December 17, 2019 Newsletter


December 17, 2019 Newsletter

Happy Holidays From House District 18 graphics

Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

Happy Holidays from the Christmas Tree District where it’s Christmas all year-round.  Christmas tree growers in House District 18 and throughout the state have been hard at work to bring this year’s harvest to market. Did you know, Oregon is the country’s #1 Christmas tree producer and most of Oregon’s Christmas trees are grown in and around the Willamette Valley, especially in the foothills of the Coast and Cascade mountain ranges. Oregon’s Christmas tree farms are primarily family owned and operated. While maintaining and replanting trees is an ongoing job throughout the year, the harvest season lasts a short six-weeks. As we celebrate this holiday season, I am grateful for Oregon’s hard-working agriculture industry who bring food to our tables and beautiful trees to our homes. May the spirit of the season bring you great joy in the coming new year.

In the District

Oregon Dairy Farmers Association logo

On November 21st, I enjoyed the opportunity to stop by and visit with Oregon dairy farmers at their meeting in Salem. I provided a brief recap of agriculture related bills from the 2019 session and shared what is on the horizon for the short session. Founded in 1892, the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association (ODFA) works on behalf of Oregon’s 228 licensed Grade A dairy farming families. ODFA is governed by a 9 member board comprised of 8 dairy producers and one public member. Thank you to Oregon Dairy Farmers Association for the warm welcome to your meeting!



The morning of November 22nd, I attended a tour of area farms and nurseries. We visited Northwest Onion Company and a straw processing facility near Woodburn, followed by a visit to Woodburn Nursery and Azaleas. The importance of agriculture to the economic well-being of our state cannot be emphasized enough.  Thank you to the Oregon Farm Bureau for organizing our tour!

11-22-19 Oregon Farm Bureau area farms & nurseries tour photo collage
11-22-19 grand opening of the new location for the Marion County Veteran Service Office



Later that afternoon, Pat and I attended the grand opening of the new location for the Marion County Veteran Service Office. For veterans seeking assistance, the new location is 780 Commercial Street SE, Suite 302 in Salem. The veteran service officers are accredited VA representatives. They advocate for Marion County veterans, dependents, and survivors to ensure they received the earned benefits provided by federal and state law. They are a great resource to veterans in our area. For office hours and more information click here.



On December 6th, Silverton celebrated its annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Town Square Park. Thank you to the Silverton Chamber and all the volunteers who made this event possible. Music and hot chocolate kept the crowd warm as Santa arrived on a Silverton fire truck which was raised above the tree to sprinkle “magic dust” to light the Christmas tree.

Silverton Christmas Tree scene
Christmas in the Garden Logo

Also, in our home town, we enjoy the annual Christmas in the Garden. This is always a great family event to spend time together celebrating the season and taking in the beautiful display of lights. Visiting Santa, listening to carolers, music, ice skating, snowless tubing, and an artisan vendor market are a few of the highlights. The event runs from November 29-January 5th.  More information can be found here.

In the Capitol

Holiday Trees in front of the Oregon House of Representatives
12-03-19 Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting


The Capitol is beaming with Christmas cheer.  On December 3rd, the Capitol Christmas Tree lighting celebration ushered in 38 years of Holidays at the Capitol. The tree is spectacular as are all the decorations throughout the building. If you haven’t visited the Capitol this season, you can catch a live glimpse of the grand tree here. The tree lighting event was sponsored by the Oregon Capitol Foundation, which I am a member.  We are grateful for the many volunteers and sponsor contributions that made this year's holiday tradition possible.  

12-12-19 HD18 School Choir Performance collage 1


On December 12th, choir students from various schools in the district performed at the Capitol as a part of the Holidays at the Capitol events that run from December 4-24th, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Each day, the Capitol Rotunda is filled with sounds of the season with visiting choirs from throughout the state. Seating is available and holiday decor is sure to add to your visit! Click here to view live videoClick here to view the performance schedule.   

View CCTV Playback Times @ www.CCTVSalem.ORG

12-12-19 HD18 School Choir Performance collage 1Ariel photo of the Capitol

On January 13-16th, legislators will return to the Capitol for a third and final round of committee meetings and mandatory training before the February 2020 short session. House member bill drafts must be dropped with the Chief Clerk of the House and Senate member bill drafts with the Secretary of the Senate, on or before 5:00 pm, Friday, January 17th.  Representatives can introduce two bills and senators can introduce one. 

I refiled my bill from last session that would provide voluntary opportunities for cities under 25,000 or counties under 25,000 population to build affordable multi-family housing. The bill had good support but didn't received a work session to get it to the floor for a vote.  I tried a bill pull at the end of the session to get a vote but the effort failed.  The bill also will give preference to cities and counties that will allot a certain percentage of units to veterans who qualify for affordable housing.  The bill sunsets in 2027.  

A second bill will provide an opportunity to honor those in the military who were listed as missing in action (MIA) and were later identified through DNA testing as confirmed killed in action. One such veteran is Lyle Charpilloz from Silverton who was MIA from World War II and was finally identified, brought home and laid to rest last year.

A third Bill is being filed by Senator Olsen at my request to petition Congress to pass a bill acknowledging VA claims for those veterans suffering from bronchial disease as a result of the open pit burning that was done primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan. I will be a Chief Sponsor on this bill.  A registry has been established for veterans who suffer from pit burning injuries and to date, more than 150,000 have registered. A bill before Congress to create a diagnostic code so the VA can accept claims, has stalled. Shades of stalling Agent Orange claims post-Vietnam. 

I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to achieve the successful passage of these bills.

Around the State

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Image

On December 7th, many of us around the state took time to remember and honor those who served and the lives lost 78 years ago during the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the early morning of December 7, 1941, the devastating surprise attack by Japanese forces lasted about 90 minutes, killing 2,403 American military and civilian personnel and wounding 1,178. Today only three USS Arizona survivors remain. Each year, on this day, I humbly pause to recognize Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and pay my respects to the men and women of the greatest generation who stepped forward to serve and defend our freedoms.

Willamette Falls Locks logo

On December 11th, the Willamette Falls Lock Commission, which I am an advisory member, met in West Linn to continue discussions on the process of transferring ownership and reopening the locks and to hear public testimony. It is a privilege to be a part of these discussions as the project moves forward.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter and for the opportunity to serve as your State Representative.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if I can be of assistance. 

Holiday best wishes to you and yours,

Rick Lewis

Rick Lewis
State Representative
House District 18
Oregon’s Christmas Tree District

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1418
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-484, Salem, Oregon 97301