Willamette Valley News, Friday 5/5 – Willamette National Forest Receives $14.7 Million For Wildfire Fuels Reduction, ODFW To Host Family Fishing Event In Eugene on Saturday

The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Willamette Valley from the digital home of Southern Oregon, from Wynne Broadcasting’s WillametteValleyMagazine.com

Friday, May 5, 2023

Willamette Valley Weather

Willamette National Forest Receives $14.7 Million For Wildfire Fuels Reduction

U.S. Forest Service officials announced on Thursday that Willamette National Forest will receive $14.7 million for wildfire fuels reduction efforts, officials said.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/sites/default/files/WCS-graphics-03.png

Forest Service officials said on May 4 that the funds, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Law, will be used to establish fuel breaks on planning units known as potential operational delineations (PODs). PODs are areas with defined boundaries, such as road and natural features, that can be used for to establish control lines for containing wildfires, officials said.

“We’re looking forward to building on existing partnerships and creating new ones to do this work in areas and in ways that benefit people,” said Dave Warnack, supervisor for the Willamette National Forest. “Together we will strategically identify and implement work to protect communities, homes, infrastructure, and industrial forests through the use of fuel breaks and PODs, tools that gives us the best opportunity to protect the things that are most important on our landscapes.”

The Forest Service said the investment will fund mechanical treatments that will improve fire containment, prescribed fire, and firefighter safety. Part of the Forest Service’s strategic efforts center on identifying projects that reduce wildfire risks to communities, infrastructure and adjacent private lands, officials said.

The Forest Service said it will work with communities, landowners, industrial partners and collaboratives to reduce wildfire risks to highly-valued resources within or adjacent to the Willamette National Forest.

More information can be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/wildfire-crisis

ODFW To Host Family Fishing Event In Eugene on Saturday, May 6th

Families interested in spending an enjoyable day outdoors with a fishing pole in their hands should put the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s upcoming family fishing event on their calendar. The event will take place at Alton Baker Canoe Canal in Eugene on Saturday, May 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The event is open to the public and is designed to introduce kids and their families to fishing. Registration is not required. Attendees are welcome to bring their own fishing equipment if they prefer. For those who do not have their own gear or are new to fishing, ODFW will provide rods, reels, tackle and bait free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis.

To ensure that everyone has a good chance of catching a fish, ODFW will release approximately 2,000 rainbow trout on the day of the event. Anglers ages 11 and under can fish for free, while those 12-17 will require a youth license, available for $10 at ODFW’s website (http://myodfw.com) and license agents. Adult anglers will need a regular fishing license. Licenses will not be sold on-site the day of the event, so people planning to participate should get their licenses ahead of time.

Alton Baker Canoe Canal is located within Alton Baker Park, one of the most popular and multi-functional parks in Eugene. The park is located on the north bank of the Willamette River just east of the Ferry Street Bridge and Coburg Road. It is accessible by foot or bike from either side of the river via the River Bank trails. Access by car is via the Club Road underpass off Coburg Road or from Autzen Stadium off MLK/Centennial. The event will take place about 250 yards upstream of the bridge over the canal at the park entrance.

Alton Baker Canoe Canal is one of more than 350 water bodies in Oregon that ODFW regularly stocks with trout. Stocking schedules, maps, fishing guides and other resources can be found at myodfw.com under the “Fishing” tab. To talk to a biologist about the fishing event or other fishing opportunities, seasons or regulations in the Eugene area, call ODFW’s Springfield office at (541) 726-3515. https://myodfw.com

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office is currently accepting applications for Deputy Sheriff.

https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/lanecountyor?keywords=deputy%20sheriff

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Lane County voters: remember to sign the return envelope and return your ballots early

Voters are urged to return their ballots as early as possible to ensure they are received at Lane County Elections by the 8:00 p.m. deadline on Tuesday, May 16. 

In order to be counted, ballots must be received at Lane County Elections by:

  • Regular mail. Ballots must be postmarked no later than May 16, 2023 and received no later than May 23, 2023 to be counted.
  • A 24/7 ballot drop box.
  • Lane County Elections. Ballots can be turned in directly to the Lane County Elections Office during business hours.

“Oregon has made great strides toward ensuring that all eligible voters have the opportunity to return their ballots in a way that is most convenient for them,” said Lane County Clerk Dena Dawson. “That said, it is still critical for voters to be aware of the ballot return deadlines and make a plan to ensure their ballots are received in time so their votes can be counted.”

Voters must also remember to sign their ballot return envelopes before mailing or returning their completed ballot to Lane County Elections.

The signature is a security measure used to verify identity. Election workers who have received training in handwriting analysis compare it to signatures in the voter registration record. A ballot may only be counted if the signatures match.

If you forget to sign the envelope or your signature does not match, you will receive a notice from Lane County Elections advising you of the issue and how to fix or “cure” it. You have until the 21st day after the election to cure your signature issue and have your ballot counted.

What can you do to ensure your signature matches?

  1. Sign your natural signature. If you don’t usually sign with a middle initial don’t sign your ballot envelope with it. Election workers are trained to look for specific characteristics within each signature. If you think your signature has changed significantly, contact Lane County Elections.
  1. Don’t sign another person’s name. Even if someone gives you permission to sign, or you have power of attorney, it is against the law in Oregon to sign another person’s name on a return envelope. It’s forgery.
  1. Request help if you have difficulty signing.  If it is difficult for you to sign, on either a temporary or permanent basis, you can complete a signature attestation form and return it to Lane County Elections along with a new voter registration form.  Completing these forms will allow you to use a signature stamp or other indicator that represents your signature.
  1. Correct a mistake if you accidentally sign your name on someone in your household’s envelope. If you and another person in your household sign each other’s return ballot envelopes, simply place a line through the incorrect signatures and sign the correct envelopes.

Voters with questions can email elections@lanecountyor.gov or call 541-682-4234.

About the Lane County Elections Office:

The Elections Office, located at 275 W. 10th Avenue in Eugene, is responsible for conducting elections in Lane County.  The Elections Office manages voter registration, the processing of mail ballots, recruitment and training of election workers, and certification of elections.

Lane County Elections launches new ballot return dashboard

The Lane County Elections Office is offering voters a way to track ballot returns in Lane County. The new dashboard allows viewers to see how and where ballots were returned, how many have been returned, and how many ballots have signature challenges. Results will be published every few days, after ballots have gone through the full signature verification process.  

“We are very excited to introduce this new tracking tool to Lane County voters. It is the perfect complement to our 24/7 livestream, 8-Step Ballot Processing Guide, and tentative ballot processing schedule” said Lane County Clerk Dena Dawson. “Transparency is important to us and the ability for voters to see how elections are conducted, including ballot return data, will help build trust and get more people engaged in the democratic process.”

The dashboard can be viewed by visiting www.LaneCountyOR.gov/elections and selecting the “Ballot Returns Dashboard” button. The button appears on the right side of the screen on computers; those using mobile devices will need to scroll down. 

Voters with questions can email elections@lanecountyor.gov or call 541-682-4234.

About the Lane County Elections Office:

The Elections Office, located at 275 W. 10th Avenue in Eugene, is responsible for conducting elections in Lane County.  The elections office manages voter registration, the processing of mail ballots, recruitment and training of election workers, and certification of elections.

Wildfire Alert App Expanding Coverage To Oregon

Watch Duty, a wildfire alert app run by active and retired firefighters and first responders, is expanding its coverage to Oregon next week.

John Mills, co-founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization, said the app helps bring real-time wildfire updates to people, typically faster than law enforcement or government agencies.

Mills said he almost lost his ranch in Sonoma County to wildfires on multiple occasions and said Watch Duty helps save lives during fire season.

“It wasn’t until the 2020 lightning siege when half of California was on fire that it really occurred to me that the key was these men and women, retired and active firefighters, first responders and others who were on Facebook and Twitter listening to radio scanners all day and all night,” Mills said. “That’s where I found all the real-time information.”

Watch Duty was created in 2021 and currently covers the state of California, with more than 500,000 users. The website and app will cover the state of Oregon starting May 2.

Mills said having access to real-time information during fire season can potentially save lives. As fires continue to become more frequent in California and Oregon, he said every second counts. 

“It’s extremely important to us that everything is vetted and still using nixels and Code Reds and everything else the government used,” Mills said. “You need to have those but ultimately, we need more information faster and so Watch Duty works in unison with the government.”

Senate Republicans Continue a Quorum-Denying Walkout Boycotting Sessions To Try and Halt Bills On Guns And Abortion

Most Republican members of the Oregon Senate failed to show up for the second straight day Thursday, delaying action by the majority Democrats on bills on gun safety, abortion rights and gender-affirming health care.

The stayaway prevented a quorum, with Senate President Rob Wagner calling for another try on Friday. Republican lawmakers have used walkouts in the past, but this time — if they continue to stay away — they’ll be testing a law approved overwhelmingly in a ballot measure last November that bans lawmakers with 10 unexcused absences from running for reelection.

The boycott comes as several statehouses around the nation, including in Montana and have become battlegrounds between conservatives and liberals. Oregon has increasingly been divided between liberal population centers like Portland and Eugene and its mostly conservative rural areas.

—— Several Oregon Senate Republicans went missing Wednesday and Thursday, kicking off the latest in a series of legislative walkouts that the party has staged in recent years.

Walkouts are stall tactic employed by the minority party, usually to kill specific legislation. Most bills only require a simple majority vote to pass, but the Senate and House can’t hold votes unless a quorum is present, meaning at least two-thirds of each chamber’s members.

Democrats hold 17 of the Oregon Senate’s 30 seats and 35 of the House’s 60 seats, which means they have enough votes to pass most (but not all) legislation without Republican support, but they can’t achieve a quorum in either chamber on their own. If enough Republicans walk out, business grinds to a halt.

The leader of Senate Republicans, Sen. Tim Knopp, spoke on the phone Thursday with Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek after telling journalists Wednesday that a derailed legislative session would jeopardize the governor’s legislative agenda, including tackling homelessness.

Knopp’s spokesperson, Ashley Kuenzi, said Kotek expressed willingness to help resolve the impasse. But the governor’s office had a different characterization of the call, with Knopp being asked to stop the boycott.

“The governor listened to his concerns and reiterated that he is making choices,” said Kotek’s spokesperson, Elisabeth Shepard. “She asked him to choose to get back to work to do the people’s business.”

Knopp told a news conference Wednesday that Republicans are protesting because bill summaries are not being written in plain language even though a 1979 state law requires they be readable by anyone with an eighth or ninth-grade education, which is measured by a score of at least 60 on the Flesch readability test.

Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber said that’s just a pretext, and noted that the vast majority of bills have passed with bipartisan support, including on housing and attracting the semiconductor industry to Oregon.

“This is about abortion, guns and transgender rights,” Lieber said. “The timing of this is such that they’re walking out on important legislation that Oregonians sent us here to do.”

The Senate added this weekend to its schedule to convene, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The existence of the readability law, passed by the Legislature in 1979 with bipartisan support, was discovered in April by a Republican caucus staffer. Knopp said he does not know when the law was last employed to make bill summaries easy to read.

“But it’s important that we follow the law because, if we’re passing laws today, are we just expecting in, you know, 20, 30, 40 years that people are just going to ignore the laws that we have on the books that we all passed,” Knopp said Wednesday. “I don’t think we would appreciate that.”

Asked if the Republican boycott was due to the bills on gun control and abortion and gender-affirming care, Knopp said, “It’s about every bill. But those bills specifically also don’t qualify under this law, and they refuse to fix them.”

Knopp said Republicans are reviewing bills to see if they pass the readability test. He added that legislative counsel, the non-partisan office that drafts legislation, “in large part is to blame for the bills not meeting Oregon law.”

Some local leaders, labor organizations and activists supporting reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights in Central Oregon called on Knopp to end the Republican walkout and planned to hold a rally later on Thursday in Bend — Knopp’s hometown.

GOP lawmakers employed the same boycott strategy in 2019 and 2020 to freeze legislation capping greenhouse gas emissions, among other things. Oregon has a two-thirds quorum rule, meaning the state House and Senate need two-thirds of their members to be present to conduct business. In the Senate, that’s 20 of its 30 members. Currently, 17 senators are Democrats, 12 are Republicans and one is an independent.

If Republican senators deny a quorum for the rest of the legislative session, which doesn’t end until late June, they could theoretically kill the bills on gun control, abortion rights and gender-affirming care.

The wide-ranging bill on abortion and gender-affirming care would shield patients and providers from lawsuits originating in states where abortion and gender-affirming care are now restricted. It would also allow doctors to provide an abortion to anyone regardless of age and bar them in certain cases from disclosing that to parents.

The gun control measure would increase the purchasing age to 21 for AR-15-style rifles and similar guns, impose penalties for possessing undetectable firearms and allow for more limited concealed-carry rights.

___ The Associated Press receives support from several private foundations to enhance its explanatory coverage of elections and democracy. See more about AP’s democracy initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Judge Denies Oregon Republican Effort To Waylay Abortion, Gender-Affirming Health Care Bill

Republicans failed to win a temporary restraining order delaying House Bill 2002. The party’s Senate walkout continues.

Republican lawmakers stumbled Thursday in their legal effort to delay a contentious abortion bill by insisting Democrats had not followed proper procedure when putting it forward.

Marion County Circuit Judge David Leith denied a petition on behalf of two GOP legislators and the advocacy group Oregon Right To Life, requesting the court temporarily block Senate Democrats from passing House Bill 2002. In doing so, Leith signaled serious misgivings that the case would ultimately succeed, nodding to arguments from government lawyers that the court had no authority to block the Legislature from doing its job.

“I don’t see any likelihood of success in persuading the court … to enjoin that legislative function,” Leith said.

It was not ultimately clear Thursday whether Republicans would continue to pursue the matter in court. Meanwhile, the party made clear it has other options to block Democrats’ progress.

For the second day in a row, just two Republican lawmakers showed up in Senate chambers for a scheduled floor session. Ten Republicans and one Independent were absent — many in protest to Democrats’ agenda this year — meaning the chamber did not have a 20-member quorum and could not conduct business.

At issue in the court case — filed Wednesday by state Sen. Suzanne Weber, R-Tillamook, state Rep. Emily McIntire, R-Eagle Point, and Oregon Right To Life — is a state statute that legislative officials say hasn’t been followed in decades.

Under ORS 171.134, legislative attorneys that write summaries of bills before the Legislature need to ensure they are readily understandable by the general public. Specifically, the law, enacted by Democrats in 1979, says those summaries need to score a 60 or higher on something called the Flesch-Kincaid readability test, or something comparable. The Flesch test analyzes text for how easy it is to read, and a score of 60 connotes a reading level of about eighth grade.

HB 2002′s bill summary — and breakdowns of pretty much every other piece of legislation — don’t meet that threshold. Republicans have attempted to force Democrats to revise the document to comply with the law, but have been overruled by the majority party, hence the lawsuit.

The GOP was represented in court Thursday by Vance Day, a former Marion County judge who has seen controversy over refusing to marry same-sex couples, among other things, and was suspended from the bench for ethical violations.

“This is obviously an unusual case,” Day told Leith, his former colleague on the Marion County bench. “You’re being asked to step into a different branch [of government] with, in many ways, probably a very heavy foot.”

But Day made the case that the Legislature had failed to comply with the law, and that there had to be some form of accountability when that happens.

If Democrats could simply fail to follow the law, he asked, “then what is the use of the statute. Is there no remedy under the statute?” Day argued that a restraining order would not block Democrats from ultimately passing HB 2002, just force them to follow the law.

Lawyers with the Oregon Department of Justice told Leith that’s not how the state’s constitution works.

Under the state’s separation of powers, they said, the court could not step in to dictate the manner in which lawmakers legislate. “That strikes right at the core of legislative functions and at the core of legislative independence,” said Assistant Attorney General Alex Jones.

The DOJ likened the statute in question to a legislative rule that lawmakers could choose to obey as they saw fit. And they pointed out that, under the state constitution, lawmakers cannot be forced to come to court for civil process during legislative session.

Senate President Rob Wagner, House Speaker Dan Rayfield, and three legislative officials are named as defendants in the suit. “President Wagner can’t be sued today, because the Legislature is in session,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Simmonds Marshall. “If he was the key witness in an automobile accident case, he could not be subject to a summons … I honestly have no idea why any of them think they can stop the Legislature from legislating.”

Day argued that Democrats could easily repeal ORS 171.134 if they want, but noted they have made no move to do so. But the DOJ said that, by passing HB 2002 in its current form, lawmakers would effectively be choosing to nullify the law — at least as it applies to that bill.

In the end, Leith seemed to agree that there’s a high likelihood he ultimately could not block Democrats from acting. And since the argument was not likely to fly in the case, he denied the restraining order.

But Leith also made clear he did not believe Democrats complied with the readability statute.

“If it was mine to decide, I would say that the summary doesn’t meet that standard,” Leith said. “I am also not at all sure that it’s possible to accurately convey the information that would summarize this bill without exceeding the threshold that the statute provides.” (SOURCE)

Watered-Down Version of Rent Control Bill Clears Oregon Senate Panel

A watered-down version of a proposal meant to prevent a repeat of the nearly 15% rent hikes allowed this year cleared a Senate committee Thursday. 

Oregon’s 2019 statewide rent control law caps increases on many buildings to no more than 7% plus inflation. Last year’s high inflation cleared the way for landlords to hike rents by 14.6%.

Note: The CPI calculation is for the prior year. It is shifted forward one year above to properly align with the year for which it applies for the maximum annual increase. The first year for which the law applies is 2019. Previous years are shown for illustrative purposes. Oregon Office of Economic Analysis

Sen. Wlnsvey Campos, D-Aloha, introduced Senate Bill 611 in January to change the allowable hike to no more than 8% or 3% plus inflation, whichever was lower. By the time the Senate Rules Committee voted to send the measure to the Senate floor on Thursday, the bill had been amended to the lesser of a 10% cap or 7% plus inflation. 

Campos told committee members that she and supporters have had many conversations with renters, landlords and other legislators to reach an agreement on the bill. 

“We feel that we have brought forth a bill that would benefit many Oregonians,” she said. “We have heard the stories of folks who were on the brink of losing their housing and whose voices have come forth a lot throughout this discussion, saying that these sorts of rent increases are the difference between them being able to stay in their homes or not.”

The changes weren’t enough for Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp, R-Bend, who voted against the bill. Knopp and other Republicans also opposed the 2019 rent control law. 

“While this policy may help some people, it will hurt many,” he said. 

He said landlords who otherwise might not have raised rent now issue annual rent increases or charge the maximum allowed. Knopp, the executive vice president of the Central Oregon Builders Association, added that developers will build in states with fewer restrictions. 

The real estate website Zillow estimates that the median Oregon rent is $1,810. Under the current law, that median rent could increase by almost $265 per month, or nearly $3,200 per year. The introduced version of SB 611 would have capped increases for that median apartment at about $145 per month, or just under $1,740 annually, and the latest version would result in a cap of $181 per month or about $2,170 per year. 

Oregon’s rent control law only applies to buildings once they’re 15 years old, and it doesn’t apply to subsidized housing. There’s also no limit on how high landlords can set rent between tenants. 

The measure’s future is unclear as Senate Republicans continue a quorum-denying walkout preventing the chamber from passing bills. Some Senate Republicans are continuing to participate in committee meetings but have stayed away from the Capitol when they’re scheduled to be on the floor.  (SOURCE)

OHA Report Shows Oregonians Delaying Health Care Due To High Costs

Rising health care costs have caused more Oregonians to delay accessing health care since 2019, according to an Oregon Health Authority report.

Health care costs have been rising the past 10 years due to inflation. And the pandemic caused a spike in costs because of staffing shortages, expanded behavioral health care and a pause on non-emergency services, the report says.

Nationally, 38% of adults reported delaying health care in 2022 because of costs.

In 2020, health care and health insurance costs represented 23% of household spending in Oregon, an upward trend continuing from 2018 as costs increased faster than the national rate, according to the report.

Economic barriers to health care cause some people to delay getting the services they need, especially working-age adults and Hispanic or Latino individuals. The pandemic put a greater burden on these individuals, the report said.

People of color, those in rural areas, and low-income individuals and families experience more barriers to accessing quality health care, such as a lack of economic stability, transportation, and availability of services nearby.

While some people delay health care leading to worsening health outcomes, others accrue medical debt. The report said 10.2% of Oregonians reported using all or most of their savings on medical bills in 2021.

A Couple Accused Of Chaining Up, Strangling And Verbally Abusing A Child For Nearly A Year Has Been Arrested In Oregon

Ana Miranda, 67, and her husband Charles “Randy” Ward, 74, were arrested on criminal mistreatment charges as part of an investigation into child abuse, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) said.

The investigation began on April 26 when detectives with the violent crimes unit received reports of possible child abuse at a home near Tigard. They interviewed several witnesses and got a search warrant for the home, ultimately finding evidence inside the house that “corroborated the allegations of abuse.”

Detectives received information that a child was being chained up in the house, often for more than 12 hours daily. The child was also strangled, hit, kicked, and verbally abused, including derogatory slurs,” the sheriff’s office said.

The abuse went on for nearly a year, investigators said. It allegedly started because the child took food and drinks from the kitchen.

The couple lived at the house with nine children and two adults.

Miranda was indicted on eight counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment, single counts each of strangulation, second-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon.

According to a criminal indictment filed Wednesday in Washington County Circuit Court, Miranda “knowingly” withheld food, physical and medical care from a minor several times between July 2019 and April 2023. The assault charge stems from an alleged physical injury caused by metal pliers.

Ward was indicted on four counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment, also for allegedly withholding food and care from the minor on purpose.

A deputy district attorney in Washington County filed notices to seek sentence enhancements against each suspect, claiming they were “deliberately cruel to the victim,” adding that “the degree of harm or loss attributed to the current crime of conviction was significantly greater than typical for such an offense.”

A judge set bond for Ward and Miranda at $15,000 and $25,000, respectively, with the conditions that if they are released pre-trial they must be on house arrest, not reside with someone who lived in the residence where the incident occurred, not contact any minor or any victim in this case, or each other.

A sheriff’s office spokesperson said those charges stem from two victims living at the house, and that they are working to see if there was any other abuse. Sgt. Danny DiPietro said the agency is still investigating and could request additional charges.

There are many more children in that home, and the investigation is continuing to see if any of them sustained any injuries or any kind of abuse in the past,” DiPietro said.

“I want to make sure everyone knows that the children involved in this case are safe. They’re with family,” he added. Anyone with helpful information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 503-846-2700. (SOURCE)

Oregonians most impacted by increased health care costs

Rising health care costs primarily affect uninsured working age adults in Oregon. Of those who are insured, those with Medicaid (Oregon Health Plan) and commercial health plans were more likely to delay care than those with Medicare.

In 2021, 9.2% of Oregonians 19-34 years old, 9.8% of those 35-64 years, and 5.2% of those 65 years and older reported delaying health care due to costs, the report shows.

Oregonians of color experience more economic barriers when accessing health care, according to the OHA’s Sustainable Health Care Cost Growth Target Program. People with two or more races or who are Hispanic or Latino were most likely to report delaying care due to costs.

American Indian and Alaskan Native Oregonians, who represent 1.9% of the population, were the third most likely to report delaying health care due to costs.

White people, who make up 74% of the Oregon population, reported the least difficulty paying their medical bills.

What is driving the increase in health care costs?

The net cost of private health insurance represents the cost to Oregonians for their health insurance, whether that is a commercial health plan, a Medicare Advantage plan or Oregon Health Plan. This cost per person rose by 38.7% from 2019-2020.

These costs are partially due to a low number of claims being made during the pandemic because people were not seeking non-emergency health care but still paying their monthly insurance premiums.

The average yearly cost per person for Medicare in 2020 was $1,360, a 64% increase from previous years. For Medicaid, these costs rose by 49.5% to $424 per person in 2020.

Insurance companies expect costs will continue climbing due to inflation, as people seek to access health care they were not able to receive during the pandemic.

Insurance companies also attributed rising drug costs to the pharmaceutical industry and an increase in inpatient hospital services as drivers of cost increases.

Efforts in Oregon to expand and improve access to behavioral health care have resulted in increased behavioral health spending, which also drives up the costs for patients.

Health care providers say workforce retention and recruitment has resulted in an increased economic burden as they try to incentivize workers to remain in or join the health care workforce, especially hospitals attempting to maintain operations.

In 2021, the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems reported a 20% increase in hospital payroll costs.

OHA Sustainable Health Care Cost Growth Target Program: A hearing will be held May 17 to discuss the report, analyze the high costs of health care and discuss possible ways to lower the economic burden. (SOURCE)

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