Senator Chuck Thomsen E-Newsletter


Senator Chuck Thomsen
R-Hood River
District 26

Phone: 503-986-1726    900 Court St. NE, S-316, Salem Oregon 97301
Email:     Website:


This is the official newsletter for State Senator Chuck Thomsen. You have the ability to opt out if you do not wish to receive any more.

The Future of DEQ Emissions Testing…

I recently testified for one of my bills (SB 212) with the intent of starting a discussion about reducing DEQ vehicle emissions testing. The idea dawned on me last session when $3 million was swept out of DEQ and placed into the general fund – it taught me that citizens are paying a fee that isn’t used for the purpose it is paid for. Since my testimony, we have gained traction in a short amount of time.

To be clear – I have never paid an emissions fee because I have always lived in Hood River. Most of my constituents do however in Clackamas and Multnomah counties. That’s why it took me a little while to comprehend what this testing is all about!

The Department of Environmental Quality’s own website states: “Portland’s air currently meets all federal air quality health standards.” It also reads in its most recent Air Quality Data Summary that smog levels did not exceed the federal health standard in any Oregon community in 2011.

Over the past several years, many constituents have expressed their frustration with the DEQ emissions test. In its current form, all cars made after 1975 must be registered with the DEQ and drivers responsible for the $19 testing fee. Constituents no longer believe that the fee is necessary. Changes in automobile technology, fuels, and driving habits have reduced carbon monoxide levels. In fact, the last carbon monoxide violation was recorded over 25 years ago.

            I believe that in a short time we can come to a bipartisan agreement on how to reform this. Since my testimony, I have been approached by Republicans and Democrats with hints that we can come together on this. Every legislator in the Portland Metro region hears complaints from their constituents about the hassles they face of getting their cars checked, and even DEQ concurs with this sentiment to an extent.

            For what it is worth, in my time down here in the Senate I have built a decent relationship with DEQ. As a pear farmer and former county commissioner, you can guess that my past history with them has been thin. To their credit, I must say that for a state department they have shown a desire to work with me on this issue and others. They get the same complaints that I do, and I want them at the table as we continue.

            I hope that in a short amount of time I can come back to you saying that we accomplished something big when it comes to emissions testing reform. Also, I hope you will continue to read my newsletters as I send them out – I will try to produce one every week as session continues.