June Newsletter

May Legislative Days


The 78th Legislature meets one last time: In my freshman term I have had a great time getting to know fellow legislators. Although many of my colleagues will not be joining us for the 2017 Legislative Session, I am grateful Speaker Kotek gave us time to say goodbye. I will look back fondly on that moment. I will particularly miss Representative Joe Gallegos. It has been an honor to work with him and represent Hillsboro’s interests in Salem. I wish him and the other Legislators that are not returning the best of luck as they move forward to a new chapter in their lives.


House Interim Committee On Education MeetingMy first of five committee meetings during May Legislative Days was the Education Committee. I came to Salem to work on education and every time I sit down with my colleagues on this committee I am reminded why our work is so important. We heard from a variety of individuals on bills and work groups that have been meeting.

We learned of the work R.E.A.P. (Reaching and Empowering All People) does with the help of their sixth grade student ambassadors. These students help their peers become accustomed to middle school by reaching out to incoming sixth graders. We also heard more about the Every Student Succeeds Act and our state plans for that Act. I applaud Dr. Salam Noor for reaching out to our communities in drafting this plan. Treasurer Ted Wheeler and representatives from the Oregon Department of Education came to update us on school facilities expenditures. The state has made an effort to aid in securing bonds for school districts by acting as a co-signer. This has given many school districts the ability to update their facilities and, great news, not a single district has defaulted on their loans.   

We discussed the problem of re-engaging dropouts. The Oregon Youth Development Council explained the details of who these children are and why they have left our school system. The big takeaway: we must be proactive about re-engaging dropouts. We learned of some interesting items our neighbors in Washington and Colorado do to get youth back in classrooms through the use of open door policies and outreach specialists.

House Interim Committee On Agriculture and Natural Resources Meeting: As the daughter of a farmer, I am interested in this committee and I am proud to serve as a Co-Chair. We heard updates from bills that went through the committee and passed in the 2015 Legislative Session. I was a sponsor of House Bill 2984 which created a pilot project that would allow for an “Urban Lumber Forest” in Clackamas County. Four cities have signed onto the project and there is a project coordinator working on models to take advantage of urban, hardwood trees that must be removed. Senate Bill 202 created a task force to examine whether Oregon needs additional independent scientific review for natural resource evaluation. I am looking forward to hearing the task force’s final recommendations in September. House Bill 2402 created a group to rethink funding for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. I was impressed by the work this group has completed and I am looking forward to the ideas they bring forward. We also heard the Rogue Spring Chinook Conservation Plan from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. This plan is renewed each year after its creation in 2009 to address a decline in Spring Chinook fish caused by dam activities in the 1990s. We have taken important steps to revive fisheries and bring those fish populations back to pre-dam levels.

House Interim Committee On Transportation and Economic Development Meeting: Now that the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization is meeting and touring Oregon the information I hear in the House Transportation Committee becomes more and more relevant. We heard updates on projects commissioned by 2015 Legislation. The Oregon Department of Transportation has thoughtfully worked on those bills while keeping safety and budget in mind. We also heard about the Federal FAST Act, the first long-term federal funding in over a decade. There were some increases in funding and we were informed of the best ways to take advantage of federal grant programs in Oregon. The last item on the agenda was an informational hearing on autonomous and connected vehicles. I was surprised to learn about the rapid advancements. It is important that we keep up with technology and understand how to reflect technological advancements in law. I am excited to have two platforms to work on transportation, this committee and the Joint Interim Committee On Transportation Preservation and Modernization.

House Interim Committee On Consumer Protection and Government Effectiveness Meeting: My colleagues and I had a short hearing about auto accident liability. We discussed an issue that Representative David Gomberg brought to us after a constituent contacted him. In Oregon the responsibility of the insurer in investigating auto accident liability is limited. If an insurance company cannot reach their claim-holder, even if their claim-holder is at fault, they can refuse to pay the victimized party. They can do this because, without contacting their claim-holder, they cannot verify who is at fault. The only recourse for the victimized party is to sue or get in contact with the other individual. We were told by officials at the Department of Consumer and Business Services Division of Financial Regulation that this is not unusual occurrence. This is an interesting problem that the state is looking into.

Joint Interim Committee On Transportation Preservation and Modernization First Meeting: Our meeting opened with a letter from Governor Kate Brown and encouraging remarks from Speaker Tina Kotek and President Peter Courtney. We all agree that transportation system investments are a priority for the 2017 Legislative Session and we are all excited to get to work for Oregon.

The Governor's Transportation Vision Panel also presented their report, One Oregon, to the committee. The report can be viewed online here. I am appreciative of the work that various community members, civic and business leaders, and other stakeholders did to prepare us for our work this summer. The panel convened in November of 2014 and developed recommendations after traveling the state, surveying issues, and holding eleven regional forums for public input. The report was divided into regions to explain unique needs in each corner of our state. There were a few main takeaways: congestion in the Portland Metro area affects the economic vitality of business and industries throughout the state, we need better transit within cities and between cities. We also need better maintenance on our roads and pathways in preparation for seismic events. As this committee continues to meet I am eager to take on this challenge and create real solutions for our great state.

I am front and center listening to officials involved in the Woodburn Interchange.

Joint Interim Committee On Transportation Preservation and Modernization Tour: Our committee had the opportunity to see some key intersections along I-5. We saw one problem area that was greatly improved by state and local investment. The Woodburn Interchange along I-5 was the first stop. It has improved traffic flow and access to local businesses in the area and finished ahead of schedule and under budget. We also saw and heard in detail about the problems in Aurora. There is an awkward five-way intersection and multiple, problematic left-hand turns that lead to congestion and crashes. As we work this summer, the committee will tour other areas in Oregon to gain a better understanding of the variety of issues that state faces. To see our schedule of tours and public hearings click here.

Around the District and With Constituents

Listening to students: On June 1st I had the opportunity to hear from students that organized the walkout at Forest Grove High School and other neighboring high schools. I sat with Senator Riley, Representative Gallegos, and representatives from the Department of Education and listened to students from around Washington County. Over a dozen local elected officials joined us. Some of the stories we heard were discouraging. No student should feel discriminated against in their own school. I was proud of the courage they showed in telling their stories. I was inspired to hear their ideas and solutions. Our community will be better if we listen to the voices of these young people. Their experiences and perspectives must be part of the conversation surrounding our schools and I am glad they shared.

Hillsboro Listening Post: students, Oregon Department of Education, elected officials

Family PromiseHomelessness in Washington County is a growing problem. While we work to build additional affordable housing, like the Cornelius Place project, our community must offer support where it can. Family Promise of Washington County provides a platform to help. My church and other churches in the area host families that are struggling to get back on their feet. We offer support in the way of housing, meals, and childcare. I was proud to cook dinner for and sit down with families this month. If you are interested in getting involved visit this link.

Ashwin did a great job at Nationals!

Speech and Debate Nationals: This summer Glencoe High School attended their 31st National Speech and Debate Tournament in Utah. Every year I am in awe of the talented young people from across the country that compete in a variety of competitions for the title of best in the nation. During the week long competition I helped in the Extemp Prep Room with 537 students preparing for rounds. I also had the privilege of judging the final round of Lincoln Douglas Debate. Our future is in good hands!

Upcoming Events

Hillsboro Downtown Block Party: On July 15th Downtown Hillsboro will host a Block Party from 5:00-10:00 PM. While the Farm to Table Dinner is sold out, there will still be plenty to do! Shops will be open late, brewers will offer tastings in a beer garden, there will be live music, and it is a great opportunity to mingle with the community.

Celebrate Hillsboro: The 12th Annual Celebrate Hillsboro will take place Saturday, July 16th from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Come hear live music, see arts and crafts, receive a free health screenings, and participate in eco-friendly activities. There will also be a Saturday Farmers’ Market and community information booths that promote Hillsboro 2035 Vision.


Environmental Constituent Coffee with Senator Riley: On July 23rd from 9:30-10:30 AM at Manaia Coffee, Senator Riley and I will discuss some of the pressing environmental issues that concern our area. I would love to hear your thoughts and concerns on these issues - please join us!


Enjoy your summer!


Representative Susan McLain

email: Rep.SusanMcLain@state.or.us I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-376, Salem, OR 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/mclain