State Representative
Nancy Nathanson
June-July 2021
moving out-construction
Two years ago I wrote in June, toward the end of the 2019 legislative session, "I've never been through or had an eye on a legislative session like this." and in July wrote of the session just ended that it "... was historic and unprecedented."

I had no idea what was in store for 2021! It's hard to find words adequate to describe the economic impact of a global pandemic on the state generally, and its social and economic impact on individuals and families. Massive wildfires devastated communities throughout the state, wreaking havoc on everything from planning for landslides and erosion to fish runs. We held all committee hearings remotely using Teams videoconference technology. We heard electronic and video testimony from thousands of Oregonians from every corner of the state to tell us their story or share their opinions without traveling to Salem. All in all, we accomplished what was most important for this year: targeted relief from the pandemic’s economic and health impacts and wildfires and racial injustice – and still had some capacity to work on other proposals to help Oregonians.

As I write this, work is underway to shore up the Capitol, a seismic retrofit project requiring a lot of demolition to install bracing and base isolation. Some of that demolition includes my office, on the southwest corner (and Rep. Holvey’s, too, northwest corner). My staff and I packed up everything for storage or to cram into our workspaces at home. Meanwhile, let's enjoy summer.
At the Capitol
The 81st Legislative Assembly met in its 2021 regular session, February through June, ending on a Saturday evening one day before the 160-day constitutional limit. Here I will highlight some of the "big stuff" of this session but this is not nearly a complete picture of what we worked on.
NN voting thumbs up with Pham
Housing and Homelessness

Multiple efforts resulted in about $650 million of investments, a combination of bonding, direct allocation, and federal ARPA funds. These 2021 session investments follow the $592 million in housing investments during the 2020 interim Emergency Board and Special Sessions that included rent assistance and shelter support. The following new investments are all beyond maintaining current agency budgets, and in addition to the federal rental assistance dollars.  These are some of the specific bills and budget allocations:

Housing supply: $530 million for acquiring, building, and preserving affordable housing, supportive housing with services, revolving loan fund, early learning co-location financing, and stabilizing manufactured home parks.

Other efforts include down payment assistance for homeownership, fair housing enforcement, individual development accounts, "healthy homes" grants to repair and rehabilitate homes for low-income households affected by environmental pollution or other hazards, pilot projects for Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) and "tiny home" projects, and rent assistance for young adults who have been recently homeless or are now leaving foster care or juvenile corrections. (HB 2163).

Homelessness relief includes funds for shelter operational support, permanent supportive housing rent assistance, and homeless and runaway youth provider support.

For tenant support, $10 million has been invested in domestic violence/sexual assault survivor housing, legal assistance for eviction prevention, and community organizations. And SB 278 provides a 60-day grace period for renters who have applied for but are still waiting for federal rent relief after the eviction moratorium expired on June 30. This bill prevents Oregonians from losing their homes simply because the federal aid doesn’t get out the door quickly enough. The bill also provides more financial certainty for landlords as more assistance gets to renters, thus avoiding time and costs for processing evictions and finding new tenants.

For homeowners and landlords: HB 2009 establishes foreclosure protections for deferral of mortgage payment, and HB 2101 makes it easier for landlords to participate in a program that provides financial assistance to cover costs associated with damages including property damage and unpaid rent.

Identity Cards for people experiencing homelessness: HB 3026 waives application fees for these state-issued IDs. Many homeless people lack an ID card for various reasons, including loss, theft, or damage to the card, or an inability to pay for one. Not having an ID could preclude someone from accessing the most basic services and facilities like banking, housing, jobs, government programs and stimulus checks, thereby compounding the difficulties of homelessness and preventing people from getting back on their feet.
McKenzie watershed fire

Dozens of bills were introduced in response to the wildfires, from economic assistance and property tax relief when homes were destroyed and stabilizing funding for schools in those areas, to planning and managing development in hazard areas. Some of those ideas were handled in separate bills, and others were bundled into one major omnibus bill, SB 762. The comprehensive wildfire bill has about two dozen statutory sections and involves a number of state agencies. Here are some of the main points:

Existing agencies: Public Utility Commission will convene workshops on wildfire mitigation and protection. Public utilities that provide electricity must have a wildfire protection plan. Consumer-owned utilities (like EWEB) must have a wildfire mitigation plan. State Board of Forestry must establish criteria for developing statewide map of wildfire risk. State Fire Marshal will establish defensible space requirements and administer a community risk reduction program through a Community Risk Reduction Fund established by State Treasury. Department of Land Conservation and Development will identify certain land use updates. Department of Consumer and Business Services will adopt certain building code standards. Department of Environmental Quality will undertake programs concerning impacts of wildfire smoke, and readiness and mitigation capacity for smoke and ambient air quality. Department of Human Services will establish a grant program related to clean air shelters and smoke filtration systems. Office of Emergency Management will update the statewide emergency plan to prepare for or respond to wildfire emergencies. State Forestry Department will implement a program to reduce wildfire risk, establish a small forestland grant program, adopt rules concerning prescribed fires, establish a system of smoke detection cameras, and assess and improve wildfire response capacity. And finally, there will be changes concerning the wildland-urban interface.

New: The legislation creates new positions and groups, including: State Wildfire Programs Director, Wildfire Programs Advisory Council, and the Oregon Conservation Corps Program.

I enthusiastically supported this comprehensive approach to tackling the state’s wildfire threat, with one important exception that I explained at a public meeting. I was disappointed that implementing the state-of-the-art video imagery and data technology program – AlertWildfire – was not named in the bill. This technology uses the network that’s already been established by ShakeAlert, and expands the partnership and programming by connecting firefighters and federal and state agencies with real time fire activity information and live camera imagery, across a really broad geographical range. It also provides a publicly available web interface so that the public can see real-time what’s going on in addition to agencies and first responders. It is a key step in helping prevent fire outbreaks from reaching a catastrophic size. This is a reliable early intervention system already in use in California and five other states, tribal communities, the Bureau of Land Management, and the US Forest Service. We should be using it here, too.

Led by bipartisan work in special committees, several packages of bills turned frustration and words to real changes in policies and practices covering policing and school and workplace discrimination. In my March-April enews I covered some of those, such as doxing (publishing harassing documents or information in social media), mugshots, and police training and misconduct. Here are two more:

Illegal to Display a Noose: SB 398 establishes the crime of intimidation by display of a noose on public or private property without consent and the display causes the other person to be reasonably intimidated or placed in fear of bodily harm by the display.

Juneteenth as Official State Holiday. On June 19, 1865 Union General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas and issued General Order Number 3, which required the immediate freedom of more than 250,000 enslaved African Americans in Texas. Union troops marched throughout Galveston to spread the word that all slaves were free. Juneteenth is also known as Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day and Freedom Day. Recognizing Juneteenth statewide – along with other proposals adopted this session such as amending the state anthem’s dated colonialist references and prohibiting race-based hair discrimination – help to move Oregon away from a past when Black Oregonians were not allowed to own property or were banned from the state entirely. State Sen. Lew Frederick remarked, “Juneteenth is not the date all slaves were freed. Juneteenth is not the date that Black Americans, or Black Oregonians, were guaranteed comfort, relief or safety... Juneteenth was a step forward and a marker of hope, one we must continue to build upon. This official holiday will recognize that the people of Oregon, despite our past, can take the veil of ignorance away, and each year choose to have hope – on Juneteenth and every day thereafter.”
K-12 Education

The largest K-12 budget in Oregon history, at $9.3 billion, is a 3.3% increase over the 2019-21 State School Fund and a similar increase over the 2021-23 current service level. This $9.3 billion will be added to almost $4.6 billion in property taxes and other local revenues for distribution through the school revenue formula. Schools have also received an influx of federal funding from the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act. The state funding includes proceeds from the landmark Student Success Act passed in 2019 which helps stabilize school funding and expand early education access, adds mental health resources for students, funds culturally specific programming, and restores art, music, PE, and career training. The budget also funds the provisions of Measure 98, which voters passed to fund additional career, technical, and vocational education in schools. School funding is based on enrollment, while COVID-related changes, virtual schools, and wildfires had an impact on enrollment. Another bill helps stabilize school funding due to these temporary anomalies.
Climate, Energy, and Environment

Recycling Reform. Does recycling annoy you? Want to “do the right thing,” but it’s confusing or annoying or both?

This year's legislation establishes a clear list of products that are recyclable and provides grants to help communities know which products are eligible. Manufacturers of products on the list are required to be a member of a producer responsibility program (PRO). The statutory list was updated with products currently on the market. SB 582 also establishes PRO funding for infrastructure improvements for multifamily properties to help tenants recycle products. The bill also establishes the 17-member Oregon Recycling System Advisory Council, a 15-member Truth in Labeling Task Force, directs DEQ to do a needs assessment every five years, establishes recycling rate goals of at least 25% by 2039 and 50% extends past 2050.

The big bill: Clean Energy

I wrote in the April newsletter about HB 2021 that establishes a 2040 deadline for investor-owned utilities in Oregon to get to 100% clean energy. Since then, the bill has passed both houses of the Oregon Legislature and was signed by the Governor. Major components include:
  • a timeline for clean energy targets for a 100% reduction by 2040 in the baseline greenhouse gas emissions, determined by the average emissions in 2010-2012,
  • the Community Renewables Investment Fund to provide grants for public entities and indigenous tribes to plan and build community renewable energy projects, and
  • Community Benefits Advisory Panels, a study of small scale renewable energy projects, responsible labor provisions, and a prohibition on the siting of new fossil gas plants.
NN speaking-Chamber
My bills

Protecting your privacy: the "Zoom" bill

I wrote about HB 2459 in the April enews. Oregon law will now clarify that the recording of private conversations that take place via video transmission will be treated the same way as recordings of private face-to-face conversations are under current law. Read my testimony where I describe the intent behind protecting your privacy.

Reducing red tape - another inch gone

This bill will reduce the frequency of reporting and payment for distilleries from weekly to monthly. It may seem like a small thing, but for small manufacturing business owners every hour counts. (And House District 13 is the home to several craft distilleries, including the Whiteaker neighborhood.)

Contracting with business

The concept for this bill was spurred by an inquiry from the owner of a small business in my district, wondering how he could get a share of the state’s purchasing when it seemed like nearly all of the purchasing went to out of state businesses (in this case, it was advertising time). My bill lays the groundwork for a review and update of Oregon purchasing rules. HB 2374 requires collecting data on how state contracting agencies use the laws and administrative rules prescribing preferences, and provides training to state agencies on how to better utilize procurement policy preferences. This bill will help determine how and where the state is awarding public contracts, a first step toward ensuring that spending of public dollars is prudent, spurs the local economy, and represents Oregonian’s values.

Meanwhile, although there was no immediate solution available to this small business owner, my team worked with him in the short term to provide information on available grants and loans.

Teams for technical rescue: emergency response

I wrote in earlier enews about this bill to fund the SPIRE (State Preparedness and Incident Response Equipment) grant program and identify USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) equipment as a top priority. USAR includes rope, trench, confined space, and water rescue. Since I wrote, the program has been funded at $10 M. Read more about it in my Jan.-Feb. enews.
Investments for Eugene
Nick NN Lindsay
Investments from ARPA (American Rescue Plan) money

Lindsay and Nick helped me process "paperwork" to request ARPA funds to make some key investments in Eugene. Each legislator had an allotment of $2 million, and here's how I spent mine: $278,000 for four county health and human service programs to invest in the landlord engagement program and diversity, equity, and inclusion training, and address racial inequity; $150,000 to plan for expanding community broadband; and $310,000 to renovate Looking Glass facilities for homeless youth. I contributed the remainder of my funds to a collaborative effort with Reps. Holvey, Fahey, and Wilde and Sens. Beyer, Manning, and Prozanski to pool our money for larger projects, including these: Food for Lane County warehouse renovation, land purchase for shelters, homeless shelter site security and improvement ("rest stops" - see RG news story), mobile crisis response unit, homeownership seed fund, co-op housing for low-income households, improvements at a childcare facility, and more.
Wildfire season: keeping up with the news
A record-breaking heatwave last month propelled fire potential across the state into conditions we typically experience in August. ODF has reported over 500 human-caused fires and nearly 50 lightning-caused fires to date this year. The Governor declared a state of emergency for imminent threat of wildfire on June 29, which made available the National Guard and additional structural protection resources from other states through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact on an as needed basis. For the most part, efforts to keep fires under 10 acres have been successful, but ignitions have occasionally outpaced initial attack efforts across much of eastern Oregon. Klamath and Lake counties and parts of Douglas and Jackson counties have been under an air quality advisory due to smoke from the Bootleg and Jack fires. Many in the Eugene area were caught off-guard with heavy wildfire smoke last year and early preparation can help in limiting smoke exposure. See information from the EPA on protecting your home from wildfire smoke. Information on smoke impacts throughout the state is available at the Oregon smoke blog.

The Pacific Northwest region is at Preparedness Level (PL) 5 of 5 with extended attack fire activity in both Oregon and Washington. Fire fighting resources are becoming strained in the national system.

Campfires and backyard grills: Wondering if you should have a campfire on your upcoming trip or how to use your grill safely? Check Keep Oregon Green for current conditions, wildfire prevention tips, fire maps and more.

Good resource: Oregon Dept. of Forestry Wildfire Information and Statistics, which includes an active large fires map, and the Wildfire Blog.
COVID-19 vaccination
COVID-19 vaccination card
Keep your vaccination card safe

At your vaccination appointment you should get a vaccination card that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it.

  • Keep your vaccination card in a safe place.
  • Take a picture of your vaccination card as a backup copy.
  • Don’t laminate your card in case another shot may need to be added to it.
  • Keep your card in a waterproof container.
  • Don’t share your card on social media unless you cover your personal information.
Additional information and resources can be found on my legislative webpage.
Our local area: Beltline/Delta update
Delta Hwy ramp to Beltline opening soon

The new northbound Delta Highway to westbound Beltline Highway ramp, including the new bridge over Beltline Highway, is nearly complete. Expect lane, ramp and road closures in the area until work is completed in August. One of the last major pieces of the project will connect a new ramp to Beltline Highway. Update from ODOT on July 14:
"Sunday, July 18 – Wednesday, July 28: Northbound Delta travelers will continue to the light at Green Acres Road and turn left onto the onramp to westbound Beltline Highway. A temporary left turn signal will control traffic. This access will only be available for the detour. Crews will be completing the new off ramp from northbound Delta Highway to westbound Beltline Highway.
Wednesday, July 28: The new off ramp opens. Travelers going to both east and westbound Beltline Highway will exit just south of the new traffic signal."
Beltline-Delta traffic flow
Once the new off ramp is completed, the majority of the work to reconfigure the interchange to improve safety and traffic flow will be done. Final work completing the project is scheduled to be finished in August.

See more info and videos on the project webpage.
The team working for District 13
despite pandemic restrictions AND a construction project
We appreciated the work of our interns!

These exceptionally bright and hard-working university students helped with the 1,000+ constituent email letters and research. Here’s some of what they had to say about their experience.

A note about how my office works: While there are primary duties each person takes on, we work as a team, so everyone has an idea of each day's priorities and how to effectively manage them.
Photo. Top row: Jenna and Ilse. Bottom row: Lindsay, me, Nick in lower right corner.
From Jenna

This internship was really useful for me to have hands-on learning experiences with the state legislature. I started out as a polisci major and switched to the minor, but most of those classes don't actually prepare students for policy work. We learn about theories and different schools of thought, but not how bills actually pass and the work that goes into listening to constituents.

Even in the Oregon State Politics class at UO, we don't ever watch hearings and floor sessions, so it always feels kind of removed. In this internship, I saw bills pass, learned about the reasons why some stalled, and also got help with my writing and improving my skills for future work in public policy.

One of my favorite parts of this internship were the policy meetings where we would meet with representatives from different groups and learn about what bills were important to them and why. I liked the personal connection of that, and for the same reason, I liked writing constituent responses and communicating with people (especially when they'd reply with a "thank you"—I'll have to remember to do that when I email my legislators).

Overall, this internship convinced me to continue to work toward a career in public policy when my classes were pushing me in the opposite direction. The hands-on approach, constant space for questions, and hard and soft skills made this internship incredible, and I am so grateful to the whole HD 13 office for their help over the past 9 months.

From Ilse

I’ve learned a lot interning for Rep. Nathanson over the last term and a half. I expected, going into the internship, to experience how much work staff do as I know that is generally something that is misconceived in both the federal and state legislatures. I learned that being able to write on behalf of someone else and communicate in their writing style is an important skill in working for a legislative office, and I experienced that here too.

Another big aspect of my internship experience was helping add comments to the third reading list. I really enjoyed this task because I like how it gives you a sense of public opinion on all of the bills because you have to go through all the testimony and condense it into support and oppose lists. I also got to practice taking notes during meetings with stakeholders, which was another great way to get a feeling for what lobbyists were working on at a given time.

This internship was for credit, but it still surprised me how much it followed the format of a class. For example, I got time off over spring break and during finals week, which I didn’t expect. It was different from classes in the obvious sense that I didn’t have any homework, but it was also nice to feel useful in addition to learning. The internship had more of an education focus to it than I expected, with occasional discussions of what was going on and why in the legislature, and the time to read various current articles.
A beautiful day for a two-hour site visit and briefing on needed projects to restore and refurbish UO's heritage buildings. The project was funded in the final days of the legislative session.
University of Oregon's Heritage Project
UO Heritage buildings
Charming but sorely needing major upgrade (lacking A/C, seismic strength, etc.)
UO Heritage buildings
The site and these two buildings are a national historic landmark, one of only 17 in Oregon
UO Heritage buildings
Where the math profs dust chalk from blackboard erasers
UO Heritage buildings
Surveying the limited HVAC in UO's oldest buildings

UO Heritage buildings
The entrance to historic University Hall - worth saving, needs upgrading
UO heritage tour
Visiting a low-tech UO classroom without modern desks and A/C
Sine Die: end of the legislative session
Sine Die Holvey and Marsh
Rep. Holvey dons a mask shaped like a bird's beak while Rep. Marsh sports the Statue of Liberty crown Sine Die (end of session)
is imminent.
vote board-Nearman gone
Rep. Nearman, charged with
crimes from letting violent protestors into the Capitol in December, is expelled by House unanimously on June 10. His name (below mine) is removed from vote board.
House members applauding Sine Die, end of session, on a Saturday evening
Capitol seismic upgrade
Capitol construction
Exterior work begins
outside my office
The crane outside my window every day
Capitol construction
Working outside my window