Judge Sides With Gov. Kate Brown’s Administration on Public Records Lawsuit
The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that the Portland law firm Davis Wright Tremaine cannot get a look until after the Nov. 6 election at the draft 2019 legislation it sought. In a lawsuit filed in September in Marion County Circuit Court, Greg Chaimov, a DWT lawyer, explained he and his firm had routinely requested drafts of legislation state agencies submitted pre-session in order to keep clients posted on what laws might be changing. This year, however, the state took a different position than it had in the past, rejecting the firm’s request for such information. The state said in court filings that that the draft legislation was covered by attorney-client privilege, and therefore exempt from the Oregon public records law. Chaimov, who formerly served as the legislative counsel, the Legislature’s attorney, disagreed with that assertion. He argued through his colleague and attorney John DiLorenzo, that only the Oregon Department of Justice could serve as the state’s attorney and thus the state’s claim that draft legislation was attorney client privileged was incorrect. A Marion County Court judge initially ruled in favor of Chaimov and DiLorenzo, ordering the state to turn over the bill drafts by Oct. 26. The state appealed and on Friday, the Court of Appeals stayed the order to disclose, which means Brown’s administration can withhold the drafts until the date they proposed for disclosure, Nov. 30, three weeks after the election.
Editorial: Gov. Brown trips up on transparency
The Oregonian Editorial Board
Earlier this year, Gov. Kate Brown’s chief of staff proclaimed in Trump-like fashion that Brown has had “the most transparent administration in memory.” Which raises the question: In whose memory? Her mixed record just took another dive this week when the Brown administration sought to delay releasing key information in two separate incidents – school performance ratings in one case and 2019 legislation proposals in the other – until after the Nov. 6 election. Such secrecy for documents that the government has routinely released in the past hardly seems to be the mark of a leader who prioritizes open government. Nor does it square with the image Brown has sought to cultivate as a governor whom Oregonians can trust to do what’s right for the public.
Oregon governor changes tune about Indian gambling after campaign contributions
The Washington Times
When Oregon Gov. Kate Brown opposed the idea of a small Indian casino for the Coquille Tribe in 2016, she told the Bureau of Indian Affairs that she believed it “essential that the state ‘hold the line’ in the number of casinos within her border.” The bowling alley in Medford near Interstate 5 that the Coquille wanted to use for electronic bingo machines could spell big trouble, Ms. Brown argued. “I believe the state should, as a matter of policy, resist the building of additional casinos because state support for even a single, modest, additional casino is likely to lead to significant efforts to expand gaming across Oregon to the detriment of the public welfare,” she declared in an April 2016 letter. Two years later, casino expansion no longer bothers the governor so much. Indeed, Ms. Brown’s administration has reached an agreement with the Cow Creek Tribe, which has poured at least $115,000 into her political war chest, to expand gambling in a kind of joint venture between Oregon and the Indians, records show.
Permanent director announced for state benefit board
Portland Business Journal
Interim PEBB/OEBB Director Ali Hassoun has accepted an offer to become permanent director, Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen announced. Hassoun previously served as director of operations for PEBB and was part of the team that stood up OEBB. He has served as deputy director of both boards since July of 2017 and interim director since May, when Kathy Loretz retired, Allen said in an announcement to all OHA staff. Before coming to OHA, Hassoun worked for nine years in the state budget office. More recently, he helped implement Senate Bill 1067, which merged the two boards. Hassoun led two successful open enrollments this year, Allen said. “Ali brings to this role many years of experience in state government finance, health care and benefits,” Allen said.
New Oregon guidelines take aim at prescribing opioids for acute pain
Portland Business Journal
The Oregon Acute Opioid Prescribing Guidelines urge doctors and dentists to avoid prescribing opioids for mild to moderate pain. If they do prescribe, the guidelines say to start with the lowest effective dose of short-acting opioids for no more than three days, or no more than seven days for more severe acute pain.
Poll: Oregonians love Voters’ Pamphlet, vote-by-mail
Oregonians have more sources of information than ever for deciding how to vote. They include traditional and alternative news media, exclusively online sources like political websites and blogs, and information spread through the growing forms of social media, including Facebook and Twitter. So it may seem surprising that an overwhelming percent of Oregon voters say they spend a lot of time with one of the most old fashioned sources of ballot information, the Voters’ Pamphlet produced and distributed by the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office. The thick paper booklet with information on candidates and ballot measures is nearly 115 years old. it is specialized for each county, mailed to every voter, and distributed through public locations. According to a new statewide poll by DHM Research, a full 63% of Oregon voters says they typically read about all the candidates and measures in the pamphlet if they appear on their ballot. Another 32% say they typically only read about candidates and measures if they are confused or uncertain about how to vote. Just 5% say they don’t typically read it at all. “Comments from voters show the pamphlet appears to not only be helpful but to have a cultural role in voting in Oregon. Among likely or very likely voters — who tend to be more informed about the issues and follow a variety of sources — most still rely on the pamphlet to read about the candidates and measures that appear on their ballot,” says DHM founder and principal Adam Davis.
In Oregon House Contest, a Candidate Spots Racist Overtones in Mailer
The Republican challenger for House District 49 in east Multnomah County says the Democratic incumbent is using coded anti-immigrant language to hold onto his seat. “Chris Gorsek understands,” the mailer says, “because he is one of us.” Gorsek is white. Hwang is a Korean-American immigrant. In a statement Thursday, Hwang says he’s “saddened” by the mailer. “As a Korean-American who legally immigrated to this country nearly 25 years ago, I have heard the phrase ‘one of us’ used many times,” Hwang says. “I know what it means.”
The New York Times Highlights the Perplexing Oregon Governor’s Race
The close race between incumbent Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat and her Republican challenger, state Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend), has piqued The New York Times’ interest. “Ms. Brown’s vulnerability in a divided but decidedly Democratic-leaning state has puzzled voters on both sides of the political spectrum, and especially women,” the Times writes. “The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan political analysis group, recently reclassified the governor’s race from leaning Democratic to tossup.” That’s not something Democrats want to hear but it has been a consistent theme in this year’s general election race.
Knute Buehler Stakes Out a New Position on the Personal Kicker, Now Says State Should Keep It
In previous years, state Rep. Knute Buehler’s position on Oregon’s personal income tax kicker was clear: The state should keep its paws off the money and return it to taxpayers. In 2015, when the state announced a $349 million personal kicker, for instance, Buehler issued a statement. “These tax refunds are the people’s money not the politicians’,” Buehler said then. “Every dime should be returned for Oregonians to save, invest or spend. This money belongs to the hard working Oregonians who are driving our economic growth.” But in an interview today with KGW at Beaverton High School, Buehler changed his tune, saying that when personal income tax revenues exceed the state forecasts by more than two percent, triggering the personal kicker, the state should hold onto the money until savings hit a certain threshold. “A great way to fill the rainy day fund is to deviate the kicker until we get an adequate rainy day fund,” Buehler told KGW.
Buehler calls Brown’s offshore drilling ban a ‘distraction’
The Daily Astorian
Buehler, a Republican, said he is against offshore drilling but raised doubts about whether it would even become an issue in Oregon. No one has attempted to drill off the coast since 1964, and little was recovered. “I’m certainly against drilling offshore, but that is more about distraction, and the governor is trying to distract people’s attention from the big issues in Oregon,” Buehler said. “No one’s going to be drilling off the Oregon Coast. It’s very expensive. It’s very risky, and there’s lots of very inexpensive places to drill for oil right now, so it’s more political theater than actual, real policymaking.”
Oregon campaign finance IT problem limited to Knute Buehler
Oregon elections officials say the state’s campaign finance reporting system had a problem earlier this week that caused it to stop processing transactions for just one campaign: Republican governor candidate Knute Buehler. At this point in the election cycle, campaigns must report contributions and expenditures within seven days. Buehler’s campaign had scheduled transactions to be processed Monday through Wednesday in order to meet the deadline, but the ORESTAR computer system stopped processing them, according to the Secretary of State’s office. Secretary of State Dennis Richardson is the only Republican in statewide elected office in Oregon. The Secretary of State’s office said in a news release that it discovered the problem on Thursday. The Democratic Party of Oregon had filed a complaint about the late filings, according to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s reelection campaign spokesman, Christian Gaston. Debra Royal, the agency’s chief of staff, did not explain in a news release why such a problem would only affect one political action committee out of hundreds active in the November election, and she could not immediately be reached for comment. No other details of the technology problem were provided.
Knute Buehler calls for tougher memory care rules after Oregonian investigation
In an interview this week, Buehler said the state should impose precise numeric hiring standards on memory care facilities, a move that advocates say is essential to limit abuse but that the industry says could drive up costs. “Clearly, there needs to be changes and improvements made,” Buehler said in response to the findings. Buehler’s opponent, Gov. Kate Brown, said in a statement that “we need to continue to enhance care and strengthen regulations” beyond what she said she has accomplished as governor. Brown didn’t offer specific proposals.
Mitchell has fundraising edge for state House campaign
The Daily Astorian
More than $230,000 has been spent so far in the campaign between Democrat Tiffiny Mitchell and Republican Vineeta Lower for state House District 32. Mitchell, a state child welfare worker in Astoria, spent $133,782 between the end of the Democratic primary in May and Friday. Lower, an online schoolteacher from Seaside, spent $98,453. The campaign spending has largely focused on television advertisements, mailers, door-to-door contacts and social media outreach.
Michael Bloomberg Gives Biggest Individual Contribution in Oregon Political History
Nike co-founder Phil Knight’s gotten a lot of ink for his extraordinary support of state Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend) in the current governor’s race. Knight has given Buehler $2.5 million directly and also given at least $1 million to the Republican Governors’ Association, which has given $2.46 million to Buehler. But late Friday, the Vote No on 103 campaign, which opposes a ban on grocery taxes, disclosed a $1.5 million check from Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor and founder of the media company that bears his name.
Backers of the Oregon Affordable Housing Measure Turned Down Their Largest Donation (Sort Of)
Backers of Measure 103, the Oregon constitutional amendment that would ban taxes on groceries, last week notified another campaign to expect a donation worth $75,480.69. That would be the largest donation yet for the Affordable Housing for Oregon PAC, which backs Measure 102, a constitutional amendment that would allow public affordable housing bond dollars to be leveraged with private resources to build more housing. The large donation was “for Printing ‘Say Yes’ postcards,” according to an Oct. 19 email sent by Trudy Macadam, who is affiliated with the Northwest Grocery Association, the Northwestern Food Merchants, Inc. as well as the Yes Keep Our Groceries Tax Free campaign. Presumably, backers of the anti-grocery-tax amendment have decided that packaging their pitch for a yes-on-103 vote with a yes-on-102 vote would be advantageous. (There is no organized opposition to 102 and it is polling well.) A representative for the Affordable Housing for Oregon PAC responded to the email by suggesting the “in-kind” donation wasn’t appropriate way to report the donation. “We have discussed this email with the Affordable Housing for Oregon team, and they have let us know that they did not have advance knowledge of your expenditure, nor did they coordinate with you on this effort,” wrote Tammy Lewis, a compliance officer for C & E Systems. “Accordingly, it might be more appropriate that you report your expenditure as an independent expenditure, rather than an in-kind contribution. Of course we’d suggest consulting your attorney or the Oregon Elections Division to be sure.”
Anti-105 rally draws dozens in Hermiston
Roughly 100 people participated Saturday at McKenzie Park, Hermiston, in a rally urging locals to vote no on Ballot Measure 105. Organizers said they put the word out starting last weekend. The event drew a few local elected leaders, including Hermiston City Councilor Lori Davis. Her challenger in this election, Mark Gomolski, who serves on Hermiston’s Hispanic Advisory Committee, was not present. The organizers also pulled in Jamie McLeod-Skinner, the Democrat challenging incumbent Republican Greg Walden to be the next U.S. representative for Oregon’s Congressional 2nd District.
Landlords push up US retail rents to post-crisis highs
Portland Business Journal
Landlords have pushed up rents for US retailers to new post-crisis highs in spite of the competitive onslaught from Amazon, with asking figures in the hotspots such as Miami rising more than 10 per cent in the past year. The 4 per cent average rise, to be disclosed by property broker CBRE this week, is the latest sign that confidence in bricks and mortar stores is recovering, especially in better-off parts of the country, ahead of the crucial Christmas shopping season.
Education officials make effort to reduce school absenteeism
The Associated Press
Oregon education officials are launching a campaign to reduce school absenteeism, which is considered a significant reason for the state’s low graduation rate and unimpressive standardized test results. Carla Wade of the Oregon Department of Education said the “Every Day Matters” campaign will help schools work with families to get kids to class. Obstacles for students include “economic barriers, health including mental health or disability issues, transportation problems — streets that don’t have proper crosswalks or sidewalks, or infrequent bus service,” Wade said. The Education Department is paying to help half the state’s school districts with the biggest absenteeism problems. Money goes for education specialists to help schools diagnose what’s causing absenteeism. Additional obstacles, Wade said, can include cultural differences — school schedules might not correspond with important ceremonies or events — and bullying. Money also will go toward coming up with regional strategies and funding professional development for teachers.
Colorado trial: Does nearby pot business hurt property values?
The Associated Press
The trial set to begin Monday in Denver is the first time a jury will consider a lawsuit using federal anti-racketeering law to target cannabis companies. But the marijuana industry has closely watched the case since 2015, when attorneys with a Washington, D.C.-based firm first filed their sweeping complaint on behalf of Hope and Michael Reilly. One of the couple’s lawyers, Brian Barnes, said they bought the southern Colorado land for its views of Pikes Peak and have since built a house on the rural property. They also hike and ride horses there. But they claim “pungent, foul odors” from a neighboring indoor marijuana grow have hurt the property’s value and their ability to use and enjoy it. “That’s just not right,” Barnes said. “It’s not right to have people in violation of federal law injuring others.”
States with legal marijuana see rise in traffic accidents
The Bend Bulletin
While the studies couldn’t prove the accidents were a direct result of legalized marijuana, a growing amount of evidence has led officials to conclude the relationship exists. The studies underscore concerns in Oregon that the state has struggled to adapt to the challenges of identifying marijuana- impaired drivers, leaving citizens at greater risk for traffic accidents and fatalities.
A Rural Community Decided To Treat Its Opioid Problem Like A Natural Disaster
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Rural Americans say drug addiction and abuse are the most urgent health problems facing their local community, according to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In the poll, 48 percent of people said opioid addiction has gotten worse in their community in the past five years. “It took becoming the sheriff to see the impacts inside the jail with heroin abuse, to see the impacts in the community across the entire county for me to realize that we had to change a lot about what we were doing,” Trenary says. Last year leaders declared the opioid epidemic a life-threatening emergency. The county is now responding to the drug crisis as if it were a natural disaster, the same way they’d mobilize to respond to a landslide or flu pandemic. Snohomish County is the first county in the country to treat it this way. Now, the response to the opioid epidemic is run out of a special emergency operations center, a lot like during the Oso landslide, where representatives from across local government meet every two weeks, including people in charge of everything from firetrucks to the dump. They talk through PowerPoint slides and rattle off numbers like 7.5 and 6.1, which refer to items on their to-do list. Seven big, over-arching goals, which include reducing opioid misuse and reducing damage to the community, are broken down into manageable steps, like distributing needle clean-up kits, and a project to train school teachers to recognize trauma and addiction. This to-do list is over one hundred items long. “Some of these goals are really long term,” Ireton says. “I mean they’re going to take years, decades.”
Local schools attempt to close student-teacher color gap
The wide disparity between the students who go to public schools and the educators who teach them isn’t restricted to Eastern Oregon. According to the Oregon Educator Equity Report, there’s nearly a 28-point gap between students of color and minority teachers across the state.
Oregon has seen the percentage of teachers who identify as “ethnically diverse” rise six points from just 3.9 percent in 1997-98. But nonwhite students have grown at a much faster rate, creating a stubborn gap in a state where more than a third of the student body are now children of color. Creating a more diverse faculty isn’t just a feel-good move — academic studies show that students that are demographically matched with their teachers perform better in school, are less likely to drop out, and bring higher morale to the classroom.
Selma Pierce shows support for building third bridge in Salem
I’m Selma Pierce, and I’m running for state representative for House District 20 to continue giving back to and to better my community. I’ve worked with, and supported, groups that helped children, strengthened families, prepared students for career and college, provided scholarships, promoted respect for people of all backgrounds, and set up free dental clinics for those in need. I’ve logged many miles, personally going door to door, meeting thousands of people whom I will be working for. I run to be your voice and to take your concerns to the Capitol.
House District 20 lawmaker prefers substance over smears in campaigning
Representative Paul Evans
Campaigns should be about the “how” as much as the “what, when, and who.” Voters have a right to know how a candidate plans on keeping faith with promises made during the campaign. It is one thing to say something should, or should not, be done; it is quite another to share the steps of making it reality. For the past 30 years I have done my best to put the needs of our nation, state, and community ahead of my own. And over the course of that time, I have learned the value of service, leadership, and results.
Incumbent Bill Post says he’s true to his word in Legislature
Representative Bill Post
I feel my most important role is that of being your voice in the Legislature. I’ve spent my entire career speaking. Long before I was elected, I spoke for you on my radio show and I am honored to speak for you now in the Legislature as most of the time you aren’t heard by those in leadership. Since you first elected me, I have worked hard to bring your ideas, values and voice to the Capitol. If you re-elect me this November, I promise to continue to be your voice and to propose legislation that might make our schools safer, our children healthier, our seniors better cared for, our veterans honored as they should be, our farms have more opportunities, our small businesses prosper and make our state better.
Passing legislation that helps Oregonians is a priority for Boles
Representative Denyc Boles
I’ve been serving as your state representative since January of this year and I look forward to continuing to advocate for this community. Strong and fully funded schools that are responsive to local needs and priorities. Increased investment in career and technology education options for our students, moving away from a one size fits all approach to public education. We need to be good stewards of the resources we are trusted with from taxpayers. Making sure government is lean, responsive, and produces the results intended. Decreasing the regulatory burdens that hamper our businesses and farms so they can continue to provide jobs and supports for our community. These are some of my priorities going forward. Government isn’t always the solution to problems, but with the right leadership, it can be part of the solution. It can play a key role in bringing people together to address issues. I am good at building partnerships. As state representative, I will be an advocate and a catalyst for change in our community. I am asking for the opportunity to lend my skills and experiences to make our community stronger.