Your State Senator Alan Olsen SD20

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Senator Alan Olsen

I'm your State Senator in Senate District 20.

Hello Friends,

 If this is your first time receiving my newsletter then please allow me a brief introduction. I am your Oregon State Senator from Senate District 20, which includes the towns of Barlow, Canby, Oregon City, Gladstone, Johnson City, Estacada, Eagle Creek, Redland, Beavercreek, Boring, Damascus and southern parts of Happy Valley.  I am proud and honored to have represented you in our State's Capitol since 2010.  It has been a pleasure working with many of you during my time in the State Senate and I look forward to a continued relationship moving on. I'm committed to working hard to get Oregonian's to work with higher paying family wages jobs and higher waged skilled labor positions. I am also working to find long-term solutions to make our education system the finest in the nation and also bringing accountability and transparency back into the Oregon State Government.

In this issue of the Capital Babbler I would like to discuss two major policy issues that will have a negative financial impact. 


Ballot Measure 102 "Affordable Housing"

Affordable Housing

Ballot Measure 102  will ask the voters to change Section 9, Article XI of the Constitution of the State of Oregon, to allow counties, cities, towns, or other municipal corporations to obtain “bonded indebtedness that is payable from ad valorem taxes not subject to limitations under section 11 and 11b of this Article to finance capital cost of affordable housing.

What this means in laymen’s terms, is a city or county can borrow money, using your property as collateral to build “affordable housing.”  “Affordable housing” is an important issue, but it is not defined in this measure.  The definition is left up to the borrowing agency, hence, each different jurisdiction, County or City can have their own definition of “affordable.”

You the voters will be able to vote for or against the bonding, but you will not know at the time of the vote what terms or conditions are placed on the money to be distributed by the jurisdiction. Nor will you know how repayment of this funding will be handled.  Will it reduce the bonded indebtedness, or will it go into the General Fund of the jurisdiction?

You must also consider that when the “affordable housing” construction is complete the jurisdiction benefits by an increased tax base, and by thousands of dollars that will be collected through the System Development Charges on this “affordable housing.”

How is your housing made any more affordable when your property taxes will increase, outside the limits of Measure 5 and Measure 50, that we the voters passed? As a reminder Measure 5 was passed by Oregon voters in 1990 and Measure 50 in 1997. 

Do you want your city or county to become the local bank, loaning out money that you are required to pay back so a private developer can reap the profits?
The housing crisis is linked to the lack of affordable building land and huge system development charges, all created by the same governments.

Representative Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland) stated, “You don’t change the Constitution without knowing what you are going to get”.  How true!

Some numbers that you should know to make a reasonable decision whether or not to support this ballot measure.

Portland has already received a $258M bond to build affordable housing.  Their costs for this is about 250K per unit.  Metro wants $652M for their bonding and are currently building affordable housing at about $375K per unit in the Pearl district.  Not bad if you can afford it.
The State of Oregon is currently committing $120M in their LIFT program to make housing affordable. In addition, recording fees for a document at the County will triple from $20 to $60.00.

Over $1B for affordable housing! And now they're asking you to allow them to borrow even more money, once again using your property as collateral.  which will increase the cost of your home or property.  

Relating Articles for Additional Reading: 

Affordable housing measure debated at chamber meeting
Private sector can make housing affordable
Region's leaders split on Metro affordable housing bond
Meet affordable housing bond's biggest foe
Metro’s November Bond Measure Would Make All Housing More Costly


Earth Pic

Cap & Trade Policy to be Implemented in the 2019 regular Legislative Session. 

Carbon Reduction or is it Carbon Pricing?

The other discussion I would like to undertake is about the State's proposed Carbon policy that might soon be implemented in 2019 to attempt lowering our overall CO2 emissions. The legislation is known as "Cap and Trade." This legislation proposes to reduce CO2 emissions in our state so that Mother Earth does not overheat.  For clarity, Oregon’s emissions are 0.7% of the overall US emissions. That's less than 1% and we already rank as one of the Nations leaders in low Carbon output.

Let’s be clear from the start.  I do believe that climate is changing.  It has for eons and will continue to do so.  It is like getting old. Everything in your body changes as you age, but it is not something that you can stop.  The Earth is the same way. Climate Change will continue to happen regardless of anything we do and that is a fact. I don't doubt, we as humans, have contributed many negative aspects to our environment and have caused a great deal of pollution during the last century but we have been making drastic improvements since the 1970's to increase our Air quality, Land Systems, Rivers and Waterways.      

Those that believe man has caused an exacerbated scale of climate change think that the the best way to stop the change from continuing is to change society in general. To force those changes, they propose to implement a taxing scheme that will theoretically drive down CO2 emissions by putting a large price on each ton of emissions. In other words, if you can’t afford it, you won’t do it.  We saw the same type of thinking with taxes on cigarettes.  Make it so they are so expensive people will have to quit. CO2 is't something we can just completely quit, that's a problem, because CO2 emissions come from things we can't replace. We have a great need for concrete as building materials, Base-load Energy from Power Sources,  Like Natural Gas, that can deliver continuous energy when renewable's can't, and tilling up land for farming, and we need to still breath, just to name a few. Their concept is to put a cost on the producers that have a high CO2 output to get them to lower their carbon output. This is the plan and the targets are the large emitting entities or businesses. (Entities LIST) That’s right, those very same companies that employ thousands and thousands of people and produce goods or services we need and rely on. (Oregon's Energy Sources)

By charging those companies that emit over 25K Metric tons, to which there are many, they will drive up your prices for goods as most costs will be passed on to the consumer.  For example, fuel for your car is expected to jump by at least $.20 per gallon.  Food costs will also increase, as all food is delivered by trucks and the farmers need fuel to grow and harvest food. Other additional cost increases to food will come from the enhanced price of Energy needed to run the units for refrigerated or frozen perishable food items. Refrigeration for these items will be on the meter running a tab starting from leaving the Farms in refrigerated trucks to the processing plant. Then they're shipped to the warehouses, to the distribution centers, to the Grocery stores and then, finally, the consumer. The increased cost is necessary to get the items from the farm, to retail, and then to consumer still fresh.                

 Just a couple of thoughts here.  This scheme used to be called "Global Warming."  Unfortunately, the earth did not warm for more than 18 years.  Climate change is the new catchphrase because it is works like a union roofers’ card.  It covers everything.  If it doesn’t rain, it must be climate change.  If it is too hot, climate change. Not enough snow on the Mountains, Climate Change, If it is too cold, climate change. 
You get the picture. 

The consensus on climatic changes related to global warming is the average temperature of the Earth has risen between 0.4 and 0.8 °C over the past 100 years, with 0.4 being the margin of error. Scientific Peer-reviewed Charts show contemporary warming of the 20th century “does not stand out in the 2500-year perspective” and is “of the same magnitude as the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Climate Anomaly.”  

Once again, climate, not to be confused with weather, is changing.  We know this not from the models predicting gloom and doom, but from the real world around us. We as a nation have made significant environmental improvements by lowering overall pollution and minimizing our carbon footprint over the last few decades being more environmentally conscious every year. The Earth and its Climate will undoubtedly continue to change as time moves forward. The question then must be asked, “What can we, as mere mortals, do to reduce the impact of C02 on the earth?" 

In our State what we are planning to do is tax, and tax heavily.  Between $400 and $700 Million dollars per year.  Brilliant! 

It gets even better when the State Legislature will then have to create a whole new agency to oversee this boondoggle.  More government employees are always a good thing if money is of no concern to you with the increased taxes and living expenses. The Carbon reduction will take over 30 years to reach the suggested goals being set.  Do the math.  Between $12 Billion and $21 Billion Dollars will be siphoned from the economy and out of our pockets. In addition to that there is no real definitive steps to prove that the impact suffered by an entity or in a geographical region is due to climate change. Speculation and innuendo are not proof. Unfortunately, even if we went all the way to zero for the State's carbon output the benefits made for the climate would be minuscule, ineffective, not noticeable and at an enormous expense to you with the cost of living increases. 

Can we do things to help reduce CO2 without a giant price tag?  Certainly! Reduce your driving, conserve electricity, replace household energy devices with newer more efficient items, continue to develop new technologies.  Reductions can happen without the huge sums of money just waiting to be taken by the government, to be spent by the government. 

Considering there's no guarantee  to any environmental benefits resulting from "Cap & Trade" and looking over the enormous expense the policy generates, the cost benefit analysis looks very dim.   

Most people are unaware and would be surprised to know that the the United States has been reducing its overall Energy CO2 output and has been on a downward trend since 2009, Oregon is already back to it's 1998 levels without a Cap & Trade Program. Moreover, as we continue to shift from the Coal Fired Power Plants and over to the Natural Gas facilities, its lower carbon intensive generation is much cleaner and has contributed to making 2017 a record setting year for Carbon reduction in the U.S.   

Olsen Video

Watch me give my expressed comments of concern regarding the direction our State Carbon Policy is headed legislatively.   

Joint Carbon Reduction Committee Meeting 

at the Salem Capitol on 7/24/18   
Video Link:

Upcoming Events:


Oregon City Town Hall Meeting 

Wednesday, September 19th. 2018 

5:30pm to 8:00pm

Oregon City VFW Post 1324

104 Tumwater Dr, Oregon City, OR 97045 

Boring, Oregon 
Vietnam Memorial Dedication Ceremony. 

Friday, September 21st. 2018 
2:00 pm to 3:30 pm

Boring Station Trailhead Park

Boring, Oregon Vietnam Memorial

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts on these two very important issues.  I look forward to keeping you up to date on the happenings at the Capital and I hope to see you at one of the local events. 

Don’t forget to vote.  It is important!

Yours truly,

Senator Alan Olsen
Senate District 20

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1720
District Phone: 503-266-4599
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-425, Salem, OR 97301
District Address: 675 Northwest 2nd St., Canby, OR 97013


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Senator Olsen's Committees:

Vice Chair of Senate Committee Environment & Natural Resources
Joint Interim Committee On Carbon Reduction
Senate Committee on Veterans & Emergency Preparedness