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Oregon Trails

An Occasional Newsletter


The Association of Oregon Counties

Month, Year - Vol 1, Issue 1

End Game

Behind Closed Doors

June 17, 2015

In This Issue
Governance & Marijuana
Transportation/Community & Economic Development
Public Safety
Natural Resources
Health & Human Services
Energy, Environment & Land Use
AOC Summer Summit
Administrators Survey
NACo Credentials
CIS Expands
Join Our Mailing List!
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Salem -  Just as Oregon is beginning (early) its wildfire season, so is the Legislature beginning its "brush fire period," where deals are "changed," alliances shift, intensity spirals, legislative staff occasionally forgets to convey information to their bosses, the din rises, and elevator conversations/sales pitches are soon forgotten. 


In other words, frantic times. AOC policy staff has a particular need now until the session ends to have immediate access to judges and commissioners to make critical contacts with legislators from back home. These are the days of "a thousand pivot points," so commissioners and judges please be prepared to lend an ear and a voice at a moment's notice for good public policy.


Thank you.  




At its evening meeting on Monday, June 15, 2015, the Joint Committee on Implementing Measure 91, commonly referred to as the "Joint Marijuana Committee," unanimously passed omnibus legislation dealing with numerous topics involving both medical and retail marijuana. The legislation consists of the Dash-9, Dash-10, Dash-30, Dash-31, and Dash-33 amendments to House Bill 3400, and will be printed as A-Engrossed HB 3400.  


The bill will then head to the Joint Ways & Means Committee to work out details regarding the fiscal impact on state agencies. AOC Legal Counsel Rob Bovett played a role in crafting many of the provisions of the bill, especially those dealing with local control. Mr. Bovett has prepared three documents that may be of interest to AOC members and affiliates: 

If the legislation should pass, Mr. Bovett intends to work with his counterparts at the League of Oregon Cities (LOC) on the creation of model ordinances and ballot measures relating to local opt out, regulation and taxation.


Two additional significant issues remain on the agenda for the Joint Marijuana Committee:

  1.  The rate of the state tax on retail sales of marijuana. The current draft (the  Dash-3 amendments to House Bill 2041) proposes 17 percent, which is estimated to be roughly revenue neutral when compared to the Measure 91 tax on grower products being replaced with a point of sale tax.
  2. Whether to allow an early start of retail sales through medical marijuana dispensaries.

AOC Legal Counsel Rob Bovett is our resident expert on marijuana legislation.



Department of Revenue budget approved with funds to fill the DOR CAFFA shortfall. The Joint Ways & Means Committee approved House Bill 5035 last Friday, giving the Department of Revenue (DOR) its 2015-17 budget. Included in the bill was $1.8 million of general funds across ten positions to backfill a revenue shortfall in the County Assessment Function Funding Assistance Account (CAFFA), maintaining DOR duties under the state-county property tax assessment and collection agreement of 1987.  


The 2015-17 forecast for CAFFA revenue, 90 percent of which goes to counties for property tax administration, is $37 million. The corresponding shortfall in the county share was not backfilled. AOC has been lobbying this session for return of the $5.2 million of state general funds contributed to CAFFA until 2009, when it was swept into other programs by the Legislature. The session has not yet ended, so we will see if it appears in one of the late appropriations bills.


AOC Policy Director Gil Riddell is in charge of the public finance portfolio.
Transportation/Community & Economic Development

Latest on Transportation

Round and around and around and around we go
Ohhh now tell me now tell me now tell me now you know...


It's not a song about roads or highways that sums up where we are with the Transportation Package. It's Rhianna's "Stay". The eight legislators who have been meeting for weeks with the Governor trying to come up with a transportation package, are sworn to secrecy. None of them are talking, but the rumors that they are getting very close to a package are intensifying. 


We at AOC are not just sitting, waiting, and twiddling our thumbs! No way. In the event a package comes to fruition, your AOC staff are working to get any legislative changes necessary to implement the revised distribution formula, with a cap of $30 million for any new funds that come to the counties from the State Highway Fund. Currently, funds are distributed based only upon vehicle registration. The new formula would be divided into three parts: 1/3 would be equally distributed to all counties; 1/3 would be based upon county road miles; and 1/3 would be based on vehicle registration. This change would enable more rural, less-populated counties to receive a base level of funding necessary to adequately address local needs.   


Additionally, we continue to push for HB 2275, the bill that would provide a funding source to cover the cost of the DMV's Service Transformation Program (STP) and the DMV Debit/Credit Acceptance program. This bill was scheduled for a work session in House Rules on Monday, June 15, but was put off to a later date. You may recall that these two DMV programs would take an estimated $39 Million off the top of the State Highway Fund in the 2015-17 biennium, potentially resulting in the loss of nearly $9 Million to counties. 


An amended version of HB 2275 will allow for DMV to recover the cost of services on certain functions, such as issuing Class C driver licenses. This would raise approximately $28 million per biennium, which would cover the costs of the two new DMV programs over the long term. Staff from AOC, LOC and ODOT have asked Capital Construction SubCommittee Co-Chair Rep. Val Hoyle. D-Eugene, to move the bill out quickly with a referral to the Joint Ways & Means Committee on Transportation and Economic Development. If a transportation package passes, it would mostly likely absorb this bill. 


At the federal level, MAP 21 has been extended for another two months until July 31. It is doubtful Congress can develop a long term program in that short amount of time, so anticipate another extension. For more detailed information, please read the update in NACo's County News. 


Developments in Community Development

You may recall that AOC voted to support HB 2459, which would raise fees to modestly increase Oregon State Marine Board's (OSMB) registration and titling fees of boats, floatinhomesand boathouses in Oregon. OSMB has been a vital partner with counties for many years in providing safe, affordable access to Oregon's waterways. 


OSMB provides support to counties through its Maintenance Assistance Program (MAP) for the upkeep, repair and operations of boating facilities. In the 2013/15 biennium, 24 counties received over $1.13 million in MAP funds. In addition, OSMB granted nearly $1.25 million to 15 counties for capital improvement projects. All of these funds are critical to maintaining access points that are key to many local economies.


OSMB also provides funding for marine law enforcement at the state and county level, ensuring the safety of our boating citizens. In the 2013/15 biennium, county sheriffs received $14.1 million to provide this important public safety service. 


OSMB funding is derived solely from the boaters who pay the fees. All monies provided to counties must be matched at an approximate rate of three to one. This high rate of return on boater fees produces direct benefits to boaters, ensuring safe, enjoyable boating facilities in our local communities. Because most of the fees have not been raised since 2003 (two fees haven't been raised since 1978!), OSMB has depleted its ending balance over the past few years. Without an increase, programs will be cut and services to boaters will be negatively impacted.


At the initial hearing in the House Transportation & Economic Development Committee, numerous boaters testified in support of the fee increases, stressing their willingness to pay more for well-maintained facilities and safe waterways and complimenting OSMB for the great work they do.


HB 2459 recently passed though the full Ways and Means Committee, split along party lines except for Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena, who voted in favor of the bill. It then moved to the House floor, where it passed by a vote of 33-25. It now moves to the Senate.  Please contact your senators and let them know how important this bill is to your county boating facilities and marine patrol.  


AOC Policy Manager Mary Stern navigates transportation issues along with community and economic development.


Public Safety

Corrections Department and Criminal Justice Commission Budgets Pass With Money for Counties

The Oregon Department of Corrections budget passed unanimously through the Joint Ways and Means Committee Tuesday with a fully funded budget for community corrections at $248 million for the next biennium. The budget also contained an additional $5 million for the justice reinvestment grant program. Another $5 million slated for county sheriffs for jail support, also created by House Bill 3194 in 2013, was stripped out of the budget and redirected towards justice reinvestment. County sheriffs, who were meeting in Crook County Monday and Tuesday, were hoping to get that $5 million restored specifically for jails.


The justice reinvestment grant program was passed through the Criminal Justice Commission budget on the Senate floor Tuesday. It contained $33.7 million for the grant program. Most advocates say that this amount will probably keep county justice reinvestment services at current service level. An additional $5 million might come to the program in the session's final funding bill known as the "Christmas Tree Bill."


AOC Policy Manager Patrick Sieng keeps an eye on public safety issues and carries a badge.


Natural Resources 

Water Supply Development Advanced With Help From Two Former County Commissioners. 

In a vote that virtually assures its passage into law, the full Joint Ways & Means Committee approved House Bill 5042, the Water Resources budget framework bill. With strong support from a wide and deep coalition, including AOC, the bill will enhance administration of water project feasibility grants; provide staff for up to three pilots of place-based/local integrated water planning; fund a badly needed chief groundwater technology scientist to capture, process, analyze and share ground water data; finance three positions to do active consulting with individuals and local governments on planning, including coordinating financing opportunities and providing technical, permitting, and engineering expertise in developing projects; and add staff to reduce water right backlog issues in the Klamath Basin. 


HB 5042 was presented to the committee by Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena, a former Umatilla County Commissioner and AOC President. Sen. Chuck Thomsen, R-Hood River,and a former Hood River County Commissioner, joined the yes voters. Only two members of the committee voted no, Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls and Rep. Gail Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls.


AOC Policy Director Gil Riddell has been searching the forest for the trees for many decades.


Health and Human Services

We're finally seeing movement on the budget fronts, and things are mostly positive in human services. The public health budget includes $500,000 for public health modernization planning. The budget also restores the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (TMSA) funds for tobacco prevention and cessation, which had been cut in the Governor's Recommended Budget, and included a partial restoration of CCare funds that were cut in the Governor's budget. 


The Addictions and Mental Health (AMH) budget just came out Wednesday morning, and includes some very good news. Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, secured $28 million for additional mental health services, of which $7 million will go toward crisis services, $6.5 million will go toward jail diversion, $7 million will go toward supported housing, and $6 million will support additional capacity in detox centers and sobering facilities. The remaining $1.5 million supports the Oregon Psychiatric Access Line for Kids. AMH also received $4 million for its proposal to reduce state hospital placements by determining if appropriate community treatment is available. The DHS budget should be out next week.


On the policy front, we've got some work to do before 2016. We were not having much luck removing the preemption language in the tobacco licensure bill, and the bill has since died. Advocates are committed to coming back in 2016 and hopefully getting a statewide program that does not impede on local governments' ability to regulate tobacco sales. Similarly, HB 3034, which would have reworked the requirements for hospitals to receive property tax exemption has been tabled. There seems to be growing momentum to take an in-depth look at each of the various nonprofits that enjoy exemption from property taxes and determine where improvements in the statute should be made. I suspect we will be quite engaged in this process during the interim.  


AOC Policy Manager Stacy Michaelson deals with health and human services issues.


Energy, Environment & Land Use

Natural Hazard Planning Bill Update

A public hearing on SB 94 and HB 2633 was held Wednesday June 17 in the Natural Resources Subcommittee of Ways and Means. AOC testified that while we support many of the components of the two bills, we have concerns over DLCD being mandated to do rule making for local communities without implementation funds. Earlier in the session General Fund Planning Grants were cut by $500,000 and the DLCD Natural Hazard Technical Assistance staff were cut from the budget so new rule adoption would be even more onerous. The bills received strong support from many parties so it is uncertain the future of these bills.


DLCD/LCDC CIAC Recruitment

The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) and the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) are seeking a volunteer to serve as a member of the state's Citizen Involvement Advisory Committee (CIAC) representing the citizens of Oregon in an at-large capacity. The CIAC is appointed by the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) to advise LCDC on citizen involvement in land use planning.


CIAC is a permanent committee established by state law (ORS 197.160) and its work centers on Statewide Planning Goal 1: Citizen Involvement. The committee furthers citizen involvement in land use planning through activities such as:

  • Advising LCDC on all matters concerning citizen involvement in Oregon land use planning and the statewide planning program
  • Advising local governments about ways to enhance citizen involvement in communities
  • Writing and distributing materials to educate and inform Oregonians about citizen involvement in land use planning
  • Gathering and disseminating information about citizen involvement techniques
  • Reviewing local government plans and programs concerning citizen involvement

CIAC is comprised of eight volunteers, one from each of Oregon's five Congressional Districts and three at-large positions. Committee members must be available for meetings every other month and have sufficient time for the committee's work. Regular travel is not a requirement of this position and meetings are often held via teleconference. Travel once per quarter to Salem is encouraged of all members.


Completed applications must be received at DLCD by 5 p.m. on July 31, 2015. The department and CIAC will interview finalists and will make a recommendation to LCDC for action at its September 2015 meeting.


To learn more about the opportunity visit their website at: CIAC Recruitment


Ocean Renewable Energy Conference X

Co-Located with HydroVision International

Marine Renewable Energy: Charting the Path of Progress

July 14-17, 2015

Oregon Convention Center - Portland, OR


Registration is open for the tenth annual Ocean Renewable Energy Conference hosted by Oregon Wave Energy Trust.


This conference takes place July 14-17, 2015, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. The OWET conference will be co-located this year with HydroVision International, the largest gathering of hydro professionals worldwide and one of the largest events scheduled in the city of Portland, Oregon, this year. PacifiCorp (a Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company) and Portland General Electric are the two official host utilities of the event. OWET is the official marine energy partner.


Building a new industry is hard work. It takes vision, creativity and staying the course. The Ocean Renewable Energy Conference, now in its tenth year, is the gathering place for world leaders deeply committed to moving this industry forward. This year the conference will focus on assessing where the industry is today and what it will take to go the distance.


Join community leaders, developers, utilities, state and federal regulators, and guests from around the world who are working together to create a national - and international - model for marine renewable energy development.


Register now here.    


AOC Policy Manager Mark Nystrom handles energy, environment & land use issues.



Progress Made on CVSO Budget

On Friday, June 12th the Full Joint Ways and Means Committee unanimously passed SB 5539, the budget bill for the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA). The Committee's vote included a $500,000 increase for County Veterans Service Officers (CVSO's). This support was particularly important because it approved these funds on an "ongoing" basis. One question raised during last week's AOC Legislative Committee was whether this additional CVSO funding would trigger any new local match requirement. Based on discussions with ODVA, there is a mutual understanding that these new funds will not trigger any new local match requirements. The goal now for AOC is to have another $500,000 of funding for CVSO's to be approved by Ways and Means before sine die. AOC is continuing to work with all members of the committee toward this goal.  

VA Releases New Data for 2014 VA Compensation

According to the latest VA Expenditure data released on May 29, 2015, the level of compensation and pension benefits paid to Oregon's veterans rose to the level of $1.282 billion in 2014. This total increased by $182 million from 2013, a 16.5 percent rise. The bar chart below summarizes annual growth in these compensation and pension benefits since 2005.




L-R - Commissioners Diane McKeel, Stan Primozich and Rod Runyon aboard the USS Cape St. George (CG-71) during Portland Rose Festival Fleet Week

AOC Veterans group on helicopter flight deck of USS Cape St. George on June 5, 2015


AOC Policy Manager Andrew Smith is in charge of the Veterans' portfolio. 

AOC Summer Summit

Mark your calendars for the 2015 AOC Summer Summit, August 9 - 11 at the Bend Riverhouse Hotel and Conference Center.


The 2015 theme and location was selected by AOC President Gary Thompson. The theme will be focused on communications:


Connect. Communicate. Collaborate.


The program is going to be first rate. You won't want to miss it! Registration will be online soon. 


Administrators Survey

NACo has released an analysis An Overview of County Administration: Appointed County Administrators, accompanied by data layers in NACo's interactive map County Explorer and individualized state profiles.   


NACo has also released a podcast of an interview with Peter Austin, McHenry County, Ill. administrator discussing his experience with the responsibilities, challenges and successes of an appointed county administrator.


See all the products here.


NACo Annual Conference
The Annual NACo Conference will take place July 10 - 13 in Meklenburg County/Charlotte, North Carolina.  If you are planning to attend, you need to submit your county's credentials to vote in the annual election of officers. It sounds like the race for 2nd VP is going to be very interesting. NACo would like all attending counties to submit their credential forms prior to the conference.

You can find the credentials packet and additional credential information on the NACo website.  

If you have any questions, please call AOC Executive Director Mike McArthur or contact AOC Member Services Director McKenzie Farrell.  

If you are planning to attend, you will have to change your name to Bubba or Bill Tom Bob.  
CIS Expands - Enhances Coverage for Counties

As a member-governed and owned organization, CIS is continuously looking for additional coverage to help meet counties' emerging needs. The CIS Board of Trustees recently authorized two important updates: Builders' Risk coverage has been added and Cyber Risk coverage has been expanded. Read more...

Please feel free to contact Laura Cleland or Eric Schmidt at AOC with any questions you might have about AOC. We will make sure you are connected to the right policy manager or member services manager. We are also looking for timely stories and photos that you might want to share with our newsletter list. Please let us know.  
Laura Cleland & Eric Schmidt

Association of Oregon Counties



Have a great week.