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Notable News 

Manufacturing Op-ed: Sen. Dick Anderson, R-Lincoln City, and Manufacturing Council of Oregon Chair Jim Fitzhenry have co-signed a guest column in the Coos Bay World that discusses the importance of manufacturers and the top concerns of those who participated in OBI’s inaugural Manufacturing and Innovation Roadshow this summer.

Development-Rule Lawsuit: At least nine cities plan to sue the state over the Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities rules adopted by the Land Conservation and Development Commission in July, according to The Oregonian. The rules overhaul local transportation and land-use policies.

Oregon Migration Data: The Portland Business Journal has created an online tool that allows readers to track the movement of tax filers on a county-by-county basis. The tool uses IRS data from tax years 2019 and 2020.

Micron Chip Plant: Microchip manufacturer Micron announced Oct. 4 that it will build a semiconductor plant in upstate New York and invest up to $100 billion over 20 years, The Oregonian reports. Oregon was not a candidate for the project.

Possible Gresham Plant Expansion: OBI member Microchip Technology is considering a major expansion of its plant in Gresham, according to The Oregonian. It isn’t clear how big the expansion would be, the paper notes, but its current 827,000-square-foot plant occupies only half of its 140-acre property. The rest is undeveloped.

Mask Requirements: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently rescinded rules requiring masks in health care settings under certain circumstances. However, the Oregon Health Authority has opted to maintain state masking rules in such settings until the end of flu season, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Candidates Tied: According to an Oregonian poll, Republican Christine Drazan and Democrat Tina Kotek are effectively tied in the race for governor while nonaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson trails them by a significant margin.

Top Issues: According to the same Oregonian poll, homelessness, crime and the cost of living are by far the top policy concerns of likely Oregon voters.

Candidate Profiles: The Oregonian has written a profile of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek. An earlier profile of nonaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson can be found here. The next profile, of Republican Christine Drazan, will appear Oct. 9. Meanwhile, Willamette Week has written a profile of Drazan, and an earlier profile of Johnson can be found here. The paper has not yet published a profile of Kotek.


Rulemaking and Task Force Update

Retail Crime: The Organized Retail Crime Task Force involving OBI and partner organizations met for the first time in September. The second meeting will take place Oct. 25. At this point, the task force meetings are focused on gathering information, to which end the Oct. 25 meeting will feature a panel of online retailers and a panel devoted to law enforcement and best practices. Organized retail crime has become a dire problem for retailers in the state. The phenomenon involves highly organized groups of people committing theft on a broad scale. The task force is intended to bring together the state attorney general, district attorneys, law enforcement agencies, unions and retailers to identify common problems, share information and identify organized criminal networks. A similar effort is underway in Washington state.

Recycling Modernization: OBI submitted comments Oct. 5 related to the implementation of the 2021 Recycling Modernization Act. The act, which establishes extended producer responsibility for product packaging, has progressed through a rulemaking advisory committee and a technical workgroup that will determine which items to place on a statewide collection list. The Recycling Modernization Act requires all producers to belong to a Producer Responsibility Organization, and the rules currently under development will cover such issues as materials, recycling needs, local government costs, and producer fees. OBI’s Oct. 5 comments express concern about fees, costs and potential misalignment between the rules and the underlying statute.

Signing Bonuses: An exception to Oregon’s pay equity law that allowed employers to offer hiring and retention bonuses without conducting equity analyses expired at the end of September. A legislative fix is required to address the problem, and OBI has requested the introduction of a bill that would create a permanent pay-equity exemption for such bonuses. The bill is being drafted with the expectation that it will be introduced during the 2023 legislative session.

Commute Options: OBI will submit comments next week on proposed employer rules that will update and expand state trip-reduction requirements. The comments will express concern with several rule elements, including a proposal by the Department of Environmental Quality to apply rules to communities within metropolitan planning organizations with at least 10,000 residents. There are 68 such communities, and applying a trip-reduction program to them that might work in the Portland metropolitan area is unrealistic. Among other things, the proposed rules would require employers to offer incentives worth an escalating number of points depending upon business size. Employers with 101-249 employees, for example, would have to offer trip-reduction incentives worth 60 points. Those with 250-1,000 employees would have to offer incentives worth 80 points, and so on. DEQ has presented a menu of incentive-bearing options. Employers could earn 50 points for offering vanpools to at least half of their employers, yet they would receive only 20 points for providing free or subsidized transit passes. If you have suggestions or information that will help with OBI’s comments, please share them with Sharla Moffett via email. Additional information can be found here.

Clean Car Rules: The Department of Environmental Quality is preparing to adopt California’s latest vehicle emissions standards for cars and light-duty trucks. The so-called Advanced Clean Cars II rules would require vehicle manufacturers to sell an increasing number of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) starting with the 2026 model year. By 2035, 100% of all new cars and light trucks sold in Oregon would have to be emission-free. DEQ has scheduled two public hearings on the rules, one at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 18 (Zoom link here) and the other at 10 a.m. on Oct. 19 (Zoom link here). The public comment period ends at 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21. Additional information can be found here.

Portland Fuel Proposal: Joined by more than two dozen organizations, OBI submitted comments Oct. 3 to a proposed change to Portland’s renewable fuels standard that would all but eliminate petroleum-based diesel fuel by 2026. Current rules require diesel sold within the city to contain at least a 5% blend of renewable fuel. The proposed rules would require a 99% blend of renewable fuel by 2026. The proposed rules are unworkable for many reasons, as the Oct. 3 comment letter indicates, from insufficient storage capacity within the city to the incompatibility of high-renewable blends with engine manufacturing standards.


National Association of Manufacturers Plans Portland Events

The National Association of Manufacturers will host a pair of events in Portland in November, one focusing on women in manufacturing and the other on recruiting and retaining employees with military experience. Both of these events will take place on Nov. 10 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Washington Square (9000 SW Washington Square Rd., Tigard).

Women are the Future of Manufacturing will focusing on growing the next generation of women in manufacturing. Students and women at local community colleges, universities and educational institutions will convene to hear from a variety of women working in the manufacturing and transportation industries, including a panel of emerging leaders who are excelling in their roles that can directly talk about the benefits and opportunities of pursuing a career in these fields. Participants also will have a chance to network with future talent and learn how their female staff can get engaged with the Women MAKE America Mentorship Program. This event will run from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Recruiting and Retaining Military Workforce will focus on best practices for attracting candidates from the military community by creating welcoming and inclusive recruitment practices and workplace environments. Attendees will learn about The MI’s Heroes MAKE America initiative and hear from veterans and military spouses to gain insights and walk away with tactics they can implement. This event will run from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

To register for one or both events, go here.


Upcoming Webinars

Oct. 27: Are You Ready for Paid Family and Medical Leave?

Oregon’s new paid family and medical leave insurance program, Paid Leave Oregon, will soon become operational. Employers must submit payroll contributions to fund the program beginning Jan. 1, and employees can start applying for benefits on Sept. 3. In the meantime, many employers are weighing whether to participate in the state-administered leave program or an equivalent program offered by an insurance provider.

Join our Oct. 27 webinar to learn what employers need to know as Jan. 1 approaches. We’ll be joined by Laura Rosenbaum, an employment attorney with Stoel Rives, and Jessica Bolar, senior product manager for paid family and medical leave with The Standard.

Date: Thursday, Oct. 27

Time: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

To Register: Go here.


Nov. 1: Future Ready Oregon Progress

The Oregon Legislature this year passed Gov. Kate Brown’s Future Ready Oregon plan, a $200 million initiative to prepare Oregonians for jobs in health care, manufacturing and technology. The state Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) oversees the expenditure of much of this money and works with the state Bureau of Labor and Industries and employment department to collect data on effectiveness.

So how has implementation been going, and how can businesses engage with this program? Join HECC Executive Director Ben Cannon and Future Ready Oregon Director Jennifer Purcell on Tuesday, Nov. 1 for a discussion.

Date: Tuesday, Nov. 1

Time: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

To Register: Go here.


Dec. 9: Oregon Health Care Policy, Program Update

Oregon health-care task forces and program managers have been busy in recent months. The Task Force on Universal Health Care recently released its final report and recommendations for the for the Legislature. The Task force on the Bridge Health Care Program released its preliminary program design recommendations. Meanwhile, Oregon Health Authority staff have tracked health care spending under the Sustainable Health Care Cost Growth Target Program. There’s a lot going on, and the 2023 Legislature is likely to consider significant expansions in health-care spending and services.

Join our webinar and learn more about the state of health care in Oregon. We’ll be joined by Trilby de Jung, deputy director of OHA’s Health Policy and Analytics Division, and Sarah Bartelmann, manager of the Sustainable Health Care Cost Growth Target Program.

Date: Friday, Dec. 9

Time: 11 a.m. to noon

To Register: Go here


Watch Recent Webinars

Paid Leave Oregon Webinars

OBI has held three webinars so far on the Paid Leave Oregon program, which will become effective in 2023. Additional webinars will occur as program development continues. Previous webinars:

  • Program Overview: A webinar providing an overview of the program has been offered twice. Watch the June 22 webinar here and the July 14 overview here.
  • Equivalent Plans Overview: A webinar providing an overview of program rules governing equivalent plans can be found here.


Managing Claims Costs with Return to Work Services

Watch a recording here.

Experts with SAIF explained how employers can manage the post-injury process, get their employees back to work and mitigate claim costs using the Return to Work services team at SAIF and the Employer-at-Injury and Preferred Worker Program benefits. The webinar was offered through OBI’s CompSAFE program.


OSHA Heat and Smoke Rules

Watch a recording here.

Experts with Oregon OSHA provided an overview of the recently adopted heat and smoke rules and answered questions from OBI members.


Union Organizing Dos and Don’ts

Watch a recording here.

Attorney Nicole Elgin with Barran Liebman LLP explained what managers and supervisors should know, do and not do when confronted by a union organizing drive.


Oregon Business Plan Update

Watch a recording here.

Oregon Business Council President Duncan Wyse delivered a midyear progress report on the Oregon Business Plan and answered questions from webinar participants.


Student Success Act Implementation

Watch a recording here.

Officials with the Oregon Department of Education joined OBI to discuss the implementation of the 2019 Student Success Act, which generates roughly $1 billion per year for education through the state’s corporate activity tax.