Newsletter February 26 2016

Deborah Boone

Greetings from Salem!

We are nearing the final days of this year’s five week short session.  Things continue to move quickly.  On Tuesday, I was proud to welcome a delegation from the Seaside High School who visited the capitol to testify during the House Veterans and Emergency Preparedness committee.   The group was led by Doug Dougherty, Ph D., Seaside School Superintendent along with students Kyna Lin, Clair Ogilvie, Nathanael Ward and Kara Ipson.   Dr.  Dougherty’s testimony correctly described Seaside Schools as Oregon’s most vulnerable school district.   The three schools: Seaside High, Broadway Middle and Gearhart Elementary are three of the four schools within tsunami inundation zones in Oregon, identified by state officials as high risk.   DOGAMI’s evaluation shows each of these aging schools is prone to catastrophic collapse in the event of a megathrust earthquake.   Nathanael Ward and Clair Ogilvie serve as the Seaside ASB Communications Directors, and shared their video presentation: “Don’t Catch This Wave” that illustrates the importance of relocating these schools outside of a tsunami zone, which can be seen here:

There are many bills being considered this session, and one that I support is SB1513A, legislation that will allow counties to exempt up to $250,000 assessed value of each homestead owned and occupied by a surviving spouse of firefighter or police officer killed in the line of duty.   Sponsored by Senators Girod, Courtney, Knopp and our own Betsy Johnson, SB 1513A was unanimously approved in the Senate last week, and this week passed out of the House Revenue committee with a “Do pass” recommendation.  This is not a mandatory requirement for counties, but it does give local government officials the option to waive property taxes in support of surviving spouses.   As I think about the recent tragedy involving Seaside Police Sgt. Jason Goodding, I’m glad this legislation has been receiving universal approval.

As Oregon’s economy continues to improve, community leaders have identified the need for affordable housing as a top priority throughout the state.   This session we have taken up several bills relating to this affordable housing and land use issues which include:

HB 4079B Directs the Land Conservation and Development commission to establish a pilot program in which local governments may expand their urban growth boundary under certain conditions to site and develop affordable housing.   I support this legislation because I have been convinced there is a need for a larger inventory of affordable housing, and this measure will give local officials a way to help address the housing crisis in their own communities.

SB 1533A Permits inclusionary zoning to allow cities and counties to offer developer incentives for affordable house.  I also think this legislation has merit, as it imposes no mandates, but it does offer local governments another tool as they look at creative ways to further development of affordable housing.

HB 1573 Deals with city annexations, and would require a city annex territory without a vote, if the petition for annexation is submitted by all owners of land in the territory provided the territory is within the city’s urban growth boundary and contiguous to city limits.   I do not support this bill as it would impose state rules over cities statutes.   Currently 35 Oregon cities have charters that require votes on annexations.  If approved, HB 1573 could force cities to accept unwanted annexations.  I don’t support it, because I believe citizens should have the right to vote on community annexations.

I do support SB 1517A which will allow Tillamook County to create a pilot program which would implement a collaborative process for disputes arising from the application for wetland creation, restoration or enhancement in lands zoned for exclusive farm use.   SB 1517A also allows the county to identify areas suitable for wetland creation and areas that should be prioritized for agricultural use.  This bill was proposed by the Senate Interim Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, it was approved in the Senate, and received a “Do Pass” recommendation in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

On another topic of importance to rural areas, on Thursday, the House approved SB 1503 to continue to require insurance companies reimburse certified and licensed nurse practitioners and physician assistants for primary care services at the same rate they reimburse licensed physicians. As a rural legislator who has seen a shortage of medical professionals in underserved areas, I voted in favor of this bill, because there should be pay equity for medical care reimbursement.

As we move into the final days of this session, it becomes more difficult for people to weigh in on important legislation.  My door is always open to constituents, but scheduling becomes problematic as the session comes to a close.    If you are planning to visit the Capitol, let my office know in advance, and we’ll try to accommodate you.   If you have a concern or comment you can phone or email the office.   Please be aware that we have been flooded with spam emails, and this makes it impossible to respond on an individual basis.   If an email is sent as part of an “alert campaign”, it may be classified as spam by the computer program.  If we missed it, and did not respond, I apologize.    When commenting on legislation, it is best to individualize your message.    

You can follow the legislative process, and see committees and floor sessions live through the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS) via the following link:

It is my privilege to represent you in the House of Representatives, and I look forward to hearing from you.


Representative Deborah Boone

House District 32

email: I phone: 503-986-1432
address: 900 Court St NE, H-481, Salem, OR, 97301