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Oregon Trails

An Occasional Newsletter


The Association of Oregon Counties

Month, Year - Vol 1, Issue 1

High Speed Start       

Legislature hits the ground running      

Frebruary 11, 2015

In This Issue
Legislative Session Ahead
Co-Chairs' Budget Framework
Justice Reinvestment
Transportation Growth Management Advisory Committee
Rural Economic Development
Product Stewardship
NACo Public Safety Forum
Fact Checking for Insurance
Oregon Top Ten for Vets
Emergency Management Workshop
NACo Prescription Plan
Notes from CIS
NACo Leg Conference
Oregon Trails Staff Happy
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Salem -  The first week and a half of the 2015 session of the Oregon Legislature is in the books. The process of legislative governance is well underway. Currently, 1,788 pieces of legislation have been introduced. The Legislature is holding hearings on some of those bills, resolutions and memorials and both chambers have taken action on a few so far. (By the way, AOC policy managers are tracking 1,058 of those bills --59 percent. The percentage would have been higher had not a flurry of education related bills been introduced earlier this week.)  


In other words, the Legislature is back at work and the pace is quick.


AOC steering committees, Legislative Committee and Board of Directors met Monday, February 9th at the Local Government Center in Salem. AOC President Gary Thompson was pleased but just a tad bit surprised at the turnout. "There weren't many empty seats," he said. "It's a little overwhelming but very satisfying to have so many judges and commissioners involved in the process."  


The large conference room at the Local Government Center was jam packed for the AOC Legislative Committee meeting.

AOC policy managers brought pending legislation to the steering committees and then back through the Legislative Committee for action. This edition of Oregon Trails contains reports on some of the action items. If there is a particular bill you would like information about, please do not hesitate to contact the Communications Office at AOC and we will make sure you get what you need.  

Central Assessment 

The AOC Legislative Committee endorsed a newly proposed central property tax assessment method, intended to provide predictability and stability for the multi-state and multi-national companies who are subject to it. It also would have provided very significant property tax reductions for the taxpayers, which under the Oregon Measure 50 (1997) rate system translates directly to lost revenue for public services. Nevertheless, judges and commissioners, in the interest of community and economic development, agreed to support a version of the new method that will cost counties statewide an immediate annual loss of at least $437,000.


Reform of central assessment is moving at warp speed (in legislative terms), but not fast enough to avoid a dramatic mid-course change on Tuesday. The Senate Finance & Revenue Committee unveiled dash-one amendments to Senate Bill 570 to redesign the assessment by a complicated formula that includes depreciation of the company's real and tangible personal property with a floor on the exemption calculated by a percentage of the unitary value (total value of the company; tangible and intangible values). At first blush it appears to increase ambiguity and provide more opportunities to litigate, something the first proposal cleared up. On its face, it appears the new proposed assessment method will have a greater cost than the first proposed method to resources for vital public services.


County commissioners and judges are sincerely interested in community and economic development and are willing make trade offs in resources for public services for that development. However, with increased development there is an increased need for public services and counties need revenue incentives to be able to provide those services.


The Department of Revenue and Legislative Revenue Office are tallying the revenue impact on counties, cities, schools, and special districts. AOC will likely need to revisit its acceptance of the first proposed method when details of this second proposed method and its revenue impacts are sorted out.


AOC Policy Director Gil Riddell is working this issue closely.  


Public Safety Legislative Preview

Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, provided a preview of the legislative session to AOC's Public Safety Steering Committee Monday. Sen. Prozanski chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and is a member of the Joint Committee on Implementing Measure 91 (recreational marijuana). He said that justice reinvestment, issues relating to technology and privacy, marijuana, and expanding background checks for private gun sales will be some of the issues he will be working on this session.


Sen. Prozanski is a municipal prosecutor and former deputy district attorney for Lane County and has been a long time advocate for local courts. Commissioners shared their concerns about justice courts and bills that are being considered this session. Sen. Prozanski also said there could be some work around making the grand jury process more transparent.


"I believe the events in the last few months around the nation have made people question their trust in the process," Sen. Prozanski said. "If we can do things to strengthen that trust, then I believe we should look into them."


Sen. Prozanski said there will also be work around the storage of data for automatic license plate readers and body worn cameras for law enforcement.

AOC Public Safety Steering Committee hears from Sen. Floyd Prozanski

AOC Policy Manager Patrick Sieng covers public safety issues for AOC 


Full Funding of Justice Reinvestment Called For

Two county commissioners (both former state legislators) urged full funding of justice reinvestment during a recent legislative hearing.  

Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack and Marion County Commissioner Kevin Cameron testify during budget hearing.

Marion County Commissioner Kevin Cameron and Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack led a panel of speakers Monday at the budget hearing for the Criminal Justice Commission. The budget was presented in the Joint Ways & Means Subcommittee on Public Safety and most speakers were urging the committee to fully fund the justice reinvestment grant program.  


Justice reinvestment grants began in 2013 after House Bill 3194 passed implementing sentencing reform and giving counties local resources for reentry and recidivism reduction programs.


"When I voted for the bill in 2013 as a state representative, we made a commitment to put all future public safety savings back into public safety programs," said Cameron.  "That's why I'm here today to urge you to fully fund the justice reinvestment grant program."


The Governor's Recommended Budget allocated $58.5 million for the justice reinvestment grant program. The Ways & Means co-chair budget framework mentions a possible allocation of $20 million.


Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill and Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Captain Chris Hoy also testified. Hoy is the community corrections director in Clackamas County and also is president of the Oregon Association of Community Corrections Directors. Business and human services leaders also testified in support of the agency's budget.


Shiprack and Cameron provided examples of programs in their respective counties and why the programs need to continue.  


AOC Policy Manager Patrick Sieng works on public safety issues 


E-Cigs and More 

An example of how quickly things are moving at the Capitol is HB 2546. HB 2546 is the bill to include electronic cigarettes in the Indoor Clean Air Act (supported by the Coalition of Local Health Officials (CLHO) and AOC) and it had its first public hearing on Monday, February 9th in front of a packed hearing room. A number of supporting organizations are currently working on a vote count to ensure the bill will come of out the committee smoothly. 


Also on February 9th, the Joint Committee on Health Insurance Transition passed the bill to dissolve Cover Oregon, SB 1. The bill should be headed to the Senate floor shortly.


In terms of AOC's biggest priorities this session, it's been a great deal of hurry up and wait. Rep. Mitch Greenlick's, D-Portland, bill on the future of public health has not yet been filed. 


We have just received a final version of our Criminal Justice - Behavioral Health Partnerships Legislative Concept, which should be filed and receive a first reading by the end of the week. We are confident that our proposal aligns with President Courtney's request for an additional $94 million in mental health funding. However, there are a number of proposals around mental health investments, and some legislators who would like to see a broader discussion on the structure of Oregon's mental health system -- so, there is likely a work group and/or task force on this issue in our future.


AOC Policy Manager Stacy Michaelson is taking care of Health & Human Services issues

Health Care rally on Capitol steps.


SIPS, E-Zones and URD's

The Strategic Investment Program (SIP), Enterprise Zones and Urban Renewal Districts are the only major, locally funded economic tools available in Oregon to create game-changing economic development for the state and local communities. These tools are, for the most part, funded by property tax abatements. These programs are critical to the economic vitality of Oregon and our counties. 


On February 9, 2015, the AOC Community & Economic Development Steering Committee adopted the following principles related to the SIP and Gain Share:

  1. SIP is necessary for Oregon to remain competitive when exceptional investment of personal and/or real property is required by business. (Oregon could not have attracted Intel without SIP as Intel could not afford to pay the total amount of property taxes under Oregon's tax system. Oregon could not have competed against states that do not have property taxes.)
  2. Oregon must have options for business incentives: different kinds of incentives are necessary for different types of businesses. Rather than making a one-size -fits-all incentive, we should have a menu of options so that there is something attractive to many types of business.
  3. Counties must maintain the ability to attract investment through a variety of incentive programs.
  4. Counties must maintain the ability to determine local priorities when distributing the Community Service Fund.
  5. Gain Share is the only actively used incentive program that requires the state to have "skin in the game" by sharing income tax revenues of its employees with counties that give up a share of property taxes.

These principles will help guide AOC staff in dealing with the slew of proposed legislation related to SIP and the associated Gain Share. 


AOC Policy Manager Mary Stern is responsible for Community & Economic Development


Clean Fuels Discussion

The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee started the year by discussing the Clean Fuels bill (SB 324). Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield, spoke in favor of the bill stating that Oregonians had a obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and said that removing the sunset from the clean fuels program the state would be taking an important step in that direction. 


Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, testified in opposition to the bill pointing out that the ramifications of the bill could be a regressive expense to Oregonians with a minimal impact on the states greenhouse gases. The senator's testimony was followed by two days of public testimony which was both in favor and opposition. In the end, the bill passed out of the committee and to the Senate floor with a 3-2 party-line vote. 


AOC has not taken a position on SB 324.


AOC Policy Manager Mark Nystrom deals with Energy, Environment & Land Use issues


State Lands Department

The House Rural Communities, Land Use, and Water Committee heard four Oregon Department of State Land bills last week. The public hearings on HB 2460, HB 2461, HB 2462 and HB 2463 were without much controversy except for HB 2460. 


This bill would define "land" as submerged land and submersible land and would allow payment for easements on these lands. Several utilities were concerned about increased project costs while state lands noted that the costs are currently coming from the Common School Fund. 


These bills were discussed at Monday's AOC Energy, Environment and Land Use committee. The committee did not take any positions but there were some concerns raised over HB 2460. 


AOC Policy Manager Mark Nystrom deals with Energy, Environment & Land Use issues 


OBAC Sunset Extension

On the very first day of session, an AOC priority bill to extend the sunset for the Oregon Broadband Advisory Council passed through the Senate Committee on Business & Transportation unanimously. The bill continues the council's work in making broadband more affordable and accessible for all Oregonians.


AOC is represented by Sherman County Commissioner Mike Smith who also uses the Internet to run his small business.


"The council provides a platform for stakeholders to discuss very important broadband access factors which include public safety and economic development," said AOC policy manager Patrick Sieng to the committee. 


And Now a Word from Some Sponsors



Deadline for TGM Grant Pre-Applications

March 13 is the deadline for local governments to submit pre-applications for planning grants to the Oregon Transportation and Growth Management Program (TGM). Eligible applicants include cities, counties, councils of government and tribal governments.  Grants generally range from $75,000 to $200,000.


TGM grants support plans for, among other things, bicycle and pedestrian networks, streetscape designs, safe routes to school, transit improvements, downtown or Main Street improvements, mixed-use neighborhoods, complete streets, parking and travel demand management, and infill or redevelopment projects. Transportation System Plans (TSP) updates also remain eligible.


For the 2015 grant round, the TGM program is especially interested in proposals that take an innovative approach, such as: 

  • Collaboration with public health officials to boost "active transportation" (walking and bicycling) objectives;
  • Reduction of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • Incorporation of innovative multi-modal analysis tools. 

Pre-applications are easy to submit: They simply call for a short paragraph describing the local issue and desired outcome. Pre-applications are not required, but by submitting pre-apps, local governments increase their prospects for getting projects funded. Pre-applicants are also put in touch with the relevant TGM staff member, who can offer guidance about the application process. Complete applications will be due June 12.


There is no deadline for the TGM's community assistance services, which include Quick Response, Code Assistance, Education and Outreach, and TSP Assessments. Through Quick Response, the TGM makes multi-disciplinary teams available to local governments to help with urgent transportation planning issues and controversies over imminent development projects. Through Code Assistance, the TGM helps communities identify and remove barriers to smart growth in local zoning and development codes. Through Education and Outreach, the TGM supports local workshops, public lectures and other forums on such topics as health and active transportation, Main Street revitalization, parking management, pedestrian-friendly streetscapes, safe routes to school, and community design strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These TGM services are free to local governments.


For more information about TGM grants, click here or contact Cindy Lesmeister or 503.986.4349. For information about Quick Response, Code Assistance, or Education and Outreach, click here or contact Constance Beaumont.  


TGM is a partnership between the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Department of Land Conservation and Development. The program's mission: to help local governments to create vibrant, livable places in which people can walk, bike, take transit or drive where they want to go.


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


Prescription, Health & Dental Discounts For Your County Residents!


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

Evaluate What You Are Paying Your Local Insurance Agent


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 and Wednesday, February 25th, we'll head to Capitol Hill for meetings with Oregon's Congressional Delegation. We have appointments set with the entire Oregon Congressional Delegation.  Let's hope it doesn't snow and make life difficult.


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


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

Gini Pingenot.

On the Road
Your Oregon Trails staff will be reporting from Washington, D.C. and the NACo Legislative Conference next week. We pledge to keep our journalistic integrity in tact despite the many temptations DC has to offer. A few minor typos shouldn't deter a fine reading experience. Right?  
Tips Accepted - Encouraged Really
Please contact AOC Communications and Operations 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 news tips and photographs you might want to see in this newsletter.
Laura Cleland & Eric Schmidt

Association of Oregon Counties



Have a great week.