DHS Unveils Plan to Slam the Door on Support for Disabled Children



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DHS Unveils Plan to Slam the Door on Support for Disabled Children

“The cuts to service for some of the most vulnerable children in the state call into serious question the Democrats’ priorities”


DHS Unveils Plan to Slam the Door on Support for Disabled Children

The Lund Report


Under pressure from legislators to cut costs, the Department of Human Services outlined a plan Tuesday that will seek federal permission to close the door on children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, cutting off a program to receive in-home supports unless their families are in or near poverty.


Disabled children who currently receive in-home supports would continue to get help for now, but next July, the Department of Human Services plans to cap the number of kids in the program based on current projections, and then force any new kids to sit on a waiting list if their families made more than 138 percent of poverty, about $34,000 for a family of four.


Parents might consider quitting their jobs to get assistance for their children. Otherwise, the only option would be to cover those costs themselves or place their child in foster care or a residential care facility, which the state will continue to fund at a clip of $13,000 a month, versus $1,800 a month on average for in-home supports.


A family of four living on an income of $35,000 would be on the hook for an annual average of $21,600 for in-home costs now picked up by the state.


The state has budgeted $3.1 billion from the general fund for the Department of Human Service this biennium. The changes would save about $300,000 this biennium and $3 million in 2019-2021 — when the plan calls for current kids to be kicked out of the program if their families don’t meet the stringent income requirements. About a third of the children in the program could lose service.


Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, protested the plan, noting that cutting these services for all but the poorest children could cause a hardship to many middle-class families, and likely lead to increased use of more expensive services for kids in residential facilities, of which there is also already a shortage of providers.


“We have boarding of children in hospital emergency rooms,” Gelser said. “We are taking away the safety net that keeps people from falling into poverty.”


Gelser gave an example of an upper-middle-class couple that hurt their backs lifting their disabled child without help, causing them to leave their jobs on disability. Examples of in-home supports in the current program include relief care for family caregivers; training for parents to assist their child; help preparing meals and bathing the child; and help with behavioral challenges.


DHS Just Following Legislative Orders


But DHS is only making these changes at the insistence of Gelser’s fellow Democrats in the Legislature, who demanded that the Developmental Disabilities Division shed $12 million and get on a path to sustainability.


A budget note slipped into the funding bill for the agency directed it to avoid limiting children’s services by income, but there was only so much low-hanging fruit to cut before taking steps to drastically curtail the program for disabled kids.


Developmental Disabilities Director Lilia Teninty testified that negotiations for a new waiver with the federal government are ongoing, but so far Oregon has not been given permission to set a new income threshold above 138 percent of poverty. The state would simply be allowed to limit services to a fixed number of children for those with any family incomes above that figure.


Placing an arbitrary limit on the number of enrollees would allow the state to finally rein in program costs, and funding for in-home services for disabled kids could more easily rise and fall based on budget constraints. The move announced Tuesday would return the state to the “bad old days,” when kids were arbitrarily denied help and a cap was placed to limit assistance to 800 children. Since the adoption of the Community First Choice program, or K Plan, the state now serves between 3,0000 and 4,000 children.


“The door to children was shut before the K Plan,” Teninty said. “The K Plan flew that door open wide.”


Under the K Plan, all children with qualifying disabilities could get whatever assistance they needed. The state badly underestimated the number of families who would apply for help and the program has grown substantially.


The cuts to service for some of the most vulnerable children in the state call into serious question the Democrats’ priorities, particularly after the passage of a $934 million deal to fund Medicaid, complete with tax hikes for hospitals and health insurers. That deal allowed the state to add new programs, including spending $36 million to provide healthcare for unauthorized immigrant children who would qualify for Medicaid except for their legal status, as well as $9 million for reproductive health services, including abortions, for women in similar immigration limbo.


Children as Bargaining Chip?


Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Beaverton, defended the budget logic, which is often at the mercy of arcane federal rules governing Medicaid. “The federal government doesn’t let us merge funding streams. We’re very hamstrung by federal government restraints,” she said. “It’s not acceptable, but we also don’t have a choice.”


But with their legislative majority, the Democrats’ do control Oregon’s general fund, which provides all the funding for these new programs while they curtail support for disabled children.

The reaction from Rep. Knute Buehler of Bend, the only Republican present for a hearing on the cuts, was muted; Buehler had opposed the new healthcare programs for unauthorized immigrants because the cost would be borne entirely by the general fund.


Without mentioning how he’d continue to fit disabled children into the budget, Rep. Cedric Hayden, R-Cottage Grove, who was absent from Tuesday’s hearing, told The Lund Report afterward that he would oppose the plan as presented.


“That’s not an area that I would support cutting,” Hayden said. “There’s lots of other areas that we could look.”


Hayden, who has a daughter with a developmental disability, pays for her services with his own income as a dentist. But he said the state should not deny help to people based on income. “A disability is not something anyone chooses,” he said.


Democrats may be implementing a similar strategy as last year with Oregon Project Independence, using a popular program and a sympathetic group — in that case, senior citizens  — as a bargaining chip to extract new revenue or make budget cuts elsewhere, even if actually cutting the program could cost the state money in the long-run.


In the end, Oregon Project Independence, which provides services to middle-class seniors to allow them to stay in their homes and avoid going on Medicaid, maintained its funding levels, even though Gov. Kate Brown warned the program was on the chopping block last December.


Brown and the Democrats did not get most of the new tax money they wanted in the most recent session, but they did pass the tax on hospitals and health insurers which helped backfill Medicaid, and the economy has been improving, bringing in more income tax revenue to the state.


Click here to view this story online.












Brown will run for governor in 2018

Bend Bulletin

Brown, a Democrat, made the official announcement Monday at 9 a.m. via social media — Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and e-mails — to supporters and the media. She has no plans for a traditional rally, press conference or public meeting.


“This is a 21st Century campaign,” said Thomas Wheatley, Brown’s campaign manager.


Brown was not available for questions Monday morning, but in a 90-second campaign-style video posted to YouTube, Brown said she wanted to continue what she said was her work to improve the quality of life in the state.


“As governor, it’s my job to make Oregon an even better place to live, work and raise a family,” Brown says in a voiceover of images of the state and herself. “We need to protect the Oregon we love so much and ensure that everyone has the chance to live a good life here.”


Gov. Kate Brown announces reelection bid

Portland Tribune

In a video blasted across social media, the longtime Democratic politician contrasted her administration to that of President Donald Trump, while never mentioning him by name.

“As your governor, it’s my job to make things better and stand up to anyone who would take our rights away,” Brown said.


Kate Brown announces she will seek reelection

The Oregonian

Gov. Kate Brown plans to seek reelection in 2018, her campaign said on Monday morning. The announcement was not a surprise, given the governor has been on the campaign trail since the day after she won her first gubernatorial election in November 2016. In a statement released by her campaign, Brown cited the need to protect Oregon’s economic growth and the state’s expansion of Medicaid to cover all children, including unauthorized immigrants. The latter was among Brown’s priorities during the legislative session earlier this year.


Stuart Emmons, Who Ran Last Year for City Council, Reports a $10,000 Donation as He Weighs Another Race

Willamette Week

Stuart Emmons, who ran unsuccessfully for Portland City Council last year, says he’s still weighing a run for the open seat created by City Commissioner Dan Saltzman’s decision to retire. But Emmons is already fundraising. Last week, he reported the largest single campaign contribution in City Council races so far this year.




Senate President Peter Courtney Reminds Schools to Seek Money for Seismic Upgrades

Willamette Week

“Often it is a tragedy that convinces us what what we must do to prevent a tragedy,” Courtney said in a statement. “We know a massive earthquake is coming. We know we’re not ready. We still have far too many schools in our state that need to be reinforced. We got a late start and we are living on borrowed time. Not taking action to make our schools and other public buildings safe is criminal.”


‘I Already Learned This’: The Challenge Of Teaching TAG Students

Oregon Public Broadcasting

High schoolers designated as “Talented And Gifted” have a graduation rate of more than 90 percent, but these exceptional students experience bumps along their educational journeys, too. Teachers say one of the biggest difficulties is keeping these smart learners engaged and feeling challenged. The question is, how can schools serve both TAG students and classmates who may take longer to learn new material? OPB’s “Class of 2025” podcast continues with a story about Anna and Johnathan, two TAG students OPB has been following since kindergarten.




Lane County and its largest employee union near dead-end in contract talks as strike threat looms

The Register-Guard

The county and its largest employee union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2831, have submitted dueling final offers after six months of contract talks. The union is seeking wage increases of up to 19.8 percent in the contract’s first year versus the county’s offer of up to 3 percent. Leaders with AFSCME Local 2831, which represents 575 county employees, and the 98-employee AFSCME nurses unit, voted last week to authorize a strike, calling foul on the county’s proposed wage formula and its demand that employees start paying $20 to $70 per month toward their health insurance plans.


SolarWorld will hire back workers while it awaits word from Trump

The Oregonian

SolarWorld said Monday that it plans to hire back some of the workers it laid off last summer, following a favorable ruling last week from the U.S. International Trade Commission. “With relief from surging imports in sight, we believe we can rev up our manufacturing engine and increase our economic impact,” SolarWorld chief executive Juergen Stein said Monday.




ODFW: Lethally removing turkeys best option

East Oregonian

“I know it doesn’t sound nice,” he said. “But lethally removing turkeys is the way to go.” Turkeys are smart, Rimbach continued, and killing a few might be enough for the rest to catch a clue and move on. That action would require property owners to secure a permit from ODFW. Rimbach also said one or two permitted city employees could take on the task. They also would have to clean the birds and provide the meat to organizations, such as a church, to distribute to people in need.




U.S. Senator wants Washington to have a say in Oregon tolls

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Washington Sen. Patty Murray, who helps control transportation funding in Congress, on Friday made it clear she wants her state to have a role in shaping tolls in the Portland region. Murry told Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in a letter that she wants both the Washington State Department of Transportation and the city of Vancouver to be voting members of the advisory committee for implementing congestion pricing in the region.




Hands-free only way for drivers to use phone starting Sunday

Bend Bulletin

The new law is not sufficiently different from the old law to warrant a grace period, Burleigh said. He said the department is considering doing pre-announced “stings” during which officers make a point of looking for violations of the phone law, much as it does to enforce speed limits or noncompliance with the seat-belt law.




Editorial: Let the sun shine in

The Register-Guard

The idea that public agencies should not be accountable to the public is, well, shocking. The fact that some would use public money to try to prevent, or discourage, requests for information about how they are operating — on the public’s dime — is even more shocking.


Editorial: The earlier, the better for state’s presidential primary

Herald and News Editorial Board

Richardson has a good idea. In addition to making Oregon voters more influential, it would give them more a better chance to meet candidates and ask questions. Such exchanges could also broaden the knowledge of potential presidents in ways that might be useful — like seeing what a wildfire can do to a national forest. Richardson wants to move up the presidential primary from May to March. Primary elections for other offices would still be in May, minimizing the extra cost.

We hope legislators take action on it at the 2018 legislative session so the first “early” Oregon presidential primary would take place in 2020. It makes good sense.




Puerto Rico governor warns feds: ‘We still need some more help’ for ‘critical disaster’

The Washington Post

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello is warning that his government needs broader assistance from the federal government, calling on the Pentagon especially to provide more aid for law enforcement and transportation. Rossello said he’s also worried that Congress will shortchange his island once the initial wave of emergency relief is gone. “We still need some more help. This is clearly a critical disaster in Puerto Rico,” he said on a shaky cellphone connection Sunday night from San Juan. “It can’t be minimized and we can’t start overlooking us now that the storm passed, because the danger lurks.”




Oregon has no time to waste in searching for budget solutions: Editorial Agenda 2017

The Oregonian Editorial Board

These signs should be setting off alarm bells. They are for veteran legislators Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, and others, who have asked leaders to convene a legislative committee to look at revenue and spending. But as The Portland Tribune reported earlier this month, Bentz was told by Brown and Kotek to “wait until March” – after the 2018 short legislative session which is expected to focus on a new carbon tax instead of the more pressing budget crisis bearing down on Oregon.


This past session posed a number of thorny problems to solve – many of which were exacerbated by how long legislators waited to act. Deadline legislating rarely results in sound policy. Brown, Kotek and Courtney should show they’ve learned that lesson and hasten to work of setting up a committee.






DHS Unveils Plan to Slam the Door on Support for Disabled Children

The Lund Report

The cuts to service for some of the most vulnerable children in the state call into serious question the Democrats’ priorities, particularly after the passage of a $934 million deal to fund Medicaid, complete with tax hikes for hospitals and health insurers. That deal allowed the state to add new programs, including spending $36 million to provide healthcare for unauthorized immigrant children who would qualify for Medicaid except for their legal status, as well as $9 million for reproductive health services, including abortions, for women in similar immigration limbo.


Patrick Allen tapped as permanent director of Oregon Health Authority

The Oregonian

The announcement came at the end of a week in which Allen went before lawmakers in Salem to answer questions about the public relations plan, even though he did not work at the agency when it was developed. Saxton and other officials involved with the plan skipped the hearing, despite a request from Republicans that they attend.


Oregon Health Authority gets a new, but familiar, director

Portland Business Journal

Gov. Kate Brown announced that Patrick Allen, whom she appointed as acting director of the Oregon Health Authority about four weeks ago, will remain on the job on a permanent basis. “Each Oregonian has a right to a healthy, independent life that allows them to succeed,” Brown said in a statement. “To achieve this goal, the Oregon Health Authority must be capable of maintaining a high value and sustainable health care system. Pat has already proven to be a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars and a valuable leader at OHA. I look forward to the work he will do to ensure OHA lives up to the expectations of Oregonians.”


Repeal of provider tax could cost state more than $840 million

Portland Tribune

In a Sept. 20 letter to the committee, Parrish and Hayden argued that the state overshot and “miscalculated the need for Medicaid.” They argue that thousands of people will be kicked off Medicaid due to scheduled increases in the minimum wage, which could render them ineligible for the program. They also contend that recent efforts by the Oregon Health Authority to clear a backlog of OHP patients whose qualifications for Medicaid were in question further reduces the expected caseload and, consequently, the amount of federal dollars the state would bring in. As of Aug. 31, OHA found that 22,937 people on the state’s Medicaid rolls were no longer eligible for the program.


Greenlick Encourages OHA to Delay New CCO Contracts to 2020

Oregon Health Authority

The House Health chairman has tried to revamp the CCOs before they get a new 5-year contract, arguing they need greater transparency and accountability. A year’s delay would give the new administration more time to improve a system the public has had to support with more taxes.


Brock Smith joins opioid epidemic task force

Curry Coastal Pilot

“I’m honored to have been chosen to serve on the Opioid Epidemic Task Force with my skilled legislative colleagues and other professionals to address this critical issue facing my constituents and those across Oregon,” said Brock Smith. “I have seen first-hand the lives and families destroyed by opioid abuse, and appreciate my fellow stakeholders’ efforts as we move forward with solutions.”




PERS managers shift investment of members’ money to age-based

The Oregonian

As is usually the case when the pension system is involved, there are complicated politics in the background. The move puts a spotlight on the $8.2 billion pool of assets funded by member contributions, which are the central part of ongoing and controversial pension reform discussions in the Legislature. It’s unclear whether the investment shift, or simply the increased attention it brings, will complicate that discussion.



Sen. Murray asks Gov. Brown for toll voting privileges

The Spokesman

Another voice has joined the conversation about tolls on Portland-area freeways. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., sent a letter to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Friday asking for Washington to have additional input in the state’s studies and implements tolling on Interstates 5 and 205.


Transit plan getting a green light

Bend Bulletin

“For our region, the biggest part is the funding rollout for transit,” Baney said. “There’s $100 million a year statewide. This will give local governments a stable, dedicated source of funding.” Baney said by knowing the transportation package will pay for projects such as the U.S. Highway 97 and Cooley Road traffic choke-points, local officials can turn their attention and local dollars to other areas.




State’s biggest youth prison gets $52 million upgrade, including new ‘cottages’

The Oregonian

MacLaren, by far Oregon’s largest juvenile correctional campus with 271 beds, is wrapping up a major upgrade that added the six housing units, updated eight 1960s-era dwellings and remodeled the medical and dental clinic and fitness center. The work is part of a massive $99 million overhaul of the Oregon Youth Authority’s nine prisons and transitional programs that began two years ago and extends through the next four years. The undertaking represents the largest investment in youth corrections since the mid-1990s, when the Oregon Legislature signed off on five new institutions — a response to the rising juvenile crime rate.




Russia tried to hack Oregon’s election system but failed

The Oregonian

Russian government hackers tried but failed to access Oregon’s election system during the 2016 presidential election, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson announced on Friday. Security measures in the Secretary of State’s office blocked the Russian attempt to break into the state’s computer network. “We block upwards of 14 million attempts to access our network every day,” said Chief Information Security Officer Lisa Vasa said in a press release. “These attempts come from all over the world, including Russia, with the largest number from the US.”


Nathan Boddie Launches District 54 Campaign


Boddie, a Bend City Council member since 2014, is running as a pro-choice, pro-second-amendment Democrat but points out that he’s represented all the citizens of Bend on the council and plans to continue that practice in Salem. He says, in representing his constituents on the local level, he’s learned that his policies are aligned with theirs. “Some of our local representation from Oregon has opposed what’s been going on at the State level, I would argue that that’s one of the big reasons I want to take this position, because I think that that voice has been out of step with what most people in Bend believe.”




Three Democratic State Senators Urge Wyden and Merkley to Drop Opposition to Judicial Nominee

Willamette Week

But yesterday, Sens. Lee Beyer (D-Springfield), Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) and Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay) joined Republican lawmakers in asking Wyden and Jeff Merkley to drop their opposition to Bounds’ confirmation by the Senate. In their letter, the lawmakers cited a practical consideration—if Bounds doesn’t get the job, it could go to a nominee from another state, because there’s nothing that says Oregon has to be represented on the federal appellate bench.


Oregon Dems Push Phony Precedent To Block Ninth Circuit Court Nominee

Washington Free Beacon

Oregon’s two Democratic senators are blocking one of President Trump’s judicial nominees with claims that a “longstanding” state tradition mandating that nominees be chosen from their “judicial selection committee” was violated, but the tradition they cite has never applied to picks for the U.S. Circuit Court, according to records viewed by the Washington Free Beacon.


Portland case reveals gap in rules to separate day care, cannabis businesses

The Oregonian

State officials say other rules take care of potential problems. No one can grow or distribute marijuana inside a day care, no adults can smoke cannabis with children present, and adults must store marijuana for personal use under lock and key. Some parents, however, say that letting a cannabis entrepreneur live in a day care facility raises the risk children will be exposed.




Proposed LNG pipeline inches closer to review

Mail Tribune

A Canadian company proposing a controversial natural gas pipeline and export facility in southwest Oregon announced this week applications have been filed with an American regulatory commission in an effort to win approval for the projects.


Forest Service, Idaho work to boost logging on federal land

Associated Press

The U.S. Forest Service and Idaho have forged 10 agreements for logging and restoration projects on federal land in what officials say could become a template for other Western states to create jobs and reduce the severity of wildfires. Under the deals, Idaho foresters will administer timber sales on about 10,000 acres that the federal agency has on its to-do list but can’t complete because the money for the work is instead going to fight wildfires.




Trump rhetoric spurs Oregon universities to double down on welcoming immigrants, Dreamers

The Oregonian

If the collective international undergraduate population at Oregon’s Big Three were pooled into a separate school, it would be the fourth largest university in the state, at more than 6,200 students. At each of the mega universities, foreign students pay more than two-and-a-half times the in-state tuition rate, making them a desirable population that has grown over the past decade.


Canby schools face obstacles in meeting state PE requirements

Portland Tribune

It has been 10 years since the State of Oregon originally enacted House Bill 3141, creating a K-8 physical education minutes requirement for schools to meet by July 2017. But 90 percent of Oregon schools have failed to meet it—including those in Canby School District.




Wolf numbers growing in Mount Emily, Meacham

East Oregonian

Since wolves dispersed from Idaho and returned to northeast Oregon in the late 1990s, more of the predators are settling and forming packs in the Walla Walla and Mount Emily wildlife units. The district is now home to seven packs or groups of wolves totaling at least 36 animals — nearly one-third of the state’s known wolf population.




“Enough’s enough”, Walden says current fire management policy isn’t working


Congressman Greg Walden was in Medford Friday to discuss the impacts this wildfire season has had on the region, and what can be done at the federal level to address it. He says current policy isn’t working, and it’s time for a change. “Enough’s enough,” US Representative for Oregon, Greg Walden says.


Wildfire season sparks calls for forestry reform

Capital Press

Out of the ashes of another record-breaking wildfire season across the West, Oregon lawmakers are calling for changes in the way national forests are managed and how the government pays for fighting increasingly large, destructive fires.


9 Iconic Places Burned By Oregon Wildfires This Season

Statesman Journal

It’s not just that Oregon’s wildfires burned an area the size of Rhode Island this summer. Yes, the numbers are staggering: 1,903 fires, 1,060 square miles burned, $340 million spent so far on firefighting costs. Yet, somehow, those numbers fail to capture the real loss.


ODOT Re-Opens I-84 Eastbound Lanes After Prolonged Closure

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 re-opened Saturday, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation. The eastbound lanes of the highway have been closed from Troutdale to Hood River since Sept. 4 because of the Eagle Creek Fire burning in the Columbia River Gorge.




Editorial: Don’t hide a tax by calling it something else

Bend Bulletin

If all that sounds like politics as usual, do remember these words in February 2015, when Gov. John Kitzhaber was forced to resign. Speaker of the House Tina Kotek, D-Portland, told us: “Our actions going forward are focused on rebuilding the public’s trust in state government.” A short time later, the new governor, Kate Brown, touted her own record of pushing for government transparency. If this is Oregon’s new openness, Oregonians are in trouble.


Editorial: New hands-free cellphone law won’t change much until drivers alter their behavior

Statesman Journal

The Oregon Department of Transportation says the number of distracted driving-caused crashes is “epidemic.” We get that banning text messaging, talking on the phone while holding it in any position, watching the phone, navigating with it, using the Internet and writing emails while driving or stopped at a signal or sign is restrictive. Many will bellyache. Let them. And then tell them why connectivity is not a right.


Editorial: An economic engine that needs the keys

East Oregonian

There is little that will bring a more clear, quick economic benefit to Eastern Oregon than having these lands in local control. This editorial board will help as it can, and we expect everyone else to do their part, too.


Editorial: Moving the primary wouldn’t change much

Mail Tribune

Removing the presidential contests every four years could hurt turnout in May. That would be unfortunate, because state legislative and local offices have a much greater effect on Oregonians’ day-to-day lives than who the major party presidential nominees are. Let’s face it: Oregon has only 4 million residents, and just 2.6 million of those are registered to vote. California has 19 million. If you were running for president, where would you spend your time?









Climate bill debate begins with a label fight

Portland Business Journal

Senate Republicans used the “energy sales tax” term several times in a press release early this week lauding Sen. Mark Hass, the Beaverton Democrat whose budget reform effort failed last session in part because not a single Senate Republican would support it.


“Policies of that magnitude should be dealt with in the long session, and the short session should be to add changes that require prompt attention,” Hass told the Portland Tribune. “I think it is fair to say we can start a process to look at that, but I think it is something we should pick up in 2019.”


The term has obvious political advantages for Republicans, turning a complex policy into a tax, and making it a “sales tax” no less. We all know what happens to sales tax proposals in Oregon. Rep. Knute Buehler, a Republican candidate for governor, hopped on board with “tax.” But in a statement to the Bend Bulletin, instead of a “sales tax,” Buehler labeled the proposal “a regressive $1.4 billion new energy tax scheme.”


Solar future in flux


Driving the rush for solar is the impending loss of the state tax credits for residential customers. The credits, which can amount to as much as $6,000, were not renewed by the 2017 Legislature. The credits sunset at the end of the year, with customers required to sign a contract by Dec. 31 and to conclude the installation by the end of March to take advantage of the incentives. Federal tax incentives, which cover 30 percent of the cost of solar, were renewed in 2016 for another five years, although Reismiller notes that “with the federal government talking about tax reform, all bets are off.”




Charter Student Not Allowed To Join Choir At Beaverton Elementary School


Cynda initially thought that a bill recently passed by Oregon lawmakers would help out Ben’s situation. Senate Bill 208 essentially states that both charter school students and homeschooled students can’t be denied participation in “interscholastic activities.” The bill’s language was at one point amended from “athletics” to “interscholastic activities.” However, Cynda would later be told by the Beaverton School District that choir programs don’t fall under that definition.


Maureen Wheeler, a public communications officer for the school district, told KGW that under the bill, “interscholastic activities” are activities governed by the Oregon School Activities Association. Choir isn’t one of those activities. “The Oak Hills Elementary before school choir does not fall under these provisions and it is not an interscholastic activity,” said Wheeler in an email. “In addition, about 90 Oak Hills Elementary students have returned permission forms to participate in this choir. School administration is concerned about managing the current Oak Hills student interest.”


Mayor Urges Portland Schools To Let Charter School Stay Put

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is the latest area leader to call on Oregon’s largest school district to let a small charter school stay where it is. Wheeler is urging PPS board members not to approve the move. In a letter, he said “this proposal conflicts with your stated goals around both equity and excellence.”


New rules for Oregon Promise grant

Bend Bulletin

Going forward, he’d like to see a sustainable, guaranteed funding source for the grant. “We wouldn’t from year to year have to make eligibility changes that would potentially throw a real wrench into students’ planning,” Cannon said. “That would be ideal, that would be true for any scholarship grant program.” Cannon expects the Oregon Promise grant program will look pretty much the same in the 2018-19 school year as it does now. The one change the commission may make is to adjust the $18,000 threshold up or down. The Legislature gave the commission the flexibility to manage the budget for the program, depending on how many students enroll.


Behind the numbers: State testing in Central Oregon

Bend Bulletin

Numbers alone aren’t enough to tell the story behind state standardized test results. It wasn’t that the school made changes to how they discuss the test. Instead, the steep drop-off in La Pine High’s participation rates suggest the extent to which parents can influence testing rates.




Inslee responds to proposed Oregon tolls

The Columbian

At the behest of Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, Gov. Jay Inslee has assured Washington legislators that the Evergreen State will have a seat at the table when Oregon begins discussing tolls. Herrera Beutler has led the charge against tolling Interstate 5 and 205, a potential revenue stream as outlined in Oregon’s $5.3 billion transportation plan. On Sept. 15, Inslee sent a response to Herrera Beutler and the nine lawmakers. “We have received no indication that Oregon plans to establish tolls on the state line between Washington and Oregon,” Inslee wrote. “Moreover, Washington state and the Federal Highway Administration will be integrally involved in any decisions before they move forward.”


Tolls a discussion item at regional conference

Portland Tribune

Although the 2017 Legislature directed the Oregon Department of Transportation to apply for the necessary federal approvals by the end of 2018, attendees at a regional transportation conference were told public acceptance cannot be imposed from the top. “Local elected officials have to decide it’s time to try to get this in place,” said Metro’s Andy Shaw. “But I think it’s a mistake to focus on raising money from tolls. The point should be to better manage the system we have, to put a price on it so we understand where the capacity is.”


Don’t expect big federal aid for transportation, former official says

Portland Tribune

If Portland wants to reduce traffic congestion and improve the movement of people and goods through the region, a former federal official says don’t wait for help from Washington, D.C. “I’ll buy you all dinner if we get an infrastructure bill out of Congress,” says John Porcari, who was the No. 2 official at the U.S. Department of Transportation for more than four years. “I would be pleasantly but very much surprised if we get any significant bill out of Congress. I hope I am wrong but I do not see it.”




Skinner Butte gets a little off the top


“We recognize it’s a much loved iconic landmark in the city and are doing what we can to best take care of it,” Miller said. Along with reducing fire danger, she said the thinning will improve wildlife habitat and make room for a possible new trail connecting a loop around the butte. The change will be very noticeable for regular Skinner Butte Park visitors. “It’s definitely going to look different from what people are used to seeing over there,” she said. “It’s going to look much more open.”


Idaho, Forest Service work to boost logging on federal land

The Associated Press

Michigan, Wyoming, Oregon, Nevada and in particular Wisconsin have moved ahead with the partnership. But officials say Idaho — where 38 percent of the land is managed by the U.S. Forest Service — has made rapid progress. “Idaho has really stepped up to fully embrace that ability for us to work with our state partners to get more work done,” said Intermountain Region Forester Nora Rasure, whose area includes 53,000 square miles (137,000 square kilometers) of forest lands in Utah, Nevada and portions of Wyoming, Idaho and California.




Oregon wildfire fighting costs hit $340 million

Hillsboro Tribune

Fighting Oregon wildland fires this year has cost state, federal, local, tribal and private entities more than $340 million and consumed 678,000 acres, as of Monday, Sept. 18, according to state authorities. All of that activity manifested into smoke-filled air and limited visibility for many Oregonians. The “sheer volume of fires all at the same time and continuous days of growth up through Washington and Idaho” created the oppressive conditions, said Doug Grafe, fire protection division chief at the Oregon Department of Forestry.


Rain May Be Dampening the Eagle Creek Fire, But It Could Also Trigger Rock Slides

Willamette Week

Geologists say burned areas are more susceptible to landslides because the rain hits the soil without barriers of vegetation. Even after the fire is out, landslide threats will remain high. “With Oregon’s rainiest months still ahead, it’s extremely important for people to be more aware than ever of landslide hazards in this area,” Bill Burns, DOGAMI engineering geologist said in a press release. Burns is one of the authors of a report released today outlining the significant landslide hazards in the Columbia Gorge.


Firefighters battle blazes without protection

Bend Bulletin

Despite spending hours upon hours around contaminant-filled smoke, most wildland firefighters do not wear any form of respiratory protection on the job. That’s because a device that would truly protect them doesn’t exist. In order for the U.S. Forest Service to give its workers respirators, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health would first need to certify a device specifically for wildland firefighting. Despite NIOSH’s call for candidates in 2012, no such device has been approved.




Exclusive: Oregon vineyards labor to keep workers in the field

Portland Business Journal

It’s spurring some change. Wages are rising to try to keep workers in the fields. Mechanization is becoming more common, not because it’s necessarily cheaper, but simply because it’s a way to get work done that needs to get done. Meanwhile, a broader solution appears as elusive as ever. “The ag labor force today, coupled with the demand that exists today, gives us a labor market as tight as it’s been in my knowledge of this industry,” Chambers said. “And unless something is done in Washington, some kind of sane solution, which based on experience I wouldn’t bet on, it’s hard to see how things just don’t become more difficult.”


SolarWorld wins in trade case, setting up Trump decision

Portland Business Journal

For SolarWorld Americas and its Hillsboro workforce an ultimate victory could be their only hope for survival. Employment at the decade-old factory has shrunk from 800 to 300 in the past several months after owner SolarWorld AG declared insolvency.


Amazon in Oregon: Thousands of jobs — and millions in tax breaks

Portland Business Journal

This week, the online retail giant announced plans for a 1-million-square-foot fulfillment center in North Portland, one that would result in about 1,000 new jobs.


Report: Portland growth slows, suburbs speed up

Portland Tribune

So, it may be hard to believe that from 2015 to 2016, suburbs grew faster than cities in this country — including those in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro metropolitan area. At least, that’s what happened according to a May analysis of U.S. Census data by the Brookings Institution. “Within the nation’s major metropolitan areas, the suburban population is growing faster than their cities; and nearly two-thirds of the nation’s largest cities showed a drop-off in growth during the last year,” wrote William Frey, a senior fellow with the institute’s Metropolitan Policy Program.




Candidates in Oregon’s top election race building war chests

The Associated Press

An election to choose Oregon’s next governor is more than a year away and the primary is eight months down the road, but the main Democratic and Republican candidates’ fundraising is already going full steam, with a total of almost $2.4 million raised so far.



Salem considers ban on daytime sidewalk sitting


Officials are considering an ordinance that would outlaw sitting or lying on Salem’s sidewalks during the day. With certain exceptions, the proposed ordinance would give police the option to cite and remove violators from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., the Statesman Journal reported on Wednesday. Kimberly McCullough, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, said an ordinance like this violates people’s rights, and it doesn’t curtail homelessness. She said resources should be directed at solving the root of the problem like the lack of affordable housing.




Editorial: Richardson makes good decision about state audits

Bend Bulletin

When Dennis Richardson was running for secretary of state, he promised audits of Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit program, the Columbia River Crossing and Cover Oregon. But when he came out Tuesday with his 2017-18 audit plan, they were not included. Oregonians should not be outraged. He is making intelligent choices about prioritizing the auditing power of his office.


Editorial: New distracted-driving law


It’ll now be easier for police officers and sheriff’s deputies to enforce the law because there’s no longer the challenge of distinguishing between legal and illegal electronic devices. And let’s hope that leads to more drivers being convicted for a violation that’s far more serious than some phone-to-ear drivers believe.


Editorial: Fighting forest fires


The state already has been activating members of the Oregon National Guard — about 500 so far — to help fight this year’s massive fires. Their training lasts four to five days and may not occur until the last minute, when they’re called up to fight the fire. The Wyden-Merkley amendment would create a force of Guard members well-trained to fight forest fires and ready to deploy immediately when they are needed. This is a step in the right direction, but many more steps are needed to protect Oregonians from disastrous forest fires. Those will come only when the root causes of such fires are acknowledged and action is taken to address the conditions that have led to larger, more frequent forest fires.


Guest: Sure-thing legislation not always a good thing

Guest Columnist: Don Kahle

It’s often said that people would rather not see how the sausage of legislation is made. I have no doubt that’s true. But I also know that the laws that are made are the sausage we’ll all be eating, so ignorance is hardly bliss. Can things be done differently in Salem? Not unless each party’s leaders feel new pressures. That may have to come from the other legislators. If columnists and letter writers can raise enough havoc, voter awareness might change their political calculus. But remember: The team that supports the status quo just won 908-0.


Oregon Dem Gov Kate Brown Betrays Promise of Transparency, Pushes For Tax Hikes


Oregon Democrat Governor Kate Brown continues to face bad press for betraying her promise of government transparency while pushing for massive tax hikes.


Last week, Brown came under fire by the Bend Bulletin for instructing her special pension panel to operate in “complete secrecy”. The panel is considering tens of millions in tax hikes.


Now, the Albany Democrat-Herald is weighing in, slamming Kate Brown for betraying her promise of government transparency.


Oregon Democrat Governor Kate Brown continues to face bad press for betraying her promise of government transparency while pushing for massive tax hikes.


Last week, Brown came under fire by the Bend Bulletin for instructing her special pension panel to operate in “complete secrecy”. The panel is considering tens of millions in tax hikes.


Now, the Albany Democrat-Herald is weighing in, slamming Kate Brown for betraying her promise of government transparency.


“When Brown took office after the resignation of John Kitzhaber, she made a point of talking about working to rebuild trust in Oregon state government. One big way to do that, she said, would be to increase government transparency… But the governor too often has been too willing to hold vital discussions behind closed doors.


That’s no way to build trust in government.”

Kate Brown’s decision to double down on secrecy comes as she pushes for a “hurry-up carbon tax” that could hurt working families.


The Bend Bulletin editorial board writes, “Gov. Kate Brown said earlier this summer that she wants to use the short 2018 legislative session to pass a carbon tax for Oregon.”

“Trying to impose a momentous change on the state in barely over a month — on top of all the other bills that the Legislature will be considering — invites a monumental policy flop.”

“It could make the $300 million Cover Oregon boondoggle look teeny.”


Tax hikes and broken promises – it’s just more of the same from Kate Brown

WINNING the WAR on Drugs – Bad Guys – Government Waste

House Passes Bill to Deport MS-13 Gang Members: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/09/17/house-passes-bill-deport-suspected-ms-13-gang-members/


Record-Breaking Drug Seizure in San Diego: http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2017/09/20/ag-sessions-touts-record-breaking-drug-seizure-san-diego/


ICE Crackdown on MS-13 Nets 53 Arrests: https://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2017/09/20/ices-crackdown-on-ms13-nets-53-arrests-n2384053


DOJ Cracking Down on Fraudulent Naturalizations: https://townhall.com/tipsheet/micahrate/2017/09/19/cracking-down-on-immigration-fraud-n2383700


Feds Seize Fentanyl in Record Bust: http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2017/09/19/nypd-feds-seize-enough-fentanyl-kill-32m-people-record-bust/


Food Stamp Usage Has Fallen Every Month of Trump Presidency: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/09/18/food-stamp-usage-has-fallen-every-month-of-trump-presidency/


Tennessee Reinstates Work Requirements for Able-Bodied Food Stamp Recipients: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/09/19/tennessee-reinstates-work-requirements-able-bodied-food-stamp-recipients/


Number of Christian Religious Congregations in U.S. Growing: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/09/19/report-number-of-religious-congregations-in-u-s-grew-by-almost-50000-from-1998-2012/


Department of Interior Issues Order to Expand Hunting, Fishing on Federal Lands: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/09/18/sec-zinke-issues-order-expand-hunting-fishing-national-wildlife-areas/


Total Irrelevance: Trump-Hating Emmys Hit All-Time Ratings Low: http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2017/09/18/trump-hating-emmys-collapse-time-low/



Dealing with the Democrats:  http://www.gocomics.com/michaelramirez/2017/09/15

Lower the Corporate Tax Rate: http://www.gocomics.com/michaelramirez/2017/09/16

What Happened? http://www.gocomics.com/michaelramirez/2017/09/18

Trump-Hating Emmys: http://www.gocomics.com/michaelramirez/2017/09/19

NFL Football Penalties: http://www.gocomics.com/michaelramirez/2017/09/20


Go TRUMP…Go Congress…Pass Tax Reform Now!









Carbon-cap effort to highlight legislative ‘committee days’

Bend Bulletin

A cap on carbon emissions, a health care scandal and fights over firefighting will pump political adrenaline into the Capitol this week. Most of the 30-plus meetings starting Monday will follow the normal pattern, with reports from state agencies and legislative analysts. Testimony is limited to invited speakers only. But a few of the meetings promise a preview of next year’s drama in the House and Senate.




Power Company Maps Out Energy Plan For Idaho And Oregon

The Associated Press

Idaho Power wants to retire two coal-fired power plants it says won’t be able to produce electricity at competitive prices as part of a 20-year plan to provide energy for Idaho and Oregon that has drawn concerns about cost, pollution and energy needs.




How 1 Oregon school district gets exceptional results

The Oregonian

How McMinnville schools do it is deceptively simple, according to school and district leaders who helped make it happen. The secret sauce? Super-skilled teachers with all the right techniques in their tool kits paying close attention to every child, they say. How do leaders of the small-town Yamhill County district accomplish that? First, they comb research to find “high-leverage” techniques that teachers can use to make the biggest difference. Then, Superintendent Maryalice Russell makes sure every principal and central office honcho gets trained to know those techniques in and out.


“We’re looking at instruction like a diagnostician,” says Kourtney Ferrua, principal of Wascher Elementary, one of six in McMinnville. “What strategy fits that particular student, that particular situation? It’s really teaching with intention all day, every day.”




Fight Over Oregon’s ‘Sanctuary Law’ Brings Immigration Policy Battle To The NW

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon may not seem like it is on the front lines of the battle over immigration policy. But the state appears headed toward a bitter election fight on the issue that could reverberate nationally. Opponents are gearing up to fight the measure and their feelings are also intense.

“Their ultimate goal is to get rid of immigrants because they want white nationalism in this state,” said state Rep. Diego Hernandez, D-Portland.  He argued that Oregon’s sanctuary law helps encourage cooperation with local police.




Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument should shrink in size, Interior Secretary tells Trump: report

The Oregonian

Southern Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is one of four federally protected areas that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended President Trump scale back in size, according to a copy of a government report obtained by The Washington Post.




Group pushes soda tax ballot measure in Multnomah County

The Associated Press

Voters would decide whether to add a 1.5 cents tax per ounce on sugary drinks including soda, energy drinks and sweetened teas. That means an 18-cent tax on each 12-ounce can. Backers say half of the revenue would go toward expanding access of quality preschool programs for thousands of children. The remainder would pay for programs on literacy, physical activity and healthy eating habits for kids.


Soda Tax Backers Begin Canvassing For Signatures In Multnomah County

On Saturday, canvassers began the work of gathering the 18,000 signatures needed to secure a spot on the ballot for a soda tax initiative that would add 1.5 cents per ounce, or about 18 cents to the cost of a 12-ounce can of soda, energy drink or sweet tea. “We are facing an epidemic of sugar-related diseases that put the lives and the futures of our kids at risk,” said Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran, who is also an emergency room doctor. “Here in Multnomah County we have the opportunity to help kids grow up healthy and strong to reduce the consumption of sugar where it’s having the worst impact on kids, and that is soda and other sugary drinks.”




Report: Attorney General Jeff Sessions to visit Portland on Tuesday

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will reportedly be in Portland on Tuesday to discuss immigration policies with local law enforcement officials.




Editorial: PERS panel must work in the public eye


The really distressing thing about all of this is that it’s not that surprising. When Brown took office after the resignation of John Kitzhaber, she made a point of talking about working to rebuild trust in Oregon state government. One big way to do that, she said, would be to increase government transparency. To be fair, she’s taken some small steps in that direction. But the governor too often has been too willing to hold vital discussions behind closed doors. That’s no way to build trust in government.


Oregon deserves explanation about firefighting resource request denial

Statesman Journal

Gov. Kate Brown last month asked the federal government for more resources to help fight wildfires in Oregon that are burning, in many cases, beyond control. The response she got was less than hoped for, and we believe Oregonians deserve an explanation.




Bonamici still seeks broader immigration legislation

Portland Tribune

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici says she still wants to see comprehensive legislation to deal with the fate of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants who entered the country illegally. “This issue is at the top of my list because it is so important to our community and our country,” she said Saturday (Sept. 16) at a town hall meeting attended by 200 people at Tualatin High School. “What are we saying to these young people, who are members of our community, that they are not welcome? That is unacceptable and heartless.”