Rep Deborah Boone May 18 2017 Newsletter

Deborah Boone


The Oregon Constitution requires that lawmakers approve a balanced budget.   Completing that task this session has been daunting as we started the session with a $1.8 billion shortfall.  A positive March Economic and Revenue forecast reduced the estimated deficit to $1.6 billion, and on Tuesday we received the May Legislative Revenue Forecast, which will be the final one for this legislative session.   The forecast was good, state economists project nearly $200 million more in net available resources, narrowing Oregon’s projected budget gap to about $1.4 billion. 

The strong economy means Oregonians may be receiving a tax kicker when they file their taxes next year.  Oregon’s kicker law was created in 1979, and is triggered when the state collects at least 2 percent more than projected.   State Economist Mark McMullen says we still have a few weeks left in the biennium, and if revenue continues to exceed projections, the kicker will be triggered.   So, in a time when the next biennium shows a huge budget deficit, the state will be refunding hundreds of millions of dollars to taxpayers.  Going forward, McMullen expects Oregon’s economy growth rate to slow as we are adding fewer new jobs.  Currently the state’s unemployment rate is 3.8% which is lower than the 4.5% national average.  While the Ways and Means committee sorts through the budget process, work continues in the full House and Senate.

On Tuesday, the Senate approved HB 2140 A bill I sponsored requiring property owners to disclose seismic risk when selling a house.   This legislation adds two questions to a multi-page checklist already required when selling real property.  The property owner will need to disclose to the buyer if the house was built before 1974 and whether the house has been secured to its foundation.  HB 2140 is one of several showing an increasing legislative interest in preparations for a major earthquake. I serve on the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission, and am continuing my efforts to focus attention on the need to strengthen Oregon’s infrastructure due to its vulnerability to major seismic events.

On Wednesday, Governor Kate Brown signed into law my three port bills that I discussed last week: HB 2899: Relating to port authority regarding Intergovernmental Agreements, HB 2900: Allowing Ports to advertise activities and events that occur on port property, and HB 2901: Relating to requiring a second appraisal relating to sales of real property.  The Governor was on hand to thank Oregon Veterans Thursday in Salem while participating in the Armed Forces Day on the Capitol Grounds.

Governor Brown Thanks Veterans
Governor Brown Thanks Veterans at Armed Forces Day

Results are now in from the May 16th Special Elections, and I want to congratulate those people who are stepping up to serve their neighbors and communities on a variety of boards and commissions.  It is so important to be a part of the local groups that make decisions that impact our daily lives.  Oregon’s vote-by-mail system makes it so easy for everyone to vote, I was disappointed at the low voter turnout for this election.  In looking over the election results, I noticed that there are many positions where no candidate filed for office.  When a qualified elector receives the majority of write-in votes, he or she will be notified by the County Clerk and asked if they want to serve.   If the position remains vacant, the existing board will appoint someone to fill the seat.  If you are interested in a board or commission, you may still have a chance to serve.  Contact the district or agency, even if there are no openings on their governing board, many times they will have advisory and budget committees where your participation will be welcomed.

The weather is starting to improve, and that is brightening spirits after a long rainy winter.  With the improving weather, road projects kick into full gear.   In House District 32 there are many road improvement projects underway. 

ODOT is closing OR 53 (Necanicum Hwy) at milepost 6 this weekend.  Crews will be working on the Jack Horner Bridge, replacing the wooden decking, and then paving the bridge.  The road will close at 7 a.m. Friday May 19th and reopen on Monday morning May 22nd.   This is a full 24-7 closure with traffic detouring around construction using Hwy 26, and Hwy 101.

In Manzanita, they are replacing an existing culvert at Neahkahnie Creek with a tunnel, and realigning Hwy 101.  Flaggers may need to control single lane traffic when construction work is occurring, and short delays can be expected.

Bridge rehabilitation continues on the Old Youngs Bay and Lewis & Clark River Bridges, with flaggers occasionally controlling single lane traffic during work periods.

Workers are also painting the Astoria-Megler Bridge, scheduled work includes installation of the work containment structures and prepping and coating the steel beneath the bridge deck.  Flaggers control single lane traffic, and delays will be allowed anytime on the weekdays or weekends.

The Hwy 101/OR 6 traffic improvement project in Tillamook is extending Pacific Avenue north beyond First Street and replacing the existing slough bridge with a new four lane bridge.  This project will also widen the traffic lanes on Main and Pacific Avenues from First to Fourth Streets.  Travelers can expect daytime and night time work and occasional lane closures.

There is a lot of work going on, and on any given day there are 500 active work zones in the state.  On average, a work zone crash occurs in Oregon every 18 hours, with hundreds of accidents and some fatalities every year.  To improve safety for everyone, speeds in work zones may be reduced.   Fines double for traffic infractions committed within a posted work zone, whether workers are present or not.   Pay extra attention when you see orange signs, barrels, cones and barricades; as an inattentive driver is the most common cause of work zone crashes. 

To best represent House District 32, I need to hear from you.  If you have a concern or comment about a state agency or proposed legislation, you can write, phone or email my office.  If you are coming to Salem, let my office know a few days in advance so we can schedule an appointment.   I’m in H-481, and my door is always open to constituents.  

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


Deborah Boone

Representative District 32

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