Hill to Hall Feb. 12–14

Feb. 12: Salem High School’s bathroom policy supported by federal appeals court

A federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit on Feb. 12, which challenged a rural Oregon school district’s policies allowing transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity. According to The Oregonian, parents of Dallas students originally filed the lawsuit, arguing the school’s policy violated students’ rights to bodily privacy under the 14th amendment. Lawyers in support of the policy argued not allowing students to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity would be discrimination. The lawsuit was first thrown out by a lower court in 2018, which found that the policy did not violate student’s rights.


Feb. 12: Environmental initiatives wrongly rejected by Secretary of State

Oregon’s Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 12 that Secretary of State Beverly Clarno was wrong in rejecting three proposed ballot measures, all of which sought to increase environmental protections in the state. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, the ruling is the latest and most authoritative opinion in an ongoing legal battle over the proposals, which Clarno originally rejected for not following a single subject requirement. A Marion County judge previously ruled in her favor, which the Court of Appeals has found to be in error. 


Feb. 12: House Speaker launches proposal to declare a “homelessness state of emergency”

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek put forward a proposal to declare a “homelessness state of emergency,” which would more easily allow Oregon cities to create new houseless shelters. Kotek testified for the bill on Feb. 12 in front of The Committee on Human Services and Housing, which voted in favor of the bill. The bill would allocate $40 million to creating new shelters, according to The Oregonian and would allow cities to bypass zoning restrictions when finding sites for shelters and other spaces for the houseless population. If passed, the ability to bypass zoning would continue until expiring in July 2021. 


Feb. 14: Portland City Council approves Rose Lane Project to help traffic

Portland City Council voted unanimously on Feb. 14 to move forward with the Rose Lane Project, which would help with the speed and efficiency of public transit in the city. Led by Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, the project will allocate upwards of $10 million towards making improvements to public transit, including marking more lanes as bus only and making improvements to traffic light signals, according to Willamette Week. The goals of the project, according to OPB, are to make Portland more environmentally friendly by encouraging more commuters to choose public transit over cars and allowing those who rely on public transit to travel as quickly as those who don’t.