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
       





Post an Event


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



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

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



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



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



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



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



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


View All Calendar Events


Three Names Added to Oregon Memorial Wall
Oregon honors 192 fallen law enforcement officers since the 1860’s

The State of Oregon remembered and honored 192 fallen law enforcement officers, and the families they left behind, during a memorial ceremony on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at 1 PM. The event took place outdoors, at the state memorial which is located at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem.

The names of three fallen Oregon law enforcement officers were added to the state memorial and honored at this year's ceremony; S. Allen Burdic of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, EOW 3/11/21; John R. Burright of the Oregon State Police, EOW 5/4/21; and Carl L. Frazier of the Lane County Sheriff’s Office, EOW 10/9/1979.

The Oregon Fallen Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial Ceremony is a significant event that the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) is proud to host each year in partnership with the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, Oregon Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation, and Oregon's various statewide law enforcement associations.

The memorial honors 192 fallen Oregon law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty since the 1860s.

This includes officers from city, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies who have served as law enforcement officers, corrections officers, and parole and probation officers.

The Oregon memorial is held the week ahead of National Police Week events in Washington, D.C. so that family members and co-workers can attend both memorial ceremonies. More than 21,000 officers who have died in the line of duty are honored on the national memorial

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

Background on the names being added to the Oregon Fallen Law Enforcement Officer Memorial in 2022:

On March 11, 2021 Deputy Sheriff S. Allen Burdic died as the result of complications of gunshot wound. In the early morning hours of August 12th, 1980, Deputy Burdic responded to a shooting at a tavern in Myrtle Creek. As Deputy Burdic checked the area he located the suspect parked in a gravel turn-out near I-5. The subject opened fire on Deputy Burdic, shooting him twice. The man then stole Deputy Burdic’s Patrol vehicle and ran over his legs as he fled. One of the shots injured Deputy Burdic’s spine, causing him to suffer partial paralysis. He medically retired in 1982 as a result of the incident and continued to receive medical care until passing away as a result of complications of the wounds. The subject who shot him was sentenced to 40 years in prison for attempted murder, first-degree assault, felon in possession of a firearm, and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Deputy Burdic had served the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office for one year at the time of the incident and had previously served with the Canyonville Police Department for three years. He is survived by his wife and son.

On May 4, 2021 Sergeant John Burright succumbed to injuries sustained on September 4th, 2001, when he struck by a vehicle near mile marker 243 on I-5 near Albany. Senior Trooper Maria Mignano and Police Officer Jason Hoerauf, of the Albany Police Department, were killed in the same incident while all three were assisting a family whose van had broken down. Officer Hoerauf was on a ride-along with his mentor, Sergeant Burright, when the two stopped to assist the van. Trooper Mignano responded to the scene to back them up. While the three officers were standing on the right side of the van, which was parked on the right shoulder, a pickup truck suddenly swerved across a lane of traffic. The pickup struck the right rear of Trooper Mignano's patrol car, traveled along the other two vehicles, and struck all three officers. The driver of the vehicle was driving on a suspended license at the time and had fallen asleep while driving. Trooper Mignano and Officer Hoerauf succumbed to their injuries at the scene. Sergeant Burright was flown to a local hospital in extremely critical condition. He suffered critical injuries that caused him to medically retire in early 2002. He remained under continuous medical care until succumbing to complications of his injuries on May 4th, 2021. In December 2001, the man plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide and was sentenced to two days in jail and three years of probation as part of a plea bargain. Sergeant Burright had served with the Oregon State Police for 14 years. He is survived by his wife and three sons.

On October 9, 1979 Sergeant Carl L. Frazier suffered a fatal heart attack while removing a large crop of marijuana from the bottom of a canyon that had been discovered and reported by hunters. The steep canyon hampered rescue efforts and Sergeant Frazier had to be winched up to the roadway so that he could be transported to the hospital. Sergeant Frazier succumbed to the heart attack 8 days later. Sergeant Frazier was with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office at the time of his death and previously served 15 years as a police officer with the Riverside, California police department. He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-05-04 10:15:46Last Update: 2022-05-04 14:51:09



Riots in Portland Following News of Supreme Court Leak
Some property damage caused during marches, one arrest made

On the evening of Tuesday, May 3, 2022, a group gathered in the downtown area of Portland, Oregon and marched at various times. During the marches, some participants committed acts of vandalism, including graffiti and broken windows that damaged government buildings, coffee shops, and others.

Some burning material and incendiary devices were thrown at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, but it's unknown if any damage was caused.

An image of a smashed up Starbucks store was shared by the PPB, with graffiti declaing "MY BODY, MY PROPERTY", seemingly indicating that the violence was in response to the recent news of the leaked opinion draft of the Supreme Court concerning the Roe v Wade decision possibly being overturned.

The Portland Police says there are no known injuries at this time.

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

One arrest was made. Luke S. Anderson, 31, was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center of charges of Reckless Burning and Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree.

Portland Police did not release a booking photo of Anderson.

Democrats in the Oregon legislature (also sponsored by Republican Ron Noble of McMinnville) passed HB 3273 into law in 2021, prohibiting law enforcement agencies from releasing booking photos, except under special circumstances.

PPB Officers are assessing the scope of the damage and investigating the crimes committed.

If anyone has information, including witness statements, photos, video, or other evidence, please e-mail the Portland Police and reference case number 22-117206.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-05-04 09:53:53Last Update: 2022-05-04 10:16:52



Oregon Right to Life Gives Statement on Supreme Court Leak
“Oregonians do not support the extreme abortion policies in our current law”

On May 2, 2022, Politico released a leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The opinion, labeled as the Opinion of the Court and written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito, would overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Oregon Right to Life is an organization founded in 1970 that advocates for the most vulnerable human beings whose right to life is denied or abridged under current law.

According to their website, they work to reestablish protection for all innocent human life "from conception to natural death".

ORTL gave a statement on the recent news of the leaked opinion draft in the Supreme Court signalling the overturning of the Roe v Wade decision.

“We are encouraged that the Supreme Court appears to be moving to return the issue of abortion to the people of the United States and their duly elected officials,” said Oregon Right to Life executive director, Lois Anderson. She continued, “We must keep in mind that this is a draft opinion. While it might indicate the direction of the Court, it does not guarantee the outcome.”

If the final decision remains consistent with the leaked draft, authority over abortion policy will return to the citizens and their elected officials.

“Polling consistently shows that the majority of Oregonians do not support the extreme abortion policies in our current law.,” said Anderson. “We welcome the opportunity to craft legislation that reflects Oregon values, supports women, and protects innocent life. The pro-life movement supports women during and after pregnancy. We will continue to do so.”

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

According to their position statement on abortion, Oregon Right to Life believes in the sanctity of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death. They believe that an abortion ends the life of a genetically distinct, growing human being. They oppose abortion at any point of gestation.

They believe that in rare cases, a mother may have a life threatening condition in which medical procedures intended to treat the condition of the mother may result in the unintended death of her preborn baby. At the same time, ORTL recognizes that in most cases, modern medical practice has and will continue to increase the ability to save both the life of the mother and the baby.

Many Oregon leftists are feeling angry, terrified, hopeless, and incredibly frustrated, according to Governor Kate Brown.

The controversial Governor says those are valid feelings and access to abortion is a fundamental right.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-05-03 15:23:51Last Update: 2022-05-03 15:59:42



Lebanon Proposes $10 Million Dollar Pool Tax
Price Tag Shocks the Conscience

A $10 million dollar tax proposal for swimming pool renovations is being floated by Lebanon school administrators and aquatic district personnel -- just as Lebanon taxpayers are drowning in debt. Many residents are shocked, scratching their heads, suggesting such a large tax bond for pool repairs makes no sense. To put this in perspective, Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida built their giant water-park Typhoon Lagoon for $20 million dollars. It has water slides, walkways, fake mountains and backdrops, wave tanks, tube canals and much more.

The proposal seems outrageous to many citizens and shocks the public conscience on many levels. First, the pool and building were likely built for less than $1 million back in the 1970s. Even with today’s inflation adjusted dollars the pool and building could be entirely torn-down, dug-out and replaced with a larger fancier brand-new pool and building, twice the size with numerous additional amenities for under $3.4 million. Not being specific for how $10 million would be spent has people suspecting hidden-agendas. They’ve been through similar bait-and-switches with the superintendent on other issues.

Next, this pool is the only reason for a Lebanon aquatic district tax. Every property owner in the Lebanon school district pays a tax just for this pool as part of their yearly tax bill. People also pay user-fees every time they use the pool. The public was promised the aquatic district tax and user-fees were for pool maintenance, upkeep and repair. These taxes and fees have accumulated millions of dollars. Citizens tracking the issue want to know what happened. Many suggest it is a management and planning failure to simply defer maintenance, not sequester needed funds, then declare a crisis and shift the cost to taxpayers. Financial foresight and budget allocation is a school superintendents primary responsibility and especially disturbing in this case, since the current superintendent’s previous position was director of district maintenance.

The taxpaying public does not feel school administrators or aquatic district personnel are being strait with them. Justifications for spending $10 million on the pool are vague, non-specific and there are no fully developed project documents. Some justifications include, “the pipes below the pool are corroded and could collapse anytime -- shutting the pool down”, “The boiler is old and must be replaced – it could go tomorrow or 5 years, who knows.” Pool contractors have countered that there are actually only a couple drain pipes under pools. They are replaced like pipes under a city street. A new top-end boiler can be purchased for less than $250-400 thousand. What exactly is $10 million for? From a practical perspective there are approximately 30,000 people in the Lebanon School District, probably less than 1000 use the pool. These are also the same taxpayers and citizens who were shut out of the pool for almost 2 years -- plenty of time to get repairs and boiler replacements accomplished.

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

Terrible management, drowning in red-tape and over-priced contractors should not be thrown a life-preserver by Lebanon taxpayers. The school and aquatic district are apparently struggling to manage and keep up with maintenance and repairs. More importantly, Lebanon high school ranks at the bottom, 228th out of 262 high schools in Oregon in academic performance, 77% of Lebanon’s 11th graders cannot do grade-level science and math. The drop-out rate is approaching 30%. The public has been speaking out that the top priority of the superintendent, school administrators and some board members must be a laser-focus on getting standards for Lebanon schools back to some semblance of academic acceptability – not swimming pools, socialized medicine clinics, and unwanted progressive curricula.

The Lebanon pool is a great community asset and should not go away. However, many citizens think it should be removed from school and aquatic district control because of ineffective financial management and planning failures. Many would like to see it become a Lebanon community fitness asset – free to taxpayers and their families who pay for it. The pool would remain in place with continued use by the high-school swim team as usual. A public field-house with an indoor track and fitness equipment could be built in the open-ground beside the swimming pool, which would also be part of a Lebanon community fitness center, free of burdensome bureaucratic school district rules, restrictions and shut-downs and available to citizens year-round. Pool repairs and a beautiful steel-frame fitness center could be accomplished for much less than the $10 million request for basic pool repairs. Voters in Lebanon may want to save $10 million and send district administrators back to the drawing board.


--Clarke Vesper

Post Date: 2022-05-03 09:47:41Last Update: 2022-05-03 16:26:12



Gresham Fire Chief Resigns
Blames City Manager Falls for toxic work environment

City of Gresham Fire Department Chief Mitch Snyder has submitted his resignation on April 13, effective as of May 6. In compliance with a public records request made by The Gresham Outlook, a copy of Chief Snyder’s resignation letter has been released.

The City of Gresham says they support employees raising good faith concerns about the workplace and actively works to examine them when made, but they disagree with the concerns raised in Chief Snyder’s letter regarding the budget and City Leadership.

The City stated that "While Gresham as a whole has experienced budgetary challenges over the past few years, we have sought to work openly and collaboratively as an organization in order to build understanding and create equitable solutions across the City."

However, Snyder has indicated that unprofessional conduct by the City Manager's Office, serious budget concerns that remain unaddressed, and toxic scapegoating as reasons he is resigning from an organization he could "no longer in good conscience be a part of."

In the resignation letter written to the Gresham City Council, made available by The Gresham Outlook through a public records request, Snyder seemed to point blame at Deputy City Manager Corey Falls.

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

Chief Snyder will serve his last day as Friday, May 6. Scott Lewis will serve as interim chief.

"It has become clear to me ... that Deputy Falls does not, in fact, value those leadership aspects," Snyder wrote in his letter. "Instead he prefers an organizational structure that allows him to flex his authority while at the same time deflecting criticism to make deficiencies in the City Manager's Office appear to be the responsibility and fault of others around him."

The Gresham Police Chief also recently resigned.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-05-02 14:40:15Last Update: 2022-05-02 17:11:37



Translation Advisory Council Members Sought
Will help to guide the translations of the state voters’ pamphlet

Oregon's Secretary of State will begin recruiting for a new Translation Advisory Council to guide the translation of the state voters’ pamphlet and voters’ pamphlets in Oregon counties.

Oregon House Bill 3021 passed in 2021 and requires the Secretary of State to produce translated versions of voters’ pamphlets and created the Translation Advisory Council to help guide that work.

"Every Oregonian deserves the opportunity to participate in civic life in our State,” said Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. “The Translation Advisory Council is a great opportunity to help shape a critical part of that work, and to begin removing barriers to voting for people who speak languages other than English.”

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

To be a member of the Translation Advisory Council, a person must be qualified to be an Oregon voter, have civic service and lived experience in a community served by translated voters’ pamphlets or be proficient in English and one of the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Mien, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, or Vietnamese.

Applications to the council can be submitted online.

Interested applicants should apply no later than 5:00 pm on June 1, 2022.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-05-02 11:26:36Last Update: 2022-05-02 17:06:44



A Look at School Tax Bond Measures
Do lockdowns, poor performance, justify $863 million in new taxes

Children lost a full academic-year from almost 2-years in lock-down, forced to wear masks, get vaccinated or leave school – evidence is emerging this was mostly a ruse. Parents lost jobs to stay home with kids or because employers shut-down. Progressive school superintendents and school boards pressed forward with controversial curriculum and issues, dismissing and disregarding input and pleas for change or compromise from concerned parents and disenfranchised taxpayers.

Against this back-drop of shutdowns, dismal academic performance, disregard for parents and taxpayers, skyrocketing inflation, and a pending economic depression -- eight Oregon school districts decided now would be a perfect time to ask taxpayers for more than $863 million in new taxes. The timing and optics of hitting property owners with $863 million in new taxes could not be more tone-deaf according to many citizens.

District parents, property owners and taxpayers certainly want the best for every student whose only option is public school but these new taxes have nothing to do with students or academics – they’re about contractors, money and facilities. Many feel this is not the year to ask citizens, especially property owners, to pay higher taxes just as they are paying an extra $250 month for gas and an extra $150 a month for groceries. After all, education and political operatives get two elections cycles a year, each November and May to trot-out tax bond measures. Voters in this May’s election should consider the following before voting to increase their tax burden even more for another 20-30 years.

Vague Justifications

If you review local bond measures the talking points are similar. The same subjective, non-quantifiable buzz-words are parroted, “this money is to make safety and security improvements, improve HVAC systems, make Americans with Disabilities Act updates (a 1990 law)” and generic statements such as, “to make site improvements, repairs and upgrades, build a new building, remodel rooms”. Project Managers suggest that when asking for $20, $30, $100 million dollars there are sound business management protocols.

Some say there should be exact project scope statements for every individual project with cost-analytics, Gantt charts, engineering designs, materials lists -- to the last nail, parts and equipment costs, subcontractor and labor cost, cost-overrun, forecasts and much more. This must be available to taxpayers, contractors, consultants, school boards and other evaluators -- to review, input and mark-up, perhaps years in advance. Asking for such huge sums of money without exact scope or justification is fiscal malpractice and a management failure. School districts and others get away with this year-after-year. This year, voters would be wise to make districts go back to the drawing-board and quantify, objectify and justify every project in detail – every dollar spent is quantifiable. Tax asks would likely come back cut in half or maybe not at all.

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

“Free” Federal Money

Congress passed three COVID relief bills. These bills transferred $5.3 trillion from taxpayer pockets to mostly progressive social and welfare programs. Oregon school districts alone received $1.65 billion from the American Rescue Plan and 3 allotments from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds. Allotments from 3 Governors Emergency Education Relief funds brought in another $60 million. There was $30 million for distance learning, $28 million for charter and private schools, $27 million for migrant students and $7 million for teaching English. There is more to be allocated through 2025.

These COVID relief funds are “free” money, not part of yearly school budgets -- money from the sky. COVID funds were earmarked broadly for COVID related concerns such as, improving safety and security, upgrading HVAC systems and equipment, making site improvements. In short, what almost every district put in their tax bond requests. Since money is fungible, account swaps could easily allow for roof repairs, remodels and other items not specifically earmarked.

For example, the Lebanon School District wants $20 million dollars from taxpayers but got $14 million in free COVID relief money. This money would pay for everything they ask for. Beaverton school district wants $173 million for their tax bond and received nearly $100 million in free money -- that’s a large bite out of what the district asked for. Before adding to their tax burden for another 20-30 years, taxpayers should be asking, “Where did all that money go?” This money was for safety and facility upgrades, not backfilling retirement accounts, bonuses and hiring staff. This could be scandalous -- every penny of school COVID fund money must be publicly accounted for.

Ethical Considerations

Tax bonds are publicly presented as trivial. Typical statements include, “only a 7-cent levy”, “only $1.13 per 1000 assessed value”, “only $29 extra a month.” A lot is left out. There may be 10-15 local taxing agencies in every tax jurisdiction saying the same thing year-after-year. Taxpayers and school parents from Linn County discovered that, according to the Tax Foundation, Linn County pays the highest property tax as a percentage in Oregon and Lebanon pays the highest rate of cities in the county. A property with a $175,000 assessed value paid $3700 this year but $4200 next year if bonds are approved. Keep in mind, assessors raise property values the maximum legal 3 percent each year, so this $175,000 house will be worth $306,000 or more in 20 years and the tax will then be $7344 yearly – if no new measures are passed--not likely. Exact project expensing and full public disclosure of any future tax burden should be the law.

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 public often opposes additional school tax bonds as well as the integration of progressive social programs in their schools. Understandably, many citizens are incensed when the general public’s school district website, graphic designers, consultants and others use these public assets as lobbing tools for information, disinformation and messaging -- outlining only the “pro-yes” point-of-view and omitting opposing views. Those with opposing views (which exceeds those in favor in a failed bond) must build their own websites, pay their own way. Using Lebanon again, as the example, the district website informs and advocates their viewpoint. The school district just spent as much as $30,000 of all the taxpayer’s money to send out glossy mailers to district residents lobbing only their position for passage of a $20 million bond -- $10 million to repair a $1 million dollar swimming pool. This is the second mailer. This is manipulative. District websites should post all sides on the publicly owned district website. Equal funding and the same mailing lists at school rates should also be provided for mailers and flyers representing all sides in the community.

People pushing tax bonds will highlight their district will get an extra $X-million dollars from the state that will go to another district if the tax bond does not pass. This is not exactly true. This money comes from the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching Program. This money is just more taxpayer’s money held by OSCIM, then dangled like bait to incentivize local school districts to raise taxes on property owners. OSCIM money for districts actually increases each year if not used.

Education is changing. Parents are abandoning progressive, union controlled monolithic public-school systems in favor of small independent neighborhood schools, circa 1950, charter schools, private schools, Christian schools, online learning and homeschooling where they have a choice, a voice and control over their children’s education. Money needs to follow students not government facilities. Taxpayers should also be wary of being on the hook for 20-30 years for upkeep and maintenance of abandoned, empty school buildings. Progressive school administrators continually suggest such taxes are an “investment” in our communities. Informed citizens know investments return money to investors -- this is just more taxing and spending.

The only way citizens can ever reign-in an organized, self-serving, out-of-control government is to cut off the money supply until they listen.


--Clarke Vesper

Post Date: 2022-05-02 08:36:49Last Update: 2022-05-02 09:42:16



OR 224 Now Open After Nearly Two Years of Closure
Had been closed due to Labor Day 2020 wildfires

Oregon Highway 224 above Estacada re-opened Sunday May 1st, after crews completed the final cleanup needed to make the road safe after the Labor Day 2020 wildfires.

Also, the U.S. Forest Service opened the Hole in the Wall and Moore Creek boat access day sites and Big Eddy day use site. All other Forest Service recreation facilities in the Clackamas River Corridor will remain closed at least through the remainder of 2022.

“These communities experienced real hardships as a result of the massive wildfires of 2020,” said Rian Windsheimer, ODOT Portland area manager. ”Today, ODOT and our partners are pleased to celebrate the reopening of this road, but much more forest recovery work still lies ahead of us.”

Recovery work in the corridor will continue after the road opens.

This summer, visitors will encounter road closures of up to 20 minutes at varying locations, seven days a week, and will see trucks loaded with debris, rock scaling work and asphalt being repaired.

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 Forest Service, ODOT, Portland General Electric and other partners have been joined by private contractors in preparing the road for its re-opening. The extent of the wildfire damage was staggering, keeping 18 miles of OR 224 closed for 20 months.

The work involved: Work is underway to re-seed with native plants to reduce weeds.

Patching of OR 224 potholes will continue this spring with paving of the damaged sections this summer when the weather warms up.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-05-01 21:07:44Last Update: 2022-05-01 21:20:50



Stolen Ambulance Results in a Chase
OSP troopers and emergency personnel responded

It was quite a sight to see Oregon State Police (OSP) cars chasing an erratic driven ambulance down Interstate 5 on Friday, April 29, 2022 at approximately 7:31 PM. OSP troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Interstate 5 near milepost 273 in Marion County.

OSP reports that upon arriving at the crash scene, the operator of the crashed vehicle, identified as Noor Mohammad Baheej (30) of Winnetka, California, attempted to flee.

The driver returned and stole the Woodburn ambulance that was on scene. Baheej drove north on Interstate 5 into Portland where he continued to elude police. OSP attempted to pin the ambulance but Baheej rammed a patrol vehicle, struck a building and was able to continue to elude troopers.

The ambulance was again located on Interstate 5 southbound near milepost 295. The driver stopped the ambulance and attempted entry into another vehicle on the highway. OSP troopers were then able to take Baheej into custody without further incident.

Baheej displayed multiple signs of impairment and after investigation was charged with DUII-Alcohol (BAC .21), UUMV, Attempt to Elude, Reckless Driving and Failure to Perform Duties of Driver.

Federal data shows Oregon has the worst drug addiction rate in the country and last for access to treatment.

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 latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health said about 12% of Oregonians aged 12 and older said they had an alcohol problem, up from 7% in 2019.

Combined, they gave Oregon the second worst overall addiction rate nationwide, with nearly one in five teens and adults reporting a problem with drugs or alcohol.

Could it be that Oregon’s treatment problem starts with an easy access problem?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-04-30 16:01:42Last Update: 2022-04-30 16:07:43



Election Integrity Outshines at Dorchester
Out of 19 filed Republican candidates for governor, nine were present

Ballots will be mailed out this week for the May 17th Oregon Primary election. The Secretary of State sent out notices warning that misinformation about the election will be a crime they will prosecute against. Is it for your protection, or theirs? It seems like Oregonians aren’t impressed with big names or big names supporting candidates. Democrat and Republican establishments are fighting the same battle for non-affiliated votes.

Started 57 years ago, the Dorchester Conference is the oldest political conference in the United States and a showcase for Oregon's conservative elites.

However, it was originally started at the Dorchester House in Lincoln City where moderate Republicans would talk about repairing the party. It deliberately excluded “far right-wingers.”

The unique difference in the Dorchester debate from others is that the audiences takes a straw poll to pick a favorite candidate.

Out of 19 filed Republican candidates for governor, nine were on the ballot and there were 223 participants, Marc Thielman received an astounding 61%. Thielman may have put a target on his back. In 2018 Greg Wooldridge won over the favored Representative Knute Buehler that brought out big donors. Thielman’s advantage is voters are listening to their messaging like never before, and there are 19 Republican candidates looking for support.

Election Integrity and Oregonians for Fair Elections gave a training event in conjunction with the Dorchester conference as a separate event. They did their own straw poll during the event and Marc Thielman received 43 out of 48 votes, and Joe Rae Perkins received 34 out of 45 votes.

About 62 attended the training on being an election observer, making a records request, and heard reports from counties pursuing election integrity work.

In attendance was the person whom built the Oregon’s Centralized Voter Registration (OCVR) Database for the Secretary of State’s website and was allowed to speak on his work.

OCVR is a top-down system that maintains detailed registration and voting history information. Digital images of full voter registration cards are incorporated into the system for signature verification, and a public portal allows online checking of voter registration status.

The OCVR is working towards modeling after Washington State, which has same day voter registration, and internet voting that allows a person to print their ballot on a home computer and mail it.

Oregon allows the handicapped to vote on the internet with a specific pre- registration for that system. Some counties are experimenting allowing citizens overseas to vote by internet.

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

Legislative authorized Administrative Rules have allowed specific voting exemptions without further approval. However, printing on a home computer will eliminate paper with a watermark or heat-sensitive element as proof of an authentic ballot and prevent it from being photocopied.

Don Powers spoke on what the Multnomah County team has discovered in analyzing voting data. The data is showing something called shuffle. That’s where extra or possibly manipulated ballots are entered throughout the process a little at a time avoiding big jumps that draw attention. However, it creates a smooth steady increase as ballots are counted instead of the normal little jumps back and forth. From their work, other states are finding similar results.

As teams put in public requests, two counties were unable to provide the requested information who lost their voting data and they did not make a backup. Being out of compliance is a violation of both U.S. and Oregon laws.

The Democrat conference is to begin April 29 to May 1. The 11th annual Oregon Summit of the Democratic Party of Oregon will be held at Sunriver Resort in Deschutes County. The Democrats have 15 candidates for governor.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2022-04-30 11:33:32Last Update: 2022-05-02 16:18:35



Analysis: Fiscal Responsibility in McMinnville
Perhaps his successor will have a proper perspective on keeping the steel mill competitive.

McMinnville City government is feeling the financial pinch from years of living off reserves. Those years were mostly years of above average prosperity when reserves are expected to grow but policies have been to expand social programs instead and not stress fiscal restraint. Those years coincide with the arrival of City Manager Jeff Towery and a compliant elected City government.

McMinnville sought to implement a 9% total increase in power rates through McMinnville Water and Power, controlled by the City since 1889. The City owns the sewage treatment plant and sought increases there as well. At Monday nights’ City Council meeting the final decision on rate increases resulted in a 3% increase in electrical fees charged to industrial consumers and a 1% increase in the sewage franchise fee.

The largest customer for electricity and water is Cascade Rolling Mills. They were in a group of industries enticed by McMinnville Industry Promotions, MIP, a group of area businesses formed in 1953 which were successful in recruiting the steel mill in 1969. McMinnville Water & Light were part of the MIP and key to negotiations that brought the mill to McMinnville.

When confronted with a 3% increase in usage and another 6% increase in franchise fees Cascade (and McMinnville Water and Light) said that would result in a lawsuit. The City, with Manager Towery negotiating, ended up at 3% increase in electrical fees charged to industrial consumers and no franchise fee. The City Council approved that increase. Cascade Rolling Mills employs over 400 in high paying jobs.

Cascade, owned by Schnitzer Steel, competes in the commodity market for construction steel with prices subject to global supply and demand forces. Cascade must have controlled costs to remain viable. They have been a generous benefactor to McMinnville, home to their 400+ employees. The Citys’ initial starting point attempted to gain a 12% increase from Cascade (6% usage plus 6% franchise fee). That showed little appreciation for sharing in the financial viability of McMinnvilles’ largest primary industry. Perhaps it revealed some economic illiteracy in the City bureaucracy.

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

Jeff Towery has negotiated an employment contract that concludes in 2024. Perhaps his successor will have a proper economic perspective on McMinnvilles’ reliance on keeping the steel mill competitive.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-04-29 15:51:42Last Update: 2022-04-29 16:06:10



Jonathan Sandau named ODA Assistant Director
“He successfully led the implementation of new programs, projects, and legislative work”

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) announced that Alexis Taylor, Director, ODA, has appointed Jonathan Sandau as Assistant Director effective May 1. Most recently, Sandau served as a special assistant to the director focusing on the legislature, budget development, and strategic planning.

“Jonathan is a forward-thinking leader who has been responsible for many successes through the COVID-19 pandemic, various natural disasters, multiple legislative and special sessions,” said Taylor. “He successfully led the implementation of new programs, projects, and legislative work that kept our agricultural sector strong through a multitude of challenges over the past two years. His experience, relationships, and knowledge of agriculture and public policy will continue to serve ODA and the people it serves today and into the future."

Sandau joined ODA in early 2020, just weeks before the COVID-19 restrictions began.

Sandau led a statewide effort to provide farmworkers and the agricultural community with personal protective equipment (PPE) to promote health and keep agricultural businesses running in Oregon during the lockdowns.

Sandau helped secure $50 million in emergency and state federal funds for Oregon's farmers and ranchers.

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

Most recently, he helped guide the creation of the Oregon Disaster Assistance Program (ODAP), providing nearly $40 million in relief for those affected by Oregon’s natural disasters in 2021.

As Assistant Director, Sandau will primarily be responsible for leading the agency’s legislative and external affairs work. He previously worked for the Oregon Farm Bureau, Congressman Kurt Schrader, and Governor John Kitzhaber.

Sandau’s family has a farm in Marion County, Oregon.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-04-29 13:27:02Last Update: 2022-04-29 13:36:36



Read More Articles