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Oregon Trails

An Occasional Newsletter


The Association of Oregon Counties

Month, Year - Vol 1, Issue 1

February 11, 2016

In This Issue
2016 Revenue Forecast
Energy, Environment & Land Use
Health & Human Services
Public Lands & Natural Resources
Public Safety
Happy Trails
Community & Economic Development
Founding Counties
Recognizing Judge Tallman
NACo Conference
News from NACo
Upcoming Webinar
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links

Video Lottery Fund Adjustment

The AOC policy team is working to have an amendment inserted into a 2016 budget bill that would adjust the present video lottery allocation to counties for the 2015-17 biennium. 

We need your help! Please urge your legislators to support the video lottery allocation adjustment. 

Please use these one page talking points when speaking with legislators.The document lays out AOC's logic for an adjusted allocation, which was adopted in House Bill 5029 (2015).

Under ORS 461.547, counties are to receive 2.5 percent of net receipts (after payments of prizes) from video lottery games, dedicated to county economic development projects.  Read more...

2016 Revenue Forecast: Strong, But Clouds on the Horizon

Quick summary of February 2016 State Revenue Forecast
The Office of Economic Analysis presented its latest projections of the state's economy and revenue income this week. The team of Mark McMullen and Josh Lehner were upbeat about the near term and cautious about the longer term (economists always have another "hand").
  • The U.S. economy is still in expansion; initial unemployment claims are trending sharply down, but industrial production is weak.
  • In Oregon, non-farm employment is growing, which translates into stronger and broad-based income gains. Employment in most regions is growing, and this is pulling workers back into the labor force. Personal income tax collections remain healthy, while corporate taxes are turning downward (including capital gains).
  • Oregon weekly Powerball sales surged, as did tobacco sales (likely an indication of more dispensable income - or the billion dollar jackpot).
  • Since the December forecast, net general fund resources are up $36 million (0.2 percent), and lottery resources are up $24.8 million.
  • There is still no personal kicker projected for 2017. On the other hand (economist-talk), $34.3 million in corporate tax revenue is projected to be dedicated to K-12 education spending in 2017-19.
  • A bit of good news for counties: video lottery sales surged. As a consequence, AOC is lobbying for an upward adjustment to the 2015-17 allocation to counties of economic development resources of $1,753 million.
For more information contact Gil Riddell, AOC policy director.
Energy, Environment & Land Use

HB 4036-Renewable Portfolio Standard-Support with Amendments
HB 4036 is the product of a compromise between the private utilities and the environmental community. The bill received a public hearing on Tuesday and Thursday last week. There were plenty of people testifying on both sides of the issue. AOC, along with the Community Renewable Energy Association (CREA), is attempting to amend the bill so that the eight percent community renewable goal becomes a requirement. Efforts are ongoing to introduce this amendment on the House side but at this time it appears as if AOC/CREA will have to get it introduced on the Senate side. HB 4036 passed the House Energy and Environment Committee February 11 and will head to the House floor.

SB 1563-Low Income Onsite Septic Loan Program-Support with Amendments
SB 1563-1 dash 1 amendments create an RFP program that enables DEQ to allow a third party lender to provide loans for repair/replacement of onsite septic systems or, if possible, connection to city sewer systems. The bill is scheduled to receive a hearing today. 

SB 1517-Oregon Farm Bureau Wetlands Bill-Support with Amendments
SB 1517-3 received a public hearing last week. Commissioners Labhart (Tillamook) and Smith (Curry) testified in favor of the bill. The dash 3 amendments would provide counties a level of oversight for the creation of wetlands in Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) lands. The bill also changes the liability requirements on wetlands creation and increases the removal/fill limits. The hearing was controversial and had to be carried over to Thursday afternoon. At this time the Farm Bureau is negotiating with the Governor's office to try to find a compromise that both sides can agree upon. The bill is scheduled to receive a hearing today.

Flood Plain Fact Sheets
The Willamette Partnership has put together two new fact sheets about the Biological Opinion (BiOp) and Smarter Floodplain Management. Read more...

2016 TGM Pre-Application Packet Now Available
The Transportation Grant Management Pre-Application packets have been mailed to all Oregon jurisdictions, tribes, and eligible special districts on February 1st.  Read more...

For more information contact Mark Nystrom, AOC energy, environment & land use policy manager.
Health and Human Services

Update on Tobacco Policy
The e-cigarette tax is not positioned to move in the 2016 legislative session, as was originally suspected, despite some optimism from a few legislators. The conversation has gotten some traction however, and is likely to come back in 2017.

The tobacco retail licensure bill has gotten even more contentious. It is unclear whether there is support in the committee for the bill without adding an amendment to allow sampling in vape shops; however, if the amendment is adopted, even the proponents of the bill will pull their support. So at this point, it is unclear whether this bill is likely to move or not. Following the work session we will have more information.

For more information contact Stacy Michaelson, AOC health and human services policy manager.

Public Lands & Natural Resources

The AOC Public Lands & Natural Resources Committee presented the AOC Legislative Committee with two bills to support. 
House Bill 4040, which ratifies the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission decision to delist the Gray Wolf (canis lupus) from the State Endangered Species Act and is now under threat of appeal, was heard by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee last Wednesday and sent to the House floor as amended the following Tuesday. Witnesses, both for and against, filled the room. Although delisted only on the eastside under the federal ESA, the gray wolf retains significant protections under the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, which received support from ranchers and producers. The amended version removed a prohibition against relisting the gray wolf until its numbers declined to a point where Chair Brad Witt explained that it would be virtually impossible to relist. The amendments were a compromise agreed to by all parties. Moreover, the committee amended a bill to increase civil penalties for unlawful taking or killing wildlife ( HB 4046) by adding the gray wolf to the list of species covered. HB 4046 was sent to the House floor with a do-pass recommendation.

The second natural resources bill to see action is a work product of Wheeler County Judge Chris Perry. House Bill 4007 would authorize establishment of a rangeland fire protection association formed by rangeland owners or approved by a county governing body as a cost-neutral part of the county emergency management program. Judge Perry was introduced to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee at the Tuesday hearing by State Representative Greg Smith. Judge Perry explained that the county had done its best to control rangeland fires with local volunteers and battered, dangerous equipment for over 20 years. Because of Wheeler County's very high permanent property tax rate of $8.63, he stated that he devised this concept without cost to the taxpayer. State Forester Doug Decker testified that the Department of Forestry is neutral on the bill, but that the approach is reasonable. Committee members commented that the $3,000 to $5,000 start-up costs to the department to provide assistance was a worthwhile investment. The committee quickly scheduled a work session for Thursday, where HB 4007 was sent to the House with a unanimous do-pass recommendation.

For more information contact Gil Riddell, AOC policy director.

Public Safety

Public Comment: FEMA's "Disaster Deductible" Proposal
On January 20, an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) announced that FEMA is considering the establishment of a "disaster deductible," which would require recipients of FEMA Public Assistance (typically states; counties are sub-recipients) to meet a predetermined level of financial or other commitment before receiving federal disaster funds. Comments are due by March 21.  Read more...

FirstNet in Oregon Update
FirstNet is building a nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety usage. The Oregon FirstNet Office has published Release 4 of Oregon's Planning for FirstNet Network technical report. The report provides the latest on FirstNet activities and developments in Oregon.  Read more...

For more information contact Patrick Sieng, AOC public safety policy manager.


The AOC Water Policy Committee reported in support of only one policy bill on February 1, House Bill 4113, and it has already passed through the House Rural Communities, Land Use, and Water Committee on its way to Ways & Means. HB 4113, introduced by the Governor, would establish a Task Force on Drought Emergency Response of 11 to 15 members appointed by the Governor and the four legislative leaders. The task force is to research and evaluate potential tools to prepare for and deal with drought emergencies - a present reality. They are to finish their work before 2016 ends. Members are to have interest and expertise in the subject, and must include an array of interests (including counties) and geographical diversity. HB 4113, with drought upon Oregon, is needed and, with a modest administrative price tag of $47,000, is expected to pass.

Public Comment Opportunity - Water Project Grants and Loans 2016 Applications (SB 839)
The Oregon Water Resources Department is inviting public comment on 37 applications received requesting Water Projects Grants and Loans funds from the Water Supply Development Account. In 2013, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 839, establishing the Water Supply Development Account to provide grants and loans for water development projects that have economic, environmental and social/cultural benefits. The Water Resources Department currently has $14.03 million authorized by the Legislature to provide funding for eligible projects in the 2015-2017 Biennium. These 37 applications requested a total of nearly $51 million.

For more information contact Gil Riddell, AOC policy director.
Happy Trails Commissioner  

Friends, Family, Colleagues Bid Commissioner Hayward 'Happy Trails'
County bids farewell to longtime County Commissioner Mike Hayward. A jovial and appreciative group of people gathered Friday night at Cloverleaf Hall in Enterprise for the farewell roast of Wallowa County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Hayward, who served 19 years on the commission before recently announcing his intent to retire to become general manager of Wallowa Grain Growers.  Read more...

Community & Economic Development

Governor Kate Brown Names Chris Harder as Business Oregon's New Director
Governor Kate Brown announced that she has named Chris Harder as Business Oregon's next director. "I'm excited to bring Chris on board to help continue Oregon's economic momentum," Governor Brown said. "Chris' leadership experience will ensure the state's economic development strategy represents and serves a diverse array of business interests, urban and rural." Read more...

For more information contact Mary Stern, AOC community & economic development policy manager.

Founding Counties Project 

Remembering our Founding Counties
AOC in partnership with the Oregon Capitol Foundation and Oregon State Parks is proposing to place commemorative stepping stones on the capitol mall to acknowledge the existence of the three former Oregon counties. We propose to add the names of Champoeg, Tuality and Umpqua counties to those on the mall. The cast is $1800 and the Capitol Foundation has contributed $900. AOC is asking for donations for the remaining $900. Interested in making a donation? Contact Kimi Wong at AOC.
Recognizing Judge Tallman

Town Hall with Senator Wyden
Senator Ron Wyden will be in Boardman, Oregon for a Town Hall Meeting on Monday, February 15, 2016 at 3:30 p.m. at the Sage Center. 

Senator Wyden will be recognizing Morrow County Judge Terry Tallman for his many years of service. If you are in the area, please stop by and join Senator Wyden in thanking Judge Tallman for his service to Morrow County.

If you have any questions, please call Senator Wyden's La Grande office at 541-962-7691.

NACo Legislative Conference

The 2016 NACo Legislative Conference is just around the corner. AOC staff is preparing materials for those planning to attend. Registered attendees should look for an email with details on the schedule and legislative priorities in the coming days.


NACo Public Lands and Western Interstate Region Joint Meeting
A bipartisan meeting with senior staff of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resrouces to discuss public lands and western priorities.

February 23, 2016 | 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. | Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 370

RSVP by February 17, 2016 to Chris Marklund, NACo associate legislative director

Have questions? Contact our Washington, D.C. correspondent Mckenzie Farrell at 503-585-8351.  

News from NACo

Webinar: Free Online Investment Solution

A OC is pleased to support eConnectDirect® as an essential online investment solution designed to help Oregon county treasurers manage their investment needs. This proprietary tool provides treasurers access to thousands of fixed-income offerings and the ability to invest county funds in a more effective and transparent way. Ask your county treasurer, finance manager, or administrator to sign-up for this webinar to learn about this free tool.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 | 1:00 p.m. PST | Register

A Word

Terse: sparing in the use of words; abrupt.

Please feel free to submit your story ideas, announcements, recipes, photos and job changes to your

Oregon Trails staff for inclusion in the next riveting edition. 


Your Oregon Trails staff,


Laura Cleland & Mckenzie Farrell

Association of Oregon Counties




Have a great week.