Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Teacher of the Year and Other News from Rep. Tina Kotek

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope you are enjoying the beautiful fall weather.  While the Capitol is largely quiet during the interim, legislative committee days held every other month ensure that we continue important conversations and stay on top of the people's business (see below for more on this).  In addition to sharing some great news about Roosevelt High School and recapping my recent town hall, there are several events that I thought would interest you.  Please read on!   

Roosevelt Teacher Named Oregon Teacher of the Yearelena

 Elena Garcia-Velasco 
Photo courtesy of Brian Christopher

Last Thursday, I had the honor of attending the ceremony
naming Roosevelt High School's very own Spanish Language teacher Elena Garcia-Velasco as the Oregon Teacher of the Year.  The announcement was a surprise to the students and guests assembled in the auditorium, not to mention Ms. Garcia-Velasco herself.  She captured the moment perfectly by saying to the students, "If I'm the teacher of the year, you are the students of the year."

Roosevelt is definitely on the rise.  PPS Superintendent Carole Smith was on hand at the award ceremony to congratulate students for their improved math and English grades.  Roosevelt was also praised by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan before hundreds of business leaders at the Oregon Business Association dinner last week.  Go Riders!!! For the latest about Roosevelt, click here.

As Teacher of the Year, Ms. Garcia-Velasco received a $5,000 check and instructional software for her classroom.  She will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Obama at the White House.  To view the Oregonian's story about Elena, please visit this website.  

Town Hall RecapTownHall

Thank you to everyone who attended my town hall last month.  We had a great crowd.  The event was an opportunity to catch up, recap the 2011 Session, and talk more in depth about issues through roundtable discussions with experts.  The table topics included: health insurance rate review, hosted by Sen. Chip Shields; how foreclosure affects our communities, led by Rep. Lew Frederick; problem bars and taverns, led by the City of Portland; children and toxic chemicals, hosted by the Oregon Environmental Council; and foreclosure protections, led by Economic Fairness Oregon

The immediate feedback was that people liked the roundtable discussions because it allowed for more discussion and meeting new people.  It was great to hear the feedback from you all on these issues.  Knowing what you think equips me to better represent you.

CRC Bi-State Citizen Advisory CommitteeCRC

The Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project is seeking participation from Oregon and Washington residents in forming a Bi-State Citizen Advisory Committee to gain feedback from diverse perspectives.  The committee will be composed of approximately 30 members with 12-15 members from each state. 

This is a great opportunity to be a part of the decision making process and to advise CRC staff, represent stakeholder organizations, and report back to constituencies.  An opportunity for public comment will be provided for each meeting.  To apply to be on the committee, please click here.  For more information about the committee, please visit the CRC Bi-State Citizen Advisory Committee website.
Portland Financial Planning DayFinance

This Saturday, the City of Portland, CASH Oregon, and the Financial Planning Association of Portland invite the public to attend Portland Financial Planning Day where you'll be able to meet one-on-one with dozens of professional financial planner to discuss your personal finance questions, concerns and interests. 

Information and advice is available on a wide range of topics including general financial planning, income tax planning, estate planning; investment planning, insurance planning, retirement planning, and employee benefits.  In addition to personalized advice, Portland Financial Planning Day will also feature a series of classroom-style 50-minute educational workshops. 

What:    Portland Financial Planning Day

When:    Saturday, October 22, 2011
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Where:   Portland Building             
1120 SW 5th Avenue, 2nd floor (map)

Cost:      FREE

To learn more about the event offerings and to register to the event, please visit this website.

Cully Main Street and Local Street Plans Project EventCully

Come join community members and project staff and share your ideas to improve the Cully Boulevard business district and local streets.  Free refreshments, child care provided, raffle entry and Spanish interpretation provided.  

What:     Cully Main Street and Local Street Plans Project
               Open  House

When:    Thursday, October 27, 2011
               5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Where:  Rigler School
               5401 NE Prescott Street (map)

For more information, please contact the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability at 503-823-6946, the Portland Bureau of Transportation at 503-823-1088 or visit

State Plan for Alzheimer's Telephone Town Hallspado

The State Plan for Alzheimer's Disease in Oregon (SPADO) Task Force is seeking input to help craft a plan to address the escalating public health crisis caused by the growing number of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.

The SPADO Task Force involves numerous community partners who are concerned about the impact of Alzheimer's disease on our communities. SPADO Task Force members include state legislators, non-profit organizations, state government agencies, scientific and academic researchers, memory care providers, individual caregivers and others.

What:     SPADO Telephone Town Hall

When:    Thursday, November 10, 2011
               1:00 pm to 2:30 pm

Where:  Your phone!  Please RSVP here to participate or call
               Jon Bartholomew at 503-416-0202

Upcoming November Legislative Dayslegdays

The "interim" for legislators is when we are not in session in Salem every day (we won't be "in session" again until next year).  During the interim, legislative committees convene every other month to continue work and conversations about issues carried over from the previous sessions and sometimes to start conversations about important issues as they arise.  Legislative days are predetermined and do not include floor sessions to vote on bills.  The Legislature will convene for full session in February, 2012

Committee agendas are posted online in advance of the meetings.  You can sign up to receive committee agendas and updates here by selecting the committee you are interested in and in the bottom left-hand corner of the committee page, click on the eSubscribe button and enter your email address.

The next committee days are scheduled for November 16, 17, and 18.  If you can't make it to Salem, committee meetings can be viewed online.  Go to this website (the video is live-streaming) and select the committee room you wish to view.  If you need additional information on committees, please don't hesitate to email my office.

As always, it's a pleasure to represent you.  I hope to hear from you soon.

Best wishes,

 Tina's Signature

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

From the Columbia River Crossing (CRC)

Community invited to learn more about the Final Environmental Impact Statement
October 12 and 13

Final EIS
The community is invited to attend information sessions on Oct. 12 and Oct. 13 to learn more about the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The CRC Final EIS contains analyses of environmental and community effects and describes how a replacement bridge, light rail and other project elements will improve safety and relieve congestion.

The project is hosting four drop-in information sessions. At each session, full copies of the document will be available for review or purchase. The executive summary and DVD of the entire document will also be available at no charge. Technical experts will be in attendance to answer questions.

Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011 | 2 – 4 p.m. or 6 – 8 p.m.
Vancouver Community Library
901 C St., Vancouver, WA 98660
For transit directions visit

Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 | 2 – 4 p.m. or 6 – 8 p.m.
Jantzen Beach SuperCenter Community Room
1405 Jantzen Center Dr., Portland, OR 97217
For transit directions visit

Additional information about the event is available online.