Knock Knock Knocking on Session's Door



Rep. Michael Dembrow 
NE Portland, Maywood Park & Parkrose

Phone: 503-986-1445


E-Newsletter                              January 31, 2013

Friends and Neighbors:

Next week begins the 2013 legislative session in earnest.

The Oregon Legislature is now constitutionally mandated to meet every year.  In odd-numbered years we will meet from the first Monday of February through the end of June. So, for the next five weeks, it’s back to 8 a.m. committee meetings and full days of floor sessions, shepherding bills, meeting with advocates, trying to fix problems large and small.

And weekly newsletter updates.  I promise to do my best to keep you abreast of what’s going on in Salem.  The Legislature is shifting to a new online information system called OLIS (Oregon Legislature Information System), which is designed to make it much, much easier for the public to track bills and find out what committees are up to.  It goes live on the first day of session (Feb. 4) and will be accessible from I’ll give you a more detailed introduction to it in next week’s newsletter.

In the meantime, if there are any committees whose work you’d like to follow, you can subscribe to the Legislature’s “ENews” service. You can automatically receive committee agendas and other useful information from the House or Senate committee that you’re tracking.

And, of course, if you have any questions about a bill, an issue, or a problem that you’re experiencing, please write or call.  Logan, Marissa, and our legislative interns are here to help.

Join Me This Saturday for Coffee

My February constituent coffee is this Saturday, February 2nd.  Join me from 10am to 11:30am at the Hollywood Senior Center (1820 NE 40th Ave.) for more information on the session and to give me your thoughts.  We’ll be in one of their meeting rooms and delicious Ristretto Roasters coffee will be provided.

Session Opens with Healthcare Rally at the Capitol

As I mentioned in my last newsletter, there will be a rally at the Capitol on opening day, February 4th, to let legislators know that the movement to bring true universal health care to Oregon is growing.  People will be coming from all over the state to let their legislators know that health care must be considered a human right of all Oregonians and that the Legislature needs to create a public plan to ensure that right.  You can find out more about the rally and how to get there at the Health Care for All Oregon website or at the Jobs with Justice website.    I encourage you to attend, to get involved, and if you do come down on that day, be sure to drop by my office on the 4th floor (Office 487) and say hello!

For an overview of our efforts with single payer this session, check out this blog post from Camilo Marquez. 

 How Are the CTE Revitalization Grants Going?

In 2011, working with Labor Commissioner Avakian, I was able to sponsor and help pass legislation that would begin to restore Career/Technical Education to our state’s high schools.  CTE programs have been very good at keeping students in school and on track to success. (CTE students graduate at a 95% rate.)  It’s vital that we work to bring them back.  The legislation took a first step by initiating partnership grants that created incentives for schools, colleges, and industry in a region to pool their resources.  $2 million was funded in the first round, and one of my major legislative priorities this session will be to get that amount increased to $20 million.

Last Thursday I met with the State Board of Education to present an update on this year’s first round of grants.  You can read about them here.  (As you’ll see, there are none from the Portland metro area.  I’m hoping that with better funding and more applications from our region, that will change next year.)

Tell me what you think about the existing grants, and let me know if you have ideas for future partnerships like these.   

Team Dembrow 2013

This session I’m blessed to once again have strong staff support in my office.  Logan Gilles, who has been with me since the 2009 session, is still here and will be staffing me for the Higher Education Committee and the Energy and Environment Committee, as well as collective bargaining and other issue areas.  He’s joined by Marissa Johnson, who interned with my office during the 2012 session.  Marissa is a PCC alum and recent PSU graduate and I’m thrilled to have her on staff.  She’ll be staffing me for the Rules Committee and working on health and human services issues, among other things.

Logan and Marissa can be reached at our Capitol office at 503-986-1445 and by emailing  Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a question or comment.

We also have two interns this session – Kate Burns from PSU and Nicole Cathcart from PCC.  I’ve had interns every session, but this is the first time that one of them has been a current PCC student.  I’m glad to see that PCC will actually have a number of legislative interns in the building this session!  As always, PSU’s internship program also has flooded the Capitol with Vikings.  It’s great to have them here, and it’s a good experience for the students and for the legislators they intern with.

African Film Festival Is This Month!

This weekend is the first weekend in February, which means the start of Portland’s annual Cascade Festival of African Films, now celebrating its 23rd anniversary.  The Festival, which I love and have helped lead since its inception, will bring a number of African film directors to Portland, and more than 25 films from the African continent throughout the month of February and the first week of March (when all the films are by African women directors). 

Most remarkably, the Festival—whose primary sponsor is Portland Community College—is put on entirely by volunteers and IS ENTIRELY FREE OF CHARGE TO THE PUBLIC.  (Thanks to its many private, public, and corporate sponsors!) 

Each film is followed by a discussion led by someone from the African country depicted in the film.  It’s a rich, rewarding, and mind-expanding event that builds cross-cultural awareness and really benefits our community. 

We start this weekend with a film from Haiti at the Hollywood Theatre in the heart of HD45.  I hope to see you at some of the shows!

For all sorts of information about the Festival, check out its great website at


Finally, I’m excited to announce that I’m now on Twitter.  I still don’t fully understand it, but I’m on there.  You can follow me @michaeldembrow.  My staff and I will be using the Twitter account to post real-time updates during the session about bill action, committee hearings, and relevant news clips.  It’s a way to get more frequent, but shorter, updates in between e-newsletters.  I hope you’ll join me in this experiment.

Until next time,


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