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Oregon Trails

An Occasional Newsletter


The Association of Oregon Counties

Month, Year - Vol 1, Issue 1

October is here

Shorter days, longer agendas

October 14, 2015

In This Issue
Annual Conference
AOC's New Website
Article Headline
Legislative Committee
Energy, Environment & Land Use
Legal Pot
Governance & Marijuana
Transportation/Community & Economic Development
Shake Out
RADIO Conference
Public Safety
An Invitation from CUB
Business Partner Member Drive
News from NACo
NACo Resources
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links

If you look very carefully, you can see the State Capitol Building in Salem on a foggy October morning. Reports of the gold pioneer statue missing from the dome proved to be premature as the fog lifted. Normally, fog only descends on the building when the Legislature is in session.   


Fall has indeed arrived in Oregon and with the seasonal adjustments, a flurry of activity for AOC.


Seven district meetings have been held, one to go, then time for the AOC Annual Conference with a smattering of Legislative Days and plenty of action at the state and federal levels.  


The Annual Conference will be held November 17, 18, 19 at the Hilton Conference Center in Eugene (pre-conference day is November 16). Please visit the new AOC website for registration and accommodation information. Click on the conference logo in the upper right hand corner of the front page. The theme of the 2015 Annual Conference is "Setting the Table for Success." In other words, "Don't be on the menu," which is the sub theme. Please monitor your email for updates from AOC staff as the program is finalized.  


Click on this logo on the website


Check out the New AOC Website

AOC has a new website, and we think you'll like it a lot! It's clean, easy to navigate and it is usable on any device you might be using. Check it out at:

As you can see, we have changed our domain name. So, that means all of our email addresses now end in Not to worry though, if you send to our old address it will forward, but you will eventually want to change the address in your system. There's no time like the present!

AOC Legislative Summary
The 2015 AOC Legislative Summary is now available. Please click here for your reading pleasure. Now for a preemptive mea culpa...we were having trouble finding time to do the final proof, and finally decided we needed to get the information online, warts and all. The information is correct, but there might be a typo or two.
October Legislative Committee Meeting
AOC steering committees, Legislative Committee and Board of Directors met October 12 at the Local Government Center in Salem. The Legislative Committee and the Board won't meet again until December 14, but the steering committees will meet at the Annual Conference in November.  

The December 14 Legislative Committee and Board meeting will be held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland and will coincide with the Annual Oregon Leadership Summit. Stay tuned for more information on time and agenda.  

AOC 1st VP Larry Givens and Governor Brown's Transportation Advisor Karmen Fore at the October Legislative Committee meeting in Salem
Energy, Environment and Land Use
Sage Grouse Not Listed
Big news this summer when the U.S. Department of the Interior announced that sage-grouse will not be listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). AOC, along with numerous other groups have been working for years through the Sage-Grouse Conservation Partnership ( SageCon). The group developed conservation strategies contained in a state action plan and backed by an executive order, as well as new rules. These rules and strategies have occasionally been controversial and conversations between the counties and the Governor's office and agencies are expected to continue into the future.  

To see Secretary Jewel's YouTube video describing the decision, click HERE.

To see Governor Brown's press release reflecting on the decision, click HERE.

More on the Sage-Grouse
In late August during a roundtable discussion with local, state and national sage grouse conservation partners at Portland's World Forestry Center, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA's new four-year strategy that will invest approximately $211 million through 2018 in conservation efforts to benefit greater sage grouse habitat. Harney County Judge Steve Grasty and Lake County Commissioner Dan Shoun participated in the discussion that also featured Governor Kate Brown.

Shortly after the sage grouse was not listed, State Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, issued a news release calling out Judge Grasty's tireless efforts to keep the sage grouse from being listed.

Judge Steve Grasty at USDA roundtable

Solid Waste Subcommittee Field Trip
The AOC Solid Waste Subcommittee of the Energy, Environment and Land Use Steering Committee met in Portland and visited two sites dedicated to reducing the flow of waste into the landfills. The subcommittee first met at Metro and discussed Metro's plans for the future of Household Hazardous Waste Extended Producer Responsibility legislation. 

Metro Paint Processing Facility

The group then went to MetroPaint's processing facility where they were able to see the process MetroPaint goes through to process the latex paint collected by PaintCare. They have a wide selection of paint available for sale and MetroPaint guarantees certain colors will be in stock into the future. The group then visited Agylix, a Beaverton-based company that converts post-consumer plastic into crude oil. The company is currently upgrading the facilities so that they will be able to continuously feed plastic into their conversion technology. For more information on MetroPaint or Agylix please contact AOC Policy Manager Mark Nystrom.

TGM Grant Winners Announced
The Department of Land Conservation and Development and ODOT have jointly issued an announcement of $2.6 million in funding for Transportation and Growth Management grants. Three counties - Benton, Crook, Yamhill - and the Lincoln County Transportation Service District were among the winners of these awards. These funds are used to update or begin city and county planning efforts.

Click  here for more information.

AOC Policy Manager Mark Nystrom deals with Energy, Environment and Land Use issues.

Marijuana Legal
As of October 1st, it is now legal to buy and consume recreational marijuana in the State of Oregon. Oregon counties have been grappling with the myriad of complexities recreational pot has brought and will bring.  

On August 20th, a group of 15 county planning directors from around the state, toured two medical marijuana grow sites to better understand the land use challenges dealing with grow sites.
The group discussed challenges with water, odor, security, processing and zoning restrictions with two different growers. The planners were surprised to learn about the wide variety of strains available that varied in levels of Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive ingredient that provides the "high" in marijuana while CBD are no-psychoactive but seem to have medical properties. The growers were cultivating plants that ranged from zero THC and high CBD to high levels of THC. The tour was arranged by one of the participants in the HB 3400 legislative process, Attorney Amy Margolis ( Ms. Margolis stated that if county commissioners were interested in touring legal grow sites to reach out to her and that she would facilitate the tour. 

Scenes from medical marijuana grow site

AOC Policy Manager Mark Nystrom deals with Energy, Environment and Land Use issues.  

Marijuana Materials

AOC Legal Counsel Rob Bovett recently generated a number of materials related to marijuana legislation, many of which are continuously being updated and supplemented. As of July 20, 2015, the following materials are available to AOC members upon request, and have also been made available to members of the Oregon County Counsels Association (OCCA):

  1. "Regulation of Marijuana in Oregon" PowerPoint (history, medical, retail, legislation, offenses) (PDF, 7.4mb, 152 slides, 7/15/15)
  2. Brief Summary of 2015 Oregon Marijuana Legislation (PDF, 315k, 2 pages, 7/12/15)
  3. Selected Provisions of 2015 Oregon Marijuana Legislation (PDF, 267k, 6 pages, 7/12/15)
  4. Local opt out of marijuana businesses
    1. Sample ordinances (PDF, 346k, 3 pages, 7/15/15)
    2. Sample order calling for election (PDF, 97k, 2 pages, 7/12/15)
    3. Sample ballot title (PDF, 217k, 1 page, 7/12/15)
    4. Sample ballot measure explanatory statement (PDF, 292k, 1 page, 7/12/15)
  5. New and revised marijuana offenses - training for law enforcement
    1. Booklet (PDF, 403k, 12 pages, last updated 7/1/15)
    2. PowerPoint (PDF, 1.5mb, 34 slides, last updated 7/1/15)
    3. Video (WMV, 703mb, 30 minutes, 6/30/15)
Please contact Rob at AOC for any or all of the material. If he's not in, please ask for Laura or Eric.  

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


Transportation/Community & Economic Development
Oregon Bridges Stressed
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) recently released a report that showed a huge need to increase funding to repair, maintain and build bridges. Oregon counties have 3400 bridges and many of them are in similar shape. Please read the AOC release on the need for increased bridge funding.

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

 Shake Out
October 15th is the day millions of people worldwide will practice how to drop, cover and hold on during the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills. For more information on the Great Oregon Shake Out, please click here.  

RADIO Conference
More than 75 people gathered in Hood River September 15th for the first ever Oregon Radio, Activities, Discussions, Interoperability in Oregon (RADIO) Conference. Sherman County Commissioner Mike Smith, who serves as AOC's representative on the Statewide Interoperability Executive Council (SIEC) worked with ODOT's Wireless Division Manager Rob Reish in developing the concept for the conference. That concept, bring the operators, managers and technical people who work on public safety communication systems together in one place at one time to explore what they have in common, what they need from each other and how to go into the future with interoperable communications.  

The huge turn out was unanticipated but appreciated and the conference content was rich with information and problem solving. This is the first step in a process Commissioner Smith sees going forward as we begin to work with FirstNet and the state radio project in developing modern and effective public safety communication systems statewide and nationwide. Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone attended the conference, leading one of the discussion groups. Both Commissioners Smith and DeBone are looking forward to the future, which is going to be complicated, but exciting. Thank you commissioners for your leadership.

Commissioner Mike Smith wraps up the RADIO Conference as 
Commissioner Tony DeBone listens

AOC Policy Manager Patrick Sieng handles Interoperability Issues for AOC.
Marion County Award
The Marion County Fair Board is the recipient of the 2015 Community-Based Volunteer Program Region 1 Governor's Volunteer Award. The award recognizes the work of the Marion County Fair Board for promoting the diverse agricultural and cultural heritage of Marion County. The Fair Board has successfully carried on those traditions since the 1860's and every year, some 25,000 visit the Marion County Fair, which is held on the State Fair Grounds in Salem. The all volunteer board works to promote economic development, high quality safe events for families and youth and easy and affordable access for all. In addition, the board has established partnerships to educate and inform citizens of the services available to them. Board members work tirelessly year round to create programs result in a family-friendly event that honors the past, present and future. 

Congratulations to the Marion County Fair Board!

L-R - Shannon Gubbels, Brandi Buxton, Nathan Leao, Pam Zielinski, Amy Goulter-Allen.  Missing - Joel Conder, Dlyan Wells
An Invitation from CUB
The Citizens' Utility Board (CUB) of Oregon invites you to attend the fifth annual energy policy conference, Utility 2025: Building the Northwest's Energy Future, on October 23, 2015 at the Downtown Portland Hilton. This inter-disciplinary conference will explore the challenges and opportunities that NW utilities face in the coming decade. The program is specifically designed to educate analysts, attorneys, utility industry professionals and stakeholders. Register online by Tuesday, October 20th HERE or at the door on Friday the 23rd. For more information, visit the conference website or contact Samuel Pastrick at or call (503) 227-1984 x21. 
 AOC Business Partner Membership Drive
Show your support and get rewarded! Reach out to business leaders in your community and tell them why they should become an AOC Business Partner

AOC will provide participants with a $100 discount off AOC Annual Conference registration and entry in a raffle for a future AOC or NACo event ( up to a $3000 savings). 

Let's work together! Help us create a network of business leaders to work with counties to build healthy local economies and establish vibrant communities.
For more information, contact Mckenzie Farrell, AOC member services and communications manager, at 503.585.8351 or
News from NACo
NACo Resources
NACo Comparison Chart on final "Waters of the U.S." rule. See Chart.

Excise Tax on High-Cost Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage: What Counties Need to Know. View Report.

National Body-Worn Camera Toolkit. Learn More.

Please feel free to contact Laura Cleland, Eric Schmidt 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, communications 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.