By Representative David Gomberg, House District 10
Hello Neighbors and Friends,
Wednesday was “City Day at the Capitol” in Salem and we met with delegations from Philomath, Toledo, Newport, Siletz, Yachats, and Lincoln City. We talked about homelessness, water systems, police stations, sidewalks, and rodeo stands. At the end of the day, I invited everyone down to the House Chamber for a group photo.
I have mentioned before that most of the public areas of the Capitol are closed for seismic renovations and repairs. Only the House and Senate chambers, the legislative office wings, and the hearing rooms are accessible.
The daily schedule in the Capitol is intense. Each day I have caucus at ten, floor sessions at eleven, and 90-minute committee meetings at one, three, and twice a week at five. In the remaining time, we organize a version of legislative “speed-dating”. We crowd in appointments in 15-minute increments and the day begins to seem like someone has a television remote control and keeps changing the channel. I’ll get 15 minutes on clean water, then behavioral health, then road tolling, then agency funding.
Most legislators head home on Fridays but I serve on Ways and Means which meets at the end of each week. And of course, I write newsletters on Sunday.
If you are planning to visit the Capitol, please let us know in advance and we’ll give you 15 minutes too – and perhaps a visit to the Chamber floor. But Luke and Charsly in my office know that should someone from the district arrive, I will step off the floor or out of committee briefly to say hello. My office is on the fourth floor of the House wing.
Typically I leave for Salem at 6:30 each morning. On days with evening committees, I get home about eight. The days are long but productive and important work is being done for Oregon and for our district.
Highway 101 north of Newport is a mess! There are dips, bumps, and slides that require constant attention and slower speeds. Nearby, you can see the old buckled roadway and quickly understand the challenges Mother Nature imposes on coastal transportation.
The good news is that repairs are underway. Here is the update I received from ODOT:
- The series of slides south of Cape Foulweather became very active over the past three weeks.
- The pavement was sinking at a rate that required patching and/or pavement grinding several times per day.
- With the dry weather this week, an ODOT maintenance crew is paving the sunken grades with hot asphalt which will take +/- 400 tons. This will restore the ride quality until they settle again.
- Additional message signs are placed to warn motorists of the pavement condition.
- We have also had staff monitoring the erosion near the Beverly Beach area. The latest round of king tides have removed more earth, however the shoulder and travel lanes are stable at this time.
- There is an active construction project U.S. 101 Moolack Landslide Repair MP 135.7-136.31 just south of NE 89th Ct, generally uphill of the area in the vicinity of the Moolack Shores motel.
- The purpose is to slow down the movement and reduce the frequency and cost of maintenance. It won’t stop the movement, just slow it down in that location.
- The project will lower the level of a pond that is uphill of the highway by installing a pipe that will keep the pond drained.
- The contractor has been clearing the necessary trees and will start installing pipe in the next few days. The project is anticipated to complete in the late spring.
- Traffic impacts should be minimal as most work is occurring off the roadway during daytime, weekday hours.
According to the News-Times, the project is budgeted at $2.7 million. Construction began this month and is expected to be completed in late spring. Travelers should watch for construction trucks entering and exiting Highway 101 around the Moolack parking area. There will be little other impact to traffic as most of the work will be done along 89th Court.
You can read more about the challenges of protecting our local roadways and the conflict between highway safety and land use rules here.
Much of my work this past week focused on a package of bills intended to support rural economic development. The measures were developed before session by Mark Owens (R-Crane), Greg Smith (R-Heppner), Pam Marsh (D-Ashland), and myself.
HB 2907 is intended to help support local meat producers come into compliance with Oregon’s new State Meat Inspection Program. Prior to the State Meat Inspection Program, federal meat inspectors were in short supply in Oregon and that often meant small farmers had to transport cattle hundreds of miles before they could sell their products at farmers markets, restaurants, and grocery stores.
HB 2908 will help small rural start-up businesses by providing support to the Small Business Development Center Network throughout the state. SBDCs provide advising, training, and resources for small businesses across the state, helping local entrepreneurs harness their potential and bring their products and services to market.
HB 2909 will get more Oregon seafood into Oregon restaurants. Current data suggests that 90% of the seafood sold in coastal restaurants is imported. Getting local seafood into local restaurants will help our fishing fleet, fish processors, and the visitor industry.
HB 2910 is intended to support and enhance the outdoor recreation industry. Each year, millions of people come to Oregon to hike, camp, fish, hunt, ski, or enjoy kite flying and water sports. With HB 2910, it is our goal to bolster professional and workforce development programs for the outdoor recreation economy, assist local entrepreneurs in the outdoor gear and apparel industry, and plan the construction of outdoor recreation facilities in fire-impacted communities.
HB 2911 is designed to support rural entertainment venues and county fairs. The pandemic devastated live entertainment in Oregon and music and theater are among the slowest economic sectors to recover.
You can hear my presentations to the House Economic Development and Small Business Committee here.
Local stars testify: Laura Anderson on restaurants, Dave Price about SBDCs, and Jason Holland on live entertainment.
Returning home from Salem in the dark, I sometimes pause outside the garage to listen to the wind in the trees and an occasional warning from above – hoo-hoo.
Among 200 species of owls across the globe, 14 of them live in Oregon either permanently or seasonally, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. They include the largest and smallest owl species on Earth. Some are smaller than a pop can and are voracious midnight hunters that catch prey twice their size. Others have a wingspan of up to five feet and hunt in stealth mode, their round faces working like satellite dishes to collect scarce sounds and other information.
Get to know Oregon’s owls below, with all the facts and sounds of our many nocturnal predators in this interesting article from the Oregonian.
I’m not giving up my Whale Plate number 00001, But there’s a new way to be a pollinator protector in Oregon. Buy the new bee-themed license plate to bring attention to beneficial insects and support Oregon State University Extension research on native bees.
Each Pollinator Paradise license plate ordered sends $35 to OSU’s Pollinator Health Lab and Honey Bee Lab programs focused on the state’s 600 species of bees.
The Oregon license plate, which features the managed honey bee and wild yellow-faced bumble bee hovering over a field of red clover, is also a sign of the state’s bee success. The plate was designed by artist Marek Stanton, 16, of Estacada. Read more in the Oregonian.
Next Saturday, I’ll be driving over to Corvallis to join the Benton County League of Women Voters. The public program begins at 10 in the downtown library. We are still sorting out details but plan to attend a number of public events in Philomath and Monroe before heading home. Watch local news or contact our office later in the week for details.
Schedule permitting, I’ll plan to offer a few welcoming remarks at the Tourism and Travel Conference, February 10 in Lincoln City. The program will focus on accessible travel.
And finally, since I’m guessing most of you do not subscribe, I’m attaching a copy of the cover from the latest issue of Municipal Water Leader magazine. The story is a good one, and I’m ordering extra copies for Susan…
address: 900 Court St NE, H-480, Salem, OR, 97301