AOC Logo


Oregon Trails

An Occasional Newsletter


The Association of Oregon Counties

Month, Year - Vol 1, Issue 1

The Home Stretch Begins

They call it the end game

June 2, 2015

In This Issue
Governance & Marijuana
Public Safety
Energy, Environment & Land Use
Health & Human Services
Transportation/Community & Economic Development
Photo Break
Water Policy
Veterans Update
Cable Ship Tour
Regards to Rural
AOC Summer Summit
NACo Presidential Appointments
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links

Salem - Here it is, June 2, 2015.  As the Romans used to say, "tempus fugit".  The Oregon Legislature continues to march toward sine die (another Roman reference - means adjournment) later this month or early next month.  Both chambers are holding floor sessions, working on a boat load of legislation that emerged from various committees.  


Work continues behind the scenes as legislators negotiate with each other and leadership over the status of bills that remain alive and budget matters.  One observer called it "wheeling and dealing" which it probably is, but it is an important part of the legislative process and needs to be recognized as such.  


Your AOC policy staff continues to provide legislators and legislative staff with the best possible information about Oregon counties and the impact much of that legislation will have.  This week's edition of Oregon Trails has up to date information on much of the legislation still in play and some of the issues still needing attention.


If you have any questions about the material in this newsletter, please feel free to contact the AOC communications team and we will endeavor to find you an answer, a person with the answer or we will turn it over to a recovering journalist who will just make something up.  


Thank you.  


Marijuana, Marijuana, Marijuana (the modern version of Marcia, Marcia, Marcia)

The issue of local opt out of categories of marijuana businesses, and local taxation of marijuana, continue to be the focal point of impasse for both the medical and retail marijuana bills (Senate Bill 964 and House Bill 3400, respectively).


On Sunday, May 31, after speaking with each co-chair of the Joint Committee on Implementing Measure 91, AOC Legal Counsel Rob Bovett worked up two options to possibly get past the impasse:


* Option 1:  Strip out everything related to local opt out and local taxation from both bills, leaving the existing provisions of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) and Measure 91 relating to those topics intact and unaffected, thus leaving those issues to be litigated.


* Option 2:  Allow local governing bodies to opt out of any one or more categories of marijuana businesses (medical and retail), but require a local vote to sustain each opt out.  Also allow local governing bodies to refer a low-capped supplemental tax on retail marijuana to local voters.


Mr. Bovett provided the draft amendments to Legislative Counsel and the Co-Chairs, as well as to members of the Oregon County Counsels Association (OCCA) and the Association of Oregon County Planning Directors (AOCPD).  Mr. Bovett made it clear that he has no authority to indicate that AOC supports either of those two options.  However, both options have been placed on the agenda for review and possible approval by the AOC Governance and Legislative Committees on Monday, June 8. 


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


Public Safety

Justice Reinvestment Funded at $33.7 million, Discussions for Higher Amount Continue

The Joint Ways & Means Subcommittee on Public Safety held a work session on Senate Bill 5506 Monday, approving the Legislative Fiscal Office staff recommendation of $33.7 million for the justice reinvestment fund.  Senate Bill 5506 is the budget bill for the Criminal Justice Commission, which administers the justice reinvestment grants for counties.


Committee members expressed concern about the amount of funding with hopes that more funding would follow.


"I hope that if there's anyway in this process before we get out of this building to find additional dollars for these grants," said Sen. Jackie Winters, R-Salem.  "There's a lot of good work happening that is working so I hope we find additional resources."


Sen. Chip Shields, D-Portland, who co-chairs the subcommittee said that he and fellow co-chair Rep. Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, would continue to press the co-chairs for additional funding in the legislature's program change bill.  That bill, often known within the capitol as the "Christmas Tree Bill" will be one of the final bills to go through the session and continues miscellaneous funding for programs.


Local Court Judges Receive Option to Ban Weapons in Courtroom 

AOC led passage of a bill introduced at the request of the Oregon Justices of the Peace Association to ban weapons from local courtrooms.  Additional amendments to Senate Bill 385 also added county juvenile and probate courts to the list as well.


The bill was introduced after an incident occurred in the Clackamas Co. Justice Court.  A man who was contesting a traffic ticket showed up to court brandishing a firearm.  He had conducted enough research to know that he was allowed to carry the firearm into the court.


The bill passed both House and Senate overwhelmingly.  It will give judges in local courts not located in the same building where a presiding circuit court the ability to ban weapons.  Penalties will be the same as the existing circuit court ban. 


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


Energy, Environment & Land Use

BLM Releases Final Environmental Impact Statement for Greater Sage Grouse

BLM has released The Oregon Sub-regional Greater Sage-Grouse Proposed Resource Management Plan Amendment and Final Environmental Impact Statement. AOC has been closely following this issue and with BLM comprising nearly two thirds of the impacted sage grouse territory, these reports are very important in determining whether the sage grouse is listed as endangered. The BLM is attempting to balance the needs of the bird with the needs of sustainable economic development. Click the links to the News Release, Fact Sheet and website with all the FEIS chapters and maps.

On Thursday morning Harney County Judge Steve Grasty will be testifying at the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources to update them on local efforts to protect the Sage Grouse.


PaintCare Report and Plan

The Oregon Paint Stewardship law requires a meeting of program stakeholders to discuss the Oregon Paint Stewardship Program 2014 Annual Report.  Last week PaintCare representatives presented their report to interested stake holders. In addition, DEQ presented highlights from the DEQ's Oregon Paint Stewardship Program: Estimate of 2014 Paint Collection Volumes and the 2015 -2017 Oregon Architectural Paint Stewardship Program Plan 2015 - 2017.


These reports can be found here.  PaintCare has now expanded their numbers of retail sites to every county and is meeting the convenience standard for 97% of Oregonians. AOC voiced concerns over the lack or reimbursement costs for county collection and the idea that paint collection brings in other house hold hazardous waste.


Legislative Update

Many of the bills AOC is tracking are currently waiting their turn in the Ways and Means process. In addition many are waiting for action from the House and Senate floors. Last week DEQ's budget bill HB 5018 moved from the Natural Resources Subcommittee back to the Full Ways and Means without significant changes from the Governor's Recommended Budget. There are a few more policy bills receiving  work sessions this week which will be reported at Monday's Energy, Environment and Land Use Steering Committee Meeting.


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


Health and Human Services

We (counties and AOC policy staff) are on the verge of getting updated budget information from the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. All recent conversations indicate we are in a good position to see new investments in mental health crisis services. As far as we know, Senate President (Peter) Courtney (D-Keizer) has not officially changed his request for $94 million in mental health investments, though we do know that is likely an unrealistic figure. 


According to Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, the co-chairs (Buckley is one of them) have determined how much funding is available for "leadership priorities" and it is up to President Courtney, Speaker (Tina) Kotek (D-Portland), and the House and Senate majority leaders to negotiate who gets how much money for their requests. At this point, it is a wait-and-see game, but we are hopeful for new funds. It does sound like the Ways and Means subcommittee co-chairs want to prioritize crisis services as well in their budget narrative, and it therefore does not seem necessary to craft a budget note on this issue as we had been considering. All signs indicate that advocates and service providers have done an excellent job this session in highlighting the effectiveness of these investments.


On the public health/tobacco front, things continue to be a matter of hurrying up and waiting. SB 663, which is now the vehicle to move licensure for tobacco retailers, is on the dash -13 amendments, with more being drafted. It seems we are close to a bill moving as it has been scheduled for a work session the past two days and continues to be carried over until final amendments are ready to go. 


After much work by stakeholders, at this time (barring any unexpected changes in future amendments), the bill establishes a statewide licensure program (and precludes cities and counties from having their own tobacco licensure programs), but continues to allow local governments to enact ordinances regarding sales of tobacco (e.g. school-zone limits, requiring products to be behind the counter, etc.).


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


Transportation/Community & Economic Development


I been down this road just searching' for the end

It don't go nowhere, it just brings you back again

Leaves you lonely and cold, standin' on the shoulder

But you've come too far to go back home

So you're walkin' on a nowhere road


Steve Earle's "Nowhere Road" might be the perfect metaphor for the journey we've been taking with 2015 Transportation Package.  We started the session so optimistic about a package, only to have our hopes dashed with the political fallout of the passage of the Clean Fuels legislation.  There was then a glimmer of hope that a package might still be a possibility.


Amid rumors and speculation, we are standing on the shoulder waiting to see if the Legislature will be able to deliver a package before the end of session.  Governor Kate Brown continues to meet with leaders from both parties and both chambers.  ODOT Director Matt Garrett has also been involved in these discussions. 


We've come too far to go back home empty handed, so we have been working on lots of other bills while awaiting the fate of the transportation package.


It appears that House Bill 2283 will be the home for a funding source to cover the cost of the DMV's Service Transformation Program (STP) and the DMV Debit/Credit Acceptance program.  These two 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 2283 will allow for DMV to recover the cost of services on certain functions, such as issuing Class C driver licenses.  This would raise approximately $28M per biennium, which would cover the costs of the DMV Programs over the long term. 


Additionally, AOC Transportation Policy Manager Mary Stern has provided testimony on behalf of AOC in support of Connect Oregon funding in both  HB 5030 and HB 2274.  As was mentioned a few weeks ago, HB 5030 authorizes the issuance of Lottery Bonds for ODOT's Connect Oregon program, as well as for Business Oregon, Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS), and Water Resources Department (WRD).  In addition to the Connect Oregon funding, HB 2274 makes changes to the Connect program, including adding to the criteria for consideration of projects a requirement that a proposed project have a useful life expectancy that offers maximum benefit to the state.  This additional language should help alleviate some of the concerns voiced by AOC's members regarding the short term nature of some of the bike/ped projects previously funded through ConnectOR. 



After lots of discussion, AOC voted in March to support  HB 3125, which would expand the food processing property tax exemption to include machinery and equipment used to process grains, bakery products, milk and eggs.  AOC and others voiced concerned about the bill, as drafted, expanding the scope of the current law beyond the inclusion of "personal property machinery and equipment that is used in an integrated processing line."  We continue to work with Representatives Phil Barnhart, D- Eugene and Val Hoyle, D-Eugene, in attempt to align this bill with the current law. 


HB 3492, the solar "Payment In Lieu of Taxes" bill supported by AOC, is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Finance & Revenue committee on Thursday, June 4.  The sponsors of the bill have worked with AOC and LOC to make changes, including making it permissive rather than mandatory for a local government to enter into an agreement with the owner of a solar project.  These amendments will be provided at the hearing. AOC's Mary Stern will once again provide testimony in support of this bill, highlighting the economic development benefits it will provide to our rural communities. 


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


A Photo Break 
From the front steps of the Oregon Capitol in Salem

Another photo from the noted camera phone photographer Mike McArthur
 Water Policy

Ways & Means Subcommittee sends positive signals to Water Resources Department and water development. 

The Joint Ways & Means Natural Resources Subcommittee on Monday passed an amended House Bill 5042, which frames the 2015-17 budget for the Water Resources Department (WRD), to the full committee "do pass".


The subcommittee is co-chaired by Rep. Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis, but for this work session, Ways & Means Co-Chair Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin, ran the show, giving the decisions of the subcommittee added authority. And the decisions were generally very positive and hint at favorable outcomes for the department's bonding requests in HBs 5005 and 5030.


The subcommittee approved Water Resources Department Policy Option Package #106, increasing the WRD feasibility study grants administration from 0.25 FTE to a full FTE, depending on the passage of the lottery bonds request for $2 million to fund the program.

POP #104 was approved, adding a hydrotech by general funds to monitor the Klamath Basin, as was POP #101 funding a limited duration FTE to reduce water right backlog issues in the basin.


Of particular importance to AOC, the subcommittee agreed to provide the general funds for a limited duration FTE (POP #105) for initial implementation and testing of placed-based planning in up to three communities, to adjust and improve guidelines into the future. The companion Senate Bill 266, which creates the grant program for place-based strategy development, needs to pass, as does the lottery bond request of $750,000 to fund the grants.


The subcommittee passed POP #103, strongly supported by AOC but not included in the Governor's Recommended Budget. This will provide a chief groundwater technology scientist to capture, process, share, analyze, and archive badly needed groundwater data.


Of critical importance to AOC and the state is development of the state's water supply. By approving POP #115, the subcommittee took an active approach. It provides general funds for three permanent staff (one water supply engineer; two planning coordinators) to do outreach and active consulting with individuals and local governments on a place-based or individual basis, including coordinating financing opportunities and providing technical, permitting, and engineering expertise in developing water supply projects.


All in all, HB 5042 was treated well, and hints at the leaders' intentions to provide the bonding needed to put real action into Oregon's Integrated Water Resources Strategy.

The entire subcommittee deserves the thanks of counties statewide: Senators Devlin, Bill Hansell, R-Athena, and Michael Dembrow, D-Portland; and Representatives Rayfield, Brian Clem, D-Salem, Dave Gomberg, D-Otis, Jodi Hack, R-Salem and Julie Parrish, R-West Linn.


Now attention returns to the Capital Construction Subcommittee and the full Ways & Means Committee to follow through on WRD critical bonding requests. 


AOC Policy Director Gil Riddell can answer your water related questions.  



Last Chance To RSVP!  Please Join Us!

PDX USO and USS Cape St. George (CG-71) Tours

Friday, June 5, 2015

8:00 am - 2:00 pm


Join the AOC Veterans Steering Committee

When:  Friday, June 5th (8:00 am - 2:00 pm)

Where: Downtown Portland/Tom McCall Waterfront Park/ Portland Airport

Please RSVP to Andy Smith - 971-322-8512




8:00 a.m. Meet at Multnomah County Building Lobby at 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214 (Please use paid parking located on south side of Hawthorne Blvd, just east of NE Grand Ave)


8:15 Walk/Take Public Transportation to Downtown Waterfront


8:45 Private Tour of USS Cape St. George (CG-71)


10:15 Visit VA "Community Resource Center" located at 308 SW 1st Ave (Walk from Waterfront)


11:00 Lunch/Visit Multnomah County CVSO Offices located at 421 SW Oak St(pickup lunches from Food Carts)


Noon Travel to Portland Airport (transportation provided)


12:30 Portland Airport USO Tour


2 pm Return to Multnomah Building (transportation provided) 



"Learning Session: Veterans Involved in the Criminal Justice System"

Monday, June 8th,  10 to 10:30 am, Room 306, Local Government Center, Salem


Please attend a joint meeting of the AOC Veterans and the AOC Public Safety Committee.


Presentation by William B. Brown, a Professor in the Criminal Justice Department at Western Oregon University. His research includes prisoner reintegration, sentencing processes, youth gangs, homelessness, and other topics related to incarcerated persons.  His current research centers on the resocialization experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.


Professor Brown will share basic information on how some of our veterans are getting entangled in our criminal justice system.  See his published work here.


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


Cable Ship Tour

AOC Executive Director Mike McArthur, AOC Legal Counsel Rob Bovett and Greg Wolf, director of the Oregon County Solutions Center, were invited by Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Thompson to tour the CS Global Sentinel, a fiber optic cable installation and repair vessel at Swan island on May 28th.   


Commissioner Thompson is a Board member on the Oregon Fishermen's Cable Committee, Inc. This is a group he help found to collaboratively deal with the conflicts between fisherman and the undersea cable industry. The collaboration has been so successful that Oregon is now the favored state to land trans pacific undersea cables.


The Oregon Fishermen's Cable Committee, Inc. held it's semi-annual Board of Directors meeting in Portland, OR on May 28th, aboard the Cableship Global Sentinel at her berth on Swan Island.  It was a rare opportunity to get a tour of the vessel and her submersible tools.  AOC staff were guests at a luncheon (fresh Oregon seafood!) on board the ship followed by a tour of this amazing vessel.   This cableship is essential to the development and maintenance of the world-wide undersea telecommunications infrastructure in Oregon. This nearly 500 foot vessel can use its sea plow to bury cable in waters nearly 1 mile deep, and also has a robotic submersible that can work in depths over 1 ? miles, to bury, inspected, photograph and measure burial of submarine cables.


CS Global Sentinel at dock
Looking forward

Robot and human who put cable under the sea

Many thanks to Commissioner Thompson for arranging the tour and luncheon.  It was a great experience.  

Regards to Rural Conference

Regards to Rural Conference will be held June 26-27th at the Riverhouse Hotel and Convention Center in Bend.  


Presented by RDI, the Regards to Rural 2015 conference , Navigating the Rivers of Change: Rural Communities in Transition, is a gathering to inform and inspire. RDI invites you to join them to renew your energy, share practices and spark innovative ideas for strengthening the economic vitality and social vibrancy of rural communities. The conference will include over 30 effective skill-building sessions, access to rural resources and opportunities to network with others who are passionate about making sustainable changes in their rural communities.


Confirmed 2015 keynote speakers are Roger Brooks, tourism and downtown development expert, and Shanna Ratner, Principal of Yellow Wood Associates, Inc. In addition, RDI has invited U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to speak at the conference.


For questions about the conference, contact:

Stacey Stonesifer

RDI Senior Program Manager

Phone: 541.419.7000

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 in just a few days.  Watch your in-box for details.   


NACo Presidential Appointments

Become a NACo Leader and Make a Difference

A great deal of NACo's strength is in its committees and that strength is reflected in the commitment and active participation revealed throughout our committee structure.


These appointments are for:

  • Policy steering committee and subcommittee chairs and vice chairs
  • LUCC and RAC chairs, vice chairs and members
  • At-Large appointments to the NACo Board of Directors
  • Standing committee chairs, vice chairs and members
  • Ad Hoc committee, task force and advisory board chairs, vice chairs and members

The Presidential Appointments Application Form must be completed by everyone who wants to be considered for a leadership or committee appointment on a standing or ad hoc committee for the 2015 - 2016 presidential year. The application form is available online at NACo's web site: Presidential Appointments Application.


Please note: steering committee membership is NOT a part of this application process. State associations are responsible for nominating general policy steering committee members. To become a members of a steering committee you must fill out the steering committee nomination form and submit it to your state association, who will submit the nomination to NACo.


Please address questions to Jamie Richards at 202.942.4258. 


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.