A couple who live at 311 SW 11th Street, above the Bayfront, wants to permanently house their long time pet horse at their home. Problem is, their residence is in a neighborhood where small houses are very tightly packed together which raises community eyebrows as to whether a horse can be properly located in a very densely populated area.
Jill Ledet told the Newport City Council that she’s had the horse for quite a while and would like to have it live out its final years at their place above the Bayfront. Some on the Council worried about prescedent if such permission is given to her and her husband. Right now they’re under pressure to move the horse to a more suitable facility. But Ledet lamented such facilities are very expensive. Ledet made it very clear she loves her horse and doesn’t want to give it up. She said again the horse is quite elderly and she doesn’t know how much longer the horse might live.
The City Council seemed a little disoriented with the conversation. They decided to turn the matter over to City Attorney David Allen for his review and possible options. The issue will return to the council May 3rd.
On Friday April 9th and Friday April 16th all Adults in Custody as well as staff were re-tested for COVID. Test results received from both dates returned negative. The once a week testing will contiue for another 1-2 weeks or until the State advises us that the our outbreak has been cleared. Staff continue to work with Lincoln County Public Health, State of Oregon as well as the facility physician to ensure proper procedures and protocols remain in place.
In a previous newsletter, I reported that about 4000 bills were introduced this session. I wanted to tell you this week about one of them. While it won’t make headlines, it will insure small but significant changes. Moreover, it is an excellent example of how one Oregonian can make a difference.
Several months ago, an Oregon student here on the coast experienced something no child should have to endure. They were confronted in school with symbols of racial hate. But remarkably, they responded with constructive courage. They went to the school board, then the Department of Education, and ultimately the legislature. HB 2697 prohibits specific symbols from being displayed in our schools except as part of an educational curriculum.
Some of us experienced and many of us observed bias, bigotry, and bullying in school. HB 2697, which I co-sponsored, makes our schools a little safer and a lot more welcoming. Please take a moment and watch my floor comments as the measure passed unanimously.
Commenting on HB 2697 and speaking to “Student A”.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed by Congress and signed into law by the President last month will be sending money to Oregonians and to Oregon in the next few weeks.
This is a busy graphic, but I think it’s important to point out that two huge pieces of the pie, blue and pink, are direct payments to Oregonians.
Households should have already received a one-time payment of $1,400 for every adult, child, and adult dependent. You are eligible if you earned up to $80,000 and as individual or $160,000 for married couples. Track your payment here.
The Child Tax Credit provides households with $250 per child per month ($300 if that child is under 6 years old) for a year starting in July. Families are eligible that make up to $150,000 per year for married tax filers, or up to $112,500 for individual filers, based on 2019 or 2020 tax returns. The new and improved Child Tax Credit will lift about half of American children out of poverty.
Another big pie piece, the green wedge, goes to state and local governments to prevent layoffs and service cuts. Oregon stands to get $4.3 billion (with a “b”), which will be divided among state, county, and city governments. Cities, counties, and schools will receive direct payments. State Government will receive $2.6 billion. Of that;
$1.3 billion will be used to continue our current services.
$520 million will be placed in an emergency fund for future budget cycles.
$780 million will be available for new programs or one-time investments.
Two weeks ago, I wrote that I had been asked to provide suggestions on spending these one-time dollars to help our district. I narrowed nearly fifty proposals to just 12 with a total price tag of about $30 million. Half of that was for critical support for the failing Newport dams. Each legislator submitted a similar list.
I will admit that when I first received news of all the suggestions from 90 legislators, it took my breath away – over a thousand suggestions with a price tag of over $30 billion! That’s $30 billion in asks for less than $1 billion in funds!
Many of my colleagues suggested direct, one-time support for people: frontline worker stimulus, child care, stable housing, worker relief, renter and landlord relief, or support for specified small business sectors. These are compelling suggestions but are big-ticket asks where a single proposal sometimes exceeded all of the $780 million available.
I think we have to acknowledge that much of this kind of spending is already occurring. Oregonians have received stimulus payments, increases in unemployment benefits, child care, rent and housing relief. Similarly, we have sent PPE money to small business, grants to entertainment venues, and dollars for unpaid commercial rent. All are good and worthy investments. But we have done them. If we are serious about recovering better, I submit we need to do something new.
Looking over the list, over and over I see shovel-ready local projects in the $2-10 million range. I’m also reminded that 30 capital construction projects across Oregon were delayed last year when lottery bond sales were cancelled and the promised checks failed to arrive. They still need and deserve our help.
These ARPA dollars are a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Let’s build things! Let’s build things we need, things that will make us better, safer and stronger, things that will enhance communities and create jobs. And let’s use well-paid Oregon labor to make them!
Across Oregon we have water systems that are failing, wastewater plants that are rusting, port docks rotting, and dams at risk of catastrophic collapse. Too often, the multi-million-dollar cost of replacement exceeds the ability of small communities to finance. But without those core systems, those communities will fade.
At the same time, too much of Oregon does not have reliable, affordable, accessible broadband. Education suffers, small business suffers, and progress suffers. And finally, there are proposals for projects that improve the economy, livability, and resiliency of our communities. Investing now in job creation and quality of life will pay dividends for years to come.
We need housing but that housing requires available and affordable water and sewer. We need to help workers but we help them best with better jobs. Similarly, broadening broadband, like a rising tide, lifts all ships.
To that end, I have argued that at least half of the ARPA dollars be invested in shovel-ready infrastructure initiatives and improvements. I estimate that would benefit roughly 100 projects across the state. If more funds become available from Washington D.C. later, we’ll have started already on the most pressing needs and be able to move to more expensive concerns.
Ninety years ago, Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal brought us the WPA, CCC, and the PWA. The infrastructure he created ended the Great Depression. It transformed America. But that infrastructure is now worn out and in need of help. We have the means to transform Oregon once again. Let’s do just that!
I hope this newsletter has de-mystified the American Rescue Plan a bit and the choices that cities, counties and the state will be making to best utilize this funding. I firmly believe that this federal rescue plan can help us rebuild Oregon to be healthier, safer and more equitable than ever before.
Please remember that the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee is holding public hearings asking your opinion on spending priorities. Five “zoom” meetings are scheduled for different parts of the state and our turn is Saturday, April 24, from 1-3 pm.
The first two remote hearings attracted over 100 people each. With about two-and-a-half hours available, and time limited to two minutes per person, we still only heard from about half those with ideas to share. If you want to testify and I can help, please let me know. And remember that whether you speak or not, written testimony will allow you more space to focus and detail your concerns and priorities.
Federal and state tax filings are due May 17th. Normally, of course, they would’ve been due April 15th, but due to the pandemic, the IRS and the Oregon Department of Revenue have both extended the filing deadline by a month.
Even with the extra time, it’s advisable to file your taxes promptly. Waiting until the deadline can unnecessarily complicate the filing process for you if there’s an error in your filing or if you realize that you don’t have all of the documents you’ll need to file on time.
If you need assistance filing your taxes, there are many resources that can help you. The IRS and the Oregon Department of Revenue offer free filing support, including free tax assistance, although some of the options have income-based eligibility restrictions.
In the best news from Salem in months, an agreement was reached Wednesday evening after a weeks-long standoff that had brought legislative action to a trickle. This fundamentally shifts the dynamics of the 2021 session.
House Democrats have agreed to add another Republican to the committee working to redraw political districts so that it now has equal numbers from both parties. In return, House Republicans agreed to stop using parliamentary rules to slow the legislative process.
For weeks, partisan friction and obstructionism has been delaying bills to help lower health care costs, address the housing crisis, combat climate change, and make progress toward a more truly equitable future. It’s important to note that 90% of bills coming to the floor had bipartisan, unanimous support coming out of their committees. I’m pleased with this compromise. Some of you have heard me say that, after 30 years of marriage, I’ve learned that compromising isn’t losing…
And to be clear, I’m pleased with a redistricting committee that has equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats. If the legislature cannot come to an equitable agreement, the redistricting task falls to Secretary of State Shemia Fagan.
Eleven hours in floor sessions Thursday saw a number of bills advance. That list included:
HB 2508 makes telehealth services accessible to more Oregonians.
HB 3389 provides an estimated $2.4 billion in unemployment insurance relief over the next 10-years to small businesses.
HB 2623 limits the price of insulin under a health benefit plan and ties future price increases to cost of living.
HB 2966 extends the grace period to repay back rent, as businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
HB 2681 protects the right to vote by prohibiting the failure to vote as a valid reason for moving a voter to inactive status.
HB 3183 provides deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing children with access to crucial resources to help ensure their success.
HB 2363 changes OLCC permit requirements so that non-profits like the Wine and Seafood Festival don’t have to pay for multiple permits to hold online sales.
HB 2605 brings Oregon in line with California and Washington in applying building codes to new public buildings in the Tsunami Inundation Zone.
We are still scheduled for long hours on the floor this week as we work to get caught up. But we are now moving ahead. No matter what, I’ll continue to fight each day for your priorities and to improve the lives of every Oregonian.
Oregon reports 628 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases,
no new deaths
There are no new COVID-19-related deaths in Oregon, so the state’s death toll remains at 2,460, Oregon Health Authority reported at 12:01 a.m. today.
OHA reported 628 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 175,121.
Vaccinations in Oregon
Today, 32,287 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 20,973 vaccine doses were administered on April 17 and 11,314 were administered on previous days but entered into the vaccine registry on April 17.
The seven-day running average is now 34,359 doses per day.
Oregon has now administered a total of 1,312,413 first and second doses of Pfizer, 1,121,856 first and second doses of Moderna and 88,405 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.
Cumulative daily totals can take several days to finalize because providers have 72 hours to report doses administered and technical challenges have caused many providers to lag in their reporting. OHA has been providing technical support to vaccination sites to improve the timeliness of their data entry into the state’s ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS).
To date, 1,535,625 doses of Pfizer, 1,318,100 doses of Moderna and 215,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to sites across Oregon.
These data are preliminary and subject to change.
OHA’s dashboards provide regularly updated vaccination data, and Oregon’s dashboard has been updated today.
The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 215, which is 15 more than yesterday. There are 48 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is one more than yesterday.
The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day, nor the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (2), Clackamas (72), Clatsop (4), Columbia (7), Coos (7), Crook (2), Curry (2), Deschutes (47), Douglas (4), Grant (6), Harney (1), Hood River (1), Jackson (20), Jefferson (6), Josephine (9), Klamath (37), Lane (39), Lincoln (4), Linn (16), Malheur (1), Marion (83), Multnomah (142), Polk (11), Tillamook (1), Union (5), Wasco (2), Washington (83) and Yamhill (14).