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Private Sale of Elliott Forest Faces Momentary Setback

By Nick Perry-Guetti On February 14th, in Salem, OR, the Oregon State Land Board (SLB) in a public hearing voted 2-1 for sale of the Elliot State Forest (a public land trust attached to the state’s Common School Fund (CSF), and comprising some 83,000 acres of beautiful, ecologically diverse forest rich in old growth and known to be habitat for federally threatened species) jointly to Lone Rock Timber, a private timber company, and the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe. The SLB consists of Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D), Secretary of State Dennis Richardson (R), and Treasurer Tobias Read (D). Brown, who favors an option for continued public ownership of Elliot that still allows for logging, cast the dissenting vote. The sale is not finalized, awaiting another meeting set for April 11th. The hearing was attended by activists who testified in support of keeping the Elliott Forest public.  Green Party members from the Lane Greens and Linn/Benton chapters carpooled to Salem to attend the hearing. The vote came as a surprise to many wishing to keep the Elliott Forest public, as many expected Treasurer Read to vote with Governor Brown. According to a February 15th article in the Statesman-Journal, Read issued a statement describing the decision as “not easy”, but necessary to provide schools with adequate funding and children with “the world-class education they deserve”. The article says that the sale price of $220 million was set in August, and that “Lone Rock submitted the only bid”, but fails to mention that the price was fixed, and that “bidding” refers only to the public benefits package timber companies would be willing to provide for the community. Asked to comment on this, Secretary Richardson’s Communications Director Michael Calcagno said that although the article’s wording concerning the nature of the bid might be slightly misleading, the statement was essentially true. It remains unclear why the sale is necessary. CSF data indicates less than 1% of the Fund comes from the Elliot, and funding has remained constant over the years in spite of fluctuating timber sales; further, the CSF is far from endangered as it now stands. “Oregon just voted overwhelmingly to support the Fund,” Beeken said at a University of Oregon presentation on February 1st ( sponsored by the Lane Greens chapter and Coast Range Forest Watch), "granting the CSF a huge $1.2 billion windfall”. Also virtually untouched at the meeting was the issue of legality of the sale, apparently prohibited under Oregon Revised Statute 530.450, although one unidentified attendee who gave testimony is said to have mentioned the issue. However, the story is not over. The decision is due to be finalized at a SLB meeting Tuesday, April 11th; Governor Brown, by all accounts, is quite dissatisfied with the Feb. 14th meeting and its results, and has publicly signaled an interest in alternate plans. Call Governor Brown (503.378.4582) in support. Also contact Secretary Richardson (503.986.1523) and Treasurer Read (503.378.4329), and ask them how the privatization of a public land trust is legal or necessary, given State data that the CSF has no need of it. For more information, contact Coast Range Forest Watch and visit savetheelliott.com. Speak true (especially to Democratic Treasurer Tobias Read!), take power. Save the Elliott!

Action Alert Call and Rally to Save The Elliott Forest

The State Land Board (Governor, Treasurer, and Secretary of State) needs to hear from us that Oregonians do not want the Elliott to be privatized. The Department of State Lands (DSL) released the agenda for this meeting, stating that unless the State Land Board tells the DSL to not sell the Elliott, it will be officially sold. Key talking points: -The Elliott needs to remain in public ownership.-The DSL is disregarding the Land Board's decision in December to look into other options.-There are currently groups formulating alternative options for the Elliott and these should not be disregarded.-The common school fund needs to be decoupled from the revenue of the Elliott, but not at the cost of losing our public lands Tobias Read (State Treasurer) 503.378.4329 Dennis Richardson (Secretary of State) 503.986.1523 Kate Brown (Governor) 503.378.4582 If they don't take action this coming Tuesday 14 Feb then a sale will (unfortunately) go through.  There is a massive rally planned in Salem on Tuesday click for details. Wear green in support of the Elliott! CARPOOL from Coos Bay: email savetheelliott@gmail.com CARPOOL from Corvallis: email   

Portlanders Flood City Hall to Testify for unanimously passed Relocation Assistance Ordinance

By Nick Perry-Guetti On February 2nd, an Emergency Relocation Ordinance introduced by Commissioner Chloe Eudaly was unanimously passed after an approximately five-hour hearing where 118 people in addition to those formally invited to testify gave testimony, overwhelmingly in favor of the ordinance. The law requires landlords who instigate no-cause evictions must pay three months rent (actually a flat rate determined by Portland Housing Bureau [PHB] information on the average rent paid by renters whom the law would affect) in relocation assistance to the tenants. Proponents, citing PHB data as well as much direct experience, argued that in low and moderate income households, incomes are not keeping up with rent increases. Meanwhile landlords in the city have had the right, for the last thirty years, to perform no-cause evictions: a process that bypasses many of the restrictions landlords face in ordinary evictions where they must state a cause. Moving costs around 2.5 times the average monthly income of Portland renters.  Short-term rent assistance has had only limited effect, and representatives of Human Solutions––a homeless sheltering organization that would be housing 5,000 people that night––reported that every homeless shelter which opens immediately fills, that a high percentage of those needing shelter are experiencing homelessness for the first time, and that the city is about 25,000 housing units short. Before the hearing, Commissioner Eudaly addressed a large and appreciative crowd gathered outside, citing her own experience of housing loss as a significant inspiration for crafting the ordinance. The hearing had an impressive attendance. The two-floor hearing room at City Hall quickly filled, and attendees not giving testimony were obliged themselves to relocate to the nearby Portland Building to watch the proceedings via live stream in an equally packed auditorium. The overall atmosphere was of strong support for the ordinance; though some testimony expressed concerns that the law might create difficulties for landlords in some circumstances, or that the law does not go far enough to assuage the housing crisis and that overturning a current ban on rent control remains necessary. Proponents, including commissioner Eudaly, responded that landlords’ difficulties did not outweigh those of tenants, but the Commission did craft a number of amendments to the law excusing landlords under certain circumstances; they also agreed that the ordinance was only an emergency stopgap measure to arrest the sharp increase in homelessness, and that the ban on rent control was a major cause of conflict and should be reexamined. In the meantime, to avoid difficulties, landlords are encouraged to reconsider no-cause evictions unless absolutely necessary. 

Fair Redistricting Task Force developing innovative nonpartisan proposal

SALEM, OR — Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson is convening the Fair Redistricting Task Force with broad stakeholder engagement across the political spectrum. Pacific Green Party leader and political science university scholar Alan Zundel, Ph.D. will serve as Task Force Administrator to help the group build consensus on the best proposal to achieve fair and objective legislative and congressional redistricting. “I don't underestimate the challenge we face, but I share the common desire to make our redistricting process as fair as possible,” Zundel said. Former Democratic Secretary of State Phil Keisling will provide input to the task force, which includes Senator Tim Knopp, Representatives Jeff Barker, Julie Parrish, Knute Buehler and Dallas Heard along with Independent Party leader Sal Peralta, Progressive Party leader Dan Meek, Pacific Green Party leader Seth Woolley and the League of Women Voters. “Oregonians deserve fair and objective legislative and congressional districts,” Richardson said. “We need to make the redistricting process nonpartisan. This transparent task force will help move Oregon toward that objective.” The task force meets Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m. throughout February and March. Today's meeting will take place at the State Capitol in Hearing Room C and will be accessible via video livestream for Oregonians across the state. "We are sending an open invitation to all interested Oregonians to participate in this process," Richardson said. Everyone is welcome to email Alan Zundel with their input. ###

Policy Confusion Haunts Sale of Elliott State Forest

By Nick Perry-Guetti On Wednesday evening February 1st at University of Oregon - a presentation sponsored by the Pacific Green Party Lane Greens Chapter and given by Coast Range Forest Watch - discussed an ancient forest under threat from a land management administration whose focus seems unclear. CRFW’s co-Director Max Beeken spoke to a full lecture hall in Straub Hall concerning the beautiful 83,000-acre tract of public land, rich in old growth and biodiversity and ecologically valuable for its capacity to absorb carbon, and the issue of its legally and economically questionable sale for timber harvest. Beeken said that according to the Department of State Lands, the Common School Fund (CSF)––which owns most of the forest––is losing money due to logging restrictions prompted by concerns for federally protected species who reside there. However, Beeken’s data indicated two problems with this story: 1) the CSF does not seem to be losing money at all according to its own statistics, and 2) Elliott’s timber sales are responsible for less than1% of the CSF’s revenue in any case. “Oregon just voted overwhelmingly to support the Fund,” Beeken said. “With such a huge $1.2 billion windfall, it’s hard to see why the forest needs to be sold when timber sales hardly seem to a;ect the Fund’s revenue at all.” Nevertheless, parcels have been sold to private timber companies. Many of these parcels, upon examination by volunteer wildlife biologists, were found to contain threatened species such as marbled murrelets. Some sales were withdrawn or stopped largely due to the efforts of forest activists, necessary despite Oregon Revised Statute 530.450, which arguably prohibits the sale of most of the forest.

Feb 1st 2017 Save The Elliott Forest UO Event

Held in U of O Straub Hall Room 145 starting at 6 p.m. Details listed in the Facebook event posting. This presentation will provide you with background on the Elliott State Forest and the sale process that is underway -- as well as give you the latest developments and provide practical ways you can be involved in keeping the Elliott State Forest in public ownership. Hosted by the Lane Greens Chapter of the Pacific Green Party.  

Hearing for Historic Tenants Rights Ordinance

Our Green Party platform supports rent control and ending no cause evictions.  If you can't rally at city Hall please use the event page to contact city commissioners.  This event is HUGE, and we need EVERYONE who's able to join us next Thursday, February 2nd at Portland City Hall to demand our City Council pass relocation assistance for renters. We'll be hosting a rally at City Hall at 1pm, and the hearing itself will begin promptly at 2pm.If you have been or are at risk of being displaced from your home because of a no-cause eviction or rent increase, Portland City Council needs to hear from you! Please consider testifying in front of Council next Thursday, and contact Portland Tenants United to let us know you want to speak!You can also email or call City Council officers at the numbers & addresses below - in particular, Commissioners Saltzman, Fish, and Fritz need to hear from you. We encourage you to share your story with your elected officials, or just a short message of support: "relocation assistance would give displaced tenants a little room to breathe - please support Commissioner Eudaly's proposal next Thursday!"* Commissioner Nick Fish: 503-823-3589 / nick@portlandoregon.gov* Commissioner Dan Saltzman: 503-823-4151 / dan@portlandoregon.gov* Commissioner Amanda Fritz: 503-823-3008 / Amanda@portlandoregon.gov

Pacific Greens Elect Three Women to Five-Member State Committee on Day of Women’s March

By Nick Perry-Guetti: On Saturday 21 January 2017, the grandest of all citizens’ political marches in the history of the United States, the Women’s March, with numbers estimated at between 2.9 million and 4.6 million people nationwide, took place. The event and its atmosphere were described as peaceful and festive by marchers, observers and city officials alike, actually gleaning high praise from police departments in many cities. At the same moment, in the hearty atmosphere of a winter gathering at their Eugene, OR headquarters, the Pacific Green Party met to elect three women to their State Coordinating Committee: Dr. Nathalie Paravicini of Portland, OR, formerly a leading voice in many Green Party chapters; Melissa Wright, also of Portland, a creative and adept organizer; and Jacqueline DeVaney of Astoria, a home health nurse advocating for her patients and community through the Party. These three tried and proven veterans of the PGP’s impressive recent organizing achievements now make up three fifths of the SCC, joining incumbents Alan Zundel of Eugene and Seth Woolley of Portland (both former candidates for Oregon Secretary of State).  Other business of the gathering included earnest and fruitful discussions of strategies for networking and the building of alliances in the political community. Long-time PGP organizer Charles Newlin later called the meeting “very exciting”, and said he was “thrilled that we just elected three extraordinary women to this Committee on such an historic day for women everywhere.” With such opportune focus, Oregon’s Pacific Green Party starts off the year strong, canny and with its finger firmly on the pulse of social politics, nationally and globally. This January may have offered a challenge to progressive activists like no other month remembered, but its 21st day may also stand as one of the most beautiful days in history, and a day when the challenge was gracefully accepted. You can find the minutes for the Pacific Green Party 2017 Winter Gathering here.

2017 Green Party Winter Gathering

Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 10 AM - 6 PM 454 Willamette St, Eugene, OR 97401-2643. This is the proposed date and location for the Pacific Green Party's Winter Gathering where we will be reviewing election results, electing new steering committee members, and plotting our path forward.  Click read more for the agenda draft. Continue reading

Ranked Choice Voting draws support from near and far

Measure 2-100, Benton County’s pioneering Ranked Choice Voting initiative, has been drawing support and attention from near and far:  from local newspapers to a Seattle think-tank, and from a neighboring county to Vermont’s Howard Dean.   Read the full text of the news release here.