Wildfire relief, Mo's, and Budgeting

We are moving into the next phase of the session with deadlines approaching for bills to have a hearing or they in effect die. There were around 4000 to start with! With all the committees that I sit on and the countless number of video hearings that we have had, coupled with floor sessions, it is welcoming to move passed this process.

We were able to recently pass a budget bill for wildfire relief. This wildfire relief bill included over $700,000 specifically for wildfire recovery from the Echo Mountain Fire. This money is critical for those devastated by the fire and will help them rebuild their wells and septic systems. I am glad I was there to make sure this money was directed to our residents on the coast and not somewhere else.

The last item I want to touch on is redistricting - the State Courts have ruled in favor of the Legislature to redraw the lines instead of Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. This means you will probably hear a lot more about the political lines of the state after we adjourn at the end of June. There will likely be a special session or two in September and October. I bring this up as I just want you to be aware. We do not want our Representatives to have portions of Portland and Eugene Metro areas in them and we want to push to have our own Congressional Representative for the Coast! I will work with my bipartisan coastal caucus for the good of the coast - north and south. They are still taking testimony, find out more information here.

Kind regards,
Honoring Mo's - and the chowder too!
What do Paul Newman, Henry Fonda and Robert Kennedy all have in common? They all loved Mo’s chowder, of course. You’d be hard pressed to find someone in Oregon who doesn’t know about Mo’s. The restaurant is an institution, and like many, I’ve been able to call the many managers and family members friends.

One of the fun things that happens in the capitol is the privilege of voting to honor some of the greatest Oregonians. This year we have the distinction of honoring Mo’s with House Concurrent Resolution 8. This Resolution congratulates Mo’s Seafood and Chowder for 75 years of business on the Oregon coast. I will plan to speak about the restaurant and what it has meant to the region when the legislation comes over to the Senate side later in session. I think the language in the resolution tells the story of Mo and her beloved establishment well. It reads in part: “Mo’s spirit lives on in her wildly successful family-run business and the vibrant community she did so much to foster and grow. We recognize and honor Mo Niem’s lager than life personality for being the spark that lit the fire of the tourism industry on the Oregon coast.”

We need to discuss housing - for real
I serve on the Senate Housing and Development Committee this session and it has been a great chance to dig in on one of the states biggest challenges. I quickly became aware as I participated in hearings and discussed bills that we spend a lot of our time talking about subsidies and creating new programs but very little on how to actually build more homes. In short, the “development” part of the “Housing and Development” committee was not being considered. A recent Oregon housing study stated Oregon is going to need 580,000 units between now and 2040 across all regions of Oregon to meet demand. We are going to have to generate about 30,000 new units per year to do that. We are currently at 20,000 and have not hit 30,000 since 2005, before that not since the 1970’s. When you combine this with the fact we already have a back log of 125,000-150,000 units, it's easy to see the size of the problem.

I have convened a diverse group of housing builders, developers, financers and innovative thinkers to discuss the barriers to building and how we can take practical steps to get at the root of the problem, and not just create more window dressing in Salem. (pun intended). I’ll be sharing more in coming newsletters and this will be a long-term project of mine to generate more housing options for Oregon families.

Fraud – Scam Jam for all Oregonians
The Oregon Scam Jam presented by AARP Oregon, the Oregon Attorney General’s office and the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation will take place virtually four Fridays in April, beginning April 9, 2021. You can catch up on the past ones and keep going with the new ones. Scams across Oregon have increased in the past year, as scammers use the pandemic and natural disasters of the past year to steal millions from Oregonians.  These interactive virtual events bring together experts to highlight the types of scams across the state and then provides resources and tips that help protect consumers.

Budget Framework & Hearings Update:
Your chance to weigh in on the budget is happening really quick. You can watch the discussions online or you can testify. I will be heavily involved in budgeting this session, and we intend to work to ensure that the coast will get it's 'fair share'.

It is not the most exciting thing, but talking about infrastructure, broadband access, health care needs and more for the coast is always important. Even though we are one area of the state, it is safe to say all of the state uses the Coast.

Find out more about the events at the Senate Republicans Facebook Page.

State Senator Dick Anderson - Office S-303. 503-986-1705 sen.dickanderson@oregonlegislature.gov