Good Growing Pains
This year has brought record levels of participation in AOC steering committees, which is a great thing, but also has produced some logistical challenges for our staff and leadership. To put it simply, having the space and time to adequately address the many issues in Salem and Washington, D.C. is proving to be a challenge... read more 
Policy Updates
Senate Bill Hung Up by Potential Unfunded Mandate
Senate Bill 181A would require certain institutions seeking a property tax exemption to file an information return with the county assessor stating the basis for the exemption claim in terms derived from Oregon case law.  This bill would be a critical improvement over the guess work that county assessors are... read more
Legalizing Pseudoephidrine
AOC's Rob Bovett was heard on Oregon Public Broadcasting's Think Out Loud on Monday, March 20. He participated on a segment along with Rep. Bill Post who has introduced a bill to make Pseudoephedrine available without a prescription...

AOC Testifies for a Preemption
In a rare turn of events, AOC testified against  House Bill 2469 in the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee, because the bill would lift the current preemption on local regulation of agricultural seeds or seed products. The bill related specifically to control of GMO seeds, but the reasons for AOC to... read more
Life Flight Takes Off...with Amendments
Senate Bill 149 was approved for AOC support in January, because it made an inconsequential change to statute that may prove beneficial in the future to counties' housing needs. In 2005, the Legislature adopted ORS 307.022 to grant property tax exemptions to LLCs owned by nonprofit corporations... read more 
AOC Hosts Legislative Reception
Following our day of meetings on March 13th, AOC hosted a reception for legislators and staff modeled after our County Product Tasting at the AOC Annual Conference. Despite making it a long night for many, 23 legislators joined even more... read more
Road Officials Discuss Maintenance and Preservation
Thank you to all the county road officials who visited with their elected representatives after the Oregon Association of County Engineers & Surveyors (OACES) meeting on March 16th. There was great discussion about the maintenance and... read more
Tobacco-21 to go to Senate Floor
SB 754, which would raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco products to 21, passed out of the Senate Health Care Committee on March 14, 2017. The bill is currently scheduled for a vote on the Senate Floor on March 22nd.  The bill, championed by Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward... read more
Scenic Waterway Program Names Three Rivers for Further Study
Nehalem, North Santiam and South Umpqua 3 Rivers Choosen
The State Parks and Recreation Department staff has chosen three candidates for more study for possible recommendation:  Nehalem River (Spruce Run Campground to Nehalem Falls... read more
Energy, Environment, and Land Use Recap - March 17
On Monday, March 13th  HB 3032 received a public hearing and Yamhill County Commissioner Primozich and Columbia County Transportation Director Michael Ray testified in favor. HB 3032 fixes a technical problem that has made it impossible for entities without a tax liability to transfer a tax credit. Counties... read more
Pope, AOC Support State Police Budget, No Cuts
Oregon State Police had its budget hearings in front of the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Public Safety during the week of March 13. The agency, led by Superintendent Travis Hampton, highlighted its work in all 36 counties including enhanced efforts in rural areas where troopers take on more traditional... read more
Public Lands and Natural Resources Recap - March 10
Willamette River Basin Study stakeholders, including AOC, met March 1st to catch up on progress. The US Army Corps of Engineers is examining whether operational changes in storage allocation from valley project reservoirs would better serve present and future needs in the basin. The next milestone is... read more
Finance Recap - March 10
The Joint Ways & Means Committee statewide tour was completed. And no surprise, as confirmed by a key member of the committee, the messages around the state were consistent: Do not cut programs (particular those related to human health and services); raise corporate taxes instead.  The revenue... read more
Oregon was well-represented at the recent National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. It was a great opportunity for our commissioners and judges, their staff and AOC staff to learn and network.  NACo has been promoting the message "Counties Matter," and there's growing... read more
Merkley, Brock Smith Convene Sudden Oak Death Task Force
Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley and State Representative David Brock Smith (R-01) convened an array of stakeholders in the first task force meeting aimed at addressing the spread of Sudden Oak Death, a disease that poses severe economic and... read more
AOC Makes Pitch for County Economic Development Funding
AOC addressed the Joint Ways & Means Capital Construction Subcommittee on February 23rd to again highlight a nagging issue for counties.  Under ORS 461.547, counties receive 2.5 percent of net receipts (after payment of prizes) from video lottery games. Ninety percent of these funds are distributed to... read more
Coalition Presses for Predator Control Funding
Commissioner Craig Pope, on behalf of AOC, joined a panel before the Joint Ways & Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources, to urge the Legislature to correct the Governor's Recommended 2017-19 Budget, which would eliminate all state funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's... read more
Discussions Deepen on State Revenue Reform
Both revenue committees continued to probe for doable answers to public revenue reform, both in the corporate and property tax systems.  Informal briefings of caucuses by legislative revenue staff are opening the topics to legislators who do not serve on the money committees. Some members are having to... read more
The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis released its March 2017 forecast on the state's economy and public revenues.  Bottom line: employment is up, even in rural areas (although not as high as metro areas, unfortunately); personal income, corporate income, estate, and liquor taxes are healthy and tracking... read more
A Strategic Investment in Transportation
The Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) released the final version of  A Strategic Investment in Transportation report to highlight needs across the transportation system and present a menu of options for strategic investment in Oregon. This investment will help protect our existing highway... read more
Justice Reinvestment: Counties at the Center
On February 16-17 I was pleased to see commissioners and judges from every corner of the state - including Klamath County Commissioner Kelley Minty Morris as master of ceremonies - at the Justice Reinvestment/What Works Summit in Salem. As individual counties, and as an organization, we are proving... read more
Counties Host Legislators for Tour of Mental Health Programs
On January 30, four state legislators, plus three legislative staff, joined AOC for a one-day intensive tour of mental health programs across Oregon counties. Departing from Clackamas at 7:30 a.m., the group first stopped in The Dalles where they were... read more
Special Announcement from Commissioner Faye Stewart
I am reaching out to you to let you know that I will be stepping down from the Board of County Commissioners at the end of this month.  This was not an easy decision for me to make, but I have been offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take the position of Public Works and Development director for the... read more
Oregon Predicts State Uninsured Rate to Triple Under GOP Health Care Plan
The Republican alternative to the Affordable Care Act could result in 465,000 fewer Oregonians with health insurance and would blow a $2.6 billion hole in the state's... read more
Oregon's Top Budget Writer Endorses $500M in Cuts, $500M in New Taxes
The Oregon Legislature's senior budget writer said Friday he would like to see the state's $1.6 billion funding gap filled equally with taxes on hospitals, cuts to services and... read more
Lane County Commissioners Boost Age to 21 for Buying and Using Tobacco
Smoke 'em if you got 'em, as long as you are also old enough to drink in Oregon.
Lane County will be the first county in the state to raise the minimum age for... read more
Bill Prohibits Employers from Firing Workers Who Use Pot
Most Oregon employers would lose the right to fire employees or deny employment to a candidate who uses marijuana during non-work hours, under a bill proposed by... read more
State Land Board Votes to Move Forward on Sale of Elliott State Forest
Oregon's new state treasurer and new secretary of state teamed up Tuesday to vote for the potential sale of the Elliott State Forest, rejecting Gov. Kate Brown's recently... read more
For a complete list of news and information visit
AOC C3 Summit - Connect. Communicate. Collaborate.
May 9, 2017 | Salem, Oregon | REGISTER

The 2017 AOC C3 Summit will focus on initiatives, policies and efforts around building stronger collaboration between the public safety and behavioral health systems, encompassing everything from treatment capacity, diversion and transition programs to supportive housing. Through the Stepping Up Initiative - a national effort to reduce the number of people in the criminal justice system due to mental illness - Oregon counties are working to improve public safety, reduce costs and help put people on the path to recovery.
Oregon Mass Timber Summit
March 27, 2017 | Leftbank Annex - Portland, OR |  REGISTER

On March 27, industry leaders from around the world will come together in Oregon to discuss best practices and innovative ideas on how to advance the mass timber industry in Oregon. Mass timber is the name for massive, very strong engineered wood panels used in commercial construction, the most recognized being cross-laminated timber, or "CLT"... learn more
Rural Oregon Day at the Capitol
April 4, 2017 | Oregon State Capitol | 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. | REGISTER

Join statewide elected leaders, legislators, rural advocates, and others for a day to celebrate Rural Oregon. Morning refreshments and lunch provided to those who register. 
2017 Forum on Aging in Rural Oregon
April 20-21, 2017 | Best Western Hood River Inn | REGISTER

The Oregon Office of Rural Health believes that rural Oregon communities have the potential to be ideal places to age. This event will provide a forum where people can gather to talk about their experiences, give birth to new ideas, and receive the inspiration and other resources to create their own successes... learn more
For a complete list of events visit
NACo News
NACo 2017 Western Interstate Region (WIR) Conference
The NACo Western Interstate Region (WIR) Conference is hosted each year by a county within the fifteen Western states -- Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai'i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming  The conference brings together county officials not only from these... read more
HUD Weighs CDBG, HOME Program Eliminations
On March 8, the Washington Post released an article indicating the Trump Administration is considering $6 billion in cuts to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban... read more
NACo Advocates for Rural Development Title as Congress Develops the Next Farm Bill
On March 8, Commissioner Bob Fox of Renville County, Minnesota testified on behalf of the National Association of Counties (NACo) before the U.S. House Agriculture... read more
On March 7, 2017, the U.S. Senate passed  H.J. Res. 44, a resolution disapproving of and rolling back the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Planning 2.0 rule... read more
U.S. House Leadership Relases Legislation on ACA
On March 6, 2017, the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced long-awaited legislative text intended to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act... read more
NACo Report - Counties on Track: Strategies for Freight-Oriented Economic Development
This report describes how freight transportation investments can fuel local and regional economic development. By exploring how counties in diverse parts of the country are partnering with public and private sector actors. Learn more and download.
Online Tool - Rethinking Flood Protection through Nature-Based Solutions
In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, NACo has released the Naturally Resilient Communities online guide tool to promote the role that nature-based solutions can play in helping reduce flood risk for communities, while also providing other benefits such as improved water quality, enhanced recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat, and stronger, more resilient local economies. Learn more and download. 
For more information on NACo news visit
Partner Spotlight
New MRO Contract Provides Comprehensive Solutions Making It Easier Than Ever to Get the Supplies You Need at Competitive Prices
U.S. Communities is excited to announce the multi-award of a new national cooperative contract for maintenance, repair, operating supplies, industrial supplies and related products and services. This contract was awarded to The Home Depot, HD Supply Facilities Maintenance, Applied Industrial Technologies, and SupplyWorks,  To learn more about this new contract and the solutions available, view details below or register for a complimentary one-hour webinar.
The Last Word
Q: What do you call a parade of rabbits hopping backwards? A: A receding hare-line.

As always, please feel free to submit your story ideas, announcements, recipes, events, photos and job changes to your  Oregon  Trails  staff for inclusion in the next riveting edition. 
Your  Oregon Trails staff,
Laura Cleland & Mckenzie Farrell
Association of  Oregon  Counties

Representing Oregon counties since 1906, the Association of Oregon Counties unites counties to advocate, communicate, and educate through information sharing and consensus development.