Monday, January 31, 2011

From Earl Blumenauer

This is from our Federal Rep.....

Dear Neighbor,

This morning I attended two events directly tied to job creation in our community.

Thanks to $50 million in rail upgrades to the Rivergate industrial district in North Portland, goods can now be moved more quickly and safely. A more efficient rail system that eliminates delays and bottlenecks is creating expanded opportunities for exports, greater resources for manufacturing, and, of course, new jobs for the region. These upgrades were helped in part by funding from the last Transportation Reauthorization Bill. Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway were also both on hand to be recognized for their critical investments to these projects. When the private sector and government work together, the result is more jobs and economic vitality for Oregon.

Next, I toured the MEMC manufacturing facility. This company, which manufactures parts for solar technology, moved to Portland in 2007 and has created approximately 120 new jobs at various skill levels thanks in part to the renewable energy manufacturing tax credits in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The success of this business is not only a victory for local jobs and manufacturing, but integral in a clean energy future.

After two weeks in Washington D.C. listening to the Republican leadership speak at length about the need to create jobs and strengthen the economy, we've yet to have a single vote toward achieving these goals. It is refreshing to return home to see projects actually moving forward thanks to the work that has been done in Congress. I look forward to spending the rest of this week meeting with small business and community leaders about where our efforts have been successful and what improvements can be made on the federal level.


Earl Blumenauer
Member of Congress

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An update from Rep. Tina Kotek HD44

This is from Tina Kotek our state Representative.
A section of her letter is very pertinent to us in Bridgeton floating homes and I highlighted it in RED font

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 76th Oregon Legislature convened in Salem on January 10th. We installed the first Oregon governor elected to serve three terms, selected leadership for the first-ever evenly divided House of Representatives, and organized committees in preparation to address a historic slate of challenges including a $3.5 billion budget deficit, continuing high unemployment, and essential services stretched beyond capacity.

I am honored to have been elected the Co-Speaker Pro Tempore for the House, sharing the position with my colleague Representative Andy Olson from Albany. In addition to this leadership role, I will continue to serve as Co-Chair of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services (sharing that role with Representative Tim Freeman from Roseburg) and a member of the full Joint Committee on Ways and Means. These committee assignments mean that I will be deeply involved in crafting the state's next two-year budget. I am committed to protecting crucial funding for education, human services, and public safety as we strive to do the work of state government differently in these cash-strapped times.

Lastly, a big THANK YOU to the 40+ people who attended my Community Conversation earlier this month. I really enjoyed the discussion. I hope you did, too.

Keeping the Focus on Our Neighborhoods

This session I will be focusing on several bills that address concerns unique to North and Northeast Portland but have statewide relevance as well. These bills reflect the conversations I've had with many you about the issues facing our communities, and I'll look to you again to work with me on these challenges in the coming months. A few of my 2011 legislative priorities include:

· Problem Bars and Taverns: I will introduce, with Senator Jackie Dingfelder, a bill to improve public safety by providing local governments the ability to suspend liquor licenses temporarily in the aftermath of a serious incident like a shooting, giving the Oregon Liquor Control Commission additional enforcement tools to address problem establishments, and adding a public safety expert to the membership of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

· Manufactured Home Rent Stability: On behalf of the Hayden Island Livability Project, I'm working on a bill that will protect residents of manufactured home, mobile home, and houseboat communities from exorbitant rent increases. These residents are in a unique position in that they own their homes, but must rent the physical space underneath. Often, they can't move their property because of the condition or age of their residence - even if they wanted to do so. The bill would allow local governments to intervene on this issue.

· Police Oversight: After the repeated tragedies of police shootings in our community, it's clear that we need to do more to ensure that our law enforcement officers are being appropriately trained in the reasonable use of deadly force and that incidents are appropriately addressed when they do occur. I'm working with Representative Lew Frederick from neighboring House District 43 on bills to respond to these recent events and to make sure we do everything possible to avoid similar incidents in the future.

· Foreclosures: I look forward to supporting "good neighbor" legislation again this session to address the problem of abandoned properties in our neighborhoods. I have signed on to House Bill 2957, which would allow local governments to take action when an abandoned foreclosed property is posing a threat to public safety and heath. I also plan to lend my support to bills that will require more accountability from banks and loan servicers, not only for people who are in foreclosure, but also their tenants, neighbors, and communities.

What Are Refund Anticipation Loans?

As tax season is upon us, many people turn to tax preparers like H&R Block and Liberty Tax Service to do their taxes. These services are popular, but can come with hidden predatory loans. Refund Anticipation Loans, also known as RALs, are short-term loans that tax preparation companies offer to filers so they can get their tax refund right away instead of waiting for the IRS to process their refund. Unfortunately, these loans come loaded with extra fees and very high interest rates - from 50 percent up to 500 percent. Families strapped for cash are pressured into these loans without being fully informed of their actual cost. In fact, in 2008, working families in Oregon lost an estimated $8 million in RAL-related fees, with lower-income families being disproportionately affected.

Tax preparation companies need to be held responsible for providing full information to consumers about the loan products they are offering and being up front with any associated fees. I'm working with advocates to introduce a bill called the Tax Preparation Transparency Act. This law would prohibit add-on fees, require all tax preparers who offer RALs to be registered with the Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners, and ban deceptive loan sales practices. It's unacceptable for these companies to continue to misrepresent the cost of their loan products to consumers.

To join the fight against RALs, visit the Economic Fairness Oregon website.To locate a free tax preparation site, check out the nonprofit CASH Oregon website.

As the session moves forward, I look forward to hearing your comments on these and other priorities - so please keep in touch!

Best wishes,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

N. Portland Solar Workshops

Imagine Energy is the contractor who has been selected for North Portland.

Introductory workshops have begun and will continue through mid-February. Technical workshops will occur from end of February through mid-March.

The website is in the process of being updated presently, check it at

If you are truly interested in signing up for solar, it is recommended that you sign up early to avoid a scheduling backlog.

The deadline for sign ups is March 31.

Workshops are:

Free Introductory Solar Workshops
Date Time Location
Tues. 1/18 6:30-8PM Kenton Firehouse,
8105 N Brandon Ave.
Mon. 1/24 6:30-8PM Kaiser Permanente Town Hall, 3704 N Interstate Ave.
Sat. 2/5 10AM-12:30PM Columbia Cottage,
4339 N Lombard Ave.
Thurs. 2/17 6:30-8PM Kenton Firehouse,
8105 N Brandon Ave.
Free Q&A Discussions
Tax Credits, Incentives, and Financing
Mon. 2/28 6:30-8PM Kaiser Permanente Town Hall, 3704 N Interstate Ave.
Net Metering (Spinning the meter backwards)
Sat. 3/12 10AM-12:30PM Kenton Firehouse,
8105 N Brandon Ave.
Technical Nuts and Bolts of Going Solar
Wed. 3/16 6:30-8PM Kenton Firehouse,
8105 N Brandon Ave.
Free Weatherization Workshop from the Community Energy Project
Tues. 2/22 6:30-8PM St. Johns Community Center, 8427 N. Central

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Meet your elected officials

TONIGHT at 7PM at the Multnomah County Democrats monthly meeting [Hollywood Senior Center 1820 NE 40th Ave]

District Director Willie Smith from Congressman Earl Blumenauer's office will attend to give us an update on the upcoming Congressional session, and an insider's perspective on the horrific events of last Saturday.

State Treasurer Ted Wheeler will be on hand to give an overview of the budget, and we'll have a Legislator or two on hand to give us an update from their perspectives.

The agenda includes the Celsi Celebration and an overview of next week's officer and delegate elections, affectionately known as the Party "Organization Meeting."

Did you know there are almost 40 delegate slots available for the Democratic State Central Committee and the three Congressional District Committees?

To nominate yourself for an officer or delegate position, you can complete the handy online form, announce your candidacy at the January 13th meeting, or email PLEASE NOTE: nominations MUST be submitted before 11:59 pm, 1/13/11, in order to appear on the printed ballots. (Nominations may be made as late as election night, but candidates nominated after the 13th will be "write-in" candidates.)


Senator Ron Wyden is holding his first Town Halls of the year in Clackamas and Multnomah Counties THIS Friday. Here are the details...please bring friends and give our Senator a big turnout. Senator Wyden has been holding town halls in each Oregon county every year since 1996. The meetings in Milwaukie and Portland will be the first of 2011.

Clackamas County Town Hall Meeting

Date: Friday, January 14, 2011

Time: 10 a.m.

Location: Milwaukie High School

J.C. Lillie Auditorium

11300 SE 23rd Avenue


Multnomah County Town Hall Meeting

Date: Friday, January 14, 2011

Time: 5 p.m.

Location: Portland Community College, Cascade Campus

Moriarty Arts & Humanities Auditorium

705 North Killingsworth Street (Albina & Killingsworth)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Columbia River Crossing Updates

Portland Working Group recommends elevated Hayden Island light rail station

The Portland Working Group (PWG) has recommended an elevated station for the new light rail stop on Hayden Island.

PWG members and CRC staff discussed both elevated and street level options late last year at an open house with 85 attendees. An online survey was also used to gather input on the design of the Hayden Island station.

The PWG and project staff are now moving forward with discussion and design detail of the elevated station, connections to local businesses and the local street network. Check the CRC website for future meeting materials and agendas. PWG next meets Jan. 12 at the Jantzen Beach SuperCenter from 4 to 6 p.m..

Project Sponsors Council receives update on Bridge Expert Review Panel work

CRC Bridge Expert Review Panel chair, Tom Warne provided an overview of the panel’s work at the Dec. 10 meeting of the Project Sponsors Council. The panel was convened by the Oregon and Washington departments of transportation to re-evaluate river bridge types and configurations for the CRC in response to a recommendation made by the CRC Independent Review Panel.

The panel will analyze all applicable river crossing options, including those that may have been dropped from consideration in the past and re-evaluate project constraints. The panel is expected to have a final report in January 2011. Additional information on the bridge panel is available online.

In-water soil study concludes in North Portland Harbor and Columbia River

The Columbia River Crossing project recently finished drilling work in North Portland Harbor and the Columbia River to gather additional information on soil type and stability to help advance bridge foundation designs.

Since beginning in November, drilling work was conducted at about 20 sites. The CRC project includes a replacement crossing for the Interstate Bridge over the Columbia River and new bridge structures between Hayden Island and Marine Drive. Supports for the structures are being designed to extend through the sandy river bed to solid ground or rock.

Additional information is available online.

Columbia River Crossing contact information


Mail: 700 Washington St., Suite 300

Vancouver, WA 98660

Phone: 360-737-2726 or 503-256-2726

Fax: 360-737-0294

Thursday, January 06, 2011

January BNA Meeting CANCELED

The co-chair canceled the meeting due to the Bowl game!
Next meeting Feb 14th - and yes they know it's Valentine's Day!



  • Local Police activity and safety issues
  • What is happening with The Bridgeton Promenade and The Columbia River Crossing Project
  • Local Flood Insurance Issues

If you have questions or comments, please send an e-mail to Leslie Sawyer

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Coffee and conversation with Rep. Tina Kotek

A note from Rep. Kotek.....

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Happy New Year! Please join me and your neighbors this Saturday, January 8, to talk about the upcoming legislative session and other important issues. We will meet in the deli seating area of the Arbor Lodge New Seasons Market from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The Legislature convenes on Monday, so we'll have a timely conversation. Hope to see you there!

Having trouble paying your mortgage? Know someone who is?

Thousands of Oregon homeowners will have their mortgages paid for up to one year or $20,000. The state of Oregon received federal dollars to help struggling homeowners in our community, but time is running short. You must apply by January 14!

If you are a homeowner facing financial difficulties, this program can help. Start by visiting or calling 2-1-1 (1-800-SAFENET) to find out if you qualify. The deadline to apply is January 14. The process includes an application and an appointment, so start yours now. There are no costs or fees.

The Multnomah County application center is at the Doubletree Hotel (just off the Lloyd Center MAX stop). Feel free to stop by to learn more. Open Monday - Friday 9am - 9pm and Saturdays 9am - 5pm.

Do you have questions about foreclosure or debt? Need free legal advice? Free workshops led by experts are offered at the Doubletree Hotel (just off the Lloyd Center MAX stop) January 7 - January 15. Topics include foreclosure prevention, bankruptcy & debt collection, tips & training for job seekers, and many others. Visit for an up-to-date schedule. All workshops are free and open to the public.

It's an honor to serve you in the Legislature. Please contact my legislative assistant Alex Berke at our district office, by phone, 503-286-0558, or email, if we can be of any assistance to you.

Best wishes,