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Oregon Trails

An Occasional Newsletter


The Association of Oregon Counties

Month, Year - Vol 1, Issue 1

End of the Year Edition

Looking Forward to New Challenges

December 17, 2015

In This Issue
Governance & Marijuana
Transportation/Community & Economic Development
More Transportation...
Public Safety
Energy, Environment & Land Use
AOC Annual Conference
Every County Gets Dollars
Execs and Presidents
News from NACo
NACo Legislative Conference
Oregon Leadership Summit
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links

2015 is rapidly coming to a close. That could be relief for many of us in the public sector, perhaps a little nostalgic for others. 2016 is an election year which brings its own set of challenges. What we can say is that the only constant in 21st century Oregon is change. 


This edition of Oregon Trails is being produced as the Pacific Northwest is being hammered by record breaking wet weather events. Wasn't it just a few months ago when we were dealing with a drought? The December storms have impacted Oregon counties in many ways, and the work to continue to provide vital public services goes on despite what Mother Nature throws at us.  


We have a few news items of interest in this edition, a few announcements and a few pictures from the Annual Conference in Lane County.  


Please enjoy a safe and sane holiday season. We look forward to seeing you on the other side of midnight.  


[Editor's note: This edition of Oregon Trails will be the last for soon-to-be retired Eric Schmidt. We will continue to bring you the latest and greatest news that is important to you, but probably without some of the frills and sarcasm such as comments like, " one died," in the revenue forecast story below. We'll all miss Eric's wit and wisdom. Wishing you all the best, Eric!]




A. HB 3400 Section 133 Opt Out Deadline Fast Approaching!  

2015 House Bill 3400 clarified two paths for counties to opt out of one or more of the six categories of state licensed marijuana businesses in unincorporated.  All counties qualify under one path, which requires enacting an ordinance and calling a local election to sustain the opt out next November.  HB 3400 Section 134.  There is no deadline for taking action under that path, but counties that want to take such action should probably do so before the end of 2015r, since the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) will start taking marijuana business license applications on January 4, 2016


The second path is only available for Eastern Oregon counties (except Deschutes and Wasco), and does not require an election.  HB 3400 Section 133.  But there is a DEADLINE on taking action under that path, and it is fast approaching: December 27!  


Additionally, all opt out ordinances must be filed with the OLCC and Oregon Health Authority (OHA), along with completed OLCC and OHA forms: 


Based on the latest OLCC and OHA opt out lists:


Here is what AOC Legal Counsel Rob Bovett noticed regarding Eastern Oregon:

* Baker County is on the OLCC list, but not the OHA list. He assumes that means Baker County only opted out of the four categories of retail marijuana businesses, and not the two categories of medical marijuana businesses.  If his assumption is incorrect, Baker County should send their opt out ordinance and OHA form to OHA as soon as possible.

* Gilliam, Grant, Lake, and Wallowa Counties are not on either list.  If any of those counties have not taken action under HB 3400 Section 133, but intend to do so, time is running out.

* Sherman County is also not on either list, but Rob knows they just opted out last week, and have sent in their forms and opt out ordinance to OLCC and OHA. 


B. OLCC Update  

OLCC is continuing their Recreational Marijuana License Workshops around the state:


OLCC has also recently produced and released a "Business Readiness Guidebook for Oregon Recreational Marijuana Operations" to assist those wanting to open a retail marijuana business in Oregon:  


With assistance from AOC, LOC, and county and city planners, OLCC has also finalized their Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS) form: 


C. Legislation 

On November 16, 2015, AOC Legal Counsel Rob Bovett testified again before the Joint Interim Committee on Marijuana Legalization.  Using a PowerPoint Presentation


Rob walked the Committee through a number of issues, including an update on local regulation and opt outs, litigation in Oregon, Washington, and Colorado regarding local control, and proposed legislation for 2016

which he further explained in his written testimony 


The Committee appears favorably disposed toward the items contained in Mr Bovett's proposed legislation, with one exception:  Rewriting the state retail marijuana sales tax distribution formula.  Instead, it is likely that a task force will be created by the 2016 legislature to examine that issue.


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


The Oregon Senate Finance & Revenue Committee met jointly with the Oregon House Revenue Committee on December 2nd to receive the December Economic and Revenue Forecast from the Office of Economic Analysis (OEA). No one died. In fact the news was on the pleasant side.
Oregon is gaining jobs - 50,000 more than before the Great Recession - but has also gained more people. The OEA reported that the gap is closing, but will take time. They also reported that rural areas are beginning to improve economically. Of the five economic regions in the state, each was adding jobs at a rate of two percent per quarter.
Since the forecast at the close of the 2015 legislative session, general fund and lottery resources are up $8.3 million.  The forecast implies that there will be no personal kicker income tax return, but may well be one for corporate revenues of some $34.7 million. Those revenues are dedicated to K-12 education spending.
The revenue forecast that will matter for legislative purposes will be that delivered on February 10th, during the second week of the 2016 legislative session. Any budgetary adjustments to be made to the 2015-17 biennium will be based on the February forecast.
AOC Policy Director Gil Riddell is in charge of the public finance portfolio.

Transportation/Community & Economic Development
Last week was a big week for transportation at the federal level! The conference committee tasked with reconciling transportation proposals between the House and Senate released the "Fixing America's Surface Transportation" (FAST) Act, H.R. 22.  And FAST it was! The House passed the bill on Thursday with a 359-65 vote. The Senate passed the bill later that same day with a vote of 83-16. All members of Oregon's delegation voted in favor of the bill. The President signed the FAST Act into law on Friday, December 4, 2015.

The FAST Act is a fully funded five-year bill that authorizes $280 billion in spending out of the Highway Trust Fund for highway and transit programs. The bill reflects a compromise between the two chambers' reauthorization proposals and includes a number of county priorities, including:
  • Long-term certainty: The FAST Act is a fully funded five year bill that will provide counties the long-term certainty they need in order to plan, fund and deliver transformative transportation projects.
  • Funding for locally owned infrastructure: The FAST Act increases the amount of funding available for locally-owned infrastructure by increasing funding for the Surface Transportation Program and making an additional $116 billion available for county-owned highway bridges. This additional funding more than repairs the 30 percent decrease in funding that occurred under MAP-21.
  • Local decision-making: The FAST Act acknowledges and utilizes the value of local decision-making by sub-allocating a great share (up to 55 percent by FY20) - or roughly $28 billion - of the Surface Transportation Program to local areas and local governments.
  • Funding for rural and urban public transportation systems: The FAST Act continues funding for urban and rural public transportation formula grants. In addition, the bill increases funding for the Bus and Bus Facilities formula grant program and creates an additional competitive bus grants program that will provide discretionary funding to further support counties' bus purchases and bus facility investments.
  • Streamlining: The FAST Act builds on the reforms of MAP-21 aimed at expediting and streamlining project delivery. Specifically, the bill establishes a new pilot program to allow states to substitute their own environmental laws and regulations for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and requires an assessment of previous efforts to accelerate the environmental review process, as well as recommendations on additional means of accelerating the project delivery process.
  • Non-Transportation related : The FAST Act includes reauthorization of funding for the Export Import Bank. The EXIM bank provides financing assistance to US businesses to export their products overseas, supporting economic development and helping to maintain and create jobs at the local level, especially for small business. Congressional authorization had expired on July 1, 2015, leaving the bank unable to conduct any new business. The EXIM bank is expected to be fully operational as of December 8, 2015.  
For additional information on the FAST Act, please see the following resources provided by Conference Committee:
ODOT estimates  that Oregon will receive $325 million more over the next five years due to the passage of the FAST Act. (See ODOT's 12/4  press release  .) This is an incredible gain for Oregon's counties!

Please take a moment to thank your Congressman/woman and your Senators for passing the FAST Act. Extra special thanks  goes to Congressman DeFazio and Senator Ron Wyden. Congressman DeFazio worked tirelessly on a federal transportation package as ranking member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee.  Both he and Senator Wyden served as members of the conference committee that created the FAST Act.  

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

More Transportation
This winter is filled with opportunities to get involved with shaping the direction of Oregon's transportation future. 

Ranging from the long-term vision, to the transportation safety plan and the bicycle and pedestrian plan, a series of listening and outreach sessions will be useful chances to share your county's perspective at integral stages in the process.
The  Governor's Transportation Visioning Panel will be meeting with the ACTs throughout the state to seek input on their preliminary findings. Five subcommittees of this panel have been meeting for nearly a year to develop a long-term vision for the future of Oregon's transportation system and are now coming to leaders throughout the state for feedback. You can see the schedule for these regional forums by  clicking here.
Oregon's  Transportation Safety Action Plan (TSAP), a part of the Oregon Transportation Plan, is undergoing an update. At this stage in the process, the team members are looking for direction prior to the drafting of the plan, rather than feedback on the already created TSAP, making this a uniquely potent opportunity to become involved. In January, there is one listening session in each ODOT region. A full schedule is available here.
The Draft Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan is available for public comment until February 18th. This is a Statewide Policy Plan and also serves as an element of the Oregon Transportation Plan. See more information, including a video describing the Plan and presentation dates in December, on the   Plan website here.

Daniel C. Hauser is the Policy Specialist & Safety Policy Coordinator for AOC's County Road Program (CRP). Be nice to him. He has two degrees from Oregon State.

Public Safety
Oregon Commissioners join over 200 officials in Colorado Springs for NACo Safe & Secure Counties Symposium
The National Association of Counties (NACo) hosted the Safe and Secure Counties Sympoisum in El Paso County, Colorado in early December. Approximately 200 officials from counties nationwide along with other government, philanthropic and private sector leaders participated in the event.  

Officer Sieng and Chief Breidenthal
Oregon attendees included Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack, Columbia County Commissioner Tony Hyde, Jackson County Commissioner Doug Breidenthal, Hood River County Commissioner Karen Joplin, Association of Oregon Community Mental Health Programs executive director Cherryl Ramirez and AOC public safety policy manager Patrick Sieng. Participants discussed how counties build safe and secure communities by managing justice systems, responding to natural disasters, and facilitating emergency management response.
Shiprack was highlighted in a panel on county best practices for emergency management and justice programs. She serves as the chair of the Juvenile subcommittee of NACo's Justice and Public Safety Committee. Shiprack shared how Multnomah County has brought together key stakeholders successfully through its local public safety coordinating council to work on juvenile justice programs. Ramirez was highlighted on a panel for reducing the number of mentally ill in county jails.
In addition to the symposium, commissioners also attended the NACo Board of Directors meeting. Shiprack, Hyde and Ramirez are members of the NACo board. Breidenthal and Sieng dressed in their respective police and fire uniforms to attend the funeral of University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey, who was shot and killed November 27. Breidenthal is the deputy chief for the Lakeside Rural Fire Protection District and Sieng is a reserve officer with the Portland Police Bureau.

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

Energy, Environment & Land Use
The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) convened the Filled Lands Advisory Group (FLAG) to engage with the Department to ensure a fair and transparent process to resolve state ownership interests in historically filled submerged and submersible lands. 

The FLAG came up with a set of recommendations that were presented to the State Land Board. These recommendations were also the basis for Senate Bill 912, which passed during the 2015 session. DSL is engaging in rulemaking and an advisory committee was developed and met on October 8, 2015 and November 4, 2015 to create the proposed draft rules. The public comment period opened December 1, 2015 and closes at 5:00 PM on December 31, 2015.
DSL will hold two public hearings on the following dates, times and locations:
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 - 5:00 PM
Judge Guy Boyington Building
857 Commercial St.
Astoria, Oregon
Thursday, December 17, 2015 - 5:00 PM
Coos Bay City Hall
Council Chambers
500 Central Ave.
Coos Bay, Oregon

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

The AOC Veterans Steering Committee met on November 18th for a discussion on ways to improve VA health care services for vets across the state. Joanne Krumberger (Director of the VA Portland Health Care System) presented the latest updates of the Choice Card and other recent changes in the VA delivery system.  

A guest panel of County Veteran Service Officers (CVSO's) from Klamath, Lane and Clackamas counties also presented to the Committee on the latest trends, needs and challenges facing staff on the front lines. There are currently 63 CVSO's serving across the state. The Committee also continues to be active in the federal policy arena for veterans and is working closely with staff from Oregon's Congressional delegation including Senator Wyden's office, Congressman Schrader's office and Congressman DeFazio's office. These efforts will help lay the foundation for Hill visits during the NACo Legislative Conference in February 2016. Some items contained in the Committee draft of federal veterans legislative agenda include:  
  1. The Toxic Research Exposure Act: H.R. 1769 and S. 901 are identical bills that would create a toxins research unit within the VA to proceed with medical research on how exposure to agent orange, burn pits and depleted uranium ("toxins") may affect the biological health of children and grandchildren of veterans who served in the military. 
  2. Support efforts to to track and share data data from the VA on impact of shift to electronic (E-Benefits) claims filing process adopted in 2014. Ensure that the claims approval rates are not declining due to a reduction in powers-of-attorney/legal representation by VSO's. 
  3. GI Bill bankruptcy remediation legislation to address aggressive and abusive loan collection practices.
  4. Maintain or expand current funding levels of housing funding for VASH and SSVF programs that serve our most vulnerable veterans.

Bottom row: Joseph Reiley (Lane CVSO), Commissioner Runyon, Commissioner McKeel, Commissioner Farr, Commissioner Primozich, Judge Tallman

Top row: Kathy Pierce (Klamath CVSO), Mitch Sparks (ODVA), Evan Hessel (Senator Wyden's office), Whitney Couture (Congressman DeFazio's office), Commissioner Murdock, Commissioner Savas, Commissioner Labhart, Michael Klein (Congressman Schrader's office)

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

Oregon County Leadership Institute
AOC is gearing up for the second Oregon County Leadership Institute. This class is designed for elected officials and department heads and is focused on developing individual and group leadership skills. The program is delivered by an outstanding team from Portland State University's Center for Public Service, led by Phil Keisling. Eight one-day sessions start on Monday, January 25 and continue on February 22, March 28, April 25, June 27, July 25, September 26 and October 24. All classes take place at the Local Government Center in Salem. 

Registrations are now being accepted. Click here for a link to an informational brochure and registration form. If you have any questions, please call Laura Cleland at 503-585-8351 or email.
AOC Annual Conference
The 2015 Annual Conference in Lane County, November 17-19 was a huge success. More than 400 people registered and attended along with a host of vendors and business partners. The annual business meeting was one of the more interesting meetings in several years. County Product Tasting was, once again, an event that will be remembered for years to come (or at least until next year). The Tim and Tammy Show may well have been the most emotional and informational event of the conference, and there was a lot of content to compare it with, including a standing room only session on marijuana.  

All in all, the 2015 Conference was productive, informative, entertaining, engaging and worthwhile (we hope) for all involved. AOC staff takes this opportunity to thank everyone who came and participated and we look forward to next year being even better.  It was a very good conference. 

2016 AOC Officers L-R; Craig Pope, Treasurer; Bill Hall, 1st VP; Larry Givens, President; Gary Thompson, Immediate Past President; Mark Davidson, 2nd VP
County College Graduation
County College Graduation
Judge Chris Perry, Judge Dan Joyce, Commissioner Melissa Cribbins
2nd VP Forum
NACo Immediate Past President Riki Hokama presents AOC President Thompson with 100 percent State Proclamation
Tammy and Tim
Product Tasting - Doug Hunt serves coastal chowder to Tamra Mabbott
Thank You to the 2015 Annual Conference Sponsors

Every County Gets Dollars
Heather Anderson_ Deschutes County
y county in Oregon receives funds from the Oregon Lottery to help support their projects and programs. Since 1985 nearly $10 billion dollars have gone to support, job creation, schools, watersheds and state parks.

Teacher of the Year from Deschutes County
Since 1995 the Lottery has contributed over $6 billion to help fund education in all 36 Oregon counties. This year the Lottery partnered with the Oregon Department of Education to help sponsor the Oregon Teacher of the Year Award, which was awarded to Heather Anderson from Bend's Juniper Elementary School in Deschutes County. 

Heather and her school both received a $5,000 award. In addition, the two runners up for teacher of the year each received a $2,000 award. 

Thank you to the Oregon Lottery for their sponsorship of the 2015 AOC Annual Conference.      

Execs and Presidents
The presidents and executive directors of the county associations of Oregon, Montana, Washington and Idaho met last week in Boise. They spent some time behind bars.  

NW Presidents and Executive Directors meeting in Idaho
AOC President Larry Givens in Idaho

Please contact Mike McArthur or Larry Givens for details.

News from NACo

News from NACo - Fungi fest trims county park's repair bill
Fungi Fest in Curry County, OR

Fungi fest trims county park's repair bill
A youth camp in Curry County, Ore. will get needed repairs - work the county can't afford - thanks to mushrooms. Oregon's southwestern-most coastal county has been struggling financially for years now, teetering on the brink of insolvency, due to declining timber receipts. About 65 percent of the county is non-taxable federal land. Read more...

NACo Legislative Conference

Oregon Leadership Summit District Dinners
Oregon Leadership Summit District Three Dinner
Oregon Leadership Summit District Three Dinner
On December 14, 2015 county commissioners joined business leaders, legislators and regional solutions conveners for dinners hosted by the Oregon Community Foundation following the Oregon Leadership Summit. 

Each of the dinners 
provided county and community leaders from the eight AOC Districts and business leaders from outside each region with an opportunity to increase their understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities faced by counties and businesses in supporting Oregon's diverse economy. New relationships were built to lay the foundation for building bridges between urban and rural leaders for years to come. 

AOC would like to thank the Oregon Business Council for their partnership in hosting these dinners and the Oregon Community Foundation for their sponsorship. 

Please feel free to contact Laura Cleland or Mckenzie Farrell 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 & Mckenzie Farrell & Eric Schmidt

Association of Oregon Counties



Have a great week.