10 ways to honor our heroes

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Rep. Mark Owens


As we near Memorial Day, I want to take a moment to acknowledge and honor our heroes--the men and women who gave their lives fighting for our great country.

Let us not forget that it is because of these sacrifices, we have the rights and freedoms we have today. We have the opportunity to participate in the future of our communities, state and country through community and public service, policy making, voting, and standing up for what we believe in. 

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3:00 pm local time on Memorial Day for one minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the US. If you would like to show your respects in other ways, here are 10 ways to honor our heroes and their families this Memorial Day.

With gratitude,

Mark Owens
State Representative
House District 60

Business Oregon – Grants Available Starting Today

Business Oregon

This Wednesday, May 26, Business Oregon will open the final portion of a program to provide grants for small businesses to help with commercial rent and operational costs in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state has $28m available to help with commercial rent and operational costs for businesses with under 100 employees. The program is geared toward restaurants, recreational and entertainment, personal services, to name a few.

Applications will be accessible at the following link starting May 26 and continue through June 6. You can also call their Small Business Navigator Hotline 833-604-0880. The application process is NOT first-come, first-served. Awards will be selected after a random lottery process of all complete and eligible applications received.

Is Oregon in the black?

Last week, the Oregon revenue forecast came out with a shocking result—Oregon has more revenue than ever. Despite the pandemic and still-high unemployment, Oregon’s expected tax revenue for the coming biennium is more than $1 billion higher than earlier estimated and could pay out a “kicker” tax rebate of up to $1.4 billion.

It's important to note, however, that within this positive-facing revenue forecast, Oregon quite possibly without federal stimulus would actually be reporting a revenue shortfall. The projected increase in revenue is inflated due to federal relief not because Oregon is organically generating more revenue. Still though, we do have more revenue and it’s important that it be used and saved wisely.



I support the kicker. The kicker occurs if actual state revenues exceed forecasted revenues by 2 percent or more over the two-year budget cycle, and it exists to help create some control over how much money the government can spend. What does this mean for you? It means each taxpayer could receive an estimated $330 back on next year’s tax return. It’s your money, you should have it.

Oregon doesn’t have a revenue problem; we have a spending problem. We don’t need to be raising taxes. We need to give Oregonians their hard-earned and over-paid tax dollars back, we need to be saving money in a rainy-day fund for when we hit hard times in the future, and we need to be investing additional funds back into the state for education, wildfire relief, workforce development and more.

Vaccine Passports

Letter to Gov. Brown

Let me be clear: I believe the choice to get a vaccine is a personal, private medical decision and that Oregonians should be free to make that choice for themselves. There is access to the COVID-19 vaccination should Oregonians choose to get it, and I've shared those resources many times here and so do again at the end of this email.

Whether you get the vaccine is up to you, as it should be. But REQUIRING proof of vaccinations or implementing a vaccine passport program is wrong. It's a violation of our rights and our freedoms, it’s discriminatory, and it shows the Governor doesn’t believe Oregonians can be trusted.

Yesterday, the Oregon House Republicans send a letter to Governor Brown asking her to end the vaccine passport/verification system. You can read the letter here.

We know letters aren’t enough. I am in the process of writing legislation that would prohibit vaccine passports in Oregon and will keep you updated and informed as we move through that process.

Educational bills moving forward

Providing Educational Pathways, HB 3236
All students and their families have the right to choose the best educational pathway for them. That's why I've chief co-sponsored HB 3236 which establishes a task force to find solutions for these under-supported and under-funded programs, and to provide greater opportunities for educational choice. This bill has bipartisan support from legislators all across Oregon and is now being considered in the Committee on Ways & Means.

Understanding COVID impacts on education, HB 2962
The Coronavirus pandemic has put immense pressure on schools across the state of Oregon to try and provide the quality instruction, whether online or in person, for our students. Oregon must ensure that this pandemic does not impact our current students' education in the long run. I’ve Chief Co-Sponsored this bill to require each school district to evaluate instructional needs of students in their school districts as result of school closures due to COVID-19 and to report summaries of evaluations to Department of Education. This has bi-partisan support and we anticipate it will pass.

Requiring Civics Education, SB 513
I’ve also sponsored SB 513 which would require students to complete at least one-half credit of civics in order to receive high school diploma. Our students need to be given the opportunity to learn how their government works, and about public service and public policy, and our schools need to be accountable to provide this fundamental part of public education to our students. This bill passed the Senate and the House and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk.

District 60 Student Spotlights

Kyle Handyside

Kyle Handyside

Kyle is an early graduate of Eagle Cap Innovative High School located in Baker. Kyle balanced attending his classes through Baker High School during his junior year and working part time at Behlen Country- a corporation which is the most comprehensive manufacturer of farm and ranch equipment in all of North America.

After doing this for the majority of the school year, he decided to become time efficient, and transferred to Eagle Cap Innovative High School in March of his junior year. Under these new circumstances, he was able to work full time at Behlen Country, while attending all of his classes in a way that was convenient for him. This line of action worked so well he was able to graduate 3 months early, in March of 2021. That same month he was named Eagle Cap’s Promise Student of the Month.

His principal, Dr. Thomas Joseph, praised Kyle stating he, “simply embodies the resilience and determination necessary to finish a diploma. Because we could offer him some flexibility around his work schedule, he managed to work full time while finishing his remaining credits, and even graduated early. I could not be more proud of his hard work, or more thankful to our staff for the support they gave when he needed it. He is an impressive young man.”

Kyle, we are proud of your accomplishments and your willingness to achieve your goals to the fullest. Keep going! We look forward to seeing what your future holds.

Sara Stephen

Sara Stephen  

Sara is a senior from Nyssa High School in Malheur County. Sara is involved in almost every club offered at the high school including Science and Math Investigative Learning Experience (S.M.I.L.E.), Key Club, National Honors Society, Future Farmers of America (FFA), Student Council, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). She is a natural leader, and has held many positions in these clubs as well, serving as President and Secretary for Future Farmers of America and President and Secretary for the Student Council. In addition to this, Sara still makes time to participate in Track and Field, work, and keep up in school.

Tammy ORourke, Nyssa High School Vice Principal, described her as, “Generous, smart, independent, and driven. You will never forget meeting Sara. She lives the adage "Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Sara, we want to congratulate you on all you have accomplished throughout your high school career and wish you the best on your next step in life.

COVID Updates and Resources

Mask updates and guidelines
On May 18, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released updated guidance for masking and physical distancing throughout the state. Significant changes to the guidance include the following:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals will no longer need to wear a mask indoors in public places where vaccination statuses of individuals are checked (masks will be required in areas where people are not asked about their vaccination status).
  • Businesses, employers and faith institutions have the right to determine their own masking policies for fully vaccinated individuals.
  • Masks are no longer required for people who are outdoors, though masking is still encouraged, especially in crowded places and for people who are unvaccinated.
  • Read More Here

County Risk Levels
Effective Thursday, May 27 through Thursday, June 3, there will be 15 counties in the High Risk level, three at Moderate Risk, and 18 at Lower Risk:

  • A complete list of counties and their risk levels is available here
  • Review the list of sector-by-sector guidelines and what’s permitted here.
  • Visit the Oregon Coronavirus website here.

Vaccine Eligibility
All Oregonians age 12 and older are now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Individuals meeting these criteria can use the following resources to get linked to vaccine information in their communities:

Contact us anytime

Representing you is my highest priority, and my staff and I are here for anything you need. Please continue to stay in touch with us, ask questions, request updates on legislation, and let us know how we can best serve you.

District Phone: 541-889-8866
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1460
District Address: 258 S. Oregon St, Ontario, OR 97914
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, H-475, Salem, OR 97301
Email: Rep.MarkOwens@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/owens