Friday, January 15, 2021
News & Notes
Legislative Reception provides insight into the Capitol here in Oregon & in DC
   WEA members, local state legislators, and U.S. Senator Ron Wyden met this morning as part of a WEA Virtual Legislative Reception.
   State Representatives Dacia Grayber, Ken Helm, Susan McLain, Raquel Moore-Green, Ron Noble, Sheri Schouten, and Janeen Sollman shared the virtual stage.
   Senator Wyden began the event and spoke about pandemic relief, vaccine allocations, healthcare, the economy, and last week's "domestic terrorism" at the Capitol.
   The Senator also touched on his hope for future investments in infrastructure, including broadband access.
   He shared his desire for investments in modernizing the unemployment system, both in making sure states have the technology needed for processing claims efficiently and for tying compensation to economic conditions on the ground.    During the reception, state legislators touched on similar issues including: pandemic relief, vaccinations, equity in job recruiting, education, transportation, healthcare, broadband, housing, and commercial evictions.
   There was a common theme among the legislators in wanting to collaborate and build relationships among their peers.
   Representative Helms said there are scars from the walkouts from the previous session, but Representative Noble said despite the walkouts, there are partnerships being made, and things are better on the inside of the building than what it may appear on the outside.
   Representatives Grayber and Sollman said they are building relationships and finding common ground with other legislators, even during the pandemic, by meeting virtually.
   WEA wants to thank event sponsor Legacy Health, all of the legislators who attended, and Senator Wyden and his staff.
   If you'd like to see a recording of the program, turn to the WEA YouTube channel.
Transportation Committee learns about the STIF
   The transportation world is made up of interesting acronyms, and the State of Oregon has a fresh one in the STIF - Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund.
   TriMet's Director of Planning Tom Mills and Washington County's Policy Analyst Chris Deffebach and Senior Planner Dyami Valentine spoke with WEA's Transportation Committee this week about current transit conditions and the STIF.
   The STIF was created from the transportation legislation of HB 2017 that passed a few years ago.
   The legislation was also branded as "Keep Oregon Moving."
   HB 2017 included a new employee paid payroll tax to fund the STIF, which allows for transit investments to be made throughout the state.
   In his update, Mills shared how TriMet is working on investments from the STIF, which will include increasing service in low income areas, expanding the fare reduction program for the low income, improving connections inside and outside its district, and more.
   For Washington County, the new transit fund has created opportunities to connect communities across the region that are not serviced by TriMet.
   Valentine and Deffebach said the county is working with six to eight other transit agencies and adjacent counties to make connections easier for transit riders.
   Part of this effort includes coordinating shuttle services in Forest Grove, Tualatin, and North Hillsboro with planning of shuttles in Aloha and South Beaverton.
   One example of this Deffebach shared was possible expansion of the GroveLink shuttle from Forest Grove to service Cornelius.
   There is also work being done on rural shuttles, expansion of transit in Banks and North Plains, and demand response shuttles.
   To see the slide decks from this presentation, click on these links for TriMet's or Washington County's.
WEA is looking to develop the organization's strategies moving into the future.
   With the pandemic and other issues swirling for nearly a year now, WEA is looking to morph and thrive by bringing together a Strategy Committee made up of some of its Board of Directors.
   These directors include NW Natural's Nina Carlson, Kaiser Permanente's Brantley Dettmer, PGE's Randy Ealy, Gantry's Blake Hering, Intel's Carly Riter, and Tigard Mayor Jason Snider.
   With a changing landscape, the objective of this group is to develop strategies and give WEA direction going into the future on how to best serve and bring value to its membership.
   In the coming weeks, committee members will be reaching out to some of WEA's membership to talk one-on-one over the phone, and all members will be asked to provide feedback through a survey process.
   Once the research and surveying analysis is complete, the Strategy Committee will make recommendations to the Board of Directors in the spring.
   More details will be coming soon, but if you have a desire to talk sooner, you can reach out to Teresa Dunham.
Odds & Ends
  • Congratulations to the following WEA members: Umpqua Bank's Drew Anderson, Melvin Mark's Paul Andrews, OHSU's Gina Hawley, Intel's Courtney Martin, and Columbia Bank's Sarah Stubee for making Portland Business Journal's 40 under 40 list.

  • If you are looking for an event honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, the World Arts Foundation will be hosting a virtual event from 12pm - 5pm. To learn more, click here.
Events coming up
Mon. 1/18 - MLK Day - WEA laptops will be closed in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Wed. 1/20 at 12:00 p.m. - The Land Use & Housing Committee will meet virtually. All members are welcome. Contact KC Reinhart for more information.

Wed. 1/27 at 7:30 a.m. The WEA Board of Directors will meet virtually.

Wed. 2/10 at 7:30 a.m. - The Transportation Committee will meet virtually. All members are welcome.