Representatively Speaking

By Rob Nosse State Representative district 42

The legislative session is wrapping up, and what a year it has been! The Oregon House has passed sweeping reforms that address climate change, education funding, healthcare expansion, and criminal justice reform.

The super majorities Democrats and their allies have fought for these last years delivered these historic advances when the country as a whole is regressing in so many areas. Oregon stands out nationally as place where positive, progressive change is not only possible, but can be expected.

There were a lot of ups and downs along the way. The November 2018 elections were a nail-biter. Would Governor Brown be reelected after the tsunami of negative advertising blaming her for every problem in our state?

There were four right-wing ballot measures we had to defeat. One was brought by corporate interests to create favorable tax carveouts for large chain retailers. Another would have imposed deliberately burdensome hurdles for the Legislature and would have required large majorities to address raising agency fees or eliminating tax loopholes.

Another ballot measure sought to repeal Oregon’s sanctuary law and required our state’s law enforcement agencies to assist ICE in targeting undocumented people. Finally, an anti-choice measure would have prohibited state funds from being spent on abortion, denying those healthcare services to all Medicaid recipients and state employees.

There was pressure on legislative leadership, rightfully so, to address the long-standing work place culture and harassment issues in our Capitol.

Throughout this session, Republicans, concerned about lack of input and attention to their concerns, have used delay and stalling tactics to protect their minority voice in the political process.

In the House, they insisted on having each bill read in its entirety before coming to a vote. In the Senate, they literally walked off the job to deny a quorum – the presence of two thirds of the Senators required by the Oregon Constitution – until vaccination and safe gun storage bills were shelved.

At the deadline for this column, Republican Senators have left the state once again and the Oregon Senate is unable to pass legislation.

Our Constitution requires the Legislature to pass a balanced budget and sets a deadline for the legislative session to adjourn, and  this year that date is June 30.

If the Senate does not pass the remaining bills containing the state’s budget for the next two-year period, the Governor will have to call the Legislature back to Salem for a special session this summer to complete work that the law requires us to do for the people of this state.

An additional variable is that many bills that passed the House and are waiting on a vote in the Senate could die. These include many progressive measures Democrats have worked on for years.

Despite these challenges, we have accomplished a long list of victories this session. These include a statewide rent ceiling so landlords cannot raise their rents more than 10% a year; additional funding for the Oregon Health Plan (Oregon’s Medicaid program) so one million Oregonians – a fourth of our state –have health insurance; and a tobacco tax referral so we can continue to fund the Oregon Health Plan in the next biennium.

We also passed driver’s cards so undocumented people can drive to work or church or take their kids to school; paid family leave so people can take time off work with pay to welcome a newborn or adoptee into their lives or care for a loved one who is ill; a better funded criminal defense system so the accused have better access to lawyers and timely justice in our court system; empowering judges to act independently of Measure 11’s draconian excesses when deciding sentences for youth offenders; closing a loop hole in our gun laws to make it harder for people accused of domestic violence to keep their guns and joining the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact so that Presidents are elected directly by the people and not the Electoral College.

There’s more we’ve accomplished: strengthening collective bargaining laws for public sector workers; passing strong protections against discrimination and harassment in the workplace (including the ability to hold bosses accountable when they look the other way); updating and strengthening anti-bias and hate crimes laws, with protections for transgender Oregonians; making progress on reducing the cost of prescription drugs; and finally, doing something about diesel pollution in the metro area.

There were two other major wins. The first of those was over thirty years in the making: an additional $1 billion per year in funding for K-12 schools coming from a new corporate activities tax.

This revenue is essential in addressing the chronic underfunding our schools have experienced since the passage of Measures 5 and 50.

Last but certainly not least is a “cap and trade” clean energy jobs bill that puts Oregon on the map for addressing carbon pollution and gives other states a way to do so when our when the federal government is unwilling to address the most pressing issue of our time.

There are things still to be fixed and things that did not get done, but I will save that for my column in the fall. 2019 will be remembered as a historic session. I am proud to be a part of this leap forward in progress for Oregon and to represent inner SE and NE Portland in our State Legislature.

 

Windermere Realty Trust volunteers

A big shout out to Windermere Brokers volunteers who participated in  the 35th Annual Community Service Day throughout the Portland metro area. Each year, Windermere Real Estate brokers, managers, owners and staff from three hundred offices across the Western United States gather together to devote their workday to making positive changes in the neighborhoods they serve.

This year’s service day was held on June 7. Volunteers spent the day doing outdoor and indoor maintenance at places like Legacy Hopewell House, Community of Hope, Gilbert Park Sun School and the St. Johm’s Racquet Club. For Project Lemonade, Windermere Realty Trust on Hawthorne brokers spent the morning sorting and merchandising donations, matching shoes and socks, and sizing items. At the Sauvie Island Center, brokers from Hollywood spent the day helping prepare the Grow Lunch Garden for elementary students to later plant and tend at the Sauvie Island Center.

 

Grand Central celebrates 30 years

Over the years, Grand Central Bakery has continued to deepen its support of the local community and this past year, became the first B Corporation certified bakery in the PNW for its sustainable business practices. They are recognized as an industry leader in food waste reduction (in 2018 diverted 84 percent of waste from the waste stream), and have earned Gold from the City of Portland’s office of sustainability in 2018.

Today, Grand Central operates twelve cafes between the two cities of Portland and Seattle and supplies rustic loaves to dozens of grocers and hundreds of restaurants. They employ nearly four hundred and fifty people in the two cities, providing benefits to eighty-seven percent of its employees. They spend more than eighty percent of food dollars with farmers and food suppliers that meet sustainability standards and invested nearly $35,000 back into its communities in 2018, through nonprofit partner relationships.

They recently renovated their Hawthorne café led by Portland-based David Rubovits of DHR Renovations and Diana Moosman from MWA Architects. It boasts a new floor plan with inside seating for forty and an outdoor patio that can accommodate sixteen.

Grand Central Hawthorne offers a full line of artisan breads, hand-made pastries baked daily on site, made-to-order breakfast sandwiches, and coffee and espresso drinks featuring Nossa Familia Coffee. A lunch menu of sandwiches, scratch-made soups and salads highlight ingredients from independent farms and producers, including Zweifel Farms pastured eggs, Dirt Rich Farm summer greens, Carman Ranch grass-fed beef, Deep Roots Farm tomatoes, Portland Creamery chevre, pasture-raised Champoeg Farms turkey, and sustainable seafood. Learn more at www.grandcentralbakery.com.

 

State Bills Status

By David Krogh

SB870: has already been signed by Governor Brown, making Oregon the 15th state to approve a measure honoring the national popular vote.

This means Oregon’s seven electoral votes would all go to the popular vote winner for president here.

If enough states adopt this measure so that they represent a total of 270 electoral votes (the amount needed to elect a president), the controversial electoral college will be sidestepped in favor of popular vote counts.

With Oregon’s adoption of the measure, the total electoral vote allocation is now up to 196.

Critics have labeled the electoral college as antiquated and not representative of the popular vote, but it is difficult to amend the Constitution. This measure is an alternative means to ensure that popular votes matter.

SB320: Approved in the state legislature (as of June 10), it would allow daylight savings time to be maintained year round.  Once signed by the governor, all but one of Oregon’s thirty-six counties would spring forward and never fall back, but only if Congress approves the time change and neighboring Washington and California also adopt daylight time on a permanent basis.

Washington state has recently adopted this measure. It is currently in process and expected to pass in California.

Rent headaches grow

Renters aren’t the only ones feeling a pinch. A small landlord faced with rising maintenance costs along with property tax and bond increases says City policies will force her to sell her family home when the current renter leaves.

She’s not alone. The last straw for some is a “Fair Access in Renting” ordinance requiring landlords to accept applicants on a first-come-first serve basis. It limits credit and criminal histories and caps on income-to-rent as criteria for rejecting applications.

For City Councilor Chloe Eudaly the restrictions are a way to end race discrimination and ensure that accessible units are prioritized for people with disabilities. For landlords, it’s evidence of a heavy hand that includes earlier requirements that landlords cover thousands of dollars in relocation costs for tenants evicted without cause. Single unit exceptions exclude small landlords from the fees.

If too many landlords give up properties, pushback could worsen the rental crisis if new owners push up fees. MP

The Veterans’ Memorial at Franklin High is finally in a permanent location in the front courtyard of school. It was to be replaced with the reopening of the school two years ago, September 2017, however the stand for the headstone was not complete.

This stand was made by FHS metal shop, and took two years to complete and be placed.

The memorial was originally made possible through the efforts of FHS class of 1967.  Several students died during the Vietnam War, which prompted the class to create this memorial.

Recently a FHS-67 classmate, Doug Beltz, donated  the money to complete the new memorial stand. Over the years, the original heavy memorial (600+ lbs.) sank into the ground, and had been forgotton.

During the Franklin school remodel, the memorial was discovered, and FHS alumnus (Garry Lee, FHS 65, and alumnus president) took on the task of securing  a permanent place for this important memorial.

The final location is at the base of the American flag, on the south side of FHS.

This memorial is for all FHS veterans who have sacraficed their lives in the honor and service of our country.

Franklin HS memorial plaque Fourth of July events in the area

By David Krogh

The Fourth of July is a popular holiday for celebrating and enjoying an activity filled day off. Several events are held that are family oriented.

Area firworks:

Corbett Fun Fest – 22 miles east (9:30 pm)

Fort Vancouver – 10 miles north (10:05 pm)

Oaks Park – 5 miles south (dusk)

St. Paul Rodeo – 30 miles SE (10:15 pm)

Tigard – 12 miles SW (9:30 pm)

Waterfront Blues Festival – Downtown riverfront (10 pm)

West Linn – 16 miles south (dusk)

Other events both near and far: 

Portland Craft Beer Festival  July 4-7 at Fields Neighborhood Park. Sixty breweries, ciders, and wineries, plus food, for age 21+ except Sunday.

Concerts in Albany July 4-Aug. 8 (Thursdays) at Monteith Riverpark. Seventy miles south. A different music act every week at River Rhythms, food, children’s crafts, and a beer garden. No pets. Free. Fireworks on July 4.

Cherryfest NW in Salem July 4-7 at Salem’s Riverfront Park forty-five miles south. Live music, food, carnival, July 4 Fireworks –

Fourth of July Early at Oregon Garden in Silverton July 3, forty-three miles south. Food and bars open at 4 pm, live music is 7-11:30 pm, and fireworks are at 10 pm during the July 3 celebration.

Portland Spirit 4th of July Dinner/Fireworks Cruises July 4, 7-10:30 pm from Salmon Street Springs. See bit.ly/2KBtFiW. A fireworks cruise on the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler is also offered at the Port of Cascade Locks, forty miles to the east.

Division/Clinton Street Fair & Parade

Saturday, July 27

Parade starts at 10:45 am

at SE 42nd & Division

 PORTLAND CENTRAL AMERICA SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE (PCASC) celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. All former and current PCASC activists are invited Friday, July 19, 6-8:30 pm at Laurelhurst Park. Live music, food, inspiring speakers and activistas! Information: coreteam@pcasc.net. Celebren con nosotros – el 40º aniversario de PCASC (Comité en Solidaridad con el Pueblo Centroamericano), viernes 19 julio, 6-8:30 pm al parque Laurelhurst.Musica, comida, oradores inspiradores, activistas! Información: coreteam@pcasc.net.

 

CREATIVE WRITING CLASS FOR WOMEN – Write from prompts that may lead to new stories, poems or creative essays. Mondays,  10-11:30 am, July 8-July 29, TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont. $12 to drop in for a class or $40 for all four weeks. All experience levels welcome to join this encouraging group. Taught by Pushcart-nominee Linda Ferguson. For more information email ljdferguson@gmail.com.

 

MINDFULNESS BASED STRENGTHS PRACTICE – A nine-week interactive program to help you develop and learn about mindfulness and character strength practices offered at Multnomah Friends Meetinghouse every Thursday August 29-October 24, from 7-9 pm. Based on the model developed by Ryan M. Niemiec, PsyD. Facilitated by Eddy Marie Crouch, LCSW and Michael Midghall, MBA. To register, email or call eddy@eddycrouch.com or 503.282.2483. Suggested Donation $40.

 

PAINTING THE ROSE RED – You are invited to help the local residents paint the intersection at SE 53rd & Morrison St., Saturday July 20 at 10 am. Drop by and grab a brush or roller, cheer us on, or bring a cold drinks. For more information, contact sakass@icloud.com or kzavitz@msn.com.

 

PEACE VILLAGE CAMP is for children ages 7-11 at Unity of Portland, 4525 SE Stark St.  July 8-11. 7:30 am-4 pm. To enroll, send $55 check. To pay by credit card, call the church office at 503.234.7441.
The core curriculum includes: Peaceful Solutions: Students learn specific skills to resolve conflicts within their families, with friends, and in their communities; Connecting with Nature: Students play outside to create an intimate connection with nature and build a strong sense of stewardship. Media Literacy: How to be savvy with social media and discern messages they encounter. Mindfulness: Students cultivate peace within themselves through mindfulness practices. For more information contact Barbara at 503.234.7441 or youthed@unityofportland.org

 

RENTAL PROVIDERS FOR POSITIVE CHANGE (RPFORPC) – A new group that cares about pro-tenant, pro-community, pro-environment practices and policies. They are learning and improving together; and voicing support of changes that make housing options more equitable and stable, and that increase the safety net. If you’d like to be more involved (trainings? meetups? public testimony?) let us know on our website: rpforpc.org to connect with us.

 

Recycling tip

By Bonita Davis, Master

Recycler and SE Resident

Sharing and borrowing, neighbor-to-neighbor

Saturday was the day  a 4×4 post was going to be replaced. Gathered up for the DIY project was a shovel, level, bag of cement, a new post, water hose, nails, hammer, and scrap wood.

Curiosity brought my neighbors over and I shared my plan. Immediately, they offered a wheelbarrow, posthole digger and two pairs of skilled hands! My afternoon project was completed in about a third of the time and was three times the fun. A quick trip to the store to buy their favorite beverages as a ‘thank-you’ led to an invitation to stay for a BBQ on the patio. What a day!

Borrowing and sharing has a lot of advantages. The sharing as neighbors allowed me to not purchase a wheelbarrow or a post hole digger – two things I’d seldom use and have no space to store.

Items I have: folding tables, outdoor chairs, canopy, sawhorses, extension tools, and pruning shears are loaned out frequently.

Sarah Lazarovic, creative director of the design and strategy firm Pilot PMR, in Yes Magazine (May 11, 2019) says it is easy to run to the store and buy whatever we want, but maybe we should first consider borrowing.

Lazarovic observes that borrowing builds community, creates and nurtures connections, saves resources and reduces loneliness.

Borrowing and sharing can be done online, through organized groups, festivals and fairs or neighbor-to-neighbor.

When borrowing and sharing, it is important to follow simple guidelines to keep the experience positive. Much like managing financial transactions, we can either build or lower our trustworthiness with our track record.

Greg Seaman shares Simple Rules of Sharing (eartheasy.com):

First, keep it balanced, if you borrow, also share. Secondly, when lending, pay attention to the condition of the item before you loan it out. Always ask before taking and be sure to return any item in better shape than when it was borrowed (ex.,add gas to a borrowed vehicle, include cookies along with the returned item, etc.)

Make sure there is an agreed upon return time and be prompt. If you’re the lender, write it down or keep a list, and lastly, negotiate your own agreements. I’ve learned to say ‘no’ to lending out items when I am concerned about loss or breakage.

My bike, tent, favorite books, are some of the things I won’t lend. Lastly, if borrowing, be prepared to replace an item if it becomes damaged or lost.

Reduce and ReUse have a greater impact than Recycling in building sustainability and reducing environmental impact.

Borrowing and sharing prevents duplication, reduces the need for more storage space, utilizes the potential of our tools and leads to more cooperation in our communities!

Try it this summer!