June 14 – Oregon lawmakers propose eviction ‘pause’ for renters in need
Oregon State legislators proposed amendments to Senate Bill 278, which would temporarily halt evictions of renters who can’t pay rent for July or August and have applied for state assistance. The Oregon House of Representatives Committee On Rules held testimony on the amendments, which would give a 60-day relief period to those who can prove they applied for assistance through the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department. The measures are intended to protect against a potential wave of evictions set to occur on July 1, when the state’s eviction moratorium expires. On June 17, the bill passed the House unanimously and could be voted on in the Senate as early as June 21.
June 16 – Oregon becomes third state to legalize ‘human composting’
Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law House Bill 2574, which legalizes natural organic reduction—also known as human composting—and clarifies the rules and regulations regarding alkaline hydrolysis, or aqua cremation. In keeping with an eco-friendly and compost-positive ethos, lawmakers and supporters of “green” burial practices contend that aqua cremation and natural organic reduction help to reduce waste and chemical leaching into groundwater and soil while simultaneously creating jobs and a market for new products and services. Three lawmakers in the Oregon House of Representatives and one in the Senate voted against the bill.
June 16 – Oregon wildfire response legislation still up for debate
Almost a year after wildfires burned across Oregon, state lawmakers are close to passing the most comprehensive wildfire legislation in the state’s history. Senate Bill 762 has been in limbo for several months and many details remain uncertain, especially considering the potential $75 million annual price tag for taxpayers. An amended version of the bill is soon expected to have a public hearing. The wildfires in 2020 were the worst on record for Oregon. The bill would direct resources to develop wildfire alleviation plans and give state or county regulators the ability to approve and institute the plans.
June 17 – Portland Police Bureau officers resign en masse from Rapid Response Team
Officers of Portland Police Bureau voted on June 16 to resign from the bureau’s crowd control unit, known as the Rapid Response Team (RRT). According to a brief statement released by the PPB on the morning of June 17, “PPB employees serving as members of the RRT left their voluntary positions and no longer comprise a team.” All 57 members of the RRT appear to have resigned in light of the recent indictment of Officer Corey Budworth, a former member of the RRT. Budworth faces one count of fourth-degree assault for allegedly striking a woman with a baton in August 2020. The resignations also follow reports that the Oregon Department of Justice is considering criminal prosecution of Detective Erik Kammerer, a former squad leader for the RRT. Public scrutiny of officer conduct across the country has increased since reports on excessive force have been widely reported. In November 2021, a city report found that a large majority of PPB officers do not have proper training in “skills for preventing or minimizing the use of force.”
June 18 – Higher education reform bill dies prior to vote
Senate Bill 854, which died in the Oregon State Senate Committee On Rules on June 18, would have changed the way public universities in Oregon are governed by implementing transparency of process and increasing faculty and student power. Alternatively, the administrative leaders of public universities have agreed to apply some of the bill’s proposed changes by themselves without any state mandate. Had the bill passed in its entirety, it would have, among other things, increased the number of employee and student representatives on school boards and allowed campus community members to appeal any decisions by boards of trustees to the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission. It is unclear if any of the changes independently adopted by the universities will be codified into law.