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April 18, 2022 - Sine Die

Back to the full Legislative Report

Agriculture

Air Quality

Budgets/Revenue

Climate

Coastal Issues

Dept. of Environmental Quality

Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries

Elliott State Forest

Energy

Fish and Wildlife

Forestry

Hanford

Land Use/Housing

Northwest Energy Coalition

Parks and Recreation

Radioactive Waste

Recycling

State Land Board

Water

Wildfire


Agriculture

By Josie Koehne, Greg Martin & Peggy Lynch


LWVOR provided testimony in support of the Natural and Working Lands and Waters proposal, SB 1534 A. The bill died but we will continue advocating for the program and funding for the research called for. For more info, see the Climate Report. The League is also engaged in HB 4061 A Enrolled, related to illegal water use from illegal cannabis grows (some masquerading as legal hemp grows).


Three new “megachicken” factories (poultry farms) are proposed in the Scio area in Linn County. Locals, including farmers, have significant concerns about air and water quality. The Oregon Dept. of Agriculture has permitting authority as Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO). This is a legal farming activity and the property is farmland. Unfortunately, Oregon provides no explicit authority to regulate air quality impacts for these operations although there may be a need for water quality permits.


Air Quality

By Kathy Moyd and Greg Martin


At its April 6 meeting, the Environmental Quality Commission unanimously approved updates to align definitions for Divisions 238 and 244 of Chapter 340 of the Oregon Administrative Rules with federal definitions. These definitional alignments pertain to Oregon's air quality permitting programs, including the New Source Performance Standards and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants.


DEQ will hold a public hearing April 27 on the draft air quality permit for NEXT Energy Group to develop a renewable diesel production facility in Clatskanie. The facility would use recycled cooking oil, vegetable oils, animal fats, etc. to produce 1.58 million gallons a day of renewable fuel products (diesel, naphtha, jet fuel) at start-up, expected to grow to more than 2.1 million gallons a day at full capacity. Of concern is that the property includes wetlands and would affect nearby farm operations.


Budgets/Revenue


HB 5202 was the end-of-session omnibus budget bill. The Legislature included large packages with funding for Climate, Housing, Education, Early Learning, Workforce, Rural Infrastructure and others. The current ending budget for 2021-23 has $2.7 billion in reserves, including $760 million in unspent general funds and $1.3 billion in reserve funds. See the Water section for information on the Drought package.


HB 4156 was the program change bill listing the session’s changes in state programs. SB 5701 allocated monies for a variety of bonded projects. HB 5201 is the fee ratification bill including fees the Dept. of Environment Quality approved before the session.


HB 4060 Leagie testimony in support, to fund staff to assist natural resource agencies, local governments and individual Oregonians to write grants and follow federal funding program opportunities. HB 4060 A moved to Ways and Means where it died.


Budget development is in process for all state agencies for the 2023-25 biennium. Development begins shortly after the end of the current biennium! Agencies are holding meetings and honing their budget and legislation requests. Budgets begin with their “current service level” 2021-23 budgets and then they consider asking for additional funds through Policy Option Packages (POPs). Legislation is created with draft Legislative Concepts (LCs). For the natural resource agencies, LCs are due to the Governor’s Office by April 15 and POPs by June. Final agency requests go to the Governor by the end of summer. Then the NEW Governor is required to provide a budget to the legislature by Feb. 1st. The legislature will consider this information and is required to pass agency budgets (and whatever legislation they choose to pass) by the end of June 2023. See below for information about opportunities to engage in specific agency budgets in the natural resource area.

The next Oregon Revenue Forecast is May 18th. See the Office of Economic Analysis for more info.


Climate

By Claudia Keith and Team


See Climate Report in a separate section of this Legislative Report. There are overlaps with this Natural Resources Report. We encourage you to read both sections.


Coastal Issues

By Christine Moffitt and Kathy Moyd


SB 1534 League testimony in support included information on the importance and opportunities to increase blue carbon in estuarine and coastal areas. The bill died in W&Ms. For more info, see the Climate Report.


The League continues to follow discussions around offshore ocean wind projects. Both federal and state monies have been provided to consider potential projects. Please visit the web. The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) has produced a draft report of floating offshore wind development available for review. The next ODOE meeting will convene and accept public comments in April. Both our coastal members and climate emergency members are following this issue.


ODOE conducted a public meeting dealing with Floating Offshore Wind on April 7. Most of the meeting dealt with electricity transmission and will be covered in the Clean Energy Section of the Climate Emergency Report. However, a major issue applicable to the offshore turbines, any coastal infrastructure, and the transmission lines was raised that had not previously been discussed - the impacts of a 9.0 magnitude Cascadia subduction zone earthquake from shaking, tsunami, and liquefaction.


The Oregon Tsunami Clearinghouse contains a wealth of information for use by community members, visitors, boaters, kids & teachers, community planners, and scientists for tsunami emergency planning.


DOGAMI, in partnership with the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS), worked with Ocean Observing Systems, and has created a smartphone app that allows users to visualize tsunami inundation zones and identify evacuation routes. The app is available for both IOS and Android devices. The Tsunami Evacuation Zones viewer is an interactive mapping tool that allows users to see inundation zones and evacuation routes.


Ever heard of the UNESCO Biosphere Collaborative? Here’s a small example around Cascade Head.


Dept. Of Environmental Quality (DEQ)


The League has a member appointed to again review DEQ’s authorized annual 3% fee increase for Water Quality permits. The meeting is set for April 27. The rulemaking materials, including the draft Fiscal Impact Statement, draft fee tables, Advisory Committee Roster, Charter, and more information about the rulemaking can be found at this DEQ website.


Dept. Of Geology And Mineral Industries (DOGAMI)


Dr. Ruarri J. Day-Stirrat formally took over as Executive Director of DOGAMI and State Geologist on April 1. DOGAMI’s staff of 35 collaborate with various government, academic, and community organizations to provide earth science information and regulation to make Oregon safe and prosperous. The Geological Survey & Services program develops maps, reports, and data to help the state manage natural resources and prepare for natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, floods, volcanic eruptions, coastal erosion, and climate change. The Mineral Land Regulation & Reclamation program oversees Oregon’s resource production, and works to minimize the impacts of resource extraction and maximize the opportunities for land reclamation. More information about DOGAMI and access to Oregon geoscience resources can be found here.


Elliott State Forest

By Peggy Lynch


SB 1546 passed, which will create the Elliott State Research Forest. However, there are steps still to take before final transfer to this new Elliott State Research Authority from the Common School Fund. There will be an analysis of the funding mechanism proposed by Oregon State University related to the limited logging needed to pay for maintenance of the Forest and creation of the research platform. OSU’s Board of Directors needs to authorize this research effort and the State Land Board needs to officially transfer the Forest. In the meantime, the Habitat Conservation Plan moves forward as does the Forest Management Plan—both critical documents to consummating this concept. The Dept. of State Lands provides a website with information on the Elliott. The Forest’s Advisory Committee will meet April 12 from 1-3:30p, July 27, Nov. 9 and possibly Nov. 15. See the State Land Board April 12 meeting for more info.


Energy

Here is the Oregon Dept. of Energy’s 2022 Legislative Report. ODOE received funds for heat pumps, for their solar program, to report on the fuel tank facility in Portland and more.


Fish And Wildlife

The Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) will need to ask the legislature to restructure their Commission since currently they must select members from each of the 5 Congressional Districts and then one east side and one west side member. With the addition of a new Congressional District, some reorganization will be needed. This is an issue at the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission as well. Also, they are considering asking for permission to use the Consumer Price Index to be able to increase their licenses annually rather than larger increases every six years. There is no increase being asked for 2023. They are also looking at their 11 statutory committees to assess who appoints each group and how each group fits into the agency’s mission—seeking efficiencies.

ODFW will host four virtual public listening sessions on the agency’s proposed 2023-25 budget. Read their press release for ways to participate in these April 12-15 events. The next steps include a May 13 ODFW Commission meeting to discuss the budget and their June 17 budget adoption that will be sent to the Governor for consideration.


ODFW is watching federal legislation, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, as ODFW could receive $61-67 million a biennium (with a needed 25% state match). The Infrastructure Act will also have funds for a variety of programs and they are looking at work on the Wallowa, Klamath, Coast, Rogue, Forest Health and Wildlife Passage.


Forestry

By Josie Koehne & James Cannon


The big success of the session was passage of three bills that in part fund implementation of the Private Forest Accord (PFA), HB 4055, SB 1501 and SB 1502. A bill to increase the sequestration of carbon in natural working lands (forests, agricultural lands and wetlands), SB 1534, failed to pass.

The Private Forest Accord is the product of a mediated deal between the timber industry and the conservation community, prompted by the threat of costly initiative petitions that were about to be introduced by both sides in the Nov. 2020 election. Governor Kate Brown brokered the discussions and provided a professional mediator who helped close the deal. Legislation was approved in the short session to provide initial funding for implementation.


The Private Forest Accord deal that was signed in October 2021 amends Oregon’s Forest Practices Act by expanding riparian buffers, tightening protections against landslides and erosion, and providing some economic support for small woodland owners. HB 4055 provides funding to compensate forest owners for mitigation work for logging operations that harm fish. Mitigation projects include fish/aquatic passage (culverts), wood augmentation, beaver conservation and reintroduction, wildfire resiliency efforts through riparian restoration, land preservation, instream flow augmentation, and grazing management.


  1. HB 4055 extends the privilege taxes on all merchantable forest products harvested (the Forest Products Harvest Tax) and adds a new section that imposes an additional privilege tax that will provide up to $5 million per year to fund mitigation. HB 4055A–engrossed terminates the Private Forest Accord mitigation fund once $250 million has been spent and after the “Accidental Take Permit” has been issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. The bill also requires ODF to report the previous year’s timber harvest data by March 10 so that new harvest tax rates can be reviewed by both revenue committees well before the close of session.

  2. Senate Bill 1501 requires the Board of Forestry to adopt a single rule package for all 12 provisions of the Private Forest Accord by November 30, 2022. It requires the Board to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan according to the PFA provisions and to modify the Forest Practices Act. SB 1501 B is the main policy bill for the Private Forest Accord requiring rule-making by the Board of Forestry for its many provisions, and provides a mechanism for the tribes to adopt these rules if they choose to do so.

  3. Senate Bill 1502 compensates small forest landowners with a tax credit when harvesting timber for leaving a wider no-cut riparian buffer than required. SB 1502 A is the Private Forest Accord’s small woodland owner tax credit that compensates the small woodland owner for timber not harvested and states that any unused credit can only be used by heirs, (including against estate taxes owed), but may not be passed along to a subsequent owner. The 50-year no-cut zone attaches to the property’s title with penalties for non-compliance.


The Dept of Forestry received $76 million to compensate the department for the 2021 fire season expenses in the final end-of-session omnibus budget bill, SB 1502-1. The bill also adds $50 million as a Special Purpose Appropriation to be used to deal with cash flow issues of the agency because it sometimes takes two years to get reimbursement for costs that should be paid by the federal government or other entities. In the meantime, firefighters and other contracts must be paid in a timely manner.


Board of Forestry: On March 9, the Board of Forestry met to discuss a wide range of topics, with a huge packet of accompanying materials. On the agenda, comments were heard from Rep Blumenauer on recent encouraging forestry developments at the federal level. The Private Forest Accord was discussed, with timelines set for the Board of Forestry rulemaking process. Other items included a 2-year work plan for the Forest Resources Division, a report on rulemaking for the wildland-urban interface wildfire protection plan (WUI RAC), a presentation on habitat conservation plans for the endangered marbled murrelet, a report on the timeline for the NEPA process for Habitat Conservation Plan, and timeline for its more inclusive companion Forest Management Plan. A summary of public comments on the Forest Management Plan’s Draft Goals and Strategies was provided. Next, the federal Bureau of Land Management wanted a reduction in its fire protection costs, which the Board seemed unlikely to grant, followed by a progress report on completing the accounting firm MGO’s financial recommendations. A plan was presented to update the Forestry Plan for Oregon (FPFO) that is supposed to guide long term Board planning decisions, which has not been updated since 2011. Chair Kelly expressed concern over the time commitment involved for both ODF staff and Board members. He wanted to know who would use this plan, and whether the ODF directors are currently using the 2011 FPFO plan. At the close of the meeting, board members said they felt overwhelmed by the heavy workload in front of them and expressed concern that ODF staff would become over-extended with legislative requirements and board requests.


Hanford

By Marylou Schnoes


Efforts by the Feds for A Temporary Replacement for Yucca Mountain



The US Department of Energy [USDOE] published a Request for Information Dec. 1, 2021 to begin a consent-based siting process for interim storage of spent nuclear fuel. This waste is currently stored in dozens of locations around the country. This is at great expense to the US taxpayer—not to mention the staggeringly long-term risk to communities and ecosystems (on the order of tens of thousands of years). The Oregon Hanford Cleanup Board [OHCB] replied on March 4.


Apparently learning from the tremendous regional resistance—and current abandonment—of using Yucca Mountain as a permanent, high level waste repository, the USDOE is attempting to get the public involved in transferring tons of high level nuclear waste to an interim site, with a nod to environmental justice and other concerns.


In short, the OHCB listed considerations for such a project, which will require much time and funding and should have hosting communities informed consent. The Oregon document gave a brief history of the state’s interests regarding planned high level nuclear waste sites, itemized some of the general technical and social considerations, and questioned the use of an interim site. It stated that “The nation’s nuclear waste problem will be solved at the speed of trust”. Please see the full letter.


Land Use/Housing

By Debbie Aiona, Nancy Donovan, Penny York & Peggy Lynch


SB 1537 originally required a cumbersome and difficult calculation of the cost of housing for agency rules, League opposition. IT died in Committee after consideration of an amendment that would have created a Task Force. The League provided both written and verbal testimony to Senate Rules on Feb. 24.


HB 4064 Enrolled was an omnibus bill that clarifies local governments must allow siting of manufactured homes and prefabricated structures in single-family dwelling zones inside the urban growth boundary (UGB), as well as other small changes to make it easier to site manufactured homes, particularly those lost in the recent wildfires. The preliminary bill had prohibited certain costs from being passed from a park owner to the tenant but that was eliminated. Also, it was clarified that restrictions concerning manufactured home siting did not apply to Home-Owners Associations. League submitted a letter in support.


SB 1536 related to addressing heating and cooling requirements for housing is in the Climate section of this report. It was amended in Ways and Means Capital Construction on Feb. 25 where the contents of HB 4058 were added. They were filed to address the “heat dome” last year that was linked to the deaths of 100 Oregonians. The amended bill passed.


State law requires the Department of Land Conservation and Development to notify local governments when new statutory requirements require changes to local comprehensive plans, regional framework plans, or ordinances implementing these plans. The following report details legislation passed in the 2022 Legislative Session related to land use planning or to programs administered by DLCD.


DLCD is continuing to work on a Regional Housing Needs Analysis and HB 5202 increased this work by providing an additional $150,000 (with a letter from Rep. Fahey, House Housing Chair) to incorporate a conversation around our current Urban Growth Boundary process. Look for a name change to “Oregon Housing Needs Analysis” to recognize the challenges of dividing Oregon into regions where we might not have adequate data for many “regions” of the state.


Dr. Brenda Ortizoga Bateman was selected as new Director of the Dept. of Land Conservation and Development at the LCDC meeting on April 1, expected to start in May. Dr. Bateman worked for the Oregon Water Resources Dept. and facilitated development of both versions of the Integrated Water Resources Strategy. More recently she was Assistant Director and Chief Operating Officer for Business Oregon.


The Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities rule adoption was postponed with expected adoption at the LCDC meeting in May. There will be another opportunity for public testimony on May 19. Local governments are concerned about the implementation timeline. The Commission is intending to adopt the rules or pieces of it May 19-20 and, if necessary, finish in June or July. The rules advisory committee (RAC) met April 11 to address issues from the March LCDC meeting. See the RAC materials online. March 31 LCDC meeting audio here.


The agency is working on its 2023-25 budget proposals. See Policy Option Packages being considered by the agency. Also in the document is a list of opportunities to provide input and when LCDC will be reviewing them. The public is encouraged to provide comments.


The League continues to be a member of the Oregon Housing Alliance and members attend regular meetings to discuss past and future legislation and programs.


See also the Housing Report in other sections of this Legislative Report, including monies provided under the omnibus budget bill.


Northwest Energy Coalition (NWEC)

By Robin Tokmakian


The NWEC quarterly meeting was held March 9. Notes:


  • The 2021 Power Plan has been approved by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. It is a 5-year plan. NWEC felt that there were some deficiencies, such as not enough energy efficiency programs were accounted for and new renewables are less than hoped for. A positive - planning included the use of climate model outcomes. The plan doesn't include all the new legislation that has been enacted in the last couple of years, nor does it address resilience.

  • With respect to salmon recovery on the Lower Snake River, NWEC is looking for community groups to speak up to counter opponents' claims that dam removal will harm vulnerable communities and customers. If LWVOR would like to comment, we need to coordinate with NWEC.

  • Both PGE and Pacific Power have requests for proposals in place for increasing their own renewable portfolios. The requests may be driven by the incentives available for early action as defined by HB 2021 (2021).

  • Implementation of HB 3141 (2021): Public Purpose Charge (at Public Utilities Commission) modernization slowed because legislation did not include definition of low/moderate income.

Parks And Recreation


The Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept. (OPRD) will need to ask the legislature to restructure their Commission since currently they must select members from each of the 5 Congressional Districts and then one east side and one west side member. With the addition of a new Congressional District, some reorganization will be needed.


Radioactive Waste

By Shirley Weathers


The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) is continuing its work to protect Oregon from becoming a dumping ground for radioactive waste. Triggered two years ago by discovery that almost 1,300 tons of such waste generated through fracking for oil and gas primarily in North Dakota had been illegally accepted by Chemical Waste Management (CWM) at their Arlington OR landfill, ODOE has been taking steps to prevent reoccurrence. Outdated rules and statutes were determined to leave the state vulnerable at the same time as the fossil fuel industry generates massive quantities of this type of waste annually. During the interim between the 2020 and 2021 sessions, the agency worked with a rulemaking advisory committee (RAC) to update and strengthen OAR 435.029, Notice of Violation, Civil Penalties, Revocation or Suspension. LWVOR was represented on the RAC. During the 2021 session, successful passage of SB 246, Radioactive Waste Disposal Definitions and Enforcement, updated Oregon statutes.


During the current interim, ODOE is again working with a RAC to implement the changes to ORS 469.300 (Definitions) and 469.525 (Radioactive Waste Facilities Prohibited). LWVOR is represented on the current RAC. At this writing, ODOE staff are in the process of gathering input from individual committee members in advance of developing a first draft of appropriate rules. The specific issues that need to be covered in the process of drafting Division 50 rules are highly technical and the handful of members of the Radioactive Waste Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC) with that expertise can be expected to hold significant sway on some key specifics. The League is committed to ensuring that the primary focus of the law—the protection of public health and safety—is maintained in the final rules.


Recycling

By Kathy Moyd


SB 1520 Enrolled Bottle Bill modernization, League testimony supported the addition of wine in cans to the list of beverages covered by the Bottle Bill. The implementation date has been set so distributors can decide whether to be regulated under the Bottle Bill or the Recycling Modernization passed in 2021.

SB 1576 Enrolled Mattress Stewardship, requires stewardship organizations to submit plans for mattress stewardship programs to the Department of Environmental Quality and imposes civil penalties for violation of program provisions. Because of the limited short session time for bill consideration, the League did not discover this bill in time to submit testimony.


Oregon DEQ is focusing on food waste. See their “Bad Apple” campaign for how you can reduce food waste.


Most clothes are made w/fossil fuels: The U.S. throws away the equivalent of about 70 pairs of pants per person in waste from clothes and footwear each year. Polyester requires a large amount of energy to produce. In 2015, polyester production for clothing emitted 282 billion tons of carbon dioxide, triple that of cotton. From a Bloomberg article, washing polyester sheds microplastics. Yet another area where we need to be more sustainable in our actions.


State Land Board

By Peggy Lynch


The State Land Board April 12 meeting considered approval of Stevens Road tract to incorporate into the City of Bend with a separate sale of 20 acres for “affordable housing”, approval of 0.56 acres to the South Slough, an update on the 2022 session and the Elliott State Research Forest.


Water

By Peggy Lynch


The Water Resources Dept. received Budget Note #9 in budget bill HB 5006 (2021) to convene a workgroup comprised of a balanced membership including, but not limited to, conservation groups, agricultural water users, municipal water users, environmental justice organizations, tribal interests and state agencies including WRD and ODFW to consider regional water management opportunities that build on the 100-Year Water Vision and further the goals of the Integrated Water Resources Strategy. LWVOR has been invited to participate. A website has been created that the public can access. The next meeting is set for May 3 with monthly meetings all the way to December.


The 2022 budget Drought package in HB 5202 funded aquatic ecosystems that will help move the state forward in building aquatic ecosystem resiliency in the face of increasing incidents of drought. The package will fund efforts to protect, restore, and enhance habitat to help buffer effects of climate change and associated drought. The $25.6 million package delivers the following:


  • $2.6 million to ODFW for drought resiliency measures, including cold water refugia mapping, installing real-time temperature and streamflow gauges, and securing instream water rights to protect streamflows

  • $8 million to ODFW for fish passage barrier removal.

  • $10 million to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board for voluntary water right acquisitions to restore water instream.

  • $5 million to the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund to fund conservation projects aimed at restoring aquatic habitats.


The League provided testimony in opposition to HB 4148, a bill that would have directed the Dept. of State Lands, in consultation with State Dept of Fish and Wildlife, to establish a new salmon credit program to encourage voluntary restoration of salmonid habitat and allow persons to meet compensatory mitigation obligations without a removal/fill permit. The bill did not move out of committee, but Committee Chair Rep. Marsh asked Reps. Helm and Brock Smith to create a Work Group around the bill, although the charge of any Work Group is unclear.


The Willamette Basin Review was undertaken by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in 2015 to evaluate the feasibility of reallocating 1.64 million acre-feet (AF) of stored water in the 13 federal Willamette Project reservoirs, adding municipal and industrial and fish and wildlife purposes alongside the already authorized irrigation use. Upon completion, the report was adopted by Congress and signed by the President in December 2020. This reallocated 1.59 million AF of stored water in the Willamette Project, being 154,750 AF for municipal and industrial uses, 327,650 AF for agricultural irrigation, and 1,102,600 AF for fish and wildlife purposes. The Corps and the Department are working on how management of Willamette reservoir water will be implemented following this multi-reservoir reallocation effort.


The League will be engaged with the Dept. of Environmental Quality and Water Resources Dept. as they begin planning their 2023-25 budgets and policies. We are also monitoring hiring and program resources provided in their 2021-23 budgets.


Miscellaneous water facts: there are over 1,000 wells drilled in the Northwest region of the state annually compared to about 100 in the Eastern region. Most are “exempt wells”. For wells allowed under an emergency drought declaration, they are required to install a meter. That has improved some groundwater data. There were 19 new dry wells reported in the Klamath basin in January. Some residents believe that well drilling across the border in California is exacerbating the Oregon problems. But one person reported only 0.36 inches of rain in January in the area. Drought is here already. The Water Resources Commission is considering beginning rulemaking related to better groundwater management.


The League continues to advocate for groundwater data and a change of management. The Water Resources Commission (WRC) considered rulemaking to “modernize” their groundwater management during their May 17 meeting (Item E "Groundwater Allocation Plan") . The WRC will institute a rules advisory committee this summer with hope for adoption of new rules by the end of the year. OPB provided a broadcast on the consequences of not having adequate groundwater data.


We have an on-going drought throughout Oregon and League members may want to check the U.S. Drought Monitor, a map updated every Thursday. Governor Brown declared a Drought Emergency for Klamath County on Feb. 22. It is the first of many for the year. Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, Morrow and now Jackson Counties have also declared a drought.


From a March 17 OPB article: More than one-third of Oregon, on average, has been in severe drought or worse from 2000 to 2020, according to the fifth and latest Oregon Climate Assessment. Three-quarters of the state remained in severe drought or worse this week.”


Visit the Harmful Algae Bloom website or call the Oregon Public Health Division toll-free information line at 877-290-6767 to learn if an advisory has been issued or lifted for a specific water body. We have also seen beach closures, many of which may be related to failing septic systems along the coast.


Wildfire

By James Cannon & Peggy Lynch


The Dept. of Forestry Emergency Fire Cost Committee met and heard a report on the fire insurance policy Oregon usually gets to help with potential high fire costs. The deductible could be raised to $75 million from $50 million and the premium could be raised as well. Negotiations are on-going.


Doug Grafe has been appointed the Wildfire Programs Director in the Governor’s Office. The Wildfire Programs Advisory Council met April 8, see website for the agenda and January 14 meeting summary.


The Oregon Dept. of Forestry (ODF) is completing the Rules Advisory Committee (RAC) work to implement one section of SB 762 (2021). They provide a website with meeting materials. The DRAFT rules were to be published by the Secretary of State bulletin by April 1. Public hearings are scheduled for April 19-21 and the Board has a target date of June 8 to adopt final rules—just before the June 30 deadline for adoption of the wildland urban interface (WUI) criteria, risk classifications, and map for WUI boundaries.


SB 762 A number of agencies are involved with implementation including the Dept. of Land Conservation and Development. DLCD is holding a series of regional Community Listening Sessions to gather community feedback on ways to address wildfire risks in state and local land use planning programs. For additional project information, visit DLCD’s Wildfire Adapted Communities webpage.


SB 762 1,000 Friends held a webinar update with Oregon’s wildfire response. The cost of recovery from wildfires averages ten times the cost of suppression.” The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office stood up their rulemaking on defensible space requirements. They first hope to provide education and voluntary implementation with communities. The Wildfire Risk Map will be available at the end of June. One future consideration might be to mark evacuation routes in these high and extreme risk areas similar to the tsunami signage at the coast.


The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office is offering a series of wildfire risk/preparedness webinars. The first was held March 31 and should be available on their Eventbrite website.


Legislators in February appropriated $4.5 million to the Oregon Hazards Lab at the University of Oregon to add at least 29 cameras across the state over the next year. Most of the two dozen currently operating are in southeast and western Oregon. New cameras will be concentrated in the Rogue Valley and in the Bend, Richmond and La-Pine areas.

The video streams are accessible online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to the public and to emergency response agencies and firefighters, who can also use a time lapse feature to go back and trace the origins of a fire. Additionally, artificial intelligence software in the system can detect smoke and alert fire agencies and emergency responders. Article thanks to Oregon Capital Chronicle.


VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Above you can see the names of League volunteers who covered one or more issues. Volunteers are needed to participate in rulemaking to implement the bills passed in the 2021 and 2022 sessions. If not actually serving on a rules advisory committee (RAC), you could simply monitor andreport back on their work. Natural Resource Agency Boards and Commissions meet regularly and needmonitoring. If any area of natural resources is of interest to you, please contact Peggy Lynch, NaturalResources Coordinator, at peggylynchor@gmail.com.Training will be offered.