Nancy being sworn in.

February, 2009

Dear Friends & Neighbors:


The 75th Legislative Session convened in Salem on January 12.  Committee work has begun and we are starting to work on key legislation that will help Oregon families during these difficult times.  With the national and state economy at its worst in decades, we have a lot of work to do in order to make things easier for Oregonians.  I know we need to roll up our sleeves to work on getting our economy back on its feet. 


This session, as the Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, I will devote much of my time developing a balanced state budget.  My fellow committee members and I understand that this will not be easy.  I invite you to share your ideas and priorities with me.

Click here to share your views using my online survey  


As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts.  Please don’t hesitate to contact my office at (503) 986-1413, or toll-free at 1-800-332-2313,  or write to me at







Around the Capitol



Capitol Wings Restoration


The Capitol renovation project is complete. In addition to much-needed safety and functionality improvements to this historic building, the renovation project will also result in a significant reduction in electricity and natural gas used to power and heat the Capitol wings.  Lower energy lights with occupancy sensors and integration of natural light into offices in the wings are expected to achieve a reduction of energy consumption to at least 20 percent below code, and low-flow toilets and touchless faucets will reduce water consumption.

Nancy speaking on metal theft

Nancy speaking on metal theft.

Putting a Stop to Metal Theft: legislation introduced


On January 22, I joined several of my colleagues in a news conference to address the rampant problem of metal theft.  Every week, metal thieves hit communities across Oregon: stripping cars of catalytic converters, yanking out power and telephone lines, dismantling irrigation systems, and stealing public artwork. Repairing the damage is increasingly costly, and some of the stolen works are irreplaceable.  When lights and phones are out, metal support structures dismantled, and grounding wires removed, public safety is immediately at risk.  I’m the chief sponsor of one of several proposals aimed at increasing penalties and drying up the market, including prohibiting on-the-spot cash sales, and requiring records of sales that law enforcement will be able to access.


Protecting affordable housing


This week I presented a bill to help residents in manufactured or mobile home parks.  In the last 10 years Oregon has lost 70 of these communities as they are sold for some other kind of development -- wiping out neighborhoods and displacing several thousand Oregonians from their homes, often with no way to move those homes to another park.  This affordable housing is often home to struggling working families, people on a fixed income, and those who depend on neighbors for help with daily needs.  When these neighborhoods close, social networks are wiped out and critically-needed affordable housing is lost.  House Bill 2383 provides residents in this situation a short period of time, allowing residents the right of first refusal to pool their resources to buy the park.



Special topics


Last week I focused attention on metal theft; Earned Income Tax Credit; protecting residents of manufactured home parks; funding additional services for veterans; and encouraging use of alternate energy for vehicles.  In Ways and Means I’m asking for more detailed information explaining money spent and outcomes achieved or “cost-benefit” on information technology projects; full-cost review which includes cost savings or offsets in addition to the initial cost to that program; buildings owned and leased for state offices; old rules that need to be changed to get out of the way of doing business more efficiently; and programs for the same or similar purposes but housed in different departments.


A Day in the Life


I thought it might be interesting for you to see the variety of topics I’ve heard about, discussed, and/or worked on in just one day. Wednesday, January 28:  7:50 AM, reviewed meeting requests.  8:00 AM, attend first meeting of the day, Joint Ways and Means, where we reviewed department and agency budget overviews for transportation (highway, rail, public transit, safety, motor carriers, etc.) and economic development (business and trade development, community and infrastructure development, unemployment insurance, workforce, child care division, housing and community services; veterans’ services; building codes; occupational safety and health… and more).  Then on to other topics for the rest of the day.  By 3:00 PM, I had already discussed: “cap and trade” to address global warming, bill drafting procedures, work hazards for firefighters, funding for Lane Community College, Oregon Wireless and Interoperability Network, flotation devices for river recreation safety, funding for local economic stimulus projects, telecommunications (phone, cable, internet),  reducing use of smokeless tobacco, strategic economic stimulus projects, mental health treatment, and serving food grown or processed in Oregon schools.  Amongst all of these conversations, I found time to plan for committee hearings, had several quick hallway conversations to coordinate bills, testimony, or committee work, and organize my first bill that is scheduled for a hearing this week.   I arrived home at 6:40 PM, where I spent another hour reviewing messages and meeting requests, and scanning newspaper clippings.  At the end of the day, when I'm preparing dinner, I reflect on all of the day’s activity and realize that everyday is exciting and interesting, offering many new challenges and adventures for my staff and me.   


In the District


Nancy's visit to Arcimoto.

Eugene Plugging into the Electric Future


A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to tour the Arcimoto workshop to learn about their work developing an electric car right here in Eugene.  This Eugene company is dedicated to creating clean, energy-efficient vehicles with great economic and environmental benefits to both the owner and the community as well as addressing global warming.  If you are interested in learning more, take a look at the company’s website:


Ian Foster & Dorothy Waller

Who’s in the office


It is my pleasure to introduce you to my 2009 Legislative staff. 


Ian Foster is my legislative assistant for policy, and will manage my calendar.  If you want to set up a phone or office meeting with me, he can help.  Ian served as the Chief Legislative Aide for Representative Betty Komp in 2007, worked on the 2008 Merkley campaign, and previously held an internship with Congressman Earl Blumenauer in Washington D.C.


Dorothy Waller is my legislative assistant for constituent matters, including community outreach and casework, and also assists with policy.  Dorothy has worked in job training, customer service, and as a campaign field organizer for Oregon League of Conservation Voters. 


Will Pilon recently joined us as legislative intern to help maintain bill and committee work files, track down information, and generally assist Dorothy and Ian.  Will is a junior at Willamette University, and is planning on applying to law school next year.



Saturday chat: Feb. 21


On Saturday morning, February 21st,  from 11 to 12, I will be at Brewed Awakening in the Cal Young area.  Please come and share your thoughts and concerns.  In the coming months I will plan weekend “chats” in other neighborhoods.  Questions?  Contact my office at (503) 986-1413. 


Brewed Awakening

2532 Willakenzie Rd., Eugene 97401           

(across from Sheldon High School)

February 2009