Wednesday Digest: December 15, 2021

Quick reminder! Today, Wednesday, Dec. 15, is the last day to enroll or change health insurance plans for 2022 through the public exchange. Oregon residents can purchase health insurance through

The Oregon state legislature spent a lot of money during Monday’s special session:

  • $100 million to replenish the state’s rent assistance program
  • $100 million to create a statewide system of eviction-prevention services
  • $100 million to help farmers and ranchers with expenses stemming from the drought and heatwave this past summer
  • $25 million to combat illegal cannabis grow operations in southern Oregon
  • $18 million bolster refugee services
  • $2 million in gun violence reduction for east Multnomah County

Lawmakers also extended the deadline for renters to apply for aid. Several members of the state legislature also noted that they wanted to see a performance audit of the Oregon Housing and Community Services’ renters aid programs over the past year.

City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty filed a lawsuit against the Portland Police Association (the Portland Police Bureau’s union), its former president Brian Hunzeker, and Portland Police Bureau Officer Kerri Ottoman this week. Hardesty is known for her opposition to the way the Portland Police Bureau operates. The suit alleges that the PPA and members of the PPB attempted to embarrass and punish Hardesty for her work. On March 3, 2021, a driver reported being rear-ended and claimed to recognize Hardesty as the responsible driver. PPB identified the actual responsible driver and cleared Hardesty in under 24 hours. In the meanwhile, however, The Oregonian and multiple right-wing news sites published the claim. Per the lawsuit, Hunzeker and Ottoman were responsible for leaking information to the media. This lawsuit will be interesting to follow because Hardesty is running for another term as city commissioner in 2022. But it may be more important because the lawsuit represents a major opportunity to see the mechanisms inside the PPA’s sway over local politics.

Someone incarcerated in Oregon counts toward representation in Congress but can’t vote for that representation. Oregon can be the third state to overturn a policy established during the Jim Crow era to maintain White supremacy. Given that Portland police arrest Black people at a per capita rate 4.3 times higher than White people, revoking voting rights from people in jail is particularly glaring The Next Up Action Fund is hosting a virtual kickoff event for their 2022 campaign Thursday, Dec. 16 (tomorrow) from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The campaign will support the Restoration of Voting Rights Act during the 2022 Oregon legislature session.

By Thursday Bram

Thursday Bram founded PDX.Vote after making numerous zines, newsletters, and other media about politics in Portland, Oregon. Thursday has also written for publications ranging from to Entrepreneur Magazine. You can find more of Thursday's work at

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