Democrat Herald: Pacific islander law enforcement bill heads to Senate

administrator, 04/14/2017 2:38 pm

From the the Albany Democrat-Herald:

SALEM — House Bill 2594, which will allow citizens of three South Pacific islands to become law enforcement officers in Oregon, was passed unanimously Monday by the House of Representatives, and the bipartisan bill is expected to see similar support in the Senate, according to co-sponsor Andy Olson, R-Albany.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senator Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis.

According to Olson, the bill is a continuation of the effort to include citizens from Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshal Islands with the benefits of U.S. citizenship as reparation for 67 atomic bomb tests among those island countries during World War II.

“During the 2013 session, we passed HB 2517 that allows citizens of the Compact of Free Association islands to obtain their driver’s license, and during the short session we passed HB 4071, which provides health care coverage for them,” Olson said.

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Great news for the Albany area

administrator, 11/05/2016 3:36 pm

From the Corvallis Gazette Times:

Highway 20 to get $8.4 million in safety upgrades

Motorists who drive the dangerous Highway 20 corridor between Albany and Corvallis are getting some relief.

Oregon Department of Transportation officials have announced plans for $8.4 million in safety upgrades to be completed between 2017 and 2021.

“I got goosebumps and was elated when I heard the news,” said Christine Kramer, who lives on Northeast Merloy Avenue. Kramer was one of the community members who lobbied ODOT and other public officials to find solutions for the corridor. Kramer, who lives two doors down from the highway, got involved after a February 2014 crash that killed 29-year-old Dominic Schlundt…”

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Democrat Herald Editorial: Transportation panel plans Albany hearing

administrator, 08/26/2016 9:22 pm

Good editorial from the the Albany Democrat-Herald:

If you’ve been tracking the progress of the Oregon Legislature’s Joint Interim Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization (and, yes, that’s the full name), you know that the committee has been meeting throughout the state, trying to get a better feel for Oregon’s numerous transportation needs.

You might even have thought, it’s great that these legislators have been gathering information all over Oregon, but what about the mid-valley’s unmet transportation needs? These thoughts might even have occurred to you as you sat on Interstate 5 in the midst of one of the interstate’s increasingly frequent mysterious traffic jams — you know, the ones where there seems to be no cause for the slowdown? (By the way, those kinds of slowdowns can be symptoms that a stretch of road is over its capacity. More on that later.)

In the meantime, there is good news to report: Albany Rep. Andy Olson says that he’s in the middle of setting up the committee’s last meeting on the road, and plans are to hold the meeting on Monday, Oct. 24, at Linn-Benton Community College. The time is yet to be determined.

“I’m really pleased that we’ll have a voice in this matter,” Olson said. Watch the paper for more details on the hearing as it draws nearer, but in the meantime, save the date.

Olson’s committee, which includes Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate, is charged with crafting a transportation package for the Legislature to consider in its 2017 session. There’s little doubt that the state’s rapidly aging transportation infrastructure needs the work. The key questions are these: What should get the attention first and how should we pay for that?

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Andy Advocates for Albany

administrator, 07/25/2016 9:47 pm

From the Register Guard:

Twelve key state lawmakers visited Eugene and Springfield on Wednesday as part of a summer tour to build support for a new attempt to pass a transportation funding package in 2017.

Lawmakers rode on Lane Transit District buses through Eugene and Springfield, looking at problem areas and potential projects, before an evening public hearing at the University of Oregon.

Any transportation package most likely would be paid for by a combination of higher gas taxes and vehicle registration and driver’s license fees. A proposed $300 million package died at the end of the 2015 session, upping the pressure on lawmakers to reach a deal to increase transportation revenues next year.

The special legislative committee so far has been tight-lipped about how much money it would like to raise and how. Instead, members have focused on drawing public attention to the issue while hearing about high-priority projects in different regions of the state.

At the top of the list of wished-for projects in Lane County? A major upgrade to the Randy Papé Beltline/Delta Highway interchange and surrounding area in north Eugene.

The project would include adding two lanes of traffic to Beltline where it crosses the Willamette River, replacing the existing bridge, and potentially building a new, smaller bridge between Santa Clara and the Delta Oaks area for slower-
moving traffic.

The project, which has a $260 million price tag, most likely would be divided into several phases to make the costs more manageable.

Other priorities mentioned by local elected officials include major changes to Franklin Boule vard in Eugene and Springfield; a new riverfront bike path in Glenwood; and upgrades to 42nd Street in east Springfield.

Committee member Rep. Andy Olson, an Albany Republican, said the state also should seriously consider widening Interstate 5 between Eugene and Salem to six total lanes of traffic, as it is between Salem and Portland.

The stretch averages about 60,000 vehicles a day and 200 accidents a year, he said.

“We are getting close to capacity,” he said…

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Oregonian Editorial: Change state’s ‘physical injury’ definition to better protect abused children:

administrator, 06/21/2016 5:46 pm

Truly looking forward to seeing a change in this statute. I would have liked to see SB 1556 pass this last session, but we’ll aim for the 2017 session.

It’s difficult to look at the photos of 1-year-old Jacob Marbury’s bruised face and not feel bewildered by the Washington County district attorney’s initial reluctance to charge the suspected abuser.

But as The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Emily Smith and Aimee Green have reported, prosecutors have shied away from pursuing several possible abuse cases involving young children in recent years. Why? Because bruises – even one showing a handprint as in Jacob’s case – don’t necessarily amount to “physical injury” in the eyes of the courts. To qualify, injuries must either cause impairment of physical condition or amount to “substantial pain,” a threshold that can be difficult to prove when the victim is too young or too intimidated to speak up.

Consider that in one case, a trial judge found that bruises covering the buttocks of a 16-month old were insufficient by themselves to show the baby suffered substantial pain. In another case, the Oregon Court of Appeals concluded in a 2014 decision that pulling out clumps of a woman’s hair also failed to meet the standard for “physical injury.” (The woman was a reluctant witness against the defendant, her husband). Is it any wonder that prosecutors are scratching their heads over what it takes to be considered injured?…

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