Clean Fuels, Children's Vision, OR 58 Paving & More


Senator Floyd Prozanski
South Lane and North Douglas Counties
District 4

900 Court St. NE, S-417, Salem Oregon 97301
Capitol phone: 503-986-1704
e-Bulletin                     July/August 2014

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Dear friends

    I hope you've been staying cool in the summer heat. Unfortunately, we've seen a number of drownings on local waterways in recent weeks. Please remember to wear a life jacket and to practice water safety when on, in or near the water. Here are a few tips from the Red Cross:

    The next set of legislative days will be September 1517. This is when the various committees will hold informational hearings and discuss legislative concepts for the 2015 legislative session. You can review committee agendas (once posted) and watch live hearings using the legislature's online information system.

    On September 24 from 67 p.m. at the Petersen Barn Community Center in Eugene, House Majority Leader Val Hoyle and I will take part in a discussion about justice reinvestment, hosted by the Partnership for Safety & Justice. Please consider becoming a member and joining us.

    Below you will find information on:

        - Tax Credits for Insurance through Cover Oregon
        - Oregon's Clean Fuels Program
        - Oregon Housing Choice Act
        - Oregon's New Children's Vision Law
        - Paving Project on OR 58 East of Pleasant Hill
        - Summertime Tips for Conserving Water in the Garden

    I hope this information is helpful and informative for you or someone you know. As always, feel free to share your comments, questions or concerns with me by phone, mail or e-mail.

                                                               Sen. Prozanski signature

Tax Credits for Insurance Through Cover Oregon

    Governor Kitzhaber announced in June a plan for providing retroactive tax credits to eligible Oregonians who tried to apply for health insurance through Cover Oregon but were unable to do so.

    Those who attempted to apply without success, and then purchased a private plan directly through an insurance carrier, may be eligible for a retroactive tax credit.
Who is eligible for a retroactive tax credit and possible cost-sharing assistance? Oregonians who:

  • Attempted to apply through Cover Oregon between October 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014 but were not successful due to technology issues

  • Are currently enrolled in a private plan offered by one of the insurance companies participating in Cover Oregon:
    • ATRIO
    • BridgeSpan
    • Health Net
    • Health Republic
    • Kaiser Permanente
    • LifeWise
    • Moda
    • Oregon's Health Co-Op
    • PacificSource
    • ProvidenceTrillium

  • Purchased the insurance plan between October 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014

Oregon's Clean Fuels Program

Alternative fuels are becoming more readily accessible every day and now, even more so for those of us in Senate District 4. I recently attended the opening of Oregon's first public natural gas fueling station in Eugene. With this launch, area residents have the option to fuel up with natural gas, which provides cost savings (at only $2.29/gallon) and cleans our air for healthier communities.

    It's not just natural gas. Clean fuels like electricity, propane, hydrogen fuel cells, and other technology also continue to develop in Oregon and around the country. At the launch of Eugene's newest alternative fueling station, many businesses and civic leaders discussed the need for our state to continue building out these alternative fuel options for Oregonians. The Legislature will have this opportunity in 2015, by reauthorizing this Clean Fuels Program. Oregon's Clean Fuels Program supports alternative fuel options for Oregonians by opening our fuel market to homegrown, clean fuels. The program creates jobs and economic opportunities, provides diverse and affordable fuel options to Oregonians, and cleans our air.  I look forward to supporting this effort.

Oregon Housing Choice Act

    During the 2013 session, I was proud to support HB 2639, the "Housing Choice Act." This new law went into effect on July 1; it created protections for Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher holders and established the Housing Choice Landlord Guarantee program. Secure and stable housing is one of the most important tools for a family to succeed.

    The new law helps Oregon families by prohibiting a landlord from refusing to rent to a person simply because a portion of their income includes a Section 8 voucher or other type of housing assistance. The law also improves on the Landlord Guarantee Program, a revolving fund managed by Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) to provide financial assistance to participating landlords to mitigate un-reimbursed damages caused by tenants. Landlords may seek reimbursement for damages, if any, caused by a Section 8 tenant, up to a $5,000 cap.

    The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program is a federally funded program administered by housing authorities statewide. It is the largest program in Oregon to assist low-income tenants by making rents affordable. Vouchers are intended to help low-income people find housing in the private market that will maximize their opportunities for success. Unfortunately, too many tenants struggle to find places where their vouchers will be accepted. When vouchers are not accepted, the important public purpose of the housing assistance program is undermined, and the stability of low-income families is threatened.

    Tenants and landlords requiring additional information on the Housing Choice Act can contact their local housing authority using this link:

Oregon's New Children's Vision Law; See to Read Events

    Undetected and untreated vision problems negatively impact the learning ability of young students, leaving them at risk of falling behind or being inappropriately placed in special education classes. In addition, certain eye disorders, such as amblyopia, may result in irreversible vision loss if not addressed before the age of nine. If these and other problems are diagnosed and treated early, children can grow up to have normal, healthy vision and, therefore, lead more complete lives.

    That's why the Legislature passed HB 3000 in 2013, to help ensure that children entering school can see clearly and comfortably through comprehensive eye examinations or screenings.

    You can review the enrolled bill, here. The following are additional facts about children's eye health:

  • 25 percent of students have a correctable or even preventable vision or eye health problem; that's over 10,000 kindergarteners in Oregon this school year alone.
  • Approximately 86 percent of children age 12 and under have never had an eye examination. Yet, approximately 25 percent of school-age children have vision problems.
  • Nearly 70 percent of the children identified during vision screenings as needing professional eye and vision care or treatment actually comply with the recommendations and receive that care.
  • Amblyopia is highly treatable and preventable if caught early, but it remains the leading cause of vision loss in Americans under 45. Half of all children with amblyopia are diagnosed after the age of five, when successful treatment is oftentimes no longer effective.
  • The U.S. Department of Health And Human Services announced final regulations February 20, 2013, that require the pediatric vision essential health benefit to include an annual eye examination and treatment including medical eye care.
  • 70 percent percent of juvenile offenders have vision problems; 90 percent of incarcerated adults did not graduate from high school.

     Intended to help implement HB 3000, trained staff from the Elks Children's Vision Clinic at OHSU's Casey Eye Institute and the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation will conduct "See to Read" screenings, a joint venture of the Elks and Lions and the Oregon Library Association, to provide free vision screenings to preschoolers at public libraries throughout Oregon. Parents receive a certificate of the screening to give to schools. Here are upcoming See to Read screenings scheduled in the Eugene/Springfield area:

Wednesday, August 13:
10 a.m. noon @ Eugene Downtown Public Library
Thursday, August 14:
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. @ Springfield City Library
2:30 4:30 p.m. @ Eugene Sheldon Library

Paving Project on OR 58 East of Pleasant Hill

    Between now and October, you can expect roadwork for a project to replace pavement and guardrail on a 4.5-mile stretch of OR 58 between Pleasant Hill and Dexter (MP 6.5-11). The pavement along this stretch of highway is badly worn. A contractor for ODOT will grind out the old pavement and replace it with new asphalt.   In addition, a half-mile segment of roadway near the Dexter end of the project will be excavated and a new rock subgrade and aggregate road base will be constructed before new asphalt is applied.

    During construction, motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians should anticipate lane closures and travel controlled by flaggers. Some construction will be done during daytime hours, and some will occur at night. ODOT says delays of 20 minutes should be expected through the active work zone.

    From milepost 10.3 to 10.7, where the subgrade will be reconstructed, there will be 24-hour flagging for as long as three to four weeks. That segment is expected to be constructed in the early days of the project. The project is scheduled for completion by the end of October. Wildish Construction Company of Eugene was awarded the low-bid contract of $2.6 million. 

Summertime Tips for Conserving Water in the Garden

     The Oregon State University Extension Service offers the following tips to conserve water in gardens and yards this summer:

  • Water your lawn more deeply and less frequently. If you typically water three to four times per week, it's OK to cut that to one to two times per week. 
  • Plant drought-tolerant turfgrass. Tall fescue is hardy, wide-bladed and deep-rooted. Perennial ryegrass and creeping fescue can also tolerate some dryness. 
  • Choose drought-tolerant plants such as creeping zinnia and sea poppy for your landscape. Native plants such as the Oregon iris and Pacific wax myrtle tolerate dry summers well. Find a list of water-efficient landscape plants in this OSU Extension guide. 
  • For most plants, watering deeply and close to the roots is more important than frequency. Study each plant's watering requirements. For vegetables, soak soil about six inches deep. Water to a depth of about a foot and a half for shrubs. Trees need water about two feet deep. 
  • Mulching is critical because it improves soil structure, helps retain water in the ground and reduces weeds. Use compost-based mulches for vegetables and woody mulches for ornamental plants. Spread the mulch about two to three inches thick on the soil around your garden. 
  • Water early in the morning before the day heats up. 
  • Use an efficient irrigation system, such as soaker hoses or drip irrigation. If you choose a sprinkler system, select a low-pressure, in-ground system that does not shoot up in the air.


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