Government Shutdown

With Democrats and Republicans on a standstill on wall funding the budget consideration will be pushed into 2019. Republicans stand on the premise of funding the wall as the cornerstone of President Trump’s campaign. His bid to lower crime and reduce spending on social programs is seeing some success with illegal crossings down almost 40% overall. Democrats pushing their agenda, saying that Central America is in crisis and the people there are fleeing the gangs and deserve asylum here. Many if not all of the immigrants are offered asylum in other countries before arriving at our borders, refusing. They see America as many other immigrants in the past have seen it, as a great place where their dreams can come true, while others bring kids with them so they can cross the border easier and get accepted due to holes in the American legal system that allow for people with children to get preferential treatment. With almost 400,000 federal workers on furlough and another 400,000 plus working without pay, each side seems poised to see what the other does.With agencies like the Coast Guard, and the Department of Homeland Security not being paid, many employees have to sort through their bills and decide what will be paid and what won’t. This is not the first time it has happened and probably will not be the last. Many departments are operating at minimal staffing, which can be dangerous for federal prisons or the national zoo. With Republicans, it is a fight they cannot afford to lose, with drugs flowing into the country through our southern border at an astounding rate, it is estimated that a wall will shut down as much as 80% of the illegal drugs being smuggled into the country. Democrats, who rely on as much as 85% of the hispanic vote in California and Texas cannot be seen to be weak on this fight, as many family members are in the immigrant trains coming here, and through naturalization many of these people are future democratic votes. With a shrinking voter base in other areas, democrats feel the need to make up those voting losses. In addition, the stoppage of narcotics into the inner cities, will see a sharp rise in drugs prices, this in turn will see a sharp rise in crime, seen as a failure of the nearly 90% of Democratically controlled inner cities will start electing conservatives to those positions, removing Democrats from long held seats of power, this happened in NYC when in 1994 New York City Rampant with high crime elected a Republican Mayor who in turn by all accounts cleaned up the city. While Democrats will not come out and say this is why they fear the wall being built, it can be the only logical reasoning behind any American not wanting a secure border. 

Written by Shaemus

BiMart County Music Festival books Jason Alden

Jason Aldean is scheduled to play at the Willamette Country Music Festival in 2019, Now the Festival just needs a place to set up shop. The Linn County Board of Commissioners failed to renew the festivals license for the 2019 site indicating a lack of a public safety plan as one of the primary reasonings. There were an estimated 40 vendors with unpaid claims against the Eugene based LLC that runs the event. 

Meanwhile, This reporter has learned that Anne Hankins who was president of WCMC and ran the event this last year pleaded guilty to bank fraud in 2001. According to court documents, Hankins borrowed $350,000 from U.S. Bank by submitting a false loan application.A federal judge sentenced her to 30 days in jail and ordered her to pay the money back. That case was in and out of federal court up until 2017. Hankins is no longer employed by WCMC. There was an offer to the WCMC for property usage out of Harrisburg for the event, however the permit through the local Sheriff could not be obtained, The Linn County Sheriff Yon indicated there were 136 calls for service at the event, and that a bill was submitted to WCMC by the Sheriff, and “we have heard nothing back.” According to the Sheriff’s department it was the worst the event has been since it has been going on. The event is sponsored by Bi-mart, they could not be reached for comment. With Hankins no longer in charge and no clear venue as of yet decided the event ticket sales are set to start. An offer to hold the event near Harrisburg has been submitted but it was submitted with Hankins name on it and as such represents an incomplete application. Nyquist, a spokesperson for the event, said they have not chosen a venue or found one as of yet, but are looking. 

Written by Shaemus

Oregon number two with homelessness

Oregon has the illustrious honor of having second highest amount of homelessness in the United States. With almost 15,000 homeless in our state, with only California beating us. Oregon sits among the leaders due to a few factors; First of all, we have a very moderate climate, and being homeless, especially along the I-5 corridor the weather is favorable for living outdoors, with a good sleeping bag and a tent the weather, while wet is tolerable compared to the freezing conditions in the eastern part of the state. Second, our social programs benefiting the homeless are among the best in the nation, Homelessness in the United States rose 14% in the eight years under Obama, with a stagnant economy and increasing social programs the nation had this increase, despite cries from the left saying that increases in social spending would decrease homelessness. More than a thousand of the homeless in Oregon are Veterans, unable to find stable housing, work, or get the help they need for the mental health counseling. With Oregon decreased mental health spending, that has dwindled over the last ten years to a fraction of what it once was, this was just a matter of time. With the looming crisis of PERS on the horizon for Oregon, I fear this crisis will be put on the back burner yet again. If you keep making Oregon a great place to be homeless, the numbers will increase. 

Written by Marie

City of Oakridge gets interim City Administrator

On December 14th, 2018 I met with Phillip Messina at Oakridge City Hall, the Interim Oakridge City Administrator has been on the job two weeks, I asked him how it was going so far. Messina indicated the outgoing City Administrator, Louis Gomez had been helpful during the transition, and that it was moving forward. I asked Messina if he had met with all of the members of the incoming council, he indicated he had met with all but one of them, and that he was looking forward to working with them.Among the topics we discussed; was the cities complaint process, Messina said he had plans on reviewing a process with the Mayor, the Council, a the city attorney. I asked him if he had met with any bias since he had been here, he said he had not and that the people of Oakridge he had met seemed interested in “moving ahead.” Also among his list of priorities was the hiring of a city administrator. Messina indicated that he would work with council and the Mayor, perhaps putting together a hiring committee. To get quality applicants, “advertising is important” using the International City Managers Association, The League of Oregon Cities, and a couple private recruiters are some of the ideas he discussed as ways to lure in talent. Getting ready for the budget was another area Messina indicated was upcoming. As far as his background goes, Messina spent time with Central Point, Colfax, and Carnation. Messina said he was a “generalist” as far as city administrators goes, and that while specializing in no particular area, he has 30 years of experience, and is familiar with all areas of city management.

submitted by Stephan Ball  

Pace Video Contest

Last year, my middle daughter was doing everything she could to prepare for college, signing up for scholarships through FASVA and all kinds of other sources. Well, one of those sources was the Pace Stop a Predator video, where the winner receives a $5,000.00 dollar scholarship. While she did not win, she sure had fun in the process. These videos are submitted until Jan 31, and up to six students can be chosen to win in April. The contest takes place on the annual Pace day in Salem and the winners are chosen then. Students are told to keep the videos short in length and make the focus about stopping predators. For more information and how to do a video check out Courtesy of PACE

Submitted by Shaemus

Oregon Govermental Ethics Commission finds cause on former Oakridge City Administrator

On November 8th, 2018, I received a response from the Oregon Governmental Ethics Commission indicating that they have found “cause” to believe Gomez has committed at least two different violations of ORS 244.040 and ORS244120(1)(c) after filing a complaint with the city that Louis Gomez had committed ethical violations for hiring Michael Hansen LLC without council approval, and that he had done with for Hansen where he said in the minutes from 05/17/2017 that he had not worked for Michael V Hansen. Louis first of all would have had to declare his paid work for Hansen to the Department of Ethics and let them dispose of the matter, he did not do this. It turns out that Louis had on three separate occasions been paid amounts from Michael V Hansen LLC, prior to the 05/17/2018 meeting, all of which are in amounts in excess of $50.00.
The Oregon Governmental Ethics Commission has indicated they will be opening up a full investigation into Gomez and his dealing with Michael V Hansen LLC. They indicated that investigation could take up 180 days to complete and should be done sometime in mid-April of 2019. Additional information in this case will be refereed by this write during the investigation and I will keep you the public, abreast of any findings.
Finance Director Susan Laduke who also works part time for Michael Hansen as the book keeper, is also full time employee with the city, is also a subordinate of Louis Gomez’s. On 05/17/2018, Gomez told council he had done no work for Michael Hansen, Upon talking with Laduke on November 8th she advised that Gomez was not an employee of Hansen but had been a private contractor who had done work for Hansen. I asked her why she had not volunteered that information during council instead of hiding it through obfuscation or silence she became verbally aggressive and told me I was not a very good investigator. She said she did not think remaining silent was a lie, and indicated that she no longer wanted to talk with me about this during business hours as it had nothing to do with her work and her current job.
According to records I received, invoices show that LandL Consulting received $153.90 on 01/16/2018, on 3/26/2018 for $100.00, and on 05/9/2018, in the amount $59.95. from Micheal V Hansen LLC. LandL Consulting only has one employee, Louis Gomez. The most notable violation was a contract renewal between the City of Oakridge and Michael V Hansen this was signed on 04/04/2018, this was after LandL Consulting had been paid twice by Michael V Hansen LLC. No disclosure was recorded or disposed of by Gomez to the ethics commission prior these aforementioned business dealings.
In a quote from the Oregon Governmental Ethics Commission “ In conclusion it appears that cause exists for the belief that violations of the use of office and conflict of interest provisions of ORS 244 and further investigation is warranted.”

Submitted by Stephan Ball

Includes support documents

Lane County wants a new 252 Million dollar courthouse

A proposed 252 million dollar project moved a step closer toward reality as the Lane County Commission put forward a proposal for the mega-project. This was a big step forward toward asking the Lane County Voters to approve the project. The commission will also be asking the state to foot approximately 94 million dollars of the project, indicating the current courthouse does not adequately serve Lane County. The new courthouse, if approved would last for 100 years, and be state of the art. The new courthouse would be built where Eugene City Hall once stood, and be more than 290,000 square feet. The commission directed staff to begin preparing the measure for the ballot. It will be interesting to see where Commissioner-elect Heather Buch and Joe Berney come out on the issue. A couple of questions voters will need to ask themselves; is this the best use of our money, and why are we building this in Eugene Downtown, we could be building it in another area where land values are much more reasonable and thus saving the Lane County a pretty penny. Spending money in the crumbling downtown of Eugene, with it’s rampant homelessness and crime, seems like throwing good money after bad. Exploring options of similar tracts of land in Springfield or a spot of land along Franklin Blvd in between Springfield and Eugene would be a fairer resolution, and would save the county huge land fees, allowing the development of an area other than Eugene. 

Submitted by Shaemus

Loss of an icon

Photo Courtesy of Harold’s Burger Bar

An Iconic place of business in the Pacific Northwest is closing, while not in Oregon, I figured I would mention it as many Oregonians have eaten at Harold’s Burger Bar in Centralia over the years. Well Winona (Noni) Adolfson has owned and run this “burger joint,” since 1985. Noni said she actually does not know the original owners name but through conjecture and rumor, she found out the business was started around 1946 or 1947. At the end of this month, the last burger will be made, and the grill turned off, as Harold’s closes.

Known throughout the pacific northwest for it’s burgers, the iconic restaurant draws crowds from as far away as California and Idaho. 

I have personally eaten the “Huskie” burger and it breaks my heart to know that Harold’s will be closed. I wanted to write this article as my shout out to Noni and her Huskie Burger. I will miss this place as a stopping point for every visit as I go to Seattle from Oregon. Being located in Centralia it is located just off Interstate 5, Google it before the end of December for directions and stop by and grab a one of a kind burger if your in the neighborhood.

Located at: 727 S Gold St
Ste A
Centralia, WA 98531

Submitted by Shaemus

Corvallis fight leads to four arrests.

The four arrested on scene were  Ralph Bolger Jr., 64, Noah Orduna, 23, and Conor Butler, 19, Albert Grigorov, 22. The incident occurred just before 4 p.m. on December 17th 2018 in the 300 block of NW Monroe Avenue. According to police, six were involved in the fight, with only four being arrested, one was treated at the hospital for injuries perhaps unrelated to the fight. 

Submitted by: Shaemus