Weekly Review
HB 3367 - Bike Path

I'm sure most of you are aware of the controversial bike path project in Benton County which the county requested to construct a bike path, extending from Corvallis to Albany. The intention was to create a safe pathway for bicyclists to commute without riding on HWY 20, which is a dangerous road with high traffic. The problem being, the proposed bike path would cut through miles of farm land.

 

As you can imagine, many farmers whose land would be affected by the proposed bike path were extremely upset and wanted their voice to be heard. Under current law, it is not clear whether recreational trails are permitted outright in farm use zones, or whether they must have a Conditional Use Permit from the local governing body before they are constructed.

 

Benton County was wise in receiving public testimony concerning this issue, which was not required of them. HB 3367 would close the loophole in the law while ensuring due process for better protection of valuable farmland.

 

On April 7th, a public hearing was held on HB 3367 in which three constituents came to testify in support of the bill. I have requested to have a work session and hope to see the bill move forward. It would be great to see all counties required to follow the same process Benton County took.

The Best Inventions of 2014
It's great to hear how some state agencies are coming up with innovative and creative ideas that bring positive results. Such is the case with the Department of Corrections, led by Colette Peters. Time Magazine listed the Blue Room
as one of the top 25 best inventions of 2014. Developed by the Snake River Correctional Institution in Oregon, the 

Blue Room is an exercise space where a projector plays video of open deserts, streaming waterfalls, and other outdoor scenes. The imagery is supposed to have a calming affect on prisoners

 

For 23 hours a day, the 200 inmates at Snake River in solitary confinement see nothing but a tiny white-walled cell, which is linked to heightening mental illness and increasing violent behavior.


 
The Blue Room is working so well that guards now use it as a way to pre-empt bad behavior. I'm looking forward to seeing more positive results from this new policy. For a complete list of the top 25 inventions, click here.

Colette Peters (Director of DOC), Rep. Olson, and Elizabeth Craig, (GEOCO Administrator at DOC)

Challenges in Public Health Funding

Last week, in the Joint Ways and Means Sub Committee on Human Services, county public health directors shared their concerns with the lack of funding for public health. Listening to their testimonies, I too am concerned about the funding for county public health. The facts demonstrate that funding public health has not been a priority for Oregon.

  1. Oregon ranks 46th in the nation in terms of our total public health investment.
  2. Between 2008 to 2013, the number of disease reports in Oregon increased over 30% while funding to investigate and respond to those reports decreased over 10%.
  3. The last investment from the legislature in communicable disease response for local departments was 2007.

Linn County receives $33,000 in state funding to support their communicable disease (CD) work and even though Linn County provides $294,939 to the county general fund for the program, they are rapidly falling behind in their ability to protect the citizens.

 

Maintaining current public health funding and investing in CD will ensure that local public health programs are able to protect all Oregonians, especially the most vulnerable.

                   Special Moments                  

Meeting with constituents on the Oregon Realtor Lobby Day

 

Visiting with 4th grade students from Oak Grove on their tour of the Capitol

 

Meeting with two young constituents participating in the Honorary Page Program 

 

Until next week,

 

 

Andy Olson

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Contact Info:
900 Court St. NE, H-478
Salem, OR 97301
503-986-1415

 
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Notable
 and Quotable:
"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
-Thomas Edison

 
 "Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value."
-Albert Einstein
  
 
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