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Oregon Trails

An Occasional Newsletter


The Association of Oregon Counties

Month, Year - Vol 1, Issue 1

January 29, 2016

In This Issue
Community & Economic Development
Energy, Environment & Land Use
Public Lands & Natural Resources
Public Safety
NACo Leg Conference
News from NACo
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New Normal: Short Session, Big Bills. 
Salem - Next week the Oregon Legislature will convene for the 2016 short session - meaning it will last 35 days. While the intent of the short session is to focus on emergency policy issues and the budget, there is actually nothing written in law to that effect, and it looks like the Legislature intends to work on some very meaty policy issues.

So, what should we expect? Big bills moving fast. We know minimum wage and housing will be topics of discussion. Maybe some of the more political issues dying quickly -- after all this is an election year. And of course, fiscal policy decisions and budget reviews, such as technical fixes to marijuana legislation.  Of the 262 bills listed on BillTraker, AOC is tracking 128. 

Meanwhile, on the home front, Harney County continues to live under the veil of an armed occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. F our occupiers remain at the Refuge, and calls have gone out to militia members across the country to come to Harney County for a protest march on Saturday, January 30. While the situation seems to have quieted down this week, it is still far from over.

So, we forge ahead with more on the month ahead from your State Capitol, your Nation's Capitol, and all points in between. 
Community and Economic Development
AOC Housing Subcommittee

At the November conference, AOC President Larry Givens created an AOC housing subcommittee to consider a multitude of long- and short-term housing-related issues around the state. Commissioners Martha Schrader, Clackamas County, and Loretta Smith, Multnomah County, have been named co-chairs.

There will be numerous bills dealing with housing during the upcoming 2016 short legislative session. The housing subcommittee will consider these bills, sending recommendations to the AOC Community & Economic Development Steering Committee and on to the Legislative Committee on February 1, 2016.

Beyond the 2016 session, the subcommittee will consider policies and actions counties may take to deal with shortages of many types of housing: affordable, available, workforce, and supported.

The first meeting was held today, January 29, from 9-12 at AOC. 

Renewable Energy in 2016

AOC is working with the Community Renewable Energy Association (CREA) on an amendment to upcoming energy-related legislation. This amendment would do three things:
  • Make the goal that eight percent of renewable energy come from small, community-based projects a requirement;
  • Increase the eight percent requirement to 12 percent by 2040; and
  • Require that community-based projects be located in Oregon.

More information will be considered at the February 1 AOC Steering Committee of the Energy, Environment & Land Use Committee, Community & Economic Development Committee, and Legislative Committee meetings.


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

Energy, Environment & Land Use
Western Juniper Industry Fund
The Business Oregon Western Juniper Industry Fund is now open for applications.

In the 2015 legislative session, the Oregon Legislature approved $500,000 to establish the Western Juniper Industry Fund managed by Business Oregon. The fund's purpose is to provide economic development assistance to Oregon businesses engaged in harvesting or manufacturing products from Western Juniper.

Two types of financial assistance for Oregon Western Juniper business expansion projects are available: Capital Investment and Permanent Working Capital.

For questions about the program or to request assistance, please contact:
Jacki Fish
Business Oregon
(503) 986-0067

Department of State Lands Removal Fill Rulemaking
The Department of State Lands (DSL) is in the process of reviewing the general authorizations and general permits of the Removal-Fill Law. DSL is required to review each general authorization every five years. The review must include public notice and opportunity for public hearings.

To review the report, which contains recommendations for changes to the current general authorizations and general permits, click here.

The website also contains information on how to comment. Comment deadline is February 5th at 5 :00 p.m.

For more information contact Mark Nystrom, AOC energy, environment & land use policy manager.
Public Lands & Natural Resources
Linn County Class Action Lawsuit

On January 13, 2016, Linn County delivered a notice to Governor Kate Brown and State Forester Doug Decker stating that it intends to file a class action lawsuit for breach of contract on behalf of over 150 beneficiaries of timber sales receipts from harvests off of Oregon Forest Trust Lands.

To view the Linn County press conference, click here.

To view the press packet, click here.

For more information contact Gil Riddell, AOC policy director.

Public Safety
Protecting the Justice Reinvestment Fund

In preparation for the February legislative session, Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, presented a preview at the last AOC Public Safety Committee meeting. Prozanski serves as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Prozanski said that the 35-day session will be packed with large policy discussions, such as minimum wage and transportation that may affect other issues like public safety.

Protecting the justice reinvestment fund and supporting the addition of basic police and corrections academies will be two issues the committee will focus on during the session.

In addition, during the January AOC Legislative Committee meeting, commissioners and judges were pleased to hear House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, say she was making the protection of the Justice reinvestment fund one of her priorities.

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

Governor's Transportation Vision Panel - Regional Forums

The Governor's Transportation Vision Panel (GVTP) is hosting a series of regional forums across the state. These two-hour forums will provide an opportunity to seek local input and solutions to the regional needs and priorities of Oregon's transportation system.

Vision Panel representatives will provide a brief overview of the panel's preliminary findings to date, and lead a conversation to elicit participants' perspectives on how the transportation system can support their region's economic needs and priorities. The Vision Panel will use regional forum participants input to refine their recommendations to the Governor on the future of Oregon's transportation system. Click here to see the forum nearest you.

This is a great opportunity for you to remind panel members that focus needs to be given to the operations and maintenance problems throughout the entire integrated transportation system maintained by the state, counties and cities. Counties face a $505 million shortfall each year while trying maintain and preserve our roads, bridges and culverts. Check out the 2014 County Road Needs Study for more information.

For more information contact Mary Stern, AOC transportation policy manager.
NACo Legislative Conference

The 2016 NACo Legislative Conference - February 20-24, 2016 in Washington, D.C. - is just around the corner. Complete details and registration information can be found on the  NACo website.

View NACo's Legislative Priorities for 2016 here.

AOC staff is in the process of setting up visits for those attending the conference with Oregon's congressional delegation. Congress is in recess the week before the Legislative Conference, so we will meet with our congressional delegation on Tuesday and Wednesday following the Legislative Conference. 

Interested in the schedule for the Oregon delegation?
  • Plan on flying into our Nation's Capitol on February 19 (Friday)
  • Attend the NACo Legislative Conference February 20-23 (Saturday - Tuesday)
  • Attend the AOC Capitol Hill reception on February 20 (Saturday)
  • Visit Capitol Hill on February 23 (Tuesday) and February 24 (Wednesday morning)
  • Enjoy a reception with Congressional staff on February 23 (Tuesday evening)
  • Fly home to Oregon on February 23 (Wednesday late afternoon)
If you have any questions, please contact our Washington, D.C. correspondent Mckenzie Farrell at 503-585-8351.  

News from NACo

County Economies: Opportunities & Challenges

County officials urge passage of criminal justice reform measures

Harney County stands strong amid takeover of federal wildlife refuge

Time Out

Some white space to ponder what could have been, might have been, should have been.



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. We are not accepting any more weather related photos unless they involve puppies, kittens and small children.  


Your Oregon Trails staff,


Laura Cleland & Mckenzie Farrell

Association of Oregon Counties




Have a great week.