his middle school drama teacher inspired him to pour himself into acting roles. Since then, he’s landed lead roles in several productions and acted in seven plays, including Frozen, The Little Mermaid, and Mary Poppins.

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

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

“Pride and Prejudice has been a great show for me, for a few reasons,” explained Kason. “The main ones are more personal, I love being around the people I’m with in this show, and this is my first high school show.”

According to Kason, the flexibility he has with Willamette Connections Academy’s online program gives him the ability to pursue his passion for activities outside school. “There’s no way I could do this in any other educational environment. With this online school I can pursue various things that would be impossible to schedule around in a regular school setting. Now it’s great because I can just take an hour off and do whatever I want, I don’t have to be in that cram, study, stressful mindset each day.”

“Our family has always appreciated the opportunities offered to our son with alternative public education,” added Nicole Utz. “We found Willamette Connections Academy during the summer of 2020 when we learned his previous school would not be returning to classroom learning and we wanted to ensure Kason had a solid start to his freshman year in high school.”

The family was motivated to switch to a full-time virtual public school because they felt it was a better fit for Kason’s learning needs. They also wanted something more than distance education programs implemented by the traditional school system.

“Kason has always done well in a traditional brick and mortar school but has struggled with behavioral issues of disruptive children in the classroom who continually disrespected rules and authority. He values respect and his elders greatly and this became an almost daily distraction for his learning environment,” noted Nicole Utz. “I know the move to distance learning was a very difficult change to suddenly take brick and mortar teachers and place them into virtual classrooms. The technology alone had to be very challenging and we sought out something for Kason with years of online experience.”

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

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

Kason’s mom was thrilled to see her son thriving in his learning environment and taking AP level classes. It was his choice with his parent’s support to continue with Willamette Connections Academy after the regular brick-and-mortar schools opened their doors again. “Stability is the main reason I wanted to attend Connections Academy. Brick and mortar school was often very stressful. The amount of freedom I have with Connections, to control how my day goes, has allowed me to be successful in schooling, without sacrificing the enjoyment of life.”

Kason appreciates being able to attend a statewide online charter school and still be able to participate in extracurricular activities at the regular public school whether it’s theatre or sports. “All it takes is a little motivation, and you can turn that into a drive to make yourself happy by no means other than yourself. I’ve been lucky to see that happen, and I’m very grateful to be a part of this show,” said Kason.

While he likes acting, Kason is also interested in other types of performing arts like filmmaking, and technical work. Kason might continue theatre as a hobby, but after high school he plans to enter the military. “While in this production as Mr. Darcy, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I decided to become healthier by eating better, and exercising,” said Kason. “I’ve also gotten less nervous in social settings. I’ve seen a definite improvement, and I really enjoy it.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-02-22 13:35:05Last Update: 2022-02-22 15:45:18



Male Suspect Enters Home and Strangles Woman in Shower
Had been arrested twice earlier in the day

On February 12, 2022 at approximately 12:33PM, officers from the Corvallis Police Department responded to the 200 block of SW 7th Street for a report a burglary that occurred moments earlier.

The caller reported a male suspect had entered he and his girlfriend’s residence, and then attacked his girlfriend while she was in the shower. The victim reported the male pulled his pants down to his knees, while opening the shower door.

The victim attempted to flee the bathroom, at which time the male grabbed her by the shoulders, shoving her against the bathroom wall, strangulating her with both of his hands. The victim continued to fight off her attacker as he continually grabbed at her and prevented her from escaping the bathroom.

Awoken by the victim’s screams, the caller reported entering the bathroom where he saw the male suspect standing over the victim who was laying on the floor.

The caller confronted the suspect, causing the male to flee from the residence towards SW Jefferson Ave. Both the caller and the victim were able to provide a description of the male suspect to officers as they were responding.

Officers began canvassing the neighborhood and located a male matching the description nearby. Through their investigation, officers were able to determine the suspect, now identified as Garrett Caspino (29) of Albany and Corvallis, was the suspect in the attack.

Prior to the attack on SW 7th Street, Caspino had been arrested twice earlier in the day by Corvallis Police Offices.

Officers originally contacted Caspino at approximately 10:53 AM in the 200 block of SW 2nd Street where Caspino was reported to have entered an unlocked vehicle. The caller in that incident reported finding Caspino sitting in the driver seat of the vehicle and acting “totally out there.”

Caspino was arrested for Criminal Trespass, but due to the severity of the crime not meeting the criteria for booking and lodging at the jail, Caspino was transported to the Law Enforcement Center. Caspino was issued a citation to appear in court and released.

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

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

A short time later, an officer was conducting vehicle maintenance in the restricted parking area of the Law Enforcement Center when he was alerted to a male concealing himself in the behind a pillar. Caspino was contacted a second time and once again cited for Criminal Trespassing. Caspino was transported to the area on NW Monroe Ave and NW 6th Street to facilitate his access to local service providers. Caspino was last seen in the area at approximately 11:50 AM.

Upon his third arrest, and due to the severity of the crimes, Caspino met the criteria to be booked and lodged at the Benton County Jail. Caspino was transported to the jail at approximately 2:48 PM where he was booked on the following charges: Effective January 1, 2022, and in accordance with Oregon House Bill 3273, the Corvallis Police Department is prohibited from releasing a booking photo of the suspect in this investigation.

HB 3273 was sponsored by Representative Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas), Representative Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn), Representative Ron Noble (R-McMinnville), as well as other Democrats.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-02-21 18:05:11Last Update: 2022-02-22 08:50:40



Salem City Councilor Resigns
Ward 8 needs new representation

Salem City Councilor Jim Lewis has resigned his position effective February 14, 2022.

The longest-serving member currently among the City Councilors, Councilor Lewis has represented Ward 8 in West Salem since January 2015. Lewis, whose term expires December 31, 2022, had announced that he would not seek re-election.

“It is with great sadness and disappointment that I must submit my resignation from the Salem City Council.” Councilor Lewis continues, “Lingering medical issues, family obligations and celebrations are keeping me from fulfilling my obligations to the position of City Councilor. I want to thank the City of Salem especially the residents of West Salem for giving me the opportunity to serve my community. I wish everyone the best and may God bless the City of Salem.”

In his capacity on the City Council, Lewis has represented Salem and contributed to regional transportation policy and funding of projects through his service to the Mid-Willamette Area Commission on Transportation and the Salem-Keizer Area Transportation Study Policy.

Lewis also represents Salem on the Travel Salem Board and Executive Committee. Most recently, Lewis has served on the City Council’s Legislative Committee, Steering Committee for the Community Improvement Bond, and the City’s Water/Wastewater Task Force and Systems Development Charge Methodology Committee.

Those interested in filling the vacancy created by the resignation of Councilor Lewis will be required to submit an application to the City Council, be registered to vote and have lived in Ward 8 for 12 months prior to appointment.

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

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

The appointment would last until the term expires on December 31, 2022.

The Salem City Council is composed of one representative from each of Salem’s eight wards and the Mayor.

All members of the City Council, including the Mayor, are unpaid volunteers. In addition to twice monthly City Council meetings, Members of the Council may participate in many community activities and meetings, including City Council Work Sessions, other workshops, neighborhood association meetings, committee meetings, and other events.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-02-21 15:07:54Last Update: 2022-02-21 17:44:49



63 Ag Commissioner Positions Open
Must apply by March 15

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) seeks volunteers to fill 63 commissioner seats on 22 of the state’s agricultural and commercial fisheries commodity commissions. The deadline to apply is March 15. For instructions on applying or learning more about commissions, please visit their website.

ODA Director Alexis Taylor appoints commissioners, most serve three-year terms.

Their duties include making decisions about funding for promotion, education, and research projects.

Director Taylor is looking for applicants who represent Oregon’s farmers, ranchers, processors, and commercial fisheries. For public members, users of the commodity who have an interest and time to serve are often the best fit.

A public member must be a US citizen, an Oregon resident, and have an active interest in improving economic conditions for the commodity. A public member cannot be directly associated with producing or handling the specific commodity they seek to serve.

Applicants for producer or handler positions must also be a US citizen, an Oregon resident, and have paid or collected the assessment for that particular commodity for the previous three years or longer in some cases.

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

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

A producer is defined as a grower or harvester. A handler is the first to buy the commodity from the producer and is often a processor, distributor, or marketer.

The following commodity commissions have openings:



For more information about Oregon’s Commodity Commissions or the application process, please contact Kris Anderson, ODA Commodity Oversight Program Manager via email or by phone (503)-970-3260.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-02-20 15:49:05Last Update: 2022-02-20 17:43:27



Workers’ Comp Changes May Hurt Oregon Businesses
More so in underprivileged communities

Oregon House Democrats are reveling over passing HB 4086, which will modernize outdated language that excludes Oregon families from worker's compensation benefits.

The bill will also ensure that workers are protected against retaliation for pursing compensation claims, regardless of the size of their employer.

The bill sponsor, Representative Karin Power (D-Milwaukie) said, “We need to build an economy that works for working families, not just big corporations. Workers deserve protection from retaliation and certainty that they and their families will be supported if they are injured or killed on the job. Our laws should reflect how Oregon families look today, and that’s especially important for essential supports like workers’ compensation.”

In 2020, 53 Oregonians lost their lives as the result of an on-the-job injury or exposure.

HB 4086 updates the current workers’ compensation death benefits language to ensure that it applies to surviving family members regardless of whether they are legally married and where family members live.

What Representative Power leaves out is that the changes to the law, removes the exclusion for employers that have less than six employees and subjects small employers to not just the newly crafted retaliation law, but the entire ORS chapter 656 – Workers’ Compensation.

It subjects them to hiring and tenure or any term or condition of employment, which they were previously excluded from unless specifically stated.

When Representative Power says “Our laws should reflect how Oregon families look today,” she is saying the definition of “beneficiary” now includes aliens. The change removes the exclusion for those who do not reside within the United States at the time of the accident, other than a parent, a spouse or children, unless a treaty provides otherwise.

She also neglected to state that their definition of “family” has become all inclusive.

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

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

The bill defines who is a “dependent” to include domestic partner, parents of a domestic partner, grandchildren of a domestic partner, and siblings or step-siblings of a domestic partner. But it doesn’t stop there.

It includes any friend that may be treated as a family member, “Any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with a worker is the equivalent of a family relationship.” Oregon has worked hard to reduce worker’ comp rates for small business. These changes will have an adverse effect on small businesses, and more so in underprivileged communities.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-02-20 07:56:43Last Update: 2022-02-20 08:27:46



“Fatal Five” Will Be Focus of State Police
Leading causes of serious injury and fatal crashes

Oregon State Police Patrol Troopers will be conducting a high visibility saturation patrol focusing on Interstate 5, Interstate 205 and Interstate 84.

This saturation will be focusing on what OSP refers to as the “Fatal Five”: Speeding, Occupant Safety, Lane Safety, Impaired Driving, and Distracted Driving.

Governor Brown proposed a $20 million cut to the Oregon State Police budget in 2019-21, however, most of that was restored in the legislative adopted budget.

They report top budget drivers are loss of revenue due to COVID-19 causing relocation of staff and holding trooper positions vacant, and infrastructure needs.

The 2021-23 budget allocated 30.4% ($205,654,278) employing 410 troopers.

A far cry from 1980 when 624 troopers cruised our highways. SB 211 passed in 2021, ORS 181A.015 establishes 15 troopers per 100 thousand citizens with incremental increases beginning in this biennium, with the ratio achieved by 2030, which would employ 726 troopers.

Starting on February 18, 2022, and running through Monday, February 21, 2022, the Oregon State Police Patrol Troopers from Salem, Albany, Springfield, Roseburg, Grants Pass, Central Point, Portland, Pendleton, La Grande, and Ontario area commands are conducting the high visibility saturation patrol focusing on the “Fatal Five.” These 5 driving behaviors are the leading causes of serious injury and fatal crashes.

This is what OSP pushed out via our social media platforms: However, the media might like some statistics around what impact this might have on these bad driving behaviors in Oregon. Oregon Patrol Troopers are 100% committed to making Oregon’s highways safer, but these low patrol staffing numbers, begs the question, what impact could OSP Patrol have with more Troopers on the road?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-02-19 18:43:13Last Update: 2022-02-19 18:59:20



Kate Brown Appoints District Attorney to Crook County
Hathorn will replace Judge Wade Whiting

Oregon's Governor Kate Brown has announced that she has appointed Kari Hathorn as the District Attorney of Crook County.

Hathorn will fill a vacancy created by Judge Wade Whiting’s recent appointment to the Circuit Court for Jefferson and Crook Counties. Hathorn’s appointment is effective immediately.

“I admire Kari Hathorn’s strong work ethic and dedication to public service,” Governor Brown said. “As a former prosecutor for many years, Kari brings a wealth of experience, and has earned the support of community partners in Crook County.”

Hathorn was born in Reedsport and moved to Eugene to attend college.

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

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

She received her associate’s degree from Lane Community College in 1999, her bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon in 2001, and her law degree from the University of Oregon in 2004. Immediately following law school, Hathorn moved to Washington and worked for the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office from 2005 to 2006, and the Whatcom County Prosecutor’s Office from 2006 to 2010. Then, from 2010 to 2019, she worked as a Deputy District Attorney in the Deschutes County District Attorney’s office. Since 2019, she has been an associate attorney at The Steele Law Firm, where she handles plaintiff-side personal injury and fraud cases, as well as general civil litigation cases. Hathorn also currently serves as a pro tem judge for the City of Bend Municipal Court.

During her 15 years as a prosecutor, Hathorn worked with law enforcement, the courts, and community partners. While at the Deschutes County District Attorney’s office, she was assigned to the office in the Domestic Violence Deferred Sentencing program, where she redrafted the program requirements and eligibility criteria. She also represented the Deschutes County District Attorney’s office in mental health court, in drug court, and at the domestic violence council. Additionally, Hathorn serves on the MADD Oregon State Advisory Board.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-02-19 16:52:17Last Update: 2022-02-19 18:27:14



Gubernatorial Clemency Oversight Bill Remains in Committee
“This bill would have given Oregonians a voice in public safety”

Using the parliamentary procedure of a motion to withdraw a bill from a committee, Oregon Senate Republicans have forced a vote on Senate Joint Resolution 202, which if passed would appear on the November 2022 ballot. The proposed resolution is sponsored by Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend).

SJR 202 would ask voters to amend Oregon’s Constitution to require their democratically elected representatives in the Senate to approve or reject any effort by the Governor to let criminals out of prison. Oregon is only one of three states in the country to have no oversite of these powers.

The move comes days after a new public opinion poll showed that Oregonians are increasingly concerned about rising crime. Only 27% responded that they favored the Governor’s recent commutations and pardons.

“Portland’s crime problems are creeping into Clackamas County and it is making our communities more dangerous,” Senator Bill Kennemer (R-Oregon City) said. “This is a common-sense reform that should have been debated and voted on. After the last few years of extreme government overreach, Oregonians deserve oversite and accountability. This bill would have given Oregonians a voice in public safety. I am profoundly disappointed that this important piece of legislation did not pass.”

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

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

The motion to withdraw from committee failed, with six yes votes and three Republicans absent or excused. All 18 Senate Democrats voted to keep the bill in the Judiciary committee, where it now resides. It is not expected to get a hearing.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-02-18 12:51:05Last Update: 2022-02-18 13:48:30



Oregon Republicans Want Common Sense Reforms
“Oregonians deserve to feel safe in their homes”

Safe neighborhoods are a top priority for Oregonians after years of Democrats’ failed leadership on public safety.

Senate and House Republicans have responded this session by introducing several proposals to tackle crime and improve safety for individuals, families, and businesses.

These proposals did not receive meaningful bipartisan support from Democrats who instead are pushing an agenda that includes letting more criminals out of prison early.

To respond to the needs of Oregonians, Republicans in both chambers pulled public safety reform bills from committee directly to the floor for a vote.

The actions are supportive of Oregonians’ concerns. In a recent public opinion poll, sixty-two percent believe the state’s political leadership is too soft on crime.

SJR 202 – Gives Oregonians a chance to vote on Legislative oversight of the Governor’s power to let criminals out of prison early.

Oregon is currently one of only three states in the nation with no oversight on the Governor’s power for early release of criminals. SJR 202, if passed by voters, would require Oregonians’ elected representatives in the Senate to approve any commutation or pardon.

HB 4135 – Closes a legal loophole exploited by drug traffickers allowing them to continue dealing substantial quantities of illicit drugs in neighborhoods and to children.

Current law requires officers to be able to show who the drugs were being sold to. This requires a witness to the act of drugs exchanging hands, making it easy for these drug traffickers to avoid arrest and prosecution, allowing them to continue operating.

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

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

“Oregonians deserve to feel safe in their homes, but right now, they don’t because of the Governor’s unlimited power to let criminals out of prison,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). “Democrats are pursuing a soft on crime agenda that makes Oregon more dangerous and victims more vulnerable. Oregonians are tired of this kind of overreach. Republicans are standing up for accountability, oversight, and public safety.”

“Following a historic year of violence in Oregon and failed leadership from Democrat leaders, people want the simple assurance of safety,” said House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville). “Republicans heard their message loud and clear and pushed for several proposals to protect communities. Legislation to keep Oregonians safe should have bipartisan support. Instead, Democrats voted down these proposals and pushed ideas to let convicted criminals vote from prison and make it harder for law enforcement to stop destructive riots.”

The motion to debate SJR 202 failed along party lines, with all Democrats voting against it.

SJR 202 will remain dead in the Senate Judiciary Committee until Democrats decide to speak out against the Governor’s abuse of power.

HB 4135 failed on a near party line vote. Republicans plan to reintroduce the proposal for the 2023 legislative session.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-02-18 06:45:28Last Update: 2022-02-17 12:23:03



Washington State Poised to Tax Exported Fuel
Some analysts say this is retaliation for Oregon moving to toll roads

The Washington State Legislature is considering passage of SB 5974 which would add $0.06 per gallon to the cost of a gallon of gas in Oregon. 90 percent of Oregon's gas comes from refineries in Washington State. Oregon does not have any refineries.

This effectively means that the maximum MVFT imposed on fuel exported from the state would be $0.06 per gallon. However, the portion of the exported fuel that is destined for a state with a MFVT rate higher than Washington would receive a full credit and would not be subject to the $0.06 per gallon MVFT exported fuel rate.

Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany) and Representative David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) testified during the Washington State Legislature’s House Transportation Committee.

The two Oregon legislators spoke in opposition to an “exported fuel tax” proposal from Washington Democrats to levy a new tax on 90 percent of Oregon’s transportation fuel.

“This is an offensive proposal that would force Oregonians to pay for Washington’s infrastructure projects,” said Rep. Boshart Davis. “I cannot stand by and watch as the hardworking people of Oregon are hit with an unfair and unjust tax with zero representation. Oregon has its own infrastructure needs, we should not and will not pay for Washington’s.”

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

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

“This effort really highlights poor policymaking in Washington,” added Rep. Brock Smith. “The Washington Legislature set goals and approved transportation projects they couldn’t afford. Instead of doing a better job with writing public policy, they’re going to ask my residents to pay for their roads when they have never nor will ever use them.”

Some analysts have seen this move by Washington state as retaliation for Oregon moving to toll roads that Washington residents use -- Interstates 5 and 205. The revenue from these tolls is not planned to be used to reduce congestion on these roads.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-02-18 06:33:25Last Update: 2022-02-17 21:51:05



Oregon Senate Approves Legislation to Strike Reference to “Aliens”
Seek to replace “alien” with “noncitzen” in Oregon State Law

The Oregon Senate approved SB 1560 by a vote of 24 to 1. State Senator Lynn Findley (R-Vale) was the lone dissenting vote. This bill revises existing state law and directs state agencies to refer to individuals who are not citizens or nationals of the United States using “noncitizen” instead of “alien,” despite the fact that the term is used in federal law.

“Referring to immigrants and refugees as ‘aliens’ is an outdated, dehumanizing practice that stems from xenophobia and allows individuals to express bigotry without using overt racist language,” said Senator Kayse Jama, (D-Portland), “As a former refugee, who was once classified as an ‘alien,’ I am proud that Oregon Legislature considers updating its laws to reflect our values. I hope that more states follow.”

“When we hear words like, ‘you don’t belong here’ or ‘go back to where you are from,’ the word ‘alien’ aligns with those views,” said Senator Deb Patterson, (D-Salem), “My children, both people of color, and immigrants themselves, have heard those words. Some of you may have heard those words, too. I am certain that some of our constituents have.”

As the state faces a myriad of problems -- homelessness, labor shortages, COVID regulations and the corresponding damage to the economy -- Democrats seem determined to focus on race as the paramount issue of our day. Voters may disagree in November.

According to a press release put out by Senator Jama's office, SB 1560 does not make any substantive change to existing law and will not impact one’s eligibility for federal benefits or programs that are available to a person who meets the definition of “alien” under state or federal law. SB 1560 now moves to the Oregon House of Representatives for consideration.

According to the Legislative Fiscal Office, "while this individual measure has a “Minimal” fiscal impact, an agency may incur a net fiscal impact greater than minimal depending on the cumulative impact of all measures enacted into law that affect the agency."

Senator Jama represents Senate District 24, which is East Portland and North Clackamas and serves as the chair of the Senate Committee On Housing and Development, and the Legislature’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus. He was the first former refugee, Muslim, and Somali-American to serve in the Oregon State Senate. Before his appointment, Sen. Jama was a prominent community organizer and Executive Director of Unite Oregon.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-02-17 15:59:47Last Update: 2022-02-17 18:16:25



Read More Articles