Teri Grier’s Campaign to Represent Rural Oregon

Teri Grier’s Campaign to Represent Rural Oregon

The following article contains excerpts from an interview conducted with Republican candidate Teri Grier.

Teri Grier has not given up the fight for rural Oregon. She is running again for State Representative of House District 9. Grier still feels that “the vast rural community of Oregon, which is largely conservative, is under siege by the much louder voice of liberal Portland.”

According to Grier, the rural citizens in her district are struggling to find jobs. The high rate of unemployment has pressured her neighbors to relocate for work. Grier attributes the unemployment rate to the state’s leaders who consistently vote for Portland’s needs, not the needs of the rural community.

To Teri, this crisis is an eerie throwback to her childhood, when she experienced the down turning of several mines in her small town in Arizona. Both her mom and step-dad lost their jobs along with numerous other families, many of which were forced to pack what they could into a truck and drive away, leaving the key in the front door. Teri describes this disaster as a “modern day Grapes of Wrath.”

Teri firmly believes this experience gives her the ability to understand rural Oregon in a way many other legislators cannot. When discussing the possibility of being a voice for these communities, she stated that “the experience that I’ve had can help make that happen. Those places that feel like they’ve been forgotten . . . they’re not forgotten.”

Jump forward over twenty-five years later, and Teri, who now has been working in public policy for over two decades, is aghast as the Oregon Legislature frequently passes major pieces of legislation in less than 30 days that “should take six years or longer.” The lack of transparency in state government and the intentional neglect of rural community needs inspired Grier to begin a write-in campaign for state representative in 2016. 

In the 2016 election year, Grier drove all over her district, knocking on thousands and thousands of doors, just listening to local people share. Unfortunately, she lost to Democratic incumbent Caddy McKeown in the fall by 1,111 votes.

However, Teri Grier was not fazed by the loss and is running again. She has the support of many rural communities and conservatives House District 9 from her last campaign. Grier plans to work hard so rural Oregon is not neglected in the future.

HB 4135 Endangers Dementia & Alzheimer’s Patients

Salem, OR – Legislators return to the Oregon Capitol this week.  Already some are seeking to pass a bill which would target dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. House Bill 4135 is scheduled for a hearing and possible work session in the House Health Care Committee at 3:00 pm on February 7th. It is believed this bill will move quickly because there are only 35 days in the 2018 regular session.

Last session a similar bill (SB 494) was introduced in the Senate by Senator Floyd Prozanski . It died in the House. The new bill, HB 4135, is chief sponsored by Speaker of the House, Tina Kotek.

“Supporters of this bill are touting it as a ‘fix,’ but the only fixing that is happening is fixing it so vulnerable Oregonians are left without protections and their right to basic care like food and water,” said ORTL Executive Director Lois Anderson. “One wonders what the true motivations are for this legislation.”

HB 4135 is purported to just be a bill that makes technical changes to the current statutory advance directive form found in ORS 127.531. However, over the last 25 years Oregonians at the end-of-life stage have been protected by the current advance directive and removing it from statute has legal consequences.

“The advance directive was put into Oregon statute back in 1993. I was then a state senator when a very well vetted bill was thoroughly discussed and passed. I worked hard to ensure the advance directive was in statute. If it were to be removed from statute, I fear the legal protections we carefully placed there could be jeopardized, potentially harming end of life decisions for vulnerable patients,” stated Representative Bill Kennemer (R- HD 39).

Under current Oregon law, a healthcare representative does not have the authority to make a life ending decision for an incapable person unless the representative has been given authority to do so, or the incapable person is in one of four end of life situations defined in statute.

If HB 4135 is passed a person who appoints a healthcare representative, but makes no decisions regarding end of life care, would be granting his or her healthcare representative the power to make a life ending decision for the principal even when the principal is not in one of the four statutorily defined end of life situations, and even if this is not the will of the principal.


Private Group Helps Preserve Pacific Crest Trail

Private Group Helps Preserve Pacific Crest Trail

Over 400 acres of land in the Stevens Pass area were purchased by a local group so as to prevent the Pacific Crest Trail from being severed. The Pacific Crest Trail Association is a private group focused on protecting and promoting the Pacific Crest National Trail, which runs from Mexico to Canada including the famous Cascades in Washington. It’s a popular site to Pacific North-westerners and tourists alike.

In an interview with Megan Wargo, the PCTA’s director of land protection, she stated that “the Forest Service is the overall manager for the entire trail. Where the trail goes through private land, they have a trail easement to allow the public to pass through the private property.”

However, on part of the Stevens Pass, no one had obtained an easement. Wargo believes this mistake was an oversight since the path was built piece by piece. “In most likelihood, it was just an oversight. Somebody thought there was an easement there, but the easement was not recorded.”

The association managed to secure federal money with the help of the Forest Service from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to purchase the land; however, the PCTA had to secure a loan from The Conservation Fund to help with the purchase because of the magnitude of the forest fires this summer.

Once the Forest Service can turn its focus away from the forest fires, the PCTA will sell the land to the Forest Service and repay the loan.

“It was a roller-caster ride getting it closed,” Wargo stated. “The risk of not closing that project would have been pretty large as far as the PCT and keeping it open.”



Portland Student Awarded Rhodes Scholarship

Portland Student Awarded Rhodes Scholarship

The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships that allows awardees the chance to study at Oxford University in England. Only 32 Americans are awarded the scholarship every year, and this time, a fellow Portlander received this award.

JaVaughn T. “JT” Flowers was a student at Lincoln High School. He did not perform well academically and even stayed a fifth year in high school at a boarding school in Connecticut. His efforts payed off, and he went on to study at Yale, founding an organization called A Leg Even to assist low-income Yale students by offering mentoring and tutoring services as well as connections to faculty. During his years at the Ivy League school, he studied in six different countries to examine the various cultures and politics. His thesis investigated Portland’s sanctuary city policy for immigrants undocumented in the United States. His academic excellence also resulted in receiving the Truman scholarship in 2016, which gives gifted students graduate support to help them prepare for government or public service careers.

He currently works for Representative Earl Blumenaur in Portland. “I’m essentially getting paid to learn about all the incredible work going on across all these different silos in Portland,” Flowers said in an interview with The Oregonian.

The competition for the Rhodes Scholarship is intense and involves a difficult, time-consuming application process. Finalists were flown out to Seattle for several events, including standing in front of a seven-judge panel. Rhodes Scholars have their tuition and all expenses covered to study for two or three years at Oxford.

Flowers was floored by the news. “I really don’t know how to attach words to it. I’m really at a loss. I’m so humbled.”

Blumenaur was thrilled by Flowers’ success. In an interview with the Associated Press, he stated, “He’s just an outstanding candidate for the Rhodes. He’s a very quick study, very good wth people, an incisive listener who is able to translate that back to people who contact him and to the staff in our office. We’re excited for him, and we’re excited for what he’s going to do when he’s back.

Flowers plans to earn degrees in Comparative Social Policy and Public Policy in order to give back to his hometown, Portland. “Portland is home for me and will always be home for me. I was born and raised here in the heart of Northeast Portland. I want to set up permanent shop here. I’ll be gone for a couple years, but then I’ll be right back here.”

Portland Man Donates Kidney to Save Stranger’s Life

Portland Man Donates Kidney to Save Stranger’s Life

When Jen Feldman of Portland, Oregon, discovered she needed a kidney transplant and she first reached out to her family and friends, hoping they might qualify as organ donors.

None qualified.

Feldman, though, didn’t give up. She sent a letter to fellow members of her synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel in Portland. Perhaps a kind-hearted acquaintance would consider her need.

Feldman’s faith in the generosity of strangers was rewarded when Jonathan Cohen offered to donate a kidney. “No, I didn’t know much about kidney donation at all,” Cohen told KATU news. But, he felt convicted to help Feldman. “It’s gonna be me,” Cohen thought after contacting Feldman.

Cohen, in fact, turned out to be the only donor qualified to help Feldman.

After a successful transplant, he reflected on the opportunity to sacrifice for another person. “Who doesn’t like being the hero in the movies or whatnot,” he said. “So to be able to be that in real life I thought was a pretty cool opportunity.”

Feldman considers her survival a miracle. “I wake up every morning and think about, and go to bed every night and think about, that someone gave me a living organ to put in my body to save my life.”