August 7, 2020
News & Notes
NW Natural celebrates the ability to buy renewable gas
   Thanks to recent policy making, NW Natural now has a clear path for acquiring renewable natural gas on behalf of its customers.
   Governor Brown signed the groundbreaking bill, Senate Bill 98 (SB 98), last year, but the Public Utility Commission of Oregon (OPUC), consumer groups, and natural gas utilities have been working through the rulemaking process.
   This rulemaking process is now complete, and natural gas utilities can begin procuring renewable natural gas under the legislation.
   Renewable natural gas is a zero-carbon resource that is produced from local organic materials - food, agricultural and forestry waste, wastewater, or landfills.
   The gas can be cleaned and added to the existing natural gas system, where it is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas.
   SB 98 goes further than any other law by setting voluntary goals for adding as much as 30% renewable natural gas into the state’s pipeline system by 2050.
   It also supports all forms of renewable natural gas, including renewable hydrogen, which is made from excess wind, solar, and hydro power.
   Renewable hydrogen can be used for the transportation system, industrial use, or blended into the natural gas pipeline system.
   “We’re excited to use this landmark law, one of the first of its kind in the nation, to acquire a renewable product for our customers and bring our region one step closer to a clean energy future,” said NW Natural President and CEO David H. Anderson in a statement. “Another important benefit is that local communities now have a potential revenue source to turn their waste into energy.”
   To read more, click here.
Governor Brown calls special session to address state budget concerns
Oregon Legislature
   Oregon legislators will be back at the capitol on Monday for a Special Session to rebalance the state's budget.
   The Governor is bringing lawmakers together to address the state's revenue shortfall created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
   Governor Brown said, “This crisis has impacted all of us—Oregon families, businesses, non-profits, and local governments have all had to cut costs. The State of Oregon has been tightening its belt as well. With a nearly $1 billion budget deficit in the current biennium, there is more work to do."
   The Governor said the state has been smart with its reserves and rainy day savings, but she is cautious to dip too much into savings now for fear of a bigger budget gap later.
   “Unlike the federal government, Oregon must balance our state budget. State and local governments have been left reeling from the economic downturn. For months, we have waited for Congress to take action, and it is still my hope that they will include aid for states and local governments in the coronavirus relief package currently being negotiated," said Brown.
   To read more, click here.
ODOT will be shifting travelers to one span during Interstate Bridge repairs
Interstate Bridge
   If you or your products travel the I-5 Interstate Bridge on a regular basis, get ready for more delays than normal.
   We are quickly approaching the Trunnion Replacement project, which the Oregon Department of Transportation's staff warned us about last year.
   A trunnion is a part at the top of the bridge tower that supports the weight of the bridge and counterweights for raising and lowering the lift span.
   It, and some other mechanical parts, are being replaced on the northbound side of the bridge, which means it needs to be shutdown for nine days.
   The closure will start on September 12 and end on September 20.
   During this time, all traffic will share the southbound span, and ODOT will be shifting a concrete barrier to allow for better traffic flow to accommodate the morning and evening commutes.
   There will also be closures of some nearby ramps in the area.
   To learn more, visit ODOT's website.
Odds & Ends
  • ODOT is hosting an online open house for the I-205 tolling project. To weigh in, click here.

  • Washington County is hosting virtual listening sessions for the community and its Board of Commissioners. For more information, click here.

  • The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis' Josh Lehner shared his graph of the week, which looks at the recovery thus far. To take a look, click here.

  • The City of Hillsboro is planning for another round of small business grants. To learn more, click here.

  • As Oregon students prepare to return to school virtually this fall, you can help bridge the digital divide for them. Intel has teamed up with Free Geek and the KGW School Supplies Drive to collect unused devices that can be refurbished into devices students can use. Donations of old laptops or unused devices are being collected on Saturday, August 15 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Intel's Aloha Parking Lot 3, the Cedar Mill Safeway, or the Lloyd Center OnPoint Community Credit Union. Click here (scroll down the web page) for additional details.

  • Congratulations to Pacific University's Class of 2020, which will be celebrating its graduation virtually tomorrow. If you want to celebrate the August commencement, click here.

  • Portland State University and its conference mates announced today it's postponing its fall sports until spring. Click here to read more.

  • The Standard has a web page dedicated to mental health in the workplace for employers. To look further into the details, click here.

  • Finally, the one way mental health can be boosted is by getting outside, and one sport we can play outside right now is golf. WEA's annual fundraiser is coming up three weeks from today. The WEA Golf Committee has been working with The Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club to make this a safe event for everyone. We have moved to tee times. If you would like to join us, please see the WEA website.
Events coming up
Wed. 8/12 at 7:30 a.m. there will be a virtual joint meeting of the Government Relations, Land Use & Housing, and Transportation committees. For more information, contact Pam Treece.

Th. 8/13 A virtual forum with the superintendents of Beaverton, Hillsboro, and Tigard-Tualatin school districts, starting at 7:30 a.m. To register

Fri. 8/14 at 12:00 p.m. the Golf Committee will meet virtually. For more information, contact Teresa Dunham.

Fri. 8/28 Westside Golf Scramble - Registration is open! For more information, click here.

To see more of the WEA calendar, please visit the WEA website.