Rep Nathanson enews
EWEB comes to Salem to accept award for environmental stewardship (story below)

May 2012

Dear Friends,
This week the Legislature has been holding hearings on various topics of interest to policy committees. I serve on the E-Board, or Emergency Board, where we voted on agency proposals to apply for federal grants and to spend money that was set aside by the Legislature in February. One of our most important actions was to release money won by 49 state attorneys general from a settlement with a handful of big national banks over flawed and unfair home foreclosure practices.  Oregon's share will be about $30 million, and we will start spending some of that right away to get money into communities and help homeowners facing foreclosure - or the possibility of it - with specialized counseling, mediation with banks, and legal assistance.


In addition to time spent with housing and homeowner advocates developing foreclosure program ideas, I'm also working hard to preserve the school health clinics in School District 4J.  School-based health centers are a key part of the health care system, providing help for kids - where they are and when they need it.  Early help saves money for the health care system in general, and keeps kids in school and able to learn.

I've enjoyed recent visits to several Eugene area organizations, including the Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Cascade Sierra Solutions (which provides money-saving and environmental solutions for freight trucking), and businesses competing for funding from the Willamette Angel Conference. Also, I met with Sen. Merkley at the Chamber of Commerce economic development council, and Circuit Court Presiding Judge Karsten Rasmussen.  More on Cascade Sierra Solutions next month.
In This Issue
Health care
Schools: career and technical eduction
Awards! KKNU Radio and Environmental awards for EWEB and Delta Ponds
Metal recycling
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Health care: choosing wisely
The cost of health care is a key concern for individuals and businesses.  Health insurance is the fastest-growing cost component in a family budget, or when an employer is looking at costs of labor versus materials and other overhead. 
One component of that cost is advanced imaging tests, such as MRI and CT scans. I wrote a bill in 2011 asking for a study of cost and risk associated with these tests, and the concept was wrapped into the overall health reform legislation.  (Legislative testimony: Why I think it's important)


The director of the Oregon Health Authority recently alerted us to a resource called "Choosing Wisely." It was developed by the ABIM Foundation ("Advancing Medical Professionalism to Improve Health Care"), and is focused on evidence-based recommendations for individual patients: encouraging physicians, patients and other health care stakeholders to think and talk about medical tests and procedures that may be unnecessary, and in some instances can cause harm. 
More Career and Technical Education - coming to Eugene!

Preparing students for work and careers.  Getting students ready for college is an important goal.  Just as important is helping them prepare for work experience. In previous newsletters you read about my efforts to promote career and technical education (CTE, previously known as "vocational education").  Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian has been a key force in making this a reality. Last year, the Legislature dedicated $2 million to revitalizing career and technical education.  CTE will make it possible for students to access high-wage, high-demand jobs much earlier in their careers.

Avakian says: "Access to 21st Century shop classes is the key to 21st Century economic competitiveness.  ...Every sector of our economy benefits from young workers with hands-on experience and job skills, and that is shown in the wide range of industries that stepped forward to offer community support and matching funds for these opportunities to connect Oregon's future workforce with their interests and talents at a younger age."  And Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo says it's an "invaluable opportunity for students to explore possible future careers through high-quality, hands-on career and technical education ... and will help our schools graduate students ready to compete and succeed in the 21st Century workplace."


Even better:  Eight of 43 proposals won grant awards, and two of those are in Eugene! Willamette High School won for visual and graphic arts design, and Churchill High School for a pre-engineering program of science, technology, engineering and math.  Summary of the programs.

Local news and events
Awards to EWEB and City of Eugene, and Eugene Country Radio KKNU
State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, Secretary of State Kate Brown, and Governor Kitzhaber presenting award to City of Eugene

The State Land Board recognized two Eugene organizations for responsible, sustainable stewardship of Oregon's natural resources. Yea for EWEB and City of Eugene!


Stream Project Award for the City of Eugene's Delta Ponds Side-Channel Habitat Enhancement Project, which hydrologically connected 2.2 miles of side-channel habitat to the Willamette River, providing critical rearing habitat for juvenile Chinook salmon.


Wetland Project Award for the Eugene Water and Electric Board Roosevelt Operations Center Wetland Mitigation Site, a 14-acre area of historically-degraded wetlands that has been restored, created and enhanced into a high quality wetland. The project is part of EWEB's 52-acre operations center in west Eugene, located within the West Eugene Wetland Conservation Planning Area.  


Local radio station gets top billing! Bill Barrett, Tim Fox and Tracy Berry from Eugene country radio station 99.3 KKNU have been recognized by the Academy of Country Music for best "On-Air Personality of the Year - Small Market."

In the District and nearby: metal recycling
I enjoyed a great tour at Schnitzer Steel. Up to 50% of steel used in manufacturing is recycled, and their work diverts material from landfill.  Schnitzer handles ferrous and non-ferrous metal, while about a quarter of the material is other stuff, like rubber and plastic.  We discussed environmental, safety, consumer & business issues, and scrap metal legislation enacted a few years ago. Schnitzer has a good relationship with law enforcement to identify stolen metal. And they are careful to find and appropriately handle hazardous material. Several area legislators got to see and discuss this first hand.

Representative Nancy Nathanson | PO Box 4185 | Eugene | OR | 97404