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Oregon Trails

An Occasional Newsletter


The Association of Oregon Counties

Month, Year - Vol 1, Issue 1

New Year, New Hope, New Work       

Protective gear might come in handy      

January 26, 2015

In This Issue
Legislative Session Ahead
Co-Chairs' Budget Framework
Legislative Organizational Days
Transportation Growth Management Advisory Committee
Rural Economic Development
Product Stewardship
Forestry Opportunities
Emergency Management Workshop
NACo Public Safety Forum
Oregon Top Ten for Vets
NACo Prescription Plan
U.S. Communities
Fact Checking for Insurance
Notes from CIS
NACo Leg Conference
Oregon Trails Staff Happy
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links

Salem - The dark nights are growing shorter and the semi-sunny days are lingering a little longer, bringing hope that the new year will be a productive, if not busy one for Oregon counties.


The Oregon Legislature convened for three days in mid-January to swear-in the governor, new and re-elected legislators, organize committees and introduce a boat load of bills - you will see more on that gathering in this edition of Oregon Trails. You will also get a preview of some of the pending legislation as we look forward to the Legislature going into session on February 2nd.


The first few days of January also saw a number of new and re-elected county commissioners being sworn-in and beginning or continuing their journey in serving Oregonians "where the rubber meets the road."


AOC would like to welcome new commissioners:

Bill Harvey - Baker County

Anne Schuster - Benton County

Lisa Clement - Clatsop County

Lianne Thompson - Clatsop County

Tom Huxley - Curry County

Chris Boice - Douglas County

Tim Freeman - Douglas County

Rick Dyer - Jackson County

Colleen Roberts - Jackson County

Kelley Minty Morris - Klamath County

Kevin Cameron - Marion County

Donald Russell - Morrow County

Jules Bailey - Multnomah County

Jack Howard - Union County

Lynn Morley - Wheeler County

Stan Primozich - Yamhill County

Mary Starrett - Yamhill County


Many of the new commissioners have signed up for the 2015 County College program, co-sponsored by AOC and OSU Extension. The first class has already been held in Corvallis and all signs point to an exciting and fast paced year.  


Long, Long Legislative Session Ahead

Predicting the outcomes of the upcoming Oregon Legislative Session is always a great parlor game, but it is beginning to look like a typical long legislative session for bills of interest to counties.  


AOC Policy Director Gil Riddell carried two large boxes from the Capitol to the AOC office last week packed to the brim with pre-session filed House and Senate Bills. Fortunately it was not raining at the time. Gil found a way to ease his ugly mood caused by this task by assigning bills of county interest to his fellow AOC policy managers (PMs), including himself. Bills are assigned according to topics in the policy managers' portfolios. If a bill crosses subject matters it is assigned to an AOC policy manager ad hoc team, which could be as small as a duo or as large as five, to manage the action on the bill. Several bills are managed by teams, each team having a leader. Your excellent corps of 8.5 PMs (the one-half designates Mike McArthur, who as Executive Director has plenty of other tasks always at hand to overwhelm him) is busy getting ready for the legislative kick-off February 2. Another large batch of printed bills will surface, be boxed, and be carried to the office on that opening day.


Pre-session filed bills amount to 1,450, of which 1,190 are of county interest. That means that 82 percent of all pre-session filed bills will be managed by your AOC crew. By the way, all these numbers are typical after the first batch of bills is issued. It is the price of being general governments with such a wide jurisdiction and long-term agreements with the state on shared services and revenues.


Which brings us to an important point: you may be contacted at some point in the session by a policy manager to make a call to or visit with a legislator or to give testimony. This is because county officials add power to policy managers' information - you are "hands on" and if elected you belong to the same fraternity/sorority as legislators (the secret handshake being all the toil of a successful election campaign). Your participation in the legislative process is critical and important. We look forward to working with you in 2015.  


AOC Policy Director Gil Riddell herds cats (policy managers)


Co-Chairs' Budget Framework

On the final day of January's legislative days, Ways and Means Co-chairs Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin, and Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, released their initial budget framework. It is both less detailed and less ambitious than the Governor's Recommended Budget (GRB), with more detailed information promised after the March economic forecast.


One clear direction from the framework, however, was a desire to see investments in education. While the co-chairs have indicated a desire to put an additional $60 million into early learning services and to fund full-day kindergarten, final amounts and allocations by program area will "be determined during the Ways and Means process." Public safety received some key acknowledgements in their budget framework but counties will have a lot of work to do this session to keep priorities in tact.


While Gov. John Kitzhaber released his recommended budget with a $58.5 million justice reinvestment grant program, the co-chairs countered with $20 million. This comes while counties are continuing to make progress with reentry and recidivism reduction programs to avoid having the state build another prison. During the current biennium, counties received $15 million.


Another priority outlined by the co-chairs was fully funding county community corrections, which is an ongoing priority for AOC and the Oregon Association of Community Corrections Directors. 


The co-chairs also acknowledged that a promised salary increase from last session should be implemented this year. AOC will be pushing for an additional $10 million increase to cover district attorney salaries, witness fees, and funding for deputy district attorneys, which has fallen on counties over the past two decades.


Courthouse facility capital project and court security funding also made the priority list for the co-chairs. While amounts were not set, the encouraging news gives commissioners and other county public safety stakeholders hope in the upcoming session.


From the perspective of Energy, Environment and Land Use, the  co-chairs' budget had a few notes of interest:

  • Protects Oregon's water quality with new General Fund investments;
  • Ensures the Department of Forestry has adequate administrative capacity to support the department's various programs;
  • Protects Oregon's air quality with continued investments in monitoring; and
  • Provides the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries with a two year budget and additional support to backfill revenue shortfalls.

However, the co-chairs' budget goes on to add this statement "The co-chairs propose adding funds to the Natural Resources program area for targeted investments should revenue be available when the final budget is adopted." The narrative continues with "Additional issues to be resolved" and this includes "Sage Grouse conservation proposals" and "Additional investments in Regional Solutions Teams." Clearly there will be some important work with the Legislature on the funding of these important programs.


AOC Policy Managers Stacy Michaelson Patrick Sieng and Mark Nystrom contributed to this report because they enjoy reading budgets 


Organizational Days 

January's legislative "Organizational Days" saw the opening of the 2015 Legislative Session, with all pre-session filed bills being introduced. That means your AOC staff is busy reading through our assigned bills and determining priority areas for this coming session. At last count, bills assigned to Health and Human Services numbered just over 150...and climbing.


One change for Health and Human Services this session is that both chambers will now have separate committees for these respective issues. In recent years, Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham, has chaired the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services; however, with the growing number of health care bills, the Senate has established the Committee on Human Services and Early Childhood, to be chaired by Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis. Additional members of the new committee include senators Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, Monnes Anderson, Alan Olsen, R-Canby, and Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg. On the House side, the former Committee on Human Services has become the Committee on Human Services and Housing, chaired by Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, D-Portland. From a policy standpoint, we will see mental health bills assigned to Rep. Mitch Greenlick's, D-Portland, Health Care Committee instead of Human Services. 


AOC Policy Manager Stacy Michaelson traverses the Human Services maze for AOC  


All Roads Lead to Transportation

Last month, County Road Program Manager Emily Ackland and AOC Policy Manager Mary Stern attended the NACo Transportation and Infrastructure Symposium. Commissioners Tim Josi, Judy Shiprack, and Tammy Baney were also in attendance, representing Oregon and AOC well. The group attended presentations such a "How Does the Global Supply Chain Reach Your County?" and "America's Maritime Infrastructure of Ports and Inland Waterways," which by all accounts was fascinating. Commissioner Baney was a panelist discussing new funding techniques (vehicles miles traveled) and did a fabulous job. In addition to attending the symposium, Commissioners Josi and Shiprack attended the NACo Board meeting, where funding for infrastructure ranked very high in a survey among the board. 


The Oregon Business Summit on January 6, 2015, highlighted the need for improved infrastructure as one of their top three priorities. Transportation Infrastructure, in particular, was the topic of many panels, including the legislative panel, where all legislators cited a transportation package as a priority. However, they recognized the difficulties with any tax increases and asked for the business community's help in moving a package forward. Commissioner Baney gave a well-received presentation, infused with good humor, about the precarious state of our transportation system and the need to take action now.


While we're on the subjects of Commissioner Baney and Transportation, AOC is thrilled that Governor Kitzhaber has named Commissioner Baney as Chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC). Although a huge responsibility, we can't think of anyone better to take on this challenge. We look forward to great things from the OTC under Commissioner Baney's leadership and with the help of the other OTC commissioners, including Douglas County Commissioner Susan Morgan. 


AOC Policy Manager Mary Stern is on the bus for county transportation issues


TGM Committee Update

The Transportation Growth Management (TGM) Advisory Committee recently met in Salem. A partnership between the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), the TGM program supports community efforts to expand transportation choices for people. By linking land use and transportation planning, TGM works in partnership with local governments to create vibrant, livable places in which people can walk, bike, take transit or drive where they want to go.


TGM staff updated the committee on on-going grants and announced that pre-applications for the 2015 grants will be arriving at local planning and public works departments some time in February. For more information contact AOC Policy Manager Mark Nystrom.

Rural Economic Development

AOC Executive Director Mike McArthur has been named co-chair of the Rural Economy Transition Team by Governor Kitzhaber. He will serve with Paul Barnum who is the Executive Director of the Oregon Forest Resources Institute. Vince Porter, the Governor's Jobs and Economy Policy Advisor will be the lead staff person for the team. The team has been charged with:

  1. Review and refine Rural Economy budget items.
  2. Coordinate between the various "rural economic development" strategies that are currently underway so that they are not confusing to the public and stakeholders and become greater than the sum of their parts ... that is, seen as a common strategy and not simply overlapping and duplicative efforts.
  3. Coordinate implementation strategies among the existing groups in order to better support the Governor's rural economy investments.
  4. Propose ideas for future partnership with US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  5. Review and develop success stories.
  6. Develop a plan to share concept and success stories with legislators and communities.
  7. Build a broader coalition of support.

The Governor's recommended budget puts a focus on rural economic development so that every part of the state participates in the economic recovery. The investments proposed in the budget for rural Oregon are intended to shape our economies to reflect today's economy and the one that awaits us in the future, not the one that we can see from the rear-view mirror. The Rural Oregon Business Plan sets specific goals consistent with the Oregon Business Plan goals but focused on Oregon's struggling rural areas.


There are several funding/investment mechanisms available to help rural areas. At the state level, these include the Governor's budget and the Regional Solutions Community Leverage Fund. Federal programs include USDA Rural Development Program and the Economic Development Administration.



Governor's Budget

The Governor's recommended budget identifies investments to help achieve these goals in Rural Oregon:


Regional Solutions Community Leverage Fund - $25 million total

($2 million per region so assume $12 million for Rural Regions)

This fund is designed to enable established community-based organizations to collaborate and do projects that can be done quickly and are focused on capacity building. This fund could leverage additional USDA, private, and non-profit money (see below for the "One Stop Program" description).


In addition to these investments, there are additional things we can do to lift up our rural communities. In some cases there is a need to better communicate the success stories already happening on the ground with the hope of building on those successes.




Oregon's partnership with the USDA and the Economic Development Administration (EDA) is a key ingredient for long term rural prosperity and there are many stories that exist already demonstrating the potential. In 2015 the USDA will focus on three regions in Oregon - Malheur County, Cave Junction, and Warm Springs. The objective of this effort is to address poverty issues in these specific areas. 


One Stop Program

The USDA Rural Development team has already put in place a process where multiple funders come together and offer up applicable programs that could provide funding for specific projects. With improved coordination, this program could expand to include state of Oregon partners and Oregon's foundations so there is improved frequency of leveraging programs for the maximum impact.


To facilitate the work of the Rural Oregon Business Plan, we have formed three sub-committees:

Rural Entrepreneurship/Workforce


Business Oregon Rural Incentives


Please contact Mike McArthur or Mary Stern at AOC with any questions or ideas


Manufacturer-Funded Take-Backs 

On Thursday, February 12th from 11-12:30 PST the Product Stewardship Institute will be hosting a free Webinar on rural Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) programs from household hazardous waste. 


HHW represents the single largest expense for solid waste program managers. In the first Webinar in this series on product stewardship solutions in rural areas, HHW program managers, contractors, and local government officials will be introduced to manufacturer-funded take-back programs that help maximize environmental performance while minimizing costs. 


The program will focus on mercury-containing thermostats, auto switches, and rechargeable batteries. They will also examine manufacturer-funded take-back programs for tires, which -- while not technically HHW -- are still considerably costly to manage. 


For more information contact AOC staff Mark Nystrom or click here for registration information.

Forestry Opportunities Announced

An Announcement from the Oregon Department of Forestry:


With generous funding from the USDA Forest Service, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) posted two Opportunity Announcements on ORPIN (the state's procurement portal) to solicit grant applications for biomass project development. ODF has two simultaneous grant opportunities open for a total of $115,000 available for projects that meet the specifications.


To access the solicitations, please log in to ORPIN and locate the Opportunity Announcement using the Opportunity No. or search for opportunities issued by ODF - Salem Headquarters (Department of Forestry).


Important Details:

Opportunity Number: ODF-2199-15 RFP for Biomass Grant Funds Award has $75,000 available to projects in northeast Oregon.

Opportunity Number: ODF-2201-15 for CW2 Grant Fund RFP for Bio Mass has $40,000 available for projects utilizing woody biomass from the East Face Project area.


Application Due Date: February 26, 2015  12:01 PM PST


Where to Find the Solicitations:


Who to Call:

Patricia Morgan



Marcus Kauffman

Biomass Resource Specialist

Oregon Department of Forestry




OEM Workshop

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is pleased to announce the opening of registration for the Oregon Prepared 2015 - Oregon Emergency Management Workshop. The workshop will be held March 31 - April 2, 2015 in Sunriver, Oregon with an initial planning meeting for the Cascadia Rising 2016 exercise on Monday, March 30 and a training and exercise planning workshop (TEPW) for the entire state on Friday, April 3.


There is no fee to attend the workshop. The workshop will include breakfast and lunch all three days as well as dinner Wednesday evening. OEM will pay for four nights of lodging for three representatives from every county and tribal nation; GSA lodging rates are available for all of our other partners.


The 2015 workshop will offer four tracks with four sessions available in each track every day of the workshop. Attached you will find a schedule for your planning convenience. More details will be released regarding each session as well as the plenary speakers and topics during each meal.


Please follow this link to register. Registration will close February 10, 2015.


Please feel free to share this announcement with other partners.


Should you have any questions regarding the workshop, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Sidra Metzger-Hines

Grants Coordinator

Oregon Office of Emergency Management

3225 State Street, Rm 115

Salem, OR 97301

503-378-2911 ext. 22251


NACo Public Safety Forum

Several Oregon county officials attended the recent NACo public safety forum in South Carolina, including, Jackson County Commissioner Doug Breidenthal, Hood River County Commissioner Karen Joplin, Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack and AOC policy manager Patrick Sieng.


Commissioner Shiprack asked tough questions to former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy. D-R.I., during his panel. Shiprack, who is a vice chair of the NACo Justice and Public Safety Committee, asked how NACo can help coordinate all the different mental health and public safety initiatives to make the most difference.


Marion County Sheriff's Office Commander Sheila Lorrance was a panelist for a section on healthcare in jails, sharing how Oregon jail commanders teamed up with Association of Oregon Community Mental Health Programs (AOCMHP) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to implement health care insurance coverage for inmates through Medicaid enrollment and continuation of private insurance.


During lunch on Thursday, attendees heard from a former drug addict who had mental health issues. He overcame those issues to go on and become a social worker. Brian Dwiggins, the crisis program supervisor for Clackamas County, listened to the obstacles that the speaker, Lloyd Hale, shared.


NACo's mental illness and jails initiative is a joint venture between NACo and the Council of State Governments, aimed at bringing the issue to Congress and advocating for more funding to divert mentally ill individuals within the public safety system and coordinate with states and counties to address the ongoing issue.


AOC is working on its own initiative within the state, introducing the Criminal Justice-Behavioral Health Partnerships bill this next legislative session in partnership with AOCMHP and other mental health and public safety stakeholders. The bill's idea came from AOC's four public safety summits held last year in Curry, Jackson, Columbia, and Umatilla counties.


For more information please contact AOC Policy Manager Patrick Sieng  


Oregon Top Ten for Vets

Oregon in Top 10 - 

Other States Looking to Make Bigger Investments in County Veterans Service Officers (CVSO's)


A few interesting notes about how Oregon takes care of its veterans:

  • Oregon Ranks 10th nationally in VA expentidures per veteran per year, at $7,083 per veteran, exceeding the national average of $6,088 by nearly $1,000. 
  • Oregon is one of only 28 states with county based Veterans Service Officer's.
  • A 2010 VA survey found that nationwide fewer than half of veterans understood their benefits, whether it was medical care, college tuition or pension and disability payments.
  •  A retired Indiana Brigadier General said, "I think Indiana has neglected veterans." "I think veterans are uneducated as to what their benefits are, and there has been little effort undertaken to communicate and get that to veterans....Some counties have an officer who is part-time, works three days a week, part-time and doesn't even have an office or a computer."
  • Indiana ranks 46th at $4,935 per veteran.

January 14, 2015 NPR Radio Story on Indiana CVSO's 


January 14, 2015 NPR Written Story on Indiana CVSO's


AOC Policy Manager Andy Smith, a vet himself, works on veterans Issues for AOC 


Help County Residents Save Money


Now is the time to sign-up or renew your enrollment in the NACo Prescription, Health, and Dental Discount Program - an exclusive program for NACo Member Counties. This program provides relief to uninsured and underinsured Americans who face high prescription, health and dental costs. The program is free to NACo member counties and it has been offering real savings to county residents across the country since 2004. Sign-up or renew your enrollment today!   


AOC Member Services Manager McKenzie Farrell can answer any question about NACo and AOC member benefits

Purchasing Program Access

Access the Leading National Cooperative Purchasing Program


The U.S. Communities' online marketplace was designed to make purchasing through U.S. Communities contracts easier by providing a single shopping environment that delivers: free, online purchasing resource; rapid savings through comparison shopping; centralized purchasing and optional approval workflow; option to pay by p-card, credit card or purchase order. Get started today and join more than 55,000 government agencies, education institutions, and nonprofits save money.

Get the Facts 


Encourage Your Employees To Prepare For Retirement

Offer your county employees access to a Section 457 Deferred Compensation plan provided by NACo, in partnership with Nationwide Retirement Solutions (NRS), and AOC. Since its inception in 1980, the NACo Deferred Compensation Program has grown to become the largest supplemental retirement income program available to county employees. More than 360,000 county employees from over 1,900 counties currently participate in the program, with accumulated assets of more than $13.0 billion. Learn more about how your county can benefit from this program.


New Portal helps CIS Members Prevent, Report & Recover from Cyber Losses

eRisk Hub´┐Ż  -- a highly specialized web portal available to support privacy and network security needs of counties -- is the newest value-added service to counties with CIS liability coverage. eRisk Hub is an extension of CIS' cyber liability coverage, and its ongoing commitment to proactively help members reduce costly claims. The eRisk Hub is free to members and can be accessed via





The eRisk portal provides basic network security and specialized e-risk management resources to help counties prevent data breaches and privacy violations from occurring. But its primary value is after a breach occurs. That's because regardless of how privacy and security-focused a county is, most will eventually experience some kind of a breach event, and how you respond is important.


How prepared is your county?  Click here to find out more. 


Local Insurance Agents & CIS


As part of the budget process, Counties should be evaluating their relationship 

with local insurance agents -- how satisfied are you with the services, 

communication, and compensation you receive?  



CIS supports agents, and feel they can provide many important services, depending on their background and expertise. However, if the county is not clear about what they are getting for the money they pay their agent, they may want to go out for RFQ/RFP before April when renewal "season" is really underway.


Click here to learn more about determining the needs and services that can benefit your county.

NACo Leg Conference Coming Up 

Mark Your Calendars - National Association of Counties (NACo) 2015 Legislative Conference!  


NACO's 2015 Legislative Conference begins Saturday, February 21st and goes through Wednesday, February 25th. 


Register now and join over 2,000 elected and appointed county officials from across the county to focus on legislative issues facing county government.


For those planning to attend, please join AOC for the Oregon Reception on Saturday, February 21st from 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm at an historic Capitol Hill home that has hosted famous and not so famous political and journalistic figures and titans of the human race. 


And, on Tuesday, February 24th, we'll head to Capitol Hill for a full day of meetings with Oregon's Congressional Delegation. We have appointments already set with most of the Oregon Congressional Delegation.


Please contact Eric or Laura at AOC with any logistical questions.  


For further information about NACo's 2015 Legislative Conference, please contact

Gini Pingenot.

Almost Home
Your Oregon Trails staff is pleased to be back on the job, working to bring you the best Salem has to offer. Your Oregon Trails staff is also taking advantage of the AOC prescription medication benefit.  

Questions, Suggestions, Comments, Concerns, Praise
Please contact AOC Operations and Communications Director Laura Cleland with any concerns, suggestions, questions or comments you might have about Oregon Trails.  

Please contact AOC Communications Manager and Trivia Expert Eric Schmidt with any praise you might have. 

Laura Cleland & Eric Schmidt

Association of Oregon Counties



Have a great week.